Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Turkey Burgers

Last night my husband and I really wanted burgers. Normally we would use ground beef, but we felt silly buying ground beef when we had ground turkey in the fridge set to expire on the 23rd and no recipe in the near future that called for ground turkey, so we made turkey burgers. When I first suggested the idea I think it is safe to say that my husband was less than enthused, his response was "No! burgers are made with beef". I won him over by using his request for me to cook less red meet against him :) hehehehe.

For this dinner I used (approximately) 1.2lbs lean ground turkey, salt, pepper and seasoning salt.

  1. Place the turkey in a medium bowl, dust with approximately 1 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper and 2 tsps. of the seasoning salt and mix by hand. If you like a little extra kick you can add a little more pepper. I did this and they turned out pretty good.
  2. Once you've mixed the meat take a small handful, roll it into a ball and smash it into a patty. I made 5 little patties and 1 medium sized one.
  3. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked.

We had Caesar salad and roasted potatoes with out burgers. I cut up 3 small gold potatoes into 1 inch chunks, placed them in a bowl and covered them with paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil and then tossed them to ensure every piece had an even coverage. Next I poured them onto a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 365 degrees for 35 minutes.

Pot Roast

When my mom came to visit me she bought me my first crockpot and I have to say I love it! When we bought it we also bought a book filled with slow cooker recipes from individuals all over the country. That book alone has probably 15-20 recipes for pot roast in it so it can be different for everyone, mine is pretty simple

I knew this was going to be a long week/weekend because my husband is training farther from home than usual and we got our to german shepards neutered on Monday so I made a pretty big roast to ensure we'd have plenty of leftovers in case I didn't find time to cook.

For ours I took a 3 lb chuck roast and gave it a decent covering on both sides of garlic powder and pepper. I also dusted it with salt, but I'm not a huge salt person so I didn't use a lot. I sliced 1 large onion and made, what I refer to as, a stand for the roast to make sure it doesn't burn or anything on the bottom. I laid down the onion slices, added 1/4 cup of water and laid the roast on top. I then covered it and let it cook on low for 3 hours.

While the roast was cooking I cut up 6 small gold potatoes and 6 carrots. These don't take as long to cook as the roast so I always add these to the pot at the three hour mark and then cook on low for another 2.5 hours.

If you haven't used your crockpot before make sure to check on your roast at about 5 hours. This same roast in my moms crock pot could take up to 8 hours on low so, it all depends on your pot.

I love this because it's easy, you just put it together and go and then you have a meal for the night as well as left overs. My husband loves to slice up the roast and make sandwiches the next couple days. He always makes me laugh, this week it was white bread, roast, pickles and ranch dressing I think. He switches between ranch and peanut butter sometimes, but it always makes me laugh.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts

Feta Chicken was on the menu for tonight, but as I was getting ready to start cooking I realized I didn't have balsamic vinaigrette and decided I was too lazy to go to the store, so.... I ended up switching Sunday's dinner for today's and made Honey-Glazed Chicken.

We pared this meal with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The asparagus was seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a tablespoon of butter, wrapped in foil and on the grill for about 7 minutes.

This was probably one of my favorite meals of the week. If you read my previous post, Chicken and Avocado with Sweet Pepper Sauce, then you know I bought the wrong chicken at the grocery store :). I bought a package of chicken tenderloins and chicken breasts "thin cut" at BJ's Wholesale instead of good old chicken breasts so the chicken recipes this week and next will be a little... iffy. :) This meal turned out pretty good. My chicken was a little dry because I cooked it too long. I didn't think about the fact I was using tenderloins until it was too late. I baked the 20 minutes and when I took them out to flip them I realized they were probably already cooked, however, I still need to get some baking time with the other side of the chicken in the glaze so I turned them over and baked them for 13 more minutes. When I do this again I will either buy real chicken breasts :) or cook them 10-12 minutes on each side if I use tenderloins again.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Start To Finish: 1 hour
Makes 6 servings

  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Grated orange peel (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 375* F. Spray 13X9 in pan with cooking spray. Place chicken in pan, in small bowl, mix remaining ingredients except orange peel; pour over chicken.
  2. Cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; turn chicken. Bake 10 to 30 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170*F). Sprinkle with orange peel.


One of my favorite things about this recipe is that I used the leftover tenderloins to make chicken salad. When I make chicken salad I use about 1/4 mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, two celery stalks and a handful of grapes or cherries.. depending on the mood my husband is in lol. This was great because the glaze on the chicken was a little something extra with the honey and saved me a step in the chicken salad. All I had to do was shred the chicken and cut the celery (we didn't use any fruit in this one). Two meals in one :) I love when that happens.

Cajun Smothered Pork Chops

Last night I tried another new recipe called Cajun Smothered Pork Chops from the cookbook my grandma sent me. Before I was diagnosed with so many food allergies I was a PICKY eater. When I went to restaurants I ordered the same probably 5 things, and at home I ate what my mom made but usually not all of it. I can't say I'm not picky any more but I am definitely better because 80% of the recipes I've been looking at/cooking... I would've turned my nose up before.

Saying that, last nights dinner was one of my "branching out" projects and I have to say, it wasn't bad. Much like the Chicken and Avocado with Sweet Pepper Sauce, my husband really liked it. We have so many leftovers in the fridge I asked if he wanted to take the 4 leftover pork chops (I made more than the recipe called for) to work and he said "No I'm eating this for lunch for the next couple days" ... and this is coming from a man who is not a huge fan of pork lol, "unless it's in bacon form", he says. I definitely have to say the feedback from my husband and friends is making me love cooking.

Enough about me...

  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops, 1/2 in thick (about 1 3/4 lb)
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free extra-spicy seasoning blend (I couldn't find this so I used Cajun seasoning blend)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, chopped,
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) organic diced tomatoes, undrained

  1. Sprinkle sides of pork chops with seasoning blend. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño; cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender. Push mixture to one side of skillet.
  2. Add Pork to other side of skillet. Cook about 2 minutes, turning once, until brown. Add tomatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; cook 4-8 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center.

1 serving: Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 120); Total Fat 13 g (Saturated Fat 4g; Trans Fat Og); Cholesterol 90 mg; Sodium 190 mg; Total Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiver 1g; Sugars 3g); Protein 32g % Daily Value: Vitamin A 4%; Vitamin C 10%; Calcium 4%; Iron 10%

I started cooking this in a skillet pan on the stove, however, regardless of the pan or the skillet, there was no way I was going to be able to fit the vegetables and the pork chops in one pan side by side. What I ended up doing was heating oil in both the skillet and the pan on the stove. I cooked the onion and jalapeño on the stove and browned the pork in the skillet. Once all of my 5 pork chops were browned I place 4 side by side and the 5th was placed on top in the middle. I then added the onion, jalapeño and tomatoes to the skillet and closed the lid. It took mine the full 8 minutes to cook thoroughly but in the end everything worked out great :) I haven't quite mastered meal planning yet, so I reheated the leftover macaroni to have with this meal. whoops!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sloppy Joes - Lazy Day

Today was a bit of a lazy day. Last night we had a pretty big thunder storm and I found out my 11 month old German Shepard is afraid of thunder. My husband sleeps through everything so I got to deal with my whining 70+ lb baby lol. My friend Mandy and her daughter came over to drop off their fish because I am fish sitting while they are visiting her parents, and I decided to whip up a quick dinner. I have to say, there's nothing quite like the approval of a 4-yr old... especially when it's over Sloppy Joes :).

I have made homemade Sloppy Joes before, however, tonight's recipe can be found on the back of a Sloppy Joe mix packet.

  • McCormick Sloppy Joes Seasoning Mix
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey, I'm a turkey fan myself,
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • hamburger buns (I use Rudi's Gluten Free Bread)
*substitute 15 oz can tomato sauce can be used to replace paste AND water. This is important, because the first time I did this I used tomato sauce and water... and ordered pizza. =D

Check back tomorrow for a recipe and write up on Cajun Smothered Pork Chops.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Homemade Chicken Tenders

Friday night I was short on time, dinner ideas and ingredients, so I decided to make homemade chicken tenders. I've made them before for myself, but I have never made them for my husband before and I was a little worried about how he'd feel about the gluten free flour.... He didn't even notice! I have to say, it was one of the best dinners we've had in a while and it's so fast!

I absolutely love this meal, unfortunately, I more or less "wing it" when cooking this. The next time I make it I will make sure to keep better track of ingredients and time, however, I choose to post the "approximate" recipe for those interested now.

I paired this recipe with broccoli, Annies Macaroni & Cheese, Rice Pasta & Cheddar for myself and Kraft Macaroni for my husband.

  • oil
  • chicken breast
  • all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 medium frying pan/skillet
*You may notice I do not have exact ingredients for this recipe. This recipe is something I learned from my mom and adapted to my gluten free lifestyle. The amount of chicken depends on how many people you want to cook for. I bought pre-cut chicken breast tenders, however, if you buy 2 chicken breasts you should be able to slice them up into enough tenders for 2-3 people depending on the appetites. If you have a family of big appetites I would recommend 1 chicken breast per person.

  1. In the first bowl, crack your eggs. (1 egg should be sufficient for 2 chicken breasts.)
  2. Fill your second bowl about 1 inch with your all-purpose gluten free flour.
  3. Cover the bottom of your pan with oil and put it on the stove on medium heat. You want to make sure not to make it too hot in order to cook your chicken thoroughly without burning the outside.
  4. Slice your chicken breasts into tenders and spice them with your favorite spices (for this recipe I gave each tender a lighting coating of salt and pepper on either side).
  5. Take each chicken tender and dip both sides in the egg, making sure to get a decent covering on both sides.
  6. After saturating in the egg, place the tender in the flour, make sure to get a decent covering here as well. *If you don't think your tenders are covered enough you may let them sit for a moment and then repeat the process.
  7. When your tenders have a decent covering of flour place in the oiled pan. they should take about 5 mins on each side to fry, however, make sure to keep an eye on it and cook until juices run clear, or thickest part of chicken is cooked through when cut.

Chicken & Avocado with Sweet Pepper Sauce

So today was "Chicken and Avocado with Sweet Pepper Sauce" day. This is one of the recipes I picked, however it was geared more towards my husbands taste than mine. I like this recipe, but I wouldn't put it in my top ten, or "Recipes to commit to memory" category, however, my husband on the other hand, could not stop talking about it! We had mashed potatoes with this and he not only had seconds, but tried to scrape up every last bit with the mash potatoes.

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 apricot spreadable fruit, melted
1/4 ripe avocado, sliced
  1. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat chicken breasts, broth, garlic powder, pepper and bell pepper over medium-high heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut. Remove chicken; keep warm.
  2. Pour broth mixture into blender; add spreadable fruit. Cover and blend until bell pepper pieces are pureed. Slice chicken breasts crosswise. Arrange chicken and avocado slices on plates; top with sweet pepper sauce.

Now for those of you who know me, I'm no Julia Child and I seem to have a reading level of maybe 2nd grade, when it comes to cook books (I'm working on that). I forgot to melt the apricot spreadable fruit, and I accidentally bought thinly sliced chicken breasts at our grocery store and had to use 4 instead of 2 regular chicken breasts. Regardless of my mistakes, it came out rather well with the only real issue being the chicken breasts were a little dryer than I'd hoped. As I said previously my husband absolutely loved this and finished the meal with "I demand this meal to be on repeat".

Next time I think I will make sure to get full chicken breasts instead to help with the dryness and distribution of the spices.

*Disclaimer: I forgot to take a photo before my husband got to it and...I'm better known for taste than presentation! The picture below is my husband's seconds. I hadn't planned for seconds so he just took one of the thin fillets put a chunk of avocado on it and poured the sauce on top!

Turning Over A New Leaf

At dinner tonight my husband asked, "Whatever happened to that blog you were writing?" and I thought about it for a minute and realized I'd stopped posting because, well, I stopped cooking anything interesting. I didn't cook anything worth mentioning very often and when I did I didn't remember to post.

Yesterday I decided to turn over a new leaf. We are going on a money and food diet so I decided to try and go the next month (or until our anniversary trip) without eating out... breakfast, lunch or dinner. I know that may not sound hard, but for us, unfortunately, it is. I try to cook more often than not, but at least twice a week laziness gets the better of us and we go out to eat.

This past weekend, however, I spent a better part of my days going through nearly every cook book I have finding recipes. I have one for almost every day for the next two weeks, starting this past Saturday. I have cooked every meal since Saturday's lunch and I have a bunch more planed and I am pretty stoked!

I plan to update my blog with all of this recipes, new, or old, just in case anyone was in a rut like I was!