Friday, May 22, 2009

Blackened Chicken and Seasoned Potatoes

This is easy and cheap. We always have frozen chicken breasts in our freezer, and the rice and spices in our cupboard. As for the potatoes, this time around we just bought a seasoning packet from the store and I was surprised how good they turned out.

Blackened Chicken

1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayeene pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together paprika, salt, cayenne, cumin, thyme, white pepper, and onion powder. Rub each side of the chicken breasts with the mixture.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat for 15 minutes.

Place chicken in hot pan and cook for 1 minute. Turn and cook 1 minute on other side. Place breasts on a non-stick foil lined cookie sheet.

Bake 10-20 minutes or until no longer pink and juices run clear.

BBQ'ed Brats and Baked Beans

I had my first brat when my father-in-law bbq'ed for us at our house when my in-laws were visiting. I was skeptical at first, but loved it when I tried my first bite. This is an easy and delicious meal, and great for summer time when you just want to grill.

My husband gets Johnsonville brats, and we started getting them a little spicier than before, now that Cholula has started to win my wimpy taste buds over :)

We just heated up a can of beans, and I had forgotten just how yummy they can be. I guess it had been a really long time.

Tex Mex Cheesesteaks

I got this recipe from my friend who got it from Rachel Ray's magazine. We've tweaked it a bit and made it our own. The recipe is how we usually make it, but when I took the picture we improvised a bit. It's easy and delicious.

Tex Mex Cheesesteaks

1 package prepared guacamole (we love Wholly Guacamole!)
2 hoagie rolls, split (put in 350 degree oven until crisp)
1/2 lb roast beef from the deli
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 slices provalone or pepper jack cheese
1 tomato, sliced (optional)

Spread guacamole on roll. Cook roast beef with chili powder until hot. Add cheese on top of each portion, cook until melted. Transfer to hoagie. Top with tomato and Cholula


This recipe comes from and was submitted by Belen. I've changed it a bit. I came across it looking for recipes to use up ground beef. It's easy and it tastes great. Plus, it tastes even better as leftovers. I bet you could freeze your leftovers for an easy dinner.

2 cups water
4 carrots, sliced
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups salsa, medium or hot (I like to use Herdez here, see previous post)
2 cans low sodium beef stock
1/2 pound ground beef
Seasoned dry bread crumbs

1. In a large stock pot, bring water, carrots, potatoes, onion, salsa, and beef stock to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes.

2. Mix the beef, and enough bread crumbs and milk to make a good-texture meatball. Form into 1/2 inch meatballs, and drop into boiling broth. Once soup returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low.

3. Cover and cook 20 minutes, or until meatballs are no longer pink in center and vegetables are tender.

Chicken Rice Casserole

I think this recipe originally came from my husband's sister, and we've tweaked it a bit. I know I say it a lot, but it really is one of our go-to recipes. It's pretty easy, but it takes time to bake and it's not the healthiest meal. But, boy does it taste yummy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 1/4 cup rice
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 can cream of chicken (low sodium)
1 can cream of mushroom (low sodium)
1 can cream of celery (low sodium)
1 1/2 cans of water
1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (separated into 1/4 and 1/4 portions)

Combine all ingredients (reserve 1/4 cup parmesan). Place in 9x13 dish lined with non-stick foil. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup parmesan on top. Cook 1 1/2 hour at 350 degrees.

Empanadas Cordobesas

This is a family favorite of my husband, and now one of my favorites. The recipe comes from my mother-in-law and is named for the region in Argentina where she grew up. Each region has it's own recipe. Last year she gave me a tutorial on how to make them which was pretty cool. We finally decided to be brave and try it on our own. The only problem we had was finding the empanada discs, which literally don't exist in our town, apparently Goya doesn't deliver this far north. So, we made homemade dough, but I won't include that recipe here, but post a comment if you want it and I'll be happy to share it. I figure most people don't live so far out of the way as we do (but not for long, we're moving the the big city in a few weeks :)

Empanadas Cordobesas (this is the full recipe, but we halved it for just the two of us with plenty of left-overs)

2 package Goya empanada discs (frozen food section) defrosted and cover until ready to use
2 lbs. ground beef
1 large potato, chopped very finely chopped (raisin size)
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 to 1 small onion, chopped
1/2 package pinenton dulce or 1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 beef bullion cube
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins
2 boiled eggs, chopped
green olives without pit

Brown meat with onions, drain fat. Put 2 tbs oil in pan with meat. Turn down heat. Add tomato and potato. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and add bullion cube. Stir to dissolve. Add salt, pimenton/paprika, cumin, sugar and raisins. Simmer covered 1 hour. (don't dry out-if you want juicier add more water or another small tomato). Cool mixture.

Flour table or surface. Stretch disc slightly. Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons filling in center of disc. Add 1/4 teaspoon boiled egg and 1 olive. Lightly brush edges with water and fold disc, overlapping small folds ("repulgue"). Don't over stuff!

Fry in hot oil (375-400 degrees). Cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

You can freeze extras and heat up in the oven (350 degrees 15 minutes).

I would love to try baking the empanadas, but my husband flatly refuses, that's not how mom does it :) I guess you just gotta live a little every now and then.

Classic Comfort Food

One of my favorite lunches is tomato soup and grilled cheese. I recently discovered Trader Joe's Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup, and I love it. The grilled cheese on homemade wheat bread was pretty awesome too.