Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Roasted Vegetables

So I tried out a few different ways to roast vegetables since I'm pretty picky about the whole thing :). I eventually came up with this and to me it is PERFECT! I'm just now getting around to posting about it because every time I make it I end up eating all of it before I can snap a pic.

But this time, I was making a huge amount so I could have it for the week along with some chicken for lunches (chicken at the bottom of the post).

I have been completely forgetting to each lunch lately (perks of having 3 kids and one of them just 4 months old right?) so I figured it was time to do some make-ahead stuff! This is my favorite way for the veggies!

What you will need:
  • Red potatoes, quartered
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli, chopped
  • Green beans
  • Or whatever vegetables you like
  •  Preheat oven to 400*
  • Drizzle baking sheet with olive oil
  • Lay the potatoes on the baking sheet and roll around in the oil
  • Add whatever seasonings you like to the potatoes
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Add the rest of the vegetables onto the baking sheet
  • Season again and add a little more oil for the extra vegetables
  • Bake for another 25 minutes
Here's my chicken! I just get a package of the chicken tenderloins (they come with about 20) and lay them out on a baking sheet. Add seasonings (I did different seasonings for each row) and bake at 375* for 25 minutes.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chicken Strips

Have you ever been to Texas Roadhouse and wondered how they get their chicken strips to be all bumpy (or anywhere with bumpy chicken strips for that matter)? Cause I have. I love them! I've finally found a way using my trusty Pioneer Woman!

What you will need:
  • Chicken tenderloins (I think I made around 20 and the flour/buttermilk called for was still plenty for that amount)
  • Buttermilk ( 1 1/2 C to soak the tenders and another 1/2 C or so for later)
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 2 T spices of your choice (original calls for 2-3 tsp Lawry's Seasoning Salt. We're a little freaky about flavor so we dumped in Lawry's, a Butt Rub and some Creole)
  • Enough oil to fill about an inch in a large cast Iron skillet or fryer of your choice
  • In a large bowl, soak the tenders in 1 1/2 C buttermilk for 20-25 minutes. It breaks down the chicken and makes 'em all nice and tendery
  • Meanwhile, in a 9x13" baking dish, dump 1 1/2 C flour and slowly drizzle in 1/2 C of buttermilk all around the flour while you do whisking motions with a fork. It will make some of the flour clumpy. You want it to be so that there's an even amount of dry flour and clumpy flour throughout the baking dish (IMPORTANT: You really want to use the 9x13" baking dish for this. I tried to use a bowl and it was much much harder!)
  • When the chicken tenders have soaked, start heating up your oil (you want it to around 375*)
  • Plop a few chicken tenders into the flour mixture and coat them. They will have clumps on them. You want this!
  • Place the chicken to the side like on a baking sheet or somewhere for them to sit while you're frying them up
  • Place a few at a time into the oil to fry each side (about 1 1/2 minutes per side)
  • Done!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eats of the Week

Late Easter Dinner at my Mom and Dads. I brought:

Green beans


(My daughter's elementary school's fundraiser night!)




Mashed Potatoes

This is actually my husbands recipe! It is so important to have a great way to make your mashed potatoes. Everyone is different in how they like theirs, and the second we tasted these, we knew this was it. This was our favorite. Everyone that has had them has raved about them! I'm not sure's so simple. I don't know why this tiny combination makes them so much better. But it does! I get a little annoyed by mashed potato recipes that get a little over the top, so it's nice to have a simple way that makes a great difference!

What you will need:
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cubed (if you want to get particular, half Russet potatoes and half Yukon Gold is perfection)
  • Heavy Cream
  • 2 T butter
  • Boil your cubed potatoes until fork tender (about 20-30 minutes depending on how large your cubes are)
  • Drain the potatoes and dump them into a large bowl
  • Mashed the potatoes up a bit
  • Pour in some heavy cream a little at a time until it reaches the consistency you want
  • Add in the butter and mash 
  • Add salt & pepper to taste

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

Another Pioneer Woman Recipe. Can you blame me?! I'll be honest, though. This recipe was pretty delicious, however, all of the flavorings were on the skin on the outside and never really sunk into the chicken itself. So I'd adjust my tactics next time to fix that! My kids devoured these, though, so I guess it didn't really matter to them!

