Chicken BLT Salad with Parmesan Crusted Fried Avocados

Well, we made it to San Diego!!  We’re living in a hotel for a couple of weeks until our house is ready to move into, but we’re here.  It feels like we are just on vacation. It’s hard to believe we actually live here now.  

I wonder if it will ever not feel like a vacation?  I will say, staying in a hotel with a four-year old and two-year old for two weeks (while my husband goes to work every day) isn’t my idea of a fun vacation. The family below us has already complained about the noise, pitter- patter of running footsteps, and slamming of doors.  We may get kicked out of here before our time is up! title main.jpg

We have a teeny tiny kitchenette in our hotel suite, but it’s getting very little action.  And like most vacations go, we’ve been eating out quite a bit.  I’m ready for a big, hearty homemade salad.  Just like this one.  Chicken, bacon, and tomatoes over a chopped bed of lettuce. Topped with crispy, Parmesan-crusted fried avocados.  

Parmesan-crusted fried avocados! Make them.

They are so dang good you may just want to eat them plain, and that’s perfectly fine too! Avocado slices get dredged in an egg wash, then rolled in a mixture of bread crumbs and lots of Parmesan cheese.  Give ’em a quick pan-fry ’til they are crispy and golden and you’ll be in heaven.

 I whisked up a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.  I thought I’d keep it a little lighter–we are eating fried avocados after all.  But if you’d prefer, you can drench this salad in ranch, or blue cheese, or whatever your favorite dressing may be!

Chicken BLT Salad with Parmesan-Crusted Fried Avocados
Serves 2
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For the chicken
  1. 2 chicken breasts (or 4 tenders), thawed
  2. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tbs olive oil
  4. 1 tsp garlic
  5. salt and pepper
For the avacados
  1. 1 large (or 2 smal) ripe avocados
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  4. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  5. 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 3 tbs olive oil (for frying)
  8. For the salad
  9. 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
  10. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  11. 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  12. 4 slices bacon (or turkey bacon) cooked and crumbled
  13. 1/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
For the chicken
  1. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper together. Place chicken in a large zip lock bag and pour balsamic mixture over the chicken. Let marinate for 1-2 hours. Cook chicken on the grill or stove top until cooked through, then slice into strips or cubes.
For the avocados
  1. Remove pit from avocado and slice into strips (not too thin). Scoop slices out of the avocado and place on a plate. Dredge each avocado slice into egg wash, then parmesan-bread crumb mixture.
  2. Heat a large skillet with 2-3 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot enough, drop avocado slices in to the pan. Let fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden crispy. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess grease.
  3. In a large bowl toss chopped romaine, tomatoes, crumbled bacon, onion, and mozzarella cheese together. Divide evenly among two-three plates and top with cooked chicken and fried avocados. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil and enjoy!
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Banana Cream Pie M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

banana cream pie cookies with m&m's and chocolate chips. Loved these!

I am so excited to be on Sweet Treats & More! You may not know this but not only have Kristy and I been living down the street from each other for a few years, but we happen to be great friends as well. Her recipes are crazy delicious and their friendship means the world to us. So, I offered to do a little guest post while they are trying to get settled into a new life in California, but what Kristy doesn’t know is that this is a great way for me to publicly announce that I think it’s LAME they are moving!! So let’s grab some banana cream pie m&m cookies and talk about it.

Ok, I don’t really think that. I’m so excited for their new job opportunity but we really are going to miss them. And they better get ready for visitors because we are coming asap! Now, if you read my site you’ll remember how I told you that I had accidentally made banana cream pie chocolate chip cookies when I was trying to make m&m cookies but they turned out amazing anyway? Well, I decided if that mess up worked then why not combine what I was doing and what ended up and ta-da, banana cream pie m&m cookies! And I love them even more than the chocolate chip cookies!

banana cream pie m&m chocolate chip cookies on

And I didn’t even tell you last time why I was making the cookies! My mom had the girls out to visit for a couple of days during spring bread and these cookies were part of our staycation alone. First I have to admit that although we’ve been away from them before I still cried for the first few minutes of driving away. And in fact we both kept saying for those couple of days that we missed hearing them laugh and play. I guess it’s like a little look into our empty nest future. Ugh, that kind of makes me want to cry too.

banana cream pie m&m cookies

Anyway, we both still had to work even though the kids were gone but we did have a fun time still. Dinners were so nice to just sit and chat, we went to the movies and saw Divergent and listened to giggly girls every time the main boy character walked into the scene, (we just talked about divergent on the cucumber grape salad post) and I attempted to surprise Cade with a new cookie which we all know now what happened with that. Anyway, these cookies (and I know how this sounds) remind me of Disneyland. I know, it makes no sense but there’s something about those bright m&m’s and creamy banana cream pie that just seems fun and carefree like Disneyland. And ps, it’s so time to take the kids back to Disney. We have an 8 year old who loves the rides and 4 year old who loves anything pretend, magical and princess so its perfection. Just like these cookies.

Banana Cream Pie M&M Cookies
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  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 large egg
  6. 1 1/2 cup flour
  7. 3 tablespoons banana cream pie instant pudding
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  11. 3/4 cup m&m's
  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars for one minute. Add the egg and vanilla and cream until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, pudding and salt, stirring to combine. Add to the butter mixture and mix until evenly combined. Add the chocolate chips and m&m's and stir in.
  4. Spoon the dough into balls on the cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.
  1. makes 24 cookies
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Thank you Carrian for helping me out and sharing these delicious cookies today!!  She’s the best!! 

Check out some more of her great cookie recipes!! 

monster cookie bars! It's like lunch lady pb bars and monster cookies smashed together

Monster Cookie Bars

reese's monster cookies

Reese’s Monster Cookies

5 Easy Breakfast Ideas using Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spreads!

Why is it everything tastes better with PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese spread on it?  I’ve tried to think of something, anything, that wouldn’t taste good with cream cheese on it but I can’t come up with anything.  It pairs with sweet dishes, savory dishes, snacks…I think I’d put it on anything.

With 24 flavors to chose from there are so many ways to create new food pairings, and simple ones too!  I’m loving using Philadelphia’s spreads to add some fun flavor to breakfast.

 Here are FIVE SUPER SIMPLE  breakfasts using Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spreads.  

1. Toasted Whole Wheat English Muffin + Spicy Jalapeño Cream Cheese + a Fried Egg

Simply toast a whole wheat muffin, slather on some Jalapeño Cream Cheese and sandwich a fried egg (or two) in between!  It’s such an easy breakfast, has some kick, and keeps you full! 

2.  Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese on Toast–My kiddos’ favorite thing to eat for breakfast is cinnamon toast, so I knew they’d love a little little Philadelphia Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Cream Cheese on their toast too! It’s a hit every morning! 

3.  This Blueberry Oatmeal Bread slathered with Blueberry Cream Cheese.  I love that PHILADELPHIA has started using more fresh fruit and vegetables in their spreads! Bring on the blueberries!

4.  Toasted Whole Wheat Bagel + Strawberry Cream Cheese + Sliced Strawberries + Dark Chocolate Chips on top! This breakfast could very easily be dessert too! 

5.  Perfect Scrambled Eggs with a little Chive & Onion Cream Cheese mixed in! Delicious! 

As an ambassador for Kraft Food & Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I was provided product and compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own. 

Hot Tamale Brownies

I should really call these, “Drown Your Sorrows in Chocolate, Brownies.”

Because reality is sinking in that we are actually moving.  To San Diego. This Friday.  Leaving our house that I love, in the quiet neighborhood I’m so comfortable with, and leaving some of the most special friends and family we’ve grown close to over the last eight years living in Utah.  

I’ve been excited about the change, the new adventure, and the job opportunity for my husband.  But wow.  This week it’s suddenly hard, and I’m scared. And I find myself crying at random times throughout the day.  I wish I could blame it on me being a hormonal, pregnant mess. But I can’t, not completely (it certainly doesn’t help).  I’ve never been good at goodbyes, and thinking about saying goodbye to everyone and everything here just stinks.

So I’m drowning my sorrows in chocolate.  And hot tamales. 

It helps, temporarily.  

We got together with friends last week to watch the season finale of Survivor and I brought these Hot Tamale Brownies along. They are rich and fudgy with little bites of gooey cinnamon hot tamale candies.  You get little bursts of fiery cinnamon flavor and fudgy, chocolate together–they taste like a giant chocolate covered cinnamon bear (which I happen to love)!!

I practically ate the second half of the pan all by myself the next day, as I cleaned out the boy’s toy box.  I’m sure it was a sight. Me, sitting on the living room floor with a pan of brownies and a fork on one side and a pile of toys on the other.  Toss a toy, take a bite.  That’s about how it went. 

Don’t wait for a sad and sorrowful day to make these though.  If you love chocolate and cinnamon, you’ll love them! And I hope you ‘ll eat half of the pan like I did, just to make me feel better.

Hot Tamale Brownies
rich chocolate brownies bursting with gooey cinnamon hot tamale candies!
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  1. 3/4 cup cocoa
  2. 3/4 cup butter
  3. 2 cup sugar
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 1 1/2 cups flour
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 box (5 oz) Hot Tamale candies
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in coca, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. In a small bowl toss hot tamale candies with a little bit of flour to coat candies. Then stir hot tamales into the brownie mixture.
  2. Pour into a greased 9X13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.
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