March 22, 2010

Honey Lemon Marinated Chicken Sammiches

So I found this marinade awhile back from one of the first few Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazines. This marinade is great. Honey, lemon, cumin and oregano...very flavorful, but also light. I think it's a great Spring Time marinade with the citrus flavor and you can always use a new recipe for chicken. So I like marinating my chicken in this and then topping some nice kaiser rolls with the sliced chicken. This time I decided to add some sauteed mushrooms and some provolone cheese to the top. I got the idea for the mushrooms and cheese from my girlie Lynds (Just a Girl Baking). She made us some awesome chicken sammiches the last time we were over and they were delicious!

Honey Lemon Marinated Chicken Sammiches

Zest and Juice of half a lemon, or use more if you wish
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed or grated
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup olive oilsalt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 crimini mushrooms sliced
2-4 kaiser rolls (depending on the size, I got 2 sammiches out of one chicken breast)
lettuce, mayo and provolone cheese
  • Whisk together the lemon zest, juice, honey, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and olive oil, place in a big zip top baggie and add chicken breasts to the marinade. Seal the bag and mush it around to coat the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator or 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place top-side down in the pan and brown. Once brown on that side, flip over and brown this side for a minute. Place whole skillet in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Pull chicken out of oven, leave oven on and let rest while you get everything else ready.
  • In a small pan cook the mushrooms in butter until just tender, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside. Toast the kaiser rolls in the hot oven.
  • Once chicken has rested slice thinly on a bias and place on the bottom of your rolls. Top with mushrooms and provolone cheese. Place in the oven to melt the cheese and heat everything through. Smear mayo on the roll tops and top with lettuce. Place tops on the sammiches and you are good to eat!

I served these with just a nice salad of red leaf lettuce, but some nice potato chips or corn on the cob would be great too!

These sammiches were so good, my hubsie came in from the other room just to hug me and tell me how good they were...and then he did the dishes and cleaned everything in the kitchen!!! should make them!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


Clearing Off the Balcony and Peanut Butter Cookies for Bowling

Ok, so those two subjects don't really go together, clearing off the balcony and peanut butter cookies, but I did them on the same day, so they are going together. I have been meaning to, and been needing to clear off our balcony of the 3 dead plants that resided there all winter. They were dead before than because thank to my mom...I can't grow plants, they just die. Thanks mom! Hahaha :) So I knew I had to get out there and throw them out, save the pots and put something new out there.

I bought a green mums potted plant for the table for St. Patty's Day, so I am trying to salvage it and I repotted it out on the balcony. I found at the dollar store of all place mini Aqua Globes, you know those pretty globes you put in the plant and it kinda waters them for you? Yeah I think that was my problem, not watering enough. So I am hoping this will help with that problem, and hopefully this plant and can thrive and grow and not die instantly. I am sure I will update if it dies or if, by some miracle it is still living.

Also, Friday was our last night of bowling on our Friday Late Nite League. We were too bring something to share with everyone, like a little party, so I decided since I was in a baking mood lately I would make peanut butter cookies. Now the best peanut butter cookie I have had has been from Blackbird Baking, right across the street from us. They are really soft and chewy, so good!! But I found a recipe for Mrs. Field's Peanut Butter cookies so I thought I would try them out. I wasn't too happy with them, they came out huge, the recipe made a ton and they were crunchy and I really don't like a crunchy, crispy cookie. Plus I had a migraine pretty much the whole time I was making them, so I was just done with them. I didn't go to bowling that night because of my migraine and I felt like I was gonna throw up any minute, so I didn't go. But the cookies were a big hit, only a few came back, so that was a plus!

That's all for now!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and Grow Plants!


March 16, 2010

Thick & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

I have been baking up a storm lately!! Ok, I have made banana muffins and oatmeal cookies, but whatever, I don't really bake that often. I also made some Toll house Choc. Chip Cookies last night, but that doesn't really count, cause its the recipe off the bag and not really that exciting.

So a while ago I looked up recipes for chewy, soft oatmeal cookies, cause really, I despise crunchy hard cookies...especially if they are meant to be soft! So I found a recipe from
Smitten Kitchen, who by the way, I love! This is the 2nd recipe I have made so far. She has a recipe for Thick & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies, and they are yummy! Now I love a good oatmeal cookie, and I have to say I really enjoy making these more than other cookies. They are so easy and I had everything on hand.

Thick & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg1/2 tsp. vanilla3/4 cup flour1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins (I used ones that were actually made for baking, they were moister)
1/2 cup walnuts (I used 1/4 cup almonds, cause half my batch was with nuts)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture until smooth. Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts if using them.
  • At this point you can chill the dough for a bit, or scoop the dough on the cookie sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking.
  • Scoop cookies onto parchment lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 7 1/2 - 8 cause my oven runs a bit hot) until the edges are brown and golden.
  • Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
I found my cookies to get a bit more brown than I expected, but they are still delicious.

*Note: By the way! I am having so much fun being able to take my food photos in natural lighting!! So fun!! I swear I took 40 pictures of these cookies...some were a bit blurry which was kinda disappointing, but seriously...I am so proud of the pictures, as well as the ones for the Sour Cream Banana Muffins. Plus it helps that I have a lovely green wall to take pictures against. Shout out to my brother and sister-in-law who got me those great appetizer plates in the first photo up there...I was so glad I saw them and thought to use them for my cookie pictures.

left: with slivered almonds right: just raisins

Happy Baking & Eat, Drink & Be Merry!


March 12, 2010

Sour Cream Banana Muffins

I felt like baking today! It's was so nice out today and it made me want to do something productive. I helped out a friend (Just a Girl Baking) with some cupcakes yesterday, but I am more of a muffin-bakin' girl. I am seem to do better off making breads, muffins or doughs than cakes, so I wanted to bake! I decided to make some Sour Cream Banana Muffins, which are nice and moist and have a lovely light banana flavor.

Sour Cream Banana Muffins
Makes 12 regular size muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
1/4 granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 sour cream
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl beat the bananas, sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in sour cream
  • Stir the banana mixture into the flour until smooth and combined. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan.
  • Bake for 10-15 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and top are light-golden brown. Let cool before serving. For best lasting flavor keep stored in an air-tight container or bag overnight.

They are really easy to make, and come together in cinch. I think they could use a little bit of walnuts are pecans in them, but I have a picky hubby that doesn't like nuts in food, so I have to go without them...*sigh* I also think it would be nice to put a little texture and sweetness on the top and maybe add some crystal sugar on top, but I don't really have that, but it would be a lovely addition. I love these banana muffins and I hope you try them and I hope you love them too!

*Note: I have also made these as mini-muffins and they only bake for about 7-8 minutes and are great from breakfast with tea or your coffee! Plus everything is just so darn cuter when it's mini size!

Happy Baking & Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!


March 8, 2010

Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs for the In-Laws

We had my in-laws over for dinner last night, and I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen last week and knew I had to make it! So there were a few new things for me in this recipe that I have either never done before or was a different way of me doing something.

I have never done the "piece of white bread soaked in milk and then rung out and put in the meatballs instead of bread crumbs." I don't think I would do this again, I thought it was disgusting to do. I mean the meatballs were great, but that process was kinda gross to me.

And then making a bechamel was new, at least the way they have you do it, but it was delicious! I mean, I have made alfredo sauce before and essentially its like the same, the flour and butter and make a roux and then add the milk, but they way they have you incorporate they milk was new to me.

I felt that this took me way longer to make than I had anticipated. It took me and hour and a half start to finish. But then again I don't always have the best time management when cooking, like it's really bad, and I tend to do a step last that I could have had going while something else was working, but oh well.

The tiny meatballs were fun to make, a little tedious, but so they look so cute! And the bechamel came together quite quickly and then just the pasta to boil and then bake everything, not too shabby. It was so good, my father-in-law had 3 helpings...I kid you not! That means it was amazing!! And he took the leftover with them for his lunch the next day!

I thought this recipe was amazing and delicious and I think everyone should make it, it was so saucy and the meatballs were so tender and just melted in your mouth, this was a great dinner. I served it with a nice salad and some ciabatta bread, and it was great. I suppose you could add veggies or some spinach in for more nutritional value, but I liked it just the way it was.

For the original recipe click here.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!


March 4, 2010

Bellydance Wednesdays

I was actually motivated the past couple days to get off my butt and off the computer and do belly-dance drills and move myself. So I found that Lady Gaga's Bad Romance is an excellent song for doing said drills to. So that was exciting, and plus I just love listening to Lady Gaga so, it all works out. So I got myself all pumped up during the day on Wednesday, I did my drills even though I would be doing some later and I felt pretty good, and all jazzed to go to dance. I get there and everyone was more like, "We don't feel like drilling today." So I am glad I did mine earlier! But they were all game for doing yoga.

So this week we did Power Yoga Stamina. Which let me tell you, is fast paced. And we have done this one once before, but I had to stop at points and I had to slow down at times...this week...I totally made it through!! I did the whole thing only have to rest at one point cause he went through a movement to fast. I was so proud of myself and I felt so great afterward. It was really nice. So I felt all proud and accomplished. So, yay! I hope this whole "feeling motivated" thing last for a while cause it's kinda nice, and gets me from just sitting on the computer all day and then feeling bad about it maybe I should stop sitting here writing I go!!

Happy Dancing!!


Book of the Week

This week I actually read two books but I am just gonna focus on the one cause I feel it is more worth writing about and more appealing than the other to my followers.

This week I read Push by Sapphire, this is the book that the movie Precious is based off of. This book is so emotional and raw. It's about this girl, Precious, who is pregnant for the second time by her own father, she had her first baby when she was 12 and she is not well educated and her mother beat her while she was pregnant because she "stole her husband" and calls her horrible names.

Precious is eventually kicked out of school, but given the chance at a new alternative school that offers help with those who are illiterate and not as well educated. Precious becomes great friends with her teacher Ms. Rain, who helps Precious to learn how to read and write and helps her out with her life. I won't give away too much, but this book is quite heavy and can be quite graphic.

It's a very small book and the way it is written was hard for me to read sometimes, cause it's Precious telling the story, so her words sometimes aren't spelled correctly or her wording is off but it's a great quick read and very heartbreaking and real. I really want to see the movie now.

Happy Reading!


*Note: The other book I read was "Divine by Mistake" by P.C. Cast. More of a magickal based read, so check it out if you want...I kinda enjoy P.C. Cast's books as well.

March 1, 2010

Barbequed Chili & Mario Kart

So I have been on a search for a chili recipe. I know my mom's chili, it's good. I love Steak 'n Shakes chili, I could probably not duplicate it. I wanted to find a chili recipe to be mine, or something I would enjoy making and that everyone would love. So I found this recipe from Rachael Ray that she made on her talk show (I didn't see the episode, I saw the recipe posted on Twitter).

It was for a Barbequed Chili. This damn thing has that tang of bbq sauce and the meatiness of chili. It's amazing! I love it!! It doesn't have the normal spice or cumin in it, which I actually kinda like, cause I feel like I can't always handle all the cumin, it's a strong tasting spice for me. I changed up the recipe a bit to go with what I had on hand and what tastes I liked. I also added beans, cause there were no beans in the recipe! I was need more than just meat in here! So here is my recipe for the Barbequed Chili.

Barbequed Chili

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 T Chili powder
1/2 T paprika
1/2 cup of beer (other 1/2 for your husband)
1 cup chicken stock, or beef whatever you have on hand
2 T cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar
One 8 ounce can (1 cup) tomato sauce

1/2 can of kidney beans or whole can if you want more beans

  • Heat a large dutch oven, or saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil.
  • Add the ground turkey and beef and brown. Add onion and garlic and season with black pepper. Cook a few minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add the chili powder and paprika and stir in beer. Let simmer and reduce. Then add stock.
  • Combine brown sugar, tomato sauce and vinegar, then stir into the chili. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat and simmer. (I don't have an exact time on this, I would say maybe an hour, but you just want it to get thicker and not so liquidy.)
  • Add the beans toward the end to heat through. Or add them when you add the tomato sauce, brown sugar and vinegar mixture if you want them softer. I couldn't remember when to add beans to chili.
Now, growing up my mom's chili was always served over elbow macaroni. May seem strange to some people, but it's how I grew up. It's so good! So I made elbows with mine, but you can certainly eat it straight up in a bowl with crackers.

If you want the original recipe click here.
*Note: My recipe makes half the amount of the original. I have made the full batch before and there was just far too much leftover...but it is really, really good the next few days...yum!

Last night was also fun because my best girlie Kay came over! She had never had this chili before, nor had she eaten chili with elbow macaroni before, so it was all new for her, but she said it was really good! So that made me happy! And Kay is my fellow video game girl, so we had to play some Mario Kart Wii while she was over! I love playing with her, she is so much fun! She is the best!!

That's all for my dinner from last night folks!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
...and kick butt in Mario Kart!