Sunday, September 7, 2014


Hello All!

It's been a long time coming and so many new changes to update in my food/life blog. Certainly I've continued to cook up a storm around here, but I've been doing it in a different way. Marriage and a few kids later life has definitely changed for the better. Meal planning in this house is out the window, we're lucky if we can all eat within a half hour of each other, but we seem to manage in our own organized chaos. Be on the lookout for updates, pictures and recipes! We've got a lot in store and its starting now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

leftOVERfix- fried rice

Using leftover chicken from last nights herb roasted chicken, I shredded the thigh, and with left over rice and some fresh bean sprouts I made a delicious day 2 meal... for all instructions follow the below post to SHRIMP FRIED RICE.

For this Fried rice, I used keilbasa sausage as "pork" for pork fried rice-- just brown up the smoked sausage in a little sausage grease and follow instructions under SHRIMP FRIED RICE.  Delicious! Very simple, and Very easy!

Roasted Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

First off I'd like to say i somewhat followed like 6 different recipes-- I have some very picky eaters in my house and have to satisfy all of them to feed everyone the same meal.

1) IN order to satisfy my biggest critic (my boyfriend) the chicken had to have CRISPY skin, which resulted in me making my first compound butter- the easiest part of the entire dish!

To Make:
1 stick salted butter
2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed rosemary
Soften butter, and mix in spices, fairly simple and I use dry spices. I aimed to let the spices sit in the softened butter as my first task at hand so they could merry as I prepped the chicken leg quarters.

2) When working with chicken I always try to scrub it clean... I rinse under cold water, take a little white vinegar and rinse it in that, then pat dry with a paper towel.
             -After cleaning the chicken, it's important you trim the extra fat/skin sometimes there is a flap sometimes just a little bit-- your trimming the fat because your leaving majority of the skin on the top and the extra fat just takes up more room in the pan and makes more grease.

3) I used chicken leg quarters. I separated the skin from the thigh and leg, making a small pocket so i could rub my compound butter all over the chicken. With the small remainder of the mixture i spread it on the top of the chicken for a little extra umph. I also wanted to see what would happen when using Paprika, so I sprinkled some on top assuming it was going to give me the bronzing I was looking for.

4) Preheat oven to 400 F, and place chicken on middle rack for 1 hour. After one hour I like to rotate my pan half way so everything is cooked evenly. (Not necessary)

5) Cut a small slice into the thigh and a small slice into the leg on your biggest piece of chicken-- chicken isn't done until juices run clear.

Allow your chicken to rest before serving. But whats chicken without a good gravy to go along side it?

Attempt #1: I followed an online recipe on how to make instant gravy with pan drippings... awful mess! It was like frying flour.. not only was it looking nasty but smelled nasty also! Two thumbs DOWN!

Attempt #2: Attempt 2 looked and smelled better was rich and creamy-- but after looking at the first one nobody was interested in the gravy-- so it went down the drain, but this one I made according to the directions on an instant brown gravy packet... I think it was a go.. I'd advise to purchase gravy from a jar if your a beginner like myself..

As for the mashed potatoes.. Boil a pot of water, and add some kosher salt, cut 2-3 of whatever potatoes you have into one inch cubes (I keep a 5LB bag of baking potatoes around at all times) boil them until they're fork tender--roughly 10 mins-- add 2 tbsps of butter and a splash of cream, half and half or milk what ever you have- mash with potato masher or like I do, mash with a whisk.

Very simple, Very easy, and VERY YUMMY!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

LeftOVER fix- Chicken wings, and rice

We all have those leftovers that we just don't know what to do with or how to make them taste good after being perfect the night before-- well here is my take on our left over appetizer of fried chicken wings and white rice. Adding to the mix of an already good left over is as simple as changing 1 side.
We added Collards to fix the mix! Now in a time crunch cooking fresh greens is not very ideal, so we took a risk and used Glory Greens from a can.. I know what your thinking.. I made the same face when I thought about it but was so pleased with the way everything turned out.

To REVAMP your canned Greens you will need:
- 1 package smoked pork neck bones or ham hock
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 spoon full bacon bits (we use packaged oscar mayer)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1-2 tbsp white sugar
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- Splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 Cans Glory seasoned canned collards

1) Place neck bones and or ham hocks in a medium saucepan
2) Add can(s) of collards juices and all
3) In a small pan heat up bacon bits and sauté onions and garlic, if you have left over bacon grease or shortening, use a small spoonful when sautéing, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper to your likings
4) Add a splash of vinegar and sugar to your greens pot, stir in cooked onions-bacon bits- and garlic
5) Leave on a low simmer 20-25 mins

To reheat fried chicken wings, heat oven to 350F place on baking sheet and heat until hot flipping once (about 20-25 minutes) re-cooking wings in the oven should give them a crunch as oppose to reheating in the microwave.

Rice is heated in the microwave.

New Years Breakfast

Hello and Happy New Year to all! I've been a little lazy and mildly delayed on posting as soon as I make something delicious and exciting.. So I took a different approach and made some childhood favorites with a twist (for us at least)

We're a pretty basic bunch that love french toast and bacon, and I'm a fairly horrible multi tasker-- however I survived my first breakfast of the new year... Don't mind my fancy plates, I'm on dish strike as nobody likes to rinse their plates or salvage their cups-- so pretty much all I wash now is the pots and pans and very little silverware.

You will need for French Toast:
- 3-4 Eggs (One egg yields 2-3 slices of bread)
- 10-12 slices of your favorite bread cut in half
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Splash of Vanilla Extract
-  Splash of Milk (about the amount you'd put in a cup of coffee)

To make French Toast:
-Melt a pad of butter on medium-low heat as we don't want the butter to burn
-Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla and sprinkle in some cinnamon sugar.
- Dip 3-4 pieces of bread (slices should be cut in half making it 2 whole slices of bread per batch as you don't want to crowd the pan and want every thing to cook evenly)
- Cook until browned evenly on both sides (we have a gas stove and it takes about 10 mins total) and serve.

To Make Candied Bacon:
- Purchase your favorite bacon thick or thin cut, we use Hormel Black Label Center Cut
- Line baking sheets with foil for easy clean up
- Follow instructions on bacon packaging
      - Preheat oven to 400F
      - Lay out bacon on baking sheet no overlapping
      - Cook 15-20 minutes or desired crispness
- Before placing bacon in the oven sprinkle light or dark brown sugar over the top, I used light as it was all we had in our kitchen
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until desired crispness we like ours crispy

Sausage link in photo is Jimmy Dean pre cooked link that was browned on the stove (SO GOOD)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grilled Skirt Steak

Tonights dinner was a skirt steak marinated in a honey teriyaki sauce. Again cutting corners I used a pre made marinade... No energy as everyone else wanted tacos for dinner, and we have a cast iron grill that needed to be used

You will need:
- 1 package skirt or flank steak (I always buy the smallest one as I'm the only one who really likes steak at my house)
- 1/2 cup Kens Honey Teriyaki marinade
-1 one gallon plastic zip lock bag

To make:
1) Marinate steak 1 hour or longer (I try to go longer)
2) Heat grill so it's hot, NOT SMOKING, I always leave a window open or fan on close by
3) Put steak on and let sizzle away, do not move around! Flip after 5 minutes and do the same for the other side, until desired... I usually like mine well done, but for this I will accept medium well (20 mins in total flipping for grill marks)
4) Let your meat REST! Remove it from the hot pan and set it on a plate or cutting board for a few minutes so when you do cut into it you don't lose all the juices. When you do cut, cut on the angle (I didn't because i like it kind of stringy)

It was very tasty! makes great left overs!

Shrimp Fried Rice

Hey all! I made this quick and easy side dish for a Christmas party (serving 10ish people)... best part- it was quick and easy and not very costly!

You will need:
-2 1/2 cups instant white rice
-1 package steam fresh mixed veggies
-1 to 3 packages frozen salad shrimp (depending how much you like, and they are much cheaper than the big shrimps)
-1 bottle Kikoman low sodium stir fry sauce
-3 to 4 table spoons canola or vegetable oil (for frying)

To Make:
1) Cook instant rice according to packaging and let cool (otherwise it will be to wet and sticky, but resembles same taste if in a time crunch)
2) Microwave frozen vegetables for 2 minutes
3) Heat oil in large nonstick skillet and add rice, veggies and shrimp, cook until fully heated, stirring frequently
4) Add entire bottle of stir fry sauce, it gives color and adds a better flavor then just soy sauce, cook for another 5 or so minutes

This is the simple thrown together version, you can always add an egg or two if you like that in your fried rice, you can also sub chicken or more veggies for the shrimp. My kids love this simple recipe and we make it frequently! All together costing about $10, very budget friendly!