Tag Archives: Food

Maple Dijon Chicken

This easy, minimal ingredient recipe I cannot take full credit for…though what I can take credit for is how often I make it.  This is always, always, always a hit.  So good that I had to share it with y’all.  

I tweaked it just a hair to suit my family’s taste preferences.  I will tell you too that my boys ate every bit of it up.  So don’t be scared of the word ‘Dijon’ with younger palates…the maple syrup sweetens it up just enough for all taste buds!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, no aunt jemima here)
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (plus a dash more if you prefer)
  • Rosemary (fresh best if possible), roughly chopped 
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Cornstarch (optional to thicken if desired..)
     

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  *I also slightly butterflied my two chicken breasts pictured above.  I made two smaller ones off of my two larger ones for my toddlers.  Perfect amount of food for them, while cost effective for me!

In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard (not spicy brown or ballpark yellow..Dijon!), the REAL maple syrup, rice vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. 


Place your chicken breasts into a double-foil-lined casserole dish.  I use a smaller dish (8×8 or 9×9, etc for my 4 Breasts)…If your casserole dish is too large, with not enough chicken in it, the sauce will just burn off and basically disappear. 

Pour about 3/4th of your prepared sauce over your chicken.  Reserve the remaining 1/4 for the finished product.  Flip the chicken breasts over to fully coat and then sprinkle a bit more salt & pepper on top of the chicken. 

  

 

Pop this baby into your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.  *mine above took 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up a bit of fresh rosemary for garnish along with the remaining sauce. *here is also where I’m preparing my side dishes.  Time management!!

My 1/4 of ‘reserved’ sauce is actually newly made^^…I didnt make enough in the beginning. Oops!!

Ding!!  Your chicken is now finished and cooked through.  When plated drizzle with a bit more of the sauce and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary on top!  

We serve ours with roasted and ‘smashed’ Rosemary new potatoes and a side of garlic & wine sautéed spinach with mushrooms.

 
  

Hot Ham & Cheese Pretzel’wich

Wow!  Scratch made pretzel rolls will make anything taste good.  Guaranteed.  Which is why this normal ‘boring’ ham & cheese sandwich just got taken to a whole new level!  Served hot with the melting cheese and salty crust of your warm pretzel roll…to die for.  Ok..that may be a bit extreme, but you get the idea.

The Starting Linup

Pretzel

  • 4 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for garnish
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and divided 4/1
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with splash of water)  

Sandwich Filling

  • 1 lb Quality deli ham (I prefer Black Forest)
  • 8 slices cheese (I.e. muenster, Swiss, cheddar)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard (I prefer Dijon or spicy brown)
  • Dill pickle slices  

Making homemade pretzel rolls really isn’t as hard as one may think.  If you have a stand mixer and an hour & a half to spare, you’re sure to impress your family with these!

In your mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast packet and both sugars.  Gently give it a quick stir and let sit for 10 minutes.  It will foam up a little bit. 


Fitted with the dough hook, add in the flour, salt and 4Tbsp of the melted butter.  Mix on medium speed till just combined.  *preheat your oven to 350.  Once ready, turn oven off.  You just want the back of your stove to be slightly warm. Scrape edges of bowl as necessary to incorporate all ingredients into the dough.  

Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and a tea towel.  Place covered bowl on the back of your stove to rest and rise for 1 hour.  *now you have an hour of free time!..or in my case, time to fold the laundry or pick up toys..

  


After the hour is up, your dough will have appeared to almost double in size!  Uncover your dough and literally give it a soft punch.  I love this part.  It will deflate just a bit. 

 

Transfer the dough from the bowl to a clean, lighty floured counter top.

Here your going to divide into 8 equal parts.  Form into a ball with your hands and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  They should be a good 1″ apart from each other, I stagger them.  Recover with Saran Wrap and the tea towl and place back into the stovetop for 30 minutes for its 2nd rise.

  
When those are getting close to done with their 2nd rise and have almost doubled in size, bring about 2 quarts of water to a low boil.  Also, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  

  

exciting pic isnt it?…

Once the water has reached its low boil, remove from heat.  Slowly (and I do mean SLOWLY) add in the baking soda.  I’d say just a tbsp at a time or you’ll have a huge overflowing mess.  *you didn’t know you’d be doing a science experiment did you??  Return the baking soda/water to the stove top on a simmer.  Add in the risen dough balls about 2-3 at a time to the water.  I usually float them for 30 seconds, turn over for another 30 seconds and then transfer them back to the baking sheet. 

Mix up that egg wash.  Using a pastry brush, coat the dough rolls alllll over.  *I always end up just using my hands.  Rub that egg wash all over them and slighty reshape the dough into a round shape.  With a sharp knife, make a slight score on the tops of each dough roll.


Bake these bad boys in your 425 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until tops are a golden brown.

Remove from the oven and coat the tops with a bit of the remaining tbsp of melted butter and a sprinkle of kosher salt. 

 

Assembly time!!  Make these your own with any variety of meats and cheeses, but here is how I did ours..

With a serrated bread knife, I cut each pretzel roll in half horizontally.  I topped each side with a good slather of mayonnaise and mustard.  I then placed the bottoms only back onto the baking sheet.  

Next, I added the ham with a slice of yummy, melty cheese.  Place this back in your oven to melt and become gooey.  *I use the broiler setting, but watch closely. 

 Remove from the oven.  Top off with a few slices of dill pickles and the pretzel roll top…enjoy!!! 

 

Loaded Buffalo Chicken & Potato Casserole

After a busy week and not making it to our local grocery store..this is what I came up with and I am more than pleased!  Who doesn’t like buffalo wings, at least the semi-spicy and flavorful sauce??!  *If you don’t, we’ll cease contact now…This casserole was super easy, inexpensive and uses up some things you may already have on hand!

I was in no mood to get my boys and I ready to go out and about today just for dinner and when I gathered all of these ingredients from my pantry and fridge it became a home-run!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-6 medium russet potatoes, cut into rough 1″ cubes
  • 2lb boneless chicken breasts or tenders, cut into rough 1″ pieces
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled 
  • 2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, Jack, peppered, habanero, etc)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup+ buffalo wing sauce
  • 2Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1tsp ground pepper
  • Non-stick spray/oil for 9×13 dish
  • Sour cream to garnish (optional) 

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees and coat a 9×13 oven proof dish in non-stick spray.

Now is time to start the bacon!  I am not a fan (at all) of chewy bacon, but for this dish, I prefer to cook my bacon not too (super-duper-like-normal) crisp.  It will continue to cook in the oven.


While the oven is preheating and the bacon is cooking away, we’ll clean and cut the potatoes and chop the 1/2 of an onion.

After the bacon is cooked to your desired doneness, do NOT throw away the 1/3 cup of grease!!  ….follow me here.

In a large bowl, drain that excess bacon grease straight into the bowl.  To that, combine the wing sauce & spices.  Give a good stir and add your cut potatoes and the 1/2 chopped onion into the now amazing glaze.  Toss to coat.

  


While leaving as much wing sauce ‘glaze’ possible in the bowl, transfer the potato and onion mixture to the non-stick sprayed casserole dish.  

This potato mix will go straight into your 475 degree oven.  Allow to cook for 45 minutes, while stirring every 10-15 minutes.

….back to that leftover buffalo sauce glaze…toss your cut up chicken breasts/tenderloins in this sauce and marinate away.  *If you need more sauce for the chicken, just make more.  No foul there.  *I also usually place bowl in fridge, but take out about 20 minutes before potatoes are finished. 

Also, while the potatoes are roasting, combine your sliced green onions, the crumbled bacon and your grated choice of cheese in a bowl. 

About now your potatoes should be cooked through and a bit crispy on the edges.

Drop the oven heat down to 400 degrees and remove the potatoes.  Right away add the (uncooked) chicken on top, followed by your cheese & bacon mix.  Pop this casserole (uncovered) into the oven for 15-20 minutes. 

After the 15’ish minutes of baking is done (chicken will be cooked through and juicy), remove the casserole and serve up!  We like to garnish ours with a big dollop of sour cream and maybe a drizzle of wing sauce or Bleu cheese crumbles.  Enjoy! 

  

Turkey, Brie & Apple Pockets

The options of fillings on these are limitless and trust me..I’ve tried a few, even breakfast.  However,…..nothinnggg that I’ve found and tried beats this one.  These are knock your socks off good!!  Did I just sound old there?? 😉

This is barely even considered ‘cooking’, besides the fact that you have to turn on your oven for 20minutes.  The great thing is no one will be the wiser.  This tastes like a picnic at the park or fancy bistro fare.   It’s kind of impressive.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cans crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 lb quality, deli turkey breast, thin slices
  • 8oz of Brie cheese, 8 thin slices
  • 1-2 apples, thin slices
  • 2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 1 egg 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray. With the first roll of crescent dough, which I have my husband open due to my irrational fear of them ‘popping’ open (hell, I’d even walk to a neighbor before I opened one of those alone), start taking the precut triangles apart. You will place 4 on each baking sheet.  However, first you must stretch them to literally double in size.  You can either gently pull and press with your fingertips or lightly flour and use a rolling pin or wine bottle.    Now with 4 dough triangles on each sheet, let’s cut them apples!  I have no rhyme or reason to how I cut them, but I just like them in thin slices.  I also prefer to leave the skins on.  Do what you wish..  After your apple(s) have been sliced, just toss in the spicy brown mustard, the honey and the cinnamon.  Mix well…these are weirdly delicious.  Like seriously..     While my apples are soaking up that sweet & tangy concoction, I slice the Brie cheese, thinly as well!   Assembly time!!!  Take 1-2 slices of your turkey (I’m sure any turkey would work here, but I honestly use our grocers REAL oven-roasted, sliced at a 1 or 2..it’s way, way better than Boars Head, etc even!) and lay lengthwise on your dough.  Follow that with 3-4 Apple slices and your Brie Cheese.       With your second can of crescent dough, do the same as above.  Carefully press or roll out till doubled. Make an egg wash with the 1 egg and a splash of water.  Beat together till lightly frothy. Lay each of the 8 extra dough triangles overtop your assembled “pockets”.  This is where you realize how great it is to thinly slice all of your ingredients.  Press each side together and crimp with a fork.  Do not worry AT ALL about it looking pretty, you know I like things rustic!  Also, if you have any tears on the top, you can always mend it with a bit of extra dough from the corners or just let that gooey Brie ooze right on out!  Brush the tops and crimped edges with the egg wash you just made.  This will make a beautiful golden crust and keep it slightly crisp.  Bake these for 12-15 minutes till beautifully browned!  They’re best served straight out of the oven or at room temperature…just be careful because that cheese is hot!  These are soooooo good!!! 

