Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have tried a couple different sweet and sour chicken recipes and this is by far the best!  So yummy!!!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Yields 4 - 6 servings
Note: if you like extra sauce, double the sauce ingredients – pour half over the chicken and follow the recipe instructions; pour the other half in a small saucepan and cook the sauce on the stovetop at a simmer for 8-10 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Serve it on the side of the chicken.
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola, vegetable or coconut oil
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken.
  3. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until very hot and rippling. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.
  4. Cook for 20-30 seconds on each side until the crust is golden but the chicken is not all the way cooked through (this is where it's really important to have a hot skillet/oil). Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a 9X13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  5. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe original recipe

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creamy Garlic Pasta

I made this last night and it turned out great! It was quick, easy and yummy! Even Bry asked for seconds and that's rare for my pickiest eater!

Creamy Garlic Pasta

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil. 
Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the Parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chicken and asparagus pasta

Here is another pinterest find, it was sooo good!! I paired it with my french baguettes and it was the perfect meal! :) I will definitely be adding this to my rotation!

  • 1 12 oz box Bow Tie pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 heaping TB minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes pinch of
  • (I added mushrooms to the recipe)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup half n half
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute your chicken for approx 20-30 minutes.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on the package. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus to the water. Drain and set aside while reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  3. Once chicken is cooked add minced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes to the skillet. (I added the mushrooms here and sauteed them for 5 minutes).

  4. To your skillet combine the broth (I used bouillon base and water), half & half, cream cheese and half of your Parmesan.
  5. Add pasta and asparagus to your skillet and stir until well combined. If pasta seems too dry, add reserved cooking water a little bit at a time. Stir over med heat until desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and extra Parmesan to taste

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Asian sesame chicken

Cook 4-5 chicken breasts in crockpot on high for about 3 hours.
Shred chicken, drain juices and return chicken to crockpot.

8oz. Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing
1 packet Lipton onion soup
1/3 cup apricot preserves

Pour over chicken and store.  Cook for 30 minutes on high.
Serve over hot rice and top with sesame seeds and green onions!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Potato and Corn Chowder

I made this soup for pumpkin carving and some of you asked for it, so here it is:)  Had it tonight with the baguette bread...YUM!

8-10 potatoes depending on size
1 onion
1-2 stalks of celery
4-5 cups of chicken broth (or bouillon and water)
1/2-1 cup frozen corn (I usually add this toward the end so it doesn't get too cooked)

Put it in a pot and boil until veggies are tender.

4 T butter
6 T flour

Melt butter in a separate saucepan, add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup of heavy cream to roux. When all mixed in and thickened, add to the veggies. Cook til thickened and bubbly. Season with salt (1 tsp) and pepper to taste. Eat:)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken Cordon Blue

Photo Nov 21, 1 17 26 PM.jpg

I found this on Pinterest and made this last night and it was SO GOOD! And easy!!! Trust me! The sauce was delicious too:)
2 Chicken Breasts (About 7 Oz. Each.)
4 Thin Slices Deli Ham (About 4 Oz. Total)
4 Slices Slim Cut Swiss Cheese
1/4 C. Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (I used half Italian Bread Crumbs and half Panko)
2 Tbsp. Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 Tbsp. Light Butter, Melted
Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
1 Tbsp. Light Butter
1 Tbsp. Whole Wheat White Flour (I used white)
1/2 C. Fat Free Milk
1/2 Tsp. Sodium Free Instant Chicken
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 C. Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
Pound out the chicken breasts till thin (we only used 2 breasts for our whole family and it was enough!) cut each breast into how many pieces you want. put them on a pan, layer with slice of ham and Swiss cheese, then add the crumb topping. Bake 30-45 minutes. Or till done. Meanwhile make the sauce to go on top!

While the chicken is cooking, make your parmesan-dijon cream sauce!
In a small pot melt the butter.
Add in the flour and cook for a minute or two over medium-low heat to make a roux.
Slowly add in the miilk, stirring constantly. Then add in the instant chicken.
Stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. I actually need more milk than it called for so it wasn't so thick.
Once the sauce is bubbling and thickened, remove from heat and add in the dijon and parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.Season with salt and pepper. 
I served this with mashed potatoes (with the dijon-gravy on top), banana squash (thanks Patti ;), and green beans. Yummy, yummy dinner!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Easy Chicken Parmesan!

I was searching for a fast and easy Chicken Parmesan recipe when I came across one similar to this one! I of course made it my own by adding heavy cream but if you're looking for something a little more healthy, just leave out the cream!

