Cooking · Dinner · main dish · Main entree

Perfect Pork Tostadas

I love to take the leftovers from a great entree and turn them into something completely different – you know hide the fact that we’re eating leftovers!

I found a great way to use pork tenderloin this week that was so delicious and so different from the way it was originally served, that there’s almost no way someone would have know that Sunday dinner was being revisited (isn’t that better than saying, “leftovers?!”).

Enter the Pork Tostada!  I ask you – does this look like boring leftovers?

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Grilled Pork Tostadas

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Cups Chopped Pork Tenderloin, cooked
1 cup peppers, multi-colored, chopped
1/2 Cup Red onion, chopped
Tortillas
1 1/2 Cup Mexican cheese
Toppings – lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedges, avocado

Combine oil, cumin and salt.  Pour half of mixture over vegetables to coat.  Pour  the other half over the meat, stir to coat.
Cook vegetables in small amount of oil until tender.  Add meat, cook until meat is warmed.
Brush tortillas with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Toast tortillas in 400 degree oven until crisp.  Top with vegetables, meat, cheese and return to oven and allow cheese to melt.

Serve immediately.  Serve with added toppings.

I served this with Spanish rice and fresh fruit and it was sooo good!!

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Roast a tenderloin and grab the remains so you can make these!

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Cooking · Dinner · grilling · main dish · Main entree

(L)Oven Monday – Grilled Chicken With Strawberry Salsa

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Everything about the recipe I’m going to share with you today is just right.  Grilled chicken with crispy, charred edges and flavorful strawberry salsa on top – it’s just perfect!  This was one of the new recipes I found while culling through magazines for inspiration for my menu last week.  This one did not disappoint!  This is from Kraft foods.  The only tweak I made was that I didn’t purchase a vinaigrette; I made my own, and the recipe will follow.

Now on to that gorgeous chicken!

Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Vinaigrette 

1/2 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb.)
2 cups small strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Pour 1/4 cup dressing over chicken in shallow dish; turn to evenly coat both sides of each breast with dressing. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate. Meanwhile, combine strawberries and remaining dressing. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chicken 6 to 8 min. on each side or until done (165ºF).
Transfer chicken to platter; sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serve with strawberry salsa.
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Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
  2. 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional* (See Cook’s Note)
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped garlic.
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  6. 3/4 cup olive oil.

Mix well in jar.  Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Get a good meat thermometer to check the chicken to see that it’s cooked properly.  If the breasts are thick, butterflying them will help reduce the cooking time.

I love grilling!  Everything just tastes better with the added flavor and the charred ridges! Mmm! Any other grill fans out there?

Enjoy!

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Cooking · Dinner · Home making · main dish · Main entree · Side dish

(L)Oven Monday – “Grilled” Chicken Tenders that Taste Like Cracker Barrel’s

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I love it when a restaurant has healthy food that’s so good you don’t feel like you’re missing out when you choose to order wisely!  That’s how I feel about Cracker Barrel’s Grilled Chicken Tenders!  They’re so juicy and flavorful that every bite is like an indulgence.  Recently I found This Copycat recipe on Southern Plate that reminds me so much of that delicious entree!  They’re not really grilled, but they have the taste of it!  Let me show you how simple this recipe is!

“Grilled” Chicken Tenderloins

Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips.
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey
Instructions:
  1. Place chicken in gallon ziplock bag. Combine all other ingredients and pour over. Seal and marinate for at least an hour. Doing this step the night before would make supper a breeze!
  2. Pour all ingredients into a large skillet and cook over medium heat until liquid evaporates and remaining marinade becomes thick and caramelized. This can take from 30-40 minutes.
  3. Coat each piece of chicken in marinade by rubbing it around on the bottom of the pan before removing it.

Here’s what it looked like about half way through the cooking process:

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I cooked my chicken in my electric skillet and it took about 30 minutes, so just keep an eye on the your pan to tell when it’s done.  This is so delicious!  I used the leftovers later in the week for wraps for our lunch and it was delicious cold!  This would be a great staple to keep in the freezer!

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If you need a super-simple and fast side to go with a meal, here’s something we love:

Canned Potatoes with Rosemary and Tomatoes

Canned potatoes, drained
1 Tbl. Butter
Grape Tomatoes, halved
Rosemary
Salt
Pepper

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Melt butter in small skillet.  Cube the potatoes and add them to the skillet.  Let them get brown and a little “crispy.”  Add herbs and Grape tomatoes. Let cook until tomatoes are warm.

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This is a super-easy and yummy meal!  I hope you’ll put it on your menu and then let me know how you like it!

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Do you have a favorite Copycat recipe you make?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Cooking · dinner in 30 minutes · main dish · Main entree

(L)Oven Monday – Chicken Dinner in Under 15 Minutes!

