Friday, December 28, 2012

Pecan Pie Mini-Muffins

We recently had these after Michael's grandfather's funeral.  I thoroughly enjoy them, but Michael was obsessed!  Luckily, Michael's aunt knew the lady who had made them and got us the recipe. 

Pecan Mini Muffins

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup butter melted (not margarine)
  • 2 eggs beaten
In a bowl combine brown sugar, flour, and pecans. Set aside.
In another bowl combine butter and eggs. Mix well (I wisk together).
Stir butter and egg mixture into flour mixture. Fill greased mini muffin
cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Remove immediately to cool
on wire racks.
( I use dark colored muffin tins)

Baked Tacos

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it.  Tacos are a regular at our house.  Everytime the Old El Paso taco kits are on sale at Publix by one get one I stock up.  This recipe includes some of my other favorite Mexican foods including refried beans and green chilies. 

The case:
Baked Tacos (Adapted from Mom I'm Hungry
Taco Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Baked Tacos
  •  2 lbs ground beef (or turkey/chicken)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce 
  • 1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans 
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Taco sauce (as much as desired)
  • Taco Shells
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In a large skillet brown ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan, add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, sour cream, taco sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes. 
  3. Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through.
    Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving. 

The ruling:
I really, really liked these.  Michael felt they needed more spice, so next time I am going to double the taco seasoning. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marinated Pork Chops

And the grand finale of Friday night's supper.  One of my close friends told me about this recipe a few months ago.  We're working on cleaning out our freezer and found several packages of pork chops I got on sale back in the summer.  With the warm weather becoming more scarce, I knew it was the perfect time to grill these out.  

The case:
Marinated Pork Chops (Slightly adapted from All Recipes)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 (1 inch thick) pork chops
  1. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container; add pork and turn to coat. Seal bag or cover container; refrigerate overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Grill, covered, over medium coals, turning occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

The ruling:
 Jodi was right! These are delicious!  This is my official new go-to pork chop marinade.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf

I've been wanting to try this All Recipes dish for awhile.  The ingredients make for a beautiful presentation, but I'm not sure how they're all going to taste together.  It has great reviews so I have to give it a try!

The case:
Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf (Adapted from All Recipes)
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into small pieces
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups uncooked jasmine rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cashew halves

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium, and stir in spaghetti, cooking until coated with the melted butter and lightly browned.
2. Stir onion and garlic into the saucepan, and cook about 2 minutes, until tender. Stir in jasmine rice, and cook about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, set to simmer, and cook 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.  (I checked mixture half way through and added a little extra water.)
3. Place asparagus on foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Broil for 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown.  Broil cashews one minute if desired.
4. Mix asparagus and cashew halves into the rice mixture, and serve warm.

The ruling:
Of our 3 new dishes tonight, Michael said he had trouble picking his favorite.  Not me! This was my favorite, and all 3 were exceptional.  All the favors, especially the cashews, come together perfectly.  Jasmine rice is a little expensive but it's well worth it.  The pieces of spaghetti have an interesting flavor from being browned, and I love the crunch of the cashews.  I don't think the asparagus is completely necessary but it's very good.  This is a perfect company side dish!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Jiffy Corn Pudding

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but unfortunately the link was broken so I don't know who to give credit to.  Luckily, the directions were in the description. 

The case:
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
Mix together all ingredients, mixing in sour cream last.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

The ruling:
No, this isn't very pretty, but it is the best corn dish I've ever had!  The tangyness of the sour cream with the richness of the butter with the sweetness of the corn is out of this world.  It's a very comforting dish, but also light at the same time.  And seriously, could it be easier to throw together?  I made 3 new dishes for dinner tonight and they were all home runs.  I'll post another one tomorrow. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oven Fresh Seasoned Potato Wedges

The case:
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into eighths
  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Place Parmesan cheese, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt, and potatoes into a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag, then shake to coat the potatoes with the seasoning. Spread the potatoes over a baking sheet. 
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.

The ruling:
These were very good, but I do think the wedges I made before were better.  (Easy Baked Potato Wedges)

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

I'm not entirely sure how to introduce this recipe.  I've never had Swedish meatballs nor have I had someone tell me how good they are.  I can't even remember where I first saw the recipe for them, but I do know when I saw this recipe and the good reviews, I had to try it.  I love dishes that I can throw in the Crockpot with little effort and come home to a delicious meal. 

The case:
Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs
  • 1 (38 ounce) packages frozen meatballs
  • 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup ( you can mix and match the soups, like cream of celery, cream of chicken, golden mushroom soup, etc) 
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for at least 5 hours

The ruling:
This was good, not great.  It couldn't have been simpler and for that, I am thankful, but I'm not sure if I'll ever make it again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crunchy Onion Chicken Tenders

One of my friends told me about this recipe probably 6 months ago. I recently found a good deal on French's French Fried Onions, I knew it was time to make it.

The case:
Crunchy Onion Chicken Tenders from  FRENCH'S®
  • 2 cups (4 oz.) FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions 
  • 2 tbsp. flour  
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders  
  • 1/2 cup honey mustard

  1. CRUSH French Fried Onions with flour in plastic bag. 
  2. DIP chicken tenders into honey mustard; coat in onion crumbs.  
  3. BAKE 15 min. at 400 °F until chicken is cooked.

The ruling:
We absolutely loved this chicken!  The flavor of the honey mustard with crispy onion flavor was wonderful.  I will be making this again, and soon!

Spinach Tomato Tortellini

I had some cheese tortellini in the freezer that I needed to use, so I searched All Recipes and came upon this.

The case:
Spinach Tomato Tortellini (Adapted slightly from All Recipes)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package cheese tortellini
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Corn starch mixed with water
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. While you get the tortellini going, combine the tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, basil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture begins to bubble. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and cream. Stir this mixture into the saucepan along with the Parmesan cheese. Heat through, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick, about 2 minutes. (I added the corn starch mixture here because my sauce wasn't very thick.)
  4. Drain the tortellini, but do not rinse, then pour them into the saucepan with the sauce. Stir to coat, and serve. 

The ruling:
This was good.  I will definitely add more spinach next time, at least double.  I think it would be good for kids in the future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

Here's another recipe from Our Best Bites.  Our Best Bites has officially become my favorite recipe blog.  (Pioneer Woman and Plain Chicken are close behind)  I love alfredo and am excited to try a low fat version.  By the way, I just pre-ordered My Best Bites new cookbook! Can't wait!!!!

The case:
Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from Our Best Bites

  • 2 C low-fat milk
  • 1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
  • 2-3 T flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 C grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Place milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don’t want to burn it. 
  2. Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now. 
  3. When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

The ruling: 
Love, love, love this!  This is my new go to alfredo sauce.  My search is over.  I can't believe it's low fat!  It's so much thicker than my usual alfredo, but doesn't have near the butter or cream.  Thanks again Our Best Bites!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Baked Pork Chops

We are moved in.  I'm over morning sickness.  (Well, mostly) And the school year has started.  I've run out of cooking and blogging excuses.  My friends have said they are tired of seeing the coconut soup recipe on my blog.  I've tried several recipes over the past couple months, but have pretty much been lazy about posting.  Thanks for the patience.  I'm officially ready to get back in the swing of things!

I was discussing pork chop recipes with some friends the other night when I came upon this recipes on All Recipes.  It's very highly rated and baked.  We basically only grill pork chops, so I'm excited to try a recipe we can make all year around.  I bought a lot of pork chops on sale recently so you'll probably be seeing a lot of pork chop recipes in the near future.

The case:
Baked Pork Chops (Adapted from All Recipes)

  • 6 1 inch thick pork chops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons ketchup
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix together soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup.
  3. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  
  4. Place pork chops in baking dish and pour over half of marinade.
  5. Bake 30 minutes covered.
  6. Remove cover, flip pork chops, pour over additional sauce, and bake 20 more minutes.
  7. Broil 3-5 minutes, until sauce thickens.

