Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raspberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken

I figured I'd take a break from my obsession with Pioneer woman recipes, and post one of my own for a change! I wouldn't really consider this cooking, more like throwing stuff together to make a good salad....a really good one. Kevin and I have been eating this salad for years now, at least every few weeks. We started out eating the salad by itself, and then added grilled chicken to it, which makes it a perfect meal! The key ingredient to this is Ken's Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette salad dressing. It goes perfectly with the spinach and ranch dressing, if you can believe that. I know, raspberry vinaigrette and ranch dressing together? It really is good, I promise! Personally my favorite part is the crumbled goat cheese...when you add the grill chicken and toss it all together, the cheese kind of melts together.... it's so good! For the chicken, we usually just salt and pepper it and throw it on the grill....but we've also cooked in a little olive oil in a skillet on the stove if we didn't feel like messing with the grill. Or you can always use a george foreman grill if you have one...not quite the same though with chicken. I also like to add slivered almonds to add some crunch to the salad, but you can add croutons too...or just leave it plain like Kevin does:) You will need:

-1 bag of baby spinach leaves

-cherry tomatoes, halved (use as many as you like)

-2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

-Ken's Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing

-Ranch dressing (I use Kraft Buttermilk Ranch)


-crumbled goat cheese ( I used Alouette)

-bag of slivered almonds if desired (find them above the salads in the produce section)

In a large bowl, combine spinach, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and goat cheese. Sprinkle a little salt/pepper to season. Drizzle on Raspberry Vinaigrette to your liking. Then drizzle the Ranch dressing to your liking. Toss to combine all ingredients and top with slivered almonds if desired! **Be careful not to add too much dressing at first, you can always go back and add more, but it's hard to take it away if you overdress it**

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini

Here's another recipe from Pioneer Woman...... I think I am seriously obsessed with the recipes on her blog now. I made this panini tonight for dinner and I can't even adequately describe how good it was. Kevin and I both took bites of it and just sat there without speaking for a second...I've never thought a sandwich would leave me speechless, but it did. It was that good. The ingredients are so simple too. I don't have a fancy panini maker, and didn't feel like "pressing it down in the skillet", so I busted out my trusty george foreman grill and it worked perfectly! You'll need a loaf of french bread for this sandwich...I got a loaf from the bakery at walmart for $1.49. Don't get a long skinny loaf, look for the biggest, fluffiest one. I used half for these sandwich's, and the other half to make garlic bread for last night's dinner so it didn't go to waste. I also opted to use the precooked bacon...oscar mayer brand. This was a first for me...I honestly have never microwaved bacon before and was kind of leery of it, but decided to try it because I knew it was a weeknight and I wouldn't feel like frying bacon at the end of the day. It was actually really good, I just popped it in the microwave for 40 seconds and that was that! It's definitely not better than bacon done in a skillet, but for a sandwhich topping it was perfect. The ingredients below made enough for 3 paninis, which was perfect for our family, but you can easily adjust to make more or less.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini

You will need:

-loaf of french bread, thinly sliced (I used 6 slices and saved the rest of the loaf)

-spicy mustard (I used kroger brand spicy brown mustard)

-ranch dressing (I used Kraft buttermilk ranch)

-block of sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

-8 strips of bacon (I used pre-cooked oscar mayer)

-2 chicken breasts

-3-4 tablespoons butter, softened (I used real, salted butter)

*First prepare your chicken. You'll need to thin out your chicken breast by either pounding them with a mallett or "butterflying them". I chose to butterfly them. Just lay the chicken breast on the cutting board and make a horizontal cut almost all the way across the center of the chicken. Then, get your pan hot. I added about a tablespoon of the butter along with a few tablespoons of canola oil over med-high heat. Once the pan is hot, fry the chicken breasts for about 10 minutes (5 minutes per side) or until cooked through. (I salt and peppered them a little when they were in the pan.) Remove chicken from pan and thinly slice them up.

*Now get the bread ready. On one slice of bread spread a generous amount of spicy mustard...on the other side spread a generous amount of ranch dressing. On top of the mustard side, pile on the chicken, sliced cheddar cheese and bacon. Top with ranch dressing side and smush down a little with your hand so the sandwich sticks together and everything doesn't fall out. Meanwhile, get your george foreman or panini maker nice and hot.

*Next, spread the remaining softened butter on outside of each piece of bread and toast until golden brown and delicious. Enjoy!

Doesn't this look good? And yes, I have weird thumbs:)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Egg in a Hole"

Ok, I just have to post this too. Last Saturday I was watching my recording of Pioneer Woman, and she did her version of "egg in a hole". I have never seen it done before and told Kevin how easy and good that looked....I didn't really think he was paying attention. The next morning before church I got up and was surprised to find this when I went into the kitchen!

His version of "egg in a heart" I guess. How sweet. I just love the fact that he can cook awesome breakfast food, because it is just not my thing. I'm always too tired to put forth much effort. Anyway, these little treats were perfect for a fast/easy breakfast, and the kids loved them, especially the toasted hearts! This will definitely make a repeat on our breakfast menu soon!

You will need:

-Bread, white or wheat (we used whole wheat)

-butter (about a tablespoon, maybe more)



*Cut out a hole (or heart in our case) with a cookie cutter or rim of a glass.

*Melt butter in skillet over med-low heat until completely melted

*Place bread into skillet and crack egg right into the hole. Don't move the bread for about 30 seconds

*Sprinkle egg with salt and pepper. Then after about a minute, flip over with a spatula

*Sprinkle the other side of the egg with salt and pepper and move the toast around so it will soak up the butter

*Let it cook until the yolk feels soft to the touch

*Don't forget to throw in the cut out hole (or heart) into the butter to get toasted too...it's the best part!

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you read our family blog, you will already know my new obsession with the Pioneer woman. She made these cookies on her show the other day and they looked so good I had to try them. Since the boys were on their little hunting trip, Hannah and I made a trip to the store for the malted milk powder (I found it where the chocolate milk mix stuff is...Nestle, ovaltine, etc.) and chocolate chips. She was so excited to get to be my only helper this time. Usually Hunter tends to dominate the kitchen stools when I cook, so it was a nice change.

These cookies were amazing. The milk chocolate chips and the malted milk powder really made the difference. If you like chocolate malts, you will like these cookies. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to capture just how good they were because Kevin had it:( Oh well, guess I will have to make them again:) Here's a link directly to her site, I followed her directions exactly, but she goes into a lot more details and has pretty pictures http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/06/malted-milk-chocolate-chip-cookies/

The Pioneer Woman's Malted Milk Chocolate Cookies

You will need:

-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

-3/4 cup golden brown sugar

-3/4 cup sugar

-2 eggs

-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

-2 cups all purpose flour

-1 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

-1 1/4 teaspoon of salt

-1/2 (rounded) cup of malted milk powder

-1 bag (12oz) milk chocolate chips **don't use semisweet, get the milk chocolate!

*Preheat oven to 375

*With your mixer cream the butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.

*Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add slowly to butter mixture beating until just combined

*Add chocolate chips and stir in gently

*Drop by teaspoonfuls, I used an ice cream scoop, onto foil or parchment lined baking sheet

*Bake for 10-14 minutes. Shorter if you want chewy, longer if you want crispy

*Make sure and leave enough space between the cookies...these cookies spread out and become really flat, so you will probably have to do 2 batches. I did one chewy batch and one crisp batch, and liked them both! Also after baking them, leave them on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them (foil and all) to a wire rack to cool. This way they will cool down and stay moist. Make sure and have a glass of milk on hand...you will need it:)