Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day One-Hundred Seventeen - Grilled Pork Chops with Spice Paste (5.30.14)


  • 4 (3 lbs total) bone-in pork loin chops
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for grates
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. In a bowl, mix together garlic, oil, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper and cayenne until a paste forms. Coat pork chops with paste and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3).
  2. Heat grill to medium-high; clean and lightly oil hot grates. Grill pork, covered, 5 minutes per side for medium. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Potter: These were hands-down the best pork chops I have ever had. They came out super juicy and the flavors were amazing. It had just a hint of heat and sweet but was definitely a savory dish. You should definitely give these a try especially considering how quick and easy they are to make.

Katie: These pork chops were amazing. They were the best at home chops I've had - the flavors were great and the pork remained juicy! I've had comparable/slightly better in a higher end restaurant but I do feel these gave that dish of chops a run for it's money. I definitely plan on enjoying these again and highly recommend to others! :)

Day One-Hundred Sixteen - Pesto Bow Ties with Peas (5.29.14)

  • 1 tube (2.8 oz) Amore Pesto Paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz bow tie pasta
  • 6-7 oz frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated (or shredded) Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Whisk together the pesto paste and olive oil in a large bowl.
  3. Add bow tie pasta, peas, and salt to taste to boiling water.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender yet still firm to the bite. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set it aside (if desired for thinning the sauce). 
  5. Drain pasta and add it to the bowl with the sauce. Toss well, adding some of the hot pasta water as desired to thin the sauce.
  6. Add the grated cheese and black pepper to taste. Toss again. Serve hot.

Potter: This tasted pretty good. It was a very quick very easy recipe with a lot of room for options (see Katie's opinion below). I'm a big fan of pesto in general but I've never used the paste before, turns out it tastes pretty darn good. Next time we'll have to try and make our own home-made pesto and see if we can beat it.

Katie: This pasta dish was good. The recipe definitely leaves room for testing out different things. You can use various pastas, green vegetables, cheese and also could add some other spices. It didn't take long to make so it is a good one to have when time is tight.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day One-Hundred Fifteen - Biscuits and Sausage Gravy (5.28.14)

  • 1 tube frozen biscuits (if using smaller tubes, suggest using 2)
  • 1 package breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • Pepper to taste
  • Paprika (optional)
  1. Preheat oven as directed on biscuit packaging.
  2. Brown the breakfast sausage.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp flour and 1/2 cup milk, stir until well mixed and thickening up. Repeat twice.
  4. Add pepper to taste and stir.
  5. Serve gravy over biscuits. Sprinkle paprika on top if desired.

Katie: I am a big fan of biscuits and gravy and love making it. It is an easy dish and even though there is your typical recipe as above you have flexibility to shake up the ingredients and try new things. I used hot breakfast sausage for this batch which didn't need any additional seasoning and they turned out great.

Potter: I love me some biscuits and gravy. This batch was delicious, I even had some for leftovers. Super-easy, super-fast recipe. Definitely give this one a try.

Day One-Hundred Fourteen - Chicken Schnitzel (5.27.14)

  • 4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8-inch thickness
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups (or more) whole wheat (or regular) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Beat eggs and Dijon mustard to blend in a shallow baking dish. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow baking dish, adding remaining 1 cup panko, or more, to dish as needed throughout process. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; carefully coat with panko, pressing panko gently to adhere to chicken. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat (pan should be large enough to hold 2 breasts). Add 2 chicken breasts to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and 1 Tbsp. butter to skillet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Transfer chicken breasts to plates and garnish each with parsley and a lemon wedge.

Potter: This turned out absolutely delicious. I have no idea what exactly distinguishes schnitzel from fried chicken, maybe is the mustard, but either way this was great fried chicken. Juicy on the inside and amazingly crispy on the outside. I definitely recommend giving this one a try, make sure to watch it fry because it only took about 4 minutes to cook. 

Katie: This dish was great. I really don't have anything to add to what Potter states above as he captured it all. Try it out!

Day One-Hundred Thirteen - Gyros (5.26.14)

We ordered from Athens Gyros tonight. They were delicious and huge. Definitely give this place a try if you like gyros!

Day One-Hundres Twelve - BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches (5.25.14)

Day three of our Memorial Day weekend the group meal was barbeque pulled pork sandwiches. They were delicious. We don't have the recipe from our friend, but if we get it we will update this post. It seemed to be a pretty straightforward, simple recipe for pulled pork, but not certain. The flavor was sweeter opposed to spicy.

Day One-Hundred Eleven - Steak Kabobs (5.24.14)

Night number two of Memorial Day weekend was steak kabobs. We didn't grab a picture for this dish either, oops! Take our word for it though, they were well plated and appearance was mouth watering.

Marinade Ingredients
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer (optional)
Other Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 lb top sirloin (could use any meat)
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 3-4 medium onions
  • kabob skewers
  1. Cut bell peppers and onions into square pieces (about 1-in x 1-in).
  2. Remove marinated meat from refrigerator and stir.
  3. Assemble kabob by alternating meat, peppers and onions as desired.
  4. Grill kabobs to desired doneness.

Potter: They were delicious. We marinated the meat all day then prepped the kabobs with fresh onions and multiple colored bell peppers.

Katie: The kabobs were great! I think the best I've had. Marinating the meat all day definitely paid off and the flavors were awesome. The only thing I would have changed was maybe keeping them on the grill a bit longer to get more char on the edges, but that is a fine line since you don't want to overcook the meat.

Day One-Hundred Ten - Cheeseburgers (5.23.14)

We went up to a lake house for Memorial Day weekend and the first night's group dinner was cheeseburgers on the grill. They were tasty! Sorry, we didn't get a picture of the dish this evening.

Day One-Hundred Nine - Fiery Asian Chicken (5.22.14)

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (you can also substitute a teaspoon of anchovy paste stirred into another 1/4 cup of soy sauce) 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (you can also use red wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lime 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed then patted dry with paper towel and cut lengthwise in half
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Whisk together the first five ingredients in a medium-sized storage container with a lid (such as Tupperware). Cut the lime in half and squeeze in the juice, then drop in the squeezed lime halves. Stir in the ground cayenne, smashed garlic, and kosher salt. Add the chicken breasts turning each until full coated. Cover the storage container and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat grill to medium heat and coat with oil. Cook chicken breasts 15-20 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Potter: This marinade was great. Not nearly as spicy as I thought it would be but still had a great range of flavor. We marinated the chicken overnight so the flavor was well permeated through the chicken. I definitely recommend giving this marinade a try and if you like it spicy add a bit of another hot sauce or more sriracha. I did overcook the chicken a bit though so the chicken turned out dry.

Katie: The flavors were awesome; not as spicy as I anticipated, but that was just fine. Potter did overcook the chicken a bit so it was dry - man, chicken is tricky sometimes!

Day One-Hundred Eight - Diego's Mexican Grill (5.21.14)

It was a gorgeous evening outside so we decided to head to a restaurant with a patio! Neither of us had previously had Diego's and we enjoyed it a lot. Complementary chips and salsa when you sat down and we both enjoyed a Mexican beer we had not had before. The dishes were great - Potter had the fajita combo plate and I had the blackened chicken quesadilla.

Day One-Hundred Seven - Tropical Grilled Chicken Breasts (5.20.14)

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, honey, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, and pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Place the chicken on the grill and cook the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 6 to 8 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Top with cilantro and serve.

    Potter: This was just an ok dish. It could have used a longer marinade time at the very least but the flavors were still pretty light. The chicken did keep from getting dry though, so that was good. All around I think this recipe could use a bit more experimentation before I would recommend it to others.

    Katie: I agree with Potter - this dish just ok. I liked the flavors, but they were just too light. As Potter said, the marinate time should have been longer to get the most out of the ingredients used. If the chicken had marinated overnight I feel that this dish would have been great. Lesson learned for next time!

    Day One-Hundred Six - Indian Spiced Rice with Shrimp and Peas (5.19.14)

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • salt
    • pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1 cup long-grain white rice
    • 1 lb medium peeled and deveined shrimp
    • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • lemon wedges for serving
    1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
    2. Add the rice and stir to coat in the onion mixture. Stir in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
    3. Fold the shrimp and peas into the partially cooked rice and cook, covered, until the shrimp is opaque throughout and the rice is tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
    4. Remove from the heat and fold in  the cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. 

    Potter: This is very similar to a side I make that I call curried rice. It's a bit fuller in flavor and with the added shrimp much more of a meal. I will say make sure to use fresh shrimp with this recipe, we used the precooked kind and it didn't absorb the spices well. It was still a great meal just could have been better.

    Katie: This dish was great. As Potter said, it was a fuller dish than he usually side (to be expected with be an entree), but definitely go the route of fresh shrimp to avoid the lack of absorbing spices we encountered. 

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    Day One-Hundred Five - Lamb Slider Patties with Pomegranate Molasses (5.18.14)

    • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, divided
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 pound lean ground lamb
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • cooking spray
    1. Combine 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, mint, and the next 7 ingredients (through garlic); stir to combine. Divide mixture into 16 equal portions; gently shape each into a 1/4-inch-thick patty. 
    2. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place patties on a platter; lightly brush patties with remaining 1 tablespoon molasses. 

    Potter: This dish has a lot in common with the chicken pitas we made earlier in the week. Again, an incredibly unique flavor. This time however I couldn't handle it. It may have been because I was slightly hungover and my stomach just wasn't ready for anything this rich but regardless I did not like this one. Which sucks because we've had some really good lamb dishes so far and Katie did a great job preparing this one, it just wasn't for me. 

    Katie: I agree with Potter that this dish had an incredibly unique flavor. The flavor was also very bold. However, compared to the chicken pitas, I was able to handle this one more. The prep and cooking was straight forward and pretty quick; it took about 30 minutes total. Many cooks out there most likely have this down, but since I am a novice, cooking on the grill pan did have some hiccups. First let me state that I really don't like cooking with oil/cooking spray over high heat...there is just something about it and I haven't quite caught on to doing it well yet. Practice makes perfect (well, better) though. I had to keep a close eye and initially didn't keep the patties on long enough so had to put them on for round two which was a total of about 30 seconds. That effort though did result in some of the patties having a slightly charred outside - oops! I'll keep practicing. All in all though the dish turned out well despite Potter not enjoying the flavor.

    Day One-Hundred Four - Cheese Cubes and Beer (5.17.14)

    We went to Katie's parents house for the weekend to attend her Great Aunt and Great Uncle's 60th wedding anniversary. The end result was a good time, a touch of day drinking and accidentally skipping real dinner after a later lunch. We enjoyed cheese cubes and beer in the company of siblings. :) Cheers!

    Day One-Hundred Three - Arby's (5.16.14)

    It was Arby's. We both had a beef and cheddar sandwich and curly fries. Not healthy, but still always a good choice. :)

    Day One-Hundred Two - Seared Salmon with Sweet Corn and Bacon Saute (5.15.14)

    • 2 center cut bacon slices, chopped
    • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
    • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated. 
    • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
    • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sweet corn
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets, skinned
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
    1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Add shallot and white parts of onions; saute 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in vinegar, corn, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in green parts of onions.
    2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fillets with remaining salt and pepper. Add fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn and cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Divide corn mixture among 4 plates; top with fillets. Sprinkle thyme evenly over fillets. 

    Potter: This was delicious. Yet another simple, flavorful way to enjoy salmon. The blend of the bacon and corn saute was a wonderful accent to the salmon. One of the things that continues to surprise me throughout this adventure is how much flavor you can get from just about any type of meat or fish with just a bit of salt and pepper and searing it. This salmon tasted great with no sauce or special seasonings. 

    Katie: Ditto Potter's opinion. I honestly do not have anything else to add - he was spot on. :)

    Day One-Hundred One - Moroccan Chicken Salad Pitas (5.14.14)

    • 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
    • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
    • 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
    • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
    • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 6 ounces chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 2 pitas, halved
    • 1/4 cup prechopped red bell pepper
    • 4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (optional)
    1. Place first 4 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Place spinach mixture in a bowl; stir in yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. 
    2. Combine remaining salt, juice and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a medium bowl. Add chicken; toss.
    3. Spread 2 tablespoons spinach mixture in each pita half. Divide chicken mixture among pita halves; sprinkle with bell pepper and nuts. 

    Potter: I can honestly say during this whole experiment this was the first dish with flavors I have never had before. I've never tasted anything like this. It took a few bites to get used to it but after that I really actually liked this dish. It's very, very flavorful yet still a light dish, great for a summer lunch/dinner. 

    Katie: This was a dish that had flavors that I also have never had before. The flavors were bold and took many bites for me to get used to it. I do have to say that even then I didn't really enjoy the dish too much. As I do with anything I don't like on the first try, I would definitely be willing to give a dish with similar ingredients/flavors another go, but there will need to be some time before that happens. I agree with Potter though that it is a light dish that is good for summer.

    Day One-Hundred - Filet of Veal with Mushrooms (5.13.14)

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 pieces thinly sliced fillet of veal (about 5 oz. each)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    • 5 porcini mushrooms, finely chopped (or mushrooms of your choice, we used 8 oz baby bella mushrooms)
    • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
    • 2 teaspoons brandy or cognac
    • 5 teaspoons heavy cream
    • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
    1. Add butter to a large saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Season veal with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Add veal to butter in pan and cook for 2 minutes per side, turning once. Remove to a plate.
    2. Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Carefully add brandy and cream to skillet. Cook 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened, then return veal and any drippings to pan. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
    3. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

    Potter: This was a very interesting dish. It was my first time cooking or eating veal. To start we couldn't get filet of veal anywhere, it turns out this is a very expensive cut of meat and slightly hard to find, per the butchers recommendation we used veal chops instead. This did not turn out to be my favorite cut of meat. It was very tender but kind of a squishy sort of tender which really detracted from the flavor. This could be because I unknowingly cooked it incorrectly (though the internal temp was good). All in all I'd say unless you've got money to play with and have made veal before skip this dish, though you could swap out the veal with another cut of meat (pork chops or a flat iron steak) and this would be a very tasty dish.

    Katie: This was my first time eating veal as well and I agree with Potter, it was interesting. It was okay but not my favorite. As Potter said, I would only do this dish if you have cooked veal before. 

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Day Ninety-Nine - Avocado and Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich (5.12.14)

    • 3 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
    • 8 (3/4 oz) slices multigrain bread
    • 8 thin tomato slices, seeded
    • 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into thin slices
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • Cooking spray
    1. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp cheddar cheese over each of 4 bread slices. Arrange avocado slices evenly over tomato slices. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 4 bread slices. Lightly coat outsides of sandwiches with cooking spray.
    2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted and well marked and cheese melts. Cut each sandwich in half; serve immediately.

    Potter: Delicious and vegetarian! The sandwich was full of flavor and wonderful texture. I had one with pepper jack and one with white cheddar, I actually liked the way the white cheddar blended with all the flavors better. I also added a little chopped fresh cilantro that was just a perfect addition. I wouldn't mind playing around with using some sort of citrus olive oil blend instead of the cooking spray with this one in the future

    Katie: This was a great grilled cheese! I substituted pepperjack for the white cheddar. The sandwich was nice and light. The only thing I thought of as I was taking my first bite was how delicious it would be to have bacon on it too. Dang it! 

    Day Ninety-Seven - Take-Out Chinese (5.10.14)

    We debated on cooking tonight but, after still in a state of recovery from festivities the night before, we decided to order delivery. We got Chinese and each of us got something new. I had the orange chicken and Potter had the General Tso's Chicken.

