Behold! Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins!
You want one of these? You should… they’re delicious. Aaron loves these banana nut chocolate chip muffins. They’re banana nut muffins with a delicious chocolatey twist. Aaron usually eats a banana with his breakfast and we mysteriously end up with 4 over ripe banana quite often. Not 3… not 1… but a magical 4 over ripe bananas. And when you end up with 4 magical over ripe bananas the only thing you can do is to accept that you are going to have to make muffins. These delicious banana nut chocolate chip muffins.
Here’s what you need: (Preheat oven to 375)
4 over ripe bananas
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cups) – melted
1 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
chopped pecans or walnuts
First take 2 of the bananas and mix them together with 1 cup of brown sugar. You really want to beat the heck out of the bananas and sugar. I like to throw them in the stand mixer and measure out the other ingredients while they whip together for about 2 minutes.
You’ll have a nice soupy mess. Mmmm sounds appetizing, huh?
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl while the bananas and sugar are doing their thing.
After you have your soupy mess together add in the 2 eggs – one by one and incorporate each one before you add the next. Then add the melted and cooled butter and mix that in. Next add the vanilla and mix that in as well. Pretend you see pictures of that while you’re at it… I forgot to take ‘em.
Toss the dry ingredients in with the wet stuff and give it a little stir. Don’t over mix it – just incorporate the two a bit.
Next we’re going to add in the chunky stuff… I like to chop about a cup of pecans and add about 3/4 of the cup and reserve the rest to put on top. Toss in the chopped nuts, the other 2 bananas, and some chocolate chips. This is about 1/2 of a bag of mini chocolate chips… You can do regular chocolate chips and about 1/2 a cup is a good amount… this is a little more, but hey… nothing wrong with a little extra chocolate in your muffins. I really like the mini chocolate chips, but I have a hard time finding them, so normally I use the regular ones.
Mix everything together until just incorporated. Again – don’t over mix.
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray (or use liners) and fill ‘em up.
You could probably get more than 12 muffins out of this recipe easily, but I like to fill the muffin cups up almost to the top so I’ve got big muffins.
Here’s where I take the reserved pecans and sprinkle them on top. Notice I only did 1/2 of the muffins. Aaron doesn’t like the extra pecans on top, so I oblige him.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. My oven seems to cook slow, so these take at least 20 minutes for me… usually closer to 23. Start looking at them at 18 minutes and see how long you need to go. They should be set in the middles and golden brown.
No nuts on top!
Now if you really want something tasty take a warm muffin, split it in half and smear some cream cheese on it… Enjoy!
Now go forth and make muffins… as soon as you have 4 over ripe bananas that is! What is your favorite muffin? Do you love muffins as much as I do?
P.S. I have a giveaway going on right now! Go there and leave a comment to be entered in a chance to win my favorite lip gloss. You can comment on this post as well to get extra entries!
This is one of Aaron’s all-time favorite meals, and I don’t even know what to call it. We refer to these just as “wraps” but they’re not what you’d normally think of as wraps. They’re more like tacos, perhaps? But not really tacos… They’re good. A great way to use up leftovers, and quick and easy to throw together. And you get to eat it all inside a tortilla which makes me happy.
Cook yourself up some diced up potatoes. When I have time, I just dice up red potatoes, toss them in EVOO, season them up and roast them at 425 until they’re done. When I’m not on top of things and haven’t planned ahead, this happens. They get fried up in canola oil. This way also makes it a one skillet meal… but you can save yourself a few calories and guilt and roast them and the wraps turn out just as tasty.
Set the cooked potatoes aside (or while they’re roasting in the oven) brown up 1/2 lb of ground beef and then season it with taco seasoning. Pardon my nail polish testing…
Toss in a can of black beans. Drained.
Right here I’d normally toss in some frozen corn. But I had a little leftover creamed corn from our chicken fried steak dinner the other night… so I used that instead. And it was good.
Mix it all together. Let each new addition incorporate and cook off it’s liquids before you add in the potatoes to avoid potato mush.
…Meanwhile make your picky 2 year old a delicious grilled cheese because he’s not gonna touch any of this.
I had half of an avocado leftover, so I mashed it up with a little seasoning salt and lime juice.
Here’s how we like to dress ‘em up… Some avocado or guac, sour cream, shredded cheese, I like the Chipotle Tobasco (Aaron refers to it as “ass sauce”. He’s not a fan.) All of that on some nice fresh tortillas. And don’t forget the grilled cheese sandwich. You’ll need that.
There ya have it! Deliciousness all wrapped up in a tortilla. Easy peasy and very tasty! You can also use leftover steak, grilled chicken, really any kind of leftover meat will work! Enjoy!
I’m finally back with another Meal Plan Monday post! I did the first week, then the next week Aaron and I took a mini-vacay to San Antonio and things were a little hectic around here with me getting the house ready for my parents to come stay with the boys while we were gone and trying to mentally prepare to leave my sweet baby, Gus, for the first time. I was all ready to post our meal plan for last week when we got home, but Henry, Gus and I ended up getting sick. That was the pits! We’re all on the mend now, so I’m back in action!
My meal plan for this week actually started on Saturday (2/4) because that’s the day I went grocery shopping for the week. We were short of supplies after being down and out for the majority of the week.
Saturday: I made the most delicious Chicken Parmesan. Wanna see it?
I actually think I already posted a recipe for this deliciousness…
Steaks, loaded mashed potatoes (think a loaded baked potato in mashed form… sinful), Caesar salad, rolls.
This was a totally decadent meal. I grilled some delicious tenderloin steaks and made the most sinful potatoes I could think of. I can show you this one, too!
And since it was Super Bowl Sunday, we had to make some queso. I posted the recipe for my Dad’s delicious queso yesterday. Yummm!
Chicken Parmesan Subs (using the leftovers from Saturday)
Steak Wraps (using leftover steak from Sunday – I actually bought extra steak so I could grill it up and make these wraps)
French onion soup, turkey, avocado, & cheddar paninis
Grilled chicken, roasted red potatoes, broccoli
And there you have it, folks! Let me know if you want to see a recipe for something.
Are you meal planning? What’s on your plan for this week?
I’ve had people ask me if Larry (aka Pops) is going to make his queso dip before people will commit to coming to events that we host like birthday parties and what not. It’s a seriously popular thing around here, and since today is Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I’d celebrate by making some of Larry’s queso for Aaron and I to munch on. Chances are we won’t actually WATCH the Super Bowl, but I did take advantage of the sales at the grocery store yesterday and picked up the ingredients for this delicious and slightly un-classy treat. This isn’t for the health conscious eaters… that’s probably what makes it so dang good.
Since I was just making this for Aaron and me, I made a half batch (can queso be separated into batches?), but the “real” recipe would be twice this amount (at least) and include a little different ingredients. So I’ll show you how I made it today and then explain at the end how to double it for full effect. I should also point out that I’m sure I make this slightly different than Larry… this is my adaptation of his recipe. His is probably better, but mine is a close second, and Larry approved.
Add about a tablespoon of Taco Seasoning. I buy Taco Seasoning in bulk at Costco. I use it quite a bit (in beef and chicken tacos, tortilla soup, this queso, taco wraps, rice to go w/ tacos or other mexican style dinners, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. I don’t like to use an entire packet when I make tacos, so I like the ability to measure out exactly how much I want, and I don’t have to worry about half-used packets of seasoning laying around. I’m sure there are some taco seasoning snobs out there that would scoff at my giant tub of store bought seasoning, but it works for us).
While the meat is cooking, add the Rotel tomatoes in with the cheese in the double boiler. I squished these in a bowl before I added them because I’m not a huge fan of chunky tomatoes in stuff. Normally I’d buzz them through the food processor first, but it was dirty, so squishing them worked and was easier than washing the food processor. If you like chunky tomatoes, then by all means – leave them unsquished.
Let this cook in the double boiler until the cheese is all melted and it’s nice and hot. You want to make sure the water in the bottom pan is just simmering. The slower the cheese melts the better texture you’ll have. I should also mention that I used the 2% Velveeta which tastes the same, but has a slightly different texture. Not a big deal, but I prefer the regular stuff.
If you want to make a bigger batch using the whole giant block of Velveeta, you’ll want to use a full pound of hamburger and double (at least) the amount of seasoning you add. Add in the can of fire roasted tomatoes, too. You can also use 2 cans of Rotel, but the combo of the two is better. Again – I would squish or buzz the tomatoes to get a less chunky texture, but that’s your call, man. If you want to make this in the crockpot, just put the cheese and tomatoes in the crockpot and turn it on low while you’re cooking the taco meat. Add the meat in, stir it up, and then crank that puppy up to high. Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir it frequently so you don’t scorch the cheese. When the cheese is all melted and hot turn the crockpot down to low or turn it off entirely. You can reheat this stuff, but it’s pretty funky if you over cook it and it starts to scorch, so err on the side of caution and turn it down or off if you’re going to need to walk away from it.
Go forth and enjoy Larry’s Queso Dip!
I was planning on making crunchy tacos tonight for dinner, but I made enchiladas last night and had a bunch of corn tortillas left, so I got the bright idea to fry ‘em up and make tostadas for dinner instead. It was a good idea! They turned out really yummy and a little fancier than your everyday tacos.
Here’s what I used:
We’ve got some smashed black beans in the red pot (I just drained a can of black beans, added in some salsa, chipotle tobasco, and lime juice and smashed them with the masher and kept them warm in the pot on low), chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, lime wedges, salsa, sour cream, shredded cheddar, guacamole, and some corn tortillas that I fried quickly in canola oil.
I also cooked up a 1/2 lb of ground beef and seasoned it with taco seasoning. Forgot to get it in the first pic.
Once you’ve got everything cooked and chopped and shredded and ready to go, just assemble it however you please! Here’s my finished product. Well one of them…
I just spread on the beans then topped that with a little bit of meat. Next top with is lettuce, cilantro (if you’re name is Marni or if you don’t like cilantro – omit this step), cheese, tomatoes, guac, sour cream, and salsa. I squeezed some lime juice over mine but left it off of Aaron’s as he’s not as big of a lime fan as I am. You could try to eat this by picking it up and taking a chomp out of it, but I recommend a fork unless you want sour cream and salsa to go up your nose. Just sayin’.
This got a few excited Mmmmm’s and “this is good!” from Aaron. He was pleased with my last minute decision to stray from the taco plan. I done good. It’s not surprising that a freshly fried corn tortilla turned tostada beats a crummy taco shell from a box, huh?
If I were to do this again, and judging by the over zealous Yummm reaction I got from Aaron, I will, I would have just mixed the chopped cilantro and lettuce together and squeezed a bit of lime on that before I assembled the tostadas. It dawned on me to mix the two after I’d already assembled about half of them. Brilliant!
I also feel compelled to say that I took these pics on my iPhone! The new camera on the 4s keeps on surprising me. I got out my camera to take pics and the battery was dead. Both of them. D’oh!
Let me know if you try this! Put your own spin on it and use different toppings. Tell me that, too!
I just made these breakfast tacos for Aaron and me, so I thought I’d share… because they’re yummy! And quick! And easy! And unlike lots of other breakfasts I made they only use one pan and are easy to clean up after. Or so I’m told, anyway. Aaron always does my breakfast dishes… and most of my other dishes. He’s awesome like that.
And like most of my other recipes, I got started and THEN thought I should post the recipe, so the photos start a little into the cooking process here.
The first thing you’ll need to do is get some bacon cooking. You can also use sausage if that’s your preference, but I’m using bacon.
A few months ago I saw a tip on a Food Network show, and it’s changed my life! Stick your bacon in the freezer when you bring it home, and then cut sections off of it going against the slices… just cut off as much as you need to make bacon pieces. This is so much easier than cooking slices of bacon and then crumbling it up, or cutting raw unfrozen bacon. That’s why my bacon is in uniform little bits here. Works great for this meal.
While your bacon is cooking, get the rest of the stuff out and ready…
I’ve got some cheese I’m going to shred, 2 large eggs, 3 medium(ish) red potatoes, tortillas, some oil, and of course some S&P.
As the bacon cooks, I prep the rest of the ingredients and pull the bacon out and put it on a paper towel to hang out.
Dice up the potatoes into small cubes. The smaller you cut them, the faster they cook (duh). Shred your cheese, scramble the eggs however you like them (I add in about 1 tbs milk and a pinch of S&P).
Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add a little more oil to fry up your potatoes.
Not too much… just enough to coat the potatoes and give them something to cook in.
I used canola oil here. Olive oil tends to burn up before the potatoes are done. Throw in the potatoes and cook ‘em!
Let them hang out on one side until they start to get crispy and then toss them around every few minutes until they’re done.
This is about half way done…
And this is done done.
I should also mention that you can totally make this with frozen hash browns… Just cook them up in the bacon fat and a little extra oil to your liking and skip this whole potato cooking tutorial. Using frozen hash browns cuts the cooking time in half, but it’s not quite as good. Totally edible, but just not quite as good as frying up some fresh potatoes. I’m a big fan of the red potatoes, too, so this is my favorite way. I guess I should also mention you can use regular Idaho potatoes, too. Skin on, skin off… whatever. Do what you like! This is just a method here – tweak the ingredients to your liking and call it your own!
Where was I?
Oh yeah… when the potatoes are done you will need to sop up all of the excess oil. You can scoop all of the potatoes out and put them on some paper towels to drain and then wipe out your skillet…
Or you can do like I do and go straight to the source…
I found that just taking a paper towel and sticking it straight into the skillet and sopping up the oil works just fine. Just make sure to soak up as much of the oil as you can. Nobody wants to eat a greasy breakfast taco.
Toss the bacon back into the pan and give it a stir. Next comes the eggs…
It’s hard to tell in this photo with the black skillet and black cook top, but I don’t have the pan on the burner… There’s usually enough residual heat in the potatoes and the skillet to scramble the eggs… You need to be quick here, too. Pour in the eggs and then stir everything around. The eggs cook quick. If you need some heat to finish off the eggs, put the pan back on low heat. With this glass top stove, I can just set the pan back on the burner… it’s still hot enough to do what I need it to do. If you have a gas range (lucky!!!) you obviously won’t be able to do that, so turn it onto low if you need to.
This is what you should have when the eggs are cooked:
Top this yummy goodness with some shredded cheese, and you’re good to go! I use sharp cheddar, but any cheese you like will do. Adding the cheese directly to the taco filling makes all of the difference. It gets warm and gooey and melty.
Warm up some crummy store bought tortillas and wish you had fresh ones, scoop the filling in, and chow down! This was enough for us to each have 2 generous tacos each. Double or triple the ingredients and use a bigger skillet if you’re feeding more folks (again, duh).
We usually top these with some sour cream, and I like to add some hot sauce or salsa to mine, but when I went to the fridge to fetch the sour cream there was none! Imagine that! So I just dashed a little Chipotle Tobasco sauce on mine and ate it up. It was yummy… you should try it!
That is all,
Oh my. I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this post because I’m still so stinkin’ full still, but whooo boy was it good!
This, my friends, is how I make a delicious chicken fried steak dinner. It’s man pleasin’. It’s delicious. It is NOT healthy. There is nothing green going into this meal. This is, by far, one of the best things I cook, and I’m gonna show you how to do it! It’s messy… it’s not that hard, and it’s totally worth it!
Here’s what you need…
Some cube steak, a whole mess of taters, corn on the cob, butter, eggs, milk, oil (I use canola oil), a sleeve of saltine crackers, and some flour. I’ve also got a thing of french bread sitting up there that I’m making. If you serve gravy, you best be serving some bread to sop it up with. You can do whatever bread you like though. I usually do some dinner rolls, but this french bread is tasty and it was in the fridge, so it’s getting cooked. And et.
A handy dandy electric skillet comes in, well, handy here too!
This is the electric skillet that we registered for that my good friend Christie (but we call her Hazelnut) got us for a wedding present. I still owe her a chicken fried steak meal cooked in this skillet. You hear that HN? Come over and eat dinner!
I like to use glass pie plates for my soaking and my breading for this meal. Start with three eggs, about 1/4 cup of milk, a teaspoon of salt and a good bunch of fresh ground black pepper.
Whisk it up and then pop the cube steak into the mixture and set it aside for a few minutes while you peel up some potatoes and get them in a big pot of water to boil. Don’t let the steaks sit out for too long, but let ‘em hang out in the egg for a little while and get a little closer to room temp.
In my world you can’t eat chicken fried steak without a big side of mashed potatoes. Everyone seems to have their own way of doing mashed potatoes, so if you have a recipe you like, use it! This is just how I do mine. If you want a good easy no frills mashed potato recipe, try this one.
Part of the challenge in making chicken fried steak (or any dinner, really) is working out the timing so that everything is done at the same time and you’re not trying to stir 3 pots all at once while burning the bread. I’ve kind of got the this meal down to a science, but it’s taken a few years to get there. While my steaks are hanging out in the egg wash, I will peel and cut the potatoes and get them on the stove and bring them up to a boil. I want the potatoes to be done after I flip the steaks over, so I can get the potatoes whipped up right before the steaks are done frying.
When your taters are taken care of, start making the breading for the steaks. My “secret” ingredient here is saltine crackers. Take a sleeve of saltines and mush them up to pieces. Don’t stick them in the food processor because you don’t want cracker dust. You want some texture. I just mash em up in the sleeve they come in, but you can also toss them all into a ziplock bag and beat the tar out of them with a rolling pin. Sup to you. Put your cracker crumbs into a shallow dish and add in about 3/4 cups all purpose flour, a teaspoon of salt, and a bunch of freshly ground black pepper.
It’s time to bread the steaks. I usually try to keep on hand dry and one hand wet… so you don’t have crazy cracker breaded fingers. You want to bread the steaks, not your fingers. Take one steak and make sure it’s good and coated with the egg mixture, and toss it in to the cracker mixture and give it a good coat. I like to grab and handful of the breading and then set the meat down in the plate and then dump what’s in my hand on top so I get a good coating on the top and my hand stays dry. When you’re breading the steaks you really want to push down on them and make sure the cracker coating gets in all of the nooks and crannies.
This little trick will keep your steaks from shrinking up while they cook. Give ‘em a good mash… don’t be skert. Trust me on this one!
Place each steak on a wire rack to hang out for a bit. You want the breading to kind of dry out a little before you stick ‘em in the hot oil.
Speaking of hot oil… You may want to heat some up about now. I use canola oil. You can use vegetable oil, peanut oil, lard… whatever. But I use canola, and I can’t really vouch for the others. We’re not deep frying these puppies, so you only need a shallow layer of oil. You definitely want a layer though. I’d say a little less than 1/4 inch deep of oil is great. You want the oil to hit the steaks about half way up the sides when you put them in, and keep in mind that as you add stuff to the oil, it’s going to displace and get higher up the pan.
I should also mention that I’ve got corn on the cob in a big pot of water, too. I’m not going to go into that. Boil corn. Nuff said.
I should also go ahead and mention that a good food blogger could also tell you how long to cook these here steaks… not me though! I don’t really know how long it takes… I just peek under ‘em and judge by the color. Flip ‘em over when they’re good and brown… like this:
And then cook the other side the same. The second side goes faster than the first though, so keep your eyes on them.
After the steaks are flipped, I check to make sure my potatoes are ready. To make my mashed potatoes, I had 8 small potatoes. I like the Yukon Gold the best, but these plain suckers were cheaper, so that’s what I bought! They work a-ok. So for these 8 potatoes, I boiled them in well-salted water until they were mushy. I went ahead and put a stick of butter and about 1/2 cup of milk in the bottom of the bowl and put the drained, hot potatoes on top to get the butter melted.
And whip ‘em up.
I’m a whipper of potatoes. You wanna mash them, go for it. I like my mashed potatoes smooth and whipped!
I always start on the light side with the milk, and add more in as needed. Nothing worse than runny taters. These needed a bit more milk, so I added that in…
Add in salt and pepper to taste, and finished the job.
And here you have a giant bowl of mashed potatoes.
Please note… this was way too much. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with left over mashed potatoes. Nothing wrong indeed.
When your steaks are done, take them out of the skillet and put them on a wire wrack to rest while you make the gravy.
Now… gravy. Gravy is not hard… but it’s not easy either. Be prepared to muck it up a few times. You just kind of have to do it and get the hang of it. Basically gravy is 2 tbs of the cooking grease, 2 tbs of flour, and 2 cups of cold milk. You can go up or down from there, but keep the ratio the same. I’m going to try to explain this the best I can, but I think a video would work a lot better to teach someone how to make gravy. If you want a video… let me know. I still need 17 more posts after all.
Take the steaks out and turn the heat down (or off) and get rid of a lot of the cooking oil.
I used a measuring cup and just put the hot oil into a glass bowl and let it cool down then asked Aaron to take care of it. He’s very handy when it comes to discarding hot used up oil.
I realize this isn’t the best picture, but hopefully you can see that I’ve just got a bit of the oil still left in there… I’m guessing about 2 tbs… probably a little more, so I’m going to add a little more than 2 tbs of flour and 2 cups of milk.
If you turned the heat off, turn it back on. To about medium heat. Add in the flour.
And then whisk it around. I use a plastic whisk for this so I don’t scratch up my nonstick coating on the skillet. A plastic spoon or spatula would work, too, but a whisk works the best.
Let the flour and the oil hang out and make a gooey pasty looking mess. The flour needs to kind of cook a little to get the floury taste out. Don’t burn it or anything, but give it a minute or two before you add the milk.
Use cold milk for this. Whole milk is best. 2% will work in a pinch. Skim milk… yeah… don’t even try to make gravy with skim milk. That’s just weird and wrong. Pour in the milk and whisk at the same time.
Whisk continuously and get everything really incorporated. Continuous whisking prevents lumpy gravy. Not that there’s really anything wrong with lumpy gravy.
When it’s all mixed together you can slow down with the whisking. You want the gravy to simmer a little so it will thicken.
Go ahead and stir in a good bit of salt and pepper. I always feel like I have to add a lot of salt to gravy… it’s really quite bland on its own, so don’t be shy with the salt and pepper. Start with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and go from there. And just grind away on the ole pepper mill.
But don’t like walk away or take a phone call or try to do something while you’re making the gravy. Stand there and babysit it and and make sure it behaves. I think the whole process takes about 5-7 minutes. When you notice the gravy thickening up, go ahead and turn off the heat. It will continue to thicken up as it cools. If you’re fancy you can put the gravy into a serving dish (gravy boat, anyone) but I’m not fancy, and I just stick a ladle by this pan and let folks scoop gravy out of here.
In my defense it was my parents eating this… and they’re not fancy either. They won’t judge me for not busting out the gravy boat. At least I don’t think. When you feed your dad fried meat smothered in gravy with a big helping of mashed potatoes, you can pretty much do what you want. Just don’t expect him to stay awake for very long after dinner.
I mean… how long could YOU stay awake after eating this:
Yum. This is a manly meal that’s for sure. When the gravy is done, you should be pretty much good to go! Come and get it!
That is all,
Henry is in that strange place between being done with totally pureed baby food and being able to feed himself. I’m pretty much done buying tiny little tubs and wee jars of food, so I’ve just been modifying some of my own recipes and making Henry appropriate food… healthy stuff that he enjoys.
A while back I made some chicken soup for Henry, and he really liked it. I froze it in ice cube trays and would defrost a cube or two and mix it with some pureed green beans or carrots or what not to start introducing meat into his diet. That batch is finally gone, so I made a new batch of soup today and here’s how I did it!
What I used…
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen egg noodles, low-sodium chicken stock, EVOO, organic frozen peas, organic carrots, lemon pepper, a zuke, fresh lemon thyme, 1/2 big ole onion, and one clove of garlic.
As you can see… it’s just normal ingredients sans salt. The only real difference with Henry’s food is that I don’t add any extra salt, and I tend to keep the super spicy stuff out. Not that babies can’t have spicy food… we just haven’t gone there yet. This is pretty much how I would make chicken noodle soup for Aaron and myself except I’d replace the peas and the zuke with some celery. I just didn’t have any celery, and I wanted some green stuffs in Henry’s food.
First thing I did was heat up a few tablespoons of EVOO in the pot while I chopped the onion and carrots.
I threw those in the pot with a good bunch of grinds of lemon pepper from my little grinder thing. Probably about a teaspoon if I measured.
Let that hang out and get all sweaty and hot in the pot. While that was going, I ground up the two chicken breasts in my food processor. You could obviously use already ground up chicken or ground turkey breast. When I make soup for adult people with full sets of teeth, I prefer a chunky chicken, so I’ll usually cook chicken ahead of time and shred it up; however, since the toothless wonder is still only rockin’ two little bottom chompers, it’s ground chicken for this soup.
In goes the ground chicken.
And stir it all up nice so it cooks. Cooked chicken is much more preferable than uncooked. I hate taking pictures of raw chicken by the way. Just plain icky.
While the chicken is doing it’s thing I chopped up some garlic, a zucchini, and measured out a cup of peas.
And some fresh thyme…
Toss it all in da pot!
I poured in a carton of low-sodium chicken stock.
And then I filled the container back up with water and added that. That’s the other change up from normal soup. Normally I would have used all chicken stock or broth, but I prefer to use 1/2 water (or more) when I’m cooking for The Boy to cut out a hefty chunk of the sodium cause he just doesn’t need it!
Stir it all up and let is simmer for awhile… I think I did about 30 minutes… just until the carrots are tender.
When the carrots were ready, I threw in a bag of frozen egg noodles, which are delicious.
The egg noodle package directions said to let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. So I did. You may think it looks too soupy, but the noodles are going to absorb a lot of the cooking liquid, so don’t skimp.
This is after the noodles are cooked through.
At this point, I just turned off the heat and let everything sit for another half hour or so.
See… not so soupy anymore, huh? I dished out a few containers of straight up soup with broth and got them ready to freeze. I figure at some point in the near future Henry will be able to eat it as is. Perhaps. I just hit the rest of the soup with my trusty stick blender right in the pot. I dished out a few servings for dinner and for some lunches. Then the rest got dished up into two ice cube trays.
As soon as the ice cube trays are frozen, I’ll pop them out and put them in zip lock freezer bags and store it that way. Then I can just pop out a few cubes and nuke them and we’re ready to eat! This is good to mix in with other veggies, too. Maybe bake up some sweet potatoes and stir in a few defrosted cubes of the soup, and poof! Healthy dinner!
…speaking of healthy dinner… Henry had a nice bowl of chicken soup for dinner tonight and he dug it!
That is all,
Woo! One week down, three to go!
I decided to make chicken parmesan for dinner tonight, and partially into getting everything ready, I decided I would share the recipe. So… here’s where I started! :
You’ll need 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a 280z can of good tomatoes. I use the San Marzano tomatoes that I use in my spaghetti sauce recipe in this recipe as well. Any good Italian style tomatoes would suffice, however. You’ll also need 1/2 of a large yellow onion, a few cloves of fresh garlic, tomato paste, basil (I’m using fresh because I have it, but dry works fine, too), italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, some dried parsley, about a cup and a half of panko bread crumbs, 2 eggs, a dash of milk, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Oh, and you’ll also need some mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I realize all of this isn’t in the photo. I wasn’t organized, you see.
You want to start by cutting the chicken breasts in half and pounding them out so you’ve got nice thin pieces of chicken. The best way to do this is to get a really sharp knife and place your had flat down on the chicken breast and apply even pressure.
Make sure to keep the knife parallel to the cutting surface and your hand. As long as you keep pushing down with your hand, you’ll be golden.
My amazing math skills tell me that you’ll end up with four pieces of chicken this way.
Next take a piece of plastic wrap and cover them up. We want these chicken cutlets to be nice and thin and about the same thickness all over so they’ll cook up nice and even and quickly. So I like to cover them up…
And then beat the tar out of ‘em! Now, I suppose you could just skip the plastic wrap step and proceed directly to beating the tar out of the chicken, but I find that the plastic wrap helps keep stuff clean. I’m not a fan of gooey raw chicken bits flying across my kitchen, you see.
Right about now you remember that your son is napping and you’ve probably woken him up. Good job, Mama! Continue pounding out the chicken until they’re all about the same thickness… thinness? Whatever. Make ‘em even, mkay?
Take the chicken over to your working area and get a little assembly line set up. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil into your pan and turn it up to medium/medium-high. Pre-heat your oven to 350 right now, too. You want to make sure you use a pan that is oven safe b/c we’re gonna stick this whole mess into the oven eventually. I like to get everything set up so I can get everything dunked in egg and coated and into the pan without flinging chicken all over the kitchen. I’m just smart like that.
The egg wash is 2 eggs and about 2 tablespoons of milk with a dash of salt and pepper. Dunk the chicken in and get it coated with egg…
Here I’ve got the Panko bread crumbs and a little more salt and pepper with a little dash of parsley flakes and italian seasoning. Put the wet chicken down and coat with the crumbs. I like to keep one hand dry for breading… Scoop the crumbs on top of the chicken and give ‘em a good press with your hand to make sure they really stick on there.
And into the hot pan we go!
Repeat this will all four chicken pieces and cook each piece for two or three minutes on each side. We’re going to put them into hot sauce and into a hot oven, so they’re going to continue cooking if they’re not totally done. You just want a nice golden brown and crunchy breading on them at this point.
When they’re all done, you can just set them aside on some paper towels and let them hang out… You can put them into the microwave to get them out of your way, or you can let them hang out in the toaster oven. I prefer option 3. Keeps the chicken warm(ish) and gets it out of my way for a bit.
With the chicken out of the way, we’re ready to make some sauce. Using the same pan, toss in a little more olive oil and about 1/2 of a large onion that you’ve chopped finely. You’ll want to heat the oil up to about medium/medium-low. Since you’ve been fryin’ up some chicken in this pan it’s probably already rather hot, so keep an eye on the situation and make sure you turn down the heat. And be careful adding oil into a hot pan.
While the onion is smelling wonderful and cooking down, chop up some garlic. We like garlic around these parts, so I used three big cloves. Use more… use less. Whatever floats your boat is fine. Let your onion do it’s thing for a few minutes. Garlic burns a lot faster than onion, and we don’t want burnt garlic here.
Give the garlic and onions a good stir and start adding in the spices. I do about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
About a teaspoon of Italian seasoning…
About 1/2 teaspoon of salt (sorry… blurry pic)..
Throw in about a teaspoon of parsley flakes…
And finally some fresh ground black pepper… 10 grinds or so will work.
Give it all a good stir and take a big whiff. Yum.
Next we’ll add some tomato paste. This tomato paste in a tube is awesome for recipes like this. Instead of opening a whole little can for just a tablespoon or two and not really knowing what to do with the rest of it, I buy these tubes at the fancy grocery store and keep it in the fridge. They also make sun-dried tomato paste. It’s awesome! But I digress… Add in about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and mix it in.
We’re ready for the tomatoes now. I personally like to blend the tomatoes up with my stick blender for a non-chunky sauce. You can keep your tomatoes chunky and just pour the whole tomatoes straight in and then mash them up with a potato masher, or you can dump them into a bowl and squeeze them with your hand. You can also just stick a knife into the can and just cut through the tomatoes. Whatever floats your boat.
Get the tomatoes in to the pan however you like them. I added in about a tablespoon of chopped, fresh basil at this point. If you’re not using fresh, you can throw about a teaspoon or more in with the rest of the dried seasoning. Give everything a good stir and let it simmer and cook down for about 15-20 minutes.
Fetch your chicken and throw it back in the pan on top of the sauce after it’s had a little time to cook down.
Pile some shredded mozzarella and parmesan on top of each piece of chicken, and then pop it into the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melty and everything is warm and bubbly.
I like to kick the broiler on for the last minute or two to brown up the cheese a bit.
Pardon my potholders. I dare not remove them! I have a really bad stupid habit of burning myself terribly when I use pans with handles in the oven. I tend to try to pick them up and move them without potholders, so after burning my hands pretty badly about 300 times, I’ve finally learned to just put potholders on the handles and DON’T TOUCH THEM. Eventually I’ll figure this out.
While the everything is getting all melty and wonderful in the oven, I put on a pot of water to boil and cook up some spaghetti noodles and make some cheesy garlic bread to go with.
To make a really yummy and super easy garlic bread, just take a tablespoon or so of melted butter and add in a little minced garlic, some Italian seasoning, and a tablespoon or two of shredded parmesan cheese. Stir it up and spread it onto some nice thick slices of French bread.
Put the bread under the broiler for a few minutes. This is where the toaster oven comes in hand since the chicken is in the oven doing it’s thing.
When the spaghetti is done, drain it and toss it with a little olive oil to help keep it from sticking. I like to put a nice pile of noodles in a big pasta bowl, and then put a piece of the chicken parmesan on top of the noodles and spoon on a little extra sauce for the noodles. Top it with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese and some fresh basil. Get yourself a nice piece of the bread and enjoy!
I actually like to cut up the chicken into nice slices and mix it all in before I go enjoy…
This is some serious comfort food, and really, really good stuff.
I hope you try it, and enjoy!
That is all,
What is this a food blog?!?! Sheesh! I didn’t know I had so many recipes to share, but it appears that I do! Lucky you!
Here’s my recipe for my black bean salsa. This is my numero uno go-to when I’m taking something to a party. I also make it when we cook fajitas out on the grill. And plenty of other times, too! Pretty much everyone loves this stuff, and it’s super easy, so give it a try!
Here’s what you’ll need:
That’s a can of black beans, a can of white shoepeg corn (THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS REGULAR YELLOW CORN! YOU MUST GET WHITE SHOEPEG CORN!), a can of rotel tomatoes, one small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), one jalapeno, one clove of garlic, a lime (not pictured), and some fresh cilantro. You’ll also need some salt and pepper. I also added one roma tomato to my salsa this time. If I have a tomato laying around, I’ll pop it in there. It’s not really necessary, but if you’ve got a tomato on hand go ahead and throw it in there and add a nice little fresh flavor
You will want to drain and rinse the beans and the corn. I usually just dump them both into a strainer and rinse them and let them drain while I throw everything else together. Your onion, garlic, rotel, and jalapeno should go in your food processor or blender. I usually remove most of the seeds in my jalapeno so as not to make my husband choke and cry. He’s not from around here you see. If you’re really into the spice, just throw the whole jalapeno seeds and all in there and call it a day.
Give the food processor a few good pulses until everything is all chopped up how you like it. Here’s how I like mine, but you can go more or less depending on your personal preference. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life or how to eat your dang salsa, OK? Glad we got that cleared up.
You’ll want to toss the beans, corn, and all of the goodies from the food processor into a really fancy bowl like this one. I was taking this over to my Mom’s house for Memorial Day (we had the best fajitas ever by the way), so I just mixed it all up in my fanciest take along tub. Mom – I want my fancy bowl back, dammit! She’s always trying to shank my good fancy stuff! (I’m totally kidding here by the way… this was probably hers to begin with. I’m sneaky like that.)
Anyway! Back to the salsa. Here’s where you’re going to add in a whole bunch of cilantro. I ♥ cilantro big time. But I understand that there are some strange folks who think that the stuff is vile. Tastes like soap. There’s a website and community dedicated to it even. So, if you don’t like it… Leave it out. But don’t tell me because I will surely cry.
Add in the juice of one lime…
Throw in a teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. I did a good 10 or 15 grinds on the ole pepper grinder, but do what works for you! This is also the first time I’ve ever measured the salt for this recipe! You’re welcome! Now I know!
Give it a good stir, and there ya go! Black bean salsa! This recipe makes quite a bit, and it gets better after a day in the fridge! Bonus!
Yummy! It’s light and spicy and a tiny bit sweet from the corn… It’s really quite delicious.
Go ahead… give it a try… See… I did!
And it was GOOD! I always take a test bite to make sure the salt is OK, but keep in mind that the flavors will change as everything sits together and gets to know each other. I always make it at least a few hours in advance, and it will get a little spicier as it refrigerates.
Ok, now go forth and make salsa!
That is all,