Archive | June, 2011

Grilled Apple Pork Burgers with a Maple Mustard Glaze

30 Jun

Tonight was an adventure. I wasn’t really sure where this dinner was taking me but I knew I needed to use up the ground pork I had in my freezer. Pork chops and apple sauce is a classic combination so I figured ground pork and chopped apples would have a similar flavor. Everyone loves a good burger… so I went for it.

What became of this burger was nothing short of delicious. An interesting combination of flavors, to say the least, but it was both savory and sweet and very well balanced.

Grilled Apple Pork Burgers with a Maple Mustard Glaze

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Medium

1/3 – 1/2 lb. ground pork
1 small apple, peeled and diced into small pieces
curry powder, a good sprinkle
garlic powder, a good sprinkle
ground cinnamon or nutmeg, a good sprinkle
ground ginger, a good sprinkle
paprika, a good sprinkle
1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Mix pork, apple, and spices together.

Form meat mixture into two patties.

Either on the grill or in a grill pan, grill burgers for 4-6 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, mix together mustard and syrup. Baste burgers while cooking with mustard glaze.

Yum!

Tips
– Serve alone or on whole wheat buns with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken – Comfort Food At It’s Best!

29 Jun

Whew. What a looong weekend/week. After everything we’ve all been through, I thought we deserved a little R&R and a deliciously comforting meal. This roasted chicken takes about 10 minutes to prepare so it’s in the oven in no time. It also makes your entire house smell like a cozy diner on a winter’s day.

While it roasted away in the oven, I got in a load of laundry, took the dogs on a w-a-l-k, (can’t say it in front of them, ya know) and took a much deserved bath. This is my go-to recipe for roasted chicken and it delivers time after time. I hope you like it.

The two of us can typically get about 4-5 meals out of one chicken so buy them when they’re on sale and keep them in your freezer to roast later. You can also freeze the cooked meat. That’s what I did tonight. We ate the chicken legs for dinner and I froze a bag of the breasts and two bags of shredded meat. That will come in handy later on when I’m in a hurry and need to make a quesadilla or a quick casserole.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken

Servings: 8
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes total
Level: Medium

1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs.), thawed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
1 Tbsp. margarine
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chicken seasoning (such as Weber’s Kick’n Chicken)

Preheat oven to 400°. Remove innards from chicken. Dry off chicken, inside and out, with paper towels. Fill cavity with garlic, onions, celery, and margarine.

Rub outside of chicken with oil. Sprinkle seasonings all over. Tuck wings and tie legs together with kitchen twine, if desired.  Place any leftover onion or celery pieces in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet. Place chicken on top.

Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 180° when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove from oven, let rest for at least 15 minutes, and serve. Yum!

Tips
– If you don’t have kitchen twine, you can use unwaxed and unflavored dental floss or upholstery thread.
– Instead of using chicken seasoning, use your favorite fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme.

In Honor of the First Day of Summer: A Delicious Chicken and Veggie Marinade for the Grill

21 Jun

It has felt like summer for a month now. But today marks the summer solstice and the official first day of summer. To honor the longest day of the year we’d better fire up the grill!

This marinade is one of my favorites. It is so simple… just two ingredients! And it packs a serious punch after marinating for only 20 minutes. It simply can’t be beat.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables Marinade

Time: 5 minutes to make, at least 20 minutes to marinade.
Servings: I marinated 2 big chicken breast and about 3 c. of chopped veggies.
Level: Easy

2/3 c. Zesty Italian dressing (you can use lite or fat free)
almost 1 Tbs. Weber Grill Kick’n Chicken seasoning

Mix ingredients together in a large zip-loc bag. Add whole chicken breasts and various chopped veggies. Seal bag and rub marinade all through chicken and veggies. Lay bag flat on the counter and let marinade sit for at least 20 minutes, turning bag a few times.

Grill over medium heat for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Yum!

Tips
– I had leftover red and green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and white button mushrooms from my Steak and Veggie Kabobs. I used those veggies plus a roughly chopped onion.
– I grilled my veggies in a grilling basket.

Chili Cheese Turkey Dogs

20 Jun

These are some serious knife and fork dogs. The spicy chili and grilled hot dog combo is a classic that simply can’t be beat.

I NEVER order these when I’m out because chili can be unpredictable and VERY VERY fatty. You never know what the consistency is going to be like and you can never tell what cut of meat has been used. I like my chili chunky. I want to be able to see the meat, beans, and tomatoes and taste them all individually if I wanted to. I know, I know… I’m such a weirdo.

This chili is not just good on hot dogs. It is also delicious when served alone, on top of Fritos or tortilla chips, topped with sour cream and cheese, or any combination of the three. An added bonus?! This chili recipe is quick and easy and only takes 15 minutes to make!

Speedy Spicy Chili

Servings: 4
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
1 can chili ready tomatoes
1 can chili beans
1/4 c. jalapeños
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

In a deep sauté  pan over medium-high heat, cook onions and garlic in a little oil until they become fragrant. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring often, until chili reduces and becomes thick. Yum!

Grill hot dogs, place in warmed hot dog buns, and top with chili and shredded cheese. Yum!

Tips
– My dad likes to add mustard to the top of his chili dogs.
– Jason likes to add sour cream.
– You can use regular hot dogs instead of turkey dogs.
– You can also leave the meat out of the chili and use vegetarian hot dogs.

You Hate Leftovers? No Way… and Big Boy Burritos

18 Jun

I recently had an interesting conversation with a guy about leftovers. I am leftover obsessed and he was telling how much he absolutely HATES them. After talking  about soggy casseroles, spoonfuls of peas, and one bite of this and that thrown back on a plate and stuck in the microwave, I almost agreed with him. GAAARRRROSSS.

It occurred to me that whenever I use leftovers, I rarely ever eat them in exactly the same way. I always turn them in to something completely different, so instead of boringly eating the same meal, I just have half of the leg work done for me when beginning my next meal.

Case in point: Last night’s burritos. I call them Big Boy Burritos because they are almost too stuffed to fit into a tortilla. Good news? You don’t need any sides. All of your veggies and protein are wrapped up into one filling bundle. Yum!

The day before I  made Steak and Veggie Kabobs and had a lot leftover. I made leftovers on purpose so I could have steak, veggies, and rice already done for a quick meal later. If you think ahead, you can make weeknight dinners a breeze for nights when you’re in a hurry.

Big Boy Burritos

Servings: However much you have leftover.
Time: 10 minutes, max
Level: Easy

Steak or chicken, cooked
Veggies, cooked
Salsa
Rice
Black Beans
Tortillas
Sour cream
Cheese, shredded

Slice meat and veggies into bite sized pieces.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat meat, veggies, a few spoonfuls of salsa, rice, and black beans until warmed throughout.

Microwave tortillas for 15 seconds to help them become more pliable. Top tortillas with desired amounts of salsa and sour cream. Top with warmed meat mixture and a little cheese. Wrap it up and you’re good to go! Yum!

Steak and Veggie Kabobs

16 Jun

This marinade isn’t true to the original recipe because I couldn’t remember it exactly but comes from a great friend and amazing lasagna maker, Web. He made it for us a few weeks back and they were amazing!

Summertime screams “Turn on the Grill!” so that is just what we did. What better way to beat the 100° weather than to spend time outside over a fiery grill? Kidding… it always takes some convincing in this hot humidity to get the grill going in our house but tonight, it was well worth it.

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Steak and Veggie Kabobs

Time: 24 hours… but seriously about 10-15 minutes to prepare
Servings: 4-6
Level: Easy

Marinade:
1 c. Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 c. Worcestershire
1/2 c. Dale’s Low Sodium Steak Seasoning (picture in slideshow)
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Kabobs:
1 1/2 lbs. chuck roast, or your favorite cut of beef… almost anything will do, cut into big bite sized pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped into big bite sized pieces
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 package white button mushrooms, cut in half, length wise

In a long dish, whisk marinade ingredients together. Add meat and veggies.

Toss to coat. Cover dish in plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the fridge, stirring once or twice throughout the day.

When ready to grill, thread meat and veggies on skewers.

Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning often to ensure even grilling.

Yum!

Tips
– Serve with a side of brown rice.
– Skewer pineapple and grill for a sweet addition.
– Use leftovers to make steak fajitas.

I Love Birthday Cake… Box or Not

13 Jun

Mr. Pantry Chef had a birthday!!! Although this delicious little carrot cake came straight out of a box, I still added eggs and oil, mixed it up, baked it, and frosted it. It’s the thought that counts. Right?

Crushed pecans added a nice crunch. I put wax paper under the sides and made a royal mess getting them on there but once the paper, full of excess pecans, was removed, it turned out pretty.

Happy Birthday to my greatest love. I can’t believe it has been an entire year already. Didn’t we just celebrate? The older you get, the faster the years go by. Thankfully, these fast moving years have been full of complete joy and happiness.

Yum!

Okie Dokie Artichokie Dip

12 Jun

I love artichokes. They are delicious on pizzas, amazing in pasta dishes, and great in salads. I love this artichoke dip recipe because it really brings out the bite that artichokes naturally have. Using a little citrus and tangy yogurt makes the artichoke come alive.

Having a can of artichoke hearts in the pantry can be a life saver when you need a last minute appetizer for impromptu company or for those lovely nights when your husband forgets to tell you, until you’re brushing your teeth for bed, that he signed up to bring something for the potluck at work the next day.  🙂

Artichoke Dip

Servings: 8
Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy

1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. mayo
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Drain artichoke hearts and chop them into bite sized pieces.

Mix all ingredients together and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yum!

Tips
– Making this ahead of time will help enhance the flavor. Honestly, it’s not that great immediately. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour if you can.
– I used non-fat yogurt and low-fat mayo.
– Try using Greek yogurt instead.
– Don’t have yogurt? Use  1/2 c. of extra mayo or 1/2 c. of sour cream.
– Serve dip with crackers or veggies.

Leftover Pre-baked Crescent Rolls? Make Dessert!

11 Jun

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I had two triangles left over after making Peppered Gravy Pot Pie so I decided to make dessert. Why not? And what a treat! I NEVER make dessert. These would also be yummy for breakfast.

Cinnamon Pecan Crescents

Servings: 2 (But you could use the whole tube of crescents)
Time: 10 minutes
Level: Easy

Crescent Roll triangles
Cream Cheese
Cinnamon and Sugar (I always keep a small container of these two mixed together)
Pecans, chopped

Lay the crescent rolls out flat. On the wide end, spread cream cheese and top with cinnamon and sugar and a few pecans. Roll triangles up like regular crescent rolls.

Bake at 375° for 8 minutes. Yum!

Peppered Gravy Pot Pie

8 Jun

The inspiration for this recipe came from an ingredient I used yesterday. Peppered Gravy! I used it as the sauce for my Breakfast Pizza and I had a lot leftover. What to do… what to do?

In the fridge, I also had a tube of crescent rolls that needed to be used so I figured I could put the two together. Peppered gravy would have been delish poured over hamburger steak but I wasn’t in the mood.

I grabbed a chicken breast and two cans of veggies from my pantry, and threw it all together for a seriously comforting and super quick dinner. Yum!

Peppered Gravy Pot Pie

Servings: 4-6
Time:  25 minutes
Level: EASY!

1 chicken breast
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. peppered gravy, prepared according to packaged directions
1 can mixed vegetables, rinsed and drained
1 can diced potatoes, rinsed and drained
1 tube crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375°. In a pan over medium-high heat, cook chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, until no longer pink. Shred chicken using two forks. In a bowl, mix together peppered gravy and vegetables. Pour vegetables into a glass baking dish and top with shredded chicken.

Roll out crescent rolls and place, flat, on top of dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crescent roll top is golden brown. Yum!

Tips
You might not use the entire roll of crescents. If not, stay tuned for what I did with my leftover rolls!!
– I topped my portion with a little hot sauce.
– If you don’t have peppered gravy, you could always use a can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup mixed with a little milk or liquid stock.

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