Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Artichoke Lemon Chicken

Here is a good healthy meal that is really easy to make. The smell is wonderful and is not ingredient intensive. The mushrooms are optional because I cook a lot for a friend who is allergic so I tried with and without the mushrooms. Personally I like it with the mushrooms because I love them but feel free to leave them out.
Artichoke Lemon Chicken
Serves: 6

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup 99% FF Chicken Broth
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1 lemon
(optional: 1 cup sliced mushrooms)

1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat in a stainless steel skillet*. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes total.
2. Add chicken broth & artichokes (and mushrooms) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is almost done, 10 to 15 minutes. Scatter lemon slices over chicken, cover & cook until chicken is done 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken & lemon slices to a platter.
3. Scrape up chicken bits and stir in Parsley into sauce and season with additional salt and pepper if desired . Pour sauce & veggies over chicken and serve.

*Non-Stick Skillets vs. Regular Skillets
 In today's world everyone loves non-stick skillets, they're easy to clean & if you forget to spray them you usually get away with not having the meat stick to the skillet. However, if you're working with a recipe that creates a sauce... Stainless Steel Skillets are the way to go. The bits that burn off make the sauces flavorful and help thicken the sauce. They give body to the food and the chicken or meat browns so much better.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting Debt Free

One of the reasons that got me to start this blog is the want to become debt free. My husband and I took a wonderful class at our church and are currently working on becoming debt free. We took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We have graduated are are continuing on working to become debt free. One of the first things was to stop using credit cards. I haven't used one since the end of February and surprisingly I don't miss it and somehow I feel like we have money! Little things (that are big) have been using the budget and paying down debt with a vengeance. 

I highly recommend taking the class. Here is where you need to go to get to Mr. Ramsey's website. He is running a special for the materials. My husband razzed me about spending $100 on a class to stop spending money but he even agrees it's been one of the best investments we've ever made! I'm looking forward to the day we can yell "WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!" I know it's coming soon and I have the plan laid out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Taco Chili

It got cold in Oklahoma today and I've been sick all weekend. I meant to make just regular taco meat for my taco salad but it came out soupy today. Guess my inner chef told me to make it like a chili, cause that's what I turned up with today and it turned out pretty good. I'm now really trying to lose weight so recipes will probably follow a bit of that but even if you're not on a diet this turned out good (and feel free to substitute beef for the ground turkey). This is also for a big batch (we had been to Sam's and got the ground turkey there).

Taco Chili (serves: 8-10)

2 lbs Lean Ground Turkey (or Lean Ground Beef)
2 packages of Taco Seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can Diced Tomatoes w/ Chilis (we did the Hot but it does make it really spicy feel free to use original or mild) I.E. Rotel Hot
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
 1 1/4 cup water (or more if you want it a bit soupier)

Brown ground turkey. Drain.
Add water and seasonings and stir til seasoning covers the turkey. Bring to a boil.
Add both cans of tomatoes. Simmer until heated through.

It's that easy!
I still made mine on a salad and topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms on a bed of lettuce and some salsa and additional jalapenos.
Eat as a soup and top with cheese and sour cream
My husband used a slotted spoon so the liquid drained and still made tacos with his.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giant Garage Sale - Surrey Hills

 It's that time of year again! The Annual Surrey Hills Neighborhood Garage Sale is THIS WEEKEND! You can always get great bargains and deals all in the same neighborhood. This year they're adding food trucks (Big Truck Tacos will be there!) on Saturday at the Baptist Church and the church will have some sales going on too. This is typically a pretty big event and this year seems like it's going to be pretty large.
You better bring a truck!

Surrey Hills is West of Yukon (East of Piedmont) and is off NW Expressway.  Here's  the map. This takes you to the Country Club.

For more information make sure you check out their facebook page.

Do you know of other neighborhood garage sales? Please let me know and I'll share them! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears... Oh My!

Gas prices are really starting to irk me (as well as many people) and there's more and more buzz about "stay"-cations and what do to around your own state. My family's favorite place is the Oklahoma City Zoo. If you have not been to the Oklahoma City Zoo recently, it is a must for nice quick and day trips! I absolutely love the zoo. If you think you will go more than a few times a year, I recommend paying for a membership. There are different levels and you can save a lot of money by paying in advance if you plan on going multiple times throughout the year.
Little man running off to play at Children's Zoo in the Oklahoma City Zoo.
My husband and I picked up the $45 pass* and we both get in unlimited days for a full year and many discounts and member only events (we got to preview the new elephant habitat at a special day and time) and it's tax deductible. Our son is free since he is under 3 years old. If you think about it it would cost us $16* a trip for regular admission so after 3 trips the pass is paid for! Even better, if my husband can't go I can take a friend and they still get in free (yay!). I won't tell you how many times (it's been more than 3) since I've been since I purchased mine in January... but I tell you, my son loves going too and we have fun every time.
Frugal Tips for a Zoo Trip:
  • Worried about concessions? You can pack a cooler and take it with you and have a picnic at the zoo. They do have storage at the zoo if you wish to take it in with you, but you can leave it in your car too if you wish.
  • Don't want to lug around your own drinks from home? I'd recommend purchasing the reusable souvenir cup.  Refills are 50 cents* and you can bring the zoo cup (has a easy lid & straw to help prevent spills) with you each trip to keep getting those 50 cent refills.
  • If you do not have a membership the zoo has specials throughout the year like free days during the week, these are usually during non-peak months. Check out their calendar for different discounts, events.

*prices may change after date of blog posting. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Tenderloin & Sriracha Sauce

Here's a fun twist you can give your plain old fashion pork roast. No offense to a traditional roast, I love a good roast, but sometimes you just have to change it up a bit. You can use a pork loin roast with this recipe. I prefer the tenderloins which typically are more expensive. I just wait until a good sale and pick up a couple to freeze and you can find coupons for them too. What I love about this is you can adjust the heat to whatever your preference. My husband and I love really spicy food so we tend to go a little overboard. But in the recipe I think it's pretty toned down so feel free to add a little more Sriracha sauce or less if you prefer.

What is Sriracha Sauce?
Sriracha sauce is a hot chili sauce. It is made from sun ripened chilies that are ground into a smooth paste with garlic. It's found in the Asian food aisle in most supermarkets and grocery stores and you can find it in an Asian market. It is a hot sauce and is pretty potent so unless you are familiar don't go crazy or you'll burn your face off!
Sriracha Sauce
Like most people I prefer the Huy Fong brand. It's the one with the rooster on it.

Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Tenderloin

What you need:
(1) approx. 22 oz. Pork Centercut Tenderloin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup Apricot Preserves
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

combine 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 3/4 tsp garlic powder and  tsp oregano and rub on pork tenderloin. Put pork on rack in a roasting pan.

Bake 20 minutes.

While pork is cooking mix together the apricot preserves and the last 5 ingredients. Wisk until worked together. Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture and set aside.

Spread half the remaining mixture over pork cook 10 minutes.

Spread the second half over pork and cook an additional 10 minutes or until pork is cooked to 155 degrees.
(WHY not the recommended 160?? during rest the pork will raise an additional 5 degrees to get it to a perfect 160 degrees).

Let rest approx. 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy using the reserved mixture for extra sauce after pork is sliced.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Precooked Chicken

I love precooked chicken. It's quick, it's easy and in a pinch I can just throw it in a recipe for a quick dinner. Many chicken recipes that are considered "Quick & Easy" or 15-minutes or less call for precooked chicken. Many times it is easy to run to the grocery store and pick up refrigerated precooked chicken or to grab a rotisserie chicken. However, with a little early planning and really not a lot of work you can have precooked chicken for a multitude of recipes in your freezer in no time.
I like to purchase my chicken in the large family packs. I typically only eat boneless, skinless chicken breast, but you can do this with boneless, skinless thighs. I like how the chicken breast shreds for sandwiches and again it's healthy and easy.

Precooked Chicken
Items you need:

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (however much you bought or would like to cook)
Pot (Large enough to hold the chicken and water)


1. Place chicken in pot and fill with water til chicken is covered.
2. Put pot on stove and bring to a simmer. (you can do this on high until simmering and bring it down to medium-low)
3. Simmer Chicken for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
4. Drain out water.
Note: Do NOT boil the chicken and do not cover the pot, it will create too much heat and will bring water to a boil.

Now the chicken is ready to be used in a recipe OR wait until cooled down and put in an air tight freezer bag and place into freezer until you are ready to use it. I typically freeze about 3 pieces per bag because that is how much we usually need for a recipe.

One of my all time favorite recipes using precooked chicken:

Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Servings: 6
What food you'll need:
1 (10 ounce) bag of shredded coleslaw
1/3 cup coleslaw dressing
3 cups shredded precooked chicken
1/3 cup Honey Barbecue sauce (I prefer Kraft Honey Barbecue Sauce) 
6 Hamburger Buns

1. In a large bowl toss coleslaw and dressing together and let sit 10 minutes
2. While coleslaw is sitting mix the chicken and barbecue sauce together and divide evenly among 6 of the bottom half of hamburger buns.
3. Top chicken with coleslaw mixture and then top with the top half hamburger buns.

Note: Do not toss coleslaw and dressing too early or the coleslaw will get soggy making the sandwich lose much of the crunch that helps make this sandwich delicious.

Enjoy! These are a huge hit for picnics, tail-gates and quick & easy dinners at home!