Night Nineteen…Monterey Chicken

I made this for us and my parents tonight.  It was really easy, and really good.  The only things I did differently was to bake the chicken instead grilling it, and I didn’t pound the chicken, either.  It still worked well.  Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I didn’t realize how fuzzy it looked til we had eaten it all. :/

http://kimmccrary.blogspot.com/2010/05/perfect-day.html

MONTEREY CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/4 c. real bacon bits
1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added)
sliced green onions
pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper. Grill chicken until no longer pink and place on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon bar-b-que sauce, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/4 c. tomatoes, green onions and one tablespoon of bacon bits. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

Is it a keeper?- Like I said, this was really good! 🙂  Mom and Dad both liked it, and we did too!  It was really easy. We had new potatoes, corn, and rolls for sides.

Messiness factor- I give this one a 2 out of 5.  I used the pre-cut green onions from Walmart’s produce section, and everything else was out of bags or cans.  It was a one pan entree.

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Night Eighteen…Stuffed Pasta Shells

I hope everyone had a great holiday! Ours was wonderful; it was filled with family, food, laughter, and even a little bit of shopping. 😉  After that loonnnggg break from blogging, I’m glad to be back, although I must admit it took awhile for me to get the motivation up to get back on here.  Here’s what we had for dinner last night.

 

http://jimmydean.com/recipes/sausage-stuffed-pasta-shells.aspx

 

   

 

Is it a keeper?-Oh my goodness, Yes!!  If you like cheese, and if you like sausage, try this!  It was oh, so yummy.  Jake declared it a keeper with his first bite.  This is a dish I could even serve to company, if needed.  The only problem I have with it is….

Messiness Factor- This is a 4 1/2 out of 5 on messiness.  Save this for a day when you have a little time.  You have to chop peppers and onions, fry sausage, and cook the shells before you can assemble the dinner.  I think I messed up a cutting board, a mixing bowl, a frying pan, a baking pan, and a measuring cup.  It’s all SO worth it when you get it done, though! 🙂

Just to Let You Know :)

With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, I just wanted to let everyone know that I will probably not be posting much this week.  If you’re like our family, you won’t be cooking much at home, anyway. 🙂  This whole week is full of family get-togethers in preparation for the big day on Thursday. I may post once or twice this week, but it will be very limited.  I hope you have a very happy, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving.

I know firsthand how easy it is to just pass this holiday over as a kick-off for the Christmas season.  But remember to enjoy this holiday and its simplicity. Please cherish all the things that are so precious to you on the day of Thankfulness! 🙂

Night Seventeen…Crockpot Jambalaya

 

I told my mama yesterday that I was craving something with a cajun kick…so this is what we had for dinner tonight.

 

http://catsandcasseroles.blogspot.com/2011/10/slow-cooker-jambalaya.html

I actually did double the chicken and half the sausage, since I’m not a huge fan of the sausage. I also used paprika in place of the cayenne pepper, since I didn’t have any of the pepper.  I used an extra bell pepper, too. It turned out wonderfully, with just enough kick to not have to add hot sauce, but not TOO much at all!  It could very easily be made a light meal, by changing the sausage to turkey sausage.  There are plenty of veggies in it to get your fiber in! 🙂

Is it a keeper?-For sure!  I loved it, and Jake thought it was spicy enough for him.  I’ll make it again. 🙂

Messiness Factor: 4 out of 5-I’m giving this one a four because of all the prep work involved.  Unfortunately, even though this meal is great, it’s not something you can do in 5 minutes before you head to work.  You have to have the work done ahead of time.  Once you get past the cutting board, though, it’s a two pot meal (including the rice pot). 🙂

Night Sixteen…Oven Un-Fried Chicken

I pulled this one off of a website when I got home last night. 🙂

http://maddieruud.hubpages.com/hub/Oven-Fried_Chicken

 

Quick Un-fried Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces skinless chicken
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed corn flake cereal
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray cookie sheet with zero-calorie non-stick cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients (salt, pepper, flour, corn flakes) in shallow dish. Beat egg white lightly in pie plate. Dip chicken pieces into egg, then into flour mixture to coat. Place on cookie sheet, spray tops with cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes or until chicken turns golden brown.

 

 

Is it a keeper? – It was pretty good, although I think it needs an extra SOMETHING.  I don’t know if garlic or cajun seasoning would make it more flavorful, but it’s something I’ll try if I do this one again. 🙂

 

And now…introducing a new feature in the blog…The Messiness Factor!

At the suggestion of my husband, I’m adding this to each post (he’s pretty smart, huh?).  Did you know the two reasons people don’t cook more at home are: A) They don’t want to cook (Duh!) and B) They don’t want to clean the mess up afterward.  I’ve got to be honest, there have been times when the thought of messing up a freshly cleaned kitchen have driven me to the nearest Chinese Take-out.

This new feature is to give you a rough idea of what to expect, mess-wise.  🙂  So….here it goes…

 

Messiness Factor: 3 out of 5.  I messed up three different bowls, a baking sheet (although I cut that work in half by spreading aluminum foil on the bottom of it), and 2 different utensils.  I definitely wish I would have had an apron for this. The flour can get messy (there again, though, Momma always said I am the messiest cook she knows :/ ).  The great thing about this, though, is that if you clean as you go, you can have the majority of the mess cleaned back up by the time you pull the chicken out of the oven. 🙂

 

Happy Eating!

 

Night Fifteen…Italian Chicken Soup

Another very easy soup recipe experiment from my kitchen. 🙂  I love to just throw stuff into a pot and see what happens.

Ingredients:

3 16 oz cans of chicken broth

1 lb of chicken tenders

1 can of diced tomatoes with juice

1 can of butter beans

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1 tbsp garlic salt

2 tsp Italian seasoning

8 oz. Mini Shells Pasta

2 tsp dried parsley

Cook chicken tenders, celery, and onion in boiling chicken broth until tender (no pun intended!).  This should take 15-20 minutes.  Remove tenders from pot and cut into bite sized pieces.  Return to broth.   Add  spices and all other ingredients (except pasta).  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Add pasta during last 15 minutes of cooking.  Tip: the longer it cooks the less broth is left over.  The pasta uses it all up. 🙂  If you like the broth in your soup, don’t allow it to simmer for a prolonged period of time.

I served this with grilled cheese.

Is it a keeper?-I loved it, but I love soups, and especially chicken soup!  The Italian seasoning adds a little something to it, to make it different.  The pasta made it very filling, too.  Once again, give it a shot, and tell me what you think! 🙂

Happy Eating!

Night Fourteen…Sloppy Joes My Way

I may be in the  minority here, but I don’t like traditional sloppy joes.  I never have, and neither have my two brothers.  We may be weird, but we NEVER liked them as kids.  Until just recently, I hadn’t even attempted to make them for Jake, even though he loves them.  Then I thought up a way to make them how I’d like them…use Barbeque sauce instead of ketchup.  You see, it’s always been the ketchup taste that’s bothered me.   So here’s my recipe for Sloppy Joes, my way.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef

1 bottle BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)

4 tbsp worcestershire sauce

 

This may seem like a lot for just two people, but the hubby will eat on the leftovers for DAYS. 🙂  He loves them.

 

Instructions:

Brown beef in large pan.  Add full bottle of BBQ sauce, as well as worcestershire sauce. Mix until beef is well coated. Serve on toasted bread or hamburger buns.

If the worcestershire is too strong for you, add a tablespoon of brown sugar.

I served it with potato chips and corn.

 

This is the easiest meal I ever make, and we both love it.  Since I had a TERRIBLE headache last night, it was so wonderful to have dinner done within 15 minutes.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

Day Thirteen…Eggplant Parmigiana

Today’s lunch took a little while, but it was totally worth the effort. 🙂  This is a recipe my aunt made for us the last time we got to visit her, and she allowed me to have a copy of it.

Ingredients:

3 Cups Italian Breadcrumbs

1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp of milk

Vegetable Oil (enough to cover the bottom of a frying pan)

Salt and Pepper

2 1/2 Jars of Pasta Sauce

8 oz Spaghetti

1 Medium Sized Eggplant

32 oz Italian Blend Cheese, shredded

 

1.  Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch sized pieces.  Salt each side of slices, lay on baking sheet, cover and let sit for an hour.  This takes some of the natural bitterness out of the eggplant.  It’s an optional step, but I think it’s worth it.

2.  Rinse eggplant slices thoroughly; dry, set aside.

3.  Mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour with a few dashes of salt and pepper; set aside. Mix 3 cups Italian breadcrumbs with a few dashes of salt and pepper; set aside

4.  Beat eggs and milk together

5.  Dredge slices of eggplant through flour mixture, then egg mixture, then breadcrumb mixture.

6.  Heat oil in frying pan.  It should be hot enough that water “dances” when flicked upon it (PS: be careful when doing this.  You just need a drop of water to test it!)

7. Place battered eggplant slices in hot oil; fry for about two minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Remove from oil, set on a plate that has been covered in a paper towel, to allow oil to drain off the slices.

8.  Spread about half of a jar of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a jelly roll pan.   Place fried eggplant slices on top of sauce.

9.  Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of slices and sauce.  Pour the rest of the jar of sauce on top of the slices, then put the rest of the cheese on top of that.

10.  Bake for around 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cheese should be browned and bubbly.

11. Cook pasta and the remaining pasta sauce.

12.  When eggplant is done, place on top of a bed of spaghetti.  Add desired amount of extra sauce.

 

This is a seriously awesome recipe.  It tastes SOO GOOD!  Don’t let those extra steps deter you from trying it.  No meat is required to be added to the meal, and it’s very, very filling.  It’s also very fattening, so be careful! 🙂  You can add a salad for some fresh veggies for a side.  We have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, too!

 

 

Dessert Two…Apple Bread

Christmas decorating puts me in a baking mood. I always want the house to smell as good as it looks. 🙂

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/apple-bread/detail.aspx

I used this recipe this afternoon. It was really good, but I agree with the commenter that said to add more oil and some milk. I ended up adding an extra 1/4 cup of oil and 1/3 cup of milk to get it to mix well. It turned out wonderfully; it tastes a bit like an applecake that my mom usually makes.

One other piece of advice: make sure you let it sit for the full ten minutes, if not longer, before removing the bread from the pan.  The first one I took out completely fell apart, and even though it tasted great, it didn’t look pretty.  I’d give it 20-30 minutes before removing them from the pans. 🙂

Night Twelve…Taco Pizza

Need an easy alternative to all the prep work involved in making tacos?  Here’s your answer!  I found this on pintrest awhile back.

http://realmomkitchen.com/5301/taco-pizza/

I made this tonight after all the Christmas decor was up.  It was a very simple meal, but wonderfully filling, and it tasted great!  This one is definitely a keeper.

The only thing I changed was to omit the olives.  We also drizzled taco sauce over it before eating. I think I’ve decided that when the time comes to make this again, I’ll add some shredded lettuce to the top, and maybe a dollop of sour cream. 🙂

If you like tacos, you need to try this pizza! 🙂