Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Potato Chip Chicken

Pin It Plain old chicken can get boring pretty quick.  I was feeling less than enthused about cooking chicken for dinner so I went to my pantry for inspiration.  My eyes landed on half a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips and this star was born.  I have to say this is one of the most delicious chicken recipes I have had in a while.  The chicken stays juicy while the outside gets a golden crunch.  Tastes similar to fried chicken without the frying.  Will definitely be making this one again.

Potato Chip Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 cups coarsely crushed salt and vinegar potato chips (or flavor of your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking rack inside an edged bakin pan.  Generously spray the rack with cooking spray.
2. Set out 3 dishes (I used dinner plates).  On the first plate mix flour with salt and pepper.  On the second plate beat the egg.  On the third plate pour the potato chips.
3. Take one chicken breast and dredge it through the flour mixture.  Next dip the chicken in the egg.  Then press the chicken into the potato chips until it is well coated.  Place the chicken on the baking rack.  Repeat with remaining chicken.
4. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Couscous and Shrimp Salad

Pin It I guess we need to blame it on global warming, but I could take a few more of these 60 degree days in the middle of winter.  Because of the beautiful weather I was inspired to make a summer salad for lunch.  The tartness of lemons, the aroma of dill and the crispness of cucumbers make this a wonderfully refreshing dish.

Couscous and Shrimp Salad
*makes 3 lunch size servings
4 oz cooked couscous (1/2 of an 8oz box)
juice of 2 lemons
2 T honey
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T dill
1/2 lb cooked, peeled shrimp
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup seedless cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. Cook couscous according to box directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
2. Meanwhile combine, lemon juice, honey and olive oil in a small.  Whisk until well combined.  Adjust honey to desired sweetness.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large bowl combine couscous, shrimp, onion, cucumber and feta.  Stir gently to mix.  Pour dressing over mixture.  Sprinkle dill on top and mix.

**This will keep well for several days in the fridge, however, if you aren't planning on eating it right away, you probably want to leave the cucumbers and feta out until you are ready to serve.  Otherwise they will get soggy.
**You can substitute orzo for the couscous

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Asian Citrus Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Pin It I love cooking pork tenderloins.  They are fast and tasty.  I also make them a lot because it is a dinner that Albert and I both enjoy.  I'm always looking for new ways to spice it up since just roasting it can get a little boring.  This is one of those recipes that I just came up with based on ingredients that I had handy.  It has all of the Asian flavors I love: sweet, spicy and tart.  This marinade would also be great on chicken or shrimp.

Asian Citrus Marinated Pork Tenderloin
* This is for 2-3 people.  Adjust amounts for your crowd
1-2 lb pork tenderloin
Juice from one orange or 2-3 clementines
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp chili garlic paste or sriacha hot sauce (to taste)

1. Mix all ingredients in a gallon size ziptop bag.  Place tenderloin in the bag, seal and mush around to make sure meat is well covered in marinade.
2. Allow pork to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375.  Place pork in an oven safe dish.
4. Bake 35-50 minutes unil pork is done.  (Time depends on the size of your tenderloin).
5. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Pin It
I rate restaurants based on their bread.  Texas Roadhouse has one of my favorites mostly because of the awesome cinnamon butter that comes with their piping hot rolls.  I stumbled upon a recipe on Pinterest and modified it a bit to make the correct amount for us.  This was also my first attempt at making yeast rolls and they turned out perfect.  This is definitely a good beginner roll recipe.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls
*makes 10 rolls
1 1/2 cups four, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1 packet (1/4 oz.) yeast
1 egg white
1/3 c warm water
1/3 cup warm milk
2 T melted butter

1. Mix 1 cup flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
2. Combine egg white, water and milk.
3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture into the well.  Mix by hand until well combined, paying special attention to the bottom and sides of the bowl.
4. Stir in melted butter.
5. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
6. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until double in size.
7. Punch down dough using cooking spray coated spoons (the dough is super sticky).
8. Spray 10 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Divide dough evenly between cups.
9. Cover dough with a damp papertowel and allow dough to rise again for 30 minutes or until double in size.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Bake rolls for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with cinnamon honey butter.

