Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Best Mushroom Kebobs

Earlier this week, I found ribeye steaks on Manager's Special at Kroger.  They were a little over $5 each and normally priced around $10.  Score!  We maybe eat steak 3 times a year, mainly because of price, and secondly, because I'm just not a big fan of red meat.  So anyways, I knew I wanted to make a corn recipe a friend had shared, but wanted something else to grill.  We made a medley of grilled veggies last week and the mushrooms were my favorite, so I decided to just do mushrooms this time.  I googled a grilled mushroom recipe and the first one I looked at on Taste of Homes' website was this one and I had all the ingredients.

The case:

Mushroom Kebobs
Adapted from:  Taste of Home

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz mushrooms
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese  (buy from the deli refrigerated section)
Directions:
  1. Clean mushrooms.  Pull out stem.
  2. Skewer mushrooms.  
  3. Mix butter, garlic salt, dill, and juice from 1/2 lemon.  Brush over both sides of mushrooms.
  4. Grill over medium high heat for 15 minutes, turning and basting with leftover marinade every 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese.


The ruling:
Absolutely amazing!!!!  Best mushrooms I've ever had.  The only problem with this recipe is that I should have made a lot more and I mean a lot more.  My 18 month old ate these like they were candy, which didn't leave near as many as Michael and I wanted.  Speaking of which, have I mentioned that I am the luckiest woman alive?  I sampled one of these while we were waiting on the steaks to rest.  Soooo good.  Then Michael said, "You know what would be really good?  What if we sprinkled some of the Parmesan over them."  I'm telling you he is pure genius!  Well, at least he has his moments, and this was definitely one!  

Stars: 5 definitely
Make again? Tomorrow sounds go

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lemon Thyme Salmon

My first recipe for 2014 comes from Jessica Seinfeld's new cookbook, The Can't Cook Book, that I received for Christmas.  I have SO many recipes marked to try in this book.  Of the 4 new cookbooks I got for Christmas, this is my favorite.  I by no means consider myself a novice cook and I learned so many tips and tricks from in here.  More than anything this is a cookbook for anyone wanting to cook simple, delicious, healthy food.  Her recipes are very straight forward and use real, basic ingredients.

 

Salmon is my absolute favorite fish.  If I'm eating fish, it's salmon 90% of the time.  The main reason I was excited to try this recipe was the cooking method.  Right now the only way I cook salmon is either on the grill or baking it in the oven.  This recipe is broiled in the oven.

Lemon Thyme Salmon 
Altered slightly from Jessica Seinfeld via The Can't Cook Book

Ingredients:
  • 4 lemons
  • 24 sprigs Thyme
  • 4, 6 oz boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat the boiler with the rack 4 inches from the top.
  2. Slice the lemons.  Arrange on a rimmed backing sheet in 4 sections.  Wash and dry the thyme.  Place thyme over lemons.
  3. Lay each salmon fillet on a bed of thyme and lemon.  Tuck the thyme under the salmon so it doesn't burn.  
  4. Drizzle the olive oil and rub to coat salmon fillets.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over top.  
  5. Broil for 7-8 minutes, until top is golden brown and salmon flakes easily with a fork.


The ruling:
This salmon was perfectly cooked.  Besides grilling, this just might be my new favorite way to bake salmon.  It didn't get dried out like I feel it usually does when I bake it.  The only thing I will change next time is the seasonings.  I simply think it needs more on top.  Make sure you squeeze some lemon over this!  It adds volumes of flavor.

Check out my favorite salmon flavoring ever:  Dill Cedar Plank Salmon.  I bake it in the oven as well and the flavor is out of this world.  I can't wait to try it with this broiling method!

