Wednesday, February 3, 2010

BBQ Ranch Chicken

An Ode to PW

Oh how I love your website,
You have changed my kitchen life,
You make and teach such wonderful, hearty meals,
Will you be my wife?

Oh, wait a second, I am a woman and I already have a husband. Hmm...Ok, scratch that.  I would settle with just living with you. I will stay at the lodge. I will keep my distance. Well, except when you are cooking. And when you are taking pictures of the ranch. Oh, and I want to be there when you decorate or go shopping because you have great taste.

If you don't know who I am talking about, you haven't been looking at food blog sites for very long. PW or the Pioneer Woman, or for those of you on a first name basis, Ree, has an amazing site. You must visit. Her writing style will suck you in, her pictures are phenomenal, and her food is hearty and satisfying.

Today's recipe is adapted from her Ranch Style Chicken. I have made her Ranch Style Chicken before and I loved it. Absolutely wonderful!  But sometimes, I don't have all of the ingredients I need for her marinade or the hour or two to let the chicken soak in the marinade, so I make a substitution, BBQ sauce. The wonderful thing about her recipe is that the techniques involved allow flexibility in the flavor profile of your marinade and it will still turn out wonderful and juicy every time.  Nicol, are you reading this? I promise you this chicken is so juicy and flavorful you will even love it.

On with the chicken...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes, oh how I adore thee. You are small, portable, and come in as many flavors as the creative mind can come up with. Chocolate with its many variations, coconut, red velvet all have a place in my heart of hearts. Make just a couple of different flavors and take them to a party and you will be surrounded by new best friends.

Can you tell that I love cupcakes? They have been my newest passion this last year. With all of the different kinds you can make the possibilities are really endless.

You see, I love coming up with business ideas. For as long as I can remember entrepreneurial ideas have hit me over the head and taken me on crazy rides. 2008 was the year of homemade marshmallows. I loved learning how to make marshmallows and the fact that the sad versions in a bag that they sell in stores do not come close to the real thing caught my imagination. I came up with new flavors and brought them to work for coworkers to try and evaluate. The fact that most people didn't even know you could make them was all the more fun. Unfortunately they don't have the longest shelf life and summer in Georgia makes it even worse.

2009 brought a new idea...cupcakes. A friend of mine already baked as a side business and she is always trying new things. With inspiration from her as well as looking at various websites and businesses online my brain started going in overdrive again. Of course this meant that any type of celebration I was invited to I would bring cupcakes. This past weekend was a joint birthday party for both my husband and my sister-in-law and she requested cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes though. She wanted these:
Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry

Finally I am starting to feel better and have enough energy to get back in to the kitchen.  You have no idea how happy this makes me.  So to kick off being in the kitchen again I decided to try a new recipe.  I have been looking forward to making this for the last week and a half so I am really glad that I got to try it out. 

You see, my family likes the occasional chinese food take out. My husband is more of a mongolian beef man while my daughter and I like sweet and sour chicken. Unfortunately our local chinese place doesn't deliver, although probably not unfortunately because if they did we would eat a lot more of it then we do.

I have been looking for an easy chinese recipe, one that we could all agree on, and one that would hopefully be healthy.  Thankfully, and surprisingly to me, I found this recipe on the back of the Uncle Ben's Brown Rice box.  I did change a few things to suit my taste and what was already in my kitchen, and thankfully this recipe is flexible enough so that you can make it your own. Since we are using skinless chicken breast, a variety of veggies, low sodium soy sauce, and brown rice this is a cheaper and healthier option then your local restaurant, totally customizable to your own veggie preferences and it is quite tasty.

On with the show...

Friday, January 22, 2010

I apologize...and an idea

Unfortunately I have been sick the last couple of days so I haven't been in the kitchen. Standing has my head pounding and I recoil at the thought of getting my husband sick from accidentaly coughing/sneezing in his food. Hopefully I will be better quickly as their are lots of things that I want to make.

By the way, I didn't take pictures of this but I wanted to let you know of something fabulous. Do you remember my Creamy Tomato Basil-Soup that I made last week? Well at the beginning of this week I was in the store and I came upon a package of Spinach Ricotta Ravioli from the Monterey Pasta Company.

It looked so delicious and I have never tried fresh pasta before so I thought this would be a nice treat.  It only took a couple of minutes in boiling water and it was done.

So what did we do for a sauce you ask?

We had some of the tomato basil soup leftover so we heated that up and threw it on the ravioli and I have to say, it was amazing. The ravioli was nice and light but the soup gave it a great punch. My husband and I ate the entire package. It was such a nice surprise. I am definitely putting this on my to do list when I need an easy dinner night.



Friday, January 15, 2010

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I love basil.   Love! Love! Love!

So much so that I am thinking about growing some.
If you know me then you will know that I don't have the greenest thumb but basil is so worth it.

And after seeing this recipe for Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from Food For My Family and having it call to me for a few days, I just had to go buy some.

Unfortunately I think everyone in my town had the same idea because I went to store after store looking for basil, and they were sold out. But I decided to trek on knowing that the end result would be worth it.

And it was.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken Alfredo Calzones

For my first experiment I decided to try a new recipe that I stumbled upon online. Recently Chris and I have been into those Chicken Alfredo pizzas so I thought this would be a good way to take some of those flavors into something I could make at home.
Now as some of my family can tell you I can make a pretty awesome pizza roll. Usually it has pepperoni, cheese, veggies like onions and bell peppers, and sometimes spinach. Then I will put a good deal of garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper and wrap it all up using a canned pizza crust. I will have to make a post of it in the future.

Well, the thing that has bothered me about the pizza roll was that I was relying upon the canned pizza crust and that has two downfalls. First, what if I have all of the ingredients except for the pizza crust. Secondly, and more important to me, a lot of times when I pop open the can the crust will tear and it is a pain. So how wonderful would it be if I could make my own crust.

With this new recipe from Food For The Family it let me put together some of my favorite ingredients as well as make a pizza crust from scratch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Experimentation is the key

Following up on a comment from my sister I want to clarify something. I am not against some prepackaged foods. If you look in my pantry I have plenty of prepackaged items including the blue box of macaroni and cheese hiding in the back. I know I could probably make it without the little cheese packet; it is just that life of convenience still hanging on.
Also, I think I am realizing more and more as I look at the ingredient list on foods that I can do better. Just looking at my old standby spaghetti sauce and seeing high fructose corn syrup wanted me to run for the hills.

As I said before, experimentation is the key. I can search and look for the perfect recipe online but unless I am willing to get into the kitchen and try it then what does having that perfect recipe do for me?

As you will see from tomorrow's post dinner tonight did not go as I had planned. I am ok with that because I know I learned some things and will make it better next time. Plus I did something I never did before. I made a pizza dough from scratch. I may be covered in flour and my back hurt but the feeling of knowing that even if it wasn't done well but at least I attempted it is totally worth it.
More tomorrow,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome to my new endeavor

As a Navy brat growing up my dad was gone a lot and my mom who made dinner for the family went back to work when I was 8. The mom of homemade food became the mom of convenience food. Unfortunately the microwave became our best friend and real cooking skills were never developed. The only thing I learned to do with the stove was to boil water and cook pasta and to brown ground beef for canned spaghetti sauce.

Now I have a family of my own and I want to create delicious and healthy meals without using a ton of prepackaged food.

I am all about experimentation, taking recipes and making them my own, and learning from any source I can. If you have a recipe or a cooking tip that you want to share with me I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for coming along on my journey and hopefully we can learn along together.