creamed corn + a confession

I battled the idea of renaming this altogether because I know I would personally have no interest in reading a post about creamed corn. However, I promise you should keep reading. This is the best creamed corn, maybe corn in general, that I have ever had. This is not your sloppy, goopy creamed corn that you would get served at a cafeteria.

This is crisp corn kernels that have been sauteed in onions and cream sauce and is absolutely delicious. And once again, this couldn't be easier. So, please, take my word for it and try this dish while there is still great summer corn at grocery stores.

Now on to the confession...

I cannot make skirt steak... also known as flank steak. I am really beside myself about it. The key to skirt steak is the way you cut, so I've heard, and I've cut this darn meat every which way and I still get a barely-able-to-chew piece of meat. I've done marinades, I've grilled, I've seared and still... nothing but hours of chewing. My friend Jennifer told me about this meal from Real Simple and I don't feel like it was a total loss because of the great sides, but if someone could give me a few hints on skirt steak I would be forever grateful.

If I get any good hints and can re-make this meal, I will share... and I will tell you about the salad because it was easy and delicious, but I'm going to hold out on you in hopes someone tells me something about skirt steak.

Creamed Corn
Recipe Adapted from Real Simple
Recipe Notes
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and simmer until the corn is tender and the half-and-half is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.


Oven Baked Chicken Tenders


These. are. so. good. and easy.

Crunchy and flavorful chicken tenders that are healthier and much easier to prepare than frying them up.  I have always had a thing for Panko bread crumbs (they are just so versatile) so I found a recipe for chicken tenders and substituted the bread crumbs and cereal mixture for my main squeeze panko and voila, here is a pretty darn good recipe if I do say so myself.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

p.s. have you bought a meat thermometer yet?? I really hope you have because this is another great recipe where having a meat thermomter allows for perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken tenders.  I promise you will not regret this purchase.
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders
Recipe Notes
The spices of one of the recipes I was combining called for Allspice.  I didn't realize until right before making these that I didn't have any so I cam up with my own subsitute... half ground cloves and half cinnamon.  If you have those two on hand, they will work just great.  If you have never used Panko, they are a Japanese bread crumb and I find that most grocery stores carry them now.
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (see recipe note)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, 2 packages
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour the Panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Mix in sugar, salt, pepper, and allspice. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl. Place eggs in another separate bowl.

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil evenly over the breading, tossing and turning it to mix the oil all through the panko mixture.

Dredge the chicken through the flour, egg, the flour again, the egg again and then the panko mixture. Arrange the tenders on a nonstick baking sheet. Place the chicken tenders in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, turning over once. If you have a meat thermometer, heat to 165 degrees. Serve hot chicken tenders barbecue sauce for dipping.


lily's luncheon

I am officially over missing the original little kitchen and I am full fledge in love with the new one.  You could say this luncheon for 30 was its first big test and it passed with flying colors.  In fact, it makes me question how I did things like this in the original little kitchen.  I have to say it is a combination of having great windows in here and the fact that Mr. Hungry actually fits in the kitchen at the same time to help assemble everything.

This was a luncheon for a darling 5 month old baby named Lily who was christened at her church last week.  The only mistake I made last weekend was not getting a picture of her to share with you.
On the menu was...
Tomato Bruschetta
Artichoke Dip
Avocado Chicken Salad with avocado dressing
Assorted Breads and Crackers
Pesto pasta salad with feta and pine nuts
Egg Salad and Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Triple Lemon Cupcakes


Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Finally, a real dinner, a new recipe, in the new little kitchen.  You see, I have been cooking.  It's just that when things have been so crazy around here, it has been much easier to fall back on a few favorites than to explore a new recipe.  But something just felt so right about making this meal.  So the cooking will be picking up again.   Slowly but surely I'm getting comfortable in this new place.

This was a great quick night meal that jazzes up chicken just a bit.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

To deglaze the pan, simply scrape the bottom of the pan once the chicken broth is added.  This allows the bits of chicken that get stuck to the pan to add flavor to the sauce. 

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
Serves 4
Recipe Notes
The original recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breast.  I used boneless, skinless tenders because that is what I had on hand.  Either will work, but the most important part is to pound it really thin.  If your chicken breast is really thick, you can cut it lengthwise first, and then pound it out a little more.  Another key is adding a good bit of salt and pepper to the flour for the chicken.  This is the main flavor for the chicken so add a good amount.  I used whole wheat angel hair pasta, but if I was making this for guests, I would probably use regular.... either will work great.

Salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total) see recipe notes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts 2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces angel-hair pasta (whole wheat or regular)
1/2 cup parsley leaves

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Place flour in a shallow dish, and season well with lots of salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a dish.

Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently swirl to combine, and bring just to a boil. Remove skillet from heat. Add butter and stir until melted.

Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.


Cheesy Potatoes

I want to be very clear from the get-go that these are not everyday potatoes; I battled with the idea of titling this post special occasion potatoes or vacation potatoes because they are indulgent and amazing, but it is slightly scary how easy they are to make.

Confession: Earlier this summer, we spent a weekend with a whole bunch of friends at another friend's ranch.   We split up meal duties and one night I was assigned "sides."  Months earlier, when we scheduled this weekend, I had big plans of whipping up something great for a side.  My only excuse for mediocrity was that we were in the middle of this debacle, but seriously that is no excuse.  Long story short, when the day actually came and we were headed out to the ranch, I was blank... I couldn't think of anything to bring.  We ran by the grocery store and I racked my brain, but nothing, nothing came to mind.  I am embarrassed to say that I grabbed a bag of white rice.  white rice?! My brain was fried and I had no idea what anyone else was bringing and I thought maybe my rice would just blend in with the rest of the meal.

Well, I still haven't heard the end of that decision, probably because I didn't even make the rice.  When it came time for dinner on Saturday, I smelled something in the kitchen that immediately made me even more insecure about my rice.  My friend, Amy, made these cheesy potatoes and just from hearing the words cheesy potatoes, I knew my sad, white rice would not be touched.

Once I ate these potatoes, I was feeling even lower (if that is possible), because it definitely seemed like she had been slaving over these all day; and, they were amazing!  I told her how much I loved them and she quickly shared with me how easy they are to prepare.  Well, that is an understatement.  For something that seems so decadent and delicious, the 5 minutes it takes to put these together will astonish you.  You will quickly see why I have the need to call these special occasion potatoes... the ingredient list is probably enough to give you a heart attack, but it is so so worth it.

So, thank you Amy for sharing this recipe with me!

Cheesy Potatoes
Recipe Notes
The recipe called for thawing out the frozen potatoes by setting them on the counter for an hour or two.  I (as usual) was throwing this together last minute and did not have time to let the potatoes thaw.  Instead, I followed the directions on cooking the potatoes to get them warmed up.  Add a tablespoon of olive to a nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat.  Cook potatoes for 5 to 10 minutes.  You do not need to cook them through, just enough to where they are no longer frozen.

2 lb bag of frozen hash browns, thawed (diced potatoes) see recipe note
8 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 stick of butter, melted
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
Step by Step
Mix all ingredients together.  Spread in a 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 covered and then remove foil and bake for additional 20-25 until gold and bubbly on top.