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Heat getting you down? This summer heat wave has us in the mood for some easy breezy recipes that won’t make the kitchen (and us!) hotter than Hades. To keep our kitchen cool but our bellies full, we are serving grilled 7-Up chicken and pesto pasta. Finishing things off, we’ve got a slow cooker hot fudge brownie. Yes, that’s right – SET IT AND FORGET IT HOT FUDGE BROWNIES! (We know, it’s totally mind-blowing.) Get ready for a meal that will cure your cravings on those steamy summer nights.

Grilled 7-UP Chicken Chef in Training
What do we like in the kitchen? If you answered 4 ingredients or less, you’re right! This grilled chicken recipe definitely fits into the category of easy breezy with only 4 simple ingredients. Since we found this recipe on Pinterest, we weren’t sure exactly how it would turn out. We were pleasantly surprised by the Asian-influenced flavor that reminded us of one of our favorite dishes from P.F. Changs.

With these 4 ingredients, you’ll have a tender and delish dish that everyone will love!

Start by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Poke holes in the chicken with a fork – this helps the marinade penetrate the meat.

Another thing we love? Ziploc baggies – get one out and pour the marinade over the meat. Let this marinate in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.

Fire up the grill and cook that chicken!


Here’s the recipe:
1 cup soy sauce
3-4 cloves of garlic (personal preference really. We LOVE garlic)
2 cups 7UP
1 cup vegetable oil

Trim chicken and poke holes in the chicken.  Mix all ingredients together in a Ziploc bag. Add 4-5 chicken breasts and marinate for at least 30 minutes (The longer you marinate the chicken, the more developed the flavors will be. We like to marinate ours overnight.)

Grill over medium-high heat until cooked all the way through.

Pesto Pasta Junior League of Denver
This time of year, we have basil coming out of our ears. Cindy has a little herb garden and we love to find recipes to use these fresh flavor-enhancers. Basil is one of our favorites! Browsing through cookbooks Cindy has collected over the years, she came across this easy pasta recipe that uses the basil in a homemade pesto. Since we love pesto and pasta, we decided to give it a try! (And it was DELICIOUS. That’s right – so DELICIOUS that we had to use all caps to describe it!)

We start by putting the basil, garlic cloves, salt and pine nuts in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will do the trick.

Blend these ingredients until finely chopped.

Slowly add the oil and blend.  Add the cheeses and blend again.

This is heaven in a bowl! If you make too much, don’t worry about it. The pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Prepare the pasta, and in a heated bowl, spread a little of the pesto. The warmth of the bowl will release the mouthwatering aroma of the fresh pesto.

Place the warm pasta in the bowl and mix in the pesto. The smell alone is TDF, but the flavor is really the perfect mix of fresh ingredients. It tastes homemade, home-grown and is fabulous for summer entertaining. Even Peter, who is not a pesto-lover enjoyed this dish! As for the Nugget, he wouldn’t even look at it – but hey, he’s 7! He sticks to a diet that doesn’t involve things that are naturally green in color.

Add as much pesto to the pasta as you like. We also served the pesto on the side for those who want to add more to their dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano cheese and eat it up!

Here’s the recipe:
2 cups fresh basil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
12 ounces vermicelli (we used Buitoni fresh Angel hair pasta)

Place basil, garlic, salt and nuts in blender.  Blend at high speed until finely chopped.  Add oil in a slow steady stream.  Can be frozen at this point.  Add cheeses and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate if made ahead.

In heated serving dish, spread a couple of teaspoons of pesto in the bowl to release the flavors and coat the bottom of the bowl.  Toss warm pasta with basil mixture until thoroughly coated.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately

Slow Cooker Hot Fudge Brownies – Six Sisters’ Stuff
Listen, we love summer desserts like ice cream and popsicles more than anything when the temperatures reach triple-digits. But there are those times when you just want something a little more substantial for your post-dinner treat. There are times when you just want a thick, ooey-gooey, fudgy brownie. Blended Kitchen (and our handy crock pot!) to the rescue! Thanks to our slow cooker, we’ve got a way for you to indulge your brownie cravings without turning your kitchen into a sauna. (We should probably warn you that we made these brownies three times… in one week. We couldn’t get enough!)

Another 4-ingredient recipe!

Mix together the brownie mix, egg, oil, water and chocolate chips in a bowl.

Pour batter into a greased 3-5 quart slow cooker.

Mix these two ingredients (OR use Hershey’s cocoa) with boiling water. Pour mixture over the batter as shown below.

We improvised here just a little and sprinkled chocolate chips on for the last 30 minutes… There’s no such thing as too chocolately, right?

If using a larger crock pot size like the 5 quart, it will cook a little quicker since it is spread out a little thinner – compared to the 3 or 4 quart. Using a 5 quart insert, we turned off the slow cooker after 2 hours, poured the chips on, replaced the cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. Like an oven, some slow cookers vary on cooking temperatures and times. We recommend checking the brownie after 2 hours. If it still jiggles in the center, let it cook another 30 minutes and check it again. And then if it still looks a little under cooked, keep it cooking. We used a 5 quart and planned on 2 1/2 hrs from start to scooping in our mouths and it worked GREAT!

This just screams easy breezy ooey gooey.

We topped ours with a little vanilla ice cream and nommed our faces off!


Here’s the recipe:
2 cups brownie mix
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa or malted milk powder
3/4 cup boiling water

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Spread batter in greased 3-5 quart slow cooker.  Mix together topping ingredients – completely dissolving sugar and cocoa in boiling water.  Pour over batter.  Cover and cook on high heat 2 hours.  Turn off slow cooker (pour on choc. chips here if you want) and let sit in slow cooker for 30 minutes.  Makes 8 servings

Spoon into bowls and serve with ice cream.

Nom. nom. nom.