Monday, March 30, 2009

Chicken Nuggets: The Fibrous kind

I've been doing a lot of pantry diving lately. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing - but I'm happy I have been using up some odds and ends. This weekend I knew I had to use up a package of chicken breasts I had bought this week - and when I spotted the panko crumbs I knew I would be making some nuggets. On the way out of the pantry I spotted the Fiesta ranch dressing mix and was excited to put a little kick in those chicks!

I won't even tell you the expiration date on this package for fear they will accuse me of child abuse - however I did smell it and it smelled fine!

I was all set to start ripping, dipping and dunking when I opened the box of Panko crumbs to find only a half of a cup in the bottom of the bag....what to do what to do. No problem. I opened my cereal cabinet to see what I could add to my Panko crumbs.

I chuckled as I ground up about a cup of Fiber One cereal. My kids would die if they knew what I had used but I was anxious to see what they thought of the fibrous nuggets!

Fibrous Nuggets
1 egg
3 Tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1 envelope Fiesta Ranch Dip mix, unmade
1 cup Fiber One cereal ground course
4 chicken breasts, cut up in 2 inch by 1 inch pieces

Mix egg and milk in small bowl.
Mix Panko crumbs, Fiesta Ranch Dip mix and Fiber One cereal crumbs and put in bowl by egg bowl.
Set oven to 400. Line baking sheet with Parchment. Dip cut chicken in egg mixture and then roll in crumb mixture. Set on parchment. When complete bake chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and serve with homemade honey mustard.

Homemade Honey mustard:
2 parts Honey
1 part yellow mustard
Mix and Dip!

My kids LOVED the nuggets! Fiber One cereal has a slightly sweet taste and the kick of the Fiesta Dip mix was the perfect blend! It turned out to be one "Kickin' Chickin'"!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sausage and Boursin Breakfast Casserole

The other day, as I was cleaning out my cheese drawer in the fridge, I discovered a package of Boursin cheese about to expire. My love of Boursin cheese goes beyond words so letting something that delectable go to waste would go against every fiber of my body. I quickly scoured the rest of my pantry to see what I could whip up.

I spotted the 2 day old loaf of french bread on my counter and hoped I would have a frozen "log" of sausage in my freezer - Score - I did!

I love a "Breakfast" dinner and knew if I threw all these things together - they couldn't be bad!

Rindy's Breakfast Casserole
1 loaf french bread, cubed
1 sweet onion, chopped and fried till just starting to carmelize
1 pound sausage, I prefer HOT (spicy that is)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pepper to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese
5.2 oz Boursin cheese
2 cups milk
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 by 13 pan. Cook sausage in pan and drain grease. Cook onion in skillet till just carmelized. Cube french bread and place pieces in bottom of dish. Spread 1 cup of cheddar cheese over bread and dot with the Boursin cheese. Put sausage and onions over mixture. In separate bowl, mix 2 cups milk with 5 eggs. Pour over entire casserole. Cover and let this sit for at least an hour - or overnight. Bake for 45 minutes in 325 oven.

I hope your family loves this as much as mine did! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Field Trip: Frederick Maryland

My sweet friend, Merry (you remember - the girl who is as happy as her name) planned a field trip to Frederick Maryland on St. Patty's day. I am ashamed to say this, but in the 9 years I have lived in northern Virginia - I have only once ventured up to Frederick and it was to buy a cabinet - not to sight see and shop. Boy, was I in for a treat! Frederick is the cutest place on the face of the earth. If you ever plan to come to D.C. - Frederick would be a great side trip to take. In the above picture we were accosting random men on the street who were wearing kilts. That's just the kind of women we are - but lets be honest - what woman could really pass up a man in a skirt?

As we walked up Market street I could hear my friend Sarah shriek from the back of the pack. "That's Volt" she said. I have heard so much about that place - their food is supposed to be AMAZING. Merry chimed in and said when she had called up for a reservation there was a two month waiting list. I guess you know where we didn't eat lunch!

We walked on and admired the beautiful architecture. One building was more spectacular then the next.

The homes had doors on them as if to say "Look at me ladies - I put my lipstick on just for you".

We wondered what was the history behind each building. What treasures were still in their attics. What did their future hold...and then we got hungry and could care less about what gem was behind the next corner. We wanted food and Merry knew right where to take us.

The Tasting Room was this ADORABLE corner cafe with elegance written all over it! Everything on the menu looked better then the next. We all wanted someone else to start the ordering for fear of entree envy. I decided on the fish and chips purely for the amount of mayo I knew I would be able to consume with that lunch selection. What can I say - I love that "White Butter" as my girls call it.

Speaking of butter - check this out! The pats of butter came with what appeared to be Paprika initials on them. Even though they probably stood for "The Tasting Room" - I told everyone at the table it meant "To Rindy" and they were to keep their paws off!

Remember our mascot from our IKEA trip- Meredith? She came in very useful for this trip as well. This time it went a little something like "Meredith, of course you can have more bread". "Waiter - could we get some more bread for our table - this little lady loves it"! Waiter brings the bread - women devour bread in 2.3 seconds - women ask waiter for more bread - blame child. I love you Meredith!

The meal did not disappoint - and to be honest- I think it was the best fish and chips I have ever had. Those fresh cut fries were to die for and the tarter sauce - AMAZING!

Another field trip under our belts! Thank you Merry for planning such a perfect day. Can't wait to see what is next on the list.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Naan: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

After my Tandoori Chicken I was inspired to try to make my own Naan. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for the prepackaged kind. I admit it - I have a yeast phobia! What truly constitutes "Warm Water" and why doesn't my bread ever rise like it should? With all of this against me - I trudged on and tried to make my own Naan.

I brought in reinforcements - my 9 year old to do the heavy manual labor part - kneading! She did a great job and I see a future for her in an upcoming "Survivor" episode. With skills like this she would never be kicked out of the tribe!

My first attempt would be this Garlic Naan:
1 (.25 ounce) package dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup butter

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. During second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over.

5. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

As you can see from my top picture - mine turned out more like the shape of Ugly Dolls - but they really were delicious. Would I do it again? Probably not - but I sure loved spending time with one of my favorite "Kneaders"!

Friday, March 20, 2009

White Chicken Chili!

Did you read Wednesday's post? This was the recipe I talked about. My family loved it and I hope you will too!

White Chicken Chili
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tablespoon oil
2 (15oz) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz ) can chicken broth
1 (14oz) can chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Saute chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Reheat on low if necessary. Serve immediately!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mema's Potato Cheese Soup!

My sweet little friend Cary gave me a recipe book for a hostess gift at my Christmas Cookie Exchange and I have been loving it! It is the Kitchen Cornerstone by Purcellville Baptist Church and every recipe I have made is wonderful! This recipe for Mema's Potato Cheese Soup was sent in by Jane and it is no exception!

Mema's Potato Cheese Soup
4 potatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
4 cups water
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz Velveeta cheese
1 cup diced ham (optional)
2 cups heavy cream

Saute onions and garlic in butter; add water and potatoes; cook until tender, mash potatoes with masher or hand held blender, but leave slightly chunky. Turn heat down very low; add ham, sharp cheese and Velveeta cheese. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. When it is good and hot - do not boil- add cream and stir thoroughly. DO NOT BOIL as it can cause curdling of cheeses and milk. Garnish with cheddar cheese. Excellent served with rolls. My kids love popcorn on top - sort of like croutons - but more fun!

One of my girl's teachers at school was going in for surgery and they asked the parents if they could make some meals, freeze them, and bring them in for her to take home to eat during her recovery. This soup was the perfect recipe. I also made some chili mac and a great recipe for White Chicken Chili - which I will post on Friday!

I like to put all the soup in the same containers. Put in fridge to cool - then move to freezer. I unscrew top - but leave sitting on top while it becomes frozen. This will stop the container from breaking. Once frozen screw on top and attach recipe. I like to put the recipe in a ziplock bag (Pictured below) and attach it to each container with a rubber band (Shown above). If a person likes the dish - they can duplicate it!

Giving Warms the Heart! What dishes do you make to give away?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tandoori Chicken on Pitas!

This past Saturday was a lazy Saturday around my house - my favorite. Instead of jumping all over the laundry, vacuuming, picking up or dusting I dove right into my favorite form of procrastination - COOKING! I had seen a recipe I wanted to try out in a Light cookbook. My girls loved the chicken - alone- and chose not to "Doctor" it all up in the yummy yogurt sauce (yeah more for me and the hubby)! It was so light and refreshing and perfect! It helped set the mood for a long afternoon of laundry, vacuuming, dusting and picking up!

Tandoori Chicken on Pitas
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons curry powder - I used 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon smokey Paprika since my kids would be eating it.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts. (I flattened mine so they would cook quickly)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil

1. Mix flour, curry powder, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add chicken, close bag and shake to coat. Remove chicken, shake off excess flour.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove to a cutting board.

3. While chicken cooks, mix sauce ingredients in a bowl. Coarsely chop bell pepper, tomatoes and cucumbers. Toast pitas.
4. Cut chicken diagonally in 1/2 inch wide strips. Place a pita on each plate. Top with pepper, tomato and cucumber then chicken. Spoon on sauce; garnish with limes and cilantro.

Yogurt Sauce:
3/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt (I used greek yogurt - because that is what I had)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion ( I doubled because I LOVE red onion)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and salt

Toppings for sandwich:
1 yellow bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes chopped (I just used grape tomatoes)
1 cucumber chopped

I loved this and will be making this again in the near future! Take your taste buds on an adventure and try this Tandoori chicken Pita!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bobi's Bites: Horseradish Gravy!

I'll be the first to admit that Horseradish gravy does not photograph well - but just looking at this photo my mouth is salivating!
When I was a child, no corned beef dinner would be complete without this sauce smothering our plates. Try this sauce with your St. Patty's day celebration this year!

Horseradish Gravy:

2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour

Make Roux with butter and flour; When thick add 1 to 2 cups corned beef broth. Once it is to a consistency you like - add 1 tsp. Dijon mustard and 1 to 2 teaspoons horseradish. The more horseradish the more heat! I triple this recipe because once your guests taste it - they want all their veggies to take a bath in it!

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich!

My father, or Gumpa as he is known to my children, has taught my girls many a way to eat Peanut Butter. I do believe it is his favorite food. It wasn't until I was probably 10 that I learned not everyone eats Peanut Butter on their Pancakes, Banana's and breakfast cereal. Ahhh - there's nothing like a big bowl of dry Rice Crispy's in the morning with a gob of Peanut Butter sitting on top. Take a bite, dip the spoon, Take a bite, dip the spoon - that was my favorite morning "exercise" as a kid!

My girls have come to LOVE Gumpa's Peanut Butter and Banana "sandwich" (pictured above)! He, of course, will offer the Peanut Butter "Coin" option as well (where you slice the banana into little "coins" and plop a dollop of Peanut Butter on each one - but inevitably they always go for the "Sandwich"! Try one tomorrow morning with your child and make a memory that will last a lifetime!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gourmet Club: Irish Style!

Even though we only have gourmet club every 3 months - it feels like it happens every time I turn around. Life is happening at warp speed - isn't it! This time I got the honor of hosting and if any of you remember what the last one was like at Robin Sue's house - you know I had big "Boots" to fill! Take a look at the Hoedown she put together - HERE!

With St. Patty's Day right around the corner I knew what I had to do - A Night at the Shamrock Saloon!
The idea started with a little sign I picked up at Michael's which said "Welcome to the Shamrock Saloon" - and with that it all fell into place!

I got the recipes to all the guests 2 weeks before the actual party date. That way if they had an odd ingredient they could figure out where and when to get it throughout the course of those two weeks. This menu happened to be pretty straight forward - so no one needed to stress. Robin Sue (From Big Red Kitchen) and "Himself" (Robin's Hubby) were on the guest list.... well as Sabrina (From Britikibar) and Her Hubby (The Man )! We rounded out the night with my carpool buds Michelle and her hubby Roy! Roy is in the picture below on the far left.

Michelle is in the picture below, second from the right. Best laid plans ( I meant to get a picture of each couple - and then the food called my name and I left the camera in the dust!)

On the Menu for a Night at the Shamrock Saloon:

Irish Soda Bread - Martha Stewart Living March 2009
Beets with Watercress and Bibb Lettuce - Martha Stewart Living March 2009
Corned Beef with Boiled Veggies smothered in Horseradish Gravy - Bobi's Bites
Banoffee Pie - Paula Dean

Beets with Watercress and Bibb Lettuce
1 Bunch medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed(4 to 6 beets)
3 Tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch (6 oz) watercress, tough stems trimmed
1 medium head (5 ounces) Bibb lettuce, leaves torn into 1 inch pieces freshly ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 425. Divide beets between 2 parchment-lined pieces of foil. Fold each in half, crimping edges to seal. Place packets on a baking sheet, and roast until beets are tender, about 1 hour, 20 minutes. Peel, then cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds and wedges.
Whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add oil, whisking until emulsified. Arrange greens and beets on a platter. Drizzle with dressing, and season with pepper.

Irish Soda Bread

• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
• 2 cups golden or dark raisins (Robin used 1 cup dried cherries instead - yum!)
• 1 1/2 scant cups buttermilk
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and caraway seeds until well combined.
2. Using a pastry cutter or two knives in scissor fashion, cut in butter until the mixture feels like coarse meal. Stir in raisins until evenly distributed.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and baking soda until well combined. Pour buttermilk mixture into the flour-and-butter mixture all at once, and stir with a fork until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture begins to hold together. It should resemble a rough biscuit dough. Using your hands, press the dough into a round, dome-shaped loaf about 8 inches in diameter. Lift the loaf from the bowl, and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
4. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and cream together. With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the loaf. With a sharp knife or razor, incise a cross, about 1/2 inch deep, into the top of the loaf. Transfer to the oven. Bake, rotating halfway through, until it is deep golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 70 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer bread from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Makes 1 loaf.

Banoffee Pie
• 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 10 tablespoons butter, softened
• 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
• 3 large bananas
• 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix graham cracker crumbs with softened butter and press mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.
Lower the oven to 300 degrees F for the toffee filling.
To create toffee filling, caramelize the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the condensed milk into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and place dish inside a larger poaching pan. Add water to poaching pan until half way up sides of baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Once both the crust and toffee filling are cooled, spread half of the filling evenly inside crust. Slice the bananas and layer on top of filling. Pour remaining half of filling over bananas, spreading evenly. Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and spread on top of toffee filling and bananas.

I wish this picture did it justice - It was AMAZING!

No Gourmet club would be complete without a little goody for the guest to take home. This was just a little "Thank you for coming" gift of a clip board and Thank you cards! I love those girls - and I wanted them to know!

Tune in Friday for Bobi's amazing Horseradish gravy that smothered everyone's plate! No St. Patty's day celebration would be complete without it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Great Grape Debate!

Let me set up the scenario: Mom packs pretty healthy school lunch, adds a few little treats. Upon returning home, child has eaten entire lunch except the healthy part of meal! This drives me crazy! I can't tell you the number of times my kids come home with the fruit cup, apple sauce cup or bag of grapes left over from their lunch. My solution for the fruit cups is as follows: 1. Explain to child they need to eat the healthy part of the lunch first. 2. Explain money doesn't grow on trees and 3. Put fruit cup back in lunch box for tomorrow - with a "Healthy" warning about what will happen if they don't eat it the next day. My solution for the grapes is a little different. For some reason my kids think frozen grapes are the next best thing to a slushy at 7-11. If my kids comes home with their bag of grapes - which, by this time look a little worse for wear since they have been roaming around a lunch box all day - I throw them in the freezer - (the grapes that is.)

When snack time comes around after school the next day - they think they have died and gone to heaven - as I pull out the baggies of frozen grapes! No waste in this house...and besides how can you be mad at a face like this?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rindy's Sloppy Joes

The other day I went to my fridge - only to be met by the package of hamburger I had bought days earlier! I didn't have the foggiest idea what to do with it but knew I had to make it THAT day! I went to my old stand-by - - and browsed. I finally decided to do a sloppy joe. I pulled a recipe off the net - only to find I only had about half the ingredients I needed. This is what I pulled out of my fridge and pantry to make one pretty good sloppy joe!

Rindy's Sloppy Joe's
1 pound ground beef
1 small sweet onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
4 Tablespoons salsa
3/4 cup ketchup
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
6 hamburger buns

In a skillet, cook beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato paste, ketchup, brown sugar, salsa and soy sauce; mix well. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun.

I served with deviled eggs and got high fives from all my family!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cindy's Masala Vegetable Stew

The other night, my "Healthy Hero" Cindy and I had an impromptu dinner with our families. We had been working all day for our good friend and thought it would be fun to kick back and enjoy some down time. As we each tried to figure out what we could contribute to the meal we realized it might be a little complicated since she is a vegetarian and I am a "Carb-a-tarian". I pulled out "Julie's Cinncanati Chili" from my freezer to go over a baked potato and Cindy whipped up this Masala Vegetable Stew. I was a little hesitant to try this exotic dish - since my body is more accustomed to Pringles and HoHo's - but wow was I blown away! I loved the sweet and spicy tastes and have put this on my list to make in the future. Try it - You'll like it!

Masala Vegetable Stew
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1/2 medium head cauliflower, bite size pieces
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 to 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 fresh mild chiles, seeded and minced
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 (15 oz) can light coconut milk
salt to taste
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 tsp. chopped cilantro (she used dried)
curry to taste

Heat the oil in large soup pot over med. heat. Add onions and garlic, cook stirring often until golden. Add potatoes, carrots and 2 cups water. Bring to boil. Cover and cook gently until partially tender 10 to 15 minutes. Add cauliflower, green beans, ginger, chiles, garam masala, coriander, turmeric. Continue to cook gently covered until tender 20 minutes. Mash some potatoes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon to thicken stew. Stir in coconut milk and season to taste with salt. If time allows let stew stand for 1 hour before serving. Just before serving, heat and stir in peas, raisins, and cilantro and cook until peas are just heated through. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Serves 6 to 8.

This is Cindy with her hubby Reagan! My "Healthy Hero" is working on me one meal at a time! Keep up the good work!