Grilled Pepperjack Chicken

This is a fairly easy recipe that my mom told me about. It’s best grilled (you can use an outdoor or indoor grill), but you could bake the chicken if you prefer. I do not have pictures of the particular recipe because I am fairly new to grilling, as we finally have a place where we can use a grill. While I was grilling the chicken I decided I would just throw the onions and the bacon on the grill that I was planning to top the chicken with. If you have ever grilled before you can probably imagine what happened next. If so, you can skip to the recipe below, haha, if not I will explain further.  Bacon has a lot of fat in it and unless you are a very experienced griller should not be cooked on a grill. I tossed everything on the grill, shut the top, and left it for five minutes (oh and I did look up grilling bacon and I had the grill on low heat). When I came back and opened the grill all of the bacon was on fire, as well as the onions. I shut the grill ran in the house and got my husband to come help me put out the fire. After we pounded out the fire with a spatula, the bacon had completely disintegrated within the grill. However, we did get some tasty charbroiled onions and chicken out of the mess. So I suggest frying the bacon or cooking it in the oven (on a cookie sheet) per package instructions.

Ingredients (makes enough for 2, but can be easily doubled):

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 slices of sandwich friendly pepperjack cheese

2 thick full sliced rounds of onion (with all the center rounds)

2 pieces of bacon (cooked per package instructions)

Barbecue sauce (you can buy your favorite, or make your own)

Olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

Instructions:

Set a grill to medium-high heat. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Place some barbecue sauce in a plastic bag. Insert chicken into plastic bag, close tightly and shake bag to cover with barbecue sauce (You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water if the sauce is particularly thick). Place in fridge to marinate for fifteen minutes (you could also do this early in the day and the chicken will be just even more seasoned). On a separate dish coat onions with olive oil. Keep onions in tact, don’t separate rings.

Place onions and chicken on the grill. Let onions cook for about 15 minutes, and remove when they begin to caramelize and become soft. Let chicken cook for about ten minutes then turn. Cook for another ten minutes and then check temperature. Continue cooking for five minutes at a time, turning each time you check it, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. After the chicken has reached the appropriate temperature, evenly distribute onions, bacon, and lastly cheese on the chicken. Turn the grill to low and let the cheese melt thoroughly on the chicken. Remove chicken and eat!

Continue Reading

Generic vs. Brand Names

As the economy is lingering at a stalemate between bad and really bad I have been trying to be a more thrifty shopper, especially when it comes to groceries. Therefore, I have divulged into the world of generic foods. Now this is only for my husband and myself. I grew up with the mantra (and still hold on to it) that there are just certain things I won’t buy generic. One is diapers. Another is baby food. And the third is probably ice cream. I’m committed to Blue Bell ice cream. Or maybe Haagen Dazs on occasion. But I refuse to go there. If I’m going to spend the money to buy a treat it might as well be a good one. Which isn’t necessarily thrifty, but we don’t buy ice cream that often. However everything else is fair game. I have lately been comparing and trying different generic products with brand name products to see if I notice a difference. I will share my highly detailed and of course well tested (by my husband and I, haha) knowledge of what I have found to be better, worse, or exactly the same. I will update as I try new things, but here are my first encounters.

  • Brand Name Rice Cereal vs. Generic Rice Cereal
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic rice cereal is about 1.50 to 2.00 less than the brand product. I put fruit on my cereal anyway, and I don’t care if there is a toy in the box.
  • The verdict: To me it tastes exactly the same. Rice cereal is rice cereal. AND I made rice treats out of it and they tasted excellent.
  • Brand Name Marshmallows vs. Generic Marshmallows
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic Marshmallows are again about 1.00 to 2.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: In something cooked (Like the rice treats) they tasted fine. However, plain one’s taste odd to me…a bit Styrofoam-ish.
  • Brand name tomatoes (plain diced, crushed, whole, paste, and sauce…we eat  a lot of things with tomato in them) vs. Generic tomatoes (the same list)
  • The reason I bought it generic: About 1.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: I haven’t eaten them plain (such as in a gazpacho, or a bruschetta spread) but in cooked foods I honestly can’t tell a difference.
Continue Reading

Salmon with Almond Pesto

I made this recipe after coming upon many different pesto recipes that use pine nuts. While they are a tasty addition to a pesto recipe I find them in only small quantities and quite expensive. This recipe will make enough for two, but can be easily doubled

Ingredients:

2 salmon fillets

2 cups of fresh basil leaves

¼ cup of sliced almonds

¼ cup of bread crumbs

1 lemon

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp of fresh cracked pepper

Olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor combine basil leaves, almonds, salt, and pepper. Grate about one tablespoon of the lemon’s peel into the food processor as well. Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half of the lemon’s juice into food processor. Place the cover on the food processor and pulse several times. Slowly stream in about ¼ cup of olive oil to the food processor until the pesto has thinned some, but is not soupy. Cover a pan with foil and place the salmon fillets on the pan. Evenly divide the pesto on top of each piece of salmon. Then place one slice of the leftover half of lemon on top of each piece of salmon. Finally, divide the bread crumbs on top of the pesto and lemon covered salmon. Sprinkle some olive oil on top of the bread crumbs so that the bread crumbs will turn golden in the oven. Cook the salmon for fifteen minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
The Finished Product
The Finished Product
Continue Reading

Just Say No to Citrus

As our little sweet pea has finally reached stage 2 baby foods, I have been buying up all the different kinds available on my quest to make him a well rounded food connoisseur! However, I learned a valuable lesson in my food buying the other day. There are many different kinds of baby food mixes (including baby food smoothies, which I’m not sure the value of giving your baby a “smoothie” except that it’s trendy, and yes I bought the mango). Anyway, two of these mixes include banana-orange and pineapple-pear. As banana and pear are a favorite in our house I figured these would be great to add into the mix of our other foods. As I found out babies under one year should not have citrus. ANY citrus. This includes tomatoes, oranges, and pineapples. Luckily, we did not encounter any reactions to the fruits, but I stopped giving them to him obviously!  Now being knowledgeable about the no citrus I have been avoiding any of those stated fruits. However I found that the front label isn’t always indicative of the interior product. Once we began meats mixed with veggies I realized that too can be problematic. When I began scanning the store shelves for baby meats I came across several including a vegetable beef. Which as I was reading the ingredients I found  includes tomato paste. While the tomato paste is very low on the list of ingredients (meaning that there are scant amounts) it still brought about many questions. Is a scant amount of citrus okay? Or no citrus at all? As I’m sure most Mom’s encounter it’s better to ere on the side of caution and just avoid, but when we reach a year I hope that our little sweet pea will enjoy all the tomatoes, pineapples, and oranges there are out there to try!

Continue Reading

The Easiest Recipe Ever…Tuna Casserole

I’m not sure if this is a Texas recipe or a Southern recipe in general, but I have been eating tuna casserole since I was little. After I saw it featured on an episode of Reba (Barbara Jean makes a casserole with two kinds of potato chips), I knew it had to be something to do with my Mom’s Texas roots that this recipe has been so popular in our family. It probably won’t get me featured in Bon Appetit’ magazine but my husband and I love it!

Ingredients:

2 cans of tuna

4 bags of single serving potato chips, or half of a large bag (I prefer the plain, but you can just go wild with the options out there, hahaha)

1 can cream of celery

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain tuna well. Mix together tuna, cream of celery and half of the potato chips. Spray a small deep sided pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into pan, cover with remaining potato chips. Cook for 25 minutes until heated through.

Tuna Casserole in my Mom's vintage 70s dish :)
Tuna Casserole in my Mom's vintage 70s dish 🙂

Recipe Remix

* If you have unused tomatoes left from the Cheesy Chicken Orzo dish (featured in a previous post) I use them as a side dish with the tuna casserole. Simply cut the tomatoes in half place on a foil lined deep sided cookie pan (not the flat kind, the tomatoes will fall off) and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven with the casserole for the same temperature and time.

Continue Reading