Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Creamy Baked Swiss Chicken

I love finding different chicken recipes for my family.  Normally, we grill out chicken using some type of marinate, but I came across this recipe from Lil' Luna on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try. It is fantastically reminiscent of childhood chicken baked in casserole dishes with various sauces…..nostalgia at its best. Ron, Kellen and I really liked this recipe and it was an easy weeknight meal.  I opted to serve our chicken with warm wild rice and a side salad, but it would be delicious with pasta, couscous or any grain you prefer. 

Tonight I am working on getting my final prepping done for tomorrow! We have our turkey and all the shopping has been done! Woot!  

Here is what I have on the menu tomorrow:

Fresh Veggies, olives and nuts for snacking

Herb Roasted Turkey w/ Pan Gravy
Cornbread, Sausage and Sage Stuffing
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (with a bit or orange and vanilla)
Cheese Beans (A Lecker staple)
Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Homemade Wisconsin Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crumble
Burgundy Mushrooms

Ron’s parents are bringing fresh bread, pumpkin and pecan pie. 

I can’t wait to eat. It is going to be delicious!

After our meal we are heading to Appleton for bowling and relaxing with Ron’s family before heading over to my side the following day for round two! 

Happy (early) Thanksgiving everyone! 


Ingredients

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
6 Slices Swiss Cheese 
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (divided)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder


Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pat chicken dry and place in a greased 8x8 baking dish. Add sliced cheese on top of chicken breasts.

In a bowl mix mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spread mixture evenly over chicken and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 60 minutes. 

Serve with rice of choice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Slowcooker Rosemary Bean and Bacon Soup

Well Green Bay got about 4 inches of snow last night..... it was 45 degrees on Saturday...I suppose I better just get accept the inevitable. As Ned Stark would say, "Winter is Coming!".  

What better way to warm up after a snowy evening that a big bowl of hot soup. On weeknights soups can be hard to get together because they take time to cook. Luckily I am a big fan of my slowcooker and love to utilize it for weeknight meals that are ready to eat when I come home.  I love bean soup of any type, and decided to create one of my favorite childhood soups- bean and bacon. I remember loving the canned soup as a kid and was excited to make  "grown-up" version. I love the flavor of rosemary with beans and decided to use that as my main herb (along with a little fresh thyme). I absolutely loved this soup and even with the long cook time the flavors of the herbs were prominent.  Another note on the preparation of the soup, make sure to get your bacon crispy and cut into small pieces. The bacon will not stay crispy while cooking, but the smaller pieces help the flavors get into each bite. If you want crispy bacon in the soup you could add it before you serve the soup. You will not get the smokey flavor in your soup, but will have crisper bacon.

Tonight I am getting my haircut and getting a few more more items prepped for Thanksgiving! Tonight I am making my herb butter, cranberry sauce and cornbread for my stuffing. In addition, I am making a cranberry bread to bring to work tomorrow.  I also stopped at Target last night and picked up a few new serving dished and a table runner.  I thought that since it was my first year to host that a few new pieces of decor were needed! 


Ingredients

1 pound great Northern beans, soaked overnight
1 pound of bacon cooked crisp and chopped
7 cups chicken stock (or chicken bone broth is you have some!)
2 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl fresh thyme
2 Tbl fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste


Instructions

Place soaked beans in the bottom of the slowcooker. Layer herbs, pepper, carrots, celery, onion bacon and garlic over the beans.  Pour water and stock over the top. Cover and cook on low 9-10 hours. Serve with crusty bread.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick Garlic Knots

In our house we love garlic bread, garlic rolls, garlic knots...ect. I will often make garlic bread when we have Italian style dinners and wanted to give our favorite side a different twist (literally).  I went as simple as possible and used a store bought dough, but if you feel ambitious you could make the dough at home.  I was lucky enough to have a special helper in the kitchen!

I wanted to bring this recipe to you as a wonderful alternative to bring to your Thanksgiving table (or next meal!). At our Thanksgiving the bread depends on the meal. My in-laws bring homemade bread and brown and serve rolls. My parents serve rolls from our local Great Harvest- all delicious options in my opinion!

Tonight I am putting the finishing touches on my Thanksgiving menu, and starting to organize the house for Thursday.  My Dad and I are doing a shopping trip together tomorrow (we like to holiday food shop together) and I will officially begin my cooking!


Ingredients

One package (12) of breadsticks  (I used Pillsbury brand)
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 Tbl chopped Parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2-1 tsp garlic powder (adjust to your liking)


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove breadsticks from packaging and roll in your hands to stretch slightly. Tie in a knot and tuck the ends under to create a knot shape. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place knots evenly across the surface of the sheet.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic and parsley.  Evenly brush the butter over all of the garlic knots. Bake for 10-12 minutes and serve hot from the oven.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 11/24 - 11/30

Happy Monday! 

This weekend was busy, but really fun! On Friday, I headed to Bowler, WI with two friends to see a Bret Michael concert. It was awesome as expected and we had a lot of fun! 

Rock on Bret!


On Saturday I headed to Festival Foods to pick up my award for my tailgating recipe! Thank you again for voting for me!


On Sunday, Kellen, my mom, my nephew and I headed to the Brown County Arena to watch Elmo's Let's Dance!


I had no idea how this was going to go....big characters, dark lights......sitting still. To my delight Kellen loved it. He danced up a storm and loved meeting the characters prior to the show. When they left the meet and greet area little Kellen ran after them yelling "I'm comin' too!!!!!".

A special high five!


After Elmo we headed to my parents for pizza and the Packer game. Packers had a closer game this week, but gave use a victory! After the game we headed come for naps and I headed to see the new Hunger Games movie, Mocking Jay, with my girlfriend. I enjoyed it, but having read the books know what things are to come for the characters.

This week is Thanksgiving!!! Woot!!! I am hosting for Ron's family and cooking with my family on Friday. I am really excited about hosting my first Thanksgiving and will have more menu details later this week, but I can say there will be turkey and lots of it!

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta and Salad
Tuesday: Lasagna Soup and Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Out
Thursday: Thanksgiving with Leckers at our house
Friday: Lunch- Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta and Thanksgiving at my parents house
Saturday: Dinner with my friend Kayla
Sunday: Leftover Turkey Herb Dumpling Soup

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pappardelle Bolognese

Awhile ago I was at Trander Joe's and they had a lovely selection of different pappardelle pastas. I bought a few in hopes of finding a delicious bolognese recipe to make for my pasta. I searched around and decided to try Pappardelle Bolognese from Bon Appetit. The recipe seemed so simple and I loved that is used a full cup of dry red wine because, in my opinion, all meat sauces need red wine. I stayed very close to the original recipe with the exception of reducing the oil from 1/4 cup to 1/8 cup. With the thick cut bacon and ground pork I knew the dish would not suffer from the reduction. I was actually very happy that I did it because I think the finished product would have been a bit too oily with the larger amount. 

This recipe tasted absolutely fantastic. I loved the fresh herbs with the rich meat and wine flavor. It is truly a meal that you want to bring the bowl to your chin with each forkful to ensure a large mouthful of pasta at each bite. I do not eat pappardelle often, but it is such a wonderful pasta and a perfect carrier to this delicious sauce. For the photo, I forgot to top mine with a little Parmesan and remembered mid-eat. If you are looking for a rustic and flavor packed meal give this one a shot- you will love it!

Tonight I am headed to Bowler, WI to see Bret Michaels with my friends Amanda and Melissa. I am so excited words do not even describe it and I am ready for a ladies night. I have my Bret bandana already to go for the show (yes- I really have one- judge away). Saturday will be a down-day, but Sunday we are taking Kellen and his cousin to see Elmo Dance Party (parenting thrills) before the Packer game, and I know the little dude will love it. Hope you all are doing something fun this weekend!


Ingredients

1/8 cup olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
1 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
28 oz beef stock
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1 lb Pappardelle pasta


Instructions

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until beginning about 4-5 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and thyme and sauté 5 minutes. Add veal and pork and break it apart with a spoon. Cook until the meat is completely cooked. Add wine and bay leaves. Simmer until liquid has slightly reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Add broth and tomato puree. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to allow the sauce thicken for about an 1 hour 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Shortly before the sauce is ready to serve, boil pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender.  Drain and transfer to the sauce. Gently toss to evenly coat. Serve with Parmesan.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tart Apple Galette with Cinnamon Crumble

Today is a double post day and time for November Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for the challenge this month is apples and cinnamon. Apples and cinnamon scream fall to me and, in my opinion, are once of the best smells to come out of a kitchen. I really enjoy making galette because it is easy, and I think they look beautiful (and taste good too). Normally, when I make a crumble I use granulated sugar but in the spirit of the challenge I decided make a brown sugar and cinnamon crumble for my apples. I loved the flavor that the additional boost of cinnamon added and the brown sugar tastes a little richer to make than using a white sugar. My family loved this dessert, and it was so cute to watch Kellen pick his up like a piece of pizza while excaliming "yummy apples!".  Kellen is a funny guy because he would probably still opt for a plain sliced apple (or tomato) over any sugary treat. 

