Sunday, October 21, 2012

Potato Leek and Carrot Casserole

I don't even know how to properly describe this casserole. I made it tonight to use up some leeks that Daniel had requested for the new diet that he is attempting. I've never eaten, nor have I ever cooked with them so I honestly made this dish praying the entire time that what I had concocted in my head, would actually produce an edible dish that we would all enjoy. I was already pushing it by adding potatoes and we all know, Daniel doesn't eat potatoes.

Well, two helpings later he proclaimed that they were really good and I'll admit to have 2 1/2 helpings. They are awesome and both girls loved them. We've got plans on buying a concession trailer here within the next year or so so cook and sell lunch and dinner items out of and he said tonight that this will be going on the menu with our pulled pork dinner.

These were creamy and cheesy which were right up my alley. I highly suggest trying them out at your Thanksgiving dinner this year.



Potato, Leek, and Carrot Casserole

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, washed and cubed
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
2 leeks, clean, halved, and sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
Black pepper, salt, and garlic powder

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a colander add sliced leeks and submerge in a large bowl of cold water. Toss lightly with your hands to allow the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Remove colander from bowl of water and allow it to drain.

2.) In a large saute pan add olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter. Add carrots and garlic cloves to saute pan and cook for two to three minutes. Add cubed potatoes and season with black pepper and salt. Add an additional 1 tbsp. of butter and cook for roughly ten minutes or until potatoes have a golden brown texture and have started to soften in the middle. Lastly add leeks and toss gently with the rest of the vegetable mixture. Turn off heat.

3.) In a microwave safe dish, melt cream cheese for 20 seconds. Add sour cream to cream cheese and milk then generously season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add to potato mixture and evenly coat. Add to oven safe dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and top with shredded cheese.

4.) Bake uncovered for twenty to twenty-five minutes until top is golden and sides are bubbly.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creamy Roasted Garlic Pork Loin

Creamy roasted garlic pork loin, sounds fancy doesn't it? Guess what! It's as simple as throwing a few ingredients into a baking dish. This meal consisted of only four ingredients, salt and pepper being two of them, and I only have one item to thank. Progresso recipe starters. Have you tried these magical things yet? I received one free in the mail about two weeks ago and while I was hesitant at first to give it a shot, I finally gave in and gave it a try in my kitchen.


I lightly dusted the pork loin with salt and pepper and then poured the cooking sauce over top of it in a covered baking dish. I was excited at how moist the pork came out and the big kick was that Daniel liked it. The man's funny about his meats so when he says something is good, then I know it's good. If you're looking for another easy dinner then give this stuff a try. Next time I'm going to throw it all in my crockpot and see how magical it is that way.



Creamy Roasted Garlic Pork Loin
Source: Me

Ingredients:
3-4 lb. pork loin
1 can PROGRESSO creamy roasted garlic cooking sauce
salt
pepper

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a 2 1/2 quart baking dish place pork loin and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour cooking sauce over pork loin, cover and bake for two hours or until cooked through

3.) Serve over rice or with a side of mashed potatoes.

* I wasn't paid or given the free sample in order to blog about the cooking sauce. I'm blogging about it because it was that good!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole

I had another one of those "what's for dinner" nights. I really hate it when I don't take the time to compose a weekly meal plan. It leaves me guessing every night what I'll be making for dinner and I hate stressing about it. I pulled together a couple of ingredients and hoped for the best.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this turned out and the best part was that both girls went back for seconds. Daniel said it was just OK, but it didn't slow him up when he went back for seconds!

This made enough for all of us to have two servings a piece and we still have enough leftover that the girls and I will have lunch tomorrow. I can't wait to see how well it holds up reheated. If you're looking for something to comfort your soul on a chilly evening, this would be great!!



Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole
Source: Me

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. parsley
1 sm. onion finely diced
1/2 tsp. onion powder
8 oz egg noodles, boiled and drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a medium saucepan boil chicken breasts until cooked thoroughly. In a large pot bring water to a boil and add noodles and a couple of dashes of salt. Cook until al dente.

3.) In a large mixing bowl add cream of celery soup, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, frozen corn, and colby jack cheese. Gently mix together.

4.) Shred cooked chicken breasts and add to cream of celery mixture. Add cooked egg noodles and gently mix until evenly coated.

4.) Add to a prepared 2 1/2 quart baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25-28 minutes or until top is bubbly and golden.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mock Chipotle Rice


We love Chipotle here in our house, even the little ladies. I've been trying for years to recreate their rice recipe to no avail and even thought this still isn't 100% like theirs, I was pretty darn good, good enough to eat all by itself. I can't wait to make this again for a simple side dish with our dinner. I made ours with our golden fried chicken nuggets and Addison had two or three servings of this. Normally I would make it when we were eating Mexican food but clearly, it can go with just about anything.


Mock Chipotle Rice

Ingredients:


2 cups water

1 chicken bullion cube
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 cups quick cooking white rice
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:
1.) In a medium saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add 1 chicken bullion cube and one whole garlic clove, lightly mashed.

2.) Once water has boiled, take out garlic clove and add two cups of instant white rice. Turn off heat and cover pan with a lid. Allow to sit for five minutes.

3.) Once rice has finished cooking, add cilantro, juice of lime, and salt. Mix thoroughly and serve. 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Golden Fried Chicken Nuggets

You know that feeling of sheer panic when its time to start dinner and you have absolutely know idea what to make? I had one of those moments the other night and I hate it. I knew dinner would involve chicken because I had set some out earlier to thaw, but I truly didn't know what to do with it.

Typically I start dinner around 5 o'clock and on this particular day 4:50 rolled around and I was stumped. After standing in the middle of the kitchen for a minute or so and then carefully examining everything that was in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets I settled on homemade chicken nuggets, mock chipotle rice, and green beans. I didn't have high hopes for this meal, I just knew that it needed to be edible and fulfilling and surprisingly, this fit the bill. I always know when something is good when Daniel either compliments me on it, or says that it's good and he said that these nuggets were good after questioning me what was in the batter.

These will were great dipped in my favorite honey mustard, Daniel dipped his in spicy mustard, and the girls used a bit of ketchup and BBQ sauce. They were easy to make and went over well which means that they will be made again sometime in the future.


Golden Fried Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 heaping tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 lg. chicken breast, cubed and cut into sm. pieces

Directions:
1.) In a small mixing bowl add and evenly mix all of your dried ingredients; flour, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and paprika. In a second small bowl mix together your eggs and milk.

2.) In a dutch oven, melt vegetable shortening over medium/high heat.

3.) Coat cubed chicken in egg mixture, drain any excess egg mixture and then dip into flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and gently place in melted shortening. If first piece of chicken starts to bubble around the edges that means your shortening is ready to go. Place an even layer of chicken in vegetable shortening and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a dash or two of salt. Repeat process until all chicken is fried. 

4.) Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and your favorite side dishes and enjoy!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skillet Cornbread

I knew making two different kinds of chili this past weekend that we just had to have cornbread to go along with our meal. My mamaw makes homemade cornbread but growing up my mom used to always just use the boxed variety. I always try to stick with homemade items when I have guests over for meals so I knew the boxed kind just wouldn't suffice this time.

I found this recipe on-line and instead of baking it in a 9x13 baking dish as stated, I used my cast iron skillet. I preheated my oven with the skillet inside so that it would be hot when it was time to pour in the cornbread mixture. Before adding the mixture, I added a couple of tablespoons of butter that I made sure coated the bottom and the sides of the skillet and then I poured the wet mixture in.

I don't know the size of my skillet, but it's a big one and this recipe made enough to fill the pan. There were six adults and two children and we devoured this skillet of cornbread. I got several compliments and I was pretty proud of myself for doing such an awesome job my first time making homemade cornbread. I'll never used boxed cornbread mix again!

 Picture borrowed from allrecipes.com member, LESLEYfromWI. I didn't get my own picture but this looked just like mine!

Skillet Cornbread
Slightly adapted from: allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp. butter

Directions: 
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with large cast iron skillet inside to warm. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. 
 
2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Added butter to heated skillet and allow to melt, making sure that it has coated the bottom and the sides.  
 

3.) Pour cornbread mixture into prepared skillet and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

4.) Serve slightly warm with an additional pat or two of butter. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crockpot Chili

Growing up I wasn't fond of chili. My mom would make it and I would pick the majority of the beans out of it. As I have matured my taste buds have matured as well. I eat things now that I wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole back during my childhood, chili being one of them.

I was in chili mode this past weekend and I'm pretty sure this recipe is now my favorite. I got lots of compliments over it and I can't wait to make it again. I top mine with LOTS of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream when I have it on hand. This is a must serve dish during fall.






Quick Chili
Source: allrecipes.com
I made a few slight changes!

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water ( I omitted and used a large container of veggie juice instead)
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (I used a 40 oz. can)
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (I used two, 15 oz. cans)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (I omitted)
diced onion
shredded cheese
sour cream

Directions: 
1.) In a large stock pot lightly brown ground beef, and drain if needed. 
2.) Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. 
3.) Add tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chili peppers, tomato sauce, vegetable juice, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce if so desired. Simmer for 30 minutes and then serve. 

* I browned my meat, onion, and garlic in a skillet and then added it with all of the other ingredients to my crockpot and cooked it for about three hours on high heat.




Friday, September 14, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

During the day when I'm not being forced to watch the Disney Junior channel, I immediately turn on the Food Network. I love watching others cook and I really love getting inspiration to try my own creating. One afternoon while watching the Barefoot Contessa make a batch of these, I just knew I had to give them a try. I made them for a family dinner at our house and everyone enjoyed them. Daniel proclaimed that they weren't really peanut butter and jelly because I made it with raspberry jam instead of grape but what can you do.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Source: Ina Garten

Ingredients:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (She suggests Skippy, but I used a store brand and they were fine)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (I left these out)

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo.

Directions:
 1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.) Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

3.)In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

4.) In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

5.) Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

6.) Cool and cut into squares.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Turkey Bacon Crescents

I've been a real cooking slump these past couple of weeks. I just don't have the motivation to find new recipes, write grocery lists, and then spend time cooking elaborate meals in the evenings. I'm not sure what the problem is but I hope I get out of this slump soon.

Not only am I in a cooking slump but I'm having some complications with my ileostomy. One of the complications pretty much keeps me from lifting or bending over so the easier the meal the better for me. When I saw this one I just knew I had to give it a try. It was delicious and we all loved it. It's most definitely another keeper here in our house!

Turkey Bacon Crescents
Source: Plain Chicken

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tbsp honey mustard dressing
8 oz thinly sliced cooked turkey (from deli)
4 slices provolone cheese
8 slices precooked bacon

Directions:

1.) Heat oven to 375.

2.) Separate dough into triangles.  Spread each triangle with 3/4 teaspoon honey mustard. Top each with turkey, 1/2 slice of cheese and 1 piece of bacon. Roll up loosely.

