Monday, February 29, 2016

Grilled Pheasant and Chucker breasts with asparagus, carrots and shrimp side salad

Nick and Mitch and their dad went hunting on Saturday and brought back pheasant and chucker breasts.
So, today we made pheasant and chucker breasts marinated in barbecue and cooked on the grill. For sides we made carrots and asparagus that were first steamed, and then grilled. We also made a shrimp side salad with baby spinach.
Plated - with chucker breast

shrimp side salad with baby spinach

carrots and asparagus

grilled chucker (smaller) and grilled pheasant (larger) breasts

Grilled Chucker and Pheasant breasts 


3 chucker breasts
3 pheasant breasts
barbecue sauce


1. Combine the bird breasts and barbecue sauce in a gallon sized ziplock back for about 4 hours. Use enough barbecue sauce to cover the breasts in the bag. 
2. Pre-heat grill on medium high. We have a 3 burner grill - we put 2 side burners to maximum and middle burner to medium, and the birds will go on the middle burner. 
3. Cook breast side up (the bone side down) for 8 minutes. 
4. Flip and cook for 10 minutes breast side down. 
5. Lower middle burner to low and flip the breast side up again - cook for another 5 -10 minutes to keep warm while the sides finish cooking if necessary. 

Grilled lemon carrots and asparagus


1 lb carrots
1 lb asparagus
1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste


1. Steam carrots and asparagus for 15 minutes. We use a multi-cooker that has a steam option and wrap carrots in a piece of foil and asparagus in a piece of foil. They can be steamed together. We would suggest doing this while the grill pre-heats. 
2. Move the carrot and asparagus filled foils to the grill to one of the sides (with maximum heat). 
3. Squeeze half a lemon into each foil. 
4. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to each foil. 
5. Cover slightly by folding the foil into the middle and cook for 10 minutes. (We put the vegetables on the grill when we flipped the breasts the first time.)

Shrimp side salad with baby spinach


Shrimp ~ 1/2 lb
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Hard boiled eggs - 3 - one for each plate
grated cheese 1 tbsp per plate
sunflower seeds 1 tsp per plate
3 cups baby spinach (about a cup per plate, can use other lettuces if desired)

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste


1. Heat a frying pan. When it is hot, put the 2 tablespoons of butter on it. 
2. When butter stops bubbling, put shrimp onto the hot pan and spread them out. 
3. Put salt, pepper and paprika on the shrimp and cook for 1 minute. 
4. Add chopped garlic to the pan and cook for 1 more minute.
5. Flip the shrimp, and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. 
7. Mound spinach on each plate. Divide evenly between plates.
8. Add sliced boiled eggs, sunflowe seeds, and grated cheese to each mound.
9. Top with shrimp.
10. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and whisk together with a fork or whisk. Divide out to each plate. 

What we liked:

It was the easiest and best wild bird recipe yet. The breasts turned out tender and delicious. The lemon on the asparagus and carrots was great and the side salad was very good and light. 

What we didn't like:

There wasn't anything we didn't like. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He liked the egg yolks and cheese and carrots. 

Next time:

Wouldn't really do anything different. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Menu for Week 2

Here's the plan for next week:

1. Pheasant and chucker breasts with asparagus and carrots- (Nick and Mitch and their dad went hunting yesterday)
2. Pounded beef tenderloin with hearts of palm salad
3. Roasted Salmon with Thyme and Honey Mustard Glaze
4. Smokey pork tenderloin with roasted sweet potatoes
5. Asparagus stuffed chicken

Deserts - maybe the coconut mile high cupcakes again

Extreme lemon and chocolate roulade

Yesterday, Alona made an extreme lemon and chocolate roulade using this recipe:
End result... not very roulad-y

Falling apart

Roulade collapse!

Chocolate cake when unrolled

The lemon custard prior to addition of whipped topping

Rolled up chocolate cake part

Ready to bake!

