Marinated Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Have you ever eaten a great dish somewhere and you liked it so much that you wanted to recreate it at home? Way back…..and I mean waaay back….when I was just starting to cook and experimenting in the kitchen (like my mom and dad would do) I had two great chicken dishes that I absolutely loved. One was the Alice Springs Chicken from Outback Steakhouse. Their famous (and still one of my favorites) chicken marinated in a honey mustard type sauce and topped with mushroom, bacon, Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese. The other was from Applebee’s, it was a grilled chicken breast topped with bacon and cheese (do you see a pattern here? Yes, I have a weakness for bacon and cheese). I wanted to combine the two and of course, put my own spin on it….as I still like to do. So with a lot of trial and error in the marinade, I finally came up with a version that not only did I enjoy, but my parents as well. I actually have not made this in years, but I thought about it recently and made it once again for my hubby, although he hates mushrooms (which saddens me to no end) so I left those out.

The chicken is marinated for a few hours or over night (it has a little wine in it so you know it has to be good) then pan fried and topped with crispy bacon and melted cheese. Feel free to add the mushrooms. This is also good baked or grilled. It’s easy to put together and will be great for a weeknight….or weekend…dinner. You know it has to be a winner with bacon and gooey cheese.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

For The Marinade:

*1/2 cup soy sauce

*2 TBS Sherry wine

*the juice of 1/2 lime

*2 tsp. Dijon mustard

*1 TBS. olive oil

*2 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

*2 large cloves of garlic grated or minced

*1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

*1/2 tsp onion powder

*1 tsp. dried tarragon

*boneless, skinless chicken breast (thighs are good too)

*2 TBS or more of canola oil for frying

*1 TBS butter

*Shredded cheese; I used a blend of Monterrey Jack and Cheddar

*2 slices of bacon per chicken breast cooked

*scallions for garnish (optional)

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Taste and add any more amounts of the ingredients if desired.

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to make them a little thinner and equal in size.

Place the chicken in a zip top bag and pour in the marinade.

Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 3 hours or over night.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook bacon and set aside.

Discard the marinade and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Pour the canola oil and add butter to a large cast iron pan or oven proof pan and heat to medium high heat.

When the butter melts and the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken breasts to the pan.

Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes or until the chicken starts to turn golden; flip the chicken over and cook another 2 minutes.

Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches and internal temp of 165°.

Top the chicken with the bacon and cheese.

Place back into the oven for another minute or so until the cheese melts. Top with scallions and serve.

Enjoy!

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Pan Seared Herb Pork Chops In A Creamy Marsala Wine Sauce

These delicious pork chops are sprinkled with a few herbs, seared to perfection in butter and olive oil, then bathed in a rich, creamy marsala wine sauce. All of this is done in less than 30 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just crave a good pork chop. Whether it’s fried in a parmesan crusted coating (future post perhaps?) or seared in a pan with some simple herbs and a nice sauce that lets the pork shine through. I choose the latter. This was definitely a hit with hubby, who isn’t always keen on pork chops. The only thing that I would have loved to add to this dish are mushrooms, but considering how hubby reacts to mushrooms as a vampire to sunlight, I had to forgo those little morsels of delight. But even without them, this dish is one of those that makes you close your eyes and savor each bite. And the sauce…..oh my the sauce…I could drink it with a straw it’s that tasty.

This is a great dish when you want a quick, but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen, kind of meal. Serve it over rice, mashed potatoes or even buttered egg style noodles. Make sure you have some nice, crusty bread to soak up all of that delightful sauce since licking ones plate might not go over to well if you have company at the table. But if it’s just you and your significant other….lick away my friend….lick away.

Here’s what you need:

*Boneless pork chops; you can do this with bone in as well but cook a little longer

*Rosemary, fresh or dried to taste

*Thyme, fresh or dried to taste

*Tarragon, fresh or dried to taste ( I used a little since tarragon can be a little over powering)

*salt to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*1 TBS. olive oil or more if needed

*2 TBS. butter

*1/2 cup Marsala wine

*1 cup chicken stock

*1/2 cup cream or half and half

Sprinkle both sides of the pork with the herbs, salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast iron pan to medium high and add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter is melted place the pork chops into the pan. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pork over and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. While cooking, tilt the pan and spoon the butter mixture over the pork.

Take the pork out of the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and carefully pour in the marsala wine. Let it cook for about 1 minute while scrapping the bottom of the pan to loosen any seared bits on the bottom of the pan. Those are indeed little chunks of flavor.

Pour in the chicken broth.

Turn the heat back up to medium high and let the sauce continue to cook until the sauce starts to reduce and thickens slightly; about 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce heat down to medium and stir in the cream. Place the pork chops back into the pan with the sauce.

Cook until the pork chops are warm and are cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes (145F minimum).

Serve and Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Chili

Original Date: December,21 2020 Revised Date: November 11, 2022

Now that the weather is starting to turn cooler here in the South, well, on the days when the temps are not climbing into the high 70’s, it’s time for some hearty comfort food. This slow cooker chili is just that. It’s meaty and satisfying with a nice kick of spice, but not too spicy….unless you want it to be. You can throw it together and let it cook for hours and have a nice dinner everyone will love. It’s even better the next day.

The hardest part, and it really isn’t that hard, is browning the beef. The other hard part is trying not to lift the lid on the slow cooker to take a few bites. The wonderful smell wafting through the house for several hours makes it so tempting. This is one of those dishes my hubby asks for during the fall and winter months so I do tend to make this a lot. It also makes a great meal when you have friends and family over. I will admit, when I was a kid I hated beans in the chili. I would try to leave all of the beans behind and just score all of the other tasty stuff. Of course my mom and dad wasn’t too pleased with being left with mostly beans and a few morsels of beef and tomatoes. I can proudly say that when I got older I learned to savor this comforting dish, beans and all.

So pull out your slow cooker and get ready to fill your home with the mouthwatering smell of simmering chili.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 1/2 TBS chili powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. Chipotle powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. salt

*2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. onion powder

*2 tsp. cumin

*2 tsp. coriander

*2 tsp. paprika

*2 tsp. dried Thyme

*1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*2 tsp. beef stock base; I used Better than Bullion Beef base

*1 bay leaf

*2 cans of light kidney beans, drained

*2 cans diced tomatoes with juices

*1 15oz. can tomato sauce

*shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and brown; drain if needed. Turn down the heat to medium and add all of the herbs and spices (chili powder thru the beef stock).

Mix well and cook for 1 minute, add any more herbs or spices if needed. Spoon in to the slow cooker.

Add in the onions and garlic.

Add in the beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Mix all of the ingredients together and then add in the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

Remove the bay leaf and serve with some nice crusty bread and top with cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

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Air Fryer Meatballs

Air fryer meatballs are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. These cook just as well as frying them in a skillet, but with less mess and you don’t have to stand over a hot stove. These are great for meatball subs, spaghetti or even turning them into appetizers.

This is the same recipe that I have used for years. I do at times mix pork and ground beef, but in many cases I just stick with using all ground beef. I think everyone has their own favorite recipe, whether it’s been passed down from family to family, it’s a type of dish that can hold fond memories of growing up. For me, it’s my mom’s Swedish meatballs (sorry IKEA my mom has yours beat hands down). I have tweaked her meatballs over the years, but the memory of standing in the kitchen watching her roll them out always makes me smile.

Feel free to tweak these a bit to make them your own as well. All you have to do is throw them into the air fryer, shake them up a bit during cooking time and your on your way to making something delicious.

Here’s what you need:

For The Onion Mixture:

*1 small onion chopped

*pinch of salt

*1/2 tsp. dried sage

*olive oil

*1/2 TBS butter

For The Meatballs:

*2 lbs ground beef or 1 lbs. ground beef +1 lbs. ground pork

*2 garlic cloves grated

*1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

*1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce

*1 tsp dried Oregano

*1/2 tsp dried Thyme or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. salt

*cracked black pepper to taste

*1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

*1 TBS. dried parsley

*onion mixture

*1 egg

For the onions:

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally; set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs.

This is the fun part where you get to play with your food. Mix all of the ingredients together, I find that using my hands work better.

So get on in there, but don’t over mix or the meatballs will come out tough.

Scoop out some of the meat mixture and roll into balls.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°.

Place the meatballs in the basket in an even layer.

Cook for 5 minutes, then shake the basket so the meatballs do not stick. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Serve as is or use them like we did to make meatball subs.

Any way you chose to eat them, Enjoy!

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Steak Quesadillas


There is something so satisfying about warm, cheesy quesadillas. What’s even better, is a mouthwatering steak quesadilla. It’s hard to resist a warm, crisp tortilla filled with melted cheese and tender, marinated steak. Not only are these delicious, but they are also great for lunch, dinner or even if you’re feeding a few extra people while watching those Saturday or Sunday football games.

The star of these delectable quesadillas is the steak. For these I used a skirt steak cut into thin strips, but you can also use flank steak. The strips of steak are marinated for a few hours or over night. I do have to point out that I used fish sauce in the marinade. You can skip it, but I really think it adds so much flavor. I know, some of you are like I was at first….fish sauce? It doesn’t sound appetizing. I don’t even like anchovies. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that my favorite salad, a Caesar salad had anchovies in the dressing. They do, however, melt away adding a salty, nice flavor. The same goes for the fish sauce. I finally broke down and bought a small bottle and was really pleasantly surprised how much flavor it does add. I use it in a lot of my stir fry sauces and marinades. If you’re willing to try it, I recommend the brand Red Boat . I bought mine at Trader Joe’s but Amazon sells it also.

Now for the good part, how to make your own Steak Quesadillas.

Here’s what you need:

*1 TBS. canola or olive oil for searing the steak

*1 lb skirt or flank steak

*Sliced or shredded cheese Colby Jack cheese

*8 inch flour tortillas

For The Marinade:

*1/2 cup soy sauce

*1 TBS mirin or Shaoxing cooking wine

*1/8 tsp. sesame oil

*1 TBS olive oil

*splash of fish sauce

*juice of 1/2 of a lime

*1 TBS. green onions or scallions

*1 tsp garlic powder

*1 tsp onion powder

*1/4 tsp or more Chipotle powder

In a small bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients together.

Taste and add any more of the ingredients to your liking; set aside.

Cut the steak into strips and place in a zip top bag.

Pour the marinade over the steak and gently squeeze all of the air out of the bag and seal.

Gently shake the bag to make sure all of the marinade coats all of the steak pieces. Refrigerate for 3 hours or over night.

Drain off all of the liquid.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat and add in the canola oil.

Add the steak strips to the skillet in a single layer. It’s ok if some overlap.

Cook for about 1 minute and stir and cook for about 1 minute more; remove from the skillet.

Preheat oven to 400°

Place some of the steak on one half of a tortilla and top with cheese.

Fold the tortilla over the steak and cheese and press down to flatten.

Place quesadillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and heat in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Serve warm with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Black Bean and Cilantro Rice Burritos

These burritos are stuffed with delicious seasoned chicken, black beans, cheese and homemade cilantro rice all rolled in a soft tortilla. These are great for eating on the go, or pair it with some tasty sides to make a full meal. These are also good served with guacamole, sour cream or even some homemade salsa. These can also be frozen for if you want to make them a head of time and eat on another day.

I used rotisserie chicken seasoned with some tasty spices then tossed together with some black beans. The homemade cilantro rice is easy to prepare and even makes a great side.

You can get a little creative with these and make them your own by adding corn, tomatoes or anything else that your taste buds might be craving.

Here’s what you need:

*1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

*shredded cheese; I used a Monterey Jack and Colby blend

*8 to 10 large flour tortillas

*1 TBS olive oil

For The Rice:

*1 cups of long grain rice (once cooked it will yield 2 cups) I have used instant rice when I want the rice cooked a little faster

*Chicken stock

*2 tsp. lime juice

*1 TBS dried cilantro or 2 TBS fresh cilantro

For The Chicken:

*1 rotisserie chicken removed from the bones and the skin taken off

*2 garlic cloves minced

*1/4 tsp. chili flakes or more to taste

*1/4 tsp. salt or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1/2 tsp cumin

*1/ 2 tsp. coriander

*1/2 tsp dried oregano or more to taste

*juice of 1/2 of a lime

Cook the rice according to the package, but omit the water and replace with the chicken stock instead.

When the rice is cooked gently stir in the lime juice and the cilantro; set aside.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add in the chicken and the rest of the ingredients for the chicken. Stir and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans and cilantro rice and cook another 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave. This will help make them more pliable.

They them flat on a good work surface. Place some of the chicken rice mixture on the tortilla and sprinkle on a desire amount of cheese.

Fold in the sides

Then roll up tightly.

I must say this was quite challenging trying my best to show you this with one hand and taking pictures with the other. Because I was alone…why…because I made these on a Sunday and hubby was no where to be found because….Football. That’s all I’m sayin.

Repeat with the remaining burritos.

Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray and place the burritos seam side down.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until tortillas become a little crispy and heated through.

Serve with a side, guacamole, sour cream or your favorite burrito sauce.

*How To Freeze*

Wrap each burrito in waxed paper and foil tightly then place in a zip top bag. Make sure to label and date.

These can be frozen up to 3 months.

*To Reheat From Frozen*

On wrap and remove the waxed paper. Wrap the burrito back in foil and bake in a 350° oven for 40 minutes or until heated through.

Enjoy!

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Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

A while back…last year to be exact, I did a post on Air Fryer Hot Dogs. Today it’s still my number one pinned and viewed recipe. I’m still amazed at how popular it is, but I really shouldn’t be surprised because when you can’t grill out those hot dogs, cooking them in the air fryer is the next best thing. But what about hot dogs wrapped in bacon? I’m such a bacon lover…hubby even says I might one day need an intervention, but that’s beside the point. These bacon wrapped hot dogs are absolutely delicious. I mean come on, how can your mouth not water just thinking about it…a juicy hot dog wrapped in smoky bacon. *sigh*

These were easy to make. I wasn’t sure if the bacon would come unwrapped during the cooking time, but it did not. Just make sure that the ends of the bacon are underneath the hotdog. If you are still unsure, you can always secure with toothpicks, just be sure to remove them before placing them in the hot dog buns.

So if you are ready to take you air fryer hot dogs to the next level, here’s what you need:

*hot dogs

*bacon, one slice per dog

Preheat the air fryer at 380°

While the air fryer is preheating, take one hot dog and starting at one end, wrap a slice of bacon around the hot dog.

Keep wrapping the bacon all the way to the other end. Notice how I overlapped the starting end of the bacon, this helps keep it from unwrapping during cooking.

Continue with desired amount of hot dogs.

Place the hot dogs in the air fryer basket with the ends of the bacon underneath each hot dog.

Cook for 5 minutes. Flip the hot dogs over, at this point the bacon has been cooked enough where it shouldn’t unwrap. Cook for another 5 minutes or more until the bacon is cooked.

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Serve in hot dog buns with desired toppings.

Enjoy!

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Carne Asada

Original Date: June 6, 2020 Revised Date: September 22, 2022

I have to admit, I really didn’t know that much about Carne Asada until I met my now hubby. It’s meat, typically skirt or flank steak, that has been marinated, grilled and cut into thin slices. I’ve had it many times and really wanted to try my hand at it at home….ok to impress hubby since he loves it so much.

It really isn’t hard to make. I couldn’t find flank or skirt steak at my local grocery store, so I used thinly cut chuck steak. It was such a hot day when I made this, that instead of grilling it out, I cooked it in a very hot cast iron skillet. I have to say, the marinade that I came up for this was insanely delicious. I think it will now be my go to marinade for many beef dishes in the future. The beef came out so tender and still had that bits of charred flavor that you get from grilling it. The marinade really packed this beauty full of flavor. This is great in tacos, tostadas, burritos or you can just eat it with a side of rice and beans. I have even made Carne Asada Breakfast Tacos.

So if you are ready to satisfy your carnivore cravings and want something tasty for taco Tuesday…. or any day for that matter,

here’s what you need:

*chuck steak, flank or skirt steak

Marinade:

*1/4 C. soy sauce

*1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

*1/4 C. Red wine

*Juice of 1 lime + more for after steak is cooked

*juice of 1 orange + 1 tsp. orange zest

*1/4 C. olive oil

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 tsp. ground cumin

*1 tsp. ground coriander

*2 tsp. dried cilantro or 1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro ( I had to use dry because my store was out of fresh cilantro) + more for garnishing

*1/2 tsp. Chipotle powder or more to taste

*1 Tbs. canola oil for the skillet

Mix all in of the ingredients for the marinade in a measuring cup or a bowl; set aside.

Place beef in a large dish (large enough so the beef can lay flat).

Pour marinade mixture over the beef.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or more. 45 minutes before cooking, take beef out of the marinade mixture and dry with paper towels; discard marinade.

Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. When skillet is very hot add 1 Tbs canola oil, then add beef.

The skillet might smoke a little because of the high heat, but that is ok. Cook on one side for 2 minutes, flip the meat over and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice against the grain. Squeeze some lime juice over the beef and garnish with cilantro. Serve in tacos, burritos or as a main meal.

Enjoy!

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One Pan Taco Pasta

This dish is great for taco Tuesday when you want something a little different than just tacos. Okay, I really tried to type that with a straight face. Seriously, who doesn’t want tacos? This is a great meal after taco night. This is like eating tacos wrapped in some cheesy saucy pasta. I will admit, I had a hard time not just eating this straight out of the pan….it’s that good. Ground beef, tomatoes and pasta shells are simmered in a taco spiced tomato sauce with melty cheese mixed in like a hug. This is one comfort pleasing meal. I used my homemade taco seasoning that I had posted recently, but you can use the store bought kind if you prefer.

Another huge plus about this dish, is that it’s all done in one pan. It’s easy, done in about 30 minutes and clean up is a breeze.

So grab a fork….or spoon and let’s get started.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes

*1 1/2 cups beef broth

*1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

*1 1/2 TBS taco seasoning or more to taste

*1/2 box pasta shells

*1 1/2 cup shredded cheese; I used a Colby Monterrey Jack blend

In a large skillet heat to medium high and brown the ground beef; drain if needed.

Turn the heat down to medium and add in the can of crushed tomatoes, beef broth, diced tomatoes and seasonings.

Stir until everything is mixed together and cook for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the pasta shells. Push shells down into the liquid. It’s ok if it’s not completely submerged

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender.

Stir in the cheese.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Eggs In Purgatory With Chorizo

These eggs in purgatory with chorizo make a great breakfast, brunch or even if you want breakfast for dinner. Eggs are gently poached in a slightly spicy red sauce made up of crushed tomatoes, onions garlic and other delightful herbs and spices. I added some Colombian chorizo to give this dish a nice added flavor and it makes it an even heartier meal. You can use Spanish chorizo if you prefer. Either one you choose, this dish is definitely soul satisfying. Don’t forget to serve some crusty bread to mop up all of that delicious sauce.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*olive oil

*1 medium onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 LB Colombian or Spanish chorizo chopped into bite size pieces; These varieties of chorizo are precooked unlike the Mexican chorizo.

*1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

*1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

*1 tsp cumin or more to taste

*1 tsp. coriander or more to taste

*2 tsp. smoked paprika or more to taste

*1 tsp. chipotle chili powder or more to taste

*1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more to taste

*1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried cilantro or more to taste

*5 eggs

*parsley for garnish

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add in the onions and garlic and cook while constantly stirring for about 1 minute. Add the chorizo and continue to cook, stirring often until the onions are soft and the chorizo start to brown. If the skillet gets too hot turn the heat down to medium.

Slowly pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir in the salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle powder, red pepper flakes, oregano and dried cilantro.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring at least once. Taste the sauce and add any more of the herbs or spices if needed.

With a spoon, make a hole and crack the eggs into each hole.

Cover the skillet and cook on medium low for about 10 to 15 minutes until the eggs whites are set but the yolks are still a little runny. If you like your eggs firmer, cook a little longer.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a side of crusty bread.

Enjoy!

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