Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grilled butterflied Pork loin with green beans

Grilled butterflied Pork loin with green beans 

Our family traditionally shops at Walmart (it is less than a mile from our house) and I have nothing against shopping at Walmart. For the most part the food is fine and fresh enough. I still don't buy into the current Walmart marketing with the people being blown away about how fresh and good the produce/meat is. 
Anyways, I stopped at Payless Supermarket, Kroger, and it was remodeled last year and their fruit and meat department is amazing! I picked out some organic green beans for a side, but I wasn't sure what to pair it with. While I was walking past the meat department, I see the pork. The butcher was behind the counter and I have him give me three of the butterflied pork loin.
The directions for how I prepared the pork is below with the "steps" I used. The green beans were roasted in the oven and covered in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Also I put some frozen tater tots that were in the back of my freezer in the oven. 
This meal was very good. The girls enjoyed the pork, the green beans, not so much. I thought the green beans had a nice garlicy taste to them. I should have finished them on the grill to crisp them up a little.

Grade: A-

 Step One: buy three beautiful butterflied pork loins.

 Step two: Add marinade:

Ingredients in the marinade: olive oil,Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper 

 Step three: Take it off the grill.

Anna, eating away!

Sarah enjoying her chicken, pork, meat, whatever!

The goofball that is Emily.

Lucy dipping her pork in what else, mustard.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Banana bread with blueberries

Banana Bread with Blueberries

The banana/blueberry bread was very good. I, and my family, enjoy banana bread and blueberries, so I knew it would be a hit. I highly recommend this bread!
Grade: A+
I found this recipe through Pinterest when I did a search for blueberry recipes. I have a bunch of blueberries and I decided to look for ideas. The recipe and directions were taken from http://recipenewz.com/recipe/Banana-bread-with-blueberries-201304160109/
Total time: 1 hour
Adapted from Simply Recipes.
  • ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  Pinch of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
1) Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2) In a large bowl, mix mashed bananas, Greek yogurt and melted butter, using wooden fork or spoon. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix just enough to blend the ingredients; do not over-mix, the lumps will work themselves out.
3) Add chopped walnuts and whole blueberries to the batter and mix them in to distribute evenly through the batter.
4) Butter a 4×8 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper too. Pour the batter in the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
Note: lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper ensures that the bottom of the bread will not get stuck.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fettuccine Alfredo with Veggies

This recipe was the second one I tried from the 365 days of 30 minute meals. I substituted zucchini in for the asparagus and did not include any brussels sprouts like the original recipe called for. If I were to make this again I would add a little more milk because there was not enough Alfredo sauce to cover all of the pasta. Over all, I would say this was an easy meal to make, but the girls did not like it.

Grade: C+

8 oz dried fettuccine
1/2 cup dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
4 Tbs of butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 zucchini
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding dried tomatoes for the last 2 minutes of cooking; drain. Return to saucepan; keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1 Tbs of the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and broccoli florets. Cook about 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Remove vegetables from skillet; set aside.
3. In the same skillet heat remaining 3 Tbs butter over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/4 cups milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Gently stir in cooked pasta and vegetables. If necessary, stir in additional milk to reach desired consistency. Sprinkle with lemon peel and additional Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie (30 minute)

     I bought myself a new cookbook with a gift card I got from my parents for Christmas. I was going to get a fancy cookbook, but when I looked through it I could not imagine anyone besides myself eating anything from it, so I decided on Better Homes and Gardens: 365 30-minute meals. Of course it is my goal to try all meals in 2013, but we all know that has about as much chance of happening as the congress unanimously voting on any bill!
     Emily was having a rough day, so I had her look through the cookbook with me and she got to pick out the dinner. After what felt like the 100th instant NO!, she finally picked out the chicken pot pie (I think she heard pie and she thought that was going to be great). And yes you read that correctly- a 30-minute chicken pot pie.
     For the amount of time, it tasted not too bad. I would rather take the time to make an actual pot pie than this shortcut version, but it could be worse. Lucy and Sarah liked it, but Emily and Anna had to have the threat in not having the "brownie-type" dessert to finish their small portion.

Grade: B-

1/2 of a 15-oz package (1 crust) rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust
1 10.75 oz can condensed cream of onion soup
2 cups low fat milk
1 8-oz package reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup water
1 tsp dried sage, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 16-oz package frozen vegetables
1 cup instant white rice

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let pie crust stand at room temperature for 15 minutes as directed on package. Unroll pie crust onto a large baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut pie crust into strips 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Separate strips slightly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.

2) Meanwhile, for filling, in a 4-qt Dutch oven combine soup, milk, cream cheese, the water, sage, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until cream cheese melts. Stir in chicken, vegetables, and rice. Bring to boiling, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables and rice are tender, stirring occasionally.

3)Transfer filling to a serving dish. Top with pastry strips.

Just like everything else Anna does, she is trying to talk her way out of doing something. 
Emily is not enjoying the dinner she picked out to make!

Not a good  picture, but Lucy did the best!
Sarah ate it better the second night!

Pumpkin Spice Bread

     Well, at the start of Thanksgiving season I was sure I was going to make a lot of Pumpkin things. As it would turn out, I would only end up making two pumpkin rolls and had plenty of canned pumpkin left over in my pantry. I knew I could make pumpkin bread, but I wanted to see if there was any other breads to make with the pumpkin I had. While looking through the Taste of Home's Baking Book, I stumbled on the Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe. I had made it in the past and remembered how much not only myself, but other people enjoyed it.
     I would highly recommend making this quick bread. There are a decent amount of ingredients involved in making the bread, but it is worth it. Also, this makes enough batter for two loaves of bread, so it is well worth the time. One for our house and one for a friends.

Grade: A

3 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
3-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 c water

1) In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves and allspice; add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
2) Pour into two greased 9-in x 5-in x 3-in loaf pans Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pancake mix

I do not like making pancakes from the pancake mix box. Jen likes it because it's quick and easy but I am not big fan because making pancakes from scratch there so much more flavor than from the box. I was making a breakfast dinner for the girls tonight and I would not in the mood to make pancakes and scratch so I decided to pull the good old box of pancake mix out. Instead of just using the 2 cups mix and 1 1/3 cups water I also added a teaspoon coconut extract and a tablespoon of sugar into the mix. I did not have vanilla or almond extract so the closest extract I had was coconut and it turned out not to be that bad at all. So the next time you do not feel like making pancakes from scratch and you have the box of Mrs. Butterworth's pancake mix Sitting on the shelf I would recommend adding a little sugar and your favorite kind of extract to the mix and your pancakes will turn out better than you expect.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Record Breaking Heat=Grilling

The Hall's Grilling Meal

Today's high is 107 degrees in Lafayette, so the last thing I am thinking about doing is heating up the house by turning on the oven or even the stove top. Yesterday's high was about the same, so I picked up pizza, again to ward off turning on the oven. Unlike some of my friends and their family, my family cannot eat consecutive nights of pizza anymore. I wish it would be that easy, but my girls enjoy whining and more pizza would give them an excuse to whine. So grilling it is!
I bought some sweet corn from a local farmer and had half of the cobs a couple of nights earlier. I do not like wasting anything, but especially not fresh sweet corn. so I knew I would be grilling the sweet corn to go along with the meal. I was looking for some ideas and did a google search for some grilling ideas and grilled asparagus came up. My wife and I both love asparagus so I figure, why not and added that to the meal. Jen mentioned grilled chicken as she was thinking about things to eat so I clicked on the grilled chicken breast link and it brought me to a recipe through allrecipes.com. it is titled Jenny's Grilled Chicken Breasts. I quickly read through the ingredients and directions and the only thing I needed to buy was the chicken, so I added this chicken dish to the meal and the main course was complete. Now what about dessert???? Grilled peaches will go great with the main dish, so the grilling meal was set and now it is time to brave the heat and start up the grill!

That was the best meal I have made/ate in quite a while! The chicken was most and the lemon flavor did not overpower the chicken. I was a little apprehensive about making the lemon chicken because I find the lemon takes over the dish, but the lemon was a nice backdrop to the chicken. I am assuming because you just dip the chicken in the lemon juice and you do not let it soak causes the lemon not to take over. The sweet corn was as good as it always is fresh out of the field. Also, I forgot how much I like grilled asparagus over the standard boil. The sea salt I used really brought out the flavoring of the asparagus.

The topper to the meal was the grilled peaches. I have made grilled peaches before, but I usually just split them in half and put it on the grill. The way I did it tonight, with adding the brown sugar and Cinnamon, made it that much better.

Grades are an A+ all around
(sorry that the pictures do not look that great because our camera is out of town.)

Jenny's Grilled Chicken Breasts

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • seasoning salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.
  2. Dip chicken in lemon juice, and sprinkle with the onion powder, ground black pepper, seasoning salt and parsley. Discard any remaining lemon juice.
  3. Cook on the prepared grill 10 to 15 minutes per side, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.

Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob

  • corn still in the husk
  1. Soak the corn in water for about 30 minutes before placing on the grill.
  2. Preheat the grill to high, then turn down to medium. Place the corn over the preheated grill.
  3. The amount of time will very, but I turn it ever 10 minutes to make sure it is heating evenly on all sides. I open one husk up to test for doneness. If it still needs more time, simply place the husk back up and continue grilling. Do not worry if the outside looks chard, the corn will still taste great.
  4. After the corn is done, take it off of the grill. When you take the husk off of the corn, you will notice everything comes off much easier then when you take the husk off before it is cooked.

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 pound asparagus (estimate 1/4 pound per person), thick spears
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat your grill for high, direct heat.

  2. Prepare the asparagus by breaking or cutting off any tough bottom ends (can save for stock, or discard). Place the asparagus in a pan (to contain the spears while you put them on and take them off the grill). Coat them with olive oil and sprinkle salt over them.

  3. Grill the asparagus spears for 5-10 minutes, until nicely charred and just fork tender, turning them every few minutes so that they brown relatively evenly.

    Remove from grill and serve.

Grilled Peaches


  • 2 Tbsp Sucanat or Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 4 Fresh Peaches, washed
  • Grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  1. Slice peaches in half and remove the pit.
  2. Brush all sides of the peaches with the oil and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add the sugar mixture to the peaches and gently toss until peaches are coated.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for 20-60 minutes.
  6. Cook cut side down on a hot grill for 5 minutes or until the peach has pretty grill marks.
  7. Turn the peaches over and grill on medium high for 10-15 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Top with more sugar and cinnamon if desired.

Anna ate and ate..... her chicken!

Emily looked a little surprised with having her picture taken

I think Lucy looks a little like Lucifer in this picture.

Sarah trying to cram the entire piece of chicken into her mouth at once.