Sesame Chicken, Spinach Salad and Caramel Sauce

So school is in full swing, activities are piling on top of each other and the calendar is becoming your worst enemy. Let’s be honest, we could all use a little help right about now!

Take some time this weekend to get ahead with Jackie Brown’s Mom on a Mission freezer recipe – sesame chicken. She is a master freezer cook who wants to inspire, help, and bless you with her recipes. So make a little extra to put away for another day. Pair the sesame chicken with a spinach salad and ice cream or apple nachos with homemade caramel sauce and you have a full blown, delicious meal! 

Sesame Chicken

Main Dish

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
  2. 1 cup honey
  3. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  4. 1/2 cup diced onion
  5. 1/4 cup ketchup without high fructose
  6. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional – doesn’t really add heat, just adds more flavor)
  9. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs or tenderloins would be fine too)
  10. Sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the crock pot on low 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken last hour and shred or cut into bite size pieces. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or additional red pepper flakes if desired.
To Freeze
  1. Dissolve cornstarch and water in a gallon size freezer bag.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except chicken and sesame seeds.
  3. Seal and combine thoroughly by gently kneading ingredients.
  4. Add chicken and check it to make sure there’s plenty of liquid to keep it from getting dry.
Notes
  1. The sauce is excellent served over brown rice or whole grain noodles.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/

Side Dish

 Spinach Salad

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 3 T. white vinegar
  4. 2 T. sesame seeds
  5. 1 T. poppy seeds
  6. 1 T. finely chopped onion
  7. 1/4 tsp. paprika
  8. 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  9. 9 oz. fresh spinach, trimmed
  10. 4 cups strawberries
  11. 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place first eight ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid; shaking well. Refrigerate at least an hour.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Shake dressing over salad, toss.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/

Dessert

Caramel Sauce

Easy Caramel Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups brown sugar
  2. 1 stick butter
  3. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Place first three ingredients in a heavy-duty medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. After it comes to a full boil, whisk continuously for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Cool and use with your favorite recipes. Store in a pint size mason jar in the refrigerator. Reheat if desired.
To Make Apple Nachos
  1. Prepare peeled and sliced apples on a plate. Drizzle caramel sauce, granola, mini-chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and/or crushed graham crackers.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/
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Jackie Brown is a mom of four sharing easy family recipes with her readers at her blog Mom on a Mission. You will find healthy, delicious, tried and true freezer cooking recipes that allow her to spend more time with her family and less time in the kitchen. Her time and energy saving methods help thousands of people create mouth-watering meals, sides, snacks and desserts in minutes by creating foods in bulk and freezing.

Posted On: September 18, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 2 Comments

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Chicken Parmesan Soup and Pound Cake Cookies

Chicken Parmesan Soup

Soup is the perfect food in my opinion.  Hot and all in one for the most part. Sometimes I add salad but not always. This is a recipe I like to double, serve and freeze the rest for another day.  

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Chicken Parmesan Soup Conversation Starters

Main Dish

Chicken Parmesan Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (24-oz) package frozen fully cooked breaded chicken breast tenders
  2. 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  3. ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  4. 12 oz uncooked cavatappi or rotini pasta
  5. 1 cup chopped onion
  6. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 3 cups marinara sauce
  9. 2 cups chicken broth
  10. ⅓ cup torn fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Cook chicken according to package directions.
  2. Preheat broiler. Arrange chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with both cheeses; broil 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Chop chicken.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
  4. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 4 minutes; stir in reserved pasta water, marinara sauce and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir pasta into marinara mixture; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle each serving with chicken, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/

Dessert 

Pound Cake Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. ½ teaspoon almond extract (or sub lemon or
  6. rum extract)
  7. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. ¾ cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Beat butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.
  2. Add egg yolk and extracts; beat well.
  3. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Cover and chill dough at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Press 1 pecan half into each cookie ball.
  7. Bake12 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden; cool 2 minutes, and remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/

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Posted On: September 11, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 7 Comments

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When the Going Gets Tough: Sports

when the going gets tough: sports

So your son grew up playing baseball. He joined the team with his neighborhood friends and enjoyed playing catch, hitting the ball, and of course sliding into home base. But as he got older, little league turned into travel ball and things just weren’t the same. Things got harder as the competition and the pressure increased.  

When the going gets tough in sports, how do we keep our kids going strong?  It’s not easy. Sports are not just for fun anymore. In fact, by the time a child is about 10 there is a good chance that he/she is on a team that is getting competitive. Yet, kids want to play. They want to be with their friends. So what do you do to keep them from burning out and giving up?

Well as your child moves from playing for fun to playing competitively, here are 3 ways to help them along:

1. Remind them of their original love for the sport. 

Pressure to perform perfectly. Pressure to always do things better than before. Pressure to win. When the pressure becomes overwhelming—and trust me, it will!—the best thing to do is have your child take a step back and remember why they fell in love with the sport in the first place. Remind them how incredible it felt to hear the swoosh of the net as the basketball went through, remind them how they loved getting their uniform covered in clay sliding into home base, and remind them what it was like to finally reach the finish line on the track. If they remember their first love for the game, they may find their way back to enjoying it.

2. Focus on their strengths. 

The bottom line is this: not every child can be athletically gifted. Not every little boy is going to grow up to be Peyton Manning and not every little girl is going to grow up to be Mia Hamm. When they figure out that they lack the magic don’t let them focus on their weaknesses, teach them to focus on their strengths. It takes time and maturity to learn to balance expectations and reality. Sometimes that means just celebrating making the team! When my daughter, Megan, was in high school she was a good swimmer but didn’t have a competitive bone in her body. She was a model member of the team–always on time, always helping, always respectful and very well liked. Her senior year she got the surprise of her swimming career. The coach chose her as one of the captains–not because of her swim times but because of her work ethic and devotion to helping others swimmers. She was a stronger leader than she was a swimmer.

3. Encourage them to pursue other talents.

My daughter, Emily, was a great swimmer and tough on the basketball court. But we could not keep her focused. She would be bored with a sport half-way through every season. Right about the age where she really needed to buckle down and focus so that she could advance to the next level we made a little discovery by accident. Emily had an artistic side. She was chosen for a singing role at school.  From then on singing, dance and theater became a passion that we never had to force her to practice.  If your child simply isn’t enjoying or excelling in sports, don’t be afraid to let them start over in something new and find another passion to pursue.

There are other ways sports can be tough. The time away from the family is tough issue to balance. Difficult coaches is another. What struggles have made sports tough for your kids?

Posted On: September 10, 2014     cat-folder Be Encouraged Leave a comment

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