Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

Well I made something new last night for dinner and it was a keeper!

I was watching the "Guy's Big Bite" on the food network a few weeks ago and seen him make this. It looked SO good, so I gave it a try last night. Here is the link to the recipe on the food network and here is the video.

Here is the recipe pasted here, you can see my notes of what we did different at the bottom.

Slamma Jamma Parmigiana by Guy Fieri
4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breasts
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish, grated
Olive oil, for frying (about 2 cups)
1 pound penne rigate, cooked al dente
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley, for garnish
Lightly pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine the kosher salt, sugar, and 1 quart of water in a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag; shake until dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine. Shake off excess moisture and, with tongs, lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and transfer to a large plate.

Mix the eggs and milk in medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, oregano, basil, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture with tongs and let excess mixture drain off. Now dredge the chicken into the bread crumb mixture, and lightly pat down in the bread crumbs to adhere.

Preheat the broiler.

Let the breaded chicken sit for 5 minutes before frying. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to come 1/3 up the side of the chicken. Cook the chicken in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan when cooked and place on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining chicken.

When all the chicken is cooked, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over the top. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

Serve chicken over pasta and ladle tomato sauce on top. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups peeled and diced Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until almost brown, then add tomatoes. Saute for 30 minutes over low to medium heat. Add the basil and oregano and continue to cook for 30 minutes longer. Puree in a food mill or let cool and puree in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste

Here is what we did or will do different next time:
This recipe is VERY good like it is. It's not that difficult either. Here are a few things we did do different and will change next time.

It ended up to salty. I'm not sure if it's because the chicken was in the brine to long, or if i need to lesson the salt in the breading.

I didn't have enough tomatoes to make his sauce so we used spaghetti sauce, which was good, but next time i'm trying the sauce. I used Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce. I thought it would go good, since there is Basil in the breading too, but it was to much basil. SOooo next time I will make the sauce or try some Barilla Roasted Garlic sauce.

I didn't have any fancy pasta, so I just used this spaghetti noodles. It was good, but next time, i'll go get some fancy noodles, just to make it fancy lol.. Rigatoni or Penne noddles would work great.

I don't know what the Panko bread crumbs are, so I just used 3 c of homemade bread crumbs (dried bread that didn't raise, in my food processor to crumbs)

Oh and last of all, i don't have a meat hammer thing, so i used my rolling pin lol. I put the chicken in a large ziploc bag and used my rolling pin to hammer it. I than used a large bowl to soak the chicken in the brine. Otherwise you have to worry about the bag leaking. Hubby says I need to get a real one LOL.

So try it, and let me know what you think. It was yumm!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's been HOW long??

I was searching for a post I thought I made on here a while back. While searching, I realized something. I've been blogging for 4 years. Can you believe it's been since Dec 2006?? WOW, I only had 3 kids ages 1 to 6, now I have 4 kids ages (almost) 2 to 10!! It doesn't seem like it's been that long... WOW..

Thanks for all those who have followed me, even tho it's only a few.. I love re-reading post about my kids. I forgot some of the things they said, this has been a great way to keep it all journaled, no matter if my computer crashes or my office goes up in flames LOL. Which BTW is how it looks. I better get busy on it.. I'll post some tips on organization later..

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sick kids!

Never fun!! UGH.. I've been up all night several nights this past week. First it was Amber, I thought it was just the blueberries she ate. They were a new bag of frozen berries, but they were given to us, so I can't say how old they are or anything. She got sick shortly after eating some, not a TON, but probably a cup. Abigail ate a few as well, and came and told me "mom, my belly hurts" this is my almost 2 yr old. It's great when they can talk and tell you what they want or need. I'm always amazed at how much more she communicates at this age than David did.

So I thought it was the blueberries, I mean the kids have only been out of the house twice in the last 2 weeks, HOW could they get sick?

Thankfully it only lasted about 12 hours and I was able to nap a bit the next day. Well that was Thursday and last night it all happened again, but this time with the boys, UGH. David comes scooting down the stairs at 3 am, holding his belly. He said "I'm sooo hungry" of course it was gas/stomach cramps, not hunger pains. I gave him some toast and crackers, but he didn't want any more than a few bits. So on the couch I was again. After a while he told me in the most serious voice, "mom, i have gas" .. right before he got sick on the couch UGH... so into the bathroom we go, poor guy.. After he was all done, he looks at me and says "I don't like air in my stomach, i think i'm allergic to air" lol. He's my 4 1/2 yr old. He only made a mess that once, but he's not eating or drinking very well. We even got him some really good Popsicles...

Later that morning Marky was sick too.. So now I'm just hoping hubby and I don't end up sick.. I've had enough already.. I'm ready for BED!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Organization Tip #3

Get rid of it!

I touched on this a bit in the other post, but it's an important point to make. It always amazes me how recycling and de-clutter goes hand it hand. So here are a few ways to de-clutter and also follow the old phrase:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I also like to say

Reuse what I can, recycle what I can't.

So when you have stuff to get rid of, it's much easier to pass it on to someone who can use it, rather than just toss it in the trash. First of all, it's more incentive... I hate wasting stuff, and isn't that how most clutter starts?? What if I need it someday, it's perfectly fine I can't throw it away... etc. Here are a few ideas:

Find your local food and/or clothing pantry.. If they don't take household items and clothing, they probably know who does. These places pass stuff on to families who can't afford to go to even Goodwill. I have to admit, my kids got alot of clothes from our local one. When they were younger, we just didn't have a way to buy them new. We save many of our clothes from our older two, to pass on to our younger ones.

Pass clothes on to your family. My SIL and I had kids stair stepped, so when my oldest was about a yr old, she has a son. All my baby stuff passed to her, than when we had our 2nd child, I got it back, and back and forth it went. Now we are both done having children and we pass what we can on to our other siblings and friends to keep, that can use it. We of course kept clothing that was made just for a child or other special clothes. I have a tote for each child, this holds their keepsake items. Blankets, homemade clothes etc. If you don't have siblings to do this with, maybe a friend?? My girls are 8 years apart, so we are being selective in what we keep to pass on. 8 yrs in a shed isn't going to help anyone. They may be chewed and worn by the time they get used again, so most of them we pass on now.

Try If you aren't familiar with it, check out their site. You can find a local group for you and give and get free stuff. The purpose is to pass it one and reuse something rather than fill a landfill. Here are some of the things we have received for free, from freecycle:

Chest freezer (actually 3 over the years)
Cast iron pan (perfect condition, someone just didn't use it)

I try to give more than I take, it helps on the whole clutter thing lol.. So here are some of the things we've given to others for free:

Old washer and dryer (someone wanted the scrap metal)
Couch (a friend had given us a new one, it would have cost us to take it to the dump that's 30 miles a way)
Baby items, swing, exer saucer, etc.
leftover garage sale stuff (YES I didn't even have to take it anywhere, they picked it up from our house)
Rocking chair
Other various items

You can specify if you want them to pick it up at your home, or meet them at a public place. Of course always use caution when having them come to your home.

Of course there are always second hand store, consignment shops and places like that as well. If you are in a good area you can save it for a garage sale too. We tried that last year, and our area just didn't do well, it didn't end up being worth the hassle. We even sold it really cheap. So we choose to keep a box in the back room of stuff to get rid of. When it's full, we go drop it off. Even my kids add stuff to it. They know they won't miss it. We've been doing it long enough that they know we will provide what they need too, so keeping broken or to small stuff is not necessary.

So find your local donation place and go for it. It will feel great to drop off a bunch of stuff, knowing someone was dreaming of having it!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Organization TIP #2


Yes, i know it's hard, but when your working with limited space, it's important. We have NO storage in this house. We don't even have closet storage, you know the shelf above your closet rod?? well we don't have ANY.. We have the floor and nails in the sides all the way up to the ceiling. Yes we should put them in but it's on that list of not as important as other jobs. So we've had to simplify ALOT..

For example, it really isn't necessary to have SO many shoes that you only wear once in a while OR all your old shoes you don't wear!! Give them away, someone else may need them as their only dress shoes. Yes I have some nice dress shoes, that I don't wear often, but I don't have 10 or 20 pairs. I have 2 pairs. That reminds me, I have a box of purses to donate lol..

Or is it really necessary to keep that old blender in the cupboard for the just in case I need it once a year... did you know, the food processor you use all the time works too?? Yea i figured that out lol. I also recently came to the conclusion that the huge George Forman grill with the busted top is just clutter too. Yes, I use it in the winter when I can't grill out, but it takes up a WHOLE shelf, AND i just discovered the my broil pan that has a nice, cozy place to go in the stove works even better. I LOVE my broiler pan, never realized it's use. I always thought you had to use it in the broil part of the oven. I've never had a good experience with cooking in there. Well my MIL told me how she cooks her bacon and it's SO good, in the oven on 350 in her broiler pan. Well the other night we had pork chops, I hate pan fried pork chops and as much as I wanted some, I really didn't want to go outside to the grill, it was in the 20's outside. SO i tried them on my broiler pan, 350, in the oven. EVEN BETTER than the George Foreman. So out it goes, and I have a shelf to put my crock pot on, (that I use weekly) and that clears up work space on my already very small counter top..

So simplify... If you don't use something that much, find a way to get it done with something you do use more often. How many of the same tool do you really need?? If you don't have room for it to have a place, out of the way to go...think, think, think.... Chances are, you may not even miss it!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Organization TIP #1

Start small.. If you look at your whole house and try to start, you will get overwhelmed and quit. Trust me, I'm talking from experience here. So start small, set a goal and don't stop until you reach it. For example:

My dining room wall was at one time lined with boxes. Boxes of books, clothes, misc stuff that just needed sorted, taken to the shed and tossed. So I decided that was my small goal. I got the boxes off that wall. I had a box for trash, for give away and keep. I figure if I don't have a specific place to put it, and haven't used it in the past 6 months, I probably won't miss it. If I really do, I will find another one. Of course there are exceptions to this. I do have a few boxes in the shed of keep sakes, stuff I may never use, but can't give up, they were made by my grandpa, or something along those lines. I just try to be conscious of how much I am keeping. I have 2 boxes of 'household' decor type things. No more than that, I don't need to keep it. So I donate it to our local church pantry, who passes the stuff on to families for free, who actually need it.

That hardest part of de-cluttering is getting rid of stuff. What to save and what to get rid of. I know for me, knowing I was donating it to someone who could use it, was a HUGE incentive. Yes you can donate to Goodwill or a consignment shop, but a church that passes it out for free was even MORE incentive. The people who can't afford Goodwill probably needed it more.

So start small, a specific room or shelf and don't start another project until it's done. Give yourself incentive, like when I get this done I will sit and watch something, or sit at the computer or whatever your relaxing is. If it is a few day job, than take a few days, but just get it done.. You will feel a huge sense of relief and achievement when you do.

So there is tip #1, I hope that helps someone!! lol

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A slice of heaven. Banana Cake

Banana Cake, the BEST!!
My second favorite cake is this one, my first is the Peanut Butter cake. As with several recipes in my book, they are written in Grandma Dugan's handwriting. It may be hard to read, but it's definitely worth keeping as is. (I have it in an easier form below)

2 large or 3 small mashed banana's (aprox 1 c)
1/2 c marg
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/4 c buttermilk or sour milk (if you don't have sour milk, add a touch of lemon juice to
some milk and wait for it to curdle)
Mix together well
2c flour
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till spongy
Once it's cooled top it with some Banana frosting
Banana frosting
1 banana
1 lb powdered sugar (aprox 2 -3 cups)
1 t vanilla
3/4 c of melted butter
mix and add enough milk to make it just runny.
Pour over the cake, and let it cool a bit more, so the frosting thickens. I like to poke the cake and let the frosting run inside of it too.
And ENJOY!!!!
It's also delicious with cream cheese frosting (omit the banana and butter and use cream cheese instead)


Have you ever watch any of the shows on hoarders or "Clean House"? You know shows that take a persons cluttered house and make it neat and tidy, organized and well, much better!
Do you watch in horror at how horrible some people can live? Or look around and say to yourself, "Hmm maybe I should be on that show"?

Or are you like me and watch the show and use it for motivation to get off the couch and organize something?? lol.. I don't want my house looking like that, again..

When my older kids were younger, my house was always a mess. I didn't have the energy or the ability to get it clean and keep it there. I mean it was 'clean' in the sense that there wasn't trash and dishes and such lying around, but the clutter and laundry and toys was overwhelming. Being a SAHM you tend to look at it all day and instead of feeling motivated to do something about it, it instead seems like a "I don't know where to start" kind of task. It soon blends in and clean takes on a new meaning. Instead of vacuuming once a day, clean is if there are no large pieces of paper or trash on the floor. This sounds horrible, but if your a mom with young kids, you know what I mean. Now that my kids are older and can help with the normal routine chores, I have time to do the "extras".

So I just thought I would share with you all, what I did and do to declutter my home. I truly believe that if you can declutter you home, esp if you are home all day, your brain will work better lol. Depression is a big issue for me, and having a decluttered home has helped alot. So I'm going to attempt to post some tips I found useful. I'll title them all Organization. Maybe the tips will help someone, if not, than at least I have a list of them for future use lol.. (you'd be surprised how many times I come back here to see what I did last time lol)..

Friday, January 1, 2010

My favorite brownies!

How is it, that I've never posted my favorite brownie recipe on here. I'm in shock, I can't believe it. I mean these are the staple of junk food around here. We can polish off a 8x8 pan with ice cream in one night. The whole family helps of course. If I make enough for the next day, we eat them for breakfast lol.

Well we made some again tonight. I showed my niece how to make the best brownies EVER!!

Fudgie Brownies from Jennifer Dugan’s kitchen
½ c. marg
½ c. cocoa
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
½ c. flour
¼ t. salt
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 and grease 8x8x2 pan.
In a saucepan melt the marg. Removed from heat and add cocoa, stir until well blended. Add sugar & mix well. Add eggs, slowly one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, flour and salt. DO NOT OVERBEAT. Fold in the nuts.

Bake 325 for 25-30 min, till knife comes out clean. Doubles well into a 9x13 pan.

Alternate options: use peanut butter, milk chocolate, mint or vanilla chips when you add the nuts. These are really fudgey brownies and super good!