May 26, 2010

Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce

I thought my husband was working late so didn't really plan dinner.  Out of the blue, he sent me a message and said he would be heading home shortly.  So I went to the kitchen to see what I could throw together within 30 minutes and this is what I came up with.  The sauce turned out very nicely.  I don't usually get a big head about my own food but goodness.  I was glad he made it home when he did because I couldn't stop sipping on the sauce. I mean, I had to make sure it was worthy of sharing.  Thankfully, he agreed it was really good as well.  And even though it was meant for another meal this week, he had the idea to tear off chunks of french bread to sop up the remaining sauce at the end. MMmmmm so good!  Great idea babe!

1 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small shallot, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.   Add olive oil to pan.  Then add chicken and saute until browned on both sides, 5-7 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add shallots and saute for 2 minutes.  Then add the garlic and saute for a minute stirring frequently.

Then add chicken broth and stir the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the butter, mustard seeds and dijon.  Stir until mixed together.  Bring to a boil.  Add chicken back to pan and sprinkle the chicken with thyme and pepper. Then cover and turn heat down to medium-low to simmer for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add cream to pan and stir until combined.  Taste test sauce to check flavor and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve chicken with a spoonful (or 4) of sauce over cooked egg noodles, rice or with just steamed veggies on the side. Enjoy!

May 25, 2010

Adobo Chicken

This is another recipe that brings me back to my childhood.  I swear that grandma Millie made this on the regular for us.  The flavors were so familiar and it's so freakin' good!  I love sweet and tangy dishes and this is definitely in that category.  I need to make this for grandma and my family when I am home visiting next time. I can't imagine it's much different than her recipe.  Look at her in the cute hat she knitted.  Kisses to you grandma!

I found out at the last minute my husband had to work late so he missed out!  (Sorry babe!)  More for me. ;p  I guess I have leftovers for lunch today.  Yay!

8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 medium onion,diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 c hot cooked long-grain rice

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan; saute 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onion to pan; saute 3 minutes.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Return chicken to pan.  Add soy sauce and remaining ingredients except the rice; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 10-12 minutes.  Uncover and cook 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done and sauce thickens.  If sauce is too runny, add more honey.  If sauce is too thick, add water. Discard bay leaf.  Serve over rice.  Makes 4 servings. (2 thighs each and sauce)

May 10, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

I have always enjoyed Red Beans and Rice.  I realized that I actually have never ordered it at a restaurant or made it at home myself.  I have taken a few bites of my husband's when he orders it.  So I thought I'd give it a whirl and boy it was tasty!  I am sad that it took so long for me to make it.  It's really easy and really REALLY good.  This has been added to our favorites to have more often.  I used smoked sausage because we had it on hand.  From my research of other recipes, some people use ham hocks or bacon for flavor.   I also had a bone from a pork shoulder left from a batch of Carnitas I made the day or 2 before.  I added it in to simmer with everything.

1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 15oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 lb smoked sausage (or other sausage/meat of your choice)
1/2 c water
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c cooked rice

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute sausage, onion and bell pepper until sausage is browned about 5-7 minutes.  Then add everything but the rice.  Bring to a boil.  Then turn down to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste test for flavor and add more seasoning and spice as preferred.   Serve over the rice.   Makes 6 servings.  Cornbread goes really nice on the side as well.   Enjoy! 

May 7, 2010

Pork Stir Fry

Stir-fry is so easy and you can put just about anything you want in it.  I had a few ingredients on hand and decided to throw this together to see what happened.  It turned out really good and made a lot. You can play with this recipe and add your own favorite veggies.  Marinating the meat for at least 15 minutes adds flavor to the dish. You can use shrimp, chicken or beef in the place of pork.   There are so many possibilities.  Enjoy!!

1 lb boneless pork chops, sliced in strips
2 c fresh cabbage, chopped
1 c frozen or fresh asparagus, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp dark sesame seed oil
2 c white rice, prepared

In a medium bowl, combine the ginger, rice wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of soy sauce and then add the pork. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Add peanut oil and heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add pork along with the marinade and cook until pork is no longer pink and liquid is gone.  About 5-7 minutes.    Remove pork from pan to a bowl and set aside.  Add cabbage to pan and cook until it starts to soften.  Then add asparagus and garlic, cook until cabbage is cooked down but still has some crunch to it.  Add pork back to pan with veggies and add remaining soy sauce and dark sesame see oil.  Cook until heated through.  Serve over rice.   Makes 4 healthy servings.

