Ranch Chicken

I tried a new recipe last night.

It was a blend of two different recipes I’d found on the internet that I wanted to try – both called Ranch Chicken but very different in their approach/ingredients. So, being the daredevil that I am, I decided to make my own version by blending the basic pieces of the two.

It was a huge success. So much so that I couldn’t get a picture because my family gobbled it up!

This will most definitely go into my regular rotation for the future.  I served it with some chicken-flavored rice (a-la Rice-a-Roni type rice) and steamed veggies.  There was barely enough left for SuperMan to make a lunch plate for himself. And none for me to make a lunch plate. But I like it that way. That means they liked dinner!

A couple notes –

– I used a combination of panko and corn flakes. Mostly because I was almost out of panko but also because I was blending two recipes and one called for panko and the other for corn flakes. We really liked the crunch of the corn flakes and I’ll probably do just those next time.

– my Houston House Seasoning is a staple in my kitchen. I use it on almost every savory dish I make. It’s so easy to keep blended in an old spice container and I just sprinkle it on my dishes as I season. I like the combination of flavors that it adds to every dish.

– another staple in my cooking is Mrs. Dash Garlic Blend. I use it on almost everything. Salt free and full of flavor.  I buy the huge bottles at the warehouse store – that’s how much I use it!!

– I cooked these on top of a wire rack on a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. That allowed the air to get all around the chicken and kept it from getting soggy on the bottom. If you don’t have a wire rack, you could just put the chicken on your cookie sheet. I think it’ll be just fine.

On to the recipe:

Ranch Chicken

1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 Tbsp. Ranch Seasoning (I use Hidden Valley Ranch – another thing I buy in bulk quantities) + more for seasoning the breading
~ 1 Tbsp. Houston House Seasoning + more for seasoning the breading
~ 1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Garlic blend + more for seasoning the breading
2 cups Panko bread crumbs OR Crushed Corn Flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large (gallon) zip lock bag, mix the mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, house seasoning, and Mrs. Dash
  3. In another large zip lock bag, mix the bread crumbs/corn flakes, parmesan and some additional house seasoning, ranch seasoning and garlic blend
  4. Place chicken breast in mayonnaise bag and shake to ensure it’s well coated in the mayo mixture.
  5. Place coated chicken in the breading bag and shake to ensure it’s well coated.
  6. Place the chicken on a wire rack (sprayed with cooking spray) that’s been placed on a jelly roll pan/cookie sheet.
  7. Repeat with all the chicken breasts.
  8. Bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Bourbon Street Chicken


With the new schedule for the girls’ schools and after-school activities, I’m on the hunt for some new, easy recipes to cook. The after-school schedule is different enough that I’m having to get creative with some dinner routines. I’m shooting for 6:00 for suppertime, but that doesn’t work on the nights that Big Girl has dance classes because they are later in the evening. I think she and Super Man will be eating late dinners together those nights and Little Bit and I will eat together earlier. It’s a juggling act and we’re just going with the flow for right now.

Last night, we tried something relatively new for dinner.  I’ve made it once before, but no one seems to remember eating it and I can’t remember if everyone liked it or not!  As I cooked, I was wondering if I was making something I was just going to throw in the garbage because of this, but it turned out to be a success and everyone loved it.

This will definitely go into my list of regularly-cooked menu items, I think.  It’s a sweet and tangy glazed chicken dish – reminiscent of some of the chicken dishes I remember having at the quick-cook Asian restaurants when I worked downtown.  It’s not technically Asian in origin and I think the original recipe hails from Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Regardless, it is really good and worth a try!

(sorry for the grainy cell phone picture – I forgot to take a “real” one before we ate!)


Bourbon Street Chicken

4-6 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1 heaping tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1/4 c apple juice (I just used an apple/grape juice box I had in the fridge for kids’ lunches)
1/3 c brown sugar (or 1/4 c Splenda brown sugar blend)
2 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 c water
1 Tbs corn starch (to thicken sauce)

  1. In a large skillet, sauté the chicken pieces in the olive oil.
    (I seasoned mine lightly with Houston House Seasoning)
  2. While chicken is cooking, whisk remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once chicken is browned, pour in the sauce. Stir to coat chicken and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. (Until sauce thickens)
  5. Serve over rice.

I also served mine with some steamed veggies.  It was a huge hit – Big Girl even ate two helpings!

I think next time I might even toss some sesame seeds on the chicken right before serving.


Sprouting Feathers

My family loves chicken.  So much so that I think I could cook it for them every day and they would be happy.  Well, except for BigGirl (the Meatasauraus) who needs her steak and “pork butt” to be happy.

I seem to cook an awful lot of chicken recipes.  Do you?

This past weekend (as you know if you are a regular blog reader) I cooked 2 5-lb chickens on the grill. I used my beer can chicken recipe and they turned out super good. 

We ate some chicken on Sunday with our spaghetti and then I deboned the rest and saved it for recipes this week.

Last night I made chicken and dumplings (and a mess in my kitchen) and chicken salad with those leftovers.

I thought I’d share the recipes with you today.

But first, I must confess one thing.  When I cook, I’m one of those “dab of this, pinch of that, sprinkle a little of this” kind of cooks.  So, when you read my recipes, especially these two, remember that fact and feel free to get creative as you cook them.  I approximated in the recipes what I did last night while I prepared these two things, but other than the dumplings, the rest was just eyeballing it and flying by the seat of my pants (how is that for mixing my metaphors?)

Anyway, thought it was important to get those disclaimers out of the way.

If you don’t think of yourself as a good cook, I know it is a little intimidating to try to follow someone’s recipe when they don’t give you actual, definite amounts to go by.

But one thing to remember.  Cooking is more about the blending of flavors and seasonings and less about science.  Baking, well, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.  Baking IS science. And I have the disaster stories from my experiments to prove it.  Baking is more precise.

Cooking, on the other hand is more like art.  Just go with the flow and see where it takes you. Usually to something good.

Ok, enough of my ramblings. I know you really just came here for the recipes anyway. 😉

Here’s a link to the chicken & dumplings recipe. I changed it only in that I used the leftover chicken and I substituted half whole wheat flour for my dumplings.  BigGirl said it was the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever made. She ate two helpings.

Here’s the chicken salad recipe.  It is an approximation of the chicken salad my friend Donna makes. It’s got some non-traditional ingredients, but I love it. I eat it all by itself, unadulterated with bread or crackers (although it is good that way, too)

I hope you enjoy.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 4 Oct

I’m not going to be cooking much this week.  That is because I spent a lot of time cooking this past weekend. We had company all weekend and dinner guests Sunday night – I cooked several big meals and we’ll be enjoying the bounty of leftovers for a few days.  I love it when that happens.  I love cooking, so it’s not a chore to me, but it is really nice when you cook a little extra and can take a break – especially after a marathon cooking session.

Here’s what we have planned for the week:

  • Monday: Rotel Chicken Pasta Bake (leftover from Sunday night)
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (leftover from Sunday lunch – may make this into baked spaghetti to mix it up a bit)
  • Wednesday: Chicken and Dumplings (using leftover chicken from the 2 5-lb chickens I grilled this weekend)
  • Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan (using leftover spaghetti sauce from Sunday)
  • Friday: BBQ Ribs & baked acorn squash

That should take us through the week quite well.  I have no idea what we will do Saturday night – SuperMan and I have plans and so the kids will probably do something easy like pizza.

What are you doing this week?  Any good recipes to share?
Join us over at orgjunkie.com for your Menu Plan Monday.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 27 September

I bet you thought  I wasn’t going to post a menu plan today… didn’t you? Since I posted on another topic this morning, you probably thought I was slacking off… Well, it would be understandable given the fact that I got home from out of town last night and had no clue what was in my fridge and pantry.  But a quick survey remedied that.


Here’s what I’ve got planned for the week:

  • Tonight: Beef Stew (grilled cheese sandwiches & chicken noodle soup as “plan B” for the monkeys if they don’t eat this – but they’d be crazy not to.)
  • Tuesday: Tacos
  • Wednesday: Pork Butt in the crock pot, sticky rice (from the drippings) & veggies
  • Thursday: TBD – something chicken, though
    (Maybe BBQ Dry Rub chicken  or Beer Can Chicken if the weather is nice and I can grill)
  • Friday: leftover pork butt transformed into BBQ sandwiches
  • Saturday/Sunday night we have company – both nights – so I don’t know yet what I will cook. Still thinking about it but I have time.

What’s on your menu this week?

Join us over on OrgJunkie.com for a link up of menu plans for the week!

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 30 August

Happy Monday, everyone!

This week will be an interesting one for us. SuperMan is going on a new work schedule and won’t be home until after 7 each night (boo!) which means that the girls and I will be on our own for supper most nights. This will be a challenge for me. What to cook that the girls will enjoy/eat and will still be appetizing for SuperMan when he gets home…

Here’s what I have planned for the week:mpm-1

  • Twice-baked potatoes with a salad
  • Chicken Parmesan
    This will be a new one to try on the kids. I don’t know if they will like it or not.
  • Steaks cooked on the grill with fresh veggies and buttered potatoes
    This is usually a SuperMan-cooked dinner. It will be interesting to see how I do cooking steaks.
  • Pizza Braid
    I saw this recipe last week when I was perusing other Menu Plan Monday posts. Have to try it.
  • Sloppy Joes with homemade french fries & fresh fruit
    Kid-friendly & fast – good for one of those nights we have dance classes.
  • Chicken Pomodoro
    I have had this on my list for two weeks and haven’t made it yet. Maybe this week?


What are you cooking this week?

Join us over at orgjunkie.com and share your menu plan!

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 23 Aug

mealplanmonday_v2 Got lots going on this week.

So glad I have planned out my menus. We have dance classes on Monday/Wednesday and Friday this week, plus curriculum night/PTO on Wednesday night and a knitting session for me on Thursday evening.

Without the plan, I think we would devolve into eating a lot of junk and fast food. This way, I know my family is getting healthy food and I can control fat, protein, and portion sizes.  Not to mention we have great leftovers for lunches.

As you can see we’re back into the chicken routine.  I’ve been finding chicken thighs on sale at the grocery and substituting them for the breasts in menus where I can. They are juicier than breasts and easier for my tummy to digest. The rest of the family doesn't seem to mind, either.

Here’s what I have planned for the week:

I’ve included links to all the recipes since so many of you have asked me for them.  Most are mine, a few other folks’.  All are posted on AllRecipes.com so it should be easy for you to access and print.

Join us over at Menu Plan Monday on orgjunkie’s blog – you can get some great ideas for your own dinners and share what you’ve got planned as well!  There are some great recipes over there – I was picking up a few ideas myself this morning that may show up in my own menus in the next few weeks.


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What’s for Dinner?

Here’s one of my favorite go-to recipes for the nights that SuperMan is working late and it’s just me and the girls for dinner.

Sesame Chicken BitesSesame Chicken Bites


My girls love them just like they are straight out of the oven. No sauces, ketchup or anything needed.

I make them with two gallon sized zip top bags.

I use one for the mayo base coat mixture.  The second is used to hold the breading coating.  Easy cleanup and easy prep. Love that.

I use flash-frozen chicken tenders and cut them into bite-sized pieces.  This makes the dinner such a snap to make!

Here’s the recipe.  I think it would also be great to serve at a cocktail party with a little honey mixed with horseradish for a dipping sauce.

Sesame Chicken Bites

1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup (apprx) sesame seeds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp Houston House Seasoning
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (Cut in bite-sized pieces)
(you can also use chicken tenders cut into pieces)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large gallon zip top bag, mix the bread crumbs and sesame seeds. Add a dash of Houston House Seasoning
  3. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard & house seasoning.  Pour into a second gallon zip bag.
  4. Drop chicken pieces into the mayo bag and toss to coat.  I usually let the pieces sit in the bag in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Drop the mayo-coated chicken into the bread crumb/sesame seed mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Place chicken nuggets on sheet pan that has been sprayed with oil.
  7. Bake at 425 for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until chicken is done and coating is lightly browned)

I serve them with homemade french fries, a little fruit and sometimes some yogurt. Quick and easy – and healthy!

You can print the recipe here.

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