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Monday, January 30, 2012

Recipe: Ranch Chicken

Forgot to take a picture... but we'll be making it again soon because it was so yummy! The chicken was moist and flavorful, and the breading was the perfect combination of flavor and crispiness. This was a combined effort, with Jeffrey's great idea and my know-how in the kitchen.

4 chicken breasts (4-6oz each)
1/3 C ranch dressing
1 egg
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/4 C parmesan
3/4 C bisquick

1. Place chicken breast in good-sealing ziplock (or between two pieces of plastic wrap) and pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat for each piece of chicken. Marinate chicken in ranch dressing for a couple hours.
2. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a 9"x13" baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a shallow dish, beat egg. In another shallow dish, combine ranch mix, parmesan, and bisquick.
3. Coat chicken in bisquick mix, dip in egg, then coat in biscquick mix again; place in baking dish. Repeat for remaining chicken. Bake 20 minutes; turn and return to oven for 10 minutes.

*Note: This technically serves 4 people (we had mashed potatoes and salad with it), but if you're cooking for someone like my husband, you might want to make extra. He was so disappointed that he only got one piece!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recipe: Lemon-Apricot Chicken

Not sure why the picture got turned, but here it is. I used this recipe, but just used normal Bisquick and an egg instead of the water/egg white combination. It came out sooo good!


1 egg
1/2 C Bisquick
1 1/2 t grated lemon peel
1/8 t garlic powder
1/2 lb chicken breast

1/3 C apricot preserves
1 T lemon juice
1/4 t soy sauce
1/8 t ground ginger

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In shallow dish, beat egg product and water slightly. In another shallow dish, stir together Bisquick® mix, lemon peel and garlic powder. Flatten chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper to 1/2-inch thickness.

2. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then coat with Bisquick mixture. Place in pan. Spray chicken with cooking spray.

3. Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Turn; bake 10 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

4. In small microwavable bowl, stir together all Lemon-Apricot Sauce ingredients. Microwave on High 1 minute; stir. Cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with lemon slices.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cupcake Bag

I made this for my little sister's 6th birthday. Here's the pattern: Cupcake Bag Crochet Pattern. Instead of the dots and hearts, I just repeated the scalloped pattern with different colors. I stitched down the bottom of each scallop so that it would rest flat.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Recipe: Guilt-Free, Machineless Homemade Icecream

1 C skim milk
1/4 C Splenda (or other 0-calorie sweetener)
1 t vanilla OR 1 t cocoa powder
1 tray of icecubes
fresh fruit or other toppings (optional)

Place all ingredients in a sandwich-size ziplock bag (if it doesn't have a great seal, double bag it); make sure to remove as much air as possible. In a larger ziplock bag* (the gallon size is perfect for two little bags of ice cream and two trays of ice), place the ice cubes, about 1/4 C of salt, and the sealed bag of ice cream ingredients. Seal the large bag well, then shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes (you'll want to use a kitchen towel, or something to keep your hands from freezing). Quickly rinse off the outside of the ice cream bag with cold water. Being careful not to allow any of the salty water into your ice cream, open the bag and spoon your ice cream into a bowl. I like to chop up a strawberry or two and add it on top.

And there you have it -- a bowl of ice cream for under 100 calories!

*Note: We were going through plastic bags like crazy, so we discovered that you could also use a large bowl with a good lid in place of the large ziplock bag.

One more thing. If you have someone like my husband, who is offended by the idea of low-calorie, low-fat ice cream, you can make this just as easily with whole milk and granulated sugar. That's how hubby likes it, but it comes out to about 330 calories, pre-toppings.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recipe: Personal Stuffed Meatloaves

So I combined ideas from several recipes with my own idea to make individual portions (so that we wouldn't overeat, as we tend to do). That being the case, some of the measurements are kind of weird. They don't have to be exact, but you'll see what I mean. You can do any sort of filling you want. I did a spinach-mushroom one for me, and a cheese one for Jeffrey. You can be creative with vegetables and cheeses, but I'll let you know how I made ours. Anyway, this makes two individual-sized loaves. Also, I made this a few hours ahead (while my daughter  was napping) and just kept it in the fridge until I was ready to start cooking it.


1/2 lb ground beef
1 t soy sauce
dried sage
ground mustard
garlic powder
1 slice bread, torn in pieces

Filling (suggestions):
1/4 C grated cheese
1 C chopped mushrooms
1 C shredded spinach
1/2 t olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line small baking pan or loaf pan with foil.
2. Prepare fillings. I just grated up some cheddar (the only kind we had at the time). For the vegetables, I sauteed them in 1/2 t of olive oil with a dash of garlic salt.
3. In small container, combine spices -- Fill 1/4 t measuring spoon a third of the way with dried sage, fill remainder of spoon with ground mustard; add to container. Fill 1/4 t measuring spoon a third of the way with pepper, fill remainder of spoon with salt; add to container. Add a dash of garlic powder and combine spices.
4. In medium bowl, add soy sauce, spice blend, and bread to ground beef. Stir well to combine. Separate meat mixture into two halves.
5. On a square of foil, spoon half of the meat mixture. Spread into a rectangle about 4"x7". Spoon filling onto meat mixture and spread. Roll up meat, starting with narrow end; pinch ends so filling does not spill out. Place seam-side down on prepared baking pan. Repeat for remaining meat.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Once cooked, allow excess grease to drain off for a few moments before serving.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Crocodile Stitch Purse

Oh my gosh! I love, love, love how this purse turned out! I used this pattern for the Crocodile Stitch Purse. I used an H hook with a soft acrylic worsted weight. I used the explanation for the crocodile stitch from this site because it didn't require me to watch a 30 minute video.

I lined it with some plum-colored satin that I had in my stash, and finished it off with a snap using my new KAM pliers!

 Crochet Instructions (from pattern):

Rnd 1: ch 38, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 35 chs, 5 sc in last ch, working on opposite side of ch, sc in each of next 35 chs, 4 sc in last ch, join (see Pattern Note) in beg sc. (80 sc)

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in each of first 37 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in next st, 3 sc in next st, sc in each of next 37 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in next st, 3 sc in last st, join in beg sc. (88 sc)

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in each of first 38 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in each of next 39 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in last st, join in beg sc. (96 sc)

Rnd 4 start crocodile stitch ch 1, dc in same st, ch 1, sk 2 sts, *2 dc in next st, ch 1, skip 2 sc, dc in next st, ch 1*, repeat to end, ch 1

Rnd 5: Without turning work over turn your work 90 degrees *5 dc around post in second dc, Flip work around and put 5 dc around post of other dc, Sl st around single dc*; repeat * to end

Next round: ch 1, put 2 dc in each single dc and 1 dc in space between 2 dc

Make 9 rows of crocodile st (and 9 rows of dc)

Sc in each crocodile st (6 sc) - you will have 96 sc in this row
Do 2 more rows of sc
Fasten off

Straps (make 2)
Chain 101 sts, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each chain to end (100 sc), ch 1, turn
Row 2: SC in each st, ch 1, turn (100 sc)
Row 3 and 4: Repeat Row 2
Sl stitch down both sides and sew strap to purse
Cut lining to fit inside and sew lining in to the purse.