Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tyler Florence Cooking Demo (sort of) @ Soaring Eagle

Tyler's kitchen on stage at Soaring Eagle, presented by KitchenAid

Last Friday night, I went to see Chef Tyler Florence of Food Network fame, do a live cooking demonstration at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, MI.  I was incredibly excited when I found out about the show two months ago, via Soaring Eagle's Facebook site.   They promoted it on their website saying "Chef Tyler will have a full kitchen on stage for a high-energy rock n' roll cooking show!"  Sounds fun right?!  I mean, what fellow foodie wouldn't want to be in the same room with Tyler!   I immediately booked my 4th row center tickets, and counted down the weeks with great anticipation.

A few days before the show, Soaring Eagle posted the following on their Facebook wall:
"It's a rock n' roll cooking show and Chef Tyler will be making: Chicken Fried Steak with Milk Gravy, Black Eyed Peas with Stewed Tomatoes, Candied Yams, Green Beans with Sliced Onion and Bacon, Big Papa's Banana Pudding and Pimento Cheese with Crackers and Crudite'."
Makes your mouth water just reading the menu, doesn't it? 

The show began with an awkward introduction by someone who I believe was a manager at the hotel.  He tried to be slick and funny, but when he started talking about food coupons for the resort food vendors, he lost me.  His introduction of Tyler almost came out of the blue and could not have been more weak.  "Where's the rock?" "Where's the roll?"  I asked my husband.  I was confused.  Then Tyler walked out on stage with his big sexy grin and all was well.  I was ready for some amazing food to be prepared right before my eyes, by one of my favorite chefs. 


        Tyler telling the crowd a story about his early days as an intern at the Grand Traverse Resort. 

What transpired next was beyond unexpected.  The KitchenAid Induction Cooktop, brand new for this demonstration, kept erroring out and wouldn't work properly.  Tyler and his staff had the most difficult time operating it, which resulted in burned custard for the banana pudding, unfinished dishes and a lot of frustration.  Tyler has a great sense of humor though and kept smiling throughout the whole thing.  He engaged the audience well and answered numerous questions.  I felt terrible for him though.  I  wanted to go buy a bottle of Jim Beam (a favorite from his lonely, cold, intern days in MI), and tell him to make himself a cocktail instead!

Eventually, he was able to get his chicken fried steak and black eyed peas recipe partially done, and they smelled delicious.  The green beans and sweet potatoes came out of the oven and looked partially cooked.  The only thing served to an audience member was the chicken fried steak.  I'm sure everything would have tasted fabulous.  I plan on giving the whole menu a try next month, when his new book, Tyler Florence Family Meal comes out.  While the evening didn't turn out as expected, I still had a good time and hope Tyler knows....we still love ya in Michigan! 



Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe   Photo from EatingWell.com

Well, I wanted to post my own picture of this one, but it was gone before I had a chance to snap one.  Two out of my three kids loved it, so I would call it a winner.  Here's a link to EatingWell.com for the complete original recipe.  I decided to cook mine in a silicone bundt pan, rather than 2 loaf pans, and it turned out beautifully.  My daughter said it looked like a giant chocolate doughnut.  The chocolate chips made this a little more decadent, but it's still pretty healthy.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread 

source: EatingWell.com

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 cups grated zucchini, (1 medium)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Coat two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. (I used 1 bundt pan).

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and chocolate chips in another large bowl until blended.
Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in zucchini. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.

Bake the loaves 55 to 60 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert onto rack and cool completely.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Egg Muffin Melts


Here's a great make-ahead recipe for a quick meal anytime.  Pioneer Woman posted this recently, and I knew I had to try it.  It's basically an egg salad mixture with cheese that's baked on top of an english muffin.  The egg mixture can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to assemble and bake.  I made it Sunday morning and 3 out of 5 in my family loved them.  Two of my kids are extremely picky, although they did try it, so I've got to give them credit for that.  The original recipe calls for regular bacon, but I used turkey bacon and it was just fine.  I needed to cook them for a little longer than the 3-5 minutes stated in the recipe, so you'll want to keep an eye on them.  These aren't exactly figure friendly, so I won't be making them again for awhile, but it was a good way for me to use up some muffins we had in the pantry.  Enjoy!

Here's the link to the original recipe on Pioneer Woman's website.

Egg Muffin Melts

Ingredients

  • 12 whole Hard-boiled Eggs, Peeled And Chopped
  • 2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup (real) Mayonnaise
  • 12 slices Turkey Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 6 whole-wheat English Muffins Split

Directions:

Combine eggs with all other ingredients. Fold together gently. If making ahead, cover and store in the fridge overnight. 

