Brick Chicken with Garlic & Thyme


Brick Chicken with Garlic & Thyme



8 small chicken thighs (2 lb total)
8 clove garlic (in their skins)
8 sprig fresh thyme
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Steamed green beans, for serving


In a large bowl, toss the chicken, garlic, thyme, oil, red pepper & 1/2 tsp salt.

Heat a 12-in. cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Place chicken, skin side down, in the skillet & spoon the garlic & thyme mixture around it. Place a second skillet on top of the chicken & put heavy cans in the skillet to weigh it down (this will flatten the chicken so it cooks up evenly & extra-crisp). Cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the cans & top skillet, turn chicken over & stir the garlic. Return the skillet & cans & cook until the chicken is crisp & cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes more. Serve with green beans.

*Courtesy of Country Living

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Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms


These are a MUST TRY!


Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms


24 mushrooms
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 can pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
mini pepperoni (or your favorite toppings)
basil for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean mushrooms & remove stems. Using a small spoon, scoop out insides of mushrooms to allow enough room for filling. Finely chop mushroom stems. Add olive oil, garlic & chopped mushroom stem to a pan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes cool slightly. Stuff mushroom stems in mushroom caps. Top each with 1 tablespoon pizza sauce, 1 tablespoon cheese & 3 mini pepperonis. Bake 18-20 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked & cheese is browned & bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.


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Cilantro Lime Rice



2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1-2 jalapenos, chopped, seeded & deveined (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long grained rice, rinsed & drained
3 cups low sodium chicken broth (may sub vegetable broth)
1 14.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained (optional)
3 tablespoons mild diced green chilies (from 4 oz. can green chilies)
Freshly cracked salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoon lime juice

(Stove Top Directions)

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red onions & jalapenos saute 3-5 minutes or until tender.

Add garlic & cumin & saute 30 more seconds (adding more oil beforehand if necessary). Add rice & saute for a few seconds. Add beans, green chilies & chicken broth & bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low (dial should be a little above lowest setting) & simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring at 15 minutes.

Remove from heat & let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in butter to melt (optional) & season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir in lime juice & cilantro.


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Chicken & Rice Alfredo


Chicken & Rice Alfredo


13×9 pan
1 jar Ragu Classic Alfredo
1 can chicken broth
Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 c. uncooked rice
1 – 1/2 skinless, large boneless chicken breast

Preheat oven to 400°F

Mix Alfredo, broth & rice together. Pour into pan.

Cut chicken into small cube-like pieces & place then into the pan, into the Alfredo mixture.

Cover pan with foil & place into oven. Bake for 35 minutes.

Uncover & sprinkle with desired amount of Parmesan cheese. Place pan back into oven, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes or until the desired browness of Parmesan is reached.


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Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad


Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad



1 long english cucumber
1/2 lb medium sized pasta (such as penne or rotini)
1/2 sweet white onion

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh dill
2 tablespoons white vinegar
pepper to taste


Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl & mix well. Set aside. Thinly slice onion & place in a bowl of cold water. (see note) Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Run under cold water to stop cooking. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise & remove seeds using a spoon. Slice into thin slices. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Let sit at least 40 minutes before serving.


Soaking the onions in cold water is optional but takes a bit of the “bite” out of the onion.

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Six Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration


6 Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration

Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration
•Flaxseed oil

Did you know that the foods you eat can help you concentrate and get things done? Caffeine present in coffee, flavonoids in chocolate, and the amino acid L-theanine in tea can sharpen your focus – provided you get these in moderate amounts. Having blueberries or taking flaxseed oil can also be useful. Meanwhile, seafood is rich in iron, which is important not only for improving attention but also memory and learning.

Do you find that your attention drifts off every once in a while? The ability to concentrate, focus, and stay on task is important for accomplishing anything. And when you consider cognitive functioning, the ability to pay attention and stay focused is the “gateway” to other cognitive functions – if you can’t pay attention to something, you can’t understand, learn, or remember it.

