Thursday, May 16, 2013

better than fried chicken

I remember reading this recipe on the Pioneer Woman blog several years ago. I believe it may have been called 'mayo' chicken and the guest blogger was Dutch Girl(?). I know I'd made it then, but I had forgotten about it. My guys really dislike chicken, so when I do make it, I'm always looking for good ways to disguise it.

I searched and searched google, trying "mayo chicken", "pioneer woman guest post", and everything I could think of. After a couple minutes of research, urban legend suggests that there was a falling out of sorts between the two bloggers. Whatever, I just wanted the recipe! I vaguely remembered the ingredients, so I just made it.

Lately, I've noticed it's made a resurgence (on Pinterest), and it's now known as "better than fried" chicken. Some recipes suggest Greek yogurt in place of the mayo. I've never tried it, because we all like the richness of mayonnaise.

We had it last night for dinner and even Josh said, "this is pretty good". We also enjoyed rhubarb muffins.

Here are the recipes:

"better than fried" chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup mayo/Greek yogurt, or a combination
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp granulated garlic
Salt, pepper
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, divided

1. Mix all ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs.
2. Spread mixture over chicken breasts. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs over chicken.
3. Bake at 375 degrees, uncovered, about 40 minutes, or until browned and chicken is cooked through.

rhubarb muffins (click link for recipe)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Evidence of a Charmed Life

My mom dropped off all kinds of "treasures" for me yesterday. High school yearbooks, old art projects, and lots of memorabilia. With the exception of a gold chain with a 'k' charm, I probably won't keep much. My mom kept all of her pre-natal appointment cards, their confirmation for childbirth classes, and wrote in a calendar describing every day of my first year. I have all of my report cards (which the kids want to look through), the program for my one and only gymnastics recital, and a dollar for getting published in the Junior Dispatch. My high school yearbooks contains all sorts of inane messages from classmates.

My childhood was easy. I had great parents, a good education, and supportive extended family. We took vacations, enjoyed the privilege of having just about everything we wanted, and generally lived a charmed life.

The moment that hit me like a ton of bricks is when I found this letter from my cousin.

In it, she describes her life (since we'd not seen in each other in a while). Her mom wasn't talking to her (her new stepdad prevented it). Her dad lived at the beach, and her stepmom stayed out until 5:00am every morning (with other men). She was struggling in school, and her only 'family' was a boyfriend named Brandon. What's really sobering is that I don't even remember this letter. Did I respond? In the midst of my charmed life, I probably didn't even know how to respond to something so heartbreaking. After reading that this morning, my thoughts directly turn to my children. I am so, so grateful for their 'charmed' childhood. I am thankful to God for protecting me from others' bad decisions, but regretful that she was not. I am praying for her today, because I've recently learned she is in an abusive marriage. Her son, who is the same age as our precious son, bore the brunt of his stepfather's rage just last week. I will keep praying, because that's all I can do. I don't know why life is so hard, but I do know I will fight to continue a protected life for my children.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I had a cooking event today where I was responsible for feeding 179 people. I managed to capture just two pictures, and I'm so glad it's over. Thankfully the menu allowed me to prep many things ahead of time and then to do my final cooking on-site yesterday and today. I never know how much to prepare, and invariably I have leftovers, but that's certainly a better scenario than the alternative! 

This was a large undertaking, but it went extremely well and I'm very thankful for the opportunity. 

I made: sticky bun ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, potato salad, shrimp and chorizo skewers, crudités with smoked salmon spread, fruit trays, chocolate fudge, molasses cookies, white chocolate truffles with lemon, and orange poppyseed cupcakes with raspberry frosting. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sausage "quiche"

Also known as: the only thing I had the energy to throw together.

Today I made three batches of smoked salmon spread. Twelve pounds of potato salad. Turned eight roasted chickens into crazy amounts of chicken salad.

Then it was time to make dinner. Ugh.

I had the wherewithal to defrost a pack of country sausage links earlier in the day. I also had a red pepper, an onion, some leftover potatoes, and one egg. Thankfully I have the best neighbor. She's also my sister-in-law. She came to the rescue with three eggs (I already used three dozen earlier in my cooking exploits).

Within fifteen minutes, I had dinner in the oven.

Ever since my sister mentioned rhubarb sauce with tapioca (yesterday), I've been meaning to make vanilla pudding with rhubarb sauce.  I simmered both on the stove while I cleaned up the kitchen for the bajillionth time.

I wish we had a good choice locally for home-cooked takeout. It was fairly painless to throw dinner and dessert together, but I would have welcomed a little help.

At any rate, here are the recipes!

Sausage "quiche"

1lb breakfast sausage, crumbled and casing removed
1 red pepper, chopped
5 small Yukon gold potatoes, par-cooked in the microwave
1 small onion, chopped
2tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp Dijon
Salt, pepper
Shredded cheddar

1. Sautéed sausage in olive oil until barely pink. Add potatoes, peppers, and onions. Sauté until browned.
2. Place sauté mixture in baking pan.
3. Mix eggs, mustard, seasonings and half and half. Pour over sausage mixture. Top with cheese and bake for thirty five minutes at 375 degrees.

Vanilla Pudding Recipe

Rhubarb-Berry Compote

2 cups chopped rhubarb 1/4 cup strawberries/red raspberries 1 cup sugar In a medium saucepan, simmer ingredients until soft (about 7 minutes). Purée if desired.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lettuce Wraps

Otherwise known as: the best thing we've eaten this week.

I am so happy today. I wish my moods weren't dependent on variable circumstances (ie, the sun), but today is perfect. Sunny, 70 degrees, and cloudless skies. I roasted six chickens, skewered 200 shrimp and chorizo bites, and all of my desserts (for next week's event) are in the freezer.

And then there was dinner tonight. As Josh described it: amazing. I had a flat-iron steak in the refrigerator and I saw a Pinterest recipe for Thai-beef and lettuce wraps. After I looked at the original recipe, I knew I was going to have to start over. I always have things like: hoisin, fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil on hand. I mixed all of those together (about two tbsp each) and added a squeeze of lime juice and a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

After I grilled and sliced our steak, we simply topped the lettuce with shredded carrots, julienned
cucumbers, and the sauce.  The interesting part is that they were surprisingly filling. The sauce was crucial, though, I must admit!