Buffalo Chicken Tenders

If you read my last post, you know that my children dont like anything. When I came across this recipe, I thought that most of our children should like it...it is just chicken after all. Well, I was wrong. My husband and I like them and one of our boys but the other 3 did not. Dont let that discourage you though, they are fairly easy and full of flavor. You can adjust the spicyness to the preferences of your family. 

Buffalo Chicken Tenders
For the Blue Cheese Dip:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

For the sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp hot sauce (Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce)
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

For the chicken:
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
canola oil cooking spray
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the ingredients for the blue cheese dip, mashing the cheese crumbles into small limps as you work. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the hot sauce and vinegar. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the oven to 450. Arrange 3 shallow bowls for dredging the chicken. Put the flour in the first bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg in the second, and stir together the bread crumbs, salt and pepper in the third. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Coat each chicken strip by dredging it first in the flour and then the buttermilk mixture. Press each piece into the bread crumbs, then transfer the strips to a baking sheet. Space the pieces on the sheet so that they don't touch. Lightly spray the strips with oil.

Bake the strips for 10 minutes. Flip each piece and spray them again. Return the strips to the oven and cook them until they're golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes longer.

Brush each baked strip on both sides with the sauce (apply it generously for grown-ups, less for kids who prefer a milder version.) Serve the strips with blue cheese dip and celery sticks on the side.

Recipe from Oct 2011 Family Fun Magazine

NOTE: I didnt make the blue cheese dip because I knew my family wouldn't eat it. I would love to hear comments from anyone who tries it.


Peanut Butter Blondies

Cooking dinner isnt my favorite thing to do. I think it has something to do with my children. They dont like anything! How can children eat the same things over and over and over. One of our children loves spaghetti but the others don't. Another loves steak and only steak. Another..well I haven't quite figured out what she will eat. I guess she likes popcorn and cold cereal. I shouldn't complain, though. I was extremely picky as a child! I gave my mother fits! I am glad I have outgrown that stage and now love to eat a variety of things.
While cooking dinner isnt one of my favorite things to do, I do enjoy..or rather love..baking treats!  Amazingly all of our children like peanut butter treats so I when I found this recipe in the Aug/Sept 2011 Taste of Home I knew I had to try it. Everyone loved them!

Peanut Butter Blondies
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
4 peanut butter cups, chopped

Beat eggs and brown sugar for 3 minutes in a large bowl. Add peanut butter, butter and milk; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in the peanut butter cups.
Spread into a greased 8-in square baking dish. Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

NOTE: I cooked them for only 18 minutes and they came out perfect.


Chicken & Rice

This is one of my husband's favorite meals, and one of my go-to meals when I need something easy. It is such a simple dish, but is full of flavor.

 I always thought that chicken and rice was a little bland... so I have been looking for a good basic Chicken and Rice recipe. My mother in law gave me her recipe and one day I just kind of played with it and was pleasantly surprised. This is just a basic recipe, you could add veggies to this and it would be great too, but we like it with just chicken and rice.

Chicken & Rice

Several Chicken breasts or breast tenders (enough to cover the bottom of a 9X13 dish)
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (sometimes I use one Cream of Chicken and one Cream of Mushroom)
1 C. Rice (Not Instant)
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp. Onion Salt
1 Tbsp. Onion Soup Mix
2 Cans of Liquid (You can use water, but I use 1 1/2 cans of Chicken Broth and 1/2 can of Whipping Cream. It makes it alot creamier)
1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
Pepper (just a dash and sometimes I will add a dash of Ms. Dash)

In a bowl, mix the soup and the liquid. Add the rice and cheese and stir until well mixed. Add garlic and onion salt and mix well. In a greased roasting pan or baking dish place the chicken on the bottom (I use frozen chicken breast tenders and it works great, I sometimes will season the chicken a little with Ms. Dash and Pepper.) Pour the Rice mixture on top of the chicken. Cover and Bake at 350 for 1 1/2-2 hours or until rice is done.

I usually cook mine for 2 hours with frozen chicken. If you use thawed chicken I would check it around 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have frozen chicken breast tenders then get chicken breasts and chop them into large pieces.



Tender Grilled Pork Chops

I love grilling...chicken, steak, and now I really love grilling pork chops!
We had these the other night and they were delicious!

The marinade only has 3 ingredients, so you can't get much easier than that.
I put our pork chops in a brine for about 2 hours and then marinated them for about 4 1/2 (you could marinate a little longer, I was short on time).
If you've never brined anything, no problem, it's easy. All it is is a salt water 'bath' for your meats. I have brined turkey and it always turns out moist and flavorful. And when I did this with the pork chops the result was the same. You can add other seasonings, salt, etc to your brines, but this time all I used was Salt, Water, and a little Seasoning Salt.
Why should you brine? Good question with a good answer. Here's a little info for ya:
"The chemistry behind brining is really pretty simple. Meat already contains salt water. By immersing meats into a liquid with a higher concentration of salt, the brine is absorbed into the meat. Any flavoring added to the brine will be carried into the meat with the saltwater mixture. Because the meat is now loaded with extra moisture it will stay that way as it cooks."
From BBQ.about.com)
So how do I brine? Another good question. Usually you add a cup of kosher salt to every gallon of water. I didn't measure mine, I just filled up my bowl added some kosher salt and seasoning salt, stirred it up and then added my pork chops, pretty simple. There are all kinds of different brines out there, but for these pork chops I think a basic brine is best.
You don't want to mess up this chop by overcooking and being left with a dry, chewy chop do you? I read something about grilling pork chops, how to get the perfect chop:
Grilling Thin Pork Chops: Thin chops should be grilled hot and fast. This is really one you should step away from since thinner pork chops will cook so fast. The trick is to grill them like you would a steak, over an intense heat, flipping as little as possible. Preheat your grill to as hot a temperature as it will go. Place the chops on the grill and close the lid for 1 minute. Open the lid and rotate the chops 45 degrees without flipping. Close the lid for another minute. Now flip the chops over and close the lid again. After a minute rotate the chops 45 degrees and finish them off. With a hot, hot grill and thin chops you should have them off the grill in 4 to 5 minutes.
Grilling Thick Pork Chops: Thick chops need a slower heat to get them cooked without drying them out. What you do want to do however is sear the surface to get them cooking. Preheat your grill as high as it will go (if you are using charcoal build your fire hotter on one side for searing with a cooler side to finish them off on). Put the chops on the grill and close the lid. After one minute open the grill and flip the chops. Close the lid for one minute. Now turn down the heat on your grill to medium (or move the chops to the cooler side of your charcoal grill). Rotate the chops to get your cross hatch marks and let them cook for about 3 more minutes with the lid down. After this time flip the chops over and continue cooking for about 4 more minutes. It is best at this point to turn your grill down to its lowest setting (or close the vents on your charcoal grill). Grill until done and the internal temperature is 155-165 degrees.
(From BBQ.about.com)
These chops were a hit and I think I have found my one and only grilled pork chop marinade. We're going to experiment this on some steaks and see if we get the same result. 
So here you go a grilling recipe for you to try. And believe me you should try it!


Pork Chop Brine
1/2 Gallon Water
1/2 C. Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Seasoning Salt

In a large bowl add your ingredients and stir until dissolved. Place your pork chops in the brine. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to 8.
Once they are done soaking, drain the brine and give your chops a quick rinse. Then add to your favorite marinade.

Tender Grilled Pork Chops
*Serves 4 
4 boneless pork loin chops
1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning or make your own*)

Mix olive oil, soy sauce and steak seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and pour into a one-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops and set the bag in a baking dish in a way that the pork chops get a healthy dose of the marinade (it may be advantageous to flip the bag over halfway through the marinating time). Marinate in the refrigerator for 3-8 hours (no more than 8). Heat the grill to medium and grill the chops 6-8 minutes per side (depending on how thick they are) until they are no longer pink in the center. Remove the chops from the grill and tent them with foil and allow them to rest for 5-7 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!!