Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy Springtime Chicken n' Potatoes

I thought with the warm weather on its way ( I know it doesn't seem like it, but it IS!) that I should start sharing a few of my lighter meals.  Yes, I'm definitely a down home cookin' kind of girl, but I can actually cook up something a little healthier (just a LITTLE!). When the sun starts shinin' and the weather gets warmer, I always start craving those summertime meals like grilled hamburgers, chicken, fresh veggies and baked potatoes.  The recipe's I'll share with you today are definitely a little on the lighter side....the potatoes are a favorite here in the Parks' household.  We cook them up during the spring and summer months with just about anything - they go great with grilled burgers, grilled barbecue chicken, steaks, all that kind of stuff.  You can even cook them outside on your grill in a cast iron skillet if you have one! My parents made a similar recipe all the time when I was growing up, this is my adapted version, and I'm pretty sure they'll become a favorite in your home too!  They're great for kids because they're bite sized and filled with flavor!  The chicken is a newer recipe that I've also adapted from a combination of a few others...hope you enjoy them!

Onion-Ranch Oven Potatoes

This recipe was used in the gooseberry patch recipe roundup!

4-6 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 c. olive oil
1 packet liptons soup mix
1 packet ranch seasoning

Drizzle the bottom of a 9x13 pan with a little olive oil and add your potatoes to the pan. In a small bowl, combine oil, soup mix and ranch mix.  Pour over potatoes and mix well.  Bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring potatoes every 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!!

Honey Mustard Chicken Tenderloins

Honey Mustard Sauce:
1 c. honey
1-2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 lbs chicken tenderloin
2 tbsp. butter

Combine honey and mustard in a small bowl - use as much mustard as you like - I think I use about a tablespoon and a half - it's really up to your personal taste!  Reserve about a quarter of a cup of your honey mustard to serve for dipping alongside your chicken!


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Arrange your chicken in the butter and sear both sides.  Pour honey mustard sauce over the top and continue cooking over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.  Make sure you flip your chicken tenders often so that both sides get well coated.  Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to let sauce thicken!

You can make your chicken in the oven as well if you prefer.  Just melt your butter in a 9x13 pan, arrange chicken in the pan and then pour honey mustard over the top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, turning chicken often.  I really prefer the stovetop method because the chicken gets a little browner and a little more crispy.  But if you don't have time to keep an eye on it, baking it is a great way to go!

I like to add some type of veggie to this dinner whether it's green or lima beans, peas or corn.  Even a crisp salad goes great with it as well!  Let me know if you try out either of these recipe's, I'd love to hear what you think!! Have a beautiful day!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet Old Fashioned Goodness

I am the only one who thinks that the smell of bread making is one of the best smells?  I don't think there is anything more homey or comforting than a loaf of bread baking in the oven and another rising on the counter top...baking bread is one of those old fashioned chores that people still appreciate today...there is absolutely NO comparison between a cheap loaf of white wonderbread and a fresh loaf of your favorite homemade bread....I'm ALWAYS in search of new bread recipes!

As I had mentioned before, I am completely addicted to Gooseberry Patch's "Sunday Dinner at Grandma's" cookbook.  While skimming through it I found a recipe for a quick bread called "SWOPE Bread."  The person who sent in the recipe said that they didn't know where the name came from but that his Grandmother always made it for his family. It's a really delicious buttermilk-brown bread, and really I don't think it's too unhealthy...I served it up for my family with some butter and a generous amount of Apple Butter from the Apple Barn (in Sevierville Tennessee).  You can't beat their Apple Butter!

Swope Bread

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture; beat well. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Makes one loaf.

fresh from the oven!

I think this bread would also be fabulous for Turkey sandwiches, it would have a great flavor for it!  You could also add a little cinnamon or nutmeg to make it a little bit more spicy for a breakfast bread and use it to make french toast! Yum!

When I think about "old fashioned" activities like bread baking,  it makes me realize how modernized our lives have become.  Tv's computers, video games, ipod and cell phones....I don't want my kids to be so wrapped up in electronics that they can't appreciate the simple things in life, like baking bread and cookies, playing board games, reading, being outside...I like to keep my life simple, and while yes, I enjoy keeping touch with friends and family through facebook, blogging, and I've felt lost since I lost my iphone (LOL!) I still appreciate the simple things even more than any of those "things." It really is the memories that we make and the time that we spend with the ones we love that mean the most when it comes down to it.  I want my kids to have memories of drinking lemonade on their Nana's porch, playing outside with their Daddy, baking with me, picnics, long summer days, winter popcorn and movie nights, all those sweet simple things that a lot of kids today don't have or appreciate. Maybe I'm asking a lot in today's society, but I think it's time we all take a step back and learn to live simply...quietly.

And speaking of the little the four years that we've lived in our home we've never seen the buds on the tree in our yard actually bloom...they are simply gorgeous! I had to share some pictures (and if anyone knows what kind of tree this is, I'd love to know...I'm thinking some kind of maple maybe??)

Wind chimes in a weeping willow
Biscuits light as feather pillows
At Mama's house
Sunday morning kids a squirming
Thank the preacher for the sermon
As you're walking out
Sweet old fasing goodness
Old man comes out and pumps your gas
Tells a joke while he cleans your glass
And says thank you friend
Grab a cup of sugar from your neighbor
Honor roll made the morning paper
Cut it out again
Sweet old fashion goodness
We don't need no bureaucrats
No scientists or diplomats
To help us figure out what this world needs
Just sweet old fashion goodness
-Craig Morgan
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Farmhouse Barbecue Beef

I know that in a lot of families, Sundays are "family day."  For some it's a day to head to church, for others it's big dinners at grandma's house, and some, like us, enjoy spending the day at home.  With my husband's job (like most husbands!) he only gets two days off a week.  Sometimes it's Saturday, sometimes its another day during the week, but it's always Sunday.  I can always count on having him home on that day.  It's usually a "play day" for us.  We spend the day playing with Lily, watching movies, doing a little housework and always ALWAYS fix something good for dinner!  In the fall and winter, those meal are usually made up in the slow cooker.  There is absolutely NOTHING better to me, than to throw some ingredients in the crockpot in the morning, and get to smell it cooking all day long.  I have a ton of slow cooker recipes so I thought I'd share one with you today!

I've only made this recipe twice.  I made it about a year ago, and my husband and I loved it....then I sort of forgot about it.  Last Sunday, this was our dinner and I thought...holy cow, why don't I make this more often!!  So here it is,  my version of gooseberry patch's Farmhouse Barbecue Beef**.  I hope you like it as much as we do!!

This recipe can be done in a couple of different ways.  I cook the pot roast in the slow cooker during then day, and then shred it up and finish it in the evening.  You could also cook your roast in the oven in the morning, then throw it all together in the crockpot and let it cook all day that way.  It's really up to you, and when you have the most amount of time!

*Farmhouse Barbecue Beef*

2 1/2 lb pot roast, cooked and shredded
2 c. catsup
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped*
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves

In a large skillet, combine all ingredients and simmer for one hour. Serve on warm buns!

*I used dried onion since my onion went bad on me, it came out just as good!  So you can always throw that in if you have the same problem that I did :)
I just had to show this, check out how pretty all the ingredients look before you add the meat! So colorful!

Now that I'm writing this, I'm getting hungry!  I have to decide what I want to make for dinner tonight too!  On a completely different note, I know many of my friends enjoy starting seeds as much as I do for their springtime gardens....are you all enjoying watching them grow as much as I am??  I swear I check them out about 10 times a day, and everytime I do, something new is popping up.  I just love seeing the little green sprouts growing and thinking of what beautiful plants are going to be growing from them in my garden this year.  Even on these cold days, seeing that little bit of green really has a way to brighten my day!
thyme and dill popping up nicely!
cilantro...mmm..can't wait to use it in some homemade salsa this year!
I'm off to go fix some lunch for Matt and Lily and decide about dinner...I hope that you all have a lovely SUN-Day! <3 <3 <3
I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an' Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it's about time.
It's 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby. cut that coupon out!
That's what I love about Sunday:
Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;
Carve our names in that white oak,
An' steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That's what I love about Sunday,
-Craig Morgan
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