Spread on English muffin halves, then broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve immediately!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips


Last month, I returned to full-time work outside the home.  It has been a difficult adjustment, after 5 years as a SAHM.  We've been eating out a lot, since I have significantly less time to cook, let alone grocery shop.  I've been debating whether or not to keep up with this blog.  I love reading other blogs and enjoy sharing recipes, so for the time being, I will post when I can and eventually I'll get my act together.  

When I got home from work tonight, I noticed 4 extremely ripe bananas on the counter, begging to be turned into banana muffins.  I found a recipe that uses whole wheat flour instead of white and decided to give it a try.  I think they turned out very moist and light.  I loved the combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips too.  My plan is store these in the freezer, so I can just grab and go in the morning, and eat once I'm at work.... that is, if we don't eat them all first!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1/4 cup honey
2 extra large eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour  
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, combined
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper or grease pan well (I used butter).

    Beat together butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. 
    Add banana, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add flour and chocolate chips, mix well. 

    Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling almost to top.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes, then transfer to a rack. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    I'm back, and How to Resprout Green Onions!

    Wow, it's been over a month since my last post!  Sorry for my long absence.  I've been around but haven't been cooking many new things lately, mostly in an effot to save money.  I find that when I get obsessive about finding new recipes for the blog, my grocery bill seems to skyrocket.  I still have ingredients in the pantry purchased for "blog recipes" but haven't gotten around to making them.  Sometimes life, and my lack of proper menu planning, gets in the way.  Although, I do find that even when I make a menu plan, we almost never completely stick to it.  I'm sure you can all relate.

    Today I'm not posting a recipe, but I did want to share a great gardening tip that is new to me.  Perhaps this is old news to you, but I was excited when I discovered that I could use the cut off root end of a store-bought green onion and regrow it for another use.  Just put it in a couple inches of water and wait about 7-10 days. 


    Here is a picture of a small bowl, I have in my dining room window.  The green onions on the left were cut and placed in the water about 5 days ago.  The ones on the right were placed in the bowl last night.  You can see that it really doesn't take long for these to shoot back up.   I believe you can cut and re-use them 3 or 4 times.  We go through so many green onions in our house.  I can't believe I didn't learn this sooner.  No more wasting those roots!

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Chicken and Orzo Frittata


    Recently, I posted a recipe for a wonderful side dish of Orzo with Roasted Vegetables. I ended up with plenty of leftover orzo and thought it would be interesting to try adding it to a Frittata.  I found a recipe for Chicken and Orzo Frittata by Giada De Laurentiis, over at Foodnetwork.com. I replaced the chicken with some leftover ham I had in the freezer, and sauteed up some onions, peppers and mushrooms to throw in the mix as well. Her recipe also calls for creme fraiche, which I don't usually have on hand, so I substituted sour cream.  I like that the whole thing bakes in the oven, rather than starting it on the stove top.  I cooked it in a 2qt glass baking dish, and it puffed up perfectly. Enjoy!

    Chicken and Orzo Frittata

    Ingredients:

    3/4 cup dry orzo pasta
    6 eggs
    1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
    1/4 cup sour cream
    2 cups cooked chicken or ham, chopped
    4 scallions, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
    1/3 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the Orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

    In a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and sour cream and stir until the eggs are beaten and the ingredients are combined. Add the cooked orzo, chicken (or ham), scallions, parsley, red bell peppers, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
    Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler until golden on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a side salad.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites


    This is another Cooking Light recipe I found online and decided to give a try last night.  The chicken marinates for 2 hours or overnight, so it is a good make ahead dish.  The cooking time is only about 20 minutes.  The only substitutions I made was to use ground ginger instead of fresh, and seasoned rice vinegar instead of cider vinegar.  We absolutely loved it.  Cooking Light presented this as an appetizer, but I served it as a main dish with sides of scallion brown rice and steamed broccoli.  Enjoy!

    Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites
    adapted from Cooking Light, March 2003


    Ingredients:

    2/3 cup honey
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    Cooking Spray
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 teaspoons corn starch
    2 teaspoons water
    2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
    1 green onion, chopped (optional)

    Directions:

    Combine first 9 ingredients in a large plastic bag, seal and shake well. Add chicken pieces, seal and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Spray a baking rack with cooking spray and place on top of a sheet pan. Arrange chicken pieces on the baking rack in a single layer.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

    While chicken cooks, strain marinade through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Place marinade in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes; skim solids from surface. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; pour glaze into a glass bowl. 

    Preheat broiler. Add chicken to glaze; toss to coat. Place chicken on a sheet pan; broil 5 minutes or until brown, stirring twice. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip


    This recipe was given to me by a good friend years ago.  It comes from a 1997 issue of Cooking Light magazine.  I haven't made it in years and I can't remember why, because I absolutely LOVE it.  When I was single, I would make this for my dinner once a week.  I would eat it with nacho chips or in a tortilla.  It is inexpensive, quick and healthy, you can't beat that!  This makes a great dip to take to a party or served as part of a main meal.  My picky eaters all loved it, so you know it's a winner.  Enjoy!

    Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip
    from Cooking Light Magazine, April 1997

    Yield: 1 2/3 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)  (I always double the recipe)

    Ingredients

    1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1  teaspoon  vegetable oil
    1/2  cup  chopped onion
    2  garlic cloves, minced
    1/2  cup  diced tomato
    1/3  cup  mild picante sauce
    1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
    1/2  teaspoon  chili powder
    1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
    1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
    1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice

    Directions:

    Place beans in a bowl; partially mash until chunky. Set aside.

    Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, tomato, picante sauce, cumin, and chili powder; cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring well.
    Serve warm or at room temperature with fat-free corn or flour tortilla chips.

    Guacamole


    I adore avocados, and absolutely love this recipe for Guacamole.  It comes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and it so easy you almost don't even need a recipe.  Ina says to use a sharp knife to slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced.  I prefer to use a fork to mash it up, leaving some chunks of avocado.  Better for dipping, I think.  Serve with your favorite Mexican dish, or in some delicious Pork Tacos.  Enjoy!

    Guacamole
    from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

    Ingredients:

    4 ripe Haas avocados
    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
    8 dashes Tabasco sauce
    1/2 cup small-diced red onion
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    3/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 medium tomato, seeded and small-diced

    Directions:


    Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop the flesh out of the shells into a large bowl.  Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Toss well and mash with a fork to desired consistency.  Add the diced tomatoes and mix, taste for seasonings.  To store, cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed lightly on top of the dip, to prevent air from reaching the avocados. 

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Citrus Marinated Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


    Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, 9 wonderful years together.  But, instead of going out for a romantic dinner for two, we shared a wonderful Mexican feast, at home, with the kids.  In keeping with my desire for lighter dishes, I opted to try this Citrus Marinated Pork Taco recipe, which I found over at the blog, For the Love of Cooking.  This was light, refreshing, yet still very filling.  The kids chose not to eat the Pineapple Salsa, but they really enjoyed the pork.  I let it marinate for 2 1/2 hours and it was perfectly tender and flavorful.   I just love all the colors and fresh ingredients in this meal.  The pork and the pineapple work really well together.  I also put some homemade guacamole and jack cheese on my tacos.  Absolutely delicious!


    For the Pork Taco recipe, click HERE
    For the Pineapple Salsa recipe, click HERE

    Enjoy!!

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Stuffed Tomatoes




    I've decided to start serving my family meatless meals at least once a week.  I didn't get any complaints when I served tonight's dinner of Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli and these delicious Stuffed Tomatoes.  My oldest son at three of them.  The original recipe uses Gruyere cheese and some different herbs, but I had to work with what I had in the pantry/refrigerator.  I think they turned out perfectly.  These would pair well with grilled meat, or your favorite vegetarian dish.  Light, healthy, quick and easy.  Perfect.  Enjoy!

    Stuffed Tomatoes
    inspired by Ina Garten- Barefoot Contessa Family Style

    6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 - 3 " diameter)
    1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    olive oil

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible.  Cut them in half crosswise and remove the seeds and juice.  Place tomato halves in a baking dish.

    In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, chives, garlic, cheese and 1 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle the tomato halves lightly, with salt and pepper.  Fill the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until tender and cheese is lightly browned.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  May be prepared and filled ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake. 

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Hearty Tomato Soup


     I've been on the hunt for some new, lighter recipes to make for my family.  I found this recipe at Foodnetwork.com and thought the addition of white beans to tomato soup sounded interesting.  Instead of using canned beans, I used dried beans that I soaked and cooked myself. This way I save money, and control the amount of salt in the cooking liquid.  I didn't have any fresh rosemary, so I substituted dry.  I also substituted vegetable broth for chicken, but you could use either.  I was going for a completely vegetarian dish.  My "secret" ingredient was the addition of a splash of balsamic vinegar.  I like to add it to my marinara recipe, so I figured it would be just as good in this soup.  I was right.  The original recipe also calls for serving with creme fraiche and lemon, but I didn't have them.  I served it with some homemade croutons instead.  Enjoy!


    Hearty Tomato Soup
    adapted from FoodNetwork.com recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis

    Ingredients:

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 onion, peeled and chopped
    2 carrots, peeled and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    3 cups vegetable broth
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    1/2 cup Half-n-Half 

    Directions:

    In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, crushed tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, dried rosemary, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar.  Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
    Puree the soup in a blender in batches, being careful to remove and discard the bay leaf.  Return the soup to a soup pot, season with salt and pepper.  Stir in half-n-half and warm through. 

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Orzo with Roasted Vegetables


    This is a terrific side dish that goes with almost anything, and the best part is that it can be prepared ahead of time, and is best served at room temperature.  I used Ina Garten's recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook, except I left out the feta and pine nuts.  I'm sure it would be wonderful with those additions, but I didn't have any and was going for a clean and simple dish.  I served this with Chicken Gyros and hummus and it was a perfect dinner.  Roasting the vegetables gives them such a wonderful caramelized flavor.  I highly recommend this one.  Enjoy!

    Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
    adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!  copyright 2001

    1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced in 1 in. pieces
    1 yellow bell pepper, diced in 1 in. pieces
    1 orange bell pepper, diced in 1 in. pieces
    1/2 red onion, peeled and diced in 1 in pieces
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    1/2 lb. orzo
    4 scallions, chopped
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I left this out)
    3/4 lb feta cheese, diced in 1/2 in. cubes (I left this out)
    10-15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade



    For the dressing:
    1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a sheet pan.  Roast for 40 minutes until browned. 
     

    Cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the roasted vegetables, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the bowl.   


    For the dressing:  combine lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper.  Add to the pasta and vegetables while they are still warm.  Let cool to room temperature, then add scallions, basil, pine nuts and feta, if using.   Check for seasonings and serve at room temperature. 



    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Sloppy Joe's

     
    PW posted this recipe on her site yesterday and I just had to give it a try for our dinner.  I followed the recipe almost exactly and it turned out perfect.  Typically, I just mix ketchup, barbecue sauce and a little yellow mustard to make Sloppy Joe's, but I thought this would be fun to try instead.  Once the ketchup and other sauce ingredients hit the heat, the house started to smell amazing.  I'm really impressed with how delicious and easy this was.  No need to ever buy the canned stuff again!  Let me know if you give this a try and how you like it.   Enjoy!

    Sloppy Joe's
    adapted from The Pioneer Woman

    Ingredients:

    2 tbls. butter
    2 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
    1/2 of a large onion, diced
    1 green bell pepper, diced
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 cups Ketchup
    1 cup Water
    2 tbls. tomato paste
    2 tbls. brown sugar
    2 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp dry mustard  (I used a big squirt of yellow mustard)
    1-2 dashes ground cayenne
    2-3 dashes Tabasco Sauce
    4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
    Salt and Pepper, to taste
    Rolls and butter, for serving

    Directions:

    Add 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add beef and cook until brown.  Drain the grease.  Add onions, green pepper, and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until veggies start to get soft.  Add ketchup, water, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, mustard, cayenne powder, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir to combine and simmer for 30 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Spread rolls with butter and brown in a skillet.  Spoon meat mixture over rolls and enjoy! 

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Berries


    Here's a quick and easy dessert that combines some of the best parts of cheesecake, without all the extra calories.  It comes from The Dean Brother's Cookbook and according to Bobby Dean, it's "berries made better."  I agree.  We typically eat our berries with a little sugar or whipped cream, but this was even better.  Once the berries are prepped, filling them is easy with a pastry bag and decorative tip.  This makes a wonderful treat to take to a party... no fork required, just pop them into your mouth!  Enjoy!

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Berries
    source:  The Deen Brothers Cookbook, Copyright 2007

    32 whole large strawberries, hulled
    12 oz cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

    Directions:

    Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so they stand upright.  Place berries, cut sides down and carefully make two cuts across the top in an X, cutting about half-way through the berry.  Fan the wedges just slightly and set aside.

    In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese , sugar and vanilla until combined but still stiff.  Using a pastry bag with a decorative tip, fill the berries with cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans, if using.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Tony Hawk Skateboard Birthday Cake


    My oldest son turned 8 this week.  He loves skateboarding and requested that I make him another skateboard cake this year.  Last year I did a blue cake with a lightening bolt, but this year I wanted to get a little fancier.  I found a Tony Hawk logo online and drew a replica on some paper, cut it out and then traced it onto the cake using a toothpick.  I then filled everything in with frosting and made up the rest of the design as I went along.  I used a simple 1,2,3,4 Cake recipe from the back of the Swan's Down Cake Flour box.  I added a little extra vanilla extract though, because I really wanted the vanilla flavor to stand out.  I divided the batter between a 13x9 pan and one 9" round pan.  Once cooled, cut the round cake in half and place one side on each end of the 13x9 cake.  Cut and shave off sides to look like a skateboard deck.  I took the easy way out and used mini chocolate doughnuts and Pirouette cookies for the wheels.  This really is an easy cake to make and the boys just loved it! 

    1,2,3,4 Cake 
    source:  Swan's Down Cake Flour box

    1 cup butter, softened
    2 cups sugar
    3 cups sifted cake flour
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 eggs
    1 cup milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour cake pans. 

    In mixing bowl, cream butter and gradually add sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In another bowl, sift together, flour, baking powder and salt.  Add flour mixture, alternately, with the milk and vanilla, to the butter mixture (3 additions of dry mix, 2 additions of the wet ingredients, always start with the dry and end with the dry).  Beat until smooth after each addition.
    Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on racks.  

    Wilton's Buttercream Icing 
    source:  Wilton 2007 Cake Decorating Handbook

    1/2 cup Crisco shortening
    1/2 cup butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear, for perfectly white icing)
    4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (about 1 lb)
    2 tablespoons milk or water, to thin icing

    Cream the butter and shortening with electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.  When all sugar has been incorporated, add milk or water, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.  This icing can be stored 2 weeks in refrigerator.  Re-whip before using.  Makes 3 cups.  (I doubled this recipe for the skateboard cake)



    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Homemade Vanilla Wafer Cookies


    The other day I watched an episode of Tyler's Ultimate where he made his Ultimate Banana Pudding.  It looked so delicious I decided make my own version this week.  I picked up the ingredients I needed, but then realized when I got home, I forgot the Nilla Wafers.  No problem.  I figured I probably already had everything I needed to make them at home, so I searched and found a recipe online at another blog called Baking Bites .  The dough comes together in minutes and they only take about 11-13 minutes to bake.   I think these had a wonderful buttery, vanilla flavor and were nice and crisp when they cooled, much like the store-bought version.  Once baked, the cookies are a little bigger than a quarter.  Easy to pop into the mouth!  Enjoy!


    Homemade Vanilla Wafer Cookies
    from Baking Bites

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 tsp. vanilla extract 
    1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking powder

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a small bowl,  add flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir with a whisk to combine.  Combine dry mixture with the wet ingredients. 

    Add dough to pastry bag (I use the disposable plastic kind from Wilton), that has been fitted with a plain piping tip.  I used my Ateco 805 tip. 

    Pipe dough onto the sheet, making each cookie about the size of a nickel.  You can make them bigger or smaller, but will need to adjust the baking time.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size, remove when they turn a light golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets and store in an airtight container. 

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Sweet Crepes


     Last week,  I was talking to a friend of mine about this crepe restaurant she went to in downtown Detroit.  She described the most delicious sweet and savory fillings, which made me want to have one immediately!   Of course I wasn't about to drive downtown when I knew I could whip these up at home easily.   So, I pulled out my handy Joy of Cooking cookbook and decide to just make Sweet Crepes.  The recipe is very straight forward and "easy" to prepare, it's the actual cooking of crepes that can be a little challenging.  Getting the batter in the pan and swirling it around was easy enough, it's the flipping that took some practice.  The books says to "turn the crepes with a spatula or with your fingers" gently holding the edge to pull the crepe off the pan and flip over.  I had to use both a spatula to lift the crepe off the pan, and my fingers to hold and flip.  Word of caution here... It's HOT!  After flipping about 3 or 4 of them, my fingers were numbed enough that the heat didn't bother me as much.  Honestly, they were SO worth it though.  My favorite way to eat these is with some fresh lemon juice and sugar sprinkled over top.  Heavenly!!  For the kids, I served these with some cream cheese and strawberries rolled up inside.  The crepes can easily be cooked ahead of time, then stored between parchment paper and wrapped in plastic.  The leftovers reheated beautifully in the microwave the next morning.  Next time, I think I'll make a savory version... the filling possibilities are endless.  Hope you'll give these a try.  Enjoy!

    Sweet Crepes
    adapted from Joy of Cooking

    Ingredients:

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup lukewarm water
    4 large eggs
    1/4 cup butter, melted (plus extra for cooking)
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 tablespoons sugar

    Directions:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth.  Let stand for 30 minutes before cooking, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days (before cooking the refrigerated batter, stir and let come to room temp. first)

    To cook crepes: 

    In a small non-stick skillet, melt  1/2 tsp. butter over medium heat.  Pour enough batter to cover the bottom with a very thin coating.  (I used a 10" skillet with about 1/4 cup batter).  Quickly, tilt and rotate the pan, then return to the heat and cook until crepe bubbles and bottom is lightly browned, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.   Slide the pan off the burner.  Use a heat resistant spatula, lift the edge of the crepe and grasp with fingers, gentle pull the crepe off the pan and flip it over.  This takes some practice!  Cook on the other side until browned slightly.  Stack onto a parchment or wax-paper lined plate as you prepare the remaining crepes.  Yields about 12.

    Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin

                                           
    Sunday night I made a traditional Easter dinner for my family... Spiral Ham, Green Been Casserole, Corn, and these potatoes.  Why a week early you ask?  My wonderful mother-in-law has invited us for Easter dinner again this year.  She is a wonderful cook and always prepares a plentiful holiday feast.  My husband grew up with macaroni and cheese as the usual side dish, however my family always had Au Gratin Potatoes.  Since I won't be cooking this Easter, I wanted to prepare a nice Sunday dinner for my family, making sure to include all of my favorite holiday dishes.  

    This recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, although I adapted it slightly, by adding some onion and a little flour to the sauce to help thicken it.  My whole family loved this dish.   It cooks for 1 hour in the oven, resulting in perfectly tender, creamy, cheesy potatoes.  Enjoy!

    Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin
    adapted from Joy of Cooking

    Ingredients:

    1 clove of garlic
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup finely diced onion
    2 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
    3 cups half-n-half
    2 tablespoons flour
    salt and pepper
    pinch of nutmeg
    8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub a 13x9 casserole dish with the garlic clove, then coat with 1 tablespoon of butter.

    In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, add onion and a dash of salt and pepper.  Saute until onion is tender but do not let it brown.  Add all the half-n-half, sliced potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, nutmeg, and sprinkle in the flour.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat, then cook and stir gently until the liquid thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Press down lightly to submerge potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.  

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Homemade Chicken and Noodles



    I have another cold... second time in a month.  My family can't seem to shake these germs, even though I've been cleaning everything with Clorox and Lysol.  Today I needed a chicken soup intervention!   I didn't want to make any old chicken soup though.  While browsing Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site, I found a recipe for Chicken and Noodles, which sounded perfect.  So... after a short nap this morning, I went to the grocery store to get the main ingredients.   It's important to use Amish Kitchens Extra Thick Kluski Egg Noodles , not the thin ones or regular egg noodles because they will get too mushy.  I modified the original recipe slightly by adding some bouillon cubes to my stock and changing how I assembled everything.  I think it turned out perfectly.  The noodles soak up much of the stock, leaving a thick mixture of pasta, chicken and veggies.  Enjoy!

    Homemade Chicken and Noodles
    adapted from Tasty Kitchen.com

    Ingredients:

    1 whole regular seasoned Rotisserie Chicken
    1 (12oz) bag Amish Kitchens Extra Thick Kluski Egg Noodles
    5 carrots
    4 stalks celery
    3 small onions
    3 quarts Water
    4 cloves garlic

    1 tsp dried parsley flakes
    1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    pinch of dried thyme
    salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Directions:

    Remove all meat from chicken and store in refrigerator for later.  Place all bones, skin and 3 qts. water in large pot, add 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks , 2 small onions, quartered, 3 cloves garlic smashed, parsley flakes, black peppercorns, dried thyme, and 4 chicken bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.  Pour through a fine mesh sieve, into a large bowl, to strain out the solids.  I ended up with 7 cups of stock.

    Rinse out the original pot.  Add butter, 1 small onion diced, 3 carrots diced, 2 stalks celery diced, 1 garlic clove minced, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Heat over medium until veggies are tender.  Add all the stock and the bag of noodles. Cook for about 10 minutes at a slow rolling boil, until noodles are tender.  Add chicken meat and heat through.  Taste for seasoning.  Garnish with parsley, if desired.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Easy Biscuit Doughnuts



    They look pretty good huh?  Well, don't let the picture fool ya.  These babies weren't cooked all the way through.  Yes, I'm posting my first flop here!  Well, they were not a total flop.  My husband saved the day by microwaving them for 30-40 seconds, and they turned out perfectly.  I'm sure it was a "user error", to coin a phrase from my old profession.  I misread the directions and had the oil too hot.   I also used the Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Biscuits, which may or may not have contributed to the under cooking of these,  I'm not sure.  This recipe is still worth trying, if you want homemade doughnuts without the fuss of a homemade dough. 


    Easy Biscuit Doughnuts
    from The Dean Brothers Cookbook

    Ingredients:


    1/2 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    Vegetable Oil, for frying
    1 (12 oz) tube Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

    Directions:

    Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Fill a wide, shallow pan with 1 inch of oil and heat to 370 degrees.

    Cut small holes in the center of each biscuit.  I used a 1" round cookie cutter.  Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, flipping over to brown both sides.  Transfer to paper towl lined baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. 

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Pizza Dough and Homemade Sauce


    Last night was pizza night and instead of going for the usual cheap take-out pizza, my hubby requested homemade pizza.  My go to recipe for pizza dough comes from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook.  I like it because it uses honey in the dough and I can make this in minutes in my stand mixer.  I usually double the recipe without any problems.  I let the dough rise for about 2 hours while we went to a movie.  The recipe calls for a shorter rising time but I almost always let it rise for 1-2 hours.  We made barbecue chicken pizza's with cheddar jack cheese and barbecue sauce along with smoked sausage pizza's for the kids.  As a kid my family always used sliced smoked sausage instead of pepperoni.  I made a quick homemade pizza sauce to use for the sausage pizza's.  It may take more time and effort than calling the local pizza guy, but it's worth it.  Enjoy!



    Pizza Dough
    from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

    Ingredients:

    1 1/4 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
    2 packages dry yeast
    1 tablespoon honey
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    2 teaspoons kosher salt

    Directions:

    For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Let sit for a few minutes until yeast starts to foam.  Add 3 cups flour, then the salt and mix.  While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour to form a soft dough.  Knead on low speed for 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling extra flour as needed, to keep it from sticking to sides of bowl.  Turn out on to floured board and knead 12 times.  It should be smooth and elastic.  Place in a large well-oiled bowl and cover with a towel.  Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.  Divide into equal parts and roll into a balls.  Place balls on a baking sheet covered with a damp paper towel.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then roll out, or refrigerate until ready to use.  

    When ready to bake, place rolled out dough on a greased sheet pan, load it up with your favorite sauce and toppings, bake in a 500 degree oven for 13-15 minutes.   ** If you've refrigerated the dough, let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes before using.


    Lisa's Homemade Pizza Sauce

    Ingredients:

    1/2 of a small onion, finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, finely minced
    1 (28oz) can tomato puree
    2-4 tablespoons sugar  (I like it sweet so I used all 4)
    1 1/2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning  
    salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat, add onion and garlic, cook until onion is tender, but not brown.  Add tomato puree, tomato paste, sugar (to taste), Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Let simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.   ** Can be made ahead of time and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.




    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Cajun Chicken Pasta from Pioneer Woman


    I've never made any cajun dish before, so when I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website I knew I had to give it a try.  I prepped all the veggies early in the day, which made this easy to throw together at dinner time.  The only thing I did different was to thicken the sauce more with a butter/flour mixture at the end of the cooking process.  I loved the flavor of the McCormick Cajun Spice blend and look forward to finding other recipes to use it in.   Enjoy!

    Cajun Chicken Pasta
    Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

    Ingredients:

    3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
    3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, divided
    1 lb. Fettuccine
    2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    2 Tablespoons Butter
    1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
    1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
    ½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
    3 cloves Garlic, Minced
    4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
    2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
    ½ cups White Wine
    1 cup Heavy Cream
    Cayenne Pepper To Taste
    Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
    Salt To Taste
    Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste
    Directions:
    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente.

    Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat.  Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir.  Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.  Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat. 

    Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible.  Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan. 

    With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy! 

    Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.  Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down!


    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Product Giveaway- Red Gold Tomatoes



    I'm a regular follower of the Real Life Living blog by Annie.   She has a terrific giveaway posted this week from Red Gold Tomatoes.  It's giant canister filled with: a reusable tote bag, 2 cookbooks, 7 recipe cards, a coaster, 2 fridge magnets, an informational CD and an awesome 1:64 scale diecast Limited Production Red Gold Tomatoes Freightliner Semi with certificate of authenticity.  And of course, some Red Gold Tomatoes!  One 14.5 ounce can each of Petite Diced Tomatoes, Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies, and Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano.

    I sure could use that, how 'bout you?  

    Head on over to her blog to check out the giveaway and leave her a comment to enter.  Good Luck!

    Here is a link to the Red Gold website for a coupon worth $0.75 off of 3 cans of tomatoes.  

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Copycat Recipe: Red Robin's Banzai Burger

     
    Like many people these days, we rarely go out to eat, except for some cheap $5 Little Caesar's pizza once a week.  Red Robin's Banazi Burger is my husband's absolute favorite of all time and I discovered it's extremely easy to make at home.  While browsing the cookbooks at the library one day, I came across Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 which contained a copycat recipe for the Banzai Burger.  Whoo Hoo!  I made it for my hubby's birthday last summer and we just loved it.  Yesterday was such a nice day, I decided to do burgers on the grill and we made this again.  However this time, instead of making my own teriyaki sauce, I took a short-cut and used a jarred sauce, which I already had in the fridge.  It was just as good and very easy.  I hope you'll give this a try the next time you're in a burger mood.  Make sure to have lots of napkins on hand--- Enjoy!

    Red Robin's Banzai Burger

    2 lbs ground round
    1 bottle Teriyaki sauce (recommend Kikkoman's Teriyaki Takumi Collection - Original )
    sliced fresh pineapple 
    Sliced cheddar cheese
    shredded head lettuce
    1 tomato, thinly sliced
    Burger Buns
    Mayonaise

    Directions:

    Form the beef into patties.  In a shallow baking dish, add some of the teriyaki sauce, place the beef patties on top in a single layer, turning to coat all sides with the marinade. (Be sure to reserve some marinade for the pineapple slices). Cover container and refrigerate 4-12 hours. 

    Place pineapple slices in a separate container, add enough marinade to coat well, cover dish and chill.

    Preheat grill to medium heat. Cook hamburgers 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When you flip the burgers, add the pineapple to the grill and cook until grill marks show, turning once.  About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place slices of cheese on top of each patty to melt.  

    To assemble burgers:  Spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun.  Place hamburger patty on bottom bun and top with 1-2 tomato slices, and 1-2 grilled pineapple slices.  Cover with about 1/3 cup shredded lettuce and place top bun on sandwich. 

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Sausage and Spinach Frittata


    Egg dishes are perfect for using up leftover meat and veggies in the fridge.  I had spinach, sausage, turkey bacon and green onions that I needed to use up, so I decided to mix these with some eggs.  Typically,  I just make scrambled eggs with meat and veggies thrown in, but a frittata sounded like a good idea, especially topped with some leftover Monterey Jack cheese.  I served this with salsa on top for a little kick.  We even had some of the frittata leftover, so I cut it into wedges, wrapped in plastic and froze it, for a quick weekday breakfast.  Enjoy!

    Lisa's Sausage and Spinach Frittata

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 cup cooked crumbled breakfast sausage (I use Bob Evan's Original Sausage)
    1/4 cup cooked turkey bacon pieces
    1/4 cup chopped, cooked spinach  
    2 tablespoons, chopped green onions
    9 large eggs
    1/4 cup half-n-half
    salt, pepper
    1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to broiler setting.  

    Using an oven-proof non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add sausage, bacon, spinach and green onions.  Warm through.  In a bowl, scramble the eggs and half-n-half together.  Add egg mixture to pan and spread evenly.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let sit and cook over med-low heat, until sides are set and middle is still slightly runny.  Top with cheese and place pan in oven.  Broil for 2-3 minutes until eggs are cooked and cheese is melted. 

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Snow Ice Cream


    Well, with spring right around the corner, I thought I should get this one up before we're wearing shorts and flip flops.  Right before mid-winter break, we had a ton of snow fall, which gave my kids two snow days.  Yea!  We scooped up some fresh snow from the back yard and made snow ice cream.  The idea came from Paula Deen.  I saw her do this on her Food Network show years ago.  Luckily, we had a can of sweetened condensed milk in the pantry already.  The kids really enjoy it.  It tastes very good, but I will not lie, the texture is not smooth and creamy like ice cream, it's a little more icy.  It's a fun thing to do with the kids and that's all that matters.  Enjoy!

    Snow Ice Cream
    adapted from Foodnetwork.com

    8 cups of fresh snow
    1 can of sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 Tbls. half-n-half

    Mix everything in a large bowl and serve immediately!  

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Super Chicken


    Don't ask me where the name came for this one, other than that's what my mom called it.  She got the original recipe out of a magazine somewhere many moons ago.  I've adapted it slightly by adding onions and mushrooms, but you can leave those out if you don't like them.  Sometimes, I make the chicken pieces bigger than bite sized, to save time on the breading/browning part of the recipe. You can easily adapt the quantities here for your family's needs.  I typically use 2 lbs chicken breasts because we love the leftovers... I eat them for breakfast.  I don't usually measure out the breadcrumbs, I just dump some in a bowl and add more if I run out.  It's really about the method here, more than following the specific amounts. 

    This has been a family favorite for years... decades really... man I'm getting old!  The muenster cheese is definitely the key to this dish.  It gets all melted and browned over the top of the chicken.  I like to serve this with chicken flavored rice (yes, I use Rice-A-Roni and I love it!), and a green vegetable.  I hope our family enjoys this as much as we do. 

         hot out of the oven, let it cool a few minutes before digging in.

    Super Chicken

    Ingredients:

    2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-sized pieces
    Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs, start with 1/2 of a small container, adding more if you run out
    3 large eggs
    salt, pepper
    Canola or Vegetable Oil
    3/4 cup chicken broth  (reduce this amount if using less chicken)
    8-9 slices of muenster cheese
    1/2 cup diced onion (optional)
    1-2 cans of sliced mushrooms  (optional)

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

    Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly scramble with a fork, season with a little salt and pepper.  Pour breadcrumbs into another bowl, season with extra salt and pepper if desired.  Dip chicken pieces into eggs, then into breadcrumbs.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with enough oil to almost cover the botton (maybe 3 tablespoons).  Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, and remove to baking dish.  Keep browning the chicken pieces in batches, wiping the pan clean after each batch and adding more oil (otherwise the leftover breadcrumbs in the pan start to burn and you don't want that in your finished dish.)

    Once all chicken is browned and placed into the dish (just pile it in there), sprinkle the onion and mushrooms over top, then add the chicken broth.  Cover with the slices of muenster cheese.  Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, until all chicken is cooked through and cheese is browned.  Cooking times with vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces.