Oven Baked Chicken

I had a friend recently tell me she cannot eat chicken with skin and bones. It freaks her out somehow. Such a pity. Well, this dish is for her. Oven baked chicken breasts that I didn’t even touch. Here is how I did it.

I bought some chicken breast cutlets; not too big, not too small. I slid the chicken in a zip-top bag. Then I added my seasoning; salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Then I closed the bag and gave it a nice massage. I put it in a aluminum foil lined baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or so.
I served it with couscous, snap peas, and B and I had a bit of that leftover pasta I mentioned in my weekly meal plan.

Here is another idea for this popular idea…https://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/06/05/homemade-shake-and-bake/

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Buttermilk Waffles

E requested waffles last night on the way to dinner. Then she planned tonight’s dinner. She is my child for sure; she thinks about her next few meals even before she has the one she is about to eat. I remembered we had some buttermilk in the fridge, so I looked up a couple of recipes and decided on this one. It is from 014

Buttermilk Waffles

Preheat a waffle iron. Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar -I added 3. It seems like a lot, but it was not at all. I tend to make our waffles sweeter, because we eat them right out of the waffle iron, no butter or syrup.
1/2 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly blend in another bowl:
3 eggs
1 stick melted butter1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine with a few swift strokes of the whisk. 013

Meal Plan 8/31

Sat- Chicken and Ricotta pasta- I am going to oven bake some chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake in the oven. I am going to warm-up some Ricotta Pasta that has been defrosting in the fridge. You can find the recipe here: https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/07/14/panzanella-and-pasta-ricotta/
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Sun- Slow cooker Pork Ribs, yellow rice, and veggie

Monday- Shrimp Pasta- Either Fettuccini or Angel Hair and veggie
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Tuesday- Girls’ Night!!!! Chinese take out with my girls and Mandy, one of my best friends from college! There may be some wine and shenanigans involved. And a bunch of coffee…
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Wednesday- Waffle Wednesday!! E wants breakfast for dinner, so I am down for that! Fast and Easy! We may possibly have them for breakfast tomorrow; waffles are trending now in our house…
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Thursday- Girls night out with Nana and Papa. The hubby and I both have a late class, so dinner for us will be on the road or super late when we get home.

Friday- Hopefully Date Night. I am thinking seafood. I may have to twist the husband’s arm on this one. We shall see!

Happy meal planning, ya’ll! Go Dawgs!

Friday Night Mexican

So we were supposed to have Date Night, but the week got away from me and when I called the gym, date night was all full. Oh well! Mama’s turn to pick; my pick is usually Mexican or Seafood. I choose Mexican. Mexican means Margaritas, chips and queso, and something for everyone. I tried to take pictures, but it was very dark in there for some reason. So I added some pics of kinda sorta the same thing…

Margarita- Imagine this, but bigger…
bth_Margaritas

Grilled Tilapia Tacos- Mine had a Salsa Verde, purple cabbage slaw, and spicy creama sauce that came with it. SO GOOD!
taco!

Plus, of course, tons of chips, salsa, and queso dip! Yeah, I know you know what that looks like!

Friday Faves!

I decided to start a new category on the blog; Friday Faves! This is where I share some of my favorite food finds, and maybe other non-food related, of the week…

Better than Nutri-Grain Bars… I like black cherry the best, but the girls love the strawberry one.
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Hint Water is delicious. I have made my own, which is super simple. Just add your favorite fruit to water and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. Cucumber water is delish!
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LOVE THIS!!!! So healthy!
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GoGo Squeeze Apple Cinnamon. I bought this one on accident. I usually just get the plain ones, but these were a nice discovery.
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Delish…I might never go back to regular creamer AGAIN.
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I always keep these kind of cheese crumbles in my fridge. Good for salads, omelets, etc.
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Cherry preserves. Perfect on toast or an English Muffins.
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I had this once at a fancy restaurant. I made some last night to go with my chicken and veggies…
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https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/08/29/skillet-chicken-and-peppers-with-farro/

Great snack!
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Thinking about meal planning and saving money

Tips for your shopping trips to the local grocery store… I was watching Rachel Ray and got inspired by this. I do have a hard time believing Rachel really needs to be mindful of her budget. Really? She is Rachel Ray, for goodness sake!

When I go grocery shopping, I do make a general list of my items for dinners for the week. BUT you always need to be open minded when you go grocery shopping to get the best deal. Sometimes I have a game plan, but I may change my mind as I shop and see what is on sale.

1. Produce: Wow! Asparagus is cheaper than green beans? Get them and add them to your meal instead. Organic or not? Check out this http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/dirty-dozen-foods#slide-1 My thing is quality vs. value. If any berry can be bought organic without breaking the bank, do it! Any veggie or fruit with skin you eat, buy organic. If it is not in your budget, just make sure you wash carefully. Organic vs. conventional does not have any greater nutritional value, but I think organic just tastes better.

2. Meat and seafood section: Where you spend the most but can save the most. Look for the deals of the week. If I am going to buy chicken thighs for a recipe, but chicken breasts are 2 for 1, I will get that instead. I always get sustainable fish or I don’t buy it. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx I look for organic meat. It is better for our environment and the animals, but I can’t break the bank for it. Choose wisely. I love to shop at our local butcher shop instead when I can.

3. Dairy: I believe organic rules supreme. It just taste better! It is more costly, so like meat, just choose wisely. My girls are drinking less and less milk, which may not break the bank too much to buy organic. Not too many coupons are for dairy, but there are some out there. BE CAREFUL! Most are for yogurts with added sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Just gross…once you have some Choboni or other awesome yogurt, you won’t go back. It doesn’t have to be organic, just delicious. I love getting plain or vanilla flavored and add my own fruit and granola. Organic butter is a splurge; It tastes better by a landslide, but Land O’ Lakes is pretty close. I stock up on that when it is on sale.

4. Eggs: Farm fresh eggs are always better. Organic farm fresh eggs can’t be beat. But when eggs are not the star, the cheap ones from Publix will do. For a while, we were able to get farm fresh eggs for $2.00 per dozen from a family friend, but that has fallen through. We were wondering how much we would sacrifice to get those eggs from someone else. I say at most $4 for a dozen for eggs that will be the star of a dish. Otherwise, regular eggs will do. I have found them at Wal-Mart, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods for less than $4.

5. Canned foods: 4 words…Canned meat is GROSS! Stick to tomatoes, beans, olives, and the occasional veggie or fruit. Canned tuna smells and looks like cat food.

6. Frozen Foods: Ice creams, puff pastry, pies(not too bad, right?), and your favorite guilty pleasure is ok. I love Amy’s Frozen Meals. I buy frozen French toast sticks for my girls. Steam fresh veggies are pretty awesome.

My favorite things to have on hand…
PANTY:
Some kind of canned beans
Canned tomatoes
Boxed Chicken and Beef Stock
bread crumbs; Panko and Italian
a couple of grains; rice, quinoa, Farro, couscous
a couple of different kinds of pasta

Fridge/counter:
Eggs
Dairy thickeners: mascarpone, sour cream, cream cheese, Greek yogurt
Liquid Dairy: Milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, half and half
Cheese: A variety…hard- parm or pecorino , soft- Brie, Feta, Goat, melty- fontina, American, swiss
Fruit: Berry, citrus, tomato
Veggie: Onion, garlic, green, pepper, mushroom, carrot, celery
Spreads: mayo, mustard, ketcup, hot sauce, soy sauce or other Asian sauces
Other- salsa, hummus, olives,

Freezer: Veggies, fruits, meats, French toast, fries, raviolis, leftovers/casseroles, leftover chicken or seafood parts for stock, homemade stock, ice cream

Snacks: Pirate Booty, popcorn, tortilla chips, pita chips, granola/fruit bars, fruit snacks

Spices, etc- sea salt, pepper, all purpose seasoning, Worchesturie sauce, cinnamon, oregano, garlic salt, onion salt

Baking: All purpose flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda,

Hope this list helps! Feel free to add to it!

http://www.womansday.com/home/organizing/wds-guide-to-a-well-organized-pantry-112582

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/basic-pantry-101/index.html

Skillet Chicken and peppers with Farro

Hey all! I am so happy tomorrow is Friday! 3 day weekend! I found myself with an empty house tonight… Hubby is working late and grandparents took the kids to dinner! I relaxed from a long day by cooking for myself! Some people find cooking stressful and do not look forward to it. I just love it and wish I could spend a nice relaxing day in the kitchen. I love the feeling of the knife in my hand when I am slicing up some peppers; I relish in the sizzle of a screaming hot pan. Although I love cooking so much, I would never want to be on one of those cooking shows that are timed. I don’t want to feel the pressure of the clock at all! The only thing I want to measure time by is how many cups of coffee, diet cokes, wine glasses that I drink…depending on the time of day =)

So tonight, I planned on making chicken, some Farro, and a veggie. Well, I stuck to that plan, except I Amyfied it a bit. If you know me personally, you know what this means. Fresh ingredients that are healthy but with a splash of something not so healthy(like heavy cream, wine, butter, bacon, cheese, etc.). I am not one for frozen foods (except frozen veggies; they are perfectly acceptable when the fresh is not looking so good. Plus anything desert related…ice cream, puff pastry, etc.), and canned foods, especially canned meats and seafood…GROSS (tomatoes, black olives, beans, and Annie’s Spaghetti O’s for R are perfectly acceptable).

Tonight’s dinner was spectacular… Here are my steps I took…

1. Pour 1 glass of wine to sip on.
2. Brown chicken on both sides with plenty of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
While it is browning, slice up 4 small peppers and 1 onion. For the onions, I use 1/2 of a white onion I had left and a small red onion (Red onions are really purple. I think the guy who named it was color blind. used ALL colors. My favorites in order of how I like them; Yellow, orange, red, green. Green peppers are just kind of blah for me, but we had one going bad and I didn’t want it to go to waste.
3. Take out beautifully browned chicken and add a splash or 2 of white wine to deglaze the pan. Then add a pat of butter and your peppers and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Cook a pan of Farro according to the package. You could substitute brown rice, quinoa, or even a pasta if you choose. Cube the browned chicken and add back in to the pan.
5. Add almost finished Farro to the pan with chicken, veggies, and one more splash of wine. Cook until Farro is done!
6. Pour yourself one more glass of wine and enjoy!
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Taco spaghetti

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Sounds weird. Putting it together was weird. Once cooking, smelled delicious. Came out beautiful. E high fives me. I kinda saw another recipe like this named taco spaghetti. Italian- Mexican fusion. Thinking you could make this vegetarian with black beans instead of meat. My husband was still weirded out by the combo, but he still cleaned his plate. Plus, more in the freezer for another night in the near future!