Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steak Parmesan

Let me tell you my new favorite place to find cookbooks. Thrift stores and yard sales.

I now immediately scan the book section for cookbooks anytime I'm at one of these places. Most of the time there's a lot of junk and reeeeeally old cookbooks that suggest using things like lard to cook your dinner in. But sometimes you find one or two things that are worth the fifty cent asking price. And heck, even if you only use a couple of recipes, how can you pass them up for under a dollar?

I found this recipe for Steak Parmesan in a rather old Southern Living collection of Quick and Easy Recipes. I'm all for quick and easy, so that book totally came home with me without a second thought.

We've all had chicken parm in our lives, I'm sure. It's the one thing I always find myself ordering at Italian restaurants even when I tell myself I'm going to try something new. It's just so good, I can never resist it.

But I had never, ever had steak parmesan. It looked pretty good in the picture in the cookbook (then again, when do those pictures not look good?). So I figured I'd give it a try. After all, it's quick and easy.

Fortunately, I wasn't disapointed. It was really very good and a cinch to throw together. I liked that it was something different. I made very quick mashed potatoes as a side dish and will include the recipe below. But it would also be very good with a pasta, just like at the Italian restaurants!

Steak Parmesan
(from Southern Living)

1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. water
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cubed sirloin steaks (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pizza sauce

1. Combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Combine egg, water, and pepper. Dip steaks in egg mixture; then dredge steaks in breadcrumb mixture.

2. Brown steaks in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 3 minutes on each side. Arrange steaks in an 8-inch square baking dish; top with pizza sauce. Bake at 325ºF for 20 minutes or until done. Remove steaks from oven, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Quick side dish:
Cream Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes

7 and 3/4-oz. package instant mashed potato flakes
8-oz. package cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Prepare instant mashed potatoes according to package directions. Add cream cheese and remaining ingredients to the mixture, stirring until blended.

Makes 4 servings.

One Year Ago I Was Baking: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ranch Chicken Kebabs

Am I the only one who is confused about the spelling of "kebab"? I typed the title as kebab, but then I doubted myself. Could it be kabob? I went to the source of this recipe and saw that they spelled it kabob. So now I really am doubting myself. Fortunately, you can find out anything on the internet, so I went to Merriam-Webster, which I have bookmarked for occasions like this. Turns out, it's kebab, but it also lists a variant - kabob. Okay, so much for that! I guess either way is right.

At any rate, let's talk about this Ranch Chicken! These are the best kebabs I've ever made. Hands down. You're going to love these, especially if you're a fan of ranch dressing, and who isn't? These kebabs are soooo moist and flavorful.

You'll find yourself with dinner on the table pretty quickly and easily when you make these. Simply throw all of the ingredients together in a bag and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Then thread them on your skewers and cook on the grill. Make an easy side dish like rice or corn on the cob, and you've got dinner!

Ranch Chicken Kebabs
(adapted from

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
Assorted vegetables of your choice (I used peppers and onions)

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken and vegetables in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken and vegetables onto skewers and discard marinade.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TWD: Applesauce Spice Bars

This week Karen of Something Sweet by Karen chose the Applesauce Spice Bars for Tuesdays with Dorie. I opened up the cookbook, browsed over the recipe, and decided I had to make it. The picture looked great, and even better still - easy!

I was excited about something different this week. These bars got me in the mood for fall to arrive. I don't know about everyone else living in the south, but I've been hating all the heat we've had. The big pregnant belly sure doesn't help that situation. I've wanted to hide indoors until the weather cools off. So this dessert really made me feel like fall actually is just around the corner, thank goodness!

These bars turned out to be really delicious. They were like an apple cake with a sweet glaze, and so moist and flavorful. And extremely easy to make! I left out the raisins per my husband's request, and also left out the optional alcohol. The rest of the recipe I followed precisely. Go on over to Karen's blog for the recipe, you won't be sorry!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TWD: Brownie Buttons

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was the Brownie Buttons. Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen chose the brownies for us this week.

I just looooove brownies, so I was excited to try these. I didn't mess with all the extras - didn't add the orange zest and didn't add any frosting. It was partially because I was lazy and wanting instant gratification, and also because I didn't want to spend the extra money at the grocery store.

The brownie buttons were delicious - very rich and tasty. But my goodness, they were SO small! I ate one in two bites and then needed another... and another. I loved, loved, LOVED the flavor, and making them in a mini muffin tin is a cute idea. But there just wasn't enough to them for my taste. I think I'll stick to pan brownies next time - maybe I'll make those Katherine Hepburn brownies again. Now, those were some mighty tasty brownies!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Black Bean Dip

This week I made the Black Bean Dip for the group My Girl, Paula. This seemed a lot like other cheese dip recipes I've made in the past, but had the addition of beans, which sounded fantastic.

It didn't turn out to be the most fabulous looking dip, but it was really tasty and easy to whip up. I liked that it was a little "different" than my normal cheese dip. I'm glad that I tried this one, and I may make it again in the future if I want something different, but I think I'll stick with the other dip that is always a sure-fire hit and uses a few less ingredients!

Black Bean Dip
(from Paula Deen)

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. chopped onions
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, chopped
1 tomato, diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 teaspoon Paula Deen's house seasoning
1 (15 ounce) can black beans with jalapenos
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (4 ounce) package Velveeta Mexican cheese, diced
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, diced

1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the green chilies, tomato, cilantro and House Seasoning and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the beans and cheeses, and simmer until hot and bubbling. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

This week we made Hummingbird Cake for the group My Girl, Paula. I've seen this cake made by other people but have never tried to make it myself. It has pineapple and banana in the batter, and since I love both, I was really excited to try it.

The cake was very quick and easy to put together. The worst part is dividing the batter between three pans, which I didn't have. I just had two pans, so I had to bake them in two batches. All of mine were done at the very minimum time - 23 minutes. And upon tasting, they seemed just a tiny bit on the dry side, as if they were overdone. So next time I'd check them a few minutes early.

The frosting is a typical cream cheese frosting, which reminded me of eating carrot cake. It was such delicious frosting and spread really easily. The cake was really good and totally gorgeous... and HUGE. Half of it is still sitting in my fridge and I'm not sure how it's going to get finished in the next few days. Guess I better get to work and have another piece, right? :-)

Hummingbird Cake
(from Paula Deen)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 to 4 bananas)
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar

8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and oil and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do NOT beat. Stir in the banana, pineapple and its juice, pecans, and vanilla. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until tooth pick in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

3. While the cake cools, blend together cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the pecans, or reserve them to sprinkle over the frosted cake. Fill and frost the cake.