Week One – “A Light Dessert” and Mexican Chicken & Rice Casserole

Gosh our lives have been so crazy! In a good way, but seriously. Not the best way to start off the blog. Time to empty some of the cooking pictures from my phone and onto here…

Our first week back from the honeymoon included 3 new recipes. A dinner one, homemade Popsicles, and a delicious dessert! The dessert was definitely my favorite. For the 4th we went to Deep Creek, MD (almost to West Virginia) and rented a house with 9 other of Matt’s college friends. It was really fun! Each person had to sign up for a meal or snacks or something to bring so Matt and I brought a bunch of beer (we found Leinenkugel’s summer shandy in cans, the next best thing to be discovering it on tap at Nats stadium) and did lunch one day – grilled spiedies and veggies and this wonderful, festive looking dessert. The new dessert recipe was a hit! The recipe came from my friend Kristen at the bridal shower where everyone broughte a recipe for my cookbook. (such a good idea, btw)

“A Light Dessert”
1 box of angel food cake, prepared
2 pints (or more) Strawberries, tops off and chopped up
2 pints (or more) Blueberries
1 small can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 package of sugar free instant pudding, white chocolate flavored
1 12 oz. container of cool whip

1. Mix together 1/2 package of pudding, milk, and cool whip
2. Cut cake up into squares
3. Layer cake on the bottom of the bowl
4. Add cool whip mixture
5. Add berries
6. Repeat steps 3-5
(I sprinkled raspberries on top too for added variety of berries, make it your own!)

If you’ve never made angel food cake (like I hadn’t), use caution, it’s rises a lot. My cake overflowed quite a bit in the oven, not fun to clean up.

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Our new dinner recipe from the week was a Mexican chicken and rice dish. Not too difficult to make, and really easy to modify and make your own. WARNING: This makes a TON of food, a full 9×13 pan. The night after we had it I heated up leftovers because my dear friend Anna and her husband came over for lunch, and it didn’t even look like we had eaten out of it!

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
1 old el paso sauce packet (I used the taco flavor because it’s what we had)
water, as indicated on rice cooking instructions
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups shredded chicken, seasoned as desired (I seasoned ours with Dinosaur BBQ Foreplay rub before grilling)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can yellow corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s fire roasted and diced for a little extra flavor)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
optional toppings:
sour cream
chopped lettuce

1. In a rice cooker or sauce pan, add the water, sauce packet, rice and brown sugar. Cook rice according to the instructions in your package of rice.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Toast chicken, rice, corn, at least 1 cup of salsa*, and beans and cover with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.
*when reheating in the oven for lunch the next day I mixed in most of a jar of salsa, it tasted phenomenal so if/when I make this again I’ll be doing that from the beginning

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