Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stars Over My Quad

See what I did there, with the name? Man, I'm clever. Never been to Denny's? Well, then you won't get the joke. Just call it a breakfast sandwich.

What You'll Need:

Bread - For a sandwich like this, forget healthy and get some sort of white bread. It just works so much better.

What You'll Do:

1. Cook the bacon of you're not using the precooked stuff. I have no idea why you're not, but whatever.

2. Cook the eggs in a pan, making sure to break the yolks. Unless you like runny yolks. Then you're a freak.

3. Assemble the sandwich: bread, egg, bacon, ham, cheese, egg, bread.

4. Melt some butter. Brush melted butter on each slice of bread.

5. Cook the sandwich in the pan. Press it down while it cooks to get everything melty and good. Slice it diagonally. It just looks better that way.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

You don't even need to read this recipe to know that it's good. It has bacon right in the name. We had some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge, and I thought this recipe up while I was driving home from work. That's what I do when I should be paying attention to all the horrible drivers around me. I make up recipes in my head.

What You'll Need:

Any pasta (we used elbow macaroni, but it proved to be too small for this recipe and kept falling off our forks)
Grilled chicken, chopped
Bacon, chopped
Tomato, chopped
Green onion, chopped
Ranch dressing mix (powdered)
Parmesan cheese
Butter, melted

What You'll Do:

1. Cook pasta (you know, boil some water, add the pasta, let it cook)

2. In a pan, cook the bacon pieces, or if you're using the precooked bacon, heat it in the pan. What? You're not using the precooked bacon. But I told you how cool it is in my Foods I Love section. Start using it. Add the pieces of grilled chicken to the pan.

3. Melt the butter. This will be part of the sauce, so use as much as you will need to lightly coat the pasta. Add some Ranch dressing mix to the butter and stir it. Use more if you want a strong Ranch flavor. Use less if you don't. I'm so smart. Your sauce is done. See how easy that was?

3. Add the cooked (and drained) pasta to the bacon and chicken. Add the chopped tomato and green onion. Add the butter/Ranch sauce. Stir it all together so the sauce coats everything. Top it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

If you already have grilled chicken in the fridge and you use precooked bacon, this recipe can be made from start to finish in like ten minutes. Not too bad of a creation for a drive home, eh?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Egg Muffins and Regular Muffins, Too

This is a great recipe for a lazy weekend breakfast for two.

What You'll Need:

Chopped Green Onion
Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Tomato
Grated cheese
Bacon (pre-cooked is awesome for this recipe)
Store bought muffin mix

What You'll Do:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Get the egg mixture ready by combining eggs, milk, green onion, cilantro, tomato, and cheese. Add salt and/or pepper if desired. Beat together with a fork. Set aside.

3. Get the muffin mix ready. You are halving the recipe. Use half of the dry ingredients from the box and add half of the wet ingredients that it tells you to use. If you make blueberry muffins, like we did, use half the can of berries. Seal everything else up for another day. Prepare the muffin mix according to the box. Set aside.

4. Spray the heck out of a 12 muffin pan. Come to grips with the fact that the egg muffins will still stick a bit.

5. Take six slices of pre-cooked bacon and wrap one around each of six muffin cups in the pan. They should fit just right to make a ring around the edge of the cup. Pour egg mixture into each "baconized" cup, leaving some room for rising during cooking. Pour muffin mix into the remaining six cups of the pan.

6. Bake at 350 until muffins are done. The time on the muffin box should be just about right.

Friday, May 6, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Alright, so last night you made BBQ Chicken Salad. Did you enjoy it? Yeah you did. And you saved some chicken, tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro, right? Good. This meal will take you no time at all then.

What You'll Need:

Storebought focaccia bread or pizza crust - Hey, the goal of this meal is to be quick and easy. If you want to make your own crust, more power to you. I highly recommend focaccia for this one. Those farmer's market type stores like Sprouts have them in all sorts of flavors. I buy them when they are on clearance because the "sell by" date is coming up. Just make sure to freeze it if you're not using it right away, because they mold pretty quick.
Shredded chicken mixed with BBQ sauce
Chopped tomato, green onion, cilantro
Mozerella Cheese
BBQ Sauce
Sour Cream

What You'll Do:

1. Preheat your oven to 350. When in doubt, just always use 350.

2. Slice the focaccia in half so you have two discs. Or use pizza crust.

3. Mix the BBQ sauce and sour cream. Don't thin it out this time. It needs to be thicker, like pizza sauce. Put it on whatever crust you are using and spread it around.

4. Top with lots of mozerella. Then add the chicken and chopped veggies.

5. Bake at 350 until the cheese it melted and the crust has some crunch to it.

6. Cut into slices and serve with salad or whatever you like to eat pizza with. See how easy this was? Two meals, same ingredients. A new spin on leftovers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad

Guest Recipe Person: Wife

Wife made this one for me and it has become a nice we-need-a-quick-dinner meal. It is also part of something I like to call "Two Meals, Same Ingredients." Hey, I never claimed to be creative with names. This is a way to have the convenience of leftovers without actually having leftovers. So don't worry, you're not eating the exact same thing tomorrow. Some of you out there are against leftovers just for the sake of being against them. I don't understand you. I love leftovers. Anyway...

What You'll Need:

Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
Lettuce (whatever kind you like)
Black Beans
Green Onion
Shredded Cheese
BBQ Sauce
Sour Cream

What You'll Do:

1. Boil the chicken. Once it has fully cooked, shred it with a couple of forks or chop it up really small. Put it in a bowl with some BBQ sauce and stir until the chicken is coated in sauce. Make enough chicken to have some leftover for tomorrow.

2. Chop your tomato, green onion, and cilantro. Chop enough to have some leftover for tomorrow.

3. Wash and tear your lettuce. If you need me to tell to wash it, I'm never coming over to your place for dinner. No offense.

4. In a large bowl, assemble your salad (you'll mix it later). In goes the lettuce, chicken, some corn, some black beans, tomato, green onion, cilantro, and shredded cheese.

5. Make the dressing. Don't worry, it's easy. Remember how Wife and I eat lots of sour cream? You don't? Well, we do. This dressing is BBQ sauce mixed with sour cream. Thin it out with some water until it is your desired salad dressing consistency. Put some dressing on the salad. Mix thoroughly. Put it on a plate.

6. We recommend serving with some Bisquick drop biscuits, you know, the kind you just mix and drop on the baking sheet so they come out all funny shapes. They have some nice packs at the store these days with cheesy garlic biscuits and other cool flavors.

7. Put the extra chicken and veggies in the fridge for tomorrow's meal. It will taste similar, but will be a totally different experience.

Thank you, Wife for making me such great dinners. I love you. And not just because you make me such great dinners. But it helps. I'm not gonna lie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chicken Ring

My mom made this when I was a kid, and I absolutely love it. I don't know where she found the recipe. I do not claim it as my own. I have, however, put my own spin on it, which will be explained later.

What You'll Need:
(2) cans crescent rolls (whatever brand you want)
(1) can cream of chicken soup
(1) can cooked shredded chicken or 1-2 poached chicken breasts, shredded (we cooked our own last time
      because canned chicken is like 19 dollars a can now)
Chopped veggies of your choice (some good options are broccoli, celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper)
Shredded cheese
*Notice the complete disregard for precise amounts. Trust yourself. You want a lot of cheese, go for it. Load up the veggies? Be my guest.*

What You'll Do:
1. To prepare filling, put all ingredients except crescent rolls into a large bowl. Stir to combine. As always, if you add some fresh cracked pepper, it will be better.
2. Now you arrange the rolls. Check the photo. The goal is to make a big ring, hence the name "Chicken Ring." Get it? You do? I always knew you were smart. The longer ends of the triangular rolls should point outward. Each roll should overlap with it's next door neighbors. This will give the filling a place to sit.
3. Once the ring is formed, spoon the filling mixture around the entire ring, close to the center, leaving the long triangles alone.
4. Once all the filling is in place, take each long triangle and bring it over the top of the filling. It should stay on its own, but if it needs a little help, just sort of smoosh it or pinch it in with the rest of the rolls in the center of the ring.
5. Bake, at 350, for however long it takes for the rolls to be golden brown. I can't remember, but I think it's about 20 minutes. The veggies will have a little crunch to them, especially the carrots. But this is a good thing, because soggy veggies are dumb. Enjoy.

*Variation: I have branched this out into a Mexican version. Instead of cream of chicken soup, use one of those southwest creamy soups. I think Campbell's makes a few different ones. Pepperjack is a nice cheese to use. You could season your chicken with taco seasoning. As far as veggies are concerned, go with onion, bell pepper (red), and green onion. You can top the finished ring with sour cream and, of course, avocado.*

Jon's Secret Taco Topper

This is some good stuff. And now, not so secret. But doesn't it sound so much cooler to act like I'm letting you in on some super big secret? Yeah, it does. This sauce is a refreshing addition to tacos, and you can dip your tortilla chips in the remaining sauce.

What You'll Need:
Sour Cream
Lime Juice (Fresh, please. That little green bottle that looks like a lime is just lame.)
Any or all of the following, chopped or diced:
Green Onion
Chili powder
*No precise measurements?! Use as much or as little as you want.*

What You'll Do:
1. Chop or dice the veggies. We always use cilantro. Green onion makes it into the mix often. Sometimes a tomato finds its way in.
2. Scoop some sour cream into a bowl.
3. Squeeze the juice of a lime (or two) into the sour cream.
4. Add your veggies. Add chili powder, if desired.
5. Stir.

*UPDATE - This sauce is best with just sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder. It's simpler. And wonderful. But by all means, if you want to go crazy with veggies, be my guest.*

The goal of this sauce is to be somewhat runny. If the lime juice doesn't make it quite thin enough, add small amounts of water, stirring until it is the desired consistency.