Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Aztec Chicken

I hate seafood. I love Red Lobster. Really, I go for the biscuits (great make at home recipe here), and for a bit of nostalgia. When I go to Red Lobster, I used to order Aztec Chicken....until they took it off the menu! It was so good. I would even crave it sometimes.
Basically, the Aztec Chicken is a grilled chicken breast with pico de gallo on top. This is my attempt to make it at home. We thought it was good, but I still miss the one at Red Lobster.
I served this with a side of black beans seasoned with garlic, cumin, chili powder and onion.

3 Tbl oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion
2 Tbl cilantro
1 Tbl paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
4 chicken breast
Pico de Gallo

Lime Sauce
1/2 c tequila (or 1/4c lime juice + 1/4c vodka--not the same, but works in a pinch)
2 Tbl lime juice
2 Tbl shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbl cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1/4 c heavy cream
1 stick butter (I know, I know)
  • Combine oil, garlic, onion, cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt in a food processor (or Magic Bullet). Save 1/4 cup of the mixture. Pour the rest over the chicken breasts. Marinade for a couple of hours.
  • Prepare lime sauce....boil tequila, lime juice, shallots, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Reduce to simmer. Simmer until reduced by half. Stir in heavy cream and butter.
  • Grill chicken using the reserved 1/4cup of spice mixture to baste during grilling.
  • Top chicken with lime sauce and Pico de Gallo. Red Lobster also uses thin strips of crunchy tortilla to top it all off, but I didn't have any.

Lettuce Wraps

As I mentioned in a previous post, I found a recipe for my favorite PF Changs dish...lettuce wraps. I just love these, and I don't know why. It's not really something I would normally order, but my friend got them one time when we were sharing an appetizer for lunch and I thought they were delicious. My husband, was less than thrilled last night when there was a pile of lettuce on his plate and a little bowl of ground meat. I convinced him to try it, and he liked how spicy meat.

The recipe calls for 10 lettuce leaves, but it depends how much meat you put on your lettuce....my husband liked to have a lot of meat with little lettuce (he doesn't like veggies at all!), and he suggested that next time we use tortillas instead of lettuce....Hmmm Asian inspired burritos-interesting...I spread mine between the leaves evenly (must have perfect symmetry...but that is another story for another blog). Anyway, they are great!

10 lettuce leafs
1 lb ground turkey (or beef or chicken)
1 white onion-chopped (I used onion powder--texture issues)
2 Tbl garlic minced
1 small can water chestnuts, chopped
3 green onion, sliced thin (I left out)
1/4 c hoisin sauce (or 2-1/2 Tbl soy sauce, 1 Tbl Peanut Butter, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1-1/2 Tbl honey, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp hot sauce)
1 Tbl soy sauce
2 Tbl rice vinegar (I didn't have this so I used 1 Tbl vinegar + 1 Tbl red wine vinegar-it was good)
1 Tbl chili paste (I used red pepper flakes)
1 Tbl sesame oil
  • Brown meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste. Cook until onion is soft
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until green onion starts to wilt.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mongolian Chicken

I love PF Changs but we rarely go there since it is across town and usually has at least a two hour wait. A couple of days ago I read this post and I knew I had to try the recipe! I've never had the Mongolian Beef since I usually get the Lettuce Wraps (which I will make later this week), but I had all the ingredients on hand to make the Mongolian Beef...except the beef! I thought chicken would work just fine, and I was right. This was delicious! The only change I would make is to use a little less brown sugar next time.

2 Tbl canola oil
1 tsp ginger
2 Tbl garlic
1/2 c soy sauce
1 c brown sugar (I might try 3/4c next time and go from there)
1 c canola oil
1-lb chicken
1/4 c cornstarch
3 green onion, sliced (I omitted this!)
  • Heat oil (Med-High). Add ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce. Add sugar and dissolve. Let boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Place meat and cornstarch in plastic bag to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes to make sure it sticks. ( I really only let it sit about 5 minutes--maybe?)
  • Heat 1 c oil (Med-High). Add chicken. Stir/brown for 2 minutes (more heating time later). Remove from heat. Drain.
  • Clean pan. Return meat to pan. Cook on High for 2 minutes. Add sauce and cook until sauce is thickened-about 2 minutes. Add green onion in the last minute or so if desired.
  • Remove from heat and serve over rice.

Endless PossiblitiesTrail Mix

Trail mix is one of my favorite snacks. It's the perfect mixture of sweet and salty. The last year I taught, one student kept bringing me bags of it to keep in my desk for a snack and I probably ate a huge bag per week....Probably one of the things that helped me gain 75 lbs during my pregnancy! (GRRR!)
It seems like every store-bought mix contains something that is not my favorite or a higher proportion of something than I would like. So instead of purchasing a bag this time, I thought I would try my hand at making my own. I added some of my favorite things, but you could mix whatever you like in yours. Endless possibilities.
I shopped at Aldi for these ingredients and they cost about $4 all together. Your cost would depend on your ingredients of choice.

Makes about 4 cups
1-6oz pkg dried cranberries
1-8oz pkg vanilla yogurt covered raisins
1-20 oz can cashews
1-4oz bag pecans
Other things I love in trail mix...
peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, cinnamon chips
peanut butter m&m's or really any kind of m&m's
any kind of dried fruit
chocolate or yogurt covered dried fruits

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kicked Up Oatmeal Cookies

A former co-worker used to make these amazing cookies which she adapted from this Emeril recipe. The main difference is no nuts and substituting Craisins  for raisins.

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
2 c quick oats
2 c craisins
1 c white chocolate chips
  • Mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs.
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Stir in oats, craisins, and chips.
  • Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350* for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Taco Casserole

When someone in our group of friends has a baby or has surgery, we all pick a day to take them a dinner so they don't have to worry about trying to prepare something while not feeling their best. Last week, our friend had an emergency surgery, but I didn't find out until after I had already been to the store. I was trying to think of something to make out things we had on hand. I knew it had to be something with ground turkey.

I found a recipe in the Taste of Home Ground Beef Recipe Cards book that I had picked up near the cash register one time. This recipe called for tomato sauce and barbecue sauce, but I didn't have either of those. But, I did have a homemade taco seasoning, which I made after reading this blog post.

6-8 servings
Taco Filling:
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
6 oz corn (Mexicorn would be good, too)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbl taco seasoning (or 1 pkt store bought)
Cornbread Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 c cornmeal
2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c cold butter
1/2 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar, divided
1 egg
  • Brown meat, drain. Stir in corn, cheese, chili powder, and taco seasoning. Set aside.
  • For crust, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk, 1/2 cup cheese, and egg.
  • Spread crust mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch baking dish.
  • Pour filling into crust (If you are making for a friend, Pour filling into a baggie so they can top it later)
  • Bake uncovered at 400* for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oprah Biscuits

These biscuits are one of our favorite sides. We love them because they are flavorful  and they go with just about everything. The best part is, they are made with things you probably have on hand which makes them a penny-pinching classic.
The original recipe was aired on the Oprah show a few years ago, thus the name "Oprah Biscuits." I think the guy who was on there might have been her personal chef.

Makes 12
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 Tbl cold butter
4 Tbl (2oz) goat cheese (I used cheddar!)
1 c buttermilk (I used 1 cup milk + 1 Tbl vinegar-let sit for 5 minutes)
butter to grease pan
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Mix all ingredients. Add extra tablespoon of milk if needed.
  • Drop batter onto greased pan (Use an oven proof cast iron skillet if you have one)
  • Brush with melted butter
  • Bake 14-16 minutes or until browned on top.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Sweet Potato Fries

Finding a way to make sweet potatoes that my husband will tolerate is hard. This is probably one of his least favorite vegetables because he doesn't feel like vegetables should be sweet. I was thinking that if he likes zucchini fries, maybe if I prepared sweet potatoes in a similar manner, he would like those too....the verdict: he ate them!

1/2 cup Ritz crackers
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (or chili powder)
1 egg
2 sweet potatoes, cut like fries
Parmesan cheese
  • Crush crackers so they resemble flour
  • Combine crackers, flour, salt, and seasoning in a plastic bag
  • Beat egg in a separate bowl
  • Dip sweet potatoes in the egg and then place in the plastic bag
  • When all the potatoes are in the bag, shake it up to coat.
  • Heat butter or oil in skillet
  • Cook potatoes until desired consistency. I prefer them a little crunchy.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Monday, May 10, 2010

Breakfast Pizza Pie

I found this recipe in a cookbook that a school PTO sold as a fundraiser. All the recipes have been submitted by the parents and teachers of the school, so you know they are recipes that "real" people eat. I love that, because sometimes I look through cookbooks and I don't know what an ingredient is or its really expensive.
This breakfast pie would be great, of course, for breakfast...but we had it for dinner tonight. It makes 6-8 servings so we will have leftovers for lunch tomorrow, too. 

1 lb turkey sausage (or sausage) or a few slices of turkey bacon (or bacon)
1 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
1 c frozen hash browns, thawed
1 c shredded Cheddar
5 eggs
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbl Parmesan cheese
  • Brown sausage and drain. Or cook bacon.
  • Separate crescent roll dough into 8 triangles. Place in greased pie plate with points toward center. Press over bottom and up sides to form crust; seal perforations.
  • Spoon cooked sausage over crust. 
  • Sprinkle with hash browns.
  • Top with shredded cheese.
  • In bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour onto pie
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake @ 350* for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shortbread Cookies

The other day we visited Conner Prairie, an outdoor historical park where the people dress and play the part of historical figures. When we arrived at Dr. Campbell's house, his wife was making these delicious cookies for visitors to sample. She also gave us the "receipt" so we could make them at home, too. I couldn't believe how good they tasted with so few ingredients!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sloppy Joe

This classic, also called Beef Barbecue or Boy Scout, is super easy to make with ingredients you already have on hand. The best part, it's better than the stuff you buy in the can.
When I was little, we ate Sloppy Joe on top of spaghetti (all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball....Just kidding!). I'm not sure if my mom ever bought spaghetti sauce. Though my husband prefers this served on toast, sometimes I do still make it as a spaghetti sauce for "old time sake." My friend adds a slice of American Cheese to her sandwiches.

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1/4 onion, chopped (or onion powder)
9 oz ketchup
2 tsp mustard
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl sugar
1 1/3 tsp flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
  • Brown meat in skillet. 
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients with meat.
  • Simmer until the rest of your meal is ready.


The other day, I was trying out a new crust for my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. When I found the recipe, I thought maybe the person had written it wrong, because 2 1/3 cups of milk seemed like too much-it was!  All of the sudden the dough, which should have been easily rolled, became more batter-like...soupy actually.
Well, the cheapskate that I am couldn't put it to waste so I looked through my cookbooks to find something with similar proportions of flour and milk. I couldn't find anything exact, but I did find a couple recipes that were close.  I added a couple of ingredients, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, we had delicious pancakes.
We really liked these pancakes because they were just a little different than you expect. They almost had the flavor of biscuits, but it wasn't overwhelming since they are so thin and fluffy.

2 c flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 Tbl butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbl sugar
1 egg
2 1/3 c milk
  • Combine ingredients.
  • Use 1/4 c measure to scoop onto hot griddle.
  • When bubbly, flip over until golden brown.

Special Note

For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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