Friday, January 29, 2010

Roasted Chicken with Smokey Apricot Sauce


From Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals. See it online here. I love Robin Miller's cookbook and ended up getting my own copy after checking it out from the library. I really like her tips for cooking big meals and then using the leftovers to make something new... the epitome of once a month cooking. We all know that leftovers can be super fast but also sometimes pretty boring, so this really helps jazz things up.

Serves 4
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Walk away time: 35 minutes
Cooking spray
10 (5-ounce) skinless chicken breast halves (with bone)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves I had about one cup
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Preheat oven to 400º. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray.
Season chicken all over with salt and black pepper. Arrange chicken in prepared pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine apricot preserves, soy sauce and liquid smoke. Mix until blended. Pour mixture over chicken.
Roast 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve four chicken breast halves with this meal and refrigerate remaining chicken until ready to use (or freeze up to 3 months).

We had two breasts with either roasted potatoes or sweet potato fries and sugar snap peas. This was a really JUICY breast of chicken, but (and perhaps it was because I didn't have enough sauce due to not enough apricot preserves) there wasn't a whole lot of flavor. Next time, maybe I'll use my Ronco flavor injector to get the flavor into the meat in some way. I used two of my ten breasts and plan to make one of her morph recipes later in the week (I'm thinking the quesadillas!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Parm sandwich

This came from my ATK cookbook. Since ATK has caused other bloggers some issues, I won't copy it from their recipe, but tell you what I did.

First, I took 2 chicken breasts, and pounded them thin. I dredged in flour, then a beaten egg, then some Italian breadcrumbs. I heated some olive oil in a frying pan, added some garlic, then cooked the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side until brown. I then drained on a paper towel.

Next, I put the chicken in a baking dish, covered it with tomato sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella. I baked it for a few minutes until the cheese was melty.

I then put it on a toasted roll.

It was good. Very good. So good that my husband, who gets frequent chicken parm cravings, said "You can make this any time." I guess he liked it. I think the rolls I got were particularly good, which makes a difference.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Thighs

PhotobucketOriginal recipe can be found here.


  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lb.), excess fat trimmed I had about 1lb of boneless, skinless
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 2 tsp. dried
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat broiler. Rinse chicken thighs; pat dry. Arrange thighs, skin side down, on a broiler pan. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and garlic. Brush 1/3 of mixture over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.

Using tongs, turn chicken thighs skin side up. Brush 1/3 of lemon-juice mixture over skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until thighs are browned, about 7 minutes.

Turn off broiler and set oven to 450°F. Brush final 1/3 of lemon-juice mixture over chicken (discard any leftover lemon-juice mixture) and return pan to oven. Bake until juices run clear when pricked with a fork and meat is no longer pink at the bone, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Because I had no bone, I modified the cooking time a little. I broiled it on hi for about 5 minutes each side (which was a little too long for the second side). I then baked at 425 for about 7 minutes.

I served with Alexia brand roasted red potatoes and green beans. Delicious. This was a fairly easy recipe to make, perfect for a weeknight. BAJ liked it too, although he did comment that he doesn't really like dark meat. My response was "it's SOO much cheaper, it's totally worth it."

In addition to being so tasty, everything (except the chicken thighs, that is) was on hand. Score!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blueberry French Toast Bake

Here's another make ahead recipe I found for our NYE extravaganza. Again, the kids ate it, but I was the only adult who did. This was delicious and so easy. I really loved that I didn't even have to defrost the blueberries!! It was a little crisp, but this was even great on the second day.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 10 slices french bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts Omitted
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Generously grease 13x9" glass baking dish. Beat flour, milk, 2 Tbsp. sugar, vanilla and eggs in large bowl until smooth. Stir in bread cubes until well coated, then pour bread mixture into prepared pan.

Top evenly with cream cheese cubes and blueberries. In small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nuts and toss to mix. Sprinkle over blueberries and cream cheese. Cover casserole tightly and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake casserole, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serves 8

Make Ahead scrambled eggs

For the under 10 guests, I couldn't think of what to serve. I didn't want to go for chicken nuggets, but figured breakfast for dinner would be a big hit. Wanting to get as much done the day before NYE, I sought out a few make ahead breakfast recipes.

First up, I made scrambled eggs, according to this recipe.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Beat eggs with cream in a large bowl. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Pour eggs into skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are scrambled and just set, but still moist.

Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream. Spread eggs into a greased 12x7" glass baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle eggs with pepper and salt. Stir gently, then bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs are hot, at least 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. 8 servings

This made way more than we really needed, since NONE of the adults had any (save ME)!! It was really good though! My son ate a good amount, and we both had some more the next day too--still great. This is a very rich recipe, as you can tell from the use of sour cream AND heavy cream, but it made some delicious scrambled eggs!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is another recipe I made for New Year's Eve, but forgot to take a picture and forgot to post. It was my first attempt at spinach artichoke dip, but it was just as easy as regular artichoke dip. It was a hit, and also reheated well (it made way more than anyone ate). We had it on both tortilla chips and fresh veggies. Delish!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

PhotobucketTilapia was on sale last week, so I went in search of a quick and easy tilapia recipe. I found this one on allrecipes, and figured that since strawberries were also on sale, I would make it with them.
When it came time to make them, however, I had discovered a bottle of chunked mango in the pantry, and not wanting it to spoil and realizing my husband doesn't really like strawberries, I made it as written instead.


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced I used 3 slices of jarred jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add the tilapia fillets, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the mango salsa by combining the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.
  4. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the fillets until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, and flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve the tilapia topped with mango salsa.
Not having a "real" grill, I used the George Foreman... I was thinking as I used it how very rich that guy must be as a result of that grill! One of the reviewers on allrecipes stated she set her GF for 300 degrees and let it go for 9 minutes. I also set it for 300 degrees, but 9 minutes was way too long. Glad I was keeping an eye on it!!

I enjoyed this a lot. I had a hard time, however, thinking of a side dish to serve with this. I figured it would never be enough for dinner for us, so I served it with a salad and a frozen potato/cheese/broccoli blend, which while not a very fitting side, helped to fill us up a little more.

My husband said I could make this again, but that it was a little too spicy for his liking, so I might cut down the amount of jalapeno I use in the salsa next time. He also said he felt like the fish didn't really have any flavor on its own, which may not be totally untrue. Next time, I'll probably freeze the fish in the marinade or start the marinade the night before.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken Marsala with Sage

I had some Marsala wine laying around and some sage too, all leftover from NYE, so went in search of a recipe to use some of it up. I found this recipe over at epicurious, and figured it would be perfect, given BAJ's love of Chicken Marsala and the great reviews over there.

It was easy enough to make, although pounding my ENORMOUS chicken breast (I used ONE for both of us, cut in half) still wasn't enough to make it reasonably thin--should have just gone with the recipe's suggestion to cut it in half. Oh well.

I enjoyed the recipe, and thought it was pretty tasty. BAJ, on the other hand, said it was "Okay," but didn't finish his chicken. Oh well, fail again.

As I said, I only used one chicken breast, so used 1/2 c of Marsala and 1/2 c of chicken broth. I believe I used 3T butter, and there's really no suggestion how much sage to use so I just took a bunch of the leaves. I added some shallots to the sauce, although should have sauteed them a little first. If I had any mushrooms around, I would have added them as well.

Spice Set Giveaway

Check out the Spice Set Giveaway over at The Clean Eating Mama. What an awesome contest!!
Thanks to Lauren for posting about this on HER blog!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken with Artichoke Rosemary Sauce

Not sure of the exact recipe, but it came off the label of my tomato sauce can.
It was pretty easy to make, but was really lacking some oomph in the flavor department.

The basic recipe was to brown chicken breasts (I used thin sliced) in olive oil, add in the tomato sauce, artichokes, and rosemary, simmer a little while (I think I added in some garlic too), remove the chicken and artichokes to thicken the sauce, and then serve with rice.


Do artichokes (from a can especially) count as a veggie?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Macaroni and cheese

My son ADORES macaroni and cheese. My husband, however, does not enjoy it. I like it a bunch. I make it from time to time, and BAJ sucks it up. I have made ONE recipe he liked, French Onion Mac n Cheese. To solve the dilemma of The Boy's loving it, we nearly always have Annie's Macaroni and Cheese in the house. Ironically, BAJ typically makes it. A had been asking for Mac and Cheese, but we ran out. At the grocery store yesterday, BAJ completely forgot until we were on our way home. Instead of finding a grocery store that was open (our usual is closed on the most minor of holidays), I said I would just make it for A--it would surely be healthier that way. Then I asked if I could just make it for all of us; I was driving envisioning myself making mac and cheese from scratch as well as the chicken meal I had planned, and it wasn't pretty considering I have a difficult time getting a main dish and two sides prepared.

To the cookbooks I went--first to ATK. Their version took an hour and 10 minutes, and Momma was hungry. I then went to my Betty Crocker Bridal edition (I'm pretty sure I've made this before) and found that their version takes 50 minutes from start to finish. SOLD. I had a snack and got to cooking.

The macaroni and cheese on Betty Crocker's website is the same as the recipe in my cookbook. See it here.

2cups uncooked elbow macaroni (7 ounces)
1/4cup butter or margarine
1/4cup all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon pepper
1/4teaspoon ground mustard
1/4teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2cups milk
2cups shredded or cubed Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1.Heat oven to 350ºF.
2.Cook macaroni as directed on package.
3.While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constanly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
4.Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

I used 2 cups of whole wheat rotini, and also used 1 c of whole milk and 1 c of skim milk. Finally, I had a hankering for mac and cheese the way my mom made. That means I had to get out the stewed tomatoes. I had absolutely no idea what to do with them to make them Mom's way, but just heated them on the stove. As soon as I opened that can, I realized the smell of stewed tomatoes takes me right to Mom's macaroni and cheese. Yum. So, this macaroni and cheese was NOT the same as my mom's. It was, however, gooey and cheesey and very tasty. The Boy gobbled it up. I had two helpings, and even BAJ went back for a little more.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

By Ina Garten. Find the original here.


  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.

Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

These were tasty, but the recipe made WAAAAY too many for the number of guests we had. I got ENORMOUS stuffing mushrooms, and made a whole lot of them (I can't remember how many were actually in the container, but it was close to 20). For 6/8 people who had been eating appetizers all night, that's way too much. This was a pretty tasty version of stuffed mushrooms, although I'm not sure what purpose the addition of marscapone served. It's not exactly inexpensive, and it didn't really seem to do much for the flavor here.

Anyway, I tried a new one, and was satisfied with the results, but will probably keep looking for a stuffed mushrooms recipe.

Hot Artichoke Spinach dip

Although I've made Artichoke dip on several occasions, I've never made artichoke-spinach dip... despite LOVING it at restaurants. I decided to go with this recipe since it was highly rated on allrecipes, and it also seemed very different from my usual artichoke recipe, which uses cream cheese and mayo. This was a tasty version. I ate it with tortilla chips as well as on all kinds of vegetables. Very tasty and good and garlicky too!

Original recipe from allrecipes; see it here.


  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a blender or food processor, place artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic . Pulse until chopped, but not ground. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together spinach, heavy cream, sour cream and mozzarella cheese. Stir in artichoke mixture. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Crostini Alla Romana


This was a huge hit at our New Years Eve Party. They flew off the plate, and my husband told me today that I could make them again ANY time. He must've really liked them! I suspected that they would be a little tricky, but they turned out to be very easy.
I bought wayyyy too much proscuitto and mozzarella. I bought 2 packages of prosciutto, since it calls for 12 slices, but with the bread I used, I ended up using half for each toast. Same with the mozzarella; the one pound ball was so large, I used 1/2 of each slice for each toast. Finally, make sure the mozzarella isn't sliced too thick; the slice I ate was a little on the thick side which was a little too much for me.

Original recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis. Find it here.

  • 12 1/2-inch thick slices ciabatta bread
  • 12 slices thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 sage leaves
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the slices of ciabatta on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden around the edges, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven. Place the prosciutto slices and mozzarella on the crostini toast and return to the oven to melt the cheese, about 8 more minutes.

Meanwhile combine the butter and the sage leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and starting to brown in spots and the sage leaves are crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the crostini to a serving plate. Drizzle the crostini with the sage butter and serve immediately.

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