Cinnamon Honey Butter
*enough for 1 batch of rolls - easy to double/triple
1 stick butter, softened
2 T honey
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth and well mixed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Black and Blue Breakfast Cake

Pin It
I love breakfast foods.  I would eat them for every meal if it was acceptable.  I absolutely love Starbucks, but have to limit myself due to a lack of unlimited funds.  Thier blueberry muffins are my favorite treat.  I stumbled upon this recipe in the St. Louis Post Dispatch a while ago and it claimed that it tastes just like Starbucks coffee cake.  I do have to say it is the closest I have found.  I tweaked it a bit and now this is one of my favorite breakfasts.  You can make a whole pan for about the price of one muffin at Starbucks, which makes it taste even better :)

Black and Blue Breakfast Cake
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp yogurt (plain or vanilla - I used Boston cream pie because I had it on hand)
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup blackberries, cut into pieces
2/3 cup blueberries

3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp groung nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well blended.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and mix.
3. Sift flour, baking poowder and salt together.  Add four mixture and milk alternately to the batter, ending with the flour mixture.  Mix well.
4. Spread batter in a greased 8 inch square pan.
5. Sprinkle berries on top of batter.
6. Mix topping ingredients with a pastry cutter or fork until it forms crumbs.  SPrinkle on top of berries.
7. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Optional-make a glaze of powdered sugar and milk to drizzle on top.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perfect Burgers

Pin It Well winter is finally here, blowing winds, frigid temps, icy sidewalks.  My husband and I decided that we needed a little taste of summer to lift our moods.  Albert just got a deep fryer for his birthday ( I hate it), and he wanted to make some fries to test it out so we decided that a summer bbq was in order.  I made these using my grill pan on my stovetop and they turned out awesome, just as good as when grilled outdoors.  This is my go-to burger recipe.  It is fast, flavorful and simple. 

Perfect Burgers
*makes 4 burgers
1 lb ground beef
1 packet onion soup mix
1 tsp seasoned salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
2. Divide into 4 equal portions and form into patties.
3. Grill or cook on stovetop until desired doneness.  We like ours medium well and it takes about 4 minutes per side over high heat.
4. Top with desired toppings

Friday, January 13, 2012

Clam Chowder

Pin It I'm a big fan of tomato based soups, however, Albert LOVES creamy soups.  I try to stay away because they are so bad for you.  But today was a snow day and I had all of the ingredients on hand, so Albrt wins and gets his beloved clam chowder.  This was my first attempt at clam chowder andI have to say it turned out quite delicious.  Definitely warms you upon a chilly winter day.  This recipe serves 4 (since there are only 2 of us here), but you could easily double or triple for a crowd.

Clam Chowder
2 cans chopped clams
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
3 T plus 1 T of butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
3/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1. Melt 1 T of butter in a large pot.  Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until just starting to brown.
2. Add potatoes to the pot and juice from both cans of clams.  Add water to cover vegetables and cook until tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate pot melt 3 T of butter.  When butteris compltely melted whisk in flour.  Allow flour to cook for 3-5 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
4. Whisk in half an half and continue to whisk until thick and smooth.
5. Add cream mixture to the vegetables.  Stir to combine.  Heat through, but do not boil.
6. Stir in clams just before serving and heat through. (You don't want to clams to overcook and get chewy).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Pin It This is one of those desserts that my mom made for us all the time as kids.  I probably haven't thought about them in 10 years.  I was cleaning my basement and came across a photocopied cookbook.  As soon as I saw the cover, I knew this was the cookbook that contained the recipe for chocolate oatmeal bars.  There are other awesome recipes, but this is the one that stuck in my mind.  Luckily I had all of the ingredients so I could quickly whip up a batch of these.  Hopefully your family will enjoy them as much as mine :)

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cream butter, sugar and salt.  Blend in flour and oats until particles are fine.
3. Press 2/3 of the mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
4. In a microwave safe bowl (I used a glass measuring cup) pour sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips.  Microwave on high 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
5. Pour over the crust and spread evenly to the edges.
6. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over chocolate and lightly press down.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pin It I have a bad habit of buying a big bunch of bananas and then not eating them before they get brown and mushy.  Because of this I have to use them for baking.  Not a big problem, but I get tired of the same old banana bread and banana muffins so that is how this recipe was born.  I was inspired by a similar recipe that I found on Pinterest.  This cake is moist and dense and would make a great breakfast or brunch item.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk, but any variety will do)

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Spray an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray.
2. Beat butter, oil and sugar until creamed. 
3. Beat in eggs and egg white one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mash bananas with milk and set aside.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating with the banana mixture until all is combined.
6. Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped toasted nuts, optional (I used pecans, feel free to use your favorite)

Cream the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until well blended and smooth.

To toast the nuts, place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Put in a 375 degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until the nuts become fragrant.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mexican Chiptole Chorizo Soup

Pin It I love making a big pot of soup on the weekends and then eating it for lunch during the week.  I also have a weakness for tomato based soups...chili, tortilla soup, taco stew...I love them all.  I would compare this to a spicy, beef version of a tortilla soup.  This was inspired by  Rachael Ray "stoup" recipe.  Great served with crushed tortilla chips or beer bread.

Mexican Chipotle Chorizo Soup
1/2 lb chorizo, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 chipotle in adobo, minced (more or less to taste)
1 can of beer
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beens, rinsed and drained
1 can white hominy, drained
1 can corn, drained

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Drizzle olive oil in the pot and add chorizo and beef.  Brown meat, crumbling as it cooks.
2. Drain meat and set aside.
3. Add onions, garlic, chili powder and chipotle to pot.  Cook until onions are browned.
4.  Add beer to pot and loosen any brown bits from the bottom.
5. Add broth, cooked meat, tomatoes, beans, hominy and corn.  Allow to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
6. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Chorizo can be bought in most grocery stores.  I find mine in the meat section by the butcher's Italian sausage and brats.  Not by hotdogs or packaged brats.
Chipotles in adobo can be found in the Mexican aisle in a small can.  They are VERY spicy.  You only need a small amount to taste their heat.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Glazed Meatloaf

Pin It Since Albert is a meat and potatoes kind of guy h happens to love meatloaf.  I don't like how greasy it gets when you bake it in a loaf pan, not to mention the excessively long cooking time.  So I decided to make individual sized portions that would be quicker to cook and less greasy.  You can make them with or without the glaze for an easy weeknight meal.  Tastes great with garlic red potatoes.

Mini Glazed Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1 packet onion soup mix
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg
2/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 10-15 crackers)

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and put a wire rack on top of the foil.  Spray the wire rack with cooking spray.
2. Hand mix all of the ingredients for the meatloaf until well combined. 
3. Divide the meat into 4 portions and shape into mini loaf shapes.  Place on the rack, spaced out.
4. Mix the ingredients for the glaze until smooth.  Brush on top of the meatloafs.  (You might have extra to use as a dipping sauce)
5.Bake 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Garlic Red Potatoes

Pin It This is a great side dish for any meal.  Another comfort food classic. Serves 3-4, can double or triple easily.

Garlic Red Potatoes
3-4 medium/large red potatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a pot with water and add potatoes to the water.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes
2. Drain potatoes and return to the pot.
3. Melt butter and add both types of garlic.  Pour mixture over the potatoes.
4. Sprinkle parsley over the top and carefully stir potatoes until well coated with butter and parsley.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lemon Baked Chicken

Pin It I had a pack of chicken leg quarters in my freezer and needed something to do with them.  So I created this recipe over my Christmas break.  It turned out quite delicious.  A good winter, comfort food item.  Delicious when served with Keep Your Man Happy Potatoes.

Lemon Baked Chicken
4 chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on (or any cut of chicken that you prefer)
4 Tbsp butter, melted
zest of one lemon, divided
Juice of half of lemon
4 lemon slices (from the unjuiced half, it's ok that you zested it)
2 Tbsp seafood seasoning (like Old Bay or Wildtree Bayou Blend)
1 tsp dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and put a wire baking/cooling rack on top of the foil.  Spray rack with cooking spray.
2. Mix half of the lemon zest, seafood seasoning and oregano.  Spread mixture under the skin of each piece of chicken.
3. Mix lemon juice, butter and remaining zest.  Pour a little butter under the skin of each chicken on top of the spice mixture.
4. Place the chicken on the rack on the pan and cover with remaining lemon butter mixture.  Top each piece of chicken with a lemon slice.
5. Bake uncovered 50-60 minutes or until juices run clear.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Keep Your Man Happy Potatoes

Pin It This recipe is so easy I'm almost embarassed to post it, however, these are Albert's absolute favorite potatoes.  He eats at least three servings everytime I make them.

Keep Your Man Happy Potatoes
3-4 medium/large red potatoes, diced
Season All Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a baking sheet generously with cooking spray.
3. Put potatoes on pan and generously sprinkle with Season All.  Toss to coat.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, turning potatoes about halfway through.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Island Soyaki Fried Rice

Pin It Happy New Year everyone!  One of my favorite stores is Trader Joe's.  They just have such unique foods and sauces.  I used a little help from their Island Soyaki Sauce.  This is a great side dish for Trader Joe's orange chicken or you can add some chicken or shrimp and make it a meal.

Island Soyaki Fried Rice
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 egg
1/2 cup Island Soyaki sauce ( or a mixture of 1/4 c soy sauce and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce)
green onions
**feel free to add any other veggies or meats that you would like such as bean sprouts, chicken, shrimp, or even pineapple)

1. Heat up a skillet/wok over medium high heat on your stove.  Add onions, carrots and peas and cook until starting to brown.
2. Add egg to pan and quickly stir it to cook the egg (so it breaks into small pieces like scrambled eggs)
3. Add Soyaki Sauce and heat to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and stir in rice.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Top with chopped green onions before serving.