[twice baked potatoes]

Medium to large potato (1 per person)
Vegetable oil
Milk (2 tbsp per potato)
Garlic powder
Grated cheese (like Colby Jack, at least 3 tbsp per potato)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash potato prick holes in it with a fork (about 8 stabs per potato). Rub each potato all over with a little oil. Place the potato right on the oven rack (no pan) and bake for 45-60 minutes. (You should be able to tell when it's done by grabbing it with an oven mitt, a little soft, squeezable).

Adjust oven to 350 degrees.

Let potato cool for 5 minutes. Cut top 1/4 of less from potato, lengthwise. Scoop out the potato's insides and put into medium sized bowl. Reserve skin. Mix potato, milk, a couple dashes of garlic powder, a dash of dill, some of the cheese (save a little), salt and pepper. Mash until it's lumpy but well mixed. Adjust seasonings to your liking.

Put potato mixture back into the potato skin, packing it in but letting it overfill. Put it into a baking dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Put into 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. It's done when the cheese is melted to your liking.

When you've removed after the cheese is melted, cut a small 1-inch cut into the top of each and place 1/3 tbsp of butter in each. Serve while hot.

[erin's chx blue]

this recipe doesn't get called by name in our house - we just call it "can we have that chicken thing with the bacon..." it's awesome. Truly made from Erin's imagination.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line metal pan with foil and olive oil.

2 chicken breasts, pounded until flat (about 1/4-inch thick)
2 pieces deli sliced swiss cheese
frozen broccoli florets (depending on size, 4-6 per breast)
4 slices deli ham
cajun seasoning
sea salt (the big chunk stuff)
black pepper
Olive Oil
2-4 slices of bacon (we prefer the real stuff, but you could use turkey if you want to cheat yourself)

Pound chicken breasts (in a large ziploc bag, or between sheets of wax paper), with a meat mallet until flat. Put chicken on cutting board or large plate. On the outer side of the chicken, rub cajun seasoning to your liking, and salt and pepper to taste. Flip back over and place on each breast: 1 piece swiss, broccoli and 2 slices ham (in that order). Roll chicken around ingredients (ok if ends are open, just make sure most of the inner goodness is inside the chicken). Move chicken aside and place bacon in an 'X'. Place the chicken on the bacon (seam side down) and wrap the bacon around the chicken, tugging slightly to ensure it's tight and wrapped. (I let the X be underneath on the seam of the chicken and the 'top of the chicken' be the side with the bacon overlapping, usually two parralel lines rather than another 'X' on top.) Place the chicken in the metal pan with foil. Drizzle a little olive oil on each breast.

Bake for 50 minutes. Set oven to broil and remove chicken once bacon begins to brown and crisp. (You don't need to flip the chicken).
Serve with vegetables.

[chicken salad]

The Goods:
leftover chicken (or turkey), cubed or cut up into small pieces (we usually have 1 or 2 chicken breasts)
1 celery stalk, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp black pepper

Mix the chicken and celery in a medium bowl. Mix the mayo, vinegar, mustard and sugar with a spoon in a small bowl. Add salt and black pepper to your liking. Slowly add the sauce mixture to the chicken mixture until it's to your liking. (Better to have leftover sauce than overly wet chicken salad).

Serve on bread with lettuce.
Leftover salad is great, but doesn't last in our house for more than one day because we eat it ASAP.

[parmesean baked potato]

serves 2
an edited version of Paula Deen's 'Half-Baked Potato'
1 large baking potato
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp paprika
Garlic Salt or Powder (The salt helps build a better crust, but if you're watching your salt intake, cheat yourself)

Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with olive oil. Mix Parmesan, paprika and garlic together. Dip the cut sides in the Parmesan mixture. Place the potato, cut sides down, on a greased pan (Pam), and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serve cut side up and enjoy with some Smart Balance or butter, or sour cream... or whatever you want.

[oven roasted red potatoes w/ rosemary and garlic]

serves 6
adapted from Paula Deen

1 1/2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 15), scrubbed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Quarter the potatoes. In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary; add the potatoes and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan and roast in oven until the potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife, (about 45-60 minutes). Serve hot.


these are too easy to make
adapted from Paula Deen's Lady Brownies, (it's halved and minus the nuts)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, oil, cocoa and vanilla. Stir together until well blended. Add the flour, mix. Grease a pan with Pam, (I use a small rectangular glass pyrex pan, like a half size 13x9-inch, but you could use an 8-inch square). Spread brownie batter into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and dig in! (Leftovers are great in the fridge).

[sauteed sweet chicken breasts w/ spicy fresh tomato chutney & white rice]

makes 4 servings 
adapted from Rachael Ray
Tomato chutney is the worst name for a type of food... but I made it and we liked it, and I HATE tomatoes... so that's saying something.

2 14-ounce cans chicken broth
3 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 cups white rice
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 serrano or jalapeƱo pepper, half of the seeds removed, finely chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 green onion stalks, finely chopped
1 tbsp honey
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Get the chicken coated and let it sit before you heat the skillet. While it sits, boil the chicken stock for the rice. When the rice is set and boiling and covered, then heat the chicken's skillet and get them started. While the chicken's cooking & the rice is boiling, direct your attention to the tomato.... or do what you want and have kitchen chaos.

In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp of Olive Oil, cilantro, green onion, honey and a little salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and toss to coat. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken breasts (lower heat to medium once they've hit the pan) and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, until cooked through. While they cook - start the rice. (Keep an eye on the chicken, but make sure it's cooked through. When it's done, set the breasts aside on a serving dish and cover with foil).

Bring the chicken broth and a drizzle of Olive Oil to a boil in a medium pot. Add the rice, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook the rice covered, stirring occasionally, for 17-18 minutes, or until tender. Fluff with a fork. 

While the rice cooks, work on the spicy fresh tomato chutney. Heat a medium-size skillet over high heat with a tbsp of Olive Oil. Add the quartered plum tomatoes, cumin, coriander, serrano peppers, shallots, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir until garlic is fragrant. Add the sherry vinegar, brown sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes have broken down and are slightly thickened.

Remove the chicken and move to a serving platter.
Top each breast with tomato chutney and serve with the white rice.

[horseradish smashed potatoes]

serves 2
adapted from Rachael Ray
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into quarters
coarse salt
coarse black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8-1/6 cup sour cream
1/2 rounded tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/8-1/4 cup milk, depending on how you like it

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Salt the water and potatoes. Take off the lid and boil the potatoes until tender, 10-12 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot on the warm (but turned off) stovetop to dry them out. Add the butter, sour cream, horseradish and milk to the potatoes and smash to the desired consistency. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as a side dish with sweet sausages braised in onions

[sweet sausages braised in onions]

serves 2
adapted from Rachael Ray, who can't get cooking times right to save her life...

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive olil
4 links (about 1 pound) sweet italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (don't use dried!)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse black pepper
coarse salt
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp honey

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the Olive Oil. Add the sausage links and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove the sausages from the skillet and reserve.
(trust me, these are good - Ben swears he HATES onions, but these become sweet and delicious... he had seconds... and thirds)
Add the onions to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown. (Depending on pan, 5-15 minutes). Add the thyme and garlic until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock and honey. Bring the liquid to a simmer,

Then add the browned sausages back to the pan...
and braise the sausages until they are cooked through and the sauce has reduced by half. (About 10-20 minutes, cut the sausages in half to check - ours took closer to 20 minutes or more).

Serve sausages with onion and braising liquid.
Serve with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

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