Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe Redo: Polish Chicken

My grandmother has been making this recipe for Polish Chicken for as long as I can remember. It's the ultimate comfort food and one of those meals that instantly transports me back to my childhood.

Polish chicken

I went through a period where I didn't like meat on the bone (sacrilege) but thankfully I got over it. This is absolutely a meal you want to make with bone-in chicken. The bone helps the meat stay moist and tender. There's nothing complicated about this recipe, making it perfect for both a weeknight or a hearty, warming Sunday dinner. I think the gravy is my favorite part. As you can see in the photo, I smother everything on the plate with copious amounts. My grandmother always served Polish chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans so that's what I do, too.

And if you're wondering why this is called Polish chicken, I asked my grandmother and she said it's just what her mother called it when she was making it and the name stuck. Her family is Polish, so there you go. Regardless, it's delicious.

Polish Chicken
My grandmother's recipe

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts*
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cups water
1 cube chicken bouillon

Place the chicken in a resealable plastic food storage bag or in a baking dish. Add the flour, garlic and onion powder, and some salt and pepper. Seal the bag and toss to coat the chicken evenly in the flour (if using a baking dish, rub the flour and seasoning over the chicken to coat both sides).

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (make sure the skillet has a lid) over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is brown and crispy. Flip and cook another 5 minutes. Add the minced onion around the chicken pieces and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.

While the onion is cooking, bring the water to a boil (you can use an electric kettle, a pan on the stove, or heat it in the microwave). Add the bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Once the onions are soft, add the water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, then cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring and turning the chicken every so often.

If the gravy looks a little thin, put a few tablespoons of flour in a bowl and add some water to make a paste. Whisk the paste into the gravy in the skillet. You should see the gravy thicken immediately. Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve the chicken topped with the gravy.

*You can also use thighs or legs, just increase the amount based on how much you think your family will eat.
Pin It!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Penne with Five Cheeses

Another Sunday dinner prepared by SP. As I've mentioned before, he's loving Ina Garten right now. Her Penne with Five Cheeses sounded not only easy, but delicious. I've never seen a cream sauce like this before - you don't cook it ahead of time, just add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cheese and bake. I was skeptical but it worked.


We all loved this but, unfortunately, it doesn't reheat well. I was so excited for the leftovers the next day, too. Oh well - that just means we get to eat it all next time. The only thing he changed was the cooking method. We don't own enough large ramekins to make individual servings, so we put the pasta and sauce in a large baking dish and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the sauce was bubbling.

Penne with Five Cheese
From Ina Garten

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 pound penne rigate pasta

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients except the penne in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente (1 or 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the package). Drain well in a colander, then add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.

Add the pasta to a large baking dish (9x13 or larger). Bake for 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the edges are beginning to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: due to the cream in the sauce, this doesn't reheat well.
Pin It!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"The Gobbler" {aka a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich}

Despite living in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for most of my life, I've never eaten at a WaWa. Apparently I'm missing out. See, they sell this sandwich called The Gobbler and it's right up my alley. Turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce on a hoagie roll. It's the ultimate in Thanksgiving leftovers, only you don't have to do any of the cooking.

Recently Coleen over at The Redhead Baker made an at-home version of The Gobbler sandwich. I was practically drooling all over my keyboard just reading about it so I knew I had to make it. The only problem was, we weren't going to be home for Thanksgiving. No problem - I just asked my mom to save me some turkey, stuffing and gravy. When we got home she dropped off the leftovers, I picked up some cranberry sauce and hoagie rolls and we were in business.


As suspected, these were outstanding. I added a little mayo to our sandwiches because we all love mayo. Now I just need to get my hands on some more turkey or chicken, stuffing and gravy so I can make these again.

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwiches (aka "The Gobbler")
As seen on The Redhead Baker

1 cup leftover turkey gravy
8 ounces leftover turkey, thinly sliced
4 hoagie rolls
jellied cranberry sauce
1 cup leftover stuffing

Warm the gravy in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When just starting to simmer, add the turkey meat. Heat just until the turkey is warmed through.

Split the rolls and toast them. Spread mayo on both side, then add cranberry sauce to each sandwich. Arrange some of the turkey meat and stuffing on each sandwich. Spoon more gravy over top. Serve warm.
Pin It!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Burgers with Brie, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Garlic Mayo

I love a good burger, don't you? These Burgers with Brie, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Garlic Mayo have been on my radar ever since Kate posted them. What's not to like about Brie and caramelized onions?


Sorry for yet another bad sandwich photo but you get the gist. These were delicious. SP mistakenly bought the "intense, earthy" Brie rather than our usual "nutty and buttery" Brie, so the cheese really shone through. Between that and the peppery arugula, we were glad for the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

Burgers with Brie, Caramelized Onions, Arugula and Garlic Mayo
As seen on Kate's Recipe Box

1 lb. ground chuck
Salt and pepper, to taste
Brie cheese
caramelized onions
garlic mayo
4 burger buns

Heat a grill to medium heat.

Divide the meat into 4 patties. Press an indentation in the center so they don't bulge while they cook. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.

Grill for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate, top each patty with some of the cheese and tent with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve the burgers on buns topped with caramelized onions, arugula and garlic mayo.
Pin It!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

Raise your hand if you miss natural light? ::raises hand:: My photos are nothing special in the spring and summer, but once I lose the natural light all bets are off. And it makes me so sad because I know people choose recipes in part because of the drool-inducing photos. So, my apologies, but you'll have to trust me that this was incredible.

On our flight home from California SP and I both watched cooking shows on the plane. During an episode of Giada's show she made Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs. It looked so delicious I knew I had to make it as soon as we got home.


I made a few modifications, subbing campagnelle for the orecchiette since I had a box in the pantry. Really, any small shape will do. I also used diced tomatoes because I'm weird and don't like loose tomato skin. Because I used canned tomatoes, I measured out the liquid in the can and then topped it off with chicken broth.

This was truly outstanding, with light, tender meatballs and a delicious sauce made even better by the addition of fresh, melty, gooey mozzarella cheese. The recipe made enough food to feed an army, which was good because we were all fighting over the leftovers.

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs
Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound small cut pasta, such as orecchiette, campagnelle, penne, etc.
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
chicken stock (amount will vary, see directions)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or more Pecorino
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine. With wet hands (this is key, otherwise the chicken will just stick to you rather than form into meatballs), roll the chicken into mini meatballs. Make them as big or as small as you want. You'll need to wet your hands often so keep a bowl of water nearby.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer.

Add the juice from the tomatoes to a large measuring cup. Add enough chicken stock to make 1 1/2 cups total. Add the chicken stock, tomato juice and tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the Parmesan and toss, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Pin It!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chinese Green Beans with Pork

I think of my friend MaryEllen as the queen of stir fries. Pretty much any Asian stir fry on this blog came from her. This recipe for Chinese Green Beans with Pork is based on her recipe, but modified a bit based on what I had in my pantry and fridge.

This was a great way to use up 2 lone pork chops I found in the freezer. Green beans have been hit or miss for us this year but this was a good batch. Simple, tasty, and quick - my idea of a great weeknight dinner.

Chinese Green Beans with Pork
Modified from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pork chops cut into very small pieces
1 lb washed and trimmed green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oyster or hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 heaping teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine
1 small bunch scallions, sliced thin
white rice or spaghetti/angel hair, cooked, for serving

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the sesame oil then add the pork and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the meat is mostly cooked. Add the green beans and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Combine the stock, cornstarch, oyster or hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, pepper and grated ginger, then add to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender but still have some crispiness to them.

Stir in the scallions and rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Pin It!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Indonesian Ginger Chicken

I've mentioned before that SP has taken over cooking Sunday dinner. He's been on an Ina Garten kick lately and was very excited to make her Indonesian Ginger Chicken.

This was some seriously awesome chicken. Incredibly flavorful from the marinade and really easy to cook. He used two cut-up chickens from the grocery store and we noticed that the white meat wasn't nearly as flavorful as the dark meat. You could really taste the marinade in the dark meat pieces. As much as I love white meat, I think this would be best with legs and thighs rather than whole chickens.


He served the chicken with herb basmati rice and roasted carrots. At my recommendation, he boiled the marinade to thicken it into a gravy to serve over the chicken. That was a big hit as well.

Indonesian Ginger Chicken
From Ina Garten

1 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 to 12 cloves)
1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger
6lbs total bone-in chicken legs and thighs

Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Arrange the chicken pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, skin side down. Pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the baking pan, still covered with the foil, in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the chicken pieces skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.

If you want, remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and cover with foil. Strain the sauce from the baking dish through a sieve and add to a small pot. Boil the sauce until it thickens slightly. Serve as gravy to spoon over the chicken.
Pin It!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hawaiian Pork Sliders

I decided to make these Hawaiian Pork Sliders after my friend Amy posted a photo of them on Instagram. They looked so good I could almost taste them.

I have such a hard time photographing sandwiches. I wonder how the pros do it? I should pay more attention when I see sandwiches or burgers in my feedly. Anyway, despite the less than stellar pictures, these were great. Very simple to throw together and took no time to cook. I served these on King's Hawaiian rolls but we honestly couldn't taste the rolls so next time I'll go with traditional sliders rolls instead. Or maybe I'll make them into regular burgers rather than sliders.

Hawaiian Pork Sliders
As seen on Very Culinary

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 cup minced scallions
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
sprinkle of salt and pepper
8 pineapple rings
1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
8 King’s Hawaiian or regular slider rolls

In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the pork, scallions, ground ginger, salt and pepper until just combined. Don’t over mix! Gently form 8 equal patties, with a slight indentation in the middle (this helps keep the burgers from bulging in the middle.)

Preheat your grill for medium-high. Coat the grates with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place the pork patties on the hot grill and lightly coat tops with barbecue sauce. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and coat with more barbecue sauce.

After you’ve flipped the burgers, place the pineapple rings down on the grill. Cook the burgers for another 4-5 minutes, until cooked through. Cook the pineapple rings for about 3 minutes, or until you have nice grill marks on one side. Flip the pineapple and grill another 1-2 minutes. Remove the pineapple and burgers from the grill and let them rest 5 minutes.

While the meat is resting, toast the rolls on the hot grill until the edges brown nicely, about 1-2 minutes.

Spread more barbecue sauce and some mayo on the rolls, add the burger patty and a pineapple ring, then the other roll. Serve immediately.
Pin It!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti

I've done it again. I'm sorry that I disappeared for a few weeks. This whole blogging thing has become a lot more complicated these days. We're just so busy. And the lack of natural light, coupled with a waning desire to be in the kitchen, isn't exactly conducive to blogging.

I wish my photo of this Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti was better because this is one outstanding meal. Go look at Elly's photo to see it in all its drool-inducing glory.

We all thought this was outstanding. Baby Girl isn't a huge fan of capers, but otherwise this was right up her alley. I can't wait to make it again.

Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti
As seen on Elly Says Opa!

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
8 large fresh sages leaves, plus 3 Tbsp. minced sage
1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
12 oz. dried spaghetti, broken in half
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest + 2-3 tablespoons juice

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp (about 5 minutes). During the last 30 seconds or so, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto and sage to a paper-towel lined plate.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place in the hot skillet. Cook until browned and just shy of cooked through. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the minced sage, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for one minute before whisking in the wine. Simmer until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the broth and water. and then stir in the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often with tongs, until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened (about 12 minutes).

Add the chicken and cook just a minute longer, until completely cooked and warmed through. Stir in the capers, butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with the crispy prosciutto and sage.
Pin It!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Collard Greens

I love collard greens but the last time I tried to make them they were inedible. So. Much. Salt. I vowed to try again for our Southern night redo. This time I pretty much eliminated the salt from the recipe and I nailed it!

These were perfect with fried chicken, mac and cheese and cornbread. It takes some time to prep the collard greens but since you have to boil the water for an hour that's the perfect time to get it done. These were just as good as the ones we get from our favorite BBQ spot - a little spicy and so flavorful.

Collard Greens
Modified from Paula Deen

1 smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a few dashes Tabasco sauce
1 large bunch collard greens
1 tablespoon butter

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the ham hock, seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.

While the water is boiling, wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in one hand and stripping the leaf down with your other hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped.

Once all the leaves have been washed and dried, stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices.

After the water cooks for an hour, put the greens in the pot and add the butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. If you want, you can remove the ham hock, allow to cool and pick the meat off the bone. Add the meat to the collard greens and stir to combine before serving.
Pin It!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Honey Hush Cornbread

I've been searching for a good cornbread recipe and I think I finally found it. This Honey Hush Cornbread is pretty amazing and so easy to make. Baby Girl helped me mix this one up before our Southern dinner with friends.

This is a sweet cornbread, which I happen to like. I even added a bit of sugar to make a crust on top, just like our favorite Southern restaurant. The flavors are so, so good. You definitely want to eat this warm/hot.

Honey Hush Cornbread
Dinosaur BBQ

vegetable shortening or butter
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan with shortening or butter. Put the pan in the oven to heat while you're mixing up the cornbread.

Combine the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir, just until everything is moistened.

Take the hot pan from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and brush the top with honey and dust with sugar. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before cutting into squares. Serve warm/hot.

Pin It!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Oven Fried Chicken

You may remember our friends C & T from Mexican night, Italian night and our previous try at Southern night. Unfortunately, the last Southern night was a disaster. Undercooked fried chicken, way too salty collard greens and disappointing cornbread. We didn't eat until almost 9pm because of the darn chicken. We knew we had to try again. Thankfully this time we nailed it.

Since T's fryer isn't very big, and because we'd undercooked the chicken the last time, we decided to use Ina Garten's oven method for frying the chicken. This is a truly brilliant method. You fry the pieces so they get a nice, crispy, golden brown crust and then you finish cooking them in the oven. This ensures the chicken is cooked through, but the best part is you can cook a lot of chicken at one time so you're ready to feed a crowd all at once.


T brined the chicken all day and then she (once again) conned me into breading the chicken while she took pictures. It's a good thing she's an excellent photographer. I dipped the chicken into buttermilk first and then into the seasoned flour, then back into the buttermilk and finished with the flour.

We were able to fry 4 legs or two breasts at once. As each batch was finished, we laid the pieces on a cooling rack. Once the rack was full it went into the oven. Thirty minutes later we took it out and tested each piece with a meat thermometer to make sure it was 165 degrees.

Look at these gorgeous pieces of chicken. Moist and flavorful. We SO nailed it. In addition to the chicken I made cornbread and collard greens. Stay tuned for those recipes to post next week.

Oven Fried Chicken
Prep compiled from various recipes, cooking method from Ina Garten

bone-in chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts)
kosher salt
onion powder
Tabasco sauce
Vegetable oil

Place the chicken pieces in large plastic food storage bags. Fill each bag with water and add some salt, sugar, thyme, onion powder and a few dashes of tabasco sauce. Just use as much as you want - T didn't measure. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.

Take the chicken out of the brine and let sit, covered, at room temperature for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch or a deep fryer. Heat to 350 degrees.