The Ruling:
Yeah, this has great reviews, but I'm just not a big fan.  They were cooked well, but the flavor wasn't good.  Michael said it tasted like it came off a buffet.  Not 100% sure what that means, but it's not a good thing.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thai Coconut Soup

I know I've mentioned several times how much I love soups- it doesn't matter what time of year.  But I do feel like the true comfort food/soup season got a little cheated this year.  This recipe is a huge step outside of our box. 

The case:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh minced ginger, or 1 ½ teaspoons ground dry ginger
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth
1 13.5 ounce can light coconut  milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 packages ramen noodes (discard seasoning packet)
optional: ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
1 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken
toppings:  additional chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and lime wedges

Heat medium sized pot to medium-high heat on stove top.  Add olive oil, jalapeno, and ginger (if using fresh.)  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until jalapeno and ginger are softened and fragrant.  If using ground ginger, add now and stir.  Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and salt and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and add noodles (note you will discard seasoning packet that comes with noodles.)  Simmer 3-5 minutes, until noodles are softened.  If using mushrooms, add them in the final 2-3 minutes of cooking the noodles.  Add chicken and simmer for about 30 seconds to heat through.  Remove pot from heat and stir in lime juice, chicken, and cilantro.   Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges if desired.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4-6.
Note:  This type of noodle absorbs liquid exceptionally fast, so you should serve the soup immediately.  If you know you need to keep the soup warm for a while before serving, wait to add the noodles until a few minutes before you’re ready to serve.

The ruling:
If you like cilantro and lime, you're going to love this!  I had a feeling about this soup and I'm glad I trusted my gut!  It is delicious.  The freshness of the cilantro and lime make this the perfect springtime soup.  But it would be great anytime of the year.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easy Creamed Corn

Yet another Pinterest dish that I made because I had all the ingredients already in my fridge/pantry.  I knew we were grilling out tonight (marinade recipe to come) and I wanted an easier, lighter side dish.  Plus corn is on sale $1 a bag at Kroger this week, and I decided to stock up!

The case:  Slightly adapted from Budget Savy Diva
  • 1 bag frozen corn (I used one that steams in the microwave)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat corn, butter, and cream cheese.  Stir until heated through and all ingredients are combined.  
  2. Stir in cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.

The ruling:
 BEST CORN I'VE EVER HAD!  This lovely dish was beyond simple and actually low in fat.  I'll just make a guess that this corn will be made at least every other week at the Greer household.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Man Pleasing Chicken

I've been cooking a ton lately, but honestly haven't found anything even worth posting.  It seems to go in spurts like that. 10 in a row that I can't blog about soon enough, and then 10 I've wasted my time and money on.  I realize this blog's purpose is to share both the best and the okay.  That's why it's important to read my ruling at the end, but these have been just plain bad.  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It came from a wonderful little blog called Witty in the City. Michael is actually the one who wanted me to make this.  He happened to be looking over my shoulder when I enlarged the picture. 

The case:
  • 1 package Chicken thighs (I used bone in)
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Maple syrup- 1/4 cup
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix together mustard, syrup, and rice wine vinegar. 
  3. Place chicken thighs into a small baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour mustard mixture over chicken.  Turn chicken so mixture completely covers chicken.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.  Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.  Serve chicken with extra sauce over top!  Sprinkle over fresh rosemary if desired.

The ruling:
This chicken was a lot better than I was expecting.  The tangyness in the flavoring was a good surprise.  Michael probably enjoyed it more than me, but I liked it well enough to make it again.

Balsamic Chicken, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta Salad

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of pasta salad, but I'm a huge fan of the ingredients in this.  I found this recipe on Pinterest a couple of days ago.  We're going to be moving in a few weeks and we're trying to clean out the freezer before we move.  We just happen to have some cheese tortellini in the freezer that I've been wanting to get rid of. 

The case:
Balsamic Chicken, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta Salad (adapted from Multiply Delicious)
  • 1 (20-ounce) package cheese tortellini 
  • 1 pound  skinned and boned chicken breasts, diced 
  •  1 ½  cup  Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (divided) 
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  •  2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  Place chicken in a zip-lock bag and pour 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette in bag with chicken.  Marinate for at least 2 hour, but best if marinated overnight.  Take chicken out of zip-lock bag and discard marinade. 
2. In a grill pan, grill chicken breasts, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Dice chicken into small bites.  Meanwhile boil tortellini according to package directions.
3. Whisk together remaining ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing and mustard in a small bowl.
4. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Toss together pasta, chicken, balsamic mixture, spinach, basil, tomatoes, and cheese. Serve immediately, or, if desired, cover and chill 1 hour before serving.

The ruling: 

This dish is out of this world wonderful!!!!!  Easily in the top 10 recipes I've ever made.  All the flavors mesh together in perfect harmony.  Okay, that sounds really corny but it really explains how I'm feeling.  Is it bad food sings to me?  Anyway, this recipe is perfect!  This recipe is the reason I blog and am so interested in trying new things.  How else would I ever find these little gems?  I'm going to use this chicken for a lot of pasta dishes to come.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

This is another fantastic Pioneer Woman recipe.  I had seen it originally in her first cookbook, but didn't have any desire to make it until I saw her make it on the first season of her show on Food Network.  I've actually already made this a couple of times, but am so excited to eat it, I forget to take a picture.  I don't like typical fruit cobblers.  This one is sorta a twist between a cake and a cobbler.  I have always made it with frozen blueberries and served it with vanilla ice cream.

The case

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 cup self-rising flour 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries 
  • Whipped cream and/or ice cream, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter. 
  3. Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry. Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Top with whipped cream or ice cream . . . or both!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

Besides BBQ and bacon, I haven't really experimented with neither the eating or cooking of pork.  Two random occurrences made me decide to make this pork loin.  First, last Monday I had pork tenderloin at the Cooks Market.  I always eat chicken, but for some reason that night I decided to try the pork.  It was really good!  I immediately went home and found a few recipes that I wanted to try.  Then, Wednesday my friend Kayla and I were talking about Pinterest and she mentioned this recipe to me.  She had tried it and said it was wonderful!  I took those two events as a sign.  And here we are...

The case: Adapted from CC Marriage Factory
  • 2 (1 pound) boneless pork tenderloins (If using 1 (2 lb) loin half the rub)
  • 2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced
  1. Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
  2. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan.  Heat on medium high until mixture starts to bubble.  Lower to a simmer and stir until thickened. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.
The ruling:
Hands down one of my favorite recipes that I've ever made.  I think pork loin is going to be my new best friend.  This stuff was ridiculously yummy!  I loved the spicy/sweet/tangy flavor and it went perfectly with the pork!  Thanks Kayla! 
Pin It

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

I've been making these mashed potatoes since we got married.  They are my absolute favorite- and I've tried a lot of mashed potato recipes.  I can't believe I'm just not posting the recipe.  This recipe comes from Ina Garten.  I've never tried one of her recipes that I didn't like.  In fact, she just might be my culinary hero.  

The case:
  • 3 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled
  • Kosher salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add enough salt so the water tastes quite salty. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done. 
  3. As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a glass bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth to force the potatoes through the disc. 
  4. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, slowly whisk in enough of the hot milk/butter mixture to make the potatoes very creamy. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the sour cream and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I know a lot of you have probably seen the Hellman's commercial for this Parmesan chicken.   I figured it had to be worth trying if the whole commercial was centered around it and it is featured on their homepage.

