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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chicken and Veggie Stirfry


Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

The very first time I made this dish, we were in the beginning stages of a Pantry Challenge and I was so thankful that my freezers were stocked with some pretty yummy stuff that allowed me to make this for dinner!

Granted, now we eat a little different with purpose to avoid certain things, such as soy, etc. so I've put in parenthesis what we do now ...

Here's what you need:

3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bitesize pieces (Chicken thighs are WAY better)
1/2 cup soy sauce (coconut aminos)
3 tbs sugar (I cut this in half now, just 1 1/2 tbs)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp corn starch (or arrow root)
1 onion roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
8 cups of wonderful frozen stirfry veggies from the freezer (carrots, broccoli, shrooms, water chestnuts, green beans, etc.)
Sesame oil
Canola oil (avocado oil)

Mix 1/2 cup soy (coconut aminos) with 3 tbs (1 1/2 tbs) sugar in small bowl. Will make it thick.

Mix 1/4 cup broth with 2 tsp cornstarch (arrow root) in another small bowl. Set both aside. Keep 1/4 cup broth off to side too.



Just mix it up again when ready to use as it will all settle to bottom again

Drizzle the chicken with a little bit of extra soy (coconut aminos) and a little sesame oil.

These chunks were a little large. I ended up cutting with scissors once they were cooked

Heat large skillet (or wok) over medium high heat and add oil (avocado oil is perfect for this). Once hot, add chicken. NOW - I removed my pan and let it cool a tad as I HATE that splattering stuff with hot oil ... makes a mess and can really add a nice layer to everything around.

I LOVE the Costco brand, Kirkland
 BUT NOW I would recommend this:

$8.99 at Costco



Cook chicken, stirring up as you go til just cooked through. Move to a bowl and keep close by.

Still need to cut it up smaller

Add a little more oil if needed to skillet, admire the brownness on the bottom of the pan and dump in the onions and garlic and saute for about 1 minute, scrapping the bottom of the pan to pick up the good stuff on bottom.

See that brown stuff on the bottom of pan ... that's the secret!

Just keep stirring and all that yummy stuff comes right up once the onions are cooking

Quick, grab your frozen veggies and dump them in. Cook til the veggies are starting finally thaw and get heated through.

Again, I LOVE Costco's brand, Kirkland (that's a 5 lb bag! I used about 6 cups worth)

Carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts, shrooms, green beans, red peppers and so much more!
That was A LOT of broccoli

NOW the good stuff is coming ... dump in the chicken , give a quick mix and then pour on the soy sauce (coconut aminos) mix and the 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Stir well. Drizzle with 1 tbs soy sauce (coconut aminos) and 1 tsp sesame oil, add the cornstarch (arrow root) mix, stir well. Sauce will thicken in a few minutes.



Serve over rice (riced cauliflower!) and tada, there you have it, I fixed my Chinese craving I've been having.


NOTE: We like our stuff SAUCY. This was 'saucy' but not enough to satisfy us so next time I will use 1 cup of soy sauce (coconut aminos) , 6 (3) tbs sugar and 1/2 cup broth with 1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (arrow root) and a reserved 1/2 cup broth.  You can make this with fresh veggies or any other assortment of frozen if desired. I'm thinking of maybe doing it like a lo-mien next time with noodles...yummm.


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!


*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Perfect Spring Dinner

I live in South Florida and we pretty much grill all year long. Except of course, when there's a hurricane coming (we do that like the DAY the warning comes out to cook up all the meat 'just in case') ... but I guess because we both grew up in the Midwest, Summertime definitely equates to more grillin' time.

Lately, it seems every Friday, I am making the same thing, which is not to be confused with the same 'old' thing ... because most of us (ahem, with the exception of one boy) enjoy it and we eat it all up.

Chicken and grilled veggies.

Specifically, boneless, skinless chicken thighs AND onions, peppers and mushrooms.

Uh huh.

Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

And if I'm really on top of my game, I go for the skewers ... because everything taste better on a stick, don't you agree? *Now days, I prefer to use these little guys as it's just so much easier ... 

Vegetable Skewers

Oh wait, do we need a recipe? Really? Ok. Here it is:

Boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into about 2 inch pieces
Handful of mini sweet peppers, sliced in 3 pieces (cuz they are small)
Onion, cut in 2 inch pieces
Skewers (wood ones need to be soaked in water for 30 plus minutes to prevent burning)
Seasoning of choice - currently I'm hooked on this stuff that I picked up at Whole Foods a while back (it's lasted a while, thankfully!) You can buy the AA Bosari seasoning on Amazon here if you'd like (and yes, that is an affiliate link!). The Nature's Rancher Ginger Teriyaki sauce I've not been able to find in many places but Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and there was one other store I found it so look around, ask the customer service desk if they have.


Season the meat. Drizzle a little of olive oil on the veggies and season, mix up.

Skewer (if using), alternating meat and veggies. Just try to remember that some things take longer than others, so I wouldn't necessarily use squash with chicken thighs, you know? If you do, just put them on separate skewers. IF you are not using skewers, just take one of them grilling grates and toss the veggies in that. OR if you don't have that, you can lay the veggies on the grill, it's just way time consuming to flip them and try to rescue from slipping into the fire :) ... I know this from experience!

Heat grill and cook.

Take a picture.

Serve.

Enjoy.

Frugal? You bet! I've always got the chicken and the veggies on hand ... and heck, you can substitute whatever veggies you wanted! Just a matter of remembering to pull the chicken from the freezer in the morning ::excuse me, I'll be right back::

What is your favorite, fast and painless thing to toss on the grill?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yum Yum Chicken Thighs

I've had this recipe pinned forever and finally gave it a try a few years ago. Yes, YEARS ago ... almost 4 years to be exact. I've been pinning and blogging that long! 

Yum Yum Chicken Thighs - Paleo

Being that I'm pulling out some good chicken recipes for the month of February, I felt that I needed to put this out again and yes, I am making it too!

Yum Yum Chicken Thighs!

And I followed the recipe pretty darn close ... and realized, when I was about to bake it, it's a LOT like my Sweet Mustard Chicken recipe ... but that's ok ... any recipe that works out well is always a GOOD thing :-)

So here's what I did ...

2-3 lbs chicken thighs, boneless/skinless thighs (I've been stocking up on these WHENEVER I see them marked down at Walmart and freeze them as soon as I get home)
a little less than 1/2 cup of dijon mustard 
a little less than 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real deal) 
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs cornstarch
2 tsp fresh rosemary

So, she's pretty damn specific on her recipe ... I'm guessing some people commented this and that and heck, you can follow a recipe 100% and still not get the same exact results each and every time (a pet peeve that Hubby has with me) ... so, cook like me, go with the flow of things and think HAPPY thoughts!

Preheat the oven to 450. Yes. Piping HOT.

Line your 8x8 pan with TWO layers of foil. TWO. As I only have the super duper heavy duty Reynolds foil, I used ONE layer. I suppose if you are using thin stuff, two layers would be necessary.

In a small bowl, mix up the mustard, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss your chicken in the pan, and pour the sauce over the top.  Flip the chicken and give them little 'wiggles' to make the sauce all settle in the crevices.


Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes. Might as well crank the ac up too as the kitchen is going to get a tad warm!


Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Pull the chicken out and set somewhere to keep warm for a few more minutes.

Make sure the liquid is still HOT. Whisk in the cornstarch. If the liquid is not hot enough you do know what will happen right? Unhappy, lumpy gravy instead of a nice, smooth gravy :-) ... so make sure it's hot! If it's not thick enough for you, sprinkle a little more and whisk it in.


Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with some rosemary and serve along side your favorite veggies ... in this case, we did roasted broccoli and cauliflower ... no lie .... I'm trying to get this tree stuff down.


Enjoy ... make sure you check out Table for Two ... she's got some great recipes over there!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!


*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)


Monday, February 20, 2017

Peach Vodka Seabreezes

We just had a bridal shower for Princess and then this coming weekend will be the wedding reception for 65 ...

Held in our backyard 

Ok, so not necessarily a 'big' deal as we've hosted large groups before, but this time around is a tad different in that it will be a little more formal.

As in: tents, chairs, tables, linens, food warmers and so on.

Eek.

We are making most of the food ourselves with a few shortcuts (which I think maybe I should do a post on this soon!) ... and opted to do beer, wine and sangria with a pre-party toast for close friends and family (Dom Perignon for $93 on clearance at Walmart Liquor Store, of all places!). Then Princess was like, well, maybe we should have ONE signature drink ... so fine, this is what we are having, my little Princess. I've been gathering up gallon water jugs for the past few months to make the sangria but now need to set a few of the jugs aside to premake these!

Peach Vodka Seabreeze



Stoli Peach Vodka Seabreeze

Now you know, I make these fairly often with Ciroc because that vodka is grain free and if you have issues with inflammation, then grains could be an issue for you. BUT I am not 100% grain free at this time so back to the Stoli it is! 

Originally, I had these pegged as a refreshing, summertime drink, but you know what? They've floated my boat just fine through the South Florida winter months ;-)


I am not usually one to be using a martini glass, simply due to the spill factor ... but yes, I do occasionally. Someday's I just want to be *special*.

Most times, I use a rock glass. Great for making a toast and for putting the glass down quickly while laughing, which, if you get a small group of girlfriends drinking these, you will be!

And then, of course, during a BBQ/Pool Party ... you gotta bring out the Solo Cups ... and everyone sing the song now! Red Solo Cup, I fill you up ... 


Photo

Ok, are you ready for a super yummy, lip smacking adult beverage?

Peach Vodka (I am a firm believer that you need to buy a better brand, not the Gordon stuff or something of that class ... if you are prone to headaches, do buy the good stuff, PLEASE!) I've switched to Circoc because I'm trying to avoid grains (hence, beer really SHOULD be off limits ... another post on Angry Orchard is coming soon)
Pink Grapefruit Juice ... I buy the refrigerated stuff, and yes, I spend a little more money on this too
Cranberry Juice ... prefer you NOT use the Cranberry Juice COCKTAIL stuff but the real juicy juice stuff!

Fill your glass with ice.  Add vodka to desired amount (about 1/3). Pour almost to top with grapefruit juice and add a splash of cranberry. Give a quick stir, make a toast and sip!

Lick your lips, lean towards your girlfriend (or Hubby!) and say "We've got a Winner!"

Enjoy!


As always, please drink responsibly which means, do NOT drink and drive, please!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Simple Corn Salad



You know that we watch FoodTV on Saturday and Sunday mornings, right? I mean, really, doesn't everyone have a tv in the bedroom AND kitchen??

Ok. Maybe not. But you should! This recipe was pulled from Trisha Yearwood's FoodTV episode ...

It's like a lot of other recipes I have, but once again, something triggered my attention enough to make me go online and look up the basic recipe ... and here is what we did!

1 can regular yellow corn, drained
1 can white corn, drained
1 small can diced green chilies, drained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
2 tomatoes, rough chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
4 green onions, sliced thin
3 tbs vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
zest of half a lime (zest your lime before you squeeze!)
juice of half a lime
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs chopped cilantro

Mix all except cilantro in medium size bowl and chill for a minimum of 1 hour.  Prior to serving stir well and add the cilantro.



Now, there are several things you can do with this little gem of a dish:

Add to tacos!

Add to a rice bowl (ohhh, just. like. Chipotles!)



Or, you can just grab some yummy tortilla chips and dip away like a crazy lady ... uh huh ...

Seriously, something so simple taste this great! Go ahead, give it a try!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chicken Kiev

I love them little Barber chicken things, but you know, 2 to a box and $3.99? wow. That's expensive. Not to mention, the list of ingredients is a little frightening (AND Princess will eat TWO while holding a conversation with you). And they have served a time and a place in my life.

Ahhh....what a safe standby to have on hand
(need to try the cordon bleu recipe next!)

So when I saw this recipe (and CRAP I can't find my original link!) I said OH YEAH, I'm so putting that on the menu! Fortunately I have everything on hand (except fresh tarragon, not even sure if I have dried, but will improvise) since I've put myself on an extremely reduced grocery budget for the month of February.


So, here you have it, the way I did it in this neck of the woods! Just a note: it did not look pretty, my buttery goodness all leaked out because I sort of cheated by using big chicken breast and slicing in half then pounding. Ummm, yeah, you should just use FOUR breast and pound them out. Next time (and there will be a next time, the flavor was spot on) I will do that.

1 stick of butter, room temp
2 tbs of butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder, and a little extra for seasoning the bird
1 tsp salt, and a little extra for the bird
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, and, you guessed it, a little extra for the bird

4 b/s chicken breast, I had 2 large so I slice them in half horizontally to make 4 thinner halves for easier beating
2 eggs, beat with a tbs of water
2 cups panko (or if you must, bread crumbs)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Ready? Ready.

Combine butter, 3 herbs, salt and pepper in bowl of a mixer and whip up.Place this in a piece of plastic wrap and roll up in a log. Place in the freezer (can be made ahead of time, no kidding!) NOTE: make sure you don't get major creases in the plastic as this can cause issues when you go to remove it from the frozen butter and it stretches and tears.

I hate pounding out chicken, but I think this is a necessity for the recipe. I would normally just slice them thin, but they need to be rollable. So go ahead, place the thin slice chicken in a ziploc (or other plastic type bag or plastic wrap) add a little water to chicken and a little more water to outside of bag. Gently pound til 1/8 inch or so thick. Yeah. Thin. But watch. They will get too thin, causing the butter to leak out ::sob::



Take out the butter and slice in to 5 slices. Take 2 slices and set them aside in the fridge.

Lay out a piece of chicken and place 1 slice of butter with a tbs of panko in the middle. (Well crap, I just realized I did NOT put the tbs of panko with the chunk of butter!) Fold in sides and roll into a log, completely enclosing the butter, wrapping as tight as you can. Once all chicken is rolled, cover and put in fridge for 2 hours or even overnight (yeah!).

Add egg and water mix in a shallow dish.  Melt the 2 slices of butter and add with panko and parmesan cheese in another shallow dish. Mix well.

Dip chicken in eggs mix and the roll in the panko mix. Gently place baking sheet, seam side down and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, til chicken is done (165 or so). Honestly, I cooked mine for 30 minutes as I could NOT get a 165 reading no matter what. The first time I cut one open and it was still pink. So really, watch the chicken and remove when its done, not 20 minutes.

::sniff:: the butter was leaking out, but I had it on some parchment paper
and was able to pour a little back over chicken when serving.



*This can be made ahead and frozen: Make all but do not bake. Freeze. When ready to serve, cook 35 minutes or so til done at 350 degrees.

Don't worry, I got more chicken! And really sorry for the OLD not so great picture! Must re-take the pics!

Ummm, yeah. This is pretty damn good. Try it, you'll like it. Hello REAL Chicken Kiev, goodbye Barber Foods!

NOTE: (again) ... this is NOT a dinner you want to make after working 8 to 10 hours. It takes time so do like ME and prepare the steps on a Sunday and cook it up on Monday or Tuesday. I'm looking forward to doing it again only I will double it and freeze half ... and the house smells AWESOME!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!


*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicken Marsala

I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest lately. Do you have any idea how many NEW blogs I've found that are dedicated to cooking?? AAAAAHHHHH

If I continue, I could be the size of my house, which is NOT small.


*I know, I know, I really need to redo this picture ... it's a hot mess*

So anyways.

Today's feature recipe is brought to you by Savory Sweet Life and is an easier chicken marsala recipe.

I, of course, double it because: a) we love leftovers and b) if it's really good and we don't have any leftovers, there will be repercussions and c) we love leftovers ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shredded Salsa Chicken

Happy Valentine's Day! 

We've kind of left the Instant Pot alone for a few weeks and I just felt like I needed to bring it out again ... so what the heck, let's make a super simple meal, shall we?

Just a little inside scoop: Hubby has used the thing MORE than me ... he's become the designated cook lately and well, he doesn't always follow the directions and we've had a few flops ...

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Back to an EASY meal that only uses a few ingredients.  All you need is the following:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tax Time!

For once, I have filed my taxes in February!  Yes, February 12th to be honest!

I'm one that generally waits til March, mid March to start the process and then normally hit submit around April 14th because we've had to pay the past few years.

This year, I was a little more excited and yes, a tad apprehensive, as well, since our life changed in 2016. We became a predominant single household family with lil ole me being the primary bread maker of the household.  I was actually surprised at how much the income all added up to (with that little side gig I've got going on in the evenings and the two raises I received).  And of course, there was the concern about the capital gains for the year as we had withdrawn a little from our portfolio for a few things in 2016. Not a lot, but enough to have to make a claim on the gains.

We've been very conscientious in watching each one of our little green soldiers to make sure they stay in line with our financial plans and goals and I believe it paid off.

First up

IF you are a Southwest Rapid Rewards flyer, by all means, log in to your online account and select special offers and then select Turbo Tax to get a 1,000 bonus on your Rapid Rewards. I think that's around $89 which is a one way flight to Chicago for me ...

I use Turbo Tax and have for, oh, the past 7 years or so? It's pretty easy and self-explanatory to use and if you itemize, it's great.  I love that it will pull last year's returns in and ask if anything has changed (it has!) as well as importing all your financial stuff (retirement/investment accounts) and so on.  It's also very conservative and will really ask you twice if you want to do something that's out of the norm ... and will encourage you NOT to do something if they think it might raise any flags at all.

No, this is NOT an endorsement. 

For years, we paid anywhere from $500 to $1500 and would receive the call that our taxes were ready to be picked up and payment sent in a few days before the deadline. I finally told Hubby that if we had to keep paying more, then we might as well save a few hundred (!) dollars and do them ourselves and that's what we've been doing since.

Some years we get a refund, other years we need to pay more. It just depends on the bonuses for that year.

This year? Refund. Thankfully.  That money is going straight to the long term savings account for something in the future ...

Oh! By the way, is anyone else a little freaked out that you can just get the refund on a "cash" card? Why wouldn't you just want it deposited directly into your bank account?

What about you ... refund or not? And if you are getting a refund, what are your plans? AND do you do the card thing?

For the record, I was sitting out on the dock in the sunshine, chillin and reading the Sunday paper and my neighbor's roommate (for lack of better word, she's not a girlfriend or live in help) let me know that Mr. Bill had driven back to Chicago EARLY Friday morning as his grandson was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting Thursday evening. That took all the happiness out of me for the balance of the day. So sad. Very, very sad. With all the shootings happening in Chicago, I know someone who was raised next door to me all those miles away. Just a reminder to always hold your loved ones close when you can.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Salad

I had the Food Network channel on in the background Sunday while I was shredding cheese and carrots for a soup I'm making this week ... and the Pioneer Woman was on ... need I say much more?

Side note: I prefer to read her blog instead of watching her. I don't know what it is but I wonder if I'm the only one? Just watching her takes away some of the mystic of living on the ranch with kids and cowboys, dogs, cows and horses ... but I'm glad she's on as I'd never have caught this recipe!

I suppose I should take a new picture and make it pretty, huh?

So really, it's easy. Stupid Easy!

Heat 3 tbs olive oil and 3 tbs butter in a medium size skillet

Once melted, swirl around to mix a little and dry off 4 thin sliced chicken breast. Salt and pepper both sides and put in pan. *I've done this with chicken tenders as well*

Allow chicken to brown on first side and then flip over to cook other side. Because they are thin, they will cook fast.

Once cooked, remove chicken to plate, drain off the oil and butter. Cut chicken in to bite size pieces and back in pan. Turn off the heat!



Add some Texas Pete's Wing Sauce to your liking. Sure, you can use whatever kind of sauce you prefer. This is just what we normally have on hand!


Want it saucy? Add more. Not so saucy, add less. You get the picture. Let them hang out in the pan together, get to know each other, while you make your salad.


Chop some romaine heads into bite size pieces and toss into a LARGE open bowl (you know, shallow, big).  If you are lucky, you've been prepping your lettuce in advance and putting them in jars ... sadly, I've not as I ran out of jars!

Pour a little blue cheese dressing OR ranch dressing (your choice/preference) and lightly toss. You don't want the salad swimming (ahem, Hubby!), but rather lightly coated.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on top of salad. Make sure you bring some of the Pete's sauce from the pan with the chicken. Top with some chopped parsley if desired.

Serve family style with additional dressing on the side for those who want more. I made the blue cheese dressing to go along with this and everything was spot on. Even the Boy ate some.

Enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)