Thursday, April 29, 2010

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

These chicken nuggets are not your usual out-of-the-freezer-bag suspects. They are delicious and go with so many side dishes. This recipe came out of the Reader's Digest The Taste of Home Cookbook. I've gotten so many good ideas out of this book! It was a great wedding gift!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and all of the spices in a shallow dish.

Cube the chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces.

Dip the chicken pieces into the melted butter...

And then dredge them in the bread/cheese/spice mixture.

I line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easier clean up and then I also spray it with non-stick spray. Just to be on the safe side!

Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the juices run clear. (This is always closer to the 15 mark for me!)

When you take them out, they will be golden brown and absolutely delicious!

A side note: I end up always using every bit of "batter", so I usually throw a little extra bread crumbs in, but make it a few times and you'll soon see what works best for you!

This is a great treat for Elizabeth since they're nuggets, but Travis and I don't mind eating them at all!

I'm toying with the idea of cutting a whole breast in half to make two thin pieces, then use this batter to bake the breast "whole". Then, using a little marinara sauce and fresh basil-and maybe even a slice of mozzarella cheese-put the Parmesan chicken on two slices of bread and make a panini out of it. Ooo, served with shoestring fries would be amazing!

Oh, now I'm hungry...again. I'll keep the panini thing in mind for a future post!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a new pork recipe. Lately, I've been turning to The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen. There are so many good recipe finds there. As I was searching "pork", Szriskes came up. Szriskes are the Czech version of Wiener Schnitzel. Basically, this is a breaded and fried pork chop.

Let's get started!

You'll need pork (I used boneless chops), eggs with a little beer or apple juice added, flour seasoned with salt and pepper, and bread crumbs seasoned how you like them. I used dried parsley, thyme, and basil. A side note: three eggs was way too much. I would start out with just two and add another if you absolutely need it.

Add a little oil to your skillet and turn on to medium-high heat.

Dip the chops into the flour...

Then the egg...

And finally, the bread crumbs.

Fry 'em up until the meat is cooked through!

Golden brown and delicious!

I decided to take this a step further and make gravy! Read on.

I added a bunch of thin-sliced onions to the pan and cooked them until they were nice and tender.

I then added some flour to soak up all of the grease and then added three cups of beef broth. Stirring constantly until you have a nice smooth gravy. Well, except for there will be onions in there!


I served the pork on top of a scoop of brown rice with the gravy smothering both. We also had cheesy broccoli from the garden.

This was really delicious! We will definitely be having Szriskes again!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Menu Plan...Monday?

We've been munching on left overs from Elizabeth's party for the last couple of days, so I haven't had to think about planning meals. Travis will also be gone for one night this week, so we'll see how this week's meals actually pan out!

Tonight, we're having sirloin steak, sweet potato fries, and canned green beans.

The rest of the week: Sandwiches, Nachos, Chicken in the crockpot.

Enjoy the last week in April! I can't believe it's nearly May!

The Big 2!

Sunday, we had a small get together for Elizabeth's 2nd birthday. She didn't mind being the center of attention!

She did this little trick all on her own! Hmm...up on the wagon, I can see better!

I made her a caterpillar cake made out of big and mini cupcakes.

Elizabeth saying thanks to birthday wishes over the phone!

Blowing out the candles.

A rare family photo!

Opening gifts! I was surprised at how quickly she tired of opening gifts. I guess she just wanted to play!

Eating cupcakes like a big girl!

Playing outside with Great Aunt Barbara and Grandpa John. Barbara gave Elizabeth sidewalk chalk for her birthday. She loves it!

She also loved being traced!

Gotta close those eyes!

Again, again! We have five little bodies traced on our driveway. She would lay down on the ground, get traced, get up, move over, and lay back down! Too silly!

We had a very fun day with our little group of people! Elizabeth had a great time and was a super good girl, even with no nap! Thanks to all who came and made it a wonderful day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

In my last-ditch effort to clean out my fridge for a new flush of beef, we're only having one non-beef meal this week.

  • Chicken spaghetti; green beans
  • Chicken Fried Hamburger Patties; mashed potatoes; gravy; spinach
  • Sirloin steak-grilled; sweet potato spears; cheesy green beans
  • Chicken Fried Steak; gravy; brown rice; spinach
  • Roast and the fixin's (if we run out of left overs)
  • Sunday: Hamburgers; onion strings; CAKE!
That's what we're having! I hope y'all have a good week!

Loco Moco

While Travis and I were driving around Hawaii, we stopped to eat supper at the Southern Most Bar in the United States. On the menu was Loco Moco. The description said that it is a native Hawaii dish. Travis had been craving something "native", so that's what he ordered. I wish I would have ordered it, too, because it was sure tasty!

You'll need ground meat, seasoned salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce; beef broth, flour, eggs, onion, garlic, and rice.

Cook the rice per directions on the package. I use a simple 2:1 ratio. 2 cups of water (or sometimes chicken broth if I need more flavor) to 1 cup of rice.

While the rice is cooking away, season the ground meat with seasoned salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Chop the onions and mince the garlic and add those to the meat, too.

Mix the meat and plop balls of meat down into a hot skillet. The small patty in the center of the pan is for Elizabeth!

Flatten the balls into patties and cook until done.

When the patties have finished cooking, remove them from the pan and keep them warm. Do not drain the grease.

Add flour to the grease until the flour has soaked most of the grease up and stir with a whisk for a few seconds to let the flour cook. Then add the beef broth, stirring constantly until all of the flour has dissolved and you have a smooth gravy.

Let the gravy cook until thick!

While the gravy is cooking, grab a skillet and fry those eggs! I put a couple of scant tablespoons of butter in the skillet.

Add the eggs once the butter has melted.

Fry the eggs to your likeness. We like ours easy over so there's plenty of runny yolk! Remove from the pan and keep them warm.

When everything is finished cooking, you are ready to assemble!

Place a scoop of rice down onto a plate.

Add a meat patty on top of that...

A fried egg on top of that!

And gravy to smother everything! Yum, yum!

I'm not so sure why I've been on such a gravy kick for the last few days, but I'm not too concerned about it, either! Well, not yet, anyway...!

Maybe Loco Moco wasn't exactly what you expected for a "native" Hawaiian dish, but it really was everywhere! Give it a try, it is tasty!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Campfire Packs

My mom made these "campfire packs" a few times while we were growing up and it's now regularly on our menu. As the name implies, you could make these while camping and put them on your campfire to cook. Me? I'm not really the camping type, so I stick mine in the oven!

As Rachel Ray would say, pay attention more to the method than the actual recipe. Everyone likes to season to their own taste, so tweak away!

You'll need ground meat, seasoned salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, parsley, carrots, and potatoes.

Mince the garlic.

And add it to the ground meat along with the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

In my herb garden, I have some nice parsley growing. I have both the flat leaf and curly leaf type, so I just snipped a little of both for this dish.

I never knew a good way to chop herbs until I watched Food Network. (Oh, how I miss you sometimes, Cable!) Gather your herbs and roll them together as if it were one item you wanted to chop.

Then start chopping. It's much easier to do this when your herbs are rolled together and have a little "density" to them.

I added half of the chopped parsley to my meat, and reserved the other half for later.

Peel (or not, if you're not the peeling type) and wash your carrots, then chop them into rounds.

Peel and wash your potatoes. If I had red potatoes with a nice, thin skin, I wouldn't bother peeling. However, all I have on hand were the thick-skinned russet potatoes, so I peeled.

Cut the potato in half.

And then slice the halves in half.

And then slice into quarter rounds.


Slice the onion. I sometimes get in a hurry and slice the onion too thickly. The thinner the slice, the softer your onions will turn out. I like a soft onion, so this slice turned out to be too thick for me. Thinner next time!

One pound of ground meat makes four nice sized patties, so lay out four pieces of tin foil. They have to hold a lot of ingredients, so I always like to error on the side of "too big" when I cut my foil.

Mix the meat.

And plop a ball onto a piece of foil.

Flatten it out.

Place about 1/4th of your potatoes on top of the meat patty.

And about 1/4th of the carrots on top of that.

Add a couple of slices of onion.

And season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

Top with a little of the reserved chopped parsley.

The one thing that I like to add, but forgot, is a little bit of butter. It really doesn't need it, I just like to add some!

All finished! Now all that's left is the rolling.

Bring the long sides up and fold over.

Roll down to the food and flatten the seam.

Then roll the ends up.

It makes a nice little foil pouch! You want to keep all of the juices in, so roll tightly. If you're worried about small holes in the foil, you can always double wrap!

For extra insurance, I put all of my pouches onto a rimmed baking sheet.

Slide into a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, roughly. If you're in a hurry, crank the oven up a little and check them at 30 minutes.

They're ready when the vegetables are soft and the meat is no longer pink.

You could technically eat these out of the foil pouch, but I'm not a fan of eating off of foil. I like to slide the meal out onto a plate instead. Delicious and easy! I'm pretty sure this is one of my "comfort food" meals!

Try it soon!