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Stuffed Artichokes.

How excited are you for Friday trivia tomorrow? I got 3 more questions comin’ at ya!

 

 

Have you ever had stuffed artichokes?

 

 

I never had. Not until 2003.

 

 

And for the record, I ate them at an ex-boyfriend’s house on most holidays. Yep, I said it.

 

 

The relationship didn’t stick, but the artichokes sure did. I think my husband is happy on both accounts.

 

 

 

My mom had never had them, and I didn’t know anyone who had. Sad to say, I am not very cultured. Unless you consider never leaving home and being afraid to use public restrooms cultured.

 

 

A few years ago I created this ‘stuffing’ for the artichokes, after learning how to prepare them first.

 

 

 

If you are looking for a recipe that does not include butter, oil or cheese – you have come to the wrong place, my friend. But I hope you’ll stay. 🙂

 

 

 

I bought this 4 pack of artichokes from Trader Joe’s for $3.99. Talk about a deal.

 

 

In my grocery store, they are $2.50 a piece. Not that this matters, because I think money grows on trees I love them so much that I am willing to pay $5.00 for artichokes and $7.00 for avocados. I have no idea where all of my money is going.

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These are beauties. ‘Round these parts you don’t see such elegant artichokes.

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You’d think I lived in a remote area of town. I don’t. 

 

 

 

I do this one of two ways. This time, I cut the top off of the artichoke before boiling.

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Sometimes I do it after. I believe after is the best way, in order to keep the artichoke from browing. But I have never had that problem, so I do it my way.

I am such a rebel.

 

 

 

The prickly leaves should be trimmed off.

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Unless you enjoy cuts on your tongue and cheek.

 

 

 

Hey, some people do. You may like that kinda’ thing.

I’m not judging.

 

 

 

You can see I was practicing my karate chopping skills and took off a huge hunkin’ chunk of the bottom left artichoke.

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Don’t do that. Please don’t follow my lead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I let them drain for about 5-10 minutes. It can be done longer, but I am extremely impatient.

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Chances are, those that know me and are reading are thinking ‘No! She is definitely not impatient at all.’

 

 

 

 

I have talked about panko before. I adore panko. My lobster mac adores panko.

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You should, too. It is nice.

 

 

 

This is how I created the stuffing for the artichokes.

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Otherwise known as – a myocardial infarction in a saucepan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The panko and cheese create an incredible stuffing.

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Toasted, cheesy, and crispy – yet soft. Remember that time I wished I could eat breading as a meal? This is one of those times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The artichokes need to be reallllly pulled apart to get the stuffing inside.

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Do you think I didn’t take a couple spoonfuls for myself?

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You don’t even know me.

 

 

 

If you really knew me, you’d know I ate quarter-cupfuls of the mix.

 

 

 

Isn’t this incredible?

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I dumped a bit of water in the bottom of my small baking dish. I love the ‘casserole dishes for two.’ I have one from pampered chef.

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Unfortunately, a casserole that can actually fit in the ‘casserole dish for two,’ only feeds me. And then, I need to make a dish for my husband in a ‘casserole dish for six.’ That should satisfy him.

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the stuffed, baked artichokes.

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If you are not familar with eating the ‘meat’ from the leaves, you simply pluck a leaf, and scrape from the top down with your teeth. Buttery, toasted, cheesy stuffing included.

 

 

 

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Stuffed Artichokes

4 artichokes

1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

3 peeled garlic cloves

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut stems off of artichokes. Place upside down in a large pot and fill with water. Boil for 20 minutes. Artichokes should be submerged in water, so you may need to place a bowl or other object on top.

Remove artichokes from pot. Let drain upside down for 10 minutes. Cut off the top 1/2-1 inch of artichoke. Trim remaining leaf tips if sharp. 

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/8 cup butter. Add chopped garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and any other fresh herbs or seasons you desire. Stir until mixture comes together. It will most likely be dry, so add the remaining oil and butter. Add in the parmesan cheese, a squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juiced, and stir until lightly golden brown.

Pull apart artichoke leaves and spoon mixture evenly inside. Place artichokes in a baking dish and add 1 inch of water to the bottom.

Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. Place foil over the artichokes and bake another 25 minutes. 

Serve with clarified butter and a dish to discard leaves.

 

 

 

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Remember when I made Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gnocchi’s??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinde from Gluten Free Taste of Home made Gluten Free Pumpkin Gnocchi’s for all of you gluten-free peeps out there. Check out her site, and try out her recipe!

 

 

 

Also, a HUGE shout out to Seth from Boy Meets Food for spending alot of time with me yesterday regarding my wordpress issues.

 

 

 

 

And if you are craving more buttery, sugary goodness, follow How Sweet It Is on Twitter and Facebook.

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(I’m having some wordpress formatting issues (spacing between photos and lines) that no one has been able to figure out – I apologize if the formatting of this post is goofy!)


I think the title says it all, but could there be a more fabulous combination?

 

 

Well, assuming you like pears. And figs. And gorgonzola.

 

A lot of people are not fond of all 3 said foods.  Maybe I should stop while I’m ahead. 

 

 

I LOVE pears, figs, and am more than passionate about gorgonzola. 

 

 

You may be thinking ‘is there a food she does not like?’

Why, yes. Yes, there is.

 

 

It would be vegetables. 

All vegetables. Except for corn. Which is, like, a fake vegetable.

 

 

 

This was one of the juiciest pears I have found in a long time.

 

 

I chopped it up, snuck multiple bites, pouted because I couldn’t just eat the entire thing, the threw it in a small dish with some sugar and cinnamon.

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Crumbled gorgonzola.

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I could eat this as my entree and dessert. Who am I kidding? I already do.

 

 

 

 

One of my most favorite foods on the planet.

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Fresh, juicy figs.

I also enjoy dried figs. I don’t discriminate.

 

 

 

 

The incredible fig spread I bought last week at Whole Paycheck Foods.

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The pear, figs, and gorgonzola went into a ramekin.

I only added the figs and gorgonzola once the pears were roasted, and allowed it to roast for 5 more minutes.

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Truth be told, it really could be eaten like this. The juiciness of the roasted pears combined with the soft, pungent gorgonzola creates a world of flavor.

 

 

But as much as I love it alone, I love my pants tightening around my waist more, and added some flaky empty-calorie-filled puffed pastry.

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I know you think I’m joking.

I’m not.

 

 

Just call me by my new nickname – ’puffy pastry’.

 

 

Serve it with fresh figs.

And crispy, flaky layers topped with fig spread.

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Roasted Pear, Figs and Gorgonzola Puffed Pastry

1 large bartlett pear

3 fresh turkish figs

2 tablespoons gorgonzola

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon fig preserves

1 sheet Pillsbury puffed pastry.

Preheat oven to 400.

Thaw puffed pastry according to directions. Once thawed, place in oven and cook according to directions – about 15 minutes. Once cooled, slice pastry into squares.

Chop up pear and place in ramekin. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Chop figs into quaters. Once you remove the roasted pear from the oven, cover with chopped figs and gorgonzola. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Spread fig preserves on 1 side of 2 puffed pastry squares. On a third square, spread both sides with fig preserves. Assemble one square on plate, fig preserves-side up. Place spoonful of pear, fig and gorgonzola mixture in middle of square. Top with 2-spread-sided square. Place on another spoonful of pear mixture. Top with 3rd puffed pastry square, fig preserves-side down.

Serve with fresh figs.

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I am slowly increasing pants sizes…

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…one cup of gorgonzola…

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…at a time.

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Do you know any good personal trainers?

 

 

Oh wait. I am one.

 

 

The gravy stain on my shirt and popped-off buttons caused me to forget.

 

 

I am staging a gorgonzola-free intervention. With myself.

 

 

And my pants.

(Become a How Sweet fan on Facebook!)

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Asiago Breaded Pork Chops.

 

Although I have been suffering from an aversion to meat this year, I have been craving pork. Tenderloin, chops and pulled (my ultimate fave!) – you just can’t go wrong!

 

 

This is another dish my mom made often – and still does. We never got sick of it because it is THAT good.

 

You need 4 boneless pork chops.

 

 

 

4 thin, boneless pork chops. THIN makes all the difference. (Doesn’t it though?)

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Trim off all of the fat.

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This is something I have to do because if I see or bite into (blech!) the tiniest piece of fat, gristle, vein, muscle, etc, I’m done. No more meat for me. It is one of the reasons I have a hard time eating the meat I prepare, because I see everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenderize the pork with a fork.

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The breading is a mixture of corn flakes and seasoned bread crumbs.

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Best. Breading. Ever.

 

 

Period.

 

 

 

This meal is very simple to prepare. Takes less than 15 minutes!

 

 

 

 

There are only 2 steps before it hits the skillet:

 

 

1. Dip and soak the chop in some milk for about a minute.

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2. Then press the chop into the bread crumb mixture.

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Pan-fry to seal in the juices and the outside coating .

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Now for the best part. Asiago.

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One of my most favorite cheeses.

 

Which doesn’t say much since I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. But if you have never tried asiago (in ways other than a light sprinkling on your spaghetti) you are missing out!

 

 

 

 

Top each chop with a small handful of cheese. Lots o’ rhymes going on today.

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It was a ‘2-handful’ day.

 

 

I also add a bit of chicken stock into the skillet to keep the chops moist as they bake. Pork chops are known to come out dry, but I promise if you try them this way, they will be super moist.

 

 

 

 

Take cover before hittin’ the oven!

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Ohhh I can taste it now…

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These are tender, juicy, cheesey and every other word that would fall in those categories.

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You know what else is awesome? Making a gravy using the bits left in the pan and serving it with mashed potatoes. It’s da’ bomb.

 

 

 

Who even talks like that? I’m so embarrassing.

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the breading is my favorite part.

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I wish breading was considered a meal. A healthy meal, even. Served daily.

Like ‘honey, I’m home! Can we have breading for dinner?’

I would totally eat that.

 

 

 

 

You can’t say no to this.

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Asiago Breaded Pork Chops

4 thin, boneless pork chops

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup milk

1/2 cup Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup asiago cheese, grated or crumbled

 

Preheat oven to 325.

Trim fat off of pork chops and tenderize with a fork.  Heat skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. In separate bowls, pour milk into one, then breadcrumbs and corn flakes into other.

Dip chop in milk and let soak for about a minute. Dip in bread crumb mixture and coat thoroughly. Add to skillet and let cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes, or until breading is golden brown.

Take off heat and add 1 cup chicken stock to skillet. Also add 1/4 cup asiago cheese on top of each chop.

Cover and bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. Make sure the chops do not dry out. If the skillet becomes dry, add more chicken stock.

 

 

 

 

Serve with some of that delicious homeade applesauce I’ve seen floating around blogworld.

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Anyone want to give me a good recipe for it?

 

Please try these. And be happy. Forever.

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I decided to give veggies another chance this week and created a ‘Vegetable Crisp.’ Reason for the name would be – directly before I made this I made an apple crisp (recipe coming soon..). So guess what I ate while making the veggie crisp?

 

 

No clue why I don’t like veggies…

 

 

 

I began by roasting some garlic, because this I do like.

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I figured if I smash a ton of stuff I enjoy on the veggies, I may be able to force ’em down. Healthy stuff, that is. Because what I really want to smash on is bacon, cheese, buttered croutons and cheese. And bacon.

 

 

 

 

 

Since these sat on the dining room table for 7 days, I decided to give them some love.

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I toasted up 4 slices of Ezekial bread to make Ezekial bread crumbs. Super easy and healthy trick. You should try.

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As I was posting these pictures, I realized that I turned on the oven to toast these slices of bread. I do have a toaster. What was I thinking? I am losing my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes my camera is posessed. I took this picture horizontally, and it came up vertically.

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I don’t know how to fix this, so please contort your neck to see the correct view. Thanks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bread slices went into one of the loves of my life – my mini food processor.

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I heart this appliance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie. Booooo. Hiss.

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A verb to go along with my dislike of veggies: cutting them. They are such a pain. They act like this on purpose. They don’t want me to like them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped butternut and acorn squash, and eggplant.

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Along with my occasional dislike for bread, I also don’t like tomato sauce.

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I don’t not like it, but I would never choose to eat it or order a dish at a restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

Salt, pepper and smoked pap.

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 I could almost eat smoked paprika. By itself.

 

 

Is that weird?

 

 

 

 

 

Diced tomatoes to make a bit of a ‘sauce.’

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Cheese. The major food group in my life. Not dairy. Just cheese.

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Veggies mixed with breadcrumbs and cheese. Oooooh. Ahhhhh.

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Don’t worry. This is just layer number one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The garlic, roasted.

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I squeezed the cloves out and mashed them. I figured it would be easier to incorporate this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before baking. 

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I could probably skip the veggies. I could eat a casserole of cheese, roasted garlic, and breadcumbs. That is where it’s at.

 

 

 

 

 

Good news, folks. I enjoyed this!

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It had great flavor and I loved the crispy texture.

 

 

 

 

I even had a second bowl! And multiple spoons out of the baking dish.

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 I am a double dipper. I guess the American Spoon people had it right.

 

 

 

Let’s hope this doesn’t fail me this week for dinner as my previous veggie attempts have. If so, I am giving in to a world of fruit, chocolate, bacon and cheese. And bacon.

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Crisp

1/2 butternut squash, chopped

1/2 acorn squash, chopped

1 eggplant, chopped

2 heads of garlic, roasted

2 slices of Ezekial bread, toasted and made into bread crumbs

1 small can petite diced tomatoes

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or more. lots more…)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

 

Preheat oven to 375.

Add chopped veggies to a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Toss with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Add diced tomatoes and roasted garlic and stir. Toss with 1/2 of bread crumbs and 1/2 of cheese. Layer the remaining bread crumbs and cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, or until veggies are soft. 

 

 

 

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Operation ‘eat more veggies’ failed miserably and majorly today. I roasted some brussel sprouts and zucchini with salt, pepper, olive oil and my new $459 balsamic. It smelled great last night. For lunch, ehhh…not so much. I had 1-2 bites and gave up. It tasted ok, but it tasted like vegetables! Blah! I don’t want vegetables to taste like vegetables. I want them to taste like treats.

 

Guess I gotta suck it up, eh?

 

 

Movin’ on….

 

 

 

This chicken romano is SO good, even I ate some. This post may be a bit short because I am feeling slightly under the weather. Boo.

 

 

 

 

Make sure you tenderize BOTH sides of the chicken breast.

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The trio. Dip the chicken in flour, egg, and romano cheese.

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Dredge through the flour.

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Dip in the egg.

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Roll through the cheese. Yum.

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Throw it in a pan.

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Until it looks like this.

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Time for the sauce. This sauce literally melts in your mouth! It makes your mouth feel good, if that makes any sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melted butter & lemon juice.

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Ahhh – go ahead and just throw the entire lemon in.

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I added this wine because it was open.

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Then added it to my mouth. Cavities smavities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some dried parsley.

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I prefer dried better than fresh IN the sauce, but garnish it with a bit of fresh when finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is heavenly.

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Pour that entire thing on top of the chicken.

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Cover & bake.

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It comes out so tender and cheesy.

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The lemons really might be the best part. They are warm and juicy and not very sour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I served it with pasta for my hubby.

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And had a few bites of my own straight from the skillet.

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Chicken Romano w/ Lemon Butter Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup flour

3 eggs

3/4 cups romano cheese

3/4 chicken stock

1/2 stick butter

1 whole lemon

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 tablespoon dried parsley

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350. Add olive oil to skillet on medium heat.

 

Tenderize chicken, then dredge through flour, egg and cheese. Place in skillet and brown on both sides. Once brown, turn off heat.

 

Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add lemon juice and chopped up lemons. Try to discard all seeds. Add white wine and parsley. Let come to a boil. then pour entire mix into chicken skillet. Add chicken stock to skillet.

 

Cover and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. Serve with pasta or rice.

 

 

Let me know if you give it a try. 🙂

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My husband likes to eat. ALOT.

 

And when he doesn’t get to eat, he gets very angry. His face should seriously be in the dictionary right next to ‘hangry,’ if it ever makes it into the dictionary.

 

 

 

Not only does he like to eat, but he likes to eat lots of meat. Chicken, steak, pork – you name it. Dare I ever make a dish without meat!

 

 

I think he believes that if he doesn’t get 76234 grams of protein in per day, he may lose all 170 solid pounds of muscle that he currently owns. He is a hottie.

 

 

Ususally, hungry-angry-husband hits at very inconvienent times. Like on an hour drive to my grandparents house. Or during church, where, let’s face it, he really doesn’t want to be in the first place. Or at the grocery store, while shopping for clothes, or during a 2 hour meeting. At least his co-workers can deal with him there.

 

The best was when we went to register for wedding gifts. Oh, my. We went to one of the ‘nicer’ malls about an hour away. We I figured that we’d have more of a selection and I didn’t really want to register for things I had never seen before.

 

So picture this – one hour drive there, in which a protein bar (or 3) has been consumed. We begin registering for china or crystal or something he knows we will never use, and he is as antsy as can be. Shocked? I know.

 

He begs, ‘Can we please go eat??’

 

We had registered for literally 7 minutes. I find the sales associate and give her back the gun to use on my husband  scan the items. We find a restaurant, which ends up having a fairly long wait, and he devours his food.

 

 

I spend the 4 minutes it took him to scarf down his meal staring at my plain, gross salad, because somewhere in the back of my foolish mind I thought it would be a great idea to do a fitness competition while wedding planning. Brilliant.

 

 

I also decide at this time that I would call my grandmother – no, not Mother Lovett – I needed someone who could actually SEE and HEAR – but my other grandmother, who lived only 5 minutes away. I knew this would just be something she would LOVE. And she did. And for the rest of my life I will always remember how much fun we had registering for my gifts – her and I.

 

 

Because about 5 minutes after we met her, hungry, angry, husband decides he needs a bottle of water. I’m not sure where he got it, but I think he drove to a fresh spring and bottled it himself because it took him that long.

 

 

He came back and excitedly handled the shatter-free glasses I registered for and scanned some inappropriate items as well. But 5 minutes later, hungry-angry-husband reared it’s ugly beautiful head again and he was off to get some ice cream.

 

He doesn’t even like sweets, so this is where I became suspicious. As often as I deal with him being hungry and angry, I think he was just trying to pull the wool over my eyes so he didn’t have to register. Why wouldn’t he want to register for such nice gifts in our wonderful home?

 

 

Lesson learned – make sure my future daughter registers for her wedding gifts with ME, not her own hungry, angry husband.

 

 

 

Below has been my go-to meal the past few weeks for my hungry, angry husband. It was born one afternoon when he was picking some things up at the store and sending me text messages about how hungry he was.

 

I knew it was about to start. I knew if he made it home before food was on the table, the kitchen would be a danger zone, appearing as though a tornado had ripped through. And in the tornado would not only be food, but miscellaneous items thrown, kicked, and broken in the passion of hunger.

 

I needed to take charge.

 

 

So here is the hungry, angry husband sandwhich. Only takes about 10 minutes. 

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The Hungry, Angry Husband Go-To Meal

2 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts

seasoned salt

1 whole wheat bun

a few sliced red onions

1/2 oz pepper jack cheese

a dollop of bbq sauce

a dollop of low-fat ranch dressing

 

 

Season the chicken breasts with seasoned salt and either grill or pan-fry in non-stick spray. Make sure the chicken breasts are thinly sliced so they only take a few minutes to cook. About 5-6 I’d say. Toast the whole wheat bun.

 

Layer onions and cheese between 2 chicken breasts and place on whole wheat bun. Top with bbq sauce and ranch.

 

 

 Feed to you own hungry, angry husband.IMG_1180

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t attempt to get a picture. There is no time for such a ridiculous thing.

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Imagine my excitement this past weekend when Ree, The Pioneer Woman, recommended my recipe on Tasty Kitchen! Woohoo! I felt like a mini celeb. She is just too cool.

 

 

 

This recipe, while short and sweet (or savory?) was born during my weekend trist with roasted garlic.

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Oh, how divine.  And so easy to make!

 

Even easier to eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with some gorgonzola, I knew I just HAD to make a cream sauce. 

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I began by making a roux with butter and flour.

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This weekend someone asked me how I knew to make a roux. I knew long before I ever watched The Food Network, because Mother Lovett used to make one all the time for her famous macaroni and cheese.

 

 

I’ve tried to recreate that mac n’ cheese many times and she always told me it was too dry. Always. She wrinkled her nose and said ‘I like mine a little creamier.’

 

 

This was an insult – trust me.

 

 

 

 

I add a bit of chicken stock and heavy cream, continously whisking.

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And throw some gorgonzola in there.

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It will melt if you continue to stir. And if the mixture gets too thick, just add a bit more chicken stock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squeeze out some roasted garlic cloves.

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And whisk for a few more minutes until it becomes smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Garlic and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola

4-5 roasted garlic cloves

 

Over medium heat, melt butter and add flour, using a whisk to mix together. When mixture is combined and thick, add chicken stock and heavy cream, stirring continuously. Add in gorgonzola and stir until melted. Squeeze out roasted garlic cloves and whisk until smooth.

My personal favorite to serve it with? Filet. Please do!

 

 

 

Or try it with sauteed garlic spinach.

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 Or on garlic and gorgonzola smashed potatoes.IMG_1118

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or eat it with a spoon, like I usually do. 🙂

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