The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oven Fried Chicken, Sides, and Homemade Biscuits

So...I like fried chicken. The crunchier the better. I don't like soggy. Blech. I'm always looking for new and improved ways to make oven fried chicken, since I also don't do too terribly well with greasy. I am also trying REALLY hard to eat more healthily. Not an easy feat for me. I know, sad. But it's true. So I recently decided to try to eat more grains. It's stretching me. Haha. One way is...I breaded my chicken with pulverized oats. Instead of flour, I ground up some oatmeal in my food processor and used that. And it was pretty good, amazingly enough. :) I also made homemade biscuits...a first for me. I got the recipe from Paula Deen They were a lot easier than I thought they'd be. And they turned out pretty well, I think. So away we go.

For Chicken:
-Chicken-any kind you like, as much as you need
-egg wash-egg and milk, beaten together
-flour-enough to dredge the chicken
-pulverized oats-enough to dredge the chicken
-Butter, about 1 tablespoon, to brown chicken in a skillet

For mashed potatoes:
-Potatoes-I used russet-peeled and cubed
-butter to taste
-sour cream to taste

For green beans:
-1 can green beans
-butter, to taste
-onion powder, to taste
-bacon bits, to taste

For Biscuits:
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoons sugar
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cubed
-3/4 cup milk

In three shallow dishes, add the flour, egg mixture, and oats. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the oats. Place in a skillet with butter melted over medium high heat. Just brown both sides, then place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until cooked though, approximately 20 minutes or so.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain, then return to pot. Mash with a potato masher, then add butter and sour cream. Mix well and serve hot.

Empty the can of green beans into a microwaveable dish. Add butter, onion powder, and bacon bits to taste. Microwave until hot, then stir to coat the beans with the butter. Serve hot.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the biscuits. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles corn meal. Hollow out a little hole in the middle of the bowl. Add the milk into that well, and knead it by hand. Roll it out gently on a lightly floured surface. Don't handle the dough too much or your biscuits won't be fluffy. Cut the biscuits with a biscuit cutter and bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve everything together and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

I have a wonderful husband who occasionally requests certain meals. This is one of those meals. Apparently, he enjoys it. Haha. We always have leftovers, too, so it would feed a good many people. Good news for families, huh?

I adapted this recipe from a Rachel Ray cookbook (30 minute meals 2, Lake Isle Press). She calls it "Meatball and Macaroni Soup." It's her quick version of Italian Wedding Soup. As always, I have adjusted things to fit my persnickety tastes. I didn't change it too much, but I did change it a smidge. Following is my adaptation.

-olive oil; enough to sautee some veggies (maybe a tablespoon or two)
-2 carrots, peeled and sliced
-2 bay leaves
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 lb ground meat (I use beef, but any ground meet that can be made into meatballs is okie dokie)
-1 beaten egg
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 cup (ish) grated parmesan
-1/2 cup (ish) bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
-6 cups chicken broth or stock
-2 cups of water
-1.5 cups pasta-I use egg noodles a lot, but any smallish pasta would work.
-1/5 lb fresh spinach

In a large pot over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the chopped carrots and bay leaves. Season with the salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let the carrots cook for a few minutes, stirring every once in a while.

While those are cooking, throw the meat, egg, garlic powder, bread crumbs, parmesan, and some salt and pepper (if desired) in a large-ish bowl. Mix it all together so everything is evenly incorporated.

Add the chicken broth and water to the veggies. This will keep them from burning. Trust me. Hehe. Have I ever mentioned that I learn a lot about cooking by doing things incorrectly the first time? Cause I do. A lot. Moving on. Increase the heat to high and let the soup come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat back down to medium/medium high heat. Roll the meat mixture into meat balls, about 1 inch in diameter, dropping each ball into the pot as you roll it. When all the meat is rolled into a ball and added to the pot, add the pasta. Stir everything together. Cover the soup again and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, enough time to let the pasta get tender. Add the spinach in batches. It will seem like you're adding a ton of spinach, but it will wilt down. Once the spinach has wilted, the soup is ready to devour. It's great with bread, or if you're serving more people, sandwiches will help it go a little farther. Yummm.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Steak Dinner

I had a request of steak for dinner from my beloved husband. Since I try to accommodate him when possible, I decided to make it. Added husband grills the steaks. :) One less thing for me to do. Woohoo. He also marinated them for us. He got the marinade here, and it was pretty amazing, not gonna lie. We only marinated them for about 30 minutes, too, so it was simple and quick too. I took care of the sides...loaded mashed potatoes and seasoned green beans. Yum. It was all pretty great, not gonna lie. So if you ever feel like steak, and don't want to pay for the night's your solution. :)

-Steak (We used New York strip steaks, hubby's fave)
-Potatoes (I used russet)
-Green beans (I used canned)
-Butter (to taste for potatoes and green beans...I probably used 3 tablespoons for each side)
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-3 tablespoons bacon bits (the real bacon kind), 1 T for green beans, 2 T for potatoes
-2 tablespoons sour cream
-1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

In a shallow dish or plastic bag, marinate the steak with your favorite marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil a large pot of water and cook the potatoes until tender and cooked through. Mash with a potatoes masher, then add the butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits. Mix thoroughly.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium/medium high heat. Add the green beans and onion powder. Mix until the beans are coated evenly with the butter and heated through.

Have your favorite grill master grill your steak to the perfect done-ness. Serve all together and enjoy thoroughly! Mmmm.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pizza Snack Bites

Sometimes, you just want to snack for dinner. Can I get an amen? But...snacking for dinner isn't so great for you, I know. That thought doesn't always discourage me from snacking for dinner, but hey. When a hungry husband is involved, sometimes you need a little umph in the snack department to help it pass the muster. So...enter pizza snack bites. They contain my hubby's favorite cracker, a favorite pizza topping, and some left over deli-cheese I needed to use. Amazing! Perfect combo. Plus...they took about 2 seconds to make and were relatively satisfying. They be good for a kiddo lunch, too, I think. But I digress. Here you go.

-Round buttery crackers (like Ritz)
-Pepperoni slices
-Provolone or mozzarella cheese slices

Set out some crackers on a microwave safe dish. Place a pepperoni slice on each cracker, then a slice of the cheese, then another slice of pepperoni. Microwave for about 10 seconds, or until the cheese has softened but not totally melted. Remove from the microwave and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meal Plan!

I would just like to say that I am ashamed of how long it's been since I posted a meal plan. Oh my word. I have still been MAKING meal plans, but life has been so crazy lately, that I had to adapt them rather frequently, so...they rarely got posted. Sigh. But this should be relatively normal, so here you go. :) I will probably be posting some recipes from previous weeks as well, so don't be surprised.

Monday: Labor Day! Too much fun to cook. Hehe.

Tuesday: Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn; chicken, flour, egg, veggie oil, potatoes (I'm using russet), green beans, onion powder, butter, bacon bits, corn

Wednesday: Cheeseburger Macaroni (as previously posted here)

Thursday: Italian Wedding Soup; Chicken broth, water, ground beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, fresh spinach, carrots, pasta of some kind (I'm using egg noodles-to me, thicker noodles, either short or broken into short pieces, work best)

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Pork Tenderloin, red potatoes, and brussel sprouts; Pork tenderloin, any seasoning desired for that pork, red potatoes, olive oil, garlic, italian seasoning, brussel sprouts

Sunday: Swedish Meatballs with egg noodles; ground beef (or a combo of ground beef, pork, veal, etc, whatever you want), egg noodles, egg, breadcrumbs, flour, butter, sour cream, beef broth

Pepperoni Sub

So as I was digging through my pantry and fridge in search of something edible (I was kind of behind on that whole grocery shopping thing...oops), I came across some pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, and some hoagie rolls. This is what I ended up with when it was all said and done.

There is something magical that happens when necessity gives birth to invention, and this was one of those times. This is by no means my best meal ever, or even one of the most interesting, but I felt somehow victorious for creating it out of the leftover junk in my house. Haha. It was better than the typical PB&J that I would have had to resort to otherwise. So here it is.

-Hoagie roll
-Shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven broiler on low.

Open up the hoagie roll. Spread a thin layer of mozzarella on top of it. Lay as much pepperoni on it as you'd like, or as much as you have leftover from that one time you attempted to make a homemade pizza. ;) Spread another layer of mozzarella over the pepperoni. Place the sandwich on a baking sheet, and broil it in the oven for a few minutes, until the bread is kinda toasty and all the cheese is melted, and everything is hot and yummy. As I always say when using the oven broiler...DO.NOT.WALK.AWAY. Stand there and watch it. will burn it. Trust me on this. I know from experience...many experiences actually.

Remove the sandwich from it's baking sheet, fold it together to make a real sandwich, and enjoy. It would be good dipped in marinara/tomato sauce, too, I think. Mmmm.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moo Shu Noodles

I have made something similar to this before. It didn't turn out so well. Haha. This time, I adjusted some things, and it turned out MUCH better. And I added broccoli, which makes it healthier, right? Sorta? Ok, works for me. :)

You can use any kind of pasta, really. I think long skinny noodles like spaghetti, angel hair, fettucini, etc work best, but who am I to judge? Use whatcha got, I say. I added some broccoli to mine, but you could add any veggies you wanted to,'re just stir-frying them, so throw in whatever you want to. This works well for me when I'm craving Chinese take-out and don't want to do the take-out part. It's really quick and easy, in my opinion. I think you'll like it. :)

-Pasta (I used spaghetti), enough to feed everyone. I made a little bit, just for me, but I'll give directions for a whole box (16 oz)
-1/4 cup hoisin sauce (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-ground ginger and garlic powder to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ginger)
-1/2 cup chicken broth (I just added some water to the cooked chicken crusties on the bottom of the pan, aka de-glazed the pan after cooking the chicken)
-2 eggs, beaten
-chicken breasts (approx 3-4, or however much you want), cubed
-broccoli florets, approximately 1/2-1 cup per person
-veggie oil, to stir fry (approximately 2 tablespoons for chicken and 2 tablespoons for broccoli)

Boil a large pot of water. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium high heat, then add 2 tablespoons of veggie oil. Let it heat up. Add the veggies and stir fry until just tender-crisp. No mushy veggies, folks. Set the veggies aside on a plate. Add a little more oil, and cook the chicken cubes until no longer pink inside, but don't overcook them. Set the chicken aside with the veggies. Add just a little bit more oil (or butter if you prefer), and scramble the eggs until cooked. Set aside with the veggies and chicken.

In a separate bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Stir in the ginger and garlic. Pour the cooked pasta into the skillet, back over medium heat. Add the veggies, chicken, and eggs. Then pour the sauce over the top of everything, as well as the chicken broth. Stir everything to combine well, letting the pasta get coated in the sauce, and all the chicken and veggies and eggs evenly distributed. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Cheesesteak Sandwich

I am not from Philadelphia. I've never even been to Philadelphia. I don't think I even know anyone from Philadelphia. I do not claim that my cheesesteak sandwich is a "Philly cheesesteak." Hence why it's just "cheesesteak" in the title. So if you are from Philly, or if you've been to Philly, or if you know someone from Philly, please don't send me hate mail about how my cheeseteak isn't authentic. I know it's not. It's persnickety-fied. But it's yummy anyway. :)

As you probably know by now, I'm not a huge fan of onions. This presents a problem when a meal is slathered in them. Most cheesesteaks have lots of sauteed onions or some such nonsense. Not on this blog, no sir. You can add them if you'd like. I won't take offense, I promise. Hehe. But none for me, thanks. I'll take my plain-ish sandwich, please. You'll see what I mean momentarily.

-Thinly sliced roast beef, of the sandwich variety (I got mine at the deli counter at my local supermarket)
-butter, enough to saute your meat in
-onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano to taste (maybe 1/2 teaspoon each per sandwich? maybe? I dunno, I eye-ball it)
-sliced provolone cheese (once again from the deli counter)
-Hoagie/sub sandwich rolls
-any condiments you may desire...mine was plain.

Preheat your oven broiler on low.

Cut your roast beef slices into 2 inch strips. Melt some butter in a saute pan over medium/medium high heat. When the butter is melted, add in some onion powder and garlic powder, along with the oregano. Add in the meat strips, and saute until the meat has browned a bit and is hot all the way through.

Open up one of your hoagie rolls. Put any condiments you want on the bread. Add the meat, then the cheese. Place it on a baking sheet and stick it under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is a little toasty. Do.not.leave.the.oven. I'm not kidding. The second you walk away, it will burn. If you stand there, it will take forever. I think that whole "watched pot never boils" thing needs to be "a watched sandwich never broils." But seriously...don't leave. Stare at that sucker until it's done...unless of course you like blackened bread and disintegrated cheese and charred meat. When it has reached its lovely toasted-y-ness, remove it from the oven, fold it up to a normal sandwich, and devour. Ok, you can put it on a plate with some chips or something if you want...but you will eventually devour it. Trust me. And enjoy. :)