    Day Ninety-Eight - Linguine with Squash Ribbons (5.11.14)

    • 8 ounces uncooked linquine
    • 2 small zucchini
    • 1 large yellow squash
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 1 ounce parmesan cheese, shaved
    • 3 tablespoons torn fresh mint
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Shave zucchini and squash into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler; discard seeds. Place ribbons in a large bowl.
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tomatoes begin to break down, stirring occasionally. Remove tomatoes from pan using a slotted spoon; add to squash ribbons. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid; bring to a boil. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk.
    3. Add pasta to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat. Remove pan from heat. Add pasta mixture to squash mixture; toss. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mint.

    Katie: This dish was nice and light...and good. The shaved yellow squash and zucchini gave the dish good texture and also provided a good supplement to the linguine for more food (and was healthy being a vegetable!). The mint added GREAT flavor to the dish that I wasn't expecting to be great, as I tend to feel mint is a bit too strong. However, it played nicely with the parmesan cheese and the oil/spices from the tomatoes (and peas in our dish). The dish was also fairly quick - I feel that you could get away with shaving the squash and zucchini the night before, cover in an air tight container and store in the fridge until needed for the meal.

    Potter: This tasted amazing. Katie did a wonderful job making this dish. It has a great blend of not only flavors but textures as well from crunchy with the zucchini blend to soft with the noodles and the tomatoes were just that perfect level of cooked to give them a snap and softness at the same time. This is the perfect dish for a warm summer evening on the patio or porch.

    Day Ninety-Six - Cajun Chicken and Dumplings (5.9.14)

    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoons salt-free cajun seasoning
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 7 oz kielbasa (from 14 oz package), sliced
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
    • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
    • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 cups biscuit baking mix
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    1. Coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Place onion in bottom of slow cooker. Season chicken with Cajun seasoning, garlic and salt; distribute evenly over onion. Add kielbasa and tomatoes. Combine broth and flour; pour over tomatoes. Scatter bell pepper and celery over top. 
    3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 7 hours. 
    4. Add beans. Combine biscuit mix and milk; dollop heaping tablespoonfuls over top and cover again. Cook 1 hour more (on either HIGH or LOW).
    5. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.

    Katie: Mmm. This dish turned out amazing. I liked every bit of it! First time making homemade dumplings, but Potter did them just fine and they turned out great for the dish. Great flavor and texture. :)

    Potter: This was great. Not gonna lie, I was super nervous going into this for a multitude of reasons including: using our Cajun seasoning because of the Jumbalaya fiasco and the fact that it wasn't salt free, not to mention the fact I didn't trust I could just plop milk and biscuit mix in the middle of this and have it turn out ok. Turns out I didn't need to worry about any of that, it came out perfect. Though I will probably play with the dumpling recipe, just for fun.

    Day Ninety-Five - Garlic Basil Stuffed Chicken (5.8.14)

    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    1. In a small bowl combine Parmesan cheese, basil, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and garlic; set aside.
    2. Place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound lightly to about 1/8-inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Spread cheese mixture on chicken. Fold in sides of each chicken breast; roll up, pressing edges to seal. Fasten with wooden toothpicks.
    3. For sauce, in a small bowl combine lemon peel, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; set aside. 
    4. Grill for 25 to 30 minutes or until 165 in the center of the chicken, brushing occasionally with sauce the last 10 minutes of grilling.

    Katie: This chicken was good. The flavors were great and without a sauce on the outside, that part of the flavor was unexepcted. With that said, I would have liked a bit more of the stuffing inside of the chicken as there were bites that did not contain any stuffing. Overall, a good dish that I would definitely make again sometime.

    Potter: These turned out pretty good. I didn't stuff them as evenly as I had thought so that was a bit disappointing. Other than that I thought it was great; good flavor and very juicy. I will definitely be practicing more with stuffed chicken.

    Day Ninety-Four - Lemony Shrimp Linguine (5.7.14)

    • 1 box (12 oz) linguine
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
    • 1 bulb fennel, cored, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
    • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook 9 minutes or until al dente. 
    2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk 2 tbsp of the olive oil with the lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.
    3. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp. Saute 1 minute; flip and saute 1 to 2 more minutes, until just cooked. Remove to a plate. Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to skillet; stir in fennel and onion. Cook 7 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in reserved olive oil lemon mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute.
    4. Remove cooked pasta from pot with tongs and add to skillet, along with 1 cup of the pasta water, the cooked shrimp and olives. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately. 

    Katie: This dish turned out interesting. Not bad, but interesting. The separate flavors in the dish took some getting used to; however, when you had a little bit of everything in one bite, it was good.

    Potter: I agree with Katie. This dish by no means was the same with every bite and the few bites that had all the flavors were the few that were really good. The rest was just kind of ok. Surprisingly it was the olives that really brought the flavors together and there really wasn't enough of it in the dish. Not sure if I didn't chop it small enough or really just needed to add more but it would have helped. And as a final thought, in no way would I have called this dish lemony. 

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Day Ninety-Three - Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread (5.6.14)

    • 1 large round or oval loaf of bread
    • 1 bag mozzarella cheese
    • 1 package pepperoni
    • 1 jar pizza sauce
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
    • Parmesan cheese, optional
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil (use a lot of overhang on the sides because you are going to wrap the bread loaf) and spray with cooking spray.
    2.  Use a long bread knife to slice the bread. Make long slices about 1.5 inches apart all across the bread, and then in the opposite direction so that you get a checkerboard effect. **Be careful not to slice all the way through the bread, do not cut through the bottom crust!**
    3. Gently stuff the mozzarella into all of the spaces in the bread. Stuff pepperoni slices into the spaces next. Melt butter and whisk in italian seasoning and garlic powder. Drizzle or brush seasoned butter over the whole bread. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
    4. Wrap the foil over the loaf and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil from around loaf and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
    5. Serve with pizza sauce on the side to dip.

    Potter: I ate way to much of this. It was way too delicious to stop. The bread was super crusty but soft and gooey in the middle. With the sauce on the side it was perfect. I will definitely be doing this time and time again.

    Katie: This turned out great! As Potter describes above, the bread was baked just right and the sauce went well. The flavor from the Italian garlic butter was amazing; I couldn't stop talking about it in between bites!

    Day Ninety-Two - Chimichangas (5.5.14)

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
    • 1 packet taco seasoning
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 small tomato, diced
    • 1 small green pepper, diced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
    • 1 8 oz. bag Mexican blend cheese, shredded
    • 6 flour tortillas
    • vegetable oil, for frying
    • guacamole for serving
    • queso for serving
    1. Prepare shredded chicken according to seasoning instructions.
    2. Meanwhile, in another pan heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add diced veggies. Cook until slightly tender, 3-5 minutes. Add the veggies to the prepared chicken.
    3. Soften tortillas (can be done in microwave or oven). Add veggie oil to deep pan/pot until it is 1/2 inch deep. Heat to 350 degrees.
    4. Add a spoonful of the meat/veggie mix to tortilla 1-2 inches from edge, cover in cheese and roll tightly. Hold closed with toothpicks.
    5. Add rolled chimichangas to hot oil and fry until golden brown (2-3 minutes a side) and flip. 
    6. Remove from oil and set on paper towel to drain excess. Cover with toppings of your choice and enjoy.
    We had chips and homemade guacamole as an appetizer with our margaritas. We also had chili chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Yum!


    Potter: These turned out amazing! I love me some chimichangas and I never thought I'd make them at home due to the complications of frying. Despite several complications I won't go into (make sure you have an oil thermometer not just a meat one) these turned out wonderfully and were pretty easy to make. I did the chicken in the slow cooker all day with the seasoning so that added a nice little bit to it.

    Katie: These were delicious! I was nervous due to the frying as we tend to have some bad luck with that, but this time it went just fine. As Potter stated, the only thing is that we needed a thermometer that registered higher than our current meat one does. The flavor of this dish was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing about the above recipe.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Day Ninety-One - Southwest Cheddar Soup (5.4.14)

    • Southwest Cheddar Soup mix
    • 1 Tbsp chives, divided
    • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
    • Tortilla strips (optional)
    • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
    1. Cook soup per package instructions.
    2. Add chives and onions half way through cooking the soup.
    3. Sprinkle tortilla strips and shredded cheddar cheese as desired to serve.

    Katie: This soup was good. Since we wanted a bit heartier of a meal than just the soup mix, I added some other ingredients we had around - chicken, onions and chives. I didn't add any spices to the mix, but that ended up being okay. I feel that it wouldn't have hurt by any means, but wasn't a necessary addition either.

    Potter: The soup turned out good. This was another of the Wildtree brand meal-in-a-box things that turned out tasting good. My final judgement on Wildtree is that their meal-in-a -box type stuff is good while their healthy recipes/spice mixes leave a lot to be desired. This dinner was a great prequel to Cinco de Mayo.

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Day Eighty-Eight - Easy Maple Pork Chops (5.1.14)

    • 4 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
    • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops in the preheated skillet until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Arrange seared chops into a casserole dish.
    3. Whisk maple syrup, water, onion, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl to dissolve te chili powder; pour over the pork chops.
    4. Bake in preheated oven until the chops are no longer pink in the center, about 45 minutes.
    Potter: These turned out delicious. They were very tender and incredibly delicious. It was a great balance of sweet and savory. If you don't like sweet entrees you may want to skip this one but otherwise this dish was perfect. I would make sure to get thick cut pork chops too, ours were thinner and cooked a bit faster than the recipe called for.
    Katie: These pork chops were great. The meat was tender and had a wonderful flavor. The dish was sweeter than most, but balanced; however, as Potter states above, if you aren't a fan of sweet entrees, I would steer clear.

    Day Ninety - Wedding Reception: Steak and Chicken (5.3.14)

    We had my college friend's wedding this weekend. Potter had the steak dish for dinner and I had the chicken dish. Both were good. We had snacked quite a bit during cocktail hour but these dishes definitely help sustain our appetites through the rest of the evening. Goal achieved. Then, back to drinking and enjoying great moments with friends! :)

    Day Eighty-Nine - Chipotle (5.2.14)

    Mmm...Chipotle. I love this place. Potter had a chicken burrito and I had a chicken burrito bowl. Enough said. :)

    Day Eighty-Seven - Crispy Parmesan Country-Fried Steak (4.30.14)

    • 6 beef cube steaks (about 5 oz. each)
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line cookie sheet with paper towels. In pie plate or on waxed paper, mix flour, Parmesan, salt, black pepper, paprika and ground red pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup flour mixture.
    2. Dredge cube steaks in flour mixture to coat thoroughly. In 12-in. skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Cook steaks, in batches, 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 155 degrees. Transfer steaks to cooke sheet to drain and place in oven. Repeat with remaining steaks, transferring each batch to cookie sheet in oven after cooking.
    3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir reserved flour mixture into skillet; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and heat to boiling, scraping up any browned bits in bottom of pan. Boil 4-5 minutes or until gravy reaches desired thickness.
    Potter: This one was interesting; it tasted great but wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. It wasn't quite fried in the pan more just seared so in the end it mostly just tasted like steak and gravy. The not frying thing might have been my fault, since we don't have a 12 inch skillet I didn't use a full half cup of oil because I didn't want to have the oil too deep in the pan, I'm thinking the lack of oil is why we didn't quite get that country fried texture.
    Katie: I agree with what Potter states above. It still had a great flavor, both meat and gravy, but didn't have that crispier country fried texture. This was another dish that proved to us we need a 12-in. skillet. We really need to get on that...maybe sometime soon.