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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Texas Roadhouse Loaded Cheese Fries


Everyone in my family LOVED these!  They were amazing, hubby even said "I feel like I have had these before are you sure this is a new recipe?"  After I told him they were the "Copy cat" version of Texas Roadhouse he said " I knew it, that's where I tasted them"


LOADED CHEESE FRIES
Texas Roadhouse Copycat Recipe

4 cups frozen steak fries (I didn't do store bought I made my own. Sliced potatoes and cooked on 450 for thirty minutes)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (I tripled this)
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (I tripled this)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (I tripled this)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
6-8 slices of bacon; enough to make 1/2 cup once cooked
frying oil (My bacon didn't make much grease so I used some butter)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cook bacon in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat.
Take out bacon when crisp and put on a paper towel to dry.
Pour bacon grease into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Add garlic salt, onion powder, and seasoned salt to the grease and stir to mix.
Set aside.
Arrange the fries on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden.
Set oven to broil.
Brush the bacon oil and seasoning mix onto each fry.
Place fries in an oven-safe bowl.
Spread the cheddar cheese over the fries.
Crumble bacon slices, then sprinkle over cheese.
Place dish in oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes, then serve.

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie

This is one of those recipes that I turn too when I am short on time or am completely exhausted and still need to throw dinner together.  It is so simple and tasty, hubby and kids all love it!

1 lb ground beef                       
1 lg onion chopped (I use 1 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon salt                        
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
I also like to add a pkg of ranch mix.

Heat oven to 400°F.
Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.
Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate.
Sprinkle with cheese.
In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended.
Pour into pie plate.
Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.


The original recipe is from Bisquick... check out their page they have several great recipes!
Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie

Monday, July 29, 2013

Buttery Garlic Green Beans

I am on a quest to get rid of as many canned foods as possible so instead of making my typical green beans with beef bouillon cubes and potatoes I made fresh green beans tonight.  I will say though there is a HUGE price difference the fresh green beans were 4 times as expensive as the canned ones!  The kids ate them pretty well, hubby loved them and he might have gone back for thirds... and he might have stood over the skillet eating them till I took them away (there were a few left that I will use later this week).  Hubby proclaimed that they were delicious!

1pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped in half (this made a TON of green beans)
3tablespoons butter
3cloves garlic, minced (I used 1 tsp instead and hubby said he couldn't really taste the garlic however 1 clove is supposed to be 1/8 tsp)
2pinches lemon pepper (I didn't use)
salt to taste

Place green beans into a large skillet and cover with water; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Drain water.
Add butter to green beans; cook and stir until butter is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Cook and stir garlic with green beans until garlic is tender and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
Season with lemon pepper and salt.

Buttery Garlic Green Beans

http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/514438036/buttery-garlic-green-beans/

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Menu for 7-29 to 8-4

Monday
B- M&M Pancakes
L- Chicken Strips and Pretzels
D- Meatball Subs and Buttery Garlic Green Beans (New Recipe) Caprese Salad

Tuesday
B- Bacon and Hash browns
L- Corn Dogs
D- Cajun Chicken Pasta, Red Lobster Biscuits, and Green beans (left over from last night)

Wednesday
B- Yogurt and Fruit
L- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
D- Cheeseburger Pie, Cucumber Salad (New Recipe), and Texas Roadhouse Loaded Steak Fries

Thursday
B- Monkey Bread
L- Mini Pizzas
D- Sizzling Chicken and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes and Corn on Cob (Yes I know we had this last week but hubby asked for it again... must be a winner.  :) )

Friday
B- Cereal
L- Out (Phillips sister is in town)
D- Date Night

Saturday
B-
L- Mc Donalds (Mother took kids for a treat)
D- Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Sunday
B- Pancake Dippers
L-
D- Leftovers

Delicious Hash Brown Casserole


I LOVE this recipe mainly because it is so quick and simple but also because there is no sour cream in it... If you mix this up the night before all you have to do is throw it in the oven and you have a meal in no time!

1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup butter (melted)                                                                    
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used 1/2 tsp onion powder I also added 1/2 tsp garlic powder)                                                                    
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
I also added in some ham
 
 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Spray one 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, onions, soup and cheese.
  4. Gently mix and pour into prepared pan or dish.
  5. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.


 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Monster Cookies

My son looked at me and very seriously said "Mommy those cookies were really good.  I NEED some more."

This is the best version of these cookies that I can find!  Some times when making monster cookies they seem to end up flat but these were the perfect texture and remained fluffy.

3 eggs                                                                     





 

Chinese Fried Rice

I am not going to lie when I decided to make fried rice I might have scoured the internet to find the easiest fried rice recipe possible.  I think I succeeded!  This was so simple to make and was honestly pretty good. 

1 - 2 green onions, as desired
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
4 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup frozen peas (I used 1/2 a cup and added carrots for the other 1/2)
1 - 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, as desired
 
Preparation:
Wash and finely chop the green onion.
Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.
Heat a wok or frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil.
When the oil is hot, add the peas and stir fry until tender.
Next, add the eggs.
Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry.
Remove the egg mixture and clean out the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons oil.
Add the rice.
Stir-fry for a few minutes, using chopsticks or a wooden spoon to break it apart.
Stir in the soy sauce as desired.
When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan.
Mix thoroughly.
Stir in the green onion.
Serve hot.

Black Pepper Chicken

Any time we go get Chinese food I go straight for the Black Pepper Chicken I love spicy food.  Tonight my nephew (from China) is spending the night with us and he has only been in America for about six months so I decided we would make some "Chinese food" for him.  He shoveled in his first serving and then asked for seconds by the time he got halfway through the second plate it was getting spicy.  :)  The other kids and I liked this also (hubby is still at work) and I took my neighbor's a bite and they also enjoyed it.  I will definently be making this again!

Black Pepper Chicken Recipe ( I quadrupled the recipe)

Chinese Black Pepper Chicken

Ingredients:
1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, about 8 oz. (cut into thin strips)
1 onion (sliced)
1 green bell pepper (cut into thin strips)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (use 1 tablespoon to marinate the chicken)
1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper (I would probably only triple this)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Maggi seasoning (After some research I learned that you can use 1/2 soy sauce and 1/2 Worcestershire)
2 tablespoons oil

Method:
Marinate the chicken strips with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for 10 minutes.
Heat up a wok and add cooking oil.
When the cooking oil is hot, add the sliced onions and quickly stir-fry until aromatic and follow by the bell pepper and black pepper.
Stir-fry for 1 minute and add in the chicken strips.
Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is cooked.
Add in soy sauce, Maggi sauce, sugar, and continue to stir-fry until the onions are caramelized.
Dish out and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicken Bellagio Cheesecake Factory Version

I am going to preface this by saying this blog is about telling you what works for our family and what doesn't.  Hubby thought this was ok I however think it tastes nothing like the Cheesecake Factory version and was very disappointed with the sauce, it was too lemony for me.  The chicken was great but as for pasta I would much rather make the Cajun chicken pasta that I posted a few weeks ago.  This is also a pretty expensive meal, think $4 per serving... I know this doesn't seem like much but between garlic bread, chicken, parmesan, arugula, and whipping cream it all added up pretty quickly.  I probably will not be making this again but am going to include the recipe on here just in case you want to try it.

Pasta and Sauce

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 C Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves Minced
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pkg. Spaghettini (thin spaghetti)

  • Chicken

  • 3-4 Chicken Breast
  • 1 C Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 C Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese
  • Oil {Vegetable oil works great, but olive or grape seed oil is a nice alternative}

  • Garnish

  • Prosciutto at room temp. (Didn't use)
  • Arugula Lettuce washed and dried (Pictured is baby Arugula)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Lemons

  • (Pasta and Sauce)
    Whisk heavy cream and garlic in sauce pan over medium-high heat until it begins to thicken.
    Add in Parmesan cheese and whisk til incorporated.
    Lower heat to medium-low careful not to scorch.
    Add in basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
    Whisk thoroughly and reduce to a low heat to keep warm.
    When ready to serve toss with Spaghettini that has been cooked at pkg directs.

    (Chicken)
    You will need 3 bowls.
    In first bowl place flour.
    The second whisk the eggs and third combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
    Set aside.
    If chicken is frozen, allow to thaw completely.
    Butterfly the cutlets, or cut them in half by cutting through the middle of the meat so you have 2 thinner pieces.
    Then place in a large sturdy zip-lock bag and with a meat mallet gently hammer chicken so that the piece is an even and thickness.
    About this time, begin to heat your oil in a large skillet over medium -medium/high heat.
    You will want to fill your skillet about 3/4 inch deep with oil.
    You will know when ready if you flick a few drops of water on the oil and it crackles.
    Take each piece of chicken and first coat them with flour, then dip in the egg, then last coat with bread crumb mixture.
    Do this to each piece.
    Then place 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time in skillet.
    This will depend on how big your skillet is.
    Don't over crowd.
    Allow to cook a few minutes, sides will start to turn a golden brown.
    Then flip and cook the other side.
    When finished remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
    Repeat with remaining pieces.

    (Assembly)
    To assemble this dish in true Cheesecake Factory Style.. Place generous serving of pasta in middle of plate.
    Layer with two pieces of chicken side by side.
    Ribbon 1-2 pieces of Prosciutto over top of chicken.
    Then place a generous handful of arugula over prosciutto.
    Drizzle a little evoo over arugula followed by juice of a lemon half. Oh lovely lemons. Can't get enough!

    http://www.ohsodelicioso.com/2012/02/chicken-bellagio-cheesecake-factory.html

    Chewy M&M Cookie Bars

    Chewy M&M Cookie Bars
    Who can resist M&M's?  Not me and not my neighbor.  I took these out for him to "test" for me and according to him they would be perfect with a glass of milk.  I like that these are not extremely rich they are just right.  I hope that you enjoy these!
     
    mmcookiebars-7
     
    Ingredients
    • 2 1/8 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 12 TBSPs butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 2 tsps vanilla extract
    • 1 12oz bag mini M&M's, divided
    Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil, with the foil overhanging on the sides.
    2. Mix together the butter and sugars until combined. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
    3. Fold the flour salt, and baking soda into the wet mixture until just combined.
    4. Stir in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
    5. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.
    6. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 25-28 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    TGI Fridays Sizzling Chicken and Cheese

    Holy moly this was amazing!  I love the version I can get at the restaurant however I feel like this was even better.  I made mashed potatoes also and mixed some sizzled in cheese into those too!  This is most certainly a recipe you must try and hubby declared it his new favorite meal!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

    TGI Fridays Sizzling Chicken and Cheese



    2 (4 ounce) chicken breasts
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon chopped garlic
    1/2 cup shredded white chihuahua cheese (I used shredded Colby Jack)
    2 slices American cheese ( I used shredded sharp cheddar)
    mashed potatoes

    marinade

    2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    2 ounces olive oil ( this is about 4 tb)
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    pepper and onion medley

    green pepper , julienne
    1 red pepper , julienne
    1 yellow onion , julienne
    Pound chicken breasts to even thickness.
    Combine all marinade ingredients.
    Place chicken breasts in marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
    Slice peppers and onions and sauté in olive oil until al dente.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Saute chicken breasts in olive oil over medium heat; cook evenly on both sides to a golden brown color.
    Heat cast iron skillet on burner over medium heat until very hot.
    Place mashed potatoes on top portion of skillet.
     Place cheeses on bottom portion of skillet and cover with pepper and onion medley.
    Add chicken to top of pepper and onion medley, resting on potatoes.
    Top with chopped parsley.
     Serve “sizzling."

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Menu for 7-22 to 7-28

    Monday (My Birthday)
    B- Cinnamon Rolls (leftover from Sunday)
    L- Mini Pizzas
    D- Sizzling Chicken and Cheese (New Recipe), Peas, Mashed Potatoes

    Tuesday
    B- Chocolate Chip Muffins
    L- Hot Dogs, Pretzels, and Mandarin Oranges
    D- Fajita Chimichanga, Rice, and Corn

    Wednesday
    B- Yogurt and Fruit
    L- Chicken Wraps
    D- Chicken Bellagio (New Recipe) and Pasta

    Thursday
    B- Pancake Dippers
    L- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
    D- TGIFridays (Gift Card and coupons)

    Friday
    B- Cereal
    L- Hard Shell Queso Quesadillas
    D- Black Pepper Chicken (New Recipe) Chinese Fried Rice (New Recipe)

    Saturday
    B- M&M Pancakes
    L- Chicken Alfredo Pizza
    D- Chicken Fried Steak, Onion Rings, Rolls, and Corn Casserole (New Recipe)

    Sunday
    B- Hashbrown Casserole
    L- Chili's (We had a gift card and kids eat free today!)
    D- Leftovers

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Balsamic Asparagus

    Husband really enjoyed this and said that he thought this was his favorite aspect of the meal.  For me however this was my first time to make/eat asparagus and it tastes a little earthy for me.  My mother in law said it was good and my father in law went back for seconds so I guess their votes count more than mine.  I personally think that asparagus has an acquired taste, so it may take a few times to grow on me.

    2 cups water
    1 bunch (pound) fresh asparagus, trimmed
    2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 Tablespoon butter, melted
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Directions:
    In a large pan, bring water to a boil. 
    Add asparagus, and boil uncovered for 4-5 minutes or until tender. 
    In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. 
    Drain asaragus and drizzle with balsamic mixture.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Comment for a Prize

    So I love that I have so many people viewing my blog, in about nine months I have had over 5000 page views.  However I have hardly any comments with feedback from any of you, facebook comments don't count.  ;)  So what I would like to do is have a little giveaway.  I would love to hear what you think about the recipes I have posted and the only way I can think of to get you to comment is to offer a prize.

    I would love to know what you think about these recipes but remember to keep comments G rated and comments with profanity will not be eligible to win.  So what I need you to do is:

    1) find the recipe that you like the best and comment ON IT telling me what your family thought about it

    2) then come back to this post and leave a comment telling me which recipe you commented on and also leave me your email so I can get ahold of you if you win

    3) this contest will last till Friday night at 8 p.m.

    I hope you choose to participate I can't wait till I get to read your comments!

    Bobby's Goulash

    Goulash was always a word that scared me.  It sounds so odd so I decided to concur my fears and make it. ;)  Call me a nerd but I decided if I was going to eat this I wanted to know what exactly goulash was. 

    So I googled it.  Apparently it is a term from Hungary and means herd of cattle, after a little more reading I found out that this dish was prepared a lot while men were out checking on their animals.  Armed with all this new knowledge I set out to find a recipe and where better to look than to Paula Deen?

    Obviously everyone in my family enjoyed this, they gobbled it up and, they all said thank you multiple times. 

    Picture of Bobby's Goulash Recipe

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef  (I only used 1 lb... mainly just to save a little money)
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped (I used onion powder we all know how I feel about the texture of onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked

  •  
    In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat until no pink remains.
    Break up the meat while sauteing.
    Spoon off any grease.
    Add the onions and garlic to the pot and saute until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
     Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt.
    Stir well.
    Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
    Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
    Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves, and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.
    Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goulash
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/bobbys-goulash-recipe/index.html

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Menu for 7-15 till 7-21

    Monday
    B- Cereal
    L- Out (Taking care of grandmother)
    D- Butcher Shop (Birthday Dinner with my parents)

    Tuesday
    B- Fruit and Yogurt
    L- Mini Pizzas
    D- Goulash (New Recipe), Caprese Salad, and Cheese Biscuits

    Wednesday (Hubby's Birthday!)
    B- Cereal
    L- Corn Dogs and Fruit Kabobs
    D- Pork Ribs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Asparagus, Honey Chicken Kabobs, Corn on Cob, and Rolls

    Thursday
    B- Birthday Cake (Yes I did feed my kids last nights birthday cake for breakfast... I want it out of my house so I don't eat it!)
    L- Chicken Strips, and Pretzels
    D-

    Friday
    B- Biscuits and Gravy
    L- Chinese Food (With Dad)
    D-Pizza (Kiddos are having friends sleep over)

    Saturday
    B- Cereal
    L-Leftovers
    D- Tacos (Hubby ended up having to go to work so I had to whip something quick up)

    Sunday
    B- Cinnamon Rolls
    L- Italian Roast, Greenbeans and Cornbread
    D- Leftovers

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Style)


    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

    Lowry's Seasoning Salt


    6 bacon slices
    1/4 cup regular mustard
    1/3 cup honey
    2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (didn't use I hate mayo!)
    2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
    1 cup sliced fresh mushroom (I omitted because my family does not like mushrooms)

    2 cup shredded Colby/Jack cheese
     
    First, Sprinkle and rub the chicken breasts with seasoning salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    While the chicken is in the refrigerator, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside.  ***Do not discard grease.***
    Saute chicken in the bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned.  Place chicken in a 9" × 13" casserole dish or pan.
    To make the Honey Mustard:  In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes.  
    Spread some of the Honey Mustard over each piece of chicken, then layer with mushrooms, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese.
    Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.
    Serve with the left over Honey Mustard Sauce that you made.
     

