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Showing posts from January, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Cowboy Onions

If you are like me, you stock up on meats when they are on sale. This week, it was the proverbial boneless, skinless chicken breast. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I more often than not buy bone-in chicken and then debone as needed. Since I have a large volume of chicken on hand, I am challenged to make more than just the typical chicken sandwich for dinner. My inspiration for this recipe come from a few sources. One, a chicken dish I often get at a large, chain restaurant, but their version is covered in bacon and cheese. Second, onion tangles made on this week's episode of "The Pioneer Woman," one of my favorite cooking shows and my inspiration for beginning to blog. By combining parts of both of these inspiration, this recipe was born. If you really want to take this recipe to the next level, you could fully combine the two by adding bacon and cheddar to the chicken, however, I really do not think it is necessary.
A note of …

Candy Bar Cookies

Although you might find this hard to believe, candy does not get eaten in my house. We constantly have a stash of leftover chocolate bars from the holidays. A great way to use up the wonderful chocolate bars is to bake with them! I have made everything from chocolate crossants to ganache with my leftover candy. Today I wanted something small and SINFUL! The result is an airy cookie with a molten center. These cookies would be perfect for a romantic dessert on Valentine's Day.

Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
Yield: 15 Cookies

1 Stick Margarine (8 Tbsp)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup High Quality Dark Chocolate Candy Bar, chopped
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (for rolling)

1. In a stand mixer, beat the margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. This should take about 3 minutes. You want them to incorporate well.
2. While the sugar is mixing, combine the fl…

Winter Blues Chicken Soup

When you are stuck at home, snowed in by an approaching storm and fighting sickness, there is nothing more soothing than a big bowl of steaming soup. I am not a fan of chicken noodle soup so this is not your typical chicken soup. This soup combines chicken with fresh vegetables and a little kick from some cayenne pepper. Any leftover soup can also be frozen in a freezer container for another day. Feel free to spice it up with peppers and toppings of your choice. I kept mine simple with just a few crushed tortilla chips but I could see adding some sour cream and cheese to make it a quesadilla in a bowl. This was just what the doctor ordered!

1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1/4 Cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, Chopped
1 Can Yellow Corn, Drained
1 Can Black Beans, Drained
1/2 Cup Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed of water
2 Cups Chicken Broth
14.5 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Place all ingredient…

Easy Oven Roasted Ribs

During the summer months, my husband loves to use the charcoal grill and smoker to create wonderfully tender ribs. I have tried several methods indoors but have been somewhat disappointed every time. After throwing this recipe together, I realized what I had been doing wrong; I was trying too hard! To get tender ribs, you really just need steam, low heat, and time. These ribs were perfect! This recipe only serves 2, but can easily be scaled up for more servings.

1 1/2 Pounds Baby Back Pork Ribs
1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3/4 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.
1. In a small bowl, combine your dry seasonings.
2. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Lay your ribs on the wire rack and thoroughly coat both sides with your dry rub. Make sure you cook the meat bone side down.
3. Place the pan in the oven and carefully ad…

Hawaiian Iced Tea

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with my mother to Hawaii on two different occasions. While there are so many memories from those adventures, I very vividly remember the sweet tea.  The first time the large glass came out with a large spear of pineapple inside, I was hooked! You may think this is an odd item to commit to memory, but for a Southern girl, it was the first time I had ever seen ordinary tea sweetened with anything other than sugar. Now that I am older, I actually do not even like sweet tea....I know, I know, that is punishable by death in the South. However, I do love teas flavored with fruit. Tonight, as I was slicing a fresh pineapple, I decided there was no reason to waste the core and Hawaii came to mind. This tea is light, slightly sweet, and a perfect way to recycle a typically wasted pineapple core.

Core of 1 Large Fresh Pineapple, sliced into spears
6 Family Size Tea Bags (I use black tea.)
16-20 Cups Water

1. He…

Crispy Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Gravy

The past Friday night, I was struggling with what to fix for supper. I hadn't been to the grocery store yet and really needed something to use up some center cut pork chops. I did not want the typical pork dinner and my husband happened to mention he had seen a recipe in the current "Southern Living Magazine" for fried pork chops (p.110). I did not have all of the ingredients on hand, so I adapted it to what I had and to our taste. The result was crisp and delicious. Next time, for my husband's sake, I will leave the onions out of the gravy and just make the pan gravy in the pork chop drippings. Either way you do it, this was great! This is great for a budget friendly family dinner or an elegant dinner party.

Browned Flour
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 12 inch diameter cast iron skillet, spread the all purpose flour into an even layer. Toast in the oven for 28 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes. During the last 7 minute segment, keep a…

Garlic Lime Chicken Tenders with Fiesta Rice

About this time every winter, I find myself craving light, vibrant food reminiscent of the warm days of summer. What better time to cook such a meal than on a snow day?!? I can't think of one. So today I made a quick and simple lunch full of flavor, colors, and textures. This quick and easy meal can easily be made in large quantities, however, this recipe is written to serve two. This is just the taste of summer I needed to pull me from the winter frostbite! And for those of you still working on those New Year's Resolutions (you know who you are), this is full of flavor and vitamins but low on fat; you can even up the fiber content even more by using brown rice (plan to up the cooking time). It's like a Caribbean vacation on your plate!

For the Chicken:
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch Ground Black Pepper
1 Clove Garlic, sliced
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Package Fresh Chicken Breast Tenders (typically 8 tenders)

For the Rice:

Every Occasion Meatballs

On a cold, rainy, winter's night, a warm and hearty dinner is required. While soup might be the stereotypical meal, in our household, we turn to meatballs, at least tonight. This recipe differs from my other recipe (Entertaining Meatballs) in the use of pork. These are large meatballs, but you can certainately make the smaller if you desire. I have also given you two options for cooking depending on how you plan to serve them. For spaghetti and meatballs, I would use Method 1. However, these are also great as Swedish or Barbecue Meatballs; for these recipes, use Method 2. These are my husband's favorite for meatball sandwiches. These come out light and fluffy yet hearty.

Yield: 30 Meatballs (10 Servings)

1 Pound Ground Pork
1/2 Pound Ground Chuck
French Bread Loaf, 5 Inch Piece
1 Cup Milk
1 Medium Yellow Onion, finely minced
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs


Crispy Rice Wrapper Thai Chicken Lettuce Rolls

I love lettuce wraps and wanted to try something new with my typical recipe, so I added the rice paper. I am personally not a fan of the chewy rice paper wrapper texture, so I have decided to baking the rolls in order achieve a crisp texture. By baking the rolls, you are also making them easier to serve for cocktail parties and football gatherings. A great thing about this recipe is that you can make the filling a day in advance and then just roll and bake prior to eating. For those of your concerned about calories and carbs, this is a great option. The result is a very filling dish highlighted by a vinegary sauce to lighten the dish even more. If you do not want to use rice paper wrappers at all, simple serve the filling directly on the lettuce leaves after cooking (this is how I first made the recipe).

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup water chestnut, fine…

Easy Brined Chicken

Baked chicken is a staple in my household. When most people hear that we eat baked chicken, their first response usually has something to do with "How do you keep it from drying out?" While this recipe is not directed completely at this question, it is a solution. The great thing about this recipe is that you can brine it all day, if you want, and the chicken will come out of the oven flavorful to the bone and juicy! No more dried out chicken here!

1 Whole Cut-Up Chicken
6 Cups Cold Water
3 Tablespoons Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Whole Black Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, peeled
1 Spring Onion, cut into thirds

In a large bowl, combine the water and seasoning mix. Place the chicken pieces in the brining mixture making sure they are submerged. I like to cut the breast pieces in half so they are more similar in size to the thighs. This just makes it easier to time the cooking later on. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerat…

Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip

My husband and I love a really good Spinach Artichoke Dip, however, many of the ones out there use either jarred Alfredo or mayonnaise in the preparation. While there is nothing wrong with using these ingredients, I prefer a more humble dish, not to mention one lighter on calories than its' counterparts. This recipe is also great for mini-slow cookers as you can set it on low and keep it hot all throughout the party; you would just need to expect about a hour to heat it through before serving. 

Preheat Oven Temperature: 375 degrees

14 ounces Canned Artichoke Heart Halves, drained and coarsely chopped
1 Box Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
8 ounces Neufchatel Cheese, softened and cubed (You can substitute Cream Cheese.)
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Dried Onion Flakes
1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic

1. Combine all ingredients, minus 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, in a large mixing bowl. Stir to…