Showing posts with label quick and easy cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick and easy cooking. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Red Velvet Cake Smoothie

Hey! Hope you're having a great day so far. I'm getting this post up late today because we spent the morning playing in the river. So fun. We looked for salamanders (didn't find any), slid on the rocks (wheeee!) and just generally soaked up summer. Tonight we're going to an outdoor concert. And this is why we love summer in Northeast Ohio.

I know I've mentioned that we drink a lot of smoothies in this house but sometimes we get tired of the same ol' flavors. The other day, our youngest suggested we put some chocolate in with our normal strawberry smoothies, and the result tasted just like red velvet cake!

Red Velvet Cake Smoothies
1/2 banana
1 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
2-3 T. chocolate syrup
3/4 c. milk

Blend until smooth. Yum!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Secret to Perfect Oven-Fried Chicken

Hello and Happy Fourth of July! Hope you're having a great holiday so far. I'm posting my recipe today instead of Wednesday because...well, I'm just getting around to it. But it's a perfect one for the holiday, right? So, if you don't have your menu planned for the day, here's a recipe that's all-American, easy, delicious, and perfect for picnics: oven-fried chicken.

Do you follow Home Made Modern on Facebook? (I hope so!) If you do, you may have noticed a teaser last week about the secret to my grandma's perfect oven-fried chicken. I actually have TWO secrets for ya. So, for years, my grandma has insisted that I should be soaking my chicken in salt water overnight before cooking it. I never thought this step was that crucial, and let's face it, I don't often think about tomorrow's dinner the night before. But last week, I took the time to do this and wowza! What a difference. So that's secret number one. The second secret is to use chicken thighs. Think you don't like dark meat? Well, lemme tell ya, it is so much moister and tastier than white meat. Plus, thighs are really inexpensive, so there's that.

Here's the method for great oven-fried chicken:

Grandma's Perfect Oven-Fried Chicken

1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 c. Bisquick or flour
1 T. lemon pepper seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. Crisco

The night before, place your thawed chicken thighs in a big bowl and cover them with water. Add salt to the water. When I asked Grandma how much to add she said, "Oh, put in way more than you think you should." Haha! She never measures anything. So I put in enough to make me feel anxious, and then I stopped. (Maybe 1/4 cup?)

When you're ready to cook the chicken, put the butter and Crisco on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 400 degree oven so it can melt.

Meanwhile, put the Bisquick or flour and the lemon-pepper seasoning in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, remove the chicken from the salt water, and seal it in the bag. Shake to coat.

When the Crisco/butter mixture has melted, place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, flipping once about halfway through the cooking time.

So there you have it! The method for getting tasty, moist, oven-fried chicken that is great served either hot or cold. Enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summery Crafts & Recipes

Good morning! Well, I'm staring down a weird week. Our girls are going to stay with grandma for the week, and on the one hand, I'm looking forward to getting a lot of work done sans The Guilt; but, on the other, I will miss them and I'll be...well, working. So that's not fun. Hopefully Eric and I will be able to throw in some fun, but I kinda doubt it. Our big party is this weekend and there's shloads to do. I am looking forward to having friends and family on Saturday, though. It's always a good time. And when it's over, I hope to get back to a regular schedule of creating and blogging. Until then, I thought I'd look back on some of my favorite summer projects and recipes:

Painted French Linen Table Runner

Peaches, Basil and Red Onion Salad

Creamsicle Smoothie

Vacation Memory Jar

Bicycle Pallet Art

Rope Wrapped Candlesticks

Hope you're having a great summer so far!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Summer Veggie Orzo

Hi! It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe of the week. Just haven't been inspired in the kitchen, I guess. But I hit on a winner the other day, and it was one of those what-can-I-make-with-what-we-have-happy-accidents. It just may be my favorite summer side now!

Summer Veggie Orzo
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1-2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 c. uncooked orzo
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and chop veggies.

Toss veggies in olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes or until fork tender, but not mushy. Stir once during that time.

While the veggies are roasting, cook the orzo and drain. Return to pot.

Add roasted veggies to pot, along with cheese and butter. Stir, and add more salt if needed.