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately (which I love), but I think tonight I am going to treat my family to pizza and a little relaxation. I am also getting all of Kellen's second birthday invites in the mail (*sniff sniff*)! 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using Red and Green (I already have mine done)!

Ingredients

1 pie crust (I used a pre-made from our bakery, but you could make our own)
3-4 (depending on size) tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbl butter, room tempurature
1 Tbl brown sugar
3 1/2 tbl flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg raw 
Raw sugar for crust (optional)


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Stretch (or roll if you made your own) your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper. Arragne apples in a circlular pattern. Make sure to leave about 2 inches boarder around the outside to fold over.  Fold the crust edges up and over the apples (I tucked as I circles the fruit). 

In a medium bowl, n a separate bowl, cream butter, cinnamon and sugar.  Add the flour and mix with a fork to create a crumble topping. Spread topping evenly over the apples. 

Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Hollandaise

Time for November's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!


The theme for this month is citrus and breadcrumbs. I was very excited to come up with a new recipe because crispy chicken with lemon is a flavor combination that I really love. This chicken recipe is absolutely and is deceptively easy. Frying chicken can be a bit intimidating for me because I am always worried it is going to burn or not done. I have learned that it is important to become comfortable with your heat source and not to constantly poke at the chicken as it cooks because the breading will fall off. The result? This lovely dish below. I decided that I wanted to get a punch of lemon so I added zest to the coating and the hollandaise has fresh lemon juice in the it as well. I normally can whip up a hollandaise like it is no one's business. This time was the exception to the rule. I literally broke the sauce into scrambled eggs 3 times.....cue kitchen temper tantrum. Thankfully, on my last eggs, I got my act together and made a beautiful and velvety sauce (thank goodness!). This recipe was absolutely delicious and I can't wait to make this again! Crunchy, salty, tart and savory....a perfect combination. 

f you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information.  I am excited to see what next month will bring! 


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
1/2cup flour
One egg (+ 1 Tbl Water), Beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbl grated Parmesan
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For Hollandaise:
4 egg yolks
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Instructions

Set up a station to bread the chicken. One flat dish with flour and 1/2 tsp salt, one bowl with egg beaten with water and one flat dish with breadcrumbs, lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Dredge the chicken breast in flour, dip in eggs and coat in the panko making sure to press the breadcrumbs into the chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Heat oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium-high heat (you do not want the oil too hot or it will burn the coating). Once oil is hot place chicken gently in the skillet. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. The chicken should be golden brown and breading firm and crunchy. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate and make the Hollandaise while the chicken rests.

For Hollandaise, heat a double broiler or metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water) on stove top.  Quickly whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in the double boiler. Continue whisking until sauce is thick enough to coat back of spoon. Reduce heat to low. Drizzle in melted butter, whisking constantly. Add cayenne.

Slice chicken into slices and top with Hollandaise. Serve with a leafy green salad. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oven Fried Chicken Thighs

Where I live you often see broasted chicken on the menu at area restaurants on Sundays. When Kylee posted her recipe for oven fried chicken from Cobani a few weeks ago I knew I had to give it a try. I am team chicken breast, but Ron is team thigh and I knew he would love these. I always think of fried chicken being so messy to make I always shy away from making it. This recipe is so wonderfully easy with little mess- perfect! I love that the recipe lightens up the chicken even further by using greek yogurt over buttermilk. I was so pleasantly surprised how crispy the chicken skin got! Ron, Kellen and I devoured this chicken, and the leftovers were delicious as well. I sent two thighs to my mom's house when she was watching Kellen and the little bugger ate both thighs! Thank you Kylee for a delicious recipe that rivals any of its buttermilk and oil rich counterparts! 

Tonight my friend Emily is coming of for tacos and a little SVU. I miss Elliot Stabler. We were talking the other day and what do you think about a Benson/Stabler birthday for Kellen?? Screw the farm theme....


