The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pork Fried Rice

Have I mentioned that I love friend rice? Oh, wait, I have. In my post about Chicken fried rice. Haha. So I guess it's not terribly surprising that I would make another variation-pork fried rice. It's similar to my chicken version, but slightly different. If you can make my chicken version, you can make this one. Away we go.

2 boneless pork chops
3 cups cold, cooked rice
1 zucchini
1-2 carrots (1 if large, 2 if smaller)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Oil (maybe a tablespoon for each step, so 4 tablespoons total)

Slice the pork chops in 1/4 inch slices, then cut them into 1 inch pieces. Cut the zucchini and carrot(s) into similarly sized pieces, no bigger than 1 inch cubes. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat with a little bit of oil. Cook the pork until it is done. You're basically stir frying it. The small pieces should cook relatively quickly. When the meat is cooked, set it aside. Put a little more oil in the skillet or wok. Cook the veggies until just tender. Don't let them get mushy. Set them aside. Add a little more oil to the skillet or wok, and scramble the eggs. Set aside. Add a little more oil, and stir fry the rice for a couple minutes. Add the eggs back in and stir to combine. Add the spices and soy sauce, and stir to mix evenly throughout the rice. Add the veggies and meat back in, and stir it to mix it evenly in to the rice. Make sure everything is heated through and mixed well. Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Hello hello. Sorry this is a little late this week...I've been a tad busy. Anywho, here's my plan for the next week. :)

Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce (from last week...I won't be able to make it); Spaghetti, plain tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, Italian seasonings, ground beef.

Tuesday: Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches with homemade potato chips (also from last week); Chicken breasts, honey, limes, rolls/buns, cheese, potatoes

Wednesday: Leftovers!

Thursday: Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice; Chicken breasts, flour, oil (for shallow frying), vinegar (white or rice), brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, rice

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Red beans and rice with sausage; Rice, smoked sausage link, pinto beans, cajun seasoning

Sunday: Baked potato with BBQ; Russet potatoes, BBQ sauce, chicken or beef or pork to shred, butter, cheese, sour cream (optional)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chicken Parmisan Panini

I enjoy a good chicken parmesan occasionally, but sometimes, I need to stay away from the pasta that usually accompanies it. Haha. So, a Chicken Parmesan Panini seems like a good alternative. You can use whatever kind of bread you like, and still get the yummy goodness of chicken with melted cheese and tomato sauce. And, you can eat it with your hands. ;)

-Chicken breast (enough to feed everyone. I can usually get 1.5 to 2 sandwiches out of one breast), cooked and sliced thinly
-Tomato pasta sauce (about 2-3 tablespoons per sandwich)
-slices of mozzarella cheese (I used two per sandwich)
-Bread- two slices per sandwich. :)

On each piece of bread, place one slice of cheese, then spread a nice spoonful of sauce on top of it (keeps the bread from getting soggy, and the cheese holds the sandwich together). Place a layer or two of the chicken slices on one piece of cheese and sauce covered bread. Place the other cheese and sauce covered slice on top to form the sandwich. Grill the sandwich until the bread is slightly browned and toasted and the insides are all melted and gooey and hot and yummy. I use my panini press, but you can do it in a skillet or on a countertop grill, whatever you have. Serve immediately. Yummmm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Porkchops and Applesauce...and Potatoes

Porkchops and applesauce go together really well. I don't know why. They just do. It's also nice to have some roasted potatoes too. So that's what I'm doing. Haha.

Boneless pork chops (enough to feed everyone)
olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per chop, for marinating)
oregano (1 teaspoon per chop)
rosemary (1 teaspoon per chop)
garlic powder (1 teaspoon per chop)
onion powder (1 teaspoon per chop)

Potatoes-russet or red-enough to feed everyone
olive oil-enough to coat potatoes when cubed
garlic powder- 1 teaspoon per potato
onion powder- 1 teaspoon per potato
Italian seasonings- 1.5 teaspoons per potato

Apples-at least 4
1/2 cup water per 4 apples
1/2 cup sugar per 4 apples
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon per 4 apples (optional)

Peel and cube all the apples. Place them in a large pot over medium low heat with the water and sugar. Stir after about 10 minutes. The apples will start breaking down on their own. Cook another 10 minutes, and stir. Lower heat to low and cook another few minutes, until the apples are mostly broken down. Stir in the cinnamon if desired. Stir and mash the apples until desired consistency. Set aside.

Wash and cube the potatoes, about an inch cubes, but leave the skins on. Toss the potato cubes with the olive oil and spices until evenly coated. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes over and roast another 10 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.

In a gallon size zip top bag, pour in the olive oil, garlic, onion, and seasonings. Place the pork chops in the bag and zip it up. Coat the chops with the oil and seasonings and let them sit in the bag marinating for a few minutes. Place the chops in a single layer in a baking dish, and cook in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 10 minutes, or until the chops are cooked through. If the juice in the chop run clear when it's punctured, then it's done. If it's milky or pink, it's not done.

Serve everything together and enjoy!

Hamburgers and Fries

Every once in a while, I get a craving for a burger. I don't know why, but I do. Going out and getting one at a fast food place is an option, but...making my own somehow seems better sometimes. I know, I'm nuts. Haha. I also thought I'd try to make some homemade fries too. I mean, a hamburger without fries just...isn't right. Haha. I think they turned out well. Away we go.

Ground beef (enough to feed everyone-about 1/4-1/3 lb per person)
Garlic and onion powder
Hamburger buns
Condiments-ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc
"Fixin's"-cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc
Large baking potatoes for fries-1 to 2 people per potato

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into thin slices, about 1/4 inch, then cut the slices into thin strips to make a typical "fry" shape and size. Soak them in water so they won't turn brown while you're preparing to cook them. There are two methods to use from here. You can completely bake them in the oven with a little bit of cooking spray, or you can cook them halfway in boiling water, then bake them the rest of the way. I boiled then baked, because it goes a little bit faster. If you only bake them, spray a foil-lined baking pan with cooking spray, and place the uncooked "fries" in a single layer on the baking pan. Bake 20 minutes at 475 degrees, then flip the fries and cook another 10-20 minutes, until the fries are cooked through and starting to brown. If you boil them first, boil the water, add the fries, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are about half cooked. Drain them, and dry them as well as possible, then spread them out on a foil-lined, cooking sprayed baking pan. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until they are completely cooked and starting to brown. Salt lightly when you take them out of the oven.

Mix together the beef and garlic and onion, about 2 teaspoons each per pound of meat. Form the beef into patties. Cook in a skillet or grill until desired doneness. I like my burgers pretty well done. The last minute or so, if you want cheese, put the slice on and let it melt just slightly. Mmm. Toast the buns in the oven for just a minute at 350 so they're warm. Place the cooked patty on the bun, and dress it with desired condiments and fixin's. My burgers only get to have ketchup and cheese.

Serve it up with the fries, and eat. Yum. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken Carbonara

When I first married my husband, believe it or not, I couldn't really cook. Like...I didn't know how. It was pretty sad how I survived through college. I won't go there and spare you the gory details. Haha. But after I got married, I knew I needed to figure it out so we wouldn't both starve. I watched a lot of Food Network the first few months. It actually helped me learn a few things.

I have mentioned before that I'm a fan of Italian food. I could eat pasta pretty much every day, if that was even remotely healthy. I also don't know if my husband would go for that. He likes pasta too, but he also likes variety. Haha. But I digress. This recipe is an adaptation of a Giada De Laurentiis recipe I saw once in ym many hours of studying Food Network. It looked really good. I tried it, and it was amazing. The original recipe can be found here:

I will share my little changes as well. Because, you know I can never leave a recipe alone. Haha. So here we go.

-1-2 tablespoons olive oil-just a glug for the bottom of the pan
-6-8 slices of bacon (you can use pancetta if you want, and if you can find it)
-1 tablespoon garlic powder (it's just easier than mincing fresh garlic)
-2 1/2 cups heavy cream
-1 cup grated parmesan
-8 egg yolks
-1 tablespoon dried basil (instead of fresh. I always have this in my cabinets, and I think it still tastes fine)
-1 tablespoon dried parsley (same as basil)
-1 lb spaghetti (one regular package)
-2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I think this is plenty. A whole rotisserie chicken just isn't necessary in my opinion)

Boil a large pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just tender. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, separate 8 eggs into whites and yolks, only using the yolks for this recipe. If you don't have an egg separater gadget, you can use the egg shells to separate them. Crack the egg over a bowl, and as you "open" the egg, let the yolk stay in one side or the other. Then "pour" the yolk into the other side of the shell, letting the white fall into the bowl. Repeat as many times as necessary to get the yolk all by itself. Be very gentle, though, because you don't want to break the yolk while separating it. That will make it very difficult. Haha. Do this with all 8 eggs. When the eggs are separated, dump the yolks into a large bowl, and then add the cream, parmesan, garlic, basil, and parsley. Whisk it together until well combined.
In a large pot over medium heat (I actually used the same one I cooked the pasta in, after I poured it into my strainer to drain it), pour a glug of olive oil in the bottom (about 1-2 tablespoons). Cook the bacon in the oil till it's all cooked and kinda crispy and yummy. You can drain it a bit if you want, but I didn't. Dump the chicken in with it, and stir it around to evenly disperse the bacon into the chicken. At this point, you dump the cream and egg mixture into the other yummy goodness going on in the pot. Stir it all up, and then toss in the pasta. That means, dump the pasta into the pot, and then stir it all up with the "sauce." You'll need to keep stirring it for about 4-5 minutes. That lets the cheese melt, the eggs cook, the sauce thicken, the chicken to heat through, and the sauce to coat the noodles really well. Don't let it boil, because that can do bad things for the eggs. If you stir it pretty regularly, it shouldn't be a problem. When everything looks good, serve it in a large bowl. Or just scoop it directly into individual servings. It makes the wait to eat shorter. ;)

I don't do the whole fruit and nut deal that Giada does. I don't think it's needed. That, and I don't really like nuts, and I always end up getting the pith (the bitter white part of the peel) if I try to zest some citrus-y fruit, so...I don't wanna ruin the yumminess of this pasta with all that. Haha. It's fine just by itself. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meatball Sub Sandwiches

I was finally able to make these. I have been putting them off because of the craziness of the last couple weeks, but I made them tonight. :) Pretty hearty and tasty meal, I think. My husband enjoyed it, too, so that's always a plus. Haha. Yum.

-Ground beef (I used about 2/3 pound, maybe slightly less, and had enough for about 3-4 sandwiches)
-1 egg
-1/2 cup bread crumbs
-2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-tomato pasta sauce (I used a whole can/jar)
-mozzarella cheese (I used slices)
-sub sandwich rolls

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, garlic and onion powder until well incorporated. Roll the meat into about 1.5 inch balls. Place on a foil lined and greased baking sheet pan, and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, until meat is cooked through. In a sauce pan, heat the tomato sauce, and then add the cooked meatballs. Open up the sub rolls, and spoon a few meatballs onto one side. Put the mozzarella over the meatballs, then place the rolls with their toppings back in the oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, and close the sandwich. Cut in half for easier consumption. :) It might be easier to cut the meatballs in half so you have a flat surface to lay on the bread. Either way, I think it's pretty yummy. Make sure you have a good stack of napkins...this is a pretty messy meal, but so worth the finger-licking and wiping on napkins. Haha. Hope you enjoy it too!

Meal Plan and Shopping List

I feel like my meal plans have been more like meal suggestions lately. Things have been so crazy around here with schedules, sickness, and holidays I just can't seem to stick to a plan. I also realized that I sometimes don't include all the spices/seasonings I'm going to be using in my ingredient list because I just always have them in my pantry (unless it's a new spice I've never used before). If it's something unusual, I try to include it (like ginger...not everyone has ginger laying around), but if it's a "common" spice or herb I tend to just assume people will have it like me. But...this is coming from a woman who has about 20-30 jars of spices, if not more. Haha. I will say that most commonly, I use garlic powder and onion powder. If it's something else, I try to mention it. Anyway, I'm hoping this week will be better, both with following a plan, and including ALL the ingredients. Haha. Anyway, here are my plans for the coming week...

Monday: Hamburgers with homemade fries; ground beef (I sometimes season it with garlic and onion powder), buns, "fixin's" (lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc), condiments, potatoes for fries.

Tuesday: Pork chops, homemade applesauce, roasted potatoes; boneless pork chops (seasoned with oregano, rosemary, garlic, onion), apples (at least 4), sugar, cinnamon if desired, potatoes (seasoned with olive oil, garlic, onion, and italian seasoning).

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan Panini; Chicken breasts (enough to feed everyone, probably one breast per two people), mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, parmesan, garlic, italian seasoning.

Thursday: Leftovers!

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce; spaghetti, crushed tomatoes (the canned kind is great), diced tomatoes (canned is great), plain spaghetti sauce, beef broth/stock, ground beef, garlic, italian seasonings, parmesan, olive oil, brown sugar

Sunday: Pork fried rice; boneless pork chops, rice, soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic, onion, zucchini, carrots, eggs

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Manicotti

When I make my meal plans, I try to take into account any "leftovers" I have in my pantry or fridge. It saves me money, and keeps me from wasting stuff. So when I made manicotti a couple weeks ago, I only used half the package of noodles, since it's just the two of us. We didn't need all, oh, I don't know, like 14 noodles. Haha. So I used half and saved the rest. As I was making this weeks meal plan, I saw the noodles and tried to think of something different that I could make with them, not just the same old regular manicotti. That's how I came up with chicken manicotti. :) I think it tastes pretty good, too, so that's always a plus. Haha. So here we go.

Manicotti noodles
Chicken breasts (one breast will probably fill 3-4 noodles), cooked and shredded
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1.5 cups tomato pasta sauce
1.5 cups cream sauce/alfredo sauce (I made it from scratch)

Boil the noodles until just tender. Drain and set aside. Mix the tomato and cream sauces together in a medium sized bowl. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and spread evenly. This keeps the noodles from drying out and sticking to the bottom of the dish. Reserve about 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of the mozzarella for later. Stuff the noodles with the chicken and remaining mozzarella. What I do is put a little bit of chicken, then a little cheese, and repeat until the noodle is full. You can also combine the chicken and cheese in a bowl and just stuff the noodle with the mixture. Either way works. :) Place the stuffed noodle into the baking dish. When all the noodles are stuffed and in the baking dish, pour the remaining sauce over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, until everything is heated through and the cheese on top is melted. Serve and enjoy. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chili and Cornbread

Chili. Yum.

I think chili is great. It's easy to make, easy to eat, and...yeah, it's just great. It's also easy to adjust for heat preferences. I am not much into the spicy, so mine isn't that bad. can add a lot of heat with spices and such.

Ground beef (I used about a pound)
1 can pinto beans
1 can plain tomato sauce
1 can mild Rotel (tomatoes, peppers, etc)
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin

Cornbread mix

Bake the cornbread according to directions.

In a large pot, cook the ground beef over medium/medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain. Return to pot. Add all the other ingredients (including liquids of beans and Rotel), stir, and cover. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, letting the "sauce" reduce down slightly. Serve and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and anything else desired. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread. If you'd like more heat, use hot or medium Rotel instead of mild, add more chili powder, and add some red pepper flakes. Enjoy!


So...this past week has been a little...unusual. I haven't posted as often and I've been a little off. Haha. I'm blaming it on the stomach flu and Valentines day. I got the stomach flu on Monday night, and it took me until probably Thursday or Friday to really feel better. And in that time frame, I obviously wasn't cooking as much or as well as normal. Then came Valentines day husband got slightly sick, and didn't want to eat anything. haha. Then we went out for Valentines day and had a kinda weird Monday after since it was President's day, so my meal plan has been pretty much totally screwed up. Haha. I'll be making most of it some time this week, and then some will be moved to next week or something. So, apologies for the chaotic posting schedule and lack of meals shared. I promise it will get back to normal soon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicken Nachos

I like nachos. It's like...munchies with substance. Haha. You can eat them for a meal but feel like you're snacking or something, which I like. Snacking is one of my favorite past times.

I also like nachos with more of a cheese sauce than just melted cheese. To me it's just yummier. I'm a fan. So that's how I make my nachos. Adding meat to them makes it more "mealworthy" too, so I try to do that too. In this case...I used monterrry jack cheese and chicken. Mmm.

-Tortilla chips
-a block of monterrey jack cheese (for the two of us, this was plenty...if you're feeding a bunch, get a couple blocks), shredded/grated
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons flour
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 cup milk
-chicken breast (one was enough for two servings for us, so I would say 1 breast per 2 people), shredded

Cook the chicken breast, then shred it with two forks. Set aside. In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk and cream, and let it heat up, stirring frequently. Reserve a little bit of the grated cheese to sprinkle on top (about 1/2 cup for two servings), and add the rest of the cheese to the sauce. Let it melt in, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and let it thicken up, stirring frequently. Pour the tortilla chips onto a plate. Put a layer of the chicken over the chips, then spoon some of the hot cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle a little bit of the reserved cheese on top and serve. Gooey, cheesy, munchy nachos. Yum.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Ok, I'm really late posting this, so I'm sorry! But here is my meal plan and ingredient list for the coming week. :)

Monday: Chicken Manicotti; Manicotti noodles, chicken breasts, tomato pasta sauce, cream, mozzarella, parmesan

Tuesday: Chili and Cornbread; Ground beef, tomato sauce (plain), crushed tomatoes, chili seasonings, pinto beans, cornbread mix or recipe and ingredients

Wednesday: Leftovers!

Thursday: Baked potatoes with BBQ (since I didn't make it this past week); Baking potatoes (I use russet), pre-made BBQ, or make your own

Friday: Chicken Pesto Pizza (I didn't make it last week...I did a frozen one instead); pizza dough, chicken breasts, pesto, mozzarella, alfredo sauce.

Saturday: Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches; Chicken breasts, honey, limes (for juice), rolls or bread

Sunday: Chicken Carbonara; Chicken, spaghetti, cream, eggs, parmesan, pancetta (or bacon if you'd rather), garlic, basil, parsley

I'm looking forward to this week. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Moo-Shu Noodles

I'm gonna be honest with you, cause that's how I roll (yes I did just say that). This was not my favorite. It would have been awesome with a few tweaks, so...I will try again and update with my improvements eventually.

I got the original recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, here:

You might want to follow her recipe more closely than mine until I work out the kinks. She uses some weird stuff like cabbage and mushrooms (two of my least favorite "veggies" in the whole world), so I was trying to adapt it to my persnickety taste. Like how I did that, throwing in the word "persnickety" in a blog post? :) Sorry, I digress. I blame the stomach flu I had earlier this week...

I ended up just using the pork, substituting carrots and peas as the veggies, the eggs, noodles,and the sauce. The sauce was overpowering. I think I added too much sauce for the amount of noodles I had, and there just wasn't enough substance. Not enough...something. Probably veggies. Haha. I think next time, I will try adding some broccoli, carrots, maybe some zucchini, etc, to try to break up the noodles and sauce more. I'm pretty sure that if there would have been more to mine, it would have been great. So anyway...the original recipe is above, and mine is below. Good luck!

12-ounces fettuccine, linguini, or spaghetti
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
3 medium-sized boneless pork chops, thinly sliced (it is easier to slice thinly if pork chops are slightly frozen)
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup peas and carrots, cooked
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Boil the pasta, drain, and set aside. While pasta is cooking, scramble the eggs in a skillet with some oil or butter over medium heat. When they are cooked through, scoop them into a bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, heat some vegetable or canola oil (I like veg oil) over medium high heat. Cook the pork chop slices in the oil, basically stir frying them, for a few minutes until they are brown but not overcooked. Overcooked pork is tough and yucky. You don't want that. :) Put the cooked pork in the same bowl as the eggs and set aside. In a separate bowl mix the hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Set aside. Add another little bit of oil to the skillet. Stir fry your veggies until tender, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir to combine. Add the hoisin and soy sauce mixture, heating through. Add the eggs and pork to the party, and stir it all up. Lastly, add the noodles, and stir 'em around until everything is hot and the noodles are coated with sauce. Serve right away.

Like I said...the sauce was overpowering, but I didn't use the entire 12 oz or whatever of pasta, so that was my fault. And like I also said, a few more veggies or something would have made this better and less...noodle-y. Haha. Anyway, hope you can learn from my mistakes and yours turns out wonderfully. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baked Chicken Tortellini

Baked pasta is popular in my house. Well...pasta in general is popular in my house. I actually have to limit myself to one or two pasta meals a week. Sad, I know. Haha. But anyway...this one's pretty easy. It doesn't look very pretty in pictures, but it tastes yummy.

Tortellini (I used the fresh, refrigerated kind...doesn't take as long to cook)
Alfredo sauce (I made my usual homemade)
Chicken breast (I used 1, for the two of us), cooked and cubed
Mozzarella cheese (about 1/2-3/4 cup, to top the baking dish)

Boil the pasta until just underdone. It will finish cooking in the oven. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the tortellini, the sauce, and the chicken. Pour into a baking dish and cover with the mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, until everything is hot and melted and yummy. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beef Stew

It is cold tonight. Beef Stew with cornbread muffins=happiness. Oh yeah. It does take a while to make, so it's not a quick after work meal (unless you do a crockpot version, which this is not), but it's yummy and wonderful on a chilly night. Here is the warm goodness.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Stew meat (a lb or so), cubed
1 1/4 cups beef broth (concentrated)
3 1/4 cups water
3 carrots (chopped)
2 or 3 red potatoes, cubed
1 onion (if you want it)
1/4 cup flour or corn starch

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Brown the stew meat on all sides, but don't over cook it. Add the beef broth and 3 cups of the water, leaving 1/4 cup for later. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 1.5 hours. At that point, add the carrots and potatoes, and onion if you use it, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. In a separate bowl, mix the flour/cornstarch with the 1/4 cup of water. Add it to the stew, stirring frequently. Boil the stew for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until it begins to thicken up. I like my beef stew with cornbread. I think they go well together. Haha. Yum.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini

Grilled sandwiches are yummy, especially when it's cold outside. Panini are wonderful. You can do so many things with panini, but in this case, I did chicken, bacon, ranch, and Swiss cheese. I also used a panini press, because I am spoiled and have one. Haha. If you have a George Foreman grill or something similar, that will work to. And if you don't have that either, use two skillets; one to cook in, one to press with. I'll explain later.

Chicken breast (one will probably do two sandwiches)
swiss cheese, sliced thin for a sandwich
bacon (about 2 slices per sandwich)
ranch dressing (to spread on both slices of bread)

Cook the chicken breast. I baked mine, but grilling would be fine too. Slice it really thin, like 1/4 inch thick. On two slices of bread, spread ranch dressing, then place a piece of swiss cheese. On one side, put the two slices of bacon (I broke mine in half, so it was 4 half slices). Then put a layer of chicken. Put the sandwich together.

Put it on the grill and close the lid (If you have one). If using a skillet, place the sandwich in the skillet, then press another skillet on top of it, to slightly flatten the sandwich and get the pressed panini effect. If using a grill, cook until the bread is toasted to a golden brown on both sides (between 2-5 minutes) and all the insides are warm and melty. If using a skillet, cook till golden on one side, then flip it and do the same on the other side.

When the sandwich is done, cut it in half and serve immediately. Paninis are best if eaten right off the grill. Bread crunchy, cheese melty...mmm... Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicken Florentine Pizza

We have pizza pretty much every Friday night. A lot of times I just do a frozen one, but tonight, I made a homemade one. :) Chicken Florentine. Pretty yummy, I'm not gonna lie. And it has some veggies, so that's a plus. haha. So here we go.

-Pizza crust (I used refrigerated pizza dough from the fridge section at the store)
-1 cup(ish) Alfredo sauce (I made homemade, but use whatever you want)
-1/4 cup chopped spinach
-1/4 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)
-Chicken breast, cooked and cubed (I only used one and it was can decide for you)
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
-3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Bake the pizza crust until it's almost done, but not quite. Spread the alfredo sauce over the entire crust. Put a layer of spinach, then a layer of tomato, then a layer of chicken. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly across the pizza, then sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over it. Place it in the oven at 400-425 degrees for about 5 minutes until it's all heated through and the cheese is melted, and the crust is cooked and yummy.
Cut into slices and serve. Nom. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

I almost forgot that I hadn't posted this already. Oops! So here is this coming week's meal plan.

Monday: Baked Chicken Tortellini; Chicken breast, cooked and shredded or cubed, tortellini (I am using "fresh" from the fridge section), flour, butter, milk, parmesan and mozzarella

Tuesday: Leftovers!

Wednesday: Baked Potatoes with BBQ Beef; Baking potatoes (like russet), butter, cheese, sour cream, and BBQ beef (either ready made from the deli section, or make your own with some beef and BBQ sauce)

Thursday: Pork and Noodle Stir Fry; Boneless porkchops, long noodles (fettucini, linguini, etc), soy sauce, hoisin sauce, eggs, oil, ginger, garlic, any veggies if you want them

Friday: Pesto Chicken Pizza; pizza crust (I use refrigerated dough), pesto, chicken (shredded or cubed), alfredo sauce (I'll make it from scratch, you can use store bought if desired), mozzarella cheese (shredded)

Saturday: Chicken Nachos; tortilla chips, chicken (shredded), monterrey jack cheese, milk, flour, butter

Sunday: Meatball Subs; ground beef, parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, sub rolls, tomato sauce (like pasta sauce, not plain), mozzarella cheese

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is really easy. I made this when my husband and I were brand newly weds, and he has always been impressed by it, so I will occasionally make it. :) I will start out by saying that mustard of any variety is a challenge for me, but honey mustard is the best one for me. I usually have to combine it with something else though.

Chicken breast (enough to feed everyone)
1/4 cup of honey mustard per chicken breast
1 table spoon of brown sugar per chicken breast
A starch to serve it with (Rice, pasta, etc)

In a bowl, mix the honey mustard and brown sugar. Coat the chicken breast(s) with the mixture. In a skillet, over medium/medium high heat, start cooking the chicken. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, but don't let the mustard and sugar burn. Place the chicken on a piece of aluminum foil (I use rice as a starch and layer the rice below the chicken to keep it from sticking and burning when baking). Fold up the foil into a little packet around the chicken. Cook in a 400 degree oven until the chicken is cooked through, usually around 20-25 minutes. Unfold the packet and serve. Simple and basic. This would be great with some veggies, too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pesto Chicken Pasta

This was another experiment, and it was pretty yummy. In fact..I had extra, and ate two servings. Yeah. It was good enough for seconds. :)

I really like pesto, but sometimes it's just a little too strong for me. So I thought, "Self, what can you do with pesto to make it taste a little less strong?" The answer I came up with: make a pesto cream sauce. was successful. Amazingly. Haha. I hope you enjoy it.

-1/4 cup Pesto (I made it from scratch-recipe at end)
-1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
-1 cup cream
-1/2 cup milk
-2 table spoons butter
-2 table spoons flour
-chicken breast (enough to feed everyone), cubed
-pasta (I used rigatoni)

Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta until tender. Drain the pasta. Cook the chicken with some olive oil over medium/medium high heat until no longer pink in center. Set aside. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Add the cream and milk. Whisk together until well combined and it starts to thicken. Add the pesto and parmesan. Stir frequently. When the cheese is melted and the pesto is well mixed, reduce the heat to low and stir frequently until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the chicken, and stir to coat every noodle and every piece of chicken. Serve immediately. Yummmmmmm. :)

Pesto recipe:
1/4 cup spinach
2 table spoons dried basil, 1/4 cup if fresh
2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 cloves if fresh
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil (you just gotta add it till it's the right texture and consistency)
pine nuts (about 3 tablespoons, although it's hard to measure pine nuts in tablespoons. a little less than a 1/4 cup)

In a food processor or blender, pulverize the pine nuts until very fine. Not pine nut butter, but pretty close. Add everything else but the olive oil. Blend together. Add in olive oil a little at a time until it's the consistency of pesto-a pastey saucey loveliness. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mac and cheese

So I will be honest and say that this was an experiment. I think I will make improvements next time, but it was still pretty good.

I like my mac and cheese to be creamier than not. So the traditional homemade mac and cheeses that are basically just pasta with cheese melted over them aren't my cup of tea. I also don't mind velveeta, but it's...not that great for you, so I was trying to use just "natural" ingredients if I could help it. So this was a good first attempt. Next time I make it, I will post my improvements. Away we go...

-Pasta (a short, curvy, or hollow noodle works best-elbow macaroni, penne, rotini, etc)
-2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
-2 cups colby jack cheese, grated
-2 cups heavy cream
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup cheese, grated, to top the dish

Boil a pot of water, and cook the pasta until just tender. While the pasta cooks, in a medium pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Add in the milk and cream, and let it get heated through, stirring frequently. Add in the cheese and let it melt, stirring frequently, but don't let it boil. When the cheese is well incorporated, reduce heat to low and let it thicken, stirring frequently. When the pasta is done, drain it, then mix it with the cheese sauce and pour it into a baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Mine ended up being slightly gritty, and I think it's because I let the sauce get too hot. I got distracted. Haha. I hope yours turns out well. :)