Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alice Springs Chicken

This will make your tastebuds very happy.  Your nose will love it, too.  Your waist, arms, and butt--not so much.

We don't go to Outback very often, but whenever we do, I get the Alice Springs Chicken.  I know--it doesn't seem right to get chicken at a steakhouse, but seriously, what's not to love here?  Chicken, mushrooms, bacon, cheese.  More, please! 

This recipe is from a cookbook my mom gave me a few years ago called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes.  The only things I changed about it were shrinking the portion size, using a Mexican cheese blend instead of separate Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, and omitting the parsley.  I'll type out the entire recipe for you, though, so you can make and enjoy your own Outback treat. 

And yes, I do notice the lack of color on this plate.  We desperately needed a salad.  But aren't my placemat, napkin, and dinner plate pretty?

Alice Springs Chicken

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms (10-12 mushrooms)
2 Tbsp butter
8 slices bacon, cooked
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Thoroughly combine the Dijon mustard, honey, 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Pour about 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken breasts, and marinate them, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Chill the remaining marinade until later.

After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 375.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  (If you don't have an oven proof skillet, transfer the chicken to a baking dish for baking.)  Sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Remove the pan from the heat, but keep the chicken in the pan.

As the chicken is cooking, in a small skillet, saute the sliced mushrooms in the butter.

Brush each seared chicken breast with a little of the reserved honey-mustard marinade (not the portion that the chicken soaked in), being sure to save a little extra to serve alongside the finished dish.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika.  Stack two pieces of cooked bacon, making an X, on each chicken breast.  Spoon the sauteed mushrooms onto the bacon, being sure to coat each breast evenly.  Spread 1/4 cup of Monterey Jack cheese onto each breast, followed by 1/4 cup of Cheddar. 

Bake the pan of prepared chicken breasts for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and starting to bubble.  Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/2 teaspoon of parsley before serving.  Put extra honey mustard marinade into a small bowl to serve on the side.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Teak had a big weekend, so he got some good sleep yesterday.  I like how his tongue is just barely out of his mouth.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Sliders

In the July/August issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, she has several slider recipes, and it inspired us to come up with our own recipe.  I read through them all and liked the idea of grilled chicken sliders, and I really liked how easily we could change the recipes according to our taste.  You could add cheese and bacon (and I'm a little shocked now that we didn't), onions and peppers, different condiments, etc.  You can also change the marinade, which would completely change the flavor of the chicken.  (The chipotle flavor could have been enhanced in this recipe if I'd put added a pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but I didn't have any, so we just relied on the marinade.)  We ate these with my favorite--sweet potato fries--and it was a quick and yummy dinner. 

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Sliders

1 lb chicken tenders
1/4 cup Lawry's Baja Chipotle marinade
Tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
Dinner rolls

Marinate chicken tenders in Lawry's marinade for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better).  In a small bowl, combine the Ranch dressing and chopped cilantro; set aside.

When ready to cook, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Grill chicken tenders, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.  Let rest briefly, and then shred the chicken with two forks.

Slice the rolls.  Layer the chicken on the bottom half, and top with lettuce and tomato.  Spread the cilantro-ranch mixture on the top half of the rolls, and place it on top of the slider. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Southern Tomato Pie

Mmm....delicious.  This recipe is adapted from Ezra Pound Cake's, and it's a delicious way to eat some fresh tomatoes.  With fresh basil, sweet Vidalia onion, and a bit of corn, it's a celebration of summer vegetables and herbs. 

The recipe calls for peeled tomatoes, so here's how you can do it: Bring a pot of water to a boil, but have a bowl of ice water ready.  Slice a small X in the base of the tomatoes, and place them in the boiling water for no more than one minute.  After the minute, using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the ice water for a few seconds.  The tomatoes' skins will pull away easily.

The best way to serve this pie is with a serving spoon; don't even bother with a knife. 

Southern Tomato Pie

1 (9-inch) deep dish pie crust
3-4 medium tomatoes, peeled
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Kernels from one ear of corn (or half of a small can of corn)
1/2 large Vidalia onion, sliced
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Pinch of oregano

Bake the pie crust.  When it has finished baking, set the oven to 350. 

Horizontally slice the tomatoes in 1/4-inch slices.  Place them in a colander, and lightly sprinkle them with salt.  Let them drain in the colander for 10-15 minutes.  Then set the tomato slices on several paper towels, and set aside. 

Prepare the onion and corn, if you haven't done so already.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses and mayonaisse, and set aside. 

Arrange the tomato slices in the bottom of the pie crust; season them with salt, pepper, and a pinch of oregano.  Layer half of the basil on top of the tomatoes, followed by the onion, corn, and the other half of the basil.  Place the cheese/mayo mixture on top in large spoonfuls.  Using a spatula, spread the mixture to cover the top of the pie.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Here are some pictures from Teak and Buck's fishing trip on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken

Get ready for another recipe just as easy and tasty as the Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken recipe from last week.  Again, you just need chicken, your preferred seasoning, and a bottle of hot sauce (Tabasco, Louisiana, Texas Pete--whatever you like). 

I tweaked this recipe from one I found on All Recipes to make it fit our personal preference.  We like to cook with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can do this same recipe with wings or drumsticks.  They aren't just like Buffalo wings, but they have a nice spicy taste (but not too hot). 

If you want to use wings or drumsticks, the original recipe recommended using 12 drumsticks and the entire (6 oz) bottle of hot sauce.  It also suggested that you heat the chicken for 15-20 minutes in a 400-degree oven once it comes out of the crock pot.  If you don't have the time, or if you just don't want to, it really isn't necessary; the chicken is ready when it comes out of the crock pot.  The oven suggestion is just to make it crispier. 

Of course, they're even better when you dip them in Ranch or blue cheese dressing.  We sliced them up and served them over a salad (with the Crispy Cheese Twists as croutons).  I definitely recommend this recipe; it's so easy and good! 

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken

2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
1/2 (6 oz) bottle hot sauce
1 Tbsp minced onion flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Place chicken in crock pot.  Pour hot sauce over the chicken, and then season with onion flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until tender.  (Alternately, cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, and then place in 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.)  Serve with Ranch or blue cheese dressing on the side. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

I was trying to get a photogenic shot of Teak, like this one.

Instead, I got more of them where he wasn't ready for the spotlight, like this one.

Happy 200th post!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Crispy Cheese Twists

I love bread.  I made the mistake of making these before the rest of the meal was ready, which of course means that we ate several of them without stopping.  We discovered that, like most things, they're excellent with Ranch dressing or Marinara sauce on the side.  These were relatively quick to throw together, and they were good breadsticks.   If I do anything differently to them next time, I'll make them spicier--maybe with red pepper flakes or more ground red pepper; they weren't hot at all. 

Crispy Cheese Twists

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 (10 oz) can refrigerated pizza crust
Butter-flavored cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425.  Combine cheese, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl; set aside. 

Unroll dough; roll into a 12"x8" rectangle.  Lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture.  Fold dough in half to form an 8"x6" rectangle.  Roll into a 12"x8" rectangle.  Lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray, and sprinkle dough with remaining cheese mixture.  Using fingertips, press cheese mixture into dough.

Cut dough into 16 (8-inch-long) strips.  Gently pick up both ends of each strip; twist dough.  Place twists 1/2" apart on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 425 for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from pan; cool on wire racks. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ham and Wild Mushroom Quiche

It's time for some healthy eating. 

The big wedding is next month, and after last week's scare in an alterations shop where the seamstress took in my dress too much (she honestly did--I haven't gained weight), it's definitely time for healthy eating (which will be paired with my new running shoes). 

This is a really tasty quiche, and it has healthy vegetables.  It's good!

Ham and Wild Mushroom Quiche

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 pound lean deli ham, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup sliced sweet onion
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray the bottom and sides of a 10" pie plate or shallow casserole dish with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs, and gently roll and shake the plate to distribute the crumbs over the sides and bottom.

Place the ham, mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper in the pie plate.  In a small bowl, beat eggs with a fork.  Beat in the nutmeg, milk, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Pour into prepared pie plate.  Press the ingredients under the eggs with a fork.

Bake about 25 minutes, until the quiche is firm.  Remove, cut in sections, and serve.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Honey Butter

This was the perfect fit for our cornbread muffins from yesterday.  Delicious!  It would dress up any regular bread.  This is Alton Brown's recipe, but I scaled it down from a pound of butter to a stick.  You can make the amount that works for you, but I promise you that you want to make this.  So quick and easy, and so very tasty. 

Honey Butter

1 stick butter, softened
2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Cut the butter into chunks, and mix it on low speed with an electric mixer to loosen the butter.  Increase the speed to medium, and add the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix until well combined, 3-5 minutes.  Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Roll into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sweet Cornbread

It was not my plan to make cornbread this week, but I accidentally opened a can of creamed corn instead of whole kernel corn, and I couldn't let it go to waste.  Luckily, I found this recipe, and it's instantly become one of Biz's favorites.  I made them as muffins, but you could make it in a skillet or an 8"x8" pan. 

This cornbread is good because of how sweet it is, and the creamed corn makes it really moist.  This is very tasty, and it was pretty quick to throw together.  We'll be making this again. 

Sweet Cornbread

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, creamed corn, milk, and butter, and mix into dry ingredients until just moistened.  Pour into a greased muffin tin, and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Serve warm. 

1/4 cup sour cream
1 can creamed corn
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/2 stick butter, melted

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blueberry Pound Cake

What a great summer dessert recipe!  I love this cake.  This recipe is from Cooking Light, so I didn't feel terrible about eating another piece tonight after having two at lunch.  An entire cake is a lot to make for the two of us, but we've been able to share it with friends and family, and everyone has liked it a lot.  You should try it! 

Many thanks go to my mom for inspiring me to make this cake!

Blueberry Pound Cake

2 cups sugar
1/3 stick butter, softened
4 oz low fat cream cheese
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz lemon low-fat yogurt
Cooking spray
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese at medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in vanilla. 

Combine 2 tablespoons flour and blueberries in a small bowl; toss to coat.  Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Fold in blueberry mixture. 

Pour batter into a bundt pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack; cool cake for additional 15 minutes on wire rack. 

Mix powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached.  Drizzle glaze on top of cooled cake.