Follow by Email

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chicken Marsala

Well hello!  So this didn't turn out exactly how I planned, but it was still pretty good.  I will probably make some changes next time.  The sauce wasn't as brown and I felt it should have been and it didn't thicken as well either.  I had to add a little corn starch. 

5 thin chicken cutlets
2/3 cup of flour
Salt and Pepper
3 TBS Olive Oil
5 TBS butter
1/2 shallot, minced                                                           This is what I
5 cloves of garlic, minced                                                 mean when I
1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms                                            say "minced"
1/2 cup of Marsala
1/4 cup of Sherry
2 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup of half and half
Sprinkle of Parsley
 Hot cooked pasta

The chicken I used was already very thin, but if you buy regular chicken then just slice in half, lengthwise, and pound the hell out of it until its about 1/4 inch thick.  Or, be lazy and buy it already like that.

Heat heavy pan on med high

Trim chicken and season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour.  Shake off any excess.

Add 2 TBS of butter and 1 TBS of olive oil.  Add chicken in batches, don't over crowd.  Cook a few minutes on each side until cooked through.  Set aside on paper towed lined plate.

Once all chicken is done, add another TBS of butter and the mushrooms.  Cook 1-2 mins until they start to brown, add the shallots and garlic.  Cook about 2 more minutes. 

Deglaze with Marsala and Sherry and allow to cook until reduced by almost half.

Add the chicken broth to the mix and turn down to med low heat.  Add chicken back in for a few minutes to heat through. 

Add about 1/4 cup of half and half and stir.  Top with parsley and serve over hot cooked pasta.

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper on top.  That's how I roll. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chicken Makhanish

I researched a bunch of different recipes and then threw this together.  My first attempt at Indian food and it wasn't a total failure. 

3 TBS olive oil
1 lb of chicken, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 inch of garlic, grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBS butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 plain yogurt
1 cup half and half
1 can of tomato sauce (you can use puree or crushed, I don't do chunks)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of water, 1 TBS cornstarch

You need to prep this stuff first, because once you get going, it goes fast.  I'm more of a shake-as-you-go kinda girl.  But there a lot of stuff so do yourself a favor. 

Cut your chicken into pieces, set aside
I used my little hand chopper thing and minced (again, no chunks) the shallot, onion and garlic, set aside
Grate your ginger, set aside
Mix all the spices in a bowl, including the bay leaf, set aside

Ok, lets go.

Heat 2 TBS of oil and sauté chicken over high heat.  Just get a little brown on it and remove w a slotted spoon. It doesn't have to be done yet, just a little brown.

Add another TBS of oil and bring heat back up, med-high.  Add the shallot/onion/garlic mixture and stir.  Don't let it burn.  Add the butter.

Once the butter is melted add the lemon juice and your spices and let the heavenly scent fill your nostrils and take you to the, IDK, hot streets of India?  What's awesome in Indian?  It's not like they have majestic mountains, babbling brooks or rolling hills. Or do they? Whatever, it smells amazing.  Stir about for literally like 30 seconds. 

Add the can of tomato sauce.  Add the chicken back to the party.  I put on medium heat and allowed the chicken to finish cooking.  About 15 minutes or so.  Clean your mess up, you have time now.

Turn down to low then add the half-and-half and the yogurt.  Add slowly so it doesn't curdle. 

Mix the water and corn starch and add to the mix.  Heat another few minutes to thicken.  Serve with rice. 

It was good.  Not my favorite dinner in the whole world.  I will say, it was better the next day at lunch.  Husband loved it! 

Pictures?  Yeah, so about that.  I forgot. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lazy Beef Stroganoff

Good evening!  Beef Stroganoff is one of my favorite meals, however, I'm lazy.  And tired, and busy and and and...u get the idea. 