    Southern Caramel Icing

    Today is my neighbor's birthday, so I am baking her my Simple Vanilla Cake. I decided that I wanted to do something a little different from plain old buttercream frosting so I found this recipe and decided to give it a try, after all you can't go wrong with caramel.  Right?

    Ingredients
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ½ cup Crisco
    • ½ cup butter
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda

    Instructions
    1. Mix all ingredients in a 3-4 quart cast iron dutch oven.
    2. Swirl pan to keep ingredients moving in the pan.
    3. Cook to softball stage 235º – 245º on a candy thermometer or when tested in a cup of cold water.
    4. Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy and ready to spread.
     
     
    *Note- be ready to spread the icing as soon as it is done!
     

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    My Journey to Being A Home Cook

    As a little girl I remember that my grandmother was a fabulous cook and eating at her house was a treat, my mother however did not have the same talents as my grandmother.  ;) Growing up my mother was not an adventurous cook she would find a few things that we all liked and would make them fairly often and I will say we ate a ton of fast food! 

    When I first got married my idea of home cooking would have been picking something up and bringing it home to eat or Hamburger Helper.  Let me just say the hubby and I lived off HH for probably the first year of our marriage, and if I wanted to be really adventurous I made tacos.  I know this is terrible but I was working a full time job and didn't exactly have time to tinker in the kitchen, or maybe didn't make time, now I am blessed to stay home with my 3 beautiful kids and I LOVE trying out new things.  At this point I would like to say we haven't had Hamburger Helper since that first year of being married.  I can't even look at a box of it without feeling gross. 

    Once we had our first son my husband and I decided that I was going to stay home and be the typical 1950's housewife and I loved it from the beginning.  (Don't dare even think about telling me I don't have a job! I work my hiney off.)  At this point I had started venturing beyond my little box of knowledge after all I have now started watching Food Network so I can do everything those chefs can do.  ;)  I haven't really had any epic disasters and I owe many thanks to Paula Deen.  Hubby gives her almost all the credit for teaching me to make some amazing fried chicken among other things. 

    If you have read this blog you know that we are not into the all organic or crazy fancy but I will say I don't cook with anything from a box and given a choice will cook frozen or fresh over canned any day, I am all about knocking as many preservatives as I can out of our daily diet.  Am I saying I am the best cook ever?  No but I am saying that I enjoy experimenting and want to share what I find with all of you!  What works for my family may not work for yours but half the fun of cooking is pushing the limits to see what you can accomplish. 


    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken

    I am going to start by saying this was not my favorite recipe ever.  It was good and hubby and the kids really enjoyed it but for me it was slightly too sweet, this however is partially my fault because I ignored one of my rules and started making it before I made sure I had all of the ingredients.  I ended up not having Dijon mustard and had to use honey mustard and I had already added the honey in so it was double trouble.  ;)  Anyway I feel like I will make this again however not anytime soon and I will make sure I have all the ingredients before hand.




    2 cups panko crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs)
    2 cups pretzel crumbs
    1/2 cup neutral tasting olive oil
    1/2 cup Dijon mustard
    1/3 cup honey 
    1/4 cup bottled water
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
    1 + 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (I used 4 breasts)
    1/2 cup flour, plus more if needed

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly grease with oil a large, non-stick baking sheet or roasting pan.
  • If you don't have a non-stick pan line a regular pan with parchment and lightly grease with oil.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat toast the panko crumbs until lightly golden, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
  • In a food processor pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground (small crumbs with some small pretzel pieces) then add them to a medium bowl and mix with the panko crumbs.
  • Wipe the crumbs out of the food processor.
  • Add the oil, mustard, honey, water and vinegar to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Taste and adjust the flavor to suit your own tastes by adding more mustard or honey.
  • Pound the chicken breasts out to an even thickness using a mallet.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Set up a dredging station: 
  • Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl or dish, put the flour on a large plate and add half the pretzel mixture to a large, shallow bowl or dish (add the remaining half pretzel crumbs to the dish as needed).
  • Working one at a time and using tongs dredge the chicken in the flour then into the dressing allowing excess to drip off then into the pretzel crumbs patting them on if needed.
  • Place on greased baking sheet.
  • Bake 16 - 25 minutes depending on their thickness/size or until cooked through (internal temperature 165 - 174 degrees F.).
  • Let the chicken sit 5 minutes before serving with the remaining honey mustard dressing.


  • Read more: http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/honey-mustard-pretzel-chicken/#ixzz2YgwHnoct

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Hamburger Steaks and Brown Gravy

    I remember my mother making this when I lived at home with my parents, but I have not had it since I got married, tonight I was thinking about comfort food and this popped into my head.  So I looked up a recipe and then tweaked it a little bit.  This was so good and the flavors blend together well.  The best part is that is is QUICK!

    For the steaks:
    1 pound ground beef
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    ½ teaspoon onion powder
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    I also added in about 1/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs to help hold it together better.

    For the gravy:
    2 tablespoons pan drippings (all the yummy stuff off the bottom)
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 ¾ cups beef broth
    Salt & pepper to taste
     
    Crumble ground beef in a medium bowl.
    Add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder
    Mix it all up by hand (these are your best tools in the kitchen) 
    Shape beef into four thick patties.
    Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Once the pan is good and hot, cook steaks on each side for 4-5 minutes or until nicely seared. Remove steaks and set aside (do not worry if they are cooked through, they will finish cooking in the gravy).
    Reduce frying pan temperature to medium.
    Pour off pan drippings into a cup or bowl then measure two tablespoons of the drippings and add back to the pan (the hamburgers should yield almost exactly two tablespoons but if you’re short, add melted bacon grease or butter).
    Add flour to the pan and whisk to incorporate.
    Continue cooking and whisking for about 1-2 minutes or until roux is medium brown.
    Add beef stock and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes or until gravy starts to thicken a little (gravy will be fairly thin).
    Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Add hamburger steaks to gravy, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until meat juices run clear and gravy has reduced and thickened.

    Cooking the meat in the gravy gives it a flavor bonus, I do this with my chicken fried steak also.

    This recipe is adapted from South Your Mouth.  http://www.southyourmouth.com/2012/09/hamburger-steaks-with-brown-gravy.html

    Menu for 7-8 to 7-14

    Holy cow I just realized while typing in the dates that we are closer to Christmas than we are farther from it.  Did that make sense?  Anyway, last week was absolutely crazy busy for us hubby ended up working most of the holiday weekend and that always seems to throw us off a little bit.  I hope you all had a great fourth of July spent with friends and family.  I am kicking myself into gear today and hope to get my menu ready, house sparkling, and a few new recipes tested, after all my neighbor keeps texting me asking me to bake him something.  ;)

    Monday
    B- Cereal
    L- Smashburger with Grandmother
    D- Pizza

    Tuesday
    B- Biscuits and Sausage
    L- Corndogs and Pretzels
    D- Hamburger Steaks with Brown Gravy (New Recipe), Corn on Cob, and Baked Potatoes

    Wednesday
    B- Cereal
    L- Chicken Strips and Fruit
    D- Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken (New Recipe), Macaroni and Cheese, and Glazed Carrots

    Thursday
    B- Mini Pancakes and Bacon
    L- Cheese Quesadillas
    D- ?

    Friday FAMILY DATE DAY!!!
    B- French Toast
    L- Applebees (We have a gift card)
    D- Rainforest Café (We have a reward card worth $50)

    Saturday
    B- Pancake Bites
    L- Chicken Nuggets
    D- Alice Springs Chicken (New Recipe), Broccoli, and Scalloped Potatoes

    Sunday
    B- Breakfast Casserole
    L- Chicken and Rice, Peas, Biscuits
    D- Leftovers

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Cajun Chicken Pasta aka Heaven

    A few months ago I posted a recipe and said that it would be amazing with some Cajun seasoning so when I found this recipe I had to try it and I was not disappointed.  I used the full 4 tsp of seasoning and it was slightly too spicy for my kids, hubby and I LOVED this dish though.  It was delicious and will have your taste buds dancing.  :)
    8 Ounces of Linguine, Cooked Al Dente
    4 Chicken Breasts
    4 Teaspoons of Cajun Seasoning
    4 Tablespoon Butter
    2 Thinly Sliced Of Green Onion (1/2 tsp onion powder)
    2 Cups of Heavy Whipped Cream (The original recipe said 4 but that is WAY too much)
    1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Basil
    1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
    1/2Teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1 1/2 Grated Parmesan Cheese
    Salt to Taste

    Here’s what you need to do:
    Place the chicken strips and Cajun seasoning into a bowl to coat.
    Toss and mix them well.
    In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in butter or margarine (if you prefer) until chicken is tender.
    Sauté this for about 4-8 minutes.
    Remove chicken from the pan.
    Reduce the heat then add the green onion, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and the heavy cream.
    Heat through.
    Stir in Parmesan
    Add linguini and serve.
     
    Chicken Cajun Pasta Recipe Image


    *I made this again tonight and it was a big hit again.  If you feel like your pasta is too runny just add some cornstarch...

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    Cajun Spice Mix

    Tonight I was wanting some Cajun Chicken Pasta and didn't have any seasoning so I decided to make my own.  Here is the recipe I used.  In my next post I will share my pasta recipe!

     

    Cajun Spice Mix

    Ingredients

    2 tsp salt
    2 tsp garlic powder
    2 1/2 tsp paprika
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

    Instructions

    Stir together ingredients and store in an airtight container

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    Candy Man's Billion Dollar Candy Bar

         This morning I was glancing through Pinterest and found this recipe and I decided to try it. I mean look at that picture doesn't that look absolutely beautiful?  I don't know how can you go wrong with chocolate and caramel, I really don't think it's possible. :) 

         This recipe is very time consuming it took about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish, it's very simple though, the waiting is the hard part.  In fact it was so simple that my kids all took part in helping mommy.  It was very difficult for all of us to wait before digging in.  The only thing I will say is that these are very rich and there is a distinct peanut butter flavor even though I cut down on the pb I think next time I will replace all of the pb with Nutella. 

         I hope that you enjoy this yummy treat as much as we did.

     

                                                                  Bottom  Chocolate Layer
    1 cup milk chocolate chips (or half semi-sweet)
    1/3 cup butterscotch chips ( I used toffee)
    1/3 cup peanut butter
    Melt milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a pan over low heat
    Stirring constantly.
    Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking pan lightly coated with nonstick spray or lined with plastic wrap which is long enough to drape over sides of the pan. (I think 9x13 is slightly too big especially for the chocolate layer)
    Spread mixture and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    Nougat Layer
    4 tablespoons butter
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup light brown sugar
    1/4 cup evaporated milk
    1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme
    1/3 cup peanut butter
    1-1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts (optional)( I used walnuts)
    Melt butter over medium heat in pan
    Add sugars and evaporated milk
    Bring to a boil, and cook additional 5 minutes while stirring.
    Remove from the heat and add marshmallow creme and peanut butter.
    Pour over the bottom layer and gently spread mixture.
    If you use peanuts, scatter across the top.
    Place in the refrigerator for 15 - 30 minutes.

    Caramel Layer
    1 (14-ounce package) caramel candy
    1/4 cup cream
    1 tablespoon butter
    Place the unwrapped caramel candy, butter, and cream in a medium saucepan.
    Place over low heat and stir until the mixture has completely melted and is smooth.
    Pour in the pan and quickly spread over nougat layer. 
    Place in the refrigerator for 15 - 30 minutes.
    \
    Top Chocolate Layer
    1 cup milk chocolate chips (or half semi-sweet)
    1/3 cup butterscotch chips (I used toffee)
    1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (For the top layer I used Nutella instead of pb)
    Melt milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter in a pan over low heat.
    Stirring constantly.
    Pour over the caramel layer and spread.
    Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.
    Store in an air-tight container.

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