Hunter’s First Birthday Spooktacular!

We have had a busy couple of weeks off… and boy are you in for some treats from all of our adventures!The BIGGEST event during our brief hiatus was Hunter’s first birthday!  All the mamas out there have been telling me from the beginning how quickly it goes, but you never really understand until you’re living it! We have a ONE YEAR OLD!

Because Hunter is a Halloween baby, we wanted to celebrate his birthday while incorporating a Halloween theme.  I’m sure as he grows up he won’t always want a Halloween birthday party, but for now it’s something special about him that is worth celebrating!

Here’s a little roundup of our favorite party ideas from Hunter’s big day…

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Hope you enjoyed sharing in our fun! Here are a few of the things we used to make the day extra special:

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

Leftover Chicken 3 Ways

One of the best ways to get a quick, delicious meal on the table on weeknights is to reinvent leftovers!

Gameday Pizza and Wings- BBQ Chicken Pizza Toppings

Today I’m rounding up 3 of my favorite recipes that use leftover chicken, so you can get dinner done in record time! (without the “leftovers? again?” attitude!) So dig that tupperware out of the fridge and let’s get started!

  1. Skinny Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Mix up a batch of our Skinny Chicken Salad and serve with lettuce cups for a quick, healthy dinner! Click HERE for the recipe!

skinny chicken salad

Little ones or hubby aren’t on board with lettuce wraps?  You could also serve it sandwich-style on some toasted bread, or in a tortilla for something a little different! BONUS: This is a great grab and go lunch for work the next day, too!

2. BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Our BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a family favorite and are a breeze to make.  Get the recipe HERE.

bbq stuffed sweet potatoes

We normally serve these with a side salad, but use the opportunity to clean out the fridge and serve with whatever leftover or fresh veggies you have on hand!

3. BBQ Chicken Pizza

One of the most impressive ways to reinvent your leftover chicken is in pizza form… and it’s one of the most popular, too! Our BBQ Chicken Pizza will have you wishing every night was leftover night! Get the recipe HERE.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

In a hurry? Opt for a premade grocery store crust to cut down on cooking time!

Hopefully these tasty reinventions have you feeling like a dinner superhero at the end of the night! When I get that little smile from the high chair, I know that’s how I feel! 🙂

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Baby's First Pizza

We hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

Game Day Pizza and Wings

In keeping with our football-watching theme from our super delicious guacamole recipe, Hunter and I decided on sharing another game day fave at our house… homemade pizza and wings!

I have to thank my in-laws on this one… I’ve adopted the wing recipe from them as the whole pizza and wings night was something Cale really wanted to be able to recreate in our own home.

This is a weekend kind of meal for us.  It’s not difficult, but it does take a little bit of time and prep.  Plus, I normally make at least two kinds of pizza.  This time, I made a BBQ Chicken Pizza, a Pepperoni Bacon Pizza, and a Hunter’s Special. I was able to prep and bake all of those after I got my wings going on the stove top.

To get your wings going, you’re going to start by baking the desired number of wings in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes (from frozen!). I do 10-12 wings if it’s just Cale and I.  It’s enough for that meal plus a few leftovers normally.

Gameday Pizza and Wings-Hot Wing Sauce Ingredients

Once your wings are cooked through, it’s time to assemble the sauce ingredients.  I use 1/2 cup Italian dressing, 3/4 cup Red Devil hot sauce, and a glass of “Mama motivation” (not for the sauce… just for the cook, because wine is delicious and you’re working hard!)

Gameday Pizza and WIngs-Let Simmer Over Medium Heat

Add the Italian dressing and the hot sauce to a large skillet with your cooked chicken wings.  Toss the wings to make sure they have a good coating, and let them simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Now, we can get to work on the pizza! I use a box mix for my pizza dough regularly.  Honestly, it turns out fantastic and is pretty simple when you’re juggling topping prep and your wings at the same time.  If you don’t want to deal with the mixing and kneading, you could use a refrigerated dough or a pre-made crust from the grocery store.

Add Olive Oil to Bowl

Follow the directions on the box to preheat the oven and mix the dough, ours just need warm water mixed in.  Then, I pour just a little olive oil against the side of the bowl and lift the dough ball to let the oil coat the bottom.  On one of my work trips to New York, I took a group cooking class and we made our own pizzas. This one extra step is something I adopted from that experience… it’s a little thing that makes a huge different when you go to turn out your dough to knead it.  Cover your dough and let it rise in a warm place for 5 minutes (or as directed on the box).  I normally put mine on the stovetop for a nice warm spot since the oven is already preheating!

Gameday Pizza and Wings-Let Dough Rest 5 Minutes

While you’re waiting on your dough, it’s time to assemble your toppings.  As I mentioned before, I made a BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Pepperoni Bacon Pizza.  I also made Hunter his own special pizza using some ingredients from the other two.  First, we’ll get going on the BBQ Chicken.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- BBQ Chicken Pizza Toppings

For this pizza, I used some tomatoes (including some amazing heirloom tomatoes we got from the farmer’s market that morning!), barbecue sauce, leftover cooked chicken, and cheese (both mozzarella and parmesan).  We have time to chop our chicken and veggies while we’re waiting to knead the dough.  I like to prep all the toppings to make things easier to assemble quickly.

