Extra Crispy Chicken Strips

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This chicken is super crispy and SUPER easy!  My secret ingredients are Dill Weed and Sharp Cheddar!  The dill weed gives the chicken a savory/sour taste which marries well with the other spices.  The sharp cheddar actually adds a next level crispiness to the crust of the chicken!     😀

If you have a some chicken in the fridge and a dream in your heart you can make these in a flash!  Whip up some of my homemade honey mustard to dip these crispy tenders in and you will be the hero of the kitchen!  🙂

Though there’s only a small chance that you will have left overs you can make the best chicken sandwiches out of these strips the next day!  My husband and I thought the sandwiches were even better than just the tenders alone!  It tastes like Gourmet Chick-fil-A.  Grab some sweet bakery buns and lather them in butter and toast them.  Then lay the chicken strips on the bottom bun and top with a heaping spoonful of the homemade honey mustard.  Add some pickles and romaine and you have one heck of a chicken sandwich! 🙂

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Ingredients:

– boneless skinless tenders or 2 large chicken breasts sliced into tenders

-chili powder

-dill weed

-cayenne

-garlic powder

-salt & pepper

-1 tbsp Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce

-2 eggs

-flour

-seasoned bread crumbs (I like Italian and I add fresh basil)

-1/2 cup finely shredded Sharp Cheddar

Directions:

Tenderize the chicken so that is its thin and flat.

Season chicken with all the dry ingredients on both sides.  Cayenne is totally optional if you aren’t a fan of hot spices.

Let the chicken marinate if you have time for 30 minutes to 8 hours.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet to about 375*F.  Fill the skillet so that it’s about 1 inch full of oil.

Set up a 3 bowl station:

Bowl 1= Flour

Bowl 2= Beaten Egg and Tabasco

Bowl 3= Bread Crumbs and Cheese, mixed

Batter the chicken in the flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumbs and cheese.

Fry in batches of 3-4 for about 4-5 minutes a piece.  These will cook fast because we beat them thin.  🙂

Serve immediately with fresh homemade HONEY MUSTARD!

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Pepper Jelly

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My Nana is a canning queen!  Each year she gives us pepper jelly and jalapenos from her yearly canning supply.  My husband absolutely LOVES the pepper jelly and can knock a whole 8 oz cream cheese hunk covered in pepper jelly in about 2-3 days all by himself if I let him. 😉

For over a year I had plans to try canning myself!  Well this past Saturday I finally pulled up my britches and made it happen!   It turned out delicious!!!

First, I had to go purchase a few tools.  I already had a giant stew pot which I used for the hot boiling baths.  The important thing about using a regular stew pot is you need either a canning rack or even a silicone pot holder to go on the bottom of your pot.  This prevents the glass jars from touching the bottom of the pot which can shatter your jars.  I used a silicone pot holder and it worked just fine.  I had to buy a jar grabber, mason jars, canning funnel and pectin gel.  I used Ball jelly jars!

Jar Grabber HERE

Canning Funnel HERE

Pectin HERE

I must say this was kind of an intense process to undertake alone and for the first time.  There are a lot of things going on at the same time during the canning process.  It was a little bit intimidating for my scatter brained self, but I got through it!  I must say if you are worried about not being able to do it, trust me, you can!  That first time might be really stressful but the next time it can only get easier! 🙂  Cue motivational music! 🙂   It’s well worth the work!  This would make a great stay at home date night activity! 🙂

I’m not really sure where this recipe came from but my Nana has had it for years!  It is a tad bit confusing.  So read it thoroughly many times to prepare yourself should you decide to use this one!  If this one is too confusing, go find another one!  My feelings won’t be hurt! 😛

Happy Canning!

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Pepper Jelly

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients:                                                     

– 6 medium jalapenos

-1 medium red bell pepper

-1 medium green bell pepper

****Out of these peppers you will use 2 & 3/4 cups of the chopped peppers.****

-1  1/2 cups cider vinegar

-1 tbsp crushed red pepper

-6  1/2 cups of sugar

-1 pouch CERTO pectin gel

Directions:

1. Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer.  (water canner=your pot)

2. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water.  Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat.  Let stand in hot water until ready to use.  Drain jars well before filling.

3. Prepare the peppers by seeding and dicing the peppers.  Keep 1 tsp of jalapeno seeds for added heat.

4.In a large sauce pan, saute the peppers for about 2 minutes.  Add in the vinegar and 1 tbsp of crushed red pepper, stir for 1 minutes.

5. Measure exact amount of sugar and pour into the simmering peppers and vinegar.

6.  Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

7. Stir in pectin quickly.  Return to full rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam with a medal spoon.  *I didn’t need to do this.

8.  Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling within 1/8 inch of the tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads clean of any drips.  Cover with the 2 piece lids.  Screw bands tightly.  Place jars on elevated rack in canner using the jar grabbers.  (elevated rack=silicone pot holder) Water must cover jars by 1-2 inches; add boiling water if needed.  Cover; bring water to a gentle boil.  Process jelly for 10 minutes.  (process=let set in pot)  After 10 minutes remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.  After jars cool, check seals by pressing the middle of the lid with your finger.  (If the lid springs up then the jar is not sealed and must be refrigerated.

*Don’t check the your lids until after 24 hours.   They might not seal until then.  I checked too soon and panicked because I thought they weren’t sealed.  I called my nana and she said to leave them alone and wait! haha 🙂

9.  Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.  Store unopened jellies in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.  Refrigerate opened jellies up to 3 weeks.

http://www.redbirdrecipes.com

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Homemade Honey Mustard

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Homemade condiments are such a treat!  Try this quick honey mustard out for size!  🙂  Ya’ll will want to pour it on everything!  Food often sparks the thought of different songs when I take a delicious first bite.  On this occasion it was Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”.  My kitchen is a very entertaining place.  🙂

I made this yesterday evening to accompany homemade chicken strips, which I shall be sharing in the next day or two!  This sauce turned out so good!  I used my homemade mayonnaise to whip this up!  Deliciousness topped with deliciousness!

For lunch today, I went crazy ya’ll.  I made a crispy chicken strip sandwich on a buttery toasted bakery bun and dumped this honey mustard all over it!  It was a spiritual experience for my taste buds to say the least.  🙂

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Honey Mustard

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup honey, mild (support your local bee keepers!) 🙂

-1/2 Dijon mustard (I used French’s)

-2 tbsp fresh mayo, (store bought is fine) 🙂

-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

-salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together!  Store for up to 7 days in the fridge!    🙂

http://www.redbirdrecipes.com

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Homemade Mayonnaise

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This was the best mayonnaise I have ever had in my entire life.  It was quite easy to make, you just have to put a little elbow grease in to whisking it!  I did feel like my arm was going to fall off after I finished this, but the work was worth it!

I am typically a mustard gal and the hubby is a mayo dude, but I was sold on this mayo from the very first taste!  I highly recommend this to any newbie mayo makers like myself!

I highly recommend watching the video attached to the original recipe.  I love to have a demonstration to preview before starting something new!

Original Recipe and Video HERE

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Ingredients:

-1 egg yolk

-1/2 tsp fine salt

-1/2 tsp dry mustard

-2 pinches of sugar (about 1 1/2 tsp)

-2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

-1 tbsp white wine vinegar

-1 cup corn oil, (put oil in a squirt bottle for maximum control)

Directions:

You will be doing a LOT of whisking. 🙂

Whisk the egg yolk and dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice and vinegar.

Add half of the lemon mixture into the egg mixture continuously whisking.

Slowly add a few drops of oil at a time while whisking the egg mixture.  The mixture should slowly start thickening.  Once it starts to thicken you can add a thin steady stream of oil as you are whisking.

Once you use half of the oil whisk in the remaining portion of lemon and vinegar.

Continue until all the oil is mixed in.

Leave mayo at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate for up to 1 week.

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So beautiful.

Borracho Beans

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It has been fairly chilly here lately.  This past weekend yielded some drab, cold, wet, and windy happenings in our town.  In addition, the hubby was considerably under the weather for most of the weekend.  A good hot meal of slow cooked beans was certainly welcomed by our taste buds.  🙂

I love beans.  I must confess I am new to beans though.  This new found love of beans is only about 10 months old.  I often eat them for lunch each week because they are so easy to whip up and very filling!  Black beans are definitely my go too, but I really enjoyed these Borracho Beans!  I recently purchased a new enamel dutch oven that included this very simple Borracho Bean recipe that I will now cherish forever!  It’s a great one to whip up at the deer camp to feed hungry hunters!  If you’ve read my earlier posts, then you know my husband and I love to hunt.  Beans make a great dish when you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed all at once!  I will definitely be keeping this recipe handy for next hunting season!

Try them out!

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“Tia Lety’s- Borracho Beans”

Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours

Makes:  12 servings

Ingredients:

-2 cups of Pinto Beans, dry

-6 strips of Bacon, cooked and chopped

-1 1/2 cups Onion, diced

-1/2 cup chopped Cilantro

-1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

-1 can of diced Tomatoes (14.5oz)

-1 can of Beer, 12oz

Directions:

Rinse and sorts beans in the dutch oven.  Add 6-8 cups hot water to beans and bring to rapid boil.  Boil for 2 minutes then remove from the heat.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse beans.

Cook the bacon, chop and set aside.

Place rinsed beans back in the dutch oven and add 5 cups of hot water plus 1 tablespoon of salt.  Cook beans over medium-low heat with lid for 1 1/2 hours.  Stirring occasionally.

Add the bacon, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, diced tomatoes, and beer to the beans.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until beans are tender.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Borracho Beans Collage

Spicy Southwest Ranch Burgers

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redbThis is probably one of the best burgers I have ever made.  I actually think it is better than the Animal Style burger I did a few months back.  If you like spicy, then you will devour these burgers.  Trust me.  These will now be a regular meal each month at our house.  Each bite is a mini fiesta in your mouth!  🙂

These are the PERFECT way to get spring time started!  Try these burgers out at a backyard grilling party!  If you don’t like spicy, leave out the jalapenos and chili powder!  You still get a great burger without the spice!

I was quite the busy little red bird this weekend.  I made homemade mayo, Borracho beans, canned pepper jelly, crusty bread, and whipped these tasty burgers up!  Let’s just say the dishwasher has been working over time this weekend.  AKA the hubby and pup.  🙂  Thank you boys!

Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef or venison

-1 ranch dressing mix packet

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp chili powder

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional,  I see you out there anti-cilantro movement folks)  😛

-1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

-1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

-1 tbsp jarred jalapenos, finely diced, HOT

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Toppings:

– Fresh mayo

– Romaine

-Fresh cilantro

-Claussen Sandwich Pickles

-Sharp cheddar or pepper jack

-Sliced onion

-Sliced tomato

-Bakery hamburger buns, or Slider buns

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Fresh mayo. You just can’t beat it. 😉 Actually you have to beat it with a whisk for like 20 minutes! 🙂

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Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the meat, spices, onions, bell pepper, onion, and ranch packet by hand.

Create 4 regular size patties OR 8 slider patties.

Set the patties on a plate and freeze for about 14 minutes.  This will help them keep their shape.

Cook on the grill or in a skillet until well done.

Top your burgers with cheese and cover with foil to keep warm while you do the buns.

Spread butter on the insides of each bun and toast in a skillet until extra crispy!

Build your burgers and enjoy!

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Cuban Sandwich- The Cubano

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Sandwiches are one of those delightful comforts in life that I take f
ull advantage of when going out to restaurants or even in my own kitchen.  People have often given me a hard time for ordering sandwiches at fancy restaurants.  I’ve been compared to an old man that only eats country club fare.  That may be in part because I like to eat my meals earlier than most folks.  🙂  Oh well, an old man I shall remain.

When I bite into a good sandwich.  Immediately, I can hear Tina Turner singing, “You’re Simply the Best!”

One of my favorite sandwiches is the Cubano, or Cuban. It has actually been fairly hard to come by at restaurants here in Texas.  I first discovered this sandwich in Florida after graduating from college.  After I earned my degree I was lucky enough to become a Disney World Intern for 12 months in Orlando, FL.  It was a great experience!  Florida brought about a lot of new foods for me to try.  Florida has a lot of different cultures which therefore means a lot of different cuisines! 🙂  Many restaurants included Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes which were AMAZING.  My favorite dish is the plain ole Cubano.

I know, I know!  Of all the things to pick from!  This sandwich is the item I liked best out of all the things I tried!  Don’t get me wrong there are some great meat and grain dishes but this sandwich…we became BFFs at first bite!  When done right, the meat is carved fresh and hot off the carcass!  That’s no simple feat!  Not many places will fix you a sandwich like this.  It’s a lot of work to go through the process of roasting a pork roast and sweet ham!  All that work for a sandwich!  Well, a true Cubano is worth all that work.  As I said earlier this sandwich is hard to find here.  In fact I’ve only found one Cubano sandwich on a menu since I moved back to Texas.  It was at a hotel in Dallas, and I enjoyed every drip of meaty juice, every hot piece of stringy cheese, and every smudge of mustard that plate had to offer.  (I did sacrifice a bite or two so the hubby could experience sandwich heaven.)

A traditional Cuban is made on Cuban bread with sliced pork roast, sliced sweet ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickle slices.  That’s it.  I have seen it with Provolone but I prefer the imported Swiss.  🙂

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Here is my humble version of a Cubano.  For best results, roast some pork and bake a fresh ham.  🙂  If you have the time of course. 😛

Ingredients:

-French Bread or Cuban White Bread (I searched my town and called a few places, no Cuban bread:-( )

-yellow mustard

-4 slices of Sweet baked ham (sliced on a 2 at the deli)

-6 slices of roast beef or pork (sliced on a 1 at the deli)

-CLAUSSEN sandwich pickles (Claussen is the only brand I buy.  They are in the refrigerated section.  They stay cold from the day they are harvested.)

-fresh cracked black pepper

-4 imported Swiss cheese, (sliced on a 1 at the deli)

Directions:

Heat a sandwich press or a griddle to medium high heat.

Cut off the ends of the bread with a diagonal slice.  Cut 2, 6 in. pieces off the bread.  Slice each one open so that you now have a top and bottom.

Butter the outside of the top and bottom pieces of bread.  Do not butter the inside.

Spread of squirt mustard on the inside the bottom pieces.

Lay 2-3 pickles on top of the mustard.

Crack fresh black pepper over the pickles.

Put 2 slices of cheese on the top pieces.

In a skillet, heat the ham and roast beef until it is extremely hot.

Quickly pat dry the meat to get about half the juice off.  Then transfer the meat onto the cheese.

Close both sandwiches and cook on the griddle or in a sandwich press.  You might have to do one sandwich at a time if your press is too small.

Enjoy!

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Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing- Tried it and Liked it

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Here’s another “tried it and liked it” recipe!  If you like avocados then this dressing is for you!  The hubby absolutely LOVED this dressing!  I stumbled upon this recipe on good ole’ Pinterest.  Each week I make a conscious effort to prepare salads and other healthy options for lunch and dinner.  I have been searching for different homemade salad dressings to try and this was one of the first ones I found.  In my husband’s words this dressing was “restaurant quality”.  In our town that is not an insult.  We are lucky to live in a city where many of the restaurants are not chains and pride themselves on preparing everything from condiments, dressing, and bread from scratch.  Our restaurants do not discount the side items.  Over the past 2 years I’ve tried to also have this mindset.  Why not make fresh hamburger buns to go with the hand crafted patties?  Why not make my own butter?  This quest has led me through many failures but also has yielded many successes. 🙂

Jen over at carlsbadcravings.com is the author of this delicious and refreshing dressing!

The original recipe includes suggested salad toppings to create a Southwest Pepper Jack Salad which I have not tried yet, but plan to!

Original Recipe HERE!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded, deveined and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup smooth salsa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar*
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (I didn’t use this)
  • hot sauce to taste (I used Tabasco)

Directions:

BLEND IT ALL UP!!!

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Leftover French Bread Croutons


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Have leftover bread?  Well then you have the materials for some fantabulous homemade croutons!  🙂  Homemade croutons are always superior to bagged croutons in our house.  I think many will agree.  I make several salads each week for my husband and when there is left over French Bread croutons are my go to thing to make!

The salads I make in our house are super fresh!  I usually chop everything up on the spot when preparing salads, even at lunch time.  I refuse to buy bagged lettuce anymore.  It is a terrible waste of money and once you have freshly chopped romaine it’s kind of hard to go back to gross bagged lettuce that actually costs more than a head of romaine.  Sometimes I prep salad toppings ahead of time, like boiled eggs, bacon, chopped peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.  But I never prep for more than 2 days worth of salads at a time.  I’m able to keep the fresh tastes by only prepping a small amount of ingredients at a time.  I didn’t always find it so easy, when I first started I had no idea how many ingredients to buy and kept having to throw old produce away.  I’m definitely a very efficient produce shopper now.  I know exactly how much will be used and I NEVER throw anything away.  🙂  I’m sure there are several people out there like me that take pride in that! 🙂

Anyways, homemade croutons are just one way that I help make our salads more delightful!  If you have a slice of bread, you can make croutons.  What I like about this recipe is you can eyeball the ingredients to match the amount of bread you have.

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Ingredients:

-Any amount of French Bread

-Olive Oil

-Italian Seasoning

-Garlic Powder

-Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300*F.

Slice the bread and then cut into cubes.

Place the bread cubes in a bowl.

Drizzle enough olive oil to thinly coat each cube bread.  Stir while slowly adding a thin drizzle of olive oil.

Lightly sprinkle the bread cubes with salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Go very easy on the garlic powder and salt.  Stir to coat.

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 300*F until golden brown and uniformly crispy inside and out.  For half a loaf of french bread it takes 15 minutes.

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Roasted Poblano and Sausage Deep Dish Pizza- Tried it and Liked it

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Last night was round 2 at our house for pizza!  I tried this Deep Dish Pizza recipe which was delicious.  If you have flour, yeast, salt, oil, a skillet, and an oven you can make this pizza!

I happened upon this recipe while researching different styles of pizza crusts.  It stood out to me and I knew I had to try it.  There was a lot of helpful information about the process of making dough and pizza.  Below I have shared the informative post as well as a link directly to the recipe.  I highly recommend reading the post to learn helpful tips on how to make you pizza a success.

I will say that I was slightly disappointed in the pizza as I had very very high expectations about the structure and texture of the crust.  However,  my oven did not reach the recommended baking temperature of 550*F which no doubt had an effect on the crispiness of the crust.  The recipe made comparisons with Pizza Hut’s deep dish pizza, so my expectations were considerably different from what actually came out of my oven.

Though I didn’t get what I was expecting, I did yield 2 delicious pizzas which I certainly would make again in the future using the same recipe!

My husband says this pizza was delicious but that he preferred the Stuffed Crust Recipe which I shared earlier this week, but I honestly loved both of these pizza recipes equally!

For my toppings I used freshly grill roasted Poblano peppers and a red bell peppers, italian sausage, onion, basil, and pepper jack cheese.  AMAZING combination!  It really paid off to grill the peppers!

The recipe calls for a skillet, but does mention you can use a round cake pan.  I chose to do one of each so I could see the difference.  The taste ended up being the same but the cake pan pizza’s outer crust was harder and not as enjoyable as the skillet pizza.    If you have a choice, use the skillet.  The pizzas are only about 10-12 inches big by the way.  The good thing about this recipe is you can save half of the dough to make a pizza on another day for up to 3 days!

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Original Post:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2013/01/the-pizza-lab-the-worlds-easiest-pizza-no-knead-no-stretch-pan-pizza.html?ref=pop_slice

Original Recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/01/foolproof-pan-pizza-recipe.html

Recommended toppings:

Fresh roasted Poblano peppers and red bell pepper, Italian sausage, onion, and pepper jack cheese. 🙂  Divine!

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