Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Feta & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken with Zeroodles - Low Carb & Delicious!

Pssst....
I'm baaaaaack....

I'll keep this short & sweet.  I made an awesome meal the other day, and I had to share.  It came together very quickly, and I didn't really follow a recipe.  It's a super forgiving dish, so play around and use what you have in your fridge (you can change up the cheeses used, or sub the tomatoes for roasted red peppers, add spinach, etc)

Have you heard of Zeroodles??  If you haven't, you're missing out.  This is a new line of dry pastas on the market that are super high in fiber and protein, and low in carbs.  For this recipe I used the Mung Bean Fettuccine, but there are a few others to choose from.  Check it out here.

Check out the nutritional info for only a 1/4c!!!  Amazing

So here's what I did 

I made this sundried tomato marinade and let my 4 bone-in chicken breasts soak in it for about 2 hours.  Then I preheated the oven to 375.  I sliced my chicken pieces in half horizontally almost all the way through, to create a deep pocket.  For my stuffing, I combined chopped sundried tomatoes, shredded fat free swiss cheese, fat free cream cheese, crumbled feta, and black pepper. Measurements aren't important, just eyeball it and make sure you have enough stuffing for all of your chicken.  I secured the stuffed pockets with toothpicks, and put them in a greased baking dish.  In the oven they went for 35 minutes, and then I broiled them for 5 minutes.

For the Zeroodles, I cooked them as per the package directions (boiled them in salted water for 5 minutes) and then tossed them in olive oil and Mayacamas Garden Skillet seasoning.  Delicious.

Quick and easy, and healthy too - enjoy!








Monday, June 6, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken - Made into Two Meals!

My daughter has been making one meal a week and loving every second of it.  Last week she made bacon wrapped stuffed chicken (which I didn't get a picture of) and this week she turned the leftovers into pizza.  These were both super simple recipes but amazing enough to serve company.  The bonus? I'm cooking one night less a week - and she even cleans up after herself!!


Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken
6 chicken breasts
6 slices of bacon
salt & pepper
1/2 container of ricotta cheese
1 pack frozen spinach
garlic powder
onion powder

Preheat your oven to 350.  Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally, but not all the way through, so that you can open them like a hot dog bun.  Mix the last 4 ingredients together and divide amongst the inside of the chicken.  Secure with toothpicks and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each piece with bacon, and put on a baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes in your preheated oven.  We served this with spaghetti squash and steamed brussel sprouts.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Pizza
1 recipe pizza dough (she used this one)
white sauce (she mixed milk & flour together over low heat in a pan and shredded some cheddar cheese into it)
1 leftover wrapped chicken breast, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts chopped up
shredded cheese (she used a mix of cheddar & mozzarella)

Make the dough, chop up the ingredients and top the dough with them - sauce, then chicken, then artichokes, then shredded cheese.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 (or until the crust begins to turn golden brown), cut, and eat - delicious!

So there you have it folks - you can re-purpose leftovers into whatever you want, but pizza is always a great choice!

My daughter has informed me that her next meal for us will be shrimp risotto - stay tuned!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What Do You Do When You're Craving a Big Mac? Make Big Mac Meatloaf!!

Omg you guys.  I was literally dying for a Big Mac the other day.  I haven't had a Big Mac in over 15 years except for the one I had a few months ago when I had too much to drink the night before and the only option for lunch that day according to my stomach was a Big Mac, like duh.

I had taken out ground beef to defrost for dinner and my original plan was to make meatballs.  Well I wasn't feeling meatballs, I was feeling a Big Mac.  It was seriously a toss up between throwing the towel in to cooking all together and walking across the street to McDonalds, or figuring something out at home that would satisfy my craving.  I really wanted to walk across the street...

And then I found this recipe, and I am pleased to say this will definitely be on the dinner rotation!  It was a huge hit, the mac sauce was bang on, I didn't spend any extra money eating out, and I had full control over the ingredients - total win win win!!!




Get the recipe here.  Like right now.  Make it now.  So good!!!  Thank you mymidwesttable.com for introducing this recipe to me!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

I had some frozen overripe bananas in the freezer and needed to make some room, so I went hunting for a different banana bread recipe.  Sure, I can make the same old (delicious) recipe that I always do, but I wasn't feeling it.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it.

It was so yummy, and it kept for 2 weeks in the fridge - yes TWO weeks.  Amazing.  Try it now - you'll love it!

My disclaimer - my picture looks nowhere near as nice as these but I"m just an amateur photographer who loves food...sorry!


You can find the yummy recipe here at eazypeazymealz.com - so good!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chicken in Milk - This is a Must Try!!

I purchased a few whole chickens from the grocery store last week at a killer price, $4.00!!  I like chicken, and I know it's good for you, but I get so tired of the same old roasted chicken.

Thank goodness for Pinterest!

I came across this recipe, and decided to give it a whirl.  I have never made anything (protein-wise) in milk before, but I know it's a fairly common thing.  I'm assuming it's supposed to break down the meat and make it nice and tender, and based on the outcome of this meal, my assumption proves correct!  Thank you Jamie Oliver!

This was easy to put together, used very few ingredients, and really gave my family a bang for our buck.  The meal was amazing.  I served it with egg pancakes (if you have been reading my blog you know this is my low-carb alternative to rice or pasta) and my amazing mixed bean salad.  I LOVE making a huge batch to eat all week, and I LOVE that my family loves it too.  If I don't have to force vegetables (read: fiber) on my family, then I've scored big time.



Jamie's recipe can be found here

His recipe is super simple and straight forward, but I made a couple of changes.  I used butter instead of olive oil to brown the chicken, I left the sage out (because I didn't have any) and I used lemon juice (I didn't have any lemons).  I am 100% certain that lemon zest would have been so much tastier, but the bottled juice did the trick in a pinch.  I also made the executive decision to use a can of coconut milk rather than regular milk.  Wow was this ever good.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Best Dessert Recipes of 2015 - Some are healthy, some far from it; take your pick!

It's time for another round up of 2015 recipes, this time I'm talking about dessert - yum! 

It seems that healthy recipes have been trending lately, especially the kind that use beans instead of fat, or alternatives to white flour for the low carb/high protein craze (which I'm proudly a part of, by the way).  The first two recipes below are healthier alternatives, and completely delicious.  My family didn't even notice that they were good for you.  The rest of the recipes are indulgent and should be eaten all the time because they are that good in moderation.  Consider yourself warned.  Enjoy!


First up are these wickedly good brownie cookies, made with black beans.  They are so moist and rich your kids will have no idea that they are getting protein and fiber with every bite.  I promise.
Head on over to Elizasedibles.com for some more great recipes.


Next are these peanut butter chickpea blondies from Thehonoursystem.com.  They are pure bliss...I couldn't stop eating them.  But guess what?  I didn't care.  Because they are healthy(ish)!



Now imagine a moist, delicious cake that has no eggs, butter or milk in it.  This Crazy Cake from Sweetlittlebluebird.com is exactly that.  I was skeptical at first, as I'm sure you must be, but this cake came together in a flash with minimal ingredients, and tasted like Duncan Hines made it himself.  There are a ton of variations on the site as well - all kinds of flavors to try. This recipe is a definite winner.


You haven't lived until you try this carrot cake.  I couldn't believe how good it was, and was damn proud of myself for making it.  I'm not a fancy dessert type of person - layer cakes are definitely not my thing.  But wow.  Just wow.  This cake was unreal.  It's not an easy recipe but it's well worth the time invested.  Trust me.


Lastly is my holiday baking assortment.  There's something for everyone here - Nutty Chocolate Mallow Bars, Peppermint Fudge, Peanut Dollies, Double Chocolate Truffles, Millionaire Shortbread Bars, Lime Coconut Squares, and Smores Rice Krispy Squares - all so good!

So there it is, the best desserts of 2015 - try them all, and let me know what you think!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Artichoke Chicken Thighs - Easy And Delicious!

I found this sitting in my drafts....and older post, but a great one!

So, my daughter got in to some teenage trouble (nothing serious) and she has been grounded for the month of July.  Lucky for me, she was so bored that she began cooking dinners - yay!  It has been my job to email her the recipe for dinner the evening before, and then she preps and cooks.  It's been fantastic, but for her first couple of recipes I had to make sure they were pretty easy while still being delicious.  This one definitely fit the bill! 

This recipe was adapted from Shazzy's Sass website (thank you!) - her recipe is fantastic, but I had to add a few unhealthy ingredients in order to make it appealing for my family.  I would have loved her recipe though, I'm sure.

Enjoy this super simple pantry recipe any busy weeknight - it's perfect for busy families (and new cooks!)


Artichoke Chicken Thighs
8 chicken thighs
Artichoke hearts in water, quartered
1 onion sliced
4 slices thick bacon, microwaved on paper towel until crispy (3 1/2 mins for my microwave) and chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded smoked cheese (gouda, cheddar, etc)
Salt and Pepper
Oil for greasing dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish that fits your thighs well (snugly, no overlapping) and grease with oil.  Place 1/2 of onion slices and half of the artichoke hearts on the bottom of the pan.  Place thighs on top, and coat them evenly with salt and pepper.  Place the rest of the onions and artichokes on top, and sprinkle with bacon pieces, and then cheese. Bake for 40 minutes, then switch your oven to broil and keep the chicken in there until brown and bubbly, about 8 minutes.  Enjoy with your favorite side dish!  We had this with sautéed kale - we just chopped some kale up and sautéed it in olive oil with chili flakes, chopped garlic, and a dash of red wine vinegar - delicious!

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Pantry Challenge Week Four Recap - Feb 22nd-28th


    This recap will be short & sweet - and my last one.  I'm going to continue on the pantry challenge, but will not be posting the re-caps; I am on track now and will hold myself accountable though!

    I totally forgot to keep my grocery receipt to share with you but I spent $120 and here is what I got:

    Apples
    Zucchini
    Onions
    Sweet Peppers
    Tomatoes
    Feta Cheese
    Chocolate raisins (for our candy jar)
    2 packs of chicken thighs & 1 pack of legs (on sale for $5 each)
    Protein powder
    Flour
    Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese blocks
    Cheese strings
    Milk

    Although I went $20 over my budget for the week, I am still under $500 for the month (by $110, so actually under $400!!), so all is good!

    Here's what we ate:

    Monday
    Breakfast - slept in after late night bday celebrations and ran out the out the door with no smoothie.  Not a great start to the day (insert angry face here)
    Lunch - 6" egg salad sub on whole wheat @ Subway (I was starving and had to settle for something)
    Dinner - oven baked ribs and antipasto cauliflower salad

    Antipasto Cauliflower Salad
    Tuesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - Greek Lemon & Egg Soup
    Dinner - leftover ribs and cauliflower salad

    Wednesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - butternut squash soup
    Dinner - Chicken with Ranchera Salsa (with rice for them and egg pancakes for me) - so good!

    Chicken with Ranchera Salsa
    Thursday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - Greek lemon & egg soup
    Dinner - leftovers

    Friday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - McDonalds (free - don't judge!)
    Dinner - pizza (we ordered)
    Needless to say Friday was a very bad day for eating!!

    I made up for it by going to an awesome aerial yoga class on Saturday that my friend was teaching - if you haven't tried aerial yoga I highly recommend it!  I'm still sore today, it was amazing!!

    Saturday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - pizza (from a local place by my friend's house who did the yoga - fresh ingredients and I didn't feel as guilty...)
    Dinner - Hubby made a chicken and sausage biryani; he doesn't share recipes, nor does he actually use any so unfortunately I can't share them with you.  It was delicious though!

    For the upcoming week, we have leftover biryani, and hubby also took out a beef roast and lamb chops from the freezer to thaw, so we should be good.  The freezer is still fairly stocked, and so is the pantry, so I am going to continue using what we have for March.  The money saving has been fantastic, and has allowed me to put an extra $100 on to our debt.

    Hope you guys enjoyed this pantry challenge, and will continue on your own as well.

    Have a great week!

    Monday, February 22, 2016

    Antipasto Cauliflower Salad (or "Anti" Pasta as the original recipe is named!)

    Leave it to the brilliant Mellissa over at www.ibreatheimhungry.com to come up with yet another fantastic low-carb recipe.  This cauliflower salad is wicked good.  It's a great side dish for pretty much anything, and I love making a big batch to snack on all week. 

    Cauliflower is pretty bland, and it was never one of my go-to's at the grocery store.  That was before I started on my low-carb mission.  The amount of things you can transform cauliflower into is unreal!  You can rice it and eat it as is, or make yourself some chicken fried rice.  You can make it into a pizza crust or a make-shift tortilla.  You can boil & mash it and enjoy creamy mashed "potatoes", and you can use it as a vehicle to bring other flavors together, like this recipe does.  The possibilities are endless!

    The only change I make when following the original recipe, is that I add chopped up daikon as well.  I like the taste, and the added crunch.

    I had actually never liked radicchio before making this.  It's pretty bitter and I've never really known what to do with it.  After eating a few bowls of this yummyness, I think I get it now.  In small doses, and more as a compliment to a dish, it adds a little something something.  All this to say that if you weren't a fan of radicchio before, do me a favor and don't skip it in this recipe.  Be bold, try something new!


    Head on over here for the complete recipe, and enjoy!

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    Pantry Challenge Week Three Recap - Feb 15th - 21st

    Time for week there's recap! Not a bad week at all!

    My groceries this week totaled $85.64 which is $14.36 under budget for the week, and $132.64 under budget for the month, whoot whoot!

    There were a couple of pricey items that I had to pick up, like raw almonds, chocolate almonds, and chocolate chips, but I only have to purchase them every couple of months so no big deal.  Here is what I bought:

    Chocolate chips @ 8.99
    Cooking spray @ 5.29
    Chocolate almonds @ 12.99
    Cheddar cheese @ 5.79
    Jalapeno Monterey jack @ 5.79
    Eggs (18) @ 5.29
    Milk @ 3.97
    Raw almonds @ 11.99
    2 bags of kale (to freeze for my smoothies) @ 50% off, so 2.50 each
    Romaine lettuce @ 4.69
    Tomatoes @ 2.92
    Apples @ 3.67
    Bacon (2 packs, great sale) @ 3.99 each

    Here's what I ate for the week:

    Monday (this was Family Day, a holiday for us)
    Breakfast - Stuffed French toast (French toast with cream cheese and jam)
    Lunch - skipped, breakfast was a late one for all of us
    Dinner - grilled cheese and butternut squash soup

    Tuesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - butternut squash soup
    Dinner - leftover chicken from Sunday

    Wednesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - lobster bisque (I had one portion left in the freezer from a big batch I made a while back)
    Dinner - sweet & spicy pork tenderloin with pasta and broccoli on the side (for them) and egg pancakes and broccoli for me
    Sweet & Spicy Pork Roast
    Thursday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - McDonalds (don't judge)
    Dinner - leftovers

    Friday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - pepperoni sticks, slice of cheese
    Dinner - leftovers

    Saturday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - skipped
    Dinner - hubby made a fantastic pork belly dish with oyster mushrooms and rice (he doesn't really work off of recipes otherwise I would share it here)

    Sunday (My Birthday!)
    Breakfast - hubby made waffles with whipped cream and syrup
    Lunch - leftovers, whatever we could find in the fridge
    Dinner - Bday dinner at Barra Fion (review to come) - amazing bday dinner!

    That's all for this week!  How are you doing with your pantry challenge?!?
     

    Friday, February 19, 2016

    Sweet & Spicy Pork Roast

    Here's another great recipe to help me use up all of the pork roasts (shoulder) I have in my freezer.  I used more of a tenderloin type of piece for this recipe, but it was cut from the huge shoulder wee purchased a few weeks back, if that makes any sense.


    Needless to say, it was delicious, and the recipe was pretty hands off.  Preheat your oven, pour on your homemade marinade, and stick it in.  An hour and a half later you have a beautifully seasoned pork roast with a ton of gravy for your mashed potatoes or rice.  So good.




    Sweet & Spicy Pork Roast
    1 pork roast (about 3lbs)
    6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 c soy sauce
    3 T sriracha sauce
    1/4 c maple syrup
    1 T lime juice
    3 T orange juice
    1 Tseasoning salt
    1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    1/4 c EVOO

    Preheat oven to 350.  Place your roast in a baking pan, make slits all over and put your sliced garlic in the slits.  Mix the remaining ingredients well, in a bowl.  Pour over your pork.  Place in the oven, uncovered, for an hour and a half.  Baste every 20-25 minutes.  I served this with pasta & broccoli (for the family) and an egg pancake and broccoli for myself.  Delicious.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    Greek Lemon & Egg Soup (My Version of Avgolemeno)

    If you've been following me for a while you know how much I love my soups.  I also love this website.  So when Mellissa posted this soup recipe I knew I had to try it out. 

    I made a few tweaks though, because I'm staying true to my pantry challenge and wanted to use what I had on hand. I know I've mentioned this before, but one way I save (and use everything I can) is by making my own soup stocks.  I save all vegetable scraps in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, as well as bones and meat scraps in a separate bag (one for veggie broth one for meat broth).  When the bag gets full, I make some stock.  For this recipe, I emptied my veggie scraps into a large soup pot and boiled them for about 2 hours, adding water as needed to keep the pot full.  When done, I strained off the veggies and threw them in the garbage. I was left with a flavorful stock chock full of vitamins.  For free!

    I also had a large pork shoulder bone with meat on it from our pork deal a few weeks back, so I wanted to use that as the meat instead of the shredded chicken that the original recipe calls for. I also added feta cheese for a nice tang. You can check out the link above for the original, or try mine out below - either way, this soup is delicious!


    Greek Soup
    Veggie or Chicken Stock (I'd say I had about 20 cups, in a huge soup pot)
    Pork shoulder bone with some meat on it
    1 spaghetti squash
    3 eggs
    1/3 c lemon juice
    1/4 c crumbled feta
    parsley for garnish (optional)


    Preheat oven to 350.  Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds.  Roast, flesh facing down, for an hour.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Meanwhile, boil your bone in the stock on high for at least an hour.  I did this for about an hour and a half.  Remove from heat.  Remove the bone, and tear the meat off.  Chop into pieces (or tear with your hands) and add it back to the soup.  Whisk the 3 eggs in a bowl with the lemon juice until frothy.  Slowly add about a cup of hot soup, while whisking, to temper the eggs (be careful here, you don't want scrambled eggs).  Once combined, add mixture to the pot.  Scrape out the spaghetti squash and add to pot.  Add crumbled feta.  Stir to combine.  That's it, all done.  Enjoy!

    Monday, February 15, 2016

    Pantry Challenge Week Two Recap - Feb 8th - 14th

    I'm going to try and keep this recap short and sweet - last week's was way to long...

    The only grocery shopping I did this week was a large pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs that I needed for a stir fry that I made Friday night.  I used 4 thighs and froze the remaining 5 for another meal. I spent a whopping $12.50.  That brings my 2 week total to $81.72, which is $118.28 under budget, whoot whoot!

    Here's what I ate...


    Monday
    Breakfast -  smoothie
    Lunch - skipped (with the new job, I've been busy!)
    Dinner - seared steaks with the most amazing biscuits ever and incredible gravy

    Best Biscuits Ever

    Tuesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - butternut squash soup (easiest recipe ever - I'll post it soon)
    Dinner - leftovers (cabbage roll casserole, steak - we all had a little of something)



    Wednesday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - leftover cabbage roll casserole
    Dinner - Sausage with white beans and tomatoes over spaghetti noodles (for them) and egg pancakes for me (2 eggs mixed with 1/4c cream cheese, bake like a pancake, it makes about 6.  I eat them as low carb side dishes as a sub for pasta or bread)

    Sausage with White Beans and Tomatoes

    Thursday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - salad with leftover steak cut up in it and feta cheese
    Dinner - leftovers (sausage and white beans)



    Friday
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - greek soup (I'll post the recipe next week)
    Dinner - Simply Asia Chicken Stir Fry

    Chicken Stir Fry
    Saturday
    Breakfast - bacon, lettuce, tomato and egg sandwich
    Lunch - leftover cabbage roll casserole (almost done, I promise)
    Dinner - same as lunch (now it's done, no more left!)



    Sunday
    Breakfast - we went out for brunch as a family, Happy Valentines Day!
    Lunch - brunch was late in the day, no need for more food yet
    Dinner - the hubby took care of this one - he made Amazing Chicken and a pork belly dish with oyster mushrooms (and he isn't sharing the recipe!) - it was delicious!


    So all in all, it was a good week, with lots of savings! 














    Sunday, February 14, 2016

    Chicken Stir Fry with Simply Asia Manadarin Orange Stir Fry Sauce - Recipe & Review

    Thanks to my fantastic new job, I get to try new products that I hadn't previously tasted.  I scored a Mandarin Orange Stir Fry Sauce from Simply Asia this week, and knew I had to try it asap.  I had frozen mixed veggies and a can of mandarin orange segments already, so I just had to pick up a pack of chicken thighs.  The recipe on the back of the packet calls for chicken breasts, but thighs are cheaper and have more flavor (in my opinion).


    This meal was so quick and easy to throw together, and it came out great.  It's the perfect option for a weeknight meal, and I can't wait to try all of the other flavors that Simply Asia offers!




    Chicken Stir Fry w/Simply Asia Mandarin Orange Stir Fry Sauce
    4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
    Vegetable oil
    1 bag of Asian mixed veggies
    1 packet of Simply Asia Mandarin Orange Stir Fry Sauce
    1 can mandarin orange segments
    Rice for serving


    Cut your chicken into strips, and brown in a bit of oil in a pan over medium.  Add veggies (mine were still partially frozen), sauce, and drained mandarin oranges.  Stir and cook for a few minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is nice and thick.  As pictured above, I served this over rice.  That's it!  So simple!!


    Everyone loved this, and I will definitely be grabbing some more of these sauces to keep on hand for future meals.  Go grab a flavor and try it out!


    This was not a sponsored post, and all opinions are that of my own, I promise!

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Best Beef Dishes of 2015!

    Ok folks, another addition to the 'Best of 2015" series. 

    I love beef, and in my house it makes an appearance on the dinner table several times a week.  Ground beef is a magical ingredient that can be turned into anything, and steaks can be thrown on the grill in a pinch.

    I especially love when Wag Jag has beef sales (particularly from the Butcher Shoppe - best supplier of beef in Toronto!!) because I am able to stock my freezer up at a killer price.

    So here are my favorite beef recipes from 2015.  Try a few out and let me know what you think!






    Let's start with this Homemade Hamburger Helper from A Southern Mom.  Huge hit with the kids and the wallet, and super simple.  Try this recipe and you will never buy the boxed variety again, I promise.  To amp up the health factor, I throw in chopped tomatoes and sometimes spinach.  It really depends on what I have on hand.  I've also blended up steamed cauliflower and added it to the sauce - have to get the veggies in!





    Next up is Taco Pie!  Full disclosure - there is nothing healthy about this recipe.  But it's super fast to pull together, and there isn't a kid out there who doesn't love it, so you can't win every battle, mmk?  I was a little hesitant about how the 'pie crust' would come out, I thought it might be soggy, but I was wrong, it was terrific.  Try it on your cheat night...or when you just need a quick meal that everyone will love!




    Moving along, we have my slow cooked Teriyaki Beef.  Although some planning ahead is required to get this meal on the table, the ingredient list is extremely short and uses pantry staples.  I usually serve this with rice and broccoli - and the gravy it makes in the slow cooker is phenomenal.  Enjoy!





    Another pasta selection, and a huge hit with the family is this Creamy Beef Noodles recipe.  I wasn't sure how well this would come together the first time I made it but wow was it ever good.  I usually double the recipe (with the exception of the noodles) and eat the 'sauce' in a bowl for days.  This is another recipe with a short ingredient list that most people already have on hand.





    Last up is this Beef and Squash Stew from Skinnytaste.com.  If this doesn't warm you up on a cold winter night, nothing will.  It's hearty and delicious, and cooks in your slow cooker all day.  The smell of it lovingly greets you when you come home from work.  It's divine!  In fact I'll be making a big batch this week - Canada is cold; but it's so much fun to make comfort food like this for dinner that warms you from the inside out.  I actually think I would dislike a warmer climate, because I wouldn't crave stews and soups - and who can live without stews and soups??

    Hope you enjoyed this edition of 'Best of..." and I hope you try some (or all!) of the recipes!  Let me know what you think!







    Monday, February 8, 2016

    Haitian Pork (Griot)

    We have a ton of pork shoulder in our deep freezer, thanks to an incredible deal ($1.49/lb!!!) so I've been looking up different recipes and experimenting to see what I can come up with.  We can only eat pulled pork so many times, right?

    I came across this recipe for Haitian Griot and just had to try it.  The recipe was super simple, used ingredients I already had on hand (staying true to my pantry challenge, whoot whoot!) and was incredibly delicious.  I'm guessing the acidity in the marinade played a major hand in breaking the meat down, so the dish was perfectly seasoned and nice and moist.

    The only changes I made were the juices (I used bottled, I'm sure it would have been that much better with fresh though!) and I didn't have any scotch bonnet peppers on hand so I used an insanely hot pepper sauce that we have.  It did the trick.  I also added a few more onions and extra garlic, because we like them.

    I have posted the recipe below with my changes, but please feel free to head over to www.nytimes.com for the original!





    Haitian Griot
    A couple dashes of very hot sauce
    3 onions diced
    1 sweet pepper, diced
    1 T kosher salt
    1 T ground black pepper
    4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    2 T concentrated orange juice
    2 T lemon juice
    2 T lime juice
    1 T Worcestershire sauce
    Pork shoulder (3-4lbs) cut in 2" chunks
    2 T EVOO
    Cooked rice for serving
                                       
    Throw all ingredients except the EVOO in a dutch oven or heavy pot with lid and mix well.  Marinate in the fridge over night.  Remove from the fridge about 2 hours before ready to cook.  Preheat oven to 325.  On the stovetop, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then transfer in to the oven for 90 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon.  Cook the liquid over med-hi heat, simmering for about 15 minutes, or until it is reduced and thick.  Meanwhile, heat your broiler, and place the meat on a cookie sheet in one layer.  Toss with kosher salt & EVOO.  Broil for about 5 minutes, until crispy and brown but not dried out.  Serve with rice!
     
    I also served mine with an amazing bean salad that I had thrown together the previous day, and I had zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of rice since I'm doing the low(ish) carb thing.
     
    So good!!!
     

    I've Landed My Dream Job!!!

    Super quick post -


    I started today as a Territory Manager at my dream job with my dream company.  I am completely over the moon and can't believe how blessed I am to have been given this opportunity.  The company stands for everything I believe in, they participate in the community as well as give to the less fortunate world-wide, and they are the most amazing people to be surrounded by.


    What does this mean for you??  Well, the company is a specialty food distributor offering 'good for you' options - and they distribute everything.  Like literally.  Their (my?) lineup is extremely vast and covers everything for everyone.  A dream.  Pinch me.


    So going forward, I'll write some reviews on products, and give you ideas on how to use them.  I can't wait, and I hope you can't either.


    It's been a long time since I've been excited to get up in the morning and go to work...a very long time.  I feel very lucky.


    Yippee!!

    Pantry Challenge Week One Recap - Jan 31st to Feb 6th

    Ok, I've made it through week one unscathed, and I'm pumped for week two...
    Here's my very first summary, that will likely change and evolve, or disappear altogether because it takes a lot of time.  I hope it gives you some great ideas for your own money saving menu!

    A few things to note, I'm only documenting what I ate because I can't keep track of everyone.  The truth is the hubby generally eats lunch out during the week because of his job, or he skips it all together.  That come out of his personal budget though, and he's able to write things off at the end of the year, so I don't get involved. 

    My daughter usually takes leftovers, or wraps (stuffed with leftovers) or sometimes nothing at all so I'm not listing her meals either.  (Don't judge until you have to live with a teenager.)

    Dinners are eaten together, for the most part, so they are the only "family meal" listed here.

    Also, I generally do groceries near the end of the week, so this week's groceries will be used towards next week's meals.  Unfortunately I wasn't organized enough to get you last week's list, so you'll have to use your imagination.  Moving forward you'll see what I bought & how much I paid for groceries, to be used the following week.  Make sense?

    One last thing - for the sake of simplicity below, "the others" are my family members

    Here's what we ate for dinner (and what I ate for other meals) this week:



    Haitian Griot, Mixed Bean & Feta Salad, Rice

    Sunday Jan 31st
    Breakfast - scrambled eggs with tomato & red onion,  2 slices of bacon (the others ate toast as well)
    Lunch - skipped
    Dinner - Haitian Pork Griot (I ate this with bean salad and zoodles, the family ate it with bean salad & rice)

    Monday Feb 1st
    Breakfast - my usual week day smoothie (kale, coffee, almond milk, vanilla protein powder, pb2, cocoa powder, cinnamon)
    Lunch - KFC paid for by a co-worker (look, we drove 600km today; don't judge)
    Dinner - leftovers from Sunday, yum!

    Tuesday Feb 2nd
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - Butternut squash soup (I make a huge batch of soup on the weekends and portion it out in the freezer for quick lunches)
    Dinner - Cabbage Roll Casserole

    Cabbage Roll Casserole

    Wednesday Feb 3rd
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - leftover cabbage roll casserole
    Dinner - went out with co-workers because it was my last day at my current job (they paid) - more on that soon!

    Thursday Feb 4th
    Breakfast/Lunch - leftover cabbage casserole (don't judge)
    Dinner - Montana's (another ex-coworker meal.  I'm starting a new job on Monday, my dream job, so I'm getting together with friends now, while I can)


    I also made a batch of cookies on Sunday and they were incredible.  You can find the recipe here.





    Friday Feb 5th
    Breakfast - smoothie
    Lunch - went out with great friends (who also paid...I love my girls, and besides, they can expense it!)
    Dinner - Roasted Chicken with rice (for the others) and leftover bean salad for me

    Roasted Chicken




    

    Saturday Feb 6th
    Breakfast - Eggs, toast (for them), bacon
    Lunch - leftover Cabbage Casserole (listen - it's good, and I have ALOT left so I'll be eating this for while!)
    Dinner - Went out to dinner with friends for a birthday celebration (and yes, I paid this time boohoo)
    Sunday Feb 7th
    Breakfast - leftover pizza from a very late night on Saturday
    Lunch - breakfast was eaten at 1:30pm so...
    Dinner - I can't believe I'm admitting this again - cabbage casserole...


    My grocery shopping was done at No Frills on Thursday, and the total was $69.22.  I found some pretty amazing meat deals.  See below for what I picked up:

    Gatorade 24 pack @ $15.98 (this is one of those non-negotiable items that my athlete of a husband cannot live without)
    Red Wine Vinegar @ $1.29 (a pantry item we were out of)
    Rice Vinegar @ $2.99 (a pantry item we were out of)
    2% Milk @ $4.27
    Jalapeno Peppers (5) @ $2.47
    Green onions (2 bunches) @ $1.76
    Red onions (2) @ $2.56
    Bacon @ $3.99 (price matched down from $4.97)
    Beef roast @ $8.61 (this was a huge score - the regular price was $20.22, marked down to $12.30 with an additional 30% off)
    Sirloin steaks (4) @ $6.62 (another great deal - the regular price was $12.50, marked down to $9.46 with an additional 30% off)
    2 bags of chicken back attach with 4 each in the bag - one was $5.72 and one was $4.91

    I came in at $30.78 under my budget!  In addition, I got 5400 Pc plus points to go towards groceries (I now have a total of $66.77 worth of groceries saved on my card to redeem).  Not bad for my first week if I do say so myself!

    Going forward, I may take the money I save and put it in a separate savings account, maybe a vacation fund, or something of that nature.  I haven't quite decided yet.  Another idea is to just tack it on to our debt repayment each month.  For now, I'll keep in mind I have an extra $30.78 to add to another budgeted item.  I'll keep you posted.


    Wow...this was a long post.  I'll have to figure out how to shorten it.  Enjoy your week!


    The Easiest Juiciest Roasted Chicken Ever!!!

    This meal is seriously the easiest thing to throw together, and the chicken comes out perfectly juicy and roasted every time.  I swear.  Thank you www.ibreatheimhungry.com for yet again another fantastically delicious and simple recipe.  Love it!!















    4 bone-in, skin on chicken legs (with the thighs still attached)
    2 T butter
    Some of your favorite seasonings (I used David's Spicy Rub - so good!)


    Pat your legs dry, and place them in an oven dish.  Rub pats of butter under the skin, and season the top generously with whatever you choose to use.  Place them in a 300 degree oven for an hour, tightly covered with foil; baste after 30 minutes.  When the hour is up, remove them and turn your oven up to 425.  Baste the chicken again, and put them back in the oven uncovered for about 25 minutes.


    Oh my word these were SO good.  Best chicken ever!!!

    Cabbage Roll Casserole - New and Improved

    I love cabbage rolls, but hate the tediousness of making them.  It's not the ideal weeknight meal.  I also am off carbs, so the rice in the rolls doesn't interest me.  Enter the cabbage roll casserole.  Now I know I posted a similar recipe a while back (it can be found here) and although that one was tasty, I found it a little dry.  So here is my new and improved version of the original (in my opinion).

    This fits in perfectly with my pantry challenge which is awesome.  Cabbage is super cheap, I had ground beef in the freezer, and I always have pasta sauce and diced tomatoes in the pantry.  With only a few ingredients, we ended up with a huge casserole that we will likely be eating for days.  Score!


    Cabbage Casserole
    2 lbs ground beef
    3 small onions chopped
    2 cloves garlic chopped
    garlic powder
    seasoning salt
    chili flakes
    1 can pasta sauce
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 head of cabbage roughly chopped
    1 cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of old cheddar and jalapeno Monterey jack but you can use anything)

    Heat your oven to 350.  Brown the ground beef over medium heat, then add onions, garlic, and seasoning.  Add sauce & tomatoes, and fill each can with about a 1/4 c of water and dump that in with the meat as well.  Let cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes.  While that is cooking, get your chopped up cabbage in a pot with a bit of water, cover and let steam over high for 20 minutes.  When both are done, assemble your casserole.  Using a 9x13 baking dish, layer half of the cabbage, then half of the meat, the remaining cabbage and the remaining meat.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven, top with the cheese, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  That's it, that's all, dinner is ready!

    For the carb eaters of the family, I served this with rice.  For myself, I ate it as is.  Delicious!

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

    Mixed Bean & Feta Salad - Perfect Pantry Challenge Side Dish!

    I threw together an amazing mixed bean salad the other day, and I was damn proud!  I used up a couple cans of beans I had in the pantry, some feta in the fridge, and a bit of seasoning, and voila!  We have been eating it with every meal for the last three days, and honestly, I don't want it to end!

    Check out the recipe below!

    The yummy bean salad is pictured here with the Haitian Griot I made on Sunday (recipe coming soon) 
    Bean & Feta Salad
    Dressing:
    1/4 c apple cider vinegar
    2 T lime juice
    1/2 red onion, chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 T sugar
    Salad:
    1 can mixed beans
    1 can black beans
    1 can chickpeas
    1 sweet pepper, diced
    Chopped cilantro (I used the tubed variety since it keeps well for longer periods in the fridge)
    3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
    Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Mix the salad ingredients together (after draining and rinsing beans) in a large bowl.  Add dressing, combine well, and eat!
    Just a note - any beans would work with this salad.  Use what you have, it'll be just as fabulous.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

    The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe - Foolproof and Delicious

    In the spirit of saving money, and doing more home cooking/baking rather than buying packaged goods, I baked a batch of cookies this week.  Truth be told, the baking is usually left to the hubby since he's amazing at it, but I took it on this time, and these babies are epic.  Chewy in the right places, perfectly speckled with chocolate chips - just amazing.  Try them for yourself and let me know what you think!



    Epic Chocolate Chip Cookies
    3/4 c sugar
    3/4 c brown sugar
    1 c butter
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 c flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 c chocolate chips                                                                                                 
    Preheat your oven to 375.  Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add the flour and baking soda and mix well.  Stir in your chocolate chips.  Using a tablespoon to scoop up the dough, roll into balls and place on a non-stick cookie sheet.  They don't spread too much in the oven so you can place them fairly close together.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Eat!  Fall in love!                             
     

    Monday, February 1, 2016

    Join Me For a Pantry Challenge and Saving Money!

    Have you heard of the pantry challenge?  If not, please go to goodcheapeats.com asap.  Jessica Fisher, the author of this ingenious website, has come up with the pantry challenge, which she and her very large family participate in several times a year.  It started out of necessity several years ago, and now has become something she does every once in a while to clean up her freezer and pantry, and to of course, save money!

    I'm gearing up for something like this myself, and my start date is Feb 1st.  I've always wanted to do one, and I've always wanted to blog about it, but there's a huge fear of being held accountable.  Yes, I said it.  I do not want to let my readers down, or worse, be judged, or much worse, fail! 

    I do however want to save money, lower my grocery bill, and use up things that we already have.  I currently spend about $600/month on groceries.  I live with my hubby and daughter full time, and my step-daughter is with us every other weekend and occasionally during the week depending on her mother's schedule.  Both girls are teenagers, both are very active, and both have big appetites.  Hubby is an enthusiastic carnivore who often asks 'where's the meat??' if (god-forbid) he's served a vegetarian dinner.

    We eat a lot of meat, veggies, and carbs (for them - I stay away from carbs).  I love to cook (as you know) and we get bored very easily with repetitive meals.  I generally shop the 50% off meat at my local grocery store, and throw it in the freezer.  Last week I scored a huge pork shoulder for $1.49/lb.  This week it was .99/lb!!  I should have waited.  Oh well.

    So for February I'm going to ease into this without too many rules.  I want to use what I have, I want to shop smarter, and I'd like to come in under $500 for the month's grocery bill.  If that works out, I'd like to try for $400 in March.  As the warmer months come, it should be easier to reduce the bill thanks to our epic Farmer's Market...but lets see how long I last on this, shall we? 

    Just a note - I'm not going to include non-food items that I purchase at the grocery store, like toothpaste, bathroom tissue, paper towel, etc.

    If you'd like to join me in this challenge, I suggest you check out a few more amazing websites to prepare; budgetbytes.com and onehundreddollarsamonth.com are both incredible sites to help get you started on your own money saving journey.  Along with Good Cheap Eats, these sites offer simple recipes, DYI projects, and so many money saving tips.  They have completely inspired and motivated me, and now it's time to do something about it!

    To prepare myself for my start date, I have taken stock of everything I have in both my kitchen freezer and deep freezer, as well as all 3 of my pantries.  I have one pantry in the kitchen that mainly holds seasoning, flour, current cookies and cereal being eaten, etc, and I have 2 in the basement that hold the overflow.

    I have browsed endlessly on Pinterest planning meals that can be made with my stock pile, and will continue to do so throughout the challenge.  I'm not sure that "challenge" is an appropriate word since I'd like this to be a new way of life for me and my family, but the word adds some competitiveness and fun to the situation so I'll keep it.

    There are some things I already do to save money.  I used to be very big into couponing, but just don't have the time for it anymore.  I still take advantage of an amazing app on my phone to price match though.  If you don't have flipp, I suggest you download it now.  Trust me.  I also wash out my Ziploc bags (both freezer and sandwich) as long as there wasn't any raw meat in them.  And as I mentioned above, most of my meat (and cheese, and bread, and anything else I can find) has a beautiful pink 50% off sticker on the packaging.

    With the rising cost of food, I think a challenge like this will help reign in the spending and make me more conscious of what I am spending my money on.  I have always used budgetsimple.com to keep me on track, so it will be nice to see the grocery fund go down in number, and I'll be using the savings to put towards our debt.

    I'll still post recipes throughout the week, like always, but I'll also post a weekly recap showing you what we ate for the week, and what I spent just so you can see how I'm doing (and so that I can remain accountable. The horror).  My hope is to give you some ideas on how to save money, perhaps inspire you to do the same, and of course to fatten my wallet.  Wish me luck...we'll be in touch!



    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Perfect Prime Rib

    I went on my weekly grocery trip today and carried on as I usually do - taking my time walking up and down the aisles, checking out new products, sales, price matching deals...browsing the meat section....picking up a prime rib roast for 50% off...wait, what?  YES.  50% off people.  I picked up a beautifully marbled, perfectly pink, succulent 5lb prime rib roast for $20.  Like whoa.

    There was a whole bin of 50% off roasts, but damnit my deep freezer is full.  Otherwise I swear to you I would've bought at least ten.  No lie. 

    Prime rib is a funny thing - it's crazy expensive, and exceptionally delicious.  What some people may not realize though is that it's so easy to prepare.  People seem to be intimidated by this gorgeous hunk of beef.  It's an elite cut, something generally served for special occasions only.  Something that novice chefs shy away from.  Don't be afraid guys, do not be afraid.  Prime rib is very likely one of the easiest cuts of meat to prepare, and it packs a huge wow factor.  Your guests, family, heck even your dog will be so impressed when they see what's for dinner, you need not tell them you did very little to prepare the dish.

    So here we go, are you ready?  All you need is garlic, good olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  That's it.  Rub down your meat with the seasoning, pop it in the oven at a high heat for 15 minutes, than low for about 16 minutes per pound for medium rare, or 13 minutes per pound for rare.  Take it out of the oven, let it rest for 30 minutes, and ta da.  How easy is that?  And at 50% off?  C'mon guys, you can definitely do this. 




    Perfect Prime Rib
    4 cloves of garlic minced
    2T EVOO
    2T kosher salt
    2T freshly cracked black pepper
    5lb Prime rib roast

    Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl.  Lovingly rub down your roast with them and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight in the fridge.  If in the fridge, remove and place on counter 3 hours before cooking.  Preheat oven to 500.  Place roast bone side down (fat side up) in roasting pan and cook 15 minutes.  Lower the temperature to 325 and continued cooking based on preference.  As mentioned above, 16 minutes per pound for medium rare, 13 minutes per pound for rare.  To be sure, use a meat thermometer.  Rare should read at about 115 degrees, and medium should read 120-130.  Once your baby is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and place on a cutting board - tent it with foil.  Let it rest 30 minutes before carving.  Slice into that hunk of loving, and savor every bite - you deserve it, you've worked so hard (at least tell people that.) 



    My daughter chose to have her portion with rice - she can eat plain rice everyday; she's odd like that

    The hubby and I had ours with spaghetti squash.  This is his plate; with a huge pat of garlic butter on top

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Budget Friendly Balsamic Chicken Thighs

    With the new year upon us, I am making an extra effort to save money and stick to a budget.  I've always been pretty strict with my budgeting, and have used Budget Simple for years, but often my food purchases trump all other priorities.  Let's face the facts, I love food.  Grocery shopping is an experience for me.   It is very rare that you will catch me rushing through the aisles grabbing things.  I like to look, and feel, and smell.

    Alas, this year will be different.  I am going to challenge myself to make meals that my family loves, and that we can comfortably afford.  I'm going to make a game of it; how much money can I really save?  I bet tons.

    I came across a blog called Budget Bytes last year and have been following it religiously for several months.  Beth, the author, prides herself with cooking on a budget, and boy is she ever amazing at it.  I love her recipes - they are quick and easy, and use pantry staples with the occasional "splurge". 

    I made her Balsamic Chicken Thighs tonight, and they were amazing (not that I'm surprised!).


    The only change I made was using bone-in chicken thighs rather than boneless. This picture is from her website, and her recipe is below, although I removed the parsley - I don't really garnish any of my recipes.  Yes, they make the dish look beautiful, it's just not my thing. 

    Make sure you check out the rest of her fabulous blog - there are hundreds of wallet friendly recipes on there.  There's no excuse not to eat well on a budget!

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    2 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 Tbsp soy sauce
    Freshly cracked black pepper
    4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
    Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
     
    Mince the garlic and combine it in a bowl with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill). Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish or heavy duty zip top bag and pour the marinade over top. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 1 to 8 hours. (You can do this before you leave for work in the morning.)  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the chicken and marinade into a baking dish. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Use a spoon or baster to bathe the chicken with the juices from the bottom of the dish once or twice during baking.  Remove the chicken from the oven after 45 minutes and sprinkle a handful of freshly chopped parsley over top.
    Notes
    This marinade would be enough to flavor six boneless, skinless chicken thighs, if needed.
     
    Full disclosure-  I have never met or spoken to Beth, I'm just obsessed with her blog.  I hope you love it (and this recipe) as much as I do!

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    Crunchy Spicy Pork Chops- Baked, not Fried!

    I love pork chops - they are fairly cheap, and easy to prepare - so they are on the dinner rotation quite often.  I get tired of the same recipes though.  There's the tried and true Chinese Pork Chops, I make these a lot.  And of course there's the trusty list of pork recipes that I refer to time and time again.  But sometimes you just want something different.  Something new.  You get tired of the same old. 

    That's where these babies come in.  If you like spicy (or even if you don't, the spice factor can be adjusted to your taste), and you like the whole breaded/fried taste without the actual frying part, you will love these. 

    A word of advice - make extra gravy!  The gravy is to die for.  When my daughter first tasted the gravy, she squealed 'Moooommm!!  I could drink this stuff!!'  Needless to say I did make extra, and it's in a mason jar in the fridge as we speak.  It can be used for fries, chicken fingers, anything really - it's the bomb.  (Do people still say that?  The bomb?  I can't keep up..)

    The chops were simple and quick, and the hands-off oven time is my favorite part.  I served these along side a mixed garden salad with feta and balsamic glaze dressing.

    Enjoy!!



    Spicy Baked Pork Chops
     
    4 bone-in pork chops
    2c panko
    1/2c hot sauce (I used Frank's)
    2 eggs, beaten
    1T Cajun seasoning
    1T each black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, hot paprika
    For the Gravy:
    3c beef broth
    3T flour
    2T EVOO
    2T butter
    2 tsp each of Cajun seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
    A couple dashes of hot sauce (I used Franks)
     
    Mix seasoning blend (Cajun, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and hot paprika) in a bowl.  Remove 1T to add to the panko crumbs later.  With remaining seasoning, add eggs, and hot sauce and mix well.  Pour over chops in a large Ziploc and let marinate for at least an hour.  Mix panko with the remaining 1T of seasoning.  When marinating is complete, preheat oven to 425.   Dredge chops in panko blend on both sides, and place on a rack sitting on a cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the gravy.  Add butter and EVOO to a pan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour, seasonings, and hot sauce, and slowly whisk in broth.  Mix well, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
     
    Serve the chops hot out of the oven with the divine gravy on top.  So good!!!
     

    Friday, January 8, 2016

    Best Chicken Recipes of 2015!

    I've decided to join the blogging crowd with the 'best of' lists.  Ya ya I know I'm a little late - but what's that they say?  Better late than never?  Thought so.  Over the next few weeks I will post the best recipes of a specific genre...in this case, chicken.  What constitutes them as being labeled the best you ask?  Well, I say so.  My family says so.  And Pinterest agrees, so they must be the best.

    Sit back and enjoy, and try a few out for yourself this year.  Happy New Year to you all!  May it be filled with love, laughter, and everything you have dreamed of!


    

    This Orange Chicken from A Dash of Insanity is to die for.  It's fairly quick and easy, and you can switch it up - I didn't have chicken breasts so I used boneless thighs.  I've even used bone-in whole thighs and changed the cooking time.  The sauce is amazing so don't skimp; I usually double it.  Add some broccoli and rice and you have a complete meal!


    If you're looking for something a little more sinful, these Korean fried chicken wings are a must.  Full disclosure - this is not a quick weeknight meal.  Plan for it, take your time, and add a little love - these babies will not disappoint.  Don't skip the vodka, it's essential in this recipe.  In fact take a shot for yourself to help calm the nerves.  Trust me.


    Ahh pasta.  The ultimate in comfort.  And carbs.  Ok no, let's just focus on the comfort shall we?  This pasta trumps all others in my house.  It's Spinach Dip Chicken Pasta.  It's warm, and comforting and pretty easy to throw together, and even the pickiest eaters love it.  If you have someone in your life who doesn't like onions (like I do), blend them up after sautéing.  Delicious.


    And I wouldn't be me if I didn't include a soup.  I love soups.  They are the perfect warm meal on a cold Canadian day - and believe me we have a LOT of cold Canadian days. This Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder from Cooking Classy is by far the best chowder I have ever made, and it pops up often on our lunch and dinner table.  When I'm low carbin' it I used cauliflower instead of the potatoes.  I've even subbed sweet potatoes and it's been just as amazing.  Whip up a pot of these and curl up on the sofa, pure bliss.

    So there you have it folks, the best chicken recipes (in my household) of 2015.  Enjoy!