Honey Dijon Chicken

I like having a variety of ways to cook chicken, as we tend to eat more chicken than any other type of protein source. This turned out pretty good for a quick glaze. I can definitely see doing this again, but perhaps adding a few other ingredients (can you say Sriracha?) and possibly looking at different types of honey to change up the taste. OOOh, and maybe using stone ground mustard.

Hmmm…

Squirrel note: my cousin gave me a recipe for Samoa truffles. Definitely looking to do that sometime soon! πŸ™‚

 

 

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Honey Dijon Chicken BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Melt butter in saute pan. Toss in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add honey, mustard, and salt and pepper to your taste. Stir well and let simmer for a few minutes to start to reduce glaze.
  4. Use a 8x8 pan or similar to leave only a little bit of area between the chicken breasts. Too large a dish will cause the glaze to burn.
  5. Place chicken breasts in pan and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
  6. Pour glaze over breasts and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove and baste the breasts with the glaze and then return to oven for another 15 minutes.
  8. Allow chicken to rest before serving.
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Cheesy Zucchini Rice

And we’re back again to zucchini! πŸ™‚ One of the best wedding presents we were given was a rice cooker. While this recipe can easily be done without one (and I’ve included those instructions below), I find it much easier because, again, I’m lazy. Toss it all in and leave it alone. Plus, it can stay in there on warm for a while. The ratio is two cups of water to one cup of rice.

I used chicken stock with the rice, but you can easily use vegetable stock or even plain water if you like. I also upped the amount of cheese (because CHEESE!) from the original recipe that I found. This turned out pretty good!

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Cheesy Zuchinni Rice BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Shred the zuchinni - either in a food processor or with a mandolin. Zuchinni contains a lot of water, so to help with this, lay out your shredded zuchinni on some paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for bit and then blot well with paper towels as much as necessary to get rid of the excess water.
  2. Before beginning: decide how you want to cook rice. If you use the rice cooker, do this first, using the stock instead of water. If not, just follow the directions below.
  3. In a large saute pan, melt butter.
  4. Toss in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
  5. Stir in rice and broth and bring to boil. Cover and allow to cook for 15- minutes or so, when rice is done. OR Toss in already cooked rice.
  6. Toss in zucchini, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and turn off heat. Cover and let sit for a few minutes to allow cheese to melt.
Recipe Notes

This is pretty simple to do and to change up as your taste desires.

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Irish Soda Bread

Quick breads are great – no need to fuss with yeast or rising! More dense than regular yeast bread, but super tasty and filling! This particular recipe calls for the addition of savory ingredients, but the basic recipe is the same. You can pretty much add whatever you like, compensating for anything that has extra moisture in it.

The original recipe that I found on Pinterest called for less bacon and chunks of cheddar. I much prefer more bacon (always) and prefer using shredded cheddar to get a more thorough flavor throughout the bread.

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Irish Soda Bread BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with a little bit of flour
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, pepper, and sugar. Stir together.
  3. Add in cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onion. and mix.
  4. Add in buttermilk and mix.
  5. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a solid surface and knead the dough until it holds together well, about 2 minutes.
  6. Form into loaf and place on prepared baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, slice crossways into the top of the loaf.
  7. Cook for 25 minutes. You'll know it's done when it is light brown in color and sounds hollow when you tap on it.
Recipe Notes

Best when served warm!

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Two tools

I’ve been making a ton of cookies the past two days, and thought this would be a good time to talk about my amazing cookie sheet of DOOM!

 

It measures 21″ x 15″ and *just* fits in my oven:

the oven is cleaner than it looks, swear

 

I love it, as it makes making my triple batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies much quicker! They also make a mega muffin pan, mega donut pan, mega mini-loaf pan, mega mini muffin pan, and a mega mini fluted pan. Yes, these are all on my wish list now. πŸ™‚

The other tool I wanted to talk about is my oven thermometer. Now, my mother had one decades ago that irritated the hell out of me because I inevitably would knock the thing off every time I put something in the oven.Β While there are a lot of different options for an oven thermometer, I went with the reliable stand by that my mom had. These people have making thermometers for over 100 years, so I’m going to go out onto a limb and say they’re accurate. πŸ™‚

 

 

I found that it is almost a necessity for me now. First, my oven is NOT preheated when it says it is. My oven ‘beeps’ when the preheat cycle is over and lets me know it is now at whatever temperature. But it really isn’t and the thermometer bears that out. It’s almost 100 degrees cooler than it should be!

With the more recipes I’m doing, I want to make sure the temp is accurate. I’m also using it to work on using my oven as a proofing box for yeast breads. I need to know what temp it gets to under “warm”, as it doesn’t say in the book the oven came with. I have some great British recipes, that has everything in celsius, so it’s a quick reference there too!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

For the love of chicken! This is one of the easiest recipes ever and leaves the chicken juicy. You can alter things slightly with the seasoning of the bread crumbs. Add spice by adding some red pepper flakes to the bread crumbs as well.

If you use too much mayo, the crust that forms slides off the chicken a bit when you cut into it, but just scoop it up and eat!

 

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Combine mayo and parmesan.
  3. Lay out chicken breasts on pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each breast.
  4. Spread the mayo mixture on the top of each breast.
  5. Sprinkle bread crumbs on the top of each breast.
  6. Bake for roughly 20 minutes. Times will vary with size of chicken breasts and oven fluctuations.
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Samoa Bundt Cake

I love Girl Scout cookies. LOVE THEM! And I have been known to order cases at a time because … I’m guilty of gluttony. Thin Mints, Samoas, and Trefoils are my absolute favorites. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it!

Note – I don’t make things pretty but I did try this time.

 

The taste is what truly matters. And this was pretty damn good! Not *exactly* like a Samoa, but close enough for me to eat more of this cake than I should!

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Samoa Bundt Cake BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
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Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Toppings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake
Frosting
Toppings
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until it's smooth when stirred.
  3. Beat the butter and brown sugar together.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Add melted chocolate and beat.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half to the batter along with half the sour cream.
  7. Add the second half of the flour mixture and sour cream.
  8. Add in the vanilla and hot water, mixing on low speed.
  9. Pour into bundt pan and bake for roughly 60 minutes.
  10. Take out of oven (leave the oven on!) and cool for about 15 minutes, then remove cake from pan.
Coconut Topping
  1. Spread your coconut out on a baking sheet. Pop in oven for roughly 5 minutes, stir and then toast for another 5. Keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to burn. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes total - but you know your oven better than I do!
Frosting
  1. Beat butter and caramel together until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
  2. Add the cream a little bit at a time to get the consistency you want in the frosting.
Put it together!
  1. Frost the cooled cake. It's easier to pop the cake in the fridge to get it nice and cool before frosting.
  2. Gently pat the toasted coconut onto the cake, a little at a time.
  3. Drizzle it with the leftover caramel sauce and hot fudge sauce.
Recipe Notes

I recommend doing the frosting and coconut on a wire rack that has a baking sheet underneath. This will help you from losing too much coconut when you put it on.

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Potato Soup

A while back, I tested out Paula Deen’s recipe for potato soup. Yeah, not great. Since then, I’ve been testing several different recipes and found one that I really enjoy. And yes, I’ve tweaked it a bit. πŸ™‚

I make this in our crockpot and it dishes up more than enough servings for a family. You can also make this up and then freeze portions in quart freezer bags. I did this recently, when I made a huge pot in our bigger crockpot. It’s about winter here now, so having readily available, homemade soup is a good thing!

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Potato Soup BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
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Instructions
  1. With your reserved bacon drippings in large fry pan, saute the onions until translucent.
  2. Add flour, stirring to prevent lumps.
  3. Add chicken stock a cup at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps and it will thicken as you add them all.
  4. Once all the stock is in, reduce heat to simmer. You can add the potatoes at this time OR use crock pot, put potatoes in crock pot with the thickened stock.
  5. Add all the seasonings and bacon. Let simmer for about 10 minutes - do not let it boil.
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Parmesan Crusted Tilapia w/Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

I cook a lot of tilapia. It’s the one fish I really enjoy that doesn’t taste ‘fishy’. I found this particular recipe on Pinterest, tried it, and modified it because a) I don’t like frying food*, b) the sauce did not thicken well, and c) I have a better recipe to coat the fish. πŸ™‚

So below is my modified recipe. The fish will taste just as good with or without the sauce, by the way.

*Fried food is good, don’t get me wrong. But it isn’t generally healthy for you and why deal with all the oil splatter to clean up later? As stated elsewhere, I’m lazy.

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Parmesan Crusted Tilapia w/Tomato Basil Cream Sauce BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Ingredients
Sauce
Tilapia
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Sauce
Tilapia
Instructions
  1. Sauce: heat oil in small skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes or so.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add cream and fresh basil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Thicken by mixing cornstarch with a bit of water to make a slurry. Add this to the sauce and stir thoroughly.
  4. Fish: Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking pan with Pam or equivalent.
  5. In shallow dish, combine melted butter, garlic powder, and lemon juice. In another shallow dish, combine panko and parmesan.
  6. Dip each filet in butter mixutre and then roll well in panko mixutre. Place filets in a single layer onto baking pan.
  7. Press any remaining panko mixture onto the tops of the filets.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  9. Serve with sauce on top!
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Poached Pears w/Caramel Cinnamon Sauce

I like pears well enough on their own, but when they are warm like these are, they are even better! For those who don’t like cinnamon (who are you people?!?), you can omit it and just have caramel. Or substitute the cinnamon with something else to flavor. Chili powder, if you like spicy, cardamon, star anise, or just add teaspoon or so of salt for salted caramel!

I made this the other night for the Man and the Girl. She helped with the pears while I did everything else. πŸ™‚ You can use any type of pear you like, I just happened to use Bosc pears.

 

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Poached Pears w/Caramel Cinnamon Sauce BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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servings
Ingredients
Pears
Caramel Cinnamon Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Pears
Caramel Cinnamon Sauce
Instructions
  1. Peel and core pears, leaving stems in tact. Or, peel and cut in half, then core. Your choice.
  2. In a large pan, combine water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to boil
  3. Add pears to the boiling syrup. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Use this time to make caramel sauce! Put sugar in sauce pan. Use a spatula or wooden spoon, stir sugar over medium high heat until a golden color.
  5. Put butter into sugar and keep stirring!
  6. When butter has completely melted, take off heat and add cream a little bit at a time, still stirring.
  7. Toss in cinnamon, incorporating it complelety. Set sauce aside to cool a bit.
  8. Turn pears and let simmer for another 10 minutes, until they are tender.
  9. Remove pears and pour caramel sauce over and serve!
Recipe Notes

The caramel sauce will thicken as it cools. It shouldn't cool too much in 10 minutes, but enough to be able to pour over the pears. If it has thickened too much, warm it up a bit.

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Tool Review

From time to time, I’ll review some of the tools I use because there are some I really like. πŸ™‚

For a very long time, I did not own a mandolin. I just cut everything with my knife and dealt with them not all being perfectly the same thickness. Nor did I worry about things being pretty – that’s usually what my brother Paul is for when we cook together. However, I finally caved in and bought one, mostly because I’m lazy. Seriously, using one takes half the time of cutting things with a knife.

The one I ended up purchasing is this one:

(Btw, that’s an affiliate link – in case you feel like buying one. A small percentage goes onto an amazon gift card for me, because I spend most of my money on Amazon anyway. LOL)

It works GREAT and comes with a lot of options.

  • The blades are hardened stainless steel and hold their edge. I’ve had mine for a year now and use it frequently and have not noticed any dull spots at all.
  • Simple to adjust in thickness – from 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4 inches.Β 
  • Straight and wavy blades for straight or crinkle cuts, and julienne blades for French Fries or fine julienne strips.
  • The food holder is fine for those who need it (I like living on the edge) and the ‘runway’ is designed well to keep food from sticking.
  • The dial on the side is easily turned to adjust thickness, and also locks it when storing and unlocks it for cleaning.
  • Love the non-slip feet to keep it in place when using and they fold up so it stores flat.

The only thing I wish could be changed about it is the ease of cleaning. The blades come out simply enough to clean, but the rest is all connected together, so makes it a bit awkward to clean after you’ve used it. Still, I recommend it highly!