Maple Bacon Chicken

I love finding a recipe I haven’t cooked in years! Since my husband is still doing low-carb I’ve been digging deep into my recipe box to find recipes without carbs and trying to keep things interesting. This is a recipe I had found when I first moved to Charleston and was cooking for my husband pretty much for the first time. It is so easy but the flavors of the bacon, BBQ sauce, and maple syrup are so good!! I know I found this somewhere on All Recipes, but I tried going back to find the source and I can’t find it anywhere! I did come up with the quantities of the ingredients though…to my horror when I looked at my recipe card I only wrote down the ingredients, not how much of each I need. Not sure what I was thinking!

On a side note, I am so thrilled it is Friday. I am really looking forward to not having any work obligations this weekend! Hopefully I can just relax, catch up on my shows, and do some Fall cooking!

Ingredients (Serves 2)
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used a Hickory Brown Sugar)
– 4 strips of bacon
– 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
– 2 chicken breasts (or tenderloins)
1.  Preheat oven to 375. On a baking sheet, place the bacon strips and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until crispy. Pat grease off and cut into small bite-size pieces.
2. Butterfly chicken breast, place bacon on chicken and roll up. Place in casserole dish.
3. In a bowl, combine the syrup, BBQ sauce, and the brown sugar.over chicken. Pour over chicken and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Adapted from: All Recipes

Shepherd’s Pie

Ok, so I guess it doesn’t really look like pie…more like an avalanche of beef. I thought it would hold up a little better, but don’t let that discourage you! This is another Rachael Ray recipe and it is delicious!
I know if my mom is reading this she is scoffing at the fact that I made a Shepherd’s Pie, another recipe that I had never tried before until a few months ago because my husband requested it. There were a few things that I omitted from the recipe, like onions, peas, and carrots, because I am really picky…but I think next time I made this I’ll serve it with a side of carrots. This is a really great dish since we usually have leftovers and it reheats very easily for lunch the next day or another dinner.
– 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
              **You can also use 1 packet from boxed instant potatoes. I use this if I am feeling super lazy***
– 2 tablespoons sour cream
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon EVOO 1 turn of the pan
– 1 pound ground beef
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 2 tablespoons flour
– 1 cup beef stock or beef broth
– 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
-1 can kernel corn
– 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Mash until smooth and stir in the sour cream and 1 tablespoon of butter. *As stated in the ingredients, you can substitute one packet of instant boxed mashed potatoes for these. It depends on how busy/tired I am from work.
2. While potatoes boil, cook corn on stove top, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add EVOO to pan with ground beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown until no longer pink. In a separate pot, combine the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer to thicken gravy. If still too watery, slowly whisk in corn starch to thicken.
4. Once thickened, add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in corn.
5.Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole dish or a pie dish with meat and corn mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with cheddar cheese and broil until potatoes and cheese are evenly browned.

Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Greek Tacos

This morning I was very excited to hear that this weekend the temperature at night and early morning will be in the low 60’s/high 50’s!! Finally some more Fall like weather around here. I am so sick of the heat and humidity from this summer that this will really be a welcomed cooling. What I love about Charleston is that it stays mild well into December, but I really hate how that sticky summer weather lingers around until late September…enough already! Maybe this weekend I’ll actually feel like it’s appropriate to start baking with all the wonderful Fall ingredients!

A few weeks ago I was really wanting to make something like a Greek Taco. After doing a little research online, I cam across this recipe from Taste of Home. I’m a little picky with food so I knew I’d need to edit it a bit to fit our tastes, but it was a good starting point! I loved the flavor combinations of the Greek seasoned beef, feta cheese, spinach, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce. My only recommendation is to stick to the 2 teaspoons of Greek seasoning…I added more since I thought I couldn’t taste it when I was cooking the beef and wow did I go overboard on that!

– 1 pound lean ground beef
– 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 1 cup cooked frozen spinach
– 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
–  1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
–  Soft taco shells
– 1/3 cup diced cucumbers for garnish
Ingredients- Tzatziki Sauce
– 8oz Greek yogurt
– 1 tablespoon EVOO
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
– 2 cloves pressed garlic
– 1/3 cup finely chopped cucumbers
1. To make the tzatziki, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add the pepper, cooked spinach, and Greek seasoning. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
3. Spoon beef mixture over soft taco shell, top with crumbled feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and diced cucumbers.
                           Taste of Home (Tacos)

Lemon Orzo

Well it feels like it should be Friday already but its only Tuesday, ugh! Work has been a little hectic yesterday and today with a conference. Getting into work at 6:30am definitely doesn’t work well for me. I’ll  be happy to get back into the normal swing of things!

I know I said before that I don’t really like Rachael Ray…but here I am posting another recipe of hers….I also have another post with a recipe of hers that I am editing. So I guess it’s not that I don’t like some of her recipes, but I really can’t stand to watch her Food Network show. I’d rather watch it on mute than have to listen to her voice for another 30-minute meal episode. Anyway, my husband had some steaks he was able to bring home from a food show and I wanted to make a new type of side item to go with them instead of the usual mashed potato. This lemon orzo was really good, and you can adjust the amount of lemon juice depending on how ‘lemony’ you want to make it. I will suggest though to serve this with a lighter chicken or pork…I had this with a steak and the flavor of the steak and lemon didn’t mesh well for me.

-1/2 box orzo pasta
-2 large lemons, zest and juice needed
– Salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1. Cook orzo pasta. Transfer cooked orzo to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the zest from both lemons and 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (more if you desire a more lemony taste). Stir in the chopped parsley.

Shrimp Burgers

So I have been trying to find new ways to cook shrimp since my husband caught so much of it for me the last time he went shrimping. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good shrimp pasta or grilled shrimp but I really like to find new recipes so that I don’t get bored of eating it the same way over and over again.

I came across a recipe for a Shrimp Burger from a fellow blog Pink Parsley and it sounded so good! It had never even crossed my to take the shrimp and make burger patties out of them. I did make some of my own modifications, like chopping up the shrimp pieces to make shredded shrimp for the patties, substituting Old Bay seasoning for the ginger, making them into slider patties, and sauteing the shrimp with shallots. You can either eat these as sliders, or as a ‘shrimp cake’ with no bun and topped with a lemon aioli (recipe below). Both ways were good. Overall, this is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients- Shrimp Slider

-10 medium size shrimp, pealed and de-veined
-1 tablespoon diced shallots
-2 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob (cooked)
-2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
-Zest of 1 lemon
-1 tablespoon light mayo
-3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients- Lemon Aioli
-1/2 cup light mayo
-1 clove garlic, minced
-Zest of 1 lemon
-Juice from 1 lemon
-2 teaspoons dried chives
-Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a pan, over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the shallots until clear. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until full cooked. Either using a food chopper, blender, or a food processor, chop the shrimp into shredded pieces (like crab for a crab cake).
2. In a bowl, combine the shredded shrimp, shallots from the frying pan, fresh cut corn, Old Bay, lemon zest, and mayo. Stir to combine. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs and slowly fold in the egg until a firmer mixture has formed. If too loose, add more Panko to absorb the liquid. Form mixture into 4 small slider patties.
3. In the frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, place shrimp patties and fry 4 minutes per side.
4. For the aioli, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Serve shrimp patties either on slide buns, or alone as shrimp cakes. Top with desired amount of lemon aioli.

Adapted From: Pink Parsley
Adapted From: Food Network

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Well today marks a milestone for me…I had my first cavity filled! Ugh, and boy was I dreading it. I really didn’t know what to expect, I had a gum surgery back in high school and it was so unpleasant and painful I kept comparing everything to that. But to my surprise, it really wasn’t that bad! My dentist has a flat screen TV on a swivel so I was able to position it in front of my and pull up a movie on Netflix and just watch that the whole time! I took an Aleve earlier when I started to feel a little pain, so I’m feeling fine now. Hopefully it won’t interfere with dinner tonight!

For some reason, I keep get Fitness magazine mailed to me. Its addressed to me, so I know I’m not getting anyone else’s by mistake. A few months ago there was a section about smoothies and I saw a smoothie that sounded delicious…Almond Banana! Of course, when I want to make it I can’t find the magazine so I Googled around and found one posted on Bon Appetit. I made it a few days ago and…blech! I didn’t like it at all. There was very little flavor and just tasted like watered down bananas to me. Since I had a few bananas left I wanted to try something else so I could have something nutritious after my cavity filling today ad I came up with my Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie. This was so good!! It was the perfect blend of banana and peanut butter flavor.


-3 ripe bananas, diced
-4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
-2 cups Almond milk
-1 cup ice

1. Place diced bananas, almond milk, and peanut butter in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend until smooth (about 30 seconds).

Adapted From: Bon Appetit

White Wine and Garlic Shrimp

Ahhh I love shrimping season! More than that, I love that my husband can actually go out and catch me some shrimp. Even more than that, I love that he doesn’t eat shrimp so I get to keep them all to myself. The only thing I don’t love about shrimp is having to clean and de-vein them before cooking. But I guess it is just the small price I have to pay.

If I’m not feeling overly ambitious for dinner, one of my favorite ways to cook up the shrimp is in an easy white wine and garlic sauce and service over a bed of pasta. You really can edit this anyway you want to fit your tastes, so it is very versatile. In this case, I had a box of orzo pasta. Once the shrimp has been cleaned and de-veined, this cooks up so quickly…the pasta takes longer then the shrimp!

Hopefully I’ll be having some more delicious shrimp recipes to post here soon!

-Desired amount of shrimp, I had 10 medium sized shrimps
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay I had)
-2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Peel, de-vein, and clean shrimp.
2. In a pan over medium-high heat, saute the minced garlic in the butter for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts turning brown. Add white wine and shrimp seasoning the shrimp with salt & pepper. Cook shrimp roughly 2-3 minutes each side or until fully cooked.
3. Serve over a bed of orzo pasta and top shrimp with Parmesan cheese.

Orange Zest and Pecan Chicken

So my husband is on a low/no-carb diet for the next few weeks to kick start a workout regiment…which means I am also on a low-carb eating plan. I decided it wouldn’t be very fair for me to sit their eating rice, potatoes, and pasta…plus cutting down on the carbs would do me some good anyway. I’ve had this Rachael Ray recipe in my recipe box for quite a while, but its been forever since I’ve made it. Her recipe calls for the tenders to be served over a bed of lettuce and the sauce is actually a dressing. I’m not a huge fan of entree salads for dinner and I know I’d never be able to serve a salad to my husband, so I use the sauce as more of a marinade for the chicken. This is by far one of my favorite easy dishes to make and tastes a lot more complex than it really is!

Ingredients- Serves 2
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-2 chicken breasts cut into tenders (or you can just buy tenderloins but I had chicken breasts in the freezer)
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/4 cup sweet BBQ sauce
-1/3 cup finely crushed pecans
-1 navel orange (you’ll use the zest and the juice)

-Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO. Place tenders in pan and season with salt & pepper. Cook tenders 3-4 minutes (or until no longer pink) per side flipping once.
2. In a bowl, mix the maple syrup and BBQ sauce. Zest the orange and stir in the zest. Juice the orange and stir into the mixture.
3. When tenders are finished, remove from pan and clean pan of any oil. Over medium heat, add in the BBQ sauce mixture, add tenders. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve immediately and top with crushed pecans.

Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Mozzarella and Prosciutto Pizza

One thing my husband and I love to make are calzones. I got this adorable little calzone maker from Williams-Sonoma last year and for a while we were doing calzone night almost once a week! It also makes for a fun dinner party idea, just set out a bunch of different ingredients and let eveyone build their own calzone.

Anyway, I had some left over prosciutto from a recent calzone night and I wanted to find a new recipe so I could use it up. My husband loves eating prosciutto but I’ve never been a big fan, which I guess is a good thing considering the price per pound on this stuff. After searching around I came across a Pioneer Woman recipe that called for prosciutto and fresh mozzarella….and it sounded delicious! I edited it a little bit to suit our tastses…I added a little bit of my white sauce as a base and also added in garlic. I was really suprised there was no garlic in the original recipe, I really think it enhanced the flavor!

-1 whole pizza crust (I cheated and  used Pillsbury dough)
-2 tablespoons EVOO
 -2 cloves minced garlic
-1/3 cup heavy cream (you can sub fat free half & half here to cut down on some of the calories)
-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
– 10 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

-4-6 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips or desired size

-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO and cook the minced garlic for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the heavy cream, garlic powder, and garlic salt. When cream is heated, add 1/4 cup of the Paremsan and cook until fully melted. Simmer to thicken, about 5-6 minutes
3. Pour white sauce over pizza dough, top with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is metled.
Adapted from: Pioneer Woman

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

So yesterday I got sucked into watching a few episodes of Cake Boss. I normally don’t watch this show, mainly because I think he is really annoying to listen too. When I was in Hoboken in July to visit my brother I walked by Carlo’s since it is right on the way to the Path. Even at 9:30am there is a line inside the bakery, outside the bakery, and across the street in front of the CVS. It is absolutely insane! I was remotely tempted to get a treat there, but once I saw the line I knew it wasn’t worth it.

Anyway, of course as I am watching the show I begin craving some sort of bakery treat…especially cupcakes. As I search through my pantry I am delighted to see that I have all the ingredients to make cupcakes and a delicious chocolate frosting. I will admit, the cake batter is Betty Crocker French Vanilla (gasp!).
I found an easy chocolate frosting recipe on All Recipes, but after making it it just tasted very generic to me, nothing overly special about it. I decided to add 3oz of some cream cheese I had left over and boy did that do the trick! It made the frosting extra creamy and added a new depth to the chocolate flavor. This is a keeper!

-2 sticks butter, softened
-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-1 cup cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon whole milk or half & half
-3 oz cream cheese, softened
-1/2 tsp vanilla
1. With a handheld mixer, cream the butter and the powdered sugar. Next, add the cocoa and tablespoon of milk. Add the cream cheese and the vanilla and beat until all the cream cheese is smooth and combined.
Adapted From: All Recipes