By now, it will be time to knead your dough.  Turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface.  Make sure your hands are floured too! Knead the dough, adding a little flour if necessary, to get it to a stretchy but not sticky consistency.  I separated a little ball of dough out to use for Hunter’s pizza at this point, and he helped to knead his own.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Knead Dough

Then, press out the dough onto a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Shape is not as important as thickness here, so if you prefer round pizzas vs square… have at it! You’ll just want to make sure the dough is an even thickness throughout.  We like a thinner pizza crust, but you can adjust to your own preference! Put the crust into the oven for 2-3 minutes to pre-bake.  This helps to make sure that the crust cooks all the way through.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Spread Dough onto Cookie Sheet

Next, it’s time to add your toppings.  I started with barbecue sauce, then tomatoes and chicken, and finally my cheese to top off the whole thing.  I used a little green onion on this one, too.  For Hunter’s baby pizza, I used a regular jarred pizza sauce, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Topping Your Pizzas

These went back into the oven until the cheese was golden and bubbly, about 12 minutes on the larger pizza and about 6 on Hunter’s mini pie. I pulled Hunter’s pizza out once it looked done so it could sit to cool off a little more before we sat down to dinner.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Baby's First Pizza

While the first pizza pan was in the oven, I repeated the steps to get the second pizza crust ready to go.  For the Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza, I use regular jarred pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, crumbled cooked bacon, and my mozzarella parmesan cheese blend.

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza Toppings

By the time the first pizza came out of the oven, the second one was ready to go in!

 

At this point, pizzas are done and the sauce in with the wings has reduced and gotten some nice color! Time for a gameday feast!

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Homemade Hot Wings

12 Chicken Wings

1/2 Cup Italian Dressing

3/4 Cup Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking dish with foil and bake chicken wings for 45 minutes (from frozen). Combine Italian dressing and hot sauce in large skillet.  Add in chicken and let simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced (about 30 minutes).

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 Boxed Pizza Crust Mix or Premade Crust

1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce

1/2 Cup Assorted Sliced Tomatoes

3/4 Cup Sliced, Cooked Chicken Breast

3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

1 Green Onion, Diced

Prepare crust and preheat oven according to package directions.  Prebake crust for 2-3 minutes as directed on box.  Spread barbecue sauce over entire crust.  Top with tomatoes and chicken.  Cover with cheeses and top with green onion.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 12 minutes.

 

Gameday Pizza and Wings- Pepperoni Bacon Pizza

Pepperoni Bacon Pizza

1 Boxed Pizza Crust Mix or Premade Crust

1/2 Cup Jarred Pizza Sauce

1/2 Cup Cooked Bacon Crumbles

3/4 Cup Turkey Pepperoni Slices

3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Prepare crust and preheat oven according to package directions.  Prebake crust for 2-3 minutes as directed on box.  Spread pizza sauce over entire crust.  Top with pepperoni and bacon crumbles.  Cover with cheeses.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 12 minutes.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

The BEST Fresh Guacamole

Guacamole is a staple in our house. It’s a go-to whether we’re entertaining or having a quiet night in.

I have always made it fresh, and I think I forget that it’s even a ‘recipe’ to share because it’s just a quick thing to throw together! But this is such a great football season recipe, and Hunter and I whipped some up for tacos during the Cardinals game last week, so I thought I’d share with all of you! You can’t beat the taste of fresh guacamole, and it’s easy enough that there’s no need for pre-packaged stuff!

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We start with 2 avocados. Halve them, pit them, and scoop out the good stuff into your bowl. I had to slice a third avocado for Hunter’s baby guacamole (more on that later…)

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Then, slice your lime. I recently learned a NEW and improved way to slice your lime if you’re going to be using it for the juice. I sliced off each of the 4 sides like I was slicing around the core of an apple. Then I squeezed each segment into the bowl separately. I also squeezed the ‘core’ segment. Altogether, I probably got double the juice out by using this new method!

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We like a noticeable lime flavor in our guac, so I do juice the whole lime. If you’re not as much of a lime fan, only use the juice from half.

Then, it’s time to mash your avocado. I like to add my lime before I mash the avocado because I think it helps to break down the avocado and make it softer.

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Next, it’s time for onion and tomato. I dice one medium tomato and one quarter of a medium yellow onion (about a half cup). Add those into your bowl along with 1-2 cloves minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

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If you like some heat in your guac, add in some diced jalapeño here too. Mix to combine and you’re all set! Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or with tacos, nachos, etc.

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Because avocado is one of Hunter’s favorite foods, I decided to dice up some extra avocado and tomato for him to have some baby guacamole! I didn’t mash it in an effort to avoid a little bit of the mess. We could be really cool and call it ‘deconstructed’ guacamole… Go impress your foodie friends with that!

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The BEST Fresh Guacamole 

2 Large Avocados 

Juice of 1 Lime

1 Medium Tomato, Diced

1/2 Cup Diced Yellow Onion

1-2 Cloves Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine avocado and lime juice in a medium bowl and mash to desired consistency. Add in diced tomato, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Serve with tortilla chips.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama