Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parmigiano Panko Herb Encrusted Chicken Breasts

Had all these ingredients in the house -so decided it would be an easy working from home lunch to make...but it wasn't anything special.  I've had better breaded chicken before, so wouldn't make this again either.  What a meal bust :(  However, Ross thought the chicken was pretty good - so maybe put it in the cookbook.  We shall see.

4-6 chicken breasts
olive oil
panko flakes - enough for breading
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano reggiano - grated
2 tablespoons dried basil
salt / pepper

Trim your chicken breasts for excess fat.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and cover your chicken breasts.  Pound them out with a mallet until they're about 1/4 inch thick.

In a large deep sided pan over medium heat, put enough olive oil to pan fry your chicken breasts..

While your oil is heating, place panko flakes into dish.  Add Parmigiano, basil, and season with salt and pepper.  Mix together with a fork.  Press chicken breasts into mixture, breading chicken on both sides.

Place breaded chicken breasts into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.  Turning as necessary.  Careful not to crowd the pan.  Roughly 3 minutes per side depending on thickness of chicken.

Low Fat Baked Onion Rings

I haven't been able to find any new french fry recipes - so figured onion rings were next!!  Apparently these are "low fat" too - I guess cause they are baked instead of fried!!  They were really easy to make, but because they were baked - the breading didn't really stick to the onion...so I probably wouldn't make these again....
Gina's Skinny Recipes 
1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
2 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup crushed corn flake crumbs
salt to taste 
olive oil baking spray

Place slices of onion in a shallow dish. Pour the buttermilk over the top and let them soak for about 1 - 2 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Combine panko, bread crumbs and corn flakes and place half of the crumbs in a large dish, season with salt. Reserve the rest for when the first batch is used up. This should help avoid clumping and they should stick better to the onions.

Dip each soaked onion ring into the crumb mixture; coat well. Place rings onto two cookie sheets. Lightly spray with oil. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eggs Italian Style

Nothing like breakfast in bed - I have the best hubby ever!!!  This was a fun variation to our normal bfast - it wasn't super amazing, but I would for sure make it again (ok, I'll for sure have Ross make it again....hehe)

Serves 4 - we halved the recipe (Tiffany's blog)

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 half-inch polenta slices from a ready made polenta log **we used Canadian bacon cause Rainbow didn't know what "polenta" was**8 half inch tomato slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 large eggs

Heat half of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the polenta and cook until crispy, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the tomato, and season with half the salt and pepper, and all of rosemary, and cook until the sugars in the tomatoes begin to slightly caramelize, about 30 seconds per side. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and crack the eggs. Season with the remaining salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the yolks are just set and the whites are opaque, about 2 minutes.

To serve, place the polenta on each plate, top with 2 tomato slices, and slide an egg over the tomatoes. It won't be a perfect fit, so place the foods on an angle for a pretty presentation.

Chocolate-Banana Split Dessert

My rents had us and the Sodahl rents over for dindin - and she out did herself with dessert!!  This was sooo good....I thought it was store bought!!  Wasn't hard to eat either - can you believe it ?!

Food & Family Magazine

30 oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 tub (8oz) cool whip whipped topping, thawed
4 bananas, sliced
2 pkg (3.9oz each) Jello chocolate instant pudding
3 1/4 cups cold milk
1/3 cup maraschino cherries, halved
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9 inch dish.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl with whisk until well blended.  Stir in 1 cup cool whip; spread over crust.  Top with bananas.

Beat pudding mixes and 3 1/4 cups milk with whisk for 2 minutes; spread over bananas.  Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened; cover with remaining cool whip.  Refrigerate 4 hours. 

Top with cherries, nuts, and syrup just before serving.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Skinny Turkey Cuban Sandwich

Super yummy in my tummy!!  Can't go wrong with a good sandwich :)

Gina's Skinny Recipe - 1 serving / 321 calories
6" slice French Bread
3 oz left over turkey breast, heated
1 slice of ham
2 thin slices of Alpine Lace Swiss cheese
3 slices of pickles (do not get bread/butter pickles - way too sweet!!  Get the hamburger ones)
Pam cooking spray

Slice bread open - spread mustard on both sides.  Place cheese and pickles on the bread.  Add turkey and top with ham.  Close your sandwich, and either spray the sandwich press with pam and press down until the cheese is melted OR put in broiler (low) for 2-3 minutes until crust is a little crispy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Poppy Seed Dressing

Recipe from Our Best Bites
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt / pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a blender, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.

Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds. Serve over leafy greens.  I used this in the Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap.

Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap

After being in Apostle Islands and having my food prepared for me - I am on a kick to bring my lunch to work EVERY day this week!!  Save some $$ and eat healthier.  I am posting this before I try this - so hopefully it's as good as it sounds :)  Super easy to make ahead of time!!!

OBB Cookbook

Cooked chicken, in bite size pieces
Crumbled bacon
Spinach leaves, cut
Feta cheese
Poppy Seed Dressing

Toss everything together - and then spoon into pita bread or wrap up in tortilla.  Super quick and easy as you head to work!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Camping Meals

Just got back from Apostle Islands - AMAZING!!  If you like to CAMP and KAYAK - this is a must :)  As I was there - someone pointed out I should add the food we had to my cooking blog - and since we camp a lot, I thought "heck yes"....so here are some ideas for next time you hit up the outdoors!!

French Bread
Tin Foil

Cut slices (but not all the way through) into the french bread - stuff with minced garlic and butter.  Then wrap up in tin foil - and place on a nice fire (like the one Becca made)!  Cook for about 10 minutes or until lightly toasted - and yummy!!

Spiral noodles

Make up the noodles - cut the tomatoes and zucchini - and mix in the pesto.  For real - BEST camp meal EVER!!!


Black olives
Home-made quac

So quick and easy - and yet, OH SO GOOD!!  Thanks WI for such yummy food on our trip!!



2 slices bread
Cheese slices
Cooking spray
Sandwich maker

Spray both sides of the sandwich maker with cooking spray - put your bread in, slice of cheese (or 2...who are we kidding) - then close and stick in the coals.  Probably my favorite thing in the world!!!

Sandwich maker (above)
2 slices Bread
Cooking spray
Pie filling

Spray both sides of the sandwich maker with cooking spray - put your bread in, fill with pie filling - then close and stick in the coals.  Little dessert heaven-ness!!

 I have to admit - this might be my FAVORITE all time camping meal.  We didn't have this at Apostle Islands, but this is a staple when the Sodahls go camping!!

Taco seasoning
Black olives
Sour cream
Bag of your favorite Doritos (go for the $.99 grab bag)

Cook up the hamburger with the taco seasoning....then crunch up your bag of Doritos (probably the only time it's ever ok to do this...) - then throw everything in - mix up - and EAT!!  You'll want to camp every day!!


Felt like since I was on the "bag" theme - I would add an awesome bfast option.  We had this about every am when we were in Yellowstone - can't go wrong with a filling breakfast!!

freezer bag
2 eggs
cheddar cheese
onion / green pepper

All you do is fill the bag with your "omelet wants" - then press most of the air out of it - and seal.  Throw this in boiling water for about 13 minutes - or until your eggs aren't running, and roll out and serve!!  If you aren't like "backpack camping" - you could throw on some salsa too!!


Pita sandwiches
Pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Canned mushrooms
Onions, chopped
Tin Foil

Throw all your toppings in the pita - wrap up in tinfoil and throw in the coals of your fire.  Then eat away :)


Tin foil
"Secret" seasoning
Shredded cheese
Sour cream / butter

If you don't know how to make this - then you shouldn't be camping anyways :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Turkey, Cheese, and Apple Pinwheel

Always looking for new lunches to bring in my cutie lunch box :)  We are in the money saving mode these days - I want some new carpet!!  hehe We are back to packing our lunches each day - so try it out!  Super good :)  I made it with horseradish / dijon mustard instead of miracle whip...hmmmm!!

Kraft Magazine
6 inch whole wheat tortilla
Miracle whip light dressing
1 cheese slice
1 slice lettuce
3 slices oven roasted turkey breast
1/4 red apple, cut in slices

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pepperoncinis Beef Sandwiches

LOOOVVVEEEE THIS!!!  Can't go wrong with pepperoncinis!!  I am not only obsessed with the taste - but the fact that it's a crock pot meal.....AMAZING!!  It's super fast - super easy - and super yummy!!  Going to have this again soon!!  :)
Makes 12 sandwiches - OBB
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt / pepper
2 tablespoons of olive or cooking oil
3 lb beef roast, trimmed of excess fat
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
16-oz. jar sliced pepperoncinis, undrained
Crusty sandwich rolls (for sandwiches)
Sliced provolone cheese (for sandwiches)

Heat oil in a pot or high-sided skillet over high heat. While the oil is heating, combine the salt and pepper and rub it into the meat. Add more if necessary. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides so the outsides of it is browned and a little crispy. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker and add the minced garlic and the entire jar of pepperoncinis. If possible, cook on high until the liquid comes to a boil and then turn it to low and cook until the roast shreds easily with a fork, for a total cooking time of about 6-8 hours. If not possible, cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beef is fork tender.

For sandwiches, slice the rolls and spread lightly with mayonnaise and then top with the shredded beef. Add a slice of provolone cheese and then place under the broiler for 1-3 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Squash Saute

I love finding new ways to cook veggies!!  Garden season is upon us - so I'm going to keep trying some new recipes -- woot woot!!
Makes 4 servings - Kraft Foods Magazine

2 zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Cook veggies in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in garlic - cook 3 more minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender.  Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella and basil.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spiced Pork Tenderloin Crostini

We hosted my parents 40th wedding anniversary on Friday - so I took the opportunity to make a couple new apps for the big event!!  This was really "hard" to make while our house was filled with people - but it was worth the craziness!!  It was so yummy - and fancy!!  We couldn't find the chutney at the grocery store - so we just used apple jelly instead....seemed to taste great still!!
Makes 36 Crostini – each has 55 calories
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon garlic pepper
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
¼ teaspoon ground sage
1 lb pork tenderloin
36 (1/4 – to ½ inch thick) baguette-style French breads (from 10 oz loaf)
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¾ cup apple-cranberry chutney (from 8.5 oz jar)
1/3 c crumpled blue cheese
Fresh marjoram leaves

Heat oven to 425.  Mix seasoned salt, garlic pepper, marjoram and sage.  Rub mixture over pork.  Place pork in shallow roasting pan.  Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork.  Bake uncovered 20-25 min or until thermometer reads 155.  Cover pork with aluminum foil and let stand 10-15 min until thermometer reads 160.

Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 375.  Place bread slices in ungreased jelly roll pan, 15.5x10.5x1 inch.  Bake about 5 min or until crisp; cool.

Cut pork into very thin slices.  Spread each bread slice with about ¼ teaspoon mustard.  Top each with a thin slice of pork, 1 teaspoon chutney, about ½ teaspoon cheese and marjoram leaves.

Fluffy Orange Fruit Dip

Can't go wrong with fruit and dip for a party!!  This was really good - tasted yummy with strawberries, pineapple, and bananas.  Would be kinda fun to team this with fruit on skewers - esp now that I have a fun new plate for each season :)

Makes 2 cups - OBB

1 (8oz) package cream cheese
2 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (just use the same orange)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 (7oz) jar marshmallow cream

Beat cream cheese, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, and salt until smooth and creamy.  Add marshmallow cream and beat until combined.

Buttercream Frosting - cake techniques

My mom has decorated cakes for us kids since my very first birthday....she is amazing!!  It was always so much fun to help her (aka eat the frosting when she wasn't looking) that I took a class with Linda about 3 years ago to learn the craft myself!!  I haven't done many cakes since then - BUT I decided to make my rents wedding cake (same as when they got married!) for their 40th anniversary.  This is how I spent my Thursday night :)
Yields 3 cups (makes enough to frost two 8 inch cakes

1 cup solid white veggie shortening
1 teaspoon Wilton flavor (vanilla, almond, or butter) - I usually use almond
2 tablespoons milk or water
1 lb pure can confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue powder

Cream shortening and Meringue powder together first.  Then add flavoring and water - and mix again.  Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together.  Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

Decorating Techniques

1. Leveling: You have to get your cake "ready" to be frosted....after the cake is completely cool - you have to level your cake.  Remove the crown from the cake center so your cake will set level.  If you baked two cakes - level both.  I used this crafty "cake leveler" but you could just use a bread knife too.  The fun thing about the cake leveler is you can adjust for any size cake - it's sweet!!  I got mine at Michael's in the cake decorating section.

2. Filling : If you made two cakes - you need to put filling in between them.  This will help hold the cake layers together - and adds flavor!!  I just used my frosting and put a thin layer on one of the cakes - then plopped the other one right on top!

3. Icing: Now that you have your cakes together - it's time to ice them.  Basically this is the step that drives my Type A self crazy - I can never get my frosting "smooth" enough, but basically use a spatula and do the best you can!

4. Decorating bags: fun part time!!  First things first - go with disposable decorating bags.  Then you can just throw the bag away when you are done!!  Pick out what tip you want - and put on top of the coupler base. (I got my tips, bags, and couplers from Michael's).  Then a fun technique I learned in class was to put your decorating bags into the bottom of a plastic cup. This way you then just put the frosting right into the bag - and you stay clean and your bag is easy to fold back up! 

Here is what your bag will look like when you are done:

5. Color Mixing: My parents colors were a light blue and white - so I decided to do the flowers the light blue.  I bought icing colors again at Michael's - and they will last forever!!  I always use a toothpick to get the color and then mix it up with the spatula.  I literally used a tiny dot of color to get this color.
6. Flowers and Figures: I used tip #21 to make what the book calls "The Shell".  This is standard and super easy border for cakes.  Basically you hold the bag at a 6:00 position so that you can pull the bag toward you.  The tip should be slightly above the surface.  Now squeeze hard, letting the icing fan out as it forces the tip up.  Relax your pressure as you lower the tip until it touches the surface.  Then pull tip away - without lifting it off the surface - to pull the shell to a point.  Then just do that around the cake!

I then decided to do "Drop Flowers" (that's what I used the blue frosting for).  You use Tip # 2D and 3 for the dot in the center.  This is super easy - basically just hold the bag straight up with the tip touching the surface.  Turn hand holding the bag, keeping flat of knuckle at 9:00.  As you squeeze out the icing, slowly turn your hand to 12:00.  Stop squeezing and lift tip away.  Make a dot in the center of the flower with the #3. 

Then because I could get my cake to be smooth - I decided to make little dots around the cake.  I used tip #3 for that also.

SOOOOO here is the final product!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Squash

YAY!!  Grilling season is upon us and this girl is pumped up!!  This was super yummy - and another way to eat squash!!  I can actually say now that I like pretty much every veggie!!  This is super good as a side to about any meat - we had chicken and it was such a tasty meal!!

Serves 8 -Tiff Blog
4 yellow squash and/or zucchini
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
pinch ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Trim off ends of squash; cut squash in half (lengthwise). With a teaspoon scoop out seeds and part of the pulp leaving shells about 1/2 inch thick.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of the butter. Add onion and garlic and cook until they are done. Squeeze the spinach to remove extra moisture and add to the garlic and onion and cook until thoroughly heated.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and spinach mixture. Fill the squash halves with this mixture, about three tablespoons per shell and place squash in a shallow baking dish. Melt the remaining butter and brush over the squash shells. Bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taco Pizza

So I was craving quac - but needed a new recipe for this week.....so I made up my own version of taco pizza!!!  Super easy - and really yummy!!  We had Ross's parents over for dindin and it was a hit!  Pretty much put anything you like on this - but the taco sauce was key!  Super good :)

1/2 lb hamburger, browned
taco sauce
chopped black olives
shredded lettuce
1 onion
shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato
chopped cilantro
sour cream

Put taco sauce on the flatbread - and then add the toppings and pop in the oven for 15 minutes!!  How easy and awesome is that :)  We topped with sour cream and ate with quac / chips!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicken and Veggie kabobs

One of the easiest way to make up veggies is to grill them in this awesome grill basket!!  (Got it from Crate and Barrel)  I use this bad boy daily during the summer - it's so awesome!!  I love grilling season!!!  YAY for summer!!

any veggie...
Italian Dressing

Marinade the veggies and chicken in Italian Dressing - throw them in the basket....grill....and heaven in your mouth!!  SOOOO easy :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Shrimp

This was super super good!!  Totally worth spending a little extra to get the garlic pastes!!  The marinade was super yummy!!  I made this and put it in the Steak and Mango Salad.  Super good together - but these would be really good on their own too!!  Little surf and turf action tonight!!

OBB Cookbook

2-2 1/2 lb. raw, shelled, de-veined shrimp; raw shrimp are blue or grey, not pink.
1 Tbsp. minced or pressed garlic
1/4 c. minced fresh ginger
1/4 c. hot chili garlic paste
1/2 c. sweet chili garlic paste
1 c. honey
1 c. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 c. canola oil

Rinse shrimp in cold water and place in a large Ziploc bag. Combine garlic, ginger, both chili pastes, honey, lime juice, salt, pepper, and oil in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Set aside 1 c. of the marinade. Pour remaining mixture over shrimp and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.

When ready to cook, thread shrimp onto skewers.  If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 1/2 hour before skewering anything. Preheat outdoor grill. This really should be done outside because they get VERY smokey! When grill is hot, reduce heat to low and quickly place all skewers over the heat. Brush with reserved marinade. When they’ve cooked for 1 1/2-2 minutesquickly flip them over and brush or drizzle with remaining marinade. Cook for another 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until opaque and pink. 

Remove skewers from grill and remove shrimp from skewers. Pile them on a big ol’ platter, drizzle with any remaining reserved marinade, and squeeze the juice from a lime all over them. Toss to distribute the deliciousness.

Steak and Mango Salad

AH - what a crazy week!!  Finally had time to actually grocery shop (ok - have Ross grocery shop) and make a meal :)  I did a little combo with this one - so I'll make them into two posts, because you for sure could have both on their own - but I made this salad with Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Shrimp.  It was really good together, but this salad would be amazing without the shrimp too!  The steak marinade was tasty as both the marinade and dressing!!  hmmm yummy!!!

Makes 4-6 large dinner salads or 6-8 smaller side salad - OBB

1lb flank steak
1 head romaine or red-leaf lettuce
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 mangoes, sliced
1 large, or 2 small avocados sliced
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 C caramelized macadamia nuts (see below)

 Dressing & Marinade
1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice
6 T fresh lime juice
6 T soy sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 T fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C canola oil

Caramelized Macadamia Nuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup nuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (SO good)

Place brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter (and cinnamon if you’re using) in a non-stick skillet on the stove top. Set heat to medium or medium-high. Stir the mixture as it comes together until it bubbles.  Then add nuts and stir to coat.  Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until nuts turn golden brown in color and smell toasted. Transfer to foil, waxed paper, or parchment and cool completely

In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the oils until combined. Reserve about 3/4 C* and place the rest of the mixture in a zip-lock bag.  *Make sure when you’re pouring out the 3/4 C you are constantly whisking the mixture to assure even distribution of ingredients

Lightly score the flank steak in a diagonal pattern on both sides. Place steak in the zip-lock bag with marinade and leave in fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove steak from fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking and leave at room temperature. You’ll want to let the dressing portion to sit at room temp during this time as well. Heat outdoor grill to med-high heat. If an outdoor grill is not available, use the broiler, or an indoor grill pan. Remove steak from bag and let any excess marinade drip off.  Sprinkle steak lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5-8 minutes on each side or until done. In order to stay tender, flank steak should still be pink in the middle, but nicely seared on the outside. When done, remove from grill and wait at least 5 minutes before cutting to let the juices redistribute. Then slice into thin slices.

Divide lettuce onto plates and top with slices of mango, avocado, and red onion. Add steak slices and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle macadamia nuts and cilantro on top.