End of the School Year and Cookouts

by Jennifer Wieland

I know I have been majorly slacking here on the blog. Don’t worry though, I have been slacking everywhere in my life as well. It’s truly not that I am being lazy. I have been trying. It has just been really hard with so many family birthdays, the end of the school year and well I have been sick. I have been hanging out a great deal in doctor’s offices, hospitals and labs. It sucks and whatever is wrong with me leaves me barely functioning half the time. Hopefully, they get it all pieced together soon though so the kids have a somewhat enjoyable summer. I am having a good week so far this week and have been working on some things to get posted. With the explanations out-of-the-way. Let’s jump into what this post is all about.

The Christmas holiday and the end of the school year cause me to panic. You see my three youngest need gifts for school staff. This year one needed seven, one needed five and last needed three. They all have teachers, aides, therapists and social workers that need a treat for all they do but this year I wanted to be able to give the kids a chance to hand out a little something to their friends in class as a farewell. So I needed to come up with an inexpensive gift for their friends that was not just candy or something similar. I wanted it to be something they could use this summer to be creative. I got a really great deal on cases of construction paper earlier in the school year. So I still had a full case that hadn’t even been opened yet. I also had pencils that I got on clearance at Target for 75% off and 4 packs of crayons that came in an 8 pack for $2. I had to get some curling ribbon to assemble and had to create a cute little tag that I could attach to all of the gifts. The tags I made came out nice.

OwlYou can click the link below to get the printable version.

Owl Miss You Printable

Now that the kids are out of school and summer is fully upon us, I am going to take a break today from baking and head into the land of cooking. I love baking. It is a true joy to me. Cooking however, not so much. You see cooking is a mandatory chore. Which makes it work which means it is automatically less fun. I do however cook though because I must. I thought I would share two of my favorite recipes. One is for a pasta salad from Kraft that I have been making for years. When I go somewhere and ask if I can bring anything people always ask for this pasta salad and desserts. It is really yummy and different from standard ones as it uses tortellini for the pasta. I usually make it at least 4-6 hours in advance because it tastes better when the flavors have time to marry. The recipe can be found here on the Kraft website.

The other recipe I want to share with you is for my Italian chicken burgers. These are a nice addition to any cookout as they are not your standard fare. This is a burger made with ground chicken and topped with fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce and basil. While this is just as filling as a beef burger it is a lighter alternative.

Pasta Salad and Italian Chicken Burger

Italian Chicken Burger
makes four 1/4 burgers

1 lb. ground chicken
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
fresh mozzarella cheese
your favorite marinara sauce, heated
fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
4 buns/rolls, toasted

Preheat grill or grill pan.

In a large bowl combine the first six ingredients and mix using your hands. Form into four patties using your hands or a hamburger press. Cook burgers completely through, about 10-20 minutes. Cover them with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese and allow to melt. Remove from grill or grill pan and place on bun. Top with marinara sauce and basil and enjoy.

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