What you will need:
  • 24 whole chicken legs (I think I used 18)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 T of your favorite seasonings (I don't remember what I used, but I know I threw some garlic in there somewhere)
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Melt butter in sauce pan
  • Add lemon juice and seasonings to melted butter
  • Rinse and pat chicken legs dry
  • Using tongs, grab each leg and dunk it into the melted butter
  • Place chicken legs on foil lined baking sheet
  • Brush the chicken legs with more butter mixture
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, basting once more half way through
  • Turn on the broiler for the last minute to get them nice and golden

Spaghetti Sauce

So this sauce was looking a little elaborate for my taste, but only because Pioneer Woman's recipe makes a TON so you can freeze some! Her post about it was so funny to read because she adds a jar of store bought marinara sauce and she was totally mortified by the whole thing but swears by it! I tried it all out and good heavens...can this lady do anything wrong?!

This served my family plenty of sauce for spaghetti (I served it with Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks), plus 2 large ziploc bags full of leftovers to freeze. She recommends lasagna and sloppy joes! At first I thought the sloppy joes idea was kind of weird until I could smell and taste the sauce and it totally fits. This recipe can be halved for a regular amount of sauce (it will still leave you leftovers but you'll want them anyway!)

What you will need:
  • 5 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C white wine (or low sodium beef broth....or neither...since I spaced this step. Heehee)
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste (or none since I didn't have any. Whoops)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I ended up just using prego traditional pasta sauce)
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 C minced parsley
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan
  • Rind from Parmesan wedge (optional)
  • Brown the beef in a large pot
  • Remove beef from pot, and drain the grease
  • In the same large pot, add olive oil and let it heat up a bit
  • Add minced onions and green peppers to the oil
  • Saute' for a couple of minutes
  • Add the minced garlic
  • Pour the white win over the vegetables and let it cook for a minute
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and marinara sauce
  • Add the seasonings 
  • Let it simmer for about an hour
  • Add in the parsley
  • Add in the parmesan and wedge if you so desire
  • Let is simmer for another 30 minutes
  • Serve with fresh parsley and parmesan

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

So I usually make garlic bread with some nice bread from the bakery and my own garlic butter spread. So when I found this recipe for dough to make bread sticks I had to try it out! She and I do our garlic spread a bit different but I'm sure either way will be delicious! My husband was going to be late for dinner and I literally had to bribe my kids to leave him some of these. They were extremely upset, but obliged and left him 3. He took one bite and "MMMMMMMM" with his eyes closed. They're good. Real good.

What you will need:

Bread Sticks (can also be used for pizza dough!)
  • 1 C warm water (I aim for 110*)
  • 2 1/4 Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 C bread flour (I used all purpose and it still ended up amazing! I only ended up using 2 3/4 C)
Garlic Butter Spread (and cheeses)
  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 T seasonings of your choice ( I used a blend of some rosemary and thyme but get creative! Or skip this step, it won't matter :) )
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Grated Mozzarella cheese  to taste

Bread Sticks
  • In your mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over your warm water and let it activate and foam up
  • Add salt, olive oil and half the flour to the mixing bowl and combine
  • Add flour 1/2 C at a time until your dough is sticky but won't come off onto your fingers when you touch it
  • Knead the dough for 6 minutes exactly 
  • The dough will be able to scoop out of the bowl and not be stuck to the sides
  • Scoop the dough out and mold it into a bowl
  • Spray your mixing bowl with non stick spray and put the ball of dough back in
  • Cover with plastic wrap or cover with a towel and place somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hours
  •  Preheat the oven to 500*
  • Roll out the dough out into a nice big circle
  • Spread the garlic butter all over on top
  • Sprinkle both your cheeses on top (I also added a little parsley to mine)
  • Bake in the oven for 9 minutes
Garlic Butter Spread
  • Grate garlic into the softened butter and mix together
  • Add your seasonings (optional) and combine
  • Spread over dough
  • Top with cheese