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I have been wanting to do something different from our daily routine for dinner, and I’ve been craving spicy and shrimp. So what better than jambalaya!

I couldn’t find one perfect easy recipe, so I just took bits and pieces from several with a few additions of my own – the results are fantastic!

Behold:

Easy Jambalaya!

Or as my family calls it; Jambi.

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Ingredients:

Olive oil
1-2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
8 oz kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch slices, then halved
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 cups uncooked white rice
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 can original Rotel
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, tails off
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce

In this recipe you could absolutely use 1-2 uncooked, cut chicken breasts and just cook them first. I, however, had left overs from this week making Engagement Chicken from one of my favorite cookbooks!

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Truly, give this one a go – both the book and the recipe. Easy, DELICIOUS chicken proven time and time again to impress your guests – or your significant other, or yourself… Whoever.

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If you choose to use raw chicken, cook it before the kielbasa. If cooked, follow the directions as follows:

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté kielbasa until it begins to brown.

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Add chicken and sauté a few minutes more until meat is browned.

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Add peppers and onions, sauté 2 minutes until they begin to soften.

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Add celery and garlic, sauté a few minutes more until onions begin to become translucent.

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Add and stir in seasonings to taste. I recommend at least 1-2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, but err on the side of caution since you can always add later.

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Add rice.

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Add chicken broth.

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Add my own little secret ingredient, the entire Rotel can, juices and all.

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Stir together and bring to a boil.

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Add shrimp to the top of the mixture.

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Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until rice is tender.

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Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire and hot sauce. Leave the lid on to keep the moisture in, but now is the perfect time to taste and add more seasonings as needed.

Enjoy!

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So my daughter and I had a lazy day today. So lazy that I looked at the clock in enough time to realize that I only had two hours before I had to leave for work to cook, clean, and shower.

I still decided to put some effort into dinner with what little we had in our cupboards and got creative. The results were fantastic.

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Chicken & Broccoli with a Garlic Basil Cream Sauce

You will need:

Oil, for cooking
Chicken breasts, thawed (one per person)
Seasonings to taste (I used salt, pepper, and garlic salt)
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (mine were frozen)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
Box rice of your choice, I used Chicken and Garlic Rice-a-Roni

Garlic Basil Cream Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
5-6 leaves of fresh basil (chopped), or 1-2 tsp dried basil

Oil frying pan, season chicken breasts, and pan fry on medium heat. Brown both sides of chicken, reducing heat if needed to time dinner preperations.

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In a separate pan, melt butter for sauce in low heat. Once melted add garlic. Stir occasionally, smearing garlic with the bottom of your spoon to reduce the garlic into the butter, about 3-5 minutes.

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Add flour and salt. Stir/spread mixture frequently for approximately 3 minutes to minimize flour taste and texture.

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Slowly and simultaneously add milk and chopped basil until completely combined.

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Raise heat to medium low and stir occasionally. Turn off heat when sauce has reached desired thickness.

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In the meantime, after both sides of chicken are browned, add broccoli and onion to fry pan. Add extra seasonings if needed. Sauté with chicken until tender.

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Plate with rice of choice, covering both rice and chicken/vegetable fry with cream sauce. So delicious!

Enjoy!

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A great thing I love about living in Washington State is having the beach, the city, and country life all within a thirty minute drive. I have family in all of these areas, and I myself live in the city, only a hop-skip from the beach. My grandparents, however, live a little more in the country. They have horses and small stables, and their property has a creek dividing their home from their orchard. They have apple trees, plum trees, grapes, walnuts, blueberries and more. Most recently they had an overwhelming amount of ripe pie cherries.

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My daughter and I were happy to oblige. Those baskets are deeper than they look.

The crop was starting to turn and a lot will still be left to the birds, but I’ve pitted and frozen around two one-gallon ziploc bags. My payment will be made in pies. I couldn’t wait though! I wanted to test my skills again and make a little treat for my husband to take to work tomorrow. Here we have:

Mini Cherry Pies!

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They’re so cute!

AND they’re easy.

You’ll need:

Cupcake tin, greased
One pie crust
Sugar (approx 3/4 cup)
Bowl of cherries
1 tbsp melted butter (optional)

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To start, preheat your oven to 350.

I have a favorite pie crust recipe from a cook book I absolutely recommend having in your library!

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I used the pie crust recipe from the holiday cookbook from The Pioneer Woman, but feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe or a premade one.

If making your own crust, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.

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Next, find two cups in your house, one regular drinking cup sized:

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And one slightly larger, like my awesome monster Starbucks mug:

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My home made pie crust made 6 of each with a little left over.

Tuck the larger circles into your greased muffin tin. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the crust barely starts to firm and set.

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Seed cherries by halving them and prying out the pit.

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Coat cherries in half of the sugar, toss, then mix in the rest of the sugar to coat again.

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Reduce the oven heat to 325.

Spoon cherries into crusts. Press down to fit the maximum amount of fruit.

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My cherries are specifically pie cherries, so they’re a little more tart. To compensate, I sprinkled the leftover sugar over each pie, but this is optional.

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Next I put a small amount of butter over each of the smaller crusts, but again, optional.

Fit each smaller crust over the mini pies by pinching or pressing down into the tin.

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Note in the above picture I also took a butter knife and made three small slits at the top of each pie.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sides begin to golden. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. To remove them, I took a butter knife around the edges of the pie, slightly lifted from the side, then used a spoon to carefully scoop them out.

Voila! Enjoy!

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On a mild Friday, after cooking nothing but ho-hum dishes for a week, I decided I wanted to splurge. Something I’d been craving for a while was chowder. I wanted something easy, the usual seafood chowder recipes I see have a ridiculous amount of ingredients and requirements, but I didn’t want just plain clam chowder either. So I tweaked a recipe and came up with an easier version.

Semi Seafood Chowder

Simple. Delicious. Simply delicious.

This is all it takes:

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The recipe I created is a variation of the one that can be found here. Specifically, my ingredients are:

3 (6.5 oz) minced clams
1/2 lb halibut, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 lb bay scallops
1 onion
2 potatoes
1-2 celery stalks
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and chop veggies. I chose to leave my potato skins on.

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In a deep skillet, add veggies and juice from the clams.

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Cover with water and cook on medium to medium high heat.

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As veggies just begin to get tender, add the chunks of halibut. Continue to cook on medium to medium high heat until veggies and halibut are tender.

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As the skillet portion cooks, melt butter over medium heat in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk in flour.

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Add half-and-half slowly, whisking constantly until thick and smooth.

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Add the contents of the skillet to the cream mixture. Reduce heat slightly to heat the chowder thoroughly without boiling. Add bay scallops.

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Continue to heat over medium low heat for 20 minutes, until chowder is heated through and bay scallops are cooked but tender. In the last minute or so before serving, stir in clams, vinegar, salt and pepper.

I served this up with a nice asiago cheese loaf from our local grocery store. If my husband would have given me the chance to take a picture of his pretty bowl of chowder before starting to wolf it down, you would get a better picture of the finished product. Instead, you’ll have to settle with my to-go container at work. Have fun cooking y’all!

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I am always looking for a way to kick up our weekday dinners on the cheap. Either from low-cost ingredients or from things I would already have in my fridge.

This recipe does both!

Sure, spaghetti and tacos are always on our menu, but I am someone who can’t have the same thing, over and over, without eventually escaping to Jack in The Box.

So, anything that I can make, from sides to main dishes that can bring some life to our plates – I’m in.

This recipe is one I found on Pinterest a while ago. I’ve even made it as a meal in itself, but really it’s the perfect side for a lot of dishes.

Biscuit Bombs!

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This picture is taken directly from the website.

I don’t know where this girl got it from, but bravo. I would come to your house for dinner every night if it meant eating this way.

I had paired these with a stuffed salmon from Costco that my dad had bought for us, and it is also great with just about any pasta dish.

I did a variation of the recipe – here are the ingredients:

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So easy it’s ridiculous.

Not to mention that you can customize it to be practically anything.

First, flatten a biscuit. Then load it with cheese and other deliciousness. In my case, mozzarella and fresh basil. Yum!

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Fold the biscuit over the cheese so it is completely sealed, and put it in the pan with the seal down.

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Repeat with all biscuits.

And really, load em up! Stuff them full. Worst case scenario they burst out the sides with gooey deliciousness. Bummer.

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After all your biscuits are loaded, brush them with oil and season them to taste. Salt, pepper, parmesan as the original recipe showed.. Whatever your hearts desire.I chose a simple sprinkle of garlic salt.

Let me just apologize for the sheer awesomeness of these bad boys really quick.. They’re so amazing, they were gone before I remembered to take a final picture.

My bad.

But they came out just as beautifully golden and soft as the original picture, oozing and bursting at the seams with melted goodness.

I dare you to try them.

Follow my blog and my Pinterest boards to see what I do and other fun stuff!


Hello again!

Another Pinterest pin put to the test. Really, why not have me try them for you and weed out the ones that have broken links, are links to links three pages away, or are filled with recipes or instructions that don’t work?

Here is my second pin to put to the test. I needed an easy, delicious weekday dinner that I could make on a day filled with swim lessons, toddler naps, errands and house cleaning. I still wanted to be a little ambitious, so I chose these:

Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos

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This is a photo taken directly from the website. The recipe on the web page is actually called “Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos”, but the original pinner probably thought the same thing as me when I read it: chubby = calories.

Here is a link to the pin
Here is the link directly website

My first reaction to the pin: “these look easy enough – and tasty! I can also pass off some nutritional value with the spinach in there…”
My reaction when I read the recipe? Intimidation. I have never fried anything but chicken, onion rings and french fries… I powered through though!

In case you didn’t read the recipe, here’s the breakdown: shredded chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, spinach salt and pepper, wrapped in tortillas and fried golden crispy.

The best part? It’s as easy and delicious as that sounds.

Again, I was intimidated, but then I started the process and it was surprisingly easy.

Firstly the recipe mentioned you can use rotisserie chicken. I say go for it! It makes it even easier. Instead, I seasoned 3 small chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning and shredded those up. Then I mixed them all together in a bowl:

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Testers note: make sure your cream cheese is fully softened. I thought mine was, thought it blended well, but I still got pockets of cream cheese in my finished product. Not really a bad thing, just not the best – totally my fault though.

Then I put enough into a tortilla that it would stuff it, but still be able to close.

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Sorry for the crummy photography. One hand on a cell phone.

Anyway, as you can see, I stuffed mine to the point that they were more chimichangas than taquitos, but it’s still pretty much the same thing in the end. Just super sized.

Make sure that when you fold the tortilla, you fold it so it closes on all sides.

I heated a pan of oil on medium heat and placed 1-2 taquitos at a time seam side down.

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When the bottom of the tortilla began to brown I used two forks to flip them over. Look at this beauty…

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After they were golden on both sides I let them drain on a paper towel.

I don’t think I can express to you the magnitude of delicious, crispy, wonderful-ness that was made in my kitchen last night.

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The hype from these pictures among my friends on Facebook and Instagram alone was enough to preach something, without them even tasting it!

The only down side is the recipe may as well have made a million since I was only cooking for my husband and myself. Even though I think he ate 3 (good lord) and I ate 2 (I was so full after!) we still had leftovers.

I even brought an extra to work with me for anyone to try. Get this, my lactose intolerant friend liked it so much that she risked it and ate a whole one, she liked it that much. Back up and look at the ingredients. I’m sure she had a bad night. Worth it.

My rating? *drum roll…..*

10 of 10.

The only things I can find wrong were my own fault! Not blending the the cream cheese and not halving the recipe so it didn’t make as much were things that are clearly avoidable.

They were easy, delicious, and caused a stir. Great for big family dinners, made smaller as an appetizer, or cut the recipe down to just liven up your Tuesday!

I can guarantee this is now a staple in our house! Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice, thank you for your contribution to all of our kitchens!

Follow me on Pinterest to see when I test more pins and for other awesome stuff!


I’m running into more and more pins, that are pins of pins of pins on Pinterest. So many are just impulse repins that I will look at later or sometimes never even open. And most of those I don’t bother to change the verbiage and realize much later that it has “I” or “we” or some personal endorsement I didn’t sign up for.

So I’ve decided to scour through my hundreds of pins and test the validity of their claims. I’m going to start trying what I pin, giving a play-by-play, and rating it on a scale of one to ten based on the ease, the accuracy, and the overall worth of the pin. There will be a lot of recipes, but also some domestic and project type things.

For my first test I decided to go easy on myself, so may you all witness:

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

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This photo is taken directly from the website, here are the links:

To the pin
Directly to the recipe

This is another pin of a pin that eventually made it to me through my best friend. The first impression I get of this is that it is quite possibly the easiest dessert I could make, combining both premade ingredients and actual mixing and baking. Kind of a strange title too, a chocolate chip cheesecake would be a cheesecake with chocolate chips, not a chocolate chip cookie cheesecake… Whatever.

In case you didn’t read the recipe, essentially it is some cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs, whipped together and laid out on premade cookie dough with cookie dough on top. Sounds simple and delicious, right?

Right?

You would think combining two of my favorite things would not only be a breeze to make but also a party in my mouth….

First step, cutting the premade dough into 1/4 inch pieces and pressing them together so there are no seams at the bottom of the pan.

Whenever I make cookies from premade dough, I usually get some crumble. But then I just form the cookie back in the shape I wanted and the bake just fine. This roll of dough, however, did nothing but crumble. Since it was the crust and it would all get pressed together anyway, I just assumed it was a crummy roll of Pilsbury and went along my way.

Then mix all the ingredients that are not cookie dough together in a bowl.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an electric mixer (my KitchenAid s in storage), so I almost always have chunky cheesecake batter. It all melts together while cooking and tastes the same anyway, but the batter always looks a little… Weird.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cookie dough crust.

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Then the recipe says to cut the second roll of dough in the same 1/4 inch pieces and lay them close together on top of the cheesecake mixture…

Maybe it’s Pilsbury? Maybe I got the two worst rolls at the store? Or maybe they even expected me to cut the dough on a cutting board, mold them perfectly into cookie shapes and then lay them on the cheesecake?

Either way, it didn’t work. Nothing but crumble once again. So even though I didn’t get a uniform look, I just embraced the crumble and made it look on purpose.

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The recipe says to bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. I never trust a recipe, and in this case I am very happy I didn’t. At least in my oven, it took 10-15 minutes less than required.

I put it in for 30 minutes and checked on it, and it was completely done. I left it in for another 5 minutes to get a more golden crisp to the cookies. At the rate the cake baked, it would have started to burn if I left it in that long.

But here it is clearly being eaten by my family:

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So you know it turned out at least halfway decent. Still, regardless of the consumption, they really weren’t THAT good. I’ve definitely had better. You would think two amazing components of the dessert world combined into one easy recipe would be an amazing creation…

I’ve made and eaten store bought cookie cheesecakes before and all of them were better than this. The cookie part was delicious, but the cheesecake was a little bland and it kind of distracted from the flavor of the cookie even. Still clearly edible, and a fast, cheap and easy dessert for you to bring to a party.

My family still enjoyed it, it was still eaten. It is still a sugary and slightly chocolatey dessert. However, if you’re looking for a dessert to make to impress, for you to enjoy personally, or have time to try something new with a little more effort, it would be worth it for you to explore other options. If you have a work potluck, a baby shower to go to, or 5 Christmases to contribute to and need something fast and easy, this recipe really is just fine.

So my rating of this pin is… *drumroll….*

7 out of 10

It’s still mostly premade with little effort, and it still has some tastiness to it. However, my own troubles with ingredients, the fact that the recipe timing could have completely screwed me, and then the lack of flavor in the cheesecake brought it down a few pegs.

Thank goodness the pin didn’t have some crazy “best dessert ever!!!!!” million exclamation point endorsement on it.

As a side note, it actually ended up tasting better after it had been in the fridge a few days. I have no idea why, but if they would have tasted like this the first time around, I’m sure it would’ve been a higher score!

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