Christmas in our family is quite traditional, as far as dinner is concerned. Only one of the recipes in this post are new to us and our table. Even though any of our kids could recite what will be on the table, and who will be preparing it, it just wouldn’t be the same if we switched things up. We talk about it every year, but never do.
For the main courses are ham and turkey. My sister-in-law cooks the ham, and we grill the turkey at our house. I began grilling the turkey several years ago when I ran out of oven room. Grilling the turkey, I have found, yields the most moist white meat of any cooking method. It is very simple, a little butter, salt and pepper on and under the skin along with about 3/4 of an inch of stock in the pan. Covered then slow cooked with only the outside two burners on and in about 3 hours, a beautiful golden brown bird emerges!
For the Cranberry Sauce, I prepared a recipe first used at Thanksgiving. I found the recipe over at Recipe Girl and it is not only easy but blows the canned stuff out of the water. It is also great with a little butter on a biscuit or toast in the morning. I highly encourage trying this recipe.
Now, for the best part. Dessert. I made the Browned Butter Pecan Pie (that I made last month) from Cookie Madness, No Bake PB Oatmeal Cookies from well, anywhere, but I have my own recipe, a great sugar cookie (that I will post later), and our family tradition of “Angel Wings“. The Sour Cream Pound Cake, Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie played an essential part of this holiday meal too. Needless to say, I have a TON of dessert leftover in the freezer.
It was a wonderful holiday but I must say that I am relieved that it is over. The pressure involved in food preparation and making three growing kids happy have worn me out. I am looking forward to having the rest of the week off and doing, well, nothing.
Happy New Year to all!
One of my resolutions for this school year was to spend more time preparing hearty, healthy meals for the family. That’s not to say that hasn’t always been my desire, time however, does not always cooperate. With three kids, sports, home etc… I felt like last school year ended in a flop when it came to a family dinner. Well, so far so good.
To fulfill my resolution I have set out to plan meals out by the week and shop once accordingly. Well tonight was spot on. My plan all day was to prepare the Tilapia I recently purchased, but I couldn’t settle on a final cooking method. My options included doing a foil pack with vegetables cooked on the grill. An oven “fried” prep, or pan seared. I decided on the latter two. I surfed different recipes that included some type of breading, then I combined some of these ideas to make this delicious dish. Everyone spoke very highly of this preparation and I was even asked to put this on a regular rotation. So, here goes:
Encrusted Tilapia with Peach Mango Salsa
6 – 8 Tilapia Filet, or other white fish
3/4 cup seasoned Panko
1/4 cup crushed pretzels*
1/4 cup crushed oatmeal*
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
Old Bay seasoning
Olive oil for pan
Peach Mango Salsa (I bought fresh prepared from local produce dept)
Hot cooked rice
Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry, season with salt and pepper. Combine Panko, pretzels, oatmeal (I used a food processor) and 1 – 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine egg and milk. Preheat large skillet with 2 – 3 tablespoons oil to medium.
Set up a small assembly line beginning with fish, then egg mixture and finally crumb mixture. Dredge fish through egg then into crumbs, thoroughly coating each side of fish. Place in pan and cook until fish is white and flakes easily – about 3 minutes on each side. Serve over rice and top with salsa.
My family, immediate and extended, always seem to enjoy this recipe. It is straight forward, no extra’s, just potatoes, eggs, relish and mayo. Of course you can add onions, celery and other crunchies… but with a family of picky eaters, I still with the “if you like it that way, add it yourself” principle. (Is that harsh?) Oh, and I’m not really sure what southern style really means, but I live in the south, so I’m calling it southern.
Here it is:
Southern Style Potato Salad
- 1 (5 lb.) bag potatoes, russet or Idaho
- 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup light mayonnaise (more to taste and texture)
- 1/4 cup sweet relish (more to taste and texture)
- Salt & Pepper
- Paprika to garnish
Peel and dice potatoes and boil in salted water until fork tender. Remove and drain. *If you like a chunky potato salad, allow potatoes to cool completely. I usually add the other ingredients to warm potatoes. Return potatoes to pot and add other ingredients. Stir lightly until all of the potatoes are covered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, or refrigerate until ready. Garnish with paprika and greens if desired.
Honestly, the amount of mayo and sweet relish are approximate. I add until I reach a smooth texture and to taste. I think the key is having enough to cover all of the potatoes well. And again, I like to prepare it with warm potatoes. Some of the potatoes end up mashing some, adding to the creaminess of the dish. Yum.
A 5 pound bag makes quite a bit, enough for at least 10 servings with leftovers.
I am always leery about serving a “new food” when company comes, but after all of the reviews, I knew I would be safe with this one. I adapted my recipe just slightly from the original recipe at Annie’s Eats (who got it from Elly Says Opa!) using the Bon Appetite recipe for the same dish. Note that my recipe is doubled.
I said all that to say this is an awesome recipe. Easy and easily adapted to your taste. Dessert too was new to us (see next post). It also was really, really good. I had the company fooled into thinking I slaved over this one, but later revealed the truth. Try it, you’ll like it, I promise. My kids kept moaning about how good dessert was.
Chicken Parmesan Burgers
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper
- 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tbsp pasta sauce
- 8 french bread rolls (or hamburger buns)
- Zesty Italian salad dressing
- Additional pasta sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese, sliced (6 – 8) or shredded
- Saute’d mushrooms (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, seasonings and 2 tbsp pasta sauce. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Form into 8 patties (though mine made 9). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat broiler. Broil the burgers for 4 – 6 minutes then flip and broil 4 – 6 mor minutes until cooked through (160 degrees). Remove and top each burger with pasta sauce and cheese. Return to broiler until cheese is melted.
For the buns, brush Italian dressing and toast under broiler until golden. Place burger on bun and serve with additional cheese, sauce and mushrooms if desired.
Notes about the recipe:
- I was concerned about not having the “breading” that goes along with traditional chicken parmesan, however the bread crumbs mixed in with the chicken forms a breading-like texture when broiled. The bread crumbs were already seasoned too, so that added to the wonderful flavor
- I used a jarred Pasta sauce – Classico Traditional Sweet Basil and Tomato
- I used bakery fresh french bread rolls that were the same size as the traditional hamburger bun
- From the Bon Appetit recipe was the idea to add some sauce into the chicken mixture. It was good because there were chunks of tomato intermingled in the burgers.
- The salad dressing brushed on the buns was epic. Ok, exagerrating slightly, but rather than butter slathered all over the buns, they toasted up nicely and had an Italian flare. I used Kraft Light Zesty Italian
Photo Source (Betty Crocker)
I don’t often post about entrée’s here, however I thought this one was worth sharing. For all the health food critics out there, this is not a health food, so I’ll just leave it at that. I do normally strive to provide healthy, nourishing meals to my family, and this one was, as long as you don’t look at the processed side of it!
For dinner tonight I stepped out and tried something a little different. I have always wanted to prepare fish taco’s. I had some Mrs. Paul’s Crunchy Fish Sticks (better than some, still not the most nutritious choice), some 6″ tortillas and some broccoli slaw. I did a little research and found a fish taco recipe at Betty Crocker.com. I made my own version, but used the recipe as my base.
I think this kicker was the slaw. It was quick, easy and very tasty. The original recipe called for cabbage slaw, but I almost always substitute broccoli slaw instead. Here’s what it used:
Mexican Slaw for Fish Tacos
- 1 package broccoli slaw
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk (skim)
- 1/2 package prepared taco seasoning
Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to prepare tacos. *Add milk to desired consistency (mine appeared a little dry).
Truthfully, the list of ingredients aren’t half bad. For the rest of meal, I baked the fish sticks and to prepare the tacos, I warmed the tortillas in an ungreased skillet on medium for about 30 seconds, then folded the sides together to make more of a burrito look.
The tacos went over so well I didn’t even have time to take a photo. The picture above came from the Betty Crocker web site. I definitely will make these again, but will get a picture before they are devoured!
Everyone is about “easy”, especially when it comes to feeding thier family. Tonights dinner was no exception. I was tired and would have been happy making PB&J sandwiches. I was able to get motivated however, and prepared this easy meal that went over quite well.
I recently saw a recipe at on myrecipes for BLT wraps, printed it, and added it to my dinner list. The next day, I came across the same recipe at recipegirl.com. An omen? Probably not, but her “lightened recipe” was more enticing to me, and it will become a regular in our house. This is a simple 5 ingredient recipe that can easily be adapted to include just about any ingredient.
- 1 cup light mayonnaise
- ½ cup dried tomatoes in oil, drained well & chopped
- Eight (10-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 large head iceberg lettuce, chopped (I only used about half)
- 16 bacon slices, cooked & crumbled
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine mayonnaise & tomatoes in a small bowl. Spread evenly over 1 side of each tortilla, leaving a ½ inch border. Sprinkle lettuce & bacon evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roll up tortillas tightly; cut in half diagonally, and secure each half with a pick.
Yield: 16 half-sandwich wraps
Source: Adapted from Southern Living
To go with the wraps, I use a 3 ingredient soup that was also a hit with the family. Even better, my teenage daughter, who has a great dislike for carrots, had no idea they were even in the soup. (That is until she reads this post!) This is a Kraft / Velveeta recipe that is quick and tasty, and gets a serving of vegetables in one bowl. The only thing I added was some bacon that was extra from the wraps and 1 tablespoon of corn starch to thicken the soup. Next time I will use 2 bags of vegetables.
Velvety Vegetable Cheese Soup
from Kraft Food and Family Magazine
- 1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot blend
- 2 cans (14 oz. each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ lb.(12 oz.) VELVEETA (2% Milk) Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut up
Place vegetables and broth in large saucepan; cover. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 min. or until vegetables are tender.
Mash vegetables with potato masher to desired consistency. (I used an immersion blender). Stir in Velveeta; cook 5 min. or until cheese is melted and soup is heated through, stirring frequently. Note: If you want a simple soup recipe, this is it, or, it is a great base for any fabulous soup. Try adding potatoes, corn, other vegetable…the possibilities are endless!
Per serving: 1 Cup – Reduced fat version (From Kraft’s website)
Calories 170, Total fat 6 g, Cholesterol 40 mg, Sodium 1170 mg, Carbohydrate 10 g, Dietary fiber 2 g, Sugars 6 g, Protein 15 g