Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicken Shreds

Like most people I am a busy gal. Between the kids (one being a sleepless baby), the part-time job, and a big house to clean there are never enough hours in the day. I really feel like family dinner is one priority I just can't scrimp on. That time together without any distractions is priceless. To make this happen I have had to find ways to get dinner on the table QUICK. A couple of years ago I can up with this idea and it has hands down been the best time saver for me.
Whenever boneless skinless chicken is on sale I stock up. It is good to generally have on hand. I use part of it to grill but most of it I make chicken shreds with it to keep in the freezer.
To make your shreds take your chicken and put it in the crock pot. Seriously...that is it. I have had e-mail after e-mail asking if you salt it, put water in...etc. Nope, nopey, nope. You can add seasoning in your recipe. As for the water chicken has so much in it you don't need to add any. If you are worried throw 1/2-1 cup water in the bottom. It really won't matter. Let it cook on low for about 8 hours. You will know it is done when it shreds easily with a fork. I have bought some tough tough birds in my time. If you cook it long enough they all shred.
Once it is done and you have a mound of shredded chicken let it cool for a moment. I then bag it up (I use plain old ziploc sandwich bags. We use them fast enough I don't worry about freezer bags). Don't pack your bags too full. About a cup is all you need for most recipes.
Once you have these in your freezer the possibilities are endless for getting dinner on the table in a hurry. Enchiladas, chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, tacos, wraps, panini's, casseroles...all are made easier by having your chicken pre-done. My favorite is that I don't need to worry about defrosting. I can throw it in a soup frozen or defrost it in a minute in the microwave.
Try just might be an answer for you too!

***Please note: I have heard you can throw your chicken in the crockpot frozen. I am always a little nervous about getting sick from chicken. I once heard it wasn't a wise idea and have pretty much stuck with that.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dutch baby!

I have a wonderful Aunt Lynn. She is always doing thoughtful things for me. She sent us a package the other day. Isn't that the best when you get a box you weren't expecting? She included a bunch of old Cooking Light magazines (my favorite magazine), some special Halloween prizes for Keaton and THIS lovely cookbook. I said, "why would she do such a nice thing"? Keaton answered (matter of factly), "well she met me and she really likes me". I guess he is right!
I was thumbing through this book this morning and found a recipe for a dutch baby. I have never made one so I thought it would be a nice Sunday morning breakfast (the rest of the week I have a protein shake and toast).
This recipe calls for pears. I did not have pears (although I think they would have been great) so I did apples and added some cinnamon. The only thing I think I would change was I would have done one more apple. The thing I really loved was it didn't raise my blood sugar too high. It doesn't have much sugar for being pancake like and the three eggs give it a lot of protein. It was easy and yum, click here to check it out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Teriyaki Sauce

I try to make my own condiments. It saves money and usually tastes much better. When I find meat on sale I make up a huge batch and re-bag the meat with the marinade in a ziptop bag. I then freeze it. When I need a fast meal I can pull one out in the morning and I know all I have to do is throw it on the grill at dinnertime. How easy is that? This is one of my favorite Teriyaki Marinades. I will tell you about the weight watcher roasted potatoes on the plate I got this recipe off of Tried and True with Heidi. She has some great recipes. Teriyaki Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
Mix it all up...easy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Angie's Pie Crust

I was making a quiche the other night and I needed a pie crust. I didn't want to go to the store to buy one, didn't want to make one so I was in a pinch. My friend Angie had posted this on facebook so I thought I would give it a try. I could not believe how flaky, perfect and good this was....with NO effort. Seriously you HAVE to try this next time you need a quick pie crust. The best part is there is no clean up. It uses 1/2 cup oil instead of the 1/2 cup butter most pie crusts have. Angie suggests for a savory filling using olive oil and upping the salt to 1 tsp. For a fruit pie she suggests upping the sugar to 3 tsp. I thought it was really good. Not quite as good as my sister Amara's homemade crust but good none the less much better then the store pre-made.
Angie's Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
2 Tbsp milk
Put all those ingredients right in your pie plate (no need to pre-grease). Mix them up with a fork. Prick the bottom and sides. If using a non-bake filling bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.
If using it for a baked pie/quiche bake as directed in the recipe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

We love Chicken Parm here. We love Mimi's but can't afford to go there enough to cure the craving. This is not a quick meal but it is worth the effort on a special night. I serve mine with homemade marinara and pasta. You could serve it with rice, potatoes, whatever.
Chicken Parm
2 boneless skinless breasts (you will end up with 4 servings)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup Romano (you could actually use Parmesan as the name suggests but I am partial to Romano)
1 tsp salt (you could use less or none and salt to taste after)
1 egg
Slice the chicken in 1/2 (to reduce the thickness by 1/2) then pound in a gallon Ziploc bag with a meat mallet, rolling pin, whatever you have. You are trying to go for about 1/2 inch.
Beat egg slightly in a bowl. In another bowl add the Romano, crumbs and salt. Get a frying pan ready with a Tbsp butter melted. Dip the chicken in the egg coating both sides, then dip in crumbs coating both sides. Lay in the fry pan. Fry about 3 minutes both sides until golden brown. If your chicken is thin enough they should be cooked completely. To keep warm put in a pan in the oven while you cook the others.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lion House Lemon Bars

I am reading again "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" again. I like that book because it helps me refocus that I am not only caring for my two little guys but also my favorite big guy. The other day I made him some lemon bars...his favorite...just 'cause. I really think this is the all-time best lemon bar recipe. I have also swapped out the rind and juice and made orange bars, and lime bars with this same recipe. Enjoy!
Lion House Lemon Bars
1/2 cup soft butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
Cream butter and powder then add flour. It will be crumbly. Spread and press in a 8x8 pan. Cook at 325 for 15 or 20 minutes (I always do 20). While crust is baking prepare this next layer:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon (actually the rind is what give it the strong lemon flavor, I grate the whole rind)
Beat eggs then mix in the other ingredients. Pour over hot crust. Bake for an additional 18-25 minutes (I do about 22) at 325. Remove and dust with additional powdered sugar.
Note: Can be doubled for 9x13 pan.