Sunday, September 14, 2014

Creamy Baked Chicken

September is a busy month with back to school
and new schedules so you'll need a few 
Easy Weeknight Dinners!
Here's an easy chicken recipe that's put together
 in minutes and popped in the oven.  It's a
variation of a few others I make so you can
change it up a bit.  It's also a good one to
remember when you're out of onion soup mix
for one of my other chicken recipes. 
(Links to all my easy chicken recipes
at the end of this post)
 Combine the sauce ingredients: soup, water,
sour cream, chives, and seasonings.
 You can use a can of sliced mushrooms, drained. 
I prefer fresh, sauteed in a small pan with a little
 oil or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. 
Add mushrooms to the sauce.
 Lay the chicken breasts in a buttered casserole. 
If the breasts are large, cut them in half. 
It makes it easier to serve. 
 Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle 
the top with paprika. You can prepare it ahead
to this point. Cover with wrap and refrigerate
until ready to bake. Bring to room temperature.
Bake @390º for about 40 minutes, uncovered. 
Sprinkle the top with additional chives before
serving. We're sauce people, so anything with
a sauce is good.  It boosts the flavor of the
 main dish and we love sauce ladled on our choice
 of sides like: rice, noodles or potatoes.
I like to serve this with Uncle Ben's 
Wild Rice Mix or Rice Pilaf Mix
and a green vegetable.

Creamy Baked Chicken
3-4 chicken breasts, boneless
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C water
1 C fresh sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 t chives, dried or fresh (plus more for topping)
1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder, 
1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper
1/2 t paprika for sprinkling on top
If the chicken breasts are large, cut them in half and lay in the bottom of a greased 9"x13" baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients, except paprika and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake @350º for 35-40 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked. Sprinkle more chopped chives on top before serving if desired.
Serve with the sauce along with rice, and a vegetable or salad
* you can also use a whole cut-up chicken, just cook longer; about 1 hour.
* you can also use cream of chicken soup instead of mushroom
* you can also just use a can of drained mushrooms instead of fresh.


Links to my other Easy chicken recipes:
The Easiest Chicken and Rice Dinner..EVER!
Apricot Chicken
Oven Chicken and Vegetables Parmesan
Honey Boo Boo Chicken
Oven Chicken Cacciatore
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Mustard Chicken
Baked Greek Chicken
Cranberry Glazed Chicken
Duck Duck Chicken
Sunday Chicken
Swiss Chicken Bake
Perfect Roast Chicken
Cathy's Curry Chicken

Links: Between Naps on The Porch,
The Scoop, Dwellings, Coastal Charm,

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fabulous Fall Salad

This is a wonderful luncheon salad:
Roast Chicken Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, 
and Pecans with a Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette. 
It's a delicious mouthful!
All the flavors compliment each other
perfectly, just bursting with flavor!
 The salad dressing has a little secret 
ingredient...maple syrup. It's made with
basic pantry staples and a small shallot. 
 I added all the ingredients into one of my 
saved jars, a small dijon mustard is the 
perfect size. Just shake it up.
 You can use leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken, 
or just grill a breast. I've done it with both.
Assemble the salad ingredients. Toast the pecans
 for about 4-5 minutes in the toaster oven while
you peel and dice your peach. A vegetable peeler
works best. If you're making this ahead of time 
for a luncheon, just put the diced peach in a small 
Tupperware bowl and toss with a little lemon juice.
Arrange the salad mix on your plate and top with
the remaining ingredients. 
Drizzle on the dressing.
 You can also mix the salad in a large bowl. 
Combine ingredients, except cheese. 
Add vinaigrette mixture, toss gently.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serve
with fresh bread and butter.
I've had this salad 3 times this week!
First at a girlfriends after we enjoyed
a game of doubles tennis, then I made it for
Larry on Saturday and again today, Monday.
Yummy, yummy!

Roast Chicken Salad with 
Peaches, Goat Cheese, and Pecans 
2 C boneless chicken breast, sliced
2 C diced peeled peaches
1/2 C thinly sliced red onion
1/4 C chopped pecans, toasted
1 bag salad greens (Spring Mix)
2 T crumbled goat cheese
Combine all ingredients, except cheese.
Add vinaigrette and toss lightly. Sprinkle
with cheese. Alternately layer ingredients
on a large plate and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper
1 shallot, minced (about 2T)
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

2 Ingredient Summer Cocktails

Here are two of my favorite
summer cocktails. Each one needs
 Just 2 ingredients!

 2 Ingredient Margaritas

These are the fast and easy versions.
That means you can enjoy one anytime!

It so refreshing and tasty!
(Click on the names for the directions.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY Pampered Chef ~ Cinnamon Plus

I love to mix up my own spice and herb blends.
This Cinnamon Blend is a copycat of the
Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus.
 I had all the ingredients.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, 
and dried orange peel.
 I made my own dried orange peel using
 a microplane grater and drying in a low oven.
I used the toaster oven and it's small tray.
It's so easy and 1 orange gives me enough
(just under 1T) for this recipe. Since it's
not been sitting in a jar it has a true
orange fragrance and taste. 
 Crush with the side of a knife.
 Mix it together and store in a labeled spice jar.
Use in any recipe that calls for cinnamon.
 Don't forget to make your own cinnamon sugar. 
Put some in a cute shaker and keep it by the 
toaster for buttery cinnamon toast.

6 T cinnamon
1 T allspice
1 T dried orange peel
2 t nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground ginger
Combine with a whisk and store in
a jar. Use in any recipes that call
for cinnamon or for cinnamon sugar

1/2 C sugar
2 T cinnamon plus blend
Combine in a shake top jar
and keep handy by the toaster.

Wash and dry 1 orange. Use a microplane 
to remove the outer peel.Spread out and
dry in a 200º oven for 25 minutes.
Press with fingers or the bottom
 of a glass to pulverize.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Potato Boats ~Twice Baked Potatoes

I love having a few bags of these in the freezer.
 Whenever I make them I always make a big batch
while I'm at it and freeze the extras.  
Stuffed potatoes go great any grilled meat.
 We'll have two with our steak dinner tonight.
I freeze the extras on a cookie sheet until solid,
then  pop them, two in each sandwich bag, 
In the freezer for future easy dinners.
 First, bake or microwave russet potatoes
until soft. Cut in half and scoop out leaving
about 1/4 inch potato in shell..
 Mash with remaining ingredients.
 Mix in sour cream.
 Evenly distribute among potato shells.
I sprinkled the top with minced chives, a
little more cheese and a dash of paprika.
 These are frozen and I can let them thaw and 
bake in a toaster oven  (bake longer if still frozen).
The ingredients are very flexible to adjust to 
your liking. Here's how I make mine. 

Twice Baked Potatoes
6 large baking potatoes
1-1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 to 1/2 t pepper
1/4 C butter
1 C milk
1/2 C sour cream
2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
5 green onions, thinly chopped
 or 4 T minced c hives
paprika for garnish
Pierce skin of potatoes and bake @ 425º for about
50-60 minutes, until tender. Slice potatoes in half and 
scoop out the pulp into a bowl. Mash with milk, butter, 
garlic salt, and pepper, until fluffy. Stir in the sour cream, 
half the cheese and half the chives. Spoon the  mixture 
into the potato skins, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with
 the remaining cheese and chives. Sprinkle a little
paprika on top for color. Refrigerate until needed or bake
 right away at 375º for 15 minutes. You can freeze extras
on a cookie sheet and when solid pot them into 
plastic bags. Thaw before baking.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cherry Baby ~ Pie

 I must have cherry pie when cherries
 are in season. It's my favorite fruit pie.
You'll need about 3 cups of fresh dark cherries.
It's easier to weigh them to 
get 1-1/2 pounds
The first thing that stops most people
 from attempting cherry pie is pitting 
the cherries. 
If you don't have cherry pitter, 
I have a handy-dandy alternative.
I use a hard plastic straw, 
the kind that comes with insulated 
beverage containers works the best. 
Line up the straw on the end of the cherry and 
push straight down through to the other side
Viola! You've just removed the pit. 
You'll start to get the hang of it after a you've
 done few cherries.  Just give the straw a little 
twist when you feel the pit inside.
Use a cutting mat to collect any juices and 
also protect your surface from stains.
Toss the cherries with the filling ingredients. 
I sometimes use 1/3 C brown sugar and 1/3 C white. 
If you don't have almond extract, use vanilla 
or leave it out. If your cherries are very tart,
you can add more sugar and leave out the lemon juice. 
The basic filling is just fresh cherries, some sugar
 to sweeten, flour, and butter to thicken,
pretty much the same for any fruit pie. 
The other ingredients are personal preference.
 Roll out your crust. I think homemade crust
 is the best, HERE.
But you can use also store-bought. 
 Line the pie pan with the bottom crust,
 fill with the cherry mixture and dot with
 butter pieces. Top with crust. Trim edge
 leaving about 1" overhand. Fold overhang over 
edge and under bottom crust edge. 
Pinch together and flute.
Cut small vent slits on top.
 Bake @ 400º for 50-55 minutes, until
 crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
 Cool on rack until just warm. 
Bada Bing Cherry Pie!
Serve warm or at room temperature. 
Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired. 

Cherry Baby ~ Pie
3 C fresh cherries (about 1-1/2 lbs.) pitted
2/3 C sugar (can use half brown/half white)
1/4 C flour
1 T lemon juice
1/4 t almond extract
1/8 t (pinch) cinnamon
1/8 t (pinch) salt
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
double-crust pie pastry
Toss pitted cherries in a bowl with sugar, flour, lemon juice, extract, a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Line the bottom of a 9" pie dish with pastry. Fill with cherry filling, dot top with the small butter pieces, and top with remaining pastry. Trim edge leaving a 1" overhand. Fold overhang over edge and under bottom crust edge. Cut vent slits on top. Pinch together and flute. Bake @ 400º for 50-55 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool on rack until just warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

(Click here for the music)