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! 


Ingredients

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)
Salt


Instructions

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!



Ingredients

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


Ingredients

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!


Ingredients

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


Instructions

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 Gelée 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


Ingredients

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


Instructions

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! 


Ingredients

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


Instructions

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)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Creamy Sharp Cheddar Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Time for March's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!



The ingredients for this month are cauliflower and cheese. I was really pumped when Dawn unveiled the ingredients in the beginning of the month because I love the combination. One of my favorite side dishes growing up was cheesy cauliflower. My mom would always steam a whole head and top it will cheese. The warm cauliflower melted the cheese into every nook and crannies- delicious. Immediately knew what type of recipe I wanted to make because it has been something on my back burner for a few months, but I was dragging my feet getting it on my weekly meal plan.  In the past year, I have seen cauliflower in almost everything from pizza crust to soup base. One of the uses that got my attention was mac and cheese. Since I love the flavor combo I knew it was a recipe that I needed to create for my family.  When I first told Ron what I was making his response was, "well that sounds strangely weird and delicious".  Precisely my dear, precisely. 

I opted to puree my cauliflower with milk, butter and cheese to replace the flour normally used to make a cheese sauce. The texture was a little thicker after my first blend, but adding a little additional milk to the pasta solved the problem.  I loved the flavor of the sauce with the noodles. I was literally over the pan eating spoonfuls before cutting myself off and getting the pasta into the oven. I noticed that the cauliflower flavor was more noticeable fresh from the skillet, but after it was baked I could not even tell it was there.  Kellen gobbled this down (of course), and told me "I love this mac and cheese mama!".  Her melts my heart.... well until he dumps his legos on the floor (the worse sounds to hear from the next room is the lego box dumping). I served this with  grilled pesto chicken sausage from Trader Joe's and a green salad. Ron and I both agreed that the meal was fantastic! 

Tonight, we are headed out to grab fish and broasted chicken. I am also hoping that Ron and I can watch a movie after Kellen goes to bed. Saturday, I am really hoping to get outside to play and I will be helping my friend Emily prepare for the Belly to Baby Expo! 

If 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 everyone else made, and what next month will bring! 


Ingredients

One whole head of cauliflower cored and chopped into medium pieces
1 lb shaped pasta (I used Cavatappi noodles)
3/4 cup milk, divided (I use 2%)
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided 
4 Tbl butter
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup unseasoned bread cumbs
 2 Tbl butter, melted


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter and set aside. 

In a microwave safe bowl  arrange cauliflower and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover and microwave till tender, about 6-7 minutes depending on size.  While cauliflower is cooking cook pasta according to package instructions leaving it slightly al dente.  

Drain the cauliflower and place it in a food processor or blender.  Add 1/2 cup milk and butter. Process until smooth. 

Dain the cooked pasta and return it  the pot it was cooked in. Add the cauliflower mixture and 2 cups of cheese. Stir gently to evenly coat. Add the remaining milk and gently stir to slightly thin the mac and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the pasta. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot. 



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Time for March's Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for this month is chicken and noodles. To me, chicken and noodles is one of the most comforting combinations and there is nothing better that soup of a chilly day or, in this case, in the slow cookers after a long day at work!  I opted to use my homemade bone broth to further ward off the illnesses that have been circling my work and Kellen's daycare. Here is the link to my post on the benefits of bone broth and an easy slow cooker recipe to make your very own batch. If you do not use bone broth chicken stock or broth will work just fine. This soup was everything that a chicken soup sound be: flavorful, hot and totally comforting. It was so nice to walk into the house after work and have minimal work to put a delicious dinner on the table. This was a big hit with Kellen and Ron as well. Kellen loves soup and he exclaimed several time while enjoying his bowl, "I love hot soup!". He is so freakin' cute. 

Tonight I am headed to a volleyball game and then home to relax. We are trying a new recipe for roasted chicken thighs and it involves mustard which makes me immediate excited for dinner!

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 Asparagus and Egg (I already have mine set to go!). 


Ingredients

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, halved and sliced
1 white onion, diced
8 cups bone broth, chicken stock or chicken broth 
1/2 Tbl black pepper
1 tsp salt (plus a little extra to season at the end)
1/2 Tbl fresh thyme
3 cups wide egg noodles


Instructions

Place all ingredients except noodles into the slow cooker and give it a stir. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 7-8 hours.

