I recently made two recipes that I had pinned on Pinterest. Both recipes were a huge hit with family and friends.
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Chopped Salad
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 8 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and diced (I used turkey bacon)
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 avocados, pitted and diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup garlic vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
Garlic Herb Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
- pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
To Make The Salad:
Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. (Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.) Remove chicken and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Dice chicken into small pieces.
Add the diced chicken, lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, avocados and tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss until combined. Drizzle or toss with garlic vinaigrette and serve immediately.
To Make The Vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients together until combined.
I made these beautiful and amazing Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes from my Dessert First board for Kendall’s 10th Birthday. My sweet girl is 10! That’s hard to believe. These cupcakes were the perfect way to celebrate such a special occasion.
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield: about 18-20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- For the lemonade syrup:
- 3/4 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
(You can add more of less sugar depending on the level of sweetness you want. I wanted mine to have more of a lemon taste so I put more lemonade.)
For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree (depending on how strong a flavor you want)
- 8 oz. (250g) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¾ cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350o F (the original recipe said 325oF but part of my batch didn’t rise properly and did all sorts of weird bubbly things). Line muffin pans with paper liners or grease. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon zest. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low-speed until just incorporated. Add in the milk and mix until smooth. Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low-speed until just blended. Do not overmix. (If you want to add chunks of strawberries, now would be the time to fold them in).
Divide the batter evenly between the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the lemonade syrup:
Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the lemonade and icing sugar in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a toothpick and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in. (If you don’t want to waste your syrup on the counter top, simply hold the cupcake and pour the syrup over the bowl so the syrup drips back in it to reuse).
For the frosting:
Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender and strain through a mesh sieve into a bowl. You’re going to have to use a rubber spatula or rubber pastry brush to mix the puree and push down otherwise the liquid won’t go through since it’s so thick. Keep going until there are only seeds left (have patience – do a little bit at a time!). Cream the butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer with the paddle on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, then the lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree. If you find that you want more strawberries, just make some more puree and add it to the frosting.
Decorate the cupcake with the frosting and garnish with fresh strawberries and a slice of lemon!
At one point I had some “technical” difficulties with the frosting. The combination of a too-small bowl and fast mixer caused centrifugal force to take over. Before I knew it Mandi and I were covered with strawberry, lemon cream cheese frosting. The walls and counters were covered too. But the end result was well worth the mess.