Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich & Prayer Request

Hi everyone! Sorry for my absence. I've picked up some extra shifts at the nursing home and haven't been in the mood for cooking recently. :S Ya, scary, huh?! When I say that, it really means I haven't been in the mood for new food. I repeated a few old recipes and tried to empty out the pantry, using whatever I could to create something edible. :)

Yesterday we had Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches & Broccoli.

Really easy. 
Just marinate some chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce- enough to coat them all, for about 30 minutes or overnight. I like to use the thin chicken breasts, but you could also slice regular chicken breasts in half so they're nice and thin.

Then, heat up the grill and cook chicken until done. Also grill pineapple rings until carmelized on both sides. Toast the buns on the grill for a few seconds also, until just toasty.
Then, build your sandwich! Bun, chicken, swiss cheese, pineapple ring,little more teriyaki sauce, onion, jalapenos. Tasty!!

Now, on to our prayer request. 

Aaron has a couple opportunities on his plate right now, and we are hoping that one of them will turn out. He has an interview at the Sioux Falls Police Department on April 25. He succeeded with the basic test, computer situation test, and now the next step is the interview. Please pray that Aaron will be able to relay himself as the confident, knowledgable, and well rounded police officer that he is! 
Sioux City also is testing for officers, and he is due to turn in his application by April 8. This test will be a little trickier, because Iowa includes a physical fitness portion of a test. So, he has to be ready to run 1.5 miles in 12 (?) minutes I think. Crazy! I don't think I even got 1 mile in 12 minutes during high school. He's practicing and preparing his little heart out though! I know he can do it!

Also ask for peace. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

Hi Everyone! What a beautiful week!! We love being able to go outside with Suzie for walks... she's got a large problem with cabin fever!! :) Haha, poor doggie! She's got quite a few miles in this week, but it's still not enough for her. We'll be huffing and puffing and she'll be up ahead and will turn to look back at us. Oh, if doggies could talk! We imagine she would be saying "COME ON, you fat butts... LETS GO!!!" Haha. It's good they can't talk. :) 

Rocco again is my inspiration for the recipe of the day. This is traditional Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy.

  • 2 6-ounce filet mignons
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Leaves from 2 to 4 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • Whites from 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs), such as Ian's All Natural
  • 1 6-ounce link hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth, such as Kitchen Basics
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek-style (thick) yogurt

  • Cut the pieces of meat in half horizontally to form four 3-ounce portions. Working with 1 piece of steak at a time, place the meat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound to a thickness of slightly more than 1/4 inch, being careful to keep the meat intact. Season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Chop the parsley for garnish, if using.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place a flat wire rack inside/on top of it.
  • Use a whisk to beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are quite foamy but not firm enough to hold soft peaks. Place the flour and panko in separate shallow dishes, with the bowl of egg whites in between them.
  • Coat the steaks with the flour on both sides, shaking off any excess, then dip them in the egg whites and then the panko, covering the meat as completely as possible. Lay them on the wire rack and lightly spray them with nonstick cooking oil spray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown, crisped and cooked through. (Discard any remaining flour, egg white and panko.)
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Discard the sausage casing and add the sausage meat to the skillet, stirring to break it up and to keep it from sticking. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until it is no longer pink.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch and chicken broth in a liquid measuring cup until well incorporated, then add to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the yogurt and stir to incorporate. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Place the steaks on individual plates and spoon gravy on top of each serving. Serve warm.  

Whipped up some mashed potatoes and green beans to go along side this. Delish!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Easy Penne alla Vodka

2 days in a row! You must have done something nice to deserve 2 posts this weekend! :) Haha. Or I have a lot of free time this weekend! Ya, that's it! 

I won't show you any more of my clean house pictures today. Although I had another good day of cleaning! 

8 oz penne pasta
1 jar plain pasta sauce (no meat or veggies)
7 oz greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Cook pasta in salted water until done. Meanwhile heat pasta sauce in a saucepan. When sauce is warm (not hot, or the yogurt will curdle) add yogurt and sprinkle with basil. Heat until hot. Mix pasta with sauce.

This is so simple and easy to make, but tastes so much more rich than regular spaghetti. The Greek yogurt is a great way to boost protein in the dish and get a serving of dairy!

I sprinkled mine with a little Parmesan too. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning! And Chicken Cordon Blue!

Happy Weekend Everyone!! Yay!! It's my 3 day weekend, so double YAY for me! 

What's on my agenda? Spring cleaning! Yes, yuck. Today mom came over and we washed the windows. Now, I know it was getting dark when I took this picture, but looks pretty shiny, huh? And you can almost see some of the kitchen's reflection in this picture! :)

Now, unfortunately as I looked at which window to take a picture of, I found this----
Can you see that white "poop spot" in the center? (Next to the flash) Ugh... dang birds!! Seriously, what has it been? 4 hours!!!! Oh well, I'll be out there tomorrow with Windex... easy fix, right? 

During the afternoon I tackled the entry porch and kitchen. Emptied out the porch closets and everything! It is so neat and organized now! And then in the kitchen I emptied the fridge and washed all the shelves and drawers. I didn't know it was that dirty when I started! But look at the finished product--


I organized my "leftover" containers and pantry also, but otherwise my cupboards and stuff gets used enough, I know it's good to go. 

So, how did I nourish my body for all this cleaning?

Chicken Cordon Blue & Wild Rice with Butternut Squash

4 chicken cutlets
4 slices deli ham
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1 tsp cornstarch
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of Thyme
1/2 cup Swiss cheese
Whole wheat flour
3 egg whites
Panko bread crumbs

1. In a small saucepan whisk together evaporated milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook to a boil, whisking constantly and then reduce heat to low. Add Swiss cheese. When combined spray an ice cube tray with cooking spray and divide cheese mixture into 8 cubes. Freeze.

2. Pound chicken with meat mallet (or a skillet works) until it is thin. Top chicken with a slice of ham and 2 frozen cheese cubes. Roll chicken up and secure edges with toothpicks, if needed. 
3. In a shallow bowl place whole wheat flour. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until extremely foamy. In a 3rd shallow bowl place the panko. Take a chicken bundle, dredge in flour, then eggs and finally the panko. Place on a wire rack. Continue with remaining chicken.

4. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes on a wire rack over a cooking sheet. (I use my cooling rack over a large cooking sheet. This lets the chicken stay crispy on all sides. Sometimes I check the meat halfway through and flip it.)

I did make some extra cheese sauce to serve with the chicken, and I would recommend doing that. 

2 cups rice (I used a box of wild rice & long grain rice, so it had some seasonings too, and then added brown rice to = 2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 green onions
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. In a large saucepan heat chicken broth and water to a boil. Add rice and cook until rice is tender. Be sure to watch your liquid. Mine ran out before the rice was tender, so I probably added about 1 cup extra liquid. I think it depends on your rice.
2. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil and some salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

3. Combine cooked rice, squash, chopped green onions, and berries in a baking dish. Cook at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

See you later!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

Hi! Are you in love yet with the fake-out Chinese?? I still am. 

Today I have a recipe that you can make to use the left over stir-fry sauce you made for the General Tso's chicken. And of course, if you didn't have any left overs you can make another batch, just refer to the Stir-Fry sauce recipe!

This recipe is also from Rocco Dispirito's book, which I highly suggest you look at! I got it from the Sioux Center library! Score! It has some really cool things in there! Basic, normal, foods you always want to cook, but might be worried have too much fat, etc for your diet. He has fried chicken, mac & cheese, Chinese, and more! 

You can be flexible with this recipe (like always!), as I was. It calls for 1 onion- I had 1/2 an onion in the fridge and a small red pepper. I used those and the asparagus. You could also use broccoli or yellow peppers. 

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup stir-fry sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or sprinkle in some dried)

Rice or pasta to serve with


Heat a large nonstick saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil.  Add the onion and asparagus, and sitr-fry until the vegetables are almost tender, about 6 minutes.  
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste, and add them to the pan.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Add the stir-fry sauce.  When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot (after about 2 minutes), stir in the basil.  
Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired, serve with rice or pasta.
We are anticipating some snow this afternoon. I'm pretty sick of it. :) Ready for the warmer weather so I can get outside on walks with Suzie. She is getting cabin fever as well. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chinese Take-Out Fake-Out

Ok, I should really have to charge you all for reading this post. I'm thinking $7.98... the price you might pay to get some Chinese take-out! Because this is RIDICULOUS! It tastes better than any Chinese restaurant!! I saw the recipe in Rocco Dispirito's cook book "Now Eat This" and thought it might be good. But it blew me away! Rocco was a chef on Biggest Loser a few seasons ago, so his food is reasonably "calorie-ized" as well! Bonus!! Now let's get to the good stuff-

Check that out!! General Tso's Chicken.

Now, I'm gonna start with the recipe for the sauce. This sauce is called a Stir-fry sauce and can be used a bunch of different ways. I've got another recipe in a few days for Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry that uses the extra sauce. So hold on to it!
Rockin' Asian Stir Fry Sauce
makes 1 3/4 cups (28 servings)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch scallions (white and green parts), chopped fine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup low fat, low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup reduced sugar ketchup (Heinz)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat a large nonstick saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil, Add the ginger, garlic and scallions, and saute, stirring often, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, rice vinegar and ketchup, and whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the saute pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

4. Store the sauce in a covered container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

(Almost) General Tso's Chicken
from: Now Eat This! by Rocco Dispirito
Serves 4

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups whole-wheat panko crumbs
4 large egg whites
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch cubes)
4 cups broccoli florets
3/4 cup Rockin' Asian Stir-Fry sauce (recipe to follow)
3 packets Truvia
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Place a wire rack on a foil-line baking sheet and set aside.

2. Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the panko in another shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks. Working in batches, dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken to the egg whites and toss to coat completely. Then add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, to the panko and toss to coat completely.

3. Spread the chicken out on the wire rack. Bake until the breading is golden and crispy and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with plastic wrap. Cook on high until tender, about 4 minutes. Keep the broccoli covered until ready to serve.

5. In a large bowl, combine the Rockin' Asian Stir-Fry sauce, Truvia, rice vinegar and chili garlic sauce. Add the cooked chicken to the bowl, and toss gently until the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce.

6. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken, and serve with the steamed broccoli.
As Aaron was eating this he said "WOW, this is like the money!  You can totally make this again! The chicken is done perfectly!" 

Nice compliments from him! :) Now go make some!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

As promised...

Well hello March!! Can you believe it? Spring is near!! :) YAY!
As promised, I do have some recipes from Sunday dinner. It turned out well, and no one left hungry- success I guess! :)
I did, however, fall back on old habits and demolished the food before thinking about pictures! Except for my "masterpiece" ... dessert! I had to get a picture of that! 
This is called Key Lime Meringue Cake. Want to know a secret? It's actually halfway decent for you!! I found the recipe at Eatingwell.com. Check out the recipe here! 


See? It has 2 cake layers, with creamy lime filling and topped with meringue! It was deliciously light, but filling too. 

Couple pointers. The recipe tells you to bake cakes for 20-22 minutes. I did that the first time, and they were like cookies. The second time I baked them for only about 15 minutes. So keep your eyes on them!!  Take the advise of the recipe and refrigerate the filling for awhile before using that, else it'll be too thin. 

YUMMMM!! Go get your apron on and try this! :) Please!

Now, on to the rest. The menu included pork tenderloin that I cooked 2 ways. I will only share  1 way with you, though. Cuz the other way wasn't very good. Also had cauliflower gratin, which was da bomb! I loved it! I think other people liked it too. :) And we also had a fresh salad and mom brought spaghetti salad- my favorite!! This part of the meal was actually my favorite. Weird. I spent days thinking of and preparing the meal, and all I was hungry for at dinner was the salads. :) Haha. Ever have that?

Well, here's where I stop taking credit for the photos. But the food was just as good as these photos I promise! :) 


And last we will get to the meat of the meal. The meat was very simple and easy to make. I cut my pork tenderloin into 1/2-1 inch slices, wrapped each piece in bacon, secured with a toothpick and then seasoned them. The recipe told me to mix the seasonings and then coat each side of the pork, but I would suggest sprinkling it on. It was pretty salty. So, sprinkle on some garlic powder, Lawry's, basil, and oregano. Then brown the pork in a skillet on both sides and finish cooking in 400 degree oven for 15-25 minutes. 

You can find this recipe and the photo, courtesy of allrecipes.com, HERE