Sesame Chicken

Try this just once, and I can guarantee it'll become part of your regular dinner meal rotation!  This was sooooo good!  I served it with white rice and a side of steamed broccoli.  (Another delicious recipe from Vittles Divine.)

Sesame Chicken

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. sugar
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. flour
salt and ground pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1 stalk green onion, chopped **
2 c. white or brown rice, cooked according to package directions

In a bowl, combine soy sauce and sugar and stir well to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken pieces and flour.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir well to combine.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.
Once hot, add chicken.
Cook, stirring often, until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes, depending on how large or small your pieces are.

Transfer chicken pieces onto a plate and put the pan back on the heat.
Stir the soy sauce mixture again (some of the sugar will have settled in the bottom) and pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan.
With a wooden spoon, scrape the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan while the soy sauce mixture simmers.
Let simmer for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened.
Add the chicken back into the pan.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and toss well, coating all the chicken pieces in the soy mixture.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions. **

Yields 6 servings.

** Megan's Tip:  Do try not to leave out the green onions. The tiny bit of Asian flavor that they add is really nice and really helps bring it all together.

Montreal Roast

This was Sunday night dinner... and it was AMAZING!  In fact, this is the only way Brian would like to have roast from now on.  (Not that he gets to dictate everything I fix for us, but since this roast is so easy, I'll likely oblige him.)  Plus, I think it smells better while it's cooking than my other method...  more spice smell, less onion smell.  (As seen on Vittles Divine, posted below are my miniscule variations.)

Montreal Roast

2.5 - 3 lb. roast
3.5 c. water
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Place roast in crock pot.
Add water.
Season the top liberally with Montreal steak seasoning.
Cook on high for 8-10 hours.
Shred with fork, or slice, and serve.

This roast turns out incredibly moist, but will dry out fast.  I would also recommend (as advised by Vittles Divine) both serving and storing the leftovers immediately.

Banana Blueberry Cake

I made this dessert last night, too... also a new-to-me recipe, and it was soooo good!  Tasted a lot like banana bread with blueberries in it (so, of course, Brian was a big fan!).  I did make it with the frosting, but probably will do it differently the next time (and there will definitely be a next time!) - frosting is uber-sweet.  This would be yummy in a bundt pan with a lemon glaze or sifted powdered sugar on top, instead of the frosting.  This could even be considered a breakfast cake!

Banana Blueberry Cake

1 c. sugar
½ c. butter (1 stick), room temperature
2 eggs
¼ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed fine
1¼-1½ c. fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9x13 pan and set aside.
In a roomy bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Gradually add to the batter and mix well.
Stir in the mashed bananas.
Fold in the blueberries, if using.
Pour into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
Frost, if desired.

FROSTING (optional):
    1 c. butter (2 sticks), room temperature
    2 tsp. vanilla
    4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
    6 Tbsp. milk, divided

Cream the butter and vanilla together on medium speed with an electric mixer.
Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk; mixing well on low speed after each addition.

Baked Ziti

I was brave last night and made this brand-new-to-us dish for company. It.did.not.disappoint! Rave reviews all around... AND we'll have leftovers for days! :) (As seen on Vittles Divine... originally posted on All Recipes where it received high ratings.)

Yes, the recipe does call for sour cream, but it's an important part of the recipe and it turns out delicious!  I'm posting the recipe below as I made it...

Baked Ziti

1 lb. dry ziti pasta  (Whole box)
1-1.5 c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 32-oz. jars spaghetti sauce  (I buy the large Classico Tomato & Basil jars from Costco... using 2 makes it extra saucy, but extra delicious as leftovers.  You could also use just 2 26-oz. standard-size jars of sauce as well.)
6 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1.5 c. sour cream (fat-free is fine)
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion, garlic and ground beef over medium heat.
Add spaghetti sauce; warm through.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly oil or spray a 9x13 inch baking dish.  (With the extra sauce, I've found that I have to bake this in a lasagna pan (larger than your typical 9x13.)

Layer as follows:
   1/2 of the ziti
   sour cream
   provolone cheese
   1/2 sauce mixture
   remaining ziti
   mozzarella cheese
   remaining sauce mixture
   parmesan cheese

Bake, uncovered,  for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

Allow to rest on counter for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

Swiss Chicken

We had this tonight for the first time...  super-easy and really yummy! 
(As seen on Every Crafty Endeavor.)

Swiss Chicken

4-5 chicken breasts (I cut each of mine in half to facilitate portioning)
4-5 slices of swiss cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup  (I used cream of chicken with herbs soup)
dash of Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute  (optional - I use this herb mix nearly every time I make chicken)
1/2 c. of milk
bread crumbs

Lay the chicken breasts in an oven safe dish.
Cover each piece of chicken with a slice of swiss cheese.
Mix together the soup, milk, and seasonings and cover the chicken and cheese.
Top with bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for an hour.

Serve over rice.

Brian was raving about this meal!  I made mine tonight with green beans and cheddar bay biscuits.

"Red Lobster" Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Sooooo good, and taste just like the restaurant's!  
(As seen on Every Crafty Endeavor.)

"Red Lobster" Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 c. Bisquick
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
2/3 c. milk

Mix Bisquick, cheese and milk together.
Drop golf ball size spoonfuls of dough onto your cookie sheet.
Bake at 450 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

While your biscuits are baking make your butter sauce:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/8 tsp. garlic salt/powder
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. parmesan cheese

When your biscuits are a golden brown, brush on garlic butter, and you’re done!

Cook's Helpers

I have a measurement equivalents chart I refer to all the time

I saw these on Martha Stewart's site and thought they were definitely worth sharing. 

Go here for a downloadable pdf.

Margene's Pork Chops with Apples

Margene's Pork Chops with Apples

2 pork chops (I cut off all the fat)
1/2 onion, chopped
5/8 c. water
1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 apples, peeled & sliced (I use fuji-but any apple good for baking will do)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Brown pork chops & onions. (I spray a little veg. oil in pan first)
Combine water, bouillon & pepper.
Add to meat.
Cover & bring to a boil.
Reduce heat & simmer 20 min..
Skim off fat.
Add apples & cinnamon.
Cover & simmer 15 min. more.
Serve hot.
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