Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tomato Artichoke Chicken Bake

Do you love the Michigan pot holder? :-)

Yum, yum, yum! This is a lovely simple dish that your whole family will love. I originally found this recipe from Our Story. It is very tasty, but there aren't a lot of specific directions. So I'm putting forth my more detailed version. 

I've made this dish a few times for guests, and it has gone over well with everybody. Even a two year-old loved it last night! We put it on a small bed of fettuccine pasta with a little of the broth from the pan poured on top. It is easy, healthy and filling, everything you could ever want in a dinner. 

Tomato Artichoke Chicken Bake Recipe
Enough chicken breast or tenders to cover the 9" x 13" pan 
4-5 Roma tomatoes
1 can of artichoke hearts
2 cloves of crushed garlic
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
10-15 basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Place the chicken into the baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. 
Core and seed the tomatoes. Cut into bite sized pieces about 1".  Place in a medium bowl. Drain the artichoke hearts and cut into pieces the same size as the tomato. Add the garlic, flour, olive oil, sugar and salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Place in the oven for 45-60 minutes depending on how thawed the chicken is. You are aiming to get the chicken to about 160˚ inside at this stage. When I used completely thawed chicken it was ready for the next step at 45 minutes. When I used chicken that hadn't thawed completely, it took about 65 minutes. I use a meat thermometer to make sure I'm cooking the chicken all of the way through. 
Once the chicken is almost done, turn the broiler on high. Add about 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes. During this time, cut the basil and place on top once the cheese is golden and the vegetables are caramelized.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Banana Zucchini Bread with Oatmeal Streusel

What do I do with 8 old bananas and the second giant zucchini in a week? That was the dilemma I was faced with on Monday evening. I knew that I wanted to make something tasty as a thank you for a work colleague, and the bananas and zucchini seemed like an obvious choice.  I wanted to try making my own recipe combining a few recipes that I already had. I used Aunt Pam's banana bread recipe which I will post someday if she says yes and combined that with this zucchini bread recipe from 

I have never combined recipes like this before, but I think it turned out really well. It got high praise from my coworker even! :) Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you.

Banana Zucchini Bread with Oatmeal Streusel
Makes 2 loaves
Bread Ingredients:
2/3 cup shortening or vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
3 ripened bananas
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp water
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup chocolate chips

Streusel ingredients:
1/3 cup oat, quick or cook
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pea sized pieces

1 cup of water in an oven safe pan. You will place this in the oven to create moisture for the baking bread.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and grease 2 loaf pans.
Combine all of the wet ingredients and mix on medium low until smooth. Add all of the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix until blended and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the greased loaf pans. Place in the oven with the tray of water on the bottom shelf and the two loaves on the top shelf and set the timer for 40 minutes.

During that time prepare the streusel. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with two knives or a pastry cutter. Mix until the streusel resembles coarse crumbs. After the bread has baked for 40 minutes, put as much of the streusel on top of the loaves pushing the streusel into the bread as you are able. Place back into the oven for another 30 minutes. 

Remove after a total of 70 minutes of baking. Allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow them to cool for another hour or two before eating. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Basement Powder Room Makeover

I found this picture from when my sister and I came to see this house. I had her take pictures while I was walking through the house. This is the bathroom in the basement. We have 4 bathrooms in our house, 2 full baths and 2 powder rooms. It's just a teeny tiny little bathroom, but it needed a little TLC.

Even though this is maybe the smallest room in the house, it's taken me almost 2 months of work to get this completed. The bathroom had a shag carpet in it, so when my dad came back in June, we added a basic 12 inch tile. 19 square feet! 

There was quite a dip in the are around the toilet, so we had to put a leveling compound to even out the floor as much as we could before laying the tile.

We put the Schluter Ditra system down as the sub flooring. For more on that, check out my other bathroom redo.

After the subfloor, we put down the tile and then I grouted it. 

I then decided to paint the walls and the vanity to complete the project. For the walls, I was able to use a leftover paint from the previous owners. I'm not even sure how to describe the color, but I thought it looked nice with the tile. 

For the vanity, I started with my favorite primer, Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water Based Primer, then I painted it with a sample pot of cream. I also used some of my Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Semi-Gloss in Dover White as the final coat to give it a really nice looking finish. For those of you who are counting, that is now the fourth project I've used that one quart of paint on, and I still have about 1/3 of the container left. To see the other projects, click here, here and here.

It's still a small space with original fixtures, but it has come out so nicely. It just goes to show you how much of a difference a tiny amount of paint, fresh knobs, and new flooring can go. No need to do a complete overhaul. 

Freshly painted vanity

Before and After


Friday, August 1, 2014

Chicken Zucchini Enchiladas

I first discovered the inspiration for this dish on my favorite food blog in the form of her Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas. I've made a number of personal adjustments to the recipe over the past year to feel that I've made it mine. The biggest change of course is adding the chicken. Definitely check out the original recipe though for a totally vegetarian version, and be sure to peruse the rest of her website for delicious recipes. It's never steered me wrong yet.

I love to make Dutch Oven Chicken, but what to do with the leftover chicken when it's just the two of us? I like to use it in either soup or enchiladas. Although sometimes we just want enchiladas, so I just cook a chicken breast or two for the cooked chicken. You decide!

Chicken Zucchini Enchiladas:
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 medium scallions, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 medium zucchini, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (divided)
8 large tortillas

Enchilada Sauce:
1 clove crushed garlic
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin 
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

Start with the enchilada sauce so it has time to simmer. Using a medium saucepan, spray cooking spray and sauté the garlic on medium heat. After about a minute add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ and grease a 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large skillet, (I've even used a wok) over medium heat the olive oil and add the garlic and scallions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the cilantro, chicken and zucchini and salt and pepper to taste and sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Drain off the excess liquid and add 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Divide the mixture between 8 tortillas. Roll them and place them seam down into the greased baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas. You may have extra left over. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until hot and cheese it melted. Top with extra cilantro and scallions if desired.