The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. August 13, 2015

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner — Jessica @ 4:05 pm
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Fresh pineapple is one of those things that I often buy and we either eat it within a day or we don’t eat it at all and it goes in the compost. After throwing away two whole pineapples, I was optimistic that we would actually get around to eating this one. Well, we didn’t- at least not in the traditional way alongside breakfast or lunch. I came home from work and noticed it was still sitting on the baker’s rack and needed to be used. I thought about making some kind of dessert but really, I just needed to get dinner on the table. So, I decided I would work the pineapple into our meal. (I should clarify that I am not generally a fan of fruit in my dinner). This is what I came up with based on the chicken I had thawed and some veggies we had in our refrigerator. It was a winner for both of us & perfect served with coconut rice for a complete meal.

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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Serves 6

Ingredients-

Marinade

1 fresh pineapple- peeled, cored and diced into large chunks- RESERVE HALF

1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)

1/4 c packed brown sugar

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

3 TBLS olive oil

1 bunch green onions- sliced (I use scissors)

Everything Else

1 lb chicken cut into large chunks (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)

8 oz mushrooms

1 lb mini sweet peppers

1 large red onion- quartered and seperated

Remaining pineapple chunks that you reserved from the marinade

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1.Place first 6 items in food processor and blend until pineapple is broken down into very small pieces.

2. Add green onions

3.Reserve 3/4 cup marinade for basting while on grill

4. Add chicken and mushrooms to marinade and let sit in refrigerator for 2-12 hrs.

5. Using kabob sticks that you have soaked in water, alternate ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple and onion). Place on foil lined cookie sheets until you get them all done.

6, Cook on grill (grilling times will vary). Ours took about 35 minutes. Rotate every 10-15 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade when you place on grill and every time you rotate them.

7. Remove from grill and let cool slightly.

8. Enjoy!

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Easy Pesto Grill Pizzas. May 12, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,grilling — Jessica @ 9:41 am
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We do a lot of grilling in the summer. Dinner is often some kind of meat and whatever veggies need to get used up thrown on the grill while we work in the garden or enjoy a cocktail in the backyard. These grill pizzas are a nice change in the meat and veggies routine. Using pre-made Naan makes things much easier than using pizza dough (especially when cooking on a charcoal grill). The toppings can be switched out to your own taste but this combination is always a winner for us.

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Pesto Grill Pizzas

serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 pre-made Naan Bread

4 Tbls Pesto

4 oz Fresh Mozzarella (thinly sliced)

1/2 each red, yellow and green pepper ( I slice off the entire half and cut into two pieces for grilling)

1/2 red onion (thick sliced rings)

4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms

3 Tbls olive oil

2 Sausage Links (these are turkey Italian but I have used chicken & pork Italian as well)

Fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

Medium Tomato- diced (optional)

1. Get your grill ready. We use charcoal and there is not a lot of temperature control, so we just start when it is ready. While grill is heating, chop pepper and onion and toss with  2 Tbls olive oil. Be careful with the onions because you want them to stay together as best as possible. Toss mushrooms with remaining olive oil and wrap in foil.

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2. Put peppers, onions and sausage links directly on grill. Put foil packet on grill. Cook until peppers are blistered and sausage are cooked. Onions may still have a little “bite” to them and that’s ok. Cooking times will vary based on your grill.

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3. While items are grilling, place Naan bread on grill safe pan. Top each Naan bread with 2 Tbls Pesto and 2 oz of mozzarella. You can place bread directly on grill but I find it easier to use a pan.

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4. Once items are cooked, remove from grill and slice all into bite size pieces. Pile grilled veggies and sausage on Naan. Top with fresh Parmesan. Return to grill and cook with cover closed until the cheese melts (again, times will vary based on your grill).

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5. Remove from grill, Top with diced tomatoes and cut each Naan into 4 pieces.

6. Enjoy!

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork. March 18, 2015

Filed under: Crock Pot,Dinner — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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Life has been really really busy lately. We are both working 12+ hr days 4 or 5 days a week and trying to get ourselves and our home ready for Spring, see our friends and family and spend time together when we have a bit of free time. All of that and the normal business of living~ cleaning, cooking, errands etc. Needless to say, crock pot recipes have been a lifesaver. I don’t always love food from the crock pot but I have found/created a few recipes that are tried and true for us. Pulled Pork is one of them. I buy a large 5-6 lb pork shoulder roast from Wegmans and cut it in half and throw it in the basement freezer for when I need a crock pot recipe. The half roast makes enough for about 4 meals for us. I often make the roast and we eat it as BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with homemade cole slaw the first night and pulled pork and black bean tacos later in the week. I am sharing my basic pulled pork recipe today and I will share the taco recipe later this week or next. I usually just add bottled BBQ sauce to the shredded pulled pork for sandwiches so no real reason for a recipe there

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork

2-3 lb pork roast

2 bay leaves

1 Tbls cumin

6 cloves garlic- peeled

1 large onion- thinly sliced

salt & pepper

1/2 cup broth or water

Directions

1. Trim fat from pork roast ( I leave a little, but cut off the big chunks)

2. Cover roast with cumin, salt & pepper

3. Place bay leaves, sliced onion, garlic cloves and broth in crock pot. Add pork on top of other ingredients.

4. Cook on low 8-10 hrs. Pork should just pull apart with fork.

5. Remove bay leaves.

6. Shred Pork with forks right in crock pot and mix onions, broth and garlic cloves into shredded pork. The garlic cloves will just “melt” right in.

7. Serve as desired.

8. Enjoy!

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5 Ingredient 15 Minute Tilapia. March 11, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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This is a great recipe for when you really have no plan and you want some real food really fast. I always have all of the ingredients in the house and the fish can be thawed within minutes or even cooked from frozen (with a few extra minutes in the pan). It is delicious and tasty enough for those people who “don’t like” fish.

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Ingredients

serves 2

2 Tilapia filets (thawed)

2 Tbls Butter

2 Cloves Garlic- halved butterfly style

Old Bay seasoning

Fresh Lemon

1. Melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add garlic cloves. Cook for about 4 or 5 minutes. The garlic will flavor the butter. Remove garlic cloves.

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2. Sprinkle both sides of Tilapia liberally with Old Bay seasoning. Place Tilapia in Butter, turn heat back up to medium.

3. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side until fish is white and flakes easily.

4. Plate fish and squeeze a lemon wedge over it.

5. Enjoy!

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Stove Top Chicken Parmesan. March 5, 2015

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner — Jessica @ 9:15 am
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Our oven was broken for a month or so a couple of winters ago. No oven in the winter is rough. I would have probably never even noticed it was broken in the summer but once winter hits, I like all things roasted and baked. We were craving the cheesy, saucy breaded goodness of Chicken Parmesan but the traditional method of baking was off the table, so I improvised. Despite being a stove top meal, there isn’t really any more work involved than if you were putting it in the oven. So if you are ovenless for some reason or maybe it is just too hot to use the oven and you still want something melty, saucy and delicious- give this recipe a try!

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Stove Top Chicken Parmesan

serves 4

Ingredients~

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Butterflied & Cut Through- creating 4 pieces of chicken total)

3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

1/3 Cup Shredded Parmesan (the fresh kind works best)

1/2 tsp each of Dried Basil, Oregano and Parsley

salt & pepper to taste

2 eggs- beaten

2 Tbls Olive Oil

1 jar of your favorite marinara

1/4 cup of water (depending on your sauce)

Sliced Provolone or Fresh Mozarella (2-4 slices)

Pasta for serving

Directions~

1. Heat Olive Oil in large skillet over medium heat.

2. Place eggs in shallow dish and beat slightly.

3.Place panko, Parmesan, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in shallow dish and mix to combine.

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4. Dip 1 piece of chicken in eggs and then in Panko Parmsan mixture. Be sure to coat both sides well. Place in skillet with hot oil. Repeat with 3 remaining pieces. Cook about 4 minutes per side until coating mixture is golden brown and crispy.

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5. Once both sides are crispy, pour your favorite sauce over chicken in skillet. If sauce is really thick pour a little into skillet and then add 1/4 water to jar and shake before pouring the rest in. Reduce heat. Cover and let simmer 20 minutes.

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6. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of cheese and return lid until cheese is melted (about 2-3 minutes).

7. Serve over pasta.

8. Enjoy!

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Creamy Dijon Salmon with Fresh Dill. February 19, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood — Jessica @ 9:45 am
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I don’t have a lot of tricks up my sleeve when it comes to salmon. I used to work for a caterer and they would always serve poached salmon with a cold mayo/garlic/dill sauce and I always loved that. Besides that, I usually just use a honey/soy sauce based marinade and call it good. Those two things worked for quite awhile but I was ready for something a little different last time salmon was on the menu. I did some recipe research and saw mustard paired with salmon over and over again. Taking that into consideration, I combined an old favorite and added a new twist. Creamy mayonaise, good dijon mustard, minced garlic and fresh dill make the perfect easy topping for baked salmon. Try this soon!

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Creamy Dijon Salmon with Fresh Dill

Serves 2

2 salmon filets

2 Tbls of mayonaise

1 Tbls good dijon mustard

1 Tbls chopped fresh dill

1-2 cloves minced fresh garlic

salt & pepper to taste

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1. Preheat oven to 375º.

2. Lay salmon in baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper

3. Mix mayonaise, dijon, dill and garlic in small bowl.

4. Divide evenly between filets and spread over top of each.

5. Bake at 375º for about 20 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

 

5 Ingredient Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers. July 6, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner,Uncategorized — Jessica @ 9:39 am
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Sometimes I actually enjoy delaying trips to the grocery store because it forces me to get out of my comfort zone & use up some of the random ingredients I have purchased but never used. This recipe is exactly that. It involves only 5 ingredients ( excluding salt & pepper) and requires very little hands on time. The honey & I were both happy with the results & decided it would definitely make it onto the menu plan again.

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5 Ingredient Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers
Serves 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips (I used kitchen scissors to do this)
1 can coconut milk
2/3 c panko bread crumbs (I seem to be on a roll with these lately)
1/3 c sweetened coconut flakes
Coconut oil (can substitute olive oil)
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Dump coconut milk into gallon freezer bag, put chicken strips in bag & marinate 2-12 hrs
2.  Preheat oven to 375°
3. Place metal cooling rack on cookie sheet (this helps the fingers bake up crispy all around)
4. Remove chicken fingers from bag & drain off excess milk. Salt & pepper chicken fingers.
5. In second gallon bag, mix coconut flakes & panko. Add chicken fingers 2 at a time & shake to coat.
6. Once all chicken fingers are coated & placed on rack, drizzle the tops with coconut oil
7. Bake at 375° 20-30 minutes depending on size of chicken fingers
8. Serve with condiment of choice. We have this spicy mango coconut stuff we get at Wegman’s and it was perfect.
9. ENJOY!