Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken

I love pineapple.  I mean, I love, love, LOVE pineapple!  However, I am allergic to it.  You may remember the story of my adventures in Hawaii and how I found a type of pineapple I am not allergic to.  If not, you can read about it HERE.
Anyway, since finding a pineapple I can enjoy without my tongue swelling up, I have been enjoying it all over the place....breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack, brushing my teeth....just making sure you are paying attention.  So, when I saw this recipe, it went into my "try immediately" pile.
We all loved this recipe....kiddos especially.  Loved it so much there weren't any left-overs to fight over.  Of course, what is not to love about chicken swimming in a sweet pineapple sauce?! 

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken
recipe slightly adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up!
  • 4-5 chicken breasts cut into large strips
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Pepper
  • 4 TBSP Coconut Oil (you could use olive oil as well)
For the sauce:
  • 1 can (28 ounce can) Pineapple chunks in 100 % juice.  I use the Dole Tropical Gold
  • 1 1/4 cup Pineapple juice (use the pineapple juice from the can, and add water to hit the 1 1/4 cup point)
  • 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground Ginger
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon cube
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Cornstarch
  • 1 medium Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional, not pictured)
  • 1/2 medium Sweet Yellow Onion, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional, not pictured)
  • Green Onion as a tasty garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. While skillet and oil are heating, mix together flour, salt, and lemon pepper. Once oil is hot, dredge chicken in flour mixture and quick fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Place chicken into the prepared baking dish.
Meanwhile, begin the sauce by bringing pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, bouillon cube, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once all the chicken is in the baking dish, pour 2/3 of the sauce over top and bake for 30 minutes, flipping chicken after 15 minutes of cooking time.
While chicken is baking, quick stir-fry red pepper and onion together in a small bit of oil in a small skillet over high heat.
Once chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, take out of oven, flip chicken again and distribute pineapple chunks, onion, and red pepper over top of the chicken and pour remaining sauce over that.  Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve over rice with a tasty garnish of green onion. 

Food Facts:
This recipe was a tad subjective to get an accurate nutritional count on it.  Sorry :(  I don't want to give wrong information.    I estimated the calorie count to be 475 for 6 ounces of chicken, 1/4 cup sauce with some pineapple chunks, 1/2 cup brown rice, and various oil and breading.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen
This Chick Cooks
Eat at Home

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menu Plan 3/28-4/3

Here is what we are having this week in no particular order...cause that's how I roll....order-less.
Plus, I have to think of something super fun and sneaky for April Fool's.  I am not good at evil plotting...especially it involves me having to clean up the fall out.
Anyway, back to the menu plan!

~Spicy Fish Tacos with Southwest Slaw and Avocado Cream (Rollover from last week since we didn't get to it)

~Strawberry Chicken Salad (yes again...it was that good) Whole Wheat French Bread

~Marinated Grilled Flank Steak with Crash Hot Potatoes and Roasted Veggies

~Chicken Gyros with Homemade Whole Wheat Soft Wrap Bread

~Mango Chicken Sausage with Caribbean Black Beans and Rice

~Drunken Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Are you having anything special for April Fool's Day?  What is on your plan for the week?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Strawberry Chicken Salad

The lovely Holly from Life as a Lofthouse posted this salad a few days ago and I couldn't WAIT to try it.  So, I did. 
Then, I couldn't WAIT to share it with you. 
So, I am. 
This super simple salad was a total home run with the whole family.
As in, once our plates were clean, we were looking around for more.
As in, I contemplated using the rest of the strawberries I had to make this salad again instead of using them for strawberry shortcake like I promised the kiddos. 
ALSO, since you guys overwhelmingly liked the idea of nutrtional information on my recipes, make sure to check out the "Food Facts" at the end of the post.

Strawberry Chicken Salad
Recipe slightly adapted from:  Life as a Lofthouse 
  • 1 - 2 TBSP Coconut Oil, (you could use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4"- 1/2") and even
  • salt and lemon pepper to taste
  • 1 10-ounce bag chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 12 large strawberries, sliced
  • 4 TBSP sliced, toasted almonds.  I used Almond Accent's brand.
  • 1 large green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Poppy Seed Salad Dressing.  I used the Brianna's brand.
  • 1/4 cup Light Raspberry Vinaigrette.  I used the Kraft brand.
Brush a grill pan over medium-high heat with oil.  Season flattened chicken breast with salt and lemon pepper on both sides.  Add to pan and grill until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  When cooked thoroughly, remove to plate.  Once cooled to touch, chop into bite sized pieces.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the Poppy Seed Dressing and the Raspberry Vinaigrette.
Divide the lettuce between 4 plates.  Divide and layer chicken, strawberries, green onions, and almonds between the 4 plates.  Top with 2 TBSP salad dressing.  ENJOY!

Per serving with specific brands and measurements:
  • Calories:  357
  • Total Fat:  14g
  • Total Carbs:  16g
  • Total Fiber:  3.8g
  • Protein:  36.7g
This recipe has been linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Crazy Domestic
Mommy's Kitchen
Nikki's Knifty Knacks
Eat at Home Cooks
Eat at Home

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan 3/21 - 3/27

Another Monday, another menu plan.  I have to say, this week, I was pretty uninspired to pick out meals....and it was seemingly contagious since the family couldn't think of much either.  However, once I started going through my "must try" recipes, I found some I had forgotten about and am quite excited about the menu.
What about you...what do you do to get inspired for menu planning?  What is on your menu for this week?

~Strawberry Chicken Salad with Raspberry Poppyseed Dressing

~Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos with Southwest Slaw and Avocado Cream Sauce on Whole Wheat Tortillas

~Mexican Lasagna

~Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken over Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrots

~Sausage and Roasted Peppers Spaghetti, Salad, Whole Wheat Cheesy Garlic Bread

~Grilled Burgers, Hubby's famous Bourbon BBQ Beans, Potato Wedges

~Red Beans & Rice, Cornbread

For some extras this week, I am going to make:
~Cinnapple Baked Oatmeal
~Raspberry Bran Flax Muffins
~Healthy Peanut Butter Balls (still trying to get as much local honey as I can in us!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes - Recipe Rewind

In case you were not properly introduced to these last year, you simply MUST try them!  They are practically perfect in every way :)

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

for recipe, click HERE

This post has been linked up at:
Crazy Domestic
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bangers and Mash - Recipe Rewind

For the last several years, on St. Patrick's Day, we would have Corned Beef and Cabbage. Every evening as I would scrape all the uneaten food off of the kiddos plates, I wondered why I bothered....they didn't like corned beef and they certainly did not like cabbage. So this year, I thought I would try a different meal for the Irish celebration...enter Bangers and Mash. Bangers and Mash is a fun way to say sausage and mashed potatoes, both of which would be a hit with the kiddos. To take it up another notch, I made the Bangers in an Onion Guinness Sauce and added some Kale to the mashed potatoes to give it that festive flair. So, if you are looking for a tasty and quick meal for St. Patrick's Day, go get some Bangers and Mash away!

Bangers and Mash - Siggy Spice Style
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 6 Irish Bangers. I found mine at Trader Joe's!
  • 1 cup diced onion. About 1/2 large onion.
  • 1/4 cup Guinness beer
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 servings of your favorite mashed potatoes. Your choice, make them from scratch or instant.
  • 1/2 cup Kale, rinsed and chopped in manageable bites
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and butter and heat until butter is melted. Brown your Irish Bangers until crispy on both sides. Add chopped onion and allow to cook with sausage until soft and slightly browned. Add Guinness beer to de-glaze pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Sprinkle flour over the onions in pan and stir to coat, cook just until lightly browned. Add beef broth, stir to combine. Add Dijon mustard, whisk to combine and lower heat to medium-low. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. If you need to thicken your sauce a little more, simply add a TBSP of cornstarch to 1/4 cup cold water and whisk into sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
Please know that I am totally not going to tell you how to make your mashed potatoes, nor will I judge you either way. YOU know how you and your family likes them. If you are making from scratch, add the chopped Kale to the water the last 5 minutes you are boiling your potatoes, then continue making as your normally would. If you are making instant, simply add the Kale to the water as you are bringing it to boil.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Crazy Domestic

Monday, March 14, 2011

HEALTHY Peanut Butter Balls

Allergy season is quickly approaching in this neck of the woods.  Last year was our first spring here in the ol' NC, and I had heard that the allergies could be pretty hard to take.  So, we went to the farmers market and got some local honey and had the kiddos eating it right away.  Buying local honey is a great way to introduce your body to the local pollen so your body can start to build immunity against it before it goes full blown yellow gunk all over the place.  The kiddos sailed through allergy season without so much as a sniffle.  Hubs and I on the other hand, were sick as dogs!  Since we had never had allergies before, we didn't think we needed to partake on the local honey.  Boy were we wrong!  So this year, we are taking no chances and went to the farmers market and bought a HUGE container of honey.  We have been sneaking it in everywhere! 
This recipe is a super yummy, HEALTHY way to get a big-ol'-dose-o-honey.  My kiddos (and hubs and I too) absolutely LOVED them!  Even if you don't have to worry about allergies, these are such a great alternative to cookies or pre-packaged snack bars. 

HEALTHY Peanut Butter Balls
Recipe slightly adapted from Mommy's Kitchen
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 1-½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
  • 2-½ cups Powdered Dry Milk
  • 3 cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal, Uncooked
  • 2 TBSP toasted Wheat Germ
  • 2 TBSP Ground Flax Seed
  • ½ cups Mini Chocolate Chips, Raisins, or both (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together with hand mixer. Form into golf ball sized balls with your hands and freeze on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper until firm. Remove from the freezer and store in a large Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Crazy Domestic
Alli n Son

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Menu Plan 3/12-3/18

Wait...what?!  A Menu Plan from me?  Yup, it is.  I am feeling slightly ambitious today and thought I would post this before heading out to do the Costco/Treader Joe's/Super Target run.
What is on your menu for the week?

Saturday - Honey Lime Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Chili's Black Beans (a copy cat recipe)

Sunday - Steak, Baked Potato, Caesar Salad

Monday - San Fransisco Pork Chops, Brown Rice Pilaf with Green Beans

Tuesday - Anniversary...eating out

Wednesday - Bowtie Teriyaki Chicken Spinach Salad

Thursday - Get your Irish on!  Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes and Carrots, CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CUPCAKES

Friday - Red Beans and Rice, cornbread

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wrap Rice Bowl

I ADORE the lettuce wraps you get at P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei.  Seriously adore.  I love the textures and the warm filling on the cold lettuce.  There are about a billion "copy cat" recipes on-line, but so many of them take about a 37 ingredients and are just more time consuming than going to Pei Wei for some curbside.  But this little masterpiece-o-mine is simple, simple, simple.  Seriously, the most time consuming part is chopping up the ingredients into teeny tiny pieces.  I also served it with both lettuce AND rice, though it would be good with just one or the other, but again, I love the textural and hot/cold party in my mouth.   So, time for your mouth and belly to do the happy dance!

Chicken Lettuce Wrap Rice Bowls
Recipe inspired by Dinners For a Year and Beyond
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large red pepper, diced small
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, white or baby Portobello, diced into pea sized pieces
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 boneless (2 pounds), skinless chicken breasts, diced small into pea sized pieces
  • 1 can (8 ounce) water chestnuts, drained, diced small into  pea sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce, this is mild-medium heat.  Add more if you dare!

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add red pepper, mushrooms, and green onions, saute for
until tender, about 4-5 minutes.   Add garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken to pan and cook until cooked through. This should only take 5-10 minutes.  Stir chicken and red pepper mixture occasionally while it cooks. Add water chestnuts. In a separate bowl, combine the Teriyaki sauce, Hoisin sauce, and Sriracha sauce. Pour sauce in skillet and stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. Continue cooking until heated through.
To serve, make a bed of lettuce on plate, top with steamed white rice and chicken wrap mixture. You can sprinkle with additional green onions.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Crazy Domestic
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen
Eat at Home

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Scampi over Dirty Rice

In case you missed my post on Facebook last night, I was trying to pick a name for this insanely delish recipe I made.  It was between Cajun Shrimp Scampi over Dirty Rice AND Shrimp Brochette Dirty Rice Bowl.  And (obviously) the winning name was Cajun Shrimp Scampi over Dirty Rice!
My hubby took me to Pappadauex for our first date.  For fun, we decided we would order for each other....just to see what would happen.  The man who I loved before first-sight ordered Shrimp Gumbo for me, and I ordered him Shrimp Brochette.  This was after he made me try Alligator.  If you don't know, Shrimp Brochette is simply a large shrimp that has been butterflied and stuffed with some Monterey Jack Cheese and a slice of Jalapeno, wrapped in bacon and grilled with some Creole Seasoning.   I decided I would try to re-create his meal for him for Mardi Gras, and as a twist, I deconstructed it.  The results were FABULOUS! 

Cajun Shrimp Scampi over Dirty Rice
special thanks to This Mommy Cooks for some Dirty Rice inspiration

For Dirty Rice:
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 1/4  pounds ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 tsp very finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet or other browning sauce
  • 1 TBSP Creole Seasoning, I used Tony Chachere’s... more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
For Cajun Shrimp Scampi:
  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 slices bacon, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced into half-moon pieces
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1-2 tsp Creole Seasoning, Again, I used Tony Chachere's...more to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

In large skillet over medium heat with a TBSP of canola oil, brown meat and veggies, breaking up ground turkey to small pieces.  Once cooked thoroughly, add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.   Add Creole seasoning and browning sauce, stir. Add in cooked rice and parsley and stir to warm through, keep warm while you prepare the shrimp.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook until bacon starts to render fat.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add in Jalapenos, Creole Seasoning, and optional cayenne pepper.  Add in shrimp and cook just until shrimp turns opaque and bacon is cooked through.
To serve, place Dirty Rice on a plate and sprinkle with 1-2 TBSP of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese.  Add Shrimp mixture on top.  Allow the heat of the dish to melt the cheese.  ENJOY!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Crazy Domestic
Nikkis Nifty Knacks

Friday, March 4, 2011

BEST Sugar Cookies

I have been on a quest to find the best sugar cookies.  I am quite picky when it comes to sugar cookies.  I don't like them crispy, I don't like them chewy.  Tender would be the word I would use to describe the perfect sugar cookie, but you want it sturdy for decorating.  Well, slap my ass and call me happy!  These are the best ones I have found so far.  Tender - check.  Sturdy - check.  Scrumptious - double check!   This recipe is also extremely versatile.  You can use the dough for your desired cut-out cookies.  You could roll them into a log shape and coat in colored sugar or sprinkles and use them as a slice and bake.  Anyway you cut 'em (no pun intended) they are FABULOUS!

Sugar Cookies
Recipe Source:  Annie's Eats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool.

Below is a simple cream cheese frosting perfect for topping!
  • 1 block of cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 TBSP heavy cream (until desired consistency)
Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until well combines.  Add vanilla and heavy cream 1 TBSP at a time until desired consistency is reached.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Crazy Domestic
Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just Me - 1st edition

Just me, no recipe in this post. Just a chat between friends....

One of the questions I get asked from people is why I started this blog. The quick and easy answer is because I love to share good food. It is my love language of sorts. I love when people take a bite of something I prepared for them or shared with them and they can feel the love in each bite.

The deeper, underlying answer to that question is a bit of a story that I thought would be a great way to start out this series of "Just Me".

I started this blog a little over a year ago after going through some of the most stressful and painful time of my life. The "cliffs-note" version of that time being the loss of my father after a very brief fight with lung cancer, the loss of my husband's job only 2 weeks after my dad's death and 1 week before we were supposed to move cross-country in a job transfer.

I have heard people express the thought that when death comes because of an illness, it is easier because there can be closure. There can be time to say goodbyes. I have to state that I do not think this is true whatsoever. It is not easy to watch someone you love get weaker and struggle for life. Even though there may be time to say goodbye, it often doesn't happen...because, let's face it, how do you say goodbye? There are still things left unsaid, there are still things you wish you had done differently.

As most of you may or may not know, I am a stay at home mom to 3 kiddos. So, when the company my husband worked for shut down, it was truly SUCH a stressful time. Out of the blue, he simply received an e-mail with 3 hours notice and poof...4000+ people were out of a job. Since we were 1 week away from moving at the time his company shut down, our entire household (with the exception of a couple suitcases of clothes and some toys for the kiddos to play with) was in a moving POD, being stored in a warehouse. Fast forward 8 weeks later with a remote position for the hubs, we decided since everything was ready to go, we would still make a cross-country move, just to a different location.

Once we got to North Carolina, the enormity of the loss of my father and the aftermath that ensued started to settle in. I was in an area where we didn't know anyone, and I was in no way, shape or form in a place where I was ready to meet people. I was living under a rock. I was a zombie. After several months of unconditional love from my husband and kiddos, I started to peek out from under my rock and started this blog as a way to connect and share something in me. The safest thing for me at the time was sharing recipes. It was incredibly therapeutic for me as well as a ton of fun! I wish I could adequately express what it has done for my soul...I have met people whom I cherish dearly as friends, I have received some of the kindest, most beautiful compliments that truly made me feel like I could fly. I have received SO much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I want this blog to evolve and grow just like I am...as a person, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. There may be some changes that are well received, and others that aren't...and that is ok with me. I am of the philosophy "take what you want and leave the rest".

Don't worry, we will still have food and fun!

If you should have any questions for me or just want to chat, feel free to drop me a line anytime. :)

Again, thank you for making this such a beautiful journey for me! XOXO

This post has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Crazy Domestic
Mommy's Kitchen