Lemon Raspberry Granola Pancakes

In the interest of saying SOMETHING about food this year…

I give you RASPBERRY GRANOLA PANCAKES!!!

See recipe for Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes…

Don’t fold the raspberries into the batter, however, as they have a tendency to be a bit mushy softer.

Ladle out the pancake onto the pan or griddle, then drop the raspberries artfully onto the top, and sprinkle with a bit of granola.

I also added a bit of lemon zest to the batter.

Try not to go overboard with the granola.  Just trust me here.  And try to find an unflavored granola.

When you flip them, you’ll have to smash them a bit, like a burger, but not too hard.

They are delightful! 😛

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Penne With Vodka Sauce and Veggies

Featuring quick and easy food is becoming a way of life as I continue to clear brush hoping to finally create a clearing large enough for a house.  We did away with the last of the double-size garage brush pile last weekend…two more truck and trailer loads.

This weekend, I’m imposing on Aggie’s awesome hospitality while the blessed rain falls.  We really do need the rain, even though Swamp Nomstress, aka the front yard, will shortly reappear.  I will refrain from waxing poetic about the joys of slogging through shin deep mud while toting small trees and get on with the food.

In the interest of saving my sanity time, I used a jarred sauce, which was pretty good.  I’ll go ahead and include the recipe to make the Vodka sauce with actual vodka just in case you’re feeling like a glutton for punishment purist!

Beginning with the usual suspects, garlic and onion.  Chop and cook until tender.

Add some sliced mushrooms.

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Trimmed WELL.  Cut into about 1 inch pieces.

Stir together and brown.

When the chicken is browned, add the vodka sauce and a can or two of roasted diced tomatoes, drained.

Stir together well, and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Leave off the lid so it’s not too soupy!  Then, add zucchini, cut into half moon wedges.

Let the zucchini cook for about 15 minutes, until it’s just becoming a bit soft, and add the spinach and peas.

Wilt the spinach for another 10 – 15 minutes.  It cooks down quite a lot, and you’ll want to put the lid on at this point.

Uncover and stir well.

Serve over penne with some hot bread.  You’ll feel so warm and fuzzy, but you’re actually getting a lot of great veggies, too!

To make the homemade vodka sauce:

1/3 cup vodka

15 oz diced tomatoes

8 oz tomato sauce

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)

Combine over low heat and stir until cheese melts and all ingredients are incorporated.

Fat free half-and-half is still creamy and rich, but keeps down the fat content.

Canadian bacon is an alternative to the chicken, also lean but loaded with flavor.

Enjoy!

Lamb, Balsamic & Sundried Tomato Meat Loaf

Yes, I said lamb.  And loaf.  In the same sentence.  Generally speaking, I try to disassociate myself from any meat entitled “loaf”.

It’s a personal thing.  Like refusing to eat in the cafeteria in high school because I couldn’t identify the meat at first glance.  Actually, you couldn’t generally identify it even after a close and detailed investigation!

This, however, is a loaf worth eating.  It is heavenly, and easy, and lamby.  Did I mention I just love lamb?   😀

This is not your mamma’s meatloaf!  Although I’m sure your Mom’s meatloaf is totally awesome, this one has LAMB!!!

Obviously, you’ll need some ground lamb.  🙂  I had a 1 pound package, but it would have been even better if I’d used 2 pounds.  More lamb to love!  😛

You’ll need 1 lemon for zesting, 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 4 garlic cloves  thinly sliced, 2 large shallots, finely chopped, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes chopped, and 1 tbsp fresh rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray a large loaf pan (9 x 3 1/2) with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vinegar.

Add the oats.

Then the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest.

Last, add the ground lamb.

Here is where you’ll want to put the camera down, as it is rather difficult to mix this all together using only one hand.

But I tried.

The hand is a little scary.

Dive in with both hands and mix until incorporated.

Transfer to the prepared loaf pan, and press into a loafy shape.

Bake 40 – 45 minutes.

For enhanced enjoyment, top with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.  Rat Boy doesn’t care much for balsamic vinegar.  Something about carrots and a horrid wonderful balsamic honey glaze I forced him to eat  made when he was about 7.  So I left it off.  🙂

More on the sour cream mashed potatoes tomorrow.  They are divine!

I think I might have died and gone to heaven.  Except the dishes are still dirty and the trash needs to go out.  Think I’ll just concentrate on eating for now!

Chicken Verde Enchiladas

I try to avoid going to the market on weekends.  Yes, it’s crowded, and slower than weekdays, but what really gets me is the food tasting. I taste things I wouldn’t normally make, and it’s good.  Then I get a ginormous jar of whatever product it was I just tasted, go home, and make meal X for the family.  Invariably it receives mixed reviews at home.  Sigh.

This one was a winner, however.  I did tweak the recipe on the jar a bit.  Who can possibly argue with more cheese?  Unless maybe you’re lactose intolerant.  But then you can use soy cheese or any of the other non-cheese cheeses that are commonly available these days!

You’ll need to boil a chicken.  I used a whole chicken, because skinless breasts just don’t have that much flavour, and they’re rather expensive in comparison.  AND…you get more chicken, so you can make more than one dish from the same chicken.

When the chicken is fully cooked, set it in a bowl to drain.  Strain the liquid in the pan, reduce it, and you have some delicious non-salty chicken broth.  Save this, and we’ll make some delicious chicken vegetable soup!

Two notes on the chicken:

1) Do make sure to remove the giblets before boiling!

2) De-bone carefully.  You don’t want anyone to choke or lose a tooth later!

Shred 2 to 3 cups of chicken.

Add 2-3 cups shredded cheese.  I used a cheddar Habanero variety, but it really wasn’t very spicy.  Also add 1 cup sour cream, and 1 cup pico de gallo.

Stir together, and then add 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

Try not to be like me and pour the black bean juice all over the counter.  Some days I just can’t hold onto things.  This morning, I poured half my cup of coffee on the counter in the same spot.  There is a land shark living there.  That MUST be it.

After the filling is combined…gently as to not squish the beans, pour in about half the jar of Cookwell & Company Green Chile Stew, until the filling is quite moist.

Microwave the corn tortillas until they are pliable, then spoon about 3 teaspoons of the filling into the tortilla, roll, and place into your baking dish of choice, seam side down.  The recipe says to use a 9 x 13.  I chose to use non-stick so I wouldn’t have to grease it.  I made enough filling with this recipe to make 2 pans!  That was about 24 enchiladas!

Cover then with some of the remaining Chile Stew mixture, then liberally apply shredded cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes.

Garnish with some salsa and more shredded cheese.  We are not big fans of Spanish rice, so I just threw together some pilaf from frozen peas and corn with Jasmine rice.  It was all quite nomable!  🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week before Christmas!

Parmesan Chicken

It’s still cold outside.  Well, if you consider 50-something cold…  I’m a Gulf Coast dweller.  Stop judging me!  🙂

Rat Boy is always asking me to make this for him, and it’s so easy, I probably should more often.  But then he’d just be tired of it, and it wouldn’t be a treat then.

So, I had this chicken.  And I was wondering what I’d cook today.  So I decided to make Rat Boy happy.  🙂

Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this.  It keeps really well, and is good cold on a sandwich, or even by itself, so make plenty!

Butter a baking sheet (with sides) well.  Really well, as the butter will kind of fry the chicken to heavenly.

Slice teh breasts in half crosswise to make them thinner.

This is so much easier and less messy than pounding them thin.  🙂

You’ll need 2 small bowls, one for breadcrumbs (I used panko and they were awesome) mixed with Parmesan cheese…

and one for a beaten egg.  Using a shallow, wide bowl for the breadcrumbs works the best.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg.

Then into the breadcrumb/cheese mix.  You can press it on to get a nice thick layer.

Your fingers will be goopy, but it’s really worth it!

Lay the chicken in the melted butter on the baking sheet.

Pat any remaining crumb mix onto the bald spots, then bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken pieces over, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the pieces are nicely golden brown and crunchy.

If your oven is a hundred years old like mine, you’ll need to rearrange the pieces so they are evenly cooked!

Then enjoy the crunchy deliciousness.  🙂

Oh, and don’t forget the wine.  You deserve it!

Please ignore all that stuff in the background.  I was washing up while the chicken was baking.  Now, I can enjoy the wine!

Spicy Chicken Pasta

Guess today is an unintentional 2-for, as I posted the Christmas Cake last night around 10, and it was already today on server time.  I am now convinced the server must be out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere, since I am so far behind server time!

It’s still cold.  Amazing in Texas to have the same kind of temperatures for 4 or 5 days, but the sun is back, so doubtless it will warm up soon.

Meanwhile, a bit of spice was in order to keep us warm, at least on the inside.  😛

Let’s hear it for the comfort food!

Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thin, about 1 inch pieces, and brown with garlic, onion and celery.  Brown in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.  I used the Dutch oven, as I was planning to finish this off in the oven.

Wow!  Did I actually just say planning?  That’s a word that doesn’t see much use at our house!  😛

The cast of players tonight, include squash (of course), tomato, and chicken.

Thinly slice the chicken, and brown in olive oil with diced garlic, onion, and celery.  I used 3 cippolini onions I happened to have on hand for a sweeter flavor, but really couldn’t tell the difference when everything is smothered in tomato!

Salt and pepper to taste while browning.

Thinly slice some peppers.  I matchsticked these, a poblano and 2 jalapenos, just to be different.  🙂

Drop in the peppers when the chicken is almost finished browning, so they get a bit charred, too.

Then add 2 cans of diced tomoatoes.  I’m using the fire roasted with garlic variety.

Stir the whole mess together well, and add a cup or two of broth, veggie or chicken.

Stir together well, and pop the whole thing into the oven at 250F for a couple of hours.  I had planned to add red wine to this, but didn’t.  So I drank it instead!  😛

About 20 minutes before you want to serve, slice some squash, and add it to the sauce, making sure the squash is down in the liquid.  I used yellow squash and zucchini this time.  Stir in some tomato sauce, if you want thicker gravy.

 

Back into the oven for 20 minutes, while you make the pasta, and it’s ready to serve!  2 thumbs up from Rat Boy!  😀

Cheese Tortellini Soup

I made this last fall, and since the weather actually got cooler over the weekend (again), I thought I’d give it another go.  Last time, Hubby and Rat Boy decided it should be called kale soup, as I went a bit wild with the kale!  I thought it was great, but the boys grow suspicious of dishes with too many green things.  😛

I must mention here that a little kale goes a long way!  This time, I only used 2 stems out of the bunch.  I do try to keep the peace.

This ended up being an experiment in “everything but the kitchen sink” cooking, which can be good if you’re looking to use up some miscellaneous veggies.

Start with 1 onion, some garlic cloves, and a couple stalks of celery, chopped and sauteed.

I added mushrooms, too.  🙂

I decided to let this finish off in the crock pot, trying to get to yoga, and still not burn down the house!  😛  Next time, I’ll be using a larger pot, however, as my crock pot was full to the brim at the end.

Brown a package of sausage, any will do.  I used chicken for hopefully less fat!

Add 1 tbsp thyme, 2 cartons broth (veggie here), 2 cans of beans (I used 1 of cannellini and 1 navy), 1 bunch of asparagus or whatever other veggie you might be craving.  Don’t forget the kale!  For this batch I used 2 stems, approximately 2 cups as it’s fluffy.  🙂

Simmer on low about 2 hours, or until your veggie is slightly soft, then add 8oz. cheese tortellini, and cook according to package directions.  I prefer to use the fresh pasta, but any will do.

Top with shredded Parmesan or Assagio cheese, and enjoy!

I’d just like to share here, that Hubby has been behind me while I’m writing this, watching funny vids on You Tube.  So just in case it somewhere didn’t make sense….

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