Monday, August 31, 2009

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

I have to preface this recipe by letting anyone who doesn't know me know that I have chicken issues. We won't go into detail, but if it seems that my cooking time is overkill and you don't like dry chicken and you don't have chicken issues, then please adjust the cooking time accordingly. :)

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans (I ground the heck out of them in my rocket blender thingy)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a shallow dish, combine pecans, breadcrumbs, and salt.

Cut breasts in half and pound to 1/2" thickness (not necessary but I think it's worth the effort.)
Toss chicken breasts in a ziploc with maple syrup. Coat chicken breasts completely with nut mixture.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat vegetable oil. Add chicken, and here's where you can vary the recipe. You can either cook for 4 to 5 minutes until chicken is browned on each side, and finish in oven if you are cooking something else. (I put them in a 450F oven for 15 min with crash hot potatoes. It was a bit too much.) Or you can just cook them in the pan for 12-15 min until cooked through.

Meal Rating: 4 out of 5. They were good, a bit dry, but they needed a bit of something. Garlic maybe? A dash of hotsauce? Some seasoned salt? I can't quite decide what would work with pecans.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Southwestern Wraps Bonus

Even Fred likes it! :)

Southwestern Wraps

This is an easy recipe. You can throw just about anything in there and it's still yummy!

Southwestern Wraps


4 small flour tortillas
1 red pepper-sliced
1/3. c. chopped pecans
1/4 red onion-sliced
1 clove of garlic-pressed
1 tsp. Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party Mix
1/4 c. Ranch
Red Hot
8 slices of bacon (I use the microwavable kind)
1 chicken breast (cooked and cut into cubes-leftover chicken works well too)
1 tsp. butter
1/2 head of lettuce-chopped

In a small pan, sautee butter, red peppers, red onion, pecans, pressed garlic, Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party Mix, a few dashes of Red Hot. Sautee these until the onion and peppers are soft. Add cubed chicken and chopped up bacon to heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together lettuce, ranch and a few dashes of Red Hot. Add hot mixture into that bowl and mix together. Divide evenly over 4 flour tortillas and roll into a wrap.

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is a quick, easy meal that has a spicy kick. Yum!

Yummy Toffee Bars!

These taste just like Heath Bars. They are usually gone in 2.2 nanoseconds.

Toffee Bars


1 c. butter (not margarine!
1 c. dark brown sugar
saltine crackers
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400.

Line cookie sheet with unbroken Saltine Crackers.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and dark brown sugar on low. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes constantly stirring to prevent burning. Immediately pour sugar mixture over saltine crackers and place in oven for 4-5 minutes.

Once removed from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over the crackers. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chips evenly over the crackers. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts (optional). Chill in refrigerator or let sit overnight before serving.

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. They speak for themselves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yummiest Potatoes EVER. (And that ain't no lie)

I am a big fan of The Pioneer Woman, so it's no surprise that my favorite potato dish is courtesy of Ree. My dear friend Tiffany was in town this weekend, and we liked them so much, we made them two nights in a row!

I'd highly recommend making enough for leftovers. They warm up great. We even turned them into hash for breakfast Sunday morning!

Crash Hot Potatoes
(adapted from here)

2-3 lbs. new potatoes
Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt
Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking, heat oven to 450 F. Drizzle a large cookie sheet with olive oil.

Boil potatoes until fork-tender.

Drain potatoes and place on cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a glass or a potato masher, gently smash each potato flat. Drizzle with more olive oil, and then generously sprinkle on the seasoned salt.

Bake for 25 min or until potatoes get brown and crispy on the edges.

Rating: 5 out of 5. No doubts about it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yummified Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This super easy recipe is from our Slow Cooker Cook Book.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers


4 green bell peppers (fresh from the garden!!!!)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
3/4 c. medium salsa
1/2 c. corn
1/2 c. chopped green onions with tops
1/3 c. uncooked long grain rice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
sour cream (optional)

Cut thin slice off top of each bell pepper. Carefully remove seeds, leaving pepper whole. Combine remaining ingredients except sour cream in a medium bowl. Spoon filling evenly into each pepper. Place peppers in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

I did not add the black beans just because I do not like them. We also used cheddar cheese rather than pepper jack because I was not making a special trip to the store for cheese. I did add a few dashes of hot sauce to take it up a notch.

