Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicken Tenders

IMG_3731eMaisie has never been a chicken nuggets type of girl and now with her food allergies we obviously can’t just go to the drive through to get some but I did want to try and make some which maybe she would enjoy and with these I succeeded.  These chicken tenders were super simple to make, Maisie “safe” and delicious for all of of us. Best of all, there are no weird processed chicken parts involved.

IMG_3736eChicken Tenders

Slice the chicken breasts into strips about pointer finger wide.  In a shallow bowl mix together the potato flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper and set aside.  Over a medium-high flame, heat a large heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet.  When hot, add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  One-by-one press the chicken strips into the potato flake mixture to coat completely and then carefully add to hot pan.  Do not crowd the pan.  Turn the chicken when the potato flakes get golden brown and remove from pan once the chicken strips are cooked through.  Add oil as needed throughout the cooking process.  Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice…Maisie chose ketchup.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strawberry Soup

IMG_4457e Strawberries and Cream, those are this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients assigned by our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  I went back and forth thinking about all the wonderful and delicious things I could make with the assigned ingredients but after enjoying delicious cold fruit soups every lunchtime during our recent 2 week transatlantic cruise I decided that I needed to make my own cold soup.  I did a bit of searching on the internet and the recipe that kept coming up as a standout winning recipe was the Strawberry Soup from the 1900 Park Fare restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

IMG_4459eI scaled back on the amounts in the recipe as I was going to be the only one eating the soup as it’s not Maisie “safe” and Eammon doesn’t care for cold or fruit soups, but had I put this in a glass and told him it was a smoothie he would have gobbled it down and loved it!  I was happy to have it all to myself as the soup was absolutely delicious and when you read the recipe, beyond simple to make.  I wish that Maisie could enjoy this soup as it would be so special to serve for a Princess lunch.  With strawberries in season, this is a perfect soup to make and enjoy.

My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars  
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake 
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies 

IMG_4453eStrawberry Soup (Adapted from here) 

  • 1 lb.strawberries (frozen variety with no added sugar, thaw with juice)
  • 6.4 oz. heavy cream
  • 0.8 oz.sour cream
  • 1.2 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • fresh strawberries for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish
  • fresh mint for garnish

Using a blender mix together the strawberries, heavy cream, sour cream & yogurt until smooth.


Shake well before serving. Add a dollop of sour cream, fresh strawberries and mint leaves as garnish.

Makes 3 servings.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hearty Sausage, Mushroom & Cheddar Mini Quiche

Generally when I make quiche I do the traditional pie plate sized quiche with a pie crust and cut it into slices or if the mood strikes me I’ll make something special like my Potato Crusted Garden Quiche but I’m always trying to neatly freeze leftover slices and as I’m just not a pie crust person I always scrape the filling out of the crust and end up throwing it away.  I wanted to make things easier so I thought that I would make individual crustless mini quiches and they would be super simple to freeze and we’d be able to pull out just as many as we needed when we wanted to enjoy some for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  These mini quiches are delicious and worked out wonderfully for freezing and re-heating.  Once the quiches were fully cooked and cooled I vacuum sealed them in bags using my FoodSaver.  I was then easily able to pull out just the number of quiches I wanted and they were quick to reheat for a fast delicious meal.

IMG_2643eHearty Sausage, Mushroom & Cheddar Mini Quiche (From here)

  • 1-16 oz pkg. Jimmy Dean Regular Flavor Pork Sausage Roll
  • 1 cup fresh chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook sausage, mushrooms and bell pepper in large skillet over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently; drain.  Beat eggs, milk and black pepper in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in sausage mixture, cheese, and green onion. Line 2 cupcake pans with 16 foil baking cups sprayed with cooking spray or if not using baking cups spray muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture evenly into baking cups. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  If freezing, allow quiches to cool completely then seal in Ziplock bags removing as much of the air as possible or use a FoodSaver with the zipper bags.  To reheat, thaw and then heat in the microwave (f used, remove the foil liner before microwaving.)


Monday, May 7, 2012

Totally Outrageous Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

IMG_3994eFor this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge the participating bloggers were challenged by our hostess Tina, of Moms Crazy Cooking to find the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich and I’m telling you, I found it.  This is no ordinary grilled cheese sandwich, this is an over the top totally outrageous Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  Let me explain the challenge a bit and then I’ll get to the sandwich.  The way that the Crazy Cooking Challenge works is that each month there is a dish that our hostess Tina challenges the participating bloggers to make.  We all go out searching non-celebrity blogs looking for what we think is the ultimate recipe for that dish and once we find it, we make it and then all on the same day we do our post featuring the recipe and the blog where it was found.  As I said, this month the challenge was to find the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich and I was excited because though I’m not a real sandwich lover, I have always adored grilled cheese sandwiches.  Honestly, school cafeteria grilled cheese and tomato soup was my absolute favorite when I was growing up.  Can’t say that you’d get me to eat it today but oh, the sweet delicious memories.

When I started searching blogs for grilled cheese inspiration my first thought was to do a more grown up version of my childhood favorite, maybe mini grilled cheese sandwich croutons floating on creamy roasted tomato soup but then decided that I needed to leave my childhood behind so I ventured out into a whole new world of grilled cheese sandwiches.  I found so many fabu grilled cheese sandwiches the choices were overwhelming.  I drooled over a gorgeous pepper jack cheese, bacon, avocado & apple grilled sandwich as well as a caprese sandwich with pesto, tomato & fresh mozzarella, but I make an open faced version of that so I thought I’d move on.  I was tempted to make a pizza grilled cheese on rosemary focaccia as well as a very unique and delicious sounding goat cheese, strawberry & watercress sandwich.  Then I happened upon Kevin’s Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich and I knew I had found my sandwich because I am a jalapeno popper lover and I knew that by using his sandwich as inspiration I could create popper grilled cheese nirvana…and I did. 

 IMG_3961eI started with a mini jalapeno cheddar loaf which I had sliced thin.  I then spread the bread liberally with soft, room-temperature salted butter.

IMG_3962eI laid half the slices of bread, buttered side down, in a cool cast iron skillet.

IMG_3964eI added a generous layer of shredded Fiesta Blend Cheese.

IMG_3968eTopped the cheese with crispy bacon bits.

IMG_3972eBack after our final summer harvest of 8 million jalapenos, I stuffed some of them with cream cheese and froze them to be used later.  I pulled a few of them from the freezer and baked them from frozen at 500F for 20 minutes, until they were cooked through and delicious.  Thankfully I made more than I needed as I couldn’t resist eating a few and man were they delicious and really got me even more excited about the sandwiches I was making.  So after I popped a few of the hot poppers in my mouth I added the cooled down ones to the sandwiches.

 IMG_3974eAfter the poppers another layer of cheese was essential.

IMG_3977eI then topped all the deliciousness off with the remaining slices of buttered bread.  I then started cooking the sandwiches over a medium low flame.

IMG_3978eAs the sandwiches were stuffed so full I decided to press them a bit and one of my pot lids worked perfectly.

IMG_3983eUsing a medium low flame so that all the cheese would perfectly melt, I cooked the first side until golden delicious and then carefully flipped to cook the other side.

This sandwich is not for the faint of heart and don’t even ask how you can turn down the heat on it because it ain’t gonna happen.  This is hot, cheesy, creamy, bacony, buttery, crispy over-the-top deliciousness.  And see all those crispy little bits of cheese in the pan and attached to the sandwiches?  Yep I ate every last piece.

IMG_3993eTotally Outrageous Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • thinly sliced jalapeno cheddar bread
  • salted butter, room temperature
  • Fiesta Blend Cheese 
  • bacon bits 
  • cream cheese filled jalapenos, roasted and cooled

Generously butter one side of each slice of bread and place half of the slices buttered side down in a cool cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan.  Add a generous amount of shredded cheese to each slice of bread.  Top the cheese with desired amount of bacon bits.  Add the roasted jalapenos and more cheese.  Add the remaining buttered slices of bread, buttered side up.  Turn on the heat to medium low and using a press or a pot lid, press the sandwiches a little.  Cook sandwiches until the bottom is golden brown and then carefully flip the sandwich and cook until the cheese is completely melted and the remaining side of bread is golden.  Allow to sit for a minute or two before slicing.


My previous Crazy Cooking Challenge entries:

Blueberry Muffins Challenge:  Skinny Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Spaghetti with Red Sauce Challenge:  Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter 
Chocolate Cake Challenge:  Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake 
Chicken Noodle Soup Challenge: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup 
Fudge Challenge: Biscoff Fudge 
Mashed Potato Challenge: Aloo Tikki 
Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge: Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps 
Mac & Cheese Challenge: Velvety Mac & Cheese

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