About an hour before you are ready to eat, remove the chicken and add the noodles to the slow cooker. Chop or shred the chicken and move it back to the slow cooker. Cover and cook till the noodles are tender (about 20-30 min). Make sure to keep an eye on the noodles so they do not become overcooked and mushy. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Herb De Provence Roasted Chicken

I hope everyone had a jolly St. Patty’s Day! We went to our favorite bar for beers and dinner with my parents and my nephew. My parents were on vacation for a few weeks so it was fantastic to see them again.  Kellen is with my mom once a week and they have a swim class together. While she was gone he missed it and was thrilled to have her back (such a spoiled boy).

Today I am sharing my recipe for Herb De Provence Roasted Chicken.  I use a little different method with this recipe than I do with my recipe for Lemon, Thyme and Sage Roasted Chicken, but both chicken recipes are delicious and turn out great for me each time.  Herb De Provence is a dried herb mix of herbs typical to the Provence region.  This normally includes: savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender. I purchased my mix while at the lavender farm in Washington Island, Door County while I was there with my friend Emily and the kids in the fall. I have loved using the mix for my roasted chicken and can’t wait to take another trip back while all the lavender is blooming.  The lavender fields are big and there is a lovely little café inside the main building that sells desserts.

For this recipe, I made a compound butter with the herbs as well as a bit of fresh lemon zest and a bit of garlic. I always make sure the rub the butter into the chicken really well so I get a nice golden crispy skin along with flavorful, and juicy meat.  I did not include directions for gravy, but this is a great way to use your drippings if you enjoy a little gravy with your chicken.  This recipe is so easy and the chicken is absolutely delicious. I love the unique flavor of the herb mixture and the freshness the lemon adds to the finished product.

Tonight, my friend Emily is coming for dinner and we are going to finish up the gift bags for her expo. There is no new Law and Order: SVU on tonight (sniff), but the bags will likely take up most of our time.  I just took a peek at the forecast for the rest of the week and it looks like it might be a bit warmer on Saturday, and I am hoping I can get Kellen to the zoo or to the park to play with his friends…. I am seriously chomping at the bit for nice weather! I am already getting super excited about upcoming trip to Florida and it isn’t for over a month…. I can’t wait to play on the beach with my little boy!

Happy  hump day folks! 


Ingredients

1 4 to 4 1/2 lb chicken
1 stick butter, at room temp
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 heaping Tbl Herbs De Provence 
1 tsp salt (+ plus extra for the seasoning the inside)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 whole lemon, halved


Instructions

Allow chicken to sit uncovered in the fridge for a few hours before cooking. This step is not essential, but will help produce golden brown crispy skin.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. 

Pat the chicken cavity dry, if needed, and salt the inside of the chicken . In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Rub the butter into the chicken making sure you gets under the wings and thighs.  Insert lemon halves into the empty chicken cavity. Truss the legs and place on a rack in a roasting pan (here is a good tutorial). 

Roast the chicken at 450 for  15 min. Reduce heat to  375 and cook for an additional 40-60 minutes, or until the temperature in the thigh reads 165 degrees. 

Remove from oven and place on a carving board. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes (you can strain the dripping and make gravy it you like during this time).  Carve and serve. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 3/16 - 3/22

Good evening! 

I am a little behind today because I didn't have chance to finish my post last night. Kellen has been having a little trouble getting to bed and needed a little extra rocking and singing last night. The little dude didn't get to bed until 9:30 and I needed a little rest and relaxation. My friend Emily also stopped over to organize the raffle baskets for the Belly to Baby Expo on Sunday. Emily puts together a fantastic expo highlighting different supports for people considering a family, pregnant and birth. I am working on the raffle/donations and it is going to be a fantastic expo. Here is the link to the Facebook page if you are in the area and would like to stop by- we would love to see you there! 

This weekend was busy, but we had a lot of fun. We had dinner with my Sister in-law and Brother in-law on Friday. It was awesome and many laughs were had by all!  

On Saturday, Ron had a few projects to work on and I headed to Sturgeon Bay with Emily to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade! 

Waving to St. Patrick:

After the parade we headed to Cave Point Park to walk around. There are steep drops into the water and I kept a close eye on my curious little guy!  Later in the evening, after we rested for a bit, we grilled our first brats of the season and enjoyed a relaxing evening. 

The weekend also included the first park trip of the season for my stir crazy little man! He only fell off the equipment once when he decided to make a ladder into a slide, but it wasn't too far. He like to keep me on my toes!

Enjoying the swings: 

There was also a little basketball at our house to go with Selection Sunday (Go Badgers!!!!!!):

This week I am working on a few things for the expo with Emily and just a few general household things.... Ron has cribbage on Saturday and I am crossing my fingers we can go for fish on Friday and for a few park dates with our friends! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Creamy Sharp Cheddar Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and Grilled Bangers
Tuesday: Out for St. Patrick's Day!
Wednesday: Oven Baked Honey Mustard Chicken, Couscous and Roasted Green Beans
Thursday: Slow Cooker Beef and Guinness Pot Pie and Salad
Friday: Out
Saturday: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole and Roast Green Beans
Sunday: Corned Beef Hash for Breakfast and Beef Chili for Dinner

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Individual Pepperoni Pizza Pot Pies

Happy Pi Day (Part Two!) 

