Monday, July 30, 2012

Homemade Chicken Patties (Freezer Sandwich Friendly!)

I'm always on the hunt for lunch ideas and any lunch idea that can go in the freezer is even better! This is a homemade chicken patty, most similar in the texture to these big guys. 

We tried quite few variations of this sandwich: mayo and pickles (Chick-fil-A copycat), barbecue sauce and red onions, loaded with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and mayo, and the freezer version with cheese were all well received.

Next time I would reduce the carrots or just remove them. They did not change the taste, but visually I didn't like looking at the orange flecks. Personal preference. My husband noticed the flecks and asked about them, but didn't really care. Maybe some dried parsley flakes would be OK next time.

Chicken Patty Sandwiches
recipe adapted from Heavenly Homemakers
Makes: about 30 smallish patties

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
 (about 1.5 to 2 pounds)
2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
 (I used a red onion and the flecks were visible)
6 eggs

Salt to taste
Oil to fry the patties in (I used canola oil)
Buns for each patty

In a food processor, grind raw chicken, carrots, and onions together. Add eggs and salt, blending all ingredients together well. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture (I used an ice cream scoop, then flattened them out a bit) into hot oil, frying on both sides for about 4-5 minutes each, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Serve warm.

To make Freezer Chicken Sandwiches:
Let the patties cool. Spilt buns, and coat the insides with either mayo or butter. (This creates a protective barrier so the sandwiches aren't soggy after freezing/thawing)

Fill each bun with a patty, top with cheese (optional), wrap with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze in a large zip top bag.

To reheat in the microwave, remove from plastic wrap or foil and microwave for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. To reheat in the toaster oven (my preferred method), place a straight-from-the-freezer sandwich wrapped in foil in the toaster oven set at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the insides of the chicken patty are warmed through.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Plum Crisp

I bought a whole bunch of plums at the store last week, and the remaining ones were beginning to look almost over-ripe. I debated jam, but didn't want to have to go buy more canning jars, so a rendition of the ever popular Apple Crisp came to mind.

We put the kiddos to bed, and had our own dessert...all to ourselves. It felt totally decadent to have an "adult only" dessert, even if it was just Plum Crisp! The plum became a tart layer of goodness, and the topping was a crisp, sweet compliment. We finished off the entire pan (which was a small pan in our defense!) and didn't make me feel as guilty as pounding down some cookies...'cause it's fruit, right?

Plum Crisp 
recipe adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

4 cups sliced plums
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan (I made a half batch in a smaller pan) with nonstick cooking spray. Spread plums in the bottom of pan.

Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over plums. Bake for about 30 minutes (I used my toaster oven to save the AC bill!) or until topping is golden brown and plums are tender. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baked Pita Chips

I went to a lunch playgroup a few weeks ago (I brought Deviled Eggs to share) and someone had brought hummus and pita chips. I was in love with the pita chips. So much that while the kiddos played the backyard, I hung back in the kitchen "helping" clean up...but I actually just stuffed pita chips in my mouth while haphazardly throwing away empty juice boxes. At least I looked busy.

After I checked out this cookbook from the library, and saw the supposedly easy looking recipe for Pita Chips, I put pitas on my grocery list. Once I finally made my grocery run, these were whipped up that afternoon. I made a small recipe (one pita total) as a trial run in my toaster oven, which made just enough for me to inhale them as an afternoon snack. My son had two chips total, but I seriously devoured them all myself. Sans dip. Straight up.

Seasoned Pita Chips
recipe adapted from "If It Makes You Healthy" by Sheryl Crow and Chuck White

3 whole wheat pita rounds, cut into 6 segments (like a pizza)
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil two large baking sheets.

Separate the top of each pita from the bottom, so that each is divided into 2 halves. Transfer the halves to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss well but gently so that each pita triangle is well coated.

Lay the pita triangles on the baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Let the pita chips cool on the baking sheets to room temperature. Use immediately or store in a sealed plastic bag or large lidded container for up to one week.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cooking while on Vacation

We just got back from vacation last week, and stayed at a great cabin with all my family, my mom and dad, my brother and his whole family. We rotated who was going to make the meals at night, so my husband and I were in charge of two nights. We made:

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks, Summer Picnic Salad, & Steamed Broccoli & Carrots

Dorito Chili Bowls (we were on vacation after all!), Toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onion, Lettuce Salad as a side

Each family was in charge of their own breakfasts, (I got to try out my brother's infamous egg poacher) and we left the last evening for leftovers. Lunch was out each day.

It's an interesting experience to get off a plane, then drive to the grocery store and buy the items to make two meals and your own family's needs for the week. We tried to be prepared and write our list at home before we left, which was very helpful to keep us on budget and make sure we didn't forget anything. We only had one bottle of barbecue sauce that we left untouched. My brother lived nearby, so he brought the spices for the chili, so that was a great help on the expenses for only one teaspoon of cumin!

Some things that made our week easier:
  1. My mom & sister-in-law brought plastic plates, cups, and silverware. Obviously, this isn't great for day-to-day use, but kept the unwelcome task of doing dishes (and cleaning up after each other) to a minimum.
  2. We hadn't planned for a leftover night, but we had such a full frig that the last night made for a nice break.
  3. I made as much of our meals ahead of time so that I could enjoy putting the meal together and not be rushed. On my two days, right after the breakfast rush, I put together the chili and made the pasta salad (actually my husband prepared the salad while I showered that day!). Then I pulled out the chili at 4 pm, and let it simmer on the stove leading up to dinner.
Of course, we found plenty of great food while we were out. This was the Rushmore Mountain Taffy Shop. Even with my braces, look at all the great flavors we sampled. My favorites were Choco-mint and Watermelon.

Simple Bites also has some great tips for How to Cook for a Family Reunion.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Crockpot Mac & Cheese

Two years ago, I posted about Crockpot Mac & Cheese. Even though we don't eat homemade Mac & Cheese as much as we used to, it is still a favorite dish in our house!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


A year ago, I was posting about Hushpuppies. These are about the closest I've come to take-out Hushpuppies, and they are pretty addictive!