Chicken/Veggies/Potatoes Bake – Too Simple to be Good?

This recipe has been floating around Pinterest for the a while now.  It’s one of these recipes that looks too simple to be good.  So, I thought I would give it a try.

I couldn’t find a webpage that links to the description so here’s the pin description with the recipe:

A friend of mine brought me this when I had surgery. Now it is my “go to” dish for taking to people who have had babies, surgery, etc. 4-6 raw chicken breasts, new potatoes, green beans (fresh or canned-really any green veggie would work. Broccoli is good, too). Arrange in 9×13 dish. Sprinkle with a packet of Italian dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Enjoy!

I followed the instructions as written – chicken, potatoes and a can of green beans.  I used two large chicken breasts and one can of beans, cutting down on the quantity since there are just two people in our house eating table food.  (Pureed sweet potatoes doesn’t count…sorry baby Avery.)  A stick of butter and the Italian dressing mix, and in the oven it went.

One hour later, our house smelled like wonderfully baked chicken.  I thought about pulling it out a little early since my dish was a little smaller, but the potatoes were still a little crunchy at the 45 min. mark.  That being said, I wish I would have boiled the potatoes a little bit before baking because the chicken was over-done and a bit chewy.

With a little tinkering, I think this recipe could be a success.  This one may be a little too simple to be a success, but I’m willing to give it another try.

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Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Goat Cheese Pasta

Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni

I’ve been on a roll lately, trying new recipes that are a little outside of my comfort zone.  I’m a true Dutch girl so most of my meals consist of a meat, a potato, some sort of veggie and a fruit – applesauce anyone?  A few weeks ago, I tried a pasta dish that seemed a little strange to me, but is now a regular in our household. Behold Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni, courtesy of www.savvyeat.com.

I tried this recipe because of a few things: peppers were on sale at Kroger, I had a log of goat cheese from Trader Joe’s just begging to be opened, and I had a coupon for Johnsonville’s Chicken Sausage. I’ve never had chicken sausage before, so I was very interested to try it.

I’ve made the recipe three times since finding the recipe on Pinterest.  The first time, I followed the recipe as written, but I’ve made a few adjustments in my second and third tries.  First, I tossed the pasta with some marinara before topping with the peppers and onions.  I also didn’t have any dry white wine in the house (I was a little thirsty this weekend…), so I skipped that step and just threw the sausage in with the peppers and onions.

Peppers and Onions PastaAnd the results:  fantastic!  We’ve had it three times in the last 6 weeks; it’s that good!  The flavors are different than your average pasta dish – the peppers and onions are delicious with the goat cheese.  I don’t cook very often with sausage, but I’m hooked!  This dish is a now a regular in our house – you should try it today!

Slow Cooker Saves the Day! Pork Carnitas!

Pork Carnitas

Holy heat wave in Louisville!  I guess I’m used to it already after two years of living in Kentucky, but for some reason, last week just seemed super hot.  Cooking is always tricky when it’s warm outside.  When its 104 degrees outside, it’s almost cruel to send my husband to man the grill. So, I busted out the slow cooker and tried a new recipe from Pinterest – Pork Carnitas.  Yum.

I’ve had this pin on my Recipes to Try board for quite some time.  I believe I got this recipe from my sister Kathy and figured it was time to give it a shot.  Plus, pork was on sale at Kroger. Score!

The recipe is courtesy of The Kitchn and with a few minor modifications, it turned out great!  I realized that I was out of oregeno, so I had to substitute some special Italian blend seasoning from Penzey Spices.  I also used a smaller piece of pork – maybe 2.5 pounds or so – and adjusted the ingredients accordingly.

After an afternoon in the slow cooker, the meat was tender and spicy!  (Those chipotle peppers really pack the heat!)  With the meat, we had delicious pork carnitas with fresh radishes from the farmers market, a little sour cream, cilantro and lime juice.  My husband was a huge fan, gobbling them for dinner last week.  Of course, we had leftover meat so I made some enchiladas a few days later.  I love recipes where we actually eat the entire thing and are not wasteful!