Ingredients

1 Cup non fat plain greek yogurt
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided (2 tsp for marinade, ½ tsp for flour mix)
1 tsp ground black pepper, divided (½ tsp for marinade, ½ tsp for flour mix)
8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone-in)
½ C all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika (recipe calls for sweet, but I only had smoked)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp baking powder


Instructions

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, garlic powder, 2 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in a bowl. Pour mixture in to a resealable bag. Add chicken pieces and turn to coat. Zip the bag closed, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 12 hours (I did 9 hours).

Preheat oven to 425°F
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, add a wire rack and spray with olive oil (lightly)
Blend together the flour, paprika, thyme, baking powder, remaining ½ tsp salt and remaining ½ tsp pepper in a large resealable bag.

Take the chicken out of the marinade bag, shake off excess marinade, and add a piece to the flour bag.
Shake, the remove and shake off excess coating and place on prepared rack.
Repeat with remaining chicken. Throw out the remaining marinade and flour mixture.

Lightly spray (lightly brush) chicken with olive oil. Bake 45-60 minutes until golden brown and the internal tempurature reads 160°F in the thickest part of the meat.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Loaded Gnocchi Soup

Loaded baked potato anything is amazing isn't it? 

In Green Bay, Ron and I go to a well loved restaurant that serves a loaded gnocchi entree.  Every time we go there Ron tells me that it would be his last meal. Morbid? I guess, but it gave me inspiration to remake the dish at home, but as a soup.  In between bites Ron proclaimed that the soup was his new favorite, and to me nothing speaks success more than that. I did not make my own gnocchi for this soup, but I am sure you could and it would be fantastic. To tell you the truth, gnocchi is on my list of foods that I find intimidating to make at home. I know that one of these days I will give it a try, but I am not ready yet (and I like the ease of this on a weeknight!).  This soup is a perfect comfort to the cold snap that has come to Wisconsin. I hope that we get a break because mid-November is really early to bring in the under 20 degree weather! 

Tonight I am heading to the gym after work, and then making a red and green themed recipe for an upcoming December blog challenge. 

I also wanted to extend a BIG thank you to everyone who voted for my Beer and Brat Mac & Cheese in the  Festival Foods Tailgating Recipe Contest! I am excited to announce that I won! I am waiting for more details, but am planning a fun giveaway as a big thank you for helping me win. 


Ingredients

12 slices of bacon, chopped
One medium onion, diced
1/2 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
2  cups whole milk 
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound Gnocchi
Salt and pepper, to taste
Green onion, sliced
Cheddar Cheese, shredded


Instructions

In a dutch oven or heavy bottom pan cook bacon till crisp. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Drain all grease from pot except for 2 tablespoons. Add onions and saute till tender. Stir flour into the onions and cook for an additional minute while continuously stirring. Gradually whisk in the broth and milk. Bring the soup to to a gentle simmer and allow it to thicken for about 5-8 minutes. Add gnocchi and gently simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and black pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with green onions, cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 11/17 - 11/23

Happy Monday....or frozen Monday.......It is 20 degrees here and I am not ready for winter. 

This weekend was a lot of fun! It was pretty chilly, but we made a few plans at indoor places. On Friday, Ron , Kellen and I headed to dinner at the restaurant I use to work at before having Kellen, Nicky's Lionhead Tavern. They have an awesome Muffaletta and Cuban sandwich and I get excited when I get a chance to have one!

On Saturday, I headed to the Wildlife Sanctuary with our friends to burn of some energy. I love coming here because the kids can touch everything and there is so much to touch as see. Here is Kellen and I climbing inside the turtle shell:

We also saw the wolves and it was shortly before the carcass drop and they came right up to the window. The kids thought it was pretty neat. Later in the day we headed to Plae Bistro with my parents and cousin. I love Plae Bistro and a little someone adored the tomato soup- perfect for a chilly afternoon!

In the evening, we went to my parents for steaks and games with my cousins visiting from Madison. Afterwards, we headed home to get Kellen into bed and watch The Closer.

On Sunday, I went to my parents to say bye to my cousins before heading to the store. In the afternoon, we headed back to my parents for the Packer game and chicken chili. The Packer game was awesome and I wish we were at the stadium, but being warm is nice too....

I can't even tell you how excited I am about this weekend. I am headed to Bowler, Wisconsin with my friends Amanda and Melissa to see Bret Michaels. Judge all you want, but the man puts on a very fun show. Amanda and I have gone to a bunch over the years, and are so excited for Friday! We are also potentially going to Seasame Street Live, but that is not even close on the excitement level.

Here is what is on tap:

Monday:  Slowcooker Rosemary Bean and Bacon Soup and Rolls
Tuesday:   Crabcakes, Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Risotto and Salad
Wednesday:  Spicy Beef Tacos, Rice and Beans
Thursday: Leftovers or Out
Friday: Bowler to see Bret Michaels!
Saturday: Out for Chicken
Sunday: Chicken and Green Bean Casserole and Salad (This might be changed)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Recipe Swap Round-Up: Blogger's Choice

Welcome to the WC Recipe Swap Round-Up!

The theme for this month was Blogger's Choice. Here are some of the delectable offerings for this swap. There are a few missing and I will update the round-up as the posts happen.  In the meantime, visit these ladies blogs and check out some amazing recipes!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Jaida at Sweet Beginnings

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies


Pepper Steak from Jenni of DoughSeeDough

Easy Pepper Steak with Mushrooms | doughseedough.net


Baked Apple Cider Donuts from Joanna at Kosher Kitchen

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SousVide Caramel Apple Galette from Joelen of What's Cookin' Chicago?


Salted Caramel Blondies from Caroline at The Barbee Housewife


Baked Rigatoni with Sausage from Ali at Sparks from the Kitchen
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Caramel Kiss Brownies from Eva at Eva Bakes


Puppy Chow Cookies from Nicole at Cookies on Friday

Iced Pumpkin Cookies from Jessica at Sunny Side Up
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Banana Bread from Kate at Kate's Recipe Box



Chocolate Syrup from Carrie at Carrie's Sweet Life

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Chicken Curry Soup from Ashley (me) at Cheese Curd In Paradise



Chicken Curry Soup

I am part of a wonderful cooking board with a group of ladies who love cooking and food. Some are bloggers and some are not, but all are a great support and fun to talk with.  We previous did a recipe swap and decided to bring it back because it was something we all enjoyed. Our swap runs every other month and a different theme is selected by the group. The theme for this month was blogger's choice, so I was able to select any recipe from my assigned swapper. 

This month I received Ali's blog Sparks From my Kitchen.  I have made a few recipes from her blog in the past and have always liked them. In fact,  my favorite pumpkin bread recipe is from a previous swap with her. This month I wanted something that was perfect for colder evenings and quick for a weeknight meal. When I came across her recipe for Chicken Curry Soup I was sold.  Like her, I also love curry and do not cook with it as often as I should. The recipe was wonderfully easy and loved by my entire family. This was actually one of the first times Kellen tried curry and he loved it! I couldn't find the recommended noodles, but I used a packaged cooked udon noodle and it turned out great. I also made a few adjustments to the ingredient amounts to reflect what I used while cooking. I opted to use full fat coconut milk and added a little extra chicken stock because I think it make the soup a little thicker than lite coconut milk.  I was really thankful for the tip to cook the noodles till they were almost dry. I thought of just adding them with a little curry powder, but drying in the pan makes a big difference and is delicious. When I made the soup the first time we all loved it so much I put it on our meal plan for the following week! Thank you Ali for a wonderful new recipe! 

Thank you to all the ladies who participated! I will have a round-up posted later today so you can visit all the the swappers and check out their yummy creations! 

My cousin and her husband are coming to town this weekend and I am so excited! She is a vet and is always really busy with her residency, and a chance to spend the weekend with her and her husband is very exciting! Plus, my Dad is making his Brandy Mustard Steaks, and that makes this every more wonderful!


Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 Tbl yellow curry, divided
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 8oz packages cooked udon noodles, drained, rinsed and drained again
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 16oz package frozen stir-fry veggies


Instructions

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook almost completely. Add the onion and cook for a minute. Add the 2 tablespoons of curry powder and stir. Add the coconut milk, a bit at a time, stirring. Add the chicken stock, honey and soy sauce. Bring to a slow boil and cook for 5 minutes.

While the soup cooks prepare the noodles.  Heat sesame oil in a pan over medium/high heat. Add the noodles and stir for a few minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder, and continue stirring until the noodles are almost dry. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the vegetables to the soup, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Place noodles in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over the top.

