#ad Chicken Breast Gyro with Homemade Cucumber Sauce Recipe

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Hi friends! New years is just a day away and I have my goals set, written down and highlighted. I have decided that this year is the year I am actually going to make my dreams happen! (I might say that every year, but this year I mean it!) Have you decided what your goals for 2014 are going to be yet? One of my goals, one that I feel will be moderately attainable, is to eat healthier foods. Lately I have been letting my standards slide. I have a serious sweet tooth problem and have been known to call a coke and a snickers bar a pretty good breakfast on more than one occasion. (Yes, I know. . you don’t have to tell me how bad that is). So today, after feeling pretty crappy from my horrible meal choices during the last week mainly because of the holiday cookies, I decided that I would get a jump start on my healthy eating goal. Why wait until tomorrow to do what can be done today. Am I right?

Now I have one super sweet and amazing mother. My mother decided to set me up with a membership to Sams Club for Christmas. She has been a long time customer of Sams Club and wanted to share their amazing deals and great selection of healthy foods with me. See, shes sweet. Always thinking about me. Well, today was my first time shopping there and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, after finding what I did today. . I am happy to be a new member! Packages of NatureRaised Farms chicken breast for only $1.49/ pound. Are any of you Sam’s Club shoppers? Why didn’t you tell me about this before?!?

You can demo this chicken at participating Sam’s Club stores on 1/04/14!

If you’ve never heard of NatureRaised Farms chicken breasts before, let me fill you in. NatureRaised Farms chicken is my families go to chicken brand. The chickens are antibiotic free, vegetarian fed and cage free. All of the chickens from this brand are raised on independent farms and meet with third party animal welfare certifications. They use no fillers, artificial colors or preservatives.

I bought the chicken of course, plus a lot of other stuff, so now I shouldn’t have to grocery shop again for at least a month. lol. Have any of you ever shopped at a Sams Club? The package sizes are HUGE! I feel like I am preparing for the apocalypse or something. I am starting to wonder if my family will be able to eat all of this food that I bought before it spoils?  Good thing is, however, the Nature Raised chicken packaging was perfect. The large package was divided into four chambers, each holding two large chicken breasts. The packaging is made so you can easily separate the compartments and freeze what you wont use right away and keep the rest out. I didn’t even have to re-bag the chicken, just popped the perfect portioned bags into the freezer! Loved that!

So without further ado, here is my first healthy meal of 2014. Even though it is not quite 2014 yet. Cheers to better food choices!!

Chicken Gyro


NatureRaised Farms Chicken Breast
Garlic Salt or your favorite chicken seasoning
Flat Bread Pitas 
Shredded Cheese blend
optional: onions, tomatoes 

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias

Start by preparing your chicken in your favorite way. You can either grill the chicken or cook it on the stove top. I seasoned my chicken with a garlic salt blend and red pepper flakes. Once the chicken was fully cooked I sliced it into strips. 
Before serving, warm your pita’s by placing them in a skillet over med heat until slightly toasted. Serve pitas topped in cooked chicken, sliced cucumbers, cheese and homemade cucumber sauce.

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias

Cucumber Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cucumber – diced small
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Simply mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until your ready to serve.  

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias

This meal made for a super easy and quick lunch that I felt much better about eating than a slice of pizza. Now, I am not one to diet, so this is not going to be a diet. I believe that simply making better choices and eating foods that are yummy will work for me. Some of you may have noticed my recipe for the cucumber sauce was missing the sour cream and mayo. That is because I swapped them out for a more nutritious option, Greek yogurt. For further knowledge Greek yogurt can be substituted in equal increments to sour cream or mayo in just about any recipe.

So tell me, what are your goals for the new year? If eating better is one of them your in luck, cuz I’ll be sure to share all of my recipes here on the blog. If you have a great recipe you think I should try, send it to me at raisingdickandjane@yahoo.com.

Happy New Year!
<3 Dick and Jane

Pumpkin Shaped Grilled Cheese #PillsburyBiscuits #sponsored

I love fall. The crisp cool air..the gorgeous array of colors and lots of super fun holidays. My only problem? This time of year is super hectic and there is almost no time to enjoy these things. I am always running around with school, extracurricular activities, work and more. I barely have time to keep up with my household sometimes. I know there must be more like me out there. So, in the light of the upcoming “harvest” and in my attempt to create a fun, nutritional and fast meal, I came up with this recipe. Ok, you’ve got to admit its cute. . and the kids LOVED it. 🙂

Pumpkin Shaped Grilled Cheese

What will I need?

1/4 c. Oil
Sliced Cheese
Cookie Cutter
Frying Pan
Rolling Pin
What should I do first?

1) First, remove your Pillsbury biscuits from their container. . try not to scream when the seal pops (that darn thing gets me every time)  🙂
2) Remove one biscuit and roll it out to about a 1/4″ thick. 
3) Using your cookie cutter, cut out the shape you desire from the dough. Repeat and set aside.
4) In a pan, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat. 
5) Add the cut out shapes to the pan to brown. Flip and repeat on the other side. 
6) Once both sides have cooked, add a slice of cheese to one shape and cover with another shape. 
7)Allow the sandwich to stay on the heat for a few more minutes to melt. 
8) Remove from heat, cool slightly and enjoy. 
Tip: Make sure your dough is pressed out thin. If it’s too thick the center wont cook properly and your sandwich will be too big to fit in your mouth. 
This was a super fun meal to make and my kids adored it. Plus, the best part, it tasted great. The Pillsbury biscuits  not only made it super easy to get the shape I wanted, but also gave it a great new flavor that is different from the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Now just pair this sandwich up with a bowl of hot soup and you’ve got a nutritional, fast and fun meal perfect to put you in the mood for the harvest moon. 
Like this recipe? There are so many more that can be downloaded for FREE on the Pillsbury website. Click here to be directed to the PDF file for download: http://clvr.li/17r1ymu
Which Pillsbury Grand’s recipe are you most excited to try?
<3 Dick and Jane
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Zucchini Bread “Cupcakes” {Recipe}

Zucchini, Bread, Cupcakes, Muffins, Recipe, Frosted, Homemade
By now many of you may be enjoying the fruits of your labor in your gardens. Unfortunately, our gardens are not yet to the production stage, but we are patiently waiting for our loving care to pay off. It seems that each year I find I can count on my zucchini and squash plants to out produce all the others and I usually end up with more produce than I can use. As usual, these plants are growing like weeds in my garden again this year so I am planning ahead recipes to make sure nothing goes to waste. 
One of my families favorite treats are zucchini bread muffins. They look like cupcakes and taste like heaven! Best of all. . the kids see a cupcake and not a vegetable, so they are super excited to eat their “dessert” and I am happy to give it to them. 
These may look a bit “overwhelming” to make because of the longer list of ingredients, but don’t be shy. They are actually very easy to make. Trust me. . they will be well worth the effort. 
Zucchini Bread “Cupcakes” with Homemade Frosting
3 cups flour
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup oil
5 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine your eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. 
3. Slowly add in your dry ingredients and stir until combined. 
4. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill 3/4 of the way full with mixture. 
5. Bake approx. 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are browned and a toothpick comes out clean. 
1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
add milk to desired consistency

1. Beat softened butter, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix
2. Add 1 tsp of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. 
3. Once your muffins have cooled completely, frost and serve. 

<3 Dick and Jane

Bacon & Cheese Brussel Sprouts {Recipe}

Do you shy away from purchasing brussel sprouts at the farmers market or grocery because you have no idea what to do with them? That was me just a few months ago, but then I decided to give them a try and I am so glad I did! Brussel sprouts taste amazing and are good for you too. Did you know that brussel sprouts contain sulforaphane (which is a natural chemical that helps ward off cancer) and a good helping of vitamin C and Vitamin K too? These little mini cabbages may look a little funny, but give them a try using my recipe shown below and I think you may be able to look past their appearance. 
Bacon and Cheese Brussel Sprouts Recipe

1 package fresh brussel sprouts
1 package bacon (try Door to Door Organics bacon – Its the best!) – Cooked
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 TBS olive oil
Begin by rinsing the brussel sprouts under luke warm water to clear any dirt debris. 
Cut the end off the brussel sprout that attached it to the stalk. 
Discard the stalk end.
Next, cut the brussel sprouts in half. 
Cover your baking sheet with about 2 TBS olive oil and place your cut brussel sprouts in a single layer on top. 
Place your brussel sprouts in the oven at 425 degrees, turning with a spatula every 5-10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, add your cooked and chopped bacon to the pan and continue to bake. 
Bake about 15-20 minutes or until the sprouts are browned and fork tender. 
Sprinkle the top of the dish with sharp cheddar cheese and serve. Its so good! This dish also warms up lovely for a nice lunch the next day. The best part of this dish for me? My kids LOVE it and will always eat it up without complaint. They even ask for more. Now, I am not sure if my kids are just brainwashed and crazy or what, but it works and they eat them. 

Eat More Veggies!
<3 Dick and Jane

One Pot Broccoli Pasta {My Fav Recipe}

This meal is perfect for those days when you just don’t feel like cooking, but still need to feed your kids a healthy meal. Its super easy, quick and can be customized to your families liking. I love just the vegetarian option, but my husband and kids love to add in either chicken or steak. Either way, this is a recipe you will want to try!
Broccoli Penne Pasta
Penne Pasta
Bunch of Broccoli
2-3 Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil
1 Lemon
1. Begin by bringing a large pan of water to boil on the stove.
2. Stir in a box of penne pasta.
3. When the pasta is slightly al dente add in your broccoli (cut into smaller pieces)
4. Cook until pasta and broccoli are ready, drain.
5. Return the pasta and broccoli to the pan and add your pressed garlic.
6. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze half of the lemon on top of the pasta.
7. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the pasta and stir.
Tip: When squeezing your lemon keep the cut side facing up in your hands to help prevent seeds from falling into your pasta.
That’s it! I like to enjoy this meal vegetarian style, but if you like meat then you can serve it with some chicken or steak. Both make a great pairing with this pasta.
We just planted some broccoli in our garden and I cannot wait until we can make this using our own crop! What did you plant in your gardens this year?
<3 Dick and Jane

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{Another} Quesadilla Recipe – Mushrooms

Quesadillas are the poor boy’s meal in my home. Whenever I am out of groceries or don’t have anything to cook for dinner I will scavenge through my fridge and put whatever I can find into a quesadilla. This week, since our family has been plagued by the horrid stomach flu for two weeks, we don’t have much in the way of groceries. Now that the kids are feeling better I need to give them something to eat. I was able to forage some tortilla shells and mozzarella (which I ALWAYS have on hand), some mushrooms, onions and garlic. I decided to mix it all together and give it a try; it was surprisingly good! I started off by sautéing the onions and garlic together until caramelized. Then I added in the mushrooms and cook until heated through. Once the ingredients were hot I removed them from the heat and placed them in a bowl. In the same pan I added one flour tortilla and topped it with some mozzarella cheese. I then added a portion of my mushroom mixture and another tortilla shell. Once the bottom side is slightly browned, flip it over and heat the top side. Once both sides are toasted, remove it from the heat and serve with sour cream. Its yummy!
What are you favorite things to add to your quesadilla? Get creative and let us know! Check out my other quesadilla recipe here: Very Veggie Quesadilla
Flour Tortillas
Mozzarella Cheese
Sliced Mushrooms
Onion – Chopped
1-2 Cloves of Garlic
1. Add 2 TBS of olive oil to a pan on med-high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté until caramelized.  
3. Add mushrooms and stir until heated through.
4. Remove from heat and pan.
5. Place one flour tortilla in pan and reduce heat to med-low.
6. Top tortilla with a handful of mozzarella cheese and mushroom mixture. Top with another tortilla shell.
7. Slightly brown each side and serve.
<3 Dick and Jane

My Secret Love Affair {Sweet Potatoes}

Right now I am on a sweet potato kick. I am craving them like crazy! (No, I’m not pregnant) I just get on these kicks where for a few weeks I will eat the same thing over and over. . last time it was broccoli. I sat and ate an entire broccoli head raw one day. Yes, I do understand how crazy this may make me sound. So since sweet potatoes are on my mind again today I decided to share with you may favorite way to cook these delectable potatoes to make them extra yummy!
However before we get to the recipe, I did a little research on sweet potatoes to find out just how good for my body they were. Sometimes when I am craving something so intensely, I believe that my body is trying to tell me something. So I look up what nutrients are in the item I am craving to see what my diet must be lacking at that time. Did you know that sweet potatoes (yams) are full of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Iron and Magnesium. They also contain fiber and beta carotene. See, this is why I like to eat fresh, organic foods. There is nothing better than eating yummy food that I love and having it be helpful to my body.
Ok, here is how I cook my sweet potatoes.
You will need:
3-5 Yams
1. Begin by removing the skins from the potatoes and chopping them into bit sized pieces.
2. Lay the chopped potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Sprinkle with Paprika and Cumin.
4. Using a spatula, toss the potatoes to coat.
5. Cook in the oven about 10-15 minutes on 400 degrees or until slightly browned.
6. Enjoy!
<3 Dick and Jane

Lasagna ~ The Most Versatile Dinner {Ever}

Lasagna has got to be the most versatile dinner option ever. All you need to know is the basic for preparing it and you can swap out the ingredients over and over. No two lasagnas are the same. For instance some nights I will make our lasagna with sausage meat, other nights with spinach and carrots, and some nights with chicken. There is no end to the possibilities when it comes to lasagna.
This was also the very first meal I learned to prepare as a newlywed. I felt so accomplished to have made a homecooked meal. It was so easy and a great starter dish to learn.
In order to get started making homemade lasagnas you will need to know the basics.

Basic Ingredients:
Lasagna Noodles
8 oz. Ricotta Cheese
hand full of Parmesan Cheese
1 bag Mozzarella Cheese
Basic Directions:
*NOTE: Below are the basic directions. Feel free to add ingredients that you like (i.e. meat, veggies) into the sauce before making your lasagna. Then you can proceed with instructions below.
– Begin by preparing your cheese mixture. Combine 8 oz of Ricotta cheese, a handful of Parmesan cheese and a handful of mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Mix until combined.
– Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Lay out a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles to cover the sauce on the bottom of the dish.
– Spread a spoonful of cheese mixture on top of the dry noodles. Cover again with sauce and repeat. Sauce, noodles, cheese mixture until you reach the top of the dish.
– Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the foil top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and bake another 15 mintues.
– Be sure to test your noodles with a fork for doneness. They need to be soft. If they are still hard, continue cooking with foil on until they are fork tender.
This is one of those meals that you can have fun with. Here is a list of optional additional ingredients.
– Ground Beef
– Sausage
– Pepperoni
– Olives
– Chicken
– Spinach
– Green Peppers
– Mushrooms
– Carrots
Hopefully this list will just get you thinking. However the possibilities are endless! You can also change up the sauce types. I typically use a marinara sauce, but you could make yours with a fettuccine sauce or  pesto sauce, really any style you prefer.
If you have a ingredients that you love to combine, share it with us! Just leave it in the comments section. We always read all of our comments. Thanks!
<3 Dick and Jane

Chicken Avocado Enchiladas {What Cookin’ Wednesday}

I am in the mood for St. Patricks day! With my families heritage originating in Ireland, my family has always gotten together to celebrate St. Patty’s day in a big way. This weekend we will be feasting on the over-abundance of Irish themed foods and pulling out the traditional paper hymnals to sing together in a chorus of Irish songs. {Yes, we really do have song books} It kinda weirded me out at first, but now I am used to hearing my relatives belt out “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” in harmony at the top of their lungs.
Since St. Patty’s day is on my mind, I decided to theme our dinners this week around green colored foods. It brought a little bit of fun to dinner time and broke up the monotony of our daily routine. Last night we tried a recipe that I found another great blog for chicken avocado enchiladas. Mmmm.. . they were amazing! I did however have to change the recipe out just a little to make it more kid friendly. The original recipe called for jalapeno peppers and onions that I know my kids wouldn’t eat. It was hard enough to get them to try the green enchiladas because of their color, but once they took a first bite they cleaned their plates.
You can find the complete recipe over on the blog Gimmie Some Oven.
Now, off to prepare a “Pot of Gold” for the kids to find this coming Sunday. I will be posting details on that later!
 May the Road Rise Up to Meet You
<3 Dick and Jane

Baked Spaghetti {Recipe} A Family Favorite

Whats for dinner? Do you ever get tired of hearing this question? Its not so much the question that I get tired of as much as it is the frustration of trying to find new meals to make for my family. I hate getting stuck in a rut, making the same meals week after week. I want something new! For this reason I love read other peoples blogs, play around on pinterest and swap recipes with my mom friends. While some recipes do not turn out as good as I had hoped for and we all have to head into town for a spontaneous night out, others taste amazing and turn into a new family favorite.
Today I decided to share with you one of my families long time favorites. This recipe was given to me by my mother in law a few years back and has quickly become a staple in our home. I was never one to like spaghetti until I tried this recipe. It tastes like spaghetti gone wild with rich flavors and textures that are not common to the traditional spaghetti dinner. Its also super easy to make and can easily feed an entire family.
Baked Spaghetti Recipe
1 lbs. spaghetti noodles (cooked and drained)
1 lbs. cooked ground beef or sausage
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz of cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 pkg mozzarella or parmesan cheese
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Spoon cooked spaghetti into a 9×13 pan
3. In a separate bowl mix together cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese until smooth.
4. Spoon mixture over spaghetti and top with meat and sauce.
5. Cover entire mixture with shredded cheese.
6. Bake for 30-45 minutes
7. Allow the dish to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Hopefully this time tested recipe will get two thumbs up at your house a give you some relief from the daily question of “whats for dinner?”.
<3 Dick and Jane