Archive for February, 2008

Easy AND Delicious!

February 26, 2008

When I saw this recipe on a blog called My Baking Heart I just KNEW I had to try it. We LOVE mexican food and all kinds of mexican-y dishes. But I have to admit, the main draw to this recipe was how ridiculously e.a.s.y. it looked. Only six ingredients. No vegetable chopping involved. Ready in about 20 minutes. Basically a heaven-sent for a busy weeknight dinner!

I was a little concerned that there wouldn’t be enough flavor in the soup since the ingredients are so straight-forward but YUM, was it ever good! Alex said “Oh yum” at least 4 times while eating it which is always a good sign! This is probably going to become a regular rotation in our menus for the week!

Chicken Taco Soup

Chicken Taco Soup (from My Baking Heart blog- http://mybakingheart.wordpress.com)

2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (I used the George Foreman to grill them and then chopped into pieces)

1 can corn (drained)

1 can Ranch Beans (I didn’t drain this one)

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 md. jar Pace picante (Obviously, we went for HOT picante)

1 can chicken broth

Pour all ingredients into a medium to large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Now, this can be changed in a lot of different ways. You can use hamburger meat instead of chicken, cook and shred your own chicken breasts, use frozen corn instead of canned (which is what I normally do), etc. You can also top with cheese, sour cream, green onions, tortilla stripsโ€ฆ you get the picture.I served with cheese, green onions, and chips (as you can see in the picture). I would have served with a dollop of sour cream too but our sour cream was nasty. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Steak and Potatoes a la Alex

February 25, 2008

Ok, time to brag on my hubby! He’s a really great cook. The thing that I love about his cooking is that he does it SO differently from me. He is great at just “winging it” and he never has to follow a recipe! I love the fact that he can (and will) cook and it always turns out wonderfully. Tonight was one of those nights where I’m REALLY glad that we had planned for him to cook because I had a really rough day at work. I came home exhausted and completely frustrated and the last thing I wanted to do was cook.

Steak and Potatoes

Since he doesn’t follow a recipe so he has no idea the amounts he puts in but I’ll try to give you an idea of what he did based on what he tells me: Ok go!

Grilled Steaks a la Alex
Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Liquid Smoke

Garlic Salt

Black Pepper

Ground Cumin

Rub liquids into steak and then sprinkle seasonings over steaks. Grill to your doneness of choice.

Potatoes and Green Beans on the Grill

Green Beans (trimmed)

Red Potatoes (cut into chunks)

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Salt

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Rosemary

Butter

Combine all and coat in seasonings. Place in a foil packet and grill until tender.

Everything turned out SO yummy and I am so proud of him for this meal.ย  Great job,babe! Love you!

Stuffed!

February 24, 2008

Anything that claims to be stuffed with chiles AND cheddar cheese is a good thing for me and my husband. That’s why when I saw this recipe on Crystal’s Creations I just knew we had to try it! It was actually my first attempt at stuffed chicken and I was a little concerned with how I was supposed to “bake in a 375 degree oven” considering the fact that we have no oven. Luckily, the toaster oven came through for us again and worked like a charm!! The only problem is you have to watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t get too brown on the tops. I burnt a couple of biscuits earlier today because of that. Oops!

My only complaint on the recipe is that it wasn’t spicy enough (I have to live up to my blog’s name, don’t I?!). I had a can of regular green chiles on hand so that’s what I used but next time I would DEFINITELY use hot canned chiles and possibly add some other spices into the breadcrumb coating as well.ย  It might even be delicious with some chopped hot pickled jalepenos…but I’m just brainstorming here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chile and Cheddar Stuffed Chicken

Yum look at that ooeey gooey cheesy goodness! I served this with broccoli rice and a side salad. Delish!

Chile and Cheddar Stuffed Chicken: (from Crystalโ€™s Creations)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded as thin as you can get them
1 1/2 cups cheddar

1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 of a 4 oz can of diced green chilies (I used a whole can)

Melted butter
Breadcrumbs to roll chicken roll-up in

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a medium sized flat baking sheet with nonstick spray. Pound chicken breasts until they are very thin, about 1/4 inch.

In a bowl with a fork, mash together cheese, chilies with juice, and sour cream until barely combined.

Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture over each chicken breast, avoiding the very edges. Roll up the chicken, starting with smallest end, and secure each chicken breast with 2 toothpicks. Roll the chicken in the butter and then breadcrumbs.

Place chicken on baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes or 160 degrees by meat thermometer, or until the chicken is firm, but not hard, to the touch.

Oven-less Chicken Pot Pie

February 23, 2008

I haven’t updated in almost a week now because basically I haven’t cooked in that long. When we got back from Vegas on Tuesday we had NO groceries left and didn’t have time to go grocery shopping until today (Saturday). So we scrounged a lot and/or went out to eat. I’m glad that I finally was able to make it to the grocery store today because I HATE not knowing what we are going to be eating.

All of my meals I have planned for the week are recipes that I have gotten from other people’s food blogs. So heads up! You may see one of your recipes on here soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tonight’s dish was from Melissa’s blog: http://itsmelissaskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/02/chicken-pot-pie-kind-of.html

I had been craving Chicken Pot Pie like crazy but not having an oven had left me hopeless. When I saw this recipe on Melissa’s blog I just KNEW I had to make it because it was non-oven friendly!! It turned out absolutely delicious!! Totally hit the spot. By the way, I baked up the biscuits in our toaster-oven, in case you were wondering how an oven-less girl managed to have biscuits with her dinner. My changes are in italics.

Oven-less Chicken Pot Pie (itsmelissaskitchen.blogspot.com)

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half (I used fat-free half and half)
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I ended up using 2 cans b/c I didn’t want t waste part of one)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used 3 large red potatoes–hubby doesn’t “do” sweet potatoes)
  • 2 packages frozen veggies (I used 1 package of peas & carrots and 1 package of broccoli)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic (I used a mixture of garlic salt and garlic powder)
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • Buttermilk Biscuits

In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in half-and-half until smooth. Set aside.

In a stockpot, over medium heat, heat broth to boiling.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 4 minutes. Add chicken ( I added garlic at this point) and saute until just cooked through. Remove from heat.

Add potato to boiling broth. Cover and simmer 4 minutes. Add frozen veggies and return to a boil. Cover and simmer unti potato is tender (about 6 minutes). Uncover and stir in onions, chicken, and half-and-half mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 1 minute or until thickened slightly, stirring constantly. Add thyme and garlic and cook for another minute stirring constantly. Stir in parsley and serve with buttermilk biscuits (I split the biscuits in half and served on top of the filling).

Serves 4

Hands on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Chicken Pot Pie

Back From Vegas

February 23, 2008

Well, Vegas was great! Unfortunately I was really bad about forgetting to take photos of all the wonderful meals we ate. Oh well! We visited almost every major hotel on the strip, ate at many great restaurants, gambled and ended up ahead (woohoo!), saw 3 amazing shows (Phantom, Love (the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show), and Le Reve, and spent quality time with my grandparents. It was an amazing trip! Sorry about my lack of food photos but here’s one non-food one.

Grandparents, Alex, and Me

Vegas Bound!

February 15, 2008

Wynn Hotel Las Vegas

I probably won’t be updating for a few days because my husband and I are headed for VEGAS BABY! We are so so so excited! We’re staying at the Wynn and seeing a few shows while we’re there. My grandparents are meeting us there so we are really excited to spend some quality time with them. We hope to eat some excellent food while there too. I’ll try to take some pictures and post reviews if possible. Wish us luck at the Blackjack tables and we’ll be back on Tuesday!

A Lent-Friendly Dinner

February 15, 2008

My husband and I are Catholic and today is a Friday. That means no meat! Meatless Fridays are a part of the Lenten season sacrifices, along with choosing to give up something of your choice. Alex and I both decided to give up coke (or “pop” as he would call it) which has been tough going sometimes. There are many times when all I want is a nice refreshing coke. The meatless Fridays are also not the easiest things for us since we tend to be meat-in-every-meal kinda people. You are permitted to eat fish/seafood but this week I decided to try something totally vegetarian to save some money in our grocery budget. I saw this recipe in the same “Simply One Dish” Pillsbury Magazine. It turned out pretty good for a vegetarian dish but we still weren’t raving about it. I would make it again but maybe add some Italian sausage or something. I know that sort of defeats the purpose but what can I say?! We like our meat. ๐Ÿ™‚

Main Dish Minestrone

Main Dish Minestrone
(Pillsbury Simply One Dish magazine)

  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 2 small, unpeeled red potatoes, cubed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 c. chopped carrot
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/3 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach
  • 1/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta or broken spaghetti
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

1. In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven, heat water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling.

2. Reduce heat; simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and pasta are tender.

Per Serving (1 cup): Calories 190; Total Fat 1.5g; Sodium 720mg, Dietary Fiber 7g

An Oldie But a Goodie

February 13, 2008

Pretty much anytime my husband and I go out to an Italian restaurant I can guess exactly what he’s going to get. I like to branch out and try new things but not him! Me: “Is it gonna be the usual?” Him: “Yep. Chicken Parmesan!” He loves this stuff and so do I for that matter. So tonight for dinner we had Chicken Parm Sandwiches served with steamed broccoli.

Chicken Parm Sandwich

The picture is not that pretty but OH MY it was delicious. Please also excuse the paper plate….all of our china/dishes are in storage back in Texas! There’s no real recipe here…everyone knows how to make Chicken Parm so I won’t insult you by explaining how I did it. The only interesting part for me was doing chicken parm in a toaster oven. Ohhhh the joys of being oven-less. Suprisingly they actually turned out great and quite crispy on the outside. The broccoli I did in one of those new veggie steamer ziploc bags. These have been a lifesaver for us since moving in to this hotel room. I just put the veggies in the bag, drizzle some olive oil, and add one clove of garlic (chopped), garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. Then shake the bag to distribute and pop it in the oven for about 3 1/2 minutes. YUM!! Soooo delicious and perfectly cooked. You really should try these bags even if you do have full kitchen unlike me! The clean-up is unbeatable. ๐Ÿ™‚

Welcome!

February 12, 2008

Welcome to my brand new food blog! I am so excited to start one of these after having read so many people’s blogs over the past couple years.

I will warn you, however, that my entries may not be all that exciting over the next couple of months because my husband is in the Army and we are stationed in Ft. Huachuca, AZ for 4 1/2 months. During those months the Army is paying for us to live in a hotel for the entire time rather than getting an apartment. It’s interesting to say the least! I can’t really complain about the daily housekeeping that gets done while I’m at work everyday BUT I can definitely complain about the lack of a real kitchen. We stay in a “suite” with a kitchenette that consists of two TINY burners, a mini-fridge, no counter space whatsoever, and – the worst part – NO OVEN! That means no baking for me until April which comes at the worst possible time because right before we moved here I was really starting to enjoy experimenting with baking yeast bread. You’ll have to excuse my lack of excitement for the first couple months. I pretty much have to keep the meals to “one-pot” style things or else I just don’t have room.

My blog is named “The Spicy Skillet” because I love love love spicy foods and my hubby helped me think of the name. ๐Ÿ™‚ That doesn’t mean that there won’t be sweet treats featured though…I have a major sweet tooth!! I hope you come back and read some of my entries every now and then and please feel free to leave comments/opinions on what I could do better, etc. Thanks for visiting and “yall come back soon now ya hear!”(That’s the Texan in me coming out now.)

You call that Spicy?!?

February 12, 2008

Tonight I made Spicy Chicken and Orzo Skillet out of the Pillsbury Simply One Dish magazine I purchased the other day. As I mentioned in the previous post, my husband and I love spicy food so we were excited to try this. I was definitely disappointed in the “spice-factor” though. I ended up having to “kick it up a bit” as Emeril would say and it still wasn’t all that spicy. I love the fresh veggies in the recipe and the array of colors. I wasn’t sure if I would like the garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) in it but they didn’t bother me at all. I don’t know that they added anything to the dish other than making it more filling, which it definitely was! My husband, Alex, also brought to my attention how it’s actually a very healthy dish too! I will include the nutritional info at the bottom of the page (as written in the magazine). Overall it was good and hubby gave it a thumbs up but next time I will add even more spices.

Spicy Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Alex gave it the thumbs up!

Alex Thumbs Up!

And, just for kicks, Maddie was mad she didn’t get any.

Maddie

Spicy Chicken and Orzo Skillet (Source: Pillsbury Simply One Dish magazine)

Makes 4 servings. My changes in Italics.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin bite-size strips
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. baby carrots, quartered lenthwise
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 3/4 c. uncooked rosamarina or orzo pasta
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used at least a full tsp. if not more)
  • I added 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into thin strips

1. In 12 in skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add carrots and onion; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until all vegetables are crisp tender, stirring once.

2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except spinach. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender.

3. Stir in spinach; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.

Per Serving (1 1/2 cups): Calories 480; Total Fat 11g; Sodium 530mg; Dietary Fiber 8g