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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brined Chicken with White Sauce

I recently purchased Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book. I found several recipes that I wanted to try. I decided to try the Brined Chicken with White Sauce (page 128) first. It was simple to put together and the chicken turned out really flavorful and juicy. I used a jar of the pre-made Big Bog Gibson White BBQ Sauce. We really liked this chicken. I ate the whole chicken breast (which is unusual). I made extra to use in my enchiladas tomorrow night.


1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1 Tbs salt
1/4 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 Tbs lemon juice
8 boneless chicken breasts
Big Bob Gibson BBQ White Sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the brine ingredients and mix well. Add the chicken breasts, making sure they are completely covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Grill chicken until done. Submerge each chicken breast into a bowl of Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ sauce. Remove from sauce and serve.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Linguini & Meatballs

We have been trying to not eat out as much this year. We love to eat out but when you eat and drink out two nights a week it starts to add up quickly. One of our favorite Italian restaurants is Amore, right next to our house. Amore is a small intimate restaurant with really fresh Italian food. One of Amore's specialties is the meatballs. I wanted to go and eat the scrumptious meatballs this weekend but I decided that I would try and duplicate them at home. I found this recipe on recipezaar.com and it was perfect. I used my lasagna sauce and added a little more water to it and it turned out to be exactly what I was looking for! The meatballs was tender and juicy; the sauce was amazing! I served this over linguini with a spoon of fresh ricotta cheese. I wish I had made more rolls to soak up all the sauce! This is 5 stars - better than most Italian restaurants. You must make this! We are going to have leftovers for lunch on Sunday.

Getting ready to go swimming in sauce.

Half way there!


Kittencal's Famous Italian Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
½ lb Italian sausage
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (or use enough to hold the meat together)
1-2 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste)
1-2 teaspoon salt (or to taste, I use 2 teaspoons seasoned salt)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup milk (can use up to 1/2 cup milk)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional, or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Shape into small meatballs (at this point you can place on a jelly-roll/baking sheet and freeze to use later, or cover with plastic wrap refrigerate up to 24 hours before using). Drop the meatballs into simmering pasta sauce, do not stir for at least 20 minutes or you will risk breaking the meatballs. Continue cooking in the simmering sauce for another 20 minutes (depending on how fast your sauce is simmering 40 minutes total should fully cook the meatballs). After the 40 minutes cooking time continue cooking your sauce with the meatballs in for as long as desired.

**note** you may also bake the meatballs at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Steph's Sauce

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried minced onion flakes
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 cans (8oz) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Pour tomatoes into bowl and crush tomatoes by hand. Pour tomatoes into large saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Italian Pot Roast & Parmesan Risotto

A few months ago we were eating at our favorite place, Gianmarco's, and I got the special of the night - braised short ribs with parmesan risotto. It was AWESOME. Chicken Legs was disappointed that I ate it all and didn't even offer him a bite (it was that good!). Ever since then I have been searching for a recipe that was similar to the special that night. I finally settled on this recipe and it was great! I was nervous about dinner tonight since this was my first attempt at pot roast and risotto. The pot roast was tender and juicy. The risotto was perfect. We loved the au jus that the roast made. It went perfectly with the risotto. I told Tadd not many wives come home at night after working all day and whip out risotto!

Chicken Legs declared this meal his favorite of all the new things that I have made so far - pretty good!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cake & Ice Cream

Grilled Chicken Legs

Tadd requested grilled chicken legs for his birthday meal.  He used to eat chicken legs as a kid and really wanted to try and grill them for himself.  We marinated them in a Honey Lime marinade and seasoned some with Gibson's Steakhouse Seasoning Salt (Italian seasoning, coarse salt, pepper) that we got in Chicago this past weekend.  They were awesome!  Tadd liked the Gibson's best and I liked the Honey Lime best - typical!!

Honey Lime Marinade

1 cup Italian dressing
juice of 2 small limes
3-4 Tbs honey

Marinate 6-8 hours and grill.

Happy Birthday Tadd!

We just got back from a little Birthday trip to Chicago.  Chicago is AWESOME!!!!  I am already planning a trip back.  There are so many places that we didn't see and didn't eat at!!  We stayed at The Drake (unbelievable - upgraded to Executive Suite) and ate at Ditka's (we saw Da Coach), Gibson's Steakhouse, Pizzeria Uno and Giordano's Pizza.  I found out that I really like Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  

Today is actually Tadd's 36th Birthday (he is SO old!).  I made him a great cake - it looks like an Oreo.  He requested a box devil's food cake.  I made the buttercream frosting for the middle of the cake.  I got him two tickets to see AC Milan v Club America at the Georgia Dome in July.  I am such a wonderful wife because I actually DESPISE soccer - DESPISE it!  I'll make him buy me something Chanel at the mall to pay me back!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Deep Dish Pizza

This was really good. I know it won't be anything like the Deep Dish Pizza we will eat this weekend, but it was a nice alternative to regular pizza. It was quick & easy to make. I didn't think we would be able to eat much of this, but we almost ate the whole thing! I will put this in the rotation for our weekly pizza night.

Deep Dish Pizza
adapted from Southern Plate
(Printable Recipe)

3/4 lb Italian sausage
1/4 lb diced ham
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 of a 14 ounce jar pizza sauce
1/4 C Parmesan
1 cup mozzarella
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 T oil

Preheat oven to 350. Brown sausage. Drain well. Add ham, garlic, onion powder and Italian Seasoning. Add pizza sauce. Stir well. Grease a 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella over bottom of it. Spread meat mixture over the cheese. In mixing bowl, add eggs, milk, flour, oil, and salt. Pour over meat in pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over batter. Bake 30 minutes.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

French's Crunchy Onion Chicken

We LOVED this chicken. It was a lot better than the Funyun chicken we had earlier this week. I used the cheddar french fried onions. I forgot to use the flour, but we didn't miss it. I used a teaspoon of my Super Soul Seasoning Salt from The Resident Chef - it is a kicked up seasoning salt. It added flavor but wasn't overwhelming. We will be making this again! It is easy to make and yummy!!

(Printable Recipe)

2 cups (4 oz.) FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp seasoning salt
4 (5 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

Place French Fried Onions and flour into plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or with rolling pin. Transfer to pie plate or waxed paper. Sprinkle seasoning salt over chicken and into egg. Dip chicken into egg; then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25 min. or until no longer pink in center.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Southwestern Mac & Cheese

I adapted this from the BLT Mac & Cheese recipe out of the Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook. I wanted to make this because of the unique way it was made - boiling pasta and cheese all together in one pot. Tadd really liked this. There are lots of variations that you could do with this basic recipe - blacked chicken, shrimp, etc.

Southwestern Mac & Cheese

4 3/4 cups water
8 slices of tukey bacon
4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. uncooked cellentani or cavatappi pasta
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs southwest seasoning
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
10 oz cooked southwestern chicken strips
1 can Rotel tomatoes

To start pasta mixture, bring water to a boil in 8-qt. stockpot.

Meanwhile, slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Place into 10-in. skillet; cook over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet to paper towel-lined plate.

As bacon cooks, grate cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Add pasta, cream cheese, grated cheeses, salt, and black pepper to boiling water in stockpot. Cover and simmer vigorously 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken, seasoning and Rotel tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, 5-7 minutes or until pasta is cooked to desired tenderness and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Spoon pasta mixture into serving bowl and garnish with bacon. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The weather is looking great for this coming weekend in Chicago!!

Funyun Chicken

I was drawn to this recipe because of the Funyuns. I LOVE Funyuns! This was really easy to make and the onion flavor was overwhelming. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. We really liked it. I would make this again.

Funyun Chicken
adapted from Hungry Girl Good Chick Lollipops
(Printable Recipe)

2 boneless chicken breast
1 oz. (about 15 pieces) Funyuns Onion Flavored Rings
1/2 oz. (about 7 crisps) Pringles Light Sour Cream & Onion fat-free potato crisps
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 dashes garlic powder, or more to taste
2 dashes salt, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large sealable plastic bag, combine Funyuns, Pringles, and seasonings. If you like, add extra seasonings to taste. Seal the bag and crush the chips until they're mostly reduced to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Transfer the seasoned crumbs to a plate, and set aside. Pour egg into a small bowl, and set that aside as well.

Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with nonstick spray.

Take a chicken and dunk it in the egg -- use a spoon to distribute the egg over all of the chicken. Gently shake the chicken to remove any excess liquid, and then lay the chicken in the seasoned crumbs. Rotate the chicken, pressing it into the crumbs, until it is evenly coated. Use your fingers or a spoon to add and pat crumbs onto any bare spots on the chicken. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and coating is crispy. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Snickerdoodle Muffins

These muffins have been on my "To Bake" list for a while. I finally decided to make them this afternoon and I can't believe that I waited so long! The tops of the muffins are nice and crunchy from the cinnamon-sugar and the inside is nice and moist. I thought these were more like little cakes than muffins - very good!

Snickerdoodle Muffins
(Printable Recipe)

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 and ¼ cup sour cream
2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling

Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.

In a separate, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tartar.

Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a greased muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the cinnamon-sugar. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins (I got 20). Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Ultimate Peppercorn Burgers

This is from the Pampered Chef cookbook 29 Minutes to Dinner. We really liked these burgers. We could really taste the garlic and peppercorn. They were extremely flavorful and juicy. I used lean ground beef and made 3 hamburger patties. We cooked these on the grill outside for about 10 minutes. We added cheese and turkey bacon to the burgers. These were really quick and easy. They turned out to be restaurant quality burgers. Two thumbs up!

Ultimate Peppercorn Burgers
(Printable Recipe)

2 slices firm white sandwich bread
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp Crushed Peppercorn & Garlic Rub
1 lb 85% lean ground beef such as chuck
4 onion rolls, split
Additional toppings such as steak sauce, sliced tomatoes or cooked bacon (optional)

Remove and discard crusts from bread; tear bread into pieces. Combine bread, milk and peppercorn rub in Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl. Mix until a smooth paste forms. Sprinkle ground beef over bread paste and mix gently until incorporated.

Form meat mixture into four thin patties, about 4 in. in diameter (I made 3 patties). Grill patties 3-4 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn patties over using Jumbo Slotted Turner; cook 3-4 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F
and patties are no longer pink in center. Transfer burgers to paper towel-lined plate.

To serve, place burgers in rolls. Top with onions and serve with additional toppings, if desired.

**If desired, 3 garlic cloves, pressed, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper can be substituted for the peppercorn rub.

our new resident

This cute little chipmunk has taken up residency in the flower bed outside our den.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Cake

When I saw the new cookie sandwich cake pan on the Williams-Sonoma website I had to goand immediately buy it. It is SO cute and it will be perfect for Tadd's birthday cake - he loves Oreo's! I tested the recipe out tonight since Tadd is out of town. It was really easy to make and looked so cute! The recipe is more of a brownie recipe. Tadd isn't a brownie man, so I will have to change it up before I make the cake for our celebration. I am going to make Billy's Chocolate Cake for the cake and keep the icing the same. I hope it works out!

Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Cake
(Printable Recipe)


1/2 cup cocoa powder
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
14 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pans. Put chocolate and butter into microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring once, about 1 1/2 minutes. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the flour mixture until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake until the tops of the cakes are shiny and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 35 mintues.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a cutting board.

Buttercream Frosting:

4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
12 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 1/2 Tbs. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat with and electric mixer on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Using a large spatula, carefully turn 1 cake over so the printed side faces down. Spread the buttercream evenly over the flat side of the cake. Place second cake, printed side up, on top. Cut into slices and serve!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella Ravioli

We had a quick and easy dinner tonight.  I bought some Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella Ravioli at Costco a couple of weeks ago and decided to make them tonight.  I tossed the ravioli in LaFamiglia DelGrosso Uncle Joe's Vodka Celebration sauce.  I heated the sauce and added about a half cup of cream.  The sauce was really, really good.  It is the best jar pasta sauce that I have tried.  It tastes homemade and very fresh - restaurant quality.

We really liked this dinner.  It took longer to boil the water than to put everything together!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I found this recipe on al.com. It comes from a lady name Caroline Grant - a freelance recipe creater for Oxmoor House. What a great job!! In the article it said she is known for her "knock-out desserts" and one of her signature desserts is Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I am looking for a new treat to take to St. Augustine for the ladies at the SAS Store and I thought these might do the trick!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(Printable Recipe)

3/4 butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup peanut butter morsels
1 1/2 (11.5-ounce) packages semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add peanut butter, beating until combined. Add eggs; beat well.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.

Stir in peanut butter morsels and chocolate chunks.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Skillet Lasagna

This recipe is from the Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook. It was really easy to make. It is a nice weeknight alternative to lasagna since it only took 30 minutes to make. I used my favorite jar sauce - La Famiglia Del Grosso Tomato Basil Masterpiece. I think you could reduce the water to two cups and it would be less saucy - I might try this next time. I like a lot of sauce though - good to dip your garlic rolls in!

Skillet Lasagna
(Printable Recipe)

1 jar (24-26 oz ) marinara sauce
3 cups water
8 oz lasagna noodles
1 lb bulk hot Italian turkey sausage or sausage links, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 oz Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Additional grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine sauce and water in (12-in./30-cm) Skillet. Cover; bring to a boil. Meanwhile, wrap noodles in clean kitchen towel and break crosswise into quarters. Stir noodles into sauce. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 16-18 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.

As noodles cook, place sausage into (10-in./25-cm) Skillet; cook and stir over medium-high heat 6-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking into crumbles using Mix ‘N Chop. Add pressed garlic; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir sausage into noodles and sauce.

Meanwhile, grate Parmesan cheese using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Chop parsley using Santoku Knife; set aside 1 tbsp (15 mL) parsley for garnish. Combine cheeses, remaining parsley and black pepper in Classic Batter Bowl. Scoop cheese mixture over noodles using Medium Scoop. Cover Skillet and simmer gently 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and ricotta mixture is heated through.

To serve, sprinkle lasagna with reserved parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Early Mother's Day

Since we will be in St. Augustine next weekend, we went up to Huntsville yesterday to visit with Tadd's mom for Mother's Day and her birthday.  

We met Tadd's parents at Cantina Laredo for lunch.  It was great!  We ordered guacamole dip and they made it tableside.  The salsa was some of the best I've ever had.  They had a traditional salsa and a warm roasted tomatillo salsa.  The portions were enormous!  I ended up just getting a cup of tortilla soup - it was huge.  I would hate to see the bowl of tortilla soup.  Tadd got the nachos with steak and chicken - they were great.  

After lunch it was time for Anne to open her presents:

We gave her Barnie's coffee, Wicked CD and a QVC gift card!  
(Jack was not included in the gifts)

I also made Anne and her friend a box of cookies.  I made Chocolate Chip Cookies with M&Ms.  I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and added 2 cups of M&M and 1 cup of chocolate chips.  The boxes were so good that Anne thought we bought the cookies from a bakery.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monnette's - Part 2

We decided to try Monnette's for dinner again tonight.  This time we went with a thin crust pizza.  It was great.  We sat at the bar and talked to the bartender.  It was nice and it was only 2 minutes from the house - hard to beat that!! (I still like Area 41 best - sorry!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Grilled Greek Chicken

I was debating what kind of chicken to grill tonight. I didn't want to do the usual Ken's marinade or Italian dressing. I finally decided on Greek Chicken - I had the seasoning and didn't have to go to the grocery store for anything. This chicken was very flavorful and juicy. It had a nice tanginess from the lemon juice. We really liked this chicken and will be making it again!

Grilled Greek Chicken

2 boneless chicken breast
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs Greek seasoning (I used the Pampered Chef Greek Seasoning)
1 garlic clove pressed

Combine all ingredients and let marinate all day (6-8 hours). Grill to perfection!
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