1 package of thin sliced beef (I used the precut stir fry beef in the meat section) Sliced into 3 strips.  You need it very thin, we don't have all day here
1 Large jar of beef gravy (I know, I'm going to culinary hell)
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp parsley
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 cup of light sour cream
Package of hot cooked egg noodles (I used whole wheat)

Heat heavy pan on high heat and add olive oil
Add beef to the pan and fry on high heat for a min or so, just to brown a bit.  Season with salt and pepper.  I like a lot of pepper, but go easy on the salt.  The gravy will be salty enough.  Process demons trying to kill us with sodium intake. 
It released a lot of juice so I put a lid on it and allowed it to cook for about 10 minutes until most of it was absorbed.  Remove lid and add Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine.
Add remaining spices and jar of beef gravy.  Reduce to med heat and put a lid on it.  I let it simmer for about 20 minutes or so and unloaded the dishwasher.  Unloading of the dishwasher is optional. 
When your just about ready to serve add the sour cream.  Stir to combine and allow to heat through, make sure it's on low so it doesn't start to curdle.
Serve on top of your egg noodles in your most presentable Rubbermaid container. 

Before you think I'm total white trash, feeding my family out of Rubbermaid containers, I forgot to take a photo until I was packing up for lunches the next day.  Don't be so judgy!   

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Brocccoli Bites with Tiger Sauce

If you've ever been to Copeland's and not tried their Bayou Broccoli with Tiger sauce, then you haven't lived!  These are in no way as delicious as Copeland's, but they are a slightly healthier version that will work.   

1 package of frozen broccoli in a steam bag (1.5 cups)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and Pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup of cheese (I used cheddar)
3 TSB of parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs

Cook broccoli in microwave according to package directions
Drain broccoli and blend in a blender until mush
Add spices, egg, both cheeses and 1/4 cup of panko (mix and if too soupy add more panko)
Roll into balls and then roll in remaining panko to coat outside.
Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375 until brown.  I did about 15 minutes and then turned and did another 10. 
Serve this delicately on a paper plate

Tiger Sauce:
1/2 cup of Mayonnaise
1/4 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/2 TBS Cajun seasoning
1 TBS white vinegar
2 TBS prepared horseradish

Mix to combine, chill until ready to use. 

Cheeseburger Slop

I was rather tired, annoyed and not in the mood to think.  I also kinda wanted a burger, but was too lazy to fire up the grill so I threw this "slop" together.  I joke because my husband said it was one of the best dinners I'd made in a long time.  So here is where you have to choose to accept the compliment and say thank you, or be a bitch (wtf are you talking about, I just made ur favorite dinner last night). 

Well I stuttered for a moment and then went with a gargled Thanks. 

How it is it that a compliment can also be a gab?  I think it's because I'm a woman.  Anyways, you don't want to hear me ramble about, here's how I made it:

Small bag of yellow potatoes (the tiny baby kind) washed and sliced into quarters.
(If you feel real lazy, use 4 cups of southern hash browns)
Olive oil
Cajun seasoning
1 LB of ground beef
1 TSB Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp steak seasoning (I use Penzeys Montreal)
Liberal dashes of Cayenne Pepper.  We like spicy, adjust to ur taste
Salt and Pepper
1 cup of Ketchup
1/4-1/2 cup of regular yellow mustard
3/4 cup of cheese (estimate)
Serve with extra ketchup, mustard and pickles

Preheat to 400 degrees.
Mix potatoes with olive oil, arrange in a single layer in a deep 13x9 in basking dish.  Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, about 1/2 tsp or so.  Throw it in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the ground beef (I use lean, so there isn't any fat)
Add Worcestershire sauce and spices.  Sitr to combine. 
Reduce heat and add ketchup and mustard.  Taste and add mustard as needed. 
Remove potatoes and loosen from the bottom with a spatula, but keep in a single layer.
Pour ground beef mixture on top of potatoes and top with cheese. The cheese is not the star, don't over do it.  Just a little cheese. 
Serve with ketchup, mustard and pickles. 
Add bacon, it would be delicious, but I didn't have any. 

It was rather delicious, if I do say so myself.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sesame Crock Pot Chicken

So this is kind of an experimental recipe.  Let's see how it goes.

3 BLSL chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 onion (I popped the thing in whole)
1/2 red bell pepper (sliced big)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TBS onion powder
1/2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS ketchup
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Sesame seeds

Line your crock pot with one of those crock pot liners.  Don't have one?  Go buy one, I'll wait.

Put onion and red pepper on bottom of crock pot. Add chicken, then top with sauce.  (I guess I should have told you to combine everything else, except sesame seeds in a bowl and whisk)

Cook on low for 4 hours (high for 1-2) or until chicken is done. 

Remove chicken from crock pot.  Combine 2 TBS of corn starch and 3 TBS of water. Add to pot to thicken.

************yeah don't make this.  It needs a lot of work.  Something to make it sour, fish sauce?
Also, ditch the crock pot.  It wasn't bad when I put it in a real pot on the stove.  Reduced and then thickened with the slurry.  We'll try again. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Beef Stew

Fall is here!!!  My favorite time of year, well, it's mostly wishful thinking.  Florida's fall is 5 cooler days with a breeze and then it's hot again until January.  Nonetheless, the fall cooking comes out! 

I've made beef stew before and will probably make it different every time, but this is the way it went this time:

2 lbs of stew meat
3 lbs of yellow potatoes (the smaller ones, leave whole, scrub skins)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 in pieces
1 mack daddy sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, quartered
3/4 cup of red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
1-2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 carton of reduced sodium beef stock
2 cups of water
cupish of flour
olive oil
3 springs of thyme
1 TBS garlic powder
1/2 TBS smoky paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 Bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Heat a dutch oven to med high heat.  Salt and pepper the beef and dredge in flour, shake off excess.

Add olive oil and heat until it just barely smokes, add the beef in batches, don't over crowd.  Don't over brown either!  Set meat aside (add more oil if needed) 

Add onion and brown just a tad, don't over do it!  (I leave the onions as big as I can. I love the flavor, but hate biting into an onion.  Yuck!)

Deglaze pan with red wine, stirring to get the brown bits off the bottom.  Add Worcestershire sauce, I may have done more like 2 TBS, but whatever tickles your fancy.  I love Worcestershire!!  Keep stirring and add tomato paste.  Stir until reduced and starts to bubble a bit.

Add beef stock and water.  Add veggies and remaining spices.  Turn to low and cook 1.5-2 hours. 

Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  Service with rice and cornbread! 

If it needs a little thickening add a corn starch slurry....I know, stone me. 

****My husband bought me a dutch oven for Christmas last year and I love that thing!  I don't know how I've lived this much with out it.  Someone put it in the dishwasher, by mistake, and when I found it I very loudly GASPED and my hubs ran into the kitchen asking what was wrong.  Then, swore 6 ways to Sunday that he didn't put it in there.  Obviously, I didn't think he knew we had a dishwasher, much less put something in there! If you don't have a Dutch oven, go get one.  Right now.  I'll wait. 

Happy Sunday!

I forgot to take a picture all pretty on a dinner plate, so this is the packed for lunch version.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Dinner

Jalapeno Poppers

3 medium sized jalapenos
3 TBS cream cheese
2 slices of bacon

Preheat to 375 degrees
Slice jalapenos lengthwise and scrape out seeds and white membrane, unless you like the spice, then leave some of the membrane. 
Spread cream cheese into each jalapeno. I like just enough to fill to the top, but not mounded up.
Wrap with bacon and bake until bacon is crisp.

Obviously you can make many more if you like, but it was just the 2 of us and we didn't need a truck load!
These were delicious!!! 

Potatoes Au Gratin?
These were not your traditional Au Gratin, it was more of a potato cake, maybe?  Anyways. 

5 Red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16 of an inch thick.  Break out your mandolin, you will need it.
3 generous TBS of horseradish cheddar cheese spread, softened
salt and pepper
sprinkle of paprika
3 TBS bacon bits
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat to 350 degrees
After slicing potatoes layer in a single layer on bottom of greased pie dish.  I did it in a big circle, then smaller and so forth.  I did two layers and then I would spread about 1 TBS of the cheese spread on top.  About half way through I added the salt, pepper, and paprika. Repeat with remaining spuds.
Bake for 50 minutes, cover with foil if the top browns too much. 
Remove from oven and top w bacon bits and grated cheese, return to oven 10 more minutes to melt.
Allow to cool before cutting. 

Here's a picture of the Potato thing after I sliced it.  Perfect little pie pieces, I put some ranch on top of mine. 

Behind there in the back are Feta Stuffed Mushrooms.  I've posted the recipe before.  They are a favorite at my house!

