Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicken & Biscuits

Do y'all like Cheesecake Factory?? Well, I sure do. And I always get 1 of 2 things; either Chicken Madeira or Chicken and Biscuits. This recipe is the closest I've found to tasting like my favorite CF entree without that awful guilty feeling you get after spending WAY too much money on dinner. You can whip this up for a weeknight meal or double it for company. It's sure to impress even the pickiest eaters!

Chicken & Biscuits
(Adapted from Marie's Cooking Adventures)

1 refrigerated tube biscuits (if you get the thick kind-which is all they had-cut them in half. I only ended up using 3 biscuits cut in half)
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 can LeSeur peas
3-4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (I boiled mine for 20 minutes)
1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp milk
salt and pepper to taste


1) Cook and shred chicken.
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3) In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, chicken, peas, milk, and butter, salt and pepper.
4) Transfer mixture to greased casserole dish.
5) Sprinkle with cheese, how ever much or little is up to you (I just put enough to cover the mixture).
6) Top with biscuits (once again, I ended up using 3 large Homestyle biscuits, cut in half)
7) Cook for 30-35 minutes or until tops of biscuits are browned and mixture is bubbly.


*Eat me!*

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Citrus Salmon with Mango Salsa

I don't post many healthy recipes but really, that's my favorite way to cook. I know that's hard to believe with all the cheesy savory goodness that usually makes it's appearance on my blog. This salmon is packed with flavor and is absolutely DE-LISH!

Citrus Salmon with Mango Salsa
(Adapted from TasteSpotting & Elana's Pantry)

For the salsa:
1 avocado, cubed
1 mango, cubed
2 tablespoons minced red onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers (or more if you like a little more of kick)
Several twists sea salt

For the salmon:
1 lb salmon, cut into 4 fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 limes, sliced in half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice (chipotle, Old Bay, etc)

1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2) Combine the avocado, mango, onions, cilantro, lime, and jalapenos in a large bowl; lightly crush with fork to release juices. Cover with Saran ran and place in fridge until you need it.
3) Rinse salmon, pat dry and place on a metal baking sheet; rub each fillet with olive oil.
4) Squeeze the juice from one-half lime onto each fillet
5) Sprinkle fillets with salt and seasoning, then place a half lime on top of each fillet.
6) Turn down oven temperature to 275 degrees; place salmon in oven and cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on how well done you like your fish

White Chicken Enchiladas

So, I have a confession...totally used canned chicken for this. Feel free to be a non-lazy person and use 3 or 4 shredded boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you want to join my lazy person club, make sure to drain and rinse the canned chicken or it'll taste salty.

White Chicken Enchiladas
(adapted from Let's Dish)

8 flour tortillas, taco sized
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (or 1 big and 1 small canned)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 small can diced green chilies
cilantro (optional), for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Combine chicken and 1 cup of the grated cheese.
3) Fill tortillas with chicken and cheese mixture, evenly.
4) Roll up the tortillas and place them seam side down in greased casserole dish.
5) In a large sauce pan, melt butter; add flour and stir until thick (about 1 minute).
6) Add chicken broth; whisk until smooth; cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
7) Stir in sour cream and diced green chilies.
8) Pour sauce evenly over the tortillas.
9) Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
10) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
11) Top with cilantro for garnish.

Chicken & Rice

I adapted this recipe from one I got from my mother-in-law. It was the first thing she cooked for us when I started dating Mr. Spouse Man. The cheese sauce didn't come out exactly how I wanted it to the first time I made this, but now, I make it so often it's second nature. Practice makes perfect, y'all.

Chicken & Rice

 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
Cajun seasoning (I use Slap Yo Mama and won't use anything else because it's the BEST!!)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top)
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 pkg Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk

*This is how I set out my ingredients to make the cheese sauce; it helps me not get frazzled and makes it easier to keep it from curdleing*

This is how the cheese sauce should look, silky smooth!

1) Cube chicken and cook over the stove in EVOO and cajun seasoning; set aside.
2) Prepare rice as directed on package.
3) Spoon rice into greased casserole dish; add chicken.
4) Melt butter on low heat. Gradually whisk flour into melted butter. Add milk. Whisk over low heat until thick.
5) Gradually, and I mean GRADUALLY, add cheese and lemon juice. Whisk constantly until smooth and cheese is completely melted. Keep stove on low (medium-low at the highest); don't get impatient, y'all!
6) Pour sauce over rice and chicken; mix well.
7) Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ranch Chicken Pasta

The original recipe I got this from is a layered lasagna. I kept most of the same ingredients but switched out lasagna noodles for penne pasta.  I followed the directions but after all the layering I looked at it and said "to heck with it" and gave that bad boy a stir. So now this is a pasta recipe. I thought it was pretty good. Next time I will probably double the sauce so it's creamier. The following recipe INCLUDES modifications that I think will make it better.  PLEASE let me know how this turns out for you!

Ranch Chicken Pasta
(Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen)

1 can fat free evaporated milk (I would recommend 1 1/2 or maybe even 2 cans)
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (NOT the dip mix)
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 box whole wheat penne noodles, cooked and drained
1-1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Cube and cook chicken; set aside.
2) Meanwhile, cook pasta and drain; set aside.
3) On low heat, gradually combine evaporated milk, ranch dressing mix and pepper, whisking constantly until sauce thickens (about 15-20 minutes- do NOT get impatient and up the will curdle)
4) In a greased casserole dish, combine pasta, chicken, sauce, and cheeses.
5) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Y'all know I love my Frank's hot sauce but this is particularly good smothered in Frank's :)

***This dish, unfortunately, only scored a 3.8 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter but with the modifications, I'm sure this is 5.0 dinner***

"Free" - Haley Reinhart
"You and I' - Lady Gaga
"Mercy" - Duffy

Lemon Chicken

Crock Pot alert! Yup, this recipe uses my favorite kitchen appliance. I seriously cannot get enough of slow cooking. Do y'all know not to add water to any Crock Pot recipe unless it calls for it? When cooking chicken in the Crock Pot, I almost always use frozen chicken because it is typically frozen in chicken broth and this keeps the meat from drying out. Just a little FYI :)

Crock Pot Lemon Chicken
(Recipe adapted from The Queen Bee's Hive)

4 Tbsp butter
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
2 lemons

1) Melt butter in the microwave (about 12 seconds) and pour in Crock Pot.
2) Place frozen chicken breasts in Crock Pot.
3) Sprinkle Italian dressing mix on top of chicken.
4) Juice both lemons over chicken.
5) Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
6) Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks.
7) Serve chicken on a bed of white rice and ladle juice over chicken.

***This dish scored a 4.4 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter***

"First Day of My Life" - Bright Eyes
"Say Hey (I Love You)" - Michael Franti
"You Are the Best Thing" - Ray LaMontagne

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Champagne Chicken

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love cooking with alcohol.  There's always some left over that I get to drink while I cook.  And I just so happened to have picked up some OJ while I was at the grocery store today.  Helloooo, Mimosas!!  I like this dish because it's light and we didn't feel like gluttons afterwards.  I whipped up some angel hair pasta and stuck a bag of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers in the microwave (which, by the way, are actually really good!). 

Champagne Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken)

1/3 cup flour
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup dry Champagne (like Andre' California Champagne)
3/4 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup fat free evaporated milk (for a thicker sauce use heavy cream or regular evaporated milk)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp parsley (recipe calls for tarragon, which I did not have)
6 oz angel pair, cooked and drained

1) In a small, shallow dish, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
2) Rinse chicken breasts in warm water and thoroughly coat in flour mixture.
3) Set oven on warm or low heat (you will need to keep the chicken warm while you prepare the sauce.)
4) Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet on medium heat.
5) Add 2 of the chicken breasts to the skillet without crowding; brown well on each side (about 5-6 minutes per side).
6) Remove chicken from skillet and reserve on an oven-safe plate.
7) Cook remaining chicken breasts and add to plate.
8) Cover plate in foil and place in oven to keep warm.
9) Add champagne and mushrooms to the skillet.
10) Scrape any brown bits with a spatula and reduce sauce by half (or keep simmering until the volume goes down to about half of what you started with).
11) Whisk in evaporated milk, more salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes and parsley (or tarragon).
12) Heat until sauce is creamy.
13) Serve chicken and sauce over a bed of angel hair.

Shoooo-ee! I need several of these after all that! (Don't ya just love my redneck wine glass?? The hubs got it for me last Christmas. He knows me all too well.)

The soundtrack:
I listened to some more of my fave albums on vinyl again tonight.  There's something about that nostalgic crackling sound of a record player that I just love!
"The Funeral" - Band of Horses
"Laundry Room" - Avett Brothers
"Slight Figure of Speech" - Avett Brothers

Almost forgot! This dish scored a 4.4 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pizza Casserole

I don't make many casseroles unless they look reeeeeally good.  I saw this on Pinterest and it immediately caught my eye.  I served it up with some garlic breadsticks and salad.  There was quite a bit left over but they didn't last long.  The hubs said it was almost better heated up the next day! Winning!

Pizza Casserole
(Recipe adapted from For Mamas)

1/2 bag egg noodles
1 jar tomato sauce (I used Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic and I HIGHLY recommend it)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb lean ground beef
1 package pepperonis (about 50 slices)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Brown beef and drain.
3) Boil noodles until al dente; drain and rinse.
4) In a greased casserole dish, layer ingredients in this order:
  • Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish
  • Next, half of the noodles
  • Half of the beef
  • Half of the sauce
  • Remaining noodles
  • Half of the cheese
  • Remaining beef
  • Remaining sauce
  • Remaining cheese
  • Cover in pepperonis
5) Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes
6) After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to cook for another 15.
7) Remove from oven and let sit, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes to thicken (so it will stay together).

***This dish scored a 4.7 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter***

My husband bought some of my favorite albums on vinyl so I've been listening to them on our record player :)
"Sigh No More" - Mumford and Sons
"Little Lion Man" - Mumford and Sons
"Awake My Soul" - Mumford and Sons

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thunder Up Potatoes

Ok so there's one problem with these potatoes...they magically disappear!  It's unfortunate but you'll just have to make more.  I made a batch large enough to feed the Oklahoma City Thunder team and all 8,000 fans at Chesapeake Arena and it was completely gone in an hour at our Thunder watch party of 12.  First of all, let me take a minute and say THUNDER UP to our win over the Heat game 1 of the Finals!  How epic was that?!  Now that I have that out of my system, (for now) on with the potatoes.  These are great for any pot luck, cook out, celebration, or halved (several times) as a side dish for any dinner.  Here y'all go!

Hehe! Ok maybe I wasn't done Thundering Up!

Thunder Up Potatoes
(Recipe adapted from My Name is Snickerdoodle)

1 bag frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16 oz. sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella
pepper to taste
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, soup, sour cream, and 3 1/2 cups cheese mixture (cheddar and mozzarella).
3) Add pepper to taste.
4) Transfer mixture into a greased casserole dish (the largest one you have).
5) Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
6) Sprinkle with however much or however little parsley you want.
7) Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
8) When you have about 5-10 minutes left on the timer, saute bread crumbs and olive oil in a small skillet.
9) When potatoes are done, sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.

Ok now, warning.  This is going to be hot and this is going to be heavy.  If you're taking this somewhere, I recommend you line a smallish cardboard box with dish towels and CAREFULLY place casserole dish in the box.  Cover before transporting.

Where did they go?? :)

***This dish scored a 5 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter, Party-Meter, and Thund-O-Meter***

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

I wasn't sure if it could be done; spaghetti and meatballs in the Crock Pot? I don't see why not.  I gave it a whirl and I think it came out pretty darn good.  Now, it's going to look like Chef Boyardee but I assure you that it most definitely does not taste like every one's favorite childhood meal in a can.  I really wish I had my Crock Pot back in college. This is so easy and budget friendly, even for a college student!  I mean, the meatballs are frozen and you don't even have to cook to pasta.  Jack pot!  I whipped up some Lemon Butter Asparagus and Garlic Cheese Ciabatta Bread for sides. 

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Recipe adapted from Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour)

6-8 oz thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, dry
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Bertolli Tomato & Basil....YUM-OLA!)
1/2 sauce jar water
1/2 bag frozen meatballs (I suppose if you're an overachiever you could use homemade meatballs but...why?)
Parmesan cheese

1) Break noodles in half and place in the bottom of lightly greased slow cooker.
2) Pour sauce over noodles.
3) Fill sauce jar half full of water and give it a little shake, getting the remaining sauce, and pour into slow cooker.
4) Top with meatballs.
5) Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
6) Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Tonight I rocked out to our friend's band's EP.  Check out the lovely ladies of Black Bonnet Ballyhoo on Facebook!
"Kids From the Block" - Black Bonnet Ballyhoo
"A Fortnight" - Black Bonnet Ballyhoo
"Godspeed" - Black Bonnet Ballyhoo (Sing it, Abby!)

Southwestern Black Beans

Lime and Cilantro have got to be two of my favorite flavors.  I'm a firm believer that these flavors go fabulously with ANY meat and ANY vegetable.  Today, we're puttin' them in black beans.  Why not?  I made these along with my glorious Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas.

Southwestern Black Beans

1 can black beans (Bush's or Ranch Style are my fave)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp onion, minced
1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1) In a heavy pan, combine all ingredients.
2) Simmer on medium for 25 minutes.
3) Am I missing something or was it really that easy? Nope, it's that easy!

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

I already have a recipe posted for chicken fajitas, but these aren't any 'ol fajitas; this recipe uses my favorite kitchen appliance which is of CROCK POT! Plus, they're relatively healthy.  I think.  I set out a Fixins' Bar and served up some ever-so-tasty Southwestern Black Beans.  What is a Fixins Bar, you ask?  It's stuff to dress up those fajitas, of course!  Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, grated cheese, salsa, guacamole, chopped get the picture!

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas
(Recipe from Stacy Makes Cents)

1 yellow onion, sliced
3 sweet peppers, seeded and sliced (I use 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
Stuff for fixins, diced, chopped, shredded and grated :)

1) Slice onion and peppers and place in greased Crock Pot.
2) Lay chicken breasts on top of veggies.
3) Pour chicken broth over chicken.
4) Add salt, cumin, and chili powder.
5) Squeeze as much of the lime juice as you can over everything. (I use the Hub's "man hands" for this if he's home)
6) Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
7) When done, take 2 forks, shred the meat, and give pot a good stir. (At this point, I turned off the Crock Pot and covered until ready to serve)
8) Set out your Fixins Bar, warm the tortillas, and everyone is on their own!

***This dish scored a 4.5 on the Hub-O-Meter***

"Ragged as the Road" - Reckless Kelly
"Fool's Gold" - The Damn Quails
"Idabel Blues" - Stoney LaRue

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sauteed Mushrooms

All I can say is, YUM!  I used to loathe mushrooms.  I think it was a texture thing.  But these will turn any mushroom-hater into a lover.  Promise!


1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used Portobello)
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp soy sauce

1) Cut larger mushrooms in half.
2) Heat oil in heavy skillet and add garlic.
3) Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
4) Add mushrooms and cook for another 6 minutes, stirring constantly.
5) Add soy sauce, stir well and serve.

Pictured with the most amazing Meatloaf ever

TIP ALERT: I learned from watching the ever fabulous Rachael Ray to grate garlic using a cheese grater.  Way easier than chopping!


I've never been the world's biggest fan of meatloaf but the hubby had been requesting it for weeks.  And let me tell you, I cannot wait to make this again.  It was A-mazing!  It's just your basic meatloaf but the brown sugar in the sauce gives it this deliciously subtle sweet flavor.  Mmm mmm good!  Pair this with some Sauteed Mushrooms and your life will be complete!

(Recipe from Paula Deen)

1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. diced tomatoes, drained (after a 14.5 oz. can is drained, it's about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp mustard

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a bowl, combine all meatloaf ingredients and transfer to greased loaf dish.
3) In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients; mix well.
4) Spread sauce evenly on meat mixture.
5) Bake for 1 hour.

"Awake My Soul" - Mumford & Sons
"Hold on to What You Believe" - Mumford & Sons
"Roll Away Your Stone" - Mumford & Sons

Crock Pot Beer Chicken

I'm a big fan of cooking with beer, particularly Beer Can Chicken on the grill.  I am also a fan of cooking in the Crock Pot, as you all know.  So why not combine the best of both worlds?  The outcome is a very flavorful, very tender chicken.  I used frozen chicken thighs since dark meat is naturally more tender than breast meat.  Frozen also provides extra juices that keep the meat from getting dry.  This would probably work with a whole chicken, chicken breasts, frozen or fresh, whatever you want!  Also, feel free to get creative with your spices (think cumin, onion powder, thyme, oregano, etc.).  I'd love to hear what else works well in this recipe!

Crock Pot Beer Chicken
(Recipe from My Daily Dish)

4-6 frozen chicken thighs
1 12 oz. can beer (I used PBR)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1) Place frozen chicken in Crock Pot.
2) Poor beer over chicken.
3) Add spices (again, use a 1/2 tsp of literally any spice you'll work).
4) Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

***Unfortunately, this recipe only scored a 2.8 on the Hub-o-meter***

Next time, I will use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  The flavor was delicious but, unfortunately, with the thighs, all the flavor was on the skin which just gets peeled off.  Plus, white meat is better for you!

"Time to Get a Gun" - Miranda Lambert
"Ours" - Taylor Swift
"Good Girl" - Carrie Underwood

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stir-Fried Zucchini & Squash

Who doesn't like squash and zucchini?  Weirdos, that's who.  Sorry, but it's true.  This is a quick and easy side dish and boy oh boy is it tasty.  It goes great with Mexican style foods, such as my Tex Mex Chicken, or steaks, or...well, anything!

Stir-Fried Zucchini & Squash

2 zucchinis
2 squash
1/4 cup margarine
2 Tbsp lemon pepper
juice from 1 lemon

I just LOVE these colors!

1) Slice zucchinis and squash.
2) In a large skillet, saute the veggies with the margarine and lemon pepper for about 15 minutes or until tender.
3) Juice lime over top and stir.

They should NOT looks this pretty, y'all.  If they do, you are not done, my friend.

Tex-Mex Chicken

This is basically dinner in a dish; juicy, delicious chicken on a bed of Spanish rice.  It can really have a bite to it if you want it to.  Just depends on what kind of Picante sauce you use.  I used medium but next time I will probably use hot.  I also whipped up some Stir-Fried Zucchini & Squash which went really nicely with the chicken.

Tex-Mex Chicken
(Recipe from Campbell's Kitchen)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup Picante sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole kernel corn
3/4 cup uncooked white rice (all I had was Minute Rice which I was kind of worried about but it worked great!)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1) In a bowl, combine soup, Picante, water, corn and rice.
2) Transfer mixture to greased casserole dish.
3) Place chicken on top of mixture.
4) Sprinkle with paprika.
5) Cover and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
6) Sprinkle with cheese and let sit until cheese is melted.

I'm having my husband rate each meal from now on so y'all will get an idea of how hubby-approved each dish is. 
***This dish scored a 4 out of 5 on the Hub-o-meter***

"Stubborn Love" - The Lumineers (totally obsessed with this band right now!)
"Gobbledigook" - Sigur Ros
"Slow Glass" - Noah and The Whale