Pour some buttermilk into a large bowl. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in another large bowl. Coat each piece of chicken in buttermilk then in the flour mixture, back into the buttermilk and into the flour again.

Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (if using a deep fryer, cook for 6 minutes). Don't crowd the pieces.

Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside and registers 165 degrees on a thermometer.

Pin It!

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Pot Baked Rice with Sausage and Broccoli

Like most people, I'm a big fan of one pot meals. So when my friend Amy posted this recipe for {One Pot} Baked Rice with Sausage and Broccoli I knew I had to try it.

After reading the recipe I was skeptical and I actually messaged Amy to make sure it was only 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth to 1 1/4 cups of Arborio rice. You know Arborio rice as the rice used to make risotto. Whenever I make risotto I need at least 5, usually 6, cups of chicken broth to fully cook the rice. I couldn't imagine using just 1/3 that amount in this dish. But Amy assured me it was correct and since I trust her, I went with it (although I did threaten her with our pizza delivery bill if she steered me wrong).

And you know what, it worked! The resulting dish isn't creamy like risotto, but the rice was fully cooked. And quite tasty. The original recipe calls for 8oz of sausage but SP thought that wasn't enough so I upped the recipe below to a full pound. Otherwise this was perfect. And so ridiculously simple, too. I love easy weeknight meals and this was definitely one I'll be making again.

{One Pot} Baked Rice with Sausage and Broccoli
As seen on Very Culinary

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, broken into pieces
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 head of broccoli (about 6 ounces), cut into 2-inch florets

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet, over medium-high. Cook sausage, stirring often, breaking up the pieces until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Stir in onion and garlic; cook until translucent, about 3 more minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Stir in rice to coat in the oil, then add the wine. Bring to a boil. Cook until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring back to a boil.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the broccoli over the top of the rice and bake for another 10 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and stir the rice and broccoli together. Cover the skillet and let it stand for 10 more minutes. Place a pot holder on the handle so you don't forget that it's hot.

Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.

Pin It!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

It's official - SP is now in charge of Sunday dinner at my parent's house. Weekends are really the only chance he has to cook since he's got such a long commute, so it's a win-win. As much as I love cooking, it's nice to get a break every once in awhile.

He's been on the hunt for new recipes and came across Ina's Chicken Stew with Biscuits. This is a dish I've had my eye on for years but, and this may be sacrilege, I'm not really a chicken pot pie fan. I know, I know. And since this is basically chicken pot pie filling topped with biscuits, I wasn't sold on the idea. But everyone else loves chicken pot pie so I took one for the team.

This was incredible. And that's saying a lot coming from me. The chicken was moist and tender, the veggies were perfectly cooked. Everything was perfectly proportioned. The biscuits were just OK, not very flaky or fluffy, but SP has plans to make different biscuits next time. My parents also loved it, so it's a good thing the recipe makes enough to feed an army. SP, my mom and my stepdad all had seconds and we still had 6 servings leftover. Sheesh!

This does take quite a bit of prep work and time, so it's not a weeknight meal, but you can make it on a weekend and bake it during the week. And the leftovers reheated quite well.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits
From Ina Garten

6 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup half and half
2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the half and half. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well.

Put the stew in a lasagna pan or 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. This will NOT fit in a standard 9 x 13 dish - you need something deeper. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.
Pin It!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Chicken Piccata Risotto with Crispy Capers

This. Was. Incredible.

Chicken piccata risotto

It's times like these that I wish I was a better food photographer. I don't feel like my photos adequately express how amazing this was, and that makes me sad. Because I want every person who reads this post to make this dish. That's how much we enjoyed it.

Chicken piccata risotto

Baby Girl is a big risotto fan and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. I saw this Lighter Chicken Piccata Risotto with Crispy Capers on Iowa Girl Eats and as soon as I saw her post I knew we'd love it. I'm a sucker for all things salty and the tang from the capers and lemon was just perfect.

The original recipe calls for adding all the chicken broth at once, but I'm a purist when it comes to risotto. I also omitted the garlic and added some white wine because that's how I always make risotto. SP had a work dinner the night I made this so he didn't get to taste it until lunch the next day. He actually sent me an email to say lunch was excellent. I can't wait to make this one again.

Chicken Piccata Risotto with Crispy Capers
Very slightly modified from Iowa Girl Eats

6-7 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 lemon, cut in half
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then turn down the heat and keep at a simmer.

In a deep, heavy skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 2 minutes or until the shallot is tender. Add the thyme and cook for one minute, then add the rice. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the rice, stirring frequently.

Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add 1 ladle (approx. 1 cup) of the simmering stock, and keep stirring nearly constantly, making sure to push down any rice stuck to the edges of the pans. Once the liquid is nearly absorbed, add another ladleful of stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked but still slightly chewy, about 25 minutes. Taste the rice frequently to check the consistency. If you notice you're running low on broth, add more to the saucepan so you don't run out.

When nearly all the broth has been absorbed but the rice is still creamy, add the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, taste the rice to make sure it's done. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the juice from 1/2 lemon, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Taste, add salt and pepper if necessary and set aside.

While the risotto is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and sauté until slightly opened, brown, and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper then saute in the caper-infused olive oil, 4 minutes per side. When the chicken has 1 minute left to saute, squeeze the second lemon half over the chicken.

To serve, plate the risotto then top with a piece of chicken. Sprinkle some of the crispy capers on top.

Pin It!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe Redo: Crash Hot Potatoes

These crash hot potatoes were all the rage back in 2008. Like most food bloggers, I made them a few times and then they fell off my radar.

Crash hot potatoes

Recently, I was looking for a side dish to go with burgers. I had planned to make potato salad, but the day got away from me. Normally I'd go with my standby roasted potatoes, but we were out of red potatoes. It was late afternoon and I had no clue what to make with my basket full of Yukon golds. I Googled Yukon gold potatoes and side dish and while these potatoes didn't come up in the initial search, something I clicked on reminded me of them and off I went.

Baby Girl, being the insane child she is, doesn't like potatoes. She took a tiny nibble and then said "no thank you." She won't eat French fries, mashed potatoes, tater tots, home fries, etc. either. Weirdo. SP and I loved them. He was especially enamored of them, so much so that he insisted I make them again the following night. They do take a bit of planning ahead because you have to boil the potatoes whole, smash them and then bake them, but the hands-on time is minimal. I used fresh herbs from my garden (rosemary and thyme), which was the perfect combination. And I love that you can make as many as you want - I made four the first night and five the next and we ate the leftovers the next day, reheated in the toasted oven to try to bring back some of the crispiness.

Crash Hot Potatoes
As seen on The Pioneer Woman

Small Yukon gold potatoes (as many as you want to serve)
Olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Fresh rosemary and thyme, to taste

Scrub the potatoes well and place in a large pot. Try to choose potatoes that are roughly the same size so they'll all cook at the same rate. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add some salt. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.

Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet and use a pastry brush to spread the oil evenly. Drain the potatoes and place them on the baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each potato.

Using a potato masher, gently press down on each potato until it flattens. Brush the tops of each crushed potato with more olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with plenty of kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary and thyme.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot.

Pin It!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese "Cookies"

I'm not sure where I first saw these Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies but my best guess is one of my friends shared the link on Facebook. Or maybe it was one of the blogs I follow. Either way, as soon as I saw them I knew I had to make them. I printed off the recipe and waited for the right time.

Chocolate cream cheese cookies

The right time came a few weeks ago for Sunday dinner with my parents. A friend of theirs was over so we had enough people to make a dent in the cookies (they don't really reheat well). Of course mine look nothing like the ones in the original blog post but who cares. They still tasted phenomenal and are so simple to make.

I baked these at my mom's house and they took a bit longer than the 12-14 minutes stated in the recipe so my suggestion is to watch them closely after the 15-minute mark and take them out when they're golden brown. Mine sort of fell apart, but like I said, it didn't matter. We all loved these. They are definitely best served warm. When they sat for more than a few minutes they got a bit chewy and tough so bake them right before you want to eat them.

PS. I took the word breakfast out of the title because, let's be honest, these are not breakfast food. I also put cookies in parentheses because they aren't really cookies either.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese "Cookies"
As seen on Cookies and Cups
Makes approximately 15 cookies

1 can seamless crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Unroll the crescent roll sheet and stretch the dough out slightly in the shape of a rectangle.

Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth in a medium sized bowl. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the crescent sheet, leaving an edge of about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the cream cheese.

Roll the crescent sheet up tightly and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

When you're ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Slice the roll into 1/2" slices. Arrange half the slices on each baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets (move the sheet on the bottom rack to the top rack and vice versa, as well as turn the sheets a half turn). Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until they turn golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly. Eat warm.
Pin It!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tomato Soup with Butter Dumplings

My mom has been making Tomato Soup with Butter Dumplings for years. I tried to make it once and failed miserably. We recently went to Disney World for Baby Girl's 5th birthday and my mom graciously offered to drive us to the airport. Since our flight was so early, she spent the night at our house before we left. We wanted a simple dinner that wouldn't yield leftovers, so I asked her to make tomato soup with butter dumplings.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup with butter dumplings for dinner tonight.

She always uses tomatoes we've canned to make the soup, but I think you could substitute whole, peeled tomatoes if you don't have canned tomatoes available. This is most definitely a trial and error recipe. I don't think anyone gets it right the first time (I know I didn't). Practice makes perfect, though, so if you're at all interested in this one, keep trying.


This is the original recipe. I think it came from my stepgrandmother. As you can tell, it's been around for quite awhile!

Tomato Soup with Butter Dumplings

3 jars canned tomatoes (or 2 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes)
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Open the jars (or cans) of tomatoes and dump the contents into a large pot. Use an immersion blender to lightly puree the tomatoes. You can also puree the tomatoes in a food processor. Heat the tomatoes over medium-high heat until boiling. Add salt to taste.

Beat the butter until soft. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the flour and salt. The batter will be lumpy with the butter and flour. Don't over beat but try to eliminate the flour clumps.

Reduce the heat under the soup so it's at a very light simmer. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the simmering soup. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Check on the dumplings halfway through cooking and turn them over.

Allow the soup to cool slightly before serving.

