Friday, February 20, 2009
Bruschetta was one of those food items that I always desperately wanted to try while dining out, but because my husband is so picky, we've always gone with the more "safe" option on the appetizer list. Quite to my surprise, he made homemade Bruschetta for dinner on Valentine's Day last year and we both really enjoyed it! Now that I know he will eat it (and I obviously know he'll eat chicken), I thought that this recipe sounded perfect! I did make one revision, however. I did not have any fresh basil on hand and somehow, I was completely out of dried basil, so I used Italian Seasoning instead. I'm sure the basil would be delicious, but if you don't have any, the Italian Seasoning was quite tasty! I would definitely make this chicken again, but I would highly suggest adding salt to the flour or egg before coating the chicken. The topping on the chicken was really good, but if you didn't happen to get the topping with each bite, I felt that the actual chicken was a little bland. (Certainly nothing a little salt wouldn't fix!)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup egg substitute
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour, then in eggs; place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken.
Loosely cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through.
Source: Taste of Home
Thursday, February 12, 2009
My husband knows how much I love patty melts and hands down, he makes the best "homemade version" that I've EVER had! My mouth is watering just thinking about them! He does tweak them a bit from the more traditional recipe, because he is not a fan of swiss cheese or rye bread, but they always turn out delicious! He even made half with ground turkey and the other half with ground chuck this time, since he's really trying to watch what he eats. I think I've made my feelings quite clear regarding how I feel about ground turkey, so you can rest assured that I wouldn't take so much as a bite of his sandwich, but he said the ground turkey was pretty good and that he would certainly eat it again in burger form!
Marcus' Patty Melts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 lb ground chuck or ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices Texas Toast
8 slices provolone cheese (or swiss...that's my personal preference!)
Heat olive oil in pan; add onions and garlic and saute until tender.
In a large bowl, combine meat, eggs, half of the onions and garlic salt. Divide into four patties and cook in grill pan until cooked according to your personal preference--we like ours medium rare to medium :) ***Make sure you flatten patties and make a thumb indentation in the middle of each, to prevent them from shrinking up into smaller "balls"***
Butter one side of each slice of bread and place on griddle, butter side down, to toast. Place one slice of provolone cheese on each slice of bread. When cheese begins melting, place patty on top of one slice of toast, top with onions and finish with another slice of toast and your favorite BBQ sauce--we swear by Sweet Baby Rays!
Source: Marcus Guajardo
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm forever looking for ways to spruce up my veggies! I used to almost exclusively use canned vegetables, but now try to buy frozen as much as possible--not only are they healthier, but they taste MUCH better! This recipe is extremely easy and yet again, can be made with ingredients that you most likely have on hand! (You may want to half the recipe if you're making it for a family of 4-5 and cut back or even omit the salt altogether).
12 cups frozen corn
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cubed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
In a large saucepan, bring corn and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until corn is tender. Drain; stir in remaining ingredients.
Source: Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2003
I must say...I am VERY proud of my husband and his recent eating habits! This past January, he and some of his co-workers launched their own "weight loss challenge" at work--they have goals that they have to reach every couple of weeks and so far, Marcus has done remarkably well! (Don't get me wrong...he's not "obese" by any stretch of the imagination..I don't want him to read this and think that I'm bashing him on here! He's just gained a "few extra pounds" since we got married!) I was a bit skeptical at first, because he very much enjoys his carbs, sweets, etc, but we've been working together to eat healthier as a family and I've been trying my hardest to experiment with healthier recipes. He has asked me a few times about trying ground turkey, so I went in search of recipes that I knew would appeal to him. He's always been a big fan of my chili, so I thought perhaps he would enjoy a "turkey chili". Some reviewers of this recipe suggested that you add an extra can of beans to make it less "soupy", so I did just that--I actually used two cans of mild chili beans, instead of kidney beans. To be completely honest with you, I have always had myself convinced that I did not like ground turkey--I literally felt sick just thinking about eating it. Don't ask me why, because I love turkey...it's just the idea of ground turkey that's always made me gag! This chili, however, was surprisingly good! When I tried it, I was expecting to tell a noticeable difference, but I really didn't! It definitely tasted different than the chili I ordinarily make, but only because of the differences in spices. The chili does have a bit of a "kick" to it, so if you prefer food less spicy, I would opt to reduce the amount of chili powder!
Simple Turkey Chili
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic. Season chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Nothing says "comfort" more than a good bowl of chicken noodle soup! I've never actually followed a recipe while making chicken noodle soup in the past, but I happened to stumble across this recipe in one of my countless Taste of Home cookbooks and it looked really good! I made the soup during the afternoon and then my husband was so kind as to pick up sandwiches--there's nothing quite like a good sandwich and bowl of soup...especially on one of those "lazy nights" when you can't quite muster up the energy to cook :) This will most definitely be my new default chicken soup recipe!
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 stewing chicken (about 4 pounds), cut up
3 quarts water
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
5 celery ribs, coarsely chopped, divided
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped, divided
2 medium onions, quartered, divided
2/3 cup coarsely chopped green pepper, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
1 bay leaf
3 teaspoons salt
8 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles
In a large kettle, combine the chicken, water, broth, half of the celery, carrots, onions and green pepper, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until the chicken is tender. Chop the remaining onion; set aside.
Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones and skin; set chicken aside. Strain broth and skim fat; return broth to kettle. Add salt, chopped onion and remaining celery, carrots, green pepper and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add noodles and chicken. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Source: Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2004
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
As previously mentioned, my family has been attempting to eat healthier...well, minus my chicken recipe from last night! My husband and I both really enjoy fish, but for some reason, I don't seem to buy it all that often. As a rule, when I have gotten fish in the past, I seemed to gravitate more toward salmon, but the last couple of times, I've gotten Tilapia and have been pleasantly surprised by the texture/flavor! I guess I always assumed that it was similar to pollock, which my husband despises, but it's a much more "dense" fish and got his stamp of approval! This is a very simple recipe--the only changes I made were to sprinkle the fish with garlic salt and pepper before pouring the lemon juice over the fillets and I mixed the garlic in with the melted butter, before drizzling it over the fish. I also sprinkled a small amount of lemon pepper seasoning to finish it off. Definitely watch the fish closely as it cooks...I would say that 22-25 minutes would be plenty of time! Enjoy :)
Lemon Garlic Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over fillets, then drizzle butter on top. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This recipe reminds me so much of a recipe that an old friend made for me "back in the day", so I was extremely excited to find it! I am a big fan of anything smothered in cheese--I mean really, how can you go wrong with that?!? My husband refuses to even try swiss cheese, so I used mozzarella for the majority of the chicken--I was afraid the swiss cheese might be too strong of a flavor for my kids, too! (Swiss is one of my favorite cheeses, so I used it for my chicken and was not the least bit disappointed!) I did make a few changes--I generously sprinkled garlic powder and onion powder over the chicken before adding the cheese. I added double the cheese to each piece of chicken and I also used Stove Top Stuffing Mix instead of breadcrumbs per some other reviewers advice--I combined the stuffing mix and melted butter before sprinkling them on top of the chicken. The only change I would make is to perhaps add a bit of garlic salt with the garlic powder. This dish would go wonderfully with rice or potatoes and your vegetable of choice!
Savory Chicken Breasts
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
ground black pepper to taste
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Season with ground black pepper to taste. Top each breast with a slice of cheese. Mix together the soup and milk and pour mixture over chicken. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and drizzle with melted butter/margarine. Bake covered in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE potatoes?!? I knew I needed some form of potatoes with my baked chicken nuggets and what would be more appropriate than "baked french fries"?!? My son really enjoyed these--they got nice and crisp and had really good flavor. I added some garlic powder and garlic salt to the recipe, so they wouldn't be too bland and they turned out perfectly! Again, another great healthier alternative to fast food!
Baked French Fries
3 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking sheet. Arrange potato strips in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, skin sides down. Spray lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Monday, February 2, 2009
My son is a huge fan of chicken nuggets and would eat at McDonald's every day if we allowed him to, but for the obvious health reasons, we try to limit his fast food intake. That child can easily put away ten chicken nuggets in one sitting...did I mention he's only 3 1/2?!? I decided to try and come up with a healthier alternative, because trust me when I tell you, he will not stop asking for his much loved chicken nuggets, until they are served to him and I refuse to cave and continuously give him fried, greasy chicken nuggets! This recipe is incredibly simple and something that I think most kids would really enjoy! As an alternative to dipping in butter (before coating), you could certainly use an egg or milk and I would even consider omitting the teaspoon of salt--the Italian breadcrumbs were seasoned heavily enough that additional seasoning seemed unnecessary. These chicken nuggets would even be a wonderful appetizer idea, that could be served with your favorite dipping sauce! I chose to make homemade honey mustard and sweet and sour dipping sauces, as those tend to be the ones that my family gravitates toward. (I cut the sweet and sour dipping sauce recipe in half since I was only using the three chicken breasts and added 1/2 a teaspoon of honey).
Baked Chicken Nuggets
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch size pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter/margarine in a bowl or dish for dipping. Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter/margarine first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place well coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Honey Mustard Dressing/Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, and lemon juice. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Place the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I saw this recipe and wondered what exactly "country style" ribs were and how they differed from the "western style" ribs that I always see on sale at the grocery store. Apparently, they're the exact same thing and are sold at a fraction of the cost of spareribs or baby back ribs. Don't get me wrong...by no means are they a true substitute for a good slab of ribs (nor are they actual "ribs"), but they are extremely meaty and quite tasty! I did add about half an inch of water to the bottom of my baking dish and I covered the ribs with foil for the first two hours. I then removed the foil, drained the juices, covered with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays, might I add!) and recovered for all but the last 20 minutes.
BBQ Country Style Ribs
10 country style pork ribs
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 (18 ounce) bottle BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if desired. Spread the garlic on the ribs, then place the lemon slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 to 250 degrees F.