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
your favorite kind of cheese. (I usually use colby jack or mozzarella)
Heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste 

Place chicken in baking dish and pour the spaghetti sauce on top. Make sure the chicken is completely covered in sauce.
Drizzle how ever much cream you want over chicken and sauce
Sprinkle cheese on top
Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour!
Serve with your favorite kind of pasta

Seriously so easy!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Copy-cat Panera Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I made this for the first time for dinner last night and we thought it was really tasty! It was another Pinterest find from I'm just going to copy and paste the recipe in here, and then insert any changes I made.

Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Just a heads up- this recipe does not make a lot. It was just enough for our family, with no leftovers. So I would at least double it for sure.

one bunch of fresh broccoli [enough for a few cups of chopped tops]
2 cups vegetable [or chicken!] stock
1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, plus plenty extra for topping [freshly grated]- (I used medium cheddar)
1 heaping cup of regular gouda cheese [freshly grated, rind removed]
1 cup of shredded carrots [or a little extra!]

1 small white onion [about 2/3 cup or 1 cup, chopped]
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup half and half [or heavy cream]
3 TBSP all purpose flour
3 TBSP butter
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice- (the allspice and nutmeg scared me a little, so I left them out :))
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper- (you could definitely taste a little kick, I might do even less next time)
1/8 tsp salt [will vary based on salt content of your stock/broth]
a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First ze veggies!  Chop em.  Well technically clean them THEN chop to your heart's content.  Dice the onions super small, mince the garlic, an shred the carrots if you didn't buy pre-shredded.  This can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later.  For the broccoli, chop 2/3 of it into tiny florets [just cut off as much stem as you can and it'll fall apart in the pot] and then take the remaining 1/3 and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup.  Totally optional!

Add your veggie stock to a pot on medium-high heat, add your 2/3 of your broccoli [about 2 cups of florets] as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf.  Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender. 

Once the broth is done, start your roux.  In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly.  Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.  For a thicker soup, use an extra tablespoon of each.  I skipped it.  Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture [its okay if some of the veggies jump in along side it!] and stir to incorporate.  Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of half and half.  Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered.   Spoon out the bay leaf and season with the above herbs and spices, adding a little extra of whichever you like to taste.  Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you might skip the salt entirely or prefer to add a bit more -- taste and tweak as needed after adding your cheese.  Oh yes -- the cheese!  Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses and remove from heat immediately.

That extra broccoli you left on the side?  Blanch in boiling water, steam in your microwave, or basically cook it however you'd like and stir into your completed soup for great texture and an extra burst of broccoli.  Garnish with a little extra grated cheddar and a sprinkle of parsley and eve spicy red pepper flakes if you'd like!  So good! (I did this, but it seemed like an extra, unnecessary step to me. I couldn't tell a difference in the taste/texture, so next time I will just put all of the broccoli in at the same time at the beginning).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

French Baguettes

French Baguette
I learned how to make these from the Food Nanny the other night and LOVED them! SO easy and so good. Enjoy:) Eat it fresh, make bruschetta, garlic bread, and the list goes on! 
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 T. active dry yeast, (2 packets)
2 tsp sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
melted butter
  1. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the warm water, the yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar.  Stir to combine and let mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl blend the flour, salt, the remaining teaspoon of sugar and the yeast mixture.
  3. Gradually add remaining water and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle (if it is too sticky add a little more flour).
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes.
  5. Grease a baguette pan and place the loaves in the pan.
  6. Score the loaves down the middle, cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
  8. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes. If desired brush the tops with melted butter halfway through the baking.
*For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Made these for dinner tonight and they are a family favorite! They are so good and come from one of my favorite blogs Favorite Family Recipes. 
  • 1 small, onion, peeled & diced (use a sweet onion if you can find it)
  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
  • 8-10 flour tortillas
  • 1 lb. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 16 ounces green enchilada sauce (we like Las Palmas brand, but any brand is great)
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • Saute onion in a little butter until it becomes transparent and soft. In a crock pot* add chicken, chicken broth, sauteed onion, chili powder, garlic, and salt & pepper. Cook on low for about 8 hours (or high for 3-4) adding more broth if needed (you don't want it to cook out completely). Remove chicken from crock pot and shred, then return to crock pot and simmer another 5 min. Drain out some of the juices (but not all of it... keep about 1/4 c.) and add honey and lime. Place seasoned, shredded chicken in a Ziploc bag and seal tightly, pressing out as much air as you can. Marinate at least 30-40 minutes.. longer if you can (I did about an hour). While chicken is marinating spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, then pour about 1/2 c. of enchilada sauce over the bottom. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and shredded cheese, saving about 1 c. of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with heavy cream. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top. Serve hot and top with your favorite enchilada toppings.
  • *If you don't have a crock-pot, just boil chicken in the same ingredients in a large pot with a little extra chicken broth until cooked through and can shred.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Creamy pesto pasta

We had this for dinner tonight and not only is it SO easy but it is SO good! We had my parents over and they loved it! I got this recipe from my awesome neighbor Leilani and have made it a few times! It's a hit every time!

1 box pasta (I use Penne)
1 16 oz Alfredo sauce 
1/3 C pesto sauce (I usually add a tad more than 1/3 cup cause I like pesto)
1 C cooked and shredded chicken breast. You can also use a rotisserie chicken. (I like to boil and shred a bunch of chicken at once and freeze it in bags. That way I just pull it out, let it thaw and throw it in.)
1 red pepper chopped 
1/2 green pepper chopped (the original recipe only called for a red pepper but I add green cause it's pretty and I like peppers)
shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Boil and drain noodles and pour in baking dish
mix alfredo sauce, pesto, cooked chicken, and chopped peppers in bowl
pour mixture over pasta and mix altogether
sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top (just however much you want)
cover with foil and bake at 325 for about 20-30 minutes

Serve with salad and garlic bread! =)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Stole this one from Mel's kitchen café.  Made them the other day and they were a big hit.  And super EASY!


  • 1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like pork or beef)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tablespooon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (combination of Monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
  • sour cream
  • 6 burrito-sized flour tortillas


Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt.  Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream.  Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla (Optional:  dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center).  Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand.  Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute.  Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don't fall apart.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps.  Serve warm.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

I haven't seen anything like this on here yet.  Not sure if that means that no one will like this recipe or if that means that it might be a welcome change.  :) At any rate, here you go.  This recipe is pretty easy to make but isn't the quickest meal out there.  But it really is worth every minute.  The beef stays so tender and the vegetables are very flavorful.  My husband LOVES this meal and any "meat and potatoes" lovers will too.  It is hearty and full of flavor.  Hope you like it.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew
Found on

Serves: 12
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 mins

  • 3 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine [I just use more broth]
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
  • fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
  1. On medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil to a large heavy pot (one that has a tight fitting lid).

  2. When it begins to smoke slightly, add the beef and brown very well. Do in batches if necessary. Add the salt and pepper as the beef browns.

  3. Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.

  4. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.

  6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  7. Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.

  8. Simmer wine for 5 minutes, and then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and the beef.

  9. Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on very low for about 1 hour.

  10. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  11. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.

Creamy Confetti Chicken Pasta

Since my girl Keri loves herself some pasta, I had to load up my favorite pasta recipe.  I like this one because a lot of times I just use the veggies I have on hand and every time it tastes yummy.  My kids like it and I can usually trick them into eating their vegetables in this dish.  Hope you like it!

Creamy Confetti Chicken Pasta
Found on (blue commentary by author)

Veggies and Pasta:
16 oz. of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, long thin slices (mom uses red, yellow and orange…)
1 c. Broccoli florets
1 c. Asparagus, chopped in 1″ pieces
1 c. Grape tomatoes

Cook your pasta and let it drain.  (tip: I always add a bit of olive oil to my pasta water during cooking so the noodles don’t stick together). Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides. Remove and let rest in a large bowl.
Add the remaining olive oil and begin sauteing the onions for 2 min. Add in the garlic and bell pepper and saute another 2 mins. Then toss in any other woody veggies  (broccoli, asparagus) saving the tomatoes until the very end.
When everything is cooked, combine the veggies with the chicken in your big bowl. (I’m all about reducing dishes here) Now its time for the sauce!

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat)
2 c. half & half [KERI - I'm sure you could use heavy whipping cream here! :) ]
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
1 c. Parmesan cheese (mom uses Feta)

In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes.  (We are making a roux)
Slowly add in the half and half while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.
When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melty (yes that’s a technical term).
To assemble everything I like to add the pasta first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the rest of the goodies in. (see photo above). This makes enough for 4 people (or two if you want lunch the next day!)

Parmesan Chicken Sticks

Ladies.  These are so yummy.  My kids love them because they are "on a stick" and they have the feel of chicken nuggets but they are super flavorful and yummy.  So, we don't feel like we are eating "kid food" for dinner.  I like to serve them with a salad and pasta or mashed potatoes on the side.  Super yummy.  Hope your family likes it too.  Did I mention they are fast too?

Parmesan Chicken Sticks
Found in Barefoot Contessa's Family Style Cook Book

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (3 to 4)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Bamboo skewers (6 to 10 inches long) or ice-cream sticks

Lay the chicken breasts on a cutting board and slice each diagonally into 4 or 5 large strips.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. Beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water on a second plate. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan on a third plate. Dredge the chicken breasts on both sides in the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and roll in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the chicken strips on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Don't crowd the pan. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Serve each strip on a skewer or stick.

Read more at: