Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Shells

This recipe combines Connor's favorite foods - chicken, pasta, cheese, and broccoli - and he LOVED it! (Recipe adapted from here.)

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Shells

8 oz. pasta shells
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12 oz. broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 lb. chicken breast, in bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot bring water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, sauté the chicken; set aside.
The broccoli - if fresh, add it to the boiling pasta the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain and set aside... - if frozen, microwave steam and set aside.
Drain pasta and set aside in colander.
In the same pasta pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute, creating a roux. Over medium-high heat, slowly whisk in the milk and cheese and bring to a boil, until it starts to thicken.
Add in pasta, broccoli, and chicken and toss to coat in the sauce. Serve immediately.

Ted's Montana Grill Creamy Ranch Onion Dip

Our FAVORITE appetizer at Ted's Montana Grill is their Chip & Dip. I found this knock-off recipe online, supplied by their corporate chef. So delicious!

Ted's Montana Grill Creamy Ranch Onion Dip

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2 c. reduced-fat mayo
2 c. reduced-fat sour cream
1 c. sliced green onions (1 bunch cut into 1/8" TINY pieces, save some for garnish)
2 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix (1 packet)
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground black pepper (for garnish)

In a mixing bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, green onions, ranch mix and Tabasco.
Whisk until smooth.
Refrigerate until ready to use. May be made up to 2 days ahead.
When ready to serve, garnish with remaining green onion and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with veggies or potato chips (like Kettle brand chips).

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I made this the other night... very tasty! We all enjoyed it for dinner and then lunch the next day. I served it with Rice-a-Roni and steamed veggies. I adapted this recipe from here.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

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Chicken: 
2 lbs. chicken (4 breasts, tenders, etc.)
1-1.5 sleeves Ritz crackers, crumbled
1/3 c. milk
2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
dried parsley, to taste

Sauce: 
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Tbsp. butter
21-Seasoning Salute, to taste
milk (a little to thin, if necessary)

Cut each chicken breast into 3-4 large chunks (this step not necessary if using tenders).

Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate containers.

Dip each piece of chicken into the milk, then the cheese, then the crackers. Press the cheese and crackers into the chicken with your fingers.

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Add the remaining cheese and crackers to the top, if you want. Sprinkle dried parsley over the chicken.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400°F for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are crispy, golden brown. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

While it’s baking, into a medium saucepan, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Add a little 21-Seasoning Salute, and some milk to thin if you want (I did!). Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.

Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a sucker for a super soft cookie!  Try these out - they will not disappoint!  (Recipe adapted from here.)


Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

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2 sticks (1 c.) butter, softened
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 - 3 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. (12 oz.) chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease with cooking spray. (I used my silpat mats.)
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy – about 2-3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips, and mix until combined.

Roll into balls and drop onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-11 minutes until the edges are just set and the middles are still light and fluffy.

Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 3-4 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I used a small cookie scoop, and this recipe made at least 5 dozen cookies.

Emily's Liege Waffles

Emily made these yummy liege waffles at our family brunch last weekend.  They are a copycat to the famous Waffle Love Truck waffles. (Recipe adapted from here.)

Emily's Liege Waffles

prep time: 4 hours
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cook time: 5 minutes
yield: 10 waffles
serving size: 1 waffle

3/4 c. whole milk, scalded and cooled to warm milk
2 Tbsp. water, warmed
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
2 c. bread flour
1 1/2-1 3/4 c. flour
2 c. Belgian pearl sugar (purchased from a specialty store or Amazon)

Add the sugar to the milk and water and then and add the yeast, stirring to combine. 
Allow the yeast to proof, or get foamy and puffy.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. 
Add the eggs, honey and vanilla. 
Stir together and add the yeast mixture. 
Place in a standing mixer with the dough hook and add 2 cups of flour. 
Mix until the dough is thoroughly incorporated, and add the remaining flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for up to 4 hours on the counter, or up to 24 hours covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. 

The dough will need to sit on the counter and come back to room temperature to use. 
Then punch down and knead in the pearl sugar. 
Separate into 8-10 balls and place on a hot, greased waffle iron. 
Cook until golden brown.
Serve with biscoff/nutella (and other yummy spreads), whipped cream and fresh berries - no syrup needed!

Breakfast Casserole

This deliciousness was served at the family brunch last weekend, along with Emily's liege waffles. (It was adapted from here.)

Breakfast Casserole
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Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time: 90 min.
Total time: 1 hr. 40 min.
Serves: 12


24 oz. frozen shredded potatoes
salt & pepper
12 eggs
2 c. half & half
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1½ c. cheddar cheese, grated
1½ c. pepper jack cheese, grated (or colby/monterey jack)
2 c. chopped ham (or sausage or bacon)

Grease a 9”x13” pan.
Put the potatoes in the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Then add half & half, seasoning salt, cheeses and meat.
Pour over the top of the frozen potatoes.
Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Bake at 350˚F for 90 minutes, still covered with foil.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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