Thursday, March 28, 2013

Favorite Things #49 - Blogging Friends

Earlier this week I came home to a package at my door which is always an awesome surprise. When I opened it I found a Pyrex divided dish in perfect condition...

Pyrex dish from Phyll and Khyra
Isn't it adorable? This is the Daisy pattern and I only have one piece in that set and it is one of my favorites. The package was sent by a friend that I know through blogging. We have never met but she was kind enough to send me this dish out of the blue just because she knew I would use it and love it.

I just wanted to take the time to thank Phyllis for the great package and to thank all of you that read and comment on my posts, it is what makes blogging so much fun for me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Chicken

This chicken dish is one that really hit home for me that I can make food at home that tastes even better than food at a restaurant. Granted this is just a quick Chinese stir fry, but it still sticks out in my memory as a triumph over my fear of making anything but the easiest of recipes.

The recipe is for Rachael Ray's General Tso's Chicken and it was absolutely delicious.

General Tso's Chicken

Do you have a dish you never thought you could make at home and you pulled it off?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crispy Onion Chicken

This recipe is brought to you by my husband's love for french fried onions. We always have a can in our pantry and I have never used them. Well one day at Sam's club he decided he needed the giant bag of fried deliciousness and I have been staring at them in the pantry ever since. I came across this recipe in Taste of Home and decided to give it a try.


You don't need much to make this dish, just some chicken, worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, ground mustard, butter and a GIANT bag of french fried onions. Ok, a 6 oz can will actually work. Preheat your oven to 350, grease up a baking dish and lets get cooking.

yummy flavors
Melt your butter and add in the worcestershire sauce, garlic, mustard and salt and pepper.

ready to coat
Crunch up your onions and get the butter mix in a shallow dish.

chicken taking a spin in the butter mixture
Roll the chicken through the butter.

getting crunchy
Roll the chicken through the onions.

getting ready to bake
Pop the chicken in your greased baking dish and pour the remaining butter mixture over the chicken. Bake this for about a half an hour and prepare a side while it cooks.

Trader Joe's Grilled Asparagus
I tried these Trader Joes asparagus that are in their freezer section. They were ok, a little too mushy for my taste.

Get your chicken out of the oven and plate it up.

Crispy Onion Chicken and Asparagus
I just squeezed some lemon juice on the asparagus and I was ready to eat. The chicken turned out crispy and delicious and the leftovers made an awesome stir fry later in the week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Best Thing I Ever Made - Spicy Stuff

When I saw the topic I knew I was going to have to post more than one recipe this week. While I have been trying for years to introduce new food to my husband, one thing he has definitely turned me on to is spicy food. I used to think I hated spicy food, but I just didn't have a tolerance for it. Now after years of 'practice' I find I really like a lot of spicy dishes. These are two that stick out in my memory as being totally amazing.

Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Cream Corn. I loved that corn so much. I loved the sweet, savory and spice. I only used jalapenos but a fresno would be awesome in that dish as well.

Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Creamed Corn
Doesn't it look delicious? I honestly can't say what I liked better, the corn or the pork.

This Korean Style Bulgogi sticks out in my memory because I used Sambal Oelek which is one of my now favorite recipe additions. This stuff is HOT but adds a great flavor. I have been using it a lot over the last 5 years since I posted this recipe.

Korean Style Bulgogi
This one is super simple and great for grilling season which is hopefully coming to the rest of you guys soon, it is definitely here in Arizona!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Perfect Pickler

I am going to walk through just how easy it is to use the Perfect Pickler for making tasty preserved vegetables.

Perfect Pickler
All you really need is sea salt, water, the veggie of your choice and a jar. I added in some pickling spice and red pepper flakes, but you don't even need those to make the vegetables taste good.

sea salt
They recommend using sea salt, and the pickler comes with this small bag of a Celtic sea salt. Other books I have read also recommend sea salt but the most important thing is to not use table salt.

making the brine
You need one tablespoon of salt for every 2 cups of water. This is all you need for the brine, but you can add other seasoning if you want.

spices in
I put the pickling spice and red pepper in the bottom of my jar.

loaded with asparagus
I then put in as much asparagus as I could fit, if you are doing cauliflower or onion, really pack the veggies down as tight as you can.

brine in
Pour the brine in and leave about an inch or so at the top.

press down to ensure everything is covered
Put the cup in the top and press down and then pour more brine around to fill the jar leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. You do not pour brine into the metal cup.

gasket in the lid
Put the rubber gasket in the lid.

Ready for the airlock
Put the lid on until it is just tight, don't over tighten.

airlock filled
Fill the airlock with water just to the max fill lines.

Plate under just in case
Put the airlock on and put the jar on a plate. I have never had anything bubble over, but better safe than sorry.

Note the date
Note the date and give it a try in 4 days. If it is not sour enough, leave it for another day and just keep tasting it. Once it is done to your liking put a lid on it and put it in the fridge.

Ready to eat!
As you can see the asparagus looks even greener than when the process started and is infused with vitamins and minerals. I eat a few pieces everyday at lunch and it is delicious!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Favorite Things #48 - The Perfect Pickler

One of the blogs I read regularly is The Healthy Beehive written by a super creative woman named Jane. I saw on her blog that she liked to do her own pickling and fermenting and I had recently been reading about the health benefits of fermented food. I decided to pick up a Perfect Pickler to give it a try.

The first thing I made was cauliflower. I was scared I was going to end up with a jar full of disgusting smelly grossness so I didn't take too many photos or plan to blog about it.

Attempting brine pickling #fermenting #perfectpickler
This is what it looked like after I just set it up. The airlock on the top makes it so air cannot get down into the food but allows air to escape. This makes it less risky for some kind of food poisoning disaster.

One more day and I get to taste my pickled cauliflower!
When it was almost time to taste the cauliflower the brine had turned cloudy, which is expected, so I was pretty excited. When I finally tried it, I loved it! It was not overly sour like a pickled veggie, but if I had let it continue to ferment it would have become more sour. I have since made onions and asparagus and both turned out awesome.

I got the following book, Real Food Fermentation from Amazon and it has taught me a lot also. I will be posting a step by step later this week to show you just how easy it is to transform food into something you can keep around in your fridge for weeks. I bought this with my own money and I am not being compensated in any way for this, I am just excited about another way to think about and work with food!

Have you ever made your own fermented food or done brine pickling?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Four Step Lemon Onion Chicken

Once again I found a winning recipe in my Food Network magazine, this is definitely one that you can whip up on any weekday. I made this full recipe because I can always find uses for leftover chicken breasts.

recipe Four Step Lemon Onion Chicken

ingredients minus stock
All you need for this is some flour, thyme, lemon, onion, butter, wine, chicken stock (late to the photo shoot) and some spinach. I chopped my onions the night before so I could just start cooking.

I put my spinach in my steamer and set it aside.

I seasoned my chicken on a cute Corelle plate.

Getting everything measured out before you start cooking can seriously save you from kitchen disasters. Get your flour down on a plate so you have that ready as well.

Combine the wine, chicken broth (ok mine was veggie but it was what I had on hand) and the lemon juice and you are ready to cook!

Heat some oil in a pan. I recently retired my non-stick All Clad pan after 10 years of using it at least three times a week. Luckily I had another as back up in the garage. There are perks to having a Mother in Law that works at Dillards.

ready to cook
I have everything ready including the foil to cover my chicken. I hate being hurried in the kitchen and I usually have two dogs at my feet so it is dangerous to be running around.

Dredge your chicken in the flour.

chicken in
Get it in the pan and cook for 3 minutes per side.

chicken flip
Looking yummy!

chicken out
Get it out of the pan on to another cute Corelle plate and cover with foil. Ok, the Corelle plate is not required but it makes me happy.

Do you think we love our dogs in this house or what?

Onions in! If you were using fresh Thyme that would go in now too. Let this cook for about 5 minutes.

drowning onions
Pour in the liquid and crank up the heat, scrape any tasty chicken bits off the bottom of the pan. Let that cook for about 10 minutes.

While that is cooking steam your spinach for about 3-5 minutes depending on how much you are making.

add in the butter
Once the liquid reduced, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter. Everything is better with butter!

Four Step Lemon Onion Chicken
Plate the spinach and then put the chicken and onion sauce on the top. This is simple, tasty and another winner from Food Network Magazine.

What is your favorite cooking magazine?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Favorite Things #46 - Sweet and Savory Combos

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I love anything that combines sweet and savory food. I love a little fruit in with my chicken or even some ice cream and potato chips! As I had mentioned at the beginning of the year Tom and I are trying to go to some new restaurants and we finally made it to a place called Croque which specializes in sandwiches.

Brie sandwich at croque
This is their Brie sandwich that has melty brie cheese, ham, tomato, lettuce, and cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce pushed this sandwich right over the edge of perfection for me. I also had them add some of their specialty garlic sauce. I paired it with delicious potato salad and it was a wonderful post baseball game meal.

What is your favorite bizarre combo?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Snack Food

My husband snacks on peanuts all the time but I am not a big fan of them. But if you pour delicious toffee over peanuts, I am all in! When I saw that the theme for this week was snack food, I knew I had to share this recipe. Working with sugar or candy kind of scares me but this recipe is so easy to make. Click here to learn how to make these super easy toffee peanuts.

Toffee Peanuts!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Soyrizo Stuffed Portabella

I am still loving the Soyrizo and was brainstorming what else I could do with it when I remembered a great Portobello pizza I made on the blog.

For this I just filled the portobello with about 3 tbs of the soyrizo and popped it into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. After that I put some mozzarella cheese on top and put it back in for about 10 minutes. I like crispy cheese but if you don't just keep an eye on it until the cheese is melted. When it came out I topped it with some green onion and enjoyed.

Soyrizo stuffed portabellos

You could make a million variations of this and it comes together in no time.

I finally googled to find out why these overgrown cremini mushrooms are spelled Portabella and also Portobello and while I didn't find out the 'why', I found out that the mushroom council has officially adopted the 'a' spelling. Learn something new everyday! Have a great weekend!