January 26, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

Growing up, we always had certain foods on hand--staples, if you will, that were essential.  One of these was parmesan cheese.  Strange, you say?  Delicious, I say!  One of my favorite dishes to make with parmesan cheese is chicken parmesan.  It's a dish that I always seem to forget about, and then when I remember it, I wonder how I ever could have forgotten something so mouth-watering.

Image Source
Chicken Parmesan

1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, and pepper.  Pour bread crumbs into a separate shallow container.  Dip each chicken breast first into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumbs to coat completely.  I usually put the bread crumbs in a bread bag (you can get them in grocery stores near the sandwich and ziploc bags), and then I put the egged chicken into the bag and shake it all around until it's all evenly coated.
2. Warm the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then brown the chicken, then pat with paper towels to remove excess oil.  If you need to keep them warm while you make the sauce in the next step, just cover them with foil on a plate and place in a warm oven.
3.  Drain any extra oil from the frying pan, then fill it with the tomato sauce, basil, and garlic powder.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in the butter, and heat until it's melted.  Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken, then top it with the parmesan cheese.  If you're running low on time, just open a jar of spaghetti sauce and substitute that instead. 
4.  Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven, uncover it, and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake uncovered for 10 minutes more.  
5.  Buon appetito!

January 23, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

My husband got the most incredible Christmas present.  Think of the coolest thing that someone might give you.  It's even cooler than that.  It's a Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment!  And it is amazing.  I absolutely love it.  We used up an entire Costco carton of heavy cream in just a couple of weeks making amazing ice cream.  So far, this has been our favorite flavor, coming your way from Ben and Jerry.

Image Thanks to The Family Kitchen
Strawberry Ice Cream
(from the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Dessert Book)

1 pint fresh strawberries (12 oz, or just a little less than a 1 lb carton)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of half a lemon)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup milk

1. Hull and slice strawberries.  Place them in a bowl, then stir in the sugar and lemon juice.  Cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour, stirring every 20 or so minutes.  When they're nice and ready, mash them or pulse them in a blender.  Want it chunky?  Mash less.  Want it smooth?  Blend more.
2. Prepare sweet cream base by whipping the eggs until they are frothy.  Whisk in the sugar, followed by the cream and milk.  Stir in the mashed strawberries, and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions.
3. Prepare yourself for rich and creamy deliciousness.
4. Savor every last lick, and then make more!

January 18, 2012

Salsa Chicken

I went to visit a friend the other day, and while I was over she started making salsa chicken.  I asked her for the recipe, made one small tweak, and made it for dinner the next night.  It was amazingly easy and tasted great paired with cilantro lime rice.  I think we found another keeper.

Image thanks to Freezer Meals for Us
Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
2 cups (or 16 fluid oz) salsa
1 small can chopped green chiles (optional)

1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place chicken in slow cooker, and top with salsa.  Cover, and cook on high for about 4 hours (or on low for 8-10).  Note: if you're using chicken breasts, rather than thighs, they may take slightly longer to cook.
3. Remove lid, shred chicken, and return to slow cooker.  Mix shredded chicken and salsa until well-combined.  Taste test.  If it's not spicy enough for you, add the can of chopped green chiles now.  I haven't tried cooking the chiles with the chicken yet, but if any of you out there give it a go, let me know how it turns out.  
4. Serve over rice or with cilantro lime rice.  It would also be amazing wrapped in a tortilla with some sour cream and cheese.  Yum.

January 16, 2012

Seven Layer Dip

I love seven layer dip.  Who doesn't?  Okay, I'm sure there are people who don't like it, but they are probably few and far between.  I found the idea to mix taco seasoning into your sour cream on allrecipes.com, and I liked it quite a bit.  You should make some soon.  You'll be happy you did.

Image Source
Seven Layer Dip

1 can refried beans
8 oz sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
8 oz guacamole (or substitute chopped avocado)
1 large tomato, diced
1 can olives, sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, torn or sliced (optional)
Tortilla Chips (as many as you can get!)

1. Spread the refried beans in an even layer in a 9x13 dish.
2. Mix together sour cream and taco seasoning, then spread the sour cream mixture in a layer on top of the refried beans.
3. Top these layers with tomato, olives, green onions, cheddar cheese, and lettuce if you want it.
4. Load up a tortilla chip and sit back to watch a football game...or a chick flick...or turn on some Mexican music and don a sombrero--because, hey!  Eating seven layer dip is just plain fun.

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