Monday, November 17, 2014

81: Crispy Cheesy Chicken

On the way home from work today (and every other day) I talked to my mom.  Today we talked about some quick and easy suggestions of what we could have for dinner.  She said that I could just coat some chicken with some breadcrumbs and whatever other spices or seasonings that I wanted.  So, that is exactly what I did.. 


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
skim milk - just enough to dip the chicken
1/2 -1 cup panko 
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
pinch cayenne pepper

The How To:
Preheat oven to 405
Cut each chicken into about 3 or 4 strips, depending on size
Put some milk in the bottom of a bowl - big enough for your chicken strips
Mix the panko, cheeses, S&P and cayenne in a separate plate
Dip each piece of chicken in the milk until coated
Then dip each chicken strip in the panko mixture until coated
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the strips on the lined baking sheet
Bake the chicken for about 35 minutes, or until brown
Serve immediately

I also made a little honey mustard mixture using honey and dijon mustard that went perfectly with this dish.

Will and I both loved this dish. It was so easy and fast, I would definitely make this again. This is definitely Will approved! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

80: Beer Cheese Soup

Last week I was up in Wisconsin for a work trip.  One of my colleagues, Nick Pokorny, suggested that I try a beer cheese soup. It's something that has been on my radar as a dish to try for a while, so once I returned home I looked up several versions of the soup and decided to make my own.  You could totally make this in the crock pot, but I was lazy this morning and didn't have time to cut up the onion and garlic.. so this is what I did instead... I can't wait to hear what my WI buddies think!

1/2 lb thick-cut bacon slices, cut into small strips
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, diced
1 can carrots, drained and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
12 oz pale ale
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 2/3 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

The How To:
In a medium sized pan, cook the bacon until brown
In a dutch oven, heat the butter and cook the onion and carrots until onions are opaque (about 3-4 minutes) 
Add the garlic and let it cook about a minute
Add flour and combine
Add the beer and cook for 3-4 minutes, while stirring
Add worcestershire, milk, broth - bring to simmer
Cover and let simmer about 10-12 minutes

Slowly add cheese while stirring constantly

Serve with pretzel rolls or whole wheat loaf for dipping.

Tonight was a perfect night for soup, it's supposed to be in the 20s.  Will was really excited to try it out, he said that this was his type of comfort food.  He really loved the soup and even gave it two thumbs up! This dish is Will approved!  Thanks Nick for the recommendation.  

Lucy even wanted to try it... 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

79: Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Wow - I just noticed my last post was from back in July!  Obviously, I've been slacking on cooking lately.  Will has stepped up in the kitchen the last few months and I've been busy cooking up a little human. Yes, it's true - we are expecting a new little Burke in April.  :)

Finally I started feeling more like myself this week and thought I would get back in the kitchen.  I have a lot of recipes that I've been wanting to try and this dish for quinoa chicken parmesan is one of them.  


1 cup quinoa 
italian seasoning, to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
mozzarella cheese

store-bought or homemade marinara sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 can diced tomatoes
dried basil 
italian seasoning 
balsamic vinegar

The How To:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line a cooking dish with foil (for easy clean up)
Cook the quinoa according to package directions (add 1 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water to a medium pan - heat to boil, then put on low heat for about 8 minutes or until liquid dissolves) 
Start the chicken assembly line:
Season chicken with S&P
Dredge chicken in flour
Dip in the beaten eggs
Dredge in quinoa
Place chicken in the foil lined dish, then bake for about 40 minutes (depending on how big your chicken is) 
Remove, and top with cheese and marinara
Cook for about 5 more minutes, until cheese melts 
Serve immediately.

This dish is packed with protein.  I served this along with some broccoli.  This is a good healthy weeknight meal.  Will really liked it more than I did, but things just don't really taste the same to me as they normally do.  I'm hoping that goes back to normal in May.  
Will gave it an eh.. I probably wouldn't make this dish again, but it was worth a try.  

He really was excited to try it, but this is the type of picture you get when you only take one... 

Monday, July 14, 2014

78: Blackened Tilapia Tacos

Monday, Monday.  I always like to make fast meals on Mondays because that's usually the day I run to the grocery store after a long day at work.  When I saw this recipe for blackened tilapia tacos, I knew it would be perfect for a Monday meal.


1/4 cup fat free sour cream
~2 tsbp chopped cilantro
Juice from a medium size lime
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
5 tilapia fillets
olive oil
8 tortillas (use corn to be Gluten-free)
1 avocado - sliced
some salsa

The How To:
Combine cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno in a food processor (I used a Magic Bullet) 
Add sour cream to the mix
Grab a little bowl, and add all the spices (paprika, brown sugar, oregano, salt, cumin, red pepper)
Sprinkle the rub evenly over the fish (or put in a bag and shake) 
Heat some olive oil in a large pan
Add the fillets to the pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side (until it flakes easily) 
Warm tortillas with a moist paper town for about 30 seconds
Create tacos with the fish, and green mix
Serve with avocado slices, cheese, and salsa if desired

Will and I both agreed that this dish was just missing some shredded lettuce for a little extra crunch.  Other than that, this is totally a win.  It's just spicy enough with the jalapeno mix.  This dish is Will approved! 

77: Chard, It's Not Hard

Recently I have become obsessed with Chard.  I have made it several nights and I just had to write about it.

A lot of people probably see Chard as a leafy green, with a weird red stem.  I see that too, but man oh man is it delicious.  To cook it, I just cut the weird red stems away from the leafy greens and throw them in a bowl.  Caution - it will cook down to about 1/3 of the size of the washed leaves.

In a medium sized pan, I heat some olive oil. Add some diced garlic and onions and let those cook for about 5 minutes (until fragrant).  Sometimes, I'll add some sliced mushrooms and then I just add the chard and move it around until the leaves have wilted.  
Will is super nice and lets me eat the whole bowl, since he HATES chard.  Maybe someday he'll learn to love it.

76: White BBQ Sauce

We had a July 4th party this year.  Will smoked a Boston butt on the BGE, and I made some white bbq sauce.  

Have you ever had white bbq sauce?  Sometimes this is called Alabama BBQ sauce.  If you haven't had it - you're missing out.  Luckily I'm going to tell you how I made mine! 

1 cup mayo
2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp horseradish 
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Sadly, no pictures were taken before all this food was eaten.  But I still wanted to document the sauce recipe for next time.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

75: Honey Salmon Foil Bake

Will and I both really like seafood and I make salmon a lot.  But Will says all the time that he doesn't like sweet salmon, so he wasn't thrilled when he saw I was making Honey Salmon.  I changed the recipe up a bit for him, see what he thought.... 


~1/8 cup honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
*1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
*1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme 

The How To:
Preheat oven to 375
Line a baking dish with foil
Grab a separate bowl - whisk honey, garlic, EVOO, vinegars, thyme, S&P
Place salmon (skin side down) on the foil and cover with the mixture
Fold the foil around the salmon until covered
Bake for about 20-25 minutes - until salmon flakes easily with a fork

Will was surprised that this was not a very sweet dish.  It was very flavorful.  Will's exact words were "it's got a lot going on in the flavor department."  I think we both still prefer the blackened salmon dish I usually make, but this might make its way into the rotation from time to time.  This dish was Will approved! 

And yes, Will is wearing the same shirt he wore yesterday.

74: Mushroom Pork Chops

I like to make a quick and easy dinner on Monday nights.  It's a perfect time for Mushroom Pork Chops. Only THREE major ingredients! 


2 pork chops
1 can cream mushroom soup - reduced sodium
1 tbsp worcestershire 
*pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

*not pictured

The How To:
Preheat oven to 405
Line a dish with aluminum foil (for easy clean up)
Place the pork chops on the tin foil and cover with soup, worcestershire, cayenne pepper, and S&P
Cook for 45 minutes

I served mine alongside a salad and balsamic broccoli (may write this one up someday)

This is such an easy dish and you can make chicken this same way.  Usually I like to add some diced mushrooms or onions to this dish, but I was out.  It still turned out great, and makes a delicious lunch the next day.  I totally forgot to take the after picture, but it was Will approved!  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

73: Chicken Paprikash

Back in April, we went on vacation to Prague, Vienna, Salzburg and Budapest.  In each country we tried some of the local cuisine, but we really loved the food most in Hungary.  Once I got back, got over the jet-lag and started planning dinners again I decided to try to find one of the popular Hungarian dishes that we had tried.  I found this recipe for Chicken Paprikash that I decided to try out.


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cubed
Olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 white onion, diced
1 large garlic clove minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
2 1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp hot paprika (to taste)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup no fat sour cream brought to room temp
2 cups pasta (I used bowtie)

The How To:
Preheat oven to 400
Season cubed chicken with S&P
Heat oil in a dutch oven and add chicken
Cook until golden brown on both sides and place aside
In dutch oven, add onions and stir frequently until onion becomes opaque ~5 minutes
While onions are cooking, grab a small frying pan and add tomato paste -- stir often and cook until paste becomes fragrant
Add tomato paste to the onions and continue to cook for about a minute
Add garlic and cook another minute or so
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and paprika to the mixture and stir until simmering
Season with S&P
Add chicken and transfer to oven
Bake for 40 minutes 
Remove from oven and let it cool for about 3 minutes
Stir in sour cream
Serve over pasta

This dish was a little more trouble than I typically like to do on a weeknight, but the end result was well-worth it.  This tasted much like I remember a dish I had our first night in Budapest at a local place called, √Čtelek.  Will and I both really enjoyed it and it was fun to remember our trip.  This dish was Will approved! 

And for fun, here are a few pics from Budapest... 

72: Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia

Fish is easy to make, fast to cook, low in calories, and delicious!  Tonight, I tried out parmesan-crusted tilapia, inspired by this recipe.


1 lb tilapia filets
1/2 cup parmesan/romano cheese mix
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
olive oil
1/4 tsp chili powder
*1/2 cup panko

*not shown

The How To:
Preheat oven to 400
Combine cheese, paprika, oregano, parsley, chili powder, panko, and S&P - put mixture in a zip-lock bag
Drizzle fish with olive oil and put in the bag with the cheese mixture
Shake the bag until coated
Line a pan with foil (for easy clean up) then add the fish
Cook for about 15 minutes, until opaque 

This was a super easy, no frills dinner.  But, it was still Will approved! 
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