Friday, August 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Rounds - Pinterest Find!

Hungry Husband has been on a sweet potato kick for awhile now, so I finally broke down and bought some. I have never cooked with sweet potatoes before, but mashed potatoes and fries were requested. So I went to Pinterest to find the best recipes. And boy did that pay off. 

This pinned recipe came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog. The easy recipe and simple ingredients that I already had in the kitchen made this one the winner. I was a little unsure if they would turn out or if the seasoning would taste ok. I made my husband try them before I did because I was too scared! Luckily, he LOVED them. Definitely glad this recipe was the one I chose because Hungry Husband and I ate up the entire batch! Given, I only used 1 sweet potato instead of 3, but still. Scrumptious. 

3 large sweet potatoes or yams
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place two rimmed baking sheets in the oven while it preheats and while you prepare the potatoes (about 10 minutes). Peel the potatoes and slice the potatoes into about 1/4- to 1/2-inch strips or wedges. Try to keep most of the pieces the same size so they bake evenly.
Place the potato strips/wedges in a ziploc bag or bowl. Toss the potatoes with the oil. Add the seasonings and mix until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Carefully remove the hot baking sheets from the oven and divide the potatoes evenly among the two sheets, taking care the potatoes are not touching so they have plenty of room for the air circulate to circulate and bake evenly. Also, try to leave any excess oil in the bag or bowl so the potatoes don’t get too soggy while they bake.
Bake the potatoes for about 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, if desired, until they are tender and well-browned. Serve immediately.
I found it easier to just slice up the sweet potato to make it a little easier, and it worked great! They turned out to be little sweet potato chips. If you like yours a little crunchier, definitely use thinner slices. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cheeseburger Pie

I don't like pie. Unless it's chocolate or pumpkin, I really dislike it. Which is unfortunate because Hungry Husband loves pie and I have the cutest pie plate if I were ever to make one. But I don't, because I'd rather bake a cake! Cake aside, I finally found a use for my pie plate! 

The best thing about this dish is that you really can't mess it up. You can throw just about whatever you want in it, and it'll still turn out delicious. Here's my rendition of Cheeseburger Pie.

1 lb. ground beef
Worcestershire Sauce
Chopped onion
Hot Sauce
Shredded cheese
1 Can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Brown the beef. Add a few squirts of ketchup, a spoonful of mustard, a dash or two Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of hot sauce. Stir in the chopped onion. Add a bit of flour and a splash of milk to thicken things up. Sprinkle in cheese. 

Place half of the crescent roll dough on the bottom of the pie plate. You can pinch all the seams together. Add beef mixture. Top the beef with the rest of the crescent roll dough. Top with cheese if you'd like to!

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. SO SIMPLE! And the best part is you can add anything to this dish that you would usually put on a burger. Such as:
Bacon bits
Chopped pickles
BBQ Sauce
Green bell pepper
The possibilities are endless. 

You can also omit anything you don't like! The original recipe that I came across a long time ago calls for chopped pickles. Hungry Husband hates pickles, so I don't use them. For the added flavor, I use the Worcestershire sauce. Delicious!

It also keeps well for great leftovers the next day. Enjoy!
Hungry pup could smell my cookin!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salsa Chicken

Hungry Husband has been working his butt off lately, so I decided to do one of his favorite meals for dinner last night. Lucky for me, it's super easy!! It may not look the most appetizing, but trust me, the taste makes it all better. Plus, it's a crock pot recipe. Need I say more?

Salsa Chicken
Look at all the corn, rice, and beans goodness.
2-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I just throw mine in frozen
1-2 Cups chunky salsa
1 Can black beans, drained
1 Can yellow corn, drained

Place your chicken in the crock pot and cover with salsa. Add black beans. BOOM. Done! I cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours, depending on the amount of chicken and if it's thawed or frozen. About 30 minutes before serving, I add the corn. I've found if I put the corn in too early, it gets mushy.

I serve my Salsa Chicken over Mexican or Spanish rice, top with cheese, and put tortilla chips on the side. Makes for a super delicious, super easy dish! The salsa also locks in moisture for the chicken. I usually don't like cooking my chicken in the crock pot because it seems to turn out dry, but the salsa prevents that.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moonshine Restaurant, Austin, Texas.

I have been slacking on my blogging because I didn't cook much these past few days! My friend from back home came to visit me and we had an amazing time. We made a wonderful spaghetti dinner for Hungry Husband, but that's pretty basic. I used Italian Sausage and a splash of red wine for my sauce, but that's about as exciting as it gets. Still delicious though!

So while my friend was in town, I took her to Austin to explore the city. We were walking along 6th Street, the entertainment district, and decided to find somewhere relatively cheap to eat, but no chain restaurants. We checked with our hotel and what they would suggest, so we decided on Moonshine Restaurant. Close to our hotel, close to 6th Street. Perfect.

Turned out to be more than perfect. It was one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. We walked in to a cute little restaurant and asked to be seated on the patio, which turned out to be the best idea ever. The patio had cute a small-town feel, cozy and comfortable with a seasoned popcorn waiting for you on the table. It was a wonderful atmosphere for a laid back, Friday night dinner.

We started with drinks and I ordered a Hard Lemonade. Vodka, mint, fresh lemonade, and a splash of Paula's Texas Lemon. I couldn't have ordered better. The ice cold drink was hands down the best hard lemonade that I have ever had. And drinking it on the porch of what feels like a family farm, was beyond compare.

After getting over the excitement of my fantastic drink, my friend and I finally ordered our food. The menu is very reasonably priced and has enough options to please my family of 7 (back home, that is). Everything looked delicious, so my friend and I decided to order two meals and share both. Turned out to be the third brilliant choice we made.

We settled on the Indigo Spinach Salad and the Mixed Grill Brochette. This was before our server (who was funny and easy to talk to, by the way) actually told us that he usually recommends the exact meal. Bingo! When our food arrived, it was like Christmas morning for our eyes and something even better for our bellies. Talk about a divine meal.

The salad was composed of peaches, blueberries, blue cheese, pickled red onions, toasted pecans, and blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. OH MY GOODNESS. If all salads tasted the way this one did, I'd have a salad for every meal. It was sweet and tangy and crunchy and FRESH! and so phenomenal that I am actually salivating just thinking about it. I had to stop myself, sit back, and just enjoy the tastes before my salad was gone.

The mixed grill was the perfect compliment to the salad. Two skewers of beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp served atop green chile cheddar grits with lemon garlic butter. Um. YES PLEASE. I think I just slobbered a bit. The meats were all cooked perfectly, and even though I don't like shrimp, I still ate it because it was just that amazing. And don't even get me started on the grits. My friend and I actually contemplated whether or not it was appropriate to lick the bowl clean in public. Her mom is from the south, so she makes a mean batch of grits, but let me tell you. We have never tasted anything quite like these ones. I wish I was a food critic so that I could describe them better than just "FREAKIN DELICIOUS!"

Oh and did I mention the complimentary corn bread muffins? There are no words. Just salivating.

Four days later, and I'm still not over this meal. I keep thinking about it, wishing I was sitting on the patio, sipping my lemonade and about to devour an insanely fantastic culinary creation. I hope I can talk Hungry Husband into going back with me. When I find something I like, I usually like to recreate it, like my Tokyo Joes recipe, but I'm not even going to attempt this meal. Not only are the flavors so perfectly blended together that I'd never be able to get it right, it was also the outdoor atmosphere that made this dining experience. It's definitely worth the 1 1/2 hour drive from where we live. I'd do it today if he let me. So if you're ever in Austin, you MUST go to Moonshine Restaurant on Red River Street. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Super Easy Chicken Parmesan

Hungry Husband got home from work last night and had a hankering for Chicken Parmesan. Well, that just happens to be one chicken dish that I haven't really made and don't have a recipe for. Having told my husband this, he says, "Oh that's ok, I was going to make it". Well ok then! As excited I was about having dinner made for me, I was curious at how our dinner would turn out. Well, it was one of the best Chicken Parmesans I've ever had! The delicious recipe was so easy to make, I know that it will become a staple in our household.
Husband's plate.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Italian bread crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 Cups finely grated Parmesan
1 1/2 Cups Italian bread crumbs
Marinara sauce
2 Cups finely shredded Mozzarella cheese

Start by melting butter in a bowl in the microwave. Then mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese together in separate bowl. Take one chicken breast and dip it in the butter, making sure it's completely covered. Then dip the chicken in the Parmesan/breadcrumbs mixture, making sure it's completely covered. Repeat with remaining chicken. Place chicken in a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take chicken out of oven and top with a generous helping of marinara sauce, followed by the Mozzarella cheese. Broil chicken until cheese is melted.

This dish was absolutely delicious!! The chicken was so moist and the cheesy, saucy goodness was amazing! This is definitely going in the recipe book.

We served the chicken with garlic, buttered noodles and veggies. My husband also likes the chicken over top of spaghetti.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fiesta Lime Chicken

FINALLY! I was able to make Hungry Husband's favorite dinner. It's easy to make and full of flavor. I was getting irritated when every time we wanted to go out to dinner, he'd suggest Applebees. He loves that restaurant for one reason, and one reason only. Their Fiesta Lime Chicken. So, I decided to find a copycat recipe and make it instead of always having to go to Applebees. It worked!

I found this recipe originally at just by googling it. Turned out pretty well!

Finished! Delicious!
1 cup water
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. tequila
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup mayo **Greek yogurt can be substituted!
1/4 c. sour cream
2 tbls. pico de gallo (or just chopped tomatoes and onions)
1 tsp. Cajun Blackening Spice
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. hot sauce
1/8 tsp. dried dillweed
1/8 tsp. cumin

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed

Whisk together marinade ingredients and marinade chicken for at least 2 hours. I usually make it in the morning for extra flavor, letting it marinade all day.
Whisk together the sauce ingredients, cover, and chill until needed.
Bake chicken at 350 for 30 minutes (or until done) then smother chicken with sauce, cover in cheese, and broil until melted.
**I like to steam cook my chicken. I steam one side for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken over and steam the other side for 10. The last few minutes, I just add the sauce and cheese, cover, and continue steaming until cheese is melted. Makes for super moist chicken!
Serve over Mexican rice, crushed tortilla chips and leftover pico de gallo.
I like to add corn, black beans, and red and green bell peppers to the plate for more flavor.

I have also heard that if you don't have all the spices for the sauce, you can use 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Mix and 16oz sour cream to substitute.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Banana Pudding

So it looks like I'll  finally  be able to make this fantastic dinner that I've been wanting to share! We've had a very lazy Monday around here because my husband worked 9am yesterday to 9am today, so it's been quiet. Loved it.

As I'm waiting for him to wake up so I can finally make yummy dinner, I was thinking about what else I could make to pass the time. Not to mention, I'm just hungry for something sweet :) So I remembered this super easy and delicious recipe that my mom makes all summer long. If you make it in a glass or clear plastic bowl, it's sure to be a hit because it looks so pretty when it is finished. Hungry Husband can't get enough of it!!

3 cups cold milk
2 packages - 4 servings each- Jell-O vanilla instant pudding mix (I like to do 1 vanilla mix, 1 banana mix!)
1 box Nilla Wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed

Half way done!
Follow instructions on the pudding mixes and let sit. Arrange half the wafers on the bottom and up the sides of a 2 quart serving bowl. Add the banana pudding. Layer the sliced bananas on top. Add the vanilla pudding. Top with the entire tub of Cool Whip. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until ready to serve.

You can also do more layering by doing half pudding, half bananas, cool whip, half pudding, half bananas, half cool whip, and so on. Definitely add more layers if you're serving it in a clear dish just because it looks so nice, but if not, the way I do it works too. Because it is so simple and delicious, this recipe is just one of many that I like to bring to get-togethers. Enjoy!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow when I'll FINALLY have posted about this amazing dinner recipe that I can't wait to share.