Friday, April 22, 2011

Everything but the kitchen sink chili

Today is going to be a long day for me. My oldest son is going on his first scout overnighter, I have a Girls Night Out... (yeah me!). I have to write one of my final papers for school, and the kids have a half day at school. Not to mention the house is messy and needs cleaning and laundry needs done. So I figured I needed a easy quick set it and forget it dinner. I pull out my trusty crock pot. Then I try to figure out what to put it it that is quick, easy and set it and forget it. I think that my cowboy stew would be nice and yummy. Then i remember i have leftovers from last night which was a raspberry vinaigrette pork loin. Which was just a low fat raspberry vinaigrette pored over a pork loin and cooked in the slow cooker all day. It was sweet, and tasty, lacked a little salt but other than that pretty good. So i figured I would try to make a chili of some sort without chili powder. Even if it is a sweet chili. Is there anything wrong with sweet chili... I don't think so. So I pull out my ingredients and away I go... Dump and stir then set it and forget it...

2 cans chili beans
2 cans sweet corn
2 cups mixed sweet peppers, chopped/diced - I had orange, yellow and red
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 lb hamburger patties crumbled, browned with salt and pepper
leftover pork roast
1 onion chopped
1-2 cups of salsa medium
salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a slow cooker/crockpot for 8-10 hrs.

Serve with cornbread/corn chips with sour cream and cheese.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pesto Breaded Chicken Cutlets

I had a bag of thawed chicken cutlets that needed to be used up today. I wanted to make something different, yet delicious at the same time. I know it's kind of hard to do, but I think I made a winner. I was thinking of making a chicken parmesan dish, but didn't want to use anything tomato based, but I wanted to add some delicious flavor. I had made my 4 Cheese Fancy Baked Mac N Cheese, and thought that using pesto would be a nice way of adding flavor and not overpower or out shine the mac n cheese. (the mac n cheese was the most work I've done for a baked mac n cheese ever). I was trying to make something easy and still tasty without drying out the chicken. Which for me is a big thing, I don't like dry chicken and it was a concern for me as these were cutlets and not full chicken breasts.

6 chicken cutlets
2 Tbsp pesto
2 egg whites
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-2 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
oil for pan frying
cheese for topping


Between a big piece of plastic wrap, pound the chicken cutlets to approximately the same thickness through out the cutlet, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the pesto, egg whites, and buttermilk, beat well.

Heat oil for pan frying while doing the rest. add approx 1 inch of oil in the bottom of a thick bottomed pan. Heat on med. til water droplet dances in the oil. then it is hot enough to cook the chicken in.

Pour the italian breadcrumbs on a plate, then just dredge the pounded chicken into the egg combination, then the breadcrumbs (creating a light coating, but making sure it's completely covered with breadcrumbs), repeat with each cutlet until they are all dredged in egg and breadcrumb mixture.

Preheat oven to 350...

Add as many chicken cutlets into the hot pan leaving room between each one. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Then remove and place on paper towels to soak up some of the oil. Add cheese to the top of each piece of chicken to melt as it slightly cools.

Once all the chicken has been browned, place on a foil lined cookie sheet, and bake in the oven 10-15 minutes longer to make sure the chicken is cooked through and cheese is starting to brown on top of the chicken.

This creates a nice crisp crust and juicy chicken.

This was a delicious, juicy chicken. My middle son said it just needed salt. But since I'm trying to reduce our sodium intake, I didn't add salt. You could add salt and pepper if desired either to the breadcrumbs or the egg mixture. I thought it had enough flavor without the added sodium. I put out ranch dressing, bbq sauce and ketchup on the table if the chicken was too dry to eat without sauce. But no one used it. It was perfect!

This was a hit and I will be making again. :)

4 Cheese Fancy Baked Mac N Cheese

As i was searching the web today after my schoolwork was completed, trying to get ideas for dinner. I went to one of my favorite cooking blogs The Pioneer Woman. I was searching through her expansive recipes, and came across what looked like heaven in a pan. Yes, I said heaven in a pan. She calls it Fancy Macaroni. I altered it a little, so I'm calling it 4 Cheese Fancy Mac N Cheese. And yes, if you read her post on it... she is right, it is a very decadent dish should be reserved for a special occasion, like Tuesdays :) That's my excuse for making it. I even went to the store to purchase some of the cheeses she lists so I could try to replicate it as closely as her recipe. But of course as I go along, I realize that something else would make it yummy too, so I add it to it.

Is that so wrong? I wanted to call this Heavenly Mac N Cheese. Which is probably a better description, but I think I should let someone else have that one,... the originator... The Pioneer Woman... She is an amazing cook and when I grow up I want to be her! She does amazing things with food, and it makes my mouth water just by reading her blog posts. I'm so not worthy, but I did my humble best. Thanks Pioneer Woman for helping me create the BEST Baked mac n cheese I've ever had! You ROCK!!! (if you ever read my humble blog, I am truly honored!)


  • 4 cups Macaroni
  • 8 Tablespoons Butter (Salted Butter)
  • 2 whole Medium Onions, Cut In Half And Sliced Thin
  • 10 slices Regular Bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
  • ½ cups Half-and-half
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • ½ cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Fontina Cheese - I used Romano cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese - I used Asiago cheese
  • 4 ounces, weight Chevre (soft Goat Cheese) - I used crumbled goat cheese (3.5 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp pesto

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook macaroni for half the time of the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Fry bacon until slightly, but not overly, crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Reserve grease.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter and 1-2 Tbsp bacon fat in a skillet and then saute onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.
In a pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter (and add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease for good measure!). Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in milk and half & half, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Do not undersalt!)
Beat egg yolks and drizzle 1/4 cup hot mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.
Add cheeses, pesto and stir until melted and combined. Add onions and bacon (reserving some for topping) and stir. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat.
Pour into a baking dish, Cover with reserved onion and bacon and 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot.
Serve with red meat or a green salad.
I served it with pesto breaded chicken cutlets and brussels sprouts. 
** All italics are things I did differently from the original recipe. So yummy!
I thought this was a fabulous dinner. Very flavorful and definitely good on a Tuesday after eating a week of crock pot meals. I really enjoyed making this dish. It was really tasty! I hope you like it too.