Monday, April 29, 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Here's a perfect recipe for the novice cook. You only need a few ingredients and you're good to go. It's so easy you won't believe it, and just wait until you taste it! It's absolutely delicious! I found the recipe on the Hellman"s Mayonnaise web site and it's just perfect. This would be great as a midweek dinner because it's ready in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with something light and fresh such as a tomato salad or a fresh roasted green vegetable. SO DELICIOUS!!! You seriously need to try this one!

1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

 Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with Mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes.
Also terrific with Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise or Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise.

Hellman's Tips:
Try making this dish with thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts! Prepare as above, decreasing bake time to 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Omit Parmesan cheese and have "Magically Moist Chicken" on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Joey's Tips:
Use Panko bread crumbs to make a nice crispy crust.
There are only 2 carbs per serving, but if you'd like go even further, simply omit the bread crumbs and sprinkle a little dried Italian seasoning. You'll have barely a trace of carbs per serving.
I like to sprinkle a little extra Parmesan cheese on top, just because more is more!!

Oh, one other thing....
I think this would be AMAZING on roasted vine ripened tomatoes. Just slice the tomatoes in half horizontally, then place them on a sheet, cut side up. Schmear each half with a little of the mayo/cheese mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly. They'd be a perfect first course!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's a classic recipe that seems like a lot of work, but it's really not difficult at all. All you're doing is browning some chicken, and then throwing a bunch of things into the pot. That's not so difficult, right? And since everyone has heard of this dish, they'll all be impressed when you make it for them. It's true! As soon as you say that you'll be serving Chicken Cacciatore, everyone goes OOOO and AAAHHH.... but they don't have to know how simple it was to make! It can be our little secret I promise I won't tell! It's hearty and delicious too! Perfect for  a Sunday supper.
Try it!

8 chicken thighs, skin on
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
4 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter 
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb sliced mushrooms, any kind
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can tomatoes
handful of parsley
Parmesan cheese
1 lb wide egg noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
 Salt and pepper both sides of the pieces of chicken. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven on the stove top over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin down in pan, a few pieces at a time. Brown chicken on both sides, then remove to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Pour off half the fat in the pan and discard.
Add sliced onions and peppers, as well as the garlic. Stir and saute for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and continue to saute for another minute or two. Add thyme, and salt and pepper. (And crushed red pepper flakes if you like things a little spicy.) Add extra black pepper to taste, if you like. Stir, then pour in wine. Allow to bubble.
Pour in canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Add chicken back into the pan, skin side up, without totally submerging the chicken. Place lid on the pot and put it into the oven for 45 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat to 375 degrees. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven. Remove chicken from the pot and place it on a plate. Remove vegetables from pot and place them on a plate. Return pot to burner and turn heat to medium high. Cook and reduce sauce for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, cook noodles according to package directions. 
Pour cooked, drained noodles onto a large platter or into a big serving bowl. Add vegetables all over the top, then place chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. Spoon juices from the pot over the chicken and pasta (amount to taste.)
Before serving, sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.

If you're not a fan of chicken skin, still cook the chicken with the skin on, and then just discard it after the dish is finished cooking. It really helps the chicken to stay nice and moist.
I always use chicken thighs because I think they work best with this recipe. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies

 I recently saw this recipe on a blog called Brown Eyed Baker.  I had seen it on a few other sites, with variations to the recipe as well as the name, and thought I'll have to try them some time. So when I was looking for some kind of 'picky uppy' dessert to bring to my Jeanie's, I decided that this was the perfect time. It just falls into the "how can this not be good?" category. They also fall into the "OMG Are you kidding me?" category. They're seriously over the top!!!
 So here they are! I tweaked the amounts of the ingredients ever so slightly (because you know I can never just leave a recipe alone) and now they're even more amazing! They're rich and decadent, chewy and crunchy,  and simple to make too!
 Kristin once told me "The peanut butterier the better." Well, seriously, I don't think you're gonna find anything that is more peanut butterier than this! You should definitely add these to your brownie repertoire!

1 batch of your favorite brownie recipe for a 9x13-inch pan
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
14 Reese's peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups Hershey's milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.
2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. (you can also melt them in the microwave, stopping every 20 seconds or so to give them a stir, or use a double boiler). Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You don't have to use chips. You can use regular milk chocolate bars, and then just chop them up.
 I used a regular bag of Hershey's milk chocolate chips. There was about 1/2 cup of chips leftover in the bag, so I just sprinkled them over the brownies after I finished spreading the rice krispie mixture. I think it adds a nice little decorative touch! And for a little extra pop of color, you can also sprinkle M&Ms or Reese's Pieces over the top! How fun is that?
 I used 14 Reese's cups because that's how many were in the bag. The original recipe called for 8 (which was clearly not enough, as far as I'm concerned). Feel free to use however many you like!
 To make perfectly perfect brownies, use a 9x13 pan with square edges (some pans have rounded corners). You'll get perfectly shaped brownies with no odd ones that have rounded edges.
 I like to let it chill until firm, then remove the whole batch from the pan in one piece. Otherwise, your knife will ruin the pan, and you wont get perfect cuts. It's much simpler to put the whole batch on a cutting board and use a big sharp knife to cut them into perfect squares.
 I like to spray the pan with baking spray (not the regular Pam, but the one that has flour in it). You can also grease the pan with butter or shortening, line it with parchment paper (make sure you leave some hanging over the edge) and then grease the paper, then bake as usual. The parchment works like a sling to lift the brownies out of the pan.
 This recipe is WIDE open for variations. Use any kind of chips, or chopped candy. You could even do a blondie version. Perhaps next time I'll use snickers bars....yum!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mockafoni & Cheese

  If you know me, you know that I LOVE a good macaroni and cheese. (Just browse through all of the mac n cheese recipes that I've posted!) There are few dishes that are as warm and comforting and I think it's arguably the quintessential comfort food. But what if you're choosing to remove carbs from your diet? No more mac and cheese, right? Well, almost. This recipe will satisfy your craving for rich and hearty mac and cheese but without all the carbs.
It's another recipe I recently discovered on a food blog called Linda's Low Carb Menus and Recipes. If you're counting your carbs, this site is a GOLDMINE with everything from hints and tips to dozens and dozens of recipes. Every recipe she posts has been tested by her and her family, and she includes nutrition information as well! How awesome is that? I love the fact the her low carb recipes are delicious enough for someone who isn't counting carbs. Take this recipe, for instance. If someone just made this as a side dish for a roast beef dinner, and served it to his or her guests, no one would ever think that the recipe was devised with carb counting in mind. It's just a rich and decadent dish! That's the best kind of low carb recipe, I think. It makes you forget that you've removed anything from your diet.
  In my humble opinion, if someone is trying to lose weight by restricting carbs, he's likely to be more successful if he doesn't focus on what he's no longer "allowed" to eat. Instead, it's just a matter of making different food choices that just happen to have a lower carb count, that's all. If you think of it like that, you're more likely to stay on track and reach your goal!  That's sounds pretty good to me.
 So, thank you, Linda, for the recipe. I know I'll be making this one again.
  I think YOU should make it too! Love it.

16 ounce bag frozen cauliflower
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream or low carb milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced chives, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook the cauliflower until tender; drain well. In a 1 1/2 quart casserole; soften the cream cheese in the microwave about 30-40 seconds on HIGH. Whisk in the cream until smooth, then stir in 4 ounces cheddar cheese. Microwave on MEDIUM about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Stir well until creamy and smooth, microwaving a little longer if necessary. Stir in the green onions, chives, salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and gently fold into the cheese sauce to coat well. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Top with the remaining 2 ounces cheese and bake at 350ยบ for 35 minutes, until bubbly and brown on top.

Per 1/4 Recipe: 326 Calories; 27g Fat; 15g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 5g Net Carbs
Per 1/6 Recipe: 217 Calories; 18g Fat; 10g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs

I used fresh cauliflower instead of frozen and I doubled the whole recipe. It turned out great! I figured I might as well make a big batch, then I can always freeze the leftovers. I also added a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese over the top before the shredded cheddar.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders

 This is a quick and easy recipe that I got from my friend Gina. It's from a blog called Heather Likes Food, and it's the PERFECT thing if you want to use up some leftover ham. Even if you don't have leftover ham, they're stil delicious and gooey and cheesy and mmmmm....I think I could probably eat about 50 of them! Well, not really. Well maybe. Thanx for sharing the recipe, Gina! And thanx to Heather for posting them it in the first place!!  And for the picture too!

16 White Dinner Style Rolls, cut in half
24 slices Honey Ham
16 slices Swiss Cheese
1/4 C Mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
8 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 C brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. On a rimmed baking sheet place bottom half of dinner rolls and top with 1 1/2 slices of ham and 1 slice of Swiss cheese. Spread about 1 tsp of mayonnaise on each top-half of roll and place on top of ham and cheese. You want the rolls to be snug together, kissing just a bit so the sauce can soak up into all of the nooks and crannies.
3. In a small bowl combine the mustard, melted butter, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and brown sugar. Mix until combined and evenly pour over the assembled rolls. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.
4. Bake covered with foil for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the tops are browned, and cheese is good and melted.

I do love a yummy ham and Swiss, but feel free to substitute any sliced meat or cheese that you like. Stick with a cheese that melts really well!