Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chipotle Orange Chicken and Quinoa

Delicious, quick and easy, those are 3 words I love to hear at 4:45pm when everyone in the house is hungry. This meal hit the spot, and hit it quick! A super yummy rub with a sweet and spicy sauce that’s to die for. This is the perfect weeknight meal to make for your family! (Omit the chipotle chilies for the kiddos, though!)

Chipotle Orange Chicken and Quinoa
Printable Version

2 tsp chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2-inch thick
⅔ cup orange juice
4 Tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 Tbs chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tsp orange zest

In a small bowl, combine chile powder, cumin and 1/2 tsp salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet to medium-high. Tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Season both sides of chicken with chile-cumin mixture and cook for 3 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center. Remove from skillet and set aside.
While chicken in cooking, puree the chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Add orange juice and maple syrup to juice and bits left in skillet and cook for 1 minute to thicken slightly (until it measures 1/4 cup liquid), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and orange zest. Add chicken back to skillet, return to heat and cook for 1 minute on medium-high, turning constantly.
Serve chicken over rice or quinoa and spoon any excess glaze over top chicken pieces.

Serves 4.
Highly adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

Monday, November 26, 2012

Amanda's Sweet and Spicy Maple Chicken

I love my sister for many reasons...and this is one of them. She made this recipe with salmon, which I think would be equally delicios, my husband is just not a fan of fish. This has a ton of flavor, a punch of spice, and a hint of sweet! Its a perfect mix of all your taste sensations. AND it's easy:)

Amanda’s Sweet and Spicy Maple Chicken
Printable Version

2 chicken breasts, trimmed
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Combine seasonings and rub chicken breasts on both sides. Place in a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. The last 5 minutes, remove chicken from the oven and glaze with maple syrup. Serve.

Recipe from Amanda
Serves 2.

Cheesy Artichoke Chicken

Every once in a while, I try to sneak a girly meal in for my husband...and this was one of those meals. He appreciated it, but not as much as a big group of girls would! I loved this from the first nibble I took. The creamy sauce has a sour bite from the artichoke hearts, and the sweet, stringy cheese is delicious. I love spoiling myself every once in a while, and this meal will be recurring on those nights I need a little me-meal!

Cheesy Artichoke Chicken
Printable Version

1/4 c. chopped, marinated artichoke hearts
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. parsley
3 Tbsp. fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional ¼ cup for topping
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp. parsley
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Heat olive oil in skillet. Pound out chicken breasts to about 3/4 inch thickness so that they will cook evenly. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and ½ tsp parsley on both sides. Cook chicken breasts in heated skillet for 4-5 minutes per side, or until juices run clear and centers are no longer pink. Meanwhile, puree artichoke hearts and mix well with mayonnaise, 1 tsp. parsley, and 3 Tbs. parmesan cheese in small mixing bowl. Once chicken breasts are cooked through, either leave in the pan if it is oven safe, or remove breasts from the pan and put on foil-lined baking sheet. Spread artichoke topping onto chicken breasts. Sprinkle with additional ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Broil on high for 3 to 4 minutes or just until cheese starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Recipe from Crystal
Serves 2.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bistro Fries with Garlic Butter and Parmesan

Holiday parties are in full bloom, and you are looking for just the right thing to impress the small group at your house...THIS.IS.IT.
My husband and I love bistro’s. Perfect, little restaraunts with food that is way overpriced for the amount, but underpriced for the flavor. The chef’s seem to infuse insane amounts of flavor into tiny pieces of filet, squash blossoms, and creme brulee. One of our favorite things to order are bistro fries. Tiny, thin shoestring fries that are always served with a special dipping sauce or something drizzled over the top.
I was watching food network and I saw Giada making sweet potato fries with a garlic butter sauce and knew I had to make a version of my own. These were from heaven. We barely touched our burgers because all we could do was chow on these babies!

Bistro Fries with Garlic Butter and Parmesan
Printable Version

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-by-4-inch fries, soaked in ice water
Canola oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, additional salt for topping

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces shredded parmesan

To make the fries, drain the potatoes and dry completely on a clean kitchen towel. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 5 minutes.)
While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 2 1/2 cups water until smooth. Coat the potatoes in the batter. Transfer 8 to 10 potatoes to the oil, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Fry until golden and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
For the sauce, In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the fries and gently toss until coated.
Place the fries on a platter and sprinkle with fresh shredded parmesan. Top with additional salt to desired tase, Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Giada
Serves 4.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Ideas!

It's Thanksgiving time! Here are a few ideas that are on our menu almost every year!

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

If parmesan was the only thing in my refrigerator, I would have a happy, content husband. Seriously it makes an appearance on our dinner table almost as much as salt and pepper. Good thing alot of my meals are cheese friendly! When I saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine, I knew I had to make it. Don’t worry, I waited a whole 3 hours! Yep, I made it the first night after I saw the recipe. I was praised. I mean, really, parmesan and potatoes? You can’t go wrong! Put this on your menu for the holidays!

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
Printable Version

3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a 4-quart saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain.
In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half and butter.
Put the potatoes into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix them for a few seconds on low speed to break them up. Slowly add the hot cream and butter to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed (the last quarter of the cream and butter should be folded in by hand). Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese and the remaining salt and pepper; taste for seasoning and serve immediately. If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.

Recipe From Ina Garten
Serves 6.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baked Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken. My father in law could survive off you, and only you. He wouldn’t approve of this shortcut healthy version at first, but I think once he tasted it he would approve! Panko is the way to any man’s heart, isn’t it? Flavorful, moist, and crunchy all in one bite! O and I served it with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes...and that's where I really got my husband going!

Oven Fried Ranch Chicken
Printable Version

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
2 3-to-4-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
Cooking spray
3 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, half of the thyme, 1 teaspoon paprika, the onion and garlic powders, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on each; coat the racks with cooking spray. Combine the breadcrumbs, chives, the remaining thyme and 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow bowl.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Put the white meat on one wire rack and the dark meat on the other rack, skin-side up. Coat the chicken with cooking spray. Transfer to the oven, placing the dark meat on the bottom oven rack; bake until the crust is golden and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees F, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly on the wire racks, 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine
Serves 8

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lemon Quinoa Salad

Aliright’s official. Summer is over, fall is gone. It’s winter. It’s a balmy 34 degrees here today, and snow is everywhere around us. I'm just waiting for it to get to Omaha. I love the snow, don’t get me wrong. Every once in a while I just want to jump back..mid-summer. This salad takes me there. I have had alot of quinoa in the past few years, and this lemon vinaigrette makes by far the best quinoa salad I’ve ever had. Like I can’t stop eating it, so the whole “less calorie” thing cancels out when you eat 5 servings!

Lemon Quinoa Salad
Printable Version

1 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled

Your choice of veggies...I used...
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 ears sweet corn, cut off cob and cooked
15 grape tomatoes, quartered
salt & pepper
1/2 cup feta

Lemon Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl, then shake or whisk to combine and set aside.
Add all of your choice of veggies and the cooked, cooled quinoa to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add vinaigrette, feta cheese, and basil to the bowl. Stir well, taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Recipe adapted from
Serves 3.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Waffles

Bring on the pumpkin! My hubby is not a fan of pumpkin, which makes my pumpkin ventures few and far between. I adore it, however, so I have to use my friends as taste-testers...they hate it! Just kidding, they adore me. They love that my husband is a bit on the pickey side, and that they benefit from it! These were the perfect, mild, pumpkin spice flavor. I was getting oooo’s and ahhh’s...and that counts as a success to me!

Pumpkin Waffles
Printable Version

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups milk
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat a waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, milk, and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form.
Stir the flour mixture and 1/4 cup melted butter to the pumpkin mixture, stirring just to combine. Use a whisk or rubber spatula to fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, stirring gently until incorporated. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions.
Top with butter, powdered sugar, and syrup.

Recipe adapted from Better homes and garden

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Triple Berry Pie

So I called my husband up the other day and told him we were having quiche for dinner. You see, he hates breakfast for dinner. Or, he hates the IDEA of it. But when I whip out a yummy, cheesy, flakey-crusted quiche out of the oven, he loves me. He loves it, that is! Anyway, this isn’t about the quiche. This is about the extra 2 pie crusts I had AFTER I made the quiche.

I couldn’t decide what to do, lemon meringue pie, coconut creme pie, or just plain old baked cinnamon and sugar sticks. So, I do what I always do, and asked the man with an opinion. I knew he wasn’t a huge fan of pie, but I decided to ask him what flavor he would like. He immediately, like so fast I couldn’t take a breath, answered that he wanted triple berry pie. SOOO not up his alley. I DID NOT QUESTION. That sounded A-maze-ing to me. So I hopped in the car, loaded my twin boys into the grocery store, and got my blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Then the fun was everything I had dreamed, and impressed the one and only Mr. hubby. This would be a perfect dessert for the upcoming holidays...I know it's on our menu.

Triple Berry Pie
Printable Version

1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill. And if it stays in the freezer for 1, or 5 (oops!) Hours, it still works great!)
When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.
With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan.

Makes 3 crusts

Pie Filling
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon butter

If using frozen fruit, measure first, then thaw and drain fruit.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon, stir with fork. Place 1 crust into the pie pan. Spread 1/3 of the sugar mixture on the bottom and add fruit. Top the mixed berries with the rest of the sugar mixture. Wet the edges of the bottom crust by dipping your finger in the ice water and rubbing it around the edge of the crust. Place the top crust on the pie and gently press the top crust to the bottom. Trim with a knife and roll under. Press together with the thumb and forefinger to make a scalloped edge. With the knife, place 8 1/2-inch slits on the top of the pie. Bake for 45 minutes. When checking the doneness of the filling, insert a knife into the center of the pie. If there is little or no resistance, the pie is done.

Enough filling for 1 pie

Recipes from and

Monday, November 5, 2012

French Toast Crumble

My hubby hates breakfast foods. Really, he would much rather have a cold bowl of straight-from-the-box cereal than something I had been slaving over all morning. Although this may sound appealing to you, I hate it! I am not a cereal girl, due to my wonderful mother always making me homemade pancakes, french toast, or dip n eggs:) That being said, whenever a yummy breakfast recipe comes around I call my neighbors to come help me devour it, because Cody basically tries a bite and that’s that. Well, here’s how good this was...he ate THREE bites! I know it sounds silly, but he has only done that a few times...with my Best Homemade Pancakes and with my Waffles of Insane Greatness. It is quite the accomplishment to get him going back for more.
This sugary breakfast treat is the perfect mixture of a crunchy top and a moist bottom. With syrup drizzled over the top you will be going back for more, too!

French Toast Crumble
Printable Version

1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

3/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Grated Nutmeg,
1 ½ Sticks Cold Butter, (12 tablespoons) Cut Into Pieces
Warm Syrup, For Serving

For the French toast: Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with Pam. Cut the bread into into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed. Overnight will ensure some delicious flavor, but I have done it right away and achieved great results as well.
For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with warm pancake syrup.

Serves 10.
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks