Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicken Crazy

Okay.  So I wasn't going to go shopping this month for anything other than perishables...but then Harmon's put their chicken on sale.  For anyone not familiar with Harmon's boneless, skinless, recipe-ready's AWESOME.  There is not one ounce of fat or other yuckiness on there at all.  And it just so happens that I have been waiting 8 long months for them to put it on sale (at their cheapest price, which is $1.99/lb.).  I meant to take a picture of all of it when I got home, because it really was an impressive giant pile of chicken (the girl at the checkout said "are you having a barbecue or something?) but I got all happy and excited with my  new chicken and got it all wrapped and put away before I remembered.  Oh well.
So...I bought a total of 60 pounds of chicken.  Even thinking that my freezer has 60 pounds of the most awesome chicken ever in it makes me smile.  I'm wierd that way.

I individually wrapped 40 pounds worth of the breasts and put them in bags for freezing.  The other 20 pounds I sprinkled with Grillmates Monterey Chicken seasoning and put in the crockpot with onions, celery, green peppers and enough water to barely cover it all (about 2 cups per crock pot).  They cooked all day.  When they were done, I shredded some (enough for 6 bags of 2 cups each) for enchiladas and other yummy shredded chicken recipes.  The rest I covered and refrigerated overnight and then diced.  I got nine bags of diced chicken ready for freezing.  And it was so TENDER.
Then I strained the liquid that the chicken cooked in and poured it in bottles for the freezer.  Considering I only added 4 cups of water total, I got a LOT of chicken it's pretty concentrated.
The really funny thing about this, is that even with all that chicken I am still wondering if I bought enough.  Hopefully I did, because it will probably be another LONG 8 months before it goes on sale again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Fish Dish

I haven't made halibut for a LONG time because, frankly, it's really expensive and my kids balk every time I cook fish (except Dylan, who loves it).  But since I was able to get some for an EXCELLENT price, I broke out one of my oldest recipes.  I saw someone make this on T.V. a long, long time ago (way before the days of the Food Network) and it was the first recipe I wrote down after seeing it on T.V. and actually tried.  Needless to say, I loved it.  It disappeared before I got any pictures, so I'll have to add them next time!  Trust looks, smells, and tastes delicious! Plus, it's very easy to make.

4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced onions
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4-6 serving sized pieces of halibut
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1 cube butter, melted

Over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add the flour and whisk for one minute, then continue to whisk while adding the milk slowly.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick.  Reduce heat and add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and cook until cheese is melted.
Wash and pat dry fish pieces and place in a casserole dish.  Pour sauce over fish. Crush Ritz crackers and mix with melted butter.  Sprinkle over fish; cover and bake at 400F for 20 minutes (see note below) or until fish flakes and sauce is bubbling.
NOTE:  The amount of time needed to cook the fish depends on the thickness of the pieces.  Check it at 20 minutes, but this last time I made it, my fish was more than an inch thick and it required another 20 minutes to finish.  If the fish is too thick, you could butterfly it to help it cook faster.

Monday, April 12, 2010


One of my favorite restaurants is Outback Steakhouse... quite specifically...I like the Alice Springs Chicken.  So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a recipe for this chicken!  I was so excited.  It might be my absolute favorite chicken of all time... and it's much cheaper (plus I get to leave off those pesky mushrooms) to make it at home.

SMOTHERED CHICKEN (A.K.A. Alice Springs Chicken)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic powder and seasoning salt
canola oil (just a tablespoon or so)
12-16 slices bacon, cooked
1 bottle your favorite BBQ sauce
2 cups sliced mushrooms (if you want them)
approx. 2 cups shredded cheese (a combination of Monterey Jack and Cheddar is best)
a batch of Honey Mustard Sauce (see recipe below)

Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thick pieces or butterfly them.  Cut them into smaller pieces if desired.  Make the honey mustard sauce and divide in half.  Add the chicken to one half and allow to marinate in the fridge for approximately 2 hours.  Save remaining sauce for dipping.  
Heat a tablespoon or two in a frying pan on the stove to medium high heat and sear chicken breasts for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.  Season LIGHTLY with garlic powder and seasoning salt.  Transfer to a cookie sheet or a 9x13 pan  Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and saute mushrooms.  Brush each chicken breast with bbq sauce,  then stack with bacon.  Add a scoop of mushrooms, then approximately 1/2 cup of cheese.  Cover pan with foil and bake in a 375F oven for 10 minutes.  Dust with paprika and serve with honey mustard sauce.

1 cup real mayonnaise
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ginger powder

Mix well and refridgerate.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Month

A couple of months ago I noticed that a lot of people whose blogs are dedicated to food storage and coupon shopping were having an "Eat from the Pantry Month", and apparently they do this for one month every year.  I didn't participate then, but have decided that this is the month for me!  There are a couple of reasons to do this...
  1. I really have a LOT of food in my food storage...probably way more than my year's worth that I was shooting for.  In some cases, more than I need and things are starting to get shoved to the back and forgotten about.
  2. We are trying to finish the basement and the more food I put down there the more crowded it's getting and the more stuff we have to shift around when we work.
  3. I would like to take a month off of grocery shopping and concentrate on other things (like finishing the basement, for example...)
  4. I'd like to try my hand at living off what I have bought already so that I can see what areas I might be lacking in.  Six months ago I didn't have any seasonings or spices in my storage.  If I had to eat for a year with no salt...well...that would just be horrible.
So...I am declaring April to be out "Eat From the Pantry" month!  I made a menu for the month, and from there I made a "shopping list" and went shopping in the basement for everything I need to make all the meals for the month.  Now my pantry is full and all I am going to shop for this month is perishables...milk, produce and bread items.  I actually may hit the case lot sale only to buy some cans of powdered milk (they have my favorite brand on sale at Macey's this month) just because I don't have hardly any of that in my storage.
Surprisingly, I really DID have almost everything I needed for the month except some produce. And I learned a few things about what I don't have stored that I need to get...(like soy sauce).
Another GREAT thing about doing this is that it is going to free up my grocery money for the month for other things.  Considering we're almost ready for carpet, I think I know where that money will go...