Random Recipe Round-up wk 16 by Kitchen Dreaming
Random Recipe Round-up wk 16
I read that over 70% of most blogs readers are other bloggers. That being said, you can probably guess that like most others, Dina and I follow other food bloggers from around the web with not only our Kitchen Dreaming account but with each of our personal social media accounts as well. We've found so many incredible bloggers. In an effort to spotlight some of our community members, we are featuring a few of them here each Friday. So, let's get on with what we picked this week shall we?   

 
 
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The Weekend Social - Link Party and Blog Hop
Welcome to The Weekend Social - a recipe link party and blog hop. Thank you to all those who popped in last week!! We LOVE to see the number of participants growing each week. As usual, we had a lot of great new recipes added to the party and I personally enjoy visiting each and every link and reading your blogs and recipes. I encourage you to interact with your fellow guests and go by and visit a blog or two each week and say hello. Let them know that you saw them at our party and were intrigued by their recipe. Everyone enjoys being recognized and appreciated for the hard work and effort that they put into their blog posts, photos and recipes they share not only here at our party but on their blogs each day. You will really brighten someone's day with just a few kind words and a minute of your time. 

As always... A party isn't a party without guests so thank you for stopping over to check out our links. We're so glad to have you here, too! Please visit some of the recipes you see posted here simply by clicking on the thumbnails below. It will take you directly to the blog and recipe.  

We have two newcomers to feature this week and there are a few fun perks we give for being a featured blog. The weekly features are highlighted on our social media like FB, G+, Stumble Upon and Twitter, they are spotlighted in the Kitchen Dreaming Recipe Recap- our weekly newsletter and also enjoy a full week of free ad space on our blog sidebar! I should also mention that EVERY  recipe linked up here each week is is pinned to our Weekend Social Pinterest board. Yes, that's right every recipe- just for linking up with us!  

 
 
Baked Chimichangas with Chile Verde Sauce by Kitchen Dreaming
Baked Chimichangas with Chile Verde Sauce
One of my best friends lives out West in Montana; Big Sky Country. It is so beautiful and picturesque and I absolutely fell in love with it even before the wheels touched down on my airplane the first time I ever visited. I've been out several times over the 13 years that she has lived in Montana with each trip even more amazing than the last.

I met Katie on the first day of my junior year of college. She was the (un)fortunate soul who decided to sit next to me in our Zoology Lab class <snicker>. From that day forward began a wonderful friendship. Even over the miles, Katie can still complete my sentences. She just "gets me." Not everyone we know "gets us" and that's okay because our friendship has grown now for some 21 years and counting.  

Every time I visit her, one of my same meal requests plays out over and over. Katie's Chimichangas. She made them for me on one of my first visits out to Montana and I absolutely fell in love with them. As time has gone on, I have sought out ethnic foods, learned about other cultures and certainly have (tried) to learn to cook other cuisines, and I have learned to make her Chimichangas. So when Katie commented that she didn't know "what was so special about [her] chimichangas," I just smiled. For me, what is so special about them is that she made them for me. It's the connection to that memory, to the food and of friendship that makes those chimichangas so special to me. It's the time taken to prepare them and to prepare them especially for me and (now) my whole family.  
 
I recently flew out to Montana to visit Katie and so with images of the West still in my mind and the dust still covering my boots, I say "Until I see you again, my friend.  I love you and thank you for a beautiful friendship all these 21 years."  

 
 
Sticky Chicken with Honey and Balsamic
Sticky Chicken with Honey and Balsamic
My family loves chicken wings but chicken wings and drummette pieces cost about twice as much as their cousins, chicken legs and thighs. So I decided to take a local wing shop flavor and apply them to the larger more budget friendly cut of meat.  

We get all the same flavors at a fraction of the price. Not to mention that these are baked and not fried. Also, you can opt to use boneless and skinless versions of these pieces or even breast portions and still wind up with the same great flavor. Remember to plan ahead though, because these require some time to marinate. Enjoy!  

 
 
Seafood Newburg by Kitchen Dreaming
Seafood Newburg
When my husband and I were first dating he brought me on a river ship cruise down the beautiful St. John’s River in Sanford, Florida.  This was a sunset dinner cruise, with live entertainment, dinner and a slow casual cruise up the St. John’s River.  The night was gorgeous with a warm breeze, the entertainment was your typical cruise fair with a small band, lounge singer who was singing old time love songs. 

