New Blog!

I have exciting news today! 

I have switched over to a self-hosted blog!  You can follow along with all my kitchen adventures at the new Becky Cooks Blog (beckycooksblog.com)!

If you have signed up to receive my posts through e-mail (thank you!), you will have to re-subscribe over on the new site.  Just type your email address into the box in the top right corner.  I really hope you follow me on over there, and sign up to receive the emails.  You won’t want to miss the pancakes that I posted today!

I can’t wait to continue sharing my favorite recipes with you!  

Thanks for reading.

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Chicken Apple Sausage Patties

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Well, we made it through another week!  Happy Friday!  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend. 

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Lazy weekends mornings are my favorite.  Waking up slowly, sipping coffee, sitting around in your PJs until…well, until whenever you feel like getting dressed, and most importantly, a delicious breakfast.

I rush around so much on the weekdays, grabbing a yogurt, cereal (side note: why is it telling me this isn’t how you spell cereal?  that is how you spell it, right?) or toast.  Whatever is fast and easy.  On the weekends, I like to take a little time to make something special.    What could be more special than homemade sausage?

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I know what you’re thinking…Uh-uh, no way.  I’m not making my own sausage!  But trust me, it is easy.  And you can control the amount of fat and salt and other ingredients that go in to it. 

And don’t worry, we aren’t making links that have to be stuffed or anything complicated like that.  If you can make a hamburger, you can make a sausage patty. 

And if you can make a sausage link, I’ll invite you over for breakfast.  You bring the sausage!

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Chicken Apple Sausage Patties

adapted from Rachael Ray’s recipe

makes 12-15 patties

Ingredients

  • 1 medium green apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Cut apple into quarters and remove the core.
  2. Using a box grater, grate the apple.
  3. Finely chop the onion.
  4. In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Saute the apple and onion until they are soft, but not brown (about 5 minutes).  Cool this mixture.
  5. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and cooled apple mixture.  Mix well until seasonings are evenly distributed throughout.
  6. Divide sausage mixture into small patties (12-15 patties).
  7. Heat a large skillet or griddle.  Cook sausage patties for 2-3 minutes per side, or until patties are browned and cooked through.  

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Chicken Parmesan

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As promised, today we have Chicken Parmesan!  Or, as it is affectionately known in our house, Pizza Chicken.

You see, this was the very first meal I ever cooked for my husband, way back when we first started dating!  This was my “specialty.”  It is a pretty easy dish, but is so delicious and somewhat impressive.  I really wanted to impress him. After all, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!  So I made him Chicken Parmesan.  I think he was impressed (at least a little), because here we are 7 1/2 years later!

I don’t think he had ever had Chicken Parmesan, and when I served it, he said it tasted like Pizza Chicken, and that is what he has called it ever since. 

You are going to start with  a pound and a half of chicken breasts.  I like mine to be pretty thin so they cook evenly and quickly, so you can either purchase thin cut breasts, or slice the normal ones in half.  I ended up with 6 pieces.

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Then, you’ll want to set up a breading station.  Take two large plates, and one shallow bowl.  In the first plate, put your flour.  As Emeril says “Where I come from, my flour isn’t seasoned!”  Season your flour with salt and pepper.

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Crack two eggs into the shallow bowl.  Whisk them up very well with a tablespoon or two of water.

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And in the other large plate, mix some breadcrumbs with a little parmesan cheese.  I was able to find Italian seasoned panko crumbs at my store, but if you can’t find these, regular Italian breadcrumbs will work, or you can add some Italian seasoning to plain panko crumbs. 

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Set up your breading station with the chicken on one end, then the flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and end with a large plate or sheet pan to put your breaded chicken breasts.

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To bread your chicken, take one piece at a time and coat it in the flour.  Shake the excess flour off.

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Next, dip it into the eggs.  Coat both sides with the egg. This will be your “glue.”

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Then, press it into your breadcrumb mixture and coat both sides evenly.

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Place your breaded chicken on a plate and continue until all your chicken has been breaded.

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Heat some olive oil in a large skillet.  Fry your breaded chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and crispy.  The chicken is pretty thin, but it may not cook all the way through.  That is ok, because we are going to be baking it later.   You don’t want to crowd the pan, so fry your chicken in batches.

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While your chicken is cooking, spread a little of your favorite marinara sauce evenly in the bottom of a large baking dish. 

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When your chicken has been cooked, remove it to the baking dish.

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Cover each piece with a few tablespoons of marinara sauce…

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a sprinkle of parmesan cheese…

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and a nice helping of mozzarella!  Bake it up to finish cooking the chicken through and meth the cheese.

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When you pull it out of the oven, you’ll have a cheesy, succulent chicken breasts that are sure to impress!

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Chicken Parmesan

makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Set up your breading station.  Take two large plates, and one shallow bowl.  In the first plate, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  In the shallow bowl, mix eggs with water until well combined.  In the other plate, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  3. Bread the chicken breast pieces.  First, coat chicken with flour.  Shake off the excess.  Dip the chicken in the eggs and turn to coat.  Finally press the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture until both sides are coated.  Place breaded chicken on a large plate.  Continue until all pieces of chicken have been breaded.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Fry the chicken breast pieces in batches until golden and crispy.  Chicken may not be cooked all the way through.
  5. Meanwhile, spread 1/2 of marinara sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  6. After chicken has been fried, remove and place in a single layer in the baking dish.
  7. Top chicken with the remaining marinara sauce, the parmesan cheese and the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake chicken, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked all the way through.

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Easy Guacamole

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Who is ready for a fiesta!? 

I have to confess, I planned to have a recipe for Chicken Parmesan today, however it was over 90 degress yesterday, and I couldn’t bear to turn on my oven and make a heavy dish like that.

So instead, you get a fast and easy guacamole!

Want to know the secret to the easiet guacamole you will ever make?

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Salsa.  That is right!  Just plain old salsa.  This is more of a ‘pico de gallo’ type salsa, and I think that is really important.  I find this in the produce section of my grocery store, and it is kept refridgerated. 

It is full of chopped tomatoes, red onions, and peppers.  Normal jarred salsa is very ‘saucy’ and this is more chunky.  Try to find it in your store! 

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Cut your avocados like I’ve shown above.  Slice them in the peel in one direction, then the other, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

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Just add some salsa to your chopped avocado, spritz a little lime juice and sprinkle in some salt and you have a delicious and fast gaucamole! 

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Fast and Easy Guacamole

makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo type salsa
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Cut avocados in half.  Twist to remove one half from the pit.  Remove the pit from the other half.  Leaving the peel on, slice avocados in one direction, and turn and slice in the other direction.  Use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
  2. If you prefer very smooth guacamole, mash the avocados before adding other ingredients.  If you prefer chunky guacamole, dd remaining ingredients and mix well. The avocados will slightly mash, but you will be left with larger chunks as well.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Time for breakfast! 

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Whats that?  You say this looks like a cupcake?

It is.  A cinnamon roll cupcake.  And since you eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, you can certainly eat these cupcakes.

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See what I did there?  Cake for breakfast!  You’re welcome.

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Have you seen these Frosting Creations packets from Duncan Hines?  I was able to turn regular butter cream frosting into cinnamon roll flavored frosting without breaking a sweat.

I think you’re supposed to use a regular can of frosting, but I thought I’d make my own.

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 A moist, soft yellow cake with a sweet and spicy cinnamon filling, topped with cinnamon roll frosting and a cinnamon sugar drizzle. 

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Like I said, you’re welcome. 

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Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

For cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 3/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk

For filling & drizzle:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • splash of milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set this mixture aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Mix for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and egg yolk, mixing well between each addition.
  5. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter and sugar.  Mix well between each addition.
  7. Pour batter into a muffin tin that has been lined with paper liners, or sprayed well with cook spray.  Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.
  8. To make the filling, microwave the butter in a small bowl until it is just beginning to melt.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  9. Scoop 1/2 tsp of filling mixture into each cupcake.  You will not use all the filling.  Save remaining filling to make the drizzle.
  10. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. 
  11. Add a splash or two of milk to the remaining filling mixture to thin it out.  This may cause the mixture to look ‘curdled’ but this is just the butter congealing back to its solid form  If this happens, microwave for 5 seconds.  Mix this well and set aside until you are ready to frost the cupcakes.
  12. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost using the frosting you create below.  I used a plastic ziplock bag. 
  13. Pour the drizzle into a small ziplock back.  Cut a very small hole in the corner.  This mixture will be pretty runny.  Swirl the drizzle over the top of the cupcakes.

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Cinnamon Roll Butter Cream Frosting

makes enough for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Frosting Creations packet, Cinnamon Roll flavor

Directions

  1. Cream butter using an electic mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.
  3. Continue adding powdered sugar until you get a consistency you like.
  4. Add flavor packet and beat icing for 1-2 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
  5. Frost cupcakes as directed above.

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Turkey Meatballs

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Remember spaghetti night?

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 For us growing up, spaghetti was one of the meals that always made it into the rotation.  It was fast, easy, and always got eaten without any complaints-a working mother’s perfect meal!

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But spaghetti became…special…when we had meatballs. 

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You see, most of the time, my mom would just crumble and brown ground beef and add marinara sauce to make a meat sauce to put over the spaghetti.  This was tasty enough as it was, but it was a real treat to have meatballs!  

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 They take just a little extra effort, but I think it is so worth it.

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 Turkey Meatballs

makes 16 golf ball sized meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix well (I like to use my hands!) to incorporate all the seasonings.
  3. Form mixture into golf ball sized balls.
  4. Place meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked trough and no longer pink.
  6. Eat with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce.

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Friday Happy Hour

While I really want to keep this a “cooking blog,” sometimes there are some random thoughts I’d just like to share.  I thought what better way than to have a “happy hour” on Friday afternoons.  So grab your favorite drink and get ready.  Here it goes…

  1. Happy Friday the 13th!  Did you know there are 3 Friday the 13ths this year?  Good thing I’m not superstitious!
  2. Have you seen the Street Strider?  How cool does this thing look?  I like my elliptical, but to take it outside?  Too bad the $1,700 price tag won’t fit into my budget…
  3. And speaking of budgets, dogs cost a lot of money.  I had to take one of our dogs, Holly, to the vet this week.  She has bad skin allergies and they were really acting up.  $500 and 4 prescriptions later, she is doing much better.  One of her medicines is prednisone, which increases her thirst and subsequently, her need to pee.  Setting the alarm for the middle of the night to take her out so she doesn’t pee on the floor has been really fun.
  4. Have you tried this Color Personality Test from Better Homes & Gardens?  Just a fun little quiz to waste a couple of minutes.  My color personality was coral.   CoralUnsurprising, since my two favorite colors are orange and pink.“Not quite pink, not quite orange, this palette of coral brings in the best of both hues. The whisper of pink gives it a sweetly feminine aura, while the orange tendencies introduce a casual spin. This elegantly down-to-earth palette pairs well with grays and yellows or blues for a chic interpretation, or with warm neutrals and sable browns for a calming effect.”
  5.  I’m eating this salad for lunch again today.  Except I added more mozzarella balls to it.  And it is glorious.
  6. Chris and I are going to Artventure Us and painting this:            

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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