Pin It!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recipe Redo: Chicken Gyros

A few years ago I made these chicken gyros all. the. time. They were a staple on our dinner table and for good reason - they're delicious. It had been a very long time since I made them and since the photos I took back then weren't exactly stellar, I figured I'd revisit this old favorite and update the photos.

Chicken gyros

Unfortunately, I still didn't get a great shot of these but they're still better than the old photos. I served the gyros with roasted potatoes liberally seasoned with oregano. I loved dipping the potatoes into some of the leftover tzatziki sauce. Yum.

Chicken gyros

Chicken Gyros
As seen on Elly Says Opa!

4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/4 lbs. chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise
salt and pepper
1 cup tzatziki (see below)
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
4 pocketless pitas or flatbread

Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the hot grill pan and cook for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.

While the chicken is cooking, heat your pitas. If you have a gas stove, turn on a burner to medium heat. Spray the pitas with a little bit of oil and cook them right on the burner for a few seconds per side.

Top the pita with some of the chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions. Roll up and eat. Be careful, they're messy.

1 cup plain greek nonfat yogurt
1/2 a small cucumber
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, minced
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Put the yogurt in a bowl. Peel the cucumber, then cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Grate it over the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated cucumber in a clean kitchen towel and ring out the water over the sink. Add the cucumber to the yogurt, along with the other ingredients. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Chill before serving.
Pin It!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spinach & Parmesan Orzo

::tap, tap, tap:: Is this thing on?

Sorry for disappearing there. I'm hoping some of you have stuck around despite the brief hiatus. I've been saying for months now that I've lost my blogging mojo and, well, it still hasn't returned. But I do have a few posts in my draft folder that I figured I should get published. I hope you guys will stick with me as I weather this (hopefully temporary) storm.

So...spinach and Parmesan orzo. I saw this one on my friend Kylee's blog and it looked like a great, simple side dish. Right up my alley these days.

Spinach parm orzo

As suspected, it was easy to make and we all loved it. Baby Girl kept calling it risotto, one of her all-time favorite cold weather meals. I'll definitely be making this one often.

Spinach & Parmesan Orzo
As seen on Kylee Cooks

8oz orzo pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the orzo according to the package directions.

While the orzo is cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook just until it's fragrant.
Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir to combine. Whisk in the milk, and continue to cook over low heat until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the orzo is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce. Add the spinach and Parmesan. Stir gently to combine. Taste it and adjust the seasoning, as needed.
Pin It!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

I like to put at least one sandwich on the menu each week. They're usually easy to make and we all enjoy them (although Baby Girl likes to deconstruct her sandwiches/burgers so she can eat each ingredient separately. Don't ask.) I saw these Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Caramelized Onions on Pinch of Yum and thought they'd make a great grilled cheese sandwich.

Ham and Swiss sandwiches

I asked SP to get a loaf of rye bread at the store and it was the perfect bread for these sandwiches. Even though everything is better with bacon, I ended up skipping the bacon on these since they already had ham. The caramelized onions added just the right amount of sweetness to cut through the savory sauce. Delicious.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions
Modified from Pinch of Yum

1 yellow onion
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup mayo
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
spreadable butter
8 slices of bread (I used rye)
1 pound sliced deli ham
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese

Slice the onion into thin strips. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet; add onions and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions will turn a deep golden color.

Whisk the mayo, mustard and Worcestershire sauce together.

Spread some of the spreadable butter on each slice of bread. Flip each slice over and spread 1/4 of the sauce on each of four slices, then top those slices with 1/4 of the ham, onions, and cheese. Complete the sandwiches with the other four slices of bread to make four sandwiches, butter side out.

Heat a griddle over medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and cook until the bread is golden brown on both sides and the cheese melts. You want to go low and slow so the cheese and filling have a chance to warm through before the bread burns.

Cut in half and serve immediately.
Pin It!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recipe Remake: Farmstand Corn Fritters

I can't believe I've been making these corn fritters for 7 years already. They're so easy and the flavor is incredible. The last few times I've made them Baby Girl helped by stirring all the ingredients together in the bowl.

Corn fritters

My original post didn't even include a photo (what was I thinking?) and since that post was back in 2007 I figured it was time to bring it back from the archives while corn was still in season (although I'm cutting it a bit close). We usually eat them plain, but you could serve them with a dipping sauce or top them with mozzarella, tomato and basil. We rarely have leftovers but if you did, you could serve them with a fried egg the next morning.

Corn fritters

If you can still get farm-fresh corn you need to make these ASAP. I'm kicking myself for not putting corn on the shopping list this week.

Farmstand Corn Fritters
As seen in Cook's Country magazine Aug/Sept 2005

3-4 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
1 large egg, beaten lightly
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons half-and-half (can also use heavy cream)
1/2 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil, as needed

Using a chef's knife, cut the kernels from 1 to 2 ears of corn (depending on size) and place in a large bowl. You should have about 1 cup of whole kernels. Grate the kernels from the remaining ears of corn on the large holes of a box grater. You should have a generous 1/2 cup of grated kernels. Add to the bowl with the whole kernels. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape any remaining pulp from all the cobs and put in the bowl. Stir in the egg, flour, cornmeal, cream, shallot, and salt.