 The food on the other hand was better than expected.  I was planning on a simple meal with so-so flavors but what we were served would have compared to any of the top restaurants during that time.  My husband went for a surf and turf entrée and I went for the Lobster Newburg.  The flavors were incredible, the sauce was light and the lobster we were told was the tail meat of local Florida lobster.  I fell in love with the dish but have not found a restaurant that compares.  I have gone back on the river ship and unfortunately so many years later the menu has changed and the dish is no longer offered. 
 
I decided to try to recreate the dish but because of the cost of fresh lobster the dish was a little out of my budget.  I opted to make a Seafood Newburg instead with only a little of the succulent lobster meat that makes the dish famous.  I went through my mother’s old cookbooks and found several recipes that sounded close to the flavors I remembered but with some tweaking and testing I came up with a delicious dish that my family loved, it brought me back to a time my husband and I were young and just getting to know each other.  This by far is not on my diet but as a splurge or a cheat day, this is at the top of my list.
 

 
 
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If you have a business or blog page on Facebook, by now you've noticed a sharp and drastic change in the way your audience receives your posts. Getting your content out to a wide audience can be extremely difficult but, as you know, fanbase and interactions with your content are vital to your growth and ultimately your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The purpose of this Social Media Party is to help each of us grow our fan bases across other platforms of Social Media; namely Google plus, Pinterest and Twitter. This will help us all boost our business or blog's influence across all social media.

 
 
Tortellini with Portobello Mushrooms by Kitchen Dreaming
Tortellini with Portobello Mushrooms
It isn't very often that I crave pasta but tonight that is exactly what happened.  I sent my husband to the store to pick up a pound of pasta and he came home with fresh 5-cheese tortellini.  I figured the fresh pasta cooks faster than the boxed dry pasta so I knew I would have to make a quick sauce.  I did not want a heavy tomato sauce so I thought I would try making a cream sauce which turned out very good.  The pasta was surprisingly light, the sauce was very creamy and had a nice smooth smoky flavor. I have found that my family likes meals that come together very quickly.  This dish turned out to be very satisfying and the family really enjoy the change from our normal tomato based sauce.

 
 
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I can't even believe that it is already week #15 of #TheWeekendSocial recipe link party and blog hop. Thank you's are certainly in order for all those who popped in last week!! It was our biggest party to date and we'd LOVE to see those numbers keep growing. Of course, we had a lot of great new recipes added to the party for everyone to enjoy. A party isn't a party, of course, without guests so thank you for stopping over to check out what's being brought over. We're so glad to have you here. Please do visit some of the recipes you see posted by clicking on the thumbnails below. 

We have some more features this week which are picked by the co-hosts and there are a few fun perks to being a featured blog. The weekly features are highlighted on our social media, showcased in our weekly newsletter and enjoy a full week of free ad space on our blog. Did I mention that every party participant's recipe is pinned to our weekend Social Pinterest boards? Yes, every recipe! 
 
If this party is as exciting as last week, we are in for a really fun treat. Now on to this week's features:

 
 
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Dina and I follow many other food bloggers with our personal social media accounts and we've found so many incredible blogger friends over the last year. The people we've met have helped us grow and mature and we have been welcomed into a community of very supportive and encouraging people. Of course, as with any community, our community is always growing and evolving and we all strive to learn and grow. In an effort to spotlight some of our community members, we are featuring a few of them here each Friday.  If you have some ideas for recipes you'd like to see featured, let us know in the comments. We'll do our best in the next Random Recipe Round-Up to find something to suit your needs!  So, let's get on with it shall we?   


 
 
When you live with a bunch of guys who love Mexican food, you wind up getting a little creative when making tacos.  I decided to change things up and instead of making ordinary tacos I put everything they like on their tacos and combined it with another of their favorites, mac-n-cheese.  This turned out to be a great make ahead meal. I doubled the recipe and froze a pan for a quick meal to make on busy work nights.

Taco Pasta Bake
Taco Pasta Bake

 
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