“I always had a fantasy of being a chef, because I like kitchen life.” ~ Geoffrey Rush

Have new kitchen, will cook.

There is nothing like a new kitchen to get you out of the cooking rut. I’ve always loved to cook but for the past year, I’ve had to drag myself to the kitchen. I don’t know what the problem was but I believe I found a solution!

A new kitchen!

We just moved and I love, love the new space. The best part about it is that there are tons of cabinets! This makes it so easy to get to the things you need to cook. No digging or unstacking required. Makes putting up clean dishes a breeze as well.

So, hopefully now I can get back to the business of cooking and blogging about it.

Recipe #2 cooked in new kitchen is as follows:

Fajita Pasta

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used red and yellow because my husband doesn’t like green)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (jar kind is fine)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild for less heat)
  • 8 oz of bowtie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sour cream
  • cilantro (optional, didn’t have any but wish I had)

Season chicken with half of the taco seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken until cooked through (approx 8-9 mins). Remove from pan.

While chicken cooks, season chopped veggies with the remaining half of taco seasoning. After removing chicken, add the other tablespoon of oil to skillet, followed by the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are slightly charred then add in the minced garlic and stir for around 30 seconds. Once done, remove and add to chicken.

In the same skillet add the broth, cream, rotel, salt and pasta, scraping the browned bits off bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil, cover and reduced to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Finally, add chicken and veggies back to skillet and warm through.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with chopped cilantro.


-abp

 

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“I followed my heart and it lead me to the fridge.” ~ unknown

Having spent the whole day yesterday watching college football and not have any food that even resembled tailgate food (aka appetizers, junk food, finger food), I was definitely craving something like that today!

But it needed to be quick and not huge because I may be the only one who would be snacking on it.

This old school dip came to mind and definitely handled my craving.

As I mentioned, this is not a large appetizer. It’s good for a few people to nibble on along with other items, although you could easily make 2 or double recipe and put on larger serving plate.

Easy Pizza Dip

  • 4-6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup Heinz Chili Sauce
  • ¼-½ cup shredded mozzerela cheese
  • 6 pepperoni slices, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 small olives (green or black) optional
  • Fritos

Evenly spread cream cheese in a small serving dish or dinner plate. Cover evenly with Chili Sauce.

Top with cheese, pepperoni, onion and olives.

Serve immediately with Frito chips or refrigerate until ready to serve.

I told you it was easy! 🙂


-abp

“I’m a maniacal perfectionist.” ~ Martha Stewart

I am very impressed with people who can put dinner on the table and every single bit be homemade, every single time.

I can do it and have done it but I have found that if you really want to try and cook at home most weeknights, you have to take shortcuts or you will burn out.

I have gotten to the point that if I have cooked the main dish, I don’t feel too bad if I heat up a can of green beans or corn to go with it.

Or both.

Don’t judge. I never claimed to be Martha Stewart. 🙂

Here is one of those “I only have a short amount of time and a short amount of energy” dinners.

A main dish and canned veggies.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

  • 1/4 cup of grainy, coarse mustard
  • 1/4 cup smooth dijion mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-5 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided

In a small bowl, combine the mustards, honey, and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil.

In a sauté pan or cast iron skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Add the onion and the leaves of one rosemary sprig and sauté over medium heat until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Transfer the onion and garlic to an oven safe dish (or if the saute pan you used is oven safe, you can just use it). Place the chicken on top of onion/garlic mixture. Salt and pepper the tops of the chicken to taste.

Pour the honey mustard mixture on top of the chicken. Arrange the rosemary sprigs around the chicken in the pan.

Bake the chicken covered at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then remove the cover, baste the chicken with the sauce, and continue to cook for an additional 20 – 30 minutes uncovered, or until the chicken is browned on top and cooked through.

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This was really so very good!! It was actually much better than I even expected it to be!! The flavors were fabulous and the chicken was incredibly tender. It will most definitely go on the weeknight rotation.

2 side notes:

1. The sauce was so good that I would omit the canned corn and add a bag of “boil in the bag” (keepin’ it simple) rice, then serve the chicken and the sauce on top of it.

