Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marinated Flank Steak


I can count the amount of times I've purchased flank steak on one hand--it's a cut of meat that I seldom buy, because it tends to be rather pricey. I happened to find a piece marked down at the grocery store last night, so I thought I'd treat my husband and I to one of my favorite recipes from growing up! My Mom used to make this flank steak for special occasions--mostly for my Dad's birthday, as it was one of his favorites. It's so very simple to do and the marinade only calls for three ingredients. The hardest part is having to patiently wait 24 hrs to let it marinate before being able to cook it!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!!

Marinated Flank Steak

5 Tablespoons Italian dressing
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Russian dressing
Flank Steak (Approximately 2 lbs)

Directions:

Mix all marinade ingredients well in a shallow dish. Place meat in dish and turn to coat meat evenly. Marinate meat at least 24 hours, turning every 4-6 hours. Grill meat until cooked as desired and serve with sliced mushrooms. (Make sure you slice against the grain!)

NOTE: You would be surprised at how far that amount of flank steak goes--it doesn't seem like a lot, but 2 lbs should easily serve a family of 4-5. Also, I used a grill pan and cooked my steak on my stovetop. I grilled the meat approximately 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare. My husband NEVER ate steak prepared anything less than "well done", but after the first time I convinced him to try medium rare, he was sold! I owe it to my Dad for convincing me that meat tastes so much more flavorful when it's prepared this way!

Source: My Mom :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crunchy Garlic Chicken


People who know me, know that I am a fairly organized individual and thrive on "planning"--I'm not, nor have I ever been much for spontaneity...at least regarding most things in my life. (I'm not saying I'd be devastated if my husband took me on a "surprise date" or something...HINT, HINT!!!), but for the most part, I live by my "planner" and love knowing exactly what I'm doing and when I'll be doing it! Anyway, the purpose of my little "rant" is that I knew I had everything all planned out for Christmas Eve and Christmas and knew I'd have leftover lasagna for last night (when I got home from work), but I needed something for Saturday's dinner. While I was out doing my last minute Christmas shopping this past Wednesday, I grabbed a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, remembering that I saw a recipe in my borrowed library cookbook that I wanted to try! I was just a tad bit nervous, because my husband is a super picky eater and I didn't know if the mere fact that the recipe called for certain ingredients would turn him off, before he even tried it, but he liked it so much that he went back for seconds! I often wonder if he's being honest when he tells me he likes some of these new recipes I've been trying or if he's just saying it to avoid hurting my feelings, but going back for seconds certainly confirmed that this recipe was a "winner" in his book! I was thrilled, because it was SUPER easy to throw together and is a great recipe to add to my "quick weeknight meals" list!

Crunchy Garlic Chicken

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or parsley (I used dehydrated chives)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups corn flake cereal, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (again, I used dehydrated parsley)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 - 2 lbs)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. In shallow dish, mix 2 tablespoons butter, the milk, chives, salt and garlic powder.

In another shallow dish, mix crushed cereal, parsley and paprika. Dip chicken into milk mixture, then coat lightly and evenly with cereal mixture. Place in pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons butter.

Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

NOTE: The package of chicken I used was about 1 3/4 lbs and contained three, good-sized chicken breasts. I ended up baking them for closer to 30 minutes, as they were fairly thick. I had bought popcorn chicken for the kids, because I wasn't sure if they would like this chicken, but next time, I will most certainly make it for them, as well! I definitely think this is a recipe that kids would enjoy! I've found that most smaller packages of chicken from the grocery store tend to contain three chicken breasts and average around 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 lbs, but you could certainly double it if you have more people in your family, or, you could make extra so you could try out the suggestion the cookbook offers--they say that the leftovers are great reheated and eaten as a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise!

Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker Money Saving Meals

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Orecchiette with Spinach, Sausage and Tomatoes


Thankfully, I got two shifts in at the hospital this weekend and I was quite pleasantly surprised when I found a gift in my "mailbox". I didn't get a chance to open it until later in the day, but when I did, I was very touched! One of my friends gave me a cookbook by Pampered Chef, called "29 Minutes to Dinner". It couldn't have possibly been any more appreciated, as not only do I love to cook, but I LOVE quick meals!!! I brought the cookbook home on Sunday night and rather excitedly showed my husband. It seems as if he only "half listens" the majority of the time, but apparently it caught his eye, because he spent yesterday morning looking through it (while I was working) and picked a recipe to make for dinner last night. I didn't get home until about 9pm, but when I walked in, the house smelled WONDERFUL! I had no idea he had picked a recipe from that cookbook until after I ran up and showered, because dinner was supposed to be a "surprise", but I got a kick out of the fact that he seemed as excited by a new cookbook as I was! While I had absolutely nothing to do with the preparation of this meal, I wanted to include it as a post, because it most definitely is worth trying and it was very cute to see my husband proudly making dinner for me after a long day's work. Just a couple of little "notes" before I post the recipe...

1) My husband used bow tie pasta, which was a perfect substitution! It seems awfully difficult to find orecchiette pasta around here--I think I've only been able to find it once!

2) The dish was a tad bit spicy for me, even though my husband said he made a point to use mild Italian sausage as opposed to the hot Italian sausage that the recipe called for. Perhaps it was the *optional* crushed red pepper flakes that he added--he ended up putting two teaspoons. As a side note on the recipe, it suggests using sweet Italian sausage for a milder dish--I would definitely make this recipe again and would consider going that route instead and/or omitting the red pepper flakes altogether.

This would be a great dish to make if you are having company over, as it presents really nicely--it looked really pretty in person, but unfortunately, I took the picture about 9:30pm, so I didn't have an ounce of natural light to work with. My husband served it with garlic bread, but it would be great to serve with a nice salad, as well. God love him, but he doubled it for just the two of us (because he said he wanted to make sure there was enough), so it made a TON! There easily is enough left for at least 2-3 meals! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Orecchiette with Spinach, Sausage and Tomatoes

1 1/4 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
3 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian-herb diced tomatoes, divided
12 oz uncooked orecchiette pasta
2 1/2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated
5 oz fresh baby spinach leaves

Directions:

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain canned tomatoes using a colander into a large bowl; reserve 1 cup of the tomato liquid for later use in this recipe.

Add drained canned tomatoes, tomato liquid, pasta, water, minced garlic, red pepper flakes (if desired) and salt to skillet. Cover and cook 13-15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut grape tomatoes in half. Add grape tomatoes, spinach and reserved 1 cup tomato liquid to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with cheese.

Source: Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner, Volume 2

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fiesta Taco Casserole


Well, well, well...it has been exactly one month since my last post--pretty awful, huh?!? It has just been one heck of a couple of months, between finding out about different family members who are really ill and three deaths between my family and my husband's...two in the past week. We're very much looking forward to a fresh start this New Year and hoping it brings good health and happiness to all of our family and friends!

Although things have been unbelievably crazy/stressful, I still have been attempting to try new recipes! I have several I need to post, but I thought I would go ahead and post this particular recipe, as it's a quick weeknight meal and I know everyone is incredibly busy this time of year! My sister, Sarah, will probably make fun of me, but I'm still borrowing cookbooks from the library to "preview" them and decide if I want to go ahead and buy them. I found a cookbook called "Betty Crocker Money Saving Meals" on a shelf they have with newer released books and figured that was a "must have"! It features over 200 recipes and breaks down the cost per serving...some are much more inexpensive than others. I'm becoming a big fan of "one dish meals"--this recipe would be great by itself or you could even serve it with a Spanish/Mexican rice as a side dish. I have a good 20 or so recipes marked to try, from this cookbook alone, so be on the lookout for other inexpensive/easy meal ideas!!!

To all fellow bloggers: I'm looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs very shortly! I apologize I haven't been commenting as frequently! Aside from checking my email/Facebook, I haven't been doing much on the computer at all.

Fiesta Taco Casserole

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 can (15-16 oz) spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained
1 cup chunky-style salsa
3 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
3/4 - 1 cup sour cream
5 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce, if desired
Additional salsa, if desired

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 10 inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in beans and 1 cup salsa. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

In ungreased 2 quart casserole, place broken tortilla chips. Top with beef mixture. Spread with sour cream. Sprinkle with onions, tomato and cheese.

Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with lettuce and
additional salsa.

Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker Money Saving Meals

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easy Baked Tilapia


I've been on a mission the past few days to clear out the freezers and refrigerator in anticipation of the holidays. I found two bags of frozen tilapia fillets toward the back of my kitchen freezer, so I thought I'd go ahead and thaw them and then try to figure out what in the heck I was going to do with them! My natural inclination is always to start with Taste of Home, since I am a bit partial to their recipes and sure enough, I came across yet another "winner"! This was incredibly easy to throw together and both of my kids, who have been a bit reluctant to eat fish lately, inhaled it! I liked that it had the "illusion" of fried fish with the coating, but the ingredients were all relatively healthy...and it was baked!

Easy Baked Tilapia

3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
2 lbs tilapia fillets (approximately 4-5 oz each) ***I used frozen fillets***

Directions

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic salt and oregano. Coat fillets in crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops


The more we eat pork, the more fond I am becoming of it! (Especially the affordability...I found these really nice assorted pork chops for $.97/lb at Kroger last week!) As I typically do, I doubled the marinade ingredients and I allowed the pork chops to marinate for a good 24 hrs. I think one of my major "turn-offs" regarding pork in the past has been that it always seemed to dry out so easily. Now that we've gotten the hang of watching our cooking times more closely, we've really found that we enjoy incorporating it into our meal rotation more regularly. This is a great, quick, weeknight meal--especially if you marinate the pork ahead of time, which I would highly suggest...they were absolutely delicious! Also, if you are grilling them, make sure to check them after the 5-7 minutes on each side to avoid overcooking them. Several reviewers on Allrecipes.com said that they actually broiled and/or baked theirs, so that's always an alternative if you don't care to go outside in the dead of winter! I haven't personally tried them that way, so I can't attest to the exact cooking times, but just to give you a rough estimate, one reviewer said she used 3/4 inch center cut pork chops and broiled them on each side for 5 minutes and then covered them with foil and baked them for an additional 10 minutes at a lower temperature. If any of you try them baked/broiled, please let me know how they turn out!

Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops

1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops

Directions

In a large resealable bag, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper. Place chops in bag, seal, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn bag frequently to distribute marinade.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Remove chops from bag, and transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan. Bring marinade to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill pork chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side, basting frequently with boiled marinade, until done.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Steak Burritos


I was starting to feel like an awful wife, because my husband is Hispanic and grew up eating more traditional Mexican food, but I, personally, have never been much of a fan. I may have made mention of this in another post, but I absolutely despise things like tamales and will only eat enchiladas if they are made with flour tortillas...I don't know what it is about the corn tortillas that makes me want to gag--the soft ones, that is! I love corn tortilla chips...I could make a meal on chips and salsa! I also love the more "Americanized" versions of Mexican food like fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, etc. Okay, enough of my rant! The point of my story was that I was feeling badly that I don't make more of an effort to incorporate some of the "comfort foods" that he was used to eating during his childhood. I tend to make comfort foods I remember my Mom making (ie: meatloaf), but always kind of cringed when I thought of the smell of some of his "comfort foods" permeating through the house--certain spices literally make me sick to my stomach! Anyway, I went in search of a dish that I thought would be a good compromise...one we'd both enjoy and I found a recipe for steak burritos. The recipe I found was relatively simple and it didn't call for much in the way of toppings, so I followed it for the basic cooking method of the meat and then I added all of our favorite toppings. This is something you could easily customize to your family's liking and the best part is that like tacos, you can kind of create your own burrito with whatever you like--it's not as if everyone has to have onions, tomatoes, cheese, etc. We ate after my son went to bed, but I know he would have had a lot of fun making his own burrito! My husband was very grateful and said he'd most definitely eat them again--when he walked in, he said the house smelled much like he remembered his parents' house smelling when he was growing up...I guess that was supposed to be a compliment :)

Steak Burritos

2 flank steaks, 1 pound each (I used round steak)
2 envelopes taco seasoning mix
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup water
8-10 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Your favorite toppings (Might I suggest any of the following: refried beans, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream)

Salsa Verde (Green salsa), for dipping

Directions:

Rub steaks on both sides with taco seasoning. Place in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Top with onion, chilies and vinegar. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom; cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove steaks and cool slightly; shred meat with two forks (or cut into small chunks). Return to slow cooker; heat through.

Warm flour tortillas and top with meat mixture and any combination of your favorite toppings. Fold ends and sides over filling. Serve with salsa verde for dipping.

NOTE: When I prepared my husband and my burritos, I did so in the following order: I warmed the tortillas, spread a thin layer of refried beans, put the meat on top of the beans, sprinkled Mexican-style cheese over the meat and then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sour cream. They were REALLY good like that!

Source: Taste of Home Online

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tuscan Pork Roast


When I'm stressed, worried or upset, I find myself either on a cooking or cleaning tangent! (Hence the abundance of posts lately!) I actually have several recipes I still need to post. Pork is something that I haven't bought much of over the years--I actually only had pork tenderloin for the first time, not that long ago. I really enjoyed it, but it always seemed to be rather pricey. All of a sudden, it seems as if beef has been outrageous and pork has drastically come down in price. I've been able to find pork tenderloin for $1.34-$1.69/lb and I love the fact that it's generally solid "meat"--I can't stand feeling as if I'm paying by the pound and the majority of the weight is the bone! My husband and I happen to really love garlic, so this was an exceptionally good recipe in our book! I even added a little extra garlic for good measure :) I would think this is something you could easily prep ahead of time and then just throw in the oven around dinnertime. I did find that it took longer to bake than the recipe stated...my pork roast was about 4 pounds and it definitely took closer to 2 hrs. Well worth it, though, and I would highly recommend! (Just as an FYI for those of you who have a Kroger nearby...pork tenderloin is on sale this week for $1.37/lb, I believe!)

(Prior to cutting it...)

Tuscan Pork Roast

5 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled (I may have used a bit more...we love garlic!)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)

Directions:

In a food processor, combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt; cover and process until mixture becomes a paste. Rub over the roast; cover and let stand for 30 minutes. (I let the rub sit on the roast for closer to an hour).

Place roast, fat side up, on a greased baking rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. (I made a 4 pound roast and it took closer to 2 hrs...make sure you use a meat thermometer to watch it closely!) Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Source: The Taste of Home Cookbook

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken


I always love using my crockpot year-round, but am especially fond of using it this time of year! There's something so comforting about coming in from the cool weather and knowing that you have a nice home-cooked meal waiting for you. I doubled the "sauce" ingredients (as reflected by the amounts I listed in the recipe) and was glad I did--it was nice having plenty of sauce to spoon over the cooked chicken. The only change I would make would be to cut back a bit on the cooking time--I think 3 hrs would be plenty of time, since you are already browning the chicken prior to placing it in the crockpot. (I made a notation of this below, as well!) I served the chicken with buttered rice and sprinkled it with a bit of parsley for garnish, but only served the sauce on the chicken. Enjoy :)

Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken

6 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 3 pounds), skin removed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Hot cooked rice

Directions:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Combine the oregano, seasoned salt and pepper; rub over the chicken. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken in butter; transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker.

Add the water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillon to the skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. (I cooked mine closer to 4 hours, but think it may be better to aim for 3 to avoid overcooking the chicken...the flavor was good, but it was a tad bit dry for my liking!)

Baste the chicken. Add parsley. Cover and cook 15-30 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear. If desired, thicken cooking juices and serve over chicken and rice.

Source: Taste of Home, The New Slow Cooker

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stuffed Green Peppers


My sister, Sarah, made these stuffed peppers several years back and I immediately fell in love with them! We were all up north visiting my parents together and she so kindly offered to prepare dinner...I knew it would be delicious, as she is a wonderful cook! My kids absolutely love the meat and rice mixture and will often make a meal out of that alone :) My VERY picky husband even loves them! My sister served them with mashed potatoes and corn, which is what I've done ever since--definitely great comfort food!

Stuffed Green Peppers

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 large green bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 1/2 - 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 large jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and begin to brown meat in a large saucepan, over medium heat. While meat is browning, place green peppers in a large pot, with enough water to cover. Boil peppers for approximately 15 minutes. Once meat is browned and drained (and while peppers are boiling), add onion, cooked rice, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the large saucepan with the meat; simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Remove peppers from the water and set aside in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture onto each half of the green peppers. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden brown.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of each stuffed pepper. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes


This past week has been really difficult--my grandfather passed away last Saturday, somewhat unexpectedly. He will be truly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him...he was such a warm and gentle soul and would have done absolutely anything for anyone. I miss you, Popie, and this post is in your honor :)

(This picture was taken at our house a couple of years ago at our son's b-day party. Popie was always such a kid at heart...note the party hat!)

I actually made these potatoes about a week and a half ago--the same night my sister, Sarah made them...total coincidence. I know she really enjoyed them, as did my husband and I. I found that they did take a little longer than an hour to get tender and I think my sister had the same problem, but they were certainly worth the wait! They were absolutely delicious with butter and sour cream!

Hasselback Potatoes

3 russet potatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Garlic cloves, sliced into thin slivers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After washing the potatoes well, thinly slice each potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. (Place the potato on a large serving spoon so you won't cut all the way through).

Season each potato with basil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Place a thin slice of garlic between each layer. Place the potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 1 hour or until the potato is tender. Serve with butter and sour cream if desired.

Source: For the Love of Cooking

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simply Great Chicken


I have been attempting to try this recipe for a few days now, but it seemed as if something always got in the way! My intention was to use a package of split chicken breasts that I purchased at Meijer, however, for about the 6th time this year, I went to open the package, TWO days before the sell by date and it smelled awful! Has anyone else had a problem with Meijer meat/chicken??? I am honestly convinced that they are switching dates, as it appears awfully coincidental that it only occurs with their meat and chicken! This occurred on Sunday night and my husband planned to take it back Monday (after he got home from work), but we ended up taking our son to the emergency room--both of our kids have been really sick. He was finally able to run it back to Meijer on Tuesday, which was the actual "sell by date" and they said they couldn't do anything about it since we didn't have a receipt. Ummmm, hello!!!!!!!! I don't generally keep grocery receipts, as I don't expect my food to be spoiled when I go to use it...especially two days before the sell by date! We weren't wanting/asking for anything for free--all we wanted was an even exchange...another package of chicken, the exact same weight! They refused to do an even exchange--all they would do is give us the amount of money back that the package was marked (in the form of store credit) and we would have to buy another package of chicken. Naturally, the sale had just switched, so of course the chicken was now double the price. My husband ended up with a store credit and I ended up going out the next day and buying my chicken elsewhere! Anyway, enough of my rant!

I found this recipe on Katy's blog (Food for a Hungry Soul) and as I expected, it was wonderful! She has yet to disappoint me :) I used chicken leg quarters, but would be anxious to try it next time with the boneless skinless chicken breasts. The sauce was delicious, but the chicken didn't seem to absorb as much of it as I had hoped for. I also didn't seem to get as much "sauce" as Katy did--her picture looks much better! This was a great, easy meal to throw together and one I will definitely try again. Thanks, Katy :)

Simply Great Chicken

3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
1 ( .7 ounce) packet of dried Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasonings)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 13 inch x 9 inch pan and set aside, and/or it may be preferable to line your dish with aluminum foil as the sugar tends to caramelize while baking.

Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the dried Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, mixing together well.

Dip and press the chicken pieces into the mixture, coating front and back and place into your prepared pan, topside of the chicken facing up. Any extra coating that remains can just be sprinkled over the chicken.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is done. Per Katy's suggestion, I turned the chicken over a couple of times and spooned the sauce over it while it was baking. My "final turn" left the chicken with the top side facing up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheesy Microwave Cauliflower


Okay, so not a very "original" name for this quick side dish, but it's one of those sides that everyone always seems to enjoy, so I thought I'd post it :) It is so easy to throw together and cooks in the microwave...BONUS! To be completely honest, I never exactly measure the ingredients, so I'm just going to give you the approximate measurements and you can play around with it to your liking.
(It tastes better than it probably looks!)

Cheesy Microwave Cauliflower

One large head of cauliflower
3/4-1 cup mayo (or Miracle Whip...I tend to prefer the sweetness of Miracle Whip)
3 Tablespoons of mustard (you can adjust the amount if you aren't much of a mustard fan or increase it if you are especially fond of mustard!)
5-6 slices American Cheese

Wash cauliflower, remove leaves and some of the bottom core, if it's especially bulky at the bottom. Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish (preferably with a lid, but you can always use wax paper, too!) and add approximately 1/2 cup of water. Combine mustard and mayo in a small bowl and spread generously over the cauliflower. Microwave, covered, for approximately 15 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved. When cauliflower is done cooking, leave in microwave, remove cover, place American cheese slices all over to cover entire head of cauliflower and allow to sit in microwave for a few minutes until cheese melts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baked Garlic Lemon Tilapia


Ummmmm, yeah...I'm still VERY behind on my blogging! I feel absolutely terrible, because I truly miss each and every one of your blogs and hope you know that I plan to do some major "catching up" in the next couple of weeks!!! I have caught a recipe here and there, but am fairly certain I have missed quite a few. It's just been such a busy month or so...I actually made this tilapia on September 24th and am just now getting around to posting it! As for the recipe, I'm not sure it was my "favorite" tilapia recipe, but it was definitely good...especially if you're trying to watch what you eat. (It came from a blog dedicated to Weight Watcher recipes). Speaking of which, I have met my goal, so I am SO over this whole dieting thing. I'm a very strong-willed and determined individual, but have a difficult time cutting out my favorite foods!!! :) I hope you all are well and I can't wait to check out your latest posts!!!

Baked Garlic Lemon Tilapia

(6) 6oz tilapia fillets (I used frozen)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp fresh parsley (I didn't have any fresh, so I substituted dried)
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter on a low flame in a small sauce pan. Add garlic and saute on low for about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and shut off flame.
Spray the bottom of a baking dish lightly with cooking spray.

Place the fish on top and season with salt and pepper. Pour the lemon butter mixture on the fish and top with fresh parsley. Bake at 400° until cooked, about 15 minutes.

NOTE: Weight Watcher's Points--5 pts per 6 oz serving

Source: Gina's WW Recipes

Monday, September 21, 2009

Herbed Turkey Breast


This was one of the most bizarre recipes I have ever made! I VERY seldom use sage when I cook and if I do, it's always in moderation (maybe 1/2 tsp at most). This recipe called for one tablespoon, which didn't really phase me, until it started cooking and the smell permeated throughout the house. I don't know if it's just me, but apparently I have an aversion to that particular smell!!! I seriously felt like I was going to be sick and I had visions of having to toss this entire turkey breast. It's crazy, because you all might really like the smell...it could just be that I'm not used to cooking with sage (and don't remember my Mom ever using it)--I actually have kind of noticed that my "sense of smell" has changed a little since having my kids...certain smells bother me now that never used to bother me. The craziest part, is that it was some of the BEST turkey I have ever eaten!!!!! The flavor was wonderful and the turkey itself was incredibly moist. We ate it hot the night I made it (with mashed potatoes, of course!!!) and had the leftover turkey cold for sandwiches last night since I worked all day. I know my "review" of this recipe is a bit strange and I hope it doesn't deter any of you from trying it, because it really was great! Also, like I mentioned...I'm just not at all used to cooking with sage!

Herbed Turkey Breast

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bone-in turkey breast (5-1/2 to 6 pounds)

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan; baste with butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170°, basting every 30 minutes.

Source: Taste of Home

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pepper-Crusted Pork Tenderloin


I don't have very much experience cooking pork tenderloin, so I'm always at a loss for ideas when I do pick one up! I noticed they were on sale last week for $1.47/lb which was very reasonable, so I had my husband stop and grab one on his way home from work. He came home with about a 5 lb pork tenderloin and since I knew only he and I would be eating it, I cut it in half and froze the other half. As usual, I turned to my trusted Taste of Home cookbooks and found this recipe for Pepper-Crusted Pork Tenderloin. The breaded pork chops I made were a huge hit, as was the Parmesan Chicken (which had a similar coating, minus the Parmesan cheese), so I knew we'd have to give this recipe a try! My goodness was this BY FAR my favorite pork tenderloin recipe to date! I highly recommend it!!!! The actual cooking time may need to be adjusted if you're using a larger piece of pork, as we did...I think it was in for about 20 minutes covered and closer to 50 minutes uncovered, but I would watch it carefully...I think the meat thermometer needs to read about 160 degrees. I had to run to an appointment last night, but my husband took it out at about 157 degrees and let it sit for a good 15 min and it was perfect! (Yet again, please excuse the photo...it was taken close to 9pm and unfortunately, I didn't have an ounce of natural light!)

Pepper-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins (3/4 pound each)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 to 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup soft bread crumbs (I may have used a little more...I coated it pretty generously!)

Directions:

Place tenderloins side by side and tie together with kitchen string. (I omitted this step altogether, because I just used one 2 1/2 lb pork tenderloin). In a small bowl, combine the mustard, buttermilk, thyme, pepper and salt; spread over surface of meat. Press crumbs onto meat.

Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove string before slicing.

NOTE: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can measure out a tablespoon and add the tiniest splash of lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes and you've got buttermilk :)

Weight Watcher Points: Approximately 7 points in a 6 ounce serving of pork

Source: Taste of Home

Monday, September 14, 2009

Parmesan Chicken


I have REALLY been struggling to find healthier recipes to make...or those that are within my "point allotment". I love the fact that Weight Watchers allows you to eat most anything, but 20 points isn't very much for a day! I came across this recipe for Parmesan chicken in a cookbook that I borrowed from the library. I've kind of gotten in the habit of checking out cookbooks, looking through them and determining if I can find enough recipes that warrant purchasing the book. This was a very quick recipe to whip up and was really flavorful for not very many points, for those of you also following Weight Watchers--I noticed that several of you commented on how you were! Speaking of which, from now on (or for at least as long as I can survive counting points), I plan to include the point value for everything I make to hopefully make things a little easier for some of you!

Before I post the recipe, I wanted to mention one additional thing to everyone! If you have not already signed up for the "Foodie BlogRoll", I highly suggest that you get on that! I signed up shortly after I started my blog (per my sister's recommendation, I believe) and just found out the other day that I was randomly selected to win a prize package! I didn't have to specifically enter or anything--I guess I automatically qualified for the giveaway, merely for being a member! Cube Artisan Foods is awarding me with a four-pack of products, including their Velvet Tomato Soup, Roasted Kabocha Soup, 4 Cheese Mac & Cheese, and Triple Berry Cobbler. I can't wait to receive my package!!! Now for my recipe... :)

Parmesan Chicken

1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (I would maybe even cut down to 1/4 tsp, as it tasted a little salty to me!)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
(6-8) 6 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness

Directions:

In a pie plate or shallow bowl, combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt. In a plastic bag, combine crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then shake in crumb mixture.

Place in an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan. Drizzle with any remaining butter mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Note: Approximately 6 1/2 Weight Watcher Points in a 6 oz serving of chicken

Source: Taste of Home Grandma's Favorites

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Herb-Crusted Chuck Roast



Well, my husband and I decided to start doing Weight Watchers...not "formally" or anything, but just following the whole point system. I need to lose those last few pounds from when I had my little girl and my husband...well, he needs to lose the weight he gained with me throughout both pregnancies and kept on :) His weight gain doesn't bother me from a "physical standpoint", but as a nurse, I worry from a "health perspective". Needless to say, this recipe probably was not the best choice for dinner, but it is SO hard for me to resist these delicious recipes I've been trying!!! I purposely "banked" my points throughout the day so I could indulge myself this evening :) I did not have any savory or ground mustard, so I substituted marjoram, sage and Dijon mustard, per a reviewer's recommendation. I also did not want to press my luck and make the sauce, so I cannot tell you firsthand how it was, but it looked great, so I figured I'd go ahead and include it! PLEASE let me know if any of you make it...I'd love to know your thoughts...or know if I should remove it if it's awful!

Herb-Crusted Chuck Roast

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 (3 pound) boneless chuck eye or top blade

SAUCE:
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Rub over entire roast. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender and reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees F; medium, 160 degrees F; well-done, 170 degrees F). Let stand 10 minutes before carving.


Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Serve with the roast.

Source: Allrecipes.com

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whole Baked Chicken in the Crock Pot

I've mentioned my "issues" with whole chickens in previous posts...I don't know why, but they somewhat gross me out! I pride myself on being a good shopper, however, and seeing as how there were very limited "beef/chicken/pork" items on sale this past week, I broke down and bought a whole chicken...on sale for $.88/lb, I might add :) I noticed a while back that Heidi (Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi) posted a crock pot chicken recipe and with her rave reviews, I knew it had to be great! I followed her recipe to a tee, except I think my chicken was closer to 5 lbs (I was hoping to have a little extra to make some chicken salad for myself, except we just about polished off the whole bird....that's how good it was!) I also one and a halved the spices, due to the larger size of the chicken. The chicken turned out perfectly...so moist and tender! I had an appointment yesterday afternoon, so I only cooked it on high for about an hour and a half and then turned it down to low for approximately 5 1/2 hours.
(This was my plate...I was working on the thighs!)

Whole Baked Chicken in the Crock Pot

1 whole chicken (2-3 lb) --again, I used a 5 lb chicken!
2 tsp salt (I used Kosher salt)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Wad 3-4 pieces of aluminum foil into 3 inch balls and place in bottom of crock pot. Pour enough water in crock pot to just cover the bottom. (I used about 1/2 inch of water). Rinse chicken and pat dry. Mix seasonings in a small bowl; rub into chicken. Place chicken in crock pot, on top of foil "balls". Cover and cook on high for 2 hours and then turn crock pot to low for an additional 5 hours.

Source: Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Open-Faced Tuna Melts


Do you ever have one of those afternoons when you're sitting around and all of a sudden realize how hungry you are, but have absolutely no idea what to make?!? That's what happened to me the other day, but it dawned on me relatively quickly that I had noticed a recipe for a tuna melt in one of my Taste of Home magazines the other day when I was marking recipes to try! This is BY FAR my new favorite tuna melt recipe!!! I did not have any celery on hand, so I added a little extra green pepper, but the peppers were a great addition! I had my sandwich ready to stick in the oven in about 5 minutes, so if you're looking for a quick lunch (or dinner) idea, this is perfect! They can be ready in 10 minutes!!!

Open-Faced Tuna Melts

1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip)
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (6 oz) tuna, drained and flaked
2 hamburger buns, split and toasted
4 slices tomato
2 tablespoons shredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese (or more, if you like cheese as much as I do!)

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; stir in tuna. Spread over each bun half; top with a tomato slice. Sprinkle with cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking (June/July 2009)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oven Fried Pork Chops and Parmesan Knots



Am I the only person on the face of the Earth who has not tried breaded pork chops?!? I saw this recipe on Donna (My Tasty Treasure's) blog and thought they looked fantastic! I generally throw out meal ideas to my husband, to see if he "bites", because after all, he is VERY picky and I don't care to waste my energy if he's going to refuse to eat what I make for dinner. He was so excited when I mentioned these pork chops, because he said that he had only eaten them breaded before he met me, as that was how his Mom made them.

We have all still been battling this nasty virus going around, so I kind of threw together last night's dinner at the last moment and decided to also add this Parmesan Knots recipe from my latest Taste of Home Cooking Magazine. This is a great way to "doctor up" the refrigerated buttermilk biscuits you can buy--especially if you need something quick when you have guests coming over! My rolls turned out a little smaller than I anticipated, but they were very cute and tasted great!

Oven Fried Pork Chops

4 (3/4 inch thick) bone-in pork chops
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Combine egg, pineapple juice and soy sauce in a small bowl and whisk gently. Combine breadcrumbs and next three ingredients. Dip chops in egg mixture and then dredge in breadcrumbs.

Place chops on a rack in a greased roasting pan. Drizzle butter over chops. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes; turn and bake approximately 25 minutes longer or until done.


Parmesan Knots

1 tube (12 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions:

Cut each biscuit into thirds. (I didn't cut mine...they seemed smaller than usual, to start!) Roll each piece into a 3-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add the warm knots and gently toss to coat.

Source: My Tasty Treasures and Taste of Home August/September 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Penne with Spicy Italian Sausage, Cream, Tomatoes and Peas


I've been a little "under the weather" the past few days, but I was bound and determined to stick to my meal plan for this week! I've been wanting to try this recipe for quite a while now...my parents gave my sister, Sarah and I a special cookbook put out by Sam's Club, called "Favorite Family Dinners". It includes recipes from many famous chefs, including Tyler Florence, who I know so many of you rave about :) This was one of the recipes that immediately caught my eye and then when Sarah made it and posted it on her blog, I knew we had to try it! I was a little nervous to use the spicy Italian sausage, as I've never been a fan of eating anything too spicy, but it honestly was not the least bit overpowering and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again! There were a couple of minor substitutions that I had to make, as I did not quite have the energy to run out to the store and I wasn't about to ask my husband to make another trip out, but the dish still turned out great!

Penne with Spicy Italian Sausage, Cream, Tomatoes and Peas

4 links spicy Italian sausage (I went ahead and used all 5 that came in the package!)
1 pound dried penne
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves (one of the items I didn't have, so I used the dried)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream (I substituted half and half, as it was about 1/3 the cost)
2 cups peas, blanched
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sausages in a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden and just cooked. Cut sausages at an angle into bite-size pieces.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender yet firm (al dente).

Set a large, heavy-based pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, then fold in cream and continue to simmer until rich and creamy. Add sausage, blanched peas, pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fold together and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Serve topped with a shower of cheese and garnish with basil.

*TIP: To blanch peas, submerge them into boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes (1 minute for frozen peas), then strain them and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Strain them again and set aside.

Source: Sam's Club Favorite Family Dinners (excerpted from Tyler Florence's cookbook: Dinner at My Place).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Classic Hamburgers and Crash Hot Potatoes


The summer is winding up and I just could not resist making grilled hamburgers at least one more time! This recipe comes from a cooking magazine that I recently won in a giveaway...there are SO many wonderful recipes--thank you again, Lynda!!! We're having some "grill issues", so the hamburgers did get a tad bit charred on the outside, but they were still really good and actually were a little too rare on the inside...I hate to admit this, but we actually just stuck them in the microwave for a minute! I kept trying to decide what to serve with them (in addition to corn on the cob) and as I was looking through my refrigerator, I came across about 8 good-sized red potatoes that I needed to use. I went in search of a recipe and found this recipe for "Crash Hot Potatoes" on For the Love of Cooking. Pam has absolutely wonderful recipes on her blog--I've never been disappointed by anything I've tried! The potatoes were a little too "grown up" for my 4 year old and 17 month old, but my husband and I really liked them.

Classic Hamburgers

1 pound ground round
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, minced (about 3/4 cup)
1 large egg white (I used the whole egg)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
4 slices Provolone cheese (*my addition*)
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices red onion, separated into rings
8 thin slices tomato
4 whole wheat kaiser rolls, split (or your "roll of choice")

Directions:

Prepare grill. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Shape into 4 (1/4 inch thick) patties---(I actually increased the ingredients and made them closer to 1/3 - 1/2 pound each!).

Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. (Add cheese last couple of minutes, optional!)

Top hamburger with lettuce, onion and tomato...and any other condiments you so desire!


Crash Hot Potatoes

12-15 baby red potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Place on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray or drizzled with olive oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and with a potato masher, gently smash each potato. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper (I also added a Rosemary Garlic Seasoning that I had from Sam's Club!).

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Eat plain or top with a little sour cream and green onions. (I didn't have any green onions, so I actually sprinkled them with chives).

Source: Cooking Light Healthy Summer Grilling and For the Love of Cooking

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta



My husband eagerly volunteered to make dinner last Saturday night, so that I could shower and unwind before heading to work bright and early the next morning. I found this recipe earlier in the day and was thrilled that I just so happened to have all of the ingredients! We actually used frozen tilapia fillets and I would not hesitate to make this again--or let my husband make it again, I should say ;)


Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta

16 ounces elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons light olive oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets
3 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the pasta:
2 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the macaroni uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of the tilapia fillets with lemon juice, oregano, basil, cilantro, salt, and pepper, and lay the fillets in the heated skillet, making sure they don't touch. Sear the fillets for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is golden brown on the outside, and opaque and flaky inside.

Return the hot, cooked macaroni to the saucepan, and stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat the pasta. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, stir to mix, and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, the garlic powder, basil, oregano, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Divide the pasta between two plates, and top each with a tilapia fillet.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce


This recipe comes from one of those little recipe cards that you occasionally receive through the mail...I actually think I made it for the first time about 6 years ago, shortly before we moved into our house, but I happened to come across it about a week ago and knew I had to add it to my weekly menu! It probably is not the healthiest of recipes (as the chicken strips are fried), but it's perfect for a quick, weeknight meal...especially now that kids have started going back to school. I had every intention of making the honey mustard sauce, but found out that I didn't have nearly enough honey, so while I'm going to include the recipe, I do not have a picture. I did try it 6 years ago and remember really liking it! (Sorry the chicken finger picture is a bit dark...we didn't end up eating until close to 9pm!)

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

Honey Mustard Sauce:

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Directions:

Cut chicken into 1/2 x 2-inch strips. For honey mustard sauce, blend honey and mustard in a small bowl; set aside. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in milk. Roll in flour mixture to coat well. Place chicken on waxed paper.

Pour 1/4 inch of oil into a large, heavy skillet. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F or until a cube of white bread dropped in oil browns evenly in 1 minute. Divide chicken into batches. Place chicken in an even layer in hot oil. Fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the honey mustard 1 or 2 days ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend. Fry the chicken fingers up to 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil. Reheat in a 300 degree F oven.

Source: Easy Everyday Cooking (Card 10)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chicken Club Sandwich


I've been on a major cleaning frenzy...I made my two page list and have been working hard to cross things off! I worked up quite an appetite, so I headed down to the kitchen to see what I could grab for a quick bite to eat. I didn't want to waste much time, so as I was looking through the refrigerator, I realized I had all of the ingredients to make BLT's. Then, it dawned on me that my husband had grilled some delicious chicken breasts the other night, so I thought I'd throw together a "chicken club". My recipe isn't anything extravagant, by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say...the way the chicken breasts were seasoned made a HUGE difference, which is why I thought I'd share this "recipe"...if you even want to call it that :) The proportions I'm giving are just for one sandwich, but obviously you can easily adjust if you want to make it for additional people!

Chicken Club Sandwich

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
Durkee Grill Creations St. Louis Style Chicken & Rib Rub (the *secret* ingredient!)
3-4 slices of bacon (the more the merrier!)
Miracle Whip
Lettuce
Roma tomato, sliced
2 slices of bread (anything will work...I actually just used plain white bread!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub chicken breast generously with the Chicken & Rib Rub (on BOTH sides) and grill for 8-10 minutes (turning halfway through) or until no longer pink. While chicken is grilling, place bacon in oven and cook until desired crispness is achieved--generally about 15 minutes. When chicken and bacon are both thoroughly cooked, toast two slices of bread. Generously spread Miracle Whip on both slices of bread. Place chicken breast on one slice of bread and top with bacon, tomato and lettuce. Place other slice of bread on top and enjoy ;)

NOTE: The chicken breasts could easily be made ahead of time and reheated, as I did...as long as you don't overcook them the first time around and just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, they will remain extremely moist!

***I'm not sure if the seasoning mix is available everywhere, but we got a big container of it at Sam's Club.***

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pizza in a Pot


I just love my crockpot! It's funny, because I tend to go in spurts--I'll use it several times in a row and then I forget about it for a while, only to wonder why I don't use it more regularly?!? This is an extremely easy recipe to throw together and quite frankly, I think it could be considered a quick weeknight meal. They say to cook it on low for 3-4 hours until it's heated through, but everything is already cooked before you even put it in the crockpot, so you could easily just set it on high for an hour or so and I would imagine it would produce the same result! One thing that I can't stress enough is to make sure you add some seasoning to the beef, veggie and sauce mixture before adding it to the crockpot. I ended up stirring in some garlic salt at the end, because I thought it was really bland. It definitely need salt of some type and had I not been in such a rush to throw it together, it probably would have dawned on me that the recipe itself didn't call for any seasoning!

Pizza in a Pot

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound spiral pasta, cooked and drained
2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, pizza sauce and tomato paste.

In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the pasta, beef mixture, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through. ***If you'd like, substitute 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage for the pepperoni in Pizza in a Pot. Cook it along with the ground beef, green pepper and onion.***

***Make sure to add some form of salt :)***

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breakfast Potatoes


I made these potatoes as part of my husband's birthday breakfast last Saturday and everyone seemed to really enjoy them! My husband is a big "breakfast fan"--much unlike myself! He's all about having a breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, biscuits, etc, whereas I'm content just having a bagel and coffee :) Since it was "his day", I wanted to make it as special as possible, so I prepared all of the above components--minus the sausage, because I thought that might be overkill! There's really nothing particularly fancy about these potatoes--just a simple, quick recipe!

Breakfast Potatoes

5-6 red potatoes, diced
1 stick butter (or margarine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons onion powder
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter and oil on medium-high heat in 12 inch skillet. Add potatoes, garlic and onion powder and stir to coat. Generously season with Kosher salt and pepper. Stir frequently until tender, brown and crispy--approximately 20 minutes.

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Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions


Oh, how I love the State Fair!!! I'd be lying if I said that the food wasn't one of my favorite aspects :) Without fail, I ALWAYS have Italian sausage with peppers and onions---so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My husband and I decided to recreate this "fair favorite" at home over his little mini-vacation and was it ever a treat! I think what really makes or breaks this recipe, however, is the type of sauce you use--I almost prefer a sauce with a hint of sweetness to it. That would be my one suggestion...make sure you use a good sauce!!!

Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

6-8 Italian Sausage Links
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1 jar of your favorite pizza or marinara sauce (again, I'd try to get one that has a hint of sweetness or just make sure you add a bit of sugar to the sauce!)
Brat Buns
Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Place Italian sausage links in a skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove sausages and place on grill or in grill pan and cook for 7-8 minutes (maybe slightly more or less, depending on how well you like them cooked!). While sausages are grilling, saute peppers and onions in 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine until tender.

To serve: Place one Italian sausage link on each brat bun. Pour sauce over sausage and top with peppers and onions. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shrimp Scampi


This is the last full day I'll have with my husband and kids...he goes back to work on Wednesday and I signed up to work tomorrow. I was trying to figure out what to make for lunch, when I remembered that we had some shrimp leftover from when we had fondue the other night for my husband's birthday. I certainly didn't want it to go to waste, so I immediately thought I would make shrimp scampi...one of my favorite dishes! We've experimented with several different recipes over the years and I decided that I would just kind of "wing it" this afternoon. I thought it was pretty good, if I do say so myself :) My husband and I have tried recipes in which I thought the "wine flavor" was too much, so that was my one major change. I added half white wine and half chicken broth. I didn't have fresh parsley, so please excuse the dried. If you're making this for a family of 4 or more, I would at least double it!

Shrimp Scampi

8 oz angel hair
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Directions:

Boil pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 10-15 seconds, stirring constantly to make sure it does not burn. Add shrimp and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes--continuing to stir constantly. Add wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil; allow to boil for 1 minute. Add pasta, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chicken Francese, Buttery Garlic Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans


Today is my husband's 30th birthday...now I no longer have to listen to all of his little digs about my age! We're only about 8 months apart, but I happen to be the older one, so he's always teasing me--especially because he knew I had a rough time with turning 30 :) Having two small kids and no babysitter makes it a bit rough to plan an evening out, so I decided that I would plan a nice, romantic fondue dinner for tonight (after the kids go to bed) and I made this meal last night in honor of his birthday. The chicken recipe is from Donna (My Tasty Treasures) blog and as usual, this recipe was fantastic! It reminded me a lot of a lemon chicken recipe that I have made in the past, but it did slightly vary and I really enjoyed it for a "change of pace". I was extremely "iffy" about the potatoes--I kept looking at the recipe and knew that the ingredients sounded wonderful, but never before have I made potatoes in the microwave...other than when I just start baked potatoes in the microwave, but they inevitably end up in the oven to crisp up a bit. I thought the flavor was outstanding and I didn't mind in the least bit that they weren't prepared in the oven--they would be perfect for a quick weeknight meal! The green beans weren't really a formal recipe...I just kind of played with them until I got them right!

Chicken Francese

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs (I only used 2 and had plenty left)
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon with rind, cut in thin rounds
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flat chopped leaf parsley (I forgot to get some, so I used dried)

Directions:

Pound your chicken breasts till they are about ¼ inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter, season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.

Dredge both sides of chicken in flour mixture, and then dip them in the egg wash. Let it coat completely. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side. Until golden, turning once. Remove cutelts to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Roll the butter in some flour and add to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and returnt he chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.



Buttery Garlic Potatoes

6 small red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish. In a small bowl, combine the butter, seasoned salt, paprika, parsley and garlic; pour over potatoes and toss to coat.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring frequently.

Source: Taste of Home



Garlic Green Beans

1 pound fresh, washed, trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 - 3/4 cup finely chopped vidalia onion
2 garlic cloves, minced (I tend to use a bit more garlic when I cook! We can never have too much garlic!!!)
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Steam green beans to desired tenderness (approximately 10-12 minutes). While beans are steaming, add oil and butter to a skillet on medium-high. When butter melts, add garlic and onion and saute until onion becomes tender. Add cooked beans to the skillet and stir to coat. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beijing Beef


This might honestly be my new favorite "at home" Chinese food recipe!!! (Thank you, Sarah!!!!!!!!!!) I've tried and tried over the years, to make something that tasted even remotely close to what I have when I eat out and this was pretty darn close. I did make a couple of minor changes and will reflect them below--I definitely trust my sister's judgment and thanks to her suggestions, it turned out perfectly! My husband not only had seconds, but made a point to mention that he thought it was the best "Chinese-style" dish I had ever made.

Beijing Beef

1 1/2 lbs flank steak (sliced thinly, against the grain)
6 tablespoons cornstarch (for dusting)
oil (for frying)

Marinade:
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Sauce:
10 tablespoons water
10 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crush chili pepper (I substituted a little chili powder and red pepper flakes, b/c I didn't have chili pepper)
5 teaspoons cornstarch

Vegetables:
2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
1 medium red bell pepper (cut into chunks)
1 medium green bell pepper (cut into chunks)
1 medium vidalia onion (cut into chunks)

Directions:

In a bowl or resealable bag combine all marinade ingredients and mix well. Add beef slices and marinate for 15 minutes. While beef in marinating, mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate. When the beef is done marinating coat the beef slices with 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. Remove any excess cornstarch and deep fry (either in a deep fryer or wok) beef slices in batches until floating or golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Add a couple tablespoons of oil to the wok and add minced garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add red and green bell peppers and onions and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside. Pour sauce into the wok and heat until boiling. Return veggies and beef to pan and mix with sauce mixture until well-coated.

Source: Delectable Dining

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quick Pork Fajitas


I am so behind on posting!!! I made the pork tenderloin and these pork fajitas a few weeks ago and am just getting around to posting. I'm going to start by saying that while this was a great way to use up the leftover pork tenderloin, I still am somewhat partial to steak or chicken fajitas. My husband and I generally don't care to reheat meat, so I was trying to think of a clever way to utilize the leftover pork. I always tend to use Allrecipes.com as my "fallback" and came across this recipe. It was definitely "good" and if you happen to be a huge fan of pork, you'd probably really like these, but I think I definitely gravitate more toward steak or chicken...perhaps more out of habit?!?

Quick Pork Fajitas

1 - 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoons fajita seasoning
1 onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper OR red bell pepper, sliced
6 flour tortillas, warmed

Directions:

In shallow bowl, toss pork pieces with fajita seasoning. In large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stir-fry pork pieces with onion and green pepper until vegetables are just tender (about 5 to 10 minutes). Wrap portions in flour tortillas with salsa.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com