November 23, 2014

Chicken and Red Onion Skewers

This has got to be one of the easiest, quickest, and surprisingly tasty grilled recipes ever.
3 Chicken Breasts (cut into large chunks)
Red Onion
That right folks, only 3 ingredients!  Told ya it was gonna be easy;)
Sweet chili sauce (optional if you want a little zing to your chicken)
*Skewers and a zip lock bag

The first step of this recipe is to cut your chicken breasts into desired sizes for skewering.  Make sure they are not too thick so that they can be grilled faster and thoroughly (no one wants salmonella at a cookout).  Put those chicken chunks into a gallon zip lock baggie and pour approximately 1 cup of Ranch dressing into the baggie with the chicken.  I added a little bit of sweet chili cause, about a Tablespoon, to my baggie along with the Ranch dressing for a little kit.  I have 2 kiddos and the kick of the sweet chili sauce was not too much for them and it was nice and zesty.
Here is where you have an option of marinating the chicken or not.  On those weeknights that you do not have time, no marinating is required for this chicken to be delicious.  However, I marinated mine for about 2 hours once and the chicken was extra yummy and moist.
After you put the chicken chunks, Ranch dressing, and sweet chili sauce into your zip lock baggie-make sure it is sealed really well.  Then shake and roll!  If you have little ones, they might have fun getting all that chicken coated with the Ranch mixture.  In the meantime cut a red onion into large chunks (not slices-you need some onion bulk to actually skewer).
Once the chicken is coated, stab the chicken onto a skewer.  Then add a large chunk of red onion and then a piece of bacon.  For the bacon, I used those wonderful precooked bacon slices you can get in the refrigeration isle at your grocery store.  They are already cooked and all you have to do is cut each slice in half for the skewering.  The grill does all the rest for you.  Fold a piece of bacon, that has been cut in half, like an accordion to really get good onto the skewer.
I used metal skewers.  If you use bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water prior to adding your ingredients to prevent the skewers from burning.

So, chicken->red onion->bacon.....and....repeat.  Then grill those puppies up and that's IT!!!!
I paired mine with sliced potatoes coated with extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt that I grilled as well. 

November 09, 2014


This castle is about as gorgeous as it gets...a great picture, even on a cloudy day, with it being stationed on top of a mountain in Luxembourg.
Vianden itself is a gorgeous little village.  Just a short 45 minutes drive from Spangdahlem AFB, Germany.
This castle has so much to look at on the inside and outside.  There are lots of items on display, including knights armor, weapons, tapestries, etc.  My kiddos are 6 and 4 and their attention was held the entire time. 
Yes, this castle is in another country but it is such a short easy drive that takes less than an hour.  Make sure to take your passports and international drivers license, just in case.  The only way we knew we were driving into another country was that we saw on the side of the road a sign that said 'Luxemburg' and looked like the country's flag. There is no 'border patrol' or stamping of your passport once you cross over.  Once over the Luxembourg border, drive about 20 minutes through Vianden and you will see the castle. 
Our view from the parking lot-notice the little parking meter to the left beside the street lantern.
Once you arrive at the bottom of the castle hill, also known as Chateau  De Vianden, there is a large parking lot.  We arrived around 10 o'clock in the morning and had plenty of spots to choose from.  There is a small meter at the entrance of the parking lot where you pay a small fee to park, however when we went it was out of order and the locals told us to not worry about it (so parking was free for us that day;).  
The pathway up to the castle.
Once parked, walk up the pathway to the top of the hill.  This is a not too steep, 5 minute walk.  Once at the entrance of the castle, walk through a black rod iron gate.  There is a little window on your right that you go to in order to pay to enter the premises.  I believe we paid about 20 euro or less for 2 adults and 2 children to enter.
You can also obtain a little recorder that looks like a large walky talky for rent for 2 euro.  This recorder can be taken with you throughout the castle and tells you in English about certain areas within the castle. 
For example:  A glass display containing knights armor will be labeled #5.  You push the #5 button on your recorder and it describes to you in English information about the armor. 

To go through the entire castle and its grounds be prepared to spend at least 2 hours (which go by quickly).
(if you are a Patrick Swayze fan be sure to check out one of the large rooms with pictures of movie stars and dignitaries that have visited, including an autographed picture of Mr. Swayze from a movie he filmed on the castle premises):) There are lots of rooms and lots of stairs so if you have a little one be prepared to carry them up and down a lot.  This is not a stroller friendly site seeing adventure.  
Just one of the many steep flights of stairs.

They have the history of the castle, including destruction and rebuilding on display.
There are public restrooms within the castle that are large and clean and FREE.
This is one of my favorite castles due to all the sites inside and out that are available.
In the village of Vianden there are little restaurants and souvenir shops to go to as well within walking distance of the castle.  Most of the shops were very affordable and had something a little different in each one.  We found lots of fun souvenirs for when my mom came with us such as purses that said 'luxembourg' on them, magnets, t-shirts, mugs, Christmas ornaments, small toys for the kids, candy, etc.  

All in all this is a great day trip that is enjoyable for all.  You can visit a great website for the castle here. 
*This castle is open year round, so check the website for the rare holidays that it is closed.  Most castles close during the winter, so this is a great one to see anytime of year.
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