Recipe Review: Alice Springs chicken

I modified this recipe from Fabulously Creative.  It’s a knockoff of the Outback steakhouse dish.

Cheese and bacon, seriously, how could you go wrong?  I cannot wait to make this for ODB.  WE LOVE BACON!

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

Lowry’s Seasoning Salt (I used Anita’s seasoning instead)

6 bacon slices

1/4 cup regular mustard (yellow)

1/3 cup honey (I didn’t really use this, I don’t like honey, any sweetener would work)

2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dried onion flakes (didn’t have any, so I used garlic)

1 cup sliced fresh mushroom

2 cup shredded Colby/Jack cheese (I only used 1 cup and wish I had used 2, I actually went back and added the other cup after the fact, 1 cup over 6 servings isn’t much at all).

First, Sprinkle and rub the chicken breasts with seasoning salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is in the refrigerator, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside.  ***Do not discard grease.***

Saute chicken in the bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned.  Place chicken in a 9″ × 13″ casserole dish or pan.

To make the Honey Mustard:  In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes.

Spread some of the Honey Mustard over each piece of chicken, then layer with mushrooms, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

Serve with the left over Honey Mustard Sauce that you made.

*I actually put a bag of thawed cauliflower on the bottom of the dish to add some bulk.  It was divine!


Simple Saturday Steak night



A few of my favorite things.  Steak, sweet potato, and Savory Spices!

Sweet potato baked and topped with butter and Savory Spice’s Pasta Sprinkle (I love it on everything).  Steak coated with EVOO and  Savory’s Bohemian Forest spice for 8 hours before cooking.

I cooked enough for 2.  Since there is only 1 of me, that means tasty leftovers!

You did what with a hot dog?

These are the best hot dogs EVER.  They sell them at Target.  I don’t go to Target often for groceries, but they have good meat.IMG_0789[1]

I needed a quick lunch on Saturday, so the hot-dog salad was born.  IMG_0795[1]

Sauteed carrots, dill pickles, grilled peppers and hot dog slices.  Put over butter lettuce.  Finished with some spicy mustard 🙂

Don’t judge, it was tasty 🙂

Here are more of my random hot-dog recipes.  I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I like to be different 😉

Recipe Review: Sweet venison tenderloin

New recipe for me this week.  I had a big vac-saver bag of venison tenderloin in the freezer and I wanted to do something different.  Found this on recipezaar (thanks user TCSmooth!).  Apparently it’s been the top venison recipe for like 8 years!  I’d imagine this would be awesome with beef too.

I didn’t do the bacon, I didn’t have any (but I will be trying next time).  I baked half (to eat later) and cooked the other half as medallions on the stovetop.

Since I didn’t really want to put forth much effort, I sliced and added to a salad with sliced and cooked granny smith apple.


Sweet Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin

Total Time: 1 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 2-4

2 lbs venison tenderloins ( a single deer loin or Moose or Elk or Pork or Beef)
1/2 lb bacon ( Plain, thin-sliced Bacon is best)
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups soy sauce ( Regular NOT low-sodium. You’ll want the saltiness) I USED BRAGG’S
1/4 cup white sugar ( Optional for added Sweetness) I DIDNT USE

Mix brown Sugar and Soy sauce together in a bowl. They should combine nicely into a soupy soy liquid.
Put Deer Loin in a cooking tray and pour Brown Sugar/Soy Sauce mixture over loin. Roll tenderloin over in mixture, completely covering it.
Let meat marinate in mixture at least 3 hours or overnight in fridge. It’s best to marinate for 8 hours if you have the time. Also GREAT to use a Food Saver or other Vacuum device to Vacuum pack/seal the meat with Marinade. With this method, you can achieve Overnight-level marinade in just a couple hours!
Remove loin from tray, and place on a slotted bake sheet with a drip pan or aluminum foil below to catch dripping. Don’t throw away marinade.
Wrap a piece of bacon around the very end of the tenderloin, securing the bacon strip with a toothpick.
Repeat this process until the entire loin is wrapped in ten or so bacon “loops.” The tenderloin should look like an arm with a bunch of wrist watches on it, the watches being the bacon strips.
Drizzle remaining marinade over deer loin. You can continue to baste the loin with the marinade throughout the cooking process with either a brush or a turkey baster.

Recipe review: Chorizo stuffed peppers

Sprouts had peppers on sale on Sunday, so I decided it was time for stuffed peppers!  Just a little something I threw together as I was making it.

First, I made my own chorizo.  Savory Spice shop chorizo seasoning.  You add it to whatever type of ground meat you want, add vinegar (I use apple cider) and water and mix, then chill for a few hours or longer.  The directions are on the side of the package.  I like this seasoning so much, I have a big bottle of it.

Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers

-1 lb of chorizo-cooked (whatever kind you like, they make vegetarian versions too)

-1 cup of rice-cooked (I made a pan of Alton Brown’s Brown Rice)

-2 cups of cooked mixed veggies (I used HEB stirfry blend which has peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc)

-4 large bell peppers, tops sliced off

-shredded cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pull the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds.  You can either cut up the tops (minus the stem) and throw in the mixture, or toss them in trash.  Put the 4 bell pepper bottoms in a pot of boiling water and boil 4-5 minutes.   Remove from the water and dry them off.

In a skillet combine the mixed veggies, rice, and meat/meat sub and heat until warm.  Then stuff each pepper with the mixture.before bell pepper

Place in a greased 8×8 pan and bake covered with foil, for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, top with cheese if desired and broil until melted and bubbly.finish peppers

Dan LOVED these.  Good.  Because we are having them as leftovers tonight.  It’s LUNA run night and we always have leftovers on Tuesdays, because I don’t have time to cook.  I am already doing well not to gnaw my arm off before I get home at 8 pm.

Things I like Thursday: good time Saturday night

We had a few people over last weekend.  party 5

Ok like 16.

Dan and I hosted our very first party and first house concert, featuring Drew Kennedy.  The concert was also used as a kick-start for his new album, which he played in it’s entirety.  No, it’s not cheap, but it’s really a neat experience to go to.  Small number of people and very intimate.  This was the 3rd or 4th i’ve been to, but our first time hosting.  It was hard, because we couldn’t invite everyone, in fact, I didn’t have anything to do with the logistics other than being there and getting the massive amount of groceries and helping food prep.

concert 2

The food was awesome, or at least I thought so.  I finally got to use my new Auburn serving platter!  That’s homemade jalapeno summer sausage that my dad made.

part 1

Dan smoked a bunch of meat (bacon wrapped pork tenderloins, Canecuh sausages from Alabama, and a brisket), made his mom’s potato salad, beans, I made my mom’s famous 7 layer dip.  We also had people bring oriental slaw, 7 layer greek dip, brownies, an awesome fruit bowl, and lots of drinks (our whole kitchen table was a bar).concert 1

party 4

During the first break at the concert, we sang Dan happy birthdayconcert 4

and they dug into his cookie cake (writing in Auburn orange of course!)

concert 3

I think it’s safe to say, a good time was had by all.  The evening ended with a 18 person slumber party!  It’s a good thing we have room.

The next morning the yummy bbq was converted into breakfast tacos.  I cropped this so you can’t see the disaster my house was on Sunday morning!concert 5

It got cleaned up for the most part, but then we all went to the softball benefit and I never finished the job.  Not spotless, but it’ll do until the weekend.

Cool new things

My veggie spiraler

I’ve only tried zucchini before, but other squashes, apples, potatoes, etc are on my list.  It has 3 different blades to vary the size.

veggie spiraler

This spice from Savory Spice Shop.  This was awesome on broiled pork chops.  I will be back for a whole bottle!  Says it’s great for poultry, burgers, meatloaf, and stuffed peppers.  Oh the possibilities!

new spice

New venue and 2 new artists to me.  We went to Texas Music Theater in San Marcos on Friday night to see grammy nominated writer Will Hoge (Dan was already a fan).  Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue opened the show.  It was all new to me and I had a great time.  Not to mention, I got to have dinner with my good friend Alison and her husband before the show.will hoge

My mom (in pink) defended her Thin Mint Sprint age group title and had a PR on Saturday.  That’s my sister running with race

Photos not available yet, but we completed tore up our backyard on Saturday and Sunday.  I hope this leads eventually to an awesome yard!

Last week’s Duck Dynasty Grub

Last Saturday night, I continued my theme for Duck Dynasty dinner of cajun inspired food.  Since we were so busy last week, we didn’t watch it until Saturday.  I also didn’t want to cook anything that would take too long, because we had been busy all day and were tired.

Cajun tilapia, “fried pickles”, and salad.cajun tilapia

The fish was broiled with generic cajun seasoning.  Easy.

The “fried pickles” were:

  • egg wash
  • dill pickle chips
  • red pepper flakes
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • crushed pork rinds

Pickles were dipped in egg, then the rind and spice mix, and then put on a rack on the cookie sheet and broiled for 5 mins each side.  I forgot to spray the rack, darn it!  Other than that, good.  Dan said they tasted like the real thing.  I MAY have picked off all of the little breading bits on the rack and ate them.  Plus I sampled quite a few before they made it onto the plates.  Ranch on the side for him to dip into.  Most ranch dressing is not gluten free, so I don’t partake.  fried pickles

Dan isn’t a big fish person, but he ate it without complaining.  In fact, I don’t think he EVER orders fish anywhere, not even fried fish.

I was finishing up my kabocha squash.  That stuff is so good.  But then again, you could probably roast shoe leather and i’d love it.  There are no pickles on my plate because I’d eaten enough of them trying to get them off the pan and plated.  SHAME!


Things I like Thursday: homebrewed kombucha

So I started drinking Kombucha a few months ago.  I’d always been scared to try it.  Started with one bottle of GTs and then I was hooked.  Seriously, I have to have it everyday.  Usually as my afternoon treat.

It’s an expensive dang habit, I may as well be drinking booze!  $3.30 a bottle of GT’s from HEB, less than $3 at Natural Grocers.  Still.  Even if I only drink half a bottle a day, which is what I usually have, it’s still annoying to be that it’s pricey for a drink.  It’s even more if I were to buy local.

So I started researching making my own.  I know several bloggers I read, make their own.  How hard could it be, right?  I read up, pinned some blogs on Pinterest and tried to decide where to get my “mother scoby” (which is how you grow the tea).  Many sources recommended Craigslist.  BINGO.  $5 scoby and she lived at the same place my friend Jenn lived.  Not only did I get the scoby, but she gave me a starter booklet too.  AWESOME.

Friends, if you are reading this, I don’t mind emailing you the little booklet.kombucha brew

For recipe I followed the booklet plus this blog from Balanced Bites.

Tips I learned from reading ALOT about this.  Not all sources tell you some of these important tidbits!

  • You need glass jar with a non metal lid, in fact, I bought 2 glass jars from Walmart.  I don’t use the lid anyhow.
  • I saved old GTs bottles for the final product, because you want glass with non-metal lids.
  • You cannot use antibacterial soap on any of it, or you may kill your scoby.  Wash stuff with vinegar.
  •  You must use sugar and you must use caffeinated tea.  The caffeine and the sugar are how this works.  And almost all of it gets used up in the process of the fermentation.  So if you try to limit sugar and caffeine like I do, have no fear.
  • Your tea can’t have added oils.  So watch out for many flavored teas.  Black and green with caffiene work well.
  • Your first couple of batches may suck.
  • It may take a couple of tries to get your method down and decide what you like as far as flavor.
  • If your batch gets too sour, you can add more sugar to try to refresh the tea and just watch it closely for correct flavor.
  • Don’t be afraid to toss a batch if it goes too far, doesn’t look right.
  • If you see any signs of mold, toss everything.  (look closely, sometimes it can foam and look like mold).  I had Dan toss a whole batch that foamed which is ok, because I thought it was mold.
  • It can be good for your tummy.  I have tummy issues, so I appreciate it’s probiotic qualities.
  • Pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t drink it.
  • It grows slower when its cold, faster when it’s warm.  Your brew times may not stay the same from batch to batch.
  • Try to avoid metal utensils.  Some sources suggest wood.
  • Try to let the tea cool for 4 or more hours before adding to scoby in your brewing vessel
  • Cover your brewing vessel with a napkin, papertowel, etc and a rubber band.  You don’t want dust, flies, etc.  You are fermenting, flies will want in, unless you keep them out!
  • Don’t drink all of the tea!  You have to keep at least a little to keep your scoby living and to start your next batch.
  • You flavor the tea in a secondary fermentation.
  • I do my secondary in the bottom of my pantry, bottles inside the plastic container, dark and semi-warm.
  • Your scoby will multiply and produce a baby each time.
  • You can take a break from brewing but you need to make sure your scoby keeps getting fed sugar.
  • Use filtered water.  Dad got me a pitcher at Christmas that removes flouride and other things.  I am sure it works with regular water too.

For my latest batch:  TJ’s peach juice in recycled GT’s bottles (too hard to get the labels off).  I used about 2 oz juice per bottle for secondary fermentation

peach kombucha

Lessons learned:

  • Much of the process is trial and error.
  • I didn’t read the caffeine part at first and brewed a ton of decaf sweet tea because that’s what we had on hand.  I let Dan drink all of that himself.
  • Whole fruit doesn’t do much for flavor
  • I like fizz.  For fizz, don’t “burp” your bottles during secondary fermentation.
  • I burped my bottles on the strawberry batch, because I was scared of them exploding.  I didn’t do it on the following batches and they were fine.  You  just need to make sure you are careful when opening and try to wait until they are refrigerated.
  • You move them to the fridge at the end of secondary fermentation.
  • Citrus isn’t great flavor.  I know there are commercial citrus flavors, but I wasn’t a fan of citrus.
  • I tried strawberry puree, whole blackberries, orange slices, and peach juice.   Puree or juice is the way to go.  Remember, most of the sugar gets used.
  • I didn’t consume any for the first 2 weeks after my surgery.  But because I knew the antibiotics likely killed all my good gut bacteria, I started drinking it again last week.  I couldn’t find much research on drinking it after surgery, so I kept away for the 2 weeks, because that’s the timeframe I had to avoid vitamin E, fish oil, and other things that could hinder healing.
  • Winter time it brews slower.  You many have to put it in a weird location or wrap the outside of the jar with a blanket (my first batch was when it was really cold here and my house apparently was chilly to the jar, not to me).
  • That little spigot is great for bottling after primary fermentation.  Just be mindful to move the scoby, so it doesn’t clog the spigot.
  • I put all of my bottles inside a big plastic container during secondary fermentation, just in case one should bubble over or even explode.
  • I set alarms on my phone to check the brew.  If you set it and forget it, not good.
  • I bought a $10 sun tea glass jar and a $20 fancier glass drink dispenser, both from Walmart.  I prefer the sun tea jar.  It took me a while to find a glass one!
  • I put my bottles through the dishwasher and then rinse with vinegar.
  • Batches brewed with my new baby scobies weren’t as good to me.  I think i may try to work on growing them a bit more before brewing with them.

I think I am getting it down 🙂  I have a batch right now that I am going to likely bottle tonight for secondary fermentation.

Recipe review-sweet potato breakfast casserole

Recipe inspired by Cavegirl Cuisine

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage (I used homemade italian)
1 onion, chopped
2T butter, organic and unsalted or coconut oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated (I sliced really thin)
1 parsnip, peeled and grated (skipped this didn’t have one)
6 eggs
1 cup spinach (I added a bag of asparagus stir fry)
8 oz organic whipping cream
1T arrowroot

In a medium skillet, cook the sausage until fully browned.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, mix grated parsnip and sweet pototoes until evenly distributed.

In a greased 8.5 x 11 baking dish, start layering your ingredients.
Layer 1: Half of sweet potato mixture.
Layer 2: All of spinach.
Layer 3: All of sausage.
Layer 4: Remaining sweet potato mixture.

In same skillet, cook onion until translucent. Add butter and arrowroot. Stir. Once butter is melted, add cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes to slightly thicken.

Crack eggs in a bowl. Whisk. Add 1-2 ladles of cream mixture to eggs to temper the eggs (so as to not create scrambled eggs). Pour eggs mixture back into the skillet and stir.

Pour skillet mixture over the top of the layers in your baking dish. Press to edges so it will form a seal when cooking.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the dish to set.

Enjoy!photo 1

*I cut into 6 slices, so I had a piece for Sunday lunch and the rest will be for breakfast for the workweek.  TASTY!photo 2

Next time I will add more sweet potatoes and veggies.  I didn’t feel like grating the sweet potato, so I used the mandoline to slice thin and then baked them while I was prepping the rest (to soften them up a bit before putting everything together).    If I added more veggies, I think it would have made 6 nicer size portions.  They were only about a cup each as I made them.

Could make this vegetarian by skipping the sausage or using crumbles.