He is Risen!

Happy belated Easter! He is risen indeed and I don’t know about you but I sure am grateful! This year for Easter I decided to incorporate southern comfort food for my sweet husband with a Midwestern touch for well…me (coming in the form of VERY cheesy scalloped potatoes with a lot of cream)! I originally had planned to serve a traditional ham for our Easter lunch but when I saw how expensive it was I was thankful to remember how not so nonchalantly my husband had recently made several requests for fried chicken.

Like the rest of America I have been on a major health kick and had pretty much  banned all fried foods from our house…but I decided to make an exception on this very special day. Make my husband happy and save a few bucks: win win. To say he was pleased was an understatement. I added some very cheesy scalloped potatoes, green beans, and dinner rolls to finish off the meal. This was also a monumental occasion, as it was the first use of our beautiful wedding china! I was also sure to purchase some beautiful tulips to lighten up our little home.

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Living far from family is certainly hard on these special days but there was one advantage…left-overs! Here are the delish recipes for my fried chicken and scalloped potatoes. Thank you Lord for the sacrifice of the cross and for beautiful days to remember and eat well!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Easy Fried Chicken

4-5 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper. Whisk together milk and eggs. Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Over medium high heat (more on the high side) fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack in a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225° oven.

*I cook on a gas stove that tends to brown the outside before the inside is cool. I usual end up cooking the chicken in the oven for an extra 15 minutes to make sure the chicken is fully cooked.

Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Half a pint of heavy whipping cream
2 cloves garlic
2 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack), divided
Fresh parsley sprinkled on top
4 large russet potatoes (any kind will do), skins on, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).

To make the sauce, I melted the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Next, I stirred the flour thoroughly into the butter and added the cream and garlic . The sauce was stirred over medium/high heat until it began to bubble and thicken. I removed it from the heat and stirred in 2 cups of the grated cheese. The sauce was set aside.

Next, I sprayed a deep casserole dish with some cooking spray. I then layered the potato slices in the dish and continued until the potatoes were used up.

The sauce was then poured over the potatoes and the whole thing was given a good  shake on the counter top to get the sauce to ooze down into all the potatoes. The top was sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. I then placed the casserole dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbled over and baked it for 60 minutes until brown and bubbly.

 

Three Stress Free Appetizers- Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe another new year is upon us! 2013 sure was a wonderful year where God really blessed our little family and took us down roads we would not have ever predicted.  It was not the easiest year, however, it was a year where we grew as a couple and continued to learn that despite our best efforts to be in control and plan our own destinies, God truly is in control and has the best plan. I am excited to see what 2014 has for us!

For New Years this year we got the special gift of my sweet sister. Danielle is currently a junior in college and we are lucky enough to have her for the last few days of her break! We spent last night watching the classic Dick Clark New Years Eve Special and enjoying each others company. We made a few fun and easy appetizers to celebrate the night as well. Isn’t it fun that food and family/friends seem to always go together? I’ve noticed food is always so much better when shared with these special people as well :).   Here are the three recipes we enjoyed last night :).

Mexican Party Pin Wheels

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Ingredients:

1 block of cream cheese

1/4 cup of sour cream

1 cup of black beans

1 cup of corn

1/2 cup of green chilies

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cooked and shredded chicken breast

3 flour tortillas

Directions:

1. Cook chicken breast and Shred.

2. In mixing bowl add cream cheese and sour cream. Mix until combined. Add cheese, green chilies, corn and chicken. Mix until well distributed. Add black beans and mix.

3. Add spread to tortillas. Wrap then cut into pinwheels. Repeat until spread is gone.

4. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes then serve.

Cheesy Meatballs

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Ingredients:

1 lb of Ground Beef (Can also use ground turkey or sausage)

5 saltine crackers

1 egg

1 tbs brown sugar

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

Directions:

1. Mix ground beef with egg and add salt and pepper as well as brown sugar.

2. Crush cracker then add to meat and egg mix. Add shredded cheese. Use hands to mix together.

3. Form small meatballs. Place on a greased pan in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

4. Insert toothpicks for easy serving.

Ben’s Cheese Fries

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Ingredients:

5 Russet potatoes

2 cups of Colby Jack cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. Use a fry cutter on potatoes for best fries.

2. Salt and pepper well then place in oven at 400 degrees. Cook for 2o minutes or until fries are tender. Be sure to flip fries after about 10 minutes. You can also cook these on the stove in vegetable oil instead of cooking in the oven.

3. Add cheese and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Then serve hot.

Fiesta Chicken {Slow Cooker Recipe}

This is seriously such an easy meal and so good. Just dump the ingredients in the crock pot and go!

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Ingredients:

– Bag of frozen Chicken Breast Tenderloins (2.5-3lb bag) (boneless chicken breasts work as well)
– 8 oz block of cream cheese (don’t use Fat Free! 1/3 less fat or regular is fine)
– Can of Black Beans, drained & rinsed. (or Pinto Beans if you prefer)
– Can of Corn, drained.
– Can of Rotel

Directions:

-Put frozen chicken in the crock pot
-Put Cream cheese on top of the chicken.
-Dump in the Black Beans (make sure they are drained & rinsed!!!)
-Dump in the drained corn
-Dump in the Rotel                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     -Cover & cook in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours (if you are in a time pinch you can turn the Crock Pot on high for 3-4 hours, you can also throw the chicken in frozen for the full 6-8 hours!)
-Every 2 hours, I stir the ingredients (or don’t, it doesn’t really matter)
-You can shred the chicken when it is done, or just leave it as tenderloins

Serve over rice or as a burrito. Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Parmesan (lightened)

One of my husband’s favorite dishes is chicken parmesan. So naturally I have wanted to find a great recipe that would please his taste buds. I love Gina’s baked chicken parmesan (from the skinnytaste blog)  and because Gina only does lightened up recipes, it’s healthy too! This recipe makes both my husband and I happy! You can check out her blog skinnytaste for more great lightened recipes.

Baked Chicken Parmesan (lightened)

Ingredients:

  • 4 (about 8 oz each) chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Italian but you can use whole wheat as well)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup marinara or tomato sauce
  • cooking spray (I used my misto)

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Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

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Lightly spray a little more oil on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes.

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Remove from oven, place chicken in a baking dish and pour marinara or tomato sauce over chicken and top each with shredded mozzarella cheese.

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Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. I served the chicken parmesan over whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Here’s how it turned out! Very tasty, and so much better for you :).

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Crockpot Italian Chicken

This recipe is so handy on days when my hubby and I are both in class and get home too late to really make anything. I just put in the crockpot and go, you gotta love it!

Crockpot Italian Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 packet dry Zesty Italian dressing (Regular is fine but I like zesty better)
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
    1-2 cans cream of chicken soup (depending how cream cheesy you want it)

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Place the chicken in a crockpot and sprinkle Italian dressing over it. Pour in  cream cheese and cream of chicken soup as well and place on low heat.

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Cook on low in the crockpot for at least 4 hours but you can leave there for most of the day. Once chicken is done you can leave the chicken breasts whole, cube it, or even shred it.

Once you have cut up the chicken, put it back in the crockpot and stir into the sauce. If you feel the sauce is too thick you can thin it to your preferred consistency with a little milk. Serve over pasta or rice. I like serving it over Farfalle pasta.

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