Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is amongst Jeremy's favorite meals.  Until last night, I had never ventured into making the dish-perhaps I felt intimidated by the meal knowing how liked it was, I feared that I wouldn't be able to replicate the time Jeremy had tasted it best in a restaurant years ago.  It was time to overcome my fear and try.  Worst case is that he didn't enjoy it and I would have a meal to try and perfect time and time again.  Well, I have another problem:  I don't trust a single recipe when trying something new.  For whatever reason, I consult multiple recipes and combine the concepts I like, flavors I think we would enjoy best and then I consult my Momma for her opinion.  I know. I realize that I am not normal and I need to relinquish a bit of control, but I'm not there yet!  In the end I have no regrets- Jeremy LOVED it. Like I mentioned, the recipe I am sharing with you isn't just a single recipe, it is what I did- so enjoy!

If you are using frozen chicken breast, begin thawing 3 chicken breast early in the day.  Once they are thawed, slice them in half so you have 6 thin chicken breasts.  In a small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and pour over the 6 sliced chicken breasts that have been placed in a ziploc bag.  Season your chicken to your liking with pepper, chopped onion, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, and basil.  Mix together and place your bag in the refrigerater until about an hour before dinner.

An hour before your desired time to eat, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Stir together and add a 28 ounce can of pulsed and pureed tomatoes.  I added 1/4 c of fat free half and half and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. 

While the sauce is cooking, fill another ziploc bag with 1/2 c bread crumbs,  1/2 c of parmesan cheese and about 1/4 tsp of freshly ground pepper, mixing all together.  Place each piece of chicken in the bag and cover completely with the bread crumb mixture.

Using 2 large skillets over medium-high heat, swirl in about 2 tbsp olive oil into each pan to coat it.  Add the chicken breasts in one layer and cook until they are golden.

Turn the chicken half way to make sure that both sides cook evenly.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spoon your tomato sauce into a greased 9 x13 pan, covering the bottom of the dish.  Layer the chicken pieces on top of the sauce.

Slice mozarella cheese about 1/2 inch thick and place on top of each of the chicken breasts.

Spoon 1 1/4 c more tomato sauce onto the cheese and sprinkle 1/4 c parmesan cheese on top of the remaining sauce.  Bake until golden and bubbling- about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ingredient Substitutions and Measuring Guide

I know I am not alone in needing a substitution in a pinch- SO here is a list for all my fellow bakers and cooks!

Instead of:
Arborio rice
1 cup uncooked
1 cup uncooked short-grain white rice, regular long-grain rice or brown rice
Baking powder
1 tsp
1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp sherry or cider vinegar
1 cup
1 cup nonalcoholic beer, apple cider or beef broth
Bread crumbs, dry
1/4 cup
1/4 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs, corn flakes or quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
Broth, chicken, beef or vegetable
1 cup
1 tsp chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon granules (or 1 cube) dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
Brown sugar, packed
1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup
Buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup
1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup; let stand a few minutes. Or 1 cup plain yogurt.
Semisweet baking

Semisweet chips

Unsweetened baking

1 oz

1 cup

1 oz

1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 Tbsp sugar

6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped

3 Tbsp baking cocoa plus 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted shortening or margarine
1 Tbsp
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour or 4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca
Corn syrup


1 cup

1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water 

1 cup light corn syrup; 3/4 cup light corn syrup plus 1/4 cup molasses; 1 cup maple-flavored syrup
1 large
2 egg whites; 1/4 cup fat-free cholesterol-free egg product; 2 egg yolks (for custard or puddings); or 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp water (for cookies or bars)



1 cup

1 cup

1 cup

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cake flour

1 cup minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt
Garlic, finely chopped
1 medium clove
1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1/4 tsp instant minced garlic
Gingerroot, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp
3/4 tsp ground ginger
Herbs, chopped fresh
1 Tbsp
3/4 to 1 tsp dried herbs
Lemon juice, fresh
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or white vinegar
Lemon peel, grated
1 tsp
1 tsp dried lemon peel
Milk, regular or low-fat
1 cup
1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water; or nonfat dry milk prepared as directed on package
Mushrooms, fresh
1 cup cooked sliced
1 can (4 oz) mushroom pieces and stems, drained
Mustard, yellow
1 Tbsp
1 tsp ground mustard
Poultry seasoning
1 tsp
1/4 tsp ground thyme plus 3/4 tsp ground sage
Pumpkin or apple pie spice
1 tsp
Mix 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground allspice and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg.
Sour cream
1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt
Tomato juice
1 cup
1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water
Tomato paste
1/2 cup
1 cup tomato sauce cooked uncovered to reduce to 1/2 cup
Tomato sauce
2 cups
3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water
Tomatoes, canned
1 cup
About 1 1/3 cups cut-up fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 min


1 cup

1 cup

1 cup nonalcoholic wine, apple cider, beef broth, tomato juice or water

1 cup nonalcoholic wine, white grape juice, apple juice, chicken broth or water
Yeast, regular or quick active dry
1 pkg
(1/4 oz)
2 1/4 tsp regular or quick active dry or 1 package (0.6 oz) compressed cake yeast
Yogurt, plain
1 cup
1 cup sour cream

Measuring Guide

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
1 cup = 1/2 pint
2 cups = 1 pint
4 cups (2 pints) = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 ounces = 1 pound
Dash or pinch = less than 1/8 teaspoon


Monday, June 20, 2011

Golden Potatoes, Polish Sausage and Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon: Our Father's Day Brunch

Golden Potatoes

Golden Potatoes are one of our family's traditional foods.  We typically make these for our Christmas Eve dinner along with polish sausage.  Because it is such a well liked meal- especially amongst the men in our family, I thought it would be a nice meal for our Father's Day Brunch.

Here is how we start:
Place a 32 ounce bag of cube style hash browns in a prepared 9 x 13 pan.

Clean your green onion stalks ...

and dice them until you have 1/2 c of chopped onions.

In a medium saucepan combine 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 1/2 c of butter and the onions.

Over medium heat, mix the ingredients well.

Then add 1 c of sour cream to the saucepan, stirring well.

Once well combined, remove from the stove and pour the sauce over the thawed cubed hash browns.

I then added about 2 c of shredded cheese ...

and evenly top the pan with your cheese assortment.

Mix the cheese into your potatoes and sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  If you choose to make this ahead of time, refrigerate before baking and be sure to add an additional 10 minutes to your cooking time.

When your dish is bubbly, it is ready.

Polish Sausage

Polish sausage, or Kielbasa is the protein to our family favorite meal.  It can be cooked on the BBQ, boiled in water or cooked on the stove like I did.

First, I began by using a saute pan and I lined it with some olive oil, about 1 c of pearl onions and 1 c of chopped bell peppers.  I let them cook over medium/high heat for about 7 minutes.

While my peppers and onions were cooking, I sliced my kielbasa and added it to the pan to cook along side the vegetables.  I seasoned the dish with 1 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp garlic powder and a few dashes of red pepper.  Depending upon how spicy you like your food- add the red pepper to your liking.  Allow the kielbasa to cook until your seasonings and vegetables have marinated- about 20 minutes.  The kielbasa that I buy from TJ's is already fully cooked, so the amount of time you saute is strictly to heat and add flavor.

Once ready, transfer to a dish to serve.

Fried Eggs and Brown Sugared Bacon

A few eggs were fried and seasoned with pepper to top our golden potatoes ...

 .... and while cooking our turkey bacon on the griddle, I sprinkled brown sugar and a bit of maple syrup on top each slice to create a sweet and crispy glaze.

The table was set and the celebration of family- my Dad and Jeremy began!


Cole shared his favorite things about Jeremy ...

Jeremy was also given his Father's Day cards and crafts from the boys at church.  
We spent the rest of our day riding bikes,

playing games ...

and enjoying our treats of chocolate chip cookies and what remained of Lemon Meringue Pie!

Hope all the Daddies were honored, blessed and loved yesterday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blueberry Maple Muffins

Blueberry Maple Muffins

I love blueberry muffins.  They are fresh and light, but sometimes its nice to add a little kick to what is good to make the classic that much better.  In this case, we added maple to our muffins!  Its an awesome add in that takes your taste buds to the next level.  An added bonus to these muffins is that they are made with oil instead of butter so you have a bit of guilt free eating!  If you want to increase the 'healthy' factor, use 2 c flour instead of 2 1/2 c and add 1/2 c bran or wheat germ at the time you mix in your blueberries.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners and get started.  

In a large bowl, wisk together 2 1/2 c flour, 1 tbsp baking soda and a pinch of salt.  Separately beat together 2 eggs, 4 tbsp of maple syrup, 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 c oil and 1 1/2 c milk.  

Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture.  Softly fold in 1 c fresh or frozen blueberries into your mixture.  If you beat them too hard, the blueberries will break and the color will bleed out into your batter.  

Fill your muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for a few minutes and then enjoy a yummy snack!

*I found through not having eggs on hand once while making these that a substitute to an egg is 1 1/2 tbsp water, 1 1/2 tbsp oil and 1 tsp baking powder!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pineapple Soyaki Meatballs

Pineapple Soyaki Meatballs

With my to-do list being big today, I thought to start dinner early ... that's right a crock pot meal!  Cole has been asking me for about a week now to help me cut open the pineapple that has been sitting on top of the refrigerator.  I decided to take him up on his offer and use the pineapple in our dinner and I grabbed a few other ingredients- turkey meatballs, soyaki sauce, the pineapple and the pineapple corer.

The pineapple was our first task ...

I cut the top off of the pineapple ...

and then I used the corer to remove the pineapple while taking the core out as well.  I got this started ...

and then Cole took his turn at it- the coring is actually a bit tricky as you are pressing down into the pineapple while you are also turning the tool to cut the pineapple at the same time.

Success!  We did it!

I sliced the pineapple into smaller pieces and Cole and I ate a few too!  We then placed our frozen turkey meatballs (which is perfect for little prep and a quick meal- another TJ find) into the crock pot with our sliced pineapple.  

I poured a can of pineapple juice on top ...

and then the bottle of soyaki sauce as well.  I stirred it up and let it cook on low in the crock pot.

When Jeremy gets home we will enjoy our pineapple and meatballs over rice ... until then I will be folding the 7 loads of laundry from the day and reading more books with the boys-  as Braydon just climbed into my lap and gave me a hug and Cole brought me a new book to read saying, Mommy I miss you, can you cuddle with me and read me another book? I'm not sure if it is cute that he misses me after only 30 minutes of being away, but either way I suppose that is my cue to sign off for now and LOVE on my boys.