Rating: 4 stars
Make agin?  Absolutely, but with different seasonings.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolution Number 2

Another one of my New Year's Resolutions is to eat at home more, therefore eating out less.  There are two reasons behind this.  First, we are trying to eat more whole foods and less of the processed junk.  Now, I am not the type to say I will never cook with a can of cream of mushroom soup again.  In fact one of my favorite soup recipes has cream of mushroom, and I plan on making it several times this winter.  But obviously the more real foods you're eating, the more fruits and veggies you're eating, the healthier you're eating, and that is definitely my goal.  

The other reason is to save money.  I only work part time and my husband is fairly new at his job so saving money is a big priority for us these days.  (Another resolution to come)

I love to cook.  Wanting to cook is not my problem.  My problem is realizing it's 4 o'clock and I have no plans and feel too worn out to think about it, which results in calling Michael to grab a pizza on the way home.  

So, in order to eat at home more and save money, I'm committing to sitting down every weekend and meal plan for the week.  I'm really trying to use what we already have in our freezer and pantry for the next few months.

Enter May Books.  Oh May Books.  How I love May Books.  Seriously, if you haven't heard of May Books, you're missing out.  May Books are little notebooks you design yourself.  I got several for Christmas, including a blank one, one for my lesson plans, a budgeting book, and a meal planner book.


Here is the 2 page spread inside.  The left is for your meal plan and the right is a place for a grocery list and notes.



Don't they just want to make you get organized?  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Starting Fresh in 2014

I've decided to start fresh on Lori's Test Kitchen in 2014.  I  definitely want to start blogging about food again, but I also want to share in other areas of my life.

I love the holiday season.  I've always loved it, but now with a 2 year old and 1 year old,  it's magical on a whole new level.  I'm always a bit sad but also relieved when all our Christmas  festivities are over with.  I also love New Years.  I love getting a fresh start, a chance to live life the way I want to live.  I have some major goals for 2014 and I hope to keep myself accountable on here.

The first and I would argue most important goal is to get organized.  This has been my goal, I'd say, for the last 6 years, ever since I got married.  

My first step for getting organized this year is going to be getting rid of clutter.  It's amazing the tiny apartment I lived in before I got married.  All my stuff somehow fit in there.  And now?  I have no idea where all this stuff came from.  One of my problems is as I get new decor, I've had a problem getting rid of the old stuff.  What if I decide I want to use it again?  With Pinterest you never know what you might need to use again!  I just hate to waste, and I preach reduce, reuse, and recycle.  But one thing I've learned is clutter can kill.  I want my house to be my "sanctuary" as Oprah would say.  This is the year, I'm finally letting go!

The second step is the actual organization.  My favorite organization blog is A Bowl Full of Lemons.  Every time I get on there, I get lost in new ideas to organize every area of my house.  Well this year, I'm going to start room by room and get things done.  When I think of everything I need to get organized, I become overwhelmed.  That's what I love about A Bowl Full of Lemons.  She shows how to choose one room or one area a week and concentrate on it.

Organization is definitely not an overnight goal.  It's a long process to get there.  And then constant work to stay there, but I'm up to the task.  I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.  My week one goal is a home binder!

I'll be sharing more goals in the next fews weeks!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Waffle of Insane Greatness

Breakfast for dinner is a regular at the Greer Household.  Many years ago I originally saw this recipe featured on the now canceled Rachael Ray show called $40 a Day.  We tried to eat at Aretha Frankensteins while Emmaline was at Erlanger, but the wait was too long.  Recently Our Best Bites featured this recipe and I knew I had to try it. 

The case:

The ruling:
Waffle of Insane Greatness from Aretha Frankensteins
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Butter and syrup, for serving

Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. 
  2. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. 
  3. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_29006_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback




The ruling:
These are some of the best waffles I've ever had!  Ryder loves them!  While I love to find new recipes for my favorite foods, sometimes I find a recipe that is so good I don't want to try another one.  This is officially my go to waffle recipe.
Rating: 5
Make again: Definitely

Honey Ginger Soy Chicken

Awhile back, I ordered a book called The Mom 100 Cookbook from Scholastic.  I read good reviews on Amazon and decided to buy it without knowing much about the book or the author.  Come to find out, Katie Workman is pretty well known in the cooking world.  She runs a website that shares famous chefs' recipes.  She lives in New York City and has two sons.  The main reason I decided to order the cookbook was because it was supposed to be for real moms and contained recipes for real food.  I was not disappointed when I received this book.  First of all, it has reviews from famous chefs such as Ina Garten and Bobby Flay on the back cover.   Next, it reads like a book.  The layout is fabulous.  She gives you 20 situations and gives you 5 recipes for each situation, everything from breakfast to bake sale to potluck.  Another thing I like is all her tips.  She has tips throughout the book on everything from getting kids to try food to cooking tips to different variations of the recipes.  Finally, there are a ton of delicious looking recipes.  I put a post it flag on each recipe I want to try and my book has more blue flags than empty white pages.  Most of the recipes are healthier and contain fresher ingredients.  Some are in my comfort zone and some aren't.  For example, there is a chicken strip recipe I plan on trying later this week but tonight's dish is something that I wouldn't typically make.  This Honey Ginger Soy Chicken recipe is found in the Potluck chapter.

The case:
Honey Ginger Soy Chicken
Adapted from The Mom 100 Cookbook by: Katie Workman
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup honey, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 package skin on chicken thighs (5 pieces)
Directions:
  1. Place the honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic cloves in a bowl and whisk until blended.  
  2. Arrange the chicken in a foil-lined baking dish skin side down.  Pour the honey mixture over the chicken and stir so mixture evenly coats chicken.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and marinate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover the pan , turn the chicken skin side up, and increase oven temperature to 375.  Continue baking for 35 minutes.  Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.


The ruling:
Absolutely loved this!!!  This chicken had so much flavor.  The pan sauce was perfect over the brown rice.  I can't wait to try more recipes in Katie's cookbook.
Rating: 6
Make again? Yes and soon!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup

This recipe was given me to a friend named David Rogers.  David is in high school and is a member of the youth group at our church.  His mom actually told me about him making this soup one night when he didn't like what she was going to fix.  He found it online at Food Network and decided he wanted to make it.  I love that!  He's going to make a girl very lucky one day!

The case:
Ingredients
  • 1 bone-in chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/3 cup jasmine rice
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Directions
  1. Combine the chicken, carrots, bay leaf and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups broth and bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is just firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in another saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and the remaining 3 cups broth. Increase the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the rice falls apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from its broth; discard the skin and shred the meat into pieces. Return the shredded chicken to the same broth.
  4. Puree the rice mixture with an immersion blender until smooth (or use a regular blender, then return to the pan). Pour in the shredded chicken and broth, stirring gently to combine; bring to a simmer. Toss in the chopped herbs and serve the soup with lemon wedges.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/curried-chicken-and-rice-soup-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

I was so glad I found the curry powder this called for at Kroger.





The ruling:
This was absolutely delicious!  I wish I would have found it earlier on during flu and cold season.  Don't be afraid of the Thanks David!
Rating: 5
Make again?  Yes!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Focaccia Bread

 As many of you know, I am NOT a baker.  I've had disaster have disaster happen when I decide to bake- especially with yeast.  But every once in a while, I decide to give it another try.   I actually saw Anne Burrell make this focaccia on her Food Network show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.  I felt like everything she did I could do, and Michael has been bugging me to try this ever since. 

The case:
Focaccia Bread by Anne Burrell 
Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Directions:
  1. Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.
  3. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.
  4. Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
  5. Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (Chef's Note: This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread. This is why it is soooooooooo delicious!).
  6. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. (Chef's Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)
  7. Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

The ruling:
This was very good.  Very similar to a focaccia bread we get at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  I can't tell you how much pride I get into making a bread that comes out the way it's supposed to come out.  When she says use the olive oil and salt liberally, use it liberally!  If I can do this anyone can! 
The rating: 4.5
Make again? Yes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cinnamon Toast

No food reminds me more of my childhood than cinnamon toast.  I've tried making it several times before, but it has never tasted quite like my Mama's.  Last month I finally got her to come down and show me exactly how she makes it.  I can finally make it just as delicious as her.  Ingredients are one of the most important factors here. I only use Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread and Land O Lakes spreadable butter.

 

Cinnamon Toast

Ingredients:
  • Bread- only Nature's Own Honey Wheat for me
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
First, I take the butter out of the fridge and leave it out on the counter for 5-10 minutes.  This makes it easier to spread on the bread.

Next, I mix my sugar and cinnamon together.  Yes, this is very important.  Don't waste money on the premade stuff- that was my biggest mistake over the years.  The sugar/cinnamon ratio is off in the mix you buy at the store.  I don't have exact measurements for this, but first I put the sugar in a bowl.  Then, I whisk in the cinnamon.  Don't be shy with the cinnamon.  It is the star of the show!  You want your mixture to be a light tan.
After the butter has softened, go ahead and butter the bread.
 Next, sprinkle on a heavy helping on the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Next broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes.  Make sure you watch it!  The longer you leave it in the toastier the bread and cinnamon sugar mixture will be.  Leave it less time if you like it softer.

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

I'm always trying to figure out more ways to feed my family vegetables.  We roast our veggies more than anything else.  I love roasted asparagus and knew I had to try this when I saw it on Pinterest.  I can't wait to try to crunchiness of the Panko on the asparagus!

The case:
Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks from How Sweet It Is
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 
  • salt and pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with non-stick spray.
  2. Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus spear. On two separate plates, add the eggs (lightly beaten) and the panko + flour + cheese. Season the panko mixture with salt and pepper if desires. Coat each asparagus spear in egg whites, then lay in the panko mixture and thoroughly cover. If the panko won’t stick, dip back in the egg and roll in panko once again. Lay each spear on the wire rack. 
  3. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.


The ruling
Okay so these were a mess to make!  They were good, but I would rather eat them roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper and to sprinkle Parmesan over the top at the end.  Just as good (probably better) and SOO much easier.
The rating: 3
Make again? No

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monterey Chicken

I love eating chicken breasts cooked in the oven.   They can be so easy to prepare and cook and are relatively healthy, and there are so many different marinade combinations and toppings to choose from.  I'm always excited to try a new way.  I found this recipe on The Recipe Critic.  The addition of BBQ sauce is a new one for me that I couldn't wait to try!

The case:
Monterey Chicken adapted slightly from The Recipe Critic
Ingredients:
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 8 slices thick bacon, crumbled
  • Barbecue sauce
Directions:
  1. Mix the honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and salt together. I cut my chicken breasts in half making them tenders. Marinate your chicken breasts in this sauce for at least an hour but can be marinated overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I poured a little of the sauce along the bottom of the pan and placed the chicken on top. I covered with aluminum foil and cooked for about 30 minutes. Make sure center is no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. While chicken is cooking, fry up the bacon and set aside.
  4. When chicken is cooked, spread with barbecue sauce (, top with bacon and cheese. Put back in oven and broil until chicken in bubbly.

The ruling:
I absolutely loved this chicken.  It is so simple to make!  I only marinated the chicken for an hour.  I'm sure it would have been even better if it would have been marinated longer.  I dumped the whole zip loc bag of chicken and sauce in a foil lined 9 x 13.   I used Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. The hardest part was frying the bacon.  Make sure to spoon some of the sauce over the chicken before serving.
Rating: 5 Stars
Make again? Yes!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thai Peanut Noodles

To be completely honest, I'm not a huge peanut fan.  I'm not really sure why I'm so intrigued with this recipe, but I am.  I have only been to a Thai restaurant once for a friend's birthday in Nashville.  (Shout out Mandi P) I guess technically the restaurant was in Franklin, but anyway I loved the chicken and noodle dish I got.  I was pregnant- and I mean very pregnant, about 2 weeks away from giving birth.  And even though it made my feet and ankles swell (sodium anyone?)  I have been thinking about it ever since.  This is the first Thai recipe I've come upon since then.  I guess that's why I'm so intrigued.

The case:
Thai Peanut Noodles from Picky Palate 
 Ingredients:
  • 1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • ½ Cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ Cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Cup hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ Cup finely chopped white onion
  • ½ Cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 Cup cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • ¼ Cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Directions:
  1.  Cook noodles according to package. Drain, rinse with cold water, place in large pasta bowl and toss with sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. Place garlic and ginger in food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water. Set aside.
  3. Place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken breast, cilantro and salt. Stir until heated through.
  4. Add sauce and chicken mixture to noodles. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds if desired.
 

The ruling:
Okay, this wasn't bad by any means, but the taste wasn't exactly my thing. It was VERY peanuty.  But I can see some people enjoying these flavors. 
Rating: 3 Stars
Make Again? Probably not but possibly

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken & Saffron Rice

I'm sure most of you have seen this recipe on Pinterest.  I've actually seen it recreated on several blogs.  I've been meaning to make it forever and am excited to finally be trying it.  The original recipe is from 365 Days of Slow Cooking.  I have altered it slightly below.

While I was looking up Arti's recipe for Basmati rice, I saw Sunny Anderson's Saffron Basmati rice recipe on Food Network.  I decided to try it for something new. 

The case:
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup cashews
Directions:
  1. Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  3. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. 
  4. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir.  Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
Saffron Basmati Rice
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 to 4 threads saffron
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Rinse the rice in a colander under cold water until it runs clear, picking out any little pieces of grit or debris. Shake off the excess water. 
  2. Heat a pot over medium heat, and then add the rice, oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper. Stir and toast the rice until the cayenne and saffron are fragrant, about 4 minutes. 
  3. Shake the pot to level out the rice, and then add the chicken stock to fill about 1/2-inch over the rice. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer and cover to cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and let the rice stand another 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork. Stir in the lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Sorry for the quality of the picture.  I left my camera at my parent's and had to take thus using my IPad.


The ruling:
This is a great alternative to getting Asian takeout.  I really liked it.  The cashews make the dish for me!  I loved the texture of the chicken.  Coating the chicken in flour and cooking it slightly in the skillet gave it an authentic fried Asian chicken consistency.   The rice put this dish over the top. Not only did we enjoy the flavors from each dish individually, but they melded perfectly together. 
Rating: 4 Stars
Make again? Absolutely!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken

This was recommended to me by a friend, Lindsey Spencer.  It is similar to the Alice Springs chicken I've made several times before, which is one of our favorite meals.  

The case:
Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken from Plain Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp bacon, cooked and chopped (You may use Oscar Meyer bacon bits)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:
  1. Combine honey, mustard, lemon juice and paprika.  Pour over chicken in a Zip Loc bag.  Refrigerate for a few hours.  
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Place chicken in 9x13 baking dish. Pour all of sauce over chicken.  Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  4. Top each chicken breast with 1 Tablespoon of bacon and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Continue to bake until cheese is starting to brown (about 10 minutes).

The ruling:
This was very good.  I loved the sauce!  I need to combine my favorite things about this recipe and the Alice Springs chicken recipe.  I especially want to add mushrooms, but I like the way this is cooked better.  The chicken is so flavorful and moist! And there is more sauce to pour over! Yum!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Egg in a Hole


For the longest time (since about 6 months ago), if I was going to eat an egg, I wanted to eat it scrambled.  I had no desire to even taste a runny yolk.  In college we used to go this little hole-in-the-wall grille that served a burger called the One Eyed Jack.  It had a fried egg on it.  Michael always got it and ranted and raved about how tasty it was.  Well 5 years later, this past fall actually, I decided to try a similar burger while visiting a burger joint in Charleston.  Ummmm..... Best Burger of My Life!!!!  I still think back to how delightfully delicious that burger was.  Well up until today that was still the only fried egg I'd ever had.  Having ingredients on hand is my number one reason to cook a dish, and today's Egg in a Hole was no exception.  I had eggs and bread that were about to go bad and I needed a quick lunch.  It's much harder to do anything on time with 2 kids!  Plus I've been eying this recipe since I got Pioneer Woman's cookbook several years ago.