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop 6 heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Leave them alone until you see them starting to brown around the edges, then carefully flip them over to cook on the second side.

Transfer fritters to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with some salt. Fry the remaining batter. Serve immediately.
Pin It!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice

As soon as Ashley posted this recipe for Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice I knew I had to make it as soon as possible. I could practically taste the coconut rice. The only problem is, Baby Girl is allergic to nuts and that includes coconut. Luckily, she was heading to my parent's house for a sleepover so I put it on the menu for that Saturday night.

Hawaiian chicken and coconut rice

Do you remember when I mentioned my grill pan suffered a small catastrophe recently? This was the recipe that did it. The brown sugar in the marinade caramelized on the pan and has been next to impossible to remove. Next time we'll be cooking this one on the outdoor grill. And there will definitely be a next time. We couldn't stop oohing and ahhing over this meal. It was absolutely delicious. The rice was our favorite part - the coconut milk adds such a wonderful, rich, creamy, mellow flavor. The rice, combined with the chicken and pineapple, made for a five-star restaurant-quality meal. So, so good. I really wish Baby Girl could join us in eating this one. I know she would love it.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice
As seen on Cheesecurd in Paradise

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the pineapple rings)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can pineapple rings, drained, juice reserved

For the coconut rice:
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 can coconut milk

2 scallions, finely chopped

Place the chicken in a plastic food storage bag. Add the soy sauce, pineapple juice, water, brown sugar, scallions, garlic, and oil, seal the bag and gently toss to coat the chicken in the marinade. Marinate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Grill the chicken for about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill. While it rests, grill the pineapple to give it a slight char. You can serve the chicken whole or slice it into strips before serving.

For the rice: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice, and cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour the can of coconut milk into a measuring cup, then add enough water to equal 3 cups of liquid. Add the coconut milk and water to the rice and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stir once more and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Serve the chicken on a bed of the coconut rice topped with some of the grilled pineapple. Scatter some of the finely chopped scallion over the dish before serving.
Pin It!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fish Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

While I was making the menu for the week I asked SP if he wanted anything specific for dinner. The first thing he said was "know what we haven't had in awhile, fish tacos." I'll admit, I was a bit surprised. We eat fish regularly but not usually in tacos. I was up for the challenge, especially since Josie had just posted a recipe for Grilled Fish Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa. Those tacos were my inspiration for these beauties.

Fish tacos with pineapple salsa

I've mentioned before that we don't own a gas grill, and grilling something as delicate as fish on a charcoal grill would be tricky for a weeknight. My grill pan recently experienced a small catastrophe, so that was out as well. I felt like making a battered fish taco, so I turned to my recipe for tilapia francese. I added a bunch of seasoning to the flour, which resulted in very flavorful fish. When it came to the salsa I knew the peppers had to go since they don't agree with me. I just swapped those out for grape tomatoes. I mashed up some avocado with a little cilantro and lime juice, shredded some lettuce and dinner was served.

We all LOVED these. I had to fight SP for the leftovers. Baby Girl took her taco apart and ate everything separately (such a strange child) but she cleaned her plate. These will definitely be on our permanent rotation. And since I used canned pineapple, we can make these year-round. They'll be such a great burst of summer flavors in the cold depths of winter.

Fish Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
4 pieces tilapia filets, cut into strips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 can pineapple rings, drained, juice reserved
grape tomatoes, finely diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 avocado, pitted
lime juice, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
Flour tortillas

Place flour in a pie plate and add the chile powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Beat the egg and water in a second pie plate. Coat each piece of tilapia with flour, then coat with egg, then pit it back in the flour for a second coat.

Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place tilapia in pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Meanwhile (or you can do this ahead of time), grill the pineapple in a grill pan over medium-high heat until brown on both sides. Transfer the pineapple to a large cutting board and finely chop. In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, grape tomatoes, cilantro, and red onion. Add a splash of the pineapple juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the tortillas for 30 to 45 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with a dishtowel or foil.

Mash the avocado in a medium bowl. Add the lime juice, and continue mashing to form a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, top tortillas with fish, pineapple salsa, lettuce, avocado, and cilantro.
Pin It!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

When I posted a picture of these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars on social media I simply said "I did a bad, bad thing." That pretty much sums up these squares of ridiculousness. Easy to make, sinfully rich, decadent beyond words.

Peanut butter chocolate bars

Now, you all know I rarely bake. So you may be asking yourself why I made these. I made them because I couldn't stop thinking about them. I was innocently scrolling through my Facebook news feed one evening when I came across a photo of these bars. After clicking through to the recipe I couldn't stop thinking about them. I knew I had to make them when Baby Girl wasn't home. My plan was to freeze them and clean the kitchen thoroughly since they contain peanut butter, which she's allergic to.

Peanut butter chocolate bars

You know what's bad about these bars? They're too easy to make. Melt better, mix in the rest of the ingredients, bake, let cool, done. Like I said, too easy.

Just posting a picture of these got two of my friends to make them that same night. I wonder how many more people will try them after seeing this post? Sorry. You're welcome.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
As seen on Averie Cooks
YIELD: one 8x8 pan, cut into 9 or 12 squares

1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 heaping cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. This should take about 1 minute on high power. You may need more or less time depending on your microwave. Let cool for 2 minutes.

Add the peanut butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla to the butter and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Don't over mix. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Mine took 30 minutes.

Allow the bars to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Pin It!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Lemon Tilapia Parmesan

My friend Jaida recently posted this recipe for Lemon Chicken Parmesan that looked so good I could almost taste it. We eat a lot of chicken, though, so I've been trying to replace some of our favorite chicken dishes with fish for some variety. I'm really into tilapia - it's so versatile and Baby Girl loves it, too. I figured it would be easy to swap out the chicken for tilapia in this recipe.

Lemon chicken parm

Since tilapia is so thin and quick-cooking, I didn't need to bake it. I just cooked the pasta, tossed it with the sauce and served the fish on top. Super simple and so delicious. I know you may think melted mozzarella and fish is a strange combo, but it was so good. The lemon sauce was so bright and flavorful, too. I may try this with chicken next time, just to see which protein we prefer.

Lemon Tilapia Parmesan
Modified from Sweet Beginnings

8 oz angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
4 tilapia filets
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the butter, lemon zest, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk the egg and water in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish combine the Panko, Parmesan, dried basil, salt and pepper.

Place the flour in a plastic food storage bag. Add the fish filets, seal the bag, and toss to coat the filets in the flour. Working with one piece at a time, dip a filet into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, pressing to adhere the crumbs. Repeat with all the filets.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lemon juice and garlic. Add the fish filets and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Distribute the mozzarella between the 4 filets and cover the pan briefly so the cheese melts. Remove to filets to a plate.

Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat, thinning the sauce with some of the pasta cooking water. Serve some pasta in a shallow bowl topped with a piece of fish per person.

Pin It!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

August Re-Make Recap

Sigh. I'm not ready for summer to be over. I know we technically have another 3 weeks until the official end of summer, but now that September has arrived we're on the downward slope into fall and winter. This is always a tough time of year for me. Fall will bring a lot of fun things (Baby Girl's 5th birthday, our trip to Disney World, our 11th wedding anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving in California) but it also means cold weather is right around the corner. And I'm not a fan of cold weather. Or the loss of natural light. So I'll be enjoying the last few weeks of warm weather and daylight after 5pm while it lasts.

Once again, August was another month of remakes. I've been making a few new things but still having trouble finding the enthusiasm to blog. Plus, I've made so many great things over the life of this blog and I like rediscovering old favorites.

Crunchy baked tacos

Ever since I discovered these crunchy baked tacos I've been obsessed. I love how easy they are to make. I actually served these twice in August.

Refried beans

I'm sure you're all tired of seeing these refried beans on my recaps, but we love them. So easy I don't even need to look at the recipe anymore.

And you all know how much I love tilapia francese. This month's rendition was superb - perfectly cooked fish, flavorful sauce, a nice crispy coating. Mmmm.

I made this grilled corn, avocado and tomato salad all the time a few summers ago, but not much in recent years. It's always a family favorite. The smoky flavor from the grilled corn is my favorite part.

chicken nuggets3

We all love these homemade chicken nuggets with honey mustard dipping sauce. What's not to love about crispy chicken and a tangy dipping sauce? I always make a ton of chicken so we have plenty leftover.

This cheesy zucchini rice is our summer go-to side dish. I can't get enough when zucchini is in season.

crispy potatoes

I'm continually amazed by these roasted potatoes. They come out perfect every single time.

For me, summer means tomatoes and basil. That's where caprese pasta comes in. I grow basil every summer so throwing this pasta together is super simple.

We eat this restaurant knockoff Texas Roadhouse salad at least once a week. So far we haven't tired of it. I think it's so funny that Baby Girl thinks that all salads include these ingredients.

Antipasti pasta salad is almost a meal in itself, but I usually serve it as a side dish. This recipe makes a ton but we rarely have much leftover. It's addictive.


I've been alternating burgers and flatbread pizzas on Fridays this summer. Always a favorite, especially with a variety of toppings.


We all loved this corn casserole the first time I made it, so I made it again for one of our Sunday dinners with my parents. Between the five of us we ate almost the whole thing.

Shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce

I love the base sauce in this pasta with shrimp in lemon cream sauce so I'm always looking for ways to make it without buying shrimp. I've done chicken before and this month I tried tilapia. I cooked the tilapia separately and served it on top of the pasta. The sauce is simple but oh so good.

Antipasto salad

I've been making this antipasto salad as a chopped dinner salad lately and it's a family favorite.

Pork chops pineapple rice

I had some pork chops in the freezer and decided to remake pork chops with pineapple fried rice. The first time I made this recipe it was good, but not great. This time it was incredible. So flavorful. Beyond words, really. I wished I'd had a second stomach so I could have another serving.

I can't believe it's been years since I made these corn fritters. I've been obsessed with corn recently and these fritters are the epitome of summer. And easy, to boot.

I had a craving for creamy mac and cheese so I revisited Paula Deen's recipe. It's creamy and cheesy and delicious.

Pin It!