Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rolls

Soooo......this was probably one of my favorite pasta dishes I have made in a long time. I love how Mr. Picky put it...

"You take the things that I like that are usually simple and make them... interesting."

Not to say they aren't still simple! Just different, and I like being different. These lasagna rolls were creamy, cheesy, garlicy and soul warming. Everything I love in a comforting dinner. We had this with a nice big salad and some garlic bread. PERFECT!



-Ingredients-

1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
8-10 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1 jar prepared alfredo sauce

-Directions-

1.Preheat oven to 350*. In a large bowl mix together chicken, cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic.
2. In a 13 x 9 pan, spread a couple of ladles of Alfredo sauce on the bottom.
3. Place a lasagna noodle on a cutting board. Put about 1/4 c of the chicken mixture and spread it on the noodle evenly. Roll the noodle up and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat with remaining noodles and mixture.
4. Top rolls with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from Daily Deliciousness

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice

My sister pinned this delicious recipe on Pinterest and I made sure to buy the ingredients for a meal last week. Ironically, I dropped by my sisters house Sunday night and she had this cooking in the Crock Pot! She invited me to have a plate and I loved it. But.. me being me, of course I had to change it up a bit. I loved it both times! Heidi made her recipe true to the original, but I had to change mine up a little bit due to what I had.

The original calls for yellow rice mix. I only had rice pilaf mix! With that flavor.. I decided to season my breasts with cajun seasoning, to kind of blend the flavors a bit. No big deal. I also decided to take some of the chicken out of the crock pot before mixing everything else in at the end because my 3 chicken breasts were HUGE and it just looked like too much. Which worked out perfectly because I used that chicken in a recipe I made later in the week. :) Don't you love when things work out in your favor (and help you save money!?)

I also left the onion out because of Mr. Picky, of course.




-Ingredients-

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 HUGE breasts.. see note above)
Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
1 onion, chopped (I did not use)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box Zatarain's Rice Pilaf Mix, cooked
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c frozen corn kernals

-Directions-

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add about 1/4 c water.
2. Season the breasts with Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning. Top the chicken with the chopped onion.
3. Dollop the cream of chicken soup all over the top of the chicken.
4. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
5. Just before serving, stir in the cooked rice cheese and corn. Let the ingredients heat through.
6. Serve with a salad and some biscuits. Yum! How easy was that?!




Recipe Adapted from Southern Plate

Spaghetti Bolagnese

I know pretty much everyone has their own bolagnese recipe. And if you're anything like me.. it's not really a recipe but just more of a constant experiment. I keep tasting and adding this and that until it tastes perfect. I really wanted to be able to share a recipe for spaghetti sauce though, for some of my friends that read my blog who aren't very comfortable in the kitchen. You don't have to buy jarred sauce anymore, my friends! In fact.....please don't. That stuff is yuck (unless it is Monday night and you are about to fall over with exhaustion. We all have those nights.)

Try this sauce. It's EASY and your friends and family will love you for it.



-Ingredients-

1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic
2 bay leaves
(Note: sometimes I add a pinch of red pepper flakes, if I want a spicier sauce)

-Directions-

1. In a large sauce pot or dutch oven, brown your beef over medium/medium-high heat and break it up into the smallest pieces you can. Remove beef with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
2. Toss your onions into the beef grease and cook until just softened. Add your garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.
3. Pour in just a little bit of the sauce and scrape all the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Then add the rest of your sauce and crushed tomatoes.
4. Once your mixture is hot, add the tomato paste and break it up and mix it in. It will start to heat up and melt into the sauce.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Return the beef to your pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for as long as you can stand.
6. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti and top with parmesan cheese! Make sure you remove the bay leaves before serving.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Delicioius Product Alert!

Ever been to a cookout and not been able to decide whether you want a hot dog or a hamburger? It is a pickle that many of us have found ourselves in. I myself cannot consume both, which some people in such a predictament choose to do. Well I found the perfect solution. Johnsonville's new bratwurst patties.

Picture of Bratwurst Patties 32 oz.

I bought the Cheddarwurst variety. And OH MY GOD. Mr. Picky and I took a bite at the same time and simultaneously looked at eachother as though we had discovered something magical. And we did. Don't hesitate to buy these babies at the store. You won't be disappointed. My only note would be that they are very rich. I ate half of one and that was enough. I had the other half for lunch the next day. Yum!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So Easy Drop Biscuits

I made these to go along with my chicken fried chicken. I had a can of Grand's in the fridge but...I wanted real biscuits! I'm not a huge fan of the refrigerated biscuits on their own....but  I had no Bisquick on hand, and I am SO not one to roll out dough and cut biscuits out. I don't even have a round cutter (although I could have used a glass). I found this recipe online and it worked perfectly. The only thing I would add is a bit more salt. The original recipe calls for 1/4 t and I upped it to 1/2 t on this adaptation, I feel it needs it. 

Otherwise.. so much better than refrigerated biscuit and it uses items you probably already have on hand! Great to include in any budget meal!



-Ingredients-

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 c melted butter
1 c milk

-Directions-

1. Preheat oven to 450*.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients.
3. Stir in butter and milk until just moistened
4. Drop biscuits to desired size on a greased baking sheet. 
5. Bake until edges are golden, 8-12 minutes depending on size. 
6. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from: Allrecipes

Easy Chicken Fried Chicken with Country Gravy: Budget Dinner

So...since I graduated from UNCW in December money has been pretty tight. As I mentioned before, the job market here in Wilmington isn't the greatest. Therefore, I have been forced to stretch my dollars in every aspect of my life. No going out to eat, no going out for drinks, no shopping (sad), $20 of gas in my car at a time, and budget grocery shopping.

I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts at Wal-Mart for about $7. These bags usually have about 8-10 breasts.. depending on their size. This is a great value (no pun intended.. as that is Wal-Mart's store brand..) and I see a lot of chicken dishes in my future.

This recipe uses a McCormick packet of country gravy. I LOVE these packets, usually found in the spice aisle. They make life easier, and often cut down ingredients you would have to buy separately. Like I said, I'm all about budgeting, and McCormick packet sauces and seasonings help me stay within said budget. (No! I am not in anyway endorsed by McCormick.......but I can't help but profess my love). Also, I can say I've been saved from the "what to make?" monster by browsing through through these packets. Sometimes the pictures on the front inspire. Just sayin'....

I served this chicken with some mashed potatoes, frozen corn with butter, and easy homemade drop biscuits (recipe to follow). Easy down home meal for not a lot of money!



-Ingredients-
1/2 c flour
1 large egg
1 T milk
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper
1 package McCormick Country Gravy

-Directions-

1. Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, pound chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.
2. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season liberally with salt and pepper then mix with a fork.
3. In another shallow dish, beat the egg with the tablespoon of milk.
4. Make an assembly line with an empty plate for your dredged chicken at the end. 
5. Place chicken in the flour, then in the egg mixture, then back in the flour mixture. Make sure to use one hand for the wet and one hand for the dry ingredients to avoid a huge gloopy mess.
6. Stick the chicken in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to solidify the coating.
7. Preheat a large skillet with the oil and butter over Medium-Medium High heat (depends on how hot your stove gets).
8. Fry each breast for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not crowd the pan, fry the chicken in batches. As you finish one batch, place on a plate in a 200* oven to keep warm. (I kept the already cooked biscuits warm on a different plate at the same time).
9.After your last batch, prepare your country gravy. I used 1 c water and 1 c milk for a more creamy gravy. At this time I also heated up the potatoes and corn.
10. Place your chicken on the plate and top with gravy. Feel free to put the gravy on your potatoes and biscuits too....thats what Mr. Picky did!

Mini Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

Sorry I have been a bit MIA lately... I have been having slight computer issues. The charger for my Macbook Pro just decided to stop working.. and I only got the computer last March! Grr.. beyond frustrating.

I'm also in the throws of trying to find a new job. And if you didn't know, finding a job in Wilmington is HARD. Everyone wants to live here... and I am one of those people!

Anyways, these cupcakes are posted a little late for New Years (duh) but they would also be a great addition to any celebration or shower. They were so yummy, you can't eat just one! I do wish the champagne flavor had come through more.. I think next time I will up the amount of champagne in the buttercream! But they did have that tart bubbly flavor you get from a nice glass of champagne. The best part about this recipe is that you get to drink champagne while you make it... can't let the rest of that bottle go to waste! ;)





-Ingredients- 

For the cake:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne (we used Korbel. And then I drank some. And went back to work.)
6 egg whites

For the frosting:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

-Directions-

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare mini muffin tins with liners. 

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

3.In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. (I used a heaping tablespoon in each one for perfect cupcakes.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Frosting:
1. Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together.  Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus  1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.


3. I added yellow food coloring to mine to match my dragees and to look like a bubbling glass of champagne!





Oh and THIS is why I hate baking:



What a disaster!!!!!




Recipes adapted from: Some Kitchen Stories and Sprinkle Bakes