Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This is the perfect side for your next BBQ.

YIELDS: 8

PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 10 MINS

TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 30 MINS

 

 

INGREDIENTS 

FOR THE PASTA SALAD

1 lb. penne

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt

2 c. chopped romaine lettuce

1 c. halved grape tomatoes

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 c. croutons

2/3 c. Caesar dressing

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley 

Freshly ground black pepper

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook penne according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to large bowl. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into 1″ pieces. 

Add romaine, tomatoes, Parmesan, croutons, and chicken to pasta bowl. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together Caesar dressing, lemon juice, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Pour over penne mixture and toss to combine. 


Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
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Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie is my favorite.  It’s sweet tartness is very refreshing, specially in the summer.

The first time I had Key Lime Pie was at a small local restaurant in Key West, Florida.  It was love at first bite!   Of course there it’s a very popular dessert; Key West has long claimed the pie originated on their tiny island using the small thin skin limes associated with the island.

You might be wondering what makes the Key Lime so special.  It’s a citrus hybrid that is smaller, rounder, and seedier than the usual larger more oval limes.  Key Lime, also known as Mexican Lime, Omani Lime, and West Indian Lime, also have a stronger aroma, more acidic, and thinner rind than its larger counterpart.

Whatever the case may be as the famed ingredient in Key Lime Pie it’s delicious!  Of course you can substitute other limes to make Key Lime Pie, but seriously it isn’t quite the same.  But in many places finding fresh Key Limes is not always easy. However you can buy Key Lime Juice in some stores and definitely on Amazon.  Living in Hawaii I rarely find fresh Key Limes and must resort to using the bottled juice.  I do garnish my pie with a slice of fresh lime, whatever type I manage to find.

There are many Key Lime Pie recipes out there, and believe me I’ve tried more than a few.  But for me easy is best.  This mean I do not like to make pie crust, it’s one chore I avoid whenever possible.  Now Key Lime Pie is usually made with a Graham Cracker crust, of course you can make your own, there are many recipes for this, or be like me and use store bought Graham Cracker Crusts.

You also need Whipped Cream, which of course you can buy spray cans of in your grocer’s dairy section.  That would be the easiest.  But although I’m always looking for the easy way, I make my own whipped cream.  I prefer homemade whipped cream simply because I love the taste of freshly whipped cream.  I like to pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie using a large star tip, or sometimes just around the outer edge and a large dollop in the middle.  But if you don’t what to make your own whipped cream the spay cans will do just fine, you won’t even need a star tip and piping bag to decorate the top of your pie.

So having said all that here’s my recipe, it includes instructions on homemade whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

1  9″ Graham Cracker Pie Crust (homemade or store bought)

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Key Lime Juice

1 Cup Fresh Heavy Whipping Cream – cold

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Fresh Lime Slice

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk condensed milk, sour cream, and lime juice together in a medium bowl.

Whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on counter for about 30 minutes.

Chill pie in refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Before serving make whipped cream:

Using the whipping attachment to your standup mixer or the beaters of a hand held mixer beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Beat in vanilla.

Pipe on top of chilled pie.

Garnish with a slice of lime if desired.

 


Key Lime Pie Recipe
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Easy Caramel Bar Cookies

Easy Caramel Bar Cookies

Looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe?  Try these Caramel Bar Cookies.  They’re so easy to make, require basic ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, and are really good.

I love cookies but am not really thrilled about baking them.  Baking cookies in my opinion are tedious when you have to scoop, drop, press, or place cookie dough on a sheet one at a time.  It’s also pretty time consuming when your oven will fit just 2 sheets at a time.  You end up baking cookies all day if you’re making a lot of cookies.  That’s why I love bar cookies!  You spread the cookie dough in a 9″ x 13″ pan, bake, and cut into squares or rectangles.  You can bake dozens of cookies in just an hour or so.

Here’s a hint about cutting bar cookies, I use a pizza wheel cutter.  The pizza cutter lets you cut quick straight lines smoothly.  First I cool the sheet then gently flip it over so the whole thing comes out.  To do this I place a cutting board on top of the pan then flip it over slowly, you don’t what the cookie to crack or split.  Then I usually start cutting at the midpoint length wise (the 9″ section of the pan) then from the midpoint on the 13″ section of the pan.  Then I cut the 2 sections on the 9″ side of the pan in half so I have 4 sections each is 2 1/4″.  Then I cut the 2 sections on the 13″ side into 3rds. so I have 6 sections each is just a bit over 2″.  This gives me a total of 24 cookies that are almost square shaped, each cookie measures about 2 1/4″ x 2″.

There are many different bar cookies out there but if you’re looking for an easy one then you’ll love these Caramel Bar Cookies!  Try them out I’m sure they’re destined to become a family favorite!

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Caramel Bar Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter – melted

2 Cups Brown Sugar – packed

2 Eggs

2 Cups Flour – sifted

2 Tsp. Vanilla

1 Tbl. Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp. Salt

Directions:

Mix Butter and brown sugar with a mixer.

Add Eggs and mix well.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl then add to butter mixture.

Mix until well combined.

Add vanilla and mix in.

Oil a 9″ x 13″ pan very well, be sure you oil the sides as well.

Spread cookie dough evenly in pan.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes the cut into squares.

 

Easy Caramel Bar Cookies
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Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Mango, the king of fruit as it’s known in many parts of the world, is not high in calories and is an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin A, and potassium.  It’s also very delicious!

Now that we are in peak mango season my husband has been bringing home loads of this sweet juicy fruit.  We love them fresh but also love to make them into different desserts.  This year’s bumper crop has allowed me to whip up all the recipes my family loves and create a few new ones.

This Mango Cream Cheese Dessert is a long time family fave!  I got the recipe years ago from a cookbook my aunt gave me.  It’s one of those loosely bound cookbooks the local churches publish every so often to sell in a fund raiser, it contained a compilation of their members’ favorite recipes.  This cookbook was published in 1985.  My cherished copy is in poor condition, missing it’s covers, grease stained, fading, and taped up; it’s moved with me from Hawaii to Texas and back twice!  Old as it is the recipes are still our favorites.

This dessert takes a bit longer to make as it is made in 3 layers and can take all day, you have to wait for the crust too cool and the layers to set.  I tweaked it a bit to make it a bit simpler.  It is definitely worth the effort!  You end up with a refreshing creamy dessert on a cookie crust that is perfect for summer barbecues or any other time!

I make it in a 9″ x 13″ pan, the number of servings will depend on the size you cut it, in my house that means it will barely serve 6.  Whenever I make this it never stays in the fridge for more than a day or two, it’s that good!

If you can’t find fresh mango you can use peaches or your favorite fruit, just change the jello flavor to compliment the fruit.

Mango Cream Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

3/4 butter – softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

3 boxes (3 oz. size) lemon jello

4  cups boiling water (divided into 1 cup & 3 cups)

1  8oz. cream cheese – softened

1 cup sugar

1  8oz. container cool whip – thawed

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water at room temp.

4 cups sliced mangoes (about 3 medium sized mangoes)

Directions:

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

Crust:

1.  Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.

2.  Press into 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess.  (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

1st. Layer:

Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.

1.  Beat cream cheese with sugar.  Fold in Cool Whip.

2.  Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.

3.  Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture.  It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that’s ok.

4.  Pour into the crust.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.

Mango Cream Cheese Dessert

2nd. Layer:

Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved.  Let cool completely to room temperature.  Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.

1.  Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer.  It doesn’t have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.

2.  Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes.  BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!!  If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands.   Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.

Cut into desired size and serve.  Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out.
My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to “taste” the dessert.  Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it.  At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!


Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Mango Cream Cheese Dessert
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Servings Prep Time
8 Squares 1 Hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 5 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour in large mixing bowl until it is crumbly.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  2. Press into 9" x 13" baking pan. Be sure you get it all the way to the sides and into the corners or the other layers will seep under the crust and you will end up with an upside down mess. (It will still take great, but will look unappetizing)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before proceeding to the 1st. layer.
    Mango Cream Cheese
1st. Layer
  1. Before you start this layer dissolve 1 box of lemon jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir every so often to keep it from hardening.
  2. Beat cream cheese with sugar. Fold in Cool Whip.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Slowly pour COOLED jello into the cream cheese mixture.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  4. Gently stir the jello/cream cheese mixture. It will be a bit loose with a few clumps but that's ok.
  5. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 -3 hours.
2nd. Layer
  1. Before you start the next layer dissolve 2 boxes of jello in 3 cups boiling water; soften unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup water at room temp.; add softened gelatin to jello until dissolved. Let cool completely to room temperature. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from setting.
  2. Arrange sliced mangoes on top of 1st. layer. It doesn't have to look neat as the fruit may float when you pour the jello over it.
    Mango Cream Cheese
  3. Pour COOLED jello mixture over mangoes. BE SURE your jello is completely COOLED before pouring over the mangoes!! If the jello is hot or warm it will dissolve the cream cheese mixture and you will have a mess on your hands. Refrigerate until firm, I usually leave it overnight.
  4. Cut into desired size and serve. Lifting the first piece out of the pan is the hardest part, be sure you cut clean thru to the crust and use a cake server to get under the crust and lift the whole piece out. My first piece usually falls apart so I use it to "taste" the dessert. Once you get that first piece out the rest is easy, just remember to cut thru to the crust every time.
Recipe Notes

This dessert will keep in the fridge for several days, that is if you can refrain from snacking on it. At my house this dessert rarely lasts more than a day!

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Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Mango

Mango season in Hawaii is from May to July.  When we’re lucky we get a bumper crop of mangoes.  During the summers when mangoes are abundant we eat mangoes every which way we can think of, those we can’t eat fresh we freeze and turn into different mango desserts, our favorite is mango bread.

Here is my favorite recipe for mango bread.  I’ve been baking them for over 20 years!  Bake some for the family and bake extra for friends.  They make great gifts!

You can make this bread ahead of time and freeze.  Wrap each loaf in foil and place in freezer safe ziplock bags.  They will keep in the freezer for 6 months.  Just remove from freezer and thaw out before serving.

By the way “Ono” means tastes good in Hawaii!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup oil

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups diced ripe mango

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
Add remaining ingredients, stir well.  Batter will be thick.

Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.

Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.

To freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.
I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix.  When I’ve doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn’t get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.


The Best Mango Bread Ever
Print Recipe
This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
The Best Mango Bread Ever
Print Recipe
This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Mini Loaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Batter will be thick.
  4. Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.
  5. Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.
Recipe Notes

Mango Bread CollageTo freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.

I don't recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix. When I've doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn't get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.

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Strawberries & Cream Crepes

Strawberries & Cream Crepes

I Recently made a batch of Riesling Marinated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream Filling to use in my Pavlovas.  The left over I used in my mini Trifles but found that I still had left overs.  So to use them up (I hate waste) I decided that they’d be great with crepes.  I made Strawberries & Cream Crepes!

These Strawberries & Cream Crepes have that lovely Mascarpone Cream filling and the marinated strawberries; then topped with delicious Riesling Marinated Strawberries.  They are amazing!  They’re great for dessert or breakfast.  They’d also make a great addition to any brunch!

The crepes are really simple to make, they taste just like the crepes you’d find on the streets of Paris!  I’m serious!  Best of all you can make them ahead of time; just heat them up and fill before serving or even freeze them to use much later.  Just remember to place a sheet of parchment paper in between each crepe to prevent them from sticking together.

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So here’s what you’ll need to make these lovey Strawberries & Cream Crepes.

Crepes – recipe below

Riesling Marinated StrawberriesClick here for the recipe

Mascarpone Cream FillingClick here for the recipe

Fresh Strawberries for garnish (optional)

Fresh Mint Leaves for Garnish (optional)

Crepes

Ingredients:

2 Cups Milk

4 Eggs

3 Tbs. Butter – melted

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1 1/2 Cup Flour – sifted

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until batter is smooth, about 30 seconds

Refrigerate batter at least 30 minutes (you can even leave it overnight)

Spray 8″ frying pan or crepe pan with cooking spray.

Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and rotate pan to spread batter to pan edges to form a circle.

Cook over medium low heat until top looks dry.

Gently flip over and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stack until ready to use.

Cook remaining batter and keep stacking until done.  Place parchment paper between crepes to keep them from sticking together.

Assemble:

Assemble the crepes just before serving.

Fill each crepe with 2 heaping spoonfuls of cream filling.  Place cream near the bottom edge of your crepe and spread to form a line across.  Spread filling to about 1/2″ from each edge.

Spoon a few marinated strawberries on top of cream.

Roll crepe into a log.

Plate 2-3 filled crepes side by side.

Add a dollop of cream on the crepes and top with either fresh or marinated strawberries, and a mint leaf is desired.

Drizzle some of the syrup from the marinated strawberries over the top and serve.


Strawberries & Cream Crepes
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