Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kid's Breakfast

Easy, make ahead breakfasts are my favorite. So, Saturday mornings I make a weeks worth of  oat pancakes
 The kids like to dip them in yogurt.
Served with some fruit on the side and it's a perfect breakfast!!

See these little darlings?

All baked and ready to go into baggies for the kids' breakfasts!

Mini pancakes are so much cuter then big ones! Or at least I think so~

Pancakes, blackberries, and some vanilla and strawberry yogurt for dipping. =)

Isn't this plate SO COOL??? Wanna know where to get one?! It's my kids' favorite plate!
----> Right Here <----

Chicken A 'la King

Chef George Greenwald of the Brighton Beach Hotel, created Chicken A 'la King in 1890s. He was an excellent cook and liked to prepare new dishes for his favorite customers. One summer afternoon, he prepared a special chicken dish for Mr. and Mrs. E. Clarke King and served it for supper. Mr. King thought it was wonderful and told Greenwald to put it on the menu. Chef Greenwald added to the menu and called it Chicken a 'la King after Mr. King. 

Well, I remember my mother making us Chicken A 'la King when we were kids. She hasn't made it in AGES but I called her yesterday knowing I had skads of chicken left over from the previous night's dinner and I really wanted to reminisce my childhood with one of my favorite foods!

Hearty, warm, cozy home cooked meals. Mmmm

Although, to hear it from Aerro, this meal will make you sick and you. will. die. if you eat it. At least he will. We had all the theatrics. Gagging, shuddering, shying away from the spoon, fake puking, the whole nine yards. At no extra cost! Being the mean, terrible mother I am, (ehem, sarcasm) I made him take two whole bites. And then he had leftover pizza. 

Avoni, on the other hand, ate two biscuits worth! Not bad for the peanut she is! 

I served it over cornmeal biscuits from the night before but my mom always served it over puff pastry shells. Yummy! So, without further ado, here is Chicken A 'la King.   

Chicken A 'la King 

2 cups chicken stock or broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
8oz cream cheese
1 can evaporated milk
3 cups cooked chicken
4 tablespoons green onions
1/2 cup cooked peas, carrots, cubed potatoes
1 tsp pimentos (optional)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, sage

In medium sized pot, bubble chicken broth and cornstarch for one minute. Add cream cheese and evaporated milk and slightly boil for 1 minute. Add chicken, green onions, and seasonings. Serve over biscuits, rice, puff pastry, whatever! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Let me start off by bragging my little head off. Because I feel that I have the right to brag. But first, a little back story.
When I was a kid, my mom never forced me to cook. If I wanted to, I could, but the parts I didn't like, she did for me. Like touching raw meat. I. Hated. Touching. Raw. Meat.
It made me nauseated. It made me gag. Yes. I was a sissy lily livered pansy. But that still didn't change the fact that once I got married, Craig did the major meat touching, rinsing, etc for me. Isn't he a doll? Haha. Anyway, on to the bragging part. 
I got this organic free range chicken. I knew it would make an amazing dinner and I was going to push through having to touch it. With gloves on, of course! Once I got it out of the packaging, I realized..
IT HAD A NECK ON IT. A real neck. Still attached. And I had to remove it.
Have you ever seen a dead, raw chicken neck?!???
GAG. And gag again. (that's the sissy part of me coming out)
I panicked. I called my mom. She laughed at me. I called Craig. He laughed at me, too. My mom said I could do it. Craig said he'd do it when he came home. 
I decided to be BRAVE! 
I got my sharpest Pampered Chef Bread Knife. I put my large gloves on. I grabbed that NASTY chicken neck by the base and I SAWED THAT DISGUSTING THING OFF. 

See? This is me bragging about how cool I can be sometimes.
And for all those who don't believe in waste, guess what..I threw it out anyway. Sick piece of nastyness...

But I DID make an amazing roasted chicken for dinner! I'm still beaming with pride. =) After that, touching raw meat is like a walk in the park. I'm officially cured of my phobia!
Now, on to the recipe. =)

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken
1 lemon
3 garlic cloves
1 onion
1 tablespoon each rosemary, sage, thyme
olive oil

Rinse chicken well. Pat dry. Slice lemon in half. Chop onion into quarters. Smash garlic cloves. Stuff all three into the cavity of the chicken. 
Combine herbs, salt, pepper, and a few drizzles of olive oil to moisten. Slather on chicken making sure to get some in between the skin and meat. This part is crucial to intensely flavorful chicken.
Roast on 350 for aprox 1.5 hours, uncovered, in a roaster pan. I use Pampered Chef's stoneware roaster.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before cooking to ensure the juice stays IN the chicken and doesn't drain out.
The end!
Oh, except be sure to strain and save the juices that do form! It will make an AMAZING gravy =) (that recipe will come later)

I added some brown rice, steamed veggies, and cornmeal biscuits to the chicken making it a complete meal. I loved the cornmeal biscuits warm. Once they got cold they weren't incredible, but I've yet to find a biscuit I enjoy cold! So, here's the cornmeal biscuit recipe!

