Maple Dijon Chicken

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This recipe has been floating around the internet for years. Some say it’s the BEST chicken ever. It has all different kinds of names. “BEST CHICKEN EVER” or “HOW TO GET A MAN CHICKEN” and so on. It is EXCELLENT and very easy. A little sweet, with a little tang.  Some say don’t adjust the ingredients. I say, make what adjustments you want to please your family and your own taste buds. My family likes mustard but they don’t love it. I don’t think they would like mustard to be the dominating flavor so I adjusted it to please everyone here.  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use chicken breast. If you do, shorten cooking time to 30 mins. Here is how I made this and it was another winner.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 c maple syrup

1 TBS rice vinegar (can use apple cider or white)

1 TBS corn starch (possibly a bit more)

Heat oven to 450

Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with cooking spray. You want the chicken to fit snugly in the pan.

Lay all of the chicken pieces in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix the mustard, syrup, vinegar. Drizzle over the chicken and make sure it’s coated top and bottom.

Bake for 40 mins. Remove pan from oven. Put chicken pieces on an oven safe plate and keep warm. Pour the juice from the cooking pan into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add 1 TBS of corn starch and whisk until thickened. Plate chicken and drizzle with sauce.

I served this with brown sugar asparagus spears and parsley garlic Yukon gold potatoes.

 

 

Out of the Park Brownies

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This is not a brownie “recipe” as much as it is a way to make brownies INSANE. DECADENT. RICH.

You can use your favorite brownie recipe or even used a boxed mix. I have to admit, I cheated and used box mix. I had one. I was tired. I had a sweet tooth and wanted the least effort possible.

I made the Copy Cat Arby’s Beef and Cheddar sandwiches for dinner. I asked Bob if wanted me to make a dessert. There was a method to my madness. If he WANTED me to then it would justify me indulging. After all, the man was out hunting all day! What kind of wife would I be if I didn’t satisfy his craving for moist, chewy, chocolaty decadence???

I made the box mix of brownies. While they were in the oven, I asked if he wanted them frosted or just plain with some whipped cream. He said he didn’t want me to go to all of the trouble to make frosting and would be happy with the whipped cream. He must be “new”. I can’t leave things alone. I can’t be plain. I have to come out of left field with everything I do.

I wanted to make a chocolate mint sauce but I couldn’t find my mint extract. Maybe I used it all. Maybe I am too short to see what is on top of my spice cabinet. Either way, mint was out. Almond? yes please! I love almond anything!!!

I made a warm almond chocolate sauce to pour over the brownies and topped with whipped cream. Does it really get any better? I think not. There was plenty of sauce left over. I poured it into a mason jar and it’s in the fridge. I will use this for ice cream later in the week when Bob forces me YET AGAIN to make something sweet :).

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 TBS flour

1 cup milk

pinch of salt

1/2 TBSP vanilla or almond or peppermint extract

In a small sauce pan whisk the first 5 ingredients on medium heat. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Simmer 5 mins. Remove from heat and add extract.

Let cool a bit and it will thicken beautifully. You can serve this warm or cold.

You can put this on ice cream or pound cake or chicken.

Kidding. Not chicken. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Copycat Arby’s Beef and Cheddar Sandwich

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Happy Saturday! To be honest it’s more like tired Saturday. For some unknown reason we do our grocery shopping on weekends. Not a good idea. We keep talking about doing it on a week night to avoid the crowds but we never feel like it. Who wants to get off work and deal with that?  Bob woke up at 3:00 am to go hunting. It was so cold. I was sound asleep I don’t even remember him waking me up to say goodbye. He got home at around 2:30 pm and jumped in the shower so we could take care of this massive list. Not just food for 2 weeks but toiletries for 3 teenage boys as well as laundry products. This was one heck of a list. By the time we were finished and got home, we were wiped out. Him more than me. I got to sleep in. Being the wonderful, helpful, thoughtful man that he is, he helped me every step of the way. We brought all 297 bags in. We put everything away together. He even offered to help me make dinner. I am so lucky. God Bless that sweet bear of a man.

By now it was 6:30 and I realized my original idea for dinner was not going to work unless my family didn’t mind eating at midnight. That was not going to fly.

I figured the perfect Saturday night quick dinner that would be fun and satisfying was some kind of sandwich. This was so good. Warm and gooey and cheesy. So easy and fast. I served it with waffle cut sweet potato fries because we had them. This would be a great weeknight dinner that wouldn’t take much time or dirty lots of dishes.

 

Makes 4 sandwiches

1 lb sliced deli roast beef

4 onion rolls

About 1/2 cup jarred cheese sauce

Sauce:

1/3 c ketchup

1 TBS sriracha (optional)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp sugar

4 square pieces of foil for wrapping

 

Heat oven to 350

Split the onion rolls and divide the roast beef evenly over the bottoms of each roll. Put the top on each sandwich and wrap each one individually in foil. Place in oven to heat. The foil helps them stay soft. While they are warming in the mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Once they are heated through, about 15 mins. remove from oven. Warm up the cheese sauce. Stir well so it’s smooth and creamy.

Unwrap the sandwiches and place them on plates. Lift the lids and put the cheese sauce on top. I used about 2 TBS per sandwich. Then turn them upside down and add about 1 TBS of the ketchup sauce to the bottom bun. Flip back over and serve. This was a fast food makeover HOME RUN!

Cinnamon White Chocolate Cookies

I have already started baking Christmas cookies. We are making 14 different kinds. Since I work full time, I can’t spend all day doing this. It’s basically a Friday project. If I get really energetic I might bust out a batch on Saturday, but that is rare. We have our faves that we will do forever and sometimes we find new ones we want to try. Tonight I did a basic peanut butter cookie at my son’s request. I usually put a Hershey kiss or a mini peanut butter cup in the middle. My son is a purist. He wants nothing in the middle. He just wants it sugar coated with the traditional fork marks. I did that for him! I can’t lie. I did put mini peanut butter cups in 9 of them. I had to. My fear was that if I didn’t use up the rest of the Halloween candy, I would wake up with 9 empty candy wrappers on my night stand. It wouldn’t be the first time and it certainly wouldn’t have been the last. I thought I was done for the night until I ran across this recipe. I had all of the ingredients and it sounded divine. It is. They are. I made some adjustments for our taste. Why not add a 15th cookie??? It’s Christmas! Or Friday! or Monday. These are so good, you don’t need a reason!

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1 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat sheet.

In a large bowl cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Make sure they are well combined. Slowly add in the cinnamon, salt, soda and flour. Do not beat it. Just stir until combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 mins. You want the center still soft. Let sit for about 5 mins and then put on cooling rack to completely cool. So butter. Sweet and yet a little salty. Seriously, the best combination. My horrible photography skills do not do these justice. I can tell you that before I posted this I ate 6 just make sure. I am that dedicated to making sure I deliver you good recipes. YOU ARE WELCOME! 🙂

Dracula Teeth Cookies!!!!!!!!!!

Another Pinterest Halloween idea. When I saw the picture I thought it would be too much work. Too involved. I felt it would be much easier to unwrap the mini snicker bars and pop them in my mouth! I was wrong. These are fun and really easy! It’s more an idea than a recipe and SO cute!

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You will need the following:

Your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or a roll of store bought sugar cookie dough

1 tube of red frosting. The kind you can squeeze out

mini marshmallows

slivered almonds

If you make homemade sugar cookies, roll out and use a round glass to cut in circles. Bake according to instructions. If you use a roll of store-bought dough, slice and bake according to package instructions. Once they are done, let cool for a couple of minutes. While still soft, slice each circle in half to make half moons. Pipe the edge of the rounded side of each cookie with the red frosting. Place 5 or 6 mini marshmallows along the frosting line. Attach the top half. Put an almond slice between 3 of the marshmallows. Make sure the almond is touching the top of the frosting. This will keep it secure. Set aside to dry. I thought for sure these would fall apart. They did not! They were so fun and cute. Try this next Halloween!

 

Happy Belated Halloween!!!!

So sorry I have not been here lately! We were busy getting ready for Halloween. We take it pretty seriously here! As much as Christmas. We have a lot of fun with it. I have some really fun ideas that I found on Pinterest. We tried them and they were a HUGE success. Also pretty easy! I am already working on Christmas cookies. I have 14 different kinds for this year. Have to start early! We bake them on weekends and then freeze them. I will post pictures and recipes of those as we go. I thought I better catch up on Halloween first! Here we go:20151031_150513 (2)

Doesn’t this look disturbing? that is kind of the point. It’s Halloween after all!! This is not really a recipe, just an idea I got from Pinterest. I went to our local grocery store and bought an unsliced loaf of bread from the bakery. I let it sit out uncovered for a day. I wanted it firm. The next day Bob cut it on 3 sides. Leave the back secure. Carve out a square like dent in the top and then carve out the center. I saved the center bread for breadcrumbs later. We let that sit out and get kind of firm. Then we secured the back corners with wooden skewers that we broke. We put a rat skeleton in the center (wash it first). You could use a small regular skeleton, I just couldn’t find one. Then we filled the bread with spinach dip. We decorated the tray with black cloth and other items we had from the dollar store. We called it “Graveyard Bread”. It was a huge hit! Try it! You can use any dip you want. Then just set out crackers or chips for dipping.

Figure Friendly Butter Pecan Poke Cake

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This is the cake I mentioned in the Chicken Parmesan recipe.

This is the reason we didn’t have pasta with our dinner. We wanted a BIG piece of this cake. It’s not overly rich and heavy at all. It’s rather light but incredibly tasty and so easy to make! I hope you like it as much as we did. I plan to make this again with different cake and pudding variations. I think we saved quite a few calories by using Cool Whip instead of regular frosting.

This makes 10-12 servings depending on how big you want the slices.

1 Box of Butter Pecan Cake Mix

1 1/2 oz seltzer water

2 egg whites

1 container Cool Whip Free

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 small box of sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding.  I used cheesecake flavor but butterscotch would be awesome too!

 

Heat oven to 350.

Spray a 13×9 pan with Pam.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, seltzer water and egg whites. Pour into prepared pan. Bake according to time on box.

Once the cake is done, cool for about 5-10 minutes. Poke holes all over the cake. You can use a fork. I used the end of my round knife sharpener. You need lots of holes!

Mix the pudding according to the package directions. Once it’s a little thick but still runny, pour all over the cake. Make sure it gets into the holes.

Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Frost with the cool whip and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

 

 

 

Chicken Parmesan

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This is so easy and so delicious. The chicken is crispy, the sauce is spicy sweet and the cheese is gooey. You could and should serve this with pasta. The only reason we did not have pasta was because we wanted cake! :). We are trying to watch our portions and maybe lose some weight. Normally on weekends it is a free for all here. We have decadent desserts! Nothing wrong with that, and we will again, just not tonight. I served this with oven roasted parmesan zucchini and sautéed fresh brussel sprouts. I say again, WE WANTED CAKE! are trying to be healthy.

Bob loved this so much. Next time I will pound out the chicken breast to make it thinner and more even. No matter how you do this, you will love it!

 

4 chicken breasts

1 1/2 cups panko or regular bread crumbs

2 eggs beaten

3/4 c grated parmesan (divided)

1 tsp garlic powder

2 TBS olive oil

4 slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese

Jarred or home-made marinara sauce

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp garlic powder

chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley

3 TBS of oil ( I used a combo of olive and coconut oil)

Heat oven to 350.

Mix the bread crumbs in a bowl with 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan cheese, the garlic powder and salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.

Dip the chicken pieces into the egg wash, then roll them in the bread crumbs. Make sure they are well coated and set aside.

Once the oil is nice and hot, place the chicken in the pan. Saute on one side for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip them over and do the same on the other side. You do not need to cook all the way through as they will finish in the oven.

Place the browned chicken pieces on a cookie sheet. Drizzle about 2 TBS of marinara sauce down the chicken and top with a slice of the cheese. Finish in the oven for about 8-10 minutes.

You can top with more sauce if you like.

Orange Coconut Chicken

 

 

 

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This is so delicious. People that do not like coconut , enjoyed this. I found it on Pinterest and modified it to what I had in the pantry. Everyone raved about the flavor. Light and crispy with no one single flavor that is over powering.  You can use regular breadcrumbs if that’s what you have on hand, but I love the crispy light crunch you get from Panko.

4 chicken breasts

1 c coconut flakes (you can use sweetened or non. I used sweetened)

1 c panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs beaten

1/4 c olive or canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

1 cup orange marmalade

1/4 c honey

1 TBS Dijon mustard

 

Preheat oven to 375′.

In a medium bowl mix coconut and bread crumbs. In another medium bowl beat the eggs. In yet another bowl (sorry about all the bowls but you need a dredging station) add the flour. Salt and pepper the flour and mix. Heat the oil to medium high in a skillet. While the oil is heating, salt and pepper your chicken breasts.

Flour the chicken, then dip in the egg mixture and coat in the coconut and bread crumbs. Make sure they are well coated. Repeat with all of the chicken pieces.

Once they are all coated, lay them in the heated oil. Just cook for about 2-3 mins per side until golden brown. They will not be cooked through at this point.

Place them on a cookie sheet and put in oven for about 7-8 mins to finish cooking. While they are finishing, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. (yes, another bowl).

When the chicken is cooked through, place each breast on a plate and drizzle with the orange sauce.

 

 

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Brats

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This probably sounds really weird but trust me, it’s awesome. Think Pork and Apples. They go together like milk and cookies. I actually got the idea from Johnny Appleseed Fest here in Fort Wayne. The brats are made for a school fund-raiser. They are actually apple cinnamon brats. I couldn’t find any such thing so I made up my own version. Big Tasty Hit!! I took a bite before Bob could snap the picture so we had to use his plate. Figures. He did ask me to put this in our regular rotation. That’s when you know it’s good.

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4 to 5 bratwurst links

brat rolls or hot dog buns for each brat

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 bag or can of sauerkraut well drained

1 onion sliced thinly

1/2 c cinnamon apple sauce

Heat olive oil, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add brats and cook turning occasionally until cooked through. I did mine for about 12 mins each side.

Remove the brats from pan but keep the juices. Place the brats in a warm oven to keep warm.

Add the sauerkraut and sliced onions to the pan juices and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are tender.

Place each brat in a bun, add a little of the sauerkraut and onions to the top and then drizzle a tablespoon or two of the applesauce across the top.

Enjoy!