RSS Feed

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

There’s just something about a chicken sandwich, specifically, a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich, that is just out of those world delicious. Especially in the realm of fast food. And who can blame them for the uber simple, streamlined menu. It’s hard to top perfection. And perfect the boneless, fried chicken breast they have. And for years we’ve craved that taste, paired with delicious dill pickles. And for years I’ve been angered, depressed, even sickened once by my failure to achieve anything close to it at home. Don’t get me wrong, I usually will find any reason to justify coughing up some extra cash for a pit stop at the nearest one, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. (Heeellllooo, Sundays at lunch time, every single time, when we pull in only to face palm after realizing, duh! they’re closed) And yet, the craving still demands to be satisfied. So what’s a gal to do???

 Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

She keeps right on trying, dammit!! And lo and behold, we finally have a winner folks! I kid you not, the flavor is spot on. I was even able to feed everyone, at 1 sandwich a piece with only two breasts. Two! and yes you read that right. I can’t even get over these, that’s how good they were. The hubs, the sons, everyone has asked for them repeatedly. Anytime I ask what we should have for supper, this is there answer. The hubs liked it so much he had two, two, and then stared down my sandwich every.single. bite. I took the entire meal. He even told me to name my price! Oh the things I can get that man to do for a bite of this sandwich. (cue the witchy, evil laugh) But really, that honey do-list? Totally, nonchalantly pushing it across the table…

The secret? The marinade before the seasoned breading. It’s pickle juice. And no for all the pickle haters out there, it doesn’t leave the chicken tasting pickle-y. For added authenticity, serve these on buttered, toasted hamburger buns with two pickle slices each.

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A sandwiches 2

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (we get 3 patties er breast)
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
tiny dash of cayenne
Oil for frying (about a cup), if you’re going for authenticity use peanut oil, I usually just us vegetable oil and they still taste phenomenal
Buns (buttered and toasted)
dill pickle slices/ ‘chips’

Directions

1. Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until it’s only about ½ inch thick all around.
2. Cut the breast into two, or three, pieces, as evenly as possible.
3. Marinate the chicken in pickle juice for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour.
4. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl.
5. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in another bowl.
6. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then coat in flour on both sides.
7. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350 degrees.
8. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on the outside and cooked through.
9. Remove from the skillet onto paper towels. Blot to remove any excess oil, and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

How often does it happen that you can just throw a few things together and have someone else do all the work for you? Who am I kidding? That never happens in the real world. Except in the kitchen it totally can. With your crockpot. And it’s glorious!

Let your crockpot take over and do the all day work of slow simmering a beef chuck roast in beef broth, onion soup, and red wine. Talk about some tasty ‘broth’! Your house is gonna smell oh-so yummy. It’s gonna have mouth’s watering with one whiff, and you may or may not have a neighbor stop by, being drawn in by the scent and all. Good thing this meal makes plenty :)

 Crockpot French Dip

Your favorite rolls, toasted and then topped with sliced provolone before being piled high with tender roast beef, dipped in au jus gravy before a bite that’s pure bliss. I seriously suggest making sure you’ve got individual serving bowls for the au jus though. Thankfully, I have enough ramekins for everybody to have their own personal bowl of au jus gravy. Because dip it, dip it, dip it. It’s a must. For every bite. Double dip, shmouble dip. Just make sure you have plenty of napkins handy.

Crockpot French Dip

Crockpot French Dip

beef chuck roast, about 3 1/2 lbs
16 oz beef broth, or about 1 1/2 cans
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed French onion soup
6 oz red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls, or other sandwich rolls of your choosing
8-12 slices provolone cheese

Directions

1. Trim any excess fat off of the roast, and liberally season the meat with salt and pepper.
2. Pour the broth, soup, wine, and garlic powder into the crock pot before sitting the roast in the crock pot in the liquid.
3. Cook the roast on low for 6-8 hours, until it’s falling apart tender.
4. Carefully remove the cooked beef from the crock pot to a plate or other serving platter. Loosely cover it with aluminum foil and allow it to ‘rest’ for about 15 minutes.
5. Roughly ‘slice’ the beef or use two forks to shred the meat, then return the beef to the crock pot and let it finish cooking on low for another 30 minutes.
6. Lightly toast the rolls, and distribute the cheese between the rolls. I like to use two slices per sandwich. Top with cooked beef. Spoon the au jus gravy* into ramekins or other small bowls, and serve everything nice and warm.

* If you’re worried about excess fat in your au jus gravy, just transfer the broth from the crock pot into a large measuring cup or bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the fat separates. Skim the fat off the top, and then pour it into individual serving dishes.

Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark

I’m always on the look out for a good snack recipe that both the kids and I can enjoy. I also always love it if I can mess with their little brains and change their preconceived ideas about things. Wondering what I mean? A couple months ago if I’d told them that there’d be a healthy frozen yogurt snack they’d love. They’d have laughed at me. Laughed, I tell ya!! Did it help that I sweetened the yogurt pot a bit? Probably, but what bowl of yogurt doesn’t beg to have some fresh strawberries, coconut, and or a few chocolate chips stirred in? It seemed like a no brainer here.

Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark 2

When you need that little pick me up, but don’t want to over-indulge this is the perfect go-to treat. It’s super simple, and guilt free. That and you can claim you’re giving your kids ice cream, with them none the wiser, without all the additional sugar. Do your eaters prefer different add ins? Not a problem. Get creative. Get fancy. Get it in their little bellies. And yours :) Nuts are a great option, or other fruits. We’ve even added a couple handfuls of their favorite cereals for a fun, fast, and refreshing breakfast. Don’t you just love a recipe with so many possibilities?

Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark

Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark

Yogurt Bark:
1 3/4 – 2 cups Greek yogurt, plain or flavor of your choosing
2-3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp blueberries
1 tbsp raisins

Toppings:
5-6 fresh strawberries, washed & chopped
1 tbsp semi sweet chocolate chips
1-2 tsp shredded coconut

Directions

1. Mix the yogurt and honey together until well combined. Add the cranberries or blueberries and raisins, stir again to evenly incorporate everything.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the yogurt mixture on top. Spread the mixture out evenly, to your desired thickness or thinness of the bark.
3. Sprinkle the strawberries, chocolate chips and the coconut on top of the yogurt and place the whole pan levelly in the freezer for about an hour or until the bark is completely frozen.
4. Remove the sheet pan from the freezer and use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces. The bark can be stored in the freezer in zip-locking bags.

*Just a heads up, that when you first take the bark out of the freezer, you’ll notice a few ice chips on it. That’s why I recommend you wait a bit before enjoying, whether it’s as soon as it’s frozen or when removing a piece or peices from your stock. If you don’t wait a bit, you might find at first bite that the bark’s too cold and might think it a failed recipe. Let it melt just a bit, no more than 20 minutes or so, until the chill has subsided, but before it’s turned into a mess, and it’s delicious.

recipe adapted from My Fussy Eater

Sous Chef Sunday: Cuban Hot Dogs or Cubano Dogs

Ok, the sons are the sons, and Lord knows I love my boys, BUT in the past few months the lazy/put upon bug has bitten them in the butt. HARD. Yes, I expect you to help with dinner. Is it going to kill you? No. You’ve got no problem eating the 4 course meal, and you expect me to help with homework, run you around, and generally revolve my whole world around anything you deem fit. SO, if I need a little help with some prep work? You’d better pretend to be willing to lend a hand. That being said, their idea of a complicated recipe and mine are totally different. You ask them to dice or chop and onion, and just the thought has them crying crocodile tears. Big babies. That’s what those big fat science safety goggles are for! ;)

That being said, I try to pick my battles. So if it’s actually their turn to cook, or I delegate the job (yep, it happens) I try to keep their sometimes waning enthusiasm in mind. Things like Cuban hot dogs are perfect for these nights. Still relatively easy, but still technically a recipe. Little prep work, mostly just assembly. And pair it with a simple tossed salad? Or some steamed veggies? Dinner. Is. Done.

So for this Sous Chef Sunday were bringing you dogs. Hot dogs, but not just any hot dogs. CUBAN hot dogs. This may not be the prettiest picture we’ve ever taken, but man oh man don’t let that turn you away. This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy a hotdog! So good! It’s a flavor picnic packaged neatly in a little bun.

Cuban Hot Dogs/Cubano Dogs

Cuban Style Hotdogs

4 hot dogs, we prefer the all beef variety
8 thin slices of Swiss cheese
8 slices of deli ham
4 buns
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
prepared yellow mustard
4 dill pickle spears

Directions

1. Cook the hot dogs however you normally would.
2. Place the opened hot dogs buns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and layer two pieces each of cheese and sliced ham over the inside of the bun. When the hotdogs are just about done cooking, put the buns in the oven and broil until they’re toasted and the cheese is melted. This step is optional. I prefer the toasty, melty cheese version, but the hungry sons usually skip it to get it on their plates faster :)
3. Place the cooked hot dogs in the buns and top each with a pickle, onions, and a drizzle of mustard.

recipe adapted from Sweet Treats & More

Sweet Strawberry Broccoli Salad

So it’s become apparent, undeniably apparent at this point, that the youngest son does not like dinner. We’ve verified that he likes food. He eats every other meal. He will be for food between his afternoon snack and dinner. But no matter what you put on his plate at dinner time he will insist he doesn’t like it, or that he’s full. The older sons enjoy fighting over his leftovers. While at any other meal, even if not happily or even willingly, he will eat his veggies, this whole dinner time protest thing has left me struggling to find new ways to re-present some of his A.M. Favorites.

Sweet Broccoli & Strawberry Salad

All the sons, and I do mean ALL have inherited there Daddy’s sweet tooth. Even the hubs is a picky veggie eater, but I figured if I knew him then anything, no matter how ‘good’ for you, in the guise of something sweet would be a surprising hit. And I know our little apples didn’t fall for from the paternal tree. So, this is what I came up with. Totally tasty, with some ‘tiny trees’ as they’re known around these parts tossed with some farm fresh fruit, and a sweet (but good for you!) yogurt-based ‘dressing’.

