Friday, July 11, 2014

Sauteed Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce

This delicious chicken can really be done and on the table with simple sides in 30 minutes. Not to bad for a weeknight meal. But this weeknight meal is good enough for Sunday Dinner or company. You will probably have everything in the fridge/freezer to made this great dish.

Sauteed Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce
2-3 small boneless skinless chicken breast
(1 used one large breast and pounded it to a uniform thickness--not necessary with smaller pieces of meat. You want meat close to the same thickness so it will cook uniform--you your good judgement.)
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth--I didn't have any open so I used hot water and 1/4 teaspoon concentrated chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 scant tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon--a yummy underused spice. 2 tablespoons of garden fresh basil would have been yummy instead of the dried tarragon

Assemble all ingredient before beginning. Add oil to skillet, I used a heavy stainless steel skillet, set at medium heat for about 2 minutes till oil is smoking. Add chicken that has been salted and peppered to hot pan. Reduce heat to a medium low and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. You want the chicken nice and brown and about 165 degrees. Remember meat continues to cook a few degrees after you take it off the heat. Remove the chicken to a warm plate and tent with foil.
Add chicken broth to hot pan stir up browned bits on the bottom of the pan, this is where the flavor hangs out.continue to stir and to reduce by half, it happens quickly. Add cream, desired herb, Dijon Mustard stir and reduce till slightly thick--it will also thicken as it cools Check for seasonings.. Slice your meat in serving size portions. Drizzle mustard cream over chicken.
I served this quick meal with microwaved carrots,sprinkled with a little brown sugar, butter and an oh so small amount of fresh Rosemary. Steamed baby spinach just needed a few drops of red wine vinegar.
One excellent meal in just 30 minutes.
Printable Recipe
This recipe comes from Everyday Food--Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart
Also on one of my favorite Blogs Let's Dish, Danelle always has something yummy on her blog--check it out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chopped Summer Salad

I pinned this salad ages ago--it looked so fresh and good. It's a perfect mix of a chopped salad and a pasta salad. I took it to dinner group and it was a hit. I picked our first ripe tomato today--perfect timing for this summer salad.
Chopped Summer Salad
4 cups cooked Ditalini pasta, chilled
1 cup crisp cooked and crumbled bacon
6 cups sliced romaine lettuce
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 carrots, julienne sliced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch sliced green onions
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or Feta cheese
2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional)
Sweet Italian Dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Cook pasta in salted water, drain and chill. I added a few tablespoons of the dressing to the pasta as it chilled, it made it more flavorful. Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl or platter. Dress the salad just before serving--no one likes a soggy salad! For the dressing mix the vinegar and seasonings together, slowly add olive oil--I used an immersion blender to mix the dressing. A food processor or blender would also work. This dressing is amazing, it will keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator so you might want to make extra. I tasted this dressing and imagined dipping warm Rosemary Bread in it. It is yummy.
Inspired by a recipe from the blog of The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's a Quilt!

Sweet Lydia turned 8 a few months ago. She has patiently waited for me to finish this quilt. I purchased a yard of cute dog fabric years ago--thinking I would make a boy quilt with it. Lydia saw the fabric and fell in love with it (she is a dog lover), she wanted her quilt to include this fabric.
The challenge began--how do I turn a small amount of doggie fabric into a quilt for a cute 8 year old gal. Thanks to the help of my friends at The Quiltmakers this is what I came up with. I'm happy with it and I think Miss Lydia will love it!
Several years ago after a back surgery my sweet friend Linda stopped by. She gave me a beautiful quilt, I have loved it every day. It says 'comfort' every time I snuggle up in it. This quilt provided the inspiration for Lydia's quilt.
Finished quilt is 40x60 inches. Fabric and long arm quilting from The Quiltmakers. Soft minky fabric is on the back and I love the striped bias binding. I had to refer to the binding tutorial on The Old Red Barn Co. This step by step tutorial helped me achieve beautiful mitered corners.  Oh it is good to finish a project!


Lydia is on the right--quite grown up! At Uncle Packers Wedding in Utah, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Great Grains Mini Muffin

I love muffins for breakfast/brunch, they are just a good thing to wake up to. But often muffins are frosted or glazed and really just shout 'dessert', this is fine by me. Occasionally I want something a bit more 'healthy'. Now these probably don't count as health food but they do have whole grains, dried fruit, nuts and yes butter. These 'better for you muffins' are delicious.
The recipe comes from my favorite cookbook,  Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I have made over 60 recipes from this cookbook and only had one failure--and that was my error. This is a great basic cookbook--Dorie is a wonderful teacher.
My favorite dried fruit mix comes from King Arthur Flour. It is their 'fruitcake mix', don't let the word fruitcake scare you. I like it because the dried fruit is chopped so you get little bits of goodness in every bite. It is delicious in cookies, granola, breads and yes, fruitcake. I also like a Berries and Cherries mix sold in the grocery store. But you have to cut the fruit and dried fruit is difficult to chop! Now you know way to much about dried fruit!

Great Grains Mini Muffins
1 cup flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, 8 tablespoons, melted and cooled
3/4 cup dried fruit
3/4 cup chopped nuts
In a large bowl whisk together the first 8 ingredients. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, syrup, eggs and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix quickly but gently with a rubber scraper. Batter may be a bit lumpy, please never over mix muffins.Stir in the dried fruit and nuts. Using a small scoop fill mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes. Makes about 36 mini muffins. Twelve regular size muffins bake for 18-20 minutes.
Printable Recipe

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Queso Dip

We had dinner last night with my brother and his 5 growing children, it was the perfect opportunity to make a batch of Queso. I had a Costco size bag of chips and everything in the fridge to make this easy dip. The 5 children and numerous adults deemed this amazing.
Best served from a Crock Pot on a warm setting. I used yellow American Cheese (I didn't want to go to multiple stores looking for white) although I have found it in the Deli at Walmart. I didn't use the cilantro or tomato (picky eaters). If making it for myself I would use plenty of both cilantro and tomato!

Queso Dip
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 medium jalapeno, finely diced
1 caned green chile, finely diced
10 ounces white American cheese, shredded  (purchase at deli counter)
6 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 Roma tomato, seeds removed, finely diced

Heat oil in a medium pan. Cook the onion and Jalapeno pepper until soft. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in the green chile, add the cheese and milk. Stir until mostly melted. Stir in the cilantro and tomato. Serve warm with chips.
Printable Recipe
Adapted from a recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread

We had 16 for breakfast today, yes it seems like a lot but it is only half of our family! I love to have an excuse to make food that is impractical for empty-nesters. Today was the day to make Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread. It feeds a crowd and is delicious. This recipe has been around for years. It came from Pampered Chef--probably with their Stoneware Bundt Pan. I purchased it years ago, it was the beginning of my Bundt Pan addiction. I have decided that one can never have enough Bundt Pans!

Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread
1 orange
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus
5 tablespoons melted butter
18 frozen bread dough rolls, thawed
1/3 cup pancake syrup
Spray a Bundt Pan (or 2 loaf pans) with Pam. Zest orange. Combine zest and sugar, rub between your fingers until mixed--it will smell amazing. Add cinnamon. Cut each thawed roll in half using a sharp knife of kitchen shears. Dip each half in melted butter and roll in sugar mixture. Arrange half of the rolls in pan, drizzle with half of the syrup, repeat. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until about double in size. My oven has a 'dough proofing' setting, it works.
Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully invert on a serving platter. Serve warm.
Printable Recipe

These two don't eat much--yet!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

BBQ Chicken Salad

This tasty salad comes together quickly. The dressing uses ingredients you probably have on hand. It is a simple salad with a delicious flavor. If you can get hold of garden fresh corn and tomatoes this will be awesome (if not your local market will have what you need year round, still yummy).  Grill your chicken and it will smell like you spent hours on dinner! This is one amazing summer meal.
This could be a 30 minute meal with a little advance prep and a sous chef!!

BBQ Chicken Salad
BBQ Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  The dressing was quite thick, feel free to thin it with a bit of additional buttermilk, milk, or water.

Salad Ingredients
Chopped Romaine
1 diced cucumber
1 cup corn--if you are grilling your chicken it would be great to grill an ear of corn or two, Yummy!
1 fresh tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 carrot julienne strips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1-2 cups grilled chicken, thinly sliced
Frito's, crushed tortilla chips or cute colored corn strips--it is the crunch you are after.
Printable Recipe

 I can't remember where I found this Dressing Recipe--when I do I will give credit. The salad is pretty much what I had in the house the day I made it. It was a great combo!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mini Meat Loaves

Occasionally I will make a meal that will surprise even me! Now I am not a meatloaf lover, I don't really love meat. But..I have made Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf  with success. However--a big meatloaf is just too much for two and Greg didn't like the bacon on it (really)? So I tried a recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe for mini meat loaves and liked the concept. Now this is what is fun about cooking; I took what I liked about each recipe and came up with one incredible dish! I guess the moral of the story is, use excellent resources and you are bound to get a winner.
Why do I like this recipe? It is quick enough for a week night meal. It feeds our smaller family with leftovers for lunch (the leftovers were excellent I might add). Double it for a larger family. I like the crispy ends of meatloaf--this is almost all crispy ends, but there is plenty of tender burger in the middle. It is portion controlled--portion control is always a good thing, especially when something is so tasty that overeating would be easy!

Mini Meat Loaves
2-3 slices white bread
1/2 cup milk
1 pound lean ground meat (I did half ground beef and half ground pork)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
2 eggs, beaten
Tear bread in large bowl, pour milk over it and let sit for a few minutes. Add cheese, seasonings and eggs. Mix well. Add meat and mix together. Shape into 5 mini loaves. In a nonstick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of oil until shimmering. Carefully place mini loaves in hot pan. Cook 3-4 minutes until nice and brown, turn and cook another couple of minutes. Remove loaves and place on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes until cooked through or 160 degrees on a quick read thermometer.
While baking glaze meat with the following mixture:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Serve meat with leftover sauce.
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wild Potato Topper

This fits in the 'why didn't I think of it' category! This yummy topping was served on baked potatoes at a Relief Society Birthday Party I attended with my sweet Mom. What a great way to serve toppings for baked potatoes--all in one dish.  This is not really rocket science but it is one great idea, and it is delicious.

Wild Potato Topper
1/2 pound butter--softened
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 cup sour cream (remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before using)
1 cup grated cheese--I used sharp
3 green onions--minced
1/2 cup crisp cooked bacon
Using a mixer beat butter till light, fold in seasoning salt, sour cream, cheese, onions and bacon. Store in refrigerator--remove 30 minutes before serving. Serve on baked or steamed potatoes. I'm sure it would be delicious on any steamed veggie!
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Birthday Party Chicken

This delicious dish was served at my mothers Relief Society Birthday Party. Mom was kind enough to invite me--the food was excellent, the company divine and the program was amazing. Glad I went. I had to have the recipe and the gals that made it were kind enough to share. So here is Birthday Party Chicken, it will be followed by Wild Topper for Baked potatoes. Stay tuned Yummy!

Birthday Party Chicken
Crush 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers
Add:1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs, 3/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon Paprika and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and pour into a pie plate.
3-4 chicken breasts, rinse and pat dry. Put chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness, 3/4 to 1/2 inches--depending on size of chicken breasts. Cut in half--across width.
Melt 1 cube of butter in a shallow dish.
Dredge chicken in crumbs, then butter, then back in crumbs. Coat generously. Place chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Top with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese. Cover pan tightly with a double thickness of foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Prepare to eat one amazing dish! It was tender and perfectly done.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce

Last August we visited Amber and her family. She made this amazing dessert for us and was kind enough to take a photo for me. I didn't want to blog about it in August because rhubarb is hard to find in Utah--in August. Well I am happy to say that our rhubarb plant is thriving right now. It is the perfect time to share this yummy recipe.
I made the recipe for Sunday Dinner today and it was a hit. It is a wonderfully moist cake with tart bits of rhubarb. A crumbly streusel tops the cake and you top it off with a Warm Vanilla Sauce (that is good enough to eat by the spoonful). Perfect dessert.
I combined recipes I found on All recipes and Mel Kitchen CafĂ©.

Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb, I used the most red pieces/ends, next time I want to use 2 1/2 cups
In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt, set aside. In a large bowl mix together soft butter and sugar, I did this by hand. Add egg and beat. Gently add flour alternately with buttermilk. Don't over mix. Fold in chopped rhubarb. Spread in a 9x9 inch pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Top wit Streusel Topping.
Bake in a 350 oven for 40-45 minutes or until light brow and toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Cake serves 6-8. Drizzle Warm Vanilla Sauce on plated cake slices.

Streusel Topping
3 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
Mix all together in a small bowl, set aside.

Warm Vanilla Sauce
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter, add sugar and evaporated milk. Stir and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
Photo by Amber Linderman Photography

Friday, May 16, 2014

Perfect Pretzel Bites and Cheese Dip

Hello again! Jill here, hacking my cute mama's blog to add one of my favorite recipes. These little pretzel bites have become a staple at our house.  I usually make them for a snack, but when my carnivorous husband is at work, I will even make a batch for dinner along side some carrot sticks and apple sauce. They have a thin, crispy outside, and perfectly chewy inside...The very thing that foodie dreams are made of. No joke.

The recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe...I love this blog. I like to think if we were neighbors, Mel and I would be very best friends.  Next time you have an hour, take a chance to look through her fabulous recipe index. I have never made anything from her site that I didn't love!

Mel has great instructions and a helpful step-by-step picture tutorial for putting the recipe together. I've probably made these 25 times (totally not exaggerating) in the last few months, and they turn out perfect every single time.

What's fun about these pretzel bites is that the variations are endless! I usually sprinkle some of them with cinnamon sugar after they come out of the oven. Kid love that! Last night, sprinkled some of my favorite Penzy's salad seasoning on before baking them and the flavor was amazing.

Every good pretzel needs cheese sauce for dipping. I'm pretty sure I've read it as a law somewhere...I'll get back to you on that one.  I have a basic recipe I use to get started, then throw in whatever different cheese I have on hand (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Swiss, fresh Parmesan, etc.)  to add a little zing!

1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Dash Worcestershire Sauce (up to an 1/8 tsp, but usually I just sprinkle a few drops in)
1 1/2 - 2 cups cheese, depending on what you have.  I always use at least 1 cup of cheddar, then add whatever else I have on hand. Be sure you take into account the strength in flavor of your cheese. If you have extra sharp cheddar, you'll need much less than if you are using medium.  

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux. Pour in the milk and stir until the mixture thickens. Stirring constantly, mix in cheese, Worcestershire, and garlic powder. Continue to cook and stir until cheese has melted and all ingredients are well blended, about 5 minutes. 

*** A helpful few tips***
- If you add your cheese and feel like your sauce is too thick, just add a little milk a teaspoon at a time until you get your desired consistency.
- Don't use pre-shredded cheese. these cheeses are typically coated with a flour/cornstarch mixture and don't melt well.
- If you want to add a little kick, sprinkle in a scant amount of cayenne pepper. My kiddos don't love it, so I keep it out. Or, use pepper jack cheese!
- Be sure to keep the heat at medium or even a little patient. All sorts of crazy things start to happen you get cheese and milk too hot. trust me!

Alright, go make your kids think you're the coolest parent around and whip up some of these pretzel bites.

See, proof that they rock. And my 7 year old doesn't give his stamp of approval to just anything!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies

I do love the flavor of warm cinnamon--in fall baking, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins etc. I do not however usually add cinnamon in baking containing peanuts and peanut butter. But I trust Martha so Emma (my sweet little neighbor) and I decided to make these cookies. Emma loves peanut butter, she doesn't love nuts but peanuts are acceptable. And of course chocolate chips are a given. And we loved them!! We decided these just could be our new favorite cookie.
Thanks to Martha Stewart Cookies--we stepped outside our comfort zone and found a delicious cookie.

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar--7 ounces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate and half semi sweet)
2/3 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a bowl mix together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
Put butter and peanut butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add sugars and mix 2 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, mix until just combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate until dough is firm about 20 minutes.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking stone (I used a Medium Pampered Chef Scoop). Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes until just golden. Cool on wire racks. Makes 5 dozen cookies.
Printable Recipe

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowl--Gluten Free

This yummy dish happened as a result of leftovers. Sometimes the best meals happen as I clean out the fridge! I had some Cilantro Lime Rice (I made a 5 cup batch--that's 5 cups of dry rice for a party at our church. My rice wasn't used so I had a fridge full. That is after giving some away) in the fridge, a few sliced olives and some cooked chicken seasoned with Penzys Fajita Seasoning. I drizzled some homemade enchilada sauce over all. A little cilantro, shredded cheese, diced tomato, sliced almonds and sour cream finished the bowl. It was delicious and perfect for the gluten free eater. Diced avocados would also be a great addition. We completed the meal with Chips and Salsa from Los Hermonos--a favorite local Mexican restaurant. Perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo!

Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowl
Cilantro Lime Rice--or plain rice
Cooked chicken, I like Penzy's Fajita Seasoning
Shredded cheese
Sliced olives
Sliced almonds
Diced tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Sour cream
Enchilada sauce, I used this Homemade Recipe, canned would work
Lime wedges
Put rice on a plate. Top with your favorite toppings. Whatever you use--I think it will be delicious!
Printable Recipe

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas

I have had this recipe for over 30 years my sweet friend Mary Ann shared it with me. If a recipe came from Mary Ann you knew it would be a winner. It was delicious then and is delicious now! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post it! I have cut the recipe down to feed a smaller family.
This is so easy to make, I had everything in the fridge/pantry to put it together. I quickly cooked some chicken tenders--about 6. The sauce is a simple homemade enchilada sauce.
If you really wanted to make this simple use rotisserie chicken, a can of enchilada sauce, a can of sliced olives and pre-shredded cheese. Dinner doesn't get much easier. And tasty!

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can chicken broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garli powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
Mix ingredient together and bring to a simmer. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch that has been dissolved in 2 tablespoons water. Boil for 1 minute.
1 diced canned green chili--or 1/2 of a small can of diced chilis
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/8 cup sliced olives
3/8 cup sliced almonds
3/8 cup shredded cheese, jack or cheddar
1/4 cup sauce
Mix together
6 flour tortillas--roll tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for about 15-30 seconds till soft and warm. Fill with a heaping 1/4 cup filling and place in a greased 8 inch square pan. Double wrap with foil and bake a 350 for 20 minutes. Garnish with sauce, sour cream, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, salsa etc. Serve with Cilantro Lime Rice for a delicious meal!
Printable Recipe