Sunday, August 28, 2011

Honey Glazed Chicken

When I showed this recipe to Nate, he had to have it! So I added to our menu and made him help me cook it today. The chicken turned out so moist and tender, it was really good! The glaze was a bit sweet for me, but as long as I pulled the skin off I was fine. I may switch up the flavors next time, but I will definitely use this method for roasting chicken again. I adapted this recipe from one found at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, one of my favorite recipe blogs.

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, giblets discarded
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper and paprika. Pat the chickens dry with paper towels and rub the spice mixture under the skin and over the outside of each chicken. Tuck the wings behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Arrange the chickens, breast side down, on a V-rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast until the chickens are golden, about 35 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully with a wad of paper towels, flip the chickens so that they are breast side up. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Pour 1 cup water and the broth into the roasting pan. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast until the thigh meat registers 165 to 170 degrees, about 35-45 minutes.

Stir the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl until no lumps remain; set aside. In a small saucepan bring the honey and 4 tablespoons vinegar to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the glaze. Return to a simmer and cook for one minute.

Brush the chickens evenly with a layer of the glaze. Continue to roast until the glaze is golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes (this is important – if the chicken is cut too quickly, all the delicious juices will escape and the meat will be dry).

I didn't notice until after the pictures were taken that my chicken was upside down! Sorry!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homemade AuGratin Potatoes

I finally used my mandoline slicer that I got for my birthday (in February)! It made this recipe really easy. I was surprised that the recipe was so simple. I saw the idea over at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, but I adapted it for us.

3 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (love using my mandoline for this!)
3 tbsp. butter, plus more for buttering baking dish
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter an 8x8" baking dish and layer 1/2 potatoes into the bottom. Season with some salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in flour and salt; stir constantly with a whisk for a minute and then add milk. Cook until thickened. Stir in cheese and continue stirring until it is fully melted.
Pour half the sauce over the potatoes. Add other half of the potatoes on top, season with salt and pepper and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle paprika over the top.
Cover and bake for 90 minutes.

Again, not an amazing photo, but the potatoes taste really good.

Meatloaf Muffins

1 lb. ground beef
1/2-1 package dry onion soup mix (depends on how much seasoning you like)
1/4 cup crushed saltines
1 egg

Combine ground beef, soup mix, crackers, and egg. Don't over-mix or meat will be tough. Spray a cupcake tin really well with non-stick spray. Evenly spoon meat into cupcake tin. I got about 9 cupcakes, but next time I am going to make them bigger, so aim for 6. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Enjoy!

*You can use whatever meatloaf recipe you like and just make them into muffins.

Okay, this is not the prettiest picture, but it gives you an idea.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage Sauce

The first few years of our marriage I barely made any Italian food. Nate claimed he didn't like pasta very much so I didn't make it. Once in a blue moon we would have pasta because I love pasta. However since I've really gotten into becoming a better cook and trying new recipes these past 9 or so months, we've tried several pasta dishes. Nate now likes pasta and I put in on our menu every other week or so. I saw this recipe over at Better than Burgers. I used mild sausage and it was just right, I'm a spice wimp. It's a super easy recipe and nice variation on pasta.

1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, removed from casings (you can use hot if you want)*
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 (16 oz.) can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
hot cooked pasta

In a large skillet, heat sausage, garlic, and onion until meat is browned. Drain any excess fat. Pour in tomatoes and tomato sauce; mix in parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot pasta.

*The original recipe calls for a full pound of sausage. I found that to be too much meat for my preference. I like more sauce to meat ratio, so from now on I'll just use a half pound.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easy Baked Chicken and Red Potatoes

Since Nate was so sad that he didn't get any potatoes last night, I thought I would make him some tonight. The fact that I had a couple leftover potatoes didn't hurt either! I wanted something simple and comforting, and this is what I came up with. We both enjoyed it and Nate is looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

After dinner we decided that this recipe is so easy even Nate could make it. We are slowly building up his repertoire of meals.

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1.5 lbs. red potatoes (you could use russets also)
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
4-5 Tbsp. olive oil

Wash and pat dry chicken. Rinse potatoes. Cut potatoes into evenly sized bite sized pieces. Add both chicken and potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil and both dressing envelopes over the chicken and potatoes, mixing really well. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Add chicken breasts to baking dish and then potatoes. Bake at 400 for approximately 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roasted Italian Potatoes

I took these to a church function tonight (I doubled the recipe) and I totally forgot to take a picture! Sorry. They were pretty tasty though, the whole dish was gone pretty quickly. This is a super easy recipe that Nate wants me to make again really soon. I saw this idea over at Miranda's Recipes.

1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes
1 envelope Italian seasoning mix
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)

Wash the potatoes. Chop potatoes into evenly sized pieces. In a mixing bowl drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and add the Italian seasoning. Mix well. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with pam and add the potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until fork tender. Stir potatoes halfway through cooking time so they don't stick. Sprinkle cheese over top of the potatoes during the last few minutes of cooking. Serve hot.

Monday, August 15, 2011


For some reason salsa has always seemed so intimidating to make. If I had known it was this easy, I would have started making my own long ago! This recipe was really good. I blended it into a really fine consistency, we're not huge fans of chunky salsa. I kept it on the mild side, but feel free to heat it up if that's what you like. The only thing I would change is to halve the cilantro, other than that, I thought this recipe was amazing. I saw this recipe over at My Kind of Cooking.

2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeds and veins removed (I added 2, and it was nice and mild)
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (the original recipe calls for 2 Tbsp. but I think it would be better with just one, unless you really love cilantro)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

In blender container, combine jalapeno peppers, onion, cilantro, and 1/2 of tomatoes. Cover. Blend well. Add remaining ingredients. Cover. Pulse until blended.

P.S. Have you tried the new Tostitos chips that have a hint of pepper jack? If not, you really should, so good!

Nate is such a good taste tester!

Taco Casserole

The best way to describe this recipe is a mix between nachos and taco salad. Both Nate and I really enjoyed it and I will definitely make it again. I saw the idea over at Better Than Burgers. I adapted it for our tastes.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 small can enchilada sauce (I used a little bit of Taco Bell sauce and plain tomato sauce)
2 cups broken tortilla chips (you could use Doritos too)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I left these out)
shredded cheddar cheese

shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced olives, sour cream, avocado, salsa, etc.

Brown the ground beef. Once cooked through add the taco seasoning and mix well. Add just enough enchilada sauce to the meat to get the consistency of a thick sloppy joe mix, you don't want it soupy. Spray the bottom of an 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray. Place chips into the bottom of the baking dish, add black beans, and then top with the meat. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cinnamon Twists

As you've probably learned by now, my husband Nate LOVES cinnamon rolls and all the variations thereof. I knew these cinnamon twists would be a big hit, and they were! These were so easy, and so quick too. This is one dessert I don't mind making. I hope you like these as much as we did. I saw the idea over at Recipe Shoebox.

1-1/2 cups hot water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. yeast

3 Tbsp. melted butter
Cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbs. cinnamon)

1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, add hot water, egg, 1 cup flour, sugar,salt, butter, then yeast. Mix for 2-3 minutes, then add remaining flour. Knead for about 8-10 minutes. *I did this all in my bosch mixer with the dough hook.

Divide dough into 2 roughly equal portions. Pat dough (since it's a soft dough, I found I didn't need a rolling pin) to about 1/4-inch thickness in a rectangular shape. With a pizza cutter, cut dough down the middle then into strips (about 1-1/2-inches wide). Brush with butter and then sprinkle generously with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Take each strip, fold it in half and then twist up. Set twists on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and sprayed with pam. Allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. *I just set them on top of my preheated oven. Bake at 400° for about 12 minutes or until very lightly golden brown.

While twists are baking, in a large bowl, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Heat in the microwave until nice and runny and a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle over hot cinnamon twists.

This recipe made 18 twists.

This is what it looks like when I allow Nate to add the amount of frosting he wants.

Five Peppercorn and Dijon Pork Tenderloin

This recipe is really simple, but it looks and tastes gourmet. It's perfect for a Sunday dinner when you don't want to spend all day in the kitchen. We really enjoyed it. I saw the idea over at Taste and Tell, but adapted it to our tastes. Enjoy!

1.5-2 lb. pork tenderloin
3-4 Tbsp. dijon mustard
coarsely ground five peppercorn blend
Kosher salt
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub pork tenderloin with a Tbsp. or so of olive oil and then coat with ground peppercorns. Sprinkle a little bit of Kosher salt over the top. Bake in a roasting pan or glass baking dish for 35-45 minutes, depending on your preference of doneness.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Simple Chicken Marinade

Sorry, I wish I had a better name for this recipe, but I can't think of anything fun right now. This was the second new recipe of the evening and it was really good as well. I saw this idea over at Our Family Treat. I just adjusted the amounts a bit.

2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 green onions, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned pepper
1 tsp. celery salt

Combine and whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken. Put chicken in a gallon size ziploc bag and pour the marinade in. Seal up the bag and put it in a large dish. Refrigerate and let marinate for 4 hours before cooking. Grill, bake, saute, whatever you'd like, although I do think grilling is the best!

photo updated 06/04/13

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Both recipes I made tonight are definite keepers! I love when that happens! I've had this recipe bookmarked for quite a while now, it's so good I wish I would have made it sooner! I saw the recipe over at Mommy's Kitchen. This is going in my favorite file, I will be making this again and again!

2 Tbsp. olive oil or 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups long grain rice, uncooked
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
kosher salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and green bell pepper and saute until tender and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add rice and saute 2 minutes more. Raise heat to high and add chicken broth, mushrooms, thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with fork and serve.

Photo updated 04/16/14.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

This recipe is a 10! I seriously LOVED it! Now I hate sour cream, but this was amazing. Perfect comfort food, I can't wait to make it again. I really might add it to next week's menu, it is that good! This was my first time making and eating stroganoff and this recipe was awesome. I got the recipe from Jenna's Journey.

1.5 - 2 lbs. top round steak (I only used a pound)
Salt & Pepper
5 Tbsp. butter, divided
4 Tbsp. flour
1 carton beef broth (I used 2 cans)
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 lb. extra wide egg noodles, cooked

Heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Slice steak into small thin strips. Season the steak with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet and brown. Once cooked, remove pan from heat and set aside. In another skillet melt 4 Tbsp. butter, slowly stir in 4 Tbsp. flour whisking constantly to make a roux. Add your beef broth, stirring well. Let the sauce thicken for a few minutes. Once thickened whisk in mustard and sour cream. Let thicken for another 3-5 minutes until desired consistency. Taste sauce, add any salt and pepper you need. Add steak and onions to the sauce. Heat through and serve over cooked egg noodles.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kalua Pulled Pork

I try to make pork every so often. Nate could have bacon nearly every day, but I want something a little leaner. I thought this recipe looked nice and easy, and it was. It was a nice variation to a pork roast. I saw this idea over at Favorite Family Recipes. They served it as a pulled pork sandwich, I served mine over some basmati rice, but I think sandwiches would be awesome as well.

3-4 pound pork roast
1-2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/3 cup liquid smoke
1 cup water
4 washed ti leaves (if ti leaves aren't available or you don't know what they are, no worries-- it is still great without them. They just add a cool local Hawaiian element to the dish)

Line bottom of crock pot with 2 ti leaves (if you have them). Rub pork generously with salt, pour on liquid smoke then place on ti leaves (or in the crock pot). Add water. Fit remaining ti leaves (again, if you have them) around outer edge of crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until it will easily shred into juices (do not drain).

*Okay, I just made a two pound roast for Nate and I so I cut down the liquid smoke to 1/4 cup and the water to 3/4 cup. I didn't use the ti leaves. Also, once I shredded the pork, I didn't add all the juice, just about 2 cups, and I thought it turned out great!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Milky Way Ice Cream Cake

Nate's cute aunt invited us over for dinner last Saturday night, and I brought this dessert. Nate loves ice cream and milky ways are his favorite candy bar, so this recipe was a big hit with him. I saw the idea over at I Heart Naptime. This recipe comes together really quickly and is super easy.

10 ice cream sandwiches
1 tub cool whip, thawed
1 bag of snack sized milky way candy bars (you could totally do snickers or whatever candy bar you like)
1/2 jar of caramel topping
1/2 jar of chocolate topping

Arrange the ice cream sandwiches on the bottom of a 9x13" glass baking dish. You may have to cut some of the sandwiches to get them to fit. Heat up both the caramel and chocolate toppings so they are easy to drizzle. Drizzle 1/2 of caramel (a 1/4 of the jar) and 1/2 of the chocolate over the top of the ice cream sandwiches. Unwrap and chop up the milky way bars and sprinkle half of them over the ice cream sandwiches. Evenly cover the cake with the cool whip. Drizzle the remaining caramel and chocolate over the cool whip and top with the rest of the milky ways. Cover and freeze for a couple hours before serving. Enjoy!