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.
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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
I was lucky to grow up in a household where healthy dinners were the norm. I feel like sitting down each night with my family and sharing a nutritious meal really helped me set healthy habits that have stuck with me through adulthood. So it is definitely something that I want to keep up in Eric and my little “family of two”. However, cooking healthy for just myself is quite different than cooking for me and a boy. Although a baked sweet potato and a salad is a perfectly filling meal for me, it wouldn’t quite appease my 6 foot 2 husband. So I have already learned a few key things to create a healthy meal that keeps us both full and happy. First of all, I try to include a source of lean protein. And though Eric would be perfectly happy eating chicken every night, I try to make a good mix of chicken, fish or lean pork, just to switch it up a bit. And second, I always make three portions, one for me and two for Eric. That way I’ve made enough to fill him up, but I’m not eating huge “guy sized” portions. This is a recipe I found in Cooking Light magazine and I have a feeling it might become a regular recipe in our household. Quickly pan frying the pork chops give the breading a crisp texture, while finishing them off in the oven keep them nice and tender. And with a side of roasted asparagus, you have yourself a delicious, healthy dinner.
Ingredients: Makes four pork chops
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 large egg whites
4 boneless thin-cut pork loin chops
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, sage, salt & pepper
In a second shallow dish (or paper plate), place all purpose flour
In a third shallow dish, combine beaten egg whites and dijon mustard
To bread pork chops, place chops in the flour mixture and shake of excess flour, next place in egg mixture, again shaking off any excess, and finally, dredge pork chops in breadcrumb mixture.
After you have repeated this process with all 4 pork chops, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat
Place oil in frying pan and turn pan until oil coats it
Place breaded pork chops in the pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until chops are slightly browned
Then place porkchops on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 180 for internal temperature of the chops.