Monday, June 25, 2012

What's for dinner? Monday Edition...

Tonight, against my better judgement in this 80* weather, I made teriyaki country ribs with potatoes and steamed broccoli for dinner. I basted the ribs every 30 minutes with my favorite teriyaki sauce. They baked an hour at 350* and 30 minutes at 425*. You can cook them at 350* the whole time, but it will take much longer to get that fall off the bone tenderness...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is one of my favorite dips ever. I don't think I've been to a restaurant that serves it where I haven't tasted it. It's surprisingly easy to prepare at home and can even be low fat with a few modifications. I used an artichoke dip that was just like marinted artichoke hearts except already chopped. I will give you my regular and lowfat recipes as they cook the same.


2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
12oz bag chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
10-13oz jar or can marinted artichoke hearts, chopped if needed
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2cu shredded white cheese, swiss or parmesan are good divided into 1 1/2cu and 1/2cu
Red pepper flakes

1 8oz package low fat or Neufatschel cream cheese, softened
1 can navy beans, rinsed and mashed
12oz bag chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
10-13oz jar or can marinted artichoke hearts, chopped if needed
2cu low fat cheese, divided into 1 1/2cu and 1/2cu
Red pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 375*. 2. Combine all ingredients using 1 1/2cu cheese. Season to taste. 3. Sprinkle remaining 1/2cu cheese on top and place into oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and browned on top. 4. Let sit for 5 minutes. It can be served warm or cold with a choice of dippers.

Blue Moon Shandy

Typically a shandy is a mix of beer and lemonade. You can use any combination of citrus and beer, but I have found that a light wheat ale is best. I like the mix of this sweet yet tart Trader Joe's pomegrante limeade and Blue Moon. If you really like beer do a 3 to 1 beer to lemonade ratio. If you're easing into brews do the opposite. I usually have a half and half mix that's perfection on a warm night like we're having!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oatmeal Scotchies

This is a favorite recipe I got years ago from Nestle. It can be made with quick or old fashioned oats. Sometimes I toss in walnuts, but these quick baking cookies are delicious without. As with all baking recipes, I suggest you leave the eggs and butter out overnight. They won't spoil and they come to room temperature so they're perfect to bake with. If its hot where you live like here in North Carolina the butter will be soft enough to easily cream by hand!

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract or grated orange peel 3 cups quick or old fashioned oats 1 2/3 cups (11oz bag) butterscotch chips 1. Preheat oven to 375*. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. 2. Beat butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla or orange peel in large bowl. Slowly beat in flour. Using a rubber spatula fold in oats and butterscotch chips. 3. Drop rounded tablespoons onto ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes for a chewy cookie or 9-10 minutes for crisp. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completly. *I cook mine for 8 minutes. The cookies will be brown around the edges and look slightly under done in the center. When they cool they're perfection!*

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Frosty berry lemonade

Today my boys and I were going to go to the pool to cool off, but it was closed for repairs. Instead we washed my car and played in the water. When we came inside I wanted something refreshing to drink and immediately thought of the strawberry lemonade you get at restaurants with the berries floating in it. I put a twist on that by blending everything together using a Mic of blueberries and strawberries. It was a bit tart and sweet. Plus you get in some fruit servings from using whole berries. Delicious!

1/2 cu lemon juice
2cu water
2cu frozen berries
Sweetener to taste

Place all the ingredients into your blender until well combined. Serve immediately or freeze in ice pop molds for a refreshing warm weather treat!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crock Pot Curry

Today I decided to take a flavor trip to Asia with a crock pot curry. I used chicken thighs because they were the cheapest meat and the deep flavor of dark meat is great in a curry. This will be served over brown and jasmine rice cooking in my small crock pot. I also got some naan bread which is kind of like a pita without the pocket.

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 small red potatoes, cut into eigths
1/2 bag frozen California blend veggies
6oz sliced okra
1 jar curry sauce

1. Layer potatoes, okra, and frozen veggies in crock pot. Add half the jar of sauce.

2. Place chicken on top, pour over rest of sauce, and allow to cook for 6-8hrs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mark's Tacos

For as long as I can remember my dad has made his tacos like this and they're DELICIOUS! You fry the meat right onto the shell so there's no fear of the meat falling out while you dig in. I have made these tacos with pork, beef, chicken, and turkey so it's up to you what to use!

1lb seasoned ground meat
Corn tortillas

1. Place about 2tbsp of meat onto one half of a tortilla and use a fork to press it down to form a thin layer.

2. Heat 1/2cu of oil in a large skillet and add in your tortillas so they lay in the oil just past the meat part of the tortilla. Let cook for one minute and fold in half.

3. Allow to continue to cook, flipping frequently, until desired crispiness is achieved. Place upside down on a paper towel lined plate to drain, stuff with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

*Note: I set myself up a little prep station by the stove when I'm doing these as they don't take very long to cook. That way I can prep tacos as there are some in the oil cooking while keeping an eye on them.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

This meal combines  two of my favorite meats chicken and bacon. Frozen veggies, a cream sauce, and canned biscuits round this out for a delicious casserole sure to please the whole family! The biscuits on top and bottom are crunchy, but those that are touching the chicken stay doughy like dumplings.

3 chicken breast, diced
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2cu cheese sauce
1/2cu ranch
16oz bag frozen mixed veggies
2 cans refrigerated biscuits
1/2cu shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375*. Sauté chicken in a pan until cooked through, about 15min. Put chicken and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. 

2. Open one can of biscuits and press to cover bottom of baking pan. Spread chicken mixture over biscuits. Tear the other can of biscuits into pieces and cover the top of the casserole. 

 3. Sprinkle with cheese and place into oven. Bake for about 15 minutes until the top biscuits are browned and its bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Carraba's Chicken Bryan remix

For date night a week ago we went out to Carraba's to eat and my boyfriend had their chicken bryan. It was a chicken breast topped with basil, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and a lemon butter sauce. I got one bite of it and decided it definitely needed to be made again at home. I marinated my chicken overnight with Italian seasonings, a little oil from the sundried tomatoes, and lemon juice. This chicken starts in a skillet and finishes in the oven. Mine was served over whole wheat angel hair pasta with steamed veggies.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
Extra virgin olive oil
Basil cut into thin strips
Sundried tomatoes in oil
Goat cheese cut into thin disk
1/2 cu butter or margarine
1tbsp flour
3tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves minced

1. Preheat the oven to 425*. Put a small amount of EVOO into a skillet and cook the chicken on medium high for 10 minutes each side. You don't need to move the chicken around in the skillet. Just allow it to brown up nicely. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.

2. Put the butter into the skillet you cooked the chicken in and melt. Add the garlic cloves and sautee for a minute before sprinkling in the flour. Allow this to cook for a minute then whisk in the lemon juice. Pour over the top of the chicken breast. Place into oven and bake for 10 minutes.

2. Layer the goat cheese and sundried tomatoes on top. Place back into the oven until the cheese is bubbly. Remove and immediately top with basil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Country style ribs

I baked these ribs low and slow for over 4 hrs on 325*. They were dry rubbed with McCormick bourbon brown sugar and chipotle seasoning packets overnight. I placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet (I would have used foil, but I was out).  I flipped them every 30 minutes while basting with some hickory brown sugar Jack Daniels bbq sauce. Cooked until falling off the bone tender and that slight charring I love in a rib. I also roasted corn in the husk for about 30 minutes until it was done. The corn steams in the husk. Nothing special done to it. Just tossed it right in the oven on the rack.