Lemon Chicken over Buttered Pasta

Lemon Chicken over Buttered PastaWhen Life Hands You Lemons…

This post was supposed to be about barbecue ‘cause, ya know, this weekend is Memorial Day, and that usually means sparking up the coals, and grilling your favorite meat. I’m just not feeling it. While I am fairly certain that there will be something on the grill this weekend, (In fact, I know it. My sons’ friends are coming over. That means man food…well, almost man food.) I can’t get this recipe out of my head.

The reality is we have been grilling a lot lately, so the idea of grilling again seems, meh. Feeling in a bit of a rut, I went searching for something different to make for dinner last night. I landed on this chicken recipe. which looked great but I was hesitant. We eat a lot of chicken—which isn’t a bad thing, but we eat a lot of chicken. Feels a little like Groundhog Day. My other hesitation was the lemon.

I love lemons, as do my sons. The husband too, but a little goes along way. My daughter, well, it depends on which way the wind is blowing. Making Lemon Chicken was a bit of a risk, but I am always up for a challenge and it’s an Ina recipe. How can you go wrong with the Contessa?

I took a chance, made the chicken, and served it over buttered pasta (bribery for the kids). To my surprise it was a hit, and the kids took some for lunch today. Rock On.

This one is definitely going in the rotation. Feel free to mess with the amount of lemon. I dialed it back a bit for the aforementioned reasons. Also, I didn’t have skin-on breasts, so I just used boneless skinless. Turned out fine. Might try it with legs and thighs next time….

Lemon Chicken over Buttered Pasta
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Red Chilaquiles

Red ChilaquilesBreakfast, It’s What’s for Dinner

I have long been a fan of breakfast for dinner—it kind of feels like you’re breaking the rules a bit. A rebel without a spoon, if you will…

We would have breakfast for dinner once in a while when I was growing up, usually waffles ‘cause Dad was a big fan. When I moved out on my own, scrambled eggs and toast made for and easy and cheap dinner. Throw a little salsa on there, and it was a fiesta. Ole!

Nowadays we have breakfast for dinner at least 3 times a month. It’s my culinary equivalent to running up the white flag. Whether it is because of time constraints, over-achieving chickens or the inability to string an idea together beyond eggs, breakfast is a great way to avoid extreme pizza, Chinese take-out, burger fatigue.

Breakfast for dinner almost always involves whatever I have on hand. Sometimes that means straight up scrambled eggs and toast. Sometimes there’s bacon or sausage. Pancakes have been known to make an appearance, with or without pecans and bananas. Other times there might be drop biscuits and honey instead of toast. My favorite though, is when there are leftover tortilla chips because that means one thing: Chilaquiles.

My love of Mexican food is well documented which is why it should come as no surprise that my favorite breakfast for dinner dish is basically Mexican breakfast. If you have never had Chilaquiles you have been missing out on the ultimate comfort food and hangover cure (or so I have been told). It’s spicy, cheesy, crispy goodness piled high on your plate. Sometimes there is shredded chicken. Sometimes I use salsa verde or regular salsa instead of making a red sauce…just depends on mood and my previous shopping trips.

So next time you find yourself with a half-eaten bag of stale tortilla chips, give this a shot!

Red Chilaquiles
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Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet CakeYou Say It’s Your Birthday…

Once again, it’s birthday week. My boys, my daughter and I all have birthdays. Of course we also have standards testing, baseball, choir, and student council campaigns. At some point I will have to scale the side of Mount Laundry, too. On top of all that, I am still required to come to work…if I expect a paycheck. I know. Crazy, right? So any birthday celebrations are most likely going to be quick and to the point.

My kids are pretty easy to please. As long as there is a donut cake in the morning, they’re good. Just in case you are wondering, a donut cake is a dozen (or so) donuts artfully arranged on a plate with candles sticking out of them. It’s a tradition. We have a donut sugar bomb breakfast while the kids open their gifts. Breakfast of champions.

I am a little more fickle. I don’t really have a favorite celebratory birthday dessert. I like birthday cake, but I also like birthday pie, and birthday pudding. Birthday crisp is pretty good…and don’t forget birthday waffles or pancakes!

This year, I want one of these beauties for a few reasons. First, they are easy. Second, I have been harboring an insane craving. Third? Pecans, baby…

Now seems like as good a time as any to make one, though it’s pretty easy to come up with an excuse. You just need to make sure you have others to help you eat it, because they feed a crowd.

Texas Sheet Cake
Yields on 18“ x 13” cake
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Mongolian Pork Tenderloin

Mongolian Pork TenderloinCuttin’ The Mustard
We have our cookbook club dinner this weekend, and I have to admit, I have yet to sample many of the recipes from our book. It happens. Sometimes there’s just no time to actually cook, so I end up rolling the dice on a few recipes which I initially thought looked appetizing. (Well, that’s not totally true. I did make a few things…) The good news is our book is full of tasty bites. You might ask, how I can be so sure about the food, if I haven’t been cooking from the book? The answer is that I know it’s good, because the recipes are from Cindy Pawlcyn and Mustard’s Grill.

Known as a Truckstop Deluxe, Mustards Grill has been a Napa Valley landmark for the past 30 years, and no trip to Napa would be complete without eating there at least once. It has always been a favorite of my mother’s, and I remember as a kid being jealous of her going to lunch there with the rest of the Ya-Yas for birthday celebrations. Doesn’t get any better than a good lunch and some wine tasting with the girls!

One recipe I did make is the famous Mongolian Pork Chops, though I did it with pork tenderloins, because it was easier—and I’m a rebel. The ruling from my family was whether I use tenderloin or pork chops, the marinade is a definite keeper, and I plan on putting it into the summer grilling rotation. There is a lot of sugar in the marinade, so be careful when you grill…

Mongolian Pork Tenderloin  Read more…