I ripped this recipe for cheese straws out of a Southern Living magazine way back in 1994!

vintage aluminum cups

No, I am not going on a KonMari kick and throwing away recipes! (at least not this one) The reason I saved this recipe to begin with was it brought me joy!! I was probably initially attracted to the vintage aluminum cups!

Cheese straws are a classic Southern snack. They can be fancy and served with wine or casual and served with football! You can buy them at the store, but they are so easy to make! I made cheese straws to give away as gifts this past Christmas.

snowflake package

I was in a hurry and didn’t even fancy up the cellophane baggies! How sad! At least they were cute baggies.

cheese straws

The cheese straws were very fragile. I had to be careful putting them in the bags. They made a great non-sweet snack to give as a gift! Everyone loved them!

Parmesan Cheese Straws

2/3 cup refrigerated pre-shredded Parmesan cheese or use fresh cheese plus 1/4 cup of flour

1/2 butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 cup milk

*Put the cheese and butter in a food processor fitted with the knife blade. Whir it around until blended.

*Add the flour, salt and red pepper. Process about 30 seconds or until the mixture forms a ball. Scrape down the sides from time to time.

*Divide the dough in half. Roll each portion into a 1/8 inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 2″ x 1/2″ strips. (You can also shape the dough into 3/4 inch balls; flatten to about 1/8 inch; brush with milk and top with a pecan half.) Place on a baking sheet; (I used parchment for easy cleanup!) brush with milk.

*Bake at 350˚ for 7 minutes for strips (10 minutes for rounds) or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

**Makes about 5 dozen cheese straws! I put about 25-30 in each baggie.

**When cutting out the straws, you can use a regular knife, pizza wheel, pastry cutter…whatever you want to make it fancy! You can also use a cookie press if you have one.

So, we had a few cheese straws leftover. After Christmas we were all tired of eating Christmas food! I decided experiment with (and disguise) the leftover straws. I crushed up the cheese straws (This was very easy since they were fragile to begin with!) and made Chicken Parmesan!

Chicken Parm

I dipped the chicken in a little melted butter, then the crushed up cheese straws, then into the oven. (again, parchment paper makes clean up a breeze!) Sorry, I don’t remember how long I baked it. I’m thinking 425˚ for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Once baked, add a little marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese! Back in the oven for another 5 minutes-until the cheese melts. YUM! The red pepper that is in the cheese straws was really yummy in the Chicken Parm! It was yummy in the cheese straws, too!

In my great attempt to become more organized and actually try some of those recipes I have ripped out of magazines, I found this recipe…

It looked so good to me that I found FIVE of these magazine ads in my stash! UGH!

I don’t know why I found it so appealing. I am not a particular fan of mayo. I like it okay if it is mixed in something, like potato salad. I don’t ever slather it on my sandwich or dip my french fries in it.

This time it is used to hold on breading, so I think that is acceptable.

Since I was up to my elbows in mayonnaise while making this, I didn’t dare touch the camera! Sorry, no “in progress” pictures.

Hellmann’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken

1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 tsp Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

Combine mayonnaise and cheese.

Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake at 425˚ for 20 minutes.

Ok, now let me tell you how I did it.

First of all, I hate it when recipes call for Parmesan cheese and don’t specify dried or fresh. When in doubt, go fresh! I hardly ever use “shaky cheese”.

These are the breadcrumbs I used.

Panko breadcrumbs give a nice crispy coating. I like to get plain breadcrumbs. Then I can have them seasoned or plain.

I did add a little Italian seasoning. How much? Ummmm, until it looked right.

I found it easiest to get my hands dirty when adding the mayo. I just rubbed it all over the chicken. A half cup was actually a little more than I needed.

I made sure that the chicken was covered really well with the breadcrumbs so it would be good and crunchy!

Bake as directed.

Oooo! Ahhhh! So savory! So yummy!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: 10/10 would eat again

Megan: I absolutely loved it!!!!!!!!

Katie: Loved it! LOVE OF MY LIFE! I enjoyed every single bite!

Well, I had the what-to-have-for-dinner blues. I just have not felt like cooking. Must be the heat!

I haven’t even felt inspired by anything at the grocery store. UGH!

So, the options for supper last night were sandwiches of some sort or a ham bone that has been in the freezer for a while.

I thought about making a quiche, but there were only 4 eggs! I guess I could have made a petite quiche. I would have had to make a crust-forget it!

I was watching the Food Channel while folding laundry and saw a commercial for 5 Ingredient Fix. She was going to be making spaghetti carbonara. I’ve made spaghetti carbonara before, so I stuck around to watch. I didn’t realize it was SPINACH Carbonara. That would not work-no spinach. (I probably wouldn’t have made it anyway. We are a little too bland for that at my house.)

After rejecting poor Claire’s recipe, I did a search for Spaghetti Carbonara. I came across a site I had never seen before. The name intrigued me-My Italian Grandmother.

This is a picture from her blog. Doesn't it look yummy?!

I didn’t take any pictures along the way. Sorry. I wasn’t really planning to blog about this. It turned out so yummy I just had to share.

The pantry was pretty bare, but I thought I could make it work.

I didn’t have enough spaghetti, so I used penne pasta.

I didn’t have Romano cheese, so I used Parmesan.

I didn’t have Pinot Grigio, so I used cooking wine.

I didn’t have fresh parsley, so I left it out.

Did I really make this recipe?

Check out her blog. It looks like there might be some other tasty recipes there.

"Ooo, quick, before you take a bite, take a picture!"

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Noodles? Good. Cheese? Good. Bacon? GOOOOD!

Megan: It was just okay. The bacon saved it because it could use less of the sauce.

Katie: It was delicious, superb! (Can I get a Wooo?) Wooo! (This is a reference to So You Think You Can Dance. Are you watching this summer?)

Chickpeas? Really? We have a recipe that uses chickpeas that everyone likes.(I guess I’ll have to share that one later.) So, when I saw this recipe in Woman’s Day back in December I thought I’d try it.

Here is what you need:

2 cans (15 oz each) chickpeas

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper –ok, so mine wasn’t freshly ground, sorry

pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Click the picture of the recipe to enlarge.

1. Rinse the chickpeas under water,

spread them out on paper towels and let dry  for 15 minutes.

A cooling rack with a couple of layers of paper towels did great. The cooling rack kept the chickpeas from rolling around all over the place.

Pat the chickpeas dry with additional towels; discard any loose skins.

Click on this picture and you will be able to see the skins that have loosened.

I have to admit I got a little obsessive about this step. Every time I would rub the chickpeas with a paper towel, more skins would loosen. Peeling off the skins was fun, kinda like when you have a sunburn.

2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne, if using.

Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.

I thought they would get coated better if I tossed them in a big Ziploc bag.

Yep, that’s me-doing the zip bag dance!

3. Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing twice, until dried and very crisp, 50-60 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

I wish I had taken a picture when I went to stir them. They looked really different each time.

I cooked the chickpeas for 20 minutes, stirred, 20 minutes more, stirred, then I started thinking maybe they had gone long enough. I got nervous and pulled them after they had cooked about 50 minutes.

They turned out ok. They remind me a little of Corn Nuts, of which I am not a huge fan. They weren’t quite what I expected. Here is what the Critics had to say.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: They turned out a little crunchier than I thought they would — sort of like Corn Nuts. And, since I consider Corn Nuts to be a tasty treat, I consider Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas to be a tasty treat, too.

Megan: They were OK, but I don’t think it should be a regular on the menu.

Katie: They were okay, but they tasted sort of weird to me.

I was delighted to get to have my friend, Joanna,  from Dowlearns Daily, for lunch yesterday. I was so excited and busy that I forgot to take any pictures of the yummy lunch. So, yes, I went back and staged a lovely plate for you to see. I’m a dork that way. What can I say?

We had a great time visiting. I was so nice outside that we ate out on the porch. Bonus-I cleaned off the table, and we didn’t even mess it up!

This recipe comes from a Pampered Chef cookbook.

Next time you go to a Pampered Chef party and need to buy something, this is a good thing to get. There are several good recipes and pictures to go with each one. The last recipe, however, is a trout recipe. There is a picture of a whole fish laying on a plate. Not being a big fish eater, it looks a little gross to me. I probably won’t be making that one. Maybe that is why it is the LAST recipe. It’s at the end. You can avoid it! Anyway, get the book.

You can click on the recipe picture if you want to see it up close. I’ll type it out, too.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup pitted kalamata or ripe olives, chopped

1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

4 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

3/4 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup fat-free Caesar salad dressing

6 (8-inch) fat-free tortillas

1. Lightly grease your skillet. Firmly press garlic into the chicken. Cook over medium heat 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center, turning once. Remove chicken from pan; cool. Slice into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Place in mixing bowl.

2. Chop onion, olives, and red pepper. Grate the cheese. Slice the lettuce.  Put these in the bowl with the chicken. Add croutons and dressing. Toss to coat evenly.

3. Place about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture on a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. To serve, cut each roll in half diagonally with a bread knife.

Just a couple of notes:

I cut my romaine in a chiffonade. Check out this Alton Brown video showing this technique. It is at about the 2:30 mark.

If you want to assemble the veggies and meat ahead of time that is cool. You can even add the dressing. I wait until the last minute to add the croutons and lettuce. They tend to get a little soggy if the dressing is on there too long.

I used the tortillas I had on hand. Can you believe I had exactly six? Yes, they were store-bought. (hands of shame) They were actually the wrong size. If they had been larger I wouldn’t have had to hold them together with toothpicks, and I would have been able to cut them all fancy like in the book. I should have just made them myself-huh?

I left out the olives-not a fan.

I don’t think my dressing was fat-free. Oh, well, all the yummier!

We had two wraps each. That meant two left over for me to plate up for a picture. Hubby sure was happy with his snack of leftovers when he came home from work.

I think Joanna liked them, too!

I hope you try this recipe. It is a great recipe for Springtime get-togethers. Leave me a comment it you try them!