This side goes great with grilled chicken or pork. I even ate it cold as a salad the next day. Yum!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Bananas Foster (From the Vault)

This post originally appeared September 18, 2013

We don't have dessert every night in this house but occasionally I surprise the kiddos with something sweet. One night, I asked my husband to throw an extra foil packet on the grill next to the potatoes and brats. He raised an eyebrow when I told him there were bananas in it, but didn't ask. (He's used to me by now.) The result was quite delicious, and was the easiest dessert recipe ever, and perfect for a get-together with friends. This is one of those no-recipe recipes. Please forgive the lack of precise measurements...I don't really think you can mess this up.

Grilled Bananas Foster

Slice 1 banana on top of a square of foil. Top it with about a 1 1/2 tsp. butter, 1-2 T. brown sugar, and a splash of rum. Fold the foil into a packet, grill, then serve on top of vanilla bean ice cream. One packet serves about 2-3 people. The topping is rich, so a little goes a long way on the ice cream.

I love to grill fruit as a side dish, but this was on a whole different level. I hope you try it!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Best Guacamole Ev-ah!

Hi all! Here's a question for ya: are you a salsa person or a guacamole person? I like salsa, but I looooove guacamole. And I especially love it during the summertime. There's just something about hanging out in the kitchen on an evening before dinner, having a drink, talking to my peeps, and mashing up some guacamole. Makes me feel festive every time.

So not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think my guacamole "recipe" is the best. I like it with lots of salt, lots of garlic and NO cilantro. I don't have anything against cilantro or anything, but I personally like my guac without it. So here's my list of ingredients with guess-and-by-golly measurements.

Best Guacamole Ev-ah!
4 ripe avocados, mashed with a fork
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 T. lime juice (start with 1 and add more if you like)
1/8 to 1/4 c. minced (really fine) red onion (again, start with the smaller amount and add more if you like)
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. kosher salt

If you're a measuring person--I am sometimes--let this recipe liberate you. Who wants to get out measuring spoons and cups when it's guacamole night? Not me! These flavors go so well together, it's kinda hard to mess this up. Ole!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Parsley Pesto

Am I the only one who thought pesto could only be made with basil? I had no IDEA you could make it with parsley! And I thought you needed pine nuts. What? You can make it without pine nuts? Ok, maybe this was a revelation only to me. But anyway, the discovery of parsley pesto made me very happy. Here's why: 1) I love pesto. 2) Basil is expensive, especially when buying copious amounts for pesto. 3) Pine nuts. Also expensive. 4) I'm always throwing away bunches of parsley when I buy it for a recipe and use exactly one smidgen (yes, that's a measurement) of it. So now I know how to use all of that parsley! Hooray! (It's the little things.)

Oh, and I should probably mention that this dish is delicious and extremely cheap to make! Let's call it Poor Man's Pasta. Wanna?

Parsley Pesto (now officially known as Poor Man's Pasta)
1 bunch Italian parsley
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. olive oil

Cook your pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the parsley, cheese, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Slowly stream in the olive oil with the processor on its lowest setting. Drain the pasta and toss it with the pesto immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Recipe(s) of the Week: 5 Things You Can Make With a Jar of Salsa (From the Vault)

Hey everyone! So I've been blogging for awhile now and while my pageviews are still meager compared to many others' blogs, I'm certainly enjoying more traffic now than I did in the beginning. The thing is, I feel I wrote some pretty fun stuff a few years ago but no one (other than my mom) actually read it. So every once in awhile, I revisit some of that old material to see if there's anything worth sharing again.

I came across this old post, and I thought you might like it. It's short and sweet and it's before the days when I knew how to take semi-decent pics of food; but, nevertheless, it's kinda fun.

Originally posted January 24, 2011:

5 Things You Can Make With a Jar of Salsa

1) An Appetizer--Mix 1 jar of salsa with 2 softened packages of cream cheese for an easy-peasy tortilla chip dip on Super Bowl Sunday

2) A Soup--Dump 1 jar of salsa with 4 cans black beans (rinsed and drained), plus 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock into a crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours, puree, then serve topped with shredded cheese (monterey jack is good) and a dollop of sour cream.

3) A Main Dish--Cut 2 lb. round steak into 5 or 6 portions; place in crock pot. Top with one sliced onion, 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper. Mix one can cream of mushroom soup with 1 c. salsa, 2 T. flour and 1 tsp. dry mustard; pour over top. Cook on low for 9 - 10 hours and voila...Swiss Steak! Serve with baked potatoes, and while you're scrubbing spuds, bake a few extra for tomorrow's dinner.

4) A Side Dish--Top leftover baked potatoes with leftover salsa, sour cream and cheddar. Serve with a salad.

5) A Condiment--Ever had salsa on grilled brats? Yum!

What do you make with salsa? Feel free to share in the comments!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Sweet & Spicy Coleslaw

So I'm posting twice today because I didn't get a chance to post my campaign-style tray table yesterday. It's a two-fer!

How do you feel about coleslaw? Me? The "creamy" (yuck, I hate that word) variety grosses me out. I don't often say that about food because I generally like everything; I just don't like creamy coleslaw. BUT, I loooove this kind. It's sweet, yet tangy, super-crunchy, and really delicious.

Indulge me while I walk down memory lane for a second. This is actually my great-aunt's recipe. I used to spend a lot of time at her house when I was really little, and this is what I remember of my Aunt Willetta (Aunt Wetty to me): she had an awesome dog named Ginger, she grew snapdragons in her garden, she used her dishwasher to store Tupperware rather than to wash dishes, she was OCD-clean, and she had the coolest dollhouse. Oh, and she had a white chenille bedspread in the bedroom that was "mine." I have fond memories of her, clearly. So this is her recipe. If you think you don't like coleslaw...try this. I swear, it's awesome. Oh, and a food processor makes all of the shredding light work.

Sweet & Spicy Coleslaw
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, grated
1 green pepper, grated
1 tsp. salt

1 c. vinegar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
2 c. sugar

Mix shredded cabbage with salt and let sit for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, boil the ingredients for the dressing for 1 minute. Cool to lukewarm temperature.
Drain the cabbage and mix it with the carrot and green pepper.
Pour the dressing over top and mix to combine.
Keep in fridge, or freeze for later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Augusta Egg Salad (From the Vault)

Hey all! I'm visiting my mom this week, so this is gonna be short and sweet. With the Masters Tournament right around the Amen Corner, I figured it'd be good to pull an old recipe from my vault today. Here's what I posted two years back about this favorite of my husband's:

In our house, Easter is only one of the major holidays taking place this weekend. The Masters golf tournament is on, and this--not the resurrection of Christ our Lord--is the event that heralds spring around here. Oh, I jest. But seriously, it IS a big deal for my husband, and I have to admit, I enjoy watching it, too--especially on Sunday. The scenery of that course alone is worth it.

One day Eric's gonna get to go down there to watch a round, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep making egg salad sandwiches, which are apparently quite famous as the go-to snack at Augusta National. Awhile back, I looked up the recipe and I've been making it like this ever since.

Augusta Egg Salad
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sweet relish
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tsp. mustard
onion salt to taste

Mix well and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Is The Masters a big deal in your house, too?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Cherry Vanilla Smoothies

Hi there! Hope you're having a great week so far.

Today's Recipe of the Week was born out of a little experimentation. See, we're big smoothie fans in this house. We all drink 'em, even my husband. Some of us like them made with juice, some of us like them made with milk, but we all agree that they're better with frozen fruit and vanilla yogurt.

Last week, I decided to make my daughter's a little extra-special. I tried making a smoothie with some marachino cherry juice and the result So when we were at the grocery store picking out frozen fruit, I saw frozen cherries and figured they would be the ticket for the cherry vanilla flavor I was after. Our second effort was definitely blog-worthy.

Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1 c. frozen sweet cherries
1/2 c. milk
dash of vanilla extract (optional)

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if the consistency is too thick. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Taco Soup

Hi! I'm glad you're here! Well, it seems like the whole country is experiencing a pretty tough winter thus far, so I figured a soup recipe was in order today. This is a winner in our house...hope your family likes it, too!

Chicken Taco Soup
2 chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. frozen corn kernels
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 packet low-sodium taco seasoning

Poach the chicken breasts in salted water.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot and heat through.
When the chicken is cooked through, dice it and add it to the soup.
Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or so. This allows the flavors to fully combine.
Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar, guacamole...whatever you like on your tacos!

Hope this warms your bellies...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Curry and Couscous

It's Wednesday! Which means I'm sharing a favorite recipe with ya'll, and today I'm showing you how to make an easy curry dish. Have you ever tried curry? If not, this is the dish to start with. It's mild, delicious, simple to make, and even our kids loved it!

Chicken Curry and Couscous
1 lb. chicken thighs
1 T. olive oil
1 T. flour
1 T. fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
14 oz. can coconut milk
1 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 package roasted garlic and olive oil couscous

Sprinkle chicken thighs with kosher salt and pepper, and cook in oil over medium heat until golden.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, ginger, curry powder, salt and coconut milk.
When chicken is browned, add the curry mixture to the skillet. Top with carrots and raisins and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, the sauce is thickened, and the carrots are tender.
Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve the curry chicken over top.

I hope your family likes this dish as much as we do!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Hot Chocolate for One

So how c-c-c-cold is it where you are? I haven't been able to get warm these days. I wear layers, socks, and keep the thermostat up, but sometimes nothing works except hot coffee or tea. Unfortunately, my body can't take too much caffeine, so the other day I made some hot chocolate, and it was such a nice little break in the day.

I'm not a big fan of the powdered's always grainy and has a weird aftertaste, in my opinion. So I made my own, and it was so delicious. What a difference!

Hot Chocolate for One (or Two)*
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. vanilla

Heat 2 T. of the milk in a saucepan on low and stir in the cocoa, sugar and salt. Keep stirring until everything has dissolved and you've basically just got melted chocolate.
Pour in the rest of the milk and the vanilla, and turn the heat up to medium. Constantly stir until it's smooth and hot all the way through.

*When I double this, it makes plenty for me and our two little girls.

Hope this warms you up!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Ham & Swiss Pasta

Hi there, friends! Today was one of those days when I had to take the good with the bad. It started out a little sour. Our counter top guy came a little early (i.e. I was still in my PJs) and I had to clear the counter off for him so he could measure. This meant I didn't get coffee until about 11 am. Sad. I also broke a wine glass, and the shards went into the cold air return; our youngest was on the whiny side all day; and I realized we were out of milk. Hate that. These are not big problems, I know. On the bright side, however, I got to spend some QT with aforementioned whiny preschooler while we made a kick-$#% craft, and I was able to cross a few pesky loose ends of my to-do list by the end of the day. Plus, we ate as a family by candlelight (kids' idea) and we are eensy-weensy steps closer to having a real kitchen. All in all, a good day.

So for dinner tonight, I made this yummy, rich pasta and it was delightful. Incidentally, we were all hankerin' for some cheesy carbs because last poor husband dropped an entire crock of homemade macaroni and cheese on the floor as he was taking it out of the oven. I almost wept as I was pushing it down the garbage disposal, and the poor guy was still sad about it this morning. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Ham & Swiss Pasta
1/2 lb. spiral pasta
1/2 lb. thick-cut smoked ham, diced
3/4 c. shredded swiss
1 c. heavy cream
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, saute the ham then remove it to a bowl.
Deglaze the pan over low-medium heat with the butter. Add the flour and stir to make a paste.
Add the cream and stir, turning the heat to medium. Stir until slightly thickened.
Add the cheese and stir until a cheese sauce comes together.
Drain the pasta and add it to directly to the cheese sauce, along with the cooked ham.
Turn the heat to low.
Microwave the peas for 2 minutes with a few tablespoons of water. Drain. Add to the pasta.
Salt and pepper to taste and toss everything to combine.

Maybe it was the candlelight...maybe it was the fact that we were all dying for some cheesy pasta of ANY sort due to the mishap the night before...but we all really liked this. Hope you do, too!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Oatmeal

It snowed here last night and most of today. So guess what I had for lunch? Yep. Oatmeal. I simply can't get enough of the stuff (as evidenced here and here), especially on a day like today. The mix-in possibilities are endless! I think a whole cookbook could be devoted to oatmeal.

So here's my latest concoction.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
dash of salt
1/3 c. milk
1 heaping tablespoon of canned pumpkin

Stir all together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave oven is. Stir and let thicken a little as it cools. I topped mine with some walnuts, but pecans would've been better. A little maple syrup swirled in might be good, too. Delish!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Cranberry Goat Cheese Appetizer

Hello, friends! Happy Wednesday!

I hesitate to call today's Recipe of the Week an actual recipe. It's really more of a method. But it made for a pretty tasty appetizer and so simple, too, that I got to thinking I should gather up all of my simple appetizer ideas and put 'em in one post for ya'll. Yeah, I think I'll do that in time for the holidays. Because I've got this theory that appetizers should be easy. (Well, I kinda think that about food preparation in general, but it should be especially true for appetizers.) So anyway, here's what I made for a going-away get-together we had last night for a dear neighbor and friend.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Appetizer
6 oz. goat cheese
1 c. pomegranate-infused cranberries
rosemary crackers

I've never had luck keeping goat cheese in the shape it's packaged in. The stuff is so soft and crumbly that it invariably falls apart when I try to get the wrapping off. So I didn't even try to keep it neat this time. Here's what ya do: Spoon the cheese onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up, then roll it back and forth several times like you would with a rolling pin to achieve the log shape once again.

Next, dump the cranberries onto a clean sheet of plastic wrap and spread them out into a nice, thin layer. Unwrap the newly reformed goat cheese, and kinda flip it out onto the cranberries. Then wrap this all up in the plastic and roll it again, pressing slightly so the cranberries would stick.

Unwrap the cranberry-covered cheese and transfer it to your serving plate. Serve with rosemary crackers.

I told you there was a method to this. Not very scientific, though. Martha would be appalled. After all, "Who are these bloggers?"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Curried Butternut Squash Soup (From the Vault)

Good morning! Well, I must admit something to you. I had wanted to share a new recipe with you today, but time just hasn't permitted. I'm working on a little side project that I hope to share with you soon; but unfortunately, it has taken up a LOT of time. So I'm copping out today, and re-posting a recipe I made last year at this time. It is soup weather, after all, and I happen to have a butternut squash on the counter as I type this. So it's only fitting...

I hope you'll give it a try!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Cook 2 c. chopped onion and 2 cloves garlic in 1 T. oil until soft.
Peel and cube 1 large butternut squash, removing seeds and pulp.
Add the squash and one box of chicken (or vegetable) stock to the pot with onions and garlic.
Add 1 T. plus 2 tsp. of curry powder plus 1/2 tsp. salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer until squash is fork-tender. Purée with an immersion blender until smooth.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Baja Cobb Salad

Hey, hey! How is everyone today?

Yesterday, our youngest had a hankerin' for Chipotle. Since I didn't feel like buying lunch, I told her I'd make something similar for dinner. This was the result, and it isn't so much a recipe as just an idea for you.

We had one lonely avocado, lettuce, black beans, and some chicken tenders, so I figured I'd be able to make something Chipotle-ish outta that. I marinated the chicken in McCormick's Baja Citrus spice blend, then cooked it in a skillet. I also cooked up some brown rice and stirred in a little butter and lime juice when it was fully cooked. Lastly, I microwaved some frozen corn and added that to the rice, too.

In traditional cobb salad-style, I put the salad ingredients in rows on top of a bed of lettuce. First some avocado chunks, then sliced chicken, a row of beans, then the rice and corn. We ate this with sour cream and salsa. Yum! Even our kids said it tasted a lot like Chipotle.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Bananas Foster

Good morning! I'm so glad you're here with me today.

Well, if you live in a climate that's turning nippy, then grilling season is on its way out. We'll eke out as many barbecued dinners as we can, but inevitably the grill will be covered in snow before long. Depressing, I know. (But on the bright side, crock pot season is on its way!)

Anyway, we don't have dessert every night in this house but occasionally I surprise the kiddos with something sweet. A few nights ago, I asked my husband to throw an extra foil packet on the grill next to the potatoes and brats. He raised an eyebrow when I told him there were bananas in it, but didn't ask. (He's used to me by now.) The result was quite delicious, and was the easiest dessert recipe ever, and perfect for a get-together with friends. This is one of those no-recipe recipes. Please forgive the lack of precise measurements...I don't really think you can mess this up.

Grilled Bananas Foster

Slice 1 banana on top of a square of foil. Top it with about a 1 1/2 tsp. butter, 1-2 T. brown sugar, and a splash of rum. Fold the foil into a packet, grill, then serve on top of vanilla bean ice cream. One packet serves about 2-3 people. The topping is rich, so a little goes a long way on the ice cream.

I love to grill fruit as a side dish, but this was on a whole different level. I hope you try it!
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