As we grow and develop, our ability to concentrate also improves. For instance, 6-year-olds can focus on a task for only about 15 minutes but by the time they are 9 years, they should be able to stay focused for around an hour. But if this is the case, why is it that we find our ability to focus floundering quite often? We find it difficult to concentrate for many reasons, including our interest in the task at hand, our physical and emotional state, our environment, our neuropsychological mapping, and our skill level vis-a-vis the task. A variety of physical and psychological factors can help enhance this ability – food is one such factor.

Foods To Improve Memory And Concentration

To improve your power of concentration, try these foods out.
1. Coffee

Many of us start our day with a cup of coffee. And there’s a good reason why coffee works so well as an eye opener – caffeine! Consuming caffeine in moderate amounts can not only improve your ability to focus and concentrate, it can also make you feel more energetic and alert, quicken your reactions, increase accuracy, improve short-term memory, and increase your problem-solving abilities.

But do keep in mind that the key word here is “moderate.” Too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery. It’s not a good idea to have more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day. An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains around 95 to 200 mg, so no more than 2–3 cups a day. Experts also suggest that pregnant women should either avoid caffeine or limit their consumption to 300 mg in a day.

2. Chocolate

Yummy chocolate can also help improve attention and concentration. This is because cocoa beans are a rich source of flavonoids, particularly epicatechin and catechin which have antioxidant properties. Cocoa also contains caffeine. And according to research, cocoa can improve attentiveness as well as mood. So bite into a delicious dark chocolate bar or have an antioxidant-rich cocoa drink when you feel mentally fatigued and distracted.

3. Tea

Tea is said to the most commonly consumed beverage after water. Like cocoa, it is a great source of flavonoid antioxidants. Tea also contains the beneficial amino acid L-theanine, which can modulate certain aspects of brain function. Studies have shown that L-theanine significantly increases brain activity in the alpha frequency band. This means it can relax you without making you feel drowsy, promote mental alertness, and improve attention. No wonder Buddhist monks commonly use tea to help sustain attention over long periods of meditation. You too can try a cup of tea when you find that your focus is fading. But then again, no going overboard. Limit to 2–3 cups a day.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries are another food that can be beneficial for your brain. Researchers have found that sustained attention improves after having a blueberry drink. But blueberries don’t just help you concentrate, they may improve your memory too. Research suggests that the neural circuitry involved in sustaining attention is enhanced by flavonoids present in blueberry may be responsible for these beneficial effects.

5. Seafood

Iron is a particularly important mineral for your brain. It plays a role in making dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is not only involved in attention but also memory, learning, stress responsivity, and hormonal regulation. Studies have found that when iron-deficient women were supplemented with iron, their cognitive performance as well as performance accuracy improved.

Crabs, oysters, clams, and fish are all rich sources of iron. If you’re a vegetarian, lentils, kidney beans, raisins, and green leafy vegetables like spinach work well too. And do keep in mind that your body is able to absorb iron from plant sources better when accompanied by foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sweet peppers that contain vitamin C.

Adult men need about 8 mg of iron per day while adult women need about 18 mg per day. About 45 mg of iron per day is the upper limit that can be safely consumed. Excessive amounts of this mineral can be harmful, so do run it by your doctor before taking supplements.

6. Flaxseed Oil

Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid. This essential fatty acid cannot be synthesized by the human body and has to be supplemented through diet. It is well known that alpha-linolenic acid is beneficial for your heart, but did you know it’s important for your brain too? One study found that when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were supplemented with flaxseed oil and antioxidants in the form of vitamin C they were benefited. And symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, restless, and self-control were improved.

But do keep in mind that it’s best to avoid flaxseed oil while pregnant or breastfeeding as it can have hormonal effects.


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Frozen Daiquiri Fishbowl


Frozen Daiquiri Fishbowl


2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 c. white rum
1/2 c. vanilla syrup
Pour into fish bowl
4 c. frozen pineapple
2 c. coconut rum
2 c. ice
1 c. pineapple juice
Pour over strawberry mixture


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