There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to decide: breast or thigh? I very rarely had fried chicken growing up. In an Italian home you typically have chicken roasted and incorporated into dishes. In my adult life I became very fond of the grilled chicken thigh, but never did I ever think I would be partial to frying chicken thighs. I always preferred breast. I even prided myself in being able to fry such juicy pieces of chicken while using the leanest part available.
Today I am here to introduce you to the fried chicken thigh. And I have no regrets. My signature spicy coating over a boneless skinless thigh retains so much juice and flavor while still being very easy to pull apart. This is crucial if you are serving as a sandwich. That is the biggest problem with fried breast on a sandwich. Trying to take a bite without pulling the entire piece of chicken with you.
For the seasoning I highly recommend using the Kroger brand pork seasoning. It has low salt and is almost 50% paprika which is the key to getting that super dark rich fried chicken coloring. You are welcome to make your own. It is a blend of paprika, brown sugar, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt.
So I finally made it. I am only one day away from completing my first 14 day cycle on this carb and sugar cleanse. I bought a veggie spiralizer so I can replace my pasta with zucchini. I know that is not for everyone – including my boyfriend. So, for this recipe to help ease you into the low carb lifestyle I have included some fresh pasta as well. I can eat this without the pasta. The sauce over the zucchini is delicious.
You do not have to add chicken and shrimp, but I personally just like the variety. The zucchini noodles soak up the cheese sauce perfectly.
I bought a $15 grill from target I like to use for these kind of recipes. It is so easy and chars the shrimp exactly the way I like it.
Pizza is usually a staple in our household. It is something super easy you can throw together with whatever ingredients you have on hand. We always have a variety of meats, cheeses and veggies. This dough is my all time favorite because it is so easy. It takes hardly any time to make and tastes just as good, if not better, than a more complex dough.
If you have noticed the lack of posts lately, it is because I made a bet at work. 14 days no diet coke, no pasta, no bread, no potatoes, no popcorn, no fruits, no sugar of any kind. 14 days of water, more water, protein, veggies, and even more water. Of course with some exercise thrown in.
I have been making so many excuses of how I am way to busy to go to the gym or I am just so tired I want to eat something comforting. This “diet” bet will hold me accountable and help me cleanse all the garbage I’ve been ingesting this year. So far I am day 6. Went cold turkey on the diet coke and wine. No more chocolates or treats after dinner. Today I finally made it back to my yoga class and we took the kids to the skating rink after.
Long story short- enjoy this pizza for me! It is delicious.
By the way, the pizza shown above is mozzarella, prosciutto, jalapenos, olives, cherry peppers and mushrooms.
Thin fluffy crust made from this easy dough recipe.
3 cups of bread flour
1 cup of warm water
½ stick melted butter
1 packet of active dry yeast
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian herbs
In a mixture attach the dough hook. Pour in the yeast, sugar and water. Let sit until bubbles form and you can smell the yeast activating. Add 2½ cups of flour, the salt, butter, garlic and herbs. Turn the mixer on medium low speed and allow all the ingredients to mix together. Use a spatula to scrap the sides if needed. If the dough still looks sticky add in more flour. The dough should be tacky to the tough, but not wet. Once the dough starts to form a ball pull from mixture and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead one or two times as you shape the ball of dough. Once you have the shape to your liking place the dough in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1½ hours. Now you are ready to make that pizza!
What is better than a huge cheesy pizza folded in half to capture all the excess toppings? A hand pie crust filled with pizza toppings! All the goodness without the mess. I’m talking bubbling melted mozzarella, juicy veggies, garlic and marinara in a crispy crust. Did I mention kid friendly? My boyfriend’s kids were highly skeptical, but once they bit into them and realized it was pizza it was two thumbs up!
I have seriously been trying to pack every meal with veggies lately. This hand pie has red peppers, green peppers, yellow onions, olives, mushrooms – so easy to customize. I would have added jalapenos, but the jar I had was so spicy. As in unbelievably spicy. You know how you can go to Subway on a Monday and have their jalapenos and they are perfect, but you go a few days later and they are miniature fire bombs? I think that is what is going on with these. I just happened to buy a jar filled with all the seeds from the other jars.
These hand pies are different from calzones because I skipped the ricotta and added marinara. You do not have to put the sauce inside the hand pie. I just prefer the sauce to cook into the veggies. Just make sure you go fairly light so it does not spill out the sides.
Crispy pizza crust stuffed with meats, cheeses and veggies.
Egg wash (1 egg yolk plus water)
Mixture of Italian cheese - provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan
Preheat your oven to 425.
Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal balls.
Roll out into 4 equal ovals on a lightly floured surface.
Spoon about 1 tsp of marinara over the center of the dough. Do not get too close to the edge. Leave about an inch.
Add the pepperoni and veggies.
Top with a handful of shredded cheeses.
Pull one side of the dough over the topping to meet the opposite edge.
Use a fork to crimp the dough together.
Roll the crimp one time and use the fork or fingers to pinch down again.
It is important to add the extra roll over the dough edge to keep all those toppings locked up.
Use a knife to cut 3 slits on the top to let steam out.
Brush egg wash over crust.
Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Bake for 20 minute until crust is golden brown.
Keep an eye on them because they cook very fast. I cooked mine for 25 minutes. I should have pulled them out a few minutes earlier.
I hope you enjoy! This is one of my favorite meals. It is quick and easy with a fast clean up. I highly recommend heating the rest of the marinara with some crushed red pepper and olive oil for dipping! Yum!
First off- can we talk about my new logo? My friend Jennifer at sweetsouthernwife.com made it for me. She does amazing work! I gave her just a few guidelines of what I wanted and I think she nailed it! If you want her to work on anything just contact her at Bowen106@gmail (dot) com. She does website layouts, icons, and logos. As I work on my photography and content I wanted to make sure I was branding my website so everything is clean and cohesive.
Now lets talk etoufee. Patrick and I were watching Master Chef Jr. and one of the mini chefs made a classic etoufee. It was one of those dishes that looks so amazing on the tv screen that you find yourself breathing in deeper to see if you can smell it from home. Creamy gravy filled with veggies and crawfish over a scoop of fluffy rice. This classic dish is perfect for the chilly nights we have been having lately.
I researched a lot of different etoufee recipes before trying to tackle this dish. It seems like there are two ways to make it- traditional heavy flour based roux or heavy butter based roux. You know I went the butter route…
Broccoli cheese soup has always been my favorite comfort food. As soon as the air starts to cold down I start craving a warm cheesy spoonful of this soup. I still had some beer left over from my pretzel and cheese dip recipe so I added a splash or two.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to roast off the broccoli first. This adds so much depth and flavor to the soup. My boyfriend and I love roasted broccoli so this soup allows us to have a favorite in a different way.
I also recommend serving this soup in a crusty bread bowl! I am trying to slow down on the carbs so I skipped any added bread, but this soup would be perfect in a bread bowl topped with more cheese. Yum!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread chopped broccoli onto a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and spices. I like to go heavy on the garlic and pepper. I recommend skipping salt in this recipe until the very end. The cheese is already very salty and the beer will intensify this.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter. Once butter has completely melted add in the flour and whisk consistently until the mixture starts to brown. Add in the beer and keep whisking. The mixture will thicken almost immediately. Pour in the half and half. Whisk until the ingredients look fully combined and reduce heat to medium low. Stir in the carrots and broccoli. You can use a hand mixer to emulsify the veggies, but since everything was already soft I just used a potato masher until I was happy with the consistency. If the soup looks too thick you can add more beer or half / half. Leave on reduced heat for 20 minutes stirring often. Add in cheese. You can add in more spices and salt if needed at this time.
Serve topped with extra cheese and bacon crumbles!
I have been wanting to tackle my front pathway for weeks. Finally the sun peaked out for a minute this morning and I ran outside with my new gardening gloves ready to give my pathway the makeover it deserved. Well, I learned several valuable lessons. Rubber grip gardening gloves do not protect you from thorns, lots of bugs live in bushes and I have 3 very different very stubborn species of vines growing around my porch. I may not have ended up with my dream front yard, but it does look significantly better. More festive.
Lets talk quesadillas. Cheesy, spicy, creamy quesadillas. After all that yard work I needed something warm and filling. These tortillas are stuffed with chipotle chicken, black beans, cheese and jalapenos. I drizzled some sour cream and topped with some basil that I grew myself this summer!
What You Need:
1 chicken breast
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 can of black beans rinsed
1 large flour tortilla
1/2 cup mixed cheeses ( I used cheddar and monterey jack)
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos ( or fresh chopped)
1 tbsp chipotle Tabasco sauce
Chop the chicken breast set to the side. Spray a saute pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high. Add chicken and spices. Saute for about 5 minutes. When the chicken starts to stick add in the chicken stock and Tabasco. (Using cooking spray and chicken stock is a healthy alternative to oil.) When the cooking stock reduces down to a glaze turn off the heat and set to the side to cool off.
Heat another cooking spray prepared saute pan over medium low. Place one large tortilla flat in the pan. Add the chicken, beans, jalapenos and cheese. When the cheese begins to melt take a fork or spatula and fold the tortilla. Cook on each side until lightly browned. About 2 minutes each. Let the quesadilla cool for about 5 minutes before cutting. For the sour cream- add a tsp or milk or water for a nice consistency and drizzle over the top. You can use cilantro or basil. Chop and sprinkle on the quesadilla slices.
Pinterest is that black hole that sucks you in for hours, but does all that pinning actually result in anything? How many of your pins do you actually put to use? I decided I wanted to start a series on the topped pinned recipes to see if they are worth the hype.
Today I bring you the Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin. There are hundreds of pins featuring this pork duo. The most pinned version uses just a few ingredients- honey, pork, bacon and olive oil. I of course had to complicate the recipe and add a few more ingredients.
What you need:
A pork loin around 1 lb
1 pack of smoked bacon not too thick
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350.
Take the pork loin and poke a few holes down the middle. Pour the vinegar and honey onto the tenderloin. Sprinkle on the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Wrap the loin with bacon. I stretched the bacon to wrap around and tuck under each piece. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Final result- Definitely worth the effort! It was sweet and tender. Next time I think I will do a honey mustard glaze!
As much as I try I just cannot go a week without pizza. I even considered a cheese-less kale pizza to try and justify my cravings. This pizza has half the fat of a pizza from a local chain and is bursting with flavor. The mild garlic olives infused with the spice from the jalapenos and splash of sweet from the banana peppers. Such a winning combo. I added in a few boarshead pepperonis because they are my all time favorite.
What you need:
For the dough:
1 Cup of AP Flour
1/2 packet of active yeast
1/2 cup of warm water
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
For the toppings:
garlic marinated olives
pizza sauce of your choice
How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 375.
I used a bread machine and just dumped all the ingredients in the machine on the dough setting. This dough does not need more then 20 minutes of rise time. We are making a fairly thin crust. If you do not have a bread machine just mix your sugar, water, and yeast together. Let sit for 2 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.
Roll your dough out as thin as you prefer. I did about 1/2 an inch thick.
Top your pizza with the sauce, cheese, peppers, olives and pepperoni. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust has a deep golden color and cheese is bubbling.
Honey butter is one of my favorite indulgences. The richness of the salted butter combined with the sweet smooth honey flavor just cannot be beat. This brings back memories of Sunday dinners when I was growing up. My mom usually paired a comforting bowl of chili with corn bread twists and hot honey butter. I wanted to spice things up a little bit and added some jalapeno. It ended up being the perfect balance of salty, sweet and spicy. This entire meal was built around this jalapeno honey butter to be honest. Just try not to eat it all! Savory toast smothered in this butter topped with crispy chicken breast. The side dish possibilities are endless.
What you need:
For the jalapeno honey butter-
1 fresh jalapeno – seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp honey
For the chicken-
2 chicken breasts
2 cup of flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 cup of milk
peanut oil for frying
For the honey butter:
Melt the butter and mix in the jalapenos and honey. Once combined place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
For the chicken:
I preheated a deep fryer with the peanut oil at 375. Mix together the egg and milk. Add chicken and soak while the rest of the ingredients are put together. In a separate bowl mix together flour and spices. Drop chicken into the flour mix and cover entirely. Fry the chicken until internal temp is 155 (the chicken will continue to rise to 165 once you let rest). My chicken was about 1/2 inch thick and took around 15 minutes to fry. Remember to flip the chicken half way through for even coloring.
Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes then slice in half.
Toast the sourdough bread and top with the chilled butter.