Ranch Chicken Burgers

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I always say I have 3 criteria for a weeknight meal. It has to be delicious, nutritious and easy to make. But recently, I realized there really is a 4th must-have. It has to be easy enough to make to talk on the phone with at least one of my family members at the same time. I talk to my mom, dad, and brother pretty much every day. But whenever I have a tough day, I call Sean first. Yesterday was a rough day. I feel like I’m in Kindergarten writing this but..yesterday someone was mean to me. And just like I did when I actually was in Kindergarten, I went straight to Sean. Back then Sean would take care of things pretty directly. I remember mentioning to Sean that one of the boys in my class was making fun of my height. The very next day, he gave the kid a good firm talking to, and that boy never bothered me again. Just last year, one of my best friends from grade school admitted to still being a little afraid of my brother thanks to that incident. Nowadays, he can’t exactly yell at anyone who hurts my feelings. So instead, he gives me great advice. He told me not to let things that happen during the work day bother me so much. Because at the end of the day, I get to come home to a wonderful husband, great friends, and the best family on earth. And in the end, people can only make you feel bad if you let them. And just like that, I was back to my happy, perky self. Every girl should have a brother like mine.

And now back to dinner. These chicken burgers have already become a favorite in our household. All you need is ground chicken and a few seasonings and you have an incredibly delicious dinner. The use of dry Ranch seasoning adds a great kick to the chicken, and pairs really well with the barbeque sauce of your choice

Ingredients: Makes 4 burgers

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing (unprepared)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • barbeque sauce to taste
  1. Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly until well combined. (I found it was easiest to use my hands to mix everything together)
  2. Form 4 even patties
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook each patty for 1 minute per side, just until the patty has slightly browned
  4. Take the browned patties out of the pan and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, or until done
  5. Place on a bun, adding barbeque sauce or any topping you’d like

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Orange Soda Cupcakes

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Every year, I am very thankful for today. Because today is my brother’s birthday! Growing up, nearly all of my friends had sisters, but I was never jealous. Although I didn’t have a sister to share clothes and makeup with, I had something much better. I had Sean. We’ve gone through many phases in our sibling-hood. When we were children, he was my constant protector and guide, screaming “COLLEENIE!” whenever I would run away in the grocery store. Which was often, by the way. As teenagers he was there to force me into listening to good music and berate me when I was talking to a boy he didn’t like. Which was all of them, by the way. And now, he’s one of my best friends. But the great thing about having a best friend that is also your sibling is that they see you as clearly as possible. They know your strengths and weaknesses, your faults and your greatest attributes. They can recognize these things a bit clearer than so many other people in your lives, and they can definitely see you a bit clearer than you see yourself. To me, Sean is one of the strongest, smartest, kindest people I know. I’ve always been in awe of the way he can command the attention of any room he walks into, and the way he drops everything to help others…be it a complete stranger or his little sister. Happy Birthday Seanie!

I brought these cupcakes along to a birthday barbeque we had for Sean, and since he’s not really into sweets I brought him some beef jerky and beer. But all the cupcake lovers in our family gave rave reviews. The cupcakes are incredibly moist and decadent and truly taste like an Orange Creamsicle. The recipe and the picture are from one of my favorite blogs Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Enjoy!

Orange Cream Soda Cupcakes: Recipe from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3-oz package sugar-free orange jell-o
  • 1 4-serving size package sugar-free cheesecake instant pudding & pie filling mix
  • 1-1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1 8oz package of low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon orange jello

Preparation:

  1. For the cupcakes, set aside 1- 1/2 teaspoons jello mix. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, instant pudding mix and remaining orange jello mix
  2. Add orange juice, eggs, applesauce and vanilla into dry ingredients and mix until well combined
  3. Line two muffin pans with muffin liners, and fill each 2/3 full with batter
  4. Bake cupcakes at 350 for 16-18 minutes
  5. To prepare frosting, place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  6. Add vanilla extract  & remaining jello mixture until well combined
  7. Beat in sugar, one cup at a time until well combined
  8. After cupcakes have cooled, frost cupcakes