The case:
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
  • 4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. 
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

The ruling:
This is some of the most moist baked chicken I've ever had.  I like how the mayo mixture and breadcrumbs are only on the top.  That way you aren't left with soggy wanna be crumbs on the bottom.  I used mayonnaise with olive oil and fresh, finely shred Parmesan cheese.  I can see this being a regular kid friendly meal in the future.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) and Simple Basmati Rice

We've only had Indian food once at a wedding, but both Michael and I really like it.  We've been wanting to try it again ever since, but let's just say we're fresh out of Indian restaurants in our small town!  So, I figured I'd try to make it at home!  The rice recipe is from Aarti Sequeira, Food Network Star winner (love that show) and the second is a popular recipe from All Recipes.

The case:
Simple Basmati Rice from Aarti Sequeira
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water 
  • Large pinch salt
  1. This is the most important part: Wash the rice! Place the rice in a large bowl and fill with fresh, room temperature water. Swirl your hand through the water and the rice; the water will go cloudy. That's all the starch that we're trying to remove in order to have individual grains of rice. Once you've swirled your hand around for a minute or so, pour off the water, taking care not to lose any rice. Repeat this washing process until the water runs clear. Usually, this takes 3 or 4 changes of water.
  2. Fill up the bowl 1 more time and let the rice soak for 30 minutes. 
  3. At the end of 30 minutes, drain the rice. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. 
  4. Add the rice, stir, and wait until the water comes back to a full boil. When it does, turn the heat down as low as it can go, and then cover. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. At the end of 15 minutes, cut the heat. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; you should see that every grain of rice has grown a little longer and is separate from its brothers and sisters. 
Chicken Makhani Adapted from All Recipes
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup tomato puree (used diced tomatoes pureed in the food processor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teasponnspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pureed low salt cashews
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in heavy cream and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.  Add cashews.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

The ruling:
This is different but in a good way. Michael said it was one of the most flavorful dishes he's ever had.  The more we ate, the more we liked it! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roasted Tomato Soup

This recipe has been 2 years in the making.  Let me start off by saying, in general I don't even like tomato soup.  Campbell's tomato soup does absolutely nothing for me.  Panera is just about the only place I'll eat tomato soup, and it isn't from lack of trying it other places.  The bare bones of this recipe came from Gina and Pat Neely on Food Network.  I've added a few final touches to make it perfect.  For an extra special touch, I add precooked cheese tortellini at the end!

The case:
  • 4 pounds, tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar   
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Pinch sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (freshly grated works best)
  • 3 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange tomatoes, flesh side up, on 2 wire racks set on sheet trays. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, making sure they are well covered. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. 

Roast in the middle rack of the oven until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. 
Melt butter in 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion for 2 minutes, add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes, and then mix in tomato paste for a few more minutes. 

Add chicken stock and cayenne. Add heavy cream and heat over low heat. Bring up to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel skins off tomatoes.  Add the roasted tomatoes and basil to the pan. 


Puree with an immersion blender. (Or put 1/2 at a time in a regular blender) 

At this point, I didn't feel like mine looked quite tomatoy, which means red enough.  So I added a can of diced tomatoes and pureed a bit more.

Add Parmesan and cream cheese.  Stir until well blended and cheese is melted.  Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish generously with homemade croutons. 

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Garlic Breadsticks (FROM SCRATCH)

    Trying this yeast thing again.  It's from Our Best Bites, and since I've loved most of the recipes I've tried from there, I figured I'd give it a try.  The description claims it's a great starter baking recipe.  

    The case:
    Recipe from

    • 1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
    • 1 Tbsp. sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. yeast
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3-4 1/2 c. flour
    1. In a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer, if you have one), combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.
    2. Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.
    3. Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
    4. Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.
    5. Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it's okay if they're close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life's greatest pleasures!
    6. Cover pan and allow dough to rise for another 30 minutes. When there's about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning or the powdery Parmesan cheese in a can and garlic salt. Or you could sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.
    Garlic Seasonings
    Recipe from
    • 1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese 
    • 2 tsp. Kosher salt 
    • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder 
    • 2 tsp. oregano 
    • 2 tsp. basil 
    • 2 tsp. marjoram 
    • 2 tsp. parsley

    1. Combine ingredients in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) and shake.  Sprinkle on top of breadsticks or combine 1 1/2 Tbsp. seasoning with 1/2 c. of softened real butter and spread on a loaf of French bread (cut in 1/2 lengthwise). Wrap in foil and bake at 375 until butter's melted. If you want, you could also pop it open-faced under the broiler for a few minutes so it gets brownish and crispy.

    The ruling:
    I can't believe I made homemade bread and it actually turned out well!  This bread was good, but I'm not too big of a fan of the garlic seasoning.  I can't wait to use this dough for pizza. 

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Angel Sugar Cookies

    I'm determined to try all the recipes I want to try in Pioneer Woman's cookbook before her new cookbook comes out.  If you've read any other of my baking posts, you know one thing I hate to do is bake.  I don't have the patience to measure out everything perfectly, especially when I take the time and then my food is a disaster.  These things don't happen with cooking.  When you cook, you simply adjust flavor.  

    The case:
    Angel Sugar Cookies from Pioneer Woman

    • 2 whole Large Eggs
    • 1 cup Canola Oil
    • 2 sticks Butter, Softened
    • 1 cup Sugar, Plus Extra For Sprinkling
    • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    • 4 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons, All-purpose Flour
    • 1 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together eggs, oil, butter, sugars, and vanilla. 
    3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate dough one hour. 
    4. Using a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 
    5. Smear a dab of butter all over the bottom of a glass, then dip the glass in granulated sugar. Use the glass to flatten each ball of dough, dipping again into the sugar each time. Repeat until all are flattened. 
    6. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cookies are just barely turning brown. Don’t overbrown! 
    7. Allow to cool before eating. Cookies are ultra crumbly! 

    Angel Sugar Cookies Printable

    The ruling:
    These are some of the lightest, crispiest cookies I've ever had period.  I love how thin they are, yet still chewy!  I'm going to try to add icing tomorrow.  What could be better?

    Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

    The best thing about chicken legs are that they are cheap!  And easy to eat.  Ryder is almost a year old and I'm thinking more and more about quick dishes that he would enjoy eating one day.  I remember loving chicken legs as a child. I'm hoping these will be a yummy, healthier alternative to the classic fried version. 

    The case:
    Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs (Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

    • 12 whole Chicken Legs
    • 1 stick of Butter
    • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic power
    • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
    1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Pour in lemon juice (fresh or bottled). Add your seasonings.
    2. Rinse and pat your chicken legs dry. With metal tongs, transfer them one by one into the butter mixture and place on a baking sheet with a wired cooling rack. Once all of the chicken legs are coated and on the baking rack, take a pastry brush and give them one last coating of the butter mixture. Sprinkle them with some more of your seasonings. 
    3. Place them into a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. If they need a bit more color, turn on the broiler for a couple minutes and watch them closely. Remove them when they are nice and golden brown. 

    Roasted Chicken Legs Printable Version
      The ruling:
      Mission accomplished! These were perfect- quick, easy, kid friendly!  I was afraid they might be too spicy but they really weren't!  Next time I'm going to experiment with lemon pepper seasoning.

      Thursday, January 26, 2012

      Baked Brie Bites

      Brie is a new love of mine.  I don't have many recipes to make with Brie so I was excited to see these on Plain Chicken's website.  I also love the mini phyllo tarts!  Such a great ingredient.  These couldn't be any simpler, hope they taste as great as they look.

      The case:

      mini phyllo tarts
      Ile de France brie, cubed
      brown sugar
      chopped pecans

      1. Preheat oven to 350.
      2. Place a cube of brie in each phyllo tart.  Sprinkle each tart with approximately 1/2 tsp brown sugar.  Top with approximately 1/2 tsp chopped pecans and a dollop of honey.  
      3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brie is melted. (use more or less of each ingredient according to your preference)

      The ruling:
      Okay I liked these at first, but they left a funny taste in my mouth.   I won't be making these again but I still like the idea of the brie in the phyllo cups...