Saturday, January 28, 2012

Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata

If you are looking for a great chicken pasta recipe I highly suggest this one.
Yes Dad, pasta actually does taste good with chicken. 
Especially this chicken, I love what it was marinaded in!
The hubby loved the chicken! He is looking forward to having it again.

It is such a simple recipe too! 
You need to marinade the chicken the night before so make sure you plan for that.
I think time wise it took me about a total of 20 to 30 minutes to put this whole meal together. 

I didn't save any of the pasta water like it said to, to add to the sauce to thin it out. I should have, my sauce got a little too thick just as we were about to sit down and eat. 

Oh! I also left out capers, the Hubster doesn't do capers. I have never had a caper, that I can remember, so I am not sure how it would give this dish a different taste.
Either way I am sure it is absolutely delicious!

Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata

Juice of 1 lemon (3Tbsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil or oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups dried penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
Juice of 2 lemons (6 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbps capers
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, grill until done. Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes and then slice into strips to serve over pasta.

While chicken is grilling. Cook pasta according to directions (10-12 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain. In same sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in garlic and lemon juice. Pour in half and half and whisk until hot. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the parmesan cheese, basil and capers, and heat until cheese is melted. Check the consistency of the sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Toss in pasta.

Serve in pasta bowls with grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with more parmesan if desired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, red velvet cake!! 
It is my all time favorite cake, and I like I have said, I am not a big fan of cake. 
If it is red velvet though, you can be sure that I will be having a piece.

I even found red velvet crepes on Pinterest! I will definitely will be making those around Valentine's day. Right along with the red velvet whoopie pies I made last year.

Now I used a cookie sheet for this cake. So I do suggest making this when you will be sharing it with friends.
 Unless you want to be like me and have a piece of cake for breakfast every morning. 
Well worth the calorie intake if you ask me.
Luckily, I did have some friends that had us over for dinner and share a love of red velvet cake like I do. So they gladly took some off my hands, they also enjoyed some for breakfast.
Red velvet cake is good for breakfast!

I did leave the cake in the pan, though I wish I was able to of gotten it out of the pan and then frosted it. If you are able to do that I would suggest it. My just didn't want to come out of the pan and I didn't want to risk it breaking into pieces.

I did try a new frosting with this cake, and I thought it went perfectly well with it! Don't be fooled by the ingredients, I highly suggest you try the frosting recipe.
 I think it will be my frosting of choice on all my red velvet cakes.

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

1 cup Shortening
1-¾ cup Sugar
2-½ cups Cake Flour
1-¼ teaspoon Salt
2 whole Eggs
1 cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1-½ teaspoon Vinegar
1-½ ounce, fluid Red Food Coloring
1-½ teaspoon Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly spray a large (18 x 12) sheet cake pan (or you can use a slightly smaller jelly roll pan) with nonstick baking spray. Be sure to get in all the corners of the pan.

Sift together cake flour and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Add vinegar and stir. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, mix together cocoa and red food coloring. Set aside.

Cream together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk/egg mixture until all combined. Pour the red mixture in and beat until combined.

Pour batter into prepared sheet cake pan. Use a large offset spatula or knife to even out the surface. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Place a large cutting board on top of the cake pan, then invert the cake, allowing it to turn out onto the cutting board. Allow cake to cool completely before icing.

Recipe From: The Pioneer Woman

That's the Best Frosting I've Ever Had

5 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

Bake your favorite chocolate cake and let it cool.

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

Grab a spoon and taste this wonderful goodness. If there is any left after your taste test, spread it on a cooled chocolate cake.

Cut yourself a piece and put it on a pretty plate. Grab a fork and prepare to experience the most divine pairing you can imagine. This frosting on chocolate cake is to die for. Sure, the recipe sounds strange — it has flour in it — but it’s sublime. Try it, you’ll see. You’ll love it so much you won’t go back.

Recipe From: Tasty Kitchen

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Few Things I am Looking Forward to This Year

The year, so far for me, is going by slow.
I hate it when it time flies and I feel like I am falling behind. 
I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a great year for me. 
I hope 2012 is going to be great year for all of you!

Here is a my list of things I am looking forward to doing this year:

-This Wednesday, January 25th, I will be hopefully be getting on a flight to see my family for....a day. A day is better then nothing!

-Seeing our new nephew Logan when I go home, and my cousin's son Cuyler.

-The cinnamon chips that I will be getting while I am home, I plan on making cinna-burst bread with them. Yum!

-The Hubby and I will be celebrating our 6 year anniversary this March 1st.

-The Hubby and I will be going to Europe to celebrate our anniversary at the end of February!!! 
Please pray that we are able to make our flights there and back. We are flying standby and that can be a little nerve racking at times.
The downside is that Cosmo will be spending a month with my parents while we are gone. I am going to miss the little furball.

-Eating fresh cheese and fresh bread in Europe!

-Seeing our friends the Briggs while we are in Germany.

-Exploring more of Texas, I need to see San Antonio, the Marfa lights, Austin and all those other small towns in between.

-Starting another garden, so many things I want to plant this year.

-Summer, using the fire pit, grilling, hopefully using the smoker and fishing!
We need to go to Lake Allen Henry!

-Last, but not least, visitors that are willing to coming visit us!! 
Visitors are more then welcome in the Harward home!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hubby Finally Brought Home the Bacon.......Sorta

He did bring home his nicely packaged wild hog he killed a couple weeks ago.
Sadly there was no bacon in the boxes, apparently wild hogs don't make good bacon. 

We got 19 packages of regular sausage and 19 packages of hot sausage.
I will have to start planning on having breakfast for dinner so I can use up some of this.

We also got 7 pork chops, which I think are going to be thick pieces of meat.
In that box is also one large 4 pound shoulder roast. I think nice pork shredded tacos will be in order for that piece of meat.

This is the box I really really like, 19 packages that contain 5 bratwurst each!
I am in heaven, now I think I need to learn how to make my own homemade sauerkraut. 

I'll let you know if this wild hog is good or not, I am hoping it isn't too gamey. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I was a little hesitant as to how this dish would turn out, I haven't always been the hugest fan of crushed crackers coating chicken.

All I can say is that I will definitely be making this again! 
This dish was delicious!! 
The Hubby is a big fan of chicken Kiev, he thought this dish was similar to that. 
Don't leave out the sauce, I know it has a can of cream of chicken soup in it, but it really goes great with the chicken pieces. 
I did have a problem getting the cheese to stick to the pieces of chicken after dipping them in milk. I just tried to smash them onto the chicken pieces so they somewhat would stay on them.
This recipe could be filed under the quick, easy and tasty recipe section. It will come in handy when you don't have too much time to on your hands.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

4 large chicken breasts 
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper 
1/2 C milk 
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley 

1 14 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter

1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. 
2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers. 
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk then the cheese and finally the cracker crumbs. 
5. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 
8. Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. 

Recipe From: Jamie Cooks it Up

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hasselback Cheesy Garlic Bread

So you all know I love bread, right? I mean it is obvious.
Well I love bread even more when there is cheese involved! 

I found this recipe off of Pinterest, I am disgustingly obsessed with that website. My Husband would wholeheartedly agree. Without Pinterest though I never would have stumbled across this wonderful recipe!

Garlic cheese bread is one of my all time favorite types of bread. 
This bread is simple to make, and to me fairly fast. 
2 1/2 hours is pretty fast for me when I make bread. 
I really loved the bread itself! Even without the cheese it would be great! I used sharp cheddar which I thought was good, but I think I would have liked to try the sharp white cheddar that Lauren's Latest used. I am craving some of this bread just looking at this picture. I am trying to decided if I can fit this into of the meals I have planned for the week.......or even just an afternoon snack would work!

Hasselback Garlic Cheesy Bread
yield: 2 loaves

1 cup Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 Teaspoons)
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Bread Flour
Olive Oil, For Greasing Surfaces
⅓ pounds Sharp White Cheddar, Or Any Other Cheese You Prefer
½ cups Garlic Butter

In a large bowl, stir water, honey and yeast together. Let yeast proof 5 minutes. Once you know yeast is active, stir in salt and the flour in 1/4 cup increments. If you are using a stand mixer, be sure to not increase your speed higher than a 2 or ‘stir’. Once dough starts pulling away from the sides and the bowl seems to be pretty clean, set a timer for 5 minutes and walk away. Let the machine knead the dough. After 5 minutes, dough should be smooth and tacky but when touched shouldn’t leave any dough on your fingers.
Grease the bowl and the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and cut into two equal portions. Form into two long baguettes the length of the cookie sheet. I like to twist mine because it looks cool, but it also keeps its length and doesn’t shrink. Cover with plastic wrap and rise 30 minutes. Start to preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place dough close to the oven where it’s nice and warm. Once oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap, from the dough reduce oven to 350F, put the bread into the oven and bake 20 minutes.
In the meantime, slice the cheese into thin slices and melt the butter.
Pull loaves of bread out of the oven after 20 minutes and brush with the melted garlic butter. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until bread begins to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
Cut 1-inch slices 3/4′s of the the way through the loaves. Brush garlic butter in between each slice and fill with a slice of cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
Serve immediately.

Recipe From: Lauren's Latest

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taco Soup

I loved this soup, it has been cold here in Lubbock so soup was a must. 
Today when I woke up it said it was 14 degrees outside. That is cold man! And it gets ever colder with that blasted wind chill! 

This was an extremely easy soup to make. After you brown the meat you can either let it slow cook in a crock pot or you can let it simmer on your stove top for 30 minutes. Seriously, this meal was simple. 
The green chilies gave it a nice spice to it, not too much to where your mouth was on fire. Just enough to notice a little bit of heat.

I highly suggest garnishing the soup with sour cream, cheese and Fritos. 
Don't forget the Fritos!! 
That was my favorite part, when you get a corn chip covered with soup. Yum!!

Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef
1 to 2 diced onions (I used one)
1 (14 1/2-Oz.) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (10-Oz.) can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 (15-Oz.) cans black beans
1 (16-Oz.) can pinto beans
1 (15 1/4-Oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (4 1/2-Oz.) cans chopped green chilies
1 (1-Oz.) envelope taco seasoning
1 (1-Oz.) envelope ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix

Garnishes: Corn chips (Fritos), cheese, sour cream, green onions

In a large skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat until beef is no longer pink. Drain, using a slotted spoon, as you transfer browned beef and onions to a Dutch oven, stockpot or slow cooker.
Add tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, corn and green chiles. Stir in the taco seasoning and ranch salad dressing mix.
If you’re cooking on the stove, cover the pot and simmer soup over low heat for 30 minutes up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If you’re using a slow cooker, cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.
Garnish individual servings with corn chips, cheese, sour cream and green onions, if desired.

Recipe From: Ezra Pound Cake

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Hold that thought on these delicious cookies, can I just say that I am hating how my pictures are turning out! I only have myself to blame, since I am the one controlling the camera. I have been trying to read the book:

My in-laws gave it to me for Christmas. I thank them for it!! Now I just need to find time to sit down and read it. I have read a little of it and from what I read the author is very informative! The first thing she said to do is get off the AUTO setting. Uh, if you haven't noticed by now, that is what my camera is still on. I think once I finish this post I will sit down and read my camera manual so I can move on from these less then pleasing photos, and teach myself how to do a nicer arrangement of the food I am trying to present to you. 

Any way, on to the cookie recipe!
 I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. What is even better is when they are combined! What could be even better is when you take a cookie and add Reese's Cups to it! I made these cookies for the Hubby for his Christmas gift to his fellow co-workers. They were a hit! Most of them were gone before their shift was over. I can only eat one or two of these cookies at time, they are a little on the rich side for me. I could easily eat a few more though if I had a large glass of milk to wash them down with! 
I like to eat them while they are still warm, the chocolate is still kind of melted, pure goodness!!

Peanut Butter Cups 

1/2 cup peanut butter 
 1/2 cup margarine or butter 
 1/2 cup white sugar 
 1/2 cup brown sugar
 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
 1 1/4 cup flour 
 1 egg 

Mix ingredients together. Put 1 inch balls of dough in a small cupcake pan. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and insert into peanut butter cups.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homemade Cocktail Sauce

For New Year's Eve we had shrimp as one of the finger foods on the buffet table. My Mom has had shrimp and lil' smokies for New Year's Eve for as long as I can remember, Dave loves shrimp and lil' smokies so it was an easy tradition to keep going. 

I am getting to the point where I hate buying sauces that I could easily make at home. Cocktail sauce is kind of pricey so I decided I need to find a good recipe and just make it. Plus the ones in the jars are never as good as homemade, right?

This recipe is excellent!! 
Though I still think the Hubby added more horseradish then it called for, he claims he added the correct amount. So if he did, I would say for those of you who don't like really spicy cocktail sauce to add a little at a time until you get the zing you are looking for. 

Cocktail Sauce

2/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill and serve.

Recipe From: Keller Creative 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dave's Wild Pig

Dave shot a wild pig last night!
The picture above isn't the greatest, it was taken with a phone.
Daylon and Dave went to go check the feeder Daylon has set up in Post, which is about 45 minutes away from Lubbock. I was going to go with just to tag along, but I had gotten a wicked migraine by the time Dave got home from work.
They weren't really planning on getting anything when they went out. Dave was going to one of the blinds set up out there, and heard this pig that was trapped in the trap. 

I think the above picture sums up what happened next. 

They dropped it off at Klemke Sausage Haus, a meat packing place in Slaton on their way home. 
I am pretty excited for the sausage, pork chops, bratwurst and pork roast we got coming our way!! 
Now just to find room in our freezer for all this meat........

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

The Hubby has been sick for a few days now, he has come down with a cold. Which he so kindly shared with me, I think he took the phrase, "What's mine is yours, and what's yours is mine" a little too literally. I have felt terrible today. I was looking forward to having this nice comfort soup for dinner. 

 I do like broth soups, depending on the soup. Chicken noodle soup isn't my favorite type of broth soup, I really like this chicken noodle soup because it is creamy. Dave really wanted me to make homemade noodles for it, but I have yet to make homemade noodles. It is on the list of things I need to try to make. I used curly pasta noodles, whenever my family has had this at family functions I remember it having curly pasta noodles. I think they are great in this soup. 

This soup is quick and simple. It makes it a perfect meal for the cold nights some of us are having. Cold nights and rather warm days, strange weather. 
And I must say this soup goes great with the homemade wheat bread I make. 

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 chicken bullion cube 
2 cans chicken broth 
carrots, cut up 
celery, cut up 
2 cans cream of chicken soup 
1 can milk 
2 cup noodle, cooked 
3 pieces of cooked chicken 

Cook carrots and celery in broth with the bullion cube until tender. Add cream of chicken soup and evaporated milk. Add noodles and chicken, simmer until desired thickness.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Twice-Baked Potatoes

The first time I had twice baked potatoes was at one of the first dinners I had at the Harward home. I thought they were awesome!! Who would have thought to bake a potato scoop out the insides mash them up put it back into the potato skin shell and put cheese on top?! Genius!!

These pictured above are what I would consider loaded baked potatoes, they have sour cream, milk, bacon, butter, and green onions. 
We had these as part of our Christmas Eve dinner with friends. They did not disappoint. And, of course, the Hubby loved them. He loves anything that has bacon in it....well almost. He wasn't too fond of bacon chocolate chip cookies. 

These potatoes are a great side dish to your dinner plans!

Twice-Baked Potatoes

8 baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
Canola oil
8 slices thick-cut bacon, fried
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, cut into slices
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
With a paper towel, rub the outside of the potatoes with canola oil. 
Place the potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked inside and the skins are slightly crisp. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees.
Dice the fried bacon into bits.
Throw the butter, sour cream, bacon, milk, seasoned salt, and pepper into a large bowl.
While the potatoes are still hot, hold each potato in a towel and cut in half lengthwise.
With a large spoon, scrape out the inside into the bowl with the other ingredients. 
Repeat until all the potatoes have been scraped. Reserve the potato shells on a large baking sheet. 
Use a potato masher to mix the ingredients together. 
Stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese. 
Slice the green onions and add them to the bowl. Stir, taste, and adjust the seasonings as necessary. 
Fill in each potato half with the potato mixture and return to the baking sheet. 
Top with the remaining 1 cup grated cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are hot. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a WONDERFUL and SAFE New Year's Eve!!
I was fast asleep when the New Year rolled in, I fell asleep at......."cough" 7:30 P.M. "cough". Yeah I was tired, I had had a long day at work and was exhausted. 
We did enjoy some good finger foods though, shrimp, hamburger sliders, chips and dip, lil' smokies, vegetable tray and we tried the cheese brie in puff pastries. I will have to make that recipe with the brie again, it was good, but I think it could have been better. I will work on it and post it when it is worthy.

What are you're New Year resolutions? 

I have the generic answers on my list so far:

Work out
Eat healthy
Become debt free
Better myself as a person

I have been trying to decide what else I want on my list........

Learn to use my camera better for nicer pictures
Practice my guitar
Go to Europe
Go to Disneyland
Buy a horse

I am not sure which ones will make the cut on my list, some of them seem like very lofty goals. 

One I want to fulfill for sure, is to enjoy life to the fullest!!

I hope 2012 will be a GREAT year for all of us!