3.) Place on cookie sheet.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Yes my friends, it was that simple! If you have young children this is a must try recipe.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Italian Layer Bake

This meal was so good I can't even begin to properly describe it. It was easy to throw together and Daniel took one bite and proclaimed, "this is good!" I was afraid that it would be to bland so I threw in half a chopped onion with the roasted red pepper and I think it helped tie it all together. This is definitely going into monthly rotation here at our house!

Italian Layer Bake:
Source: mrfood.com

Ingredients: 
1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated crescent rolls 
8 slices (1/2 pound) deli turkey 
8 slices (1/2 pound) deli ham 
12 slices (1/2 pound) deli hard salami 
8 slices (1/2 pound) Swiss cheese 
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted peppers, drained 
4 eggs, beaten (I only used 3)
1/2 a small onion, finely diced

Ingredients:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll crescent roll dough without separating triangles. Separate dough into 2 squares along center cut line.

2. Place 1 square of dough into an 8-inch square baking dish; using your fingertips, press dough to fit bottom of dish.

3.Layer with half of each of turkey, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, roasted peppers, and onions. Pour half of beaten eggs over peppers and repeat with remaining meat, cheese, and peppers.

4. Place remaining square of dough over peppers. Pour remaining beaten eggs over dough and cover lightly with foil.

5. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake an additional 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes then cut and serve.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Every now and then I come across a recipe that looks really good but then I compare it to other similar recipes and I end up getting nervous about making it.

This recipe is one of those that looked delicious but because I am used to making regular broccoli casserole with a jar of processed cheese, I automatically start comparing the two and wondering if they will taste the same.

I am here to say that I had no reason to be nervous. This dinner knocked our socks off and the best part was how simple it was to make. We all had multiple servings and the girls and I ate the leftovers for lunch the next couple of days.

Further proof at how delicious it was is the fact I didn't snap a picture of it. I was starving by the time I had gotten it prepared and that first bite was so tasty that I couldn't stop long enough to grab my camera. I highly suggest going to the recipes source to view a great picture of the dish. I used the same exact baking dish so my picture could have been twins with hers.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Source: Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of mayo
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of shredded Colby and Monterrey cheese
1 bag of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 a small onion, finely diced*
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste*

*= my little additions

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Mix all ingredients together. Add to a lightly greased, 2 quart baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden color and bubbly around the edges.

3.) Serve over rice or your favorite pasta.

We served ours over rice and it was awesome. It was so awesome that I'm putting it back on our two week menu for the second time in a row. I'm going to try adding the cooked rice to the mixture and then baking and someday I'll make it again using spaghetti noodles added and baked in with the mixture.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tater Chips

Daniel has been after me for the past week to make some homemade potato chips. I've been putting it off for two reasons. The first one being that the thought of standing there and frying potato chips was a little overwhelming. The second being that I have never made them before.

I finally overcame my two issues tonight and I'm so glad that I did. They were so good that Addison and Cadence were eating them quicker than I could fry them. What is even better is how easy they were to make. I seasoned them with sea salt as I was taking them out and I can't wait to make them again and try different seasonings.

I sliced them by hand, but I would highly suggest using your food processor or a mandolin as they will be thinner that way. I got them as thin as I could without slicing my fingers so they weren't as crispy as I would like.

Sorry for the lousy phone picture, we ate these to quickly to grab a good photo.

Homemade potato chips

Ingredients:
4 Idaho potatoes, thinly sliced
Vegetable oil
Sea salt or favorite seasonings

Directions:
1.) In a medium sauce pan, bring two inches of vegetable oil to around 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Add thinly sliced potatoes one at a time to hot oil, stirring around every so often. Fry until they are a golden brown color.
3.) Take them out and place them into a large bowl lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool.

Serve right away or store them for up to a day or so. Four potatoes served the four of us so I would use one potato per person. Also, I don't have a thermometer, so I just tested the oil temp with a very small and thin potato to check the oil to see if it was hot enough. Remember, you want the oil to be ready because if you put the potatoes in before the oil is hot enough, the potato will start to absorb the oil instead of frying in it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

O.M.G.!!! There is no other way to describe this cake. I whipped this baby up in no time last night and managed to let it cool for about twenty minutes before I couldn't take it anymore and dove right in. It was delicious and still slightly warm which meant the chocolate chips sprinkled on top were still slightly melted.
The best part of this cake, besides its taste, was the fact I paid around $2.00 for it. Yes, two smackeroos! I bought a store brand cake mix at $1.19, I got the pudding on sale for 50 cents, and since there was a small amount of milk in it, I guessed that it came in around that two dollar mark.

This will most definitely get made again in our house with a glass of nice cold milk to go along with it. Try it, trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to eat my second piece of the day...lol.


Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake
Source: eat, live, run

Ingredients:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding
1 3/4 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) In a medium mixing bowl add pudding and milk. Whisk until dry pudding mix has fully dissolved and becomes thick.
3.) Add dry cake mix into pudding mix and whisk until fully incorporated. Batter will be really thick!
4.) Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish and add batter mixture. Spread evenly among pan.
5.) Bake for thirty minutes or until edges have begun pulling away from the sides.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fiesta Taco Rice

I keep making these pretty delicious meals that aren't knocking Daniel's socks off so I've given up. He keeps telling me to keep it simple. Well, I don't know how much simpler I can get as this meal was beyond simple. I on occasion go to the grocery with my mother in law since Daniel has our vehicle during the day for work. She suggested making something like this when she has the girls with her so tonight I finally decided to give it a shot.

There are so many things you can add to this dish that would push it over the top. I added a fresh out of the garden, banana pepper and I would have added a small can of black beans and a can of diced tomatoes had I have had either one. This would also be good with a cooked, shredded chicken breast as well.

I topped mine with some cheese and I served it with lettuce, fresh tomato, and sour cream on the side. I ate mine without a tortilla shell, but Addison made herself a fiesta taco rice burrito. Daniel said it was okay, but once again I could tell it didn't knock his socks off. One of these nights that boy is going to be making dinner for me since apparently my breakfast of scrambled eggs, maple sausage links, and fried green tomatoes are the only things I can get compliments on around here.



Fiesta Taco Rice
Inspired by: My mother in law, Sue.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 pkg. Knorr's fiesta rice taco version
2 cups of water
1 cup of finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

*Possible additions, small can of drained and rinsed black beans, diced onion, small can of diced tomato, and or your favorite peppers.

Directions:
1.) In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Drain excess grease.
2.)  Add package of rice to ground beef. Slowly incorporate two cups of water. Gently stir together and cover. Lower heat to around medium. Cook for five to seven minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid.
3.) Un-cover, gently stir once again, turn heat off. Add shredded cheeses to top and allow to melt.
4.) Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parmesan Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad sandwiches.

Have you ever had Bob Evan's chicken salad sandwiches?

They are my favorite and I look forward to them every summer since they are a seasonal item. Normally when I make chicken salad here at home I use grapes and celery along with mayo but last night I was in a dinner funk. I had been suffering with a bad sinus headache for the past twenty four hours and if it were just me, no dinner would have been made. I had to feed the husband and girls though so I knew I had to whip something up. I had two thawed chicken breasts out and since I was looking for something easy I decided to whip this up. It was so good. Daniel had two sandwiches, I had one, the girls had a couple of scoops each, and we still had some leftover. Addison made little lettuce wraps with her chicken salad.  I plan on making this again to keep on hand for quick lunches.


Parmesan Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
2 lg. chicken breast, boiled until cooked through, shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Bread of your choice, we used french bread
sliced onion
sliced tomato
ice-burg lettuce
Swiss cheese
Dijon or brown mustard

Directions:
1.) Boil chicken breasts until cooked through.
2.) In a small mixing boil add mayo, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, dill, onion powder, and garlic powder and mix until fully incorporated.
3.) Slice your choice of bread and lightly toast.
4.) Shred chicken and mix with mayo mixture.
5.) Place two scoops of chicken salad on bottom half of bread. Top with choice of mustard, cheese, onion, tomato, and lettuce, followed by the top half of the bread.
6.) Enjoy with your favorite potato chip or in our case, with your favorite oven baked potato wedges.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chicken Teriyaki

I'm trying so hard to try new recipes to help liven things up a bit. I feel like I'm always making the same things and not only does that get boring for those of us eating what I make, but it gets boring for this little blog. Personally, I liked this dish. It was different, and while its not something I will make a lot, it will get made again.

I used four chicken breasts that I cut up into cubes and used a few dashes of dried ginger instead of fresh in the sauce. I baked the chicken in the sauce at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes or so. This made a ton and since my chicken was still slightly frozen, it made the sauce a little thinner which made more. Daniel and I both had one helping, as did the girls, and I was able to freeze two more helpings for future meals.

It was quick, easy, and fairly cheap. And by the way, it calls for 1 tsp. of black pepper, not 1 tbsp. like I put in. I really am going to start wearing my glasses when I'm cooking. This is getting ridiculous.



Chicken Teriyaki
Source: allrecipes.com
*= my changes to the original dish

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained, juice reserved
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 to 4 dashes of dried ginger, original recipe called for fresh ginger
* 4 chicken breasts, cubed
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups of white rice, cooked according to package

Directions: 
1.) Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.) Stir the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice together in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved; add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. 

3.) Arrange the chicken cubes in a baking dish; season with salt and pepper. 

4.) Pour sauce over cubed chicken and then sprinkle the top with pineapple chunks. 


5.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. 


6.) Serve over rice.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick, easy, and cheap dinner ideas!

I know we're not the only family who have been hit hard in this economy. As much as I would like to go back to work full time for the monetary benefit, its just not possible with my health. Between a tight budget, and two little girls that make dedicating a lot of time to preparing a meal impossible, I am always on the lookout for quick, easy, and most importantly, cheap dinner ideas.

Join me as I share with you a few of my favorite dinner ideas that meet the above criteria. Don't hesitate to link up with me by posting some of your own favorites.

1.) Chicken alfredo casserole- This is a favorite of mine and it's always a hit. I've gotten feedback from others telling me that they have added veggies such as broccoli to it. It goes great with garlic bread and a salad and what kid doesn't like chicken alfredo with cheese on top?



2.) Easy tuna casserole- This is a recipe that I first learned to cook from my step-mom, Rhonda. It fed me many times during my days as a single gal out on her own. I always ate mine with a slice of buttered sandwhich bread.



3.) Sausage and crescent roll bake- My sister, Nikki made this for me a few years ago during a night of wedding planning for her upcoming nuptials. I've been making it ever since and I'm sure I'll be making it for years to come. It's great for breakfast and an easy dinner with a side of scrambled eggs. It has cream cheese in it for goodness sake, that's enough said.



4.) Southwest chicken- I just made this for the first time this past Sunday and I am salivating at the idea of making it again. We love Mexican food and this was right up our alley. My aunt Robin made it for her and my uncle Dan's 35th wedding anniversary this week and they loved it.


5.) Chicken noodle soup- I love this dish! Its so comforting and filling and what is great is that it makes enough for leftovers the next day. Ladle on top of a pile of creamy mashed potatoes and be prepared to be taken back to your grandmother's kitchen.


6.) Chicken taco ring-  I whipped this baby up after having something similiar to it this past Christmas. My mother-in-law made a ground beef version for us Christmas day. We branched out this year and did a Mexican theme instead of the tradional ham or turkey.



7.) Holiday crunch- Once again I can't believe I am posting this recipe. My mom made this for us growing up and I loathed it back then. Apparently I have turned over a new leaf because I actually enjoy it now. We always serve ours with a side of corn.



8.) Salsa ranch burgers- I first discovered this recipe over at Cassie Craves. The hard part about this recipe is frying up the burgers in a pan, but you are reminded that its worth the mess and hassle after each bite you take. We love this burger!



9.) White chicken enchiladas with green chile sour cream sauce- There are no words in my vocabulary that would adequately describe just how delictable these are! I love them that much and they are another dish that I discovered over at Cassie Craves.



10.) Broiled tilapia parmesan- I'm not a seafood person by any means. Sadly Daniel loves the stuff so on occassion I do the good wife routine and make him something like this. Don't tell anybody, but this is actually pretty good. I don't even use fresh lemon juice, just squeeze in some of the stuff out of the little yellow container...lol.



11.) Veggie pizza- If you're looking for a refreshing and light dinner or even lunch, this is right up your alley. It's a great way to get lots of vegetables into your kids and it doesn't hurt that its smothered in a ranch sauce.


12.) Chicken ranch spaghetti- The girls and I adore this meal. I usually make it when Daniel is out of town on business since he isn't the biggest fan. It has three of our favorite things in it...pasta, broccoli, and ranch. They gobble it up and we usually eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Now link up and share some of  your favorite quick, easy, and cheap dinner ideas!

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

It's no secret that someone in this house has a serious sweet tooth. Part of being married to Daniel means always having ice-cream readily available. I think it was part of my vows to him...lol. His sweet tooth goes beyond just ice-cream. In order to quench his need for ice-cream it also means that you must have either chocolate or caramel sauce on stand by, as well as having sprinkles or having some sort of chip available. Chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, he has no preference, as long as he has some chips to sprinkle on top. Personally, I can make a half a gallon of ice-cream last for weeks. He's lucky if he can make his last a week and then my ice-creams safety becomes jeopardized. It's quite entertaining really. He'll eat all of his, then for a couple of days you can tell he's dying to start on my ice-cream but he isn't brave enough to ask. Then after the first couple of days I give in and let him dig into mine. It's my wifely duty to make sure he and his tummy are happy!

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a sweet tooth as well. I couldn't turn down a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of cake, preferably store bought, to save myself. When we don't have this kind of stuff at home I'm fine as I don't typically crave them. Sadly though, when they are in this house, I have a real problem staying away from them. I have an even bigger problem staying away from the sweet recipes I find on-line on a daily basis.

This bark is a little gem that I once again found on Pinterest. That site is doing horrible things to my waist line I tell ya! I just made the Southwest Chicken that I discovered on there the other night, and I'm already anxious to make it again. This bark will be no different. I just made it this morning and I won't admit to how many pieces I have already had. What is great is that I pretty much always have these ingredients on hand. I think the hubby was kind of impressed when I told him I made the caramel sauce from scratch!

The recipe originated over at The Legume Loyalist, but I pinned it from the mama say what blog

I will take this stuff over a bowl of ice-cream any day of the week!


Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

Ingredients:
2 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 a bag of pretzel twists, I used pretzel sticks as that is what I had on hand.
1 bag of chocolate chips
Sea salt

Directions:
1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Then line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and lay a single layer of pretzels down.

3.) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and the brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let it boil gently just until it starts to stick to the bottom and it forms a nice smooth caramel. You’ll want to let it bubble a little and get really thick.

4.) Remove from heat and pour evenly over the top of the pretzels (don’t worry if every single pretzel isn’t covered). Put in the oven at 350 degrees for five minutes.

5.) Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Place it back in the oven for a minute or two to allow the chips to melt.

6.) Spread the chocolate chips around with a spatula.

7.) Sprinkle generously with sea salt.

8.) Let cool on the counter top for a few minutes and then pop in the freezer for at least two to three hours.
 * My lack of patience allowed it to freeze up for about two hours. Three hours was out of the question!

9.) When it comes out of the freezer, break it up into uneven chunks with your hands and serve. Or if you skip the aluminum foil step like I did, cut it into pieces and then scrape it out with a spatula. If you don't use the foil, make sure you lightly spray your pan.

How can you say no to something so gorgeous and enticing?
I've linked up this week with The Purple Pumkin blog where I've feature my peanut butter chocolate chips brownies. Be sure to go check it out!

The Purple Pumpkin Blog Link Party


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Southwest Chicken

I've been trying really hard lately trying to come up with new meal ideas for us. Meal ideas that also correspond with the local sales at the grocery store. I did my major shopping trip today and Addison and I hit up two different grocery stores trying to save money.

I love finding new recipes on Pinterest and this recipe I'm about to share with you comes from there. When I do big grocery trips I normally don't feel like doing long and complicated meals afterwards. This recipe fit perfectly tonight for dinner since it was so easy to pull together. I had it done and ready to plate within ten minutes which is right up my alley.

Daniel and I both liked it, however it was a bit to spicy for the girls. If you don't do spicy then I suggest using just a regular can of diced tomatoes instead of the diced tomatoes with chilies.


Southwest Chicken
Source: pinterest.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into cubes
*2 tbsp. butter or margarine
*black pepper
*garlic salt
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
1 package of taco seasoning
2 cups of rice
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of shredded mild cheddar.

* = my additions

Directions:
1.) In a large skillet, brown cubed chicken in two tablespoons of butter or margarine. Season with black pepper and garlic salt.
2.) Add un-drained can of diced tomatoes and chilies. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and stir until mixed thoroughly.
3.) Add water, bring to a boil. Add rice and stir. Take off of heat and cover. Allow to sit for five minutes.
4.) Add shredded cheese and stir until combined and melted.

Since the girls didn't care to much for this meal I made them some broccoli and cheese along with some cottage cheese. I could feed them this at every meal and I can't go wrong. Apparently their fingers are the only utensils they need and Addison enjoyed helping herself to Cadence's.

Excuse the bangs in their eyes. We're trying to let a portion of their bangs grow out and they would prefer to not have hair pretties in. The hair in the eyes drives me insane!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Au' Gratin Potatoes

It's not a secret that I'm addicted to carbs and anything starchy. I love pasta, bread, and most importantly, potatoes. I could live on mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. One of my favorites meals is pan fried hamburgers with mashed potatoes and gravy made using the pan drippings from frying up the burgers. It's actually the second to last meal I had before I was admitted to the hospital for my surgery in April...lol

Anyway, I came up with this recipe at Easter this year. I made it for our dinner that day and it was so good. I typically use whatever shredded cheese I have in the fridge and today I used two different kinds.

The potatoes were so good that I didn't even get a picture of them because we demolished the entire pan.What's even better is how simple they are to make.

Katie's Au'Gratin Potatoes

Ingredients:
7 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (this amount will vary depending on the size of your potatoes)
1 sm. onion, finely diced
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3. In a medium sauce pan add heavy cream and warm on medium heat. Do not allow milk to boil. Add spices and stir together.
3. Finely slice each potato and add to baking dish.
4. Add diced onion to sliced potatoes. Gently toss onions and potatoes together.
5. To heavy cream, slowly add cheese one cup at a time. Mix until melted together.
6. Pour heavy cream and cheese sauce over potato and onions. Top baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for two hours or until potatoes are cooked through and soft.
7. Allow to cool for five minutes or so before serving.

Lastly, ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

We're having a small family/friend gathering here at our new house today to celebrate the 4th of July.

Our menu will consist of:
Hamburger/hotdogs
Grilled corn on the cob
Au' gratin potatoes
coleslaw
potato salad

And I'm sure my mother in law will bring her famous fruit salad. I can't wait to get my grub on. Since having my resection surgery and getting my ileostomy, I am finally able to eat whatever I want. It's wonderful to sit back and enjoy the holidays without pain and only being able to nibble at my meal.

I'll be sharing the grilled corn recipe and my au' gratin potato recipe sometime this week.

Be safe and stay cool!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

I've been trying really hard lately not to buy store bought cookies or other sweets. They are expensive and don't usually last long around this place. We love our sweets, especially my husband. I've decided that I will only make sweets for us from now on, not only to save money, but to help our waistlines. I figure I will want to have a sweet pretty darn bad to actually whip something up.

After browsing the Internet for a good brownie recipe I stumbled upon one that looked scrumptious. The only problem was, was that I didn't have any cocoa powder. Well I had already started to melt the butter that the recipe called for so its not like I could just back out. I forged ahead and created these little beauties. We loved them and the girls enjoyed helping me sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. I love having the girls in there cooking with me. Some of my best memories of my grandma are in her kitchen cooking.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies
Inspired by: bunsinmyoven.com

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1.) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10x15 inch baking dish.
2.) In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in peanut butter and stir until complete incorporated. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
3.) Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer, eggs,  and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
4.) Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
 5.) Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into the center. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist, but not uncooked. Allow brownies to cool before serving.

Serve with a cold glass of milk and you have  yourself a wonderful, sweet snack!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Juicy Lucy on an english muffin bun.

I know that there is one meal that I can cook my husband that I will get no complaints from. It doesn't matter how I cook it, he'll eat it without a second glance. He fits into the Murphy family so well. My dads favorite meal is also a hamburger. We're those people that grill outside in the middle of winter, we're serious about our grilled meats...lol.

The bad thing about hamburgers is you tend to find yourself in a rut when it comes to serving it. You can only eat a hamburger, on a bun, with your typical hamburger condiments so many times before you get burnt out. Thank heavens for wonderful recipe sites and food bloggers that have allowed me to increase my hamburger recipes.

I came up with this one after hearing about the "juicy lucy" which is pretty much two hamburger patties formed around a slice of American cheese. I hope you enjoy, I know I sure did.

Katie's Juicy Lucy
Adapted from: chow.com

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of american cheese
2 md. onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
olive oil
butter
mayonnaise/miracle whip
sliced pickles
4 English muffins, lightly toasted

Directions:
1.) In a small sauce pan on medium heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil and a two tablespoons of butter. After butter has melted add your sliced onions. Cook until caramelized.
2.) In a medium sized mixing bowl add your ground beef, egg, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix by hand until ingredients are equally distributed.
3.) Using meat mixture, form into one to one in a half inch balls and then flatten into thin patties.
4.) Taking one piece of cheese, fold into half, then fold again to form a small cube. Place cheese onto the middle of one patty. Place a second patty on top and pinch edges together. Repeat to make four hamburgers.
5.) Cook hamburgers in a large skillet, drizzled with about a teaspoon of olive oil, over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Probably four to five minutes depending on how thick your patties were.
6.) On bottom half of toasted English muffin, spread a thin layer of mayo. Top with sliced pickles, hamburger, caramelized onions, and then lastly, top half of the English muffin with another thin layer of mayo.