Pantry Staples

I’m going to say that one of the most common complaints for not making homemade or even semi-homemade meals is due to what’s lacking in your pantry..which in turn, comes a higher grocery bill for just that single dinner.  I feel you.  

Why can’t my pantry look like this????

Easier said than done I know, but if you SLLOOWWLY buy a couple of things per shopping trip, you’ll be fully stocked and on your way to cooking greatness!  …Then just check your supplies regularly and before you know it, you’ll only need to replace each item randomly instead of all at once!  Please keep in mind that many, many of these items are less than $1.00 each and can make soooo much!

*Yes, there are nights that I’ll pop a Stouffers into the oven, make a frozen pizza or just fix a quick turkey sandwich.  I get tired too!  However, if you have an episode of The Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ going on in your home one evening, you’ll be prepared!!

My Must Have Pantry Staples

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Masa, cornmeal, Japanese Panko, dried breadcrumbs and easy tortilla flour
  • Sugar (granulated, light & dark brown sugar, powdered)
  • Yeast packets
  • Baking Soda & Powder
  • Evap milk/sweetened condensed milk, dulce de leche
  • Chocolate chips (butterscotch, etc)
  • Oils (EVOO, vege, canola, crisco/lard
  • Vinegars (regular, Apple cider, balsamic, red wine, champagne, etc)
  • Stocks and broths
  • Pasta noodles, variety
  • Rice
  • Beans, canned and dried
  • Honey/molasses
  • Peanut butter
  • Jellies & jams
  • Canned and jar goods (tomatoes-whole, diced, paste, sauce, etc, chipotle in adobo sauce, pesto, roasted red peppers, bbq sauces, artichokes, olives, spicy peppers)
  • Real maple syrup
  • Mustard(s) and mayo

Ok, now produce can be a bit trickier.  Obviously, the fresher the better.  However, you can keep a few different varieties of potatoes, onions, garlic and citrus out and on hand.  *Also, everyone’s tastes, meal ideas, etc are likely different.  These are MY go-to’s (with maybe an extra thing or two ever so often).  I suggest my ‘must haves’, but please add your flavors to it!

…stay tuned for my Must Have’s for your fridge, freezer and spice cabinet…

Texas Tamale Pie

This is good…real good!  Homemade cornbread, meat, cheese and spice!  What’s not to like?  If you’re real crafty, it can all be made in one pan..but I used two and was just fine.

I also used canned enchilada sauce.  In my home that’s almost sacrilegious, but with the homemade cornbread and other goodies no one can tell..Promise!  Your secret’s safe with me!

The Starting Lineup

Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cornbread

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup flour 
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp vege oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag/can corn (14oz roughly, I use frozen, thawed OR not)
  • 1 can green Chilis, 4.5oz

Finishings

  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I prefer Jack variety, melts great)
  • 1 1/3 cups enchilada sauce

Toppings

  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Jalapeños 
  • Salsa
  • Limes 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grease (oil, butter or crisco) a baking dish of your choice or a large cast iron skillet, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine your cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.  Mix well.

 Slowly whisk in your vegetable oil till small clumps appear.

 Now whisk in the milk and egg.  Once combined, gently fold in your green Chilis and corn. 

Pour your green-chili cornbread mixture into your greased pan.

 Make sure it’s about even throughout pan and put into your oven for 20-25 mintutes (toothpick comes out clean).

While your cornbread is baking, start cooking your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in your seasonings to the meat and simmer.  Once cooked through, drain and set aside. 

   When ready, remove your cornbread from the oven.  Drop your oven temp down to 350 degrees and allow your cornbread to cool for 5 minutes. 

 Prick your cornbread with either a toothpick or fork all over (have you ever made poke-cake?  Same idea).  Pour your enchilada sauce right over the entire cornbread.  Layer your drained ground beef and then the cheese over the top of your cornbread/sauce.  

   Cover your pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

 Remove foil and allow to bake for 10 more minutes.

Once bubbly and hot, take out of oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, left over enchilada sauce, etc. 

  

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