Kansas City 2019!

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Derek and I just recently returned from a vacation to Kansas City. We had an absolute blast the entire time!

I don’t think most people would think of Kansas City as a vacation, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Only a 10 hour drive away, it was just the right distance to get away for a bit.

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Often known as the “City of Fountains” that aspect surely didn’t disappoint. Every few feet of walking it seems to provide a new different, unique fountain to look at. I’m sure we didn’t even begin to see the coolest of them.

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One of my favorites was the Power & Light district in downtown. We often found ourselves walking around talking about how we don’t know why more cities don’t create something like this. If you ever get the chance, definitely go check it out!

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Another great stop we made was the Kansas City Zoo. In my personal opinion, it was just the perfect size. Not too big, not too small. Besides, they have PENGUINS!!!!! Not to mention how neat it is of how CLOSE you really get to get to them! ❤

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The famous Christopher S. Bond Bridge in Kansas City was also one of my favorite “landmarks”. So beautiful!

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One of the places I think is probably most often over-looked is the Kauffman Memorial Garden. OMG! So amazing and beautiful!

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I also have to include a special THANK YOU to our amazing friend Tricia, who rode along and really helped make this trip truly memorable! ❤ Who doesn’t love traveling with one of their best friends?

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Overall, if you get the chance, take a road-trip to Kansas City and enjoy the place! I hope we get a chance to make it out again sometime soon, and hopefully that time the Royals or Chiefs will have a home game we can check out!

Chicken Quesadilla Ring

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YUMMY! This thing would work PERFECT for a gathering. It’s also pretty cost effective to make. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this one for some upcoming gatherings for friends/family. Be warned, it does take a bit of time to assemble etc, but overall super easy. Enjoy!

Chicken Quesadilla Ring

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (I used my Instant Pot to make the chicken)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 20 taco-size tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add the chicken, onion, red bell pepper, jalapeño, and taco sauce, and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Cut each tortilla in half. Evenly add about 2 tablespoons each of the cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and chicken mixture to each tortilla half.
  4. Roll the tortillas into cones, starting from the cut edge and making sure not to push the ingredients out of the tortilla.
  5. Place a wide mouth jar or glass in the center of the baking sheet.
  6. Create a ring around the jar with about 13 tortilla cones. The points of the cones should be in the center, touching the jar. Sprinkle cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese over the layer. Repeat with the remaining cones to make 2 more layers, finishing with the rest of the cheddar and Monterey Jack. Remove the jar from the center of the ring.
  7. Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are crispy, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Carefully transfer the blooming quesadilla to a serving platter. Place your dip of choice inside the ring and top with your desired garnishes. Serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!

Original recipe found at: www.tasty.com

Maple Mustard Grilled Chicken

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YUMMY! I knew I had to give this one a try as soon as I seen it. Also, what better way to kick off grilling season? I highly recommend giving this one a try, it’s super easy and full of flavor!

Maple Mustard Grilled Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together maple syrup, mustard, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade to brush on chicken when cooking. Pour remaining marinade over chicken and refrigerate a few hours to overnight.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and grill 12 to 15 minutes, until juices run clear. Brush chicken on both sides with reserved marinade before removing from grill.

 

Original recipe found at: www.plainchicken.com

Garlicky Spaghetti

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This one was a definite HIT in our home. If you don’t know me personally, I’m a HUGE fan of garlic, so it was no wonder why this one was a huge hit for me. The original recipe didn’t call for chicken, but I put it in, and I’d highly recommend it! I’ll be putting this one on the list to make again. Below you’ll find the recipe. Enjoy!

Garlicky Spaghetti

INGREDIENTS
  • cloves garlic, divided
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lbdry spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (I used just a squirt of lemon juice, it seemed to work fine)
  • 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 1/3 c. freshly chopped parsley
DIRECTIONS
  1. Mince 3 garlic cloves. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 3 tbsp olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and minced garlic and season with crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Cook until bread crumbs or golden and garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove breadcrumbs into a bowl and wipe out skillet.
  2. Thinly slice remaining 3 cloves garlic. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions, reserving at least 1 cup pasta water.
  3. Meanwhile, return skillet to medium heat and add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add sliced garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low until pasta is done cooking.
  4. Add pasta to skillet and toss. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan if using. Add pasta water to thicken sauce as needed. Stir in parsley and 3/4 of the bread crumbs and toss. Top with remaining bread crumbs and serve immediately.
  5. I’d recommend adding some cooked chicken breast or tenderloins (which is what I did).
  6. Enjoy!

Original recipe found at www.delish.com.

Porcupine Meatballs with Egg Noodles

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I recently bought a new cookbook and had to give this simple recipe a try. While the “sauce” disappointed me, mainly since there wasn’t much of it. The overall recipe was great and the taste of the meatballs was awesome. I’m going to have to adjust this recipe up a bit, maybe try making homemade brown gravy next time around instead. I figured I would share anyways to see what different ways you might mix it up.

Porcupine Meatballs with Egg Noodles

INGREDIENTS

  • Box of Beef flavored Rice-O-Roni
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • 2 1/2 Cups Water
  • Egg Noodles

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix Hamburger, Rice-O-Roni (put the seasoning package to the side for now) and egg together.
  2. Form small 1″ meatballs.
  3. Brown the meatballs on all sides. While they are cooking, mix the water and seasoning package from Rice-o-Roni box.
  4. Cook egg noodles according to package.
  5. Once the meatballs are browned, add in the water/seasoning mix and cover, simmer for approx. 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked and the sauce has thickened a little bit.
  6. Serve over cooked egg noodles.
  7. Enjoy!

S’mores Mini Cheesecake Bites

These are AMAZING! Way easier than I expected them to be to make, and the perfect portion for a quick sweet-tooth satisfier! 🙂

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S'mores Mini Cheesecake Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter 
  • (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c. mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 18 muffin pan cups with liners. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with 2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter.
  2. Press 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture into the bottom of each liner. Bake until lightly golden, about 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and the remaining ½ cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Divide the filling among the prepared liners.
  4. Bake the cheesecakes until slightly jiggly in the center, 12 to 14 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
  6. Once cheesecakes are cold, preheat broiler. Using a spoon, spread about a tablespoon melted chocolate on top of each cheesecake.
  7. Grease a small baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange marshmallows standing up on the tray. Broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Keep an eye on it—it browns fast!
  8. Using a small metal spatula, top each mini cheesecake with toasted marshmallows before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

Original recipe from: www.delish.com

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Caprese Pasta Salad

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This was a pretty easy-to-make pasta salad, and tasted delicious. I’ll definitely make this one again for a future potluck or summer grill outside dish. 🙂

Caprese Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 oz. box of pasta (I used bow-ties)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced (I used less as we’re not huge tomato fans)
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella cheese ball (not shredded)
  • 1/4 cup store bought pesto
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (I used a little more, I LOVE garlic!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp basil (for garnish, optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, slice your tomatoes and cut the mozzarella into cubes.
  3. Once your pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Add your cooled pasta to a mixing bowl along with the tomatoes, mozarella, pesto, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Toss together and serve or refridgerate for later. 🙂
  6. ENJOY!