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An amazing appetizer dinner! I'll post the full recipes tomorrow, for now, I hear my pillow calling my name.

Grilled Chicken Panini w/ Asparagus

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This was a thrown together meal. The Hubs wanted panini's and I didn't have any bread in the house, so he lucked out and got spoiled. I rarely eat white bread, but they had cute single serve breads at QFC in the deli.

Diced chicken breast, reheated. Origionally, pan grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pesto spread
Canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Crumbled bacon
Provolone cheese

Grilled to perfection on my Cuisinart Griddler.

Asparagus tossed in olive oil and pepper cooked in the oven on 350 for approx 20 minutes. Topped with diced tomatoes and feta cheese.

This is my new favorite way to make asparagus.

Amazing French Dips

I love French Dips. I use to make ghetto french dips in college, which consisted of roast beef thrown in a pan, seasoned with anything I could find and served with grocery store pre-made au jus. I'm sad to admit, I called that cooking, and even served it to the Hubs on more than one occasion.

I found a little bar in my new town, that has amazing french dips. After a few trips, I realized I didn't need to be in there a few times a week, eating a giant french dip, with greasy fries and washing it down with a cold one, so I set out to find something I could "downsize" at home.

My new favorite is a spin off of this recipe:
Rachael Ray Food Network

My recipe is for 2 servings.

1 Tbsp butter
1/2 shallot finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
1oz red wine
3/4 to 1 can of beef broth
1/2 pounds deli sliced roast beef
Salt and pepper to taste
2 sub style deli sandwich rolls, split
Cheese and/or horseradish sauce to taste

Melt butter in a shallow skillet. Once butter melts, add shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add flour to pan and cook a for one minute. Whisk in red wine and cook liquid out. Whisk in beef broth. Bring sauce to a bubble and simmer over low heat until ready to serve sandwiches.

Chop/Dice meat to desired size. Season with salt and pepper. Using a pair of tongs or a long serving fork, dip meet into sauce and pile directly onto sandwich roll. Add cheese and/or horseradish sauce if desired. Serve additioanl sauce in a small bowl or ramekin.

Personal changes: I bought the rarest roast beef I could get my hands on. I was afraid the meat would cook too quickly even with just dipping it in the sauce. I added my meat to the sauce for 3 minutes and it came out still slightly pink in the middle, which is how I prefer roast beef. I also toasted my roll with a little butter prior to piling on the meat.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

First of all, I want to know why it's taken me nearly 28 years of my life to find this recipe. We love making tacos, burritos, fajitas, etc., but after a long day of work or school they always seemed to be a lot of work.

Not anymore...

Salsa Chicken
Adapted from With a Cherry on Top

3 Lg. Chicken Breasts
1- 10 3/4oz. can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1- 16oz. jar Salsa
Taco Seasoning ( I used Fajita Seasoning)

Place the chicken in a large crock pot. Sprinkle Taco Seasoning over chicken. In a large bowl mix together the salsa and cheese soup.

Cook on low for approx 8 hours. Original recipe calls for shredding the chicken when it's done. As I was mixing mine throughout the day my chicken was falling apart on it's own. After shredding any remaining large pieces, serve immediately.

You could always eat the chicken breast whole, if you plan to do so, I would reduce cooking time to 4-5 hours. It was about that time point that my chicken started shredding when stirring.

We used it in burrito's this time. It was amazing. Added a little sour cream, refried beans and cheese to a shell and topped with the chicken mixture.

Yield: 3-4 large servings

Chicken Tikka Masala

I've been cooking this almost weekly for nearly two years. It's a favorite of the Hubs and during the winter it's so delicious and warm and during the summer, it's great to sit outside and relax while it's cooking on the grill.

Adapted from Allrecipes
(I removed ALL the of the salt from the original recipe. There was so much it could have given a healthy person a heart attack.)

Chicken Marinade
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

Sauce Repipe**
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. (We usually make a day in advance and throw it in the fridge to really let all the flavors soak in.)

Preheat a grill for high heat. We use a countertop Cuisinart Griller (Use to use a George Forman.)

Thread chicken onto skewers. Place skewers on grill and baste with a little extra marinadte. Grill until juices run clear, 5-7 minutes on each side. If you don't want them super crispy/grilled turn often.

For the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of each cumin and paprika. Stir in tomato sauce. Add cream and mix thoroughly. Once mixed simmer on medium heat until sauce thickents. Add grilled chicken, and simmer. We usually simmer for at least 20-30 minutes to allow all the flavors to develope. Serve over Rice. (The hubs prefers Jasmine rice, I prefer brown rice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

**We usually double the sauce recipe. The hubs loves the sauce and thought there wasn't quite enough with the usual recipe.

3-4 Servings depending on who's eating it and how much!

What's for Dinner?

This question is constantly asked in my house! It appears the Hubs has been enjoying some of the recipes I've tried lately. Since being at home full time, I've found myself bored, scouring food websites looking for new ideas for dinner.

Here's this weeks plan (yes, I'm posting it a few days late, but better late than never.)Recipes and reviews will come as the week progresses.

Sunday - Chicken Tikka Masala
Monday - Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Tuesday - Fried Tilapia and homemade red potato fries (Fish and Chips)
Wednesday - Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (A spin-off of BBQ Pulled Pork)
Thursday - Chicken Fried Steak with baked Asparagus
Friday - Free night. We'll see if we're in the mood for staying in or heading out.

Home Sweet Home

We're under contract for this beauty right now.

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I am so ready to have a house of our own again. I hate renting. We knew we'd be renting until our condo sold in Alaska and that finally happend in February. Since I knew we'd be renting and moving again shortly, I didn't unpack much, so I can't wait to move and have ALL my stuff again!

Here's a few more pictures. It's staged right now for the sale, but you get the picture. I'll update the photos when we move in!

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Oh Ham and Cheese Frittata..where have you been my whole life?

I love Mimosa Sunday's! But since drinking on an empty stomach is always a bad idea, I like to make a big breakfast to go with them!

I decided to try a Ham, Potato and Cheese Frittata this morning because I wanted a reason to use my cast iron skillet.

I looked over a bunch of recipes and came up with the following:

2Tbsp Vegetable oil
1c diced potato
3/4c chopped red onion
Approx. 1c diced ham (I chopped up sandwich meat)
6 Eggs
1/2c Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2c shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)

Pre-heat oven to 450

Heat 2Tbsp of Vegetable oil in skillet

Add potatoes to skillet and fry (3-5 minutes), until brown

In a bowl mix eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once potatoes are browned, add onion and cook 1-2 minutes. Add ham and continue to cook for a few minutes, making sure to mix the potatoes, onion and ham together.

Add egg mixture and let cook for approx. 5 minutes, or until the edges of egg mixture begin to set.

Transfer skillet to the oven and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until middle of the eggs have set.

Sprinkle cheese on top and continue to cook 1-2 minutes until cheese melts.

Serve and Enjoy!

Steak and Potato = The way to Hubs heart

The Hubs has been out of town on business all week and though they usually eat (and drink) like kings, he loves a nice homecooked meal when he gets home.

I cooked the most amazing filet mignon in my cast iron skillet while he was gone. Even though I had just ate this exact meal 3 days earlier, I didn't hesitate to make it again.

Filet Mignon
Rub both sides of the filet down with olive oil and rub in seasonings of your choice. I have a jar or specialty steak seasoning that I use.

Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat.

Pre-heat oven to 425.

Once the cast iron skillet is warmed up, sear filet for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. After both sides are seared put cast iron skillet in pre-heated oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. (8 minutes made my filets perfectly, medium rare.)

A Potato Dish for Julia
I found this recipe while searching around for recipes for meals for one. When Hubs is out of town, I hate cooking for myself and having a ton of leftovers I'll never eat.

Copied from : http://www.oprah.com/food/A-Potato-Dish-for-Julia-Child
2 new potatoes (about 6 ounces)
1 small clove garlic
4 tsp. butter
Freshly ground pepper

Peel potatoes, and slice them very thin. Peel and mince garlic, then mash it, along with a generous pinch of salt, with the flat side of a large knife until it is a paste. Work about 1/2 teaspoon butter into it.

Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a small pan over medium-low heat; lay in half of potato slices, overlapping slightly, to fill the bottom. Lightly salt and pepper, and smear garlic paste on top. Add rest of potatoes to make a second layer, again overlapping.

Cook, setting a small cover askew on top of pan. After about 8 minutes, turn potatoes, which should be brown on the bottom, by setting a sturdy plate on top of pan and flipping them over onto it. Heat rest of butter in pan, then slide potatoes back in and arrange them as neatly as you can. Cook semicovered for 5 minutes, and uncovered for a couple more minutes, at which point they should be done and browned, both top and bottom. Slide them onto a plate; season with salt and pepper.

These were a huge hit with the Hubs. I'm sure they'll make an appearance for dinner again in the near future. I wasn't able to flip them out of the pan as the recipe called for, so I just used a large spatula to flip them over. I also don't own a 4 1/2" skillet of any kind, so I used one of my 6" skillets, I couldn't use the cast iron one because it was pre-occupied cooking my fabulous filet.