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

Chinese Cabbage Salad

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A little over four years ago, Eric brought me along to a family party. We had only been dating a few months at that point, and it was my first big event with the Jones clan. I remember being a little nervous, but it didn’t take long to realize I had no reason to be. Eric’s family was so welcoming and wonderful and I felt at home right away. Plus, Eric’s Aunt Nancy is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met. She has about a million recipes that are to die for. Baked Beans, Apple Crisp, and this very delicious Chinese Cabbage Salad that she served at my bridal shower. It is crisp, full of flavor and a perfect side dish for your next barbeque or tailgate. She was sweet enough to share the recipe with me and I brought it along to a barbeque a few weeks ago. It didn’t take long for the whole bowl to disappear. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
1package precut cole slaw (1 pound size)
5 green onions, sliced
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
1 3-oz package Ramen Noodles, oriental flavor
1-2 cups cooked, cubed chicken or shrimp. (Optional)
Dressing
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar ( any kind you like)
1/4 cup sugar
Dry seasoning packet from ramen noodles
1.  Break up the ramen noodles into small pieces.
2.  Mix up the dressing.  Shake all ingredients together.
3.  Combine cole slaw, onions, seeds and nuts.
4.  Just before serving, add noodles, dressing and chicken or shrimp and combine.
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Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies

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Recently my dad has had to make some changes to his diet. His doctor let him know that steak dinners should be a rare occurrence and those high cholesterol snack cakes he loves may have to fall by the wayside. So far he has been a very good sport with his sudden diet overhaul. He didn’t cringe when I threw away his potato chips and he hasn’t complained about swapping red meat for fish. But one of the items I’m sure he’s been missing is his beloved Bumpy Cake. There was a time in his life that he would polish off an entire bumpy cake each week. By the way, he somehow managed to never put on a single pound during “The Bumpy Cake Diet” which my mom and I found extremely annoying. But nowadays, despite his speedy metabolism, the bumpy cakes are no longer a diet staple. But, since I hate to see the man go without dessert completely, I went searching for a sweet substitute. Initially I bought him a box of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, but they turned out to be pretty dry and tasteless. So to the blogospehere I went. And I stumbled upon this recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies that is devoid of flour, butter, sugar and oil. The result was an incredibly soft cookie that tastes deceivingly decadent.  Chocolate cravings= satisfied. Now to somehow get him to eat kale….this might be a tough one.

Ingredients: Makes 18 cookies, from Ambitious Kitchen

  • 1 cup all natural creamy almond butter (or natural peanut butter, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar coarsely chopped
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, place almond butter, honey and egg and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy
  2. Add vanilla, baking soda and sea salt and beat until well incorporated
  3. Chop up dark chocolate into coarse pieces and stir into batter
  4. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased cookies sheet
  5. Sprinkle each unbaked cookie with a touch of sea salt
  6. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins

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I love the way food can induce so many different memories. Sometimes it’s an old cherished family recipe that will bring you back to a different time in your life. But sometimes it’s as simple as a childhood snack that can flood your mind with memories. This past weekend I had the urge to make some homemade blueberry muffins and I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite childhood snacks. My mom used to always buy my brother and I those packaged blueberry mini muffins for an after school treat. Those 4 tiny muffins, studded with sweet blueberries always take me back to the days I spent in my Catholic school uniform chasing after my big brother. I remember being in Kindergarden and hating the time I had to spend without Sean. He was in the 3rd grade and went to school all day, whereas I was only in my Kindergarden class until noon. Since I couldn’t quite tell time, he would tell me he would be home right after Barney was on. And as soon as Barney ended I would run to the window  patiently waiting for my friend to return home. My mom recently told me that there were a few times Sean was set to go to a friend’s house after school, but would ask if his friends could come over to our house instead because he knew how sad I would get when he was gone. And here we are, 20 years later and I still absolutely love hanging out with my big brother. My best friend LT brought Sean as her date to our friend’s wedding this past weekend and we had a blast. It’s funny, because there were a few of my old friends there who had never met Sean and I’m sure they were surprised at how different we seem. I was always known for being a bit quiet and reserved, whereas Sean is the life of the party and pretty much captures the attention of every room he enters. And though we may be opposite in a number of ways, we do have one very important thing in common. We will always be each other’s first friend. And I think that is one of my favorite parts of growing up with a sibling. It teaches you early on to make friend’s with people who are different than you. Because those are the friendships that teach you more about yourself and really help you grow.

And these were the thoughts that came to mind as I was peacefully whipping up these classic blueberry muffins. They filled the kitchen with the delicious homey smell of butter and sugar reminding me of childhood afternoons spent at the kitchen counter. These muffins pair tangy lemon juice with sweet blueberries, and the contrasting flavors pair really well for a deliciously nostalgic treat.

Ingredients: Makes 14 muffins, adapted from Forget Those Calories 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup yogurt(I used vanilla greek yogurt)
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla and lemon zest and juice
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (baking soda through flour)
  4. Slowly beat dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined (mixture will be crumbly)
  5. Beat yogurt into batter until just combined
  6. Stir in blueberries
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into greased muffin tins
  8. For the streusel topping, combine all streusel ingredients (melted butter through brown sugar) and sprinkle 1/2 tablespoonful of topping over unbaked muffins
  9. Place muffins in the oven and bake at 350 for 25 minutes

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to post a recipe here on Miss Petite Sweets. In my job as a hotel sales manager, I work with all the entertainment groups, bands and Broadway shows that travel into Detroit, so early June is usually the time we have a ton groups staying with us from the summer music festivals and we are in the midst of booking the fall season of Broadway shows. Needless to say, my busy time at work has kept me out of the kitchen. But a few days ago I had a rare quiet night at home and decided to spend it baking. I had a few super ripe bananas on hand and decided to throw together a new variation on whole wheat banana bread. And as I have stated many, many times before nothing makes a recipe better than the addition of chocolate. I chopped up a few Dark Chocolate Dove candies and absolutely loved the result. This bread is probably one of my favorite quick bread recipes to date. It is soft and moist and full of flavor. I ate mine warm with a touch of peanut butter. The melty peanut butter chocolate mixture made for a fantastic (and healthy) dessert. And it was incredibly easy to make. Ya gotta love that. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 1 loaf

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 6 oz plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped Dove Dark Chocolate (about 6-7 individually wrapped chocolates)

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flours through cinnamon)
  2. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and mix in remaining wet ingredients ( yogurt through canola oil) and stir until well combined
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined
  4. Stir in chocolate
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes

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Whole Wheat Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

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This weekend was a perfect mix of relaxing and busy. Saturday started with a 7 mile run and a few hours of wedding planning with the best wedding consultant I know- my mom! Next up was coffee with my wonderful friend Kerri who is getting married in less than 3 months! We had so much fun talking about wedding planning and decorating our future newlywed apartments. I feel like we were just in 9th grade choir class talking about what dresses we were wearing to homecoming and now here we are talking about what our first few years of marriage will be like. Where did the time go? And here we are on Sunday, ready to ease into the morning with the perfect weekend meal. Pancakes. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. And though I love my weekday oatmeal or cereal, I have the firm belief that Sundays are for pancakes. With a little more time on the weekends, you can easily whip up some deliciously decadent tasting pancakes as you ease into your morning. The only problem with most pancake recipes is that they leave me feeling hungry an hour or two later. So I went in search of a recipe with a bit more fiber and protein. And this is when I stumbled upon Greek Yogurt pancakes. Recipes for these “delicious” pancakes are all over food blogs and Pinterest so I thought I would give them a try. And I gotta say…I was pretty disappointed. No matter how long I cooked them they still tasted like uncooked batter and I couldn’t eat more than a bite without feeling like I was eating raw dough. So into the trash can went my Greek yogurt pancake batter. And though my pancake batter went away, my craving for pancakes did not. But luckily, I have a fantastic recipe for whole wheat pancakes that are both delicious and filling. In lieu of sugary maple syrup, I topped mine with a PB2 syrup. As I mentioned before, PB2 is powdered peanut butter that has 85% less fat and calories than traditional peanut butter. When mixed with water and a little honey, you can create a peanut butter syrup that is around 50 calories per serving. So there you have it. A delicious and healthy recipe to satisfy any pancake craving. Happy Sunday!

Ingredients: Makes 8 pancakes, Adapted slightly from Skinny Taste

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)

PB2 “Syrup”: Makes 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter or PB2
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well until no lumps remain
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray
  3. Pour 2-3 tablespoons full per pancake onto skillet and cook through on each side
  4. To make the PB2 syrup, place PB2 and water into a small bowl and stir, adding more water until mixture has the consistency of maple syrup
  5. Stir honey & cinnamon into PB2 syrup and drizzle over cooked pancakes

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Chocolate Chip Macaroons

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There are billions of food blogs on the internet and hundreds of cookbooks on the shelves of the bookstore, but sometimes I’ll find a favorite recipe in the simplest of places. Like the newspaper. And I don’t mean the online version of the local paper. I mean the good old fashion black and white paper that is delivered to your doorstep a few times a week. When I was little I went straight for the comics. (Did you really expect a 10 year old to go for the finance section?) Later on I starting skimming through the Life & Home section to read the restaurant reviews and recipes. I still love relaxing on Sunday mornings and leisurely going through all the different sections of the paper. There is something wholesome and comforting about reading the actual newspaper rather than scanning the headlines online. It makes me sad to think the newspaper may soon disappear completely. But while the paper is still being delivered to my doorstep, I plan on taking advantage of the delicious recipes you can often find in it. Like these Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon Cookies. My mom saw these in the paper and we immediately decided to whip them up. And with only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of baking time, they came together in a flash. The cookies are very sweet and chewy with a delicate crunch. And if you are a fan of the chocolate + coconut combination you will love these cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen, from Detroit Free Press

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites,chocolate chips, vanill and salt
  2. Dampen hands with cold water
  3. Roll the batter into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown

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