Cornmeal Biscuits

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup shortening ( I use palm shortening)
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
additional cornmeal

 Heat oven to 450. Cut butter into flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 1/2" round cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet immediately.

p.s. the best way to make brown rice is to boil it in half water, half chicken broth. Amazing!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pineapple Ham

I needed a super quick dinner tonight.
Really quick.
So I caramelized some pineapple, added ham, badabing, badaboom, dinner!
Toss in some cubed, baked potatoes and some green beans and what dya know...full meal in under a half hour!
Pineapple always complements ham well, but when it's caramelized...mmmmm...perfection! 
Try it out =D

Pineapple Ham

1.5 tablespoons butter
2 cups pineapple
1 large ham steak
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice (if you're using canned pineapple, just used the juice in there)
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt to taste

Melt butter in large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Sautee pineapple until it's lightly golden on the sides, about 4-5 minutes. Add orange and pineapple juice and mustard. Heat sauce and add cubed ham steak. Heat through. That's it, folks!
Unless you want to do potatoes. In that case, wash and cube potatoes. Toss in olive oil, a dash of rosemary, some oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake on 400 until tender inside. 

Mongolian Beef

I have a confession to make.
I really don't like red meat. I don't hate it..but I don't technically enjoy it. Though I'm sure you figured that out with all my chicken posts. =D
But when I DO eat red meat, it's usually roast or fajitas or this style. Asian inspired.

This stuff was SPICY. So tone down the peppers if you want. I like my mouth to burn, so I kept the pepper count high. 

Mongolian Beef

2 pounds boneless sirloin tip roast
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper
3 whole dried red chile pepper
1/4 cup oil
2 bunches green onions, cut into pieces

Slice the roast into strips, and set aside. Combine well the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, brown sugar, crushed red pepper and whole chile peppers. Place beef in the mixture and coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer...I did several hours. 
In a skillet or wok, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium high heat. Add beef mixture and saute for 5 minutes, or until the beef is thoroughly cooked. Put green onions to the pan and saute for 30 seconds more, or until heated through.Serve over Asian noodles. Like these.........

The complete meal!

See? I can make red meat ;-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quesadilla =)

Today, I made pretty much the exact thing I made yesterday (Chicken Pepper Skillet) except I roasted the peppers instead of saute-ing them. The best description on how to roast peppers is at this link. 
You must try!

I then put 1/3 cup cheese with the red pepper/chicken mix, put it in a whole wheat tortilla, and grilled it to perfection. All for under 500 calories! And that's with salsa and a handful of chips!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken and Peppers Skillet

Quick, easy, and bursting with nutrients.
As busy as I am with three under three, it's vitally important to me to prepare healthy foods for my family. But time is quite sparse these days so it has to be quick! I pre-grill or bake chicken at the beginning of the week to use throughout the rest of the week in meals. Makes life easier, for sure!
And for those wondering, I do make red meat, too =) Just not as much as white!
This meal is perfect to serve over rice or in a tortilla wrap!

Chicken and Peppers Skillet

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed
2 Roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
3 Italian pepperoncinis (I use plain ones, not marinated)
1 hot pepper (I use Chinese purple, but a red pepper would suffice! or leave out of you don't like heat)
1 handful rinsed and minced cilantro
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
 Salt to taste

Saute peppers and tomatoes on medium heat, covered, until tender. (You don't need to use oil or anything as the tomatoes and peppers will sweat and form a juice of their own) Add chicken and cilantro and heat through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Serve over rice with salsa or in a tortilla wrap. Or with chips. Or taco shells. Or whatever else you can imagine up!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quinoa Salad

Last week, my dad emailed me a recipe. My dad never emails me recipes. Like...ever. So, beings he went to all that trouble, I figured I'd do the right thing and make it. It sounded kinda good...but I wasn't sure. See, my dad has what we call refined taste buds. Fried, fatty foods don't appeal to him. He's more a health nut now who only eats amazing tasting healthy foods. Like, you can't get him to eat a plain ole chicken breast. It has to be marinated in this, rubbed in that, and grilled to perfection where the juices are still on the inside etc etc etc. =)

But, see, I get him. I'm the same way. Why waste your time on boring food when there are so many cool combinations and recipes that taste amazing?!

So, off to the store I went in search of a few ingredients I didn't have. And I made the recipe. And..I don't regret it. Well, actually, I kinda do, because now I KNOW I will always need to have grapes and white wine vinegar and shaved almonds on hand at all times. Quinoa and chicken are always a staple around here, but the other things? Not so much. Craig went back three, yes, three times for this stuff. I have one teeny, tiny, serving left for my lunch today. I'm kinda excited for lunch. =)

Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Grapes, and Almonds

4-5 chicken tenderloins or 2 chicken breasts, cooked (I marinated in Italian dressing beforehand)
2 cups water
1 1/3 cups quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste
2.5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups green or red grapes, quartered
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted ( I put mine in a large pan and toasted them on med-high)

If you have pre-rinsed quinoa then don't worry but otherwise, rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa and a pinch of salt then reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Uncover and set aside to let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add the oil, whisking well. Add quinoa and toss to combine. Add chicken, grapes and almonds and toss again. Serve at room temperature or chilled. I liked it better after it chilled int he fridge for a while.

P.S. Glenda, I know you're gonna l.o.v.e. this stuff ;-)