Buttery, flaky crescent roll crusts wrapped around a simple chicken, cream cheese and cheddar filling, coated with butter cracker crumbs and then after baking, drizzled with a chicken-y sour cream gravy. My husband and kids fuuh-lipped over these pillowy little poultry sandwiches! Chicken Pillows are new to our menu rotation and have already been requested for […]
Buttery, flaky crescent roll crusts wrapped around a simple chicken, cream cheese and cheddar filling, coated with butter cracker crumbs and then after baking, drizzled with a chicken-y sour cream gravy. My husband and kids fuuh-lipped over these pillowy little poultry sandwiches! Chicken Pillows are new to our menu rotation and have already been requested for two other occasions. As I mentioned in my Homemade Corndogs post, Nicki, at Chef in Training never disappoints when I try one of her recipes. I’ve had this one pinned for a very long time and I’m so glad I rediscovered it when I was sorting through my Pinterest boards.
I changed very little, from Nicki’s original recipe. I added onion, parsley and garlic to the filling. I also increased the cheese and put it in the filling, instead of the gravy. Lastly, I chose butter crackers, instead of saltines for the crumbs. You can see Nicki’s original recipe, here.
I’m so excited about this dish and I’m already dreaming of dozens of possible variations like Chicken Jalapeno Popper Pillows, or creating them as a twist on my Thanksgiving Casserole, Turkey and Stuffing Pillows. Wouldn’t Chicken Cordon Blue Pillows or Chicken and Spinach Pillows with Smoked Gouda be awesome? The possibilities are limitless and I’m guessing you will see other “pillows” at Busy-at-Home, in the future! Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite, simple and homey, comfort-food dish that your family asks for again and again?
Can you think of some other delicious filling variations for this tasty “pillow”-style recipe? What would your twist on Chicken Pillows be? Please share your ideas in a comment, below!
Remember I told you how much I LOVE salads? This recipe is one of the reasons why! Layered Southwest Salad is a complete and balanced meal and even my manly carnivore husband and son are happy to see this one on the table. It’s got all the things I love about summer — fresh […]
Remember I told you how much I LOVE salads? This recipe is one of the reasons why! Layered Southwest Salad is a complete and balanced meal and even my manly carnivore husband and son are happy to see this one on the table. It’s got all the things I love about summer — fresh tomatoes and crisp greens and crunchy fresh vegetables. It also has hearty ingredients that satisfy my “meat and potatoes” guys, too — grilled chicken, black beans and cheese. Plus the dressing is to die for! It’s so simple and tastes so good. It is literally the “southwest” part of this salad. The other beautiful thing about this hearty salad is that it lends itself well to being altered, so you can incorporate what you have on hand or your family’s favorites. Fresh sweet corn is a glorious addition, but it’s still too early in the season for us, here. I think black olives, celery, even diced cucumber, zucchini or yellow squash would be fantastic in it, too. So, get creative and make it your own. The important thing is just make it!
I told you a few days ago that when I grill chicken I cook large batches and this salad would be a good example of why. Having pre-cooked chicken in the fridge, ready to go, means I can put tasty dishes like this one, together in minutes. If you don’t have a fridge or freezer full of pre-grilled chicken, don’t give up on this salad. Leftovers from last night’s chicken dinner or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store would be other quick-fix options. Plus, it would only take a few minutes, during your day, to cook a couple chicken breasts to use. However you decide to prep your chicken, I hope you DO make this simple, hearty and nutritious salad. It seriously makes me happy! Don’t laugh. I told you. I love salad. Me and THIS salad…well, we understand each other. We have the same long-term goals. It’s a great relationship. lol Enjoy!
Delicious salad recipes are a summertime standard and I’m not gonna lie. I LOVE SALAD! I don’t think I’ve ever met one, I didn’t want to sit down with and get to know. Sometimes, though, my family just wants something more. Have you noticed that the “chicken bacon ranch trend” that was so popular, a […]
Delicious salad recipes are a summertime standard and I’m not gonna lie. I LOVE SALAD! I don’t think I’ve ever met one, I didn’t want to sit down with and get to know. Sometimes, though, my family just wants something more. Have you noticed that the “chicken bacon ranch trend” that was so popular, a couple of years ago, has become a sort of American standard? The combination has become commonplace in many restaurants and in all kinds of pre-packaged foods. For my kids and grandkids, that three-ingredient combo signals something magnificently delicious, no matter how you decide to package it. Does your hungry crew still enjoy this popular trend, too? If they do, I think these Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pockets will become one of their favorite lunches and a dish you can easily put together, at home. Since it’s something you can create, quickly, with five simple ingredients from your local Walmart, I’m guessing it will be a favorite for you, as well! And it’s proof-positive that you can incorporate some of the “salad flavors”, I adore, into a recipe that has absolutely nothing to do with salad.
Our grandkids spent the past ten days with us and out of all the meals I made, I think this lunch was the hands-down favorite. Even just looking at the pictures, later, our 12-year-old daughter sighed and said, ‘Those were soooooooo good. When can we have them, again?” It was actually a great time-saver for me on a particularly hectic morning, so the fact that she and the grandchildren all thought they were getting to have such a special treat, made my day. The extra “zing” of the flavorful ingredients in Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing meant I didn’t need any extra seasonings and spices, which was an extremely affordable way to pack a “flavor punch” into this simple pocket-sandwich filling. The new Kraft Pourables have been reinvented with a new, better taste, which means my Classic Ranch is now creamier, with more buttermilk and savory herbs. If you have only thought to use Kraft dressings in delicious salad recipes, I want to encourage you to think outside the box and use them to add layers of fabulous flavor to all your recipes and dishes.
You’ll put these delectable pocket sandwiches together in minutes and be enjoying them with your family, before you know it. Simply seal the diagonal seams of the crescent dough to form a single sheet. Cut the dough into eight equal rectangles. Add a dollop of Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing, and then, a spoonful of the chicken, bacon and cheese mixture. Next, fold the bottom half of the dough rectangle over the filling on the top half and seal the edges. Bake them in less than 20 minutes and serve with your favorite fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s a quick and easy lunch your family will ask you to make, again and again.
TIP: I used grilled chicken, left over from the night before, in this recipe; but you could easily use any leftover chicken you have on hand or even a rotisserie chicken. I’m big on “planned leftovers”, so I grilled a triple batch of chicken at one time, then diced the leftovers and bagged them for the freezer to use in other recipes. Cooking extra is a simple way to always have pre-cooked ingredients on hand and to be able to quickly put together recipes like this one. If I’m cooking anyway, it just makes sense to maximize my cooking time to be prepping future meals, too.
What’s your favorite quick and easy, five ingredients or less, recipe? Leave a comment to tell us all about it. Busy moms, like us, need to stick together and share our best ideas!
Have a blessing-filled week!
Are you hot, yet? It’s almost summer, here, and I am utilizing all the tricks I know to beat the heat of everyday cooking. This chicken and quinoa recipe is the payoff for some of that beat-the-heat prepping! Chicken is one of the easiest pantry staples to prepare in bulk and keep in […]
Are you hot, yet? It’s almost summer, here, and I am utilizing all the tricks I know to beat the heat of everyday cooking. This chicken and quinoa recipe is the payoff for some of that beat-the-heat prepping!
Chicken is one of the easiest pantry staples to prepare in bulk and keep in the refrigerator or freezer for quick-fix meals and lunches. Add to that a large batch of quinoa, pre-cooked and tucked into the fridge, and the meal possibilities are pretty much limitless! This recipe could be made with any leftover chicken you have — rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled chicken or even fried chicken. I am a cook-it-in-bulk kind of girl, though, especially in the heat of summer, so I have a large tub of oven roasted Tyson chicken breasts prepped and ready in my fridge, this week. I buy the 10 lb bags of flash frozen chicken breasts at Sam’s Club or the 3 lb bags at Walmart.
I didn’t even break a sweat for my week’s worth of pre-prepped ingredients, this week. The process was quick and simple. I put 15 lbs of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts into my enameled roaster with a quart of homemade (or other high-quality) chicken stock and put the lid on the roaster. I placed it in the oven at 275 degrees when I went to bed, Sunday night, and awoke to the heavenly aroma of roasted chicken at 7 the next morning. It was tender, juicy and packed with slow-roasted flavor. Very little effort, on my part, netted us enough pre-cooked chicken for the entire week and then some, even if we have company!
I also prepped a large batch of pre-cooked quinoa. Equal parts of rinsed quinoa (My family likes the tri-color, best, and I usually make a batch with 4 cups of each.) and water or chicken stock, is all you need. (I typically use water for big batches, since I’m not sure what dishes I may be using it in later. It will absorb the flavors of the liquid you cook it in.) Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer and in 20 minutes, perfectly, tender and fluffy quinoa will be your reward. It will literally have absorbed every drop of moisture in your pan. Cool it, seal it in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge, easily, for a week. I have seen it last even longer.
With those two items in the fridge, we’ve had barbecued chicken pizza, chicken and quinoa salad, tacos/burritos, fritters and more. This delicious recipe, which can be eaten by itself or popped into a tortilla or pita pocket for on-the-go munching may well be the crowning glory of our menus, this week, though. David has asked for it twice more, since the day I first put it together.
I started with chicken stock, sriracha sauce, garlic, a little lime juice and some cilantro in my cast iron skillet. I transferred the skillet to my stove and began heating the ingredients, together, bringing them to a rolling boil.
Chicken and Quinoa were next in the pan and since both were already cooked, I only needed enough time to heat them through and absorb that delicious sauce — literally, only minutes.
Hot, steamy and drenched in flavor, I transferred the Sriracha Chicken and Quinoa to a plate, dressed it with sour cream, avocado slivers and slices of lime. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top and some watermelon wedges, on the side and this fifteen-minute, lunch-in-a-hurry packs ten times the flavor and nutrition of something you would have picked up in a restaurant, took less time to prepare than it would have taken to get food at a restaurant AND cost only a fraction of what I would have paid! Save your budget and treat your tastebuds. Make this simple, delicious recipe at home and you’ll be a rock star in your own kitchen! Yum!
I hope your family loves this versatile and easy to fix dish, as much as mine does. It’s a new favorite in our meal rotation!
What are your favorite quick fix lunches and dinners? Do you pre-cook certain ingredients and always have them on hand for quick recipe inspirations? What leftovers translate, best, to new and exciting dishes? I can’t wait to hear about your family’s favorite lunch-in-a-hurry ideas!
If you loved this quick and easy recipe, you might also enjoy, these simple Busy-at-Home favorites! Both would be delicious with Sriracha Chicken and Quinoa.
“Blended family” is a phrase that has become incredibly common in the United States. We all understand the special challenges of taking members of two individual families and melding them to create one, unified new family. I think, in a lot of ways, EVERY family is “blended”. Each person is an individual with their own […]
“Blended family” is a phrase that has become incredibly common in the United States. We all understand the special challenges of taking members of two individual families and melding them to create one, unified new family. I think, in a lot of ways, EVERY family is “blended”. Each person is an individual with their own tastes, beliefs, ideas and quirks; and the larger the family the more loving and accepting we have to be of one another’s differences. We “blend” each of the individuals, quirks and all, to do our very best at being a loving and harmonious family. I am particularly blessed. Though David and I have been married over 30 years and have never had to blend two separate families, our family is larger than the “national average”. We have five children, two son-in-laws and three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way. We also have had the great privilege to “blend” a foster-granddaughter into our family. Add in the two of us, and that’s a LOT of people to fit around a table.
Sunday dinners at our house are fantastic! Everyone shows up after church, ravenous and ready to eat. So far, we still manage to squish all of us around our one huge dining room table. For those who are used to quiet, reserved, somewhat formal meals, experiencing our family dinners might be a little disconcerting. For me, it’s HEAVEN! At any given time, there are two to four separate conversations going on and family members “hop” from one to the other, interjecting their thoughts and/or humor, and then “hop” right back to their own. There is laughter. There is noise. There is love, and there is food…lots and lots of food. With such a wide variance of ages and tastes, it can sometimes be challenging to prepare a dish that will suit every individual’s unique taste preferences and also be gluten-free, as we have one family member with that allergy. Chicken is a common recipe starter for me and I, frequently, build the rest of the meal around it.
Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken has saved me multiple times, when I needed to get a meal on the table in a hurry. This week when I was at Walmart, picking up a couple bags in the freezer section, I noticed that the Grilled and Ready Chicken had labels promoting two free movie tickets to the upcoming movie, Blended, with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. All I had to do was to snap a picture of my receipt with my phone, text or email it to Tyson and I would receive a code to redeem for two free movie tickets. Cool! I made a mental note to check out the movie trailer when I got home. It turns out the trailer was pretty amusing. The story is a comedy revolving around blending families, and with the exception of what has become Hollywood’s absurd need to interject unnecessary language and innuendo into every film, it looked like it could be very funny. One scene that had me laughing was the “first date” where they both had back-up calls planned to rescue them if things weren’t going well. Conversation was pretty awkward. He ordered something really spicy, (I think it was Buffalo Shrimp), as an appetizer, and offered some to her. Drew took a bite and her mouth was instantly on fire. She was flailing and shouting, begging for water. There was no water on the table and he ended up handing her a bowl of French Onion Soup, to cool down with. It. was. HOT. lol Needless to say they each snuck off to call in their “safety-calls”. Most of the rest of the movie takes place in Africa and involves their two families accidentally meeting and staying at the same resort, getting to know one another over the course of the trip and the relationship that builds between the two of them.
The idea of “blended families”, Africa and really spicy were all swirling around in my head, after watching that trailer. I LOVE spicy food and so do a couple others in our family, but a few others have somewhat more delicate palates, so when I prepare dishes for the whole group, I try to blend and merge those flavor preferences into the dishes I create. Since I had the Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken, I knew it would be quick and easy to make African Piri-Piri Chicken, but birds-eye chilis were not going to fly with the “not so spicy” members of our tribe. (They’re more than 28 times hotter than the serranos, I used!) I decided to create a variation of the dish that would retain all the fabulous flavor without selecting one of the hottest peppers known to man. And thus, my kinder, gentler Piri Piri Chicken was created. We loved it served with Tri-Color Quinoa and cool, refreshing Cucumber Jicama Salad. I hope you enjoy it!
My Piri-Piri Chicken went together quickly, using the Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breasts. The first thing I did was to lay the still frozen chicken out in a 9 x 13 baking pan. I set it aside and allowed it to defrost for a few minutes while I prepared the sauce.
Making the sauce was easy and I love that it makes enough to keep some in the fridge for seasoning or marinating other dishes, too. I chopped the bell pepper, took the stems off the Serranos, minced parsley and measured out the oil, vinegar and lemon juice. With the prep work done it was only a matter of placing all the sauce ingredients into the blender.
Puree the sauce until it is thick and smooth. It is a bright orange color and tastes fabulously fresh. The lemon and parsley brighten it so much and the Serranos gave it a nice “kick”, without being too hot for the kids. For the pre-cooked Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken, I poured about 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tops of the chicken in the baking dish and let it set about 20 minutes, before baking. When using raw chicken breasts, I marinate anywhere from at least an hour to 24 hours, before baking.
The sauce recipe makes about 7 1/2 cups. How much you use depends on how many chicken breasts you are cooking. I used 1 1/2 cups for six breasts and when I make fifteen, I use a whole quart (4 cups). The sauce keeps well in the fridge for several weeks, closed up in a canning jar, and makes a nice marinade/sauce for other proteins, too. (after sitting for awhile, the oil will separate. Just give the jar a good shake and it blends back together, beautifully.) I haven’t tried it, yet, but I also think Piri-Piri Sauce would be fantastic in wraps and tacos or burritos.
With the Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken, I only had to bake it for 20 to 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven, so that it was warmed through. When baking raw chicken, the cooking time will be 45 minutes to an hour and your chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Serve Piri Piri Chicken with any of your favorite side dishes, but cool and refreshing is always a good combination with something spicy. Quinoa is another mildly-flavored dish to combine with spicy entrees.
How do you blend the varied tastes of your own family, when prepping meals? What are your greatest challenges? What kinds of recipes could we share at Busy-at-Home that would help you overcome them? Leave a comment. I’d love to try and create a recipe that would be a good “fit” for you!
To learn more about the #TysonMovieTicket offer available on specially marked packages of Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken products visit Tyson’s instruction page for redeeming your grocery receipt. #CollectiveBias
The picture of your qualifying receipt must be submitted to email@example.com by 6/1/14 11:59:59pm PT to receive a $5 Sam’s Club gift card and be entered in the sweepstakes. . PROGRAM TERMS: 1. Must be purchased at a Sam’s Club between 5/1/14 and 6/1/14. 2. Receipt must show retailer name, date, time, receipt […]
The picture of your qualifying receipt must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6/1/14 11:59:59pm PT
to receive a $5 Sam’s Club gift card and be entered in the sweepstakes.
1. Must be purchased at a Sam’s Club between 5/1/14 and 6/1/14.
2. Receipt must show retailer name, date, time, receipt total, and qualifying purchase. Each receipt can only be submitted once.
3. Limited to four (4) submissions per customer.
Snap a picture of the Sam’s Club receipt. Ensure it clearly shows (1) the purchase of one Tyson®
Grillin’ Wings® product; (2) date and time of purchase; and (3) the total amount of the transaction.
TIPS ON TAKING YOUR PHOTO:
Flatten the receipt and place it on a dark non-reflective surface. Make sure there is enough light and that the entire receipt is in the frame.
Hold the camera steady and also make sure the receipt is in focus. Review the image quality before submitting.
*Code must be redeemed at www.tysonwings.com by 6/15/14 11:59:59pm PT.
**While supplies last.
***Winner of the grill will be notified the week of 6/23/14.
Tyson Foods, Inc. is not affiliated with Sam’s West, Inc. The services, products or activities of Tyson Foods, Inc.
are neither endorsed nor sponsored by Sam’s West, Inc.
What is brown butter and why on earth would we want any? It’s not as strange as it sounds and I promise you will love the depth of flavor it brings to your recipes. Warm and nutty would be a good description of the taste. It is simple to create brown butter, since all you need […]
What is brown butter and why on earth would we want any? It’s not as strange as it sounds and I promise you will love the depth of flavor it brings to your recipes. Warm and nutty would be a good description of the taste. It is simple to create brown butter, since all you need to do is to cook it until the milk solids and salt, in the butter, begin to turn brown. You know your attention span better than I do, so I won’t tell you that it has to be done at a certain temperature. You can turn your burner on higher heat, being constantly attentive, stirring continually and removing the butter as soon as it has reached that rich brown color, but BEFORE it burns. Or, if you are like me and often step away from the stove to answer the phone, chase the mailman down the street with a bill you forgot to mail or fuss at stray cats digging in your garden, I recommend low or medium heat, so that the butter browns more slowly and you will be sure to catch it at it’s lovely brown butter peak.
It has been the craziest spring I can remember, as far as the weather is concerned. The fact that I am curled up in a sweatshirt and wearing socks, instead of being barefoot, in mid-May is a newsworthy fact, where I live. :) Seriously, we are still getting occasional frost advisories at night. My garden should have been planted by, now, but between cold, flooding and tornadoes, it’s still just boxes of bare dirt. Oy! This nutty weather also means I’m still cooking more of the warm, hearty recipes that we typically associate with winter. We need warm, comfort food to ward off these frosty,damp days. I can do that easily with this lovely soup. The rich, creamy, delicious chowder is studded with bacon, chicken and vegetables and should be the picture next to the definition of “comfort food”, in dictionaries, everywhere. Using Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips made it even easier and really quick to get on the table. David told me to put this soup “on the list”. He has started a list of his favorite recipes that I create. This one made the roster. :)
I always like to do all the peeling, chopping and dicing for a recipe before I get started. Then things go together, quickly, once I start cooking. In this case, however, we want the potatoes cooking just a little ahead of everything else, so do those first. Begin by peeling the potatoes and dicing them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Pour the chicken stock into a large kettle or stew pot and bring it to a boil. Add the diced potatoes and reduce the heat. You want to get them started cooking so they are soft when you add the final ingredients, in just a few minutes. They don’t need to boil hard, a gentle simmer while you prep the rest of the ingredients is more than sufficient. Be sure to use a good, flavorful chicken stock, too. Homemade is best, but if you don’t have any in the freezer, choose a brand with rich, chicken-y flavor.
Now, dice up the chicken, onion and bell peppers. Since, the chicken is pre-cooked, you can cut them all on the same cutting board. You also need to cut the bacon into one-inch strips. If you do that after the chicken and veggies, it’s fine to use the same board, but if you do bacon, first, get a new cutting board out for the chicken and vegetables (or wash the board, in between).
Start melting your butter in a large skillet. I love a cast iron skillet, for evenness of browning and cooking, but use your favorite. Make sure it’s deep enough to hold all the ingredients. Remember, if you’re cooking your butter on high heat, it needs your undivided attention. If you will be stepping away from the skillet, keep the heat low to prevent burning. The butter will melt and then you will see it begin to turn a warm, golden brown color. Once it reaches that stage, add the bacon pieces, turn the heat to medium and cook the bacon until it is almost completely done.
Once the bacon is cooked, add the diced vegetables to the skillet. Let them cook two to three minutes, before moving on.
Oh my word! I wish you could smell this! The nutty butter with the bacon and aromatic veggies are going to send aromas wafting through your house that will have your entire family coming out to the kitchen to be closer to that fabulous smell. And after all, isn’t that what cooking and baking and sharing meals, together, is supposed to do? The kitchen is the heart of our home. Everyone gathers there to help and to visit while meals are being prepared. They watch and learn and we laugh and connect. I hope your kitchen beckons to the ones you love to come and be near you. Cooking –the way you do it and the memories you make at the same time, are a part of your family history. It’s a legacy that you can hand off to the next generation and they will “know” you by the stories and recipes that are passed on. Be sure you are cultivating those memories and inspiring your kids to carry the tradition to their own families, some day.
Add the chicken chunks to the bacon and vegetable mixture, in your skillet. Stir to incorporate and allow to cook 2-3 minutes more.
Add the flour to the skillet and stir to be sure it coats every vegetable and chunk of chicken. The goal will be for it to completely disappear as it creates a light film over everything in the skillet. To make this recipe gluten-free, simply substitute half the amount of cornstarch for the flour. Whichever one you use, adding it to the mixture, now, and coating all the ingredients that will go into your chowder, will help prevent having lumps form in your soup stock.
Continue heating for just a little bit, two or three minutes, to cook out the “flour” taste and be sure everything is combined. You’ll want to continue stirring during this cooking time and you may notice a light film sticking to the bottom of your skillet. Use your wooden spoon to keep scraping that off and mixing it in, so it doesn’t burn.
Once your thickener has coated everything in the skillet and had a couple minutes to cook, dump the entire contents of the skillet, into the chicken stock with the cooking potatoes. Keep stirring over medium heat until everything is combined and you can see that the chicken stock is beginning to thicken, slightly.
Add the corn. Adding it earlier than this would mean the texture will become mushy and it would lose it’s vibrant yellow color. Remember we eat as much with our eyes, as with our tastebuds. When your dishes are visually appealing, no one can wait to give them a taste. A wide variety of bright colors and textures add to the visual appeal, as well as the taste appeal, of a good recipe.
While the corn is heating, take the time to grate the cheese. Monterey Jack adds yet another wonderful, but mild layer of flavor to this soup. It doesn’t have to be grated very fine, since it will melt easily when added to the hot soup. Get it grated and set it aside to add at the very end.
Once the corn is heated through, add the cream and then stir in the cheese.
Once the chowder is hot and the cheese has melted you are ready to serve! You really don’t need anything other than some good bread to make this a scrumptious and filling meal. It is fantastic!
How are you and your family keeping warm during these cool, damp spring days? Do you have favorite go-to comfort food recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, but have loads of slow-cooked flavor? Leave a comment to share your quick and easy family meal, comfort food solutions.
What did you do last weekend? I toured the Tyson Food headquarters, attended a cocktail party at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, attended blogging business education sessions, went out to dinner (about a bazillion times! Seriously, there was SO much delicious food.) and attended a slumber party, PLUS a masquerade ball — all in the company of my […]
What did you do last weekend? I toured the Tyson Food headquarters, attended a cocktail party at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, attended blogging business education sessions, went out to dinner (about a bazillion times! Seriously, there was SO much delicious food.) and attended a slumber party, PLUS a masquerade ball — all in the company of my chicken, Rootbeer. :) I also had the great good fortune to attend all of those events with the other two Tyson VIPs, Lyuba Brooke, owner of Will Cook for Smiles, and Sean Weber, owner of Snack Fixation. I am a fan of both, with so much respect for their fabulous photography and blogging skills, so it was a tremendous blessing to get to meet them in person and, over the weekend, become friends. Besides being extraordinary bloggers, they are two of my all-time favorite people — smart, funny and incredibly kind. Be sure to check out their blogs!
My other “homey” for the weekend was, of course, Rootbeer. He met me at the airport and rode, peeking out the top of my purse, all four days. We went to Tyson Foods, together. He was with me everywhere; and believe me, he never missed a meal. He always woke up first and headed for breakfast. He attended every conference session and lunch. He was there for the #MealsTogether dinner Tyson Foods sponsored for every blogger at SoFabCon. (He and I were in the group that ate at Houlihans. DELISH and so much fun!) Rootbeer also attended a cocktail party with me at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, a slumber party/dance sponsored by Nick Mom and celebrated Social Fabric’s fifth birthday at a masquerade ball. He was a faithful companion. :)
Besides the regular conference sessions and events, the three of us were treated to a private tour of Tyson Food’s headquarters. From the moment we arrived we were greeted with smiles and warm welcomes. We were drawn in and made to feel like family. The facility, there, is beautiful and I would never have expected to find it, but the halls of Tyson Foods are decorated with beautiful, artistic masterpieces by both local and classic artists. The favored genre was definitely western art and it was represented in watercolor, oils, drawings, ceramics and sculpture.
Our tour was as much about the history of Tyson Foods, as it was about food. We got to see a museum, of sorts, that housed many artifacts that had been part of the corporation from it’s humble beginnings in the Depression era, through it’s growth over many decades and generations, to today. I enjoyed being able to learn about the ethics, standards and ideals of the company’s founder and how his beliefs, extraordinary vision and creativity are still woven into the day-to-day work and activities at Tyson Foods. Tyson is so family and community oriented. I loved learning about all the work they do to alleviate childhood hunger and to be a physically present source of encouragement, hope and hot meals around our nation when we are touched by disasters, like the tornadoes that hit parts of Arkansas this month. Tyson Foods didn’t just send a check, they loaded up semi trucks with grills and food and spent weeks cooking and serving more than 60,000 hot meals to the tornado victims. Did you know they did the same thing at Ground Zero and the Pentagon, after 9/11 or that this isn’t the first time they have traveled to feed and help disaster victims around the United States? Me either, but I’m glad to know it. It fits with the growing picture I have of the kind of corporation Tyson Foods is.
Don’t get the wrong impression, that I didn’t do anything food related at Tyson Foods, though. There was definitely food…lots and lots of food! My favorite part of the afternoon at Tyson was spending time with the food scientists in the test kitchens. We learned about new products, some I can share and some that are secret! We were part of a new product focus group and we tasted so many delicious products. Did you know Tyson Foods is not just chicken? They produce beef, pork and eggs, too!
The conference itself was two days of educational sessions and keynote speakers, all geared at helping bloggers grow their brand, market it in a professional way and serve their readers with content that meets their needs. The information was over-the-top informative and my head is still spinning and trying to absorb all that I learned, so I can fully implement it in my business and blogging plan. Some of the topics included utilizing social media, implementing good SEO tactics, photography, videography, maximizing the potential of Google+, working with brands and so much more. It was a fantastic series of courses that helped to increase my blogging skill set. Thanks again, Tyson Foods and #CollectiveBias, for making it possible for me to attend.
As you can imagine, I was definitely fired up, yet, physically, exhausted when our weekend was over. I was just mentally tired from all the ideas I had spinning in my head. Add to that a long flight home and then landing to find that we were in the middle of tornadoes and flooding and as you can imagine, cooking an involved meal was not high on my list of priorities, my first night home. Tyson rescued me, though, with their new Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips. I tossed together a quick and easy, not to mention delicious and portable meal in only a few minutes. Chicken salad is a well-balanced dish, nutritionally, and it’s one that is very forgiving. Rather than one specific recipe, I tend to mix it up based on what I have in the fridge and pantry at the moment. So, that ‘s what I did and it turned out amazing. Since I saved all that time using Grilled and Ready Chicken, I had time to sit, relax, reconnect with my family and share all the details of my trip. They didn’t know it, but Tyson was still inspiring #MealsTogether for me. I think you’ll love this quick and easy recipe for Honey Pecan Cherry Chicken Salad. Enjoy!
The first thing you’ll do to put this simple meal together is gather and prep the ingredients. Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips saved me tons of time, making it possible to get the food ready with absolutely no cooking! Their Grilled and Ready products are a perfect solution for busy nights, like this one, where there just isn’t time to start from scratch. I pick up Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken in the freezer case at my local Walmart.
First, dice the chicken and chop the celery, cherries, parsley and pecans. Combine them all in a medium mixing bowl.
Mix together yogurt and honey to create the sauce.
Add cinnamon, allspice, and salt and pepper. Then mix it into the chicken and vegetables.
This salad would be scrumptious in Romaine or Bibb lettuce wraps. You could also use it to stuff bell peppers or simply serve it on chilled salad plates with a lettuce leaf underneath. We like it in sandwiches, specifically pita pocket sandwiches. They’re a perfectly portable, nutritionally balanced and easy meal for on-the-go days.
- 3 cups, Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips, diced
- 20 sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 4 Tablespoons raw, unfiltered honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- whole grain pita pockets
- Mix chicken, pecans, parsley, celery and cherries in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine yogurt, honey, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
- Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
- The salad can be served immediately, but the flavors meld and intensify if you have time to let it rest in the refrigerator. It's even better the next day, so don't worry if you have leftovers.
- Serve stuffed into whole grain pita pockets with romaine lettuce.
What quick and easy combinations would you use with Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips? Do you have a signature chicken salad recipe? Or is it more of a “flexible formula” based on what you have in the fridge? What’s your favorite quick meal solution? Leave a comment and share your delicious ideas!
Did you know that bloggers have networks…communities…professional organizations? Well, we do! I work with hundreds of fabulously talented bloggers, as well as marketing and media professionals and corporate executives, from around the country. I communicate, work and collaborate with them all through the Internet. Occasionally, those connections are made on my own, and sometimes, they are made […]
Did you know that bloggers have networks…communities…professional organizations? Well, we do! I work with hundreds of fabulously talented bloggers, as well as marketing and media professionals and corporate executives, from around the country. I communicate, work and collaborate with them all through the Internet. Occasionally, those connections are made on my own, and sometimes, they are made through one of my favorite blogging communities, Social Fabric, which is the blogger side of a marketing organization called #Collective Bias. Through Social Fabric, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tyson Foods, creating several recipes and writing posts for them. It’s been one of my favorite connections, since chicken is a primary staple in all my family menu plans and I love the challenge of thinking outside the box to develop a new dish that will be perfect for family dinner.
Tyson Chicken is a freezer staple for me. I pretty much use it all, from the 10 lb bag of flash frozen chicken breasts, that I buy at Sam’s Club, to all the great varieties of “Grilled and Ready” pre-cooked options in the freezer case at my local Walmart. I’ve come to rely on the quality, quick-fix choices I have with Tyson to put together great meals for my family. The Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast, above, was exactly what I needed to make my Chicken and Spinach Mexican Lasagna and to save me time in the kitchen, so I could focus on packing. And I’m not talking about packing the house for our move. :) Did you guess it? I’m taking a trip!
About two weeks ago, I received an invitation from Tyson, through Social Fabric, to attend SoFabCon as a Tyson VIP! Woot! What’s SoFabCon, you ask? And why am I so excited? It’s only THE hottest annual blogging conference, for working bloggers, and it’s organized by…you guessed it…Social Fabric – thus, So.Fab.Con. Attending this event in Bentonville, Arkansas has been a dream of mine since the very first SoFabCon. While most of you get to see the people you work with face-to-face on a daily basis, I have never laid eyes on my co-workers, many of whom have become friends through our years of collaboration. This conference is a way to finally meet them and that is one of several reasons that attending, this year, really is a dream-come-true. I can’t wait to get to visit with people who are not only blogging professionals, whose work I respect, but that I also count among my friends. I’m only just a LITTLE bit excited! lol
Two days of corporate networking, blogger training sessions and some of the most knowledgeable speakers in the business are other reasons I can’t wait to attend. I can select from sessions on photography, writing great content, boosting SEO and using video in my blogging, to name just a few. The training encompasses more opportunities than I am able to highlight in this one post, but I can tell you, it will only make Busy-at-Home better and more informative, for you. I’ll be excited to share some of the things I learn.
Last, and one of the most spectacular things about attending as a Tyson VIP, is that I will get to visit the Tyson Foods National Headquarters, tour the facility, visit with the people, there, and visit one of their farms. Who knows? I may even get to stick my wooden spoon into the test kitchens! I’ll let you know all the details, when I get back home, but be sure to watch my Facebook and Twitter accounts, during the conference (May 8-11) for quick updates about everything I’m doing.
Besides the “work”, (I have the BEST job anywhere…just sayin’ ), I will also be attending a cocktail party at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, participating in a #MealsTogether night out with my blogging friends, (also sponsored by Tyson Foods), going to a slumber party, and even donning a festive mask for a masquerade ball to celebrate Social Fabric’s 5th birthday! I know, I know…it’s a rough life.
I also have a secret partner who will travel with me and attend all these fabulous events. Be watching the blog and my social media for surprise appearances!
In the meantime, my family will be fending for themselves while I am gone for four days. Of course, I’m not going to leave them totally in the lurch. I’m prepping all kinds of delicious dishes to make their “roughing it” easier to bear. It will be no work at all for them to get hot and tasty meals on the table when I’m gone and I’m betting they won’t miss me, too much, at all. One dish that I’m leaving them is Chicken and Spinach Mexican Lasagna. Not only is it scrumptious, it’s also gluten-free! Enjoy!