The case: 
Egg in a Hole Adapted Slightly from: Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
  • Slices of any kind of bread (I used regular honey wheat)
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions:
  1. With a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, press a hole in the center of the slice of bread.
  2. Next, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and melt a Tablespoon of butter in it. When the butter is all spread out, place the piece of bread in the skillet and crack the egg straight into the center of hole. 
  3. Cook for about a minutre or so before attempting to move the bread or things could get messy. Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper to taste. After about a minute, flip it over with a spatula and salt and pepper the other side.  Add another dab of butter.
  4. Now move the whole piece of toast around the skillet, soaking up all of the glorious butter. Let it cook until the yolk feels, to the touch, still soft without feeling over-jiggly. (Or cook to your liking)




The ruling:
Recently Michael and I've started giving a number to the new recipes I try and to our regular standbys.  We've been numbering them from 1-10.  Recipes that I make regularly that we enjoy have been getting a 7-8.  He's really tough.  It's got to be something very special to get higher than that.  Well, this my friends, got a 9!  5 ingredients that almost every household has got a 9!  ingredients that I can throw together and cook in 10 minutes got a 9!  I think that's enough said!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Noodle Casserole

For me, this is a play on an old favorite.  One of the first things I ever learned to make was chicken casserole.  You know, the one with the chicken, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup.  I have to thank my college roommate for teaching me how to make it- I had no idea how to even poach chicken!  I made that chicken casserole about once a week while Michael and I were in college.  We couldn't get enough of the stuff!  Needless to say, our palate has matured over the years.  But a couple of times a year, we take a walk down memory lane and have the plain and simple dish.

This Chicken Noodle Casserole was actually the recipe of the day on All Recipes.   I did make a few changes based on what I had on hand and some spices to make it more flavorful.  For years, I simply put boneless skinless chicken breasts in boiling water and let it simmer for 30 minutes.  Now I flavor my water with a few spices which really enriches the chicken flavor.

The case:
Ingredients:
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 cream of mushroom soups (I use light)
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 6 oz egg noodles (I use the whole wheat)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 3 T butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Bring enough water to cover chicken to a bowl add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.  Poach chicken for 30-35 minutes.  Remove chicken and shred.
  3.  Cook pasta according to directions in water that chicken was boiled in.  You'll want it al dente since it will be cooked more in the oven.
  4. Meanwhile, combine mushroom soups and sour cream.
  5. Drain pasta and gently mix in shredded chicken.  Gently stir in soup mixture.
  6. Place in 2 quart baking dish.  Crush crackers and toss with butter.  Sprinkle over casserole and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.






Ruling:
This was definitely a step above our old favorite.  A yummy comfort food for a cold day.   Ryder kept saying cheese as I was taking pictures of this dish, so I had to snap a few of him too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Super Bowl Favorites

Tailgating food is my absolute favorite of food.  We'll just be staying home this year since we have a newborn that we don't want to get out of the house with all this sickness going around.  I've been thinking about what I would like to have.  Even though it will just be the two of us, I still like to go all out and get it the spirit.  I like to have a few old favorites as well as try a few new ones.  Here are a few of my favorite appetizer type foods that would be perfect on Super Bowl Sunday:

Mahogany Chicken Wings
 

Stuffed Mushrooms
 

Restaurant Style Hot Wings



Charleston Cheese Dip




Homemade Salsa and Chicken Lime Nachos



Saucy Island Sandwiches