Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Thank you to everyone that entered the Mad Men giveaway! I e-mailed the winner this morning and hope she enjoys her prize! I know that I am inspired to make a few more retro recipes- maybe a dinner party!?

There was a time that you would have never seen me buy bone-in chicken thighs. I don't really have a good reason, but I have not had a lot of experience cooking them. Over the past two years I have made a few different chicken thigh recipes that I have absolutely loved.  I am now a believer. The thigh meat is so tender and juicy it is hard to pass up. I also like that the portion is smaller than a bone-in chicken breast. 

Last month, Jaida author of Sweet Beginnings posted a recipe for Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs and I put them on my meal plan as soon as possible. I love the flavor of mustard with almost anything and the addition of the fresh herbs, soy, ginger and sweet honey sounded delicious. The recipe was also nice and fast to prep and cook, and that is an added bonus on a weeknight for my little family. 

The chicken was delicious and the flavors were nice and bold. I can see why this is a favorite at Jaida's house! My chicken skin did not get as crisp as I like with the cooking time in the recipe so I broiled it a bit at the end to crisp the skin. The original recipe uses skinless thighs so I just did a little adjusting with the heat. 

Kellen, Ron and I loved this dish and the leftover were perfect for lunch the following day. I served this with a little curried couscous and a green salad for a complete meal. 

Tonight we are grilling shrimp and I am hoping that I can get Kellen to the park if we can get dinner on the table quickly! We are lucky enough to have a park just up the street and that makes for a nice quick commute from our house! 


¼ cup grainy mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup honey
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbl fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
8 chicken thighs (I used bone-in with skin)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the mustard, honey, soy sauce, tarragon and ginger in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat.

Arrange the thighs in a baking dish. Brush any excess sauce on to the chicken. Spread the chicken out evenly in the dish so they aren't overlapping each other.  Sprinkle a bit a salt over each chicken thigh.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the thighs register 175 degrees and the juices run clear. During the last 5 minutes of cook time turn on the broiler to crisp the skin. Keep a close eye to make sure that the chicken does not burn. If it starts to char turn down the broiler. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 3/30 - 4/5

Happy Monday!

I am really pumped for the warmer air that is coming to our area. I am a 4 seasons girl, but am in serious need of some outdoor time sans snow and ice! 

We had a really nice weekend and loved seeing the Badgers win a spot in the Final Four! So exciting for Wisconsin! 

On Friday, Ron treated Kellen and I to a homemade fish fry. I love a traditional fish fry, but in our area going out during Lent can turn into a giant pain. Plus, having one at home is a little easier for Kellen to enjoy. The fish was fantastic, as always, and perfect with our homemade tarter sauce. 

On Saturday, I had to stop at the hospital for a little lab work and came across this awesome Lambeau Field made out of Legos! It was so cute and I loved the players on the field. It is a little hard to see in the photo, but the Lego people on the back wall have their bellies paints with Packer pride.  I decided that I needed to stop back with Kellen because he loves Legos and he would love that it was Packers. 

Here are a few shots of the stadium:

Later in the morning, I stopped at my friend Kayla's house to visit with her and see the new baby. I came with a pizza and chicken tacos for the family for dinner. I also brought Kellen so he could have a playdate with the older kids. It was so cute to watch the kids interact with the baby! 

After our visit Kellen and I stopped at the store to grab dinner for the boys because I was heading out for Indian with my friend Emily and watching Into the Woods afterwards. It was fun because we both love musicals and she had not seen this one before. If you haven't seen this musical before you really should because the songs are great and I really like the story. 

On Sunday, Kellen and I had breakfast and let Ron sleep for a bit. We headed to the store to grab a few extra things I needed for my soup for a soup swap with my girlfriends.  I had never been to a soup swap, but has heard about them from friends. The idea is that you make enough soup to fill a quart for everyone and you get that many different soups back in return. This group of ladies like to cook so I knew there would be all kinds of delicious types to try!  I made a Thai Chicken Curry and Butternut Squash Soup and it was full of flavor and chucked full of veggies! I came home with a few delicious quarts to share with my family as well- Cheesy Brat, Split Pea and Ham and Italian Sub Soup.  We also had a bloody mary bar and it was a perfect way to causally have dinner with my friends. 

Here is a picture of my creation getting jarred up for the swap! 

After the swap, I headed home and watched the season finale of Walking Dead. I don't want it to be over! I have so many questions and am sad to wait. However, the preview for the new summer show Fear the Walking Dead looks awesome! Yet another reason to look forward to summer, new Walking Dead show, Jurassic Park, Terminator....warm weather and sun too....

This week we are getting ready for Easter and I need to do a little chocolate shopping! I am also going to hit the gym a few times, play a little volleyball, watch a little law and order, watch a little basketball and do a little cooking. It always sounds tame until the wave gets rolling.... 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday:  Slowcooker Cuban Sandwiches and Grilled Veggie Packets
Tuesday:  Garlic Scape Pesto Shrimp SkewersCaprese Macaroni and Cheese and Salad
Wednesday: Pan Roasted Honey Curry Pork Tenderloin, Wild Rice and Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday: Crown Cowboy Casserole and Green Beans
Friday:  Cumin Lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders with Spicy Risotto Style Couscous and Avocado Crema
Saturday: Easter dinner at my parents- I am bringing a Kale Salad with a Poppy Seed Dressing
Sunday: Easter at my Sister in Laws (she started blogging- I will check with her and get her url up soon) and I am bringing a cheesecake- kind to be determined. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake & A Mad Men Giveaway! #PartyLikeaMadMan

Today I am toasting the Mad Men season Finale!

The authors, Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlinm, of The Unofficial Man Men Cookbook were kind enough include me in their Mad Men Blogger Virtual Dinner Party! I confess that I have not seen all the seasons of Mad Men, but I have watched a number of times and enjoyed it each time! I love cookbooks that are linked to television or movies, and this The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook does not disappoint. I love that each recipe contained the episode information and a little history about the food. There were some many fantastic things to choose from like Jackie Kennedy's Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa, Chicken Kiev, Shrimp Curry Canapes.....It was hard to decide! However, there has been something sitting on my must make for a few YEARS and it is Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The recipe in the cookbook used a cast-iron skillet versus the more modern baking dish or spring form.  I knew that this was a must make for me! 

The pineapple upside-down cake can be seen in Season 2, episode 1, "For Those Who Think Young".  The cake is Kitty's recipe and she and her husband Salvatore Romano enjoy it while celebrating Valentine's Day.  I learned a few interesting facts about pineapple upside-down cake. The cake was first made in 1800's when ovens were unreliable and skillets were used to make cakes, but it was not made popular until the 1920's when canned pineapple became mainstream (by none other than Dole!)

I was a little intimidated by the foil lining and cooking the cake, but it was way easier than I imagined! The cake turned out beautiful. The top was gooey and moist and the cake was dense and sweet. This is one of my favorite cakes and I am so excited that I finally took the plunge and made it at home- hopefully it would have made Kitty proud! 

Please visit the Mad Men Blogger Virtual Dinner Party to see what tasty treats my fellow bloggers are sharing, and #PartylikeaMadMan! 

GIVEAWAY ALERT! I am giving away a copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook so you can make and enjoy all of the wonderful retro recipes. Enter with Rafflecopter below!


for the topping:
5 Tbl butter
3/4 cup brown sugar 
7 canned pineapple rings (reserve the syrup)
Maraschino cherries, for decorating

for the cake:
10 Tbl butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup syrup from pineapple can
1 tsp vanilla extract


Line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil, completely covering the bottom and the sides and extending the foil over edges of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Make the topping: Place butter in the skillet, place skillet in oven, and melt butter. As soon as the butter has melted, remove and stir in the brown sugar. Mix very carefully so you do not tear the foil. Arrange pineapple slices over the butter/sugar spread. Place cherries in the center on the pineapple rings and between the slices of pineapple. 

Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till smooth. In a separate bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, syrup and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture while beating on medium-low speed. Spread batter evenly across the pineapple mixture in the cast-iron skillet. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Place a large plate over the skillet, invert and remove. Gently peel off the aluminum foil, pressing back and pineapple that sticks. Cut into slices and serve.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Retro Shrimp Dip

I am sticking with a bit of a retro theme this week for my Mad Men post and giveaway tomorrow (make sure to check back!). 

This is one of those dips that I remember from my childhood at parties.  I have always been a big fan of shrimp cocktail and the first time I tried this version I really liked it.  I make my own cocktail sauce for this recipe, but you could easily use a jarred sauce if that is more convenient.  I have seen people make this appetizer with canned shrimp as well. I prefer the tiny salad shrimp in my dip but, again, use what you prefer.  This dip is really easy to put together and works in a pinch when you don’t have a lot of time for company, or when you are looking for a little extra something to add to your table.  I like to serve this dip with buttery crackers and cut veggies.  I really like the flavors or this dip and the little pop from the old bay tastes delicious to me! This dip always seems to go quickly when I make it- who doesn't love shrimp cocktail?

Tonight, I am working on a few recipes and watching the Badger game! Badgers are playing North Carolina tonight and we always get really excited about March Madness in our house.  I am also a Kentucky fan (sush!), but always pull for my Wisconsin team.  I am also hoping to get Kellen in bed a little early tonight. The little guy is waking up pretty early and has been a bit of a bear the last few days. I am hoping some solid sleep will help him.  I also think he may be getting the last two molars in and it is impacting him getting that last little push of rest I the morning. 

In other news, we got about 4 inches of snow the on Tuesday, but it has now melted. Wisconsin spring at its best.  A bit of a vent, I get a little annoyed by the people who want zero snow, but live in Wisconsin. This is mainly irritating because once our completely dry summer comes with low water levels they are first to complain…..  Personally, I don’t want my entire lawn to die, would like a vegetable garden and a successful apple/pear harvest from my trees this year….that’s just me.

 Have a great day and tune in tomorrow for a giveaway!


1 cups ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish 
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
12 oz small frozen (sometimes called salad shrimp) shrimp, thawed and rinsed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Crackers for Serving


In a medium bowl, mix together ketchup, prepared horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Old Bay.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or till ready to use. 

On a plate, spread softened cream cheese evenly over the surface.  Top with prepared cocktail sauce. Pat the shrimp dry and evenly distribute over the top of the cocktail sauce. 

Refrigerate till ready to serve. Serve with crackers and veggies. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake

Today we are helping Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary with waaaayy more than #fifteencheesecakes.

Camilla heads up my Secret Recipe Club group and has organized #TripleSBites and #10DaysofTailgate. When I heard she was celebrating her anniversary I immediately jumped into the fun to help!

Today I am sharing Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecakes. I found the recipe on The Tablespoon and knew it was perfect for this round-up. I love making cheesecakes and normally will make a full sized, but there is something so perfect about personal sized little cakes! I also loved that this recipe used Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the crust- yes that delicious sugar filled "breakfast" cereal your mom would never buy for you. The cereal created a perfectly sweet crust with a touch of cinnamon- just like a churro. I opted to drizzle a bit of caramel over the top in addition to a dollop of whipped cream. I absolutely loved these little bite sized treats! They are packed with flavor and, again, the crust is amazing. 

Again, this is a round-up to celebrate Camilla's anniversary and I am sending her family many well wishes on their special day. I know that I look back at my wedding day with happy and fun memories! Ron and I always talk about how we would love to have another party like that to celebrate with all our friends and family in one room!

Here's what everyone brought to the cheesecake table, listed in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon GelĂ©e by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids


3 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
1/4 cup butter, melted
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbl ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel sauce for drizzling
1/2 cup whipped cream, as desired


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add the cereal to a food processor and pulse till fine crumbs. Pour the cereal to a medium bowl and add the melted butter over it. Stir to combine.

Line 2 12-count muffin tins with 16 liners. Scoop a generous tablespoon into of the crust into each liner and press down with your fingers to form the crust.

Add the cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar, sour cream, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla to the mixer and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins to just under the top of the liners.

Bake for 20-22  minutes or until just barely jiggly in the center. Cool on the counter top for 30 minutes before placing them in the fridge until completely cool (at least 2 hours). Top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Onion Gravy

What was your favorite t.v. dinner growing up?  I was a Salisbury steak girl and loved the mushroom gravy. These days I have moved away from microwave meals, but will get a hankering of a Salisbury steak every now and then.  When Laura from Tide & Thyme posted a recipe for Salisbury Steak with Mushroom-Onion Gravy I about drooled on my keyboard.  All of my childhood memories of watching Hey Dude or Salute Your Shorts  while eating an occasional t.v. dinner.  I should add that my mom did not make use this regularly and it was a special treat….. she reads this and would not what people to think that she only fed us food from the microwave (sorry Mom J).  

This recipe is really easy and perfect for a busy weeknight. I made this for my friend Emily and her daughter on a Law and Order night and we all gobbled it up!  The flavor of the meat is fantastic and the gravy was filled with tender onions and pieces of meaty mushrooms. I served this with au gratin potatoes and steamed peas. The entire meal was a winner in my house and I can’t wait to make it again!  Plus, who can really resist the retro appeal of a recipe like this? Maybe you can, but I like old recipe and think it is fun make old favorites.  In the spirit of an upcoming tribute to Mad Men later this week I am going to share a few retro recipes with you before the post on Friday.

Tonight, I am catching up on some housework and am having dinner with my friend Amanda.  However, Ron may have to work late and that could throw the plans up in the air completely!  I also need to work on a few recipe, but we will see what the night holds! 


1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef 
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbl vegetable oil

For the gravy:
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin slices
8 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbl tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper


By hand, combine the ground beef, minced onion, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, eggs, salt and pepper. Gently mix until all combined. Form into 6 oval patties and set aside.

Melt butter and oil together in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add beef patties and cook on both sides, until browned (I cook about 3-4 minutes per side because they’ll finish cooking in the gravy).
Remove from the skillet and drain any excess grease.

Reduce the heat to medium and add in the sliced onions and mushrooms to empty skillet. Stir and cook until golden brown and and tender.Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the beef stock and wine. Stir and allow the gravy to reduce and thicken.

Return the patties to the gravy. Spoon the gravy over the top to coat, and let them simmer for about 15 minutes.

To serve, plate and top with mushroom onion gravy. 

Weekly Meal Plan 3/23 - 3/29

Good morning! I am a little behind this week and didn't get my weekly post finished up until this morning. 

We had a fun filled weekend and it was a little sad when Monday rolled around this week. On Friday, Ron, Kellen and I headed out for fish and broasted chicken at home of my favorite places- Van Able's.   Van Able's a supper club that I have been going to since I was a kid with my grandmother. It is fun to keep the tradition alive and continue to come back as adult. My sister and I absolutely love it there and our favorite dish is the green beans. We love it so much that, years ago, my grandmother recreated the recipe and we make it often for family gatherings. 

On Saturday, Ron had a cribbage tournament while Kellen and I bummed around the house. After Kellen's nap we headed to the park with my mom and then enjoyed a new slow cooker recipe. After Kellen went to bed I loaded up the car with raffles prizes for the Belly to Baby Expo and headed over to help with set up. After set up we stopped for a cocktail before heading home to hit the hay. 

On Sunday, Kelln and I worked on a little chalk art  before I had to head to the expo. 

The expo was fantastic and there were over 300 people in attendance. The number grows so much each year, and it is so awesome to hear how much people love it. My friend Emily works so hard to make it a wonderful event. I am already starting to plot out my strategies for raffle and donations for fall!  Here is a quick pick shortly after the doors were opened:

After the expo we tore everything down and headed home. My parents and sister came over for chili and the Badger game. I love making a big pot of chili for everyone to enjoy. It makes dinner so easy and everyone loves it. Shortly after I went to bed on Sunday night I got a call from my good friend Kayla to come over because they were headed to the hospital to have their baby. Very early in the morning she had a healthy little girl. It must have been all the time on her feet at the  expo handing out goodie bags! 

I hope everyone had a great weekend- here is what is on tap:

Monday:  Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Peas
Tuesday: Out or Leftovers
Wednesday: Grilled Maple Mustard Chicken , Boursin Scalloped Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans
Thursday:  Weeknight Porchetta, Roasted Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Cumin Lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders with Spicy Risotto Style Couscous and Avocado Crema
Sunday: Soup Swap with my Girlfriends (I am bringing Thai Curry Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup)