Friday, February 24, 2012

Bacon Pierogi Bake

Doing the grocery shopping is just one of the many things I love about my husband. It's such a little thing but he knows I'm not a fan of that chore so each week he volunteers to go. He's pretty wonderful, if I haven't mentioned it yet.

So I really couldn't complain when I went to make dinner last week and realized there were no pierogis in our freezer. I looked over at him and asked, "Babe where are the pierogis?" He responded, "What the heck is a pierogi? I saw it on there but had no idea what it was. Sorry." Thanks love, it would have been nice to know that when I was getting ready to make dinner. But, with a little explaining of what a pierogi is and where it could be found, he made a quick trip out to grocery store and came back with exactly what I needed.

This was delicious. The cream cheese sauce tasted great with the pierogis and who doesn't like bacon?

Bacon Pierogi Bake
Source: slightly adapted from Peace, Love and French Fries

1 16 oz package frozen potato and cheddar cheese pierogies
2 bacon slices, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400º. Arrange the pierogies in an 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat, until crisp; remove from pan and set aside.

Add garlic to drippings in pan and cook for 40 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cream cheese to pan and cook for 1 minute, until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add chicken broth to pan, whisking until smooth.

Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pierogies. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes, until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Remove from oven, sprinkle with bacon and pepper, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Meal List

This week is a lot of repeats. I have to work til 6:30 six days of this week and won't be home til after 7 each night so my wonderful husband has volunteered to cook dinner for us this week. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have a guy like him?

I still have a few recipes left that I haven't blogged yet from the last few weeks so I'll try to get a post up but it may have to wait til next week!

Monday: Sesame Chicken with Yellow Rice
Wednesday: Pizza
Thursday: Eat Out
Saturday: Braided Spaghetti Bread

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alton Brown's Fish and Chips

When I was little, our family used to go to Captain D's. I'm not sure how often we went but I remember going pretty regularly until a certain incident. Before that incident, I would always get the fish and chips and drown my dinner in vinegar. I loved it. Probably because I couldn't taste the fish (I'm not a seafood fan). These were on my 23 x 23 list because the hubs has been begging me to try it. He's a "Brit" and absolutely loves this dish.

The batter tastes delicious. And as a bonus, it doesn't make your apartment smell like fish when it cooks! Neil loved it and so did I until I could taste the fish. But up until then, it was really good!

I only tried the batter recipe for the fish but I'm sure the fries from his recipe are just as good! I made it easier on myself and just baked a bag of frozen french fries.

Fish and Chips
Source: Food Network

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
dash of Old Bay Seasoning
1 bottle brown beer, cold
1.5 lbs firm fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, cod), cut into 1-ounce strips
cornstarch, for dredging
1 package of frozen french fries

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake fries according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350º. Lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch. Working in small batches, dip the fish into batter and immerse into hot oil. When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the fish on a roasting rack. Serve with malt vinegar. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baked Chicken with Onions, Potatoes, Garlic and Thyme

This recipe came at the end of a week with very good meals. I was excited about it because it contained everything in one dish but I wasn't expecting it to be my favorite dish of the week!

I loved how all of the flavors mixed together. The lemon and thyme was my favorite combo but I liked how there was a bit of garlic and balsamic vinegar in every bite as well. This is definitely a make-again for us!

Baked Chicken with Onions, Potatoes, Garlic, and Thyme
Source: slightly adapted from Proceed with Caution

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb red potatoes, quartered
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
1 head garlic, cloves separated and left unpeeled
6 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, quartered
1 lb baby carrots
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450º. Arrange chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, an lemon in an 8x8 roasting pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar and drizzle over the chicken and vegetables. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 50 minutes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken and Potato Skillet

I got the idea for this meal from some crazy thing we cooked when I went to Yosemite. We had "Potato Surprise" for breakfast one morning. All I remember was it had potatoes, peppers, and some weird thing called "gluten bits." We had a vegan and a vegetarian on the trip with us and apparently gluten bits are a protein substitute because we had it to replace chicken.

Trips like these remind me why I love my major, not that I needed any reminder. I was required, for a class, to go spend 4 glorious days up at Yosemite National Park. We hiked over 15 miles in 2 days and ended the trip by getting up at 4am to drive to Glacier Point and watch the sunrise. Amazing. There's nothing like sitting in silence surrounded by the beauty that God has created and watching the sunrise. It makes you tear up with the wonderfulness of it. Going into the wilderness is like a mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

I'm always amazed by the amount of people who have never traveled farther than the next state over. Especially when they live less than a days drive from somewhere like this. Get out and go! Go explore. Go use the national parks that were created for your enjoyment and see all that the US has to offer.

Chicken and Potato Skillet
Source: Tyler's Taste Test Originals

3 boneless chicken breasts cubed (mine were on the small side so 2 may be good)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 oz sharp cheddar, cubed
4 strips of bacon
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil

Chop bacon into small pieces. Cook until done and set aside. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, add potatoes, and boil for 8 minutes until potatoes are softened.

In a large skillet, cook chicken until cooked through. Drain any leftover oils and set chicken aside. Add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes, until softened. Add bell peppers to onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add potatoes to the mix and brown for about 3 minutes.

Add chicken and bacon to skillet and mix thoroughly. Top with cubed cheese. Cover and cook over low heat until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

One of the things on my 23 x 23 list was "Cinnamon Rolls." Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite breakfast foods. Back in Georgia, we have a lady at our church who makes some of the best cinnamon rolls. No lie. They are of the heavenly, melt in your mouth variety. Every time Neil would come home on leave, before we were married, she would always try and make him a batch. And he wouldn't share.

But I didn't blame him. She hasn't yet given me the recipe but I ask for it every time I see her. Until she caves, I make do with these. This is an incredibly easy recipe that makes delicious cinnamon rolls. You can add as much or as little cinnamon and brown sugar depending on your taste buds. This recipe also has a delicious maple frosting for the rolls but you can change that up as well. Iowa Girl Eats has a beautiful picture tutorial for this recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

8 oz tube crescent roll dough
2 tbsp butter
brown sugar

For the maple icing:
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp skim milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven according to directions on the package of crescent rolls. Layout half the dough, 4 triangles, and pinch all the seams together. Flip over and pinch the seams on the back side together too. Using a rolling pin, smooth the seams and roll the dough into a square about 1/4" thick.

Brush with half the butter, and sprinkle as much cinnamon and brown sugar as you want. Roll into a log and cut into 8 pieces.

Place mini cinnamon rolls into a non-stick sprayed mini muffin tin. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the other half of the crescent roll dough. Bake according to package directions.

Meanwhile, whisk together the maple syrup and milk in a bowl. Add in powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl Saturdays: Italian Pinwheels

The Super Bowl is tomorrow! Is everyone excited? I hope you have all gotten some good ideas from this little series. My favorites were the Party Meatballs and the Buffalo Chicken Dip. I actually made these pinwheels because they were requested by my husband. He loves these little things and really enjoyed having them for dinner!

Italian Pinwheels
Source: slightly adapted from Pillsbury

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 cup pizza sauce, plus extra for serving
1 egg yolk
1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 egg white, beaten

Preheat oven to 375º. In a small bowl, mix cheese, pepperoni, oregano, garlic salt, pizza sauce, and yolk. Unroll dough and separate into 4 triangles Firmly press the perforations to seal.

Spread each rectangle with 3 tbsp of the pepperoni mixture. Starting at the shortest side, roll up each rectangle and pinch edges to deal. Cut each roll into 6 slices. Place, cut side down, 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg white.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with extra pizza sauce. Enjoy!

Super Bowl Saturdays: Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Jalopeno Bites

I recently started a new job! I'm working for a nearby resort, at the pool, developing a recreation program for their guests. I'm so excited to finally have a job but it's slightly exhausting! Yesterday was my first day off this week and I just relaxed. And cleaned. Our house has slightly suffered from me getting a job. It wasn't until last night at 6:00 that I remembered I needed to make two more appetizers for today. I had work today so there was no way they were getting made. I whipped both recipes up, quickly wrote my blog post, searched for my camera cord, gave up, and decided pictures would be posted whenever I got off work if I could find my cord. The hubs and I then enjoyed an incredibly delicious, albeit unhealthy, dinner of these guys along with the Italian Pinwheels.

I've always been scared of jalopenos because I picture myself accidentally touching my eye and burning the crap out of it. But no eye mishaps occurred this time! These were awesome. Jalopenos with cream cheese are always pretty good but when you add bacon, they become even better.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Jalopenos

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Old Bay
pinch of salt
12 jalopenos, halved and seeded
24 six-inch pieces of bacon, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine cream cheese and spices in a bowl. Spoon mixture into each pepper half, until level. Wrap each in bacon and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Makes 24

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes

I've been on a potato kick recently. We've had a potato side dish 7 times over the past two weeks! I just love how there are so many different things you can do with potatoes-and how a large bag is so cheap!

This recipe is definitely a winner. The potatoes taste so creamy and the onions and bacon add a nice little crunch.

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 medium baking potatoes
1 cup milk heated
1/4 cup butter heated with milk
1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
salt and pepper
2 sliced green onions
3 slices of bacon, cut into bits

Bake potatoes at 425º for about 1 hour, or until soft. Cut 1/4 of top from each potato and scoop inside into a mixing bowl. Heat milk and butter until warm; add to potatoes. Add remaining ingredients. Mix. Stuff potato mixture back into shells. Bake at 325º for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!