Easy Banana Pudding!

To me, banana pudding is a Southern dessert staple. It's not always my favorite dessert but it's nice and refreshing. So with spring upon us and after eating lots of cake during my birthday month I thought it would be nice to try a lighter dessert. Here is my easy banana pudding recipe!

Easy Banana Pudding

1 box vanilla wafers
1 8oz tub of Cool Whip
3 bananas, sliced
1 box Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding (you will need skim milk to make the pudding)

1. Prepare instant vanilla pudding according to package directions.
2. Layer 9x9 casserole dish with ingredients. Layers as you please! My layers were: vanilla wafers, cool whip, pudding, all the bananas, pudding, cool whip, & wafers!
3. Refrigerate before serving.

Delicious & super easy!!

Chicken Casserole

The other evening I offered to make Patrick a casserole. I asked if he had any suggestions. For example, would he want it to be pasta-based or meat-based? Any particular veggies? And so forth... well this is what he wanted: a creamy, chicken casserole with mushrooms and onions and something crunchy on top. Pretty basic, I thought. I'm a stickler for recipes and even though I love trying new things in the kitchen they're usually from recipes. I was having trouble finding a recipe that fit all these criteria. Finally Patrick said, "you don't really need a recipe for this, do you?" So I decided to experiment! Originally I had just wanted to put all the raw ingredients in a casserole dish and then cook! I opted to cook the ingredients and then warm it all up because I didn't want to gamble with cooking times! Here's my concoction. I think I'll name it in honor of Patrick! ha!

Patrick's Requested "Creamy-Chicken-Mushroom-Onions-Something Crunchy on top" Casserole
Serves 4

1/2 lb chicken breast or tenderloins*
1/2 carton of mushrooms*
1/2 medium onion*
1/2 frozen box chopped broccoli*
1 can cream of chicken (or any variety) soup -- get the healthy one!!
2 single serving cartons MINUTE Ready to Serve Brown Rice**
(or approx 2c cooked brown rice)
1 bag Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
desired seasonings

1. Slice onions and mushrooms. Begin sauteing in a skillet with olive oil. Add seasonings. I used salt, pepper, and a rosemary garlic blend. Meanwhile begin cooking broccoli.
2. Slice chicken in bite size pieces. After onions and mushrooms have softened add chicken to skillet. Season chicken and cook until done. Meanwhile cook rice in microwave (only takes a minute!).
3. Combine onions, mushrooms, and chicken mixture with rice, broccoli, and cream of chicken soup in a bowl. Place in 9x9 casserole dish. Top with stuffing mix.
4. Warm in a preheated 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

My Notes
*I halved the chicken, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli for two reasons. Reason One was because I knew just two people would be eating this casserole. If you do include all the ingredients use a larger casserole dish! Reason Two was because I knew I could save the halved ingredients for another meal later on in the week... possibly chicken fried rice! Be on the lookout for this recipe!
**I found these amazing Minute Ready to Serve Brown Rice cartons! I'd highly recommend them. They turned out perfect. But if you'd prefer to cook the rice that's absolutely fine.

I'd definitely make this again and maybe even experiment again!

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

Start the morning off right -- a breakfast for champions!! Now I'm not a big breakfast eater but love a little splurge every once and awhile. So I browsed the internet for breakfast recipes with nutella. Now I hope you know what Nutella is! mmm... Nutella is a tasty Italian hazelnut cocoa spread.

Here's my recipe:

Nutella Stuffed French Toast
Serves 2 (but this recipe is easily doubled or tripled!)

2 eggs
4 slices of bread
Skim milk

Combine 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg.
Prepare stuffed toast! Spread a tablespoon or two of Nutella on slices of bread just like you're making a peanut butter sandwich.
Warm 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Once butter has melted dip both sides of stuffed toast in egg mixture and place in skillet. Flip sides once golden brown.

And enjoy! Serve with a side of fruit like yummy strawberries and a cold glass of milk!

Chicken Parmesan

For my birthday I received a local church cookbook. While looking for an easy casserole dish I stumbled across a chicken parmesan recipe -- actually two recipes. I combined the two and added a twist of my own. Here it is for your eating pleasure!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (or chicken breast tenderloins)
2 eggs, beaten with 2 tbsp milk
2/3 c Italian bread crumbs
^^I combined homemade, seasoned bread crumbs & regular, canned bread crumbs
1/3 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick margarine, melted
lemon zest

-Preheat oven to 350 and spray grease a 9x13 dish
-Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
-Dip chicken in eggs, dredge in bread crumb mixture, and then place in greased dish
-Pour melted margarine over chicken and top with extra bread crumb mixture
-Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes

Menu Ideas
I served this with whole wheat spaghetti mixed with a jar of sauce. The spaghetti and sauce was then topped with fresh Italian cheese and the chicken breast. Garlic bread and a salad rounded out the meal.

Would I eat/make this again? Yes! One comment someone made at dinner was that in their previous experience the sauce had been baked with the chicken. I might try this next time. This was definitely very easy and delicious.