Dinner

Irish Nachos

Such a fun way to celebrate the upcoming holiday, St Patrick’s Day!  As always, I’ve always been over the typical corned beef and cabbage meal, but to each their own.  I love to change it up and play with the typical ingredients to make something much more exciting!

Now, this can be tweaked in so many ways.  I only showed you a few ideas and basics.  You can absolutely deep fry your potatoes, use French fries or tater tots, even tortilla chips!  You can change up the cheese sauce with added ingredients or keep it simple in the crockpot with Velveeta.  I don’t care, I just want you to have fun this March 17th!  ..or heck, this makes for great leftovers too if you’re a corned beef and cabbage purist!

*Recipes below, if desired

The Starting Lineup

  • Corned Beef, shredded/chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into thin coins with a mandoline
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Beer Cheese Sauce *
  • Garlic Chive aioli*
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Optional garnish: sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, jalapenos, chopped tomatoes

*Beer Cheese Sauce

  •  4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup Guinness beer
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
  • 1 tsp worcesterchire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard (spicy brown/dijon)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

*Garlic Chive Aioli

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, fine chop
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch each, cayenne and kosher salt

 

Prepare the Garlic Chive Aioli (whisk all ingredients together), cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes at 1/8th of an inch thickness.  Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove top and drop in the sliced potatoes for 3 minutes, remove and place on a towel to dry.

Once patted dry, toss the potatoes with a bit of olive oil and paprika in a large bowl, covering evenly.  Spread the slices onto two parchment covered baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes.

Flip the potatoes and rotate your pan, baking for another 15 minutes or until nice and browned.

Place the baked slices on a cooling rack and season with kosher salt, let cool.  They’ll continue to crisp as the cool down.

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Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the butter, once melted whisk in the flour.  Keep whisking to make a roux, cook down for 2-3 minutes until golden in color.  Pour in the beer and the milk, stir and drop the heat to low, stirring until the mixture begins to thicken.

Next, add in the freshly grated cheddar cheese, Worcestershire and mustard and keep stirring till smooth (add in a dash of milk if too thick).  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

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ASSEMBLY

On a large platter, alternate the crispy potatoes, Guinness beer cheese sauce, and the corned beef.  Top with a drizzle of the garlic-chive aioli and scallions.  If your like me, you’ll also love a bit of kraut and jalapenos too!  Enjoy!

 

Kid-Approved Chicken Tenders w/ Honey Mustard

If I was a bettin’ woman, I would say that a solid 90% of children enjoy warm, crunchy chicken tenders with some sort of dipping sauce.  I would also bet that tenders are at a tie with grilled cheese on the number-one spot on any restaurants kids menu.

The somewhat unfortunate part, is that they’re usually more of a splurge and not the healthiest meal for our favorite littles to eat.  Given my favorite 6-year-old is one of those annoyingly picky kiddo’s, I always try to revamp his favorites into something more parent friendly.  These definitely do the trick for his taste buds and my peace of mind and the homemade dip is just extra goodness!

*For a fun switch, add in some shredded coconut to the panko and serve with a sweet Thai chili sauce!

The Starting Lineup

Chicken Tenderes

  • Oil for frying (Peanut preffered, but Canola or Vegetable is fine)
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Honey Mustard

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the easy Honey Mustard dressing, simply mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Preheat your oil to 350 degrees F. while cutting the chicken breast into long strips.

In a bowl, beat the 3 eggs.  In one pie dish or shallow bowl, measure out the flour.  In a second shallow dish, measure the panko and add in all of the spices.

Dip each chicken strip first into the flour, then the beaten egg and lastly into the seasoned panko.

A couple at a time, fry the dredged chicken strips into the hot oil for 7-8 minutes.  Remove the golden brown strips to a paper towel lined plate.  Serve alongside the Honey Mustard dressing and enjoy!

ChickenTenders

 

 

Fried Green Tomato Salad

Hands down, one of my favorite appetizers has to be the simple, satisfying and crunchy, Fried Green Tomatoes.  If ever on a menu, this will be what I order and admittedly, judge them off of.