Meal Rating: 4 1/4 out of 5 stars. They were good, but the pepper was too soft. We cooked these for 5 1/2 hours. Next time, we will only cook them 4 hours. This recipe is a keeper.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

7 (Yummy!) Layer Salad

This delicious summertime favorite salad is easy to make. You can substitute any of the layers for a change. I have had this with celery, peppers, snap peas, broccoli and egg (you will never have mine with egg!). You can also leave off the bacon for the vegetarians in your life!

7 Layer Salad


1 large head of iceberg lettuce-rinsed and chopped
1/2 bag of shredded carrots or 2 large carrots shredded
1/2 red small red onion-diced
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 c. Hellman's Mayo (no Miracle Whip!)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
8 strips of bacon

Cover the bottom of your dish (approx. 4x8) with the lettuce. This layer should be approx. 1 inch thick. Layer carrots, peas and onion on top of the lettuce. In a large measuring cup, mix mayo and sugar together. Mix until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly over the salad. Cover dressing with cheese. Crumble bacon on top of the cheese. Refrigerate until serving.

Meal rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. This is a crowd pleaser, but I took off a 1/2 star due to the cost. The veggies and the bacon can get expensive if you have to make this for a large group of people. This is best if serving 8-10 people. Enjoy!

p.s. Happy Birthday Madison and Chris Bors. Hope you like this salad (and your presents!)

Yumminess in sandwich form - Monte Cristo

This is not a typical Monte Cristo; since I don't really care for turkey, I opted to double the ham. Whatever you add on the inside is up to you, but the batter for this is just about perfect!


Amy's Monte Cristo
(adapted from here)


oil for frying
2/3 cup water
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices white bread
4 slices Swiss cheese (I used mozzarella as that's what we had!)
8 slices ham
4 T. honey mustard dressing
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar for dusting, optional

Heat 1-2 inches of oil in high-sided frying pan.

While oil is heating, whisk together the egg and water. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until smooth.

Assemble sandwiches by spreading honey mustard on 4 of the slices of bread. Place one slice of ham on one slice of bread, a slice of ham on another, then sandwich them with the cheese in the middle. Cut sandwiches in halves.

Dip each sandwich half in the batter so that all sides are coated. Deep fry in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5. Quick, easy, cheap, and while not at all healthy, totally tasty!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slow-cooked Creamy Pork - Oh. My. Yumminess.

You have a job today. Go get the ingredients and make this. Now. Go. Why are you still sitting there? Just go! You can thank me later, when your belly is full.

Slow-cooked Creamy Pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. water
1 healthy pinch garlic powder
3 T. vegetable oil
3 pounds pork cube steaks
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 T. butter
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow dish, stir together eggs and water. In another shallow dish, mix together bread crumbs and garlic powder.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip pork steaks into egg mixture, and coat with bread crumbs; brown pork 5 minutes on each side.

Layer in a medium crockpot.

In the same skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then stir in chicken broth and milk and bring to a soft boil. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream until thoroughly incorporated.

Pour mixture over pork, and cook on low for 4 hours.

If you like lots of sauce and gravy, I'd suggest doubling the gravy. It's THAT good.

Serve with Kim's Hungarian Nokedli. (I'll repost the recipe here for you, just because I'm nice like that. And I want to save you time from having to search for the recipe, so you'll have more time to EAT this great dish!)

Kim's Hungarian Nokedli
(otherwise known as spaetzle)

2 eggs
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. all purpose flour
1 large pot of salted boiling water

Combine eggs, water and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Add flour a little at a time. Whisk well. Let stand for 10 minutes. Beat well again.

Now here's how I did it. Scoop the mixture into a large plastic bag. Twist the top closed and snip off a small corner. Holding the bag above the pot of boiling water, gently squeeze as you snip off small amounts of the dough.

The noodles are done when they float to the top of the water, about 3 minutes. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place in a collander. Rinse with cold water.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not So Yummy Chicken Paprikash

I was so excited to make this recipe I found online. It received rave reviews! Unfortunately, it tastes like hot sour cream and is very bland. Please add any suggestions on how to improve in the comments.

Chicken Paprikash

1/2 c. flour
3 tbsp. Hungarian Paprika
dash of salt
dash of pepper
2 chicken breasts
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. sour cream

Combine flour, 2 tbsp. paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture. Reserve extra flour mixture. Add oil to large dutch oven. Heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown chicken on both sides, approx 8 minutes. Remove chicken from pot. Add a little extra oil to the pot if it looks dry. Add onion, Cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. paprika and salt. Sautee onion until tender. Return chicken to pot and add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove from heat and let cool down. Combine reserve flour and 1/2 c. sour cream. Add a small amount of liquid from pot into flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Add mixture to pot, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool down again and add remaining sour cream, stirring constantly. Sauce should be a very pale orange. Heat again for about 1 minute. Serve over Hungarian nokedli.

Hungarian Nokedli


2 eggs
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. all purpose flour
1 large pot of salted boiling water

Combine eggs, water and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Add flour a little at a time. Whisk well. Let stand for 10 minutes. Beat well again. Spoon small amounts of dough into the boiling water. The noodles are done when they float to the top of the water. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place in a collander. Rinse with cold water.

Meal rating: This one is a tough one. I gave it 1 out of 5 stars. Mostly because I labored all day on it. Kevin gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars. He said it's just missing something. He ate 2 bowls of it, but that does not say much. He will eat almost anything. I guess hot sour cream over homemade dumplings is one of them. :)

Please feel free to forward your edible Chicken Paprikash recipes to be posted. I am still looking a keeper. This was not it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yummy Banana Bread

Brown bananas equal only one thing - Banana Bread! Guess what I'll be having for breakfast tomorrow?

Banana Bread
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only 1 large loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.
Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt just until moistened. Pour into pan.
Bake 75 min. YUMMY!
Rating: 5 out of 5. I love banana bread!
Post Edit by Kim: I just made this yummy banana bread and added 3/4 c. of chocolate chips (per request from Kevin). It was awesome and yummy!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Deliciously Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I entered (but did not win) this recipe into the annual Christmas Cookie Contest by Ladies Home Journal. I did, proudly, rank 24th out of the top 100 entries. Enjoy!

My Not-So-Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. salted butter (not margarine!)
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar and whisk. Yes, whisk. These cookies are mixed using elbow grease! Add vanilla and egg. Whisk thoroughly. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in another bowl. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and whisk. Wash your hands and dry. Add the other half of the flour mixture and mix by hand. The dough is a stickier dough. Add the chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper (this will keep your cookies soft for days!). Roll dough into balls and bake for 8-9 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. This cookie is should be a dark blonde color not brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes before moving from the cookie sheet.

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! People request these all the time. They are a sure hit!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cucumber Onion Salad-Yum!

This is one of my favorite summertime salad recipes.

Cucumber Onion Salad

1 large cucumber
1 large sweet onion
3 tbsp. sour cream

Thinly slice the cucumber and onion. The thinner the better. In a medium bowl mix cucumbers, onions, sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. I prefer fresh coarsely ground pepper.
Chill for an hour and enjoy!

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is a great side dish that is easy to make.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yummy Crispy Orange Chicken w/ Rice

I love the Orange Chicken Bowl @ Applebee's so I thought I would give this a try.

Crispy Orange Chicken with Rice

2 whole chicken breasts, cut into one inch pieces, fried and cooked (or you can cheat like me and use Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips. Who has time after work to fry chicken?)
1 box of Chicken Flavored Rice
4 big chunks of broccoli, steamed and cut
2 carrots, steamed and cut
1 bottle of Iron Chef Orange Chicken Glaze with Ginger
1 can of Chinese Rice Noodles

In a medium pan, heat orange glaze. Toss with cooked chicken and veggies. Serve over rice.

Goes great with Veggie Egg Rolls.

Meal Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. It's quick and easy. Has a good flavor but it's very sweet.

Hint: Don't forget to turn on the rice cooker when trying to steam veggies. Lesson learned.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A yummy dinner even your husband can make!

I hope everyone is sitting down. Are you sitting? I don't want any lawsuits over injuries resulting from shock over a blog entry.

OK, here goes.

My husband cooked dinner last night. And it was good.

I know, I know. I shouldn't say such shocking things, but it's entirely true. And he did it without me having to ask and had it ready when I got home from work with the kids in tow. And it was entirely worthy of an entry here.

Meatloaf Muffins

1.5 lbs lean ground beef (turkey or chicken would probably work as well, I just don't like ground fowl)
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 package Stove Top

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Your hands will work the best! Divide mixture evenly into 12 muffin tins. Drizzle each muffin with ketchup (A-1 or a mix of the two is good as well). Bake for 30 min or until muffins are done.

We had it with mac n cheese.

Meal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (and not just because he cooked!) Easy, relatively healthy, great leftovers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yummy Summertime Veggie Pizza

I decided this would be my very first recipe post for 2 reasons. 1. All my veggies are ready to be picked from the garden. It's the perfect time to make this. 2. I am tired of writing it down for my co-workers.

Veggie Dip:

2 c. Sour Cream
2 c. Real Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip!)
4 tsp. dill weed
2 tsp. Accent Salt
2 tsp. Beau Monde (by Island Spice)
2 tsp. Minced Onion
Mix together in a medium bowl and chill for 1 hour. If you are making this just for a dip, chill for 2 hours.

Veggie Pizza:

2 rolls of Pillsbury Butter Tastin' Crescent Rolls
2 c. Fancy Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 carrots shredded
1 red onion-chopped
1 green pepper-chopped
1 red pepper-chopped
1 medium stalk of broccoli-chopped

Lightly spray one large cookie sheet with Pam. Roll out both crescent rolls and piece together until the entire sheet is covered. Bake as directed on the Pillsbury Crescent rolls package or until a light golden brown. Let cool for 20 minutes.

Spread a generous amount of the Veggie Dip over the crust. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the dip. Add the shredded carrots, chopped onion, peppers and broccoli. Chill for 1 hour.

Cut into squares and enjoy! You will have some dip leftover so cute some fresh veggies and have a healthy snack.

Appetizer Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is an easy potluck appetizer that is a crowd pleaser!

Wow, that was a yummy dinner!

For my first post, I thought I'd share what we had for dinner last night - slow-cooked asian pork, steamed broccoli, and rice. It's tried-and-true in our household and was a good go-to meal after a disastrous dinner the night before (note to self, you do not like chicken on the bone, no matter how good the recipe sounds.) I also love the fact that it is essentially ready as soon as we get home.

I got this recipe off the internet but failed to note from where, so if I owe you credit, just let me know!

Slow-cooked Asian Pork

2 lbs. boneless pork (just about any cut will do - I used country-style boneless ribs last night)
1/2 c. soy sauce (I'd recommend low-sodium unless you think cankles are hot)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1 t. ground ginger (or if you are feeling fancy, fresh ginger)
2-4 cloves minced garlic
2 T. cornstarch, optional

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Lay pork in bottom. Mix other ingredients (except cornstarch) together in a small bowl. Pour over pork. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours.

To thicken sauce, mix cornstarch with a small amount of water and add to slowcooker. Or pour sauce into a small sauce pan and boil until thickens slightly.

Again, I served it with steamed broccoli and rice. Sugar snap peas also go really well with it as would stir-fried veggies or any other asian-inspired side dish.

Meal Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars - easy to make, few ingredients, tasty, healthy.