Chicken Parm Meatloaf

Source: What’s Cookin Chicago?

1 lb ground chicken (ground turkey can be substituted)

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small onion, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)

1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

minced parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. To not over handle the mixture otherwise it will get tough. Place the mixture in the greased loaf pan and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

Place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

* To make ahead/freezer meal – Prepare the meatloaf mixture as directed and place in a disposable loaf pan. Cover and freeze.** When ready to prepare and serve, defrost the meatloaf completely and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top with pasta sauce and place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.

** Alternately, you can top the meatloaf with pasta sauce before freezing and then bake from frozen, uncovered for 55-60 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Read more at http://www.whatscookinchicago.com/2010/06/chicken-parmesan-meatloaf.html#6qQqA0s8WE7WarCY.99

Brown Sugar Chicken

Source: For a Hungry Soul

About 3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I’ve used both thighs and breasts)

1 ( .7 ounce) packet of dried Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasonings)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 inch x 9 inch pan and set aside, and/or it may be preferable to line your dish with aluminum foil as the sugar tends to caramelize while baking.

Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels.

Combine and the dried Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, mixing together well.

Dip and press the chicken pieces into the mixture, coating front and back and place into your prepared pan, topside of the chicken facing up. Any extra coating that remains can just be sprinkled over the chicken.

Carol says to cook for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is done. I do that as well, but during the interim, I turn the chicken over a couple of times and spoon the resultant saucy melted brown sugar mix over the baking chicken allowing, with the final turn leaving the topside facing up for the last bit of baking. I want to get as much of that flavorful coating as I can.

Carol, I want to thank you again for such a delicious share. I’ve already made this recipe twice and am looking forward to it again and again!

Baked Apples

Adapted from: The Harris Sisters
Ingredients
5 apples, cored, and sliced (you can peel, I choose not too)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter, cubed
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add apples, sugars, apple juice, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to baking dish, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Place butter on top of apples
  4. Cover and bake for about 1-1.5 hours.  Stirring every 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes.

Garlic Tomato Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

Here is a recipe I adapted from Tuttorosso’s Garlic Tomato Bruschetta.  I wanted to make an appetizer for everyone to snack on while waiting on the Turkey for Thanksgiving…but you have to do a test run, right?  I mean…what if tomatoes, basil, goat cheese, and balsamic glaze tasted horrible together?  I couldn’t bare the embarrassment! :)

This is our first Thanksgiving spent at home with our family.  In all the year prior, Nate has been working in the restaurant on Thanksgiving…causing me to either miss out on the family meal because I felt guilty leaving Nate behind -OR- going to the family meal and having to say over and over “No, he isn’t here, I’m here alone.  He is at work.”  So to say we are feeling thankful for the way our lives are at this moment is an understatement!  And we will never take for granted being able to cook a fabulous meal together on a holiday!

Don’t forget to enter daily for Tuttorosso’s three-week promotion starting November 19, during which they will be giving away 1,000 aprons per week, a daily drawing of one heirloom wooden spoon and the grand prize, a Martha Stewart Cookware set. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/tuttorossotomato to enter.

Tuttorosso was kind enough to send me a variety gift pack of tomatoes, an apron, wooden spoon (which are best for sauces) and recipes to use and post on my blog.  Below is the second recipe I adapted from their website…

IMG_5960IMG_5963IMG_5965IMG_5968IMG_5970

Ingredients

1 loaf sourdough bread, or Italian bread, sliced 1 inch thick
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomato
1 4 oz log on goat cheese
8 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

*optional* Balsamic glaze

Directions
Brush bread slices with olive oil and broil on each side until toasted.

In a small bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Use immediately or cover and let chill in the fridge over night.

Spoon tomato mixture onto the toasted bread and crumble goat cheese on top.  Drizzle the balsamic glaze for an extra zing of flavor.

Buttery Tomato Sauce with Onion

Have you had butter sauce? Yea, you heard me, butter sauce.  Usually when things sound too good to be true they are…in this case the sauce is as good as the name sounds.  However, when I first heard the words “butter sauce” I thought of a class french white sauce…not an italian red sauce.  This sauce is so simple yet the butter, onions, and tomatoes compliment each other in a way that each are highlighted.  The butter adds a rich and creamy taste while the onions give the acidity of the tomatoes a hint of sweet.  It’s just an unique blend that I would never have thought of had it not been for Tuttorosso Tomatoes!

The 85-year-old, family-owned and family-run tomato brand recently launched a new website (www.tuttorossotomatoes.com) with recipes, an inspirational ideas blog and even stories from home cooks. As part of that, they are introducing a line-up of Sunday Sauce recipes to inspire cooks in every kitchen. They’re calling it, “Celebrate the Sauce”.

Tuttorosso also will be hosting a three-week promotion starting November 19, during which they will be giving away 1,000 aprons per week, a daily drawing of one heirloom wooden spoon and the grand prize, a Martha Stewart Cookware set. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/tuttorossotomato to enter.

Tuttorosso was kind enough to send me a variety gift pack of tomatoes, an apron, wooden spoon (which are best for sauces) and recipes to use and post on my blog.  Below is the first recipe I adapted from their website…

Buttery Tomato Sauce with Onion

IMG_5916IMG_5917IMG_5923IMG_5924IMG_5932

Ingredients

Olive Oil
1 28 ounce can Tuttorosso® Peeled Plum Italian Style Tomatoes, crushed with hands
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stick butter, cubed
2 medium onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

Directions

In a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil…until that are translucent and some onions have brown edges.

Add the canned tomatoes, sugar, butter, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, & bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally and mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook about 45 minutes or until flavors blend and sauce is slightly reduced.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper if needed and serve with your choice of pasta.

Baked Saucy Wings

So many exciting things are happening!  Some I am not ready to tell you.  But I can spill the beans on one…I am starting my own Website Management business.  I am about to merge my business site with the blog so you can access both.  This has been an itch and a dream of mine for years, and I finally got the guts to just go for it.  I’ve been planning and getting things ready for 2+ months now.  And, FINALLY ready to start taking clients.   My focus or “target customer” would be a small business that needs a website, that can be found in search engines, would like to increase traffic, and doesn’t want to hire a bunch of different companies to do this for them!  Also, not having to hire a whole staff member to maintain the business website will save each company a TON of money and having the website maintained the right way will actually MAKE them money!  This is something I truly enjoy doing and would love to offer this service to anyone who is interested.  I can handle any size of website so contact me with any questions :) Okay…enough business talk…lets get to the good stuff! “Would you like some meat to go with that sauce?” is a question I hear often.  I can NEVER have enough sauce on my food.  So I mixed up some ingredients I already had on hand and got lucky haha!   Nate said they were blog-worthy so here you go :)  Baked_Saucy_WingsBaked_saucy_wings_2 Ingredients -2 packages of chicken wings/legs (about 18) -2 table spoons vegetable oil -2 table spoons ketchup -3/4 cup of honey -1/4 cup of brown sugar -1/2 cup of soy sauce -3 cloves garlic, minced -pinch of cayenne pepper -a pinch of black pepper   Directions -Preheat oven to 400 degrees -In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients minus the meat to create the sauce. -Place chicken in a 9×13 baking dish. -Pour Sauce over the chicken -Bake uncovered for 30 minutes -Flip each piece of chicken to the other side and bake another 30 minutes -Flip each piece of chicken again and bake for 30 minutes. -Remove from oven, spoon sauce over the chicken, and enjoy! **Can use other chicken cuts as well…legs would be delicious!   Ingredients

Baked PoTater Tot Casserole

Welp.  Long story short, this is a good one.  Don’t deny your tummy the yummy-ness of this casserole.  Double the recipe, make two, eat one, and freeze one for later.  When I looked up ‘comfort food’ on urban dictionary, I saw this picture: baked_potater_tot_casserole_4baked_potater_tot_casserole_2baked_potater_tot_casserole_1   Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1/2 an onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced or sliced 1 16 ounce bag of frozen tater tots 1 10 ounce can of condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 bunch of green onions, sliced 4 strips of bacon (at least 4 :), crumbled Sour cream salt and pepper to taste   Directions -Preheat oven to 375 degrees -Brown the beef in a medium skillet and season with salt and pepper.  About halfway, drain the fat and add the onions and garlic.  Cook until meat is brown and the onions start to soften. -Remove the meat mixture from heat and stir in the mushroom soup. -Add the meat mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish and make an even layer. -Add the bag of tater tots on top of the meat mixture. -Sprinkle the shredded cheese, green onions, and bacon over the top. -Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is a melted goodness that you just can’t stand to leave in their a minute longer. -Top with sour cream, hot sauce, ketchup, or any other fixin’s you’d normally eat on your baked potato and enjoy!

Ron Beef Burgundy

Fall has to be my favorite season.  Something about the crisp cool air and the smell of leaves just gets me going.  To some, a pumpkin spice latte is their favorite indulgence of fall.  Mine, a warm, hearty, beef, stew-type concoction.  Really, hearty meals just taste better in cool weather, it’s a fact. This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen.  I had to make some adjustments while making this dish for the first time, but it turned out amazing!  The 2 major adjustments were adding a roux and seasoning at the end.  The original recipe calls to season the meat only.  The sauce needed a thickener…next time, I will flour the meat before browning.  And please please please, always give your food a taste before serving so you can adjust the seasoning.  As Nate was chowing down I casually said “So, tomorrow, we are starting our new diet.  We can only eat eggs and salad.” Nate exclaimed “WHAT?!?!?!”  I replied “April Fools :)” Nate “It’s not April…”  Me “Uhh, October Fools, I mean trick or treat!” It has been my mission in life to find THE perfect red and white wine to cook with.  Something that tasted great, added yummy flavor to dishes, and didn’t break the bank.  The search has ended and here it is: Ron-Beef-Burgundy-3 There is also an Apothic White which I think is equally as successful in all 3 accounts.  Try it!Give this recipe a shot and if anything…you’ll have some leftover wine to enjoy.  Not a bad deal :) Ron-Beef-Burgundy-1 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-2  Ron-Beef-Burgundy-4 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-5 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-6 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-7 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-8 Ron-Beef-Burgundy-9 [yumprint-recipe id=’4′]

Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman First off, I texted this to Nate at work as a hint for dinner: photo I haven’t cooked anything to be remotely proud of in months…yea…months.  So to kick start my return, I had to make something spectacular and rib sticking.  My love for the Pioneer Woman continues because this recipe even impressed our lawn care guy.  When I opened the door to greet him, and the scent of whiskey wafted in his face…I instantly became his favorite customer!  Nate was also impressed, but schooled me on what I actually did.  I braised the meet.  Who knew braising was so easy?  Whenever I see that something is braised, it sounds kinda fancy and a lot of work.  Not the case!  And it turns out, I’ve been braising meet for years without even realizing it.  Maybe I should let Nate in the kitchen while I am cooking more often… Flavorful, tender, juicy, fall off the bone, yummy chicken and sauce.  Just serve over mashed potatoes and you’re set!  Really, you could serve this over mac n cheese and it would still taste good.  And this recipe makes a ton for leftovers, believe me, you’ll want them!

Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken
Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken over Mashed Potatoes
whiskey_barbecue_chicken_2  [yumprint-recipe id=’2′]   

5 Months

Geez, next month we will have a 6 month year old.  That’s half a year old!  Holy crap.  I’m telling you, time is flying faster and faster.  But hold on, gotta come back to the 5th month before I blink and it’s gone :)

Dillon had his first bowl of rice cereal at 16 weeks…and LOVED IT.  This boy was born to eat!  He chose the right family, smart boy.  I’ve experimented with the texture and found a box of rice cereal with apples.  The regular stuff seemed so bland, the apples spices things up a bit.  The directions tell you to start of soupy so they can gain tongue control.  But I found that thickening it up has made it MUCH easier for Dillon to learn how to keep the cereal in his mouth and swallow.  Every once in a while his tongue will push it all out, but c’mon it’s only his 10th time eating from a spoon, ever…I’ll cut him some slack :)

6/19/13 was a glorious day for baby D.  He got to eat his first baby food!  Decided to start him off with sweet potatoes. They are super healthy and super orange, so a win/win situation in my book.  His first bite was funny, his face was like “Wtf is this stuff?” But then he realized it was food and would open his mouth for more as soon as the spoon left the bowl.  Honestly, I thought feeding the baby would be a lot harder than it has been.  And I really hope I did not just jinx it.

He rolled over from back to front and front to back at 18 weeks, but he doesn’t like to do it all the time.  But when we peek on the video monitor, he’s been practicing in his sleep, and will even sleep on his side sometimes (video monitor = best entertainment/safety investment so far!).  We are so proud of our roly poly.  And he gets SO excited whenever he rolls over, it is the best.

Rolling Over Update at 22 weeks – Dillon will start rolling the second he is laid on the floor.  I mean really, we should enter him in a rolling around the room contest.  It is so funny because he can only roll to the right. So he has graduated from “Dill Weed” to “Tumble Weed”.

Dillon has discovered Maple and Maple is warming up to Dillon.  D gets SO happy and excited anytime Maple comes in range of sight.  They are going to be best friends.  Maple is putting together what happens when D is in the high chair, so it really is a matter of time.

And my little guy now has 2 bottom teeth coming in!  The first one broke through at 20 weeks.  I swear, he is going to college tomorrow.  First teeth, then keys to his first car. Stop growing! And hot dang do teeth hurt.  I’ve read and received lots of advice on how to deal with this and have tried it all.  The most impossible common one being “Don’t react at all and just set him down.”  Sorry, if you’ve can control whether or not you yell “OUCH!”, your kid aint biting! haha

My goal was to breastfeed to 6 months and we have almost made it.  So I’ve made the decision to go ahead and introduce 1 formula bottle during the day.  I’m hoping to be able to do a breastmilk and formula hybrid.  We will see what actually happens.

Teething hasn’t bad that bad.  The biggest issue has been night-waking.  But I think we’ve finally got that nipped in the bud.  After giving him a dose of infant Tylenol, he slept 11 hours straight! And slept another 2 after feeding him and even took a 1.5 hour morning nap.  Little one was tired.  Who wouldn’t be after waking up every 2 hours for several nights?