Monday, March 31, 2008

Honey Teryaki Chicken

I got this recipe from a good friend just a couple of months ago, when I was searching for something to bring to a themed Scout Pack Meeting. I tried it, and loved it. When my friend made it for her family the first time, her husband asked her if she had gotten takeout! It is that delicious, and easy to make.


2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken breast
2-3 T. oil
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2/3 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. honey
2 T. apple juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
sesame seeds

Cut chicken into 2 inch squares. Add oil to skillet over medium high heat. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a paper sack or large plastic bag. Add chicken and shake to coat. Add chicken to skillet, and cook, turning as needed, for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, honey, juice, garlic, and ginger in a small pan and bring to a boil. Cook briefly and set aside. Remove chicken from oil and place in a baking dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over chicken and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken, and serve with rice.

Salsa Chicken and Black Beans

LOVE this one. Not only does it use black beans and fresh salsa, but it's cooked in the crockpot! Can't get better than that!


2-3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 pint fresh salsa
1 can black beans

Place chicken in crockpot, followed by salsa and black beans. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is tender. Shred chicken mixture with two forks. Serve inside warm tortillas (both flour and corn are delicious with it--they can also be lightly browned in oil first if desired), sour cream, guacamole, cheese, and any other garnishings of your choice.

Breaded Lemon Chicken

This is a yummy recipe that is fancy enough for company, but simple enough for everyday. I credit this recipe with helping Ryan learn how to eat chicken, and like it. :)


4 halves chicken breast, skinless and boneless
3/4 c. bread crumbs (I use the Italian kind)
1/2 c. Parmesan, grated
4 1/2 tsp. parsley
1 ranch dressing mix packet
1/3 c. butter, melted
3 T. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. paprika

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, and parsley in a shallow dish or pie plate. Combine the butter, lemon juice, and garlic in another pie plate. Dip each chicken breast into butter mixture, then roll in the crumb mixture. Place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with remaining butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Wow, this recipe brings back a lot of memories. My mom made us ice cream quite a bit when we were young, and it was a family tradition to make it on the 4th of July and eat it while we were watching fireworks. I was so excited when I bought our ice cream maker, and we use it frequently. We pulled it out for the first time since the late fall/early winter yesterday, and it was delicious! I really can't wait for spring and summer, when we can make this all the time and enjoy it outside! This is one of the best I've found, and I love that it doesn't have eggs in it. I'm just not a fan of using eggs, and prefer the taste without them.


2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. half and half
1 1/2 T. vanilla
5 c. whipping cream

Scald milk until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat. Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved. Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Freeze as directed.

*I usually switch the amounts of whipping cream and half and half, just to make it lower in fat. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Southern Cornbread

Oooooh, just reading the name makes me hungry for cornbread! This is my grandmother's recipe, and it's baked in a cast iron skillet. It does have a different texture than a "northern" cornbread, which is typically more cake-y. This is so good with any type of chili, and any other time you want it!


1 3/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 c. sugar
2 c. milk
2 beaten eggs
1/3 c. oil

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, and the milk and eggs in another bowl. Combine both bowls into one large bowl. In a 400 degree preheated oven, heat oil in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet. When oil is hot, pour into the batter and stir with a fork. The batter will be very runny. Pour the batter into the hot pan and return to the oven. Bake about 30 minutes or until the center turns golden.

15 Minute Chicken Chili

Can I tell you how much I love recipes that I can make in under 30 minutes? From start to finish, this chili takes even less than that! I don't remember where I found this recipe, but I'm sure glad I did! This is yummy to serve in bowls with cornbread, inside a bread bowl, or even over baked potatoes. It's perfect for that chilly fall or winter day!


1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2-2 T. chili powder
1 1/2-2 T. cumin
2-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1-15 oz. can diced green chilies
yellow whole kernel corn, frozen or canned
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, saute chicken in oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir in chili powder and cumin to coat chicken. Saute 3-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, then heat through. Serves 4.

Hot Spinach Pasta Salad

This is one of my very favorites EVER! One of my good friend's mom created this recipe, after having something similar in a restaurant. We love to make this when we get together for lunch. It delicious right when you make it, plus the leftovers are amazing!


8 oz. penne pasta (or farfalle)
Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6-8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 package baby spinach


1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. vinegar
salt and pepper

Place rinsed spinach in a large bowl. Saute onion and red pepper in a skillet while the pasta is cooking., Add both the pasta and vegetables to the spinach while hot, so the spinach will wilt. Add bacon and feta cheese, the toss with dressing. Serve hot or cold.

Dill Dip

This is delicious for every veggie, and is really yummy with artichokes. It's also great with crackers and chips.


1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1-8 oz. carton sour cream
2 T. finely chopped green onion
2-4 T. freshly snipped dill, or 3-4 tsp. dried dillweed (or to taste...I like a lot!)
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Milk (optional, if necessary)

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, dill, green onions, and seasoned salt with an electric mixer on low speend until fluffy. Cover and chill 1-24hours. If dip thickens after chilling, you can stir in 1-2 T. milk if you'd like. Serve with vegetables, crackers, or chips.

Traditional Buttercream Frosting

I LOVE homemade frosting. My mom taught me the basic recipe when I was young, and I never even knew there was such thing as canned frosting! I have now tweaked it, and made it enough times to come up with this recipe. I think there's a myth that making frosting takes a long time, but it only takes minutes, and WELL worth the effort. It completely changes the taste of your dessert, and once you switch over you can't go back!! It's wonderful on cakes, cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, and I even use it for gingerbread houses!


4ish cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
whole milk
dash salt

Place the powdered sugar and butter in large mixing bowl, and begin beating with a handmixer on medium speed. Slowly add milk, until you receive desired consistency. If you realize it's not enough frosting, add more powdered sugar and then milk until it's as much you need. It should be on the thicker side, but not too thick. Add salt and vanilla to taste, and mix well. Once completely mixed, turn the speed up and beat the frosting for another 30 seconds or so. This makes it creamy, and easier to spread.

*I also like using other extracts, depending on what I'm making. Some of my favorites are lemon, mint, and almond.
**To make chocolate frosting, whisk together cocoa with the powdered sugar before adding butter and milk. You can keep on adding cocoa until it's the desired chocolatey-ness.

Dashboard Cake

I've used this recipe forever, but this name was created just last Sunday! We were invited to another family's home for dinner, and I made this cake to bring for dessert. We were almost there, when the cake started sliding, and I made the move to try and get it to a safe place. The car jerked a little, and the cake ran right into the dashboard, taking a big chunk out of the side. When I explained what happened to the other families, it was immediately christened "Dashboard Cake". I think the name is here to stay!
This cake is incredibly moist, with kind of a crunchy crust. It's also extremely versatile, and you can change the flavor of the cake to meet your needs (or mood :)) very easily.


1 Dark Fudge cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines, but you can use any brand)
1 package chocolate instant pudding (regular-sized box)
4 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. oil
1 1/2 c. water
chocolate chips (I like to use the large Ghirardelli chips)

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips on low speed for about 30 seconds, then beat on a higher speed for 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Spray a bundt pan with cookin spray, then coat with granulated sugar. Pour cake batter into pan and place in a 375 degree preheated oven. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (check the toothpick closely--you may stick it into a melted chocolate chip, and think it's not done yet). Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before flipping onto your cake plate. Make a traditional chocolate buttercream frosting, then melt it in the microwave for a few seconds until you cam drizzle it over the cake. YUM!

*I also love using a lemon cake mix and lemon pudding, then serving with a lemon buttercream frosting. Place raspberries in the center of the cake and top with fresh mint.

Almond Green Beans in Garlic Butter

We eat this at least once a week! I believe in introducing new seasonings and herbs to my kids at an early age. With my first, I was very hesitant to give him anything other than bland food. He turned out to be quite a picky eater, and while I have no proof of any correlation, I have decided to do things much differently with my girls. This recipe is actually Kate's favorite, and she can't eat them fast enough! I love that they all love garlic, because I adore it!


Fresh or frozen green beans, in whichever amount you choose
Garlic, minced
Sliced Almonds
Salt and Pepper

Cook the green beans in just enough water to cover them, just until barely cooked, and still a little on the crisp side. Drain, and immediately place in ice water to stop them from continuing to cook.
Place a little butter and the garlic in a saucepan, and then saute the almonds in this mixture until browned. Reheat the green beans for a few seconds until warm, then pour the garlic butter and almonds over the top and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pizza in a Can

This is a great meal for kids--they love the fact that they can create their own pizza, but it doesn't take any extra effort on your part! I have also added some ideas to make it more adult-friendly, and I think you'll really like it.


1 can Pillsbury Grand biscuits
Pizza sauce
mozzarella, colby jack, or cheese of your choice
toppings of your choice

Preheat oven according to can directions. On an ungreased cookie sheet, lay the biscuits down and press them down with your fingers until flattened. Layer with sauce, cheese, and any toppings. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
* For the adult palate, try using fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and fresh herbs--including flat leaf parsley, basil, or even a little mint. Drizzle with olive oil and bake as directed.

Ranchero Beef

This is a new family favorite! It's a spin-off from a good friend's recipe, but I wanted to try something a little different last night. This is a crockpot recipe, which I love. It's just so nice to throw it in first thing in the morning, and just have a few minutes of prep before dinner. I wish I had a picture to show!


1 2-4 lb. roast, thawed (I used a Beef Round Tip Roast, cap off)
1 large can enchilada sauce (you can also use a package of enchilada mix & water)

Place the thawed beef inside the crockpot, and pour the enchilada sauce over it. Cook it on low until it's falling apart, about 6 hours. Take two forks and shred it, then set the temp to warm until time to eat.
In the meantime, fry either flour or corn tortillas in oil over medium high heat until lightly browned. Place between paper towels to drain extra grease.
To serve, place meat inside tortillas, with cheese, onions, tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole.