Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ritzy Chicken

This is a favorite of mine that I have been making for awhile. My kids really love it and it is easy on those nights when you're like, "Hmmmm what to make for dinner"..... I'm going to post 2 recipes for it, though, because I made some changes to the original. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks called "Favorites: A Collection of Favorite Ivory Family Recipes". It is so good just the way it is in the original, but it's always fun to add some variations. I got the idea for the variations while browsing through food blogs. I can't remember exactly which one it was, but there was a post for a similar recipe with some changes and it gave me some ideas to try. So here goes:

Original recipe: Ritzy Kid's Chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 c. crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 t. garlic salt
1 t. seasoned salt
1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. butter, melted

Combine crushed crackers, parmesan, garlic salt and seasoned salt in shallow dish. Pat chicken dry, then coat with yogurt. Dip each piece in cracker mixture and coat all sides. Arrange in 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle melted butter over top. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes ( or until done ).

My variations:

Mix plain yogurt with juice of 1 lemon, 1 garlic clove, chopped, and 1-2 T of chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and oregano in this batch). Keep the cracker mix the same except I didn't add the garlic salt and season salt because the Ritz crackers are quite salty already, and the parmesan cheese is also salty. Then follow the original recipe from there. My other suggestion is to make sure to pound the chicken thin first, it is more flavorful this way and less dry. Have fun experimenting with it and let me know if you find any fun combinations. We ate it with some french bread, green beans, and cheesy potatoes. Finger-lickin good!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grilled lemon chicken with oregano

Ok, so I love lemons and their flavor, but I have a hard time with lemon chicken for some reason. It always seems a little dry and "puckery" to me. I've tried many recipes and this one turned out the moistest (is that a word?) so far. There was still something missing though, not sure what...but my kids LOVED it and I will definitely be making it again. They liked sqeezing the grilled lemons over the chicken before they ate it. (and I thought it looked kind of fancy... but I'm kind of a geek. (This was adapted from

1 T. grated lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
8 bonelss skinless chicken breast cutlets (the ones that are already cut thin).
4 medium lemons, halved

Prepare marinade:
In a small bowl, whisk lemon zest and juice, oregano, oil, 2 t. coarse salt and 1 t. pepper. Place chicken and marinade in large ziplock bag and set aside for 30 minutes at room temp, turning bags occasionally.
Preheat grill, brush grates with some olive oil to prevent sticking. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on grill and cook until done (about 10 minutes if you have the thin cutlets). Transfer chicken to cutting board, tent with foil and let rest. Meanwhile, place lemon halves on the grill, cut side down and cook until slightly charred. Serve chicken breasts with lemon halves.
We had green beans and fruit with this and it was really pretty good.

Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

I love muffins! I love them for breakfasts and snacks! I love to try new recipes and this one from the RecipeGirl was a winner for me! I used fresh blueberries.... Sorry about the poor picture quality... I am still working on my camera skills, but I think you can get the general idea....

1/4 c. regular oats

2 T. brown sugar

1 t. ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 c. butter softened

1 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. egg substitute ( or 2 eggs )

1 t. vanilla extract

2 c. all purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 1/4 c. lowfat buttermilk ( to make your own buttermilk just add 1 T. regular vinegar to each 1 c. of milk and let it sit for a minute - for this recipe, I just made 2 c. worth and then measured out 1 1/4 c. when i was ready to use it...)

1 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Stir together oats, brown sugar, and 1/2 t. cinnamon; set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and beat just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Combine all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 t. cinnamon; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture. Gently stir in blueberries. (hint: if you mix about 1 t. flour in with the blueberries before you stir them in, they won't sink to the bottom of the muffin mix). Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle evenly with oat mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden. Cool muffins in pans for 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 15 muffins.

Chocolate Cake with a twist

I can't begin to describe the deliciousness of this cake.....I have dreams about it......sweet, sweet dreams.....aaaaaaahhhh chocolate, cream cheese, coconut - what more could you ask for? My friend Anna introduced me to this lovely treat (as she does with most things that I think are delicious) and I couldn't rest until I made it for myself.
1. Grease a 9x13 pan and then cover the bottom generously with coconut and chopped pecans OR walnuts. (I prefer pecans myself).
2. Make a chocolate cake according to the directions on the box. (I used a devil food's cake and it was divine....)
3. Poor the cake batter over the coconut and choppped nuts.
4. Make a cream cheese frosting with: 8 oz cream cheese, softened, 1/2 c butter, softened and 2 cups powdered sugar.
5. Drop big dollups of the frosting all over the cake batter.
6. Use a knife (or a toothpick) to cut the cream cheese frosting in to the cake batter without disturbing the bottom.
7. Bake at 350* for around 40 minutes or until the middle seems "set" and not jiggly. (mine took about 45 minutes before it was ready).
8. Cut a big slice, go somewhere you can be alone, and enjoy the decadence. mmmmmmmm!!!

Layered Greek Dip

I made this for my book club the other night. Its a different twist on the mexican layered chip dip - its layered deliciousness gone greek!!! I found this recipe on RecipeGirl's website! I served it with Pita chips and it was a hit!!

8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1t. dried italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. prepared hummus ( I used the roasted red pepper hummus from Costco)
1 c. chopped cucumber
1 c. chopped tomato
1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 c. sliced green onions
Pita Chips

Cream together cream cheese, lemon juice, italian seasoning, and garlic until smooth and well combined. Spread mixture into a deep 9 inch pie plate or oval platter. Spread hummus on top of cream cheese layer. Sprinkle on the chopped veggies, cheese, and onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Serve with pita chips!
***I was going to also try this substituting sour cream for the cream cheese.....****

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thai Chicken Salad

This salad is so fun and yummy, with a kick from the jalepeno's, creaminess from the avocado, and freshness from the cilantro!!! Try it - you won't be disappointed!!!

2 grilled chicken breasts, cubed (I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic salt, brushed with olive oil and then grilled).
1/2 bag preshredded coleslaw mix (green cabbage, purple cabbabe, and carrots)
1/2 head iceberg lettuce chopped
2 jalepeno peppers, seeded and diced
1-2 avocado's chopped
1/2 c. cilantro

Toss together and cover with dressing.

1/2 c. Rice vinegar
1/2 t. sesame oil
3 T. fish sauce (This stuff smells nasty, but don't be makes a good dressing! you can find it in the asian section of the grocery store)
2 t. sugar

Wisk together, add to salad, and toss!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Breaded, fried, delicious zucchini

Now, I know fried foods are taboo, but this is a worthy exception, at least once a summer. (We have it at least once a week when zucchini are fresh and delicious.) I promise it won't dissapoint! 1-2 zucchini's sliced thin
1-2 sleeves of ritz crackers
season salt, salt and pepper, and garlic salt to taste
1 egg
1 T. milk

Mix egg and milk together in a bowl. Crush up ritz crackers. Season the crumbs with season salt, salt and pepper, and garlic salt. (keep in mind the ritz are kind of salty so don't overdue the seasonings.) Dip each zucchini slice in the egg mixture and then in the ritz mixture. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add 1-2 T of olive oil and 1-2 T of butter to pan and then add breaded zucchini and fry on both sides until golden brown and soft. Pop 5-10 in your mouth and enjoy!!!!


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