Friday, August 28, 2009

Coconut Chicken Fingers

Man! I thought once school started [sob], that I'd be able to spend all day cooking. Making pastries, maybe even cooking may way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. [Julie & Julia - I actually read that book. Awesome. Except for a serious use of the "f" word. Yikes.] I actually have no desire to cook from that book. Trust me, that is some seriously...interesting food!

Anyway. I must have forgotten that I have 2 little dudes. Both of them are playing soccer this fall. Both of them are in different leagues. Which means, of course, that nearly EVERY night for the next 5-6 weeks is filled with games, practices, games, and me washing stinky soccer clothes!


So, this is one of those awesome, fast, kid friendly dinners that can be made in a snap! The dudes love the flavor of these, and honestly, so does my husband! The house smells so good while these are cooking!

Coconut Chicken Fingers

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • water
  • 1 c. coconut
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into strips
  • melted butter

  1. In a shallow dish [like a pie plate] mix together the flour, coconut, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Make sure it is well seasoned, the amounts above are just guesstimations, I don't measure!

  2. In another shallow dish, beat 2 eggs with a few tablespoons of water.

  3. Dredge the chicken in the egg wash, then in the coconut mixture. You might need to "squish" the mixture into each piece of chicken. If you like extra coating, and a little more crunch, start with the dry mixture, then dip in the wet and then back to the dry again.

  4. Place each piece on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle each piece with a bit of melted butter [don't saturate, just make sure each piece has some butter on it], this will help keep the chicken nice and moist.

  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

You can also do this with full chicken breasts, for a more "grown up" approach. The chicken fingers can be dipped in your favorite "dippies". My boys like the generic kids stuff, but you can "fancy" it up by mixing some storebought orange marmalade with some dijon mustard.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

These aren't your everyday pancakes! These are definitely more rich, time consuming and tasty. They will probably make you fat if you eat a lot of them, so I don't recommend that. Have one or two, and then hit the treadmill!

These were our "1st day of school pancakes." The dudes [and Z-diggity] went crazy for them. They have that oatmeal cookie, banana bread-y taste and quality. I don't think you even need syrup for these, but try telling that to my 6 year-old and my 4 year-old.

If/when I make these, I mix all of the dry ingredients together and store it that way, then add the liquids in the morning when I make them. It saves a lot of time, and makes them less work. [Mason jars are great for this! Premeasure and mix your dry ingredients, put into a jar, seal up the lid and put them in your pantry!]

[Thanks to my friend for the recipe...I only altered it a little bit!]
Oatmeal Cookie/Banana Bread Pancakes

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • Optional ingredients: 3/4 c. raisins, 1/4 c. walnuts [I didn't add either]

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients. In a different bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Fold into the dry ingredients. Mix in the mashed bananas. Finally, stir in the melted butter.

  2. Cook on a hot griddle.

These are "softer" pancakes. They are tricker to "flip" to cook the other side. They are very filling, but the littles absolutely loved them. In fact, a few hours after breakfast, Camden walked around the house eating cold pancakes all morning.

They also freeze well!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Island Style Grilled Chicken

This was one of those "accidental" dinners. I had originally planned on grilling this chicken and serving it with something else. The rice was to go with a mexican type salad [Cafe Rio style, for you UC'ers {utah county}], but it just ended up like this. In the end, we made them into "tacos" and served them with fresh tortillas, tomatoes from the garden and cheese.

This chicken marinade is based on a chicken my husband and I had on our honeymoon in the Bahamas. It's very lime-y, and island-y and just...yum.

Actually, that's a bold faced lie. I can't remember ANY of the food that we ate in the Bahamas. Wait, we had a kickass [sorry mom] can of Pringles that we bought at some ghetto grocery store while searching desperately for bottled water. [You think I'm kidding?] That's about what I remember of my culinary journey to the Bahamas. That, and while waiting for room service [one time, people] in our hotel [motel] in Florida, I found a lizard/gecko/reptile IN THE BATHROOM. I had a total cartoon moment where I jumped up on the toilet seat and screamed like a girl.

This chicken really has nothing to do with that at all. But it's really good, and actually doesn't remind me of lizards and motel toilets in the slightest.

Island Style Grilled Chicken

  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or just cracked
  • juice from 2 limes, as well as the zest from 1
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  1. Mix ingredients together, add chicken and marinate for up to 24 hours. [I like to add the limes---after they are juiced and zested, right into the marinade!]
  2. Grill to perfection!
*If you wanted more of an asian-island flair, sub some of the oil with sesame oil. Mmm!

Steak. [The reason he still loves me!]

I don't even want to talk about today.
[Except that he loved it, and he didn't even mind being away from me for six and a half hours. He said, "It was the best day ever!" And I cried. And he said, "I can't wait for tomorrow." And I cried some more. Then I called my husband and told him we needed to have more babies. And he laughed.]

So. This steak is the answer to that. If you want your husband to, well, make babies [or mow the lawn, take out the trash, finish painting the bathroom {ahem}, iron clothes, clean behind the fridge...] then this is your answer!

My husband loves this steak. Truth be told, the littles love it too. Shocking, I know!

Baby Makin' Steak Marinade
  • 1/2 c. olive oil [maybe a bit more depending on how many and how big your steaks are]
  • 3 T. steak seasoning [I like to use 2 T. regular and 1 T. spicy]*
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced [or just crushed is fine too]
  • steak [whatever kind you prefer]
  1. Combine ingredients and pour over steaks in a plastic bag. Turn bag to make sure steak[s] are completely covered.
  2. Refrigerate and let marinate for 24 hours [trust me], continuing to turn and "rub it in" during the 24 hours. [You can do it for less, but trust me, it's worth it.] [Also, trusting a semi-vegetarian when it comes to steak is a slippery slope. I'm just sayin'.]

*Any kind of steak seasoning will do, but I use the basic McCormicks kind with great success.

*Pictured with Twice Baked Potato [mash], fresh corn on the cob and grilled zucchini.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Corn Salad

I am in love.

[And also avoiding the fact that today is the last day that my "baby" will be home with me all the time. Forever. Seriously, this is it. Unless I decide to homeschool him. Sure, he'll visit in the afternoons and during the weekends, and for a few weeks during the summer. But this is it! I am an emotional, hormonal, wreck.] But, I'm also excited for him. He is so excited, and has been counting down for weeks.

So, this is the kind of dish that makes me happy. It's so good it makes me forget that I should be crying, and packing his bags, and preparing for him to date a girl with a tongue ring. [Pot=Kettle. I know. Another thing you didn't know about me. It was a long time ago, I try to block it out.]

We went to a back-to-school swim party at my brothers house last night. I was asked to bring a salad, which just so happens to be one of my favorite things to bring, because if I know anything, it's salad. I make a million and one good salads.

However, yesterday I decided to do something different. We have tomatoes and herbs coming out our ears, and I wanted to use them! I didn't grow corn this year, because we have access to the best corn ever [Harward Farms] it's literally right next to our house. So I picked up a dozen [or 13] and made a delicious, fresh, summer tasting salad!

Corn Salad

  • 7 [or more] ears of corn
  • tomatoes, seeded and diced [I used Roma], as many or little as you like
  • 1/2 vidala or Walla Walla onion [basically a sweet onion]
  • 1/4-1/2 c. [depending on how much corn you use] fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c + [I added probably 3/8 c.] olive oil
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper [generous]
  • lemon
  1. Husk and clean corn. Cook corn [either boil or grill]. You don't want it soggy and mushy, still crunchy. I boiled mine for maybe 2 minutes, and it was perfect!

  2. Set corn aside [removed from water] to cool. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, onion, and parsley in a bowl.

  3. Cut corn from the cob. If you want, you can get the "corn milk" and add it to the dressing. Add corn to bowl.

  4. Mix together the olive oil, and vinegar. Pour over salad. Mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper. [I also tossed in some fresh lemon juice [1/2 lemon], but this is totally optional.]

  5. This is best when you cover it and let it sit in the fridge for several hours before serving.

*You could also add some avocados, black beans, and serve it over fish or chicken, or even use it as a dip. However, I love this pure, fresh form.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More to come...

Busy with summer, kids, and life! I will be back soon [this week, maybe? next, for sure!] with some great recipes!

How is "summer" over already?!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I love summer.

I just had fresh, farm grown [from the farm 1 mile from my house], corn on the cob, watermelon and homemade lemonade for lunch.

No fancy cooking or tricky new recipes. Just some seriously good, fresh food.

Ahh. Now I think I'll go pop some cherry tomatoes from my garden into my mouth. Oh, baby.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Zucchini Turkey Burger & Zucchini Fries [2 ways!]

I took a great picture of the burger and the "fries". And then I deleted my memory card before I uploaded the pictures! So, I reheated a burger to retake the picture, but there weren't any fries left. Trust me, they looked like zucchini fries!

Can you take another turkey burger? If not, it's best if you step away now. There are still a few weeks left in summer, and I can't guarantee their won't be more! It's such a fast, healthy, tasty meal!

Yes, I realize this is the millionth zucchini recipe I've posted. Just be grateful I haven't posted everything. I've been a zucchini cooking maniac. I can't help myself, I love the stuff.

The other day, I had a light bulb moment [I know, they don't happen often], and thought if zucchini adds such great moistness to cakes, brownies, breads, surely it can add that to ground turkey, right? I googled "turkey zucchini burgers" to see if it had been done before.

Sadly, a little publication you may have heard of called "Real Simple" beat me to the punch. Their recipe is good and basic, and was my starting point for my burger. Surely I could make it a little better. [It's a thing called Ego, I realize that.]

I was a bit skeptical of the egg in the recipe. I'm not a big fan of egg in burgers, because I feel they taste more "meatloafy" and less burger-y. It actually works in this burger. To be completely honest here, I'm not even sure you need the egg. My mix was rather wet, but cooked off nicely. Next time I'll omit the egg, and hopefully have great results.

Anna's Turkey Zucchini Burger
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 med. zucchini grated
  • 1 med. carrot grated [I used two skinny carrots]
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2-1 diced onion
  • grill seasoning [or you can use salt & pepper, but I have a love affair with grill seasoning]
  • 1 egg
  1. Mix together ingredients with your hands. Be careful not to overmix, or your burger will fall apart on the grill. The amount of "mix" made with this recipe will make about 6 full sized burgers. If you only want 4, I suggest freezing the other patties for later use.
  2. Spray your grill with Pam and cook the burgers over med-hi heat until cooked through.
  3. Turn off the grill and top each patty with a slice of cheese [optional], and close lid to allow cheese to melt. [I used a variety of cheddar and mozzarella, I think.]
  4. Serve on homemade buns or crusty bread. These would also be cool topped with a breaded and baked/fried zucchini circle.

Instead of making the standard oven fries, pomme frites, or even sweet potato fries, I decided to try my hand at zucchini fries. I made them two ways, to see which was better. It ended up being a split decision. Chris [my husband] says they would have been better fried. The same has been said about a snickers, and I disagree. I don't normally fry things, for a few reasons. 1] It is unhealthy. 2] It stinks up my house. 3] It stinks up my hair. 4] It stinks up my clothes. 5] It stinks.

So. Maybe someday I'll try pan frying them, but for now, I was happy with the baked version. My kiddos ate them, so I'll take that as a thumbs up.

The key is in how you slice them, and bake them. Slice them not too thin, and not too thick. And bake them REALLY hot, so they get crispy and not soggy.

Zucchini Fries #1

  • zucchini cut into sticks [like fries]
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam.
  2. Beat egg white with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add zucchini, tossing to coat. [You can use a milk/egg wash mixture, I just like this way better.]
  3. In a ziploc bag, combine flour and spices. Add zucchini, a few at a time, and shake to coat.
  4. Place on baking sheet, spray fries with Pam. Bake 30-40 minutes [watch carefully], turning once, and spraying with Pam again if necessary.

If these were fried in oil, they'd puff up and be nice crispy fries. You can totally do that, just know, it stinks, and it will probably give you a heart attack.

Zucchini Fries #2

  • zucchini
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with Pam.
  2. Beat egg with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add zucchini, tossing to coat. [Again, you can use egg whites and milk here if you'd like.]
  3. Dip each "fry" into the combined bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixture. You'll need to "press" the mixture into each fry a bit, so it will stick.
  4. Bake for 23-35 minutes until golden brown and crispy.