It is already the middle of October. Why is it this time of year just seems to fly by? The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and it's football season! I know most of us love the Summer and beach time, but it is nice to have a little cooler weather, especially when you're not on vacation!
We just returned from a beach vacation and, as usual, we over-indulged in Gulf Coast seafood and beachy drinks. The food was wonderful. I had grilled and blackened grouper, baked oysters, and Cajun fried catfish, along with the best, buttery steak from Angelo's at Panama City Beach. I didn't eat all of that on the same day, folks. But now it's time to get back into a healthier eating routine!
My little "niece" Sawyer's dad, Ghee, sets a great example of healthy eating, and his habits are slowly rubbing off on me. Here's a great dish I copied from him, with kale, sweet potatoes and chicken. It also includes Italian seasoning and salt. This recipe is also special because it is cooked in the Crock Pot and ready for you at the end of a long work day. You can use thawed chicken, or rotisserie chicken, or shredded cooked chicken from the freezer like I did. I love having that shredded chicken handy for all kinds of recipes! I'm not sure if Ghee measured anything, but I just added ingredients until they looked right, and I seasoned everything to taste. If you crinkle your nose at kale like I used to do, use any green you like. The greens were my favorite part of the dish!
Here's how I prepare my shredded chicken for freezing. You can leave out the onions and peppers if they're not your thing, but I love them on everything!
Take 3 - 4 pounds of chicken breasts, season all over with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place it in a Crock Pot, add small diced onions and peppers, and cover with low sodium chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. If you want to cook it faster, cook on high for 3 - 4 hours. When it's done, place the chicken on a cutting board and shred it with two forks. The sooner you shred it while the chicken is still hot, the easier it is to shred! Let it cool and then put it in those freezer bags!
There's a lot said about putting uncooked frozen chicken in the Crock Pot. The Crock Pot does not heat up fast enough to heat the chicken through and keep it at a safe temperature to prevent food-borne illnesses. The best thing to do is use fresh or thawed chicken, and the best way to thaw poultry and meats is in the refrigerator. Other ways are under cool, running water or in an ice bath, fully covered. You can thaw foods in the microwave, or by starting to cook it. (You should never thaw food by leaving it on the counter at room temperature). If you're going to thaw it under cool water or in the microwave, the food should be cooked immediately after thawed. There's your ServSafe lesson for today!
Now let me tell you about how I'm developing my new project of working with a Cottage Food License. My friends help me a lot with this because they're always telling me what I need to fix for them, and I love all of the input. I truly intend to try and fulfill all of their requests.
One of my friends just went to the Tennessee mountains for a short vacation and came back with a wonderful key lime cookie sandwich. It had two crisp cookies with a light key lime creamy filling. Here's my first attempt at duplicating her cookie. It was way off the mark but it turned into a copy of one of my favorite cookies, Savannah, Georgia's Byrd Cookie Company's Key Lime Coolers. Click on the picture for the Martha Stewart "Lime Meltaways" recipe I used. I substituted key limes for regular limes.
Here's where I hit the mark; however, I was getting ready for vacation and did not even think about taking any pictures until we were already at the beach and had eaten most of the cookies! They are delicious, light, crispy, and nutty. Now I have to perfect the key lime filling! I can't wait to share these with my friend to see if she thinks they compare to her mountain cookies! I think she's going to love them!
Before you look at the next item, let me tell you that we did not have a cake decorating class in culinary school. I know now that I will be checking our local Michael's for classes! This is a sheet cake I made to congratulate our juvenile correctional officers who graduated from P.O.S.T. in September. If you look real close, don't do it, you will see where I had to scrape off some of my awful art work! Thankfully, I got very good reviews on the taste of the cake! I used a simple recipe from Ina Garten and you can click on the picture for the recipe. The lemon zest really made the cake special! I used a simple buttercream icing of softened butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla. The badge shape was done with a cookie cutter and then sprinkled with gold glittery sugar, along with the edges.
I went to the Georgia Apple Festival with some friends this weekend and it was great fun. We had a beautiful Fall day; the weather was just perfect! The Festival has really grown with many vendors. There were lots of local folks with their homemade foods and goodies, and it really encouraged me to get going with my Cottage Food business. I'm going to try to manage my time better and be more organized so I can devote more time to making new goodies, keeping my blog up-to-date, and doing everything else I need to do. Wish me luck! I am already so thankful for the love and support I have received from my friends! I plan to have lots of beautiful, delicious things to show you, especially with the holidays coming up!
And now, to make you smile, I haven't shown you a picture of beautiful Sawyer since August, so here's an updated photo. I am fortunate enough to spend two days a week with her when her parents are working. She is an inspiration to me because she's such a little miracle; however, she does not like to cooperate in picture taking. This was an amazing picture because she actually looked into the camera. Now I just need a gaze and a smile at the same time!
Thank you, Friends, for visiting Dished With Love! Please like my page on Facebook and share it with your friends! Don't forget, you can comment on here or on Facebook, and I would love to hear from all of you! I also have links to my personal Pinterest and Instagram accounts at the top right corner of this page.
Enjoy the cooler weather, football, and food with friends! Until next time, Dished With Love, Denise!
A place to share my favorite things...friends and food, dogs, college football, and my inspiration, Sawyer, the most beautiful little girl in the world!