In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pan-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

As a child, I can remember certain things that I did not like, and brussel sprouts was one of them!  However, I think that if I would have had brussel sprouts made for me this way as a kid, I would have had a different opinion about this vegetable.

The bacon really does make this vegi taste so good!  I'm not even a lover of bacon, but when these two things are combined, something wonderful happens!  Because bacon makes everything better, right?

The simplicity of this dish is also something to love!  You don't have to be great in the kitchen to make this!  Sometimes simple is best.

1 lb. brussel sprouts
1 lb. bacon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut bacon into bite size pieces. Cut ends off of brussel sprouts and set aside. On medium high heat, fry bacon until cooked.  When finished, pull out bacon and let drain on a plate with paper towels.  Add brussel sprouts to the bacon grease.  Salt and pepper brussel sprouts and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Go easy on the salt, as there is already salt in the bacon.  Cook brussel sprouts until tender.  Lower the heat if the brussel sprouts look like they are burning.  Add bacon back in once brussel sprouts are cooked, just long enough to warm the bacon back up.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Honey Glazed Carrots

Honey glazed carrots might be my favorite way to make cooked carrots.  My boys love this sweet little side dish!  This is quick and easy to make, and taste delish!

1 lb. baby carrots (or chopped carrots)
1/4 c. stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. brown sugar
fresh thyme or parsley

On medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in stock, honey and brown sugar.  Add carrots and cook for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley. 

Parmesan Herb Roasted Potatoes

Yesterday I shared how I make a lemon and herb roasted chicken. Tonight I thought I would share a couple sides to to with the chicken.

Potatoes are something you can always roast with your chicken, but roasting them separately and adding some Parmesan to the mix just takes things up a notch.  I personally prefer them this way!  They are so yummy!

I honestly don't measure with this dish.  I'm giving my estimated measurements below, but honestly, you don't need to measure either.  This is super easy.  Cut some potatoes, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with S&P, fresh herbs and parm, and these babies are ready for the oven!

1-2 lb. red potatoes
2-3 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roughly cut potatoes into bite size pieces.  Place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle potatoes with live oil.  Salt and pepper potatoes. Sprinkle fresh herbs and Parmesan.  Using hands, make sure all potatoes are evenly coated before placing in the oven for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken

I love a good roasted chicken.  I don't roast chicken often, but when I do it's usually for Sunday supper.  Lemon and herb is my go-to combination when I'm roasting a chicken. We actually had this dish for Easter dinner this year, and it was perfect!  The lemon and herb combination made for a bright and beautiful spring meal.  The nice thing about roasted chicken is that it's "fancy" enough for a holiday, but "common" enough for a family supper. 

So let's talk chicken!  Whole chickens are one of those things that I only buy if they are on sale.  But in all honestly, the better quality chicken you buy the better it will turn out.  I've had roasted chicken turn out good and I've had it turn out not-so-good, and the only difference was the quality/price of my chicken, not the method that I used to roast it. There are few things that I really notice a difference on when it comes to price, but in my experience, whole chickens is one of them!  I stopped buying the least expensive brand whole chickens at the market.  Now I just wait for the good ones to go on sale.  

Whole Chicken
Olive oil
2 Lemons
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
4 tbs. melted butter
1 tbs. minced garlic or 2-3 cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove insides of the chicken.  Rinse entire chicken inside and out. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, lined with aluminium foil and drizzled with olive oil. Salt and pepper chicken.  Rub butter and garlic mixture all over chicken.  I always like to put some under the skin as well.  If you want more butter and garlic, go for it!  In my attempt to keep this somewhat lean, I draw the line at 4 tbs. Slice two lemons.  I like to place a few slices inside the chicken and the rest arranged on top of the chicken.  Chop fresh rosemary and garlic and sprinkle it all over the chicken.  I don't usually measure, but if I had to guess it's probably a tbs. of each herb.  I also place a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme inside the chicken for additional flavor.  Roast chicken for 40-60 minutes, depending on size of chicken, or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees.  If it looks like the chicken is getting too dark while roasting, cover with aluminum foil. Let set for fifteen minutes to let the meat rest before slicing. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Peach and Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

Peaches and blueberries are in season, and I found the perfect recipe to celebrate the occasion!  I discovered this recipe, while searching Pinterest and decided to give it a try. Check out the original link for a printable recipe.

This cake turned out great! I love that Greek yogurt is used as a butter substitute.  There is still butter in the recipe, but for a dense cake like this, 4 tbs. of butter is not much at all!

My husband, lover of all fruity desserts, claims that this may be one of his new favorites, which means this recipe is definitely a keeper!

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 tbs. butter, softened
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
6 oz. blueberries
2 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 tsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, butter and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add vanilla and Greek yogurt until well creamy.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased nine inch spring form pan.  Arrange peaches and blueberries on top.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for for about one hour or until cake turns golden and is done in the middle.  Let cool before putting on a plate and dusting with powdered sugar.

NOTE:  After reading some of the comments in the original link, I waited to add the peaches and a few blueberries on top until about 10-15 into bake time, due to some people saying the fruit sunk too far into the batter while baking.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chinese Slaw

In our home, we really enjoy Asian flavors in our food.  This crunchy slaw goes great with just about any Asian dish.  Of course, one can make their own Asian style vinaigrette to complement the slaw, but Trader Joe's has a really inexpensive dressing that I like to use in this slaw.  The crunchy peanuts and noodles give additional texture to this dish.  Just make sure to add the dressing just before serving, or the peanuts and noodles will get soggy.  

1 Napa cabbage, finely chopped
1/2 of red cabbage, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 c. scallions, chopped
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
1 tbs. sesame seeds
1 c. Asian Vinaigrette (I use Trader Joe's Sesame Soy Ginger vinaigrette)
1 c. crunchy chow mien noodles

Toss cabbage, carrots and scallions together.  Just before serving mix in dressing.  Toss in Peanuts and crunchy chow mien.  Top with sesame seeds.

Lettuce Wraps (a healthy P.F. Chang's version)

I don't know about you, but when I go to P.F. Chang's, I always order those oh-so-yummy lettuce wraps as an appetizer!  I like them so much, that on occasion, I've even ordered them as my meal!

There's just something about the flavor and texture of this dish that I enjoy.  It's savory, and when that bit of crunch in the meat is combined with the smooth crisp lettuce, it's like a party in my mouth.

When I saw this copycat recipe for lettuce wraps, I knew I'd have to try it.  This has become one of my husband's favorite week night meals! Best of all, this copycat recipe not only taste a lot like the real deal, it also makes a healthy meal! The link even gives recipes to the sauces that P.F. Chang's serves with this appetizer, although my husband and I enjoy this dish without the sauces. 


Stir Fry Meat:
2 tbs. sesame oil
3 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 pound ground turkey
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. minced mushrooms
1/2 of an onion, minced
1-2 tbs. minced garlic, or about three cloves

Stir Fry Sauce:
2 tbs. light soy sauce
2 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar


Heat sesame oil and 2 tbs. olive oil over medium heat.  Add ground turkey and fry for 5 minutes.  Push meat aside and add remaining oil and remaining ingredients. Add stir fry sauce and cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve with lettuce.  I recommend Boston lettuce.