The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Herb Seasoned Pork Loin, Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, and Green Bean casserole

Every once in a while, I try to shake things up. We don't eat a whole lot of pork, but it's nice to have occasionally. This time, I decided on a pork loin. I seasoned it with herbs typically used with pork. Since I don't make it too terribly often, I decided to play it safe. :) This actually turned out really well, so I'm happy with it. I paired the pork with Parmesan mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. I hope you enjoy!

For pork loin:
-1 two lb pork loin
-olive oil for drizzling (about 1/4 cup or so)
-1 teaspoon marjoram
-1 teaspoon rosemary
-1 teaspoon dried parsley

For potatoes:
-2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/4-1/2 cup cream or milk
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

For Green Bean Casserole:
-1 can French cut green beans, drained
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 cup bread crumbs

Pork Loin-
Place the pork loin in a baking dish. Drizzle the pork loin with half the olive oil. Sprinkle on the herbs, then drizzle with remaining olive oil.
Cover with foil and bake at 450 for about 35 minutes, or until the juices run clear when pierced.
Let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Boil the cubed potatoes in a large pot of water until fork tender. Use a potato masher to mash butter into the potatoes.
Add the cream/milk and parmesan and continue mashing. Use a large spoon to stir and incorporate anything not already well incorporated.

Green Bean Casserole-
In a medium sauce pan, combine the green beans, butter, and flour and heat over medium heat. Add in the cream and onion powder.
Pour into a small baking dish or a couple ramekins.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top in a thin-ish layer.
You can use more or fewer bread crumbs than listed...whatever you prefer. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, until everything is hot and the bread crumbs are slightly browned.

When everything is ready, serve it all together and enjoy! Yum!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Sometimes known as "Monkey Bread," this little jewel was a childhood favorite of mine. My mom would make this occasionally for breakfast, and I was always disappointed when it was gone and I couldn't gorge myself anymore. It is so simple and so yummy. My husband always gets excited when I make this too. I guess you could technically eat this for dessert, but I've always had it for breakfast.

We called this "Pull-aparts" growing up, because, well, you pull apart the pieces to eat it. Haha. This is literally biscuit dough and cinnamon mixed with sugar, baked in a bundt pan. It can't get much simpler. I say kudos to you if you want to make biscuit dough from scratch for this, but I use refrigerator biscuits.

Just as a funny anecdote...when I was younger, I didn't know that cinnamon was a stick. It was brown powder that came in little jars or containers. I don't know how old I was, but it was incredible to me when I finally realized that cinnamon was actually a little stick, and you had to grind it up to make the powder. I know, easily amused. Haha. Anyway...I hope you enjoy!

-2 "rolls" of refrigerator biscuits
-approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
-approximately 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven according to biscuit package (or recipe) directions.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Cut each refrigerator biscuit into quarters. I use a pair of clean kitchen shears, but you can use a sharp knife too. Drop the quarters of dough into the cinnamon sugar. Toss gently to coat.
Place the sugar coated biscuits in the non-stick or well greased bundt pan.
Continue with the rest of the biscuit dough, evenly distributing the pieces around the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the top of the "pull aparts" are golden brown.

This next step is crucial. Immediately after you remove the pan from the oven, turn the pull aparts out onto a large plate (basically, just turn the bundt pan upside down over a plate and let the whole thing fall out onto the plate). If you don't do it immediately, the sugar will start to harden and make the whole thing stick annoyingly to the bundt pan. When it's hot, the sugar is semi-liquid and melted and will more easily let go of the pan.

This will make a cute little ring of pull aparts to serve.
And they will go quickly. Just warning you now. So yummy. I want some now. Just pull off a chunk and chow down. Haha.
Have fun and enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Southwest Chicken Tortilla Bowls

I've done tortilla bowls before...Taco bowls to be precise. They were fun, so I decided to make them again, but this time I did a Southwest Chicken version. Corn and black beans with some latin-ish spices, to me, equal southwest. So that's exactly what I added to these bowls. Haha.

These tortilla bowls are so easy. And you can do so much with them, too, they're just wonderful. I hope you enjoy this little creation as much as we did. Have fun with it! This recipe makes enough for 3 or 4 bowls. Gauge accordingly.

-tortillas (one tortilla makes one bowl)
-1 cup uncooked rice
-1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
-1 can whole kernel corn, drained
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-shredded cheese, approximately 1/2-1 cup
-sour cream, for garnish

On a cooking sheet, turn small ramekins upside down and spray with cooking spray. Press a tortilla on each ramekin to form an upside down bowl. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes, until the tortilla is slightly golden and crispy.
Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. It should be able to stand up and keep it's shape on it's own.

Cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside.

In a small pot, add the shredded chicken, 1/3 cup water, and the spices. Simmer over medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has been mostly evaporated and the chicken has absorbed the flavor of the spices.

Heat up the corn and black beans in your preferred method.

Spoon some rice into the tortilla bowl.
Next, spoon some of the chicken,
then corn,
then black beans.
Top with cheese
and a dollup of sour cream.
Dig in and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garlic Asparagus Rice Salad with Chicken

Ok, the title may be slightly misleading, but this was amazing. It's not really a true salad, I guess, but I didn't know what else to call it. I mixed cooked rice, asparagus, and chicken with butter, garlic powder, and onion powder, and it was lovely.

As you know, I've recently moved. I'm still adjusting to my kitchen, so cooking is still an adventure for me. Haha. I got into a groove with my old kitchen, and I'm having to redefine my groove here in this kitchen. :) It probably doesn't help that I'm side-stepping boxes and piles of stuff as I'm cooking since I haven't quite gotten everything unpacked and put away yet. I'm trying to adjust to my new kitchen, I'm also trying to make new and exciting meals. However, at the end of the day, I'm pretty much exhausted right now from the extra to-do list of putting together a house from boxes. This meal was simple to make, didn't take very long, and I could manage it after running around like a chicken with its head cut off all day. Success! So I hope you enjoy it. Just try not to get any mental pictures of me running around like a crazy person, ok? I do still have my dignity. Well, sort of. Haha. Enjoy!

The recipe below made enough for 2 to 3 people, so adjust accordingly.

-1 cup uncooked rice (I used instant white, but use whatever you'd like)
-1 chicken breast
-half a bundle of asparagus (I actually cooked the whole bundle, and set aside half for another meal)
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 cup butter, divided

In a skillet, heat half the butter over medium/medium high heat. Cook the chicken until almost cooked through.
Cut the chicken into bit sized pieces and return to skillet. Add the garlic and onion powders and stir to coat.

While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice according to package directions (if using instant rice. If using "real" rice, start it first since it takes much longer to cook). Set aside.

While the chicken and rice are cooking, cook the asparagus. I actually steamed mine, but cook in your preferred method. It won't really matter. Cut each stalk into thirds or so (bite sized pieces).

Add the remaining butter to the skillet with the chicken. Add the rice and asparagus to the skillet and stir to incorporate.
Make sure the rice absorbs a lot of the buttery garlic-y onion-y flavor. Serve immediately and enjoy! Yum!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Picnic Has Gone Mobile!

Guess what!?!?!

You can now keep up with the Persnickety Picnic on the go! The blog can now be accessed via a mobile site, which is easier to load and view on many mobile devices. So check it out and let me know what you think! Pull up the Picnic on your mobile device's web browser to see the mobile site.

Now, you can look at recipes while grocery shopping to make sure you have everything you need, or pull it up while out with friends to show them your favorite food blog (Ha!), or view the site when your internet goes down at home (that never happens, right?) so you can still see the recipe you REALLY want to try right then. Haha. I hope it's helpful for you! Enjoy the Picnic!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

This is probably one of the easiest recipes of all time. No lie.

My mom used to make this occasionally for Sunday dinner. I have fond memories of coming home from church Sunday morning and having pot roast for lunch. I'm sure my mom loved it because it was so easy. Haha. I appreciated that aspect as well. :)

You will need a crock pot for this version of pot roast. You can do it in the oven, but that's not how I do it so I can't really direct you in that regard. Have fun!

-Beef roast (I think mine was a pound or so, to feed two...adjust to feed your family)
-new potatoes, enough to feed everyone
-carrots (I used baby carrots...if you use regular ones, just chop them into large pieces)
-1 cup water
-any seasonings you'd like (I would at least add some salt and pepper)

Place the roast in the crock pot. If you're adding seasoning, mix it with the water, then pour into the crock pot. Otherwise, just pour the water in. Intersperse the potatoes and carrots all around the crock pot. Cover with the lid.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. When the time's up, make sure the roast is cooked through, and the veggies are tender.
Serve and enjoy! I make brown gravy to go with mine, but the "juice" in the crock pot is good too.
Yum! See, easiest recipe of all time. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

I have shared my Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas before, and I love them. My husband does too. So I decided to try something a little different just for fun.

It seems to me like when the weather warms up, I get in the mood for more...summery flavors or something. Does that happen to anyone else? Or perhaps I'm just nutty? Haha. Anyway...I decided to try some honey lime chicken enchiladas. Yum.

In order to cut down on the acidity of the lime and the sweetness of the honey, I added some heavy cream to the sauce. I think it really added something nice to the sauce without overwhelming the whole thing. This recipe made enough for at least 10-12 enchiladas. I hope you enjoy this great, kind of summery, enchilada recipe. :)

-2 chicken breasts
-Marinade: juice of one lime (approximately 3-5 tablespoons), 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon chili powder
-two cans green enchilada sauce (or you can make my homemade sauce)
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-2 tablespoons honey
-juice of half a lime (approximately 2 tablespoons)
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican cheese blend)

Cook the chicken, then shred it. I did this in my food processor,
but you can do it with two forks as well. Place the shredded chicken in a large zip top bag. Mix together the three marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
Add the marinade to the bag with the chicken. Knead the marinade into the chicken.
Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When the chicken is marinated thoroughly, it's time to start everything else. In a sauce pan over medium low heat, heat the enchilada sauce. Add the lime juice, honey, and chili powder, and stir to combine.
Pour a little of this sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 in baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Add the cream to the remaining sauce in the pan. Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally while compiling your enchiladas.

Sprinkle a little of the shredded cheese in a line in the middle of a tortilla.
Spoon on some of the chicken.
Roll the tortilla around the filling and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the baking dish is full.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the entire dish of rolled tortillas.
Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until everything is hot and bubbly and yummy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Three Cheese Tortellini in Garlic and Herb Butter Sauce

This was the first "real food" I cooked in my new kitchen. I made a frozen pizza and some spaghetti with jarred pasta sauce, but those don't "count." Haha. This was actually really yummy, and I was very happy that it turned out well. It's always a little iffy in a new kitchen. Appliances can be finicky, so you never quite know how things will work right away. This, however, was a success. I used a smaller package of tortellini because it's just my hubby and me, but you can easily double this for a family. I hope you enjoy. :)

-1 small package three cheese tortellini (use fresh or dry, doesn't matter)
-1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
-3 garlic cloves
-2 or 3 tablespoons flour
-1/2 heavy cream
-1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional), plus a sprinkle for garnish

Boil a large pot of water. Add in the tortellini and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium low heat (a 4 on a scale of 10).
Smash the peeled garlic cloves and add them to the melted butter.
Saute the garlic to infuse the butter with the flavor. DON'T let the garlic burn. When the garlic starts to get translucent, but before it starts to get brown, remove the cloves from the butter.

Whisk the flour into the remaining garlic-infused butter, making a roux.
Add the cream to the party and continue whisking to incorporate. When the cream and roux are well incorporated, and the sauce has started to thicken, add in the milk to thin it back out a bit.
Continue stirring as you add the Italian seasoning, letting it flavor the whole sauce.

When the sauce has thickened slightly again, and everything is hot and yummy, you can add the parmesan if desired, and let it melt into the sauce for a couple minutes before serving. If you're leaving it out, then the sauce is done! Toss the tortellini in the sauce until well coated, then serve. Yum!

I served mine with yummy garlic and parmesan Italian bread.
So delicious. (To make this bread: Slice a fresh Italian loaf into thick slices. Spread butter on each slice and sprinkle with garlic powder. Sprinkle on a little parmesan, then broil for a couple minutes in the oven until the butter is melted, the garlic has seeped into the bread, and the parmesan is melted an yummy on top. Voila!) This made the meal so much better. Anyway, have fun and enjoy!