Rio Chicken (and DIY Ranch Mix)

I first found the recipe for 'Cafe Rio' Chicken here and thought it sounded really good. I guess it's a copycat recipe from an actual restaurant but I've never tried the real thing so I don't know how it compares. The first time I made this chicken I followed the original recipe exactly. It was good but, in our opinion, it had too much garlic and the spices needed a little tweaking. Below you'll find our version of Crock Pot Rio Chicken. It's a family favorite around here (you know I don't post a recipe unless it is!) and I hope you'll enjoy it as well!


Perfect Banana Muffins

Do you want perfectly spiced, perfectly sweetened, perfectly fluffy, perfectly melt-in-your-mouth banana muffins? Then you'll want to try this recipe. I promise I don't flippantly throw around the word "perfect." (You may remember my Perfect Apple Muffin post.) It's just that once you've found THE recipe you love the best and make time and time again you realize that it is indeed perfect for you. So when I'm needing a banana muffin fix and/or need to restock my freezer stash - this is it!
On the other hand, if I want to make loaves of banana bread I always use Great-Grandma's recipe. It's a texture thing. Both delicious. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Great-Grandma Bingham's Banana Bread

This is the banana bread I grew up eating. No matter which country we lived in or how many times we moved, when mom made banana bread it was this recipe she stuck with. I love it because it is easy to slice and it's not overly sweet. We love eating it sliced, buttered, and broiled just a bit til the edges are crispy. Sometimes we add a drizzle of honey over the top. SO good.


Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

I don't have a picture to share with this recipe because it disappeared so quickly when I served it at my little fella's birthday party last week. I believe I'd better double the recipe next time! I intend to make it again ASAP (as in tomorrow!) and I might add a picture to this post later. But I thought some of you would want to make it this weekend as you host friends and family. It is kind of a big weekend for food and football. Or so I'm told anyway. I'll use any excuse to make and serve food. Especially when it means I can make this dip!

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast
 1-1/2 cup  red hot sauce (approximately 12 oz bottle)
 8 oz cream cheese
 1 cup Mexican cheese blend (or your favorite blue cheese or gorgonzola)
 3/4 - 1 cup cup Ranch dressing.
Bake or poach the chicken breasts. Shred the cooked chicken.
In a bowl, combine shredded chicken with the hot sauce and set aside.
Spread 8oz block of cream cheese into the bottom of casserole dish.
Top with buffalo chicken.
Sprinkle on the cheese.
Drizzle some Ranch dressing, to taste.   
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, until dip is melted and bubbling.
Serve with tortilla or pita chips and/or vegetables for dipping.

I used two large chicken breasts. I baked them in the oven and then used my Kitchenaid with the paddle attachment to shred them. So easy! Of course two forks will do the trick as well, just not as fast. 
Use your favorite brand of hot sauce. I just grabbed whatever the store brand was at Aldi but I'm sure Franks Red Hot sauce would taste great as well.
Season the chicken with as much or as little hot sauce as your crowd can handle. 
Same goes with the Ranch dressing. I have some Ranch haters in my house but they didn't complain a bit about this dip. 


Honey Nut Cheerio Bars

I made these cereal bars for my daughter's K5 class the week we signed up for "special snack" and everyone enjoyed them. I figured the little ones probably didn't want nuts and such in their snacks. But next time I make these I'll be a little more creative in what I add to the bars. They are great for on the go snacks and breakfasts for young and old alike.


Baked Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I came across these pictures I took last year and realized I never posted the recipe! We love pancakes. We love cinnamon rolls. This gives you the best of both PLUS there's no standing over the stove top flipping pancakes and being the last person to sit down and enjoy them. I love that this make a giant pan of pancakes and everyone can sit down together and eat at the same time.  I just had to share this recipe now because these baked pancakes make a great Christmas morning treat.


Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Here is my current go-to recipe for cut-out sugar cookies. I'm a big fan of sugar cookies. Big fan. And I used to think baking cut-out sugar cookies was hard work and not worth all the mess. (Maybe it's because I always turn to this Dropped Cracked Sugar Cookie recipe when I need a fix asap)
But this recipe is not at all difficult and it's only as messy as you (or your little helpers) make it. ;)
Don't limit yourself to baking them only during the holidays! Trust me. After you make them once you'll be sure to make them again and again!