Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day To Remember...

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  I thank all who gave their life's for my freedom.  To read more about the origins of Memorial day check out this link here.  My Dad was in the army, my Sister was in the Army National Guard, and I am sure many other relatives were there as well fighting for this great nation.  I also have many friends, Brooke, Jeremiah, Louis, Shane, Brandon, Tori, and many others I am probably forgetting!  Thank you all, I honor and appreciate you!  I know they were fortunate enough to not lose their life's in any war but I appreciate them none the less today...

A Memorial Day Poem
by Michelle Keim

As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
A few of the true American brave

They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except that these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine

As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let's pass this word to others
It's what they would expect

I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vein
But for the red, white and blue.

Let's pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least we can do

Let's not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care

No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.

So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.

Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.

The following photos are from soldiers who did make it home, and some who didn't.  Please honor them today.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

My poor kitchen...for a season.

That is really not my kitchen, but that is what it feels like right now!!!  I will post before and after pics later.  My kitchen is getting a make over so I haven't been posting much, last night I lost my sink and my dishwasher so I am doing them in the bathroom!  But I know I am going to be happy when things are back in order, when I have walls again, a sink, a dishwasher, and counters!  Oh and my cupboards are gone too...sigh...all of my food is stored down in the basement for now!  I have been cooking, and I guess I could be taking pics of it and posting, but seeing my kitchen kinda dampens that shot... :)  Looking forwards to having my kitchen back soon!  Here are a few of the things I have made...

Honey Sesame Chicken (photo and recipe found at My Kitchen Snippets.)

Chicken Enchilada Soup (photo and recipe found at The Family Kitchen.)

Pizza Penne Bake (photo and recipe found at $5 Dinners.)

So please bare with me as we get this done!  Please try some of the above recipes, or all, and let me know what you think! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apple & Shallot Stuffed Chicken

I had been dying to try this recipe for some time now and I am so  glad I did!  It was so moist and super delicious.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves chicken.  It was easy to make and made the house smell lovely. 

1 whole chicken (mine was 3 pounds)
5 shallots
pepper and salt to taste
1 apple
1 large garlic clove
1 rosemary sprig
3 oz bacon (thick slices)
3 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp seasoning (your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt 

1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Peel and coarsely chop the shallots. Grate or mince the garlic.  Peel and dice the apple. Mine was a Granny Smith.

2. Heat a tbsp butter or oil and add the shallots.  Season the shallots with a pinch of pepper and salt. Sauté them over low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.  When they are slightly browned it is time to add the apples.  Add the garlic and cook things a few minutes, until the apples get a slight tan but are still firm. Turn off the heat.

3. Fill the chicken with the shallots and apples and put a rosemary sprig in there as well for some extra flavor.   Melt remaining butter and add your seasonings and garlic salt.  Brush the chicken with the seasoned butter.

4. Wrap the breast part of the chicken with bacon. This doesn’t just add a tremendous amount of flavor but it also prevents the chicken from drying out.  Cook for 90 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted reads 180° F. I served this with corn on the cob and mashed potatoes.  Mmm mmm good!

Recipe adapted from Kayotic Kitchen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mini Meat Loaf Muffins

I haven't made meat loaf in such a long time I thought I was due for some.  I sure am glad I made it!  My picky eater was done with it before anyone else was and asked for seconds.  That always makes me smile :o)

2 lbs ground beef (I mixed it with ground venison this time)
2 egg
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar but tried Parmesan this time)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Johnny's seasoning salt

Sauce topping
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Grease muffin pan well.

3. Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

4. Combine all ingredients well and divide equally among cups in the muffin pan.  Bake for 35 minutes, drain some of the grease out of the pan, being careful not to dump out your dinner!  Top meatloaves with sauce, cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove and let cool of a few minutes before serving.  Serve with some mashed potatoes, sauteed carrots (or your favorite veggie) and enjoy!

Photo found at Me, Myself & Pie.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cilantro and Green Chile Potato Salad

So this looks absolutely amazing and I plan to make it sometime this week.  I am drooling just thinking about it!  The potatoes are roasted instead of boiled and I know the cilantro and chilies will give it a wonderful kick!!!

1 pound baby Yukon gold (or other baby) potatoes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 (or 2 or 3) Thai bird chilies, sliced thinly
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Wash and scrub potatoes.  Prick with the tines of a fork. If there are any potatoes that are especially large, you can slice them in half.  Place them on a baking sheet and bake in a 400° F oven for approximately 35-45 minutes.

3. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool until they’re just about lukewarm. Slice potatoes in half.

4. Now to the dressing – whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add the chopped Thai bird chilies, potatoes and cilantro and toss until everything is evenly dispersed and coated with dressing.  Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

Recipe and photo found at Baking Epiphanies.

Rich and Creamy Lasagna

This was so easy to make and my daughter who HATES lasagna actually ate some so I know it was good then.  I have an old story on why I don't make lasagna too often, but we won't get into that!  It will be my secret.  I also made roasted tomatoes, which I can never get enough of, matter fact there are a couple of those left over that I plan to reheat soon under the broiler...mmm I can taste them now...(drool!)

1 package oven ready lasagna noodles
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs slightly beaten1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (24-26 oz) jar of Barilla pasta sauce
1 cup water
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained of fat

1. Preheat oven to 425° F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, eggs, cream cheese, and basil.  Mix well.

3. In another bowl, combine the pasta sauce, water, and ground beef.  Mix well.

4. In a 9 X 13 inch pan spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce.  Place 3-4 lasagna noodles (dry since they are oven ready) over the sauce.  Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the lasagna, top with 1/3 of the meat sauce.  Repeat layering once.  Top with remaining lasagna and sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Wrap lightly with a double layer of foul.  Bake for 60 minutes or until the lasagna is for tender.  Let stand 10 minutes sealed in the foil before cutting.  Serve with a nice green salad and a side of your choice and enjoy!

Chicken Rugs

I got this idea after seeing it on Joumana's site Taste Of Beirut.  I didn't have the spices that she used so I kinda Americanized it.  It was fun to make and I will be doing this again.  I am excited to see the many different tastes I can come up husband and children loved this and ate it all, except the spinach, but I gladly finished that off...I guess they don't want muscles like Popeye...

2 boneless chicken breast
1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 green pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil as needed

1. Cut the chicken into thin strips about 1/4 in wide.
2. Combine the chicken strips with some oil, garlic powder, salt, dill, and pepper.  Let it marinate for 15 minutes or longer.
3. Cut the peppers into strips the same width as the chicken, tossing the white parts and the seeds.  Fill a large pot with 4 cups of salted water and bring it to a boil.  Boil the pepper strips for 2 minutes until they become more pliable and drain.

4. Cut a piece of parchment paper and set it on your work surface.  Place two strips of chicken vertically side by side (about 1/2 inch apart) and insert a pepper strip underneath the two strips, continue with another piece of pepper, this time going over the strips of chicken.  Keep going until you have used a few strips of pepper and of the chicken.  Tighten the "rug" and cut the uneven ends if desired.

5. With a pair of scissors, cut a small square around the chicken rug.  Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.  When the oil is hot, flip the piece of paper holding the chicken rug onto the oil.  Remove the paper and let the rug cook for about 3 minutes until the chicken is browned, gently flip the chicken over and brown that side for 3 minutes.  Serve warm with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sweet and Smokey Pepper Soup

Peppers, peppers, peppers, what could be better than peppers?  I love them hot and I love them sweet!  I have found some mini sweet bell peppers (and I am going to try and grow them in my garden...we will see if it will work in Montana here...) at Three Bears that are out of this world good!  They can be eaten like candy!  My favorite way to eat them is roasted.  This soup was awesome, very simple to prepare and the taste was mmm mmm good.  

6 Tablespoons butter
4 cups chopped red, orange and yellow sweet bell peppers 
(ended up being about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 red onion, chopped
1 stalk celery including leaves, chopped (note: steal some leaves from the other stalks if you’re a celery fan like myself)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 Tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste
crème fraiche for garnish (optional)
chopped celery leaves, for garnish (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.  Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened.

2. Add the broth, stir, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.  Whisk in the half-and-half. 

3. Combine the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps.  Add the cornstarch slurry to the soup, stirring constantly.  Simmer a couple more minutes to thicken.

4. Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with crème fraiche and celery leaves and serve with some bread and a green salad and enjoy!
Recipe found at Girl Cooks World.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Banana Bread with Coconut & Chocolate

Had a bunch of over ripe bananas and wanted to try something new.  Boy was this good!  Even my daughters who don't like coconut liked this.  Great warm with a little butter spread on it and a tall cold glass of milk...mmmm need I say more?

1 cup mashed bananas
3 /4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup grated coconut 
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Whisk the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt.

2. Beat the egg and sugar together till fluffy and pale lemony in color. Then fold in the mashed bananas and the grated coconut. Sprinkle the baking soda over this mixture and fold it in.

3. Then add the coconut oil in a thin trickle and mix it well into the batter. Finally, fold in the flour in 3 additions.

4. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pour the batter into a greased medium sized loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe and photo found at Served With Love.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pork Adobo

This was a little salty from the soy sauce, but I was expecting that, but since my family wasn't as crazy about it as I was, next time I will use about 1/4 cup of soy sauce and see what they think then.  I myself loved it!  I have made chicken adobo before but never with pork.  I was not disappointed.  And no matter what my family said, there was nothing left at the end of the meal...

Leftover pork roast, cut into cubes (you can use uncooked pork too)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice or white vinegar
1 can chicken broth and water enough to cover meat
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 coins ginger (take ginger and cut 2 slices, making "coins")
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper

1. Add everything in a pot except ketchup and bring to simmer.  Cover and cook until pork is tender.

2. Remove pork from liquid and pat dry with paper towels.  Bring remaining liquid to a boil and let it reduce by 1/2.  Brush pork lightly with ketchup.

3. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add a little oil.  Pan fry pork until it's browned and a little crispy. The ketchup will help the browning process.

4. Add pork back to the liquid, serve with white rice, and enjoy!

Recipe found at Big, Bold, Beautiful Food.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Passion Fruit

I bought a passion fruit at the store today.  The inside of the shell looks pretty cool but I have no idea what to do with 1 passion fruit...the flowers are pretty too...

So if you have any ideas on what I should do with this or if you know of a good recipe where I should buy more...I will have my trusty mouse write it on the grocery list!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crispy Chicken

I love chicken...especially white meat.  Now my husband would prefer the dark meat, give him a leg or thigh over the chicken breast any day, but not me!  And fried, mmmm, bring on the food!  The coating is delicious, a little different than I have made before but still awesome none the less.

2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup ground nuts
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup canola oil
salt to taste

1. First, place the breasts between two layers of wax paper or plastic wrap.
Then using a meat mallet or a rolling-pin (or anything that could do the job), pound the chicken breasts so that they’re evenly thin. They will spread out to at least 2 or 3 times their size as they flatten.

2. Slice each breast in half after flattening. That way you’ll achieve 4 nice portions.

3. Now salt the cutlets on both sides generously.
This is the only time we are using salt while preparing this recipe, so there’s no need to hold back.

4. Now, let the dredging begin. First, dredge a piece in flour.

5. Then dip it in lightly beaten eggs.

6. And finally cover your cutlet with a mixture of bread crumbs, ground nuts, Parmesan and chopped parsley.
I’ve used ground peanuts this time. But feel free to use any nuts you like and have on hand.

7. Set aside on a large platter (don’t overlap the pieces) and repeat with remaining chicken.

8. Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat until a pinch of breading sizzles immediately when you drop it in the pan.

9. Place one breaded chicken cutlet into the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes per side, turning once.  Both sides should be golden brown and crisp, and the chicken should be cooked through.  Serve hot with just about anything!  I had sauteed cabbage and chicken stuffing.  Everything went before I could have enjoy it for it goes fast!

Recipe found at Zoom Yummy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On the stovetop...

I am making some Creamy Spinach Dip...mmmm :)  Great with some sliced baguettes and crackers.  I could eat the whole thing myself, but that would be selfish of me...what if I don't tell anyone I am making it... ;) Too late, I am taking it to a surprise birthday party...hope it doesn't go over to well!  Actually maybe I should, I am hoping to lose a few pounds this week! Lol...

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