Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken cordon bleu has always been one of my favorite chicken dishes.  It's a fancier way to make chicken a little more special for company or holidays.  In Scott's family they have a tradition of eating chicken cordon bleu every year for Christmas Eve dinner.  In my family we usually have ham for dinner.  This year we weren't able to make it back to Kansas to see Scott's family for Christmas so I decided to combine both of our family traditions.  We had ham for Christmas dinner and I made this delicious baked chicken cordon bleu the next day with the leftover ham.  I had been putting of making this recipe because it seemed so complicated.  I was surprised when it turned out to be really easy and tasted like I cooked it all day.  Try this recipe the next time you want to elevate a chicken dish for any occasion.

4 boneless chicken breasts pounded to 1 inch thick
4 slices ham (we used leftover ham from Christmas dinner but slice lunchmeat ham will work too)
4 slices swiss cheese
1-2 cups Italian bread crumbs or Italian gluten free bread crumbs (if making a gluten free recipe)
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise.
3. Place 1 slice ham and 1 slice swiss cheese on top of chicken.  Flip the other piece of sliced chicken on top of the ham/cheese, making a "sandwich".  
4. Put the olive oil in a plate or shallow dish.  Place each chicken piece into the olive oil, making sure to coat both sides.  
5.  Repeat the same process with the bread crumbs, coating both sides of the chicken.
6.  Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish, securing with toothpicks if necessary. 
7.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is browned and juices run clear.  

Do you have any traditional meals around the holidays?
What's your favorite recipe to make with leftovers?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

Can you guys believe 2014 is almost over?  I don't know about you, but this year seemed to fly by for me.  This has been a pretty amazing year for us; filled with a new addition to our family, fun trips, a new car and lots of family time.  We've had a few bumps and trials along the way (no year would be complete without a few of those) but overall this has been one great year!
In January I traveled to Utah to spend time with my sisters and to be there for my niece's baptism day.  I also got to watch my sister's ultrasound and find out she was having a baby girl! 

In February Scott turned 25 and we celebrated a combined birthday bash for Scott, my mom and my nephew on Super Bowl Sunday.  We also had a fun Valentine's date night with homemade gifts for each other.  

In March we celebrated our 3 year anniversary a little early (our anniversary is actually in April) by spending a weekend away in Monterrey, California.  We had so much fun going to the aquarium, whale watching and eating the most delicious seafood I've ever had.  

In April we celebrated our 3 year anniversary (again), my dad's birthday and Easter with my family. 

In May we welcomed my new niece, Marlowe, to our family.  I couldn't stop cuddling her and she gave me serious baby fever. 

In June I turned 25, Scott bought me a paddle board for my birthday and we bought a new car.

In July we watched fireworks with family, went to baseball games and saw Carrie Underwood (please excuse the horrible picture quality...our seats weren't the greatest but she was amazing live). 

In August we spent some time with Scott's family in California for his little brother's wedding and a fun, surprise trip to Disneyland.

In September we soaked up the gorgeous Fall weather and spent lots of time hiking in the mountains. 

In October we made some amazing new friends and had fun dressing up for costume parties, carving pumpkins and going to scary haunted houses.  

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving twice; once with our friends for "Friendsgiving" and once with my family. 

In December we had fun going to an ugly sweater party with friends, getting together with family and learning how to use our new fancy camera (we can't wait to take lots of fun pictures with it next year).

I'm sad to see this year come to an end but I'm already so excited to see what exciting adventures 2015 will bring.  We're looking forward to our big Italian vacation in April, Scott's getting ready to apply to graduate school and I'm looking into getting certified as a personal trainer/health coach.  I hope you all had an amazing year too.  Thanks for reading and following along on my blog.  

*Some of you might also be wondering where I disappeared to in 2014.  I was pretty consistent at blogging in the beginning of the year but a stressful job and health issues sadly pulled me away.  This year my biggest goal is to get back into blogging and make Kisses and Kale better than ever.  I have lots of new blog posts, collaborations and designs planned for this year.  Stay tuned for even more workouts, healthy living tips and recipes.

What were your big highlights this year?
What do you have planned for 2015?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Hi friends!  I hope all of you have had a fabulous Christmas/holiday season so far.  Scott and I have been having lots of fun with friends and family over the past few weeks.  Even though we hate the cold and winter, we LOVE Christmas!  We always go all out with decorating and keeping fun family traditions going; this year was no exception.
The week before Christmas our friends hosted an "ugly sweater/white elephant" party.  We had so much fun laughing at the crazy presents and ugly sweaters.  I love all of the friends we've met over the past two years, since moving to Reno.  

My sister hosted her annual Christmas Eve dinner with my family at her house.  We had the most amazing prime rib, spiced carrots and green bean casserole.  We gave presents to my nieces and nephew, along with a coupon for a "fun day with Aunt Christie".  I told them I'd take them each to do anything they want.  My youngest niece was so cute and told me all she wants to do is have a picnic in the living room with me.  She melts my heart.  
On Christmas morning Scott and I spent the morning together in our little apartment opening presents and making breakfast.  Our big present this year was a new Canon T5 camera!!  I can't wait to start learning more about photography and taking pictures for my blog.  After presents we skyped with Scott's family (they live in Kansas).  Hopefully we'll be able to have Christmas with them next year.  It was the perfect day with the people I love the most.

How was your Christmas/holiday season?  
Do you have any fun traditions with your friends and family? 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

Since going on a gluten free diet I've struggled with finding ways to replace recipes that call for bread crumbs.  They aren't easy to find in the grocery stores here and when I do find them they're usually really expensive.  In the past I've just left the bread crumbs out but the recipes never taste as good without the tasty crunch.  This weekend I really wanted to make chicken cordon bleu and decided to experiment with making my own gluten free bread crumbs.  I reached into my pantry and decided to try using "Gluten Rice Krispies" in my food processor.  The result was this super easy and perfect bread crumb recipe.  Try these in your next recipe and trust me, no one will know they're gluten free.

Regular Bread Crumbs:
Blend 1-2 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispes cereal in a food processor for about 2 minutes, or until fine.  If you don't have a food processor you can also try putting them in a zip-lock bag and crunching them with your fingers or rolling pin.  Use the bread crumbs right away in your favorite recipe or store in a tight container.

Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs:
Follow same instructions for regular bread crumbs but add 1-2 tsp garlic salt and 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning (depending on amount of cereal).  Blend together in food processor until completely blended.

*You can also use Rice Chex cereal if you can't find gluten free Rice Krispies
Make sure to buy the Gluten Free Rice Krispies (the box in this picture is not
and it's easy to get them confused).

What's your favorite dish that calls for bread crumbs?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Easy Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Apple pie is a common staple in our home; especially around the holidays.  Scott's claim to fame is that he can eat an entire apple pie by himself!  I love apple pie too but making gluten free pie crust can be a lot of work.  This recipe tastes just as good but is so easy to make.  The sweet, cinnamon-y apples topped with crunchy streusel make it impossible to have just one serving.  We're making it for Christmas dessert this year but it makes a great treat during any season.  

About 5-6 medium apples (I like to use granny smith and golden delicious)
2 TBS sugar 
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup uncooked gluten free oats
1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour
4 TBS unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Peel apples and slice them to your desired thickness (I leave mine pretty thin).
3.  Mix apples with sugar, cinnamon and 1/8 tsp salt.  Put mixture into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
4.  In the same bowl combine the brown sugar, oats, flour and 1/8 tsp salt.  Use your fingers to add the butter to the mixture until incorporated.  *I like to double the streusel mixture so that it covers the apples in a thicker crust.  
5.  Cover the apples with the streusel mixture.  Bake for about 50-60 minutes, until the apples are tender and topping is crispy.  Allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or plain.  


What's your favorite dessert to make around the holidays?  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Easy Homemade Granola Bars (Gluten Free!)

I LOVE protein bars.  I always carry around a balance bar or luna bar for a quick breakfast, snack, or recovery after a workout.  Most protein and granola bars aren't exactly part of a "clean" diet though (not to mention, the price adds up fast).  I decided to try making my own homemade, gluten free granola bars using all natural ingredients I had at home.  I discovered this recipe on My Whole Food Life and adapted it for my tastes and to be gluten free.  I love the way these bars turned out!  They taste like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie without all the added sugar and fat.  I put them into snack bags, which makes them easy to grab and go when I need a quick snack.  Try this recipe for a clean, healthy snack your whole family will love.

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups gluten free oats (I used Udi's Granola because that's what I had on hand and it turned out great!)
1 mashed banana
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup raw honey
2 Tablespoons almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips or craisins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl.

3.  Mash banana and combine in sauce pan with peanut butter, honey and milk.  Stir until combined and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes (or until ingredients are smooth).

4.  Add peanut butter mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix well.

5.  Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

6.  Once the granola is cooled, cut into bars and put into snack bags.

*This recipe has been adapted from a recipe found on My Whole Food Life

-What are your favorite quick snacks?
-What other flavors/types of bars would you like to see?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saucy Peach Balsamic Chicken

When Scott and I first got married (almost 3 years ago!) the only things I really knew how to cook were pasta and chicken tacos.  I wanted to start learning to cook yummy dinners but I wanted to start slowly with easy recipes.  Scott's grandma gave me this chicken recipe and it was one of the first recipes I tried that was so easy and super delicious.  I love the sweet and savory combination of the peachs with balsamic vinegar.  This is a perfect recipe to make when you need something that everyone will love but can be thrown together quickly.  Try this for dinner tonight!

Saucy Peach Balsamic Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry or additional chicken broth
1/3 cup peach preserves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp minced fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, brown chicken on both sides in olive oil.  Remove from the skillet and keep warm.

2.  Add broth and sherry to the skillet, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.  Stir in the preserves, garlic and tarragon.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in vinegar.  

3.Return chicken to the skillet; cover and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees.  

4.  I love to serve this with rice and steamed broccoli but it's so versatile that it would taste great with any other side dish too.  

Be sure to check out Peas and Crayons for more healthy recipes!