My game must still be good, because the sons all ate it, and I watched the hubs as he kept eating bite after bite, talking in between about how he doesn’t even like broccoli or strawberries, but he just couldn’t stop eating it.

Sweet Broccoli Strawberry Salad

Sweet Broccoli & Strawberry Salad

4 cups of fresh, chopped broccoli florets
2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries
¼ cup of chopped pecans
1/3 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
5 oz plain Greek yogurt
2-4 tsp maple syrup or honey, to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
salt, to taste
½ tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

1. Combine the broccoli, strawberries, cheese, and pecans in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, maple syrup or honey, and lemon juice, stirring until everything’s evenly incorporated.
3. Fold the dressing into the broccoli and strawberry mixture until all the fruit and veggies are evenly coated.
4. Add some salt and the poppy seeds and stir them in.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I also like to omit the pecans and instead garnish with slivered almonds.

recipe adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

Meat Lover’s Pizza Casserole

I think it’s safe to say that we all look forward to pizza night every other Friday. Some nights, it means placing an order on the computer and having it delivered about 45 minutes later. Other nights, it means Mom thawing out the pizza dough the night before and getting busy with a variety of toppings. It could be your traditional pepperoni, or even as funky as Mac & Cheese pizza. We love pizza. Period. But then, naturally, you’ve got those ‘oops’ moments. You know the ‘pizza night’s come up again, and even though you told yourself multiple times, posted sticky notes, and tied a ribbon around your finger, you still forgot to thaw the dough out’ moments. And it’s 30 minutes until you told everyone to be at the table. See, an ‘oops’ moment. Luckily for me, one of my guys favorite pizza flavor combos will forever be meatlover’s.

Meatlover's Pizza Casserole

And what’s not to love? Especially for a meaty, hearty kind of appetite. Where else are you going to find beef, pepperoni, sausage, ham, and occasionally bacon thrown together into one incredible dish? This is my pizza night savior on those no-dough nights. Instead of a traditional pizza crust, I opted to mix there favorite flavors with some pasta. And man, oh, man is it good! All their promised favorite flavors, mixed with some fun pasta shapes.

meatlovers pizza casserole 2

And it’s customizable. Use whatever pasta is your family’s favorite shape. I didn’t include them in the recipe, but add in some ground beef, or swap it for something else. The sons consider it a real treat when I sprinkle some crispy, crumbled bacon over top the pepperoni and cheeses. So whether you forgot to plan ahead like moi, you don’t want to do delivery, or it seems like too much work, with this meal you won’t have to let that stand in the way of you and your family enjoying your next pizza night.

Meatlover’s Pizza Casserole

 1/2 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb mild pork sausage
2 (26 oz) jars spaghetti sauce
1 large onion, diced
1 lb cooked ham, cubed
sliced pepperoni
3 (8 oz) bags of shredded mozzarella
6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano

Directions

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.
2. Add the sausage, onions, garlic, and oregano until the sausage has cooked through and the onions are translucent. Remove them from heat, drain if necessary, and set aside.
3. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add some sauce to the dish, just enough to lightly coat the bottom when spread out.
4. To create the first layer, add 1/3 of the cooked pasta and spread it out evenly into the dish. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle one bag of cheese out evenly overtop. Sprinkle two tbsp of Parmesan out evenly over the mozzarella. Add the cooked sausage mixture and spread it out evenly.
5. For the second layer, spread half of the remaining pasta into the dish. spread half of the remaining sauce out over the pasta. Sprinkle another bag of mozzarella and two tbsp of Parmesan evenly over top. Sprinkle the diced ham out evenly to finish the layers.
6. To prepare the final layer, add all the remaining pasta, the rest of the pasta sauce, the last bag of mozzarella and the rest of Parmesan, and finally top with all the sliced pepperoni.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Pesto Potatoes

Sausage, eggs, and hasbrowns. Grilling and potato salad. Burgers and fries. Steak and baked potatoes. Notice a common theme here? There’s a reason it’s known as a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of thing. The two just go hand in hand. Seriously. Can’t you just picture them, hand in hand happily skipping down the aisle in wedded bliss?

Curiously, I don’t ever really hear anybody spilling the beans on the seasonings that make the match. For us, it’s a bit of pesto tossed with our potatoes, and then cooked until they’re crunchy and, well, crunchier.

Pesto Potatoes

4 Sons 'R' Us:  Pesto Potatoes

1-2 lbs russet, or red, potatoes
1 (10 oz) jar Pesto sauce
3/4-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Scrub and wash the potatoes, pat dry, and (leaving the skins on) roughly chop them up into ‘chunks’.
2. Place the cut potatoes in a large zip-locking bag. Add the pesto sauce to the bag as well, seal, and shake everything around until all of the potatoes are evenly coated.
3. Pour the pesto potatoes out onto a baking sheet and spread them out evenly. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over top.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 290 other followers

%d bloggers like this: