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    I love fried chicken, but I don't like the deep fryer, so I bake it instead. This recipe is as tasty and juicy as fried chicken, but it's baked, so you don't have all that hot oil to deal with. You can cut up chicken breasts and make chicken nuggets for picky kids, or use chicken on the bone for more of a picnic feel. Either way, it's delicious.












Ingredients:
Chicken (tenders, drumsticks, wings, boneless skinless chicken breasts, whatever you've got.)
1/3 c French's fried onions, smashed and broken up
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t season salt
2 T butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl, mix the fried onions crumbs, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. In another bowl, mix the eggs, garlic salt and season salt.

Dip the chicken in the egg mixture to get it nice and sticky, and then in the breadcrumb mixture to coat it. If you're not on a diet, dip it in the egg mixture, and then the breadcrumb mixture again. Twice as delicious. 

Put the chicken on a baking pan and drizzle melted butter over it. Bake it in the oven for about an hour, or until it registers 165 degrees on a working meat thermometer.

I like to serve this chicken with sweet potato fries and coleslaw.

 
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    I know you're not going to believe me until you try these, but my kids like them. Both kids. I didn't have to force feed anyone. We all ate Brussels sprouts together, like some sort of Norman Rockwell family. Of course, my immediate response was to share the recipe so that other families might have the same lovely, and healthy, experience. 



Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed, and cut in half
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 t soy sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, and shake them around a little to make sure they are coated evenly. Season with salt and pepper, and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir or shake them up after about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the butter over medium heat. To brown the butter, heat it past the point when it bubbles, to the point that it juuuuuuust starts to turn brown. Then add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, stir it together, and remove from heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are nice and roasty (this is not a scientific term), take them out of the oven, put them in a bowl, and drizzle them with the balsamic brown butter sauce.

Image courtesy of [porbital] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    These burgers are so satisfying, you won't even realize that you're not eating meat.  They taste like something you'd find at a high-end Mexican restaurant, but you 've probably got most of the ingredients at your house.  And, they're so quick and inexpensive, you'd never expect them to be so tasty!


Ingredients:
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c cilantro
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/3 c bread crumbs
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
1/4 t cayenne pepper
3 T vegetable or olive oil
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
crumbled cotija cheese (optional, but everything's better with cheese)

Directions:
Pulse half of the black beans in a food processor with cilantro, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and spices until it forms a thick paste. Then, transfer it to a large bowl, mix the remaining beans and onion, and form into patties.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until it shimers. Fry burgers until they are crispy on the outside, and delicious on the inside, turning once, for about 7 minutes total. 

Place burgers on buns, top with cotija cheese, avo-de-gallo and chipotle lime sauce, and serve with sweet potato fries. At least, that's how I do it...
 
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    This chicken dish combines the ease of a slow cooker with Moroccan spices and all the healthy benefits of sweet potatoes and chick peas.  Not only is it good for you, it's inexpensive, and tasty, too! And, since it simmers all day, you will have the smells of a Moroccan street fair wafting through your house. I LOVE the way this smells while it cooks! Try it, and let me know what you think!









Ingredients:
1 diced tomato, or 1 can
2 t minced garlic (as per usual, more is better)
1 onion, diced
1 t cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t garlic salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1 t dried parsley
1 c baby carrots
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions:

Put tomatoes, garlic, onion, and spices in the slow cooker, and stir to combine. Then add chickpeas, chicken,  carrots and sweet potatoes, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. I start my slow cooker on high for about an hour, and then turn it down to low for the remainder of the cooking time.

I like to serve it over Basmati or white rice, with garlic naan.

This is my version of a recipe I originally found, here.

 
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     This is literally the most delicious thing you will ever have for breakfast. I'm not even going to pretend that it's lowfat or high in nutrients. But if you need more deliciousness in your life, you need to try the Mess. 



 Ingredients:
4-5 sliced red potatoes (frozen hashbrowns work, too)
1 t olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 lb ground sausage (you can also use sliced sausage links or bacon, but you probably wouldn't need a whole pound of bacon)
2 eggs
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Lawry's Season Salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Lingonberry preserves (optional -for maximum deliciousness) Find them at Cost Plus World Market or Ikea.

Directions:
Place potatoes and about an inch of water in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high for about 10 minutes to cook the potatoes. You could also steam them, if you prefer. Skip this step if you're using hashbrowns.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan, and add the onions. When the onions are translucent, and starting to carmelize, brown the sausage, and drain the grease. Drain the water from the potatoes, and add them (or hashbrowns), stirring to combine.

Season with season salt and pepper. Then, push everything to one side of the pan, and scramble the eggs on the other side, stirring constantly. When the eggs have cooked, stir everything together, lower the heat, and mix in the cheese.

Serve hot, with lingonberries on the side. Cranberry sauce compliments the Mess well too, if you're feeling the Thanksgiving vibe.

Image courtesy of [Franky 242] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
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    This quick and easy salad dressing tastes great on any type of lettuce or spinach salad. Don't get me wrong, I like Ranch Dressing a little more than anyone should, but when most of the fat in your dinner comes from your salad dressing, you're doing it wrong. Try this dressing instead. Your tastebuds will thank you. The dijon mustard balances out the balsamic vinegar nicely. For a warmer flavor, use roasted garlic olive oil instead.

Ingredients:
3 T olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
1/2 t garlic salt

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, pour over salad, and enjoy!

 
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    There really isn't much better than a perfectly grilled steak. While I usually like to sprinkle a steak with Lawry's Season Salt and freshly ground pepper, sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and use a marinade. This marinade goes really well with the Balsamic Asparagus with Brown Butter.






Ingredients:

3 T soy sauce
2 t minced garlic
1 T worcestershire
1 t parsley
1 t basil
1/2 t pepper

Directions:
Throw all the ingredients in a zip lock bag and mix them together. Then, drop in your steak. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Make sure you take it out of the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes before you grill it! This ensures that the steak cooks more evenly, and maximizes deliciousness.

 Image courtesy of [Franky242] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
I really like this meatloaf, because it's got vegetables in it, so it's healthier than a log of meat. And when my little carnivore asks for more, she doesn't know that she's really having more vegetables, too! If you serve it with the mashed cauliflower, your family will be eating even more veggies, and never suspect a thing...

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini,
grated
1 squash, grated
8 mushrooms, chopped or
shredded in a food processor beyond recognition
3 T
ketchup
1 t Worcestershire
1/2 cup
breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 t garlic
salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together. Form into a loaf, and place
in a baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked throughout. 

This is my modification of Jessica Seinfeld's burger recipe, from her book, Deceptively Delicious.

 
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    Roasted garlic is about a hundred times better than regular garlic, and it's very easy. You can also make Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, which is quite expensive to buy, at the same time, for free!
 




Ingredients:

garlic
olive oil
salt (optional)
pepper (optional)

Directions:

Cut the tips of the head of garlic, put it in a pan, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper. I like to put the little tips in the pan, and add a bunch of extra olive oil, to let the garlic infuse the olive oil to use for salad dressing. 
 
Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Then, remove the foil and let it bake for 15 more minutes. 
   

 
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    There are so many things I love about pot roast. The flavors have all day to mingle together. I love the way the whole house smells, building the anticipation for dinner. I love that the vegetables are already a part of the dinner. But the thing I love the most is that I can do all the prep work in the morning, when I'm feeling ambitious, and then not have to worry about dinner when things get chaotic in the afternoon.






Ingredients:
1 3lb beef chuck roast
1 t season salt (I like Lawry's the best. Yes, I have tried that one, but I still like Lawry's better.)
1 t pepper
2 c baby carrots
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, roasted (peeled)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 c beef stock or broth

3 red potatoes, washed and cut into pieces
12 oz cooked noodles (optional)
1 T cornstarch (optional)

Directions:

First place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cream of mushroom soup and beef stock in a slow cooker, and stir them together. If you like it with potatoes, put in potatoes. If you want to serve it over noodles, don't add potatoes.

Next, season the chuck roast with the season salt and pepper, and brown all sides in a pan on medium-high heat for about 1 minute per side. Then, put the chuck roast in the slow cooker on top of everything else. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on low for  8-10 hours, or high for 6 hours.

You'll know it's done because the meat will fall apart when you try to take it out neatly. I like to shred the meat, and then serve everything over the noodles. If the sauce isn't thick enough, take out about 1/2 cup, mix in the cornstarch, and then pour it all back into the slow cooker and mix it in.