This round-up is with ladies from my cooking board to celebrate Pi Day and share delicious concoctions.  Big thanks to Kate from Kate's Recipe Box for organizing and hosting our round-up! 

So, I previously posted a sweet recipe for S'mores Brownie Pie and I wanted to share something savory for this round-up. There are so many different variations on a savory pie that are just as delicious I couldn't leave them out! I love pot pies and debated between a few ideas before deciding on a pizza pot pie. 
I decided to make them individual because I have 4 4.5 inch oven safe onion soup bowls which work perfectly for a pot pie. If you do not have something like this you could use a pie plate, but would need to manipulate the biscuit dough a bit to get the bottom to stay together.  Our family loves pizza, but we are across the board when it comes to toppings. However, one thing we can all agree on is pepperoni pizza. I decided that keeping the recipe simple was the best way to keep it family friendly and weeknight quick. The toppings are layers up like a lasagna over a biscuit crust and topped with an additional flaky biscuit. One tricky part is making sure that your top biscuit is done in the center and depending on what size dish you prepare the pot pie in can create a little variation. 

I loved these pot pies! Digging in with a spoon into gooey cheese and zesty sauce is so oddly satisfying. I love pulling up a bite with the long strings of cheese clinging on the the pipping hot pepperoni.  The bottom biscuit turns into a crust and is a lot like your very own deep dish. Kellen was really excited when I placed this in front of him. For Kellen, pizza equals true love. 

I am headed to Door County for the day to bring Kellen to a parade with friends- have a great Saturday! 
Check out the other bloggers and their delicious pies to celebrate Pi!

Pies for Pi Day 
  Strawberry Pop Tart Pie from Kate's Recipe Box

Indiana Sugar Cream Pie from Eva Bakes

Coconut Cream Pie from Relish

Individual Pepperoni Pizza Pot Pies from Cheese Curd in Paradise

Lemon Cheesecake Pie from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Cookaholic Wife

Sweet Potato Pie from Kosher Kitchen


Ingredients

8 refrigerator biscuits with flaky layers (like Grands)
36 pepperoni slices
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pizza sauce
1 Tbl Italian seasoning
1 Tbl olive oil, divided
4 (4.5 inch) baking dishes


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray baking dishes with cooking spray or grease lightly with olive oil.  Place one biscuit in the bottom on each dish and work the dough slightly up the sides (about 1/2 - 1 inch). 

Place 3 pepperoni slices on top of the dough. Layer 1 tablespoon of sauce followed by 1 tablespoon of cheese. Repeat twice more (the final portion of sauce and cheese will be a little larger).  Place a biscuit on top of the pizza toppings. Slightly stretch the biscuit, but do not connect it to the sides of the dish. lightly brush the biscuit with olive oil and sprinkle the top with Italian seasoning. 

Bake 20 to 22 minutes till the biscuit is golden and cooked through. Serve hot in the ramekins. 

S'Mores Brownie Pie

Welcome to Pi(e) Day hosted by Terri from Love and Confections! Pi Day is celebrated every March 14 by math fans around the world (and bakers too!). Pi is an non-repeating, infinite number represented by the Greek letter π, and used to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Today, March 14, 2015, is an extra special Pi Day, because at 9:26:53 AM it creates the "Pi Moment of the Century". The first ten digits of Pi are 3.141592653 (3/14/15, 9:26 AM and 53 seconds). This exact date and time happens once every hundred years - a once in a lifetime moment for most of us. How cool is that? Today, 20 Food Bloggers have gathered and want to celebrate the fun of Pi by creating  sweet and savory pies to share with you.

