Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Artichoke Chicken

Sometimes I go grocery shopping when I’m hungry. That’s always bad news because I stock up on random things. Not too long ago, I ended up with a few extra cans of artichokes. Just because. You never know when you’ll need artichokes, right?


One night, looking for a flavorful and easy weeknight dinner, I stumbled across a recipe for artichoke chicken. Good thing I stocked up!

First, I thawed some chicken breasts that I had preserved with my new Food Saver vacuum system (Christmas present!). Super fun!


Then I prepared to pound it out. I used my Thor hammer. Or maybe a handmade meat tenderizer, weighted with BBs, made by my Dad as a Christmas present.

I kept it in the bag just to keep it from getting too messy.


Sufficiently flattened.


Look at that handiwork! Thanks, Dad!


I cut each of the breasts in half and put them in a baking dish.


Next: the topping. I opened a can of marinated artichokes…


And used a nifty little strainer (another Christmas present) to drain the can.


And chopped them up.


I love these things.


The recipe called for Parmesan cheese, but I only had a tiny sprinkle left so I subbed in Italian blend (mostly mozzarella and provolone and parmesan I think).


To the artichokes and cheese, added some mayonnaise.


Based on reviews, instead of doing the full amount of mayo, I replaced some of it with sour cream.


And I didn’t have “garlic pepper,” whatever that is, so I used a garlic herb blend.



All mixed up, this is what the topping looked like:


Just spoon it over top the chicken and bake. Simple as that.


Mmm, all cooked up, this is what it looked like.



It was delicious. Still a little heavy on the mayo, so next time I will replace more of it with sour cream, or maybe Greek yogurt. But other than that, this was good. Flavorful and juicy!


Here’s the original recipe, if you’re interested!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet

I found this meal on Pinterest (it’s a Kraft sponsored recipe from their website), though I didn’t make it until a few weeks later when I had family over. Then I totally forgot to blog about it. Sorry.


I started off with a green bell pepper.


Then I sliced it up.


Then I panicked, thinking, “That’s never going to be enough for four of us.”

My sense of proportion when it comes to food has always been terrible, but I swear it’s exacerbated by only making dinner for two of us most of the time. Any time there’s going to be any company, I think I will need to double the recipe. So I did.



Next, cut some boneless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.


Begin by sautéing it for just a few minutes, just to get it started.


Before it gets too far along, add in a whole bunch of chunky salsa.


And some corn


And the peppers. Oh my. Why did I double this silly recipe?


What I’ve failed to mention is that I have had a pot of penne pasta boiling.


It’s done now. I drained the pasta, put it in a big bowl, and poured the chicken/ salsa/ veggie mixture over it. Then I added copious amounts of Mexican-blend cheese.


It was very, very cheesy. See that cheese strand?


[Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Except my brother]


It’s been about 4 months since I did this. My memory of the meal is faded. I think it was pretty good, though I think I also got sick of eating it for the next week. I think I liked the melted cheese and salsa flavor and the crunch of the veggies mixed in there.


Maybe I should make it again soon.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Egg Muffins

Hubby and I have been talking about getting back into the habit of working out. For him, it makes sense to do it in the mornings at the little gym in his building at work. This got us to talking about streamlining his morning routine and ways we could make it quicker and easier.


Then I remembered this Pinterest find, egg muffins. From what I could tell on the site, they would make for a quick, easy, hot breakfast that could be kept in the fridge and heated up last minute.

So I made them!

I started off with some breakfast sausage. Don’t worry, I didn’t use all of this!


I squeezed three links out of their casings and into a hot skillet.


I used my meat-breaker-upper to crumble the sausage as it cooked.


While it was cooking, I made the educated decision to incorporate some leftover roasted baby red potatoes from earlier in the week.


As the sausage sautéed, I used a paring knife to quickly cut up the potatoes into much smaller chunks. Since they were cooked but cold, this was super easy.


Then I prepared my muffin cups. The original blogger prefers silicone cups, but I didn’t have those. Her second best was paper liners, but I didn’t see the point of that with egg muffins. So I just used cooking spray to heavily grease a nonstick muffin tin.


And brushed it around just to make doubly sure that it was evenly coated.


That probably wasn’t necessary since I was using pork sausage, but oh well. I went ahead and put some sausage into each of the 12 muffin cups.


Topped by some of the chopped potato.


Then I got out some grated cheese and put that in.



This last step attracted a silent but intense observer. He loves cheese and is always hopeful that I will indulge him, though he knows better than to beg.



Next, I chopped up some green onions.


And put those on top of the cheese.


Next, I cracked a dozen eggs into a big bowl.



After whisking, I added some salt.


And some dried parsley. I would, have preferred some chives, but Wegman’s was out.


After mixing all that up, I poured the egg mixture carefully into each of the muffin cups, topping everything that was already in there.



Then I put it into the oven, which I had preheated to 375 degrees.

My buddy practiced his wistful face while we waited for them to cook.


25 minutes later, they were looking beautiful!

I believe my exact words, as I pulled them out of the oven, were, “Holy awesome!”


They had definitely done some rising in the oven.


They came out of the muffin tin super easily, luckily.



Oh my.


Light and airy, since they were baked.


Pretty good. Not knock-your-socks-off good, but certainly better than simple fried eggs or something light that. Could have used more salt, but other than that, a pretty good breakfast for the next few days!

They’re quite versatile. I could have added all kinds of veggies or meats or whatever I wanted, and so I probably will next time. It’ll keep us from getting bored, I think.


EDIT: I made these again a week or two later. I made some changes. (1) Instead of breakfast sausage, I used chopped ham. (2) Instead of potatoes, I used chopped and sauteed peppers (red and green). (3) Instead of salting the entire egg mixture, I salted each muffin once the egg was poured. (4) I added chives, since Wegman’s had them this time.

They were better this second time! They were more flavorful all around – better seasoned and more flavors than before. I recommend these changes!