Boneless Chicken Wings

1lb BLSL chicken tenderloins
11/2 cups of hot sauce (I used Franks)
2 cups flour
salt and pepper
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
onion powder
oil for frying

Cut chicken tenders into small pieces, about 3 per tenderloin, and place in a ziplock, add hot sauce.  Marinade as long as you can, I did about 6 hours.
Heat oil to 350 degrees and remove chicken from hot sauce, discard remaining sauce. 
Mix flour and spices together, just eye ball it.  I use a lot of this and a little of that, whatever you like.
Dredge chicken in flour and fry in oil.  Took about 6 minutes each batch.  I did 5 per batch, don't over crowd.
Drain on paper towels and service with Ranch!  I mixed Ranch and some of the Franks hot sauce to make a "Cajun ranch". 

Apple Muffins

1 yellow cake mix
2 Granny Smith apples
2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Splash of vanilla (1/2 tsp)

Preheat to 350 degrees. 
Peel and chop apple into very small pieces. It's not apple sauce, so don't get crazy. 
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, add chopped apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  Stir to combine.
Divide into paper lined muffin cups and bake according to package directions. 
If you want them a little sweeter add some brown sugar and butter to the top.  They were good either way. 

Metro Diner

Metro Diner is a little hole in the wall near downtown Jacksonville, about 30 minutes from where we live.  They have been featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  We have heard nothing but amazing things about it from our friends.  We decided to try....AMAZING!  My husband and I had the chicken and waffles.  The fluffiest, most delicious waffle ever.  We opted for tenders in lieu of the bone in chicken.  They serve it with a sweet and spicy sauce, which is syrup with a little hot sauce.  Sounds weird, but it was really good.  I was covered in syrup and hot sauce by the end of the meal.  I have a problem.  Our friends joined us, as well.  Eric had a breakfast burrito that was the size of his head and Kathryn had a breakfast pie.  It looked like a frittata, they both loved their meals as well.  I wish I had taken a picture before I began to devour my food, but I forgot so you are left with this. 

Italian Chicken

No big story here, I just needed to get dinner on the coffee table in front of the TV so I would have a happy husband.  It's not a very impressive meal at all really. 

Italian Chicken:
8 chicken breast tenders
2 cups Italian dressing

I marinated the chicken all day while I was at work.  I wanted to make some fancy smancy marinade for it, but I didn't have time and I threw it in a bag with the Italian dressing.  I use wishbone if I don't have time to make my own.  I was going to grill them, however, that is difficult when you realize you are out of propane.  Whoops!  Plan B!  I cooked 2 pieces of sausage as well, because I didn't know if the chicken would be enough to fill my honey's tummy.  I used the grease from that to cook the chicken.  I cooked it on pretty high heat, med high maybe?  It took maybe 8 minutes to cook them through.  I turned the heat to low and put a loose lid on it to keep them hot while I made the mashed potatoes and the crab. They tasted as delicious as they looked and were so tender.

Mashed potatoes are amazing.  I think russet potatoes make the absolute worst mashed potatoes.    I used yellow potatoes and added just a little roasted garlic, salt, pepper, cream cheese, butter (of course) and some half and half. Pretty simple.

Imitation Crab:
Melt about 1 TBS of butter over high heat, add the crab.  Season w salt and pepper, little garlic powder, and cook until starts to brown.  Took about 6 minutes.  We love real crab and imitation crab so I don't do much to it.  We love it just like it is.  You may not be so lucky, we have simple tastes. 

Balsamic Vinegar Pizza Pizza!

I like to make pizzas when I either have left over meat I need to use, or I don't have a lot of something left.  I made my husband BBQ chicken, bacon pizza (recipe is on here somewhere) and I made this little guy for myself.  I purchased a ridiculously expensive bottle of balsamic vinegar, aged 15 years!  It is delicious, almost a syrup! 

1 ready made pizza crust
1/2 cup of cooked chicken (I cooked w garlic, salt, pepper and a little cayenne)
2 TBS pizza sauce
3/4 cup of shredded gouda (I would use mozz next time, Gouda was all I had at the time)
1/2 TBS basil flakes
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

It's not rocket science, but the pizza sauce goes first, then the cheese, add your chicken, sprinkle the basil and then drizzle just a little of the vinegar on top and bake it.  450, about 10 minutes. 
Pretty good, not going to set the world on fire.  The BBQ chicken one was better. 

Chicken Pad Thai

I finally found tamarind paste at Whole Foods!  Oh happy day!  I love Pad Thai!!  Given the opportunity, I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It's my favorite food in the whole world.  I would need some of those curry crab rangoo0ns from time to time, obviously.

This is my first attempt and it wasn't bad, but wasn't amazing either.  We ate it, I had heart burn, and I know what I did wrong.  While making the sauce I thought I didn't have enough for the noodles I was using, so I doubled it.  Which was a mistake.  I also deviated from the recipe because, well, who doesn't love lime juice.  My recipe with be minus the lime juice in the sauce, but not squeezed on top, that my friends, is amazing!

4 BLSL chicken breasts, cut very small
1 package of rice noodles
3 large eggs
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 TBS tamarind paste
1 TSB rice vinegar
3 TSB fish sauce
3 TBS palm sugar (mine were in little circles, I used one)
1 TBS chili sauce, or to taste

Garnish with:
bean sprouts (yuck)
lime wedges (yum)

Start soaking your rice noodles in warm water 15-20 minutes.  They should be pliable, but still firm. 
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a pot and heat until it smells awful and the sugar is dissolved.  Keep warm until ready to use.

My wok is not very good, so I don't scoot around and cook multiple things at once.  I heat a little butter and make my eggs, then set aside. 
Add oil (I used sesame) and cook chicken, season w salt and pepper until no longer pink.  It will only take a few minutes. 
Once the chicken is cooked, drain your noodles and add to the wok, I have it pretty hot at this point and stir fry.  Add your sauce and cook for about 3 minutes until your noodles are perfect.  Do not over cook or you will have mush. 
Remove from wok completely. Garnish and eat!! 

We did enjoy it, but it was not exactly what I was looking for. 

Steak House Dinner

My friend turned me onto this store called Fresh Fields Farm, it's directly from the farm. Cheaper, fresher and delicious-er! I bought pretty much everything you see here, with the exception of the sausage, from there.  Everything was delicious.  I'm still working on perfecting my steak doneness and texture, I haven't had much practice with it.  As you can see, we eat a lot of chicken! 

Pull it out of the fridge about 30 mins prior to cooking.  Pat dry and season both sides w salt and pepper.
On high heat drizzle a little oil and sear one side of the stead for 3 minutes.  Don't touch it!  Flip and do the other side for 3 minutes.  Top w a pat of butter on top of each and throw in a 450 degree oven for 7 minutes.  Take it out and cover w foil for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle w parsley.

In that pan you just used I added 2 handfuls of sliced mushrooms, with a little garlic and chopped shallots. Sauté until soft, then deglaze with some wine.  Whatever you have.  I had a bottle of chardonnay already opened, go 2-3 circles around the pan and allow to reduce.

Heat butter on high heat in a pan.  Add scallops and allow to sear, takes just a few minutes on each side.  I just seasoned w salt and pepper....they were delicious!

Brussel Sprouts:
2 sausages links, cut into bite sized pieces
15 sprouts, cut in half, cleaned
salt and pepper

Over med high heat, brown the sausage.  I like it really brown, almost burnt. 
Once the sausage has a little color, add the brussel sprouts and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.  Season w salt and pepper, liberally!  Once they are to your desired doneness, eat um!
I like them soft, but not mush, this isn't broccoli. 

Dinner was delicious, my cut of meat was the "cheap one" so I got the nicer ones this shopping trip.  I'm going to try the broiler next time and see the difference. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Well here it is! Mega Breakfast II. The menu:
Scrambled Eggs
Sausage Patties
Sausage Links
Baked Grits
Hashbrown Casserole
Sausage Gravy
Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This is us about to devour this massive amont of food. Look how happy and smiley everyone is....before we all began to hurt! The guy in the green is my hubs, Christopher. Then my BFF Kathryn and her husband Eric. Christopher said he loved the sausage gravy the most. Kathryn and Eric, for the most part, will eat anything!

This is the rest of my crew. Allison, part of my BFF crew and that's her husband Brett. All the way in the back is Matthew, Allison's brother. The three of them live next door to us. Matthew is a griller and I'm slowly, but surely, getting better at manin' the grill. Matthew lets me grill sometimes. Brett has been home for a year now, but he was stationed over in Afganistan (I think) so Allison would come over and be my tester. Matthew is awesome to cook for because he very delicately critizes, but also tells me what he thinks would correct it or make it better....but when he tells me it's great, I believe him. My husband is less constructive, but he tries. I still love him!