After freezing

The recipe was followed closely and everything was done as instructed. However, the roulade did not come together as expected. The lemon filling came out perfect. The chocolate cake tasted great. However, together the two flavors did not seem to work very well. The lemon filling would have been better on an almond cake and the chocolate cake would have been better with a raspberry filling. Individually, both parts of this cake tasted great. The putting together part did not work out so well though. Not sure what happened, but the cake did not withstand the rolling unrolling and re-rolling. It kind of ended up being a chocolate lemon creme mound. Even with that though, it still tastes pretty good!

Update: Because the cake was having trouble holding it's shape, we decided to stick it in the freezer. (Hey, it worked with the failed pudding - aka best fudgesicles ever!) And it is SOOO much better now. It actually sort of kind of looks like a roulade and tastes even better. Frozen, the lemon flavor is not as strong and goes better with the chocolate. So, I guess the lesson here is that if a dessert fails - all you have to do is freeze it. 


Baking spray with flour
3 ounces cake flour (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
1 tablespoon powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a jelly-roll pan with baking spray. Line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat paper with baking spray. Set aside.
2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Place egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl; beat at medium speed until foamy using clean, dry beaters. Beat mixture at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Sift half of flour mixture over top of egg mixture; gently fold in. Sift remaining flour mixture over top of egg mixture; gently fold in. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Loosen cake from sides of pan; turn out onto a dish towel dusted with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Carefully peel off wax paper; cool 1 minute. Starting at short side, roll up the cake and towel together. Place, seam side down, on a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
4. To prepare filling, place 1/3 cup granulated sugar, rind, juice, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and sugar dissolves, stirring frequently (about 4 minutes). Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and eggs in a bowl; stir well with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle hot juice mixture into egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and reaches 180° on a candy thermometer (do not boil). Pour mixture through a sieve into a small bowl, pressing on solids. Discard solids. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, stirring until butter melts and is combined. Cover surface of mixture with plastic wrap. Chill completely.
5. To assemble roulade, gently stir whipped topping into chilled lemon filling. Unroll cake carefully; remove towel. Spread lemon filling over cake, leaving a 1-inch border around outside edges. Reroll cake; place, seam side down, on a platter. Cover and chill 1 hour. 

What we liked:

The idea was great. The chocolate cake tasted great. The filling was great. The whole thing can be put together in about an hour, minus the chilling/standing parts. Just an hour of active work in the kitchen. 

What we didn't like:

It did not come together at all. The lemon filling would be better in an almond or white cake. With chocolate, we would make a raspberry filling.

What Kaspian thought about it:

It did not grab his attention at all. 

Next time:

Make a raspberry filling for chocolate or white cake for lemon filling. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Week 1, Day 5 - Seared Ahi Tuna on a bed of baby romaine

Today we made Seared Ahi Tuna served on a bed of baby romaine lettuce.
It is a quick and easy dinner option. Our local Sprouts had the previously frozen Ahi Tuna on sale this week and it takes about 15 minutes total to make. It is definitely one our favorite dishes.  One thing that we make differently every time we make it is the sauce. We have yet to find the perfect sauce.

Seared Ahi Tuna

1 lb Ahi Tuna 
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat up a pan with the 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat.
2. Cut steaks into 2 inch wide strips
3. Combine sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a shallow dish
4. Dredge steaks in the sesame seeds, salt and pepper
5. Fry steaks 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on each side after that. 

5 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger - we used slightly dried 
1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil - optional

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together. 

What we liked:
The tuna was cooked perfectly this time. It was the best yet. Quick and easy and always delicious! 

What we didn't like: 
Still searching for the perfect sauce. We made 2 versions, one with the sesame oil and one without. We liked the one without better, but still not perfect. Perhaps less lemon juice might have been better. Additionally, we were out of wasabi and that made Nick sad. 

What Kaspian thought about it:
He just kept asking what it was and "what's inside it?". He did not seem to believe that there was tuna inside the wonderful sesame crust. He happily went to eating his dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets instead. 

Next time: 
Better sauce. Will attempt something with a wasabi/ginger/soy combination. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fudgesicles - aka Pudding gone wrong and made BEST fudgesicles ever

Tuesday, Alona tried to make chocolate pudding by making this recipe x1.5 because we had 6 egg yolks left over from making Mile High Coconut Cupcakes. Here is the inspiration recipe that we attempted to make The Pudding turned out to be very watery and kinda soupy even after 24 hours in the fridge. We had some awesome popsicle molds, so Nick suggested we make fudgesicles out of the failed pudding. They are absolutely the best fudgesicles we have ever had.

Sailboat Popsicle side 1

Sailboat Popsicle side 2

Rocket Ship Popsicle! There is fire underneath the rocket!

Once you finish eating your rocket ship you uncover an ASTRONAUT!
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 ish cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 3/4 cups milk
6 large egg yolks - we use eggs from our chickens!
2 handfuls of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
2. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Add in a couple of handfuls of chocolate chips. We had 60% cocoa semisweet chocolate chips.
3. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
4. Let cool in the fridge with plastic wrap on the top of the pudding to avoid crusting.
5. Pour into popsicle molds when cooled.

What we liked:
Perfect texture and oh so chocolate-y. Just soft enough to be creamy, but not so soft that they melted instantly. Also, we loved that the molds can be used to put in partial popsicles back into the freezer. Kaspian did not finish his and we just slid it back into the mold and stuck it back in the freezer to eat later.

What we didn't like: 
Getting them out is a bit tricky from the molds as it requires heating the mold with hot water a little to slide them out. The rocket ships come out a little easier than the sailboats, but both seem quite perfect once out.  

What Kaspian thought about it:
LOVED the sailboats. 

Next time: 
We will bypass trying to make pudding. This was a way better use of our 6 left over egg yolks!

Week 1, Day 4 - Sheet pan chicken with roasted baby potatoes and chile and lemon roasted carrots

Tonight we made Sheet Pan Chicken with roasted baby potatoes and Chile and Lemon Roasted Carrots.

Here is where we got the original recipes from:


Cooking spray
24 oz Russian Banana potatoes cut in half lengthwise- can use any small potatoes. 
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - 3 for the sauce and 1 for frying the chicken
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry white wine - we used Chardonnay
2 tablespoons dried flaked thyme
2 teaspoon honey
2  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - defrosted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided


1. Place a cookie pan in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (leave pan in the oven as it preheats).
2. Carefully remove pan from oven. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add potatoes to pan; bake at 500° for 10 minutes.Be careful, my pan popped and the metal deformed a little when I put the potatoes onto it due to the temperature change, but it will straighten out. 
3. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil and next 5 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk or spoon. I just used a spoon and it worked just fine. Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. <- I missed this step this time (due to fussy children), however, it would add to the chicken a lot. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the last tablespoon of oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 to 8 minutes. Turn chicken over; drizzle chicken evenly with about 2 tablespoons mustard mixture - 1 tablespoon per side.
3.5. If making carrots, add the pan with the carrots to the oven now on the second rack. I just put them on the top rack. The carrots need to cook for 15 minutes
4. Add chicken to the pan with potatoes; bake at 500° for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is done. Drizzle potatoes with remaining mustard mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. 


1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces baby carrots, trimmed
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1. In a small bowl, combine the carrots, olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and lemon juice - let stand until ready to go into the oven. 
2. Put the carrots on a cookie sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes at 500°.

What we liked:
Nick loved the chicken, it tasted very good. The sauce complemented it very well. Alona liked it all. It was yummy and fairly easy to make even with fussy children needing attention.

What we didn't like: 
The potatoes were a little bitter. Perhaps the sauce should have been put on the potatoes earlier so that it would have cooked more. Nick did not like the pepper on the carrots. 

What Kaspian thought about it:
Kaspian ate the carrots, after all sauce was removed from them. The sauce was too suspicious. 

Next time: 
Make sure to add salt and pepper to the chicken. Do not add the red pepper to the carrots. We will definitely make it again! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Week1, Day 3: Stewed Beef and Vegetables

Today we made a quick stewed beef and vegetables in the slow cooker. We love slow cooker meals as they are easy in the evenings. All the work gets done in the morning, you forget about it, and are pleasantly surprised with a yummy meal when you come home.


In the slow cooker

Simple Rice for the base
We got this Recipe from the Cooking Light Magazine:


Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup unsalted beef stock
3 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, halved
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups hot cooked rice


1. Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cut steak into quarters. Sprinkle steak evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; add steak to pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer steak to slow cooker. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, bell peppers, and garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until slightly softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in raisins; transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.
3. Combine stock, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Pour tomato mixture over steak and vegetables in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours and 15 minutes or until steak is very tender.

4. Remove steak from cooker; shred using 2 forks. Stir steak, olives, and cilantro into sauce. Serve steak mixture over rice.

What we liked:
Tasted great, the olives added a nice tartness to it. Put together in about 20 minutes which is nice.

What we didn't like: 
The golden raisins were a little odd, they are also not an ingredient that you would just have on hand most of the time. 

What Kaspian thought about it:
He did not want it at all. 

Next time: 
It might be better on a sandwich than over rice. No golden raisins. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 1, Day 2: Beef Stroganoff with mushrooms

Beef Stroganoff with porcini and generic white mushrooms

Here is the base recipe we used: We did modify some things that we thought were important.
Alona's portion of the meal was created without any mushrooms as she does not enjoy eating the fungus.

Alona's plate without mushrooms

Nick's plate with the mushrooms 
Pan with the mushrooms

Pan without mushrooms

Kaspian's plate was just egg noodles. 
The egg noodles that we used were some that we made from scratch a few weeks earlier and had dried and saved them in the freezer. 

The egg noodles were the best part. This was by far not the best recipe we have made. It was quite disappointing. It took a very long time to make and was not very tasty. 

A beef stroganoff should simmer the meat in a creamy sauce for at least 20 minutes. This is what we will try next time. This particular recipe resulted in a tough-y tasting meat. The sauce was pretty good but had we not added the sour cream it would have been way too light for a beef stroganoff and almost soup-y. 

Recipe with our modifications:
 1 1⁄2 cups canned low sodium beef broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms - our local Sprouts sells these by weight
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed,cleaned and thickly sliced - we used just sliced white mushrooms from Sprouts
1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into strips about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 tablespoons sour cream
12 ounces home made egg noodles 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Combine the beef broth and dried porcini in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
3. With a slotted spoon, lift the porcini out of the broth, chop coarsely and set aside.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
5. When the oil is hot, add the cremini mushrooms and saute, stirring often until they are browned, 5- 6 minutes.
6. Transfer to a bowl.
7. Season the beef strips generously with kosher salt and pepper and dredge in the flour.
8. Add 2 tbsp oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat.
9. When oil is hot, add the beef, spreading it in a single layer - brown it.
10. Remove beef to another bowl.
11. Melt the remaining 3 tbsp butter in the pan over medium-high heat.
12. Add the onion and cook until they are softened
13. When the onions just start to brown (about 4- 5 min), pour in the reserved porcini soaking broth.
14. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, porcini, cremini and beef, along with any accumulated juices.
15. Add the sour cream, and cook for a few more minutes
16. Serve over cooked noodles, sprinkled with parsley.

What we liked:
The idea behind this recipe. The beef stroganoff is a wonderful creamy dish that should be great for a weeknight dinner.

What we didn't like: 
This way of preparing beef stroganoff. The amount of time saved by not simmering it was not worth it. The pre-frying is also not necessary as it cooks the beef and does not allow it to absorb the creamy sauce flavors. 

What Kaspian thought about it: 
I just want the noodles. He loved the home made noodles and ate a whole bowl. 

Next time: 
Next time, we will attempt a recipe that is more creamy and cooks the beef in the sauce for a longer period of time. The beef really needs to simmer in the sauce and absorb the cream. 

Guest observations: 
We had Mitch over for dinner and his comment was "Definitely not the best dinner I've had here". 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 1, Day 1: Fish Nuggets

Today we made easy 5 ingredient Fish Nuggets using tilapia.


3 Tilapia Fillets
1/2 cup of corn starch
1 cup of bread crumbs - we used Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp milk

Cooking spray and oil for the pan

1/2 cup of mayonaise
2 tbsps of prepared horseradish
1 stem of green onion


1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F and put a large baking sheet into the oven to heat it up
2. Wash the fish fillets and cut them up into 1 inch squares, approximately.
3. Get three bowls - one for cornstarch, one for bread crumbs, the other for the egg and milk mixture (whisk milk and egg together)
4. Dredge each piece of fish in corn starch
5. Dip each piece of fish into egg mixture, coating all sides
6. Dredge each piece in the breadcrumbs, coating all sides
7. Place onto a plate
8. Get out your hot baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray, then coat it with some oil - we used olive oil
9. Put the fish pieces onto the baking sheet and place into oven for 12 minutes

While the fish is cooking, make the sauce.

For the Sauce:
Mix together 1/2 cup of mayo and 2 tbsp of prepared horseradish. Mix in finely chopped green onions.

This recipe is quick and easy and takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. Just remember to defrost your fish if it's frozen!

What we liked:
Super quick and easy. The fish was just as good as pub fish and chips. The sauce complements it extremely well. Using the cornstarch for the pre-breading allows the fish to be coated evenly and comes out golden and well cooked on all sides. It works much better than flour.

What we didn't like: 
It could have used a side, maybe English chips (french fries) next time. This would have added a lot more prep time.

What Kaspian thought about it: 
"I don't like your fish nuggets. I want dinosaur chicken nuggets" It did not warrant a try. We tried to sneak one onto his plate, but it was promptly ejected with squeals of "I don't want that on my plate!".

Next time: 
Use beer instead of milk to mix with the egg. Specifically Guiness draught would go well for more of a pub fish taste. Do a side such as potatoes or broccoli. Chop the green onions more finely. We just did rough circles but it was hard to get them onto the fish pieces.

Week 1 Menu

This week we will be making the following:

Monday: Fish Nuggets
Tuesday: Savory Stewed Beef and Vegetables (slow cooker!)
Wednesday: Sheet Pan Chicken
Thursday: Beef Stroganoff with homemade noodles
Friday: ???

Dessert Possibilities: Lemon and Chocolate Roulade

We got used to making Tuesday a slow cooker day the last several weeks because Kaspian has swimming lessons until 7 and it's nice to come home to a cooked meal.

Family Meal Planning: Day 1. - Sunday - February 21, 2016

Tonight we made an easy slow cooker chicken and dumplings soup and halva stuffed challah bread.
Chicken and Dumplings:
  • 3 Chicken Breasts thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 cups of chopped baby carrots – can use any carrots cut into circles
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (not necessary but makes the soup thicker and creamier)
  • 2 chicken broth cans of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Pillsbury grands buttermilk biscuits
Combine everything except the biscuits into the slow cooker. Keep the chicken breasts whole for now – shred them at the end, right before putting in the biscuits. Cook on high for 8 hours. 30 minutes before serving, shred the chicken breasts with two forks and add in quartered biscuit dough for the dumplings part of chicken and dumplings.
What we liked about it:
It was quick and easy and very tasty. Took about 20 minutes of prep time with two small children needing attention. We get leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
What we didn’t like about it:
Was not quite thick enough for Nick. Would use another can of cream of chicken soup or add milk or cream for a thicker soup.
What our three year old thought about it:
He loved the carrots, but was suspicious of the celery (for some reason he thought it was broccoli. Though all green things are classified as either broccoli or salad for him). He ate one bite of the dumplings and did not seem impressed.
Next time:
  • Add something to thicken the soup.
  • Make our own dumplings.
  • More carrots

Halva Stuffed Challah Bread: 
What we liked: 
It is very pretty and fancy looking and not very hard to make. The recipe makes two HUGE loaves. As you can see on the first picture, the first loaf is not nearly as pretty as the second one – we had a better method for the second one and we altered the dimensions.
What we didn’t like:
Nothing, it was good. Very different.
What we would change:
We would make the individual logs about 20″ by 8″ inches rolled out. This will make a much nicer braid and allow you to spread out the filling better. We would also double the filling amount. There is definitely not enough filling if you use 1/2 cup each of the tahini and halva. If making just for us, we would only make half the recipe as 2 huge loaves is way more than we could eat.
What our three year old thought about it: 
Too suspicious to even try. Not chocolate – thus not worth eating.