I’ve had the recent loss of a properly working fridge.  Sadness!!!  Because I had to load my milk, eggs, coffee cream, butter and yogurt into the cooler while we wait (and wait and wait) for the repairmen to get the parts and get them installed, I’ve had to be kind of “off-the-cuff” with my meals.  Not having room for fresh vegetables, condiments, etc., I’ve pretty much just been pulling from the freezer and pantry.  “Necessity is the mother on invention” they say, and it’s true!  I had to pull a meal together completely out of necessity and it was  a really happy discovery!

I needed supper to consist of chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and feta cheese because that’s what I had. I found a recipe that sounded good, but I didn’t have the exact ingredients, so I substituted with what I did have, and the results were fabulous!!

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This chicken is cooked in under 15 minutes!!! Broiling the chicken gives it a little crispiness that makes it taste like it’s been grilled.  Yum!! If you need  a fabulous meal in a flash, here’s what this recipe calls for:

Chicken breasts filet
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Italian Seasoning
Canned Tomatoes
Feta Cheese

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven broiler on high.

Mix equal parts of olive oil and vinegar.  For one LARGE chicken breast, I used about 2 tbl of each.  Brush vinegar mixture on both sides of chicken breast.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, on both sides.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place baking sheet 4-6 inches from broiler.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn and cook until juices run clear.  I had a thick chicken breast, so I cut it in half so it was thinner.  It cooked in the 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place a spoonful of diced canned tomatoes (drained), on chicken.  Sprinkle with Feta Cheese.  Broil one more minute.  Serve immediately.

My menu for a completely 15 minute meal:

Chicken with Feta and Tomatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Couscous

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Seriously, this was so delicious!  My husband said, “This recipe needs to be on the ‘Do-over’ list!”  I agree.  We will be having this again and again even after the fridge gets fixed!  I’m thinking this recipe is the “Silver lining” in this refrigerator trouble!  Thank you, Lord, for these little blessings!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Dinner · entertaining · Family life · home · Home making · hospitality · main dish · Main entree · Make-Ahead · refreshment at home · Side dish

(L)Oven Monday – Successful Sunday Dinner Finale

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Today is the last post for Successful Sunday dinner.  I will continue to share my recipes and what I served at my house, but as far as the 1,2,3’s, we’re going to wrap it up and get you ready to dive into that great Sunday meal for your family!

Remember that if it’s your desire to make Sunday dinner special at your house, it’s going to take some intentional effort and planning. Here were the three crucial steps before getting the meal going:

  1. Ponder the needs –

  2. Plan the menu 

  3. Prepare ahead

  • Ponder the needs -Consider any allergies or health concerns, like diabetes.
  • Plan the menu around those needs, your time and budget.  Typically if I’m making a main dish or a bread that requires lots of time, I’ll make another part of the meal easier to prepare.
  • Prepare ahead by doing everything you can on Saturday (or before).  It will lessen your stress level!
    • Set the table
    • Chop all veggies
    • Marinate meat
    • Prepare the salad
    • Prepare the dessert
    • Get the side dishes started

Let me give you a little rundown on how my week may look when I’m hosting a typical Sunday dinner…

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Early in the week – 

Wednesday – 

  • Make Rolls and freeze
  • Check to see if tablecloth or napkins need ironing

Saturday – 

  • Prep chicken dish and  go ahead and bake it.  All it needs on Sunday is to be warmed up. I wouldn’t leave this dish in the oven during church – it would dry out.
  • Peel potatoes and place in water overnight
  • Cut up apples for salad and place in lemon juice/water mixture overnight
  • Make Vinaigrette for salad
  • Wash and slice strawberries
  • Make tea
  • Set table
  • Set out serving dishes

Sunday – Before church

  • Mix salad ingredients, except dressing
  • Put potatoes in crock pot, turn on high
  • Set rolls out to rise

Sunday – After church

  • Set out a light snack for guests, if needed
  • Warm chicken either in a large pan on the stove or in the microwave on a med setting.
  • Prep asparagus for roasting
  • Mash potatoes and keep warm
  • Bake rolls – Keep warm
  • Roast asparagus
  • Put into serving dishes

Enjoy the meal!!!

Serve dessert and then pray someone volunteers to help with the dishes!

I hope this series has helped you to see that you CAN make Sunday dinner something special and memorable.  Start out small and work your way into more complicated menus.  Do what you feel comfortable with and keep trying to improve your game plan.

 

Remember that the most important ingredient of any meal is THE PEOPLE!  Don’t make it about you and your inadequacies.  Make them feel welcome and important and they will love their time around your Sunday dinner table!

Is there an unanswered question that you have?  I’d be happy to address it!  Leave me a comment here and I promise to answer you!

Let’s eat!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

Crock Pot · Dinner · main dish · Main entree

(L)Oven Monday – Sunday Dinner, Part 2

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Chicken Enchildadas!

Last week I began with sharing the three things that are essential to having a successful Sunday dinner.  You can go here to find the details of those  important ingredients –

  1. Ponder the needs
  2. Plan the menu
  3. Prepare ahead

After you have done #1, and you know your budget, the needs of your guests and any other needs, such as time constraint, you can plan the menu.  Today, I’m going to share a few menu suggestions and I’ll put them into a few categories to help you get started.

  • Low Budget, Large crowd – 
    • Pasta dishes are great.  Here are some of my favorites that are inexpensive, feed a crowd, and can be made ahead:
      • Spinach Lasagna – You can even make this with no meat
      • Spaghetti Pie – This recipe makes two pies!  It has all the flavors of lasagna with less prep.
      • Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese – This link will not only show you the recipe, it will also tell you the whole menu I served on a Sunday when I made this, and the steps I took to get it ready for after church.
    • Chicken dishes, using roasted chicken done in the crock pot.  Here’s the method to cook the chicken breasts in the crock pot.
      • Chicken Enchiladas – This link will, again, show you my whole menu and method to serve this on a Sunday.
      • Savory Crescent Chicken Squares – To make these for a Sunday, prep the meat and cream cheese mixture and have it waiting in the fridge.  When you get home from church, put it into the crescent rolls and bake!
      • Hot Chicken Salad
  • Healthy Choices that can be made ahead –
    • Roasted Vegetable Frittata – Brunch food is great for Sunday!  Many restaurants are filled with church-goer’s looking for brunch!  Frittata warms up great.  I would bake the whole thing on Saturday and simply warm it up after church.
    • Baked Potato Soup – Make it ahead and keep it warm in the crock pot.  You can make this a hearty meal by serving a big bowl of salad and a light bread with it.
    • Katie Brown Chicken – This is a traditional kind of Sunday dinner, and soooo yummy!  It’s really my favorite meal!
    • Chicken Taco Salads – If the chicken is cooked, and the other salad ingredients prepped, you could put this together in minutes.
  • Crock Pot Recipes can be a life saver on Sunday! This is probably the best way to start out putting a great Sunday meal on the table.  Put everything in the crock pot and head to church.  There may be a little to do when you get home, but not much!  Here are some delicious main dish favorites:

I hope this second edition of Sunday Dinner will better equip you to put together a menu that fits your needs!  Give one of these recipes a whirl this Sunday and let me know how it goes!

Did you fix Sunday dinner yesterday?  What did you serve?

Denise Signature 150 px

baking · Dinner · home · Home Landscaping · Main entree · Outside decor

Friday Favorites – Fall and Food!

wp-1476366379870.jpgWith fall’s arrival bringing cooler temps and glorious days, I’ve had some incredible views this week.  Between the countryside where we live and a visit to a nearby lake, it’s been gorgeous all around me, as you’ll see in the pictures below.

I had some young bakers in the kitchen with me this week.  They made sugar cookies in the shapes of leaves and pumpkins.  It was as much fun making them as it was eating them!

Also in the pictures below you’ll see my morning Quiet Time place.  I love its comfort and soft lights in the early morning.  Liza found a comfy spot, too!

The bottom left picture is dinner at our daughter and son-in-law’s home on Sunday.  It’s a special joy to have family living here so that we can enjoy church and a meal after!  I truly never anticipated living near either of my girls.  I just want them to go where God takes them and their husband, but for now our youngest daugher and her husband are here and we’re enjoying it for as long as God will allow.   It’s a special treat to have an invitation for Sunday dinner!  Both of my girls are great cooks and like to try new recipes.  The meal we had last weekend was a new oone she was trying, and it was really yummy!

The other picture was Katie Brown Chicken that I made for my neighbor who had surgery.  I love making this to take to people.  It’s easy to put together, and it’s a comfort kind of food that’s also good for you!

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The pictures below are all from my yard.  Fall allows the roses to bloom again without the threat of the beetles!  I’m enjoying their beauty!  

In the early morning the view out the front windows is breathtaking.  There are the cows, the hills, and the mountains with the sun peeking up and bringing with it a fresh, new day!

When I come back in from my morning walk, I love the view of the front porch.  The rockers got a fresh coat of paint this week, making them even more inviting to sit and enjoy the views!

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How has your fall started out?  Have you made any comfort foods or seen anything beautiful in your area?

I pray you’ll have a great weekend.  We have a fun activity planned – I can’t wait to participate in it, then share the pictures with you next Friday!

Find a place where you can hear God’s Word being preached and be faithful to go AND to participate in worship this weekend!

Stay refreshed,

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