Back in the lab again
FoodGawker has got to be one of the most amazing sites I've ever seen. I mean, its like a cookbook that's been tested and rated hundreds of thousands of times!

Anyway, this recipe actually needed some prep work in advance...but I can attest to it's greatness (so can the other 5 that came by last night).

In a freezer bag, add the following:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 chicken breasts

Set it (overnight) and forget it
Once everything's in the bag, give it a good shake and put it in the fridge overnight to marinate.

--The next day--

Preheat your oven to 350, then toss those savory pieces of poultry in the oven in an ungreased pan, covered with foil. Bake for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the foil and use some of the remaining marinade sauce to re-baste (I didn't do this...should've...but hey we live and we learn right?).  Assuming you take my advice, cook for another 10-15 minutes and you're golden.

Serve up with some steamed green beans and mashed potatoes for a well-rounded, easy to make chicken recipe that's sure to have your friends asking "when are you cooking again?!" Props to Kelly and her food blog for this one!

I got a suggestion from my roommate that I need to try somethin' crazy soon. Leave me some tips in the comments...and lets get wild!

Way too hungry to 'plate' it...who cares it was bomb
Cheap and delicious
Company was coming over expecting dinner, but what to make with leftover chicken breasts?! Doing a quick search on allrecipes.com and was almost disappointed until kitchen staple Campbell soup came to save the day. What's on the menu? Pan fried chicken breast, rotini pasta w/ chicken mushroom sauce, and garlic bread. Running short on time, I didn't really put in the effort to make the bread, though its super easy and delicious (props to my mom for showing me how to make it happen). The $2 store bought stuff is just as easy to prep, and also delicious (I mean...its prepared for you, just throw it in the oven for God sakes and your good - IMPOSSIBLE TO SCREW UP!).

The Run Down:
1 box rotini pasta
1 can of your favorite cream of whatever campbells soup
4x chicken breast
3 large carrots
1 red pepper
1 bag of pre-prepped garlic bread

Quick and easy, perfect for cooking on the go
In one pan, heat skillet until hot. Add cleaned and thawed chicken breasts, cook evenly (flip regularly to avoid burning). Season with pepper and parsley if desired.

Boil 4 quarts water, throw in the pasta for 10 minutes or until tender
--While the pasta water is boiling, throw your bread in the oven per instructions (usually bake for 10-15 minutes at 350).
Drain pasta, rinse with hot water.
Add 1 can of cream of chicken and mushroom (or whatever you choose) and 1/2 cup milk (for creaminess)
Stir well until pasta is well covered

While your pasta is boiling, skin and chop carrots into small pieces, discarding ends
Clean pepper of seeds and also chop into small pieces
Heat skillet until hot, add 1 tbsp. vegetable oil.
Add chopped veggies (which you can also choose on your own) and pan fry for ~10 minutes. Add to pasta.

Timing is everything, as no one wants cold food. Enjoy yourselves...and look around. New stuff may have been staring you in the face the whole time (how many times have you passed campbells soup and never considered using it as sauce?). Leave me ideas in the comments, and munch on!

That's a lot of potato
Back in the lab again. Tonight we've got Oven Fried Chicken, Dirty Mashed Potatoes, and steamed green beans. The Oven Fried Chicken recipe (serves 3):

-Trim the fat off the chicken breasts and wash.
-Hammer the breasts until they are flat to allow even cooking
-In a freezer bag, mix the following ingredients:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8-10 grinds of pepper

Once mixed evenly, add the chicken pieces to the bag and let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, evenly mix the following ingredients in another freezer bag to coat the chicken:
1 cup of dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsely
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10-15 grinds of pepper
1 teaspoon California chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

After 20 minutes in the fridge, toss the pieces into the spiced breading bag and shake. Shake n' bake baby.
--If you have time, refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes to really get the coating to stick--
Heat oven to 400 degrees, and splash some olive oil  (drizzle it down the middle) on each side. Insert pieces for 25-30 minutes on a baking sheet w/wax sheet over it (allows for turning w/o sticking)
-After 15 minutes, flip pieces.

Something about steam makes you hungry
Get one of your 5 daily servings of veggies with some steamed green beans. (steam for ~10 minutes or until desired crispiness). If you want some awesome mashed potatoes that my mom used to make in the kitchen, follow this:

Cube and wash 6 medium russet potatoes
Boil for 30-45 minutes or until fork soft, drain
Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 stick of butter, 1 cup sour cream, and 3/4 cup shredded cheese. If desired, add garlic powder to taste for garlic mashed.
Blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Serve...

Yeah buddy, give it some worcester sauce and your set.
Wah lah. For those of you wondering, I had never tried this recipe nor the concept of shaking and baking before. And to the satisfaction of myself and my roommates, pretty tasty. Looking forward to something new tomorrow, but if you have some ideas feel free to leave 'em in the comments.

Throwin' Down in the Kitchen
After a long and stressful week of studying for my riverdance and rhythm class, I decided to try an array of new recipes to satisfy my taste-buds. In my best Bobby Flay rendition, I bring to you home made mac-n-cheese, crash hot potatoes, and frozen banana bites for dessert. Needless to say, you NEED to try some if not all of these.

I should first note that these recipes were all gathered online through various blogs and foodie sites that also share the passion for making delicious food on the cheap (props to (Never Home)maker, For the Love of Cooking, and evil shenanigans for the recipes). Being a college student, funds are limited...but who said we couldn't make tasty morsels for a small party for under $15? Lets get started...

-note: these recipes are copied verbatim, for convenience / accuracy purposes. All credit to the respective sites above- 

Sou Chef 'Coco' Crisp doin' work on the bananas
Ultra-creamy stove-top mac-n-cheese
(serves 6):

16oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
2 tablespoons butter
12 oz evaporated milk
12 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper

  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
  2. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

If you're opting for some side taters, you should start boiling them before starting the pasta ^^ so everything is timed nicely =)

Bite size explosions of awesome
Crash Hot Potatoes (serves 6):

  • 12-15 baby red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees 
  2. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Place the potatoes on a cooking sheet coated w/ drizzled with olive oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and with a potato masher, gently smash each potato. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and peppers (add a bit of your favorite dry herbs if you like).
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Eat plain or top with a little sour cream and green onions, whatever you do - Enjoy!

Well worth the wait!
Got room for dessert? Don't fret, this last bit won't destroy the waistline, but they won't last long once you've made them. Fair warning given, here it is:

Frozen Banana Bites (Serves....a few):
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes (or nuts, in my case)
  1. Set out a large plate or bowl with a piece of parchment or wax paper on it.
  2. Cut up the bananas into good-sized chunks. Each banana should give you around 8 to 10 pieces.
  3. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about a minute. Then stir until smooth.
  4. Dip the banana pieces in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Lay them out leaving some space between them on the parchment/wax paper. Then when you've "covered" them all, use the remaining mixture to spoon over the tops (for even more chocolate-y goodness).
  5. Then sprinkle the unsweetened coconut flakes  (or nuts) on top. Transfer to the freezer for about an hour until hardened.
  6. You can enjoy them like this (but they really aren't frozen yet -- and when they're frozen, the banana tastes like vanilla ice cream)

Bananas aren't just for monkeys
There you have it folks, bite size dessert that will surely keep your munchies at bay in delicious fashion. The toughest part about making these was keeping my paws (and everyone else's) off of these until they were frozen! If you've got 5 minutes and some basic ingredients, you've got money in the bank...

Now that you've got dinner in your belly and dessert in the freezer (if it's lasted that long anyway), I called it a night with a new movie starring Jesse Eisenberg (also star of "The Social Network"). Eisenberg plays the role of Sam Gold, a Rabbi in training in a heavily Jewish community.

Regardless of his religious studies, making money was always on Sam's mind. A solution to his financial woes arrives when his cousin Yosef (Justin Bartha) shows up with a proposition to import European "medicine" to the US. Little does Sam know that he's actually transporting millions of dollars worth of precious narcotics across international boundaries. Experiencing a new side of life, Sam sees the highs and lows to dealing ecstasy in NYC. Based on a true story, take 90 minutes out of your day and enjoy this gripping drama.

Dinner + Dessert + Movie. Good Thursday. Stay posted  for my new experiences on Friday!