So, here is my plate, pretty full eh? It was soo delicious! I haven't made sausage gravy in yeeaarrss, but it turned out great. In fact, I'm about to go heat up the left overs and eat them for breakfast right now. I think I'll take a break and do that.

So I did it all in about an hour and a half. I got up at 7:30 (but I spent about 45 minutes cleaning my house!) Here's the process, recipes to follow...that is if Allison will ever give me the receipe for the chocolate chip pancakes! She makes great pancakes so I outsource those! Everything else I made.

Preheat oven to 375 and line your biggest sheet pan w/ bacon. They can over lap a little, but try to have them as flat as possible (I had to do 2 pans....lots of bacon!) Throw it in the oven and forget about it for about 1/2 hour or so. Actually, don't forget about it- Keep checking it because I over crisp'ed the first batch.

Start the water for the grits and bring to a boil. Meanwhile start the hashbrown casserole. I left the hashbrowns out in the fridge so they would cook faster, assemble the hashbrown casserole and set aside. Grits should be done now, finish assembling that and set aside.

You should be taking out the second set of bacon about now. Turn the oven down to 350 and throw both in the oven. Now take a quick break (I unloaded the dishwasher, but its your break do what you want!)

The two casseroles take about 45 minutes so I made sure they got in the oven by 9:45. Now all you have left is the meats, gravy, biscuits and eggs. Now start your sausage gravy. While I was making that I was going to make real biscuits, but my friends insisted that we just open a can (I know, they're a little lame sometimes) So we opted for canned biscuits (don't tell any one!) Start the other 2 sausages in a pan, they finish about the same time. Pop the biscuits in the oven and make your eggs. That was my process and it all came together right about 10am. So I supposed you want recipes...

Hashbrown Casserole:

1 bag frozen hash browns (leave um in the fridge over night)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2-3/4 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups of cheese
2/3 cup of cooked diced ham
garlic powder
onion powder
1-1/2 TBS of hidden valley ranch (they make a big canister now of the packets, I put it on everything!)
salt and peppa!

I browned the ham in a skillet for a few minutes. In a bowl mix potatoes and spices.
Add soup cheese (save about 1/2 cup), and sour cream.
Throw in the ham and mix well. Fits nicely in a 13x9 in pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes

******This was the favorite.

Sausage Gravy
This is soooo ridiculasly easy!

1 tube of Jimmy Dean sage sauage
4 TBS of flour
3-4 cups of milk

Brown sausage and break apart. We like small pieces of sausage, but if you like it big then go for the big (thats what she said!)
Once it's brown sprinkle, one at at time, a tbs of flour and stir. Make sure the flour is cooked long enough to brown, don't burn it, but cook it for a bit so it doesn't taste like flour!
Add milk slowly and whisk into the sausage/flour pastey stuff. I used 3 cups of milk, but it was really really think. I'd probably go for the 4th cup next time...but thats just me. Let it simmer while you make the eggs.

***close 2nd, but not the favorite.

I love NYC, baby!

 My cousin, Melody, lives in the NYC area and we go stay with her to visit and add to the tourism of that fine city.  Melody, owns her own business and normally isn't able to spend much time with us.  When I grow up, I wanna be like her.  She's a bad ass who doesn't take shit from anyone, but has such a caring side.  She's truly a wonderful person. 

Anyways, we have been there a few times so we did some different things we haven't had the extra time to do.  We were there the first week of December, I know....I'm way behind. 

The food in NYC is unbelievable.  We went to Chelsea Market, which for a foodie, is like Disney World. 

We wanted to sit down for lunch so we stumbled into this restaurant, Old Homestead, I think was the name of it.  It was a high end type place, which we didn't know.  She asked for the name my reservation was under.....uh, well I'm here.

 I had this beast of a burger.
It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but when you see what my Husband had, you will realize I was cheated. 

Christopher had this little stack here.  I know you think that the filet is really small, but the shrimp is really THAT big.  The bottom is a potato cake, topped w a filet and then topped with the biggest shrimp I have ever seen!  It was as big as a baby's arm!  He ate it with a knife and fork, true story!
This is me in Melody's condo in Hoboken, NJ.  I did my hair, it's rare, but it does happen. 

We took a cooking class in Manhattan at Sur La Table.  It was remedial, but we had a great time, nonetheless.  Christopher can't make a pop tart, so it was perfect for him.  We were paired with another couple to help prep and take turns at the stove.  This is Christopher, cooking us up some scallops.  He did a fabulous job, as they were amazing! 

He was not too sure about what to do, he kept look at me asking if he needed to flip them yet. 
He was zesting a lemon and stopped for a pose.  This is too easy! 
It was my turn, I made the sauce for the scallops.  We had a really good time.  The instructors did a good job helping us. 
The finished product.  We made green beans with a vinaigrette, seared scallops with a finishing sauce, baked salmon with garbanzo beans and tomatoes. 

We would do it again! 

Well hello!

This is the potato soup I made, it wasn't anything special, but I took a picture and thought you should see it.  I need to play w the recipe a little before it goes live!

This is my Cheesy Chicken and Corn Chowder.  It was better than the potato soup, but still not a winner.  I feel like it needs a little recognition, as I ate it for 2 days.  Good, not great.  I'll get back to you on this one.

On a side note, I had a total "me" day and it was wonderful.  My hubs was working and everyone had things going on.  I needed a day.  I ate lunch at one of my favorite Thai restaurants and then headed over to Riverside to hit a few antique stores.  Riverside, for those of you who don't live here, has a lot of character.  Old, beautiful, historical homes, parks, trendy stores, cool restaurants.  There is a Starbucks and a Wendy's that is totally out of place, but whatever.  I went shopping for hours and hours in these 2 little antique stores.  I had such a great time.  After, I grabbed a drink and some frozen yogurt and sat by the river in Memorial Park.  I met the cutest little Dalmatian puppy, named Noah.  He was such a doll and wanted to play so badly.  His owner, couldn't pick him out of a line up, nor do I remember his name.  But Noah, I remember him.   There's me, post yogurt!
That's the sun behind me, I'm not really an angel!

Creamy Chicken and Rice

I just sort of threw this together one night as a quick dinner.  The chicken was very tender and moist and my husband really liked it.  He's a bit of a tough critic.  I am guessing at the measurements.  

4 BLSL chicken breasts
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 TBS olive oil

The Sauce:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2-3 TBS chicken broth

Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in a pan on high heat.  Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and season with cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper.  I go generous with the cayenne, we like spicy!  Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, except the chicken broth and mustard.

Lay chicken pretty side down in the hot oil and fry until the sides start to turn white, then flip and repeat.  It probably took 3-4 mins per side.  They don't have to be done, just very brown.  Not burnt, there's a difference.

Remove chicken and set aside for a hot minute.  Add chicken broth.  I added just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan.  It should sizzle a bit, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan, reduce heat to low and add sauce mixture.  Stir to combine with the chicken broth, add the mustard.  Can you add the mustard in the big bowl w the other stuff?  I don't know, maybe, but I didn't.  Add your chicken back to the pan, put a lid on it and let'er go for about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking.  Grab a glass of wine, make some bread, yell at  your husband, do what you want.  This is your 15-20 minutes. 

Serve over rice, you could do pasta if that tickles your fancy. I forgot to make bread, but he didn't even notice. 

Next time, I think I might add some mushrooms or peas.   

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This was amazing.  I am a genius!  Just kidding, but seriously!

2 TBS olive oil
4 BLSL chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 sausage links (cut into small pieces, I use Johnsonville New Orleans)
1/4 cup of yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 TSB garlic powder (I didn't have fresh)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp parsley'1/2 tsp cayenne
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper (I used a healthy sprinkle)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 c masa flour
8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
3/4 cup of enchilada sauce
salt and pepper to taste

in a dutch oven, cook sausage util browned, set aside.  Add 1 TSB of olive oil, add chicken and cook until no longer pink, set aside. 
Heat another TSB of olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until cooked to hell and almost not there.
Add chicken broth and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. 
combine masa with 1 cup of water, whisky to combine.  Add to broth.
Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, chicken and sausage and remaining spices, bring to a boil.
Add cheese about 20 minutes prior to serving.
Garnish with with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips and sour cream. 

My husband told me this was the best soup ever.  That the soup man (from Seinfeld) would want the recipe.  I thought it was delicious, maybe not Soup Man quality, but it was good.  I should know, it made a giant pot and I ate it for days.  The hubs, who hates left overs, ate it again, too.