Friday, May 31, 2013

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

This is wonderful peanut butter cookie recipe that everyone who tried it loved! We made a batch of these for Memorial Day weekend to take to the mountains with us and enjoyed sharing them with our family. Kent was very proud of himself - he actually fixed this whole batch up all by himself, baked them and everything! :) I helped move them to the cooling racks (and I helped with the taste testing!) :D I think my kiddo might just like baking almost as much as his mom does!

These are buttery and flaky, and the peanut butter chips are a nice touch - although next time I would use crunchy peanut butter and try Reese's pieces in place of the peanut butter chips! This is a terrific recipe, and easy to change up a little to suit your tests. We didn't flatten them with a fork, but rolled them into balls and baked that way so they were a little thicker in the middle since we usually like our cookies to be soft. 15 minutes was good - although we had two sheets of cookies in, and the ones closest to the bottom got quite a bit browner on bottom than the ones on top which were perfectly lightly browned. It was kind of nice in some ways, it resulted in two different textures for people to pick from! :) We also halved this recipe and ended up with about 2 dozen cookies.




Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies by
Makes 4-5 dozen

Ingredients 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups peanut butter chips
1 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  
Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. Beat in both sugars. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in half of the dry ingredients into the mixture. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients. Stir in peanut butter chips.
  4. For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoon full of dough into 1 3/4 inch diameter ball. Arrange balls 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using the back of fork, flatten dough balls and form a crosshatch on tops.
  5. Bake cookies until dry on top, about 15 minutes.
  6. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.
Link Parties:
Townsend House
A Peek Into My Paradise
The Weekend Potluck

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fish Fillets Italiano

This is another "MyPlate Collection" recipe from AllRecipes.com. I thought it looked like a great seafood addition to our meal plan for the week, and we all really enjoyed this meal! The flavor is definitely on the mild side, so adjust seasonings to your personal preferences (we didn't actually alter the original recipe at all, I liked the mild flavor). I really enjoyed the tomatoes and onion with the fish - almost a "salsa" topping. You can use pretty much any white fish - we used tilapia fillets for ours. I omitted the olives from our recipe as my husband doesn't like them, though I think they would have been a very nice addition!

We served this with some garden pasta salad and Texas toast for a simple and satisfying meal. It would be great with a nice crisp salad as well. This recipe is super simple, very tasty, and it comes together in no time at all.


 
Fish Fillets Italiano by  on AllRecipes.com
 
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil                                
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound cod fillets (or other mild, white fish such as tilapia)
 
Directions 
  1. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until softened.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, and wine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Place fillets in sauce. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, or until fish turns white.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Honey Baked Chicken

This was a super simple and very tasty dinner, it is a MyPlate Recipe on AllRecipes.com which was another one of our challenges this month as an All Recipes Brand Ambassador - to find and fix recipes from the MyPlate collection. This was a GREAT assignment to have, as there are SO many options! You can browse through by food group, category, see popular recipes, and find so many fresh, tasty meal, side dish, or dessert options there!
 
I love most anything that has a combination of honey and chicken, and this looked like a nice simple dish for Kent to try out on a work night for dinner. He did a terrific job whipping this one up, and loved how easy it was to make. We all really enjoyed the flavor of this dish and would definitely use it again! The curry powder gives it just a LITTLE zing, and the honey and mustard combine nicely for a delicious sauce to bake the chicken in.
 
The sauce is very thin after baking - you can choose to thicken it on the stove with a little flour or cornstarch whisked in, then bring to a boil and allow to simmer and thicken, to serve with the chicken - or just drizzle a little of the sauce straight from the baking dish on top for some "juices" to dip the chicken in while eating.
 
We served this with some homemade mac 'n cheese and steamed veggies for a delicious and filling dinner!



Honey Baked Chicken by Brucejoy on AllRecipes.com
 
Ingredients 
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder 
 
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken breasts into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk butter, honey, mustard, salt, and curry powder together in a bowl until smooth; pour sauce evenly over chicken.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbling and chicken is no longer pink inside, 30 to 45 minutes (if you have thicker chicken breasts, pound them or cut them in half - or plan on a longer cooking time). An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast should read at least 160 degrees F.
Link Parties:
What's Cookin' Wednesday
Show and Share Wednesday
All My Bloggy Friends



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Pregnancy: Week 23!