Serves 4. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Slowcooker Thai Peanut Beef

Ron and I love Thai food, but going out on weeknights can be challenging with busy schedules. Even more than going out for Thai, we love the leftover the next day because the flavors get spicier and more delicious. I wanted to make a Thai inspired dinner that could double as a easy lunch the following day. I decided to incorporate some of my favorite Thai flavors in this meal red curry, coconut milk and peanut. I was initially worried how the coconut milk would hold up over an extended cooking time, but it worked very well and smelled amazing when I walked in the door after work. I served our meal with brown rice to clean up all of the delicious sauce.  Ron and I loved this meal and the leftover, as expected, were perfect. The dish is not very spicy (a small bite)  for using 2 tablespoons of red curry, and if you would like it spicier I would recommend a bit more red curry or adding a chopped hot pepper. 

Tonight Ron, Kellen and I are hanging around at home. I am working on a a few new recipes that I am very excited to share with you in the near future, and a few projects outside the cooking world. Another fun thing to report, I won my work chili cook-off. It was the same recipe and I entered in the Texas Star Cook-Off, and it was so nice that everyone enjoyed it! 

Tomorrow my cooking board is starting up our recipe swap, and I can't wait to see what everyone made!


Ingredients

2 1/2 lb top round roast (or other comparable cut of beef)
Salt and pepper
1 can Coconut milk (not lite)
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbl Thai red curry paste
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl honey
3 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup beef stock
1 lb fresh snap pea pods, trimmed and cleaned
Salt, to taste
Brown Rice, cooked


Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste, soy sauce, honey, cilantro, ginger and beef stock. Place roast into the crockpot and season with salt and pepper. Pour coconut mixture over the top of the roast and cook on low 8-9 hours. During the last hour of cooking shred roast so it can soak in the curry sauce. Add pea pods and stir. Cover and cook for an additional hour. Season with salt if needed. Serve with hot brown rice. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Slowcooker Chicken and Dumplings

It was snowing on Monday and Tuesday. SNOWING. I am not ready for this.  Granted, I understand living in Wisconsin means living with a fall season full of inconsistent weather, but it still feels too early for snow.  I came across Slowcooker Chicken and Dumplings from All Things Delicious and thought it sounded wonderfully easy (and a great way to use my homemade cream of chicken soup!).  Cold weather always brings out my need for comforting am warm meals, and this recipe fits the bill perfectly.  I know chicken and dumplings are a very popular meal, but outside of broth based soup it was not something I had eaten very many times. However, the ease of the crockpot, tender chicken, flavorful gravy and rich dumplings won me over to put the recipe on my meal plan.  

Ron, Kellen and I loved this meal. It was so homey, comforting- perfect bowl on a chilly evening.  I also love that it hardly takes any work to put together, and that is always a big weeknight plus for me. I opted to use chicken breasts for my recipe, but I think thighs would also be delicious if you prefer dark meat (or a mix).  As I said before, I use my version of cream of chicken soup over canned, but canned would work fine in place of a DYI soup.  In my instructions, I advise to season when the meal is done. There is salt in the ingredients of this dish, and I would salt after to allow the flavors to come out and so you do not end up with a over salted crockpot of chicken and dumplings! 

Tonight Ron is working in the lab leaving Kellen and I to get dinner ready. I am making Bacon Pieorogie Bake, and we usually end up eating half the bacon....without having to share it with Ron. There are methods to my madness and hording the bacon is one of them. I am also excited to watch American Horror Story tonight! I forgot to record the episode last week and now get to watch both! Is Twisty gone forever?????? 


Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 Tbl butter
1 recipe of Cream of Chicken Soup (equivalent of 2 cans)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
1 small onion, diced 
1 1/2 Tbl dried parsley
5 flaky refrigerator biscuits (I used Grands brand)
Salt and pepper, to taste 


Instructions

Place chicken breasts into the crockpot and top with butter and onions.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the soup mixture, broth and parsley. Pour over chicken. 

Cook chicken on low 7-8 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot, shred and return to crockpot. Cut each biscuit into nine pieces and gently stir into the chicken mixture. Cover and cook for an additional hour. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 11/10 - 11/16

Happy Monday and happy day after the Packers beating the Bears!

This weekend was a lot of fun, but Sunday night football games make me want to use the snooze button! On Friday, I went out for sushi with a few of my girlfriends, and out for drinks after. I love getting together with these ladies and we are planning a December cookie exchange (read: wine drinking) next month, and it should be a blast. On Saturday, Kellen and I bummed around while Ron went to work at the lab. We met my Mom for lunch before Kellen went down for an afternoon nap. In the evening, we relaxed and watched a few episodes of The Closer. On Sunday, Ron and I headed to the PAcker game for a date night (you know you are from Wisconsin when your date night is a football game!).  My Mom was nice enough to take Kellen for the night so we did not have to wake the little guy after the game. 

The Legend Dog: hot dog with BBQ brisket and pork, jalapeño cheese sauce and crispy onions.


Delicious!


Yep, row 5. Our tickets were originally my Grandparents. 

Tonight I am headed to dinner with two of my girlfriends. I love girl's night and love connecting with my friends outside our roles as mothers and have the opportunity to kick back and be silly. The two ladies I am having dinner with tonight have special places in my heart because one was my Doula when I had Kellen and the other was a breast milk donor for Kellen. I find that my relationship with them is really special and I always look forward to time we spend together. We are going to one of my favorite place- Plae Bistro.  This week is a little more relaxed, but after dinner tonight I need bust out my favorite chili recipe for my work's chili cook-off!

Another fun piece of new to share- I am featured in Taste of Home: Simply Delicious this month as their grand prize winner for my Roasted Red Pepper Feta Basil Dip

Also, don't forget to vote for my Beer and Brat Mac & Cheese with the Festival Foods Tailgating Recipe Contest. Here is the link to the contest and my recipe- I would love you vote!

Here is what is on tap:


Monday: Out with my girlfriends
Tuesday:  Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake, Wild Rice and Peas
Wednesday: Bacon Pierogie Bake and Green Beans
Thursday: Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday: Out with friends to Bleu
Saturday: Dinner with my Parents
Sunday: Quick Creamy White Chicken Chili and Packer Game!

Bone Broth Risotto



This month I received our host Camilla, author of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I have been a reader of Camilla's for awhile and teamed up with her and other bloggers when she hosted the Ten Days of Tailgate Challenge. I was really excited to get her blog because she is super creative, and posts lots of delicious looking recipes. Camilla has a really great intro section on her blog. She has had many different life experiences, but the thing she wrote that I appreciated the most was a parenting goal: to grow conscientious, creative kids with fearless palates. Camilla and I share this goal for our kids, and I hope Kellen is as open as her children as he grows.  I was really torn over what to make  Hoppy Pretzel Dogs, Garlic Ice Cream, Ricotta Gorgonzola Gnocchi.... The list got pretty long.  However, I came a cross a recipe for  Bone Broth Risotto  and was sold. I make bone broth at home often and had not used it for a risotto. Bone broth has amazing health benefits in addition to tasting fantastic. I wrote a post on Bone Broth on Friday to share my recipe as well as a little background on this healthy food. I scaled down the original recipe because I was serving it as a side and added a little fresh thyme. I opted to sub Parmesan for marscarpone cheese because I knew an entire container would go to waste at our house and I had Parmesan on hand. I think the main flavor difference that will occur from this substitution is a sweetness in the original recipe. I think both cheeses would be delicious additions, and you will not go wrong with either cheese you choose.  Thank you Camilla for a delicious recipe that I can create using one of my favorite kitchen staples. 




Ingredients

1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 carrots, diced
1 celery stalks, diced
1 Tbl butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 oz diced pancetta
1  cup arborio rice
4 cups bone broth
2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl fresh chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Instructions

Place bone broth in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook for 5 minutes. Add pancetta and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Stir in rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium and aadd 1/2 cup broth and cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue adding remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next.  Add fresh thyme when last portion of stock is added. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bone Broth (Chicken)

"Bone broth? What is bone broth?"  This is normally the question I get from people and friends are not familiar this incredibly health food.  I prepare bone broth in my home for sipping, cooking and to use as a soup base (especially when cold season rolls into town).  Bone broth is rich in minerals such as magnesium and potassium. The broth has collagen from the bones and can be beneficial to the body (particularly joints and bone).  In addition, I find the effect of drinking bone broth gentle on my gut and gives my body a "well" feeling.  Many people ask what the difference is between bone broth and stock. The main difference is the method of cooking. Stock normally depends on high cooking temperatures and shortened cooking times. Bone broth is dependent slow and low cooking to extract as many nutrients from the bones as possible (I try to always cook 16-18 hours).  Another important aspect of bone broth is the health of animal’s bones. Getting regular bones from grocery store packaged chicken or beef is not the best option to getting the most beneficial broth for your body. I like to use bones from pasture raised organic chickens (do not shy away from feet if you can get them!) for my broth, and will use bones from 100% grass fed beef.  I personally prefer the flavor of chicken bone broth, and find chicken to be more versatile than beef.  The nutrients from the chicken promote a healthy immune system and, as I said before, are great for overall wellness.  

When making bone broth it is also important to add a bit of acidity (I use apple cider vinegar) because it helps draw the nutrients from the bones. A funny thing about bone broth is that it will turn into a gelatin state when cooled. To return it to a liquid state just heat it up.  If your bone broth does not come to a gelatin state you may not have cooked the bones long enough. Toward the end of the cooling process I will take a small cup from the pot and allow it to cool to make sure it will gel.  Normally, I freeze my bone broth but you can store it in the fridge for a few days if you are planning on using it right away.  Since I make chicken bone broth I will use 2-3 chicken carcasses for my broth. I use carcasses that I roast for chicken for other recipes after I have cleaned to meat off of the chicken carcasses. 

One of the great things about bone broth is the ability to use different flavors. I like heavy garlic and herb bone broth, but you could make your as mild or as herby as you like. I like to make my salt free and will add a bit later if using it in cooking.  This is an amazing and easy addition to any winter/wellness arsenal, and it tastes amazing.  

Stay tuned because I have a great recipe from a fellow blogger coming your way in a few days to using bone broth!

Another exciting note (actually two), my recipe for Titletown Tailgating Chili won Miz Helen's 5th Annual Texas Star Chili Cook-off! Thank you to everyone who sent their vote my way! I won a $50 gift certificate to Amazon and am going to use it towards a bit of holiday shopping for my family.  The second thing is the photo below.  Looks pretty huh? I am starting to use a Canon Rebel Ti4 and have been using a cowboy lighting system for winter photographing. I have a few old pictures with my old camera, but after those post the pictures are getting a lot prettier. I always use to get so sad when my natural lighting was gone, except for weekend cooking, and am happy that this year will be completely different! 


Ingredients

2-3 chicken carcasses
4 quarts water
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
3 carrots, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1-2 heads of garlic, peeling removed (this can be adjusted depending on size and wanted flavor)
2 Tbl whole peppercorns (any color)
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
8 springs of fresh thyme
3 springs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves


Instructions

Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on low. Cook at least 12 hours (I cook about 16-18, but you can cook up to 24). Strain the stock through a mesh strainer. Store in the fridge or cool and store in the freezer. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

General Tso's Meatballs

Who doesn't love meatballs? Meatballs are an amazing comfort food for my family. We normally eat them with pasta, but when Nichole, author of Cookaholic Wife, posted these meatballs I knew I had to try this version using the ever popular General Tso flavors. These meatballs are super simple and perfect for a weeknight meal. Our whole family loved these meatballs and they made fantastic leftovers for lunches the following day. The sauce is sweet and salty with the perfect touch of heat. I served ours with rice and steamed broccoli, and the rice perfectly soaked up the extra sauce from the meatballs.  I made a few changes to the original recipe because it was originally gluten free and I added bread crumbs and cornstarch. I also opted to use a large portion of meat and made our meatballs a little larger.  If you would like to follow the gluten free/paleo version you can find it on Nichole's blog (link is above). 

I had some exciting news this week! I entered my recipe for Beer and Brat Mac & Cheese with the Festival Foods Tailgating Recipe Contest and I am in the top 4 for October! The prize is $500 and to win I need your votes! There are many recipes entered and it was pretty cool to make the top 4, but would be even cooler to win. Here is the link to the contest and my recipe- I would love you vote!

On another note, my friend Amanda won her Assembly race! Unfortunately, many others did not make it to victory, but I am so proud of my friend words can't even describe it!  



Ingredients

for meatballs:
2 lb beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

for sauce:
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbl rice wine vinegar
3 Tbl soy sauce 
3 Tbl honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cornstarch
6 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Add ground beef and all meatballs ingredients into a large bowl. Gently mix by hand and roll into 16 larger meatballs. Place meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, whisk sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, water, Sriracha and cornstarch together in a small saucepan until combined. Stir in the green onions and bring to a boil. Simmer for until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Remove meatballs from oven and plate on a large rimmed dish. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve.