Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Honey Sesame Chicken with Rice Noodles


Dinner was extremely tasty after a difficult day. I've been overwhelmed emotionally this week for whatever reason & sometimes, a new dinner with a good outcome can be so welcome (if only because if the outcome's horrendous, it may be the last straw, then tears would ensue.) I had seen this last month & wanted to make it but am just getting around to it.

The chicken was extremely flavorful & I chose the rice noodles for an Asian flare. It would taste delicious served over rice as well.

The picture does NOT do the meal justice; only wish I had remembered the scallions before I said, "cheese!".

<3 Lishie

Honey Sesame Chicken with Rice Noodles
adapted from babycenter


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 TBSp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • TBSp ketchup
  • TBSp canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
  • sesame seeds
  • scallions (Not pictured) 
  • rice noodles

Preheat oven to 350 F. 


In a sprayed, lidded baking dish, combine the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic & pepper flakes. Add in chicken & make sure chicken is submerged. Place on the lid. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove chicken from dish, leave sauce. Add the dissolved cornstarch mixture to the sauce & combine. Replace lid and bake sauce for about ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Using two forks, shred the chicken & then return to the pot & toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds & scallions. Serve over rice noodles.

Arugula Rollatini

I love arugula. I love it because of its peppery-ness. It’s also rich in vitamin C & potassium, both very much needed during the winter months, I might add! Spinach is delightful, but many times, for more flavor, I’ll sub arugula. Baby arugula is amazing as salad. Mix it with fresh parmesan & a little good olive oil & there is so much taste! Of course, that is simple but speaks wonders for the punch of this tiny green.

With all of the meatless days in Lent, I look for nutritious & delicious ideas to get out of the, “OK, pizza again!” rut. This is a new one I came up with & it’s a winner…
Arugula Rollatini
   
Rollatini is a completely made up word. No, really, it is not Italian. Really. But I absolutely love it. It usually refers to thin slices of eggplant rolled up with filling but I’ve inserted it here for my lasagna rolls, my “tinis”.

<3 Lishie

Arugula Rollatini
  • 1 lb box of lasagna noodles
  • 2 c baby arugula
  • 2 c marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese mixture (I used mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, fontina, romano & asiago)
  • fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook the lasagna noodles till al dente, separating the noodles as they cook. Keep them in one piece, be careful! Remove from the water & lay them either over the edge of a large colander or on paper towels to dry. Add the arugula leaves to the still boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water & drain well (you will also want to squeeze out any excess water).

In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses, cooked arugula & the parsley; This is the filling. Set Aside.

Prep a baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the prepped dish with 1 cup pasta sauce.

Lay out one lasagna noodle. Lightly spread the filling over the noodle. Taking one end of the pasta, carefully begin rolling the noodle, while tucking back in any escaping filling. Place the rolled lasagna “tini” opening-side down onto the the baking dish.
Repeat with all of the remaining noodles.

After all of the tinis are in the baking dish, top with the last cup of sauce & sprinkle with a little cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is browned & the sauce & tini filling is bubbling.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Strawberry Muffins

Yesterday was National Strawberry Day (not to be confused with National Strawberries and Cream Day, May 21). I know, I apologize for being a day late but you will forgive me when you see these beauties!
 
Mini
And I will admit… I love strawberries so much so that I ate an entire pound (sprinkled with powdered sugar) myself Sunday night watching the Oscars! Did you see Colin Firth? :::Swoon::: Being a mommy of an adored toddler things have changed, ha ha! It use to be I was dolled up (as my male friends would say) in a spiffy cocktail dress, toting some fun Oscar-related appy &/or amazing sweet sipping champagne spritzers at a Manhattan party. One of my friends was privy to the pre-Oscar package goods (copies of ALL the main movies+) as well as Elton John party favors flown in! (EJ, who now is also in a state of parental bliss, throws an amazing AIDS-charity making Post-Oscar parties in LA).

Guess what? I don’t miss any of it. Why? I have my Oscar, I mean Gabriel & I would very much like to thank God & The Academy.

<3 Lishie

Strawberry Muffins
"Normal"-sized muffin
  • 1 c diced fresh strawberries (+1 TBSp a-p flour)
  • 1/2 c butter (room temperature)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c a-p flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease either 24 mini-muffin tins or 12 muffin tins with cooking spray.
Toss the strawberry pieces in the flour to coat; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt & baking soda; set aside.
Using a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, & vanilla until fluffy. Add in the egg.
Now, alternating between the two, stir the dry ingredient mixture & sour cream into the batter
Lishie tip~ Muffin Batter should be lumpy! Fold in the strawberries.
Fill muffin tins about 2/3 of the way….
If making minis, bake for about 10-15 minutes.
For regular-sized muffins, it took about about 30-35 minutes for THE perfect, crusted muffin top! (I made both to ensure cooking time reliability for the blog.)
Muffins will be golden brown when done but, of course, do the toothpick test!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lenten Suggestions/No red meat/Vegetarian

So there is no reason to go the next 40 Fridays wishing for meat or making them pizza days (though that is the tradition in our family). Here are some hearty & delicious suggestions to pull you through the Lenten season sans guilt. Trust me!







Go to my blog for plenty more ideas such as pomodoro & spinach pesto...
I will have a new, yummy recipe soon!
<3 Lishie

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carrots

Hello all, as a Catholic, today is Ash Wednesday for me... Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season. It's a season of penance, reflection, & fasting which prepares Catholics for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which Catholics attain redemption. It is also a meat-free day. This Lenten season I am trying, as always, to be a better person & I shall "give up" chocolate. I do not want to tempt anyone today so here's a sweet vegetable side that is a bright spot in the winter season!

Another America's Test Kitchen (ATK) keeper! This is so simple, yet so flavorful.Look at this orange gorgeousness! And it's delicious.

Enjoy!
<3 Lishie

PS- Tomorrow I'll have a great meat-free Lenten Main Dish!  
Sugar-Glazed, Roasted Carrots
from America's Test kitchen
  • 4 lbs carrots, cut in to 2”x1/2” pieces
  • 2 T melted butter, unsalted
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley (this is an addition to the recipe)
  • S & P
Heat oven to 475 degrees.

Place  a rimmed baking sheet (As you see, I use a Pyrex glass pie pan!) to preheat for 10 minutes. Toss all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Be quick and pull out the preheated baking sheet & spread the carrots out & place it back in the oven for 15 min. Then stir up the carrots & put back in to for another 3 min.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Kiev

I LOVE America's Test Kitchen (ATK). Their recipes are always spot on & Christopher Kimball is extremely nice. I've spoken to him at Book Expo a couple of times. He has a bow-tie stamper that he uses next to his signature. Love that! And Jack Bishop, editorial director at ATK is nice too! I have so many of their cookbooks. 


Chicken Kiev is Ukranian. It's one of those classic dishes & this recipe is the perfect one to use a cookbook for because it seems intricate until you get it broken down by the ATK guys! I adapted it a little- I used panko instead of making my own bread crumbs & I excluded the fresh tarragon but the rest I stayed true to ATK.


There's nothing like chicken kiev when you cut into the chicken breast & that hot, steaming herbed butter comes oozing out! YUM.


Enjoy! 

Chicken Kiev
adapted from America's Test Kitchen


Herb Butter

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
Chicken
  • bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard


For the Herb Butter: Mix ingredients with rubber spatula until combined. Form into a 3 inch square on plastic wrap; wrap tightly & refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

For the Chicken:

Pound the chicken between two sheets of wax paper until 1/4 inch thick. Unwrap butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces. Place chicken breast cut side up on work surface. season both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 piece of butter in center of bottom half of breast. Roll bottom edge of chicken over butter, then fold in sides & continue rolling to form neat, tight package pressing on seam to seal. Repeat with remaining butter and chicken. Regrigerate uncovered to allow edges to seal, 1 hour. (You can refrigerate it overnight too, so it can be prepped in advance.)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Place flour, eggs, & bread crumbs in separate pie plates or shallow dishes. (Your mis en place). Season flour with S&P, season bread crumbs with S&P. Add mustard to eggs & whisk to combine. Dredge 1 chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides of chicken breast with bread crumbs, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. Place on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Repeat flouring and breading on remaining chicken breasts.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (I say this because mine had to cook longer.) Let rest 5 minutes on wire rack before serving.

The Bow-tie Stamp
<3 Lishie (Elisha)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Skillet Sausage Lasagna

I was so excited for this one! I really wish I was a better picture taker because boy do I stink! Sorry! But it was yummy just the same. This was smaller & easier than my usual lasagna & that is always a good thing. I made my homemade sauce BUT you can certainly use jarred. AND you can most certainly use no boil noodles. I think I would bake it longer with them though.

When we went on our shopping excursion this week, I meant to buy ground beef for this. But it was expensive & I saw the sweet Italian sausage was on sale for a great price. It looked great but it was not a brand I have had before. Lo & behold, it was tremendously salty. The salt permeated the entire dish. So be careful with ingredients! This is why on Top Chef, the chefs are expected to make their own sausage from scratch. Thank goodness little 'ol me is just a home cook, huh? ;) It tasted ok all the same...

Enjoy!
<3 Lishie

Skillet Lasagna
inspired by: Generation Y Foodie

  • 1lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
  • 1 box lasagna noodles 
  • 6 cups pasta sauce, about
  • 8 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh parsley, chopped



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute sausage (casing having been removed) in olive oil on medium heat until browned. Drain cooked sausage & set aside.


Boil the lasagna strips until al dente then set aside to slightly cool (enough to be hand-held).


Lasagna Layering/Set-up:
Begin with a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the skillet. I used my 10" cast iron skillet. Make sure it the skillet you use is oven-safe.


Line the lasagna noodles over the sauce layer. Tear the noodles to fit. It does not have to be perfect!

Layer 1/2 the sausage on top of the noodles. 

Sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella & some grated parmesan.


Layer with sauce.

Again, layer with the noodles. 

Layer last 1/2 of the sausage crumbles.


Sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella & some grated parmesan.

Layer with sauce.

Sprinkle remaining parmesan on the top

Dollop large spoonfuls of ricotta equally across the top of the lasagna

Cover with foil & bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil & bake until browned on top.

Serve sprinkled with parsley

Oh & Happy Presidents Day!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Honey Lime Chicken

Sunday, Sunday... it's my "plan the week's meals" day... And then our grocery shopping day (after church mass). I get the supermarket circular out, along with a scrap piece of paper, pen & my coups... Ask the hubby 1) if he can remember anything we are out of/need & 2) if there's anything he's been wanting for dinner. Then I go to it. This helps me in so many ways -we save money, -I have the week mapped out ,-it's easy to come home from work & cook, -I prep when I come home from the store. Oh, & gals, my hubby ALWAYS grocery shops WITH me! A huge plus!

This week I saw an amazing price on chicken drumsticks. I ended up getting 12 large drumsticks for $3!!! So this meal was so inexpensive & flavorful. You can use this marinade on any chicken cut too.

Honey Lime Chicken
4 limes, zest & juice of 3, 1 sliced into 1/8s 
1/2 cup honey
3 TBSp canola oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
12 drumsticks (or any chicken pieces), skin on
2 TBSp fresh parsley, chopped

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Add the chicken to the mix & coat all of the pieces. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. 

Lay out the drumsticks on a lined & sprayed jellyroll sheet (baking sheet with sides.) Poor the remaining marinade over the drumsticks. Bake for 30-35 minutes until dark brown.

Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley & with the lime wedges.


 Enjoy!
<3 Lishie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cauliflower Mash

I love potatoes. Love, love, love them but in the middle of winter, I long for veggies too. Thank goodness, cauliflower exists. This is a great, vitamin packed (cauliflower contains Vitamin C & Folate), low-calorie, high in taste, side-dish alternative.

<3 Lishie

Cauliflower Mash
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Steam or boil the cauliflower until almost fully soft then drain in a colander. Return the cauliflower to the pot, drop in the butter, then begin mashing with a potato masher (If you want it less chunky, use the food processor, then return veg to the pan). When the cauliflower is mostly mashed, add milk & continue to mash/mix to incorporate the liquid. Add the parmesan & mix.
Serve & enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stroganoff Pockets & a "Mommy" tip!

The stroganoff pockets are yummy but after them, this is pretty much a "mom" post... Sorry everyone if it doesn't pertain to you, just ignore the latter part... Here's a yummy & easy recipe that AGAIN, allows me to proclaim my love for these rolls (& nope, I do not get paid to advertise for P-Bury!!!!)

Stroganoff Pockets
adapted from Pillsbury.com

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • S & P
  • 1/4 c beef stock
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cans Pillsbury® Crescent Rolls 
  • 1 egg white

Saute the onions over medium-high heat until translucent. Add the ground beef & garlic, stirring frequently, until beef is only partially pink; drain oil from meat mixture & return to heat. Stir in the mushrooms, the garlic & the S & P. Add the beef stock & allow to simmer till the stock is nearly gone. Turn off heat & add the sour cream & parsley.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with spray, set aside. Roll out the crescent dough on a lightly floured surface. Using two "rolls" create rectangles... On one half of the rectangle, dollup meat mixture. Overlap the other half of the rectangle & "secure" together. Do the same with the remaining crescent rolls. Place the pockets on the baking sheet, then brush each with the egg white. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

And the mommy tip?!
Oh it is great (forgive me if you know this already BUT...) while crafting a lightbulb came on in my head.  Rare, but yes, it happens... And I realized that pipe cleaners are the PERFECT thing to use to clean out those persnickety straws from sippy cups!!! AHA! I soaked the sippy cup parts in warm, suddsy water then wet & pipe cleaned. It was wonderful.
They were originally used to clean pipes so... And I love me some pipe cleaner crafts too!

And what was the pipe cleaner craft?! Here's a peep at our Egg Buddies:


I know it is early for Easter crafting but these are so cute. And a great way to repurpose egg cartons. Just make sure you wash the styrofoam beforehand in case of salmonella.

What you need: 
  • 2 egg holder pieces
  • 1 pipe cleaner per "buddy"
  • marker for the face
Use the pipe cleaner to connect both pieces.


Egg Chickadees:

Egg bunny (Just look at his little 'ol tail!):
<3 Lishie

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love the sweetness & sentimentality of the holiday, always have. There's just something about hearts & pink & flowers... I love it. And now I love the innocent wonder of it with a toddler. His recent cuteness has been in the form of recognizing that a heart shape equates to love. As we were doing one of our crafts together, Gabriel picked up a heart-shaped foam sticker & smiled, then hugged & kissed me. I love my little one so much.

So if you didn't get enough ideas from my Valentine's Day Post, here are a couple more. I've stated again & again my love for Pillsbury Crescent dough... Spreading the love again, today. Here's a quick, easy & fun treat you may even be able to make last minute for your sweeties.  

All you need is: a can of Pillsbury Crescent dough, peanut butter, some chocolate & a little powdered sugar if you wish!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Hearts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough onto a flat, lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter (I chose heart-shaped, of course!) cut the dough into an even amount of shapes as you will be placing two together. On the middle of one cutout, dollop a little peanut butter. On top of the peanut butter, sprinkle some grated chocolate. Place the second cutout on top & carefully, using two fingers or a fork, secure the "sandwiches" together. Top with a little more grated chocolate. Repeat for the remaining cutouts. 

Place on a lined or sprayed cookie sheet & bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar & serve. Enjoy!

And another easy craft idea! Thanks, Pinterest!
Grandparents Valentine <3
Happy Valentine's Day!!!
<3 Lishie
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

One of my new years resolutions was to attempt some things from a more convenient method... like a cake box mix. Well, I had no idea that cake mixes come in strawberry (really, no idea!) & I was thrilled to see it in its pretty pink coloring on the box! So, on a whim, I bought it. Then had second thoughts... up until I had an allergy attack Saturday night that put me in bed early & was exhausted on Sunday after waking early, mass, cleaning, etc... Well, I figured, let me try the box mix! I switched out apple sauce for oil, kept the same amount of eggs & water & followed the 350 degree directions...

But...
Used this Nordicware mini heart pan (350 degrees for 20-25 minutes):


 Extras: Sprinkled Confection Sugar


& this Avon Brownie Pop one (350 degrees for 15-20 minutes):

Extras: Rainbow Non-pareils & Red Sugar Crystals & pop sticks

And, well, it all turned out all right & I admit, TASTY! 
Happy Valentine's Everyone!

<3 Lishie

Here are the crafts I created with & for my toddler:
Class Valentines: "A Valentine for Kazoo"
Teacher Gifts: "Thank you for helping me grow."
Signed... I love you
Repurposed egg carton as Tic Tac Toe
T-Shirt for my Gabriel-Bot
More Valentines Crafts & Treats to come!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipe SWAP~ Potatoes!

Have I said just how much I LOVE the recipe swaps Sarah from ATaste of Home Cooking hosts? They are so fun & help me with my creativity. This time around Potatoes was the theme. I LOVE potatoes. My hubby? not as much a fan as I but he still enjoys them. I gave my Rosemary-Lemon Smashed New Potatoes & received Christen's, from "Cooking with Christen", Corn, Leek & Potato Chowder. YUMMMM!!!!

But... the hubby doesn't like corn chowder, or any thick soup for that matter. I was ready to make the soup for myself, then got worried I wouldn't have time to eat the leftovers. So, I thought, how can I use ALL of the ingredients in a way that stays true to Christen's initial intent? At first, I thought corn-cakes but then inspiration hit me in the form of a side for hub's steak! And this was born:

Baked Corn, Leeks & Cheesy Potatoes
  • 1 cup sliced leek
  • 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 8 oz. can of “no salt added" corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta
  • 1 cup pre-shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray.  Over medium heat, cook the leeks for about two minutes.  Add the potatoes, corn, salt & pepper and cook another three minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove from heat & mix in the milk, ricotta & cheddar cheese. Pour into a baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is browned. Serve.

Thank you so much to Sarah for hosting again! And Christen, thank you for a yummy recipe!!!! I will also be making the soup for ME... I LOVE chowder!
<3 Lishie

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mini~Breakfast

What to do when your hubby wants one thing & you, another? Make something easy, fast & mini... I love tiny things, all compartmentalized. I am sure you have seen these little breakfast "nests" around. They are so simple to make & just delish...


This makes an adorable & sweet Valentine's breakfast! Serve with a soy sausage patty. No, really... Morningside farms sausage patties are amazing! Ask my hubby!


<3 Lishie


Egg & Hash Brown Nests
Makes 6 nests

  • 3 cups frozen hash browns, defrosted 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6 muffin tin.


Line each muffin hole with the hash browns; bottoms & sides. Whisk the eggs & cheddar together. Pour some of the egg mixture into each "nest".


Bake for 25 minutes (or until done).