Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Creamy Baked Swiss Chicken

I love finding different chicken recipes for my family.  Normally, we grill out chicken using some type of marinate, but I came across this recipe from Lil' Luna on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try. It is fantastically reminiscent of childhood chicken baked in casserole dishes with various sauces…..nostalgia at its best. Ron, Kellen and I really liked this recipe and it was an easy weeknight meal.  I opted to serve our chicken with warm wild rice and a side salad, but it would be delicious with pasta, couscous or any grain you prefer. 

Tonight I am working on getting my final prepping done for tomorrow! We have our turkey and all the shopping has been done! Woot!  

Here is what I have on the menu tomorrow:

Fresh Veggies, olives and nuts for snacking

Herb Roasted Turkey w/ Pan Gravy
Cornbread, Sausage and Sage Stuffing
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (with a bit or orange and vanilla)
Cheese Beans (A Lecker staple)
Homemade Green Bean Casserole
Homemade Wisconsin Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crumble
Burgundy Mushrooms

Ron’s parents are bringing fresh bread, pumpkin and pecan pie. 

I can’t wait to eat. It is going to be delicious!

After our meal we are heading to Appleton for bowling and relaxing with Ron’s family before heading over to my side the following day for round two! 

Happy (early) Thanksgiving everyone! 


Ingredients

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
6 Slices Swiss Cheese 
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (divided)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder


Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pat chicken dry and place in a greased 8x8 baking dish. Add sliced cheese on top of chicken breasts.

In a bowl mix mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spread mixture evenly over chicken and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 60 minutes. 

Serve with rice of choice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Slowcooker Rosemary Bean and Bacon Soup

Well Green Bay got about 4 inches of snow last night..... it was 45 degrees on Saturday...I suppose I better just get accept the inevitable. As Ned Stark would say, "Winter is Coming!".  

What better way to warm up after a snowy evening that a big bowl of hot soup. On weeknights soups can be hard to get together because they take time to cook. Luckily I am a big fan of my slowcooker and love to utilize it for weeknight meals that are ready to eat when I come home.  I love bean soup of any type, and decided to create one of my favorite childhood soups- bean and bacon. I remember loving the canned soup as a kid and was excited to make  "grown-up" version. I love the flavor of rosemary with beans and decided to use that as my main herb (along with a little fresh thyme). I absolutely loved this soup and even with the long cook time the flavors of the herbs were prominent.  Another note on the preparation of the soup, make sure to get your bacon crispy and cut into small pieces. The bacon will not stay crispy while cooking, but the smaller pieces help the flavors get into each bite. If you want crispy bacon in the soup you could add it before you serve the soup. You will not get the smokey flavor in your soup, but will have crisper bacon.

Tonight I am getting my haircut and getting a few more more items prepped for Thanksgiving! Tonight I am making my herb butter, cranberry sauce and cornbread for my stuffing. In addition, I am making a cranberry bread to bring to work tomorrow.  I also stopped at Target last night and picked up a few new serving dished and a table runner.  I thought that since it was my first year to host that a few new pieces of decor were needed! 


Ingredients

1 pound great Northern beans, soaked overnight
1 pound of bacon cooked crisp and chopped
7 cups chicken stock (or chicken bone broth is you have some!)
2 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl fresh thyme
2 Tbl fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste


Instructions

Place soaked beans in the bottom of the slowcooker. Layer herbs, pepper, carrots, celery, onion bacon and garlic over the beans.  Pour water and stock over the top. Cover and cook on low 9-10 hours. Serve with crusty bread.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick Garlic Knots

In our house we love garlic bread, garlic rolls, garlic knots...ect. I will often make garlic bread when we have Italian style dinners and wanted to give our favorite side a different twist (literally).  I went as simple as possible and used a store bought dough, but if you feel ambitious you could make the dough at home.  I was lucky enough to have a special helper in the kitchen!

I wanted to bring this recipe to you as a wonderful alternative to bring to your Thanksgiving table (or next meal!). At our Thanksgiving the bread depends on the meal. My in-laws bring homemade bread and brown and serve rolls. My parents serve rolls from our local Great Harvest- all delicious options in my opinion!

Tonight I am putting the finishing touches on my Thanksgiving menu, and starting to organize the house for Thursday.  My Dad and I are doing a shopping trip together tomorrow (we like to holiday food shop together) and I will officially begin my cooking!


Ingredients

One package (12) of breadsticks  (I used Pillsbury brand)
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 Tbl chopped Parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2-1 tsp garlic powder (adjust to your liking)


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove breadsticks from packaging and roll in your hands to stretch slightly. Tie in a knot and tuck the ends under to create a knot shape. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place knots evenly across the surface of the sheet.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic and parsley.  Evenly brush the butter over all of the garlic knots. Bake for 10-12 minutes and serve hot from the oven.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 11/24 - 11/30

Happy Monday! 

This weekend was busy, but really fun! On Friday, I headed to Bowler, WI with two friends to see a Bret Michael concert. It was awesome as expected and we had a lot of fun! 

Rock on Bret!


On Saturday I headed to Festival Foods to pick up my award for my tailgating recipe! Thank you again for voting for me!


On Sunday, Kellen, my mom, my nephew and I headed to the Brown County Arena to watch Elmo's Let's Dance!


I had no idea how this was going to go....big characters, dark lights......sitting still. To my delight Kellen loved it. He danced up a storm and loved meeting the characters prior to the show. When they left the meet and greet area little Kellen ran after them yelling "I'm comin' too!!!!!".

A special high five!


After Elmo we headed to my parents for pizza and the Packer game. Packers had a closer game this week, but gave use a victory! After the game we headed come for naps and I headed to see the new Hunger Games movie, Mocking Jay, with my girlfriend. I enjoyed it, but having read the books know what things are to come for the characters.

This week is Thanksgiving!!! Woot!!! I am hosting for Ron's family and cooking with my family on Friday. I am really excited about hosting my first Thanksgiving and will have more menu details later this week, but I can say there will be turkey and lots of it!

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta and Salad
Tuesday: Lasagna Soup and Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Out
Thursday: Thanksgiving with Leckers at our house
Friday: Thanksgiving with Ramakers at my parents house
Saturday: Dinner with my friend Kayla
Sunday: Leftover Turkey Herb Dumpling Soup

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pappardelle Bolognese

Awhile ago I was at Trander Joe's and they had a lovely selection of different pappardelle pastas. I bought a few in hopes of finding a delicious bolognese recipe to make for my pasta. I searched around and decided to try Pappardelle Bolognese from Bon Appetit. The recipe seemed so simple and I loved that is used a full cup of dry red wine because, in my opinion, all meat sauces need red wine. I stayed very close to the original recipe with the exception of reducing the oil from 1/4 cup to 1/8 cup. With the thick cut bacon and ground pork I knew the dish would not suffer from the reduction. I was actually very happy that I did it because I think the finished product would have been a bit too oily with the larger amount. 

This recipe tasted absolutely fantastic. I loved the fresh herbs with the rich meat and wine flavor. It is truly a meal that you want to bring the bowl to your chin with each forkful to ensure a large mouthful of pasta at each bite. I do not eat pappardelle often, but it is such a wonderful pasta and a perfect carrier to this delicious sauce. For the photo, I forgot to top mine with a little Parmesan and remembered mid-eat. If you are looking for a rustic and flavor packed meal give this one a shot- you will love it!

Tonight I am headed to Bowler, WI to see Bret Michaels with my friends Amanda and Melissa. I am so excited words do not even describe it and I am ready for a ladies night. I have my Bret bandana already to go for the show (yes- I really have one- judge away). Saturday will be a down-day, but Sunday we are taking Kellen and his cousin to see Elmo Dance Party (parenting thrills) before the Packer game, and I know the little dude will love it. Hope you all are doing something fun this weekend!


Ingredients

1/8 cup olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
1 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
28 oz beef stock
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1 lb Pappardelle pasta


Instructions

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until beginning about 4-5 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and thyme and sauté 5 minutes. Add veal and pork and break it apart with a spoon. Cook until the meat is completely cooked. Add wine and bay leaves. Simmer until liquid has slightly reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Add broth and tomato puree. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to allow the sauce thicken for about an 1 hour 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Shortly before the sauce is ready to serve, boil pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender.  Drain and transfer to the sauce. Gently toss to evenly coat. Serve with Parmesan.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tart Apple Galette with Cinnamon Crumble

Today is a double post day and time for November Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for the challenge this month is apples and cinnamon. Apples and cinnamon scream fall to me and, in my opinion, are once of the best smells to come out of a kitchen. I really enjoy making galette because it is easy, and I think they look beautiful (and taste good too). Normally, when I make a crumble I use granulated sugar but in the spirit of the challenge I decided make a brown sugar and cinnamon crumble for my apples. I loved the flavor that the additional boost of cinnamon added and the brown sugar tastes a little richer to make than using a white sugar. My family loved this dessert, and it was so cute to watch Kellen pick his up like a piece of pizza while excaliming "yummy apples!".  Kellen is a funny guy because he would probably still opt for a plain sliced apple (or tomato) over any sugary treat. 

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately (which I love), but I think tonight I am going to treat my family to pizza and a little relaxation. I am also getting all of Kellen's second birthday invites in the mail (*sniff sniff*)! 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using Red and Green (I already have mine done)!

Ingredients

1 pie crust (I used a pre-made from our bakery, but you could make our own)
3-4 (depending on size) tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbl butter, room tempurature
1 Tbl brown sugar
3 1/2 tbl flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg raw 
Raw sugar for crust (optional)


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Stretch (or roll if you made your own) your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper. Arragne apples in a circlular pattern. Make sure to leave about 2 inches boarder around the outside to fold over.  Fold the crust edges up and over the apples (I tucked as I circles the fruit). 

In a medium bowl, n a separate bowl, cream butter, cinnamon and sugar.  Add the flour and mix with a fork to create a crumble topping. Spread topping evenly over the apples. 

Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Hollandaise

Time for November's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!


The theme for this month is citrus and breadcrumbs. I was very excited to come up with a new recipe because crispy chicken with lemon is a flavor combination that I really love. This chicken recipe is absolutely and is deceptively easy. Frying chicken can be a bit intimidating for me because I am always worried it is going to burn or not done. I have learned that it is important to become comfortable with your heat source and not to constantly poke at the chicken as it cooks because the breading will fall off. The result? This lovely dish below. I decided that I wanted to get a punch of lemon so I added zest to the coating and the hollandaise has fresh lemon juice in the it as well. I normally can whip up a hollandaise like it is no one's business. This time was the exception to the rule. I literally broke the sauce into scrambled eggs 3 times.....cue kitchen temper tantrum. Thankfully, on my last eggs, I got my act together and made a beautiful and velvety sauce (thank goodness!). This recipe was absolutely delicious and I can't wait to make this again! Crunchy, salty, tart and savory....a perfect combination. 

f you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information.  I am excited to see what next month will bring! 


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
1/2cup flour
One egg (+ 1 Tbl Water), Beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbl grated Parmesan
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For Hollandaise:
4 egg yolks
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Instructions

Set up a station to bread the chicken. One flat dish with flour and 1/2 tsp salt, one bowl with egg beaten with water and one flat dish with breadcrumbs, lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Dredge the chicken breast in flour, dip in eggs and coat in the panko making sure to press the breadcrumbs into the chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Heat oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium-high heat (you do not want the oil too hot or it will burn the coating). Once oil is hot place chicken gently in the skillet. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. The chicken should be golden brown and breading firm and crunchy. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate and make the Hollandaise while the chicken rests.

For Hollandaise, heat a double broiler or metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water) on stove top.  Quickly whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice in the double boiler. Continue whisking until sauce is thick enough to coat back of spoon. Reduce heat to low. Drizzle in melted butter, whisking constantly. Add cayenne.

Slice chicken into slices and top with Hollandaise. Serve with a leafy green salad.