Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breast

One thing that’s almost always on sale at the grocery store is bone-in chicken breast.    I suppose I don’t buy them too often, since working with bone-in meats can be a bit intimidating – when, in fact, they are some of the tastiest meats out there!  I decided it’s been far too long since I bought some.  Plus, I am trying to save money (this is a nice cheap dish!).  PLUS, I was in charge of Wednesday Night Dinner this week, and I could come home and quickly throw together a tasty meal.

This roasted bone-in chicken breast recipe is simple to make, but flavorful enough that you could certainly serve it at a dinner party or even make for a holiday.  The trick to this is to keep an eye on the temperature of the chicken, which should be cooked until it reaches 165 °F.  A few minutes too long in the oven could make this chicken go from delectably delicious to disastrously dry.  I adapted this recipe from Blake Royer over at Serious Eats.  Their blog name is spot-on – I sure am serious about this chicken!  I hope you get a chance to make it and try it!

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Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breast

Active Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
TOTAL: 45 minutes

YIELDS: 6 servings (1/2 chicken breast per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 3 bone-in split chicken breasts, about 1 lb each
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil spray

Directions:

  1. Position upper rack in oven to highest position. Preheat oven to 450 °F.  Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil and set aside. (NOTE: If you don’t have a broiler pan, you can line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and place a metal cooling rack on top.
  2. Gently lift skin off of chicken breasts. Spread 1 Tbsp of butter on each chicken breast in between skin and meat.  Pat down skin and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Place chicken breasts on broiler pan, skin side up. Spray each with vegetable oil.  Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 °F.   Skin should be a golden-brown color (If skin browns too quickly, tent chicken with foil for remainder of cooking time).  Remove from oven and transfer to cutting board.  Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Meatballs

I was cleaning out my freezer over the weekend (okay… not cleaning out, more like shoving stuff into little nooks in there so I could fit even MORE stuff…) and I came across several packages of frozen ground beef (John always separates them into one pound chunks).  I figured it was time to use some of it!

This is one of my favorite meatball recipes – it has just a little bit of kick to it!  You can omit the red pepper flakes to have “kick-free” meatballs.  I would categorize this as a “30 minute meal” recipe – just heat up some sauce and cook the spaghetti while your meatballs are baking and dinner will be on the table before you know it!  Serve with some warm garlic bread and a side salad and your tummy will be oh-so-satisfied!  This recipe is adapted from lovestohost’s Meatball Nirvana recipe on Allrecipes.com.

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Baked Meatballs

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
TOTAL: 35 min

Yields ~35 meatballs (6-8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian herbs
  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ c grated Parmesan-Romano blend cheese
  • ½ c Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-blended.
  3. Roll into 1-1 ½ inch meatballs (~35 meatballs). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping meatballs halfway through.
  4. Eat as-is, or serve over your favorite pasta and sauce!

Marble Bundt Cake

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!  This weekend I had the honor of celebrating my great aunt’s 94th birthday!  NINETY-FOUR!!  And she is just as lovely as ever.  She is more like a grandmother; in fact, my sisters and I call her just that – Grandma Blan.  That’s a story for another day, though. 🙂

Growing up, Grandma Blan would always bring over the most delicious and beautiful baked goods and confections – I think that’s part of the reason why I love baking so much!  She’s also send us care packages in college filled to the brim with all of her delicious treats!

For her birthday, I made a marble Bundt cake topped with a chocolate glaze.  It was good – moist and flavorful and not overly sweet (I tend to like things on the super-sugary side, but I know not everyone is into that so I figured I’d tone it down!).  I recommend serving this with some fresh whipped cream on the side for those of us who must have some type of frosting on their cake. 🙂

Special thanks to Foxy Folksy for the cake recipe!  Head on over to her blog for lots of other great recipes and DIY ideas!

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Marble Bundt Cake

Active Prep: 10 min
Bake time: 40-60 min
TOTAL: 50-60 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c buttermilk
  • 5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high setting until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat well, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  4. Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the flour, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat until all of the flour and buttermilk has been added and mixed in.
  5. Take one-third of the batter and put it in a separate bowl. To this bowl, add the cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp boiling water and mix well.
  6. Alternating between the vanilla and chocolate batters, place dollops of batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Shake pan lightly and tap down to get batter to settle.  Use a knife to gentle cut through the batter a few times in different spots to create a marble affect – do not overdue this!
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes until done. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 min.  Invert directly onto serving plate.  Decorate as desired (chocolate fudge glaze recipe below).

 

Chocolate Fudge Glaze

 Ingredients:

  • 2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 5-6 Tbsp water

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. If needed, add additional water to achieve desired consistency.

 

Easy & Delicious Roast Beef

When it comes to cooking beef, my self-confidence is pretty much close to zero.  I didn’t eat a ton of beef growing up, so I just never really got the hang of how it should taste or how to cook it.  Plus, my mom likes her meat ruined VERY well-done, so I grew up thinking that chewy, dry meat was the norm (love you, Mum!).  I was pretty much a poultry-only girl through college until I met John, and he introduced me to what meat should REALLY taste like.  Tender, juicy, and full of flavor.  It should also be pink, not black. 😉

John and I usually take turns cooking dinner, and I usually have him take all responsibility for cooking beef (or anything on the grill).  So when he called me last night and said he was running late, could you please take care of the roast, I panicked as I recalled the last roast I made.  The horrifyingly dry pot roast that I cooked for FAR too long (remember that scene from Christmas Vacation where they are all choking down the turkey? Yep that was my pot roast). I reluctantly agreed and got started right when I got home.

I chose some of the best seasonings that go with this type of beef (thyme, rosemary, sage, onion flakes), and decided to sear it before putting it in the oven.  Searing it ensures that all the juices stay in and don’t seep out while cooking (I didn’t sear it last time, so the juices all came out, making it super dry).  I also decided to roast it at a lower temperature than usual – 350 °F – again, to prevent it from drying out too quickly.  I checked it after an hour, and NO juices had come out (win #1), the temperature of the roast was hovering just below 130 °F (win #2), which means that by the time it sat out for 10 minutes, it would be at the perfect temperature for a medium-rare piece of meat – WHICH IT WAS (win #3)!!!  And oh my goodness it tasted SO GOOD.

If you’re like me and lose sleep over the mere thought of cooking beef, this is your recipe!  Quick to prep, tastes amazing, and looks quite impressive!  I can’t wait to eat more of this tonight!

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East & Delicious Roast Beef

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60-75 minutes, depending on roast size
TOTAL: ~ 1 hr 25 min

Yields: 1 roast, about 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 4 ½ lb round roast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • 1 ½ tsp dried onion flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Season roast generously with salt and pepper (hint: when you think you’ve added enough salt, go ahead and add some more!).  Season with remaining ingredients.  Be sure to get all sides of the roast.  You may have to pat on the onion flakes.
  2. Heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a 10- or 12-inch cast iron pan over high heat. When oil is smoking, using tongs to place roast in pan.  Hold for 30 seconds to sear, then rotate to sear another side.  Repeat with all sides of roast until completely seared.
  3. Place cast iron pan with roast directly in oven. Roast at 350 °F until it reaches desired doneness, about 60-75 minutes.  For medium-rare, you’ll want to remove the roast when internal roast temperature reaches 125-128 °F (this was 60 minutes for me but will vary depending on roast size).
  4. Immediately transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Strawberry Mango Smoothie

One of my favorite flavor combinations I’ve come across in my life is strawberry and mango.  It is such a refreshing, tasty, and packed with the flavor of summer!  It is reminiscent of my honeymoon to Jamaica, where my favorite drink was some sort of frozen strawberry and mango flavored daiquiri.  I would do anything to go back to those warm, sunny beaches!

Smoothies are a great way to add an extra serving or two of fruit and dairy to your day.  I like to drink one of these mid-morning alongside a handful of nuts to keep me nourished and filled up until lunchtime.  I like to use frozen fruit so my smoothies don’t get watered down with ice.   Take a sip and imagine you’re sitting by the pool – it will bring you there for just a moment. 😉

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Strawberry Mango Smoothie

Prep: 5 minutes

Yields – Two 8-oz smoothies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup frozen strawberries
  • ¾ cup frozen mango chunks
  • ¾ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ¾ cup orange juice

Directions:

  1. Add frozen fruit to blender. Pulse until fruit is finely crushed (my blender has a “crush ice button that I use).
  2. Add yogurt and juice. Turn on blender and blend until smooth.  Make two 8-oz smoothies.

 

Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes


I think everyone I know goes on some sort of “health kick” in early January.  It makes sense – most of us just ate our way from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s and are feeling a bit weighed down (literally).  Then we all make (unrealistic) New Year’s Resolutions that MAYBE last until February 1st, because there’s NO way I am going to run five miles every single day of 2017 and there’s DEFINITELY no way I am giving up ALL cake and cookies and ice cream in exchange for plain Greek yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of cocoa powder (I am actually ashamed of this).

To all of you trying to be healthier in 2017, this one’s for you!  Seasoned chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes – how can you get healthier than that?!

This recipe is adapted from the recipe over at Cooking Classy.  I really enjoyed it!  Next time I make it, I am going to marinade the chicken in some olive oil and balsamic dressing along with the spices.  I’ll update this post when I do!  But as is, the flavor is wonderful.

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Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Prep: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
TOTAL: ~40 min

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1-1.5 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large broccoli crown, cut into small florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F. In a large bowl, toss diced sweet potatoes with ~1 Tbsp olive oil until well-coated.  Spread out on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, add remaining ingredients plus 1-2 Tbsp olive oil to large bowl and toss until mixed and well-coated. Once sweet potatoes have baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and add sweet potatoes to bowl of ingredients.  Toss to mix well.  Drizzle ~1 Tbsp olive oil over baking sheet and add sweet potato mixture.  Make sure everything (especially chicken) is evenly spread out in pan (try not to clump large amounts together – a single, flat layer is best to ensure even cooking).  Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until chicken is done.  Serve immediately. 4-6 servings.

Protein-Packed Macaroni Salad

 

The after-Christmas blues leave us longing for beaches, summer picnics, and the shining sun… I’m about over winter and ready to spend my days in the warm outdoors!  Nothing beats the smell of freshly cut grass and hamburgers on the grill.  Today I decided to make a summertime-bbq essential – macaroni salad.  I think we eat some type of pasta salad with every barbeque we have!  I decided to play with the recipe and pack it with protein so I could take it as my lunch this week… maybe that way summer will arrive faster!  Hard-boiled eggs and chickpeas are tossed into a basic macaroni salad recipe to make it a more filling – and even tastier! – dish.  I will certainly look forward to eating lunch this week!  Enjoy!

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Protein-Packed Macaroni Salad

Cook/prep time: 15 mins

Yields about 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

Directions:

  1. In a medium stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients including macaroni. Mix well.  Let sit for 15 minutes to allow noodles to absorb excess moisture.  Mix again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Buttermilk Waffles for Two

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!  Did you make it up until midnight?  I took a nap from 10-11:45pm, then woke up to watch the ball drop and went back to bed.  I’m officially old!  I used the excuse that I’m pregnant to take that nap, but let’s be serious… I wouldn’t have made it regardless… 🙂

To start the new year, we had some buttermilk waffles for breakfast.  Pair with some fresh fruit and a side of bacon, and you’ve got yourself a well-balanced breakfast!  This recipe is from one of my many America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks – The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.  I love learning how they come up with their recipes and what worked/didn’t work during recipe creation.

This recipe for buttermilk waffles makes three Belgian waffles, which is perfect for me and my husband.  We don’t always eat the third one, but it’s good to have for those extra-hungry mornings. I enjoy eating these with a strawberry topping.  John prefers good old-fashioned maple syrup.  Enjoy them however you’d like!  Happy 2017!

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Buttermilk Waffles for Two

Active Prep: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3-5 minutes per waffle
TOTAL: ~30 minutes

Yield: 3 Belgian waffles (depends on the size of your waffle maker)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp buttermilk powder (see note below)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 c water
  • 1 large egg, separated

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add melted butter, water, and egg yolk. Whisk to combine.
  3. In another small bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the butter mixture to the flour mixture. Mix slowly and gently.  Fold in the egg whites.
  5. Cook waffles in waffle iron according the manufacturer’s instructions. I used ¾ cup batter for each Belgian waffle.

NOTE:  I don’t often have buttermilk on hand, so I like to use buttermilk powder.  Buttermilk powder must be added to the dry ingredients; then, when the recipe calls for buttermilk, water is added instead.  If you prefer to use regular buttermilk, eliminate the buttermilk powder and substitute the water for buttermilk.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

When I was in college, one of my favorite things to get in the dining hall was a honey mustard chicken wrap.  It sounds simple, but there was always a lonnnng line waiting to get this wrap.  It was the mysterious “yellow sauce” in the wrap that us 18- and 19-year-olds lived for back then.  Obviously, we knew it was honey mustard, but no one could figure out how to replicate the taste – there are so many honey mustards out there!  Luckily, my five years’ experience as a waitress at Friendly’s exposed me to lots of different sauces and dressings, and I knew at first taste that the sauce was none other than Ken’s Honey Mustard Dressing!

I enjoy this wrap with either grilled or fried chicken.  If I’m feeling a bit on the healthier side, I’ll opt for the grilled.  But it’s the last day before the new year, and from what I’ve heard, diets aren’t really supposed to start until January 2nd, when you’ve figured out your diet plan. 😉  Luckily, I have some delicious deep fried chicken just waiting to be gobbled up.  Tomato and avocado are my favorite add-ons to this wrap, but you can add anything you’d like.

Happy New Year!

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Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap

Prep: 5-10 minutes

Yield: 1 wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-inch wrap or tortilla (I like Joseph’s white or whole wheat wraps)
  • 3-4 oz chicken, diced
  • ¼ ripe avocado, diced
  • ½ roma tomato, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Ken’s honey mustard dressing
  • 1 leaf Romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Spread honey mustard in a 2- to 3-inch wide line across center of wrap.
  2. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and chicken over honey mustard.
  3. Add additional honey mustard, if desired.
  4. Fold in sides of wrap, then roll into a wrap. Slice down the middle and enjoy!

 

Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

Anytime I eat Chinese food – whether it’s take-out or homemade – egg rolls are a MUST.  In fact, egg rolls are so important to me, that I will only go to a Chinese food establishment if their egg rolls are Elyse- (and John) approved.  This homemade (slightly healthier) baked egg roll is definitely approved!  They are crunchy and full of flavor.  Add extra cayenne pepper if you want some additional kick.  Just don’t overdo it on the soy sauce – I’ve done that before and the filling ends up way too salty, masking the egg roll’s scrumptious flavor.

You can find egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.  I go to Market Basket, and they are with the tofu and vegan items (next to the lettuce and mushrooms).

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

NOTE: I have been making these for many years, and I have since lost the original source of this recipe. If you recognize it as yours, please let me know so I may give you credit!  Thank you!

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Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

Active Prep: 20 min
Bake time: 15 min
TOTAL: 35 min

Makes 12-16 egg rolls

Ingredients:

  • 5 c shredded cabbage/carrot mixture
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ c diced scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c finely diced cooked chicken
  • 5 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 12-16 egg roll wrappers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Coat a large skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat. Add cabbage mixture, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic.  Stir and cook until vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken and mix well to combine.
  3. Whisk corn starch, water, soy sauce, oil, and cayenne pepper together in small bowl. Stir into chicken mixture, coating chicken and vegetables.  Cook for 2 minutes until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.
  4. Spoon ¼ cup mixture into egg roll wrapper. Fold sides into center and roll tightly.  Place seam side down on baking sheet.
  5. Lightly spray tops of egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 425 °F for 15 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown.  Serve with duck sauce or other favorite dipping sauce.  Makes 12-16 egg rolls.