Monday, August 19, 2013

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies were seriously good! I was a little nervous with putting actual apples in them, but I loved it! They're going to be great in the fall as there's cinnamon...just always reminds me of fall! They were quick and easy as well! And they were so chewy--which is my favorite kind of cookie!

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies-adapted from Easy Back to School Meals by Taste of Home
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Makes about 36 cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped apple
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and gradually mix in. Stir in oats and apples.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto uncreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Slow cooker meals are the best. I love being able to come home and not worry about dinner. The flavors on this chicken were great! The original recipe is for chicken wings, but there were chicken legs on sale, so I made those instead. The chicken was so tender and I bet it would be delicious with wings!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken-adapted from Taste of Home
Total time: 6 hours
Serves 6

  • 3 pounds chicken (wings, legs, breasts would probably be good too)
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Place chicken in a 4-5 quart slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Stuffing Skillet

When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Scott is a fan of anything cooked with a sauce and green beans. The original recipe doesn't call for you to make sure the chicken is fully cooked before you put everything else on top of it, but that's how I'm writing the recipe because that's what I'd do next time. The flavors were great and I used this Cream of Anything Soup Mix instead of cream of mushroom soup! I would liken this to a green bean casserole with chicken & stuffing. YUM. I would also take out the flour mixture and just season the chicken next time. It didn't add anything to the dish.

Chicken Stuffing Skillet-adapted from Easy Back to School Meals from Taste of Home
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 6 ounces corn bread stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Next time just season with salt and pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (or this mix)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cans cut green beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and mustard. Add chicken and shake to coat.

In a large skillet, cook the chicken in the oil over medium heat until cook through, about 7-9 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, onion, milk and green beans. Pour over chicken and top with stuffing. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese and cook 3-4 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Heat's Homemade: Cream of Anything Mix

I have decided to try to make more of my own ingredients. This is both for health and financial reasons. I'll know exactly what's in these ingredients, and I usually have most of the stuff on hand, and/or it will last me so long the initial cost will outweigh how much I don't have to spend in the future.

The thing that got me started on this was when I made this pizza sauce and pizza dough. I realized I spent just a little bit of money to buy the ingredients I didn't have, but had most of them on hand. It also tasted great and I could customize it as I chose!

The next thing I wanted to try was to make this mix for cream of chicken, mushroom, etc. soups. While the cans are relatively inexpensive, $0.66-$0.99 each, I feel like they just seem so unhealthy and gloopy. My post tomorrow will show the actual recipe I made with this, but I think it turned out great! The entire mix fits into a gallon size ziploc bag, or you could find a cool container to house it in. It then makes the equivalent of 9 cans of soup!

Cream of Anything Mix-adapted from One Good Thing by Jillee
Total Time: 5 Minutes
Makes equivalent of 9 cans of soup
  • 2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 

Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag, mixing well. Use 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/4 cup cold water for the equivalent of a can of soup. Whisk until well blended.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos

When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love lasagna, but we are doing our best to not have as many carbs in our diet. Overall, this did taste like lasagna-just as rich with the cheese I usually put into it! I will definitely be making this again. It's easy, quick and delicious!

Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos-adapted from Pink Parsley
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 portabello mushroom caps
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ounce shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Use a spoon to scrape the gills out of the mushroom caps. 

In a small bowl, combine half the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Brush the inside and outside of the caps with the mixture, and roast cap-side down for about 10 minutes.  If the mushroom gives off water, blot it up with a paper towel.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, remaining garlic and Italian seasoning, Parmesan, basil, and breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the marinara into each mushroom cap, then stuff with the ricotta mixture.  Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of sauce over the ricotta, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the sauce.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the filling is heated through and the cheese has melted.  Serve with additional marinara.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cheesy Veggie Soup

Scott and I are still in the process of finding the perfect beer cheese soup recipe. This wasn't it, but it was still a good, cheesy soup recipe for those rainy days! The one thing I wish I did better was make sure to blend this a little more. I got a little impatient and decided not to make sure it was thinned out!

Cheesy Veggie Soup-adapted from Mommie Cooks
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beer
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Mix in flour, beer and chicken broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, add in half & half and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Carefully transfer chunks of vegetables and soup into a blender in batches (or use an immersion blender if you're lucky enough to have one). Puree until smooth and return to stock pot. Repeat until soup is smooth.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Braised Beef Roast

This recipe was supposed to be a beef brisket. However, I couldn't, for the life of me, find a beef brisket at any of my grocery stores (I went to three!), so I settled for a beef rump roast instead. The flavors of this were absolutely amazing! And it was so simple to throw together. It barely took any time to prep, it just took awhile to cook. I think if I made this again, I'd try it in the slow cooker. The au jus was plenty and made the meal!

Braised Beef Roast-adapted from Best Fall Recipes by Southern Living
Total Time 2 hours
Serves 4-6
  • 3 1/2 pound beef rump roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-14.5 ounce can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
Season roast with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients. Place roast in a large roasting pan and pour mixture over roast. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate 12-24 hours

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake roast, covered, for 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Uncover and let stand 20 minutes. Cut roast across the grain into think slices. Serve with pan drippings.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken

As a kid, my parents always made the same three chicken recipes over and over again (or at least that's how it always seemed to me at the time): lemon chicken, parmesan chicken and teriyaki chicken. I remember vividly one time where I got so mad at my dad for wanting to make chicken for dinner again. Because every time we had chicken, my mom would make a chicken casserole with the leftovers. I honestly just got sick of chicken. Which just seems crazy talk to me now.

Now, I cook chicken at least once a week and realize how versatile it can be! I can't remember the last time I've had a teriyaki chicken. The best thing about this recipe is that the teriyaki doesn't come from a bottle. I'm really starting to get into making my own sauces and mixes, instead of having to buy sodium laden bottled stuff where you don't really know what's in it or it costs a dollar every time you want to use it.

I also, as usual, didn't read through the entire recipe, so didn't realize this needed to bake for an hour. I was just too hungry to wait that long, so just mixed everything up on the stovetop. Still turned out fantastic! I've put both directions below, as I might try to bake it next time because I have a feeling it might turn out as more of a sticky consistency instead of a marinade that happened on the stove. I served this with the Fried Rice with Kale and Mushrooms and egg rolls!

Teriyaki Chicken-adapted from Mushki Loves
Total Time: 15 Minutes (stovetop), 1 hour (oven)
Serves 4
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
Stovetop Directions:
In a large skillet, over medium heat, put all ingredients. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, and chicken is cooked through. About 15 minutes.

Oven Directions (not tested):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, butter, water and dry mustard until boiling. Meanwhile, place chicken in a lightly greased baking pan. Pour mixture over pan. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour or until bubbly.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fried Rice with Kale and Mushrooms

Fried rice is one of my favorite side dishes. I don't think you can ever have enough recipes for it. As of now, this is only my third (successful) attempt: Beef Fried Rice and Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce.

This recipe was one of my favorites so far. Scott was really hesitant when I was telling him kale was in the recipe. His only knowledge of kale is from working at a country club in high school where it was a garnish. He hasn't realized the kale-kraze that I see on Pinterest daily.

So this was my first experience with kale. I didn't use as much a the original recipe called for, however, I didn't want to over do it. The flavors were amazing and I especially love the mushroom addition (because of my current addiction).

Fried Rice with Kale and Mushrooms-adapted from Pink Parsley
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 4
  • 1/4 pound kale, thick stems discarded
  • 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, hinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • sesame seeds, for serving
Roll a few kale leaves tightly, and thinly slice to form ribbons.  Run your knife through the kale a few times to chop it into smaller pieces.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the kale and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until they are softened and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Season with salt.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and stirring constantly, cook until fragrant but not browned, about one minute.  Stir in the green onions and rice, and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add the soy sauce, cook another 30 seconds, and season to taste with salt, additional soy sauce, and/or red pepper flakes. Top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fish with Brown Butter Sauce

As I've mentioned in previous posts, unless I know the flavor of a fish really defines the outcome (like salmon. Or maybe it's just that I love salmon, who knows?!) I usually go with what I have on hand and prepare the rest of the recipe as indicated. This particular recipe called for flounder, but I used cod. I included both in the recipe below.

This recipe helped me to remember how much I truly love recipes with brown butter. The flavor is absolutely amazing. If you can believe it, it's better than plain butter (shocking, I know). The almonds didn't provide anything to this particular dish, so I've crossed them out below. Either way, the flavors were fantastic and this was a great recipe. Just an amped up cod with butter recipe, which is just delicious to me!

Fish with Brown Butter Sauce-adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Lemon pepper and seasoned salt for seasoning
  • 4 flounder or cod fillets, patted dry

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook, swirling often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almonds, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Keep warm and stir occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the fish with lemon pepper and seasoned salt, add to the pan, and cook 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden.

Spoon the browned butter sauce over the fish.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Asian Chicken Salad

I've been looking for a good, warm spinach salad for awhile now. I think I found it! The flavors in this Asian-inspired salad were absolutely amazing. It didn't feel like you were eating a salad. And I'm not going to lie, I wanted to eat the entire pan (I promise I didn't).

The best part about this recipe? You could add pretty much any of your favorite stir-fry veggies into the mix! Get creative!

Asian Chicken Salad-adapted from 300 Under 300 by Hungry Girl
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces chicken breast, cubed
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 cups baby spinach

    In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, red chili sauce, and garlic. Mix well and set aside.

    Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and turn on stove to medium high heat. Season chicken to taste with salt and pepper and add to the skillet with mushrooms, carrots, sprouts green onions, and 2 tablespoons water.

    Stirring occasionally, cook until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sauce mixture. Cook until sauce is evenly distributed and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over spinach leaves.


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