Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rotisserie Style Chicken

[Once again, I apologize for the crap-tastic photo. I made this for Sunday dinner, and my husband started attacking it before I remembered to take a picture. He hurried and threw it on a plate, and I tried to take a picture where you couldn't see the chicken assualt. Also to be noted: I was holding a crying baby while taking this picture.]

I found a recipe very similar to this online several years ago. I played around with it, and here's what I came up with! This is a very easy "fix & forget" type of meal. Also, you can easily do 2 of these at once, and use the other for leftovers. [Soups, chicken salad, enchiladas, tacos, or even freeze it!]

Rotisserie Style Chicken [no rotisserie needed]

  • 4 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 onion, chunked
  • peeled cloves of garlic (I used 4)
  • 1 whole chicken 4-8 lbs. (Mine was 4 or 5)
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices. Clean out the treasures from the inside of the chicken. [I buy mine de-treasured!] Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken. [I hold it under the running water for a minute or two.] Pat dry.
  2. Rub the spice mixture inside and outside the chicken(s). Place the chunked up onion and peeled garlic inside the chicken. You can also place garlic underneath the skin if you'd like. [Whole, crushed or chopped.]
  3. Place the chicken(s) inside a ziploc bag. Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours or overnight. [I have done it for as little as 4 hours, and it's good, but it's much better if you let it sit for longer.]
  4. Place chicken in a roasting pan. Cook in a 250 degree oven for 5 hours. [Slow and low gives you the super moist flavorful chicken.]

Easy! Two at a time is just as easy and gives you limitless meal options and one time cooking!

Things I used today:
Whole Chicken

Check out todays blog post: Guest post---my dad!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Menu Planning

It's a busy week! Preschool programs, t-ball practice, kindergarten graduation (sniff), memorial day weekend...Eek! We have so much going on this week, I'll be lucky if I even turn my oven on!

During all of this maddness, I am trying to plan my menu for the next few weeks. Are you a menu planner? I am! It's the only way I can successfully grocery shop! I write my menus, then add the ingredients to the grocery list. Every morning I'll look over the menu and see what I'm in the mood to make! Voila!

So...what's on your menu next week?

So far, here is what I'm planning on:

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, sweet potato fries [yams, they are called YAMS people!]
Flatbread Steak & Mushrooms Sandwiches (on the grill)
London Broil & Creamy Rissotto
Chicken Caprese w/ Basil Tomato Cream Sauce
Honey Mustard Chicken w/ Cheesey Tomato & Basil Orzo
Spicy Peanut Thai Stir Fry
Terriyaki Turkey Burgers or Pesto Turkey Burgers
Turkey Mozzarella patties w/ pasta
Roast Beef [a sunday meal]
Sundried Tomato Kabobs with tomatoes, and zucchini
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo sauce

...and, I'm still working on it! I'm doing too many things at once, and I can't get my mind to focus!! I'll have to factor in baseball nights [quick & easy], and warm days [less oven, more grill].

So...what's on your menu? Or, are you an impromptu person?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Garden Pasta

[Change of plans. Artichoke chicken to come, I swear! Yesterday turned into one of those days where you are at the post office, school, grocery store, and nursing a baby all at the exact time dinner needs to be made. This dish was faster, so it won. And yes, I'm always nursing a baby.]

This pasta dish is an Ode to my Garden. Or, it will be, once my garden actually produces something. Right now it's a patch of really nice, small, green plants. I am hoping for an abundance of crops this year... So, while I patiently wait, I emptied out my veggie drawer and made this tasty dish.


Garden Pasta
  • fresh veggies (I used carrots, broccoli, zucchini & orange peppers) you can use whatever you've got!
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • chicken broth or Shirley J concentrated bouillon and water
  • Shirley J cream sauce base
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. You can use any kind, I used whatever was closest in my eternal pile of pasta for the food storage.
  2. In a large deep skillet, saute vegetables in olive oil. Salt & pepper as you cook. Cook until desired consistancy. I put the longest cooking veggies in first (carrots), and the fastest cooking in at the end (zucchini). If you like crisp veggies, don't cook very long, if you want them more tender, cook longer. (Genius, I know!)
  3. In a saucepan, saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent. Stir in chicken broth (3 c.) and cream sauce base (1 c.). Cook until thickened. Once the sauce is thickened add fresh grated Parm cheese. I added about 1/4-1/2 c. Stir until melted. At this point, you can add any type of herb to the sauce. My herb garden still isn't mature, and I didn't have any [fresh] on hand, so I added a few shakes of oregano.
  4. Pour cream sauce over veggies (still in pan), stir to combine. Add pasta and turn to coat. Warm through and serve.

Need I remind you that Shirley J cream sauce only has 60 calories per prepared cup! Um, he-llo. That makes this dish SO much healthier. And creamier. And tastier.

Go, empty out your veggie drawer and make a tasty dinner. You could also add some grilled chicken to this dish as well!

*And, just for the record: How awesome is this? Talk about being self-reliant. Veggies from garden (well, eventually), pasta from food storage, shirley J from food storage. Boo-yah!

Things I used today:

Shirley J cream sauce base
fresh veggies
Shirley J concentrated bouillon
Parmesan cheese

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dinner tonight, something new!

I'm trying out a little somethin' somethin' new tonight. Artichoke Chicken. You know? Like Artichoke Dip, but not like that at all, really.

If it turns out well, you'll see a picture and have the recipe in all of it's glory. If not, then I'll have to make it and tweak it a few more times.

Please, contain your excitment!

And: My garden is growing! Soon my dinners will have yummy fresh [organic] garden veggies and herbs! Heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (I have a thing for fresh tomatoes...), green (and red, duh) peppers, zucchini, crooked neck yellow squash (known in my house as 'summer squash'), cukes, sweet basil, rosemary, flat leaf parsley....the list goes on and on my friends. If you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm out caressing my budding garden. There's nothing wrong with that, right?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blush & Bashful Tomato Sausage Pasta

The sauce gets it's name "blush", because the mixture of the tomatoes and the "cream" turn the sauce a "blush" pinkish color. Or...if you're a Steel Magnolias fan [as you should be] you know where "blush & bashful" just means "pink & pink" or like it's been sprayed down with Pepto Bismol. Although, really, that doesn't make this dish sound appealing, does it?

This is a remake of a dish that is popular in this house. How did I remake it? I made it a lot healthier. The original dish uses mild (or sweet if you prefer) Italian sausage and heavy cream. This dish, with only a fraction of the calories, uses Turkey sausage and Shirley J cream sauce base.

My sneaky healthy substitutions were a huge success. My husband just ate a man-sized portion of this for dinner and didn't even notice a difference. Ha!

I found this new turkey sausage at the store the other day: Roasted tomato & garlic turkey sausage. Um, hello---so perfect for this dish. It was a Jennie-O product, but it must be new, because it isn't linked on their site. If you haven't yet discovered how awesome turkey is, then it is time to revisit it! My kids eat turkey dogs, turkey sausage, ground turkey, etc. all in place of where you would regularly use higher fat, less healthier options (mystery meat hot dogs, ground beef, questionable sausage...).

Blush & Bashful Tomato Sausage Pasta

  • 1 (12 oz) pkg. bow tie pasta (I use whole wheat, you can use whatever)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. (or package) turkey sausage (mild, sweet or roasted tomato & garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz. or 2 14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups Shirley J cream sauce base---made with 1 c. base to 1 1/2 c. water ratio
  • salt
  • 3 T. fresh minced parsley
  1. Make pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and red pepper flakes. (I remove casings, and keep it into chunks, but you can crumble if you'd like.) Cook until evenly browned, and sausage is cooked through. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until onion is tender.
  3. Stir in (drained) tomatoes, Shirley J cream sauce, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir cooked, drained pasta into sauce, and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Serve topped with fresh Parmesan cheese, if desired.

**This dish can also be made without the sausage! A great meat-free, kid friendly dish. Either way it's tasty! (Without the sausage, of course, it's called Blush & Bashful Tomato Pasta. Noted.)

Things I used today:
Shirley J cream sauce base
canned tomatoes
Turkey sausage

Friday, May 8, 2009

I cannot lie.

My kids ate cold cereal for dinner last night. If you want me to post the recipe, let me know, and I'm more than happy to share.

Hey, even I can't be on all of the time! And honestly, I'm not going to complain, I didn't have to say, "Eat your dinner!" Or, make my son swallow the chicken that is chewed and has been stored in his cheeks for 2 hours. Even I have my limits.

Just for fun:

What are your "off" night dinners? In this house, it always turns into breakfast stuff. Cereal, pancakes, waffles, eggs, french toast, German pancakes...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baked Chicken Terriyaki & Lemony Green Onion Rice

This dish just sort of happened last night. I hadn't originally planned on putting these together, but I'm glad I did. I loved the sweetness of the chicken with the savory tartness of the rice. I love this rice!

Lemony Green Onion Rice
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked rice (I used brown, but you can use white if you'd like)
  • 1/2 c. celery, chopped finely
  • 1/2 c. green onions, chopped
  • handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • fresh lemon juice
  • lemon pepper, salt & pepper
  • Shirley J concentrated chicken bouillon
  1. Cook rice according to the package. Instead of using just water, cook the rice in water and Shirley J concentrated chicken bouillon.
  2. In small skillet, saute the celery and onions in olive oil. Saute until tender. Stir in the rice, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice (as much or little as you'd like), lemon pepper (opt), salt and pepper. Cook just to combine and absorb and juices.

*This is great to make into a "mexican" rice---instead used lime and cilantro! Also, this is a great base for fried rice.

Baked Chicken Terriyaki

  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2 T. cold water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • pepper
  • chicken
  1. In a saucepan, over low/medium heat, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger & pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.
  2. Place chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can use any kind) in a 9x13" pan. Pour sauce over chicken. Turn chicken in sauce to coat.
  3. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn pieces over and coat with sauce. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

*I used plain vinegar, but used a little less, and added some apple juice...then I reduced the amount of sugar, because the apple juice added sweetness, and I'd rather use that than plain sugar!

*This makes a lot of sauce. Use the extra sauce to toss with stir-fried veggies, or serve with steamed broccoli.

Things I used today:
Shirley J concentrated chicken bouillon

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Avocado Salsa

Picture taken from the food table at my sister-in-law (hi Jessi!)'s baby shower! If pregnant chicks like it, you will too!!
"Salsa" might not even be the right name for this stuff. This is a dish that can be used SO many ways. As a "salsa" (served with chips), on a salad, on a turkey burger, in tacos, with fish, with chicken, on top of tortilla soup, or eat it with a spoon (hey, I won't judge)... This is one of those dishes that EVERYONE loves. Every time I make it, people ask me about it, ask for the recipe, and then they love me forever.

I have been making this for several years now. I adapted it a bit today to use Shirley J products. You can make it either way with great success.

Avocado Salsa
  • 1 (15 oz) can WHITE corn niblets (Shoepeg corn), drained
  • 1 can black olives, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 avocados, diced (you can add more or less, depending on size)
  • Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small(as many as you like, I usually use around 7)


  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice (real lemons are preferable, but the bottle stuff is okay too)
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar *
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano**
  • salt & pepper
  1. Whisk sauce together and pour over salsa. Mix together. This is best if it marniates in the fridge for a few hours.

*You can substitute nearly any vinegar here. If I don't have apple cider vinegar, I will use another kind of vinegar and a splash of apple juice. I made this today and used red wine vinegar and apple juice.

**I originally made this with oregano. Today I substitued Shirley J pizza & pasta seasoning and it was great! I think I used a little less (I didn't measure), because the pizza/pasta seasoning is very strong, and a little goes a long way!

Things I used today:

Shirley J pizza & pasta seasoning
olive oil

Check out the Shirley J website & add their blog to your faves! You won't be sorry!!