Monday, January 31, 2011

Introducing: The Girly Girl!

Today I would like to introduce my guest blogger, Haley from The Girly Girl Cooks! She has an awesome cooking blog, and a light-hearted spirit that make her posts a joy to read. I also love her because she is from Montana, which is where I grew up. Here she is in her own words:

My name is Haley from The Girly Girl Cooks!

My cooking blog is about my first year of living off campus while attending college at the University of Montana. I'm teaching myself to become a Home Cook Extraordinaire in my new apartment, while winning my boyfriend's heart through his stomach. I was inspired to learn how to cook when my mom gave me Ree Drummond's cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, for Easter last year. Since then I have been cooking up a storm and enjoying every moment of it!

I've been told that my recipes are "so deliciously American" and I have to agree! I love cooking everything and anything, but my favorite recipes are the classic comfort foods! I want to thank Heather of The Menu Mama (whose blog I love), for asking me to write this guest post, I am so honored!

One of my favorite places to go out to lunch with my boyfriend is at the restaurant, The Old Post. It's just a little hole in the wall, local pub that has the feel of 'old Missoula'. I love it! They have the most unique and delicious menu.  

One of my favorite lunches is their bowl of Chili (only $2.95!!!) with their homemade Jalapeno Corn Muffins. I love this twist on corn muffins and decided to recreate their muffins but also adding my own twist to the recipe!

These muffins go perfect with any Mexican or hearty dish, but today we are serving them with Cheesy Green Chile Chicken.

Cheesy Green Chile Chicken is perfect for a busy weeknight. 5 ingredients and simple steps to complete a delicious and fast dish!

Cheesy Green Chile Chicken

Here is what you are going to need for 4 people:

-4 skinless chicken thighs (with or without bones, doesn't matter)
-1 tbsp Lime Juice
-2 tsp Taco Seasoning
-4 canned Whole Green Chiles
-4 oz Fresh Mozzarella

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Then place the chicken thighs into an 8x8 baking dish.

Add the lime juice evenly over the chicken thighs.

Then sprinkle evenly 2 tsp of Taco Seasoning over top of the chicken thighs.

Cut the whole green chiles lengthwise, but only on one side (butterfly cut) and lay them over top of each chicken thigh.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil, add 1 oz slices of fresh mozzarella on top of each chicken thigh and bake for 5 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

To serve, spoon 3 tbsp of broth over the chicken and serve with Zesty Jalapeno Corn Muffins and enjoy!

Print Recipe Here!

Zesty Jalapeno Corn Muffins

This is what you need for 12 muffins:-1-1/4 cup Flour
-1-1/4 cup Cornmeal
-2 tbsp Sugar
-1 tbsp Baking Powder
-1 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Ground Cumin
-1-1/4 cup Skim Milk
-1/2 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
-1 diced unseeded Jalapeno (about 1/8 cup)
-3 tbsp melted Butter
-2 tbsp minced fresh Cilantro
-1 (8.5 oz) can of drained Whole-Kernel Corn

This recipe is so easy, you are going to love it!
First preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease your muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and ground cumin. Stir it around a bit with your whisk to mix all the ingredients together. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir it all to combine until just moistened.
Scoop the batter into the muffin pan about 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place the muffin pan on a cooling wrack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying!
Serve with any Mexican or hearty dish for a fun side!
This recipe is featured in Menu Plan 11.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ranch Style Chicken

So I picked this recipe because the pictures looked yummy. And it was yummy. However, the name should have enlightened me to something. When The Pioneer Woman calls a dish "Ranch Style," she isn't just being cute. What she's really saying is, "Unless you're a ranch hand burning oodles of calories a day, you have no business eating bacon-and-cheese-topped chicken that has been cooked in bacon grease, but here is the recipe anyway because I'm evil like that."

I guess I'm evil like that too, because I am going to go ahead and recommend that you make this meal (complete with mashed potatoes) and enjoy! We did!

*Note, my kids inhaled this, which made me quite happy since Nathan is super picky and Hannah is in the 10th percentile for weight.

printable recipe
Ranch Style Chicken

1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoons salt
dash of crushed red pepper
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person unless they are huge like ours were, the 4 of us shared 2 and had leftovers)
bacon, 3 slices per chicken breast
cheddar cheese, grated, a handful per breast
canola oil

Whisk the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-3/4 inch thick and trim off excess fat.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce for 1-3 hours (covered in the refrigerator).

Fry the bacon, reserving the grease.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat some of the bacon grease and an equal amount of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, a couple of minutes per side.

Place chicken on a baking sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with a handful of cheese and 3 pieces of bacon.

Return to oven and cook for 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling.

Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!

This recipe is featured in Menu Plan 9.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Taco Soup

This is such a yummy, easy soup. Start it in the morning and no matter how busy your afternoon is, you'll have dinner waiting for you when you get home!

I got this recipe off of my friend Julie's blog, Real (Good) Cooking. The flavors are mild, making it very kid-friendly. If you don't have kiddos to worry about and like a bit of a kick, add a few drops of Tabasco.

Taco Soup

serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 packet of taco seasoning, or if you buy the big containers like I do, 2 rounded Tbsps
2 cans of diced tomatoes (with chiles if you have them)
1 can corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and sour cream for garnish (optional)

Cook ground beef and onion together over medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is translucent. Drain off fat.
Add half the packet of taco seasoning (or 1 rounded Tbsp) and 1/4 cup of water to the meat mixture. Cook and stir until seasoning is blended in and water is absorbed.
Place meat mixture in the bottom of your crock pot and add corn and juices, tomatoes and juices and the rinsed black bean. Sprinkle remainder of taco seasoning on top.
Add 1/2 cup of water (tomatoes will give off more juice while cooking) and stir.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. I loved how my house smelled while this was cooking all day!
Serve with chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream!
 This recipe is featured in Menu Plan 9.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Menu: Week of January 31 - February 6

To celebrate my 10th menu plan here on The Menu Mama, I decided to put together an all-star menu of my most popular recipes so far. These are the recipes that I received the most feedback on and I think are especially worth repeating.

Meatless Monday: Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup - who could forget Amy's fun guest post?
Tuesday: Italian Breaded Pork Chops - a family favorite
Wednesday: Thai Honey Peanut Chicken - my most popular post by far
Thursday: Leftover/Takeout Night - relax!
Friday: Peking Chicken Pizza - what can I say, just yum!
Saturday: Creamed Chicken over Biscuits - you guys loved this comfort dish
Sunday: Beef with Snow Peas - I can't wait to make this one again!
Family Night Treat: Easy Microwave Caramel Corn - a quick classic 

Sounds good, huh? Let's get shopping!

I'm linking up with I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

printable shopping list

The amounts shown below are for 4 servings. If you have a bigger family, double the amounts of the starred ingredients when you are shopping. 

brown sugar
white sugar
light corn syrup
peanut butter
barbecue sauce
plum sauce
baking powder
baking soda
soy sauce
cooking sherry
peanut oil (optional)
canola oil
olive oil
vanilla extract
curry powder
dried parsley
black pepper
sesame seeds
crushed red pepper
sriracha or tabasco
*2 (14 oz) cans chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
*7 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 package microwave popcorn
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

fresh gingerroot
*1 yellow onion
*1-2 large carrots
*2 large potatoes
fresh basil
*1 fresh lime (or 1 Tbsp lime juice)
*8 oz fresh snow peas
*7 scallions (green onions)
*1/4 red bell pepper
*1 head garlic
*1 cup frozen peas
*2 eggs
*1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
*1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*8 oz Monterey Jack cheese
*heavy cream (1/2 cup - 1 cup, depending on preference)
*1 1/2 lb flank steak or any other good stir-fry beef
bone-in pork chops (1 per person)
*2 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 large, unused paper bag

Pioneer Woman's Favorite Burger

I heart Pioneer Woman. I really do. Many times when I am making the menu plan I have to remind myself that I can't just pull all of my recipes off of her website. Well, I could, but it's probably not a good idea. For one thing, my readers would probably just defect to her blog if all I had were her recipes, because let's face it: her pictures are wayyyy better than mine and she's funnier. For another thing, have you seen the price of butter these days? I can't afford to only cook her recipes.

That being said, I did pull a couple of recipes from her site this week: the upcoming Ranch Style Chicken, Dilly Bread, and the topic of this post: PW's Favorite Burger.

Be proud of my health consciousness. I made burgers, yes. BUT... I skipped the potato chips and served them with Broccoli and fresh apples! Baby steps...

I do need to say one thing about this recipe. It was delicious but PW claims that even blue cheese haters will love it, and I have to disagree. The flavor of the blue cheese was still apparent and although my blue-cheese-hating husband ate the burger, I think he could have lived without the blue cheese. I love blue cheese and consequently loved the burger. But if you hate blue cheese, no need to be ashamed, just use another kind of cheese.

printable recipe
Pioneer Woman's Favorite Burger

serves 4

1 lb beef, shaped into 4 patties and seasoned with salt, pepper and tabasco
red onion, cut into slices
2 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 hoagie buns
1/4 cup mayonnaise
lettuce (whatever kind you like atop a burger!)

In a skillet, saute onion slices and brown sugar over medium-low heat.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until carmelized, about 10 minutes.

Lightly butter the buns and place face down on a hot griddle, toasting lightly.

Mix the mayonnaise and a couple of dashes of tabasco sauce until the desired heat is reached.

Meanwhile, cook burgers on grill. When they are getting close to done, add the onions and a small handful of blue cheese on top.

Spread the mayonnaise on the toasted buns.

Place lettuce on one side, burger on the other side of the bun.

Put both sides together and serve with your favorite burger side dishes.

This recipe is featured in Menu Plan 9.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Posting on Tales of a Hockey Wife

Today I am excited and honored to be a guest poster on Tales of a Hockey Wife. I really enjoy reading her blog so when she asked me to guest post about an easy, kid-pleasing, weeknight meal, I happily agreed.

Click here or on the picture above to check out my yummy guest post and the rest of her fun, educational (for those of us who have never met a hockey wife!) blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with Shallot Butter

This is a delightful take on bone-in pork chops from I loved the blending of the herbs and the fact that, other than a little butter, this recipe was quite healthy!

You can use fresh herbs if you have them, but I just used the dry herbs I had on hand and it turned out great.

printable recipes
Grilled Pork Chops with Shallot Butter

serves 4

4 bone-in pork chops
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chives
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/4 tsp minced shallots
1/8 tsp grated lemon rind

Turn on grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper.

Combine oil, chives, thyme, rosemary, and garlic, stirring well.

Rub oil mixture evenly over both sides of pork.

Place pork on grill rack; grill 6-7 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of pork registers 155F. Remove pork from grill; let stand 5 minutes.

Combine butter, shallots, and lemon rind, stirring well.

Spread about 1 tsp butter mixture over each pork chop; let the pork stand an additional 5 minutes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cavity Maker Chocolate Cake

After tasting this cake for the first time at a friend's birthday party a few weeks ago, I immediately knew I wanted to make it for the blog. It is pretty much a chocolate lover's dream come true, so moist and rich, you will fall in love immediately. And it is super easy to make, too!

My friend Jeni got this recipe from and only tweaked one ingredient- the original recipe called for coffee-flavored liqueur (Kahlua would be the brand, I think?). Since we don't drink coffee or liqueur, she substituted Sprite. Milk or chocolate milk would also work as a substitution.

printable recipes
 Cavity Maker Chocolate Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package dark chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sprite
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and sprite. Beat until ingredients are well blended.

Fold in chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly tapped. 
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out and cool completely on wire rack or plate.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cake. 

I went all out and served this with ice cream and home-made hot fudge, but it is also delicious all by itself!

This recipe is featured in Menu Plan 9.