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Recipe Review: Buffalo Chicken Braid

21 Jul
We love Buffalo chicken wings around here.  I don’t care for chicken on a bone, so we go boneless.  When I came across this recipe on Do You Know the Muffin Pan blog, I knew that I had to give this recipe a try.  Seriously, what could be bad about spiced up chicken wrapped in pizza dough?  Sounds like a winner to me.  This recipe is super easy.  Braiding the dough is a few extra steps but totally worth it.  Amy has step by step instructions with pictures to help you get the idea of how to braid the dough.  I used a canned pizza dough and canned chicken for a super fast dinner.  Also, I didn’t have any blue cheese dressing, so I made mine without.  The next time I make it, I will use my own dough and cook and shred some chicken breast to replace the canned chicken.  My family loved this meal and have asked for me to make it again.


Buffalo Chicken Braid
(adapted from the original recipe by Amy @ Do You Know the Muffin Pan)
1 can chicken breast, drained (or 2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded)
1 can pizza dough
2 cups cheese, divided (I used a combination of blue cheese and Italian blend shredded cheese)
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, add chicken and hot sauce.  Mix with a fork breaking up any large lumps while incorporating the sauce.  Set aside.  Unroll pizza dough.  Measure 3″ from the long side of the dough and lightly score (not cutting through the dough) on each side.  In the middle section, sprinkle one cup of the cheese making sure to spread it so it covers from the top to the bottom of the dough.   Next, spread the diced onions.  Add the chicken.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese making sure to cover as much of the chicken as you can. Cut 1 inch thick strips on either side. To braid, pick up one strip and fold it over, pressing it against the opposite strip, continuing until you reach the bottom.  You can tuck the bottom ends under, but it is not necessary.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool for few minutes before cutting.

Linked To:
*It’s a Keeper: It’s a Keeper Thursday
*Paisley Passion: Thrilling Thursday
*Miz Helen’s Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
*Simply Sweet Home: Friday Favorites
*Bizzy B. Bakes: Bake with Bizzy
*Paisley Passions: Fun w/Food Friday
*Six Sister’s Stuff: Strut Your Stuff Saturday 
*I Heart Naptime: Sundae Scoop 



Recipe Review: Smothered Pork Chops

7 Jul
I found this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and immediately knew that I was going to be giving it a try very soon.  I even added it to my Must Try Tuesday post.  There is nothing better in the world than walking into your house after church knowing that you have a crock pot full of yummy goodness.  As soon as you open your door the smell is so wonderful that you immediately know that this is going to be one tasty dinner.  We had a house full of company and not only was this dish so delightful, it was also easy to prepare.  We served it with mashed potatoes and spooned some of the gravy over the them.  Everyone enjoyed this recipe and it is definitely a keeper in our house and will be made for many Sunday dinners to come.
Smothered Pork Chops
(original recipe by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
5 slices bacon, chopped
6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.
Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).
When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

5 May
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
This is definitely one of my favorite holiday celebrations!  I have said it before but I will say it again….I LOVE Mexican food, Tex-Mex or anything in between!
In honor of this wonderful day, I thought I would share some of our favorite Mexican dishes.

Recipe Review: Roasted Roma Tomato Lasagna

2 Mar

We are a lasagna lovin’ family.  I have a recipe that I have used for at least six years that my family loves.  Several of my kids ask for as their birthday meal.  I love this recipe, but it’s a lot of work.  When I saw Martha make this version of a meatless lasagna, I knew that I had to try it.  First off, the roasted Roma tomatoes are amazing!  I shared this recipe last week because it is so good!  Second, the lasagna is unusual because it is made with a bechamel sauce. I tweaked the original recipe just a bit for my family tastes. 

The family verdict?  Loved it!  They didn’t seem to miss the meat or red sauce.  This is definitely a keeper that I will make often.


Roasted Roma Tomato Lasagna
(adapted from the original recipe by Zahra Tangorra)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound dried lasagna noodles 
8 cups Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
6 cups Roasted Roma Tomatoes, and their juices
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 cups grated pecorino cheese
2 cups fresh spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and place a single layer of lasagna noodles in the dish. Pour 2 cups bechamel evenly over pasta; top with 2 cups of the roasted tomatoes in their juices, one third of the ricotta, 1 cup pecorino, and one third of the basil. Repeat process twice and top with remaining lasagna noodles. Top with remaining 2 cups bechamel and 1 cup pecorino.   Cover baking dish with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Place baking dish on a baking sheet and transfer to oven; bake for 1 hour. Uncover and continue baking until lasagna noodles are tender, about 25 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand 30 to 45 minutes before slicing and serving.

Bechamel Sauce
(recipe by Zahra Tangorra)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
10 cups milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes before using.

Makes about 8 cups.

Linked To:
 * Balancing Beauty and Bedlam:  Tasty Tuesday 
 * Simply Sugar & Gluten Free:  Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
 * Not So Homemade:  What’s Cooking Wednesday
 * It’s A Blog Party:  Delicious Dishes
 * Dining with Debbie:  What’s on the Menu Wednesday
 * It’s a Keeper:  It’s a Keeper Thursday
 * Paisley Passions:  Thrilling Thursday
 * Miz Helen’s Country Cottage:  Full Plate Thursday
 * Prairie Story:  Recipe Swap Thursday
 * Simply Sweet Home:  Friday Favorites
 * Crazy Domestic:  All Things Domestic
 * Life as Mom:  Ultimate Recipe Swap
 * Mommy’s Kitchen:  Potluck Sunday
 * My Sweet and Savory:  Meatless Mondays
 * Frugality and Crunchiness with Christy:  Hearth and Soul
 * Six Sister’s Stuff: Strut Your Stuff Saturday

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Recipe Review: Sausage with Apples, Sauerkraut and Onions

12 Feb
As soon as I saw this on one of my favorite food shows, Mad Hungry, I knew that I was going to make it immediately.  We love sausage in this house.  I made this several months ago during the fall months and it was a perfect meal for the season.  But, I got to tell you this would be great year round because it is so tasty.  And, as I said before, my family loves sausage and could eat it everyday if possible.  I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I made it with smoked sausage and served with boiled potatoes.
Sausage with Apples, Sauerkraut and Onions
(adapted from Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn)

1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 crisp red apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup apple cider
1 pound sauerkraut
3 large sour pickles, quartered, for serving
1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise into eighths, for serving

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Cook sausage until browned and heated through. Transfer to a plate, and cover to keep warm. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet if necessary. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes. Add apples, stir, and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in cider, and cook for 1 minute. Add sauerkraut, and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer sauerkraut to a warm serving platter, and top with the sausages. Serve with pickles, cucumber, and mustard. (Sausages and sauerkraut can be kept warm, covered, in a 250-degree oven for up to an hour.)

Linked To:
  *LambAround:  Not “Baad” Sundays
  *11th Heaven’s Homaking Haven:  Homemaker Monday
  *Blessed with Grace:  Tempy My Tummy Tuesday
  *It’s A Blog Party:  Delicious Dishes
  *From Mess Hall to Bistro:  Made From Scratch Tuesday
  *A Southern Fairytale:  Mouthwatering Monday
  *Beyer Beware:  Hunk of Meat Monday
  *All the Small Stuff:  Tuesdays at the Table
  *Life as Mom:  Ultimate Recipe Swap
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Countdown to 2011: Main Dish

30 Dec

I am joining Finding Joy in My Kitchen’s Countdown to 2011.  Today I am posting some of the main dishes we tried. 


Recipe: Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

9 Dec

Yum….soup!  Who doesn’t love a big bowl of yummy good soup on a cold winter’s night?  Especially one that is filled with gnocchi and creamy goodness!

I have seen several different versions of this recipe floating around.  I played around with a couple of them and this is my version of heaven in a bowl.  Serve with warm crusty bread and prepare thine self for the warmth that is about to ensue.  I had just a little bit leftover and put it in my girls lunch the next day and they were happy children and I am THE best mom, at least for the next 2 hours.


Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups carrots, finely shredded
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 tsp chicken base (or use 1-14 oz can chicken broth and omit the water)
2 cups water (I used the water that I cooked the gnocchi in)
1 lb gnocchi
1 bag baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside, reserving the cooking water.  Saute the onion and celery in the butter and olive oil.  When the onion becomes translucent, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the flour  to make a roux.  Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about one minute.  Add the cream and milk mixing well.  Add the carrots and chicken.  Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken base and reserved cooking water or chicken broth.  Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach and salt to taste.  Serve with grated Parmesan on top.


Linked To:
  * Designs by Gollum:  Foodie Friday
  * Mommy’s Kitchen:  Potluck Sunday
  * Life as Mom:  Ultimate Recipe Swap