Birds’ Nests

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If you’re looking for a fun Easter treat, stop right now because this is it! These adorable nests are the perfect dessert for your Easter buffet. Did we mention they’re kid friendly? Kids absolutely love helping you make these nests, so get the whole family involved!

Bird NestBirds’ Nests Food.com 
These little nests are ridiculously easy to make and taste pretty darn good, too. The chow mein noodles are crunchy and a little bit salty, which provides the perfect contrast to the gooey marshmallows that serve as the glue for the nests. The Cadbury Mini-Eggs on top are Lindsey’s favorite part – they remind her of studying abroad in Scotland. If you’re anything like her, you should probably buy an extra bag of the mini-eggs so that you have enough left over after munching to top these adorable nests.

It really doesn’t get easier (or yummier) than this.

Melt butter over medium heat.

Add marshmallows to the butter.

Stir the marshmallows and butter until melted and smooth, like the photo above.

Add the noodles to the marshmallow mixture.

Mix the noodles and marshmallows together until the marshmallows hold the noodles together like a glue. This is very similar to making Rice Krispies treats.

Let the mixture cool slightly and scoop into the muffin tin, shaping the noodles into mini nests.

Place several candy eggs in each nest.

Garnish each nest with a Peep as a “momma bird,” and get ready to have friends and family ooh and ahh over these cute desserts.

Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients
4 cups crunchy chow mein noodles
1/4 cup butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 (8 ounce) package candy coated chocolate eggs
2 packages marshmallow peeps
cooking spray

Directions
Heat butter and marshmallows over medium heat, stirring until melted. Add noodles to the marshmallow mixture and stir till completely coated, like you would do when making Rice Krispies treats.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin, then hands with cooking spray.

Place mixture into muffin cups and shape with hands to form “nests.” Fill nests with candy eggs and perch one Peep on the side of each nest.

Place nests on a tray and put back in the fridge till completely set.

 Nom. nom. nom.

Chipotle Salmon

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With the last week of Lent approaching, we wanted to repost one of our favorite salmon recipes that got great reviews. This is a sweet and spicy dish – which we are all about! Also, it’s a Weight Watchers recipe which helps us get prepared for all the chocolate the Easter Bunny will leave for us.

Chipotle Salmon Chipotle Salmon Weight Watchers | 2012
This fish is one of our favorites not just during Lent, but year-round. It’s easy to whip together on a busy Friday night and the sweet/smoky combination is unbeatable.

It all starts with these beautiful fresh filets of salmon. The brown sugar and the adobo sauce (which is what chipotle peppers are canned in) make the perfect sweet and spicy glaze for the fish. Top it all off with some fresh green onions and you’ll be nomming like crazy.

In order to get adobo sauce, you have to buy chipotle peppers that have been canned in the adobo sauce. Don’t search high and low for adobo sauce like we did – just buy a can of chipotle peppers like this and you’ll be good to go.

To make the glaze, first measure out the adobo sauce.

Add the adobo sauce to the brown sugar.

To the brown sugar and adobo mixture, add the kosher salt.

Brush the glaze on the salmon filets, coating the top of each filet nicely. Once you’ve done this, stick the salmon filets in the oven at 450° for 13 minutes, or until the desired degree of doneness.

The filets will come out of the oven when they’re shiny and golden brown on top.

Top the salmon with chopped green onions and plate it with a big side of spinach. Then dig in!

Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (1 1/2 inches thick)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450°.

Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Place fish, skin sides down, on foil; brush fish with adobo mixture.

Bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with onions before serving.

Nom. nom. nom.

Chicken Salad

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chicken saladAt Blended Kitchen, we like to take some of our favorite things and put a new spin on them. Whether it’s serving crab rangoon in mini-bites, making risotto in the oven or fancying-up chicken salad with some lemon pepper and chicken broth, we’re always adding a little extra kick! This chicken salad recipe is no different – it really takes your mom’s chicken salad and kicks it up a notch.

Chicken Salad | Adapted from Jamie Deen
If you like chicken salad, you must try this. We think the addition of chicken broth and a little lemon pepper to the mixture is what makes it so different from others we’ve tried. We love having a big bowl of this handy on weekends that are busy. We all love it – including Nugget! If you are doing a low carb lifestyle, this is perfect on lettuce. It’s also delicious with crackers, on toast or just a spoon!

IMG_5035Start with some cooked chicken breast chopped into small pieces.

IMG_5039Chop the onion and celery super-small. We use a food chopper to get it just right.

IMG_5042This can be found in the spice aisle – it’s a great way to add a little different flavor.

IMG_5045We forgot to photograph the addition of hard boiled eggs. So don’t forget the eggs… we are guilty of adding more than it’s called for. We love hard boiled eggs! After you mix in the egg, add the dry seasonings.

IMG_5052Mix well and get all those flavors to marry. This is so good you may want to marry it. Yes, we are 12 years old.

IMG_5075Hello beautiful… will you marry me? We’re only kind of kidding. This chicken salad really is that good!

Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients
4  cooked chicken breast halves chopped
1/2 onion chopped into small pieces
1 cup chopped celery
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 teaspoons seasoning salt (suggested: Jane’s mixed up Krazy salt)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons chicken stock

Directions
Dice the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped celery, onion, eggs, seasoning salt, mayonnaise, lemon-pepper, pepper, and some chicken stock and mix well. Serve with crackers, on a sandwich or on a bed with lettuce.

Nom. nom. nom.

Deviled Easter Eggs

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deviled easter eggsLooking for a fun twist on a classic Easter dish? Look no further. These pastel-colored deviled eggs are the perfect dish for any Easter brunch. Forget about the Easter egg hunt – everyone will be on the hunt to get these adorable eggs into their bellies!

Cindy’s Deviled Easter Eggs
Cindy’s deviled eggs are the stuff of legends. While some deviled egg fillings use vinegar for a tart filling, or some use just yolks and mayo, Cindy’s is a sweeter, tangier version made with sweet relish and a hint of cream. We’ve never met a person who didn’t love these eggs (and ask for the recipe!) Even the nugget, who won’t accept “humps” in his mashed potatoes, loves these eggs. They are a true staple in our household – no event would be complete without them. But this time, Cindy made them even better – she used food coloring so that her deviled eggs actually look like Easter eggs. We just can’t get over how cute they are!

These ingredients come together to make devilishly cute eggs.

To make sure our eggs are cooked perfectly, we like to use this Egg-Perfect Egg Timer. If you don’t have one already, you should really get one! We found ours at Sur La Table.

Turn the stove on medium to make the hard boiled eggs.

They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but they never mentioned anything about a big pot, right?

Wait until the egg timer tells you the eggs are ready, then remove the eggs from the hot water.

Remove the shells from the eggs and cut each egg in half.

Scoop out the yolks into a separate bowl to begin making the filling.

Measure out 1/4 cup of mayo and add to the bowl of yolks.

Add the sweet relish to the mixture of mayo and egg yolk.

Add the cream, and mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

To dye the eggs, fill four small bowls with water, 1 tsp vinegar and the desired amount of food coloring. Let eggs soak for about 40 minutes, or until you’re satisfied with the color.

Remove the eggs from the dye and let dry on paper towels.

Fill a pastry bag (or a ziploc) with the creamy filling.

Squeeze the filling into the whites pastels of the eggs.

These deviled eggs couldn’t get more festive!

Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients:
12 eggs hard boiled,  peeled and cooled
1/4 cup mayo
3 tbsp cream
1 tbsp sweet relish
food coloring for dyeing

Directions:
To dye the eggs, fill four small bowls with water and add 1 tsp vinegar, as if you were dying Easter eggs. Add desired food coloring to the water. For the red, we added 6 drops of red food coloring to achieve the pink. The blue, green and yellow we used about 15 drops. Soak the whites only for about 40 minutes. For lighter colors, soak less or use less food coloring.

Cut hard boiled eggs in half and remove yolk. Put the yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork until it’s crumbly. Add the mayo, cream and sweet relish. Mix well. (We use a hand mixer with a whisk or beater attachment – it makes the filling even creamier.) Fill the eggs with the mixture either by spooning it in or piping it in with a cake decorator or plastic baggie.

With eggs as cute (and tasty!) as these, your guests will forget all about that Easter egg hunt.

Nom. nom. nom.

Santa Fe Chicken

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IMG_5110We love to cruise through cookbooks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new one from the latest, hottest celebrity chef or an interesting looking cookbook Cindy happens to pick up at the library – yes, we still go to the library.

Santa Fe Chicken | Top Secret Recipes
This is from one of Cindy’s trips to the library. She found it in a ” Top Secret Restaurant” cookbook – how could we pass that up? Armed with a stash of post it notes, Cindy flagged this one (and a million other recipes we will eventually do)  from Applebees and we decided to try it. The result? A colorful, cheesy, non-fried chicken dish with southwestern flair that’s a nice change from other chicken dishes we make.

IMG_0257Start with some green and red peppers. Chop them up beautifully – like this!

IMG_0313Take flattened chicken breasts and fill them with a wedge of cheese.

IMG_0318Roll the chicken around the cheese wedge and secure with toothpicks.

IMG_0323Dip the rolled breast in melted butter. Mmmm. Butter.

IMG_0327Then roll in bread crumb mixture to coat.

IMG_0328Place in a baking dish and drizzle the melted butter over it

IMG_0400Beautiful melted cheese and golden chicken breasts.

IMG_0409Drizzle with cheese sauce and sprinkle with peppers. Kinda looks like a southwest dish doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why it’s called Santa Fe Chicken… Hmmm…

IMG_0430This is waiting for you when you cut it open. Delish!

Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 package (8 ounce or larger) Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced

Directions

Cut some of the cheese into 8 slices, and reserve part of it for the cheese sauce. Place 1 chicken breast between two sheets of wax paper. Working from the center to the edges pound with a meat mallet until flat and rectangular shaped. Repeat with remaining breasts. Wrap the flattened chicken breasts around cheese. Secure with tooth picks.

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, cumin and pepper. Roll the secured chicken pieces in the melted butter and then in the bread crumb mixture. Place chicken breasts in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, but don’t crowd them. Drizzle the remaining butter over all eight of the breasts. Refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze to bake later (baking time will be increased by about 5 to 10 minutes).

Bake in a preheated 400ºF (205ºC) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Make a roux with butter and flour. Add about 1 cup milk. Bring to a simmer. Add cheese and lower the heat, stirring constantly so cheese does not burn. Add milk as needed to thin out the cheese sauce.

When chicken is done, pour some cheese sauce over top and sprinkle with diced peppers.

Nom. nom. nom.

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