Guest Post – Easy Homemade Ice Cream

Hey folks, this is Kathy, Lynn’s older sister, guest-blogging from Portland, Oregon, while she spends some very important time with my sweet new niece Avery* and getting some much-needed sleep when she can! I’m also into Pinterest, adventures and trying new ideas in the kitchen. Recently, I had success with a very easy homemade ice cream recipe from www.kevinandamanda.com (http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-a-machine.html). Seriously, two main ingredients plus whatever you want in your ice cream, and a freezer – so simple.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of heavy cream and a can of condensed milk as its base – you just stir various toppings into the condensed milk, then beat the heavy cream until it has stiff peaks, fold them together and freeze (preferably overnight). But here’s where it gets creative: You can add virtually anything into the condensed milk – candy, nuts, cake/brownies/cookie dough, fruit, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Homemade Ice CreamMy version: I added about a half a teaspoon of vanilla and two crushed Heath bars to my condensed milk, then folded in the whipped cream and froze it overnight. And how did it turn out? Absolutely delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture and appearance are just like regular store-bought ice cream. It is a very creamy ice cream, so I’m tempted to try it with half and half instead of heavy cream and see how it tastes. I think my favorite thing about it is that it takes so little effort – the freezer does most of the work. Definitely recommending it to the new mama in hot, humid Kentucky – she deserves it!

*I’ve been busy with my own project – a sweet baby girl named Avery Elizabeth.  Huge thanks to my sister Kathy for guest blogging for me!  I’ll be back in a week with a new post!

Chicken, apples, bacon and a slow cooker – does it get better than this?

Since I moved to Kentucky from Michigan two years ago, one ingredient has become a mainstay in our house.  And that is….BACON.  I have no idea why – I don’t know if you can say that bacon is necessarily Southern, but I never bought it in Michigan.  Strange.  It probably started when I had my first Benedictine sandwich (more on that in a future blog post), but I love to cook with it.

And, I found a great recipe on Pinterest that combines bacon with a few other staples in our house – chicken and apples.  The recipe, Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken, – courtesy of Six Sisters’ Stuff – uses one of my favorite kitchen appliances, my ancient crockpot*, and was easy enough to throw together in a few minutes.

crock pot in pantry

Here’s the crockpot doing its magic…in our butler’s pantry.  By all the booze.  (Another addition to our house since moving.  I guess you can say that we truly embraced the Kentucky culture with the horse racing and the bourbon.  Yum.)

I let it cook for 8 hours and then made a few side dishes (green beans and mashed potatoes) toserve with the chicken.

The verdict? Delicious. Spectacular. Looked exactly like the picture above. The apples and the lemon mellowed out the BBQ sauce, and the bacon flavor was a just enough.  My only complaint?  I probably would have taken it out a little sooner than 8 hours.  The sugar in the BBQ sauce burned a bit and made my crockpot a pain to clean up.  But, it could just be my crockpot.

*Hilariously, after I wrote this post and went to clean the crockpot, I noticed a huge crack down the middle of the ceramic container.  I’ve used it a ton over the past 7.5 years, so I guess it’s time to get a new one!  🙂

The Butterfinger Cake

Butterfinger Cake

At my husband’s work, they love to celebrate birthdays.  (My former employer did too, and boy, do I miss that!)  For this birthday celebration, I let my husband pick from my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest.  His top three:  Almond sheet cake, caramel apple cheesecake bars and our eventual winner, the Butterfinger Cake.

Since I’m 9 months pregnant and responsible for the baking, it was up to me to decide.  The Butterfinger Cake, courtesy of The Country Cook, looked the easiest and honestly, the cheapest.  (Gotta love a thrifty Dutch girl…)

So, how did it go?  Well, it was one of the easiest desserts I’ve put together.  The easy-to-follow instructions were great, and I had some of the ingredients already.  I’m a huge fan of doctoring up a cake mix with a few extra ingredients (the caramel sauce poured over the top of a warm cake was my favorite part) to make it something special.

The verdict from the folks at my husband’s work?  Two thumbs up.  In fact, he had a wrestle away one extra piece so I could even try it. (And, I forgot to take a pictures before he left, and his cutting job wasn’t as pretty as the picture above.  Just image a big mess of cake and whipped cream on a plate.)

My thoughts on the cake?  It was really good – very rich and even a little too sweet for my tastes.  I probably went a little crazy when poking the holes in the top of the cake so a lot of the caramel when into the cake.  Maybe next time I’ll cut back on the amount of caramel and holes…

Anyway, I really like it and would make it again in a heartbeat.  Guess it’s time to move my pin to the “Favorite Recipes” board…