©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Baked Chicken Breasts With Parmesan Crust

I saw this in an issue of Food Network Magazine.  So I looked up the recipe and a lot of people said that it didn't brown or didn't have any flavor.  Well I decided to try it anyway.  I did make one change and cooked it at a lower temp and for a little longer.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup panko
Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix the mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat completely; set aside.

In a medium shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan and panko. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko mixture, coating evenly and heavily, and pressing the coating into the meat.

Put the chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet, spray with a quick burst of cooking spray and put the sheet in the middle of the oven.

Bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting or serving.

I actually cooked it at 425 for 30 minutes and it was cooked through, juicy and the panko browned nicely.

I served it with baked potatoes and green beans.

I am not sure why people said there was no flavor.  Between the Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper it had great flavor.


Rosemary Chicken Strips

I recently pinned this recipe and made it for dinner last night.  You can find the original recipe at Women's Health.

I doubled the marinade since I had almost 1 pounds of chicken breasts.  Below is original amount of marinade.

1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs fresh rosemary chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thick strips.

Mix the marinade in a glass bowl and place chicken strips.  Stir until the chicken is coated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Place into the fridge and let marinate for at least 3 hours.

Grill chicken until cooked through and discard the marinade.

I served this with salad, roasted summer squash and Hassleback Potatoes.

This chicken was fantastic!!!!


My "other" blog

I wanted to share with you that I have another blog dedicated to my "non" foodie side.  If you want to come on over, I have been busy sewing lately.


Salsa Chicken

I spotted this recipe on Pintrest a while ago and made it last night.  It also comes from

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 -5 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
1 -1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle taco seasoning on both sides of chicken breasts, and pour salsa over all.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is tender and juicy and its juices run clear.

Sprinkle chicken evenly with cheese, and continue baking for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Top with sour cream.

Baha Black Beans

Another recipe from Pinterest.  The original recipe can be found at

6 cups cooked brown rice
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
4 fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 dashes hot sauce


Cook brown rice.

In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix in the cooked rice and season to taste again.

This was pretty good, but I think I would like to add some cumin next time.  This make a HUGE batch.


Parmesan Zucchini Crisps

I saw this idea on Pinterest and Facebook the other day  You can find the recipe at Black Jack Bake House.  Luckily we picked up some zucchini the other day.

1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.
Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere.

The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

These were pretty good! 


Desserts in mason jars...the new "trendy" thing...

At Miss V's school, each month the parents put on a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.  Each grade is assigned a month.  I love that we can show the teachers how much we appreciate their hard work, dedication and love they have for the students.

It also gives me an excuse to try new things on a big scale.

Since our month is May and it is already getting warm we have a general menu, can't tell you what it is just in case any teacher peeks.

Anyway, I was looking for a cute way to package personal size desserts.  I can say Pinterest did not fail me.  I am really sorry if I blew away your feed on Friday.

One of the things I kept coming back to was individual cheesecakes with different toppings in the small mason jars.  The next thing was cake/cupcakes in the jars.  I must have read a couple hundred blogs on Friday and Saturday.

I was blown away by some of the comments like:

How do you get the cupcake out?

Doesn't the cupcake make a mess when you tip the jar to get it out?

Can you really bake things in the canning jars?

Ok...I thought the point of making and serving the dessert in the jar was to actually EAT the dessert from the jar????  Am I confused?  Or have people lost common sense? 

Please...I would love to hear your comments/feedback.


Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

On Saturday we decided to do fun family things instead of yard work.  We went to a produce stand called Grant's Produce in Nokomis.  It was a great little stand.  Miss V picked up a bunch of little red potatoes.

Last night I made a recipe from Pinterest called Rosemary Smashed Potatoes, it comes from Paula Deen and can be found on her site.

3 pounds small red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place potatoes in a stockpot. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small microwave-safe bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds, stirring once.

Place potatoes on prepared pan. Using the bottom of a drinking glass or small bowl, carefully flatten potatoes until they are about ¾ inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil mixture, and sprinkle with salt.

 As you can see mine didn't smash so well.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.


We had these with grilled Italian Sausage and salad.  They were pretty good, but I did cook them a bit longer since they didn't look very crispy.


Pasta Salad

One of my favorite things to make when it starts to get warm out is pasta salad.  I don't really have a recipe just a basic guideline; pasta, Italian dressing and veggies.  I love that it keeps really well and I believe it tastes better the next day. 

Last Friday my plan was to make it right after I dropped Miss V off at school.  Well she ended up with a sick tummy and stayed home from school.  Between bathroom visits and sleeping I didn't want to be banging around in the kitchen.

She started feeling better in the afternoon so I quickly made this so it would be ready by dinner time.

Cook whatever kind of pasta you have or want to use.  While it is cooking, I chopped up some peppers, cucumber and sliced up baby carrots.

Drain and rinse the pasta until it is cool.

In a large glass bowl, place the veggies and pasta.  Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the pasta, salt and pepper to taste and mix to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool.