May 6, 2010

Cinco de Mayo en Mi Cocina

I wanted to celebrate Cinco de Drinko er Mayo at home with the hubby so I planned to have something festive for dinner.  Oh and cheap as well.  So I created a Taco Mac, paired with chips and salsa as well as a margarita and boom!  You have a tasty full course meal.  Dessert was a Mango Cake with lime glaze which reminded me of this margarita cake I use to make.  It's so fluffy like a spongecake and sooooo good!  It's semi-homemade but still delicious.  I hope you enjoy it all as much as we did.


1 lb ground beef
1 (15oz) can of dice tomatoes (I used Italian style for more flavor)
1 c frozen corn
1 packet taco seasoning
2 c uncooked pasta (I used Campanelle but any will do)
2 1/4 c hot water
2 c Taco or Mexican flavored cheese

Cook ground beef in big skillet over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain if necessary.  Add tomatoes, corn, taco seasoning, pasta and water.  Stir together and bring to a boil.  Stir once more, cover and turn down to medium-low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.

Turn off heat and add 1 cup cheese and stir.   Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese and a dollop of sour cream if desired.   Enjoy!


1 box french vanilla cake make
1/2 c rum
1/3 c water
3 eggs
1 c peeled mango, cubed
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c finely chopped mango

1 1/2 c powder sugar
2-3 tsp milk (or water if no milk on hand)
1 1/2 tsp lime juice

Spray bundt cake pan or 9x9 baking dish with vegetable spray.  Place cubed mango on the bottom of the pan.   Blend cake mix, rum, water, eggs and finely chopped mango in a large mixer bowl and mix at low speed until moistened.  Then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. (scraping down sides of bowl if needed)

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes our clean.  Cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes.  While cooling, start the glaze.

Mix together all ingredients until smooth.  Add more milk or water for thinner consistency or more powdered sugar for thicker glaze.  Taste test to see if it has the right amount of lime and add more as you wish.

Loosen edges and put cake onto serving platter.   Pour glaze over whole cake. Slice and enjoy!!

May 4, 2010

Spice Advice

Variety really is the spice of life!  However, don't be ashamed if you don't know what a certain spice is or what to use it in.   Not too long ago, I didn't use any spices other than garlic powder, salt and pepper.   I'm not kidding!  Some of you cooks are probably like "WTF?  Really? How?"   I know!  It's crazy how I went so long in life without exploring the world spices.   My taste buds have since forgiven me.  I think.  .  .

For those of you who aren't exploring or cooking as much, you really should experiment and try spices out.  (Since you're here, check out some of my recipes. hehe)   I'm sure the majority of you have a spice rack in your kitchen filled with items you don't use and probably have no idea what to use them in.   Keep in mind that if they've been sitting in your kitchen for years and have accumulated dust, it's time to go buy a new spice rack or start with a few jars at a time.  Spices that are old are no bueno and believe me, it makes a huge difference in the flavor.   On the same website as the reference guide you'll find out how to tell if they are fresh or not.

I came across Spice Advice while surfing food blogs and websites one day.  It's a handy chart to show what you can use spices in and breaks it down by type of meats and stuff.  Really cool!!
So print it out and/or save it so you can use it as a reference next time you're hesitant about a recipe.  You can start off by just following a recipe.  After you become more comfortable with what spices you enjoy and how much to use, you can start substituting spices the recipe calls for with something you like more.   Have fun with it!  You are very welcome!

May 3, 2010

S'mores Brownies

I've been on a chocolate kick so I made brownies... again.  I can't help myself!  ;p  But at least I don't mind sharing with others.  I even made a batch to give away to a friend and her kids.  Yes, the whole batch!  Okay, I'll lay it all out there... she let me have 1 while I was at her house drinking wine.  They went so well together.  I used my previous brownie recipe from the Peanut Butter & Nutella Brownies as the base and then made it into S'mores brownies.  I left out the peanut butter and nutella and then just added more cocoa along with some chocolate chips then topped with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs.  mmmm So good!!

1/2 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c plus 1/4 c separated, semi sweet chocolate chips
6 large marshmallows, cut or torn into small pieces
2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.  

Measure the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine. 

Stir the sugar into the melted butter.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine.   Stir in 1/2 c of chocolate chips.

Pour mix into the prepared pan.   Top with marshmallow pieces, remaining chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top forms a crust. 
** I baked for 20 minutes and kept checking every 5 minutes after that with a toothpick to make sure it came out clean.  I think it was done at 30 minutes but every oven is different.