Baked Chicken and Rice

INGREDIENTS

1 package of fresh chicken thighs (I use a 10 pack with skin on)

1 large onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1/2 stick butter

4 c instant rice

1-32 oz chicken broth

3-10.5 oz cans cream of mushroom soup

CHICKEN RUB

3 tsp paprika powder

4 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp salt

black pepper

olive oil in a spray bottle

foil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Saute onions, garlic and butter in little fry pan and set aside. Meanwhile, mix the chicken rub together. Rinse chicken thighs with water and sprinkle rub on both sides of the chicken. I buy non-latex rubber gloves to apply, so I don’t have to touch the raw meat. In 9×13 baking dish or an oven roasting pan, spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the pan, Add the 4 cups of rice on top, mix in the cream of mushroom soups in and add the chicken broth. Place the seasoned chicken thighs on the rice. Bake for 1 hour covered in foil and then take off foil and spray olive oil over the chicken skin and turn up heat to 400 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. Check the chicken to make sure its completely runs clear juice. If not put in oven for another 10 minutes. the skin should crisp up. Enjoy!

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

These are the perfect fudgy frosted brownie, they aren’t the least bit cakey or dry. So lets go through what makes them so delicious. First, its the cocoa and lots of butter, plus the extra egg yolk and the brown sugar to add more moisture, and finally a little corn syrup to give it a chew factor.

Prep time: 30 mins Cook time; 30 mins Yields 16

INGREDIENTS

For the Brownies:

10 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 stick plus 2 extra tablespoons

1 Tbsp corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, swifted

2 large eggs -room temperature

1 large egg yolk-room temperature

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 c lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 flour

1/4 tsp salt

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/3 c butter-softened to room temperature

1/3 c cream cheese-softened to room temperature

1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 c confectioner powdered sugar-sifted

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line an 8×8 in square baking dish with aluminium foil leaving an overhang on each side and spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray. You can also use parchment paper, but do not spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In large microwave bowl, melt the butter in short bursts. Once melted, stir in the corn syrup using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla and cocoa and if there are clumps of cocoa, whisk the mixture until smooth. Then add in eggs, egg yolk and sugars and whisk until combined. Be careful not to over whisk the batter, otherwise the batter will become more like a cake. Finally fold in the flour and salt using your large wooden spoon or spatula.
  3. Pour the batter into your 8×8 pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes. The top of the batter should look set, but you won’t need to bake past this point. I usually start to check around the 27 minute. Remove brownies from the oven and allow to cool in their pan at room temperature.
  4. Once the brownies are cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl using a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until combined and no lumps remain. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the cocoa. If you prefer a stronger chocolate flavor, then add 1/3 cup, but if you prefer a more mild flavor, then add 1/4 cup. Once combined, add in the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. The frosting should be thick, but definitely thinner than frosting used for piping. If your frosting seems to thick, then add 1 Tbsp of milk or cream. Finally, beat in the vanilla and salt.
  5. Lift the brownies from the pan using the overhang of foil or parchment paper and peel back the edges. Frost the brownies using a thick layer and cut into squares. I made a total of 16 squares.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of milk or cup of coffee!

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Pepper

INGREDIENTS

I buy 6 oz. fresh filet’s with skin (never frozen) Atlantic Salmon

Lemon pepper seasoning- sprinkle well over filets

4 Zucchinis yellow or green sliced in quarter pieces

1 Red pepper sliced in strips

1 large Tomato diced

1 lemon

2 Tbsp Olive oil

Sea salt and Pepper to taste

George Foreman Grill-sprayed with oil

DIRECTIONS

Chop up all the vegetables and saute in olive oil til firm/soft, but not mushy. Plug in your GF grill and heat. When heated and sprayed with (pam), and your vegetables are about done, rinse your filet off and sprinkle the lemon pepper well on the filet. Place filet on the GF grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. If your filets are larger then you will need more time. After 5 minutes I always check filet and cut the middle to see if its cooked, other -wise leave it on for another minute. When completely cooked take off the grill and put on plate and add your sauteed vegetables. The Salmon should melt in your mouth. This is one of my favorite meals. When you’re finished with your plate you will feel satisfied, but not stuffed. My boys “Love” this recipe and ask me to make it often. This is simple and fast Friday night meal!

Quick and Easy Tips

TIME SAVING KITCHEN TIPS:

  • Organize your kitchen so that utensils are at your fingertips.
  • Keep knives well sharpened and in a safe and convenient holder.
  • Stock your pantry with staple items. Group similar items together, and rotate older items to the front to use first.

QUICK AND EASY COOKING STRATEGIES:

  • Read the recipe before you start cooking to avoid last-minute surprises. If you run out of an ingredient, you may be able to substitute for something else. (*See chart below)
  • Gather ingredients and utensils before you begin cooking.
  • When making several recipes, think about the preparation order. Use the cooking time of one recipe to work on another.

WORK-SAVING CLEANUP TIPS:

  • Measure dry ingredients first and then reuse the measuring spoons for any wet ingredients.
  • Wipe out skillets or pans for immediate reuse.
  • Line the bottom of the broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup.

Strawberry Mousse with White Chocolate

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

Chilling time: Several hours Yields: 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs of strawberries

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice divided

8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin (about half of a small packet)

2 C heavy cream

2 Tbsp powdered (confectioner a bowl) sugar

Make strawberry puree: Clean and hull the strawberries. Starting with about half of the strawberries (3/4 pound), quarter them and puree them in either a blender or food processor.

Press the puree mixture through a mesh sieve with the back of a spoon into a bowl. You want to end up with 1 cup of puree. Stir in 1 Tbsp of the lemon juice and set aside.


Slice remaining berries: With the remaining 3/4 pound or so of berries, slice as many as to fill up 2 cups, and set aside.

Melt the white chocolate: Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, or a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water (make sure the simmering water doesn’t actually touch the bottom of the bowl.) Stir until smooth set aside.

Soften the gelatin: Put 1/4 cup of cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Dissolve gelatin mixture into heated cream and powdered sugar: Put 1/4 cup of the cream into a small saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in a 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar and bring to a simmer. Stir in the water gelatin mixture until dissolved.

Combine with the melted chocolate: Pour this mixture into the bowl with the melted white chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the pureed strawberries, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup.

Make whipped cream: Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 3/4 cup of cream on medium-high speed until medium peaks form. (It helps if your cream is very cold.)

Incorporate whipped cream into mousse base, chill: Stir a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the mixture.

Refrigerate for 1 hour

Incorporate sliced strawberries into mousse: Stir the remaining 1 Tbsp of lemon juice into the reserved sliced berries. Fold the sliced berries into the mousse.

Chill for several hours and serve this strawberry mousse with some of the remaining strawberry puree on top. The puree is not sweetened and adds a lovely mildly tart balance to the rich white chocolate.

Homemade Ramen Beef Soup

This Ramen Beef Soup was amazing! My husband and I love to eat out and try new things. We found a restaurant on the west side of the city, that has really good ramen soup, so I decided to try and make it like this restaurant does but at a cheaper price than eating out. Here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs beef short ribs

1 bunch scallion onions

1 medium onion chopped

2 C. snow pea pods

1 C. shredded carrots

6 oz. Shiitake mushrooms sliced

1 can bamboo shoots

1/4 C. sesame oil

2 TBSP fresh ginger grated

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP fresh minced garlic

1 TSP garlic salt

4 eggs soft boiled for 6 minutes

4–32 oz beef or chicken broth

1 jar chili sauce to spice your bowl up

16 oz. bag of ramen noodles cook for 7 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Braise the beef short ribs until brown on all sides, sprinkle garlic salt on beef, add beef broth and simmer for 2 hours until tender. Set aside, chop all the vegetables and drain the bamboo shoots, grate the ginger. boil the eggs for 6 minutes take out and put in ice water and chill for a few minutes, then peel the eggs and cut in half. Cook the ramen noodles for 7 minutes, drain and rinse. Put the broth in a kettle with all the vegetables, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce and bring to a boil, add the beef and simmer for 10 minutes. Grab your soup bowls and chop sticks. Add a handful of noodles to each bowl, 1/2 egg, a piece of the beef short ribs, broth with vegetables and 2 dabs of chili sauce. The chili sauce is hot so you might not want to add too much. Enjoy this delicious soup.

9 Health Benefits of Lemon Water

1. It’s Full of Antioxidants and Antibacterial Properties

Lemon water is a great source of plant compounds known as flavonoids, many of which have antioxidant properties. Consuming this wonder drink each morning can help protect your cells from damage, support your blood circulation, insulin sensitivity and other aspects of metabolic health.

2. Supports the Immune System

Rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C and B-complex, riboflavin, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, folate and potassium, lemon water supports immune function, allergy alleviation and stopping free radical damage.  With an extremely high level of Vitamin C (187% of the daily value) it’s also a superinfection fighter.

Taking a glass of lemon water every day can protect you from falling ill and can help you more quickly recover from colds, coughs, sore throats, ear infections and even more serious conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.

3. Reduces Inflammation

Lemons contain hesperidin, which inhibits inflammation and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), according to a study from Mediators of Inflammation.

The reason we want to keep inflammation low is due to the potential havoc it can cause in our body. Inflammation is associated with most diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, neurogenic, arthritis and macular degeneration, inflammation reduction should be a priority for most people.

4. It Contains Anti-Cancer Properties

Studies have shown that lemons could potentially be beneficial in the treatment of cancer and breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. 

Limonene, found in lemons, is effective in blocking both the initiation of cancer as well as progression and induced regression of existing tumors according to studies of animal models.

5. A Great Detoxing Tonic

Lemon juice is a wonderful tonic that can help to cleanse the entire body by gently detoxing the liver and supporting bile production and flow for better removal of neutralized toxins and waste. This can improve many functions in the body but can also deliver glowing skin.

A more intense detox that involves halting the consumption of all solid food for a few days and solely consuming lemon water has been observed to trigger an anti-aging mode in cells and can jumpstart the system to improve insulin sensitivity.

6. It Helps The Body Maintain a Balanced pH

Although acidic in taste, lemon juice becomes alkaline inside the body, and an alkaline body is important to good health.

Excess acids lead to inflammation, an over-active immune system, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, poor digestion, weight gain and more.  By fuelling our body with pH balancing foods we give it those nutrients it needs to thrive, and in return, it will make you feel amazing.

7. Contains Beneficial Acids

The body often needs compounds that can only be derived from foods, such as pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and folates which lemons provide.  Pantothenic acid is very important as it helps to convert the food you eat into energy.

Lemons also provide citric acid that aids in digestion as well as dissolving kidney stones, and of course ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) which boosts the immune system.

8. Can Improve Blood Pressure Control

A 2014 study found researchers linking regular lemon intake in conjunction with walking with better blood pressure regulation.

Results are thought to be linked with the citric acid found in lemons and their impact on magnesium absorption and improvement of calcium.

9. Supports Fresh Breath and Fights Bacteria

The citric acid in lemons encourages the salivary glands to produce more saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense against bacteria and bad breath, it also supports better digestion!

Lemons are known to help destroy putrefactive bacteria in the mouth and intestines which can help alleviate flatulence, indigestion, and constipation.

How Do I Make Lemon Water?

The amount of lemon you put in your lemon water is up to your personal preference and you may wish to add some mint, cucumber slices or honey for added flavor. Some people use cold water, room temperature or even hot water, all of which produce great health benefits.

Personally, I have the juice of one lemon in 500mL of lukewarm filtered water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This is when you’ll feel the most benefits. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started if you are just a beginning to lemon water: 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lemon 
  • 16 ounces room temperature or warm filtered water 

METHOD 

  1. Squeeze half a lemon into 16 ounces of water and drink in the morning. You can also drink more throughout the day to flush and hydrate the body.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Today we are making Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya for dinner. This is one of my families favorites! This is a simple recipe that is very comforting on a cold winters day. This recipe is not spicy unless you want it to be.

INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter

! green pepper chopped

5 stalks of celery chopped

2 heaping tbsp garlic

1 large yellow onion chopped

2 lb frozen bag of large shrimp/cooked or uncooked, its your call-(thaw out)

2 packages all beef smoked sausage, chopped in bite size discs

1 package of andouille sausage, chopped in bite size discs

1 large can diced tomatoes

3 cups white rice

1 loaf of french bread–optional

hot sauce–optional

DIRECTIONS

In a medium stock pot (6- 8qt) melt the butter on low, slowly add the chopped onion, celery , green pepper and garlic. Saute for 25 minutes on med/low or until the vegetables are softened. Add the smoked and andouille sausage and diced tomatoes and mix real well. Cook on low for 15 minutes. In the meantime add 3 cups water in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add 3 cups rice and turn burner off and cover. Peel shrimp, you can leave the tail on or take off completely. I personally like to take the tail scales off. Add shrimp to mixture and cook shrimp until they start to curl up. This should only take a few minutes on med heat. Add the 3 cups of rice to the mixture and stir real well. Heat for a minute or 2 and your Jambalaya is ready! You can add hot sauce to your bowl if you like it spicy and I usually buy a loaf of fresh french bread to be eaten with this meal.

Enjoy!!!!