Good Eats

I am on a quest these days to beef up my selection of dinner choices. You know how we can all get very bored with the same things. Well we were down to some pretty basic staples like spaghetti, hamburger helper, steak, ummmm so bland that I can't even think what else was on that list. Now I'm not bad mouthing my husband here, but for years I have had such a depressing time cooking, due to his inability to think outside the refrigerator. What I mean to say is that he's tastes were not moving with mine and I got bored cooking. I got tired of trying something new and having him continually question and than wrinkle his nose at something he didn't think he would like. Ironically his tastes in food at restaurants has broadened and I have the guys at work to thank for that, but I need him to be as open minded in my kitchen as he is when he's sitting there eating out with the boys.
On the flip side of things my husband is becoming conscious of eating healthier. The concept is good for him, but the action...well not so good. In fact one of our phone conversations one day went something like this: Paul: "we have to talk." Me: what's wrong honey? (My heart in my throat) Paul: "Are you trying to kill me?" Me: "WHAT????" Paul: "have you seen the sodium in these frozen meals you buy me for lunch?" Yeah, that's the conversation I got and of course the minute I mentioned less beef more chicken, more vegetables and less starch, I could hear the wheels of thought already turning in his brain.
So one day I was looking through allrecipes and they had a two year membership for uner $25. This included some meal planning and menus and lots of fun features. I thought why not give it a try. Now my husband will tell you that he's playing around when he wrinkles his nose and says things about certain foods, but I put my foot down and told him that I don't want to hear a peep. No more jokes, no more kidding, I'm serious. I'm bored with our food, Paul was worried about his health, I can't eat mac and cheese because of my motabolism, so come hell or high water I was going to make some changes. So I cook a meal and tell him to rate it 1 to 5 stars. So far I have had 5 stars on the chicken dish listed below and a fish dish, both which are not his favorite things to eat! So as I find recipes whether though Allrecipes or things of my own I will share them here with you. I figure if Mr. Picky likes enjoys them, you would too! So here is a compliation of tried and true and some new things too. Bon Appetite!

October 23, 2011

All Recipes on this date are from the Better Homes and Garden's Magazine November 2011 Issue.

Scott Peacock's Corn Bread
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hr
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fine-ground cornmeal or corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet; place in oven until butter is melted and starts to sizzle, about 2 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine 1-1/2 cups fine-ground cornmeal or corn flour*, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda. In a medium bowl whisk together 2 cups buttermilk and 2 eggs. Add to cornmeal mixture. Whisk until a smooth batter forms and batter has a sheen, adding additional buttermilk if necessary (batter will be slightly thin.) Pour hot butter into batter and whisk to combine. Transfer batter to hot skillet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan a few minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Tip *If you like, substitute 1-1/2 cups regular cornmeal for the fine-ground cornmeal or corn flour. Prepare as directed, except reduce the buttermilk to 1-3/4 cups.

Scott Peacock's Corn Bread Dressing
Makes: 12 servings
Prep: 45 mins Bake: 325°F 40 mins Bake: 425°F 5 mins Stand: overnight
  • recipe corn Bread
  • tablespoons unsalted butter, divided; plus additional for buttering baking dish
  • 1 3/4 cups finely chopped celery (1/4 inch), with some tender inner leaves included
  • 1 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion (1/4 inch)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled Oven-Dried Sage
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups hot chicken or turkey broth (additional, if needed)
1. One day before making dressing, prepare Corn Bread recipe. Break corn bread in large pieces, spread on a tray, and let stand (uncovered) overnight to dry. (If unable to prepare corn bread the day before, spread pieces on a baking sheet and dry in a 200 degrees F oven for 30 minutes.)
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large skillet over low heat, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter. Add chopped celery, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are very tender and translucent, but not brown. (This step is essential in developing the flavor of the dish). Stir in crumbled sage; set aside to cool.
3. Crumble the dried cornbread in a large mixing bowl. (For fine texture dressing, crumble corn bread finely; for a rustic version, crumble larger pieces.)
4. Stir the celery and onion mixture into crumbled corn bread; stir in eggs. Stir in 3 cups of the broth. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter; stir in along with remaining broth. Mix well, adding more broth, if needed, to reach a soupy, pourable consistency.
5. Pour dressing mixture into a butter 3-quart baking dish. Bake on a center oven rack for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F; bake 5 minutes longer, rotating dish if needed, until dressing is browned. Remove from oven to rack. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Tip *If you don't have a cast iron skillet, generously grease and flour a 9x1 1/2-inch round baking pan. Melt butter in a small skillet until it sizzles.
  • Tip **If you don't have fine-ground cornmeal, use regular cornmeal and reduce the amount of buttermilk to 1 1/2 cups.
  • Tip ***If you don't have time to let bread dry overnight, allow the freshly baked cornbread to cool completely. Break into 1 1 /2- to 2-inch pieces and arrange in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Dry in a 200 degrees F oven for 1 1/2 hours. Cool on wire rack.
  • Tip Oven-Dried Sage:Pick leaves from a bunch of fresh sage, taking care to remove any woody stems. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dry leaves in a 200 degrees F oven for 20 to 40 minutes, until leaves are thoroughly dried. Remove from oven and cool completely. If not using immediately, store whole dried leaves in an airtight jar away from heat and sunlight up to 1 month. To use leaves, layer waxed or parchment paper on the counter. Place a few dried leaves between palms of hands and, holding hands over the paper, rub vigorously to finely crumble dried leaves. Pick out and discard any bits of stem. Freshly dried and crumbled sage has a fresher and more vital flavor than sage from grocery store shelves.
Nutrition Facts (Scott Peacock's Corn Bread Dressing)
  • Servings Per Recipe 12, Calories219, Protein(gm)7, Carbohydrate(gm)19, Fat, total(gm)13, Cholesterol(mg)117, Saturated fat(gm)7, Monosaturated fat(gm)4, Polyunsaturated fat(gm)1, Dietary Fiber, total(gm)1, Sugar, total(gm)4, Vitamin A(IU)534, Vitamin C(mg)3, Thiamin(mg)0,  Rboflavin(mg)0, Niacin(mg)2, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6)(mg)0, Folate(µg)65, Cobalamin (Vit. B12)(µg)0, Sodium(mg)697, Potassium(mg)273, Calcium(DV %)91, Iron(DV %)1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Molasses-Bourbon Pecan Pie
Makes: 10 servings
Prep: 20 mins Bake: 350°F 55 mins Cool: several hours
  • recipe unbaked 9-inch Everyday Piecrust
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves
1. Prepare Everyday Piecrust. Position one rack in center of oven; place a second rack below. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. For the filling, in a large bowl stir together molasses, sugar, eggs, bourbon, butter, vanilla, and salt. Evenly spread pecans in unbaked pie shell. Pour filling over pecans.
3. Place the pie on center rack of oven, with foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below to catch any filling that bubbles over. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until firm around the edges and slightly loose in the center.
4. Cool pie on wire rack for several hours.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Make Ahead Tip Crust can be made up to 3 days before making pie. Baked pie can be baked, cooled, and refrigerated up to 2 days.
Nutrition Facts (Molasses-Bourbon Pecan Pie)
  • Servings Per Recipe 10 Calories514, Protein(gm)7, Carbohydrate(gm)63, Fat, total(gm)27, Cholesterol(mg)113, Saturated fat(gm)7, Monosaturated fat(gm)12, Polyunsaturated fat(gm)6, Dietary Fiber, total(gm)3, Sugar, total(gm)40, Vitamin A(IU)340, Thiamin(mg)0, Riboflavin(mg)0, Niacin(mg)2, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6)(mg)0, Folate(µg)48, Cobalamin (Vit. B12)(µg)0, Sodium(mg)153, Potassium(mg)612, Calcium(DV %)101, Iron(DV %)3, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Hand Pie Dough
Yield: four portions
Prep: 30 mins Chill: At least 1 hr up to 3 days
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks)cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • large egg yolk
  • 6 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
1. In a very large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender o two knives, and working quickly so butter remains cool, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Combine egg yolk and ice water; stir to mix. Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork just until dough clumps together and is moist enough to pat together; do not overmix. If dough is dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, just until dough comes together. Dough should not be wet or sticky.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, with lightly floured hands, form in a ball. Divide dough in four portions; form each in a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread
  • 4 tablespoon (1/2 stick)unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely ground white or yellow cornmeal
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 2-quart souffle or casserole dish with about 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
2. Wrap potatoes in foil. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until soft to the touch. Remove from oven; discard foil. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard peels. In a large bowl, mash potatoes.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring milk, thyme, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to a low boil over medium heat. In a slow, steady stream, whisk cornmeal into milk mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and pulls away from bottom of pan. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Add potatoes, egg yolks, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and baking powder to cornmeal mixture; stir to thoroughly combine.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Leaving obvious swirls of egg white, gently fold egg whites into the potato-cornmeal mixture.
5. Spoon batter into prepared dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Edges will be firm and the center a bit soft. Remove from oven. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
From the Test Kitchen
  • Tip This recipe can also be made in a 9X13 baking dish, then baked for 30 to 35 minutes, until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.
Nutrition Facts (Sweet Potato Spoon Bread)
  • Servings Per Recipe 8, Calories234, Protein(gm)8, Carbohydrate(gm)28, Fat, total(gm)10, Cholesterol(mg)127, Saturated fat(gm)5, Monosaturated fat(gm)3, Polyunsaturated fat(gm)1, Dietary Fiber, total(gm)1, Sugar, total(gm)7, Vitamin A(IU)49, Vitamin C(mg)1, Thiamin(mg)0, Riboflavin(mg)0, Niacin(mg)0, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6)(mg)0, Folate(µg)20, Cobalamin (Vit. B12)(µg)1, Sodium(mg)576, Potassium(mg)265, Calcium(DV %)202, Iron(DV %)1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

October 5, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole From Scratch
(Taken from

  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1 (8 ounce) package uncooked medium egg noodles
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter a medium baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl, mix with bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the casserole. Top with cheese.
  5. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 562 | Total Fat: 31.3g | Cholesterol: 125mgPowered by ESHA Nutrient Database

I adapted this recipe for a chicken casserole. My husband makes this dish called Chunk Chunk Chicken. Don't know where the name comes from, but I didn't think he liked tuna. So instead of the two cups of milk I substituted a can of chicken broth for additional flavor and one cup milk, and than two large cans of chicken. Come to find out my husband said, I bet this would be great with tuna! That was apparently his favorite MRE in the Corps, and one of the few things that he would eat with tuna. So delicious as chicken, I'm sure just as delicious as tuna.

October 3, 2011

Jalapeno Chicken
(taken from

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian dressing
  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 slices bacon
  • toothpicks


  1. Place chicken breasts in a dish with the Italian dressing. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  3. Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese. Roll chicken breasts around jalapeno peppers. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange wrapped chicken breasts on the prepared grill. Cook for 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until bacon is browned and the chicken juices run clear.               

The Nice thing about this meal is that you can conform it to fit any size family. I also would note that in order to make rolling the jalapeno easier, pound out the chicken till it's flat, than marinate. Also I enjoy alot of flavor with the chicken and so I acutally put two halves back together stuffed to make a whole pepper again and than was able to roll two whole jalaepeno's into the chicken. Great for portion sizes because I was able to feed four people with only two breasts of chicken and everyone got a whole jalapeno. Also rolling the chicken flat cuts down the grilling time as well. We recommend indirect heat or low heat and continually turn the chicken. Be sure that the bacon is evenly distributed around the chicken. In fact cover the whole chicken in bacon, that way when grilling, the bacon blackens but the chicken doesn't.


artteacher said...

Men's Health magazine and their web page has lots of amazing healthy and easy to cook recipes. You should check it out. You picky hubby might even like most of them since the magazine is geared towards single men.

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