Braised Chicken with a Veggie Spiral

Chicken can get old and boring, fast. Sure there are so many recipes for it, but its still chicken… lol Ive roasted, fried, stuffed, diced, shredded, and spun various cuts on a rotisserie, but Ive never braised anything. I had no idea how simple it was, and how juicy and flavorful the meat would end up being. And the spiral is a great twist on simple, healthy veggies! Enjoy!

Braised Chicken

3 chicken quarters, leg & thigh – bone in, skin on
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large carrot – roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic – roughly chopped
6 Cippolini onions – quartered
1 pack sliced crimini mushrooms
1 tablespoon EVOO
2 tablespoons of your fav seasoning mix
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 can chopped tomatoes

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In a deep cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, heat oil until glassy. Rinse your chicken, pat dry, season generously with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10min total, and set chicken aside.

Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sautee until tender, about 3min. Add tomatoes and carrots and bring to a simmer. Add wine, broth, and seasoning, mixing everything together so it is all incorporated and bring to a boil. After about 3min, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side down. Make sure to shimmy the chicken all the way under the veggies, so that its covered in broth. Put a lid on and let it simmer, untouched, for 1 hour.

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Veggie Spiral

2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini
2 russet potatoes
1 large onion
1/2 cup cheese (I used a blend of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)
1 tablespoon garlic herb seasoning mix, or whatever you prefer

I dont have a fancy baking dish, so I used a round pie pan. *shrugs*
(you can prep all of this while you’re browning the chicken, and while “sauce” is coming together)

In a skillet, sauté onions so they are translucent. Meanwhile, slice zucchini and potatoes into thin disks. After the onions are cooked, spray baking pan with non-stick spray and fill the bottom of the pan.

 

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Arrange the zucchini and potatoes on top of each other, at an angle going in a circle, around until you’ve filled the whole pan. Cover with cheese and seasoning mixture.
Bake at 400°F for 1 hour

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Teriyaki Salmon and Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

This is a recipe I grew up on that my daddy used to make all the time. I was such a picky eater when I was little, but salmon was something I loved. I still am not too much of a seafood fan, but I dont think I could live without salmon. It is so good, almost every way you can think of making it!

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This is possibly the easiest recipe Ive ever made, seriously. There arent too many ingredients, and the prep takes about 10min. Feel free to marinate your salmon as long as you’d like beforehand.

Salmon

2 Salmon Filets (or 4, or 10.. depends on your dinner size)
1/2 cup Kikoman teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
fresh cracked pepper

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First and foremost, you want to debone your salmon. The grocery store wont do this for you, unfortunately. It really isn’t too hard, and all you need is a pair of tweezers. Take your fingers and slowly rub your fingers along the top of the flesh, you can feel where the bones are. Using the tweezers, grip the bone as hard as you can, slowly pulling the bone out. This isnt like doing your eyebrows where you want to go quickly, fish is slippery, and you’ll lose the grip with the tweezers if you go too fast.

If you’re not into deboning, and your family is cool with bones and knows how to avoid them, keep them in. Its ultimately up to you.

In a sealable container, add filets skin side up. Pour in teriyaki and soy sauce, chopped garlic, onion powder, and cracked pepper. Put the lid on and refrigerate for however long you want before wanting to cook your salmon.

When you’re ready to cook the fish, heat your oven to 400°F and cook for 20min. Personally, I prefer my fish one extreme or the other; completely raw or very well done. Cook to your liking…

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

1lb green beans
1 pack of thick cut bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon favorite seasoning

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Take about 8 green beans and bundle them, wrapping the bacon around the center of each bundle. Arrange on a baking pan, one with sides so grease doesnt get all over your oven. Heat oven to 400°F. While the oven is heating, melt butter in a small saucepan and add your favorite seasoning to the melted butter. I used McCormick’s Garlic and Herb blend. Spoon mixture over each bundle and you’re ready to go!

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I put the bacon bundles in the oven first since they take a little while longer, 10min early. Then I added the salmon and let them both go. Dinner was delicious and easy! Served with white rice on the side, and some nice white wine. 🙂

Pinwheel Skirt Steak with Spinach and Feta


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Ive always wanted to make a pinwheel something or other.. So I decided to make this recipe I found on Pinterest. I normally dont trust recipes from pinterest, but what they hey.. I made some changes to this recipe, you will see as follows. It actually turned out really really well.

Prep: 20 minutes
Roast: at 425°F for 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 thin skirt steak (2 pounds)
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, I used the garlic herb kind
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (NO.)
2 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs (NO)
1 egg yolk (NO)
2 fresh garlic cloves, diced small
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Meat ties/twine

I rubbed the meat down with a black peppercorn rub about 2hrs before I wanted to make it and set it aside. When time came to make dinner, I flattened the meat out on a cutting board, one at a time.

In a small bowl mix together spinach, garlic, feta, and whatever spices you want. I added salt, pepper, a little onion and garlic powder.

With the meat flat on the board, use a spoon and put half of the mixture on top of the meat. Spread the mixture to all ends, and make sure its pressed in. Start rolling your pinwheel from one end of the steak, not the side. You want this to resemble a log once its rolled.

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After you’ve gotten both stuffed and rolled, tie them with your meat ties or twine. I have ties that came with my rotisserie, so I use those.

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Spray a baking sheet with a small amount of PAM or whatever you have on hand, and roast at 425° for 25min. This makes for a perfectly crusty outside, and pink inside! Remember to let your meat rest for 10min before cutting into it so you dont lose all the juices/flavor.

I served this with Roasted small golden potatoes, and bacon brussels sprouts! Mmmmm… Definitely something I’ll make again!

Rainy Day Chicken Pot Pie

One of my favorite childhood meals was chicken pot pie; Marie Calendars frozen ones were such a treat after school. So comforting and delicious, and in a pie crust – yum. I have always loved them but never really thought to make one, Im not sure why. This was one of the easiest things Ive ever made!

I chose to stick to pre-made pie crust, since it was my first time and I wasn’t about to be stressing over making dough.. I bought a frozen pie shell, and a pack of refrigerated pie crust for the top. Easy peasy.

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Pie Filling

1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped small
1 pack pre-sliced crimini mushrooms
1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast
1 bag frozen peas and corn mix
3 teaspoons corn starch
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, whisked (set aside)

I used a pre-cooked chicken breast I had in the refrigerator from the other night. I tend to cook a pack and use them throughout the week for salads, in meals, whatever. But if you don’t have one already cooked, season your chicken and cook it thoroughly. Let it cool and then shred it, or dice into small cubes and add it back to the skillet.

Turn heat on medium-high, add a little oil and the chopped onion. Let them cook for about 2min together, add mushrooms and cook for 4 more min then add garlic.

**Preheat oven to 395° and take pie crust out of the freezer**

While that is simmering, mix together corn starch and 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Add remaining stock and the carrots/peas to the pan and bring to a boil, let it cook for about 3min then add the corn starch mixture and cream. Stir well, letting it thicken to desired consistency and then remove from heat. While you’re letting the filling cool, take your refrigerated pie topping out of the fridge and unroll.

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After the filling has cooled somewhat, and the oven is heated, fill your pie shell. It is ok if it is heaping, you just dont want it overflowing. Top with rolled out pie topping and pinch sides together.

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In a small bowl, beat the egg and use it to “paint” the outside of your pie. This will help give your pie a golden and crispy crust!
Bake in the preheated oven, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

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This turned out sooooooo delicious! I cant believe I never tried making it before! Our little family of 3 basically demolished the whole pie tonight. There is only one piece left! Yummmmyyyy! I think I’ll make it without chicken next time. I always find myself picking the pieces out after a while, for whatever reason. I will definitely be making this again. Mmmm!

Jumbo Shells Stuffed With Italian Sausage

I am not much of a red sauce fan, so I tend to steer clear of lasagnas and things of that nature. I ran across a similar recipe to this a while back and decided to try and make it my own.

 

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Pasta Filling

1 12oz box jumbo pasta shells
1 pound spicy Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup Spinach, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

 

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In a big enough pot, boil water with a few dashes of salt, add shells and cook per package instructions. When done, place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, you dont want mushy noodles. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO until glassy, add sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. The best trick I ever discovered to helping break up the meat, use a potato masher! After the meat has cooked until somewhat brown, use the potato masher to break up the pieces smaller – it works so well!

Add garlic and cook for about 2min, then add the spinach and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat, stirring every so often to help wilt the spinach.

 

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Once the spinach is wilted, you can turn the heat off and remove skillet from the stove. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano and stir well so that everything is incorporated. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350°

Prepare yourself to be patient. Filling these little buggers is a little time consuming, and annoying as they dont all open up very easily.
Open each shell gently, they’ll be slippery and annoying, but once you get in a groove it’ll get easier. Using a soup spoon, spoon in the filling and arrange in round pie pan or shallow casserole dish. Putting them in the pan with the “end” of the shell “up” will make so they dont fall over and get everywhere.

Once they’re all in the pan, cover with cheese and bake for 30min!

Deeeelish!!

Vegetarian Caramelized Onion Mushroom and Spinach Flatbread

I try not to make the same things over and over again, but there are some things that my family loves. I can’t keep writing the same recipes so I try to mix it up lol But tonight I made another flatbread pizza, my daughter loves them. Tonight I was tired and didn’t feel like making homemade dough, so I bought a whole wheat pre-made pizza crust at Sprouts (grocery store). I promise there will be more adventurous recipes this week 😉

 

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Pizza Toppings
2 Small Yellow Onions, sliced thin
1 package pre-chopped crimini mushrooms
1 pack frozen spinach, water squeezed out and dried
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pizza Sauce
1/2 cup milk
4oz Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme

 

You’ll want to start about an hour and a half before you really want to eat dinner. To truly caramelize onions, you need about 45min and some patience. Caramelizing onions is just about the most boring thing ever, seriously. Especially if you have no patience, like me! lol

After slicing your onions, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, add the onions and coat evenly. Cook on medium-low for about 45min, stirring about every 3min.

When the onions have become nice and soft, and a golden brown color, they’re done. Take them out and put them in a bowl. Add the mushrooms to the pan, there should be a little oil left over from the onions, but if there isn’t add a little. Salt and pepper to taste, cooking mushrooms on medium heat until they’re brown – about 10min. Add onions back to the pan and mix well.

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To make the sauce, add butter to a small pot and melt, add the garlic and cook for about 5min. Add milk and cream cheese and let it all melt. Use a whisk to help break up the cream cheese and mix everything together. Add salt, pepper, and crushed thyme. After about 5min it should be to the consistency you want it, remember it’ll thicken when it stands.

Using a big spoon, or ladle, spread around your pizza dough and top with spinach.

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After you’ve crumbled the spinach on top, you can spoon the mushrooms and onions on top of your pre-made pizza crust, then sprinkle with cheese. I put this directly on the center rack of a 425° oven for about 12min. Let it cool for about 5min, and sliced it up!

 

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Southern Style Oxtails and Gravy

Growing up, my God Mothers mother, Gloria “Glo”, lived across the street from me. She is a feisty old lady, and insisted I went to church with her every sunday. I grew up with them … a wonderful, loving, soulful, caring family. They were always there for me when I needed to get away, or when I felt like my family wasn’t my own.

I learned a lot of really good southern recipes from Glo, and my God Mother. Just one of those dishes was Oxtails with gravy, mmmmm!! I don’t know many people that have ever made Oxtails before, and most people I know dont know what they are. Oxtails are just that, the tail of a cattle. Beef. Meaty and tender when cooked properly, buttery and rich, with a lot of flavor. They’re actually pretty healthy once you trim down the fat.

Oxtails

3lb Oxtails – fat cut off
1 onion cut in quarters
8 garlic cloves
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
4 tablespoons white vinegar
2 table spoons of all purpose flour
1 8oz can of crushed tomatoes

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After rinsing the meat off with cool water, trim excess fat off. Add oxtails to a cold bath of water mixed with the 4 tablespoons of vinegar, rinse them very well.

Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of your pot and heat until glassy. Season oxtails with seasoning salt, pepper, and a little garlic and onion powder. Add them to the pot and brown on all sides. You won’t be able to get them all done in one batch, so take them out and set aside as they’re finished. When all of the meat has been seared set it aside. Add a little of the broth to your pot and scrape the flavor from the bottom, add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add one tablespoon of flour and whisk continuously until all lumps are gone, repeat with second tablespoon.

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Add whole garlic cloves, quartered onion, and tomatoes, then add the oxtails back to the pot. They wont be fully covered in liquid, but they’ll create some of their own while cooking. Place a lid on the pot, and put in a 350° oven for 2 1/2-3 hours.

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I serve mine with rice on the side, and steamed cabbage, which will be my next post.

Thanks Grama Glo for the delicious recipe, and for always being there for me when I needed you most 🙂

 

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

I am a huge meat lover, like I’ve said before. Lamb is something wonderful that not a lot of people make very often. It can be pretty spendy, and Im sure a little intimidating to cook. I promise it doesn’t have to be either!

Keep your eyes peeled when you’re at the store, you can find a rack on sale every now and then. Sometimes they’ll be a couple days old and the store wants to get rid of them before they go bad, which is a great thing for people who don’t mind deciding to make a meal on a whim. I usually like to plan my meals for the week, but don’t mind switching things around if I find a great deal or something that catches my tastebuds 🙂

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

1 Rack of lamb
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon EVOO

Preheat your oven to 425°. Add the rest of the oil to your cast iron skillet, or whatever oven safe skillet you have, and heat until oil is glassy. Meanwhile, coat your lamb with a little of the oil, and rub the herbs and salt/pepper into the meat.

Sear (brown) meat on all sides, and then remove from heat. Press minced garlic onto the lamb so that it sticks. Cover the ends of the rack with foil so the bones don’t burn and put your whole skillet in the oven, uncovered with the meat side up, for a short 17min. This will cook a perfect medium lamb, you can cook a little longer for more well-done meat.

Serve with rice and veggies, potatoes, pasta… the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

Where have I been?! I just recently fell in love with Broccoli Cheese soup, I know – right? I am a little picky about it, and really only like the kind from Panera. But, I have had an emulsion blender for ages now and have yet to make any soups, so that is my goal this winter! Soup!

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Tonight I decided to try my hand at one that seemed rather easy.. I looked at a bunch of different recipes, and decided to just combine them and make my own. Nothing really stood out to me, and the supposed Panera recipe sounded just weird, plus it didn’t call for a blender and I wanted to blend, dammit! Maybe next time..

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, diced (I used half of a big one)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons salted butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped, lightly steamed broccoli

To make things a little easier, I microwaved my broccoli. Don’t trip, it makes perfect broccoli actually, and you’re going to be blending it all up anyway. No need to lie and say I steamed and blanched it, because I didn’t. Cut the hard stems off, add to a microwavable bowl and add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover and microwave for 4min on high then set to the side.

To make things even easier, I decided to use my trusty Miniature Cuisinart for the garlic. It really is an amazing little thing to have around, especially for someone who doesn’t need a huge food processor. I probably could have left the cloves whole, since I was blending it all up anyway but I wanted to chop it up.

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I started the onion and garlic on low heat with a little EVOO and let it do its thing. Dont be afraid to let your food cook without always messing with it, just make sure the heat is right so it wont burn.

In a soup pot I melted the butter and gradually added the flour, stirring the whole time, about 2min. As the butter was melting on medium heat, I microwaved the milk for 2min and then poured it into the butter flour mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickened – about 5 to 8min. Warm your chicken broth in the microwave and then it to the pot also, still whisking.

By now, your garlic and onions will be nicely browned and aromatic and you can add that to your pot as well.

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Then comes the deliciousness, cheeeeessseeee! Turn the pot to low, and add all of the cheese at once. I used a whisk, but you can use whatever you want, to mix it all together until the cheese is completely melted and mixed in.. Before you add the broccoli, take a small spoon and taste your soup. You may want to add a little more salt or pepper, or whatever you want. Then add broccoli, and blend until the soup is to the consistency of your liking!

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Soupppppper easy! haha

I must share a secret with you before I sign off.. I am lactose intolerant. :O I know, and I decided to make mac n cheese, and cheese soup? I will share my wonder pill with you, only if you promise to USE it! It works, and you can really eat things with lactose! I carry some in my purse with me everywhere I go.

LACTAID

Make sure you get the pills, chewable or swallow ones. I take two if Im going to be eating a ton of lactose and I’ve never had an issue. Some people don’t like the pills, and just don’t eat lactose at all… but I couldn’t live without cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. Sowwie body.