Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Panko Crusted Oven Baked Chicken

Ok. Let's not talk about the fact that my plate looks like it's from 1982. Or that my photography skills leave a LOT to be desired, as do my photo editing skills. And, let's not talk about the bad lighting, either.

Here's what we do need to talk about. This freakin' amazing chicken. I mean, it's oven baked and it's CRUNCHY. How the hell did that happen? I just finished eating, and I'm already dreaming up other ideas. This was my first time cooking with Panko - a Japanese breadcrumb. It's pretty easy to work with, and tastes really good as the crust on this chicken! This recipe is not too shabby health-wise, too. You can make it even more low fat by spraying your baking sheet with cooking spray instead of using the olive oil. I just didn't have any on hand. I wouldn't switch out the olive oil when browning the Panko, though.

I got the recipe idea from Annie over at Annie's Eats. She's much better in the photography department, and she's way better at this blogging thing, so it won't hurt my feelings at all if you just follow her recipe.

I adapted the recipe slightly for my tastes, but I kept most of it the same.

Panko Crusted Oven Baked Chicken

  • 2 C Panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 T Olive oil

  • 1/2 C Flour

  • 1 T Fajita Seasoning

  • 3 Egg whites

  • 1 T Dijon mustard

  • 1 T water

  • 1 T Olive oil

  • 1.5 Pounds chicken tenders

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

  2. Coat a large baking sheet or flat pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. If needed, you can use more. You want the sheet to be evenly coated, but not swimming in oil.

  3. Mix the Panko and the first two tablespoons of olive oil until the Panko is evenly coated. Brown the Panko mixture over medium to medium high heat. Stir the mixture pretty regularly. I had to keep a close eye on mine to keep the Panko from burning. Once the mixture is brown - around 8 minutes, place it in a shallow dish and allow it to cool a little.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, mustard, and water. Don't get grossed out at how weird this looks.

  5. In another shallow dish, mix together the flour and fajita spice.

  6. Ok, it's assembly line time. Arrange your station like so - chicken, flour mixture, egg mixture, Panko mixture, and greased baking sheet.

  7. Now, you dip and shake it off down the line. I didn't shake too much on the Panko mixture. I like my chicken with a lot of crust. Your fingers are going to get crusty and gross. Just keep a wet napkin near by to clean them off.

  8. Once your oven is ready, pop in the baking dish with the pretty chicken tenders. Allow the tenders to cook for about 15 minutes, more or less, depending on the size of the tenders. I flipped mine over halfway through cooking, but I don't think that was really necessary.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I'm not going to lie. This week, it's been tough. Between a software release at work, and Valentine's day, I ate - a LOT. And it wasn't pretty. There was chocolate, steak, pizza, carbs, anything I could get my grubby little hands on.

This is normally where I freak out and hide in the corner with my tail between my legs and promise to go to my Weight Watchers meeting next week.

But not this time. This time, I'm going to walk into my meeting on Tuesday and take my licks.... just like I took my licks of ice cream this week. It won't be good. That scale will be moving in the wrong damn direction.

But this, right here? This is a important lesson in weight loss. No matter how "good" you are. No matter how careful you are. There will be backslides. There will be oopsies, slipsies, whoops-a-daisies, wannabe do overs and oh shits. They are a part of life. And they don't go away just because you want that scale to go down, not up.

So, I'm taking my spanking this week like a big girl. And have I learned my lesson? For now, yeah. But this will happen again.

And like now, I will know then that this is just a part of the weight loss experience. Oh, and next week - I'm kicking some ass.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Man Trapping Chicken Dijon

My chicken dijon dish is an excellent man trapper. Feed any man of yours this dish, and pair it with a slice of Heavenly Cake, and he'll never leave, babe!

This dish is really easy to make. It's just a few simple steps, and you've got an awesome meal! I prefer to serve the chicken and mushroom sauce over couscous with a side of grilled corn. Mmmm.

Chicken Dijon
Makes 4 servings

4 chicken breasts, boneless
16 oz. mushrooms, fresh and sliced
2 T light sour cream
1/2 C chicken broth
1 T dijon-type mustard
Italian seasoning, to taste
2 t olive oil

1.Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan with it.
2.While the pan and oil are heating, season the chicken with the italian seasoning on both sides.
3.Add the chicken to the hot pan. Cook until the chicken is done, turning it to cook it evenly. Usually, this takes about five minutes per side. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan, and place it aside to rest.
4.Leaving all the googly bits in the bottom of the pan, add the mushrooms and the remaining olive oil. Sautee the mushrooms until they are soft and cooked through, about five minutes.
5.Add the chicken broth, sour cream, and mustard. Stir until everything is incorporated and the flavors have had time to meld – around five more minutes.
6.Enjoy! I like to serve this over couscous and with a side of grilled corn.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dijon Chicken

This is my favorite meal ever. I love it, and it's pretty easy to make.

Here's a sneak preview. I took this with my camera phone, so please forgive me if the image sucks. I'll try to update tonight with an image from a *real* camera as well as a recipe!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Salad to do MaMa Proud

Mexican inspired salad


I know, I know. It's been a while. A really, really long while. And that's not exactly fair to you, but I do ask for your forgiveness, and beg you to return.

I'm going to try to update this blog on a regular basis, so we'll see how that goes.

Now, on to the title of this post. This salad.

This is what I call a MaMa Salad.

A little history:

My MaMa (pronounced Maw Maw for those not familiar with countrified pronunciations), is a feisty 83 year old who is known by all her family for producing some of the craziest salad combinations you can possibly imagine. I think my dad and I are the only ones who would actually eat some of the concoctions. Sometimes we called them "kitchen sink" salads, because she would throw everything but the kitchen sink in the bowl. I think the weirdest one I can remember is the "roast beef salad" of my youth. She'd take left over roast beef, heat it up, and throw it on a pile of lettuce. I know, right? Then there were a few fruit salads that had some veggies mixed in. Nothing like taking a bite of fruit salad to crunch down on a carrot or celery stick.

Yeah, I know. I love my MaMa dearly, but she's not known at the best cook around. She's just creative. And for that, I thank her. She's taught me to be fearless with my cooking, fingernail polish color, brightly colored wardrobe, and crazy sequined tennis shoes.

While some of her creations were, well, less than palatable. Some were wonderful. Because of MaMa Salads, I learned that apples were a real treat tucked in a salad of savory items. And that oranges were just as wonderful.

This little salad I've thrown together is nothing special. In fact, that's what makes it so great. I can go to the store on Monday, buy all the ingredients, and have it all sitting at work ready for me throughout the week. It's easy, and it's good. In fact, because of the non-exact nature of making salads, I'm not including any real measurments. Just eyeball it. It's OK. This is where being creative and adventurous comes in!


A Salad to do MaMa Proud

  • Diced Ham

  • Cherry Tomatoes (or sliced/diced regular tomatoes)

  • Avocado - diced

  • Bagged Lettuce (or fresh, whatevs)

  • Shredded Cheese

  • Sour Cream (I prefer light)

  • Salsa

Come on, really? You throw it all in a bowl. You can layer it all pretty like I did in the picture, or just make a mess of it. The salsa and sour cream combine into a wonderful dressing. The ham adds a little protien. The rest just makes for a wonderful Mexican inspired salad mix.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Heavenly Cake

This cake is called "Heavenly Cake" for a few reasons. First, it's absolutely heavenly. Truly, it is. Second, you'll feel heavenly about all the complements you get when you take this cake places. Third, if you eat too much of it, you'll go to heaven way too soon - this is NOT a healthy recipe.

C'mon - you know this just looks heavenly.

Heavenly cake is for those with a serious sweet tooth. It's a conglomeration of a few recipes I've been eyeing for a while. First I scoured the web for the perfect chocolate cake recipe. I checked out the sweet and salty cake and the better-than-sex cake. Both looked awesome, but I don't do toffee, and the S'n'S cake looked a little too fussy for my taste. Truth is, after about 6 ingredients, I lose interest and patience. So I used an old recipe I've had for a while. Then I added salted caramel sauce using this recipe as a jumping point. And some chocolate ganache.

Makes: ~ 20 servings



  • bundt cake pan
  • baking spray
  • 1 box of your favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 1 box of instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I like 1 cup semi-sweet, 1 cup milk chocolate)
Salted Carmel Sauce:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbs. salted butter - yes, the 'salted' is important

Chocolate Ganache:
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (again, I like 1 cup semi-sweet, 1 cup milk chocolate)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Grease the inside of the bundt pan using a baking spray or with oil and flour.

  3. See all those cake ingredients? Dump everything but the chocolate chips in a big mixing bowl. If you've got a stand mixer, even better.

  4. Mix everything until the batter is moist all the way through.

  5. Slowly add the chocolate chips to the batter.

  6. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan making sure the batter is even in the pan. You don't want a lop-sided cake, here.

  7. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. You can use the toothpick test to see if the cake is done, but remember there are chocolate chips in the cake.

  8. Once the cake is done, cool it on a rack, then invert the pan onto a serving plate.

  9. For the caramel sauce, use a two or three quart sauce pan. Anything smaller, and you risk the sauce bubbling over the sides of the pan and making a colossal mess. Trust me. Oh, and oven mitts are your friend here, this sugar is HOT.

  10. Heat the sauce pan to medium-high heat, and add the sugar. Yes, it seems weird to be adding a solid and no liquid, but the solid will liquify shortly.

  11. As the sugar melts, stir it to keep it from burning. If it does burn, toss it and start over. You can't undo burned sugar.

  12. Once the sugar is completely melted, it should be a nice cozy brown color. Just a note here - the deeper the caramel color, the more bitter the sauce. If you want sweet, use a lower heat setting and melt the sugar slowly. If you like the savory, use higher heat. But be careful, there's a fine line between savory and burned.

  13. This is where you add the butter. Just put the whole 6 tbs in at once. No need to add it gradually.

  14. See how it bubbled up? This is why you are using a large sauce pan. Stir the butter and sugar together.

  15. Now, add the heavy cream. Again, it bubbles. Just stir until the butter and cream are completely incorporated into the sugar. Set the sauce aside for a while to cool (~10 minutes) while you prepare the ganache.

  16. For the ganache, add the two cups of chips to a sauce pan. Begin stirring while you heat the sauce pan over medium heat.

  17. Once most of the chips are melted, stir in the heavy cream in 1/4 cup increments until you reach your desired pouring consistency.

  18. Once your ganache is fully melted, pour it over the cake. You can reserve some for ice cream or coffee later. If you're fancier than me, you'll make a pretty drizzled design. I was hungry and just kind of dumped it all over.

  19. To add the caramel sauce to the cake, simply pour the sauce slowly over the cake. The slower you go, the more sauce ends up on the cake. You'll have some left over, so again, save it for coffee or ice cream toppings.

Tips ‘n’ Tricks:

  • Keep a gallon of milk handy when you serve this cake. And a lot of napkins.
  • As tempting as it is, don't eat the caramel sauce right out of the sauce pan. You'll burn your tongue. Not that I'd know anything about that.
  • Next time, I'm thinking I'll add the caramel sauce to the bottom of the cake before I remove it from the pan so it can soak into the cake (kind of like the glaze for rum cakes). Then I'll just add the ganache to the top of the cake. It might make it a little less messy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eating Out - Sean Patrick's

I decided to satisfy my Irish food craving this week at Sean Patrick's, San Marcos' only Irish pub.

I have to say, I am never disappointed when I go here. The food is always awesome. I've had a few of the menu staples - Guinness Stew, Shepherd's Pie, BBQ Sausage sandwich, and hamburgers and they're all good. Always.

I've never had authentic Irish food - the closest I come is Bennigan's on occasion. But this "Irish Pub with Texas Grub" is really good for what it is.

The service is what you expect in San Marcos, slow with a little indifference tossed in, but this is par for the course in this town, and the food tastes too dang good for this to matter much.

If you like sports bars, you'll love the TVs all over this place. Yes, the music can get a little loud, but after the second beer you can ignore that. The atmosphere is your typical sports bar, just with an Irish flare. It's nice, clean, and again, you really don't care once you taste the food.

San Marcos needs more restaurants like Sean Patrick's - good food every  time you go!