Grilled Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

This recipe was DELICIOUS.  The flavor comes from the cheese and oiled & toasted bread, but mainly from the roasted tomatoes with garlic slivers. It’s divine.  I will definitely make this every few weeks!  Superb!  It cooks up quickly too.
Serves 4.

*This is I.C. safe for me because it uses a small amount of raw tomatoes, not canned, and I omitted red pepper flakes.  It may not be I.C. safe for you.  Adjust if desired.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 plum tomatoes (make sure they are more on the ripe side)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 split hero rolls (large enough for a filleted chicken breast)
  • 4 chicken cutlets (or filleted boneless skinless chicken breasts like I used)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Core and halve the plum tomatoes. Slip some thinly sliced garlic into each half.
  2. Gently toss tomatoes with olive oil, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper until well coated.
  3. Brush the split hero rolls with olive oil.  Separately grill rolls until toasted, and tomatoes until tender.
  4. Season 4 chicken cutlets as desired and grill one side, flip, then top with grated Parmesan and mozzarella.
  5. Grill until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.
  6. Make sandwiches with rolls, chicken, and tomatoes as pictured.

Homemade Natural Spray Cleaner

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First off, excuse the horribly unclear photo, my camera decided to be annoying and I didn’t want to retake the photo, (laziness).

If you are looking for a natural homemade all purpose spray cleaner, look no further.  This is a great one. I use it on granite countertops, toilet lids, glass, windows, and more.

I haven’t been able to tolerate scents for many years now.  In addition, heavy cleaners like Fabuloso, Fantastic, or anything heavy or with scent murder my lungs and give me big fragrance reactions.  Instead of not cleaning, I used to use 7th generation unscented dish soap in toilets, on coutners, etc.  I still do, but I supplement with this wonderful spray cleaner.

borax

Most people have all the ingredients on hand, probably excluding the Borax powder, but it is cheap and easy to use.  You will find a big box of it in the laundry department for maybe $4.  Borax also descents your clothes.  We are very allergic to fragrances.  If we’ve been to a location where heavy perfumes were present and that scent seeped into your clothes, we use Borax powder in our washing machine.    I put maybe a 1/4 cup into my washer, put it on the soak mode, before it starts washing.  It removes most if not all of the scent.

Safe essential oil scents that do not bother me are orange, lemon, and wintergreen scent.  Those are my favorites.

 

YOU WILL NEED:

  • A trigger spray bottle (label it with what’s inside for safety)
  • Essential oils in your choice of scent (optional)
  • Funnel for ease!
  • 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Borax
  • 1/8 cup dish soap (I use unscented 7th Generation dish soap)
  • 1 cup hot water

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put a funnel into your labeled and empty trigger bottle.
  2. Pour vinegar, borax, and hot water into bottle.
  3. Continue filling spray bottle with cool water, leaving enough head-space room for dish soap and essential oils.  
  4. Add dish soap last.  You do not need to shake this.
  5. Optional: add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, or mix a few scents for a new creation.  I add about 10 drops.

 

Out-Of-This-World Cheese Bread

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This is simply put, an amazing cheese bread.  I highly recommend it in every way!  **During the rising process, I tried something new that worked.  I set the oven to 200 and let it preheat.  When the bread was ready to rise, I turned off the oven and put the bread in.  It worked very well, sped up the time, and didn’t harm the bread!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 T. butter (I used unsalted)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the yeast and milk, stir, and leave for 15 mins. to dissolve.
  2. Melt the butter, let cool, and add to the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center, incorporating flour with each turn, to obtain a rough dough.  (I DID THIS STEP IN MY STAND MIXER.)  If the dough seems too dry, add 2-3 T. water.
  5. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  6. Return to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 2-3 hours.  **I think it took me 1-1.5 hours with my oven trick.
  7. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.  Punch down dough to release trapped air with your fist.  Knead in the cheese, distributing it as evenly as possible.
  8. Twist the dough, form into a loaf shape, and place in pan, tucking the ends under. Leave in a warm place until the dough rises above the rim of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Bake for 15 mins, then lower the heat to 375° and bake until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 mins. more.
  10. Cool on rack.

 

Candy Cane Cookies

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What a fun recipe this is!  I must have had these cookies as a child because I remember them!  Please reserve a few hours to make them.  When you’re twisting 1-2 teaspoon measurements of dough, it will take a while.  I made some small and for the next tray, I made them much bigger 6.5-7″. I found the twisted pattern was prettier with larger cookies. I ended up using 4 trays to make all the cookies.  I recycled my parchment paper for the 2nd batches.  I also recycled the peppermint topping for subsequent batches.  I suggest using a food processor to finely crush the peppermint candies.  You don’t want big chunks that could break someone’s teeth so I ground them very fine!  You could even do one dough in red and one in green!  That would be awesome too!  ENJOY!!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food color
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
DIRECTIONS:
  • Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir food color into 1 half. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  (I did it overnight and it was fine.)
  • Heat oven to 375ºF.
  • Stir together peppermint candy and 2 tablespoon sugar; set aside.  (I used a food processor, prepare for a peppermint cloud when you open the lid).  🙂
  • For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on floured surface. Place 1 red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.
  • Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately sprinkle candy mixture over cookies. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Welcome!

Welcome to my first cooking blog post! 

Cooking is my favorite hobby and I love to cook for my family of three daily – often three times a day!   I’m in the kitchen hours per day and I love it!  Thankfully, I’m doing more cooking versus cleaning than I used to.  I hope to share my great recipes with everyone who loves cooking!  I cook almost everything – the only items I don’t cook with are fish (excluding tuna), mushrooms, and olives, because well – I can’t stand them.   I believe that the art of cooking is sadly disappearing and I think that’s a bad direction to go in.  Less people are cooking at home and opting for take out, drive-thrus, restaurants, frozen meals, and boxed kits.  We do that too, but in extreme moderation.  I like to cook as naturally as possible while saving time with some pre-made ingredients that aren’t too bad for you.  I avoid a lot of preservatives, fake ingredients, chemicals, and high fructose corn syrup when I can.  This blog will be a mix of healthy cooking, decadent cooking, healthy baking, and decadent baking.  If it’s decadent, I just eat a much smaller portion than usual.  Everything in moderation!  I get my recipes from many places including Allrecipes.com, the internet, my personal cookbooks, and the cookbooks at the library.  I hope my recipes and photos  urge you to get back into your kitchen and cook fresh for your family!  🙂