Ticking off the weeks, one at a time - less than 4 months to go until we will meet our little one and I can count toes and fingers! :)

According to BabyCenter:

How your baby's growing:
Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

Things have been going pretty well lately - the last round of appointments I had was on May 14th and 15th. We had a fetal echo to check baby's heart and then a follow up anatomy scan to get the images they couldn't see before and baby looks great. Her heart is good, and her profile is pretty dang cute (one of the images they couldn't get last time).

5-15-13 21w3d Baby's Profile
 
5-13-13 21w1d Belly Picture



5-24-13 22w5d belly (and a haircut!)
5-26-13 23 weeks - Memorial Day weekend - at the top of the waterfall
My next appointment is on Wednesday for a routine OB check up and then probably another appointment a month after that for another check up and probably Glucose Tolerance Testing (oh the JOY!) We have a growth scan scheduled for the end of July, and in the mean time I get to just enjoy my time with this little one as she grows. It is amazing how much you can love someone without even really knowing them at all.

We're starting to plan baby showers with family and I'm trying to get my hubby to agree to seriously consider buying furniture for the nursery so we can at least begin to get the room together. I am at a comfortable stage in pregnancy, and don't want to wait until I really am no use at all to start putting things in there! As it is, we still need to finish emptying out the big desk, move Kent's desk down to the basement, and relocate the big desk to his room which is going to be a fun adventure! :) I'm hoping maybe this coming weekend we can get that much done and get the nursery cleared out - blank canvas! :)

This past weekend was wonderful! We spent Memorial Day weekend with Kenneth's family, arriving Saturday mid-day and returning home Monday mid-afternoon. The weather was fabulous, and we enjoyed LOTS of great food, good down time in the quiet mountains, a hike to see a waterfall, and also the local Arts & Crafts fair! We walked the downtown shops a little too, and we came home with some super cute, and some super yummy, treasures from our weekend excursion! I really enjoyed our time with family, and just being away for a couple days in the peace that the mountains brings. It is so beautiful, calm, and quiet there. It's refreshing! One of Kent's FAVORITE things we've had from Ellijay is 3 Sisters Fudge - we had to pick up a couple different flavors to bring home. I was enjoying some of the dreamy peanut butter yesterday afternoon... mmm... Kent always picks Cookies N Cream!

I am very much looking forward to this coming weekend - we're having a get together with some very good friends of ours for a graduation party and I'm excited to spend some time with them!

Little Miss is being very active this afternoon - lots of thumping and bumping going on! I never get tired of it - although she occasionally seems to use my cervix as a trampoline, and then we have to have words.

Here's hoping for a relatively boring and uneventful appointment tomorrow. :)

Macaroni and Ground Beef (Two Ways)

This is the last of the three recipes we tried out from the AllRecipes Australia / New Zealand website and after several changes I REALLY enjoyed this one and would definitely play around with it more in the future. The original recipe makes TWO 9x13 pans, so I cut everything in half below, except for the white sauce which we didn't have enough of (which is why I had to add a jar of spaghetti sauce to ours before baking). If you try this recipe, I think it would be great with just the white sauce but it may need additional seasoning (Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, etc., to taste) but with the addition of already seasoned spaghetti sauce, flavor wasn't an issue for me. I loved how creamy this dish came out, with the inclusion of the white sauce and mozzarella, and we really enjoyed this dish - I was happy to have the leftovers the next day!

The original poster of this recipe on the AllRecipes site says "This is a pasta bake similar to macaroni and cheese but closer to the way they serve it in Egypt." I found that interesting, and all the more reason I'm looking forward to trying this again with more of the white sauce and leaving the spaghetti sauce out next time! I left the original instructions below on assembling this dish - but we mixed everything together in the large pot that held the macaroni (the sauce, the pasta, the cheese, and the meat) and combined it evenly before spreading in the pasta dish which I thought worked really well and was a little simpler. You can try it either way! Whichever way you make it, this is a filling, hearty and tasty pasta dish!





Macaroni and Beef from Noura on AllRecipes AU

Ingredients
13-oz uncooked macaroni
1/4 cup, plus 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided 
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef 
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese 
OPTIONAL: 1 24 or 26-oz jar spaghetti sauce (either in place of, or in addition to the white sauce, or you can reduce the amount of white sauce by half and add the spaghetti sauce to supplement)

Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. 
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, 1/2 tablespoon oil and bouillon cube and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and return to pot, removed from heat. 
  3. Cook ground beef and diced onion over medium heat until meat is evenly browned, and onions are tender (about 15 minutes). Drain grease and return meat mixture to pan. Stir in tomato paste, along with the salt and pepper to taste; simmer over low heat until heated through. 
  4. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a deep saucepan; stir in flour then milk (whisk quickly and thoroughly to blend the flour and milk in). Cook over medium-low heat until sauce thickens; stir in salt to taste and white pepper. Pour half of the sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir in mozzarella cheese. 
  5. Spoon half of the macaroni into prepared dish and top with ground beef mixture. Spoon the remaining macaroni over the beef and top with remaining white sauce. 
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Sloppy Joes

It's reveal day once again for the Secret Recipe Club! I've been getting more and more excited, counting down to reveal day. I really enjoyed my assignment this month and am excited to share this tasty recipe with you!

This month I was assigned to Kirstin's blog, Loving Life. Kirstin was born in England, and is a SAHM to two girls, and she obviously loves her family very much - it shines through in everything she writes! Kirstin and her family live in Washington state, where I was actually born and (mostly) raised. :)

I visited Kirstin's Recipe Index and started happily browsing through the posts to get some inspiration and ideas. The pumpkin scones jumped out at me, as did the Yummy Breakfast Cookies, and the Moist Chocolate Cake!

However, I settled on something I haven't had a chance to enjoy in a LONG time and have been wanting to see on my menu for awhile now - good 'ol sloppy joes!! This recipe is awesome - my son and I really enjoyed these sandwiches (hubby had a late work night, so he missed out). The meat has just the right amount of sauce and the flavor is fantastic - very unlike the normal Sloppy Joe recipes I have made before; it has a sweet taste to it. The little bit of balsamic vinegar gives it a truly unique flavor; it's a little hard to explain but is most certainly wonderful and I would happily recommend this one, and we look forward to making these again!! My son voted that this was our new "go-to" Sloppy Joe recipe. :)

This one doesn't have any diced veggies in it, but next time I'd add a small onion, finely diced, to the ground beef while cooking. I like to bulk up my meat mixtures with a little bit of onion and/or peppers when I can!

 



Sloppy Joes adapted from Troyers Loving Life
Ingredients
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared mustard (yellow, or Dijon for more of a bite)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Buns, for serving
Cheese, for serving (if desired)

Directions
  1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, until well browned and cooked through (about 10-15 minutes). Drain grease and return to pan.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, through the balsamic vinegar, to the meat and reduce heat to low, simmer for about 10-15 more minutes. 
  3. Serve on toasted buns, top with cheese slices if desired.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meal Planning week of 5/27/2013

This week we're focusing on the MyPlate collection from AllRecipes! This is a great location to find TONS of tasty, and healthy, recipes for you and your families!

Here are the recipes we're going to be enjoying this week.

MONDAY
Dinner: Honey Baked Chicken with steamed veggies and macaroni and cheese

TUESDAY
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, baked French fries, and garden salad

WEDNESDAY
Dinner: Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets with Caesar salad and mashed potatoes

THURSDAY
Dinner: Fish Fillets Italiano with garden pasta salad

FRIDAY
Dinner: Garlic Chicken with steamed veggies and baked potatoes

Link Party
Meal Plan Monday

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolaty oatmeal cookies equals a lot of warm, fuzzy, happy family memories for me. My mom would make a HUGE batch of these for a lot of different road trips and family outings - and the way I grew up we had a lot of road trips! We traveled a lot of miles moving back and forth across the country (from Washington to Pennsylvania, and later, back to Washington for example). My mom always made road trips fun and exciting. It helps that my siblings and I got along pretty well, for the most part, and we were generally easily entertained with word games, "I Spy", "20 Questions", Mad Libs, the license plate game, etc. We liked to use our imagination and come up with stories and be silly together, and mom kept it going and helped us pass the time. In any event, especially when I was a little older - middle and high school aged - I remember these cookies being a part of many of those memories. Kept in a Ziploc in the car for quick snacks, or pulled out at meal time to go with lunch or dinner, or after dinner as dessert. Even the ones that crumbled at the bottom of the bag could be sprinkled over vanilla ice cream, or eaten by the loose handful... yumm. :) My brother and I even made a point to make a big batch to take with us and 2 of our friends when we went from Washington to the redwood forest in California for a vacation about 11 years ago - for old times sake!

I thought this was the perfect recipe for our own family road trip for Memorial Day weekend to visit Kenneth's parents in the mountains, and really enjoyed pulling this one out to make with my son. He had fun rolling the dough, and I think the taste testing was his favorite part. :)

These are super chocolaty cookies, and are a little on the sweet side, especially when straight out of the oven. They are super gooey, and yummy with a glass of milk when warm. They store well in containers or you can lay them in Ziplocs and freeze them for later use. I think you could probably reduce the sugar to 1 cup without sacrificing taste, if you are concerned with the sweetness. The chocolate chips add plenty of "sweet" to each bite. :)





Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 12-oz package semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I used about half and half)

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend the first 5 ingredients thoroughly in a mixer until well combined and creamy. Add in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed until the batter is blended. Hand mix in the oats and chocolate chips.
  2. Roll dough into walnut sized balls (or a little larger) and place about 12 per rectangular cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (I baked for 10), allow to cool for 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheets (just until mostly set on the bottom, and you can slide a spatula under them without much difficulty) and move to a cooling rack.
  3. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Link Parties:
Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms - Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Marvelous Mondays
Mouthwatering Mondays


Friday, May 24, 2013

Irresistible Double Chocolate Muffins


This is a terrific, hearty, chocolaty muffin treat! We really enjoyed these, they work for a breakfast treat, or a quick snack. They are dense, and the little mini-chocolate chips are like little hidden treasures inside the muffin. These are not "cake" like at all - between the whole wheat flour, flax seed, and wheat germ they are definitely almost like chocolate bran muffins. I enjoy packing these up for breakfast, or wrapping and freezing to pull out for snacks later on. The go great with a big glass of milk.

I followed the recipe exactly as written, baked for 20 minutes, and thought they came out really good!





Irresistible Double Chocolate Muffins by Fiestaqueen on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Combine flour, flax seed, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing just until combined. Spoon equal amounts of batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Link Parties:
Townsend House
Weekend Potluck on 4 Little Fergusons
A Peek Into My Paradise

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pork Chops Baked with Applesauce

This was another recipe I found on the AllRecipes Australia/New Zealand website and thought we'd give a try! We usually have a few packages of pork chops in our freezer from our meat CSA and I like to find new ways to cook them for my boys. I think pork and anything apple flavored goes together marvelously, so this looked like a great one to try out! I found this dish to be nicely flavored, very mild, but nice. I think it could have used a little bit of a stronger flavor and might suggest added a diced apple to the pan while baking to help infuse more of that flavor into the meat. I also found our pork chops were fairly dry unfortunately. I think the cooking time was probably a little bit too long, and would suggest watching them and trying to pull them out when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. I found this e-how article on how to keep pork chops from drying out, and will have to keep these tips in mind for future pork chop baking attempts! :)

We served this with steamed vegetables, pasta salad, and some Texas toast for a tasty, and filling dinner. My 14 year old fixed this one pretty much completely by himself. He is getting to be a very handy helper in the kitchen and really enjoys getting to try out all these new recipes. He is going to be one well-prepared bachelor. No ramen noodles and pop tarts for him (or a mom can hope)! :)



Pork Chops Baked with Applesauce from SHMOOPSY AllRecipes AU
Ingredients
1 cup (scant) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large bay leaf
4 pork chops
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix applesauce, chicken broth, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, garlic and bay leaf in large bowl and set aside. Season the chops with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and sear the chops on both sides. When chops are browned, lay them in a casserole or baking dish. Pour the apple sauce mixture over them, cover with foil and cook in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sweet Restaurant-Style Coleslaw

This is a terrific coleslaw recipe we've been using for a couple years now. I don't make it often (my son is not a fan!) but I really enjoy it with summery BBQ type meals. The other day we had shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner, and I thought coleslaw and some baked beans would be great accompaniments!

The sauce is a little on the runny side, so just be aware when you're serving you'll definitely want a slotted spoon - or you can just add more cabbage mixture to the sauce; it goes a long way! This has a nice, creamy texture, with a light sweetness. You can add a couple tablespoons of finely diced onion if you'd like, but I'm not a raw onion fan so I don't add any to ours. If you're not sure how sweet you want the recipe, you can always start with 1/4 cup sugar, taste, and adjust it until it is at the right sweetness-level for you.




Sweet Restaurant-Style Coleslaw by Sandi Johnson on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix                         
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (I used regular mayonnaise)                                
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
                         
Directions
  1. In a large Tupperware, whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds.
  2. Add in the bag of coleslaw mix and stir gently to combine. Put a lid on it and shake well to ensure even distribution of sauce. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mustard Chicken Pasta Bake - AllRecipes AU!

This is a recipe brought to you from the AllRecipes Australia/New Zealand website! I had a great time browsing through the many possibilities from the AR AU site and trying to find something that my family would enjoy, and that I had ingredients available from! I noticed a few "themes" while I was browsing. Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and baked beans. :) We settled on Mustard Chicken Pasta Bake to test out in our kitchen and were pretty happy with the results. This made a very large pan of pasta and chicken, enough for our family of 3 to eat on for at least 3 meals!

It is important to make sure your chicken is pounded somewhat thin, or slice in half, to ensure that when you're frying it you're able to cook it all the way (or almost completely all the way) through without burning the crumb coating. I had issues with my thicker pieces of chicken still being pink in the middle even after their time in the frying pan, and the oven.

I made a few tweaks (such as sautéing the onions for a few minutes before adding in the other sauce ingredients) and those are reflected below. I thought this was a great dish for "the guys" - lots of meat, pasta, and BBQ-ey sauce to go around! If you like BBQ flavor and saucy pasta and chicken dishes, you will probably like this one too! We used Dijon mustard which gave the sauce a tang - if you prefer sweeter, try honey mustard! I really liked the texture of the chicken in this dish, the coating and frying process made it tender and juicy.

We served this with some steamed veggies on the side.



Mustard Chicken Pasta Bake adapted from Anthony D'Onofrio on AllRecipes AU

Ingredients
1 13-oz box penne pasta
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin or sliced in half
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4-5 large/thick slices bacon
2 med/lg tomatoes, diced
1  med onion, diced
1 12-oz bottle honey barbecue sauce
3 TBS Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Pour into a deep 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dip the chicken breasts in the egg mixture then roll in breadcrumbs to coat.
  5. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry chicken breasts until the juices run clear and they are well browned on both sides (about 5-10 minutes per side). Be sure to cook them well, but be careful not to burn the breading. Remove to paper towels to drain. Drain all but about 1 TBS of excess oil from frying pan.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, place bacon in another large deep frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from frying pan, pat to remove excess grease, then crumble and set aside.
  7. Return the frying pan that had the chicken in it to medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until beginning to soften and get translucent. Add tomato and cooked bacon, then cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is completely tender. 
  8. Pour in the barbecue sauce and mustard. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the dish then place the chicken on the top and cover with grated cheese.
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove foil, return to oven until cheese is completely melted, chicken is no longer pink in the middle, and dish is heated through.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meal Planning week of 5/20/13

It's an AllRecipes Australia kind of week! One of our challenges as part of the AllRecipes AllStar program this month is to make and photograph recipes from the http://allrecipes.com.au/ site. So, I took some time and browsed several categories and numerous recipes, and this is what we've come up with for this week!

MONDAY
Dinner: Mustard Chicken Pasta Bake with fresh green beans
TUESDAY
Dinner: Pork Chops baked with Applesauce and steamed veggies

WEDNESDAY
Dinner: Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Coleslaw, and baked beans

THURSDAY
Dinner: Parmesan Chicken in Cream Sauce with Caesar Salad and garlic bread

FRIDAY
Dinner: Macaroni and Beef with garden salad

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mini Barbecue Cheddar Meatloaves

This was one I saw on Pinterest and quickly added to our menu plan. We all love meatloaf, and add in with some caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and a BBQ sauce glaze? Yum!! These didn't disappoint. Dinner was absolutely delicious and went perfectly with some super creamy mashed potatoes (well whipped with some cream cheese, butter, milk, seasoned salt, and pepper) and fresh steamed buttery green beans. Delicious! This perfect mini meatloaf recipe comes from Iowa Girl Eats and I know it will be making its way back onto our menu again. I love that they're individually sized for serving up, and it bakes up nice and quick too - great for a weeknight meal! You could easily prep these ahead of time, refrigerate, and just pull them out and pop them in the oven for a homemade meal on a busy night.

The original recipe suggests panko bread crumbs, but since I didn't have any we used regular seasoned ones and it worked great in this recipe as well.

 
 

Mini Barbecue Cheddar Meatloaves slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Ingredients
1 large onion, sliced into thin strips
1 TBS butter
dash of salt
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, whisked
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup + 2 TBS barbecue sauce, divided
1/4 cup bread crumbs
dash of pepper
2-oz cheddar cheese

Directions
  1. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add onion slices and a dash of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. If onions are burning or cooking too quickly, reduce heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the meat mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine ground beef, whisked egg, Worcestershire sauce, 2 TBS barbecue sauce, bread crumbs, dash of pepper, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions, then mix until just combined. Divide mixture into 4-5 equal-sized portions then form into small loaves on a foil-lined, non-stick-sprayed baking sheet. Evenly distribute the remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce over the meatloaves and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

Manic Monday Button

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Roast

This is a terrific pork roast recipe that we all really enjoyed! We served this up with some pasta salad and steamed buttery fresh green beans for a tasty and satisfying dinner. The original recipe calls for a pork loin, but I used a ham pork roast that I had from my last CSA pick-up. This sauce will work great for pretty much any cut of pork.

This couldn't be any easier - throw it in the crockpot with some seasoning and water, then whip up the glaze at the end and voila; dinner is served!


 
Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Roast from C and C Marriage Factory
Ingredients
2-lb boneless pork roast
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

Glaze
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
  1. Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast.
  2. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens.
  5. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side, or drizzled over the meat.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini

I've been trying to include a seafood dish each week in the rotation (at least on most weeks!) which is sometimes challenging as my husband in particular (who actually really likes seafood) doesn't usually like when I fix it at home for whatever reason. Apparently, he feels it should be left to the professionals?! :) Actually, he's just picky about the type of seafood he likes. He usually only likes salmon cooked at home. If he gets fish when we're out, it's usually a nice thick white fish, while I am a trout, lobster, and shrimp kind of girl! I really like cooking with tilapia and shrimp at home - they both are so super easy (and fast!) to make and there are so many versatile recipes out there that utilize these great proteins.

I ended up finding this dish needed some additional seasoning and added in some garlic powder and splashed in a little more wine and taste tested until it seemed about right to me. We topped ours with some fresh grated parmesan and this was a terrific meal served with some steamed veggies on the side!




Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguini slightly adapted from  on AllRecipes.com 
Ingredients 
1 (8 ounce) package linguine pasta
1 TBS olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 TBS lemon juice
salt to taste
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 TBS parsley
1/2 TBS basil
Fresh grated parmesan (about 1/2-1 TBS per person)

Directions 
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook for 9 to 13 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté garlic about 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, and bring to a low simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and basil into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated and sauce simmers down to desired thickness. Taste test, and adjust seasonings as needed. Top with grated parmesan after plating.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Doritos Cheesy Chicken Casserole

I saw this recipe at Plain Chicken and made a point to save it for the upcoming menu making. Nacho Cheese Dorito chips, with creamy, cheesy, chicken? Yes, please!

This is a very creamy and gooey casserole - the chips are a nice addition to the dish, but I found the creamy chicken to be the center star! I thought this was best served with additional chips on the side, sort of for scooping and used the casserole as almost a yummy, cheesy, chicken dip! My son and I both really enjoyed the flavor of this dish.



Doritos Chicken Cheese Casserole slightly adapted from Plain Chicken
Ingredients
3 cups cooked chicken, diced to bite-sized pieces or shredded
8 oz sour cream
1 10.5-oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 10.5-oz can cream of chicken soup
1 10-oz can Rotel tomatoes
1 15-oz can of corn, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 13.5-oz bag Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Crush the entire bag of Doritos and cover the bottom of the dish. 
  3. Reserve one cup of cheese. Mix together remaining ingredients (chopped chicken, sour cream, both  cans of cream soup, Rotel tomatoes, corn, and 1 cup cheese) in a large bowl. 
  4. Pour chicken mixture over the Doritos. Bake for 20 min.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the casserole and bake 5 additional minutes, or until cheese is melted.

What's cooking, love?