Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyday Jambalaya

Do you have one of those meals that you LOVED so much you made it every opportunity you possibly could, then for some unexplainable reason, you didn't make it for a while...then when you did make it again, you wonder why in the world you took such a long break from it?  Wow, how was the for a run-on sentence!  That is this Jambalaya.  When I took my first bite, it was like saying hello to an old friend...and what a mouth watering delicious friend it is!  I often put together the rice and spices to keep in a baggie in the pantry for a quick weeknight meal.  Make me.  Your whole family will thank you for it!

  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 2 ribs of Celery, diced
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 (14.5 oz can) Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15 oz can) Tomato Sauce
  • ½ lb Smoked Sausage (I use Turkey Kielbasa)
  • ½ lb. Chicken (diced and cooked)
  • ½ lb. Shrimp (peeled and deveined)  For the protein, you can adjust or omit any of the meat/shrimp combinations… so long as you end up with 1-2 lbs of protein.
  • 1 cup Long Grain Rice
  • 1 TBSP dried Parsley
  • 1 TBSP Beef Bouillon Granules
  • ½ tsp dried Thyme Leaves
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper (this makes it mild to medium, but still totally kiddo friendly…adjust to taste)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf

In a large pot, sauté onion, green pepper, and celery in some olive oil until tender. Add in rice, Parsley, Bouillon Granules, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Bay Leaf, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, smoked sausage, and cooked chicken. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes. Add shrimp and cook an additional 5-7 minutes until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. ENJOY!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck
Eat at Home Cooks
The Country Cook

Monday, July 26, 2010

Butter Chicken

When I first saw the rave reviews this chicken was getting on Tasty Kitchen, I immediately put it into my "to try" list.  However every week, I would pass it over for another dish.  Sometimes, the small-town country girl in me comes out and has me shy away from the unknown.  I mean I grew up not even trying Chinese food until I was in high school.  Up until college, the only Mexican food I had was the school cafeteria's tacos and the Patio's version of a smothered burrito!  To me, Indian Cuisine was definitely uncharted territory.  I had never tried it, let alone attempted to cook it. 
However, the Mom in me came out.  We have a strict "no thank you" bite rule in our house.  You simply can not say you don't like something unless you try a bite.  Then if you don't like it, you have every right to say "no thank you".  So, I tried the recipe. It was fabulous!!!  My kids liked it, my husband liked it, and as I slowly savored all the layers of flavor this dish offers, I knew I found a definite re-do!  I got to pat myself on the back for not only making a scrumptious meal but for teaching this "old dog" that there are new tricks outside of this box!

  • 4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut Into Bite Sized Pieces)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (I used 1/4 tsp just to make it kiddo friendly and it wasn't the least bit spicy)
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • ¼ teaspoons Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoons Cardamom
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cups Butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • 1 bunch Chopped Fresh Cilantro, to taste (I used about 2 TBSP because of the Cilantro haters in my house)
Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.  (I only marinated for about 4 hours and I still got good flavor.  Obviously the longer you can marinate, the better.)

Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the whipping cream and Cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice.  Seriously, do yourself a favor and try the Basmati Rice....a total new favorite in our house and has replaced the Market Pantry bag from Super Target forever!!!
For the Trader Joe's peeps, our friend Joe carries not only white, but brown Basmati rice AND the most fabulous frozen garlic Naan Bread to serve with this gem!

Recipe Source:  Tasty Kitchen Member lillieknits
This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck

Friday, July 23, 2010

Menu Plan 7/24 - 7/29

Happy Friday my friends!
Here is what is going to be on our plates this upcoming week, in no particular order:
  • Jambalaya, Corn Bread
  • BBQ Pork Ribs, Parsley Red Potatoes, Green Beans
  • Grilled Steak, Unstuffed Mushrooms, Wild Rice Pilaf, Salad
  • White Castle Sliders, Waldorf Salad, Potato Wedges
  • Hot and Sweet Drumsticks, Basmati rice, Cucumber Salad
  • Chicken Tortellini Caesar Salad
What is going to be on your table?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan

I don't know about you, but it another HOT one today!   What do you eat when it is so hot out?  At our house, we do a lot of grilling, dinner salads, and crock pot meals.  I was looking for a meal that I could make these crazy good, phenomenal breadsticks with, but didn't want to spend a lot of time on dinner (heat makes me feel like a lazy slug) and certainly did not want to have the oven going for more than the 15 minutes needed to bake the breadsticks.  After a quick search of recipes on my "things to try" list, I found this recipe for Crockpot Chicken Parmesan.  It went together in a snap and was a quicker cooking crockpot meal, which is good because I rarely have my act together in the morning to get dinner going.  Throughout the afternoon, the house was smelling INSANELY good and the taste certainly did not disappoint.  The chicken was cooked perfectly, and even though you could not longer see the cheese, you definitely tasted it.  Everyone LOVED it! 

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • favorite jarred marinara sauce, I use Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara

Spread the 1 TBSP of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot stoneware insert.
Beat the egg with a fork in a separate bowl.
Mix the bread crumbs with the seasonings and the Parmesan cheese in another separate dish.
Dip the chicken into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides with crumbs, cheese and seasonings.
Place the chicken breast pieces in the bottom of the crockpot.
Layer 2-3 slices or 1-2 cups of mozzarella cheese on top, depending on how much cheese you like.
Cover chicken and cheese with entire jar of marinara sauce.

Close lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. I cooked mine on high for about 3 1/2 hours and the chicken was perfect!
Serve with your favorite pasta.  ENJOY!

Recipe source:  A Year of Slow Cooking
This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Upside Down Supreme Pizza

Did you ever have one of those recipes that every time you made it, you made a mental note to try something different next time?  That quest for perfection was a longer than expected on this dish I am sharing today.  I first got a recipe for this from my friend Mel, then my hubby got it from an old high school friend.  So, after making it a couple times, and tweaking the cooking method and layering a couple more times, I have it!  I found that cooking the meat AND the veggies then adding the pizza sauce to the meat/veggie mixture was key...NO LAYERING, it didn't hold together right.  The other key has putting some of the cheese at the bottom, that was the final piece to this puzzle.  I now present to you....perfection!  Well, at least in my eyes, ha ha!  Even though my kiddos would not eat supreme pizza if their lives depended on it, they LOVE this and eat it, veggies and all!  So, here is the recipe along with all of my tweaks and reasoning for them,

  • 2 pounds of meat of your choice.  Hamburger is a good filler here.  I use 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger and then add 1/2 - 1 pound Italian sausage and a package of chopped pepperoni for the rest.  I find if you use too much of the pepperoni or Italian sausage, it gets too salty.
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jar pizza sauce, 16 oz.  I use the Trader Joe's is fabulous!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Bread Sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown your meat until cooked through.  Remove meat from skillet and drain excess fat.  Next, saute your veggies until desired consistency.  I found when I left them crunchy, they added too much moisture to the filling when cooking in the oven.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Again, burnt garlic = BLECH!  If you need to, drain excess moisture or oil from vegetables.  Add meat back into skillet and add pizza sauce.  It will be thick, that is ok...we aren't going for a spaghetti sauce to serve over pasta, but if you need to add a TBSP of water to get your mixture completely coated, that is ok.  It will loosen up slightly when baking in the oven.
Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on bottom of dish.  Spread meat/veggie/pizza sauce mixture evenly over top to cheese.  Add remaining shredded cheese on top of meat/veggie/pizza sauce mixture.
In a medium bowl, quickly mix together flour, milk, eggs, oil, and salt until thoroughly combined.  Slowly pour over top of the cheese covering evenly.  This will bake up to be your crust.  Don't worry, it will work ;)  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and garlic bread sprinkle on top of crust and bake for 30-45 minutes until crust is set. 
As a side note, this recipe is completely flexible...add whatever veggies and meat into it.  It is a great way to hide extra veggies!  Come up with your favorite and share it with us here!  Enjoy!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homemade Breadsticks

I have a confession to make.  I am completely and utterly addicted to these breadsticks.  Case in point, 100+ degree day that I have dinner going in the crock pot so I won't have to turn on the oven or work on the stove.  Then at about 3:00 in the afternoon, as I am starting to smell my crock pot Chicken Parmesan, I start to think how crazy good these breadsticks would be with dinner.  At about 3:30, all I can think about is this chewy, doughy, garlicky, buttery goodness dipping into the sauce of my Chicken Parmesan.  At 4:00, I am mixing the dough, and at 4:15, I set them outside on the patio table to rise...covered in saran wrap of course...but it is the perfect humid, warm oasis since my AC is continually cranking cold air.  I have already justified that since they only have to bake for 15 minutes, it won't heat up the house too much.  At 4:45, they go in the oven and come out at 5:00, just in time for the table to be set.  I look at my windows and there are the faces of all the neighborhood girlies begging for the leftovers.  This has happened FAR more times than I am willing to admit.  SERIOUSLY addicted.  Try them!  Try them and join me singing chorus of adoration for these luscious sticks-o-heaven.  What?!  Like you don't make up songs about yummy food!

  • 1-½ cups warm water
  • 1 TBSP instant (rapid rise) yeast from a jar.  Sorry, the packets don't hold a full TBSP
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 3-½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP garlic salt
  • 1-2 tsp herbs/seasoning of your choice.  I am using an herb blend that is for mixing with olive oil and dipping bread, but any herb or combo of herbs that you like would work well.
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix together water, yeast, sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1-2 TBSP olive oil (just enough to coat) onto the bottom of a 16"x14" cookie sheet.  Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and large enough to fit onto baking sheet.  Place whole sheet of dough on baking sheet, then brush 1-2 TBSP olive oil over top of dough making sure it is all lightly covered.  Sprinkle garlic salt and herbs of choice over top of olive oil.  Using a pizza cutter, cut breadsticks into desired length and width.   Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap and place in preheated oven and allow to bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush melted butter all over top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve, eat, and break out into a little diddy about breadstick lovveeee!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck

recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Friday, July 9, 2010

Menu Plan Friday

Once again, it is Friday. plan day and shopping day. This heat has made me cranky. So, to keep it short and sweet so that no snarky-ness can make its way out of my brain and onto my computer, here is what is on the menu for this week:

  • Cheesy Tuna Casserole with Peas, Salad
  • Baked Fish Sticks, Potato Wedges, Carrots- Broccoli-Cauliflower with Yogurt-Ranch Dip
  • Butter Chicken, Rice, Garlic Herb Naan Bread
  • Easy Peasy Chicken Legs, Macaroni and Cheese, Veggie Medley
  • Smoked Sausage and Veggie Pineapple Kabobs, Rice Pilaf
  • Hot Hoagies, Spinach Salad, Fruit
What is on your table this week?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nirvana In A Bowl

So, as I told you Monday, my July 4th food plans went a little awry.  One thing that was safe from the Murphy's Law running rampant in our house that day was the fruity salad I prepared the night before.  So, it was delightfully perfect!  I am a sucker for fruity, cool whip-y type salads and this one lived up to it's name for me...Nirvana In A Bowl....or as the ever adorable Kiddo C called it as she was shoveling it into her sweet little mouth, "Myyyy Preccioouuusss" in a very creepy Gollum-esk voice.  The great thing about this recipe is you can totally change around the fruit/jello flavors as the mood strikes.  For this go-round, we did Mandarin Oranges but I have heard raspberry is perfectly delightful.  Try this great dish as a wonderful cool down option!
  • 1 package Cook And Serve Tapioca Pudding, 3 oz size
  • 1 package Cook And Serve Vanilla Pudding, 3 oz size
  • 1 package Orange Jello (or flavor of choice), 3 oz size
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 container Cool Whip Topping, 8 oz size
  • 2 cans Mandarin Oranges (or your fruit of choice)
Pour the three dry boxes of pudding and jello into a medium saucepan. Add the three cups of water and stir until mixture is dissolved. Bring to a boil and let boil a full minute.

Pour into a large bowl and let it set up in the fridge overnight. It needs to be very well set. When ready to serve, stir up the mixture a bit to loosen it up. Add 8 ounces of cool whip and mix together until pretty well blended. There will be small lumps from the tapioca. Don’t try to stir these out. Finally, add the fruit of choice and fold in carefully. Try not to lick the bowl!

Recipe Source:  Tasty Kitchen member MerryweatherMama
This recipe was linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck
This Chick Cooks

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ditzy Blonde Cake

No, I didn't make up the offense to those brilliant blonde readers out there :)  Feel free to make this as a chocolate cake and fill in the blank as a __________ Brunette Cake!
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!  What were some of the yummy things you ate?
Well, let me tell you about our yummies.  Murphy's Law was in full swing here!  Our menu was BBQ Country Ribs, PW Potato Bundles, Corn on the Cob, and Orange Nirvana in a Bowl.  First thing we did yesterday morning was take out the ribs and soak them in water in the sink....we had totally forgot about them the night before.  We buy most of our meat from Costco and break down the large packs, put them in family sized portions in a food saver bag, seal and freeze them.  So we got those in the water, then we had to take a trip to Super Target to get another bag of potatoes....13 year old boy using the new bag I just bought as some kind of grenade thing (don't ask) was the reason for that last minute outing.  Anyway, so we get home and enjoy our day.  Kiddo B and I assemble the potato packets while the boys light the grill.  As soon as the potato packets are in the oven, I cut open the bags of ribs to get them plated and WHOA!  The smell of those ribs was wayyyy wrong...I am talking fun-key!  I don't know what happened, but I wasn't about to take a gamble and endure PukeFest 2010.  So, hubs and I went to the store....again.  They were wiped out....looked like a swarm of locusts had hit....well, if locust were carnivores.  But, the grill was hot at home with the potato bundles in the oven, so we quickly picked up some burgers and brats.  When we got home, the potato bundles were done, so we put those in the microwave to stay warm while hubs put the meat on the grill.  He then came in to shuck the corn.  OH LORD!!!  I will say for the record that I normally don't buy the corn.  The hubby does.  So, when I bought corn, I checked 3 out of the 10 ears, figuring that they should all be the same right?!?!  Oh no!!!  The rest were infested with bugs and underdeveloped.  AGHHH!!!!  In the trash those went too.  So, I quickly threw together some BBQ beans.  While it was all still tasty, it wasn't the BBQ ribs and corn we had on the edge of our tongue all day.
Anyway, onto the cake!  This is a tasty, gooey little number that was decadent and fun at the same time.  Go get your ditz on and enjoy a slice!

  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 stick Melted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 bag Mini Marshmallows
  • 2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons White Corn Syrup
  • 5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray with flour.
Mix cake mix, 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 stick melted butter, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract on low until dry ingredients are incorporated. Then increase the speed to medium and mix for a minute or two more. The batter will get thick and lighter in color.
Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Take cake out of oven and cover with mini marshmallows. You might not need the entire bag, but make sure you cover the cake completely.Put cake back in oven for 3 minutes. Take out when the marshmallows are melted and just the faintest bit brown on top. If you overly toast them, they will be tough.
To make the butterscotch sauce: combine 2 cups packed brown sugar, 1 cup evaporated milk, 3 TBS white corn syrup, and 5 TBS butter in a microwave safe dish. Stir. Then microwave for 1 minute at full power. Stir. Microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Add in 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Pour butterscotch over top of cake allowing it to completely cover the top. There will be some sauce left over. Serve cake with the additional butterscotch.

Recipe Source:  Tasty Kitchen member redheadkate
This recipe is linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen Sunday Potluck

Friday, July 2, 2010

Menu Plan Friday 7/2 - 7/9

Happy Friday!  What are your plans for this holiday weekend?  We, sadly, have none..nada....zilch.  We were going to drive an hour to the military base and join in the festivities there, but the thought of driving an hour home after the fireworks end at 11:00, in the dark, with the crazies, just did not sound all that appealing.  So, we are plan-less.  Seems like the older I am, the more content I am to stay home and have regularly scheduled bedtimes, ha ha! 
Since it is summer, and you never know what the day may bring, I am going to give myself a break on the meal planning aspect.  I am still going to plan, but I am not going to hold myself to the day.  As for lunches...they have been impossible to keep planned, so I am going to leave those out, at least for now.
The dinners I have on the board for this week are:

Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken, Steamed Rice, Stir-Fry Veggies, Potstickers
Country BBQ Ribs, PW Potato Bundles, Vegetable Medley
Taco and Burrito Night with Homemade Flour Tortillas, Beans, and Spanish Rice
Upside Down Supreme Pizza, Salad
BBQ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Butter-Dipped Biscuits
Crockpot Chicken Parmesan, Pasta, Homemade Breadsticks, Salad

I hope you have a WONDERFUL, FUN-FILLED holiday weekend!  Be safe my friends!!!  xoxo