Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

There's nothing not to like about this.  It's perfect for an easy weeknight meal, there will probably be leftovers, oh, and it's delicious.  I made my own shredded chicken, but you can probably use canned if you're pressed for time.  I used low fat cream cheese and skim milk.

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
adapted from Chef In Training

1 (16 oz) bag frozen broccoli, cooked
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prep a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and spread the broccoli across the bottom.  Meanwhile, heat the milk, cream cheese, garlic salt and 1/2 cup Parmesan in a pan over low heat.  When completely melted and heated through, pour 1 cup of sauce over the broccoli.  Spread out the shredded chicken over it, and pour the rest of the sauce over it.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan over it, then the cracker crumbs.  Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pan Seared Sea Scallops

Pan Seared Sea Scallops

6 large sea scallops
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 tsp each dried rosemary, salt & pepper

Pat and dry scallops, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Lightly press into scallops.

Heat the oil in a skillet to high and add scallops.  Sear until carmelized (about 3-4 minutes).  Turn and brown on the other side.

When done, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the wine to the pan and reduce, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Serve over scallops.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crab & Cream Cheese Crescents

This is a great game day (race-day, Real Housewives marathon day) snack.  Easy to make, quick and super flavorful.  Definitely serve with Frank's RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce.  Fun fact:  I worked at Frank's RedHot's parent company's HQ last year and the cafeteria and cafe each had all of their products out on the tables.  This is how I found out about the Sweet Chili Sauce and when we order crab rangoon with our takeout, I ditch whatever sauce they send with it and use this.  I've also marinated chicken in it and cooked and served it like my "Chinese" Chicken

Crab & Cream Cheese Crescents
adapted from Pillsbury

1 8 ounce can crescent rolls (I use Big & Flaky)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 fat)
1/4 cup mayonaise (I use low fat)
3/4 cup cooked crab meat
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt & pepper to taste (I did about a 1/4 tsp each)

Heat oven to 375F.  In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to blend cream cheese, mayo, crab meat, onion, cayenne and salt & pepper.  Unroll the dough in 4 rectangles and seal the perforations.  Cut each rectangle in half.  Divide the mixture among the squares.  Fold a corner over to form a triangle and seal the edges and perforations if they open.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes or until golden.

Yummmm I'm going to go have the leftovers now!

Dill Rubbed Steak

We usually do all of our steaks the same way - marinated in balsamic vinegar and Montreal Steak Seasonings - but it's good to mix things up.  I made this for a group of guys and it was inhaled.  Definitely don't do it on a little steak like I did in the photos -- definitely use the London Broil the recipe calls for.  The steaks were good (we had 2 Delmonicos and a Porterhouse to cook), but the dill made them kind of too sweet and it didn't really work as well as a larger piece of meat that gets sliced.  For regular steak night, I'll just go back to the tried-and-true method or Todd's Dirt.  You don't know about Todd's Dirt???  BUY SOME.  NOW.

Dill Rubbed Steak
adapted from Coconut & Lime

2 lbs flat, boneless steak (flank, tri-tip, top round)
1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp dried dill weed
1 tbsp white pepper (I've used fresh ground, too)

Stir together spices and rub on both sides of the steak.  Allow to sit room temperature for at least 20 minutes.  Preheat outdoor grill to medium (350F).  Direct grill for about 25 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 160F.  Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes under tented foil.  Slice thinly against the grain and serve.

I'm pretty proud of myself that all the links in this post are Baltimore-based.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chicken Milanese

I got the Groupon for The Fresh 20, and while I'm not overwhelmed with great recipes, I managed to find one I'm actually interested in.  I've made it twice now, and it's not overly amazing, but a good, solid, easy weeknight chicken.

Chicken Milanese
adapted from The Fresh 20

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced down the center
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence or Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp dried lemon peel
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 tbsp water
lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Lay out 4 pieces of chicken.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.  On a large plate, combine bread crumbs, herbs/Italian seasonings, lemon peel, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper.  In a shallow bowl, beat egg and water together.  Dip both sides of chicken in the egg mix, then press the chicken down into bread crumbs mix and squeeze to coat completely.  Bake 10 minutes, flip and bake 5 minutes more.  Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.

Okay, whoever thought of adding olive oil to the bread crumb mix is a GENIUS!!!!!  I've done a bunch of recipes where the chicken gets barely coated or flakes off when baking.  I'm going to add olive oil to every breaded ANYTHING recipe I have from here on out.  This chicken coats beautifully!  And still cooks up juicy and tender.

Blue Cheese Filled Chicken Breasts

Blue Cheese Filled Chicken Breasts

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
1 tsp dried basil

Beat ingredients together until smooth.  Place on a piece of plastic wrap.  Form a log the height of a quarter and wrap tightly.  Freeze at least 30 minutes.

4 bonesless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
4 tbsp olive oil

Preheat your Foreman Grill.  In each chicken breast, cut a pocket almost all the way through the chicken.  Rub with the spice mixture and 1 tbsp olive oil each.  Cook 4 minutes or until almost done.  Remove and let cool enough to handle.  Cut cheese log into 8 equal discs.  Insert 2 discs into each breast.  Return to grill 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

I'm trying to mix in a fish dish every week, to break up our regular beef and chicken routine.  I just found out I like salmon about a year ago when I was staying with friends and they served it for dinner.  To avoid being a total brat, I just ate it and was surprised to find out I actually liked it.  In order to create variety, I dug around online and found this recipe.

Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce
adapted from Low Carb Friends

1 lb salmon (I get the skin taken off at the seafood counter)
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp dry dill
3 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix sour cream, mustard, dill, onion, salt & pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature for about an hour.

Coat baking dish with cooking spray.  Place salmon in the dish skin side down.  Spread the sour cream mix over the salmon so you don't see the fish anymore (save the leftovers!!).

Bake 20 minutes or until flaky.  Servce with the additional sauce on the side.

Meanwhile, the broccoli was an experiment.  It turned out amazing.

Roasted Broccoli
adapted from Simply Recipes

1 16 oz bag Broccoli Wokly or 1 1/2 lbs broccoli cut into florets (and in half for the big ones)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground pepper
1/4 grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425F.  In a large bowl, toss broccoli with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper.

Spread in one layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle more salt and pepper, if desired.

Roast for 16-20 minutes until cooked through and browned.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Totally making this again ASAP, probably with cauliflower tonight.  To make both of the dishes together, I heated the oven to 400F, put the broccoli in for 5 minutes, then the salmon for 20.  Turned out perfectly!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Super Simple Breakfast Bake

I got a left-field request for home fries with breakfast a few weekends ago and ended up playing around a little bit and ended up with this.  It was very loosely based on a Better Homes recipe I used often for Friday morning pot lucks at an old job.  The most labor intensive part is dicing the peppers, but you can get around that with buying pre-cut at the grocery store. 

I told you I made this in the morning, and clearly I wasn't functioning well enough to use the flash on my camera.  It was a pretty gloomy Saturday.

Breakfast Bake
by, Me

~1 1/2 cups home fries (Bob Evans Diced Home Fries)
1 cup cooked sausage (Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Crumbles)
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread homefries in a single layer, covering the bottom as much as possible.  Sprinkle in and layer sausage, peppers, and cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs and milk.  Pour egg mix evenly over the layers in the baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Stupid, crappy photos.  Put some green tabasco on it.  The casserole, not the photo...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chicken Fajitas

I had an awesome and relaxing weekend and wanted to cap it off with something that tasted like home.  Like mommy and daddy's home.  Whenever I go home, I request this for a meal.  It's one of those meals I can't quite replicate because it just tastes better there.  But here is the recipe anyway.  You'll probably want to hire my dad to do the grilling.

"Homestyle" Chicken Fajitas
from My Parents :)

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup tequila
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla shells

Add ons (whatever you want):
sauteed green bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion
shredded cheddar
sour cream
shredded lettuce

Mix together oil, lime juice and tequila, salt and pepper.  Place chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag and add oil mix.  Marinate in the fridge 1-24 hours. 

Preheat your outdoor grill.  Get all your add ons together.  When grill is hot, grill that chicken until it's 165F inside.

Slice the chicken, add it to your tortilla and then throw on your add ons of choice.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Ring

Okay, this is just the best idea ever.  I've seen two versions of it on The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife and it's the most adaptable recipe ever.  Mine is no where near as pretty as hers, but you can put whatever you want in it and make it amazing.  Since we live in the middle of nowhere, we love to have people come up to the country to hang out and stay in the guest room.  This is SO EASY to put together in the morning.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Ring
adapted from The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

1 can crescent rolls
4 eggs, scrambled
1 cup shredded cheddar or 3 cheese blend
1 cup cooked loose breakfast sausage (fully cooked from Jimmy Dean! Hello, Easy!)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Open the crescents and don't be scared when it pops (not possible!).  On a parchment-lined baking sheet, lay out each crescent triangle in a star formation with the longest points pointing out and the shortest ends all touching, pressing the short ends together a bit. 

Scramble the eggs however you normally scramble eggs and spread them out around the center of your starred crescents.  Top with sausage, cheese and sprinkle on your preferred salt and pepper (I've also used Old Bay, because, you know, Baltimore).  Fold in all the points of the crescent star to the center and press together to mold together a little bit.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden on top.  Slice into that glorious beauty and have at it.

(this was the time i did sausage first)

Cheesy goodness!!!

I admit, I actually pour a little maple syrup on mine because I'm a disgusting glutton.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can do sausage or bacon, you could do any kind of cheese (like a spicy jalepeno would be awesome), you can top it with pepper jelly, WHATEVER.  Just bake it all up in a crescent star!  Do it!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Avocado, Mozzarella and Bruschetta Chicken

Holy avocado.  I made this tonight and I'm already sharing the recipe, so you know it's good.  The man is looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow when I meet a friend for dinner (at Chazz: A Bronx Original omg omg omg can't wait!!!).  Meanwhile, we're both watching what we eat but have different dietary needs, but this suited both of us perfectly with no modification.  I served his on whole wheat spaghetti and mine solo.

Avocado, Mozzarella and Bruschetta Chicken
(barely adapted) from Iowa Girl Eats

1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 chicken breasts, pounded down to about 1/2 inch or less, all the same (save yourself the cooking time, srsly)
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper (I totally forgot this)
pre-made bruschetta topping
1 avocado, sliced (not the end of the world if it's not quite ripe yet)
4 mozzarella cheese slices (or shredded)

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer and reduce until vinegar is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Place oven rack to top position and preheat broiler.  In a large skillet, spray with cooking spray and add chicken when warmed.  Cook through, flipping on both sides several times.

Transfer chicken to a foil-lined, cooking-sprayed baking sheet.  Top each with 2 tbsp bruschetta mix, 3-4 slices of avocado, and a slice of mozzarella.  Broil until cheese is melted and serve with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.

So I totally screwed up the balsamic, but I don't care because it was still delicious, just thinner than expected. 

Tip I recently learned about cutting avocado slices:  after cutting into halves, slice the slices diagonally, then slide out with a spoon.  The avocado I used tonight was just this side of unripe and it worked perfectly.  I'm a little jealous over the leftovers, but ... Chazz!!!!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cream Cheese Corn Bites

This is a delicious and easy snack.  Awesome for two (or one, let's be honest) or a crowd.  This is kind of a live-time blog right now because I'm currently eating my second plate as my type.  There's a third sitting on the oven right now...

Cream Cheese Corn Bites
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheese - your choice (I usually use a cheddar triple blend)
1/2 cup cooked corn
1 egg
1/2 tsp hot sauce (or whatever you're comfortable with)
bag of multigrain scoop-shaped tortilla chips (use the whole ones or mostly whole)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.

2.  With a hand mixer, completely mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, corn, egg and hot sauce.

3.  Using a spoon, fill each scoop to be flat with the top of the scoop.  Place on a foil covered baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Every time I make these I say that the next time I make them will include crab.  Please do that and share them with me.