Friday, March 30, 2012

Baked Chicken Nuggets

I was in a five year old mood the other night, and really wanted the chicken nuggets from my childhood. Rather than running over the the Golden Arches, I decided to try my hand at a healthier version of these tasty morsels. You could eat these with ketchup and sweet potato french fries (my dinner), or add these nuggets to any salad or use them with BBQ dipping sauces. This recipe is very easy and requires very few ingredients. The chicken nuggets came out juicy on the inside with a slight crunchy and flavorful bite to the outside, just perfect!

Caught both girls mid-bark in their backyard jungle!

I found this recipe on Skinny Taste.

Explorer buddies!

The jungle in full bloom...a few roses are blooming and the rest are about to explode with color! Our Christine tree is standing tall and brings a smile to my heart. 

Printer Friendly Version

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces, about 4 x 4 inches.
2 teaspoons of olive oil
8 tablespoons of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1. Gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Add the olive oil to the chicken and mix to coat thoroughly.

3. Add the breadcrumbs to the chicken and mix to coat thoroughly.

4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place the chicken nuggets in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

6. Place in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes.
7. Then turn the chicken pieces over and cook for another 4-6 minutes, until fully cooked.

8. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turnip and Potato Mash

I struggled with what to title this recipe. It's mashed turnips and potatoes but that didn't really roll off the tongue. So I decided to instead say Turnip and Potato mash. Not sure why I found it necessary to tell you my thought process but there you have it.
Until this week I had never tasted a turnip, nor could I tell you what they looked like. That was until I came home with my Urban Acres produce share on Saturday and found two in my crate. Often when this happens I avoid the strange new vegetable and it ultimately spoils before I figure out how to use it. This week, however, I decided to tackle the turnip head on, and by head on I mean sneaking it in with mashed potatoes.

I was really pleased with the results, although I would not say that it was love at first bite. It took several tastes before I decided that the complex flavor provided by the turnip was one I enjoyed. And then I went back for seconds, which is always a key indicator of success at my dinner table. So if you feel adventurous, but still want to keep some semblance of comfort, try this turnip and potato mash  with dinner. I think you'll be glad you did.

Printer Friendly Version

Turnip and Potato Mash

4 tablespoons butter
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick half moons
1 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick half  moons
1/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup half and half
3 tablespoons minced chives
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat until foam bubbles disappear but before the butter browns.
 Place the turnip slices into the butter, stirring occasionally.
 You should cook the turnips until they start to brown and caramelize, about 10-12 minutes. If you need to increase the heat to speed up the process you can turn it up to medium high. (Mine took longer, I think my pan was too small)
 Place the potatoes on top of the turnips and pour in the chicken broth.
 Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer covered until the potatoes fall apart with a fork and the liquid is mostly absorbed by the potatoes. for about 20 minutes. (again mine took longer and I think it was the pan)
 Use a potato masher (or if you're me and don't have one use a pastry blender) and carefully mash the veggies. You don't want to over mash and ruin the texture!
 Pour in the half and half and stir into the potatoes and turnips.
 Stir in the chives and let sit a minute. This allows the liquid to absorb into the potatoes and turnips.

Serve with your favorite meal in place of mashed potatoes.

Source: The Way The Cookie Crumbles

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lasagna: Comfort food for a rainy night

Dallas is having a huge storm tonight...much appreciated rain for both the plants and to hopefully get some of this pollen out of the air. I thought it would be fun to have an old fashioned treat for dinner to celebrate the rain by staying cozy and dry inside. Meat, cheese and pasta, that is basically the equation for comfort food, warming and filling. Hopefully you will enjoy this rather easy recipe for a homemade treat.

Printer Friendly Version

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of Italian seasonings
No boil lasagna noodles
1 egg
3 cups of cottage cheese
6 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
A splash of fresh lemon juice

1. Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the beef, onion and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned.

3. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasoning.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes. You want the sauce to thicken.

5. While the sauce thickens, make the filling by combining the egg, cottage cheese, mozzarella and lemon juice.

6. To assemble the lasagna spread enough sauce over the bottom of your baking dish so that the bottom is covered. Layer the noodles on top of the sauce. Then add half the cheese filling over the noodles. Add half of the sauce over the filling. Top the sauce with noodles. Top these noodles with the remaining cheese filling and then the sauce and one more layer of noodles. Finish the lasagna by adding a bit more sauce over the noodles. I actually ran out of sauce, so I used back up canned sauce from the fridge. Then sprinkle a little cheese on top.

7. Bake in a 375 degree over for about 30 to 35 minutes.
8. Enjoy with yummy rolls! We are using Sister Schubert absolute favorite!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wine and Garlic Pork Chops

I'm always looking for new main courses that involve proteins other than chicken. Don't get me wrong, I love chicken, but sometimes I get a little bored with chicken, so it's great to have back up options ready. Robert isn't normally a big fan of pork chops, so I knew any recipe I tried with pork chops needed to really bring a punch.

Enter garlic and a bottle of syrah to the rescue! This recipe involves quite a bit of reducing liquids but don't skimp on the process, the pan sauce drizzled over the pork is well worth the effort. And don't forget the garlic! I know it may sound strange to eat whole garlic cloves with your meal, but these are so delicious you won't want to miss out. Between roasting in the olive oil and soaking in the wine reduction, these cloves are unlike anything you've ever tasted.

Printer Friendly Version

Wine and Garlic Pork Chops

5-6 boneless pork chops with medium thickness
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 whole bay leaf
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
18 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 tablespoon additional butter

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over high heat.
 Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and sear on both sides until golden about 2 minutes per side. You won't cook the chops all the way though at this time, they'll finish cooking later.

 After searing, remove the pork and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium high and throw in the garlic cloves, stirring around for a few minutes until nice and golden.

 Pour in the red wine and add the bay leaf. Stir and reduce until nice and thick.
 Stir in the beef broth and add the pork chops back to the skillet.
 Cook the chops for a few more minutes then stir in the balsamic. Continue cooking until the chops are done.
 When done, remove the chops to a plate and set aside. Add the last tablespoon of butter and reduce the liquid some more.

 Arrange the chops on a platter and pour the sauce over the chops to cover.

Enjoy with some healthy sides like salad or roasted cauliflower.

Source: The Pioneer Woman