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Fabulous French Bread

    Just the thought of making French Bread at home intimidated me. I assumed it would take hours upon hours of dough making, kneading, rising, etc. etc. Blah! Who's got time for dat? I don't.

   Well, the truth is you can have delicious homemade French Bread in just one hour! Yep. One hour. This dough is super easy to make, especially if you do it in your stand-mixer. That fabulous dough hook will do the little kneading that's required for you!

  This recipe makes 3 medium-sized loaves of French Bread. We made sandwiches with the first loaf (so good!) and french bread pizza with the second one (recipe coming tomorrow!) and with the third loaf we randomly sliced us off a piece and spread on some butter and jam. Talk about heaven!

*Below the recipe I posted pictures to show the step-by-step of how you form the dough before baking. It's super easy, but maybe a little hard to understand in writing. So check them out for help, if needed*

Oh, and don't let the long instructions scare you, this bread is super easy to make!
Fabulous French Bread

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon shortening ( I used butter-flavor Crisco)
1 cup cold water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg

Directions: Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Place in microwave and heat for 3 minutes, or until water is boiling.

In another glass measuring cup, fill it with 1/3 cup warm water. Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the water. With a fork, stir yeast into the water until yeast is completely dissolved.

Pour the sugar, salt and shortening into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a fork, mash these ingredients together. Pour the 1 cup of boiling water over the shortening mixture in the stand mixer. Add the 1 cup of cold water into the mixer. Then pour in the yeast/water mixture.

Add 3 cups of flour into the mixer, and using the dough hook, turn mixer on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Once all 6 cups are in, turn speed to medium and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be nice and elastic. Be careful not to over-flour. I used all 6 cups, but would not use any more than that. 

Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray. After the dough has rested in the bowl, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet.

Take a sharp knife, spray it with non-stick spray, and cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (These resting periods for the dough is needed, so please do it and be patient! It's worth the wait ) 

To shape the dough before baking: Take one section of dough and spread it out into a rectangle. Just use your fingers, you don't need a rolling pin. Fold one long end up over half of dough, then fold the other half over that one. Then fold each side up over each other, then turn the loaf over so it is seam side down.

Use your fingers to tuck seams down underneath the loaf and shape it. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Once all 3 sections of dough are shaped cut 3 angled 1/2 inch slits onto the tops of dough.

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits.

Place the loaves into the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes (while the oven is on 170 degrees F.) Then turn oven up to 400 degrees F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool a bit before slicing them.

Enjoy! ♥

 Below are step-by-step pictures on how to shape the dough:

Recipe from: Jamie Cooks It Up


Menu Plan Monday #35

    Well hello there! How was everyone's weekend? My little guy, Kallen, was sick with a fever all weekend. Poor kid :(  He was pretty miserable, and so were the rest of us. It's never fun when the kiddo's are sick...

  My kids went back to school last week (which part of me thinks is the reason Kallen got sick, ugh!) so we are getting back to a regular routine and I am LOVING it! The kids are too. They love their teachers and are so glad to be back hangin' with their friends, so that's good. I like it when my kids are happy :)

  This week I am excited to get some cooking done. I am making a lot of our family's favorites! I can't wait for dinna, and it's only 9:00 am....

baked chips n' dip
carrot sticks


garlic bread




~Kitchen's Closed~

Family bday party!

*new recipe*

Chicken Mediterranean Pizza


Chocolate Scotcheroos

   The first time I ever tasted a Chocolate Scotcheroo was at my little sister's baby shower, 7 years ago. I took one bite, fell in-love, and immediately went up to her friend (who hosted the shower) and begged her for the recipe.

   They are a rice krispie treat that are coated in a delicious peanut butter concoction, and topped with a butterscotch-chocolate topping. They are seriously so good! They're rich too, so a little goes a long way.

  Ever since my sister's shower I've noticed these being served at many showers and parties I have been to. They really are delicious, and such a perfect treat for a crowd!

Chocolate Scotcheroos

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 cups crispy rice cereal (Rice Krispies cereal)
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Directions:  In a medium saucepan, pour in the 1 cup corn syrup and 1 cup sugar. Turn heat to medium and stir together until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat. Stir in the creamy peanut butter and mix well.

Stir in the 5 cups of crispy rice cereal until thoroughly combined and coated. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Spread evenly into the pan. Set aside and let cool about 10 minutes.

In a microwavable-safe bowl, melt the butterscotch and milk chocolate chips at 30 second increments until melted. Stir and then pour evenly over the mixture in pan. Let stand until firm.

Once completely cooled, cut into 2-inch bars and serve. Enjoy! ♥

Makes 16 bars.


Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad

  I've been MIA with the blog lately. Sorry, friends. My life has been so busy with changes at work, last minute summer fun, and also dealing with a stressful situation going on with my family. I'll catch you all up soon on what's been going on.

  Last weekend I got to party it up in Las Vegas! Every August my sisters and I do a getaway trip for our little sister's birthday. We eat, do some back-to-school shopping, and catch a fun comedy show. We always have a blast! The funnest part of the trip is when we stay up late, talking and laughing so hard we can't breathe! haha  Good times! I love my sisters. They are without a doubt my best friends.

   To get back to the recipe, I made this utterly delicious Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad last week for dinner. It was amazing! It's now officially my new favorite salad. Grilled chicken, romaine lettuce and lots of colorful veggies tossed in a taco-ranch dressing....


   I admit, this salad does take a little prep time with the chopping of the veggies and all. But it is so worth it. I promise you will LOVE it!

Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad
Makes 4-6 servings

3 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can sweet yellow corn, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro
2 large Romaine hearts, washed and chopped
2 cups crushed tortilla chips

For the Taco-Ranch dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
2-3 Tablespoons Ranch seasoning
2 Tablespoons Taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon fresh Lime juice
2-3 Tablespoons milk

Directions:  Start by making the Taco-Ranch dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients to thoroughly combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to chill.

To make the salad:  In a large bowl, add the diced bell pepper, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green onion and cilantro. Stir to combine. Then add the cooked chicken pieces and the chopped romaine lettuce. Pour the prepared salad dressing all over the top. (You may not need all of the dressing. It depends on how much dressing you like) Gently stir to combine the salad, making sure to coat entirely with the dressing. Mix in the crushed tortilla chips last.

Serve the salad in individual bowls, topping with more cilantro and limes to garnish, if desired.

Enjoy! ♥

Adapted from: Lauren's Latest


Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

  Even in the dead heat of Summer we still crave comfort food. This Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole fits that bill. It is so delicious and ridiculously easy to make.

   Broccoli is definitely our family's favorite vegetable. I make it a lot. With broccoli being a main ingredient in this casserole, my kids are sure to eat it. And by eat it, I mean they scarf this stuff down!

   The ingredients are very basic, I bet you already have all of them on hand. Serve this amazing casserole over rice and you'll have one fabulous, complete meal!

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 (10 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 cup mild shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets
OR 2 cups fresh steamed, chopped broccoli
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the cooked shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Then add in all the remaining ingredients. Gently stir to combine mixture. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with cooked rice or egg noodles! (we prefer the rice) Enjoy ♥


Cheesy Bacon Rotel Cups

   These Cheesy Bacon Rotel Cups are amazing! Not to mention addictive. They're a combination of cheese, bacon and Rotel (canned chopped tomatoes and green chilies) stuffed inside a tiny pastry cup then baked into perfection. Yum-O!

  I made these for a family party we had last week and they went fast! They're so delicious and small, so it's easy to keep poppin' them in your mouth. I suggest doubling this recipe if you're feeding more than 10 people.

  These are so perfect for parties. Such a crowd pleaser and super easy to make!

Cheesy Bacon Rotel Cups

3 (1.9 ounce) boxes of frozen Mini Phyllo (Fillo) Shells (15 per box)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies), drained
1/2 cup chopped, cooked bacon
OR 1 (2.8 ounce) bag Oscar Meyer Real Bacon bits
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove phyllo shells carefully from their boxes. No need to thaw. Place shells onto a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Rotel tomatoes and bacon pieces. Once combined, stir in the cheese. Scoop 2 Tablespoons of filling into each phyllo shell. Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy! ♥

Recipe from: Kendall Blogs


Menu Plan Monday #34

    I can't believe August is just a few days away! This Summer has seriously flown by. Time flies when you're havin' fun, right!? The month of August is always a busy one for us. We have Emma's birthday, my annual sisters Vegas trip, and trying to squeeze in some last minute fun before the new school year starts.

   I'm looking forward for school to start and getting back on a regular schedule. It makes me feel more sane, and it helps me to complete projects and blogging. On school nights my kids are in bed no later than 8:00 p.m. It not only helps them do better in school, but it makes for happy parents,too.

   It's amazing the things I can get accomplished once the kiddos are in bed. Even if it is just catching up on some Real Housewives of Orange County...

beans, rice




BBQ Chicken, veggies


*easy night* 
(sandwiches, fruit or leftovers)



*new recipe*

Crispy Parmesan Chicken
with Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo