I have been trying (and largely failing) to stay away from red meat lately… I think eating it in large quantities is probably bad for you no matter what, but I’ve been told (by a doctor from The Doctors) that it’s thought to be a contributing factor in fibroid development.
I’m not trying to go through that mess again.
The problem is, I kind of love red meat. Last week we had chili and Salisbury steaks…Cow and more cow. I decided Friday night would be a good night for chicken…but The BF sent me a text early that afternoon suggesting we go out for Chinese. I ate beef and broccoli in garlic sauce. Mooooooo
Saturday night I finally made some chicken and man am I glad I did. This was delicious and pretty easy, even with a toddler literally sitting on my feet while I cooked.
I’m not saying I want to give up beef (right now I so badly want a giant, juicy cheeseburger), but I will gladly eat more chicken if I can drown it in a delightful lemon cream sauce…
Yes, I realize that cream isn’t exactly health food. Baby steps, people.
Chicken with lemon cream sauce
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 4)
1 cup flour
Two tablespoons butter, divided
Cooking oil (I use canola)
1 cup mushrooms (or more if you love mushrooms), roughly chopped
About 1/2 of a medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Juice of one lemon
A big handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Pepper, to taste
To begin, heat a little oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle Greek seasoning over both sides of chicken, then dredge it in flour. Give it a shake, then arrange the chicken in your hot pan and cook for about 6 minutes on each side (or until your meat thermometer reads at least 165°). Remove chicken to a baking sheet, cover with foil, and place it in a warm oven (I stuck it in while my oven preheated to 375° for the garlic knots) while you make the sauce.
Turn the heat down to medium and drop your remaining tablespoon of butter into the pan. When it’s melted, add onion and mushrooms. Give it about 5-10 minutes, then add the garlic. After about 5 minutes, deglaze the pan with chicken stock and stir. Let that bubble and reduce by about half. Pour in half of your lemon juice and the cream, let it come to a bubble, then add the chicken back to the pan. Toss in some parsley and fresh-cracked pepper and turn the heat down a bit so the sauce thickens. Before serving, taste the sauce and add more lemon if necessary.
I served mine over spaghetti, but you could use rice or even spaghetti squash. Sprinkle some grated parmesan over it, throw in a salad and some garlic bread, and you have a delicious (and cow-free!) dinner that even your toddler will love.
I have recently discovered spaghetti squash and holy moly is that stuff good. I can’t get enough! Better for you than pasta AND it tastes better?! Yes please!
I’ve tried it with meat sauce, plain with just a bit of salt and pepper, and topped with a teeny bit of cheese and garlic slivers. All delicious.
You know what else I really like? Bacon. I have the uncanny ability to take something that is reasonably good for you and make it very unhealthy. That usually involves a lot of cream. And butter. And sometimes bacon.
I was going to make spaghetti squash carbonara, but then I decided to just go all-out with artery clogging goodness and make alfredo sauce (not real alfredo, but you know what I mean). Man am I glad I did.
1 spaghetti squash
Oil (I used grapeseed, you could use olive oil)
Salt and pepper
Bacon (I used about half of a pound)
About 1/4 to 1/2 of a large onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Laughing Cow Classic Cream wedges
1 pint half and half
1/2 to 1 c grated parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. With a large, sturdy knife hack that squash in half lengthwise. Please be careful doing this…It’s not easy. I think next time I’m borrowing the BF’s chainsaw. Once you get that sucker split open, scoop the pulp and seeds out. I like to use our old school metal ice cream scoop for this.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (trust me on this…I ruined a good cookie sheet the first time). Coat the inside of each squash half with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place halves cut side down on the cookie sheet, then roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes. When the timer goes off, I like to set it on the counter and flip the slices over to cool.
Once your squash is in the oven, fry up some bacon! Since I want little bacon pieces anyway, I go ahead and use my kitchen shears to cut the bacon slices into smaller pieces. Fry them on medium heat until the slices are crispy, then remove them to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off most of the fat, leaving a couple of tablespoons or so in the pan. Turn the heat down a tad (from 5 to 4 or 3), add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and a little squishy. Unwrap the cheese wedges and toss those in the pan, along with some of the half and half. Let this mixture heat gradually, stirring occasionally, until the cheese wedges melt. Stir in more (but not quite all) of the half and half and about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Again, let this heat together until it becomes a smoother sauce. If you need to thicken the sauce, add more cheese…if you want a thinner consistency, add more half and half. Taste the sauce now and add salt and pepper if needed.
At this point, turn your sauce to low and start shredding the squash. All you have to do is rake a fork through it and you’ll see why it’s called spaghetti squash. Once I get it all shredded I add it to the pan with the sauce, but you could always put it on the plate and ladle sauce over it. Serve it with bacon sprinkled on top, with garlic bread and salad on the side.
I love ravioli…It’s one of those things I always wanted to make but was convinced it would be too hard. Maybe doing it the old-fashioned way is, but I found a shortcut. It’s super easy and you can’t really tell it isn’t made with pasta. Hooray!
First, get some of these:
For the filling, I decided to go with cheese and spinach. I used ricotta and parmesan, a little granulated garlic (I was feeling lazy), some salt and pepper, basil, oregano, and thawed frozen spinach. You could use fresh spinach if you want, but if you do go with frozen make sure to really squeeze all of the liquid out.
So mix all of the filling up in a bowl. Pour some water into a separate bowl, then get to work.
I used about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each sheet. With a finger or a brush, smear some water around the edge of the won ton wrapper. Place another wrapper on top, then press it down. Make sure you don’t have any air bubbles…the wrapper should be pretty snug against the filling.
For my raviolis, I used a little less filling (with spinach added) and simply folded them over to form a triangle. I thought they looked prettier that way.
Boil the raviolis in salted water for about 3 minutes, a few at a time so they don’t stick together. Remove them with a slotted spoon.
For the BF’s plate, I topped the ravioli with some meat sauce. For mine, I browned a little butter in a saute pan, added garlic slivers, and sauteed the raviolis for just a few minutes on each side.
For fun, I threw some spinach and arugula on the plate and drizzled the melted butter and garlic over it. Because I’m healthy.
I was a little impatient and didn’t let some of them saute as long as I’d planned. Still, they were very good and you couldn’t tell one bit that I’d used something other than pasta.
There are tons of filling possibilities, too. I think a buffalo chicken filling might be tasty, or maybe some kind of sausage. If you decide to use a meat filling, just make sure it’s cooked first. I don’t think the 3 minutes of boiling would be enough.
If you’re concerned about time, these can be made ahead…I made the raviolis in the early afternoon while O was napping and put them in the fridge. I’m not sure how long you could keep them this way, so I wouldn’t recommend any longer than a day.
Sorry, by the way, that I’ve been a bit absent lately. I’m still getting the new house organized…it seems like it’s taking forever, but now that I have a child that can CRAWL it’s hard to get things done.
Yes, CRAWL. So that’s fun.
I also have some medical stuff of my own to iron out. Nothing bad or life-threatening, so don’t worry. As soon as I have everything sorted out I’ll fill you all in, down to the tiniest little gory detail.
I’m sure you can’t wait!
It’s been one of those days…
I’ve started O on solid foods, and it’s been an incredibly messy venture. Yesterday I was constantly wondering, “green beans or poop?” Today we tried Buddy Fruits in the mango, banana, passion fruit flavor. Twice today I’ve had to do a load of laundry… Not O’s, because I was at least smart enough to put only a bib and a diaper on him. No, I had to wash my clothes, because O really likes to share.
I was checking my second load of fruit-covered laundry when I noticed that it was 5:00… and I hadn’t even thought about dinner yet. I figured chicken and rice would be quick enough, so I got some brown rice going in my rice cooker with chicken broth and a couple of smashed garlic cloves. While that was cooking, I defrosted a couple of chicken boobs in the microwave.
I melted some butter in a pan over medium, then threw in some chopped onion and (yes, more) garlic. When the chicken was thawed I seasoned it with salt and pepper, then it went in the pan to cook, covered, for five minutes on each side.
By the time the chicken was done my rice cooker had switched to the keep warm setting…but the rice wasn’t quite done. I decided it wouldn’t be a big deal since it was going in the pan with the chicken. I added chicken broth (about a can) to the chicken, garlic, and onions… then I dumped a couple of cans of Rotel sauce in.
I added the rice and stirred everything up, making sure to cover the chicken. It looked a little boring…I discovered a can of corn hanging out in the cabinet, so I drained it and threw that in as well.
Once the sauce started to bubble I turned the heat down, almost to low (3, if you have numbers on your knobs). I covered the pan and left it alone for about 30 minutes. The rice finished cooking and helped thicken the sauce and for a completely last-minute meal I’d say it turned out pretty well.
This would be awesome with some guacamole, sour cream (Greek yogurt!), and cilantro… but since I had none of the above I just sprinkled on a little cheddar cheese and called it done.
I was about to call the BF to tell him supper was ready when I got a text message.
It said “I’m at Wendy’s, you want anything?”
If you think for two seconds I didn’t ask him to bring me a Frosty…Well, I guess you don’t know me at all.
We all have those days… Nothing seemed to go quite right, the baby’s been fussy, you suddenly realize you’re almost out of diapers and have to run to town. Then, suddenly, you look at the clock and think “How the Hell did it get to be 5:00 already?!”
When I have a day like that I pull a package of pork cutlets out of the freezer and get to work. They are so quick and easy it’s kind of ridiculous.
They’re also usually pretty cheap. Bonus!
The easiest way to cook these:
Heat a little oil in a skillet on medium. Season your cutlets on both sides however you like. I used Creole seasoning but you can just use good ol’ salt and pepper. Coat the cutlets in flour, then fry for five minutes on each side. That’s it! You could make gravy by adding flour to the pan drippings (remove the cutlets first!), then whisking in milk. Keep whisking while it thickens and season as needed.
Another easy way to cook pork cutlets? Again, start with heating a little oil in a pan. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the cutlets and fry on each side for about five minutes. Place in a shallow baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, then coat with your favorite barbeque sauce. Bake until the sauce looks a bit caramelized.
There are a number of other ways to prepare pork cutlets, but these are my favorite go-to quickies. I usually serve them with roasted veggies (might as well if the oven’s already going) and potatoes. If I’m going the gravy route I do mashed potatoes…If we’re having barbeque cutlets I usually have roasted red or fingerling potatoes.
Of course, you can serve them with whatever you like, don’t let me tell you what to do.
I heart these cutlets so much because they’re really hared to mess up. If you have leftovers they make good sandwiches, too…
But you probably won’t have leftovers.
Happy Sunday y’all!
So I’m a huge fan of anything that I can sneak kale into… I usually throw a bunch into my mini food processor and grind it up so I can add it to things like meatballs and spaghetti sauce without any fuss (that’s oregano, honey…). It’s so good for you that I think you should eat it every day. Mario Batali even referred to kale as “nature’s little colon broom” on The Chew… So I’m guessing if you eat it a lot it’ll help you stay regular. Someone let Jamie Lee Curtis know so she can stop shoving Activia down our throats. Is anyone else weirded out by how much ol’ Jamie Lee wants to be involved with our pooping habits?
Oh, did you think I was going to go a whole day without talking about poop? It’s like you don’t even know me…
So where was I?
Oh yes…This week’s pin.
I get really excited when I find a recipe that calls for spinach because I have found that I can substitute kale with no troubles.
This recipe is really versatile… Not only can you use kale in place of spinach, but I’ve also used a few different types of pasta (cheese tortellini, rotini, and cheese ravioli so far) successfully. I typically use mild breakfast sausage (can’t get too wild since I’m breastfeeding) but you could use hot or sweet Italian. The original recipe says to use Italian style tomatoes. I couldn’t find anything that was specifically called Italian style at my grocery store, so I bought Hunt’s brand Basil, Garlic and Oregano diced tomatoes. I really like the flavor so that’s what I’ve stuck with, but there are lots of varieties to choose from. Also? As much as I love my crock pot, you really don’t have to drag it out for this one. I usually make it in my stock pot, which makes this a one pot meal. Less stuff to clean up makes me very, very happy.
I serve it with grated cheese on top, some type of garlic bread and occasionally a salad…In this case I decided to be lazy and use crescent rolls out of a can, but I did at least mix butter, Parmesan cheese, a couple of garlic cloves and some basil in my mini food processor and smear it on them before baking. If that doesn’t say love I don’t know what does.
Hey, I can’t be Betty Crocker all the time.
You could also use your homemade bread (or a loaf of store-bought French bread) to make cheesy garlic bread if you really want to impress someone.
I have a top-secret method for what I think might just be the best garlic bread of all time. Perhaps someday I will share it with you.
So this pin gets a big ol’ thumbs up from me and the BF (who has eaten it a number of times and gone back for seconds). It’s quick to throw together, can be a one-pot meal, and it’s super tasty.
If you’re in the market for a cool new t-shirt AND you want to do a good deed, check this post out. Even if you don’t buy one please share the post and help me get the word out, ok?
So this thing called Pinterest… Have you heard of it?
If you could see my bookmarks manager (I supposed I could screenshot it but it’s a bit embarrassing) you’d understand why I adore Pinterest… I have hundreds of recipes bookmarked but I rarely use them. I also have a number of cookbooks collecting dust. Why?
I think it has to do with portability. I can’t haul my laptop around everywhere and carrying my cookbook collection would just be a bit impractical… especially now that I have a diaper bag and a baby (My kid is kind of a tank… he gets heavy) to carry. I do, however, have my phone with me everywhere I go. When StumbleUpon and Pinterest both came out with Android apps…well, let’s just say I didn’t get much done for a little while.
The thing is, some people just pin things that are visually appealing to them and move on…that’s how I used to be. When I finally had 24 hour access to my pins (no matter where I happened to be) I suddenly realized that my sometimes daily struggle with what to make for dinner was totally unnecessary. I could scroll through my pins while making my grocery list, double check them at the store, and have the recipe handy while in the kitchen cooking.
Anyway, I’m publicly declaring my love of Pinterest because I’d like to use it as a weekly feature here. During the week I’ll try something I found on Pinterest and then I’ll let y’all know how it went. I pin all kinds of cool stuff…recipes, cleaning tips, crafty things… so hopefully I won’t run out of stuff to talk about.
After that ridiculously long explanation I would like to tell you about the dinner I made a couple of nights ago.
Garlic and brown sugar chicken… I’ve seen this all over everyone else’s boards and when The BF brought a box of chicken breasts home the other night (from Omaha Steaks…Fancy!) I decided it was time to try it out.
This. Is. Delicious.
I’m not kidding…Make this tonight. It’s THAT good.
Of course, I didn’t exactly follow the directions (big surprise…) so here’s what I did:
-Saute garlic (I used 3 cloves for 2 chicken breasts) in butter on medium-ish heat
-Salt and pepper your chicken breasts, then add them to the garlic
-Cover and let cook, about 5 minutes on each side
-Sprinkle about a tablespoon of brown sugar on top of each chicken breast, cover and cook for a couple of minutes
-Flip chicken, sprinkle on more brown sugar, cover and let cook for a couple more minutes
That’s it! Of course, you’ll want to make sure your chicken is done. Use a handy meat thermometer to make sure each breast is at least 165 degrees.
I would also recommend pouring anything left in the pan over the chicken when you serve it. Please don’t leave any of that deliciousness in the pan!
I really should have titled this post Chicken Parmesan in 800 Hours because, seriously.
The first step is to come up with a grand idea to make Chicken Parmesan for dinner while you’re sitting at the office feeling pretty energetic. Nevermind the fact that it will involve a trip to the grocery store after work and that’ll be the last thing you want to do by the time 5:30 rolls around. Make sure to text your signifigant other and let him know you’re making it so you can’t change your mind later.
So the grocery store wasn’t so terrible and you were able to make it home by 6:15. That’ll make you think you’ll have dinner ready by 7:30 or so, but you’ll be wrong.
Start by dicing an onion and peeling a few garlic cloves. Be super lazy and just cut the cloves in half before throwing them in a pan along with the onions and butter. Turn the burner on low because you want it to cook while you’re prepping the chicken.
Get the chicken out and realize you don’t have one of those hammer things you need to pound meat. Decide to cut the chicken breasts in half lenghtwise instead and pat yourself on the back for being so gosh darn smart. Right about now you should realize that the onions and garlic are not gently simmering away, but actually popping and cooking quite violently. Apparently, the boyfriend’s stove has no concept of LOW. Give up on the idea of letting everything cook together for a while and just dump a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste in and put the pan back on the burner.
Pour a little olive oil in another pan and set the burner on medium so the oil will be nice and hot when you’re ready to add the chicken. Stir the tomato sauce while you’re standing there because it’s started to gurgle. Make sure there’s a mini-eruption while you’re stirring so some of the sauce gets on your shirt… Because you’re so smart that you thought it would be no big deal to cook tomato sauce in your work clothes. Way to go, genius.
Go ahead and take a quick break here to remove your now-soiled work shirt and throw it on the laundry room floor. Don’t bother addressing the tomato stain now, because somehow just being in the laundry room will make it disappear. Put on a sweatshirt you don’t care about. It’s cool, you won’t get a single drop of tomato sauce on it.
Back to the chicken. Pour egg substitute (it’s just easier) into one pie pan. In another add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and a little garlic powder. Dip chicken into egg, then into bread crumbs.
Test the oil in the pan by flicking some water into it. You’d think it would be ready by now but NO. Drive yourself crazy messing with the burners and finally give up and turn the oven on because you’ve had enough of the stove’s shenanigans. Line a baking dish with foil because you don’t want to be doing dishes ’til midnight, then throw the chicken in it.
Take the sauce off the heat so it doesn’t burn. Start prepping fresh green beans (wash and snap the ends off) while you’re waiting for the damn oven to preheat. Put beans on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add whatever spices you want. Rejoice when the oven says it’s reached 350 degrees, then happily put the chicken on the top rack and the beans on the bottom rack. Set a timer for 40 minutes.
HOORAY! Now you can do dishes!
When the timer goes off, decide neither the beans nor the chicken is done. Curse. Crank the heat up to 400 and add another 15 minutes to the timer. Consider gnawing your own arm off at this point because it’s after 7:30 and you’re starving.
Taste the tomato sauce and add a little sugar since it’s a bit tart. When the timer goes off again, delcare the chicken done and pour the sauce over it. Dump a ridiculous amount of cheese on top and stick it back in the oven.
So it’s 8:30 and you finally have dinner.
The Boyfriend will come home from work at this point and inhale a plate of chicken and beans, along with salad and cole slaw from the previous night’s dinner. You think this is a weird combination but manage to keep your trap shut.
While you’re finishing the dishes, The BF will wander in wanting something sweet. He will then select a knife that you’ve just washed and start slicing an orange, dragging the knife across the cutting board to make that noise that makes your teeth hurt.
After he finishes with the orange, he will walk away and you’ll think it’s ok to wash that knife again. NOPE! He was just taking a break between oranges.
Don’t strangle or otherwise hurt The BF. He will later make you a bowl of ice cream with hot fudge and rub your shoulders while telling you funny stories.
Isn’t domestic life bliss?