Displaying Pie Day 02.jpg


Enjoy a slice from the Pi(e) Day Bloggers:
Apple Pear Pie with Crumble Topping from Baking and Creating with Avril
Apple Rhubarb Strawberry Pie from Food Lust People Love
Buffalo Chicken Shepherd's Pie from Healthy. Delicious.
Chocolate Mousse Pie from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Chocolate Silk Pie from Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Coconut-Pistachio Pie from The Spiffy Cookie
Curried Lamb Potpie from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Fresh Strawberry Pie from Taste Cook Sip
Hillbilly Apple Pie from My Catholic Kitchen
Kentucky Derby Pie from Kelli's Kitchen
Mixed Berry Slab Pie from Making Miracles
Peach-Blueberry Pie from The Redhead Baker
Salted Honey Pie from girlichef
Sicilian Ricotta Pie from Cake Duchess
S'Mores Brownie Pie from Cheese Curd in Paradise
Strawberry Daiquiri Pie from Love and Confections
Thin Mint Pie from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Top Secret Derby Pie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Triple Berry Pot Pie from {i love} my disorganized life
Vegetable Pot Pie from Sew You Think You Can Cook

As I have said previously, I am not the best baker, but I am not one to turn down pie and jumping in to celebrate Pi Day seemed like a great idea. I decided that I wanted to make something a little different and when I found S'Mores Brownie Pie from Sally's Baking Addiction I was sold! 

Honestly, who doesn't love s'mores? They are a perfect reminder of all things summer and gets me excited to sit by a campfire on a warm summer night- beer in hand.  This pie looks absolutely beautiful and is so easy to make. The toasted marshmallows are my favorite part and are the perfect for the rich chocolate brownie nestled underneath the sweet and sticky layers of toasted marshmallow.  I brought this to my in-laws while they watched the kids and we (along with my brother in-law and sister in-law) could enjoy dinner out. Needless to say, this pie was a big hit with the kids and adults! The four of us were excited to dig in for dessert after returning from the restaurant!

This is my sweet pie day to celebrate Pi Day, but check back a little later for my savory pie post! 


Ingredients

Crust
12 full-sheet graham crackers 
6 Tbl melted unsalted butter
1/3 cup  granulated sugar

Brownies
10 Tbl unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 cups  granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbl  unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
25 large marshmallows


Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To make the crust: In a food processor, process the graham crackers to a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Using your fingers, press into an ungreased 8-inch or 9-inch pie dish. Set aside.

To make the brownies: Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl in the microwave. Melt in 30 second increments and stir after each time until the butter is completely melted. The mixture will look slightly grainy. Set aside for a few minutes as you get the other ingredients ready. 

Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time (make sure the mixture is not too hot), stirring with each addition. The batter will be thick and look shiny. Add the flour, beating with a whisk until fully combined.  Spoon into the prepared crust.

Bake for 28-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with marshmallows. Return to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 3-5 minutes to melt the marshmallows. To toast the marshmallows to a golden brown color, turn on your broiler for 1-3 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to evenly brown the marshmallows and prevent burning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. Run a very sharp knife under warm water when slicing to reduce sticking.

 Store pie at room up to 7 days. Do not freeze. To reheat, pop a slice in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Homemade Cheesy Hamburger Helper

Hamburger Helper.... the stuff childhood meals were made of. Actually not at my house because my Mom wasn't a fan, but chicken and rice with cream of mushroom soup? Then you were talking our language.  Even though my mom didn't make this for us it didn't stop me from loving when it was on the menu at a friend's house. My favorites were always the cheeseburger and the cheesy tuna (I guess that makes it tuna helper). When spied this recipe for homemade hamburger helper on Pinterest I was really excited to give it a try- nostalgia here I come! 

I loved that this recipe was one-pot and came together so quickly with zero chopping. I like to have recipes like this in my pocket for weeknight meals because our time gets limited, and I have a hungry two-year old who needs his meal. Kellen, Ron and I loved this meal. Kellen exclaimed that he " loved the little hamburgers" and proceeded to point out all the pieces of burger on his plate as he ate them.

Last night I met my good friend for ice cream with the kids. My friend is almost to her due date and looks so lovely each time I see her! The kids were excited about the ice cream, and we could see the sugar highs kick in! Kellen had a cup of chocolate custard with a few M&Ms sprinkled on top and I have a mixer with M&Ms and Oreo....so delicious.  I also had a volleyball game last night and it was a lot of fun! We won 1 of 3, but the games were all really close! 

Tonight, we are heading to Appleton to hang out with my sister in-law and brother in-law. I am really excited because we always laugh a lot AND we are getting Thai food- double bonus! 

Tomorrow is Pi Day and I have two recipes to share with you! One savory, one sweet and both delicious. Make sure to check back tomorrow because I am linking with other bloggers and there will be lots of great recipes to check out! Tomorrow I am also heading to Door County for the St. Patrick's Day parade in Sturgeon Bay and to stop at our cottage to check out the beach (frozen beaches in winter are beautiful!). 

TGIF Folks! 


Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
2 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Instructions

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray, and add ground beef. Brown until no longer pink and drain any drippings from the pan. Add the pasta, milk, water and spices. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Towards the end, keep an eye on the pasta to make sure it does not get to dry. If this happens add a little extra milk or water. Add the cheese and stir till melted. Serve immediately