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 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.
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.


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 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 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!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fantastic Pea Salad

I love peas, but I hate when they become mushy and over handled.  This recipe is perfect because it uses frozen peas (easy!) but the trick is mixing everything together when the peas aren't quite defrosted.  The end result is a delicious pea salad with that "pop" that I love when you bite into a perfectly cooked fresh pea.  So good.  Thank you Ree Drummond, my favorite Pioneer Woman, for your version of this recipe.   I only tweaked it slightly, but I know your original recipe must have been delicious!!!

Easy Pea Salad
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1 T mayo
salt and pepper
1 T vinegar
1 T white sugar
3 cups frozen peas just barely thawed
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

Mix everything together and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.  Easy, quick, and delicious!!!