These burgers were awesome and the addition of the egg helped keep them really moist. I was hesitant about the English muffin as a bun, however its all we had on hand and I had seen them used before so I figured, what the heck. I was surprised to how good the burger was on the muffin. I'll definitely be making these again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Katie's Pesto Pasta

You know what happens when your unemployment runs out and your husband only gets paid twice a month?

You run out of groceries in the days before your husbands next pay day that's what happens!

Well, you don't run completely out of food, you just become limited on what you can actually make.

There are a few items that you can always count on me being stocked up on. Pasta and chicken just happen to be two of those items. I threw this recipe together after seeing a similar recipe on allrecipes.com. It was surprisingly good, both Daniel and I had seconds. I've never used pesto before and after a mis-communication between Daniel and I last fall, he brought me home three jars of the stuff. I requested three jars of brushcetta, still not sure why he then brought home pesto but all is good. I contemplated adding some cream cheese to the pesto sauce, but I was afraid it wouldn't turn out so I left it out. If someone is brave enough to add the cream cheese please let me know how it turns out!

Pesto Pasta~
Source: Me

Ingredients:
1 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained
2 md. chicken breast, cubed and cooked
2 tbsp. butter
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1- 8.1 oz jar of Classico pesto sauce
salt
pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1.) In a large pot, fill 3/4 way full of water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
2.) In a small skillet, add pesto sauce, roasted red pepper, and roma tomato. Cook on medium heat and allow to simmer. Stirring occasionally.
3.) In a large skillet, add butter and cubed chicken. Sprinkle chicken with a few pinches of salt and a pinch or so of black pepper. Cook on medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly and lightly browned on each side.
4.) Drain pasta and return to stove. Add cooked pesto sauce mixture and cooked chicken. Mix until pasta and chicken is coated with pesto sauce mixture.
5.) Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!


Sorry about the quality of my photo. I was a couple of bites into my meal before I realized I needed to take a picture. Instead of getting up, getting my camera, and then stopping long enough to get a good picture...I decided to make things easier on myself and just take the photo with my phone.

Once again this meal surprised me. I didn't know what to expect with the pesto sauce but it was really good. Even Daniel said it was good. I would also like to mention for those that may have missed it. The dijon marsala pork tenderloin that I made a couple of weeks ago that Daniel said was delicious, must have been. He actually brought it up at our lunch yesterday with his mom and brother. Looks like I'll be adding it to my menu for one day in the next two weeks. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I'm trying to come up with dinners that are not only easy to throw together, but are budget friendly for us right now. I have no income coming in and plus having just had surgery, even though I feel amazing for the most part, I'm still trying to take it as easy as possible. I thought homemade chicken noodle soup would be just what the doctor ordered for this recovering Momma and her people. It did not disappoint, even though I just winged all of the ingredients, and both myself and my cousin Heather went back for seconds. She's staying with me this week while Daniel is away on business so she gets to pleasure in all of my home cooked meals.

Katie's Chicken Noodle Soup~

Ingredients:
2 lg. chicken breasts, cut in half
1 sm. onion, quartered
2 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
2 carrots, cut into large pieces
2 whole garlic cloves
water

Ingredients for the soup:
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 lg. celery stalks, cut in half horizontally and then diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
shredded chicken breasts
1 49 oz. container chicken broth
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
garlic powder
1 tbsp. parsley flakes

Directions:
1.) In a large stock pot, fill 3/4 of the way full of water. Add chicken breast, quartered onion, celery pieces, carrot pieces, and whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about two hours.
2.) Remove chicken from stock and allow to cool. Also remove all vegetables and dispose of.
3.) To the pot with your homemade stock, add diced celery, diced carrots, minced garlic clove, and shredded chicken. Add canned chicken broth and bring to a boil.
4.) Add 1 tbsp. sea salt, 1/2 tbsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. parsley flakes, and a few sprinkles around the pot of garlic powder.
5.) Add one large bag of egg noodles along with about 1/4 a can of water. I use the chicken broth can and stir it around and add to my soup. Cook until noodles are done.


I served ours with homemade mashed potatoes, which score one for Mommy, were pretty darn good. I used 5 medium sized russet potatoes, boiled until soft. I threw them in my kitchen aid mixer, added probably a good cup or so of heavy cream, two tablespoons of butter, and a generous amount of sea salt. They were delicious and for once, the consistency was really good. I was kinda proud of myself since making mashed potatoes has always been a challenge for me. If you are looking for a good comfort food, this is another good one.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chicken Riggies

Three posts in one week? I must be feeling better!! I love tomato sauces with heavy cream in them. I consider it a lovely comfort food and this one was no exception. I omitted most of the peppers since the girls and I aren't into spicy foods, and I may or may not have added an extra half a cup of cream to the sauce, but overall I was really impressed with the meal.

Chicken Riggies~
Source: allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cubanelle pepper, seeded and thinly sliced ( I omitted)
3 roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 hot cherry peppers, seeded and minced ( I omitted)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I added an extra half a cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
 1.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain and keep warm. 

2.) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, and no longer pink in the center, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, and keep warm. 

3.) Stir the onion, garlic, and cubanelle peppers. Cook and stir until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, hot cherry peppers, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the heavy cream and cooked chicken. 

4.) Simmer 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.


Now doesn't that look downright comforting? I'm making homemade chicken and noodle soup tonight. It's all about comfort food in our house this week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Asparagus with Parmesan Crust

Daniel loves asparagus. Me...not so much. Typically when I make asparagus I will coat it with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and lots of minced garlic and then stick it in the oven to crisp up. The thinner the asparagus the better...they are like crispy french fries.

This go around, since I was trying to make our pork dinner this past Sunday extra special for Daniel, I thought I would try out a new way. I think I prefer my way above, but this way was pretty darn good as well. I figure, if I eat it and thank its decent, then in reality, it must be pretty delicious. I could only find the thicker asparagus this time but for the most part I got the same effect as my way. Daniel loved it and commented during dinner just how much he loves asparagus.

Asparagus with Parmesan Crust~
Source: allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. thin asparagus
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese (I used probably close to 1/3 cup of the cheese right out of the green container)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar ( I used a balsamic vinaigrette)

Directions: 
1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. (I baked ours at 375 since they were thicker.)
2.) Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper. 
3.) Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste. 

Since we all know I can't help but not follow the directions 100%, I had to do mine a little different. I coated ours with the olive oil, black pepper, a good sprinkle of sea salt, and then I drizzled it with the vinaigrette. I tossed it all around to evenly coat each spear, and then I sprinkled the cheese on top and baked away. I think the dish turned out just lovely! I love how they tend to get brown and crispy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Marsala Sauce

I can't believe I haven't posted a single thing on this here blog since January. We all know I've been sick the last few years with my Crohns disease but this past year has been the worst yet. Everything finally came to a head two weeks ago though. My illness was getting worse even with all the new medications they had me try. I can't even begin to describe just how worn down my body was both physically and mentally. I finally had my resection surgery on April 18th. If you would like all of the gruesome details stroll on over to our family blog.

Anyway, even though I'm not even two weeks out post surgery, I feel like a whole new woman. It's an amazing feeling and I can't wait until I am fully healed from my surgery. I have so much energy right now I can barely sit still, even though technically, I should still be sitting still for the most part. I cooked an awesome dinner for us tonight with some of my new found energy and Daniel thoroughly enjoyed it. I looked over at him at one point after he made a comment about it being good, the man had a huge grin on his face and told me it really was delicious. For such an elegant looking and sounding meal, it was really simple to make which is right up my alley right now. If you are looking to impress anyone, this is the recipe to try!

Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Marsala Sauce~
Source: allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 pork tenderloins (I used a whole pork tenderloin and baked it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 or so hours after browning each side in the skillet.)
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
  
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat pork tenderloins generously with mustard. Oil a 9x13 inch baking dish. 
2.) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange tenderloins in pan, and brown the meat. Turn to brown evenly. Transfer meat to prepared baking dish. 
3.) Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until desired doneness. 
4.) Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in the same pan used to cook the pork. Cook shallots in butter until soft. Stir in Marsala, mustard, and cream, and cook until volume of liquid is reduced by half. 
5.) Slice pork, and place on a serving dish. Spoon sauce over meat, and serve.

As I mentioned above, I used a whole pork tenderloin for our meal tonight. It was probably a good five pounds or so. I salt and peppered each side, browned it in the skillet on all sides, and then put it in the oven covered, for about three or four hours. I turned the meat half way through the cooking process. I didn't add the mustard to the meat before browning it, but I generously coated it once I added it to the baking dish. 


This meal was so good, I served ours with asparagus, which I will be sharing with you later in the week, as well as mashed potatoes. Don't tell anyone, but I used Bob Evans already made mashed potatoes. They are really good and so much easier to make then to stand and peel potatoes and try to get the right consistency. I'm not good with making mashed potatoes so I will gladly accept ol' Bob's help.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chicken Taco Ring

I've seen recipes for these taco rings floating around blog land for awhile now and after having my MIL fix a ground beef ring for our Christmas dinner I figured why not give one a shot. I created this recipe on my own because I did my grocery shopping without a recipe and much to my surprise it turned out really well. The chicken mixture smells so good!! Not only am I excited to share the recipe with you but I'm also excited to share this tip with you.
We all know my love for pinterest here lately and I saw this technique there. Anyone dislike having to shred chicken as much as a I do? I have shredded chicken with my hands and with forks and I hate both ways. This time I threw the warm chicken in my kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment and set it on low speed. I'll be darned if that mixer didn't shred my chicken perfectly, it even mixed in all of the added ingredients! I will never shred chicken by hand again, never I say!!
Chicken Taco Ring~
Ingredients:
2-3 lg. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 8oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 14.5 oz. can of Red Gold petite diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1/2 sm. onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
2 cans crescent rolls
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
Directions:
1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, drained tomatoes and chilies, onion, and seasonings. Set aside.
2.) On a round pizza pan lay out your crescent rolls. You will lay the wider portion of the roll in the middle of the pan, with the narrow section pointing outward. You will end up with what will look like a sun. Make sure the wider portions overlap each other a little bit and press them together.
3.) Spread chicken mixture on wider section of crescent rolls. Sprinkle the top of chicken with your shredded cheese.
4.) Taking the narrow portion of your crescent roll, lay over the top of your chicken and cheese.
5.) Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until your crescent roll is golden brown.