Monday, April 30, 2012

Pan Fried Trout

So my husband and I went to fish at a local stream yesterday and caught some wonderful brown, speckled trout. Needless to say I was excited about making supper tonight. However, I do not eat fried fish; the heavily breaded and soggy product of typical deep frying is anything but delicious. Here is a quick and easy version you can try yourself. If you do not have freshly caught fish, the same thing is great for fresh fillets.

1 Whole Fish per person, cleaned
1 Cup Corn Meal
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Butte
10 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

*Note: The recipe for the dredging is for up to 6 fish. If you are making more, just double the recipe for the dry ingredients. Also, the oil and butter is based on the use of a large electric skillet. You may need to adjust the amount depending on your pan. You want just enough to cover the bottom of the fish but not cover both sides while cooking.

  • Heat a large pan over medium heat with oil and butter.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large dish.
  • Dredge each fish into the mixture. If you are using whole fish, make sure to sprinkle the interior of the fish with the dry ingredients as well.
  • When the oil and butter are hot, place the fish into the pan. DO NOT OVERCROWD! Overcrowding will prohibit browning and result in a soggy fish. 
  • Cook each fish for 4-5 minutes per side or until brown and cooked through. Make sure to spook some of the oil into the interior of the fish to cook the rib area (You will not have to do this if you are using fillets. Also, fillets will cook quicker so keep a close eye on them.)
  • Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blackened Chicken Sandwiches

So tonight was all about quick and easy. I was really trying to not fall victim to the "drive thru" trap of quick meals so I wanted something that was reminiscent of fast food but minus the guilt and price. Since I still had some bone-in chicken breasts, I decided to mix up some blackening seasoning and make some tasty sandwiches. Notice that my husband and I both ate the sandwich, but in our own way. This recipe is quick, healthy, and versatile.

2 Chicken Breasts, de-boned, skin removed, and filleted
1 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Granulated Onion
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Sliced Bacon
Provolone Cheese
Toppings and Buns

After de-boning and removing the skin from the chicken, fillet the breasts into 2 thinner breast portions, yielding 4 chicken fillets. In a bowl, combine the seasoning mixture. Thoroughly rub each piece with a generous amount of seasoning. (I actually had some left over that I was able to save for later use.)
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Place the chicken into the pan and grill until thoroughly cooked, approximately 5 minutes per side depending on thickness of meat.
While the chicken is cooking, cook your bacon until crispy by your desired method, I just pan fried mine tonight. Once the chicken is cooked, place the bacon slices on top and cover with provolone cheese. Cover the chicken to allow the cheese to melt.
Once melted, serve your blackened chicken sandwich with your desired toppings.

Option 1: Place the chicken on a toasted sandwich roll and top with freshly sliced tomato and homemade coleslaw.

Option 2: Serve the sandwich topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise for a classic chicken club.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mushroom Chicken Pasta

On my way home tonight, I was trying to think of something new to do with the chicken I had thawed in the refrigerator. Several things began to run through my head as I thought of the items I had on hand--- mushrooms, onions, Sherry, broccoli, and veggie pasta. Suddenly I realized I could do a new twist on mushroom chicken and Italian chicken marsala. The dish turned out wonderfully; if you are like my husband, though, you might want to double the sauce for extra "gravy;" either way you choose, the result is flavorful and healthy!

3 Large Chicken Breasts, filleted
5 Tablespoons Margarine
1 Small Onion, chopped
8 Ounces Button Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 Cup Sherry
1 package Vegetable Pasta (i.e. Wacky Mac)
1 small Broccoli head, chopped into florets

As you know, I prefer to use bone-in chicken breasts when making dishes. So after deboning the the chicken and removing the skin, fillet the breast to create 6 pieces. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons margarine.

Add the chicken a few pieces at a time to the skillet and lightly brown on both sides. Complete this process in batches as to not crowd the pan; remove the pieces and set aside. The chicken will not be cooked through, just lightly browned.
While the chicken browns, roughly chop one small onion and slice 8 ounces of button mushrooms. (Make sure to wipe the mushrooms with a dry paper towel prior to use to remove debris. DO NOT run under water.)

After all pieces are lightly browned and set aside, add 1 Tablespoon margarine to the pan. Add the mushrooms and onion to the pan and saute until light brown and tender. After browned, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 cup Sherry. Combine the ingredients in the pan and then add 2 Tablespoons margarine. (The margarine will help develop a creamy pan sauce.)

Add chicken back to the pan. Cover and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes on medium low heat, until chicken is cooked and tender.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the broccoli into florets. Heat a large pot of water over high heat to a rolling boil. Make sure to salt the water well! With 10 minutes remaining in the cooking time for the chicken, add the broccoli and pasta to the water. Cook until thoroughly tender. Drain and add to a large bowl.

Pour the sauce and chicken over the cooked pasta and broccoli. Lightly toss and serve immediately.

Note: This recipe is full of nutrients and lower on carbs because of the use of veggie pasta. You could also use egg noodles or yolk-free noodles if you want something different.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easy Country Ribs

Tonight was about using what was available to make a healthy and delicious meal. We had purchased some country style pork ribs at the store this week because they are an excellent value and loaded with meat. Because of the fat content in the cut, it is best to slow cook the meat. Yet, with my busy life, tonight was not a time for slow cooking. With a new spice blend and high temperature cooking, the ribs turned out great! 
Three words: Quick! Easy! Delicious!

Ingredients:                                    Preheat Oven Temperature: 425 degrees
3 Pounds Country Pork Ribs
2 teaspoons Garlic Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Minced Onion
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
3-4 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce

Arrange the ribs in a baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the spice rub. Thoroughly rub both sides of the pieces with the blend. Cover tightly with foil. It is very important that no air escape the dish and the temperature inside remains high. Place in the oven and bake, covered, for 50 minutes.
Remove ribs from oven. Spoon your favorite BBQ sauce over the top of the ribs. Place back in the oven, uncovered for 20 minutes.
When the top of the ribs have reached the desired caramelization, remove and serve! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Low Country Boil

So were on our last day of vacation in historic Charleston, South Carolina. We had been looking all week for a great little gem where we could get some crab legs and other fresh seafood items cooked in a nice seasoning, but have not found a restaurant that really fit the bill. So on this night, I decided to take the inspiration from the various adventures we have had and create our own steamer! Granted, we do not have the big steam pot and we are working from rather basic materials here at the campsite, but if you can make a cake on a camp stove, why not a seafood feast? The great thing about it all is that the taste is phenomenal and the cost is less than half of what it would be at a restaurant. Additionally we are getting more than twice the amount of food!!!! This recipe easily feeds 4 hungry people. If you put some appetizers with it, you could have a party meal!

6 Large Snow Crab Leg Clusters, approximately 3 pounds
1 Pound Live Mussels
1 Pound Large Shrimp, not peeled
4 Medium Red Skin Potatoes, halved or cubed depending on size
2 Ears of Corn, shucked and broken in half
5 Cups Water
2 Packets Old Bay Seasoning

Since we are camping, we do not have a large stock pot. What we used for cooking was a large, rectangular foil pan with aluminum foil to cover. Also, all of the seafood should be kept chilled until ready for use.

Step 1: Place seasoning packets, water, crab legs, potatoes, and corn in pan and cover tightly with foil. Place on the camp stove over medium heat. Allow to cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Step 2: Remove foil and add mussels and shrimp.  Cook for 5 minutes or until all mussels are opened and the shrimp are pink.

Serve immediately and enjoy!!!

*Cooking Tips: If you are cooking the meal on the cooktop or in a large pot, keep a close eye on the shrimp and mussels as the cooking time may vary when they are in direct contact with the boiling water. Also, the water should be checked periodically to make sure there is adequate liquid. I did not have any trouble with loss of water because of the aluminum foil tenting; however, you do not want the boil to become dry so add more liquid if needed.

**Note: You could also add some lemon to the pot to brighten the flavor, but we did not have any so I left it out. Also, know that I removed the crab legs from the pan for serving and allowed the remainder of the food to soak in the broth to increase flavor and retain heat.