Right before serving I add the last of the dressing and mix again.  I also like to add Parmesan cheese to salad before serving.  Sometimes I like to add cheese cubes and diced tomatoes, but didn't have any this time. 

My absolute favorite dressing for pasta salad is Kraft Tuscan House Italian.  It has great flavor without being overpowering.


Mandarin Chicken with Panda Express Sauce

So last night I made Mandarin Chicken with the Panda Express Sauce.  This time I used the same directions as the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Chicken and coating:

3 or 4 boneless chicken breasts
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used much less than this)

Preheat your oven to 325.

Cut the chicken breast into bite size cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Create a breading station by putting the cornstarch in a bowl and the beaten eggs in another.  I like to do this on the stove top.

In a large skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat.

Place a few pieces of chicken in the corn starch then shake off the excess and dredge in the egg.  Immediately put them in the hot oil.  Brown on all sides, but do not cook through.  Place the browned chicken into a 13x9 baking dish and continue browning the other pieces of chicken until done.

Pour a bit of sauce over the chicken.  Maybe a 1/4 of the bottle or to your liking.

Bake for one hours, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.  This step is very important if you want crispy chicken.

 I served this with rice and steamed broccoli.  This sauce was so good!!!!  Miss V loved it because it wasn't spicy like the Kung Pao sauce.

I also love cooking the chicken this way.  It keeps the chicken crispy and light.

I am definitely going to pick up the other sauces next time I am at Walmart.  So have any of you tried their sauces?  I asked my Facebook Fans if they have eaten at the restaurants and it was mixed.  Some love it, some didn't and some were saying it was just ok.


Chicken Cesar Sandwich

No real recipe for this one.   I have a ton of left over hamburger rolls from the party last weekend.

1 package of boneless skinless chicken breasts
Sliced tomatoes
Cesar Dressing
Shaved Parmesan

I pounded the thicker part of each chicken breast and cut them in half.

Grill them until cooked through.

Place a piece of grilled chicken on the bottom bun, then pour your favorite Cesar Dressing on top of the chicken.  Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan.  Place a slice of tomato and lettuce on top.

I even dipped my chip in a bit of extra dressing.  I am known to do that at Chik Fil A with their waffle fries.


Miss V's 11th Birthday Cake...I did it!

I did it!!!  It wasn't as hard as I expected.  It wasn't totally perfect, but hey...Miss V thought it was the best cake that I ever made.  It did take a few days to make.  It has been a busy week between her school events,  mini birthday party, shopping at the mall, getting everything ready for her brother's pre-deployment party, Easter and her actual birthday which was Easter Sunday.

How this cake started....I was showing Miss V lots of cakes on Pinterest and she spotted this

She quickly decided that is the one she wanted...but had a couple stipulations....It cannot be pink, it has to be lime green.  Ok......trying to figure out what other colors to use was easy.  She looked at her Vera Bradley backpack in Lime's Up.  So off to Hobby Lobby we went.

We found a smaller silicone cupcake mold and she was ok with it.  While I was looking for a large square pan she yelled that she found the GIANT cupcake pan.

We quickly put the silicone one away.  Then we went in search of the colors.  I love Americolor Gels.  They are in little squirt bottles.  So much less mess than Wilton tubs.

So I made the bottom cake which is a 12 inch square pan.  It takes two full cake mixes.  The bottom Miss V chose chocolate cake.  After it was cooled, I wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge.

Then the next day I made the cupcake parts.  I did a lot of searching and found some great tips so that the top part doesn't burn.

Set the oven to 325 to preheat.  Use one whole cake mix for bottom, so mix according to the package directions.  Spray the bottom part of the pan really well with cooking spray with flour or you may grease and flour the pan.  Add the cake batter to the bottom section of the pan.  Place the pan on a cookie sheet and place into the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

In the mean time mix up the next cake batter.  When the 20 minutes are up, carefully take out the pan.  Spray the top section with the cooking spray with flour.  Add the cake batter up to the next to last line.  Place back in the oven carefully and bake for 45 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer that both pieces would come out ok and they both came out perfectly.  Let them cool completely.  I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Saturday morning I started by leveling all three section and then started decorating.  I crumb coated all three pieces with canned white frosting and placed back in the fridge.

I made some fondant and Miss V helped color small pieces.  I rolled and cut out circles while she played with a piece to make the big "gumball" for the top.

Totally forgot to snap a picture of the cut out circles.  Oh well....

I was slowly running out of time when it came to decorate it and I had to do it in front of guests and talk with them at the same time.  I kind of felt like I was giving a class...I totally forgot to put a dowel through the cakes.  I did push a skewer through it a the last minute when I saw that it was a bit wobbly.  The only real issue I had was that the canned frosting was a bit soft so it looked messy and I really couldn't pipe around the bottom of the cupcake or it would have plopped off.  Does anyone have tips that would help me next time???

Anyway it still came out adorable and the most important part...Miss V was thrilled with it.

As much as I secretly stress out when Miss V asks me to make her cakes.  She was traumatized a few years ago when the grocery store totally made the wrong cake and I didn't notice until we