Hello! Life has gotten busy, and clearly my blog has been a bit neglected. But recently, my brother has been using Miss Petite Sweets as his main inspiration for dinner recipes. And since I’ve seen him eat the same Chicken Burgers over and over, I thought it was time to share a new recipe that I’ve really been loving. It’s a quick recipe from Cooking Light magazine that is perfect for summer nights. So enjoy, Seanie!
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 small celery stalk, thinly sliced
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cut chicken in half horizontally to form 4 cutlets; sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Arrange on pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; thinly slice. Combine hot sauce, butter, and red pepper; stir with a whisk. Add chicken to bowl; toss.
2. Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, and cheese in a bowl, mashing with a fork. Add lettuce and celery to bowl; toss.
3. Warm tortillas according to package instructions. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas; top with lettuce mixture.
During the summer, we put our new grill to good use. We grilled chicken breasts, shish kabobs or burgers nearly every night for dinner, making the cooking and the cleaning process very quick. So when the weather started to cool down, I was sad to see our phase of quick and easy weeknight dinners come to a close. However, with the help of some Sunday afternoon food prep, I’ve found a few dinner ideas that can come together just as quickly as our beloved grilled dinners. I like to throw a bag of frozen chicken breasts in my slow cooker on Sundays so that we have pulled chicken on hand for salads, sandwiches and a few quick and easy dinner recipes. One of my new favorites was inspired by the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. One of the episodes features a barbecue restaurant in Cleveland whose specialty was Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Skins. As decadant as their dish looked, I knew it was something I could easily make a “lightened up” version of. This dish tastes decadent, but is really just simple baked chicken and sweet potatoes thrown together in a new way.
Ingredients: Serves 2
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup shredded chicken
1/4-1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the potato is baked through
Combine the shredded chicken and barbecue sauce and heat in a saucepan over medium heat. You may want to add more or less barbecue sauce, depending upon your preference. (I found this recipe is best with a sauce that isn’t too sweet)
Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and cut in half. Use a fork to mash the inside of the potato. Add 1/2 cup of barbecue chicken on the top of each potato and sprinkle with shredded cheese
Return the potatoes to the oven, and bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted
In my job as a hotel sales manager, I used to work with brides to coordinate their wedding hotel room blocks. And though I no longer handle the wedding blocks, I often hear the many “bridezilla” stories that my colleagues share. We recently had a bride have a complete meltdown over the brand of Kleenex we offered to place in her guests’ wedding welcome bags. Part of me wanted to laugh, and part of me wanted to call this poor girl up and tell her to take a deep breath, slow down, and remember why she was planning this big party in the first place. Nowadays, with all of the wedding blogs and constant wedding Facebook posts, I can see how so many brides can get caught up in making everything “Pinterest perfect.” And it makes me so sad. Planning the celebration of such a big step in life should be an enjoyable, exciting time. And on your big day, the last thing you should be worrying about are those tiny details that no one will remember. The comment I get the most from guests at my own wedding is “You were the happiest bride I’ve ever seen.” That happiness did not come from wearing a perfect dress, or seeing perfect flowers everywhere. The happiness came from getting to marry my best friend. A year and half later, I’m sure very few people remember what our centerpieces looked like, or what our wedding favor was, but they remember how happy we were on that day. And I hope some of our future brides can share that happiness without getting caught up in the details.
As fun as our wedding day was, having all the attention on me was a bit overwhelming. Being a little shy, the role of “the bride” was a bit strange for me. But taking on the role of “the wife” has been absolutely the best. Eric does all the outdoor work, and I get to cook all of our dinners. And this easy dinner recipe got a big thumbs up. I like to make this recipe for chicken enchiladas on a Sunday when I have a bit more time. Typically I eat one enchilada for dinner, and Eric will eat two. I typically let the leftover enchiladas cool completely before placing in a tupperware and freezing. When you are ready to heat up the remaining portions, just place them in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
Ingredients: Makes 8 enchiladas
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cups shredded chicken
8 6-inch flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1. Combine first 7 ingredients (onion though tomato sauce in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Reserve 1 1/2 cups sauce mixture. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.
2. Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels and microwave at HIGH for 25 seconds. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange tortillas, seam sides down, in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with reserved sauce and cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and sauce is bubbly.
Getting back into a regular work week is always a little tough after an especially fun weekend. And this past weekend was definitely a fun one. Eric and I had a fancy date night on Saturday night to celebrate our sixth Valentine’s Day together. This year we visited Giovanni’s Restaurant in Detroit, which features incredibly delicious and authentic Italian cuisine. Sunday morning we got brunch with some friends and spent the rest of the afternoon watching SNL reruns. So, needless to say, I was a bit sad to see such a relaxing weekend end. But one of the ways I’ve learned to combat the Monday blues is to plan at least one special weeknight meal for the week ahead. It’s fun for me to spend a little more time in the kitchen, and it’s fun for Eric because he gets something a little more special than our typical grilled chicken. One of our new favorites is this Pepperoni Chicken. I had some leftover cheese and pepperoni from a homemade pizza and decided to get a little creative. It made my pizza obsessed husband pretty happy, and I thought it was pretty delicious myself. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 3 servings
3 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/4 shredded mozzarella
To prepare the chicken, use a meat mallet to beat chicken until each chicken breast is approximately 1 inch thick, set aside
Set up “breading station” by placing flour in a dish or paper plate. Next mix the beaten egg with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Next place Italian breadcrumbs in a 2nd dish or paper plate
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
To bread chicken, place in the flour dish first, covering chicken completely with flour. Shake off excess flour.
Next, place floured chicken breast in egg mixture until completely coated. Shake off excess egg.
Finally, place chicken in breadcrumbs until completely coated. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts
Place chicken breasts on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spray each breast with cooking spray
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees
Remove chicken from oven, and top each chicken breast with 1-2 tablespoons of marinara, 2-3 pepperonis, and 2-3 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes additional cooking time, or until cheese has melted.
When Eric and I moved into our “Snow Cottage” together, I was a little nervous about the fact that our new home did not come equipped with a dishwasher. With all of the time I spend in the kitchen (and all the dishes I use) I thought life without a dishwasher would be very difficult. However, after a few weeks passed, washing dishes by hand didn’t seem as daunting as it once did. This may be because my wonderful husband came up with the idea of “one person cooks, and the other does the dishes”. And since cooking is kind of my forte, Eric ends up doing the dishes almost every night. What a guy. So I try to be mindful of this, and typically choose recipes that will result in the least amount of dishes possible. But every now and then, I find a recipe that is worth the extra pan or two…and this Honey Garlic Chicken is one of those recipes. I was growing tired of all my normal weeknight dinners, so I decided to peruse the recipe mecca called Pinterest. Now, if a recipe is pinned over and over again, I take that as a good sign. And the idea of a healthy “fried” chicken that you bake in the oven sounded like something Eric and I both would love. So when I found this recipe on RockRecipes.com, I decided to give it a whirl. It takes about 45 minutes to put together, but the result is an incredibly decadent tasting dinner. If you follow the recipe carefully, you will end up with a crispy chicken breast topped with an amazing sweet & salty sauce. It tastes just like Chinese take out, but won’t leave you feeling stuffed and horrible. I cut the portions down a bit to make 3 servings but the original recipe can be found here and is made for 4. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 3 servings
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning (cayenne pepper works fine too)
7 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablepoons brown sugar
Start by placing a cookie sheet lined with tin foil in the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees. (It is important to pre-heat the pan if you want a crispy crust on your chicken)
Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until breasts are about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the next 8 ingredients (flour through jerk seasoning)
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and water
Season the chicken with salt & pepper to taste
Dip the chicken breasts in the flour mixture until they are coated evenly, and no “bare spots” remain.
Next, dip coated chicken breasts in egg mixture until coated evenly
Next, return the chicken breasts to the flour mixture and make sure they are evenly coated in flour mixture
Repeat with all 3 chicken breasts and set aside
Take heated pan out of the oven, and evenly coat with cooking spray (I used canola oil Pam)
Quickly place the chicken breasts on the hot pan and coat the chicken breasts evenly with cooking spray. You want to make sure the chicken breasts are at least 1 inch apart from each other, because if they touch during the cooking process, you will end up with a soggy crust
Place pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425. Do not open the oven at all during cooking
After 15 minutes has passed, flip the chicken breasts over, and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Place the finely minced garlic cloves into the saucepan and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Make sure the garlic does not brown
Add the soy sauce, honey and brown sugar to the saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally
To serve, drizzle the sauce onto the chicken breasts
I always say I have 3 criteria for a weeknight meal. It has to be delicious, nutritious and easy to make. But recently, I realized there really is a 4th must-have. It has to be easy enough to make to talk on the phone with at least one of my family members at the same time. I talk to my mom, dad, and brother pretty much every day. But whenever I have a tough day, I call Sean first. Yesterday was a rough day. I feel like I’m in Kindergarten writing this but..yesterday someone was mean to me. And just like I did when I actually was in Kindergarten, I went straight to Sean. Back then Sean would take care of things pretty directly. I remember mentioning to Sean that one of the boys in my class was making fun of my height. The very next day, he gave the kid a good firm talking to, and that boy never bothered me again. Just last year, one of my best friends from grade school admitted to still being a little afraid of my brother thanks to that incident. Nowadays, he can’t exactly yell at anyone who hurts my feelings. So instead, he gives me great advice. He told me not to let things that happen during the work day bother me so much. Because at the end of the day, I get to come home to a wonderful husband, great friends, and the best family on earth. And in the end, people can only make you feel bad if you let them. And just like that, I was back to my happy, perky self. Every girl should have a brother like mine.
And now back to dinner. These chicken burgers have already become a favorite in our household. All you need is ground chicken and a few seasonings and you have an incredibly delicious dinner. The use of dry Ranch seasoning adds a great kick to the chicken, and pairs really well with the barbeque sauce of your choice
Ingredients: Makes 4 burgers
1 pound ground chicken
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing (unprepared)
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
barbeque sauce to taste
Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly until well combined. (I found it was easiest to use my hands to mix everything together)
Form 4 even patties
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook each patty for 1 minute per side, just until the patty has slightly browned
Take the browned patties out of the pan and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, or until done
Place on a bun, adding barbeque sauce or any topping you’d like
Sometimes I feel like no matter what age we are, we are always looking forward. As children, we look forward to that mysterious land of “high school,” where you can drive a car, stay out late, and presumably have the exact same social life as the cast members of Saved by the Bell. As teenagers, we look forward to “college” where curfews don’t exist and we possess that coveted “independence” we always longed for. And as adults, you’re always thinking of the next phase…marriage, buying a house, having kids, advancing your careers, and finally…retirement. It’s hard to “enjoy the moment” when we are constantly looking forward. The funny thing about me is, I never seemed to look forward to the same periods of life as my peers. As a child, I don’t remember longing for high school or college like most of my friends did. Instead, I always remember thinking that the first few years of marriage would be the happiest time in my life. This is undoubtedly a strange thing for a 13 year old to think…but oddly enough, the current time in my life is something I always looked forward to. But this current phase didn’t quite pan out exactly the way 13 year old me thought it would. Because, believe it or not… it is way better. I’m happier right now than I ever thought was possible. Because coming home to my very best friend every night is truly the best. So rather than spending my time over planning for the future..I’m focusing on enjoying this incredible, wonderful season of life. And one of my favorite things about this phase in life is cooking simple dinners at home. As much as Eric would be perfectly happy eating grilled chicken or pizza every night, I love coming up with different ideas to mix up our weekday dinners. And this was a recent creation that turned out to be quite the hit. It’s very simple to make, and far cheaper and healthier than hitting up the Chinese takeout place down the street. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 2 servings
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups frozen vegetables (I used a “stir fry blend” of broccoli, carrots, green beans & cauliflower)
2 cups brown rice, cooked
3-4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Place raw chicken breasts (thinly sliced) into a large ziploc bag, and cover with next four ingredients (soy sauce through olive oil). Let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes
Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat
After chicken has marinated, pour entire contents of the bag into the saucepan.
Cook until chicken has cooked through, and add frozen vegetables
Continue to stir until vegetables are heated through
To serve, place cooked brown rice on a plate, and top with chicken stir fry mixture. Top with sunflower seeds
Anyone living in the Midwest or Northeast is probably well aware of the crazy winter weather we’ve been experiencing. The weather men have even banded together to name this winter storm Hercules. And seeing as we received a little over a foot of snow in 24 hours, I think that name fits this storm just right. And these chilly winter temps typically makes us all want to stay inside, warm and cozy, wrapped in a blanket or two. Or maybe that’s just me. Yesterday, while I was watching all of those big white snow flakes float gently to the ground, I had the urge to whip up some old fashioned comfort food. However, I’m not a fan of cooking up a meal that is heavy enough to weigh you down. So I went in search for a recipe that satisfied that craving for comfort food while still feeling a little light. And this recipe does the trick. It has all the flavor you expect from classic chicken pot pie but is much lighter and healthier than those pies you find in the frozen food aisle. And with a little help from Pillsbury Crescent rolls, you can enjoy a small taste of that delightful pot pie crust with almost zero work.
Ingredients: Makes 3 individual pot pies, Adapted slightly from MarthaStewart
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup 2% milk
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Crescent roll dough, 1 individual roll per pot pie
To prepare chicken, place chicken breasts and chicken broth in a slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred. ( I cooked 6 chicken breasts, and used 2 whole chicken breasts for this recipe and saved the remaining chicken to use in recipes throughout the week.)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
Add chopped carrots, onions, thyme and herbs de provence and cook until carrots are just tender (about 10 minutes)
Add flour and stir until well incorporated
Slowly stir in milk until mixture is thick and creamy
Stir in peas, lemon juice and shredded chicken
Once mixture is well combined, scoop 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mixture into greased ramekins (the amount of pot pie mixture you use per serving will vary based on how large your ramekins are)
Place the dough from 1 crescent roll over the top of each pot pie
Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, are until crescent roll mixture is lightly browned
Once the last present has been unwrapped and the last Christmas cookie has been eaten, I can’t help but feel a little sad. I look forward to Christmas all year, so once the season comes to a close I’m usually hit with a dose of post Holiday blues. But it always helps getting over the blues when you have something to look forward to. And 4 years ago, I had something pretty exciting to look forward to on December 26th. A first date. And not just any first date, but a first date with my good friend Eric. He came out to my hometown to see me and didn’t even ask for directions. I found this very impressive. And when he arrived at my house, he didn’t call or text me from his car, but he actually came to the door to pick me up. My dad and brother found this very impressive. I was so excited to be going out with Eric that I really didn’t put much thought into where we should go to dinner. So when he asked me where I would like to go, I picked the closest restaurant to my house. And the food was terrible. But Eric didn’t mind and we had a great time anyway. In fact, at the end of the night I had a feeling that it would be my last “first date.” And I was right. And this year, my post Christmas blues has been appeased by the fact that in a few short months I get to marry my best friend. So on this Friday after Christmas I thought I would share a meal that I recently made for Eric which far surpassed the crappy burgers we ate on our first date. I found this recipe for Chicken Parmesan Burgers on Courtney’s blog Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. And I gotta say, it is probably the best dinner recipe I have ever found on the blog world. The burgers are full of flavor and will definitely be a repeat meal for us. And they are also incredibly easy to whip up. Enjoy!
Whenever I go out to eat, I’m drawn to salads that are filled with an interesting mix of produce and topped with a delicious source of protein. But then I’m left wondering why I just spent $15 on something I could easily make at home. So this past Sunday I did just that. I wandered through the produce aisle, and just picked out a few different items that sounded good. Like a fresh mix of berries and a perfectly ripe avocado. I love the contrast of the creamy and mild avocado with the sweet and slightly tart berries. And since I wanted to give an added punch of protein (and I had a certain guy coming over that would NOT eat a plain salad for dinner) I decided to throw together some healthified crispy chicken strips. And rather than use Panko breadcrumbs, like I usually do, I decided to use cornflakes as the main component in the crust. And I thought it had fantastic results. The chicken is perfectly tender with a crunchy and flavorful crust. I made a large enough batch of the chicken strips to have leftovers for quick dinners throughout the week, but you could easily divide the chicken portion of this recipe in half to have just enough for a couple salads. And there you have a perfectly light spring meal. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 2 large salads and 12 chicken strips (plenty of leftovers!)
2 packages thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups cornflakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 cups mixed greens or chopped romaine
1/2 avocado, sliced into strips
1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)
Place chicken strips in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and cover with buttermilk; place in fridge and let sit for 3-4 hours
Place next 5 ingredients in a food processor (cornflakes through mozzarella) and grind until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
Place cornflake mixture into another 13 x 9 inch baking dish and dredge chicken breast in mixture until completely coated
Place cornflake crusted chicken strips on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes
To assemble salad, mix greens, avocado & mixed berries together and top with cooled chicken