This recipe is southern in origin, and please tell me you love the namesake movie ‘Fried Green Tomatoes (if never seen, run to your tv now), as you WILL enjoy both.  Given it’s long-lasting delicious popularity, is almost unthinkable to skip over such a regional treat.  As I mentioned, this can be eaten as a side, drizzled in ranch, or added to a BLT, burger or into a hearty salad, as you’ll find below.  Simply scrumptious.

The Starting Lineup

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 4 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 2 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 5 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cup canola oil

Salad

  • 6 cups spring mix
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • Buttermilk ranch dressing, homemade best
  • Hot sauce, if desired

In a small mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce.  Add tomato slices and allow to soak for 20 minutes.

Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.  In a shallow dish, mix together flour, cornmeal, smoked paprika, salt & pepper.  Once the oil is hot, remove the tomatoes from the buttermilk, shaking off the excess liquid, and dredge each slice liberally in the flour mixture.  Fry for about 2 minutes per side, not to overcrowd the pan.

While frying, toss together the salad.  Top the salad with the freshly fried tomatoes and a drizzle of ranch and hot sauce.  Enjoy!

FriedGreenTomatoSalad

Roast Beef “Debris” Po’Boy

Mmmmmm…..When most people think of the famous Po’boy sandwich, their mind often runs to fried oysters or fried shrimp.  Mine, however, goes to the heavenly tender roast beef version dripping in gravy.

It can be insanely messy, hence the “debris” name (thank you to the paper towel inventor), but Ill gladly wear the this meal on my shirt, need be.  Something magical happens when you mix the beefy flavor with thick, real southern mayonnaise, juicy tomatoes and cool, crunchy shredded lettuce.

*This can also be made in a Dutch oven and covered, roasted in the oven vs. your slow cooker.  You will still sear and sauté on the stove top, the cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, till fork tender.  You will also need to up the chicken broth or water by one cup.  Checking once or twice to make sure the liquid didn’t evaporate.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 pound beef roast (i.e. top round, chuck, eye of round etc)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 cloved garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 Tbsp both vegetable oil and butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire
  • 1Tbsp hot sauce (i.e. Crystal)
  • 1 bay leaf

Assemble:

  • Six 6-inch length French bread ‘baguettes’
  • Mayonnaise (i.e. Dukes, Blue Plate)
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Dill pickle slices (optional)

Heavily season the beef roast with the salt and pepper.  Make about 16, 1-inch slits all over the roast and insert the halved garlic cloves into the roast.  Dredge all sides in the flour.

Heat up a pan to medium heat and add in the vegetable oil and butter.  Sear the beef roast on all sides until a crust appears, while also adding the prepared onion, carrot, bell pepper and celery.  Sauté and sear!

Transfer the seared roast and sautéed vegetables to a slow cooker.  Pour a bit of chicken broth to pan to scrape up any ‘brown bits’ and also add to the slow cooker.

Whisk together the broth, Worcestershire and hot sauce, pour over.  Add the bay leaf, cover, and set to low for 8 hours.

Prepare:  Turn the slow cooker to warm and shred the beef (remove bay leaf).  Half the French bread loaves and spread with mayonnaise.  Layer a good amount of the juicy shredded beef, followed buy the tomatoes, pickles and shredded lettuce.

Serve with hot, salted fries or a handful of Zapp’s chips and a Barq’s Root Beer, enjoy!

RoastBeefPoBoy

Chicken Caesar Salad (Lightened-Up!)

If you’re like me, you loovvee a good Caesar salad.  Like a really good, restaurant-worthy one.  One that cannot be made with store bought, fake tasting nonsense.  If you’re also like me, you crave this salad more often than not, yet you know that hhmmm…they may be pretty darn fattening and you find yourself weighing the flavor over your waist.

Whelp, this easy (no raw egg even, especially if you’re ‘weird’ about that) version can be made for dinner in a quick 30 minutes!  You can get in your protein with the chicken and Greek yogurt based dressing without sacrificing ANY of the restaurant worthiness (<– not sure if that’s a word, but you get it.)!

*Feel free to sub the chicken for shrimp, or nothing at all!  By all means, use your backyard grill too!

The Starting Lineup

Chicken:

  • 1-1/2 lb(s) boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken cutlets
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic power
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the “green can”, please!)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish (optional):

  • Garlic croutons
  • Avocado slices
  • Bacon, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
  • Lemon Wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the blackening seasoning for the chicken breasts.  On a lined sheet pan, swirl about two tablespoons of oil and place chicken, tossing to coat.  Heavily sprinkle on the blackening season, each side.

Place in the oven, turning once, for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow to rest and thinly slice.  *By all means, if weather permits, grill outdoors for another great flavor!

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Make sure to taste to your preference (i.e. add more salt, always PLENTY of freshly cracked black pepper, thin with a bit more olive oil or lemon, etc..)

Prepare: In individual bowls, add in a cup of rinsed and patted dry romaine lettuce.  Top with the sliced, blackened chicken, more parmesan and croutons and avocado, bacon and/or lemon if desired.  Drizzle dressing overtop.  Enjoy!

Caeser

Everything (but the) Bagel Chicken

….with a Green Onion Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce…yes!  So, I purchased a gigantic bottle of Everything Bagel seasoning a couple of months ago and have used it liberally.  Yet, whenever I look at it, it seems like a never-ending-bowl-of-pasta!  I swear it’s a great purchase, since it’s pretty hard to run out of and goes a long way!

That being said, we’ve been limiting our fried foods to only when we eat out (which for me, is about never.  I rarely eat out and I rarely order anything fried when so…though it’s so, so tasty!).  So while keeping my family healthy(er), instead of battering and frying the chicken, why not use up that giant tumbler of yummy seasoning?!  It provides a great crunch, mine is gluten-free and if you’re doing the Keto diet, this should work well too!

No matter what, it’s quick, easy and certainly yummy!

*serves 4

The Starting Lineup

  •  4 chicken breasts
  •  2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup Everything Bagel seasoning

Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Everything Bagel seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/3rd Neufchatel is fine) 
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced + more for garnish if desired

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the melted, unsalted butter, Everything Bagel seasoning, softened cream cheese and milk.  Fold in the sliced green onions and taste for salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

In a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick, place down the chicken breasts.  Brush one side of the chicken with half of the melted butter and then sprinkle with half of the Everything Bagel seasoning; should be pretty coated.  With kitchen tongs, turn the chicken breast over and repeat with the remaining butter and seasoning.

Place the coated chicken into the oven for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove the cooked chicken and serve alongside the cream cheese dip, enjoy!

*I prefer to drizzle the cream cheese over top, sprinkle with extra green onions and serve alongside asparagus spears or an arugula salad.

EBChicken

 

Quick Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For my fellow friends who follow me, one knows I do not care for traditional breakfast foods (even though I make it for my family every single day), nor am I too found of Chinese food.  I’m sorry, truly sorry, but it’s just not so great to me.  I love Japanese, even Thai, but not Chinese.  However…..IF I am going to surprise my husband with one of his favorite cuisines, THIS is what I make!  This recipe is super easy and quick!!  After 20 minutes, you’ll have chicken lettuce wraps that will rival the ‘you-know-who-restaurant’, plus are a lot healthier!  I like to serve them with either egg rolls or pot stickers.. or both (and a to-go order of sushi for me ;)!

*The teriyaki, hoisin, soy sauce and cornstarch can easily be found in gluten-free, in case of dietary restrictions.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (can substitute tapioca starch or arrowroot for true gluten free)
  • 1-2 heads of butter lettuce, leaves washed and patted dry
  • 3 green onions, sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ground ginger and cornstarch.  Set aside, but give another whisk before ready to use.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil.  Add in the mushrooms till softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to the hot pan and add the ground chicken, cooking until done.  *I like to use my hand-held potato masher to really break up the ground chicken into crumbles.  To the cooked chicken, add in the minced garlic and the mushrooms back in, followed by the basil leaves.

Re-whisk and pour the sauce that you made earlier over the cooked chicken mixture and thoroughly combine, cooking about 1 more minute.  Spoon into the lettuce leaves and sprinkle on the sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

*Serve alongside extra sriracha, soy sauce or make a double batch of the sauce you made in the beginning to dip or drizzle over.

QuickChickenLettuceWraps

Red, White & Bleu Potato Salad

America the Beautiful.  Those three words are the absolute truth!  I am a proud American who absolutely loves the 4th of July.  Even as a young child, I’m not sure what it was exactly that this holiday brought me so much joy, but its always been my favorite.  No pretty, wrapped presents are involved, no Santa, no costumes and candy from door-to-door, just family, fireworks and delish food!

Now, I have quite a few potato salad recipes, but as a lover of meat n’ potatoes, I love to pair them with the unique flavor of blue cheese!  I know, I know, it’s not for everyone.  However, if you love this cheese as much as myself, than rest assured, you’ll love this alongside your steak hot off the grill!  If blue cheese isn’t your thing, feel free to switch it out for chunks of cheddar for an equally great salad!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 lbs potatoes (I prefer red or baby purple potato medley for the appropriate 4th of July colors)
  • 1 package bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve the grease)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2-3oz bleu cheese crumbles, to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Cut each rinsed potato into rough 1″ chunks and add to a large stockpot of salted water, bring to a boil until they are fork tender.  Meanwhile, crisp up the bacon, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate while reserving the bacon grease.

Drain the boiled potatoes and add to a large bowl.  While still hot, pour over the reserved bacon grease along with the cooked, crumbled bacon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the bleu cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and the red and green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Top with any extra bacon and green onions.  Enjoy!!

 

RedWhiteandBleuPotatoSalad

Peach, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

As they say, simple is best!  Especially when it comes to summer suppers.  We often enjoy this with fresh peaches from our yard and if in the mood, we’ll even prepare this on the grill!  This sweet and savory pizza is perfect as an appetizer or paired with a side salad for a light dinner.  I kept this meal as light as can be with only four toppings, but feel free to add on what you wish.  Perhaps mozzarella, thinly sliced onion or red pepper flakes or pepperoncini’s for a kick!  Just remember…simplicity is key with this dish!

The Starting Lineup

Refrigerated pizza crust (i.e. Pillsbury’s BEST Classic Crust)
• 2 TBSP olive oil
• 1 -2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
• 4oz goat cheese
• 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
• Balsamic Glaze (*NOT to be confused for balsamic vinegar)

 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Unroll your dough, place on a baking sheet or pizza stone and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the par-cooked dough and add on the peach slices and crumble the goat cheese overtop, place back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.  Remove and immediately sprinkle on the fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

*Bake dough according to your recipe or store-bought package directions. Remove halfway through, add toppings and finish baking. Dusting cornmeal under the dough before baking yields a great crunch!

PeachBasilGoatCheesePizza2

Chicken Salad Carrot Crescents

“Hippity, hoppity Easter’s on its waayyyy….”

I can never enter the Spring season without singing that song verse on more than one occasion.  So, now that we’re even closer to this years Easter holiday, it’s in my crawl as much as one of my favorite festive recipes!  These buttery crescents are shaped onto cone molds and when a tinted egg wash is applied and baked, resemble not only perfect vessels to stuff, but cutesy lil’ carrots!

Depending on our Easter plans for each year, I’ll either serve these at lunch, for an appetizer or bring to a potluck to rave oohs and aahhs.  Plus, they taste great!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water (can add food coloring if desired)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill, garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, onions, pecans, mayonnaise, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unroll the crescent dough and pinch seams together.  Using a pizza cutter, cut lengthwise into 6-8 equal strips.  Brush each with egg wash and roll each strip out to about 16″, like a thick spaghetti noodle.  Repeat.

Using either a cream horn mold or foil shaped into a cone, wrap one strip of dough around the mold.  Apply more egg wash.  Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove mold.

Fill each “carrot” with chicken salad (or salad of choice) and top with a parsley or dill sprig, enjoy!

ChickenSaladCrescents

 

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