2. I LOVE rosemary so I would never leave it out but if you are not a fan or do not have it on hand, this recipe could easily be made without it and it would be your basic Honey Mustard Chicken but still delicious!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

-abp

“To me, my recipes are priceless.” ~ Colonel Sanders

Since I have now been on an almost year long quest to loose the baby weight, most of the recipes that would normally catch my eye while skimming Pinterest, magazines, cookbooks etc. have fallen to the wayside.

Those recipes being anything with the word creamy, creamier, and creamiest in the title.

Now, while perusing for new recipes, I refuse to click on them or I just keep flipping the page.

Although, last week, while flipping through the latest Cooking Light Magazine, I came across the recipe – Creamy Pork Chops and Mushrooms.

Wait a minute.

Those two things (Cooking Light and creamy) normally do not go together.

I was intrigued.

So, I gave it a whirl.

I’m very glad I did! These flavors were wonderful together and yes, I got to have a guilt free creamy dish!

Creamy Pork Chops and Mushrooms

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 cup unseasoned long-grain and wild rice blend
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 12 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (or any mushroom blend that is not white button mushrooms)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried because I had it)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. While rice cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add rosemary, mushrooms, and onion to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle mushrooms with flour; toss to coat. Stir in vinegar and chicken stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return pork chops and any accumulated juices to pan. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
  4. Stir almonds, parsley, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper into rice. Arrange pork chops on a serving platter. Simmer sauce, uncovered, 2 additional ­minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream. Serve pork chops with mushroom sauce and rice.

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My husband raved over this.  He said it was restaurant worthy. That always makes me smile. 🙂

-abp

“My husband calls me ‘catfish.’ He says I’m all mouth and no brains.” ~ Dolly Parton

My crazy, here, there, everywhere, never home for more than 3 days at a time first part of summer has come to an end!

Whew!

It’s been a wild couple of months and my house and waistline can definitely tell.

My goals for this week are to cook 3 healthy meals, catch up on laundry and clean out the pantry and the refrigerator.

I can not guarantee that the pantry/fridge will get done but the washing machine is running and the groceries have been bought.

Tonight I used those groceries to make this light dinner that will hopefully help with the waistline.

It was fabulous!

Catfish with Corn Hash

  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 catfish filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp, remove from pan.

Add onion, bell pepper and thyme and cook to the bacon drippings and cook for 8 minutes, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constanlty. Stir in corn, red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes then stir in bacon.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika and black pepper. Rub mixture evenly over fish. Heat olive oil to medium-high heat in fresh skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until done.

Serve with corn mixture.

This is a recipe serves 2 but could easily be doubled or tripled.

 

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I love how simple this was, perfect for a busy weekday!

-abp

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” ~ Mario Andretti

You know what my favorite thing is about shrimp dishes?

How fast they cook!

Granted, for it to be quick, you need to buy peeled and de-veined shrimp. (worth every penny IMO!)

Although I’m at home most of the time now – my time is not my own, so quick and tasty meals are perfect for a week night meal.

This is a perfect example.

 Baked Greek Shrimp

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bottled clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese$
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine lemon juice, greek seasoning and shrimp in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add clam juice, wine, oregano, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp mixture. Place mixture in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese evenly over mixture.

Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until shrimp are done and cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley; serve over cooked orzo.

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“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Ahh, chicken noodle soup.

A classic.

I must admit – I have never craved or really wanted chicken noodle soup.

I’m not sure I have even had it when I was sick.

I mean, I’ve had Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, but nothing beyond that.

So what drew me to this recipe? I’m not sure.

Maybe it was the ease of it.

But I’m sure glad something did because now I am a huge fan and now I have a soup to take someone when they are under the weather.

I hope you find it as easy and enjoyable as I did.

Chicken Noodle Soup

(adapted from Yummy Mummy Club)

  • 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chopped or sliced carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks of fresh rosemary
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger (¼ inch thick)
  • 1 box chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Crazy Jane Seasoning Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Zoe’s seasoning (you could use an Italian or Greek blend seasoning)
  • 2-3 cups egg noodles

Place celery, carrots, onions, rosemary and ginger in bottom of crockpot. Top with seasoning. Pour in broth and wine and stir to mix.

Place chicken on top and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Remove Chicken, shred and return to crock pot.

Add in noodles and cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve with hot cornbread. 🙂

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium cooking onion, peeled and sliced (in large pieces so picky eaters can easily pick them out)
2 slices ginger (approx. 1/4 inch thick each), peeled
2-3 stocks fresh rosemary
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used a few more because the club-sized package was on sale)
1 container low sodium chicken broth (approx: 900mL—if not using wine add additional broth)
1 cup white wine (Optional but highly recommended)
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
2 cups egg noodles

– See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/maija-moments-canned-soup-mom/20121119/crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup#sthash.VYgYXNS9.dpuf

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium cooking onion, peeled and sliced (in large pieces so picky eaters can easily pick them out)
2 slices ginger (approx. 1/4 inch thick each), peeled
2-3 stocks fresh rosemary
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used a few more because the club-sized package was on sale)
1 container low sodium chicken broth (approx: 900mL—if not using wine add additional broth)
1 cup white wine (Optional but highly recommended)
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
2 cups egg noodles

– See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/maija-moments-canned-soup-mom/20121119/crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup#sthash.VYgYXNS9.dpuf

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“Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold.” ~ Andre Maurois

Last week was cold.

I mean stupid cold.

This is why I live in the south people!!! To avoid this kind of weather!!!

How do people up north deal with this on a yearly basis. I totally hibernated. And what goes well with hibernation?

Warm, comfort food!

(and red wine)

So that’s what we had for dinner.

Goulash

(adapted from the Deen Brothers)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Brown meat and onion in a large dutch oven, drain. Then add all remaining ingredients except for macaroni. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add macaroni and simmer for another 20 minutes. Then let goulash stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Goes great with hot cornbread!

goulash

Stay warm!

-abp

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” ~ Tom Peters

Happy New Year!!

2013 was a wonderful year for my family and I am looking forward to a lot of great times in 2014 – including a lot of firsts with my sweet Elizabeth.

Of course, sometime today we have to have our greens and black eyed peas for luck – not sure how I’m going to get the greens in but I have great way to get the peas in that will pair up perfectly with a lazy day of watching football.

Black Eyed Pea Dip

(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 1 can (14-ounce) Can Black-eyed Peas
  • 1/4 whole Onion, Chopped Fine
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 8 slices Jarred Jalapenos
  • 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Salsa
  • Hot Sauce, to taste
  • Salt And Black Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 350°.

Drain the black eyed peas and mash partly with a fork, leaving some whole.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and spread in an 8×8 baking dish.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Delish and very, very simple!

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Good luck to everyone in 2014!!

-abp

“When you win, nothing hurts.” ~ Joe Namath

Well, I’m a little sad.

You couldn’t ask for better fall football weather in the south, couldn’t ask for an opponent with fans just like ours (Ole Miss), nor could you ask for a better kick-off time for tailgating than 5:30.

But I am at home. 😦

I miss my tailgating family…..

I know I could have pushed my 8 month pregnant self to make the trek to campus but I also know about 30 minutes in to it – I would be miserable. My feet would most definitely swell and no fold out chair could be as comfortable as my big comfy chair with ottoman here at home, but most importantly – there would not be a bathroom one room over from me – the one I visit about every 15 minutes at this point.

So I will just have to make the most of it from home. We will chill in our comfy clothes, set a TV up on the back porch and fix a yummy supper.

Tonight’s meal will also be one of comfort.

Vegetable Beef Soup

(adapted from Ground Beef Budget)

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (I used mild)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cans whole new potatoes (drained and cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Brown ground beef and chopped onion, drain off grease.

2. Add flour and stir until incorporated.

3. Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.

****I added everything listed above but at the end added some of my favorite seasonings (Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Seasoning Salt and Zoe’s Seasoning) to get the flavor I preferred. Feel free to adjust to your liking as well.

This was a very, very simple soup to throw together but you would never know it by the full on flavor it delivered!!! I also doubled it so I could freeze half.

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Roll Tide.

-abp

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cans whole new potatoes (drained and cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni

– See more at: http://groundbeefbudget.com/2012/02/homemade-ground-beef-vegetable-soup/#sthash.GYHOVy28.dpuf

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cans whole new potatoes (drained and cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni

– See more at: http://groundbeefbudget.com/2012/02/homemade-ground-beef-vegetable-soup/#sthash.GYHOVy28.dpuf

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cans whole new potatoes (drained and cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni

– See more at: http://groundbeefbudget.com/2012/02/homemade-ground-beef-vegetable-soup/#sthash.GYHOVy28.dpuf