How many ways……

….can you make a chicken breast?!?!

We eat A LOT of chicken in our house. Mostly because it is quick and easy, but it is also healthy….depending on how you prepare it. BUT…..chicken breast can get really old, really fast!!!

In typical fashion, I laid out some chicken breast to thaw, while I was at work, without a clue on what I was going to do with it. So, I took to Pinterest without any success. I then moved on to another favorite recipe site, All Recipes, and I simply entered the search terms “chicken breast.” I came across this recipe within minutes. It looked delicious and easy. I was sold!!!

Although, I made some changes from the original recipe.

Chicken with Onion Gravy

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Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cup chicken broth/stock
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp chile powder

Directions:

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast in half to make 8 pieces. Salt and pepper each side.

Place 4 pieces of chicken in heated pan at a time. Cook each side about 5 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the other tbsp of olive oil to pan, and heat. Cook remaining pieces of chicken. Transfer to plate.

Melt butter in same sauté pan. Add flour, and whisk to combine. Cook 2 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; cook and stir until gravy begins to simmer and thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in onions and chile powder (I also added additional black pepper).

Return chicken breasts to the skillet and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

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As seen in the picture above, I portioned 2 pieces of chicken per person. My chicken breasts were on the smaller side. If they are larger, 1 piece may be enough. I also served it with steamed broccoli, topped simple with salt and pepper.

**A few changes I might make next time….

First, I would probably slice the onion rather than chop it. Secondly, I would try adding either lemon zest or lemon juice to the gravy.

Have fun making this recipe to suit your family!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Thanksgiving Dessert

I apologize for the late post. I got so caught up and excited about decorating for Christmas, that I completely forgot to post the recipe for the pumpkin cheesecake I serve every year at Thanksgiving.

Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Ingredients:

Crust:
3 tbsp butter, melted (I used Smart Start)
3 tbsp Splenda blend sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Cheesecake:
4 packages (8oz) reduced fat cream cheese
1 1/2 cups Splenda blend sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
1 cup pure pumpkin

Topping:
2 cups reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup Splenda blend sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter until well incorporated. Press into the bottom (and slightly up sides) of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, on low speed. Add maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or more, until center is set.

In another bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, and maple syrup for topping. Remove cheesecake from oven and top with sour cream mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.

I then sprinkled with extra cinnamon on top.

Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

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When I cut and serve, I typically top with a spoon of Cool Whip.

**I wish I was able to take credit for this recipe, but I can’t! I found this recipe about 5 years ago when I was clipping some coupons. I have since held on to that clipping, and made this cheesecake every year since for Thanksgiving.

ENJOY!! 🙂

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is honestly the best meal of the year, and I’m not just saying that because I make it!!

Even as a child, I always looked forward to the Thanksgiving meal because of the food, and more importantly because of the time spent with family and friends. My family always made a rather tradition Thanksgiving dinner. Now that I live away from my family, I have been making that same traditional meal for my husband and his family, and now for our little guy.

The turkey I made very simply, just as I had mentioned in my previous post (click here). We also had ham that was left from the Thanksgiving potluck at work. Aside from those, we had 4 different side dishes.

Mashed Red Potatoes

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5lbs red potatoes, cubed leaving skins on
1 cup low fat milk, or to desired consistency
1/4 butter, softened
Dried parsley, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes about 30 minutes, or until tender and easy to mash. Drain. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.

Baked Corn Casserole

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4 cans creamed corn
2 cans whole corn kernels, drained
4 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 Splenda blend sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, flour, and sugar. Add all cans of creamed corn and drained corn kernels. Stir until combined. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake about 45 minutes, or until center is cooked through.

**This recipe I have to give credit to my Aunt. The same Aunt I got the macaroni salad recipe from (here).

Potato Bread Stuffing (Dressing)

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2 bags cubed potato bread (I used Martin’s brand)
1 medium onion chopped
6 ribs of celery, including leaves, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chicken stock, enough to moisten and combine bread cubes (about 2-3 cups)
3 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil and melt butter in large sauté pan. Add bay leaves. Cook 1-2 minutes.

Add celery and onions. Cook 5-10 minutes, or until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, pour one bag of cubed bread. Add celery and onion mixture as well as 1 cup chicken stock. Stir to combine and moisten bread cubes.

I then alternate between remaining bread cubes and chicken stock until cubes are incorporated and it is one cohesive mixture.

Transfer to a 13×9 baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil for remaining 15 minutes, or until stuffing begins to brown.

**Recipe inspiration: Rachael Ray

The last side dish I made was a typical Green Bean Casserole. The only change I made from the original recipe was that I substituted fat free cream of chicken for the cans of cream of mushroom. Personally, I am not a fan of mushrooms. So, this is just a preference. No one else seems to mind, and find them just as delicious!

This having been my 5th year making Thanksgiving dinner on my own, I think it gets more and more delicious each year! I hope you find these recipes just as yummy, and maybe they will make it to your Thanksgiving table next year!

Check back tomorrow for a delicious pumpkin cheesecake recipe!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Thanksgiving Potluck

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Last week, a coworker and I decided we wanted to have a potluck in honor of the thanksgiving holiday. Somehow, I immediately became responsible for the ham. I have not made very many hams in my day, but I was definitely up for the challenge! As usual, I took to the wonderful World Wide Web to find some recipe ideas. With in minutes, I came across a that not only sounded delicious, but was incredibly simple, AND……..it was made in the slow cooker!!

Ingredients:

1 bone-in spiral ham, about 10lbs
1 can pineapple tidbits, with juice
2 cups light brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp
Cooking spray

Directions:

Spray bottom and sides of the slow cooker.

Evenly spread 2 cups brown sugar on the bottom. Lay the entire ham on top (My ham was slightly larger, so I ended up having to cut part of my ham off in order to fit in my 6 quart slow cooker).

Pour pineapple, including juice, over the ham.

Sprinkle remaining brown sugar over ham.

Cover with lid. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

**Recipe credit: The Crockin’ Girls

The ham was absolutely delicious, and all of my coworker were in agreement! I would definitely make this again. Possibly even at our Christmas potluck!

But………

My potluck contributions did not end there! For reasons yet to be determined, I felt like Super Woman yesterday, and decided to also make a 10lb turkey as well as a Thanksgiving Potluck party favor for each of my coworkers!!! I just might be nuts!

Nothing special to report about the turkey. I just sprayed it with cooking spray to help the skin brown nicely as well as seasoned with salt and pepper. I did reserve all the “extras” to make some stock for gravy to serve along with the turkey. Where the gravy recipe called for water, I substituted the stock I made. A delicious substitute!

On to my favorite part……THE FAVORS!

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I do not know exactly what these bite-size treats are called, but I can promise you they are delicious and easy to make!

You only need 4 ingredients:

Waffle-shaped pretzels (I used Snyder’s brand. I had to represent my hometown.)
Hershey kisses and/or hugs*
Reese’s pieces
Orange-colored sugar crystals

Directions:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Lay pretzels flat on top of foil. Unwrap kisses/hugs and place 1 on top of each pretzel. Please note: If you are going to both hugs and kisses, you will want to prepare them on separate baking sheets. The hugs melt much faster, and therefore do not need to bake as long.

Bake pretzels with kisses about 5-7 minutes. Just until they are soft enough to push a Reese’s pieces into the center of each. The pretzels with the hugs will bake about 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle with sugar crystals.

Keeping them on the baking sheet, put them in the refrigerator to cool and allow the chocolate to harden.

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Now as for the way in which I packaged them. I searched on Pinterest for some free Thanksgiving printables, and came across this site — Dimple Prints. This site provides you with 125 pages of Thanksgiving-themed DIY party decorations. I only printed off the full page designs and cut them to size. I then stapled them over the plastic bag. I also printed the circular badges, and stuck one to each favor with double-sided tape.

These are so delicious, and can be made to suit any holiday. Last year, I made them using red and green M&M’s, and will likely do so again this year!

Hope you and your coworkers find that these recipes are just as tasty as me and my coworkers did!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Lemon Broccoli Chicken

Typical of me, before I left for work this morning, I laid some chicken breasts out to thaw while I was at work without a clue of what I was going to do them. So, I took to one of my favorite simple recipe site, Kraft, to find something that my family would enjoy. I also needed it to be quick, easy, and required few ingredients. I made a few changes from the original recipe to suit my family. For example, I substituted whole grain pasta for rice.

Lemon Broccoli Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

2 cups whole grain pasta, uncooked (I used Penne)
2 cups chicken stock
1tbsp oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1tub (10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme
16 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, combine 4 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, likely about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, garlic and pepper. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is done, stirring frequently.

Add cooking creme and broccoli. Cook and stir 2 min.

Once pasta is cooked, add to chicken mixture. Stir to combine. Add lemon zest and stir.

**Recipe Inspiration: Kraft Recipes

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This was a quick and easy recipe! Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Twisted Shepherds Pie!

It has been far too long since my last post. For the past couple weeks, it seemed like I always had something else that needed to be done instead, and blogging took the back burner. Also, a long weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina to see my family consumed a few days, but it was so worth it! I was not sure I could wait until Christmas to them again!

I am hoping that this recipe is as enjoyable for you and your family as it was for mine. I came across this recipe through an email from another cooking website/blog. Although,I did make a few changes from the original recipe.

Twisted Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled and small diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz frozen mixed vegetables
2 tbsp flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika

Topping:
3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup low sodiumchicken broth
2 tbsp fate free sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil sweet potatoes and garlic in a pot of salted water until potatoes are soft.

Drain and mash with milk, chicken broth, sour cream, salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan brown turkey; season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, set aside on a plate.

Add olive oil to the pan, then sauté onion about one minute. Add the celery, potato, salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 12 minutes, until celery is softened.

Add garlic and sauté another 3-4 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Add frozen vegetables, chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, cooked turkey, and mix well.

Simmer on low about 5-10 minutes.

Spread ground turkey mixture evenly on bottom of greased 13×9 glass baking dish. Top evenly with sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with paprika to taste.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from oven, let it rest about 10 minutes before serving.

**Recipe credit: Skinny Taste

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Since this is an all-in-one dish that includes your meat and veggies, I baked some store bought whole wheat biscuits while the shepherds pie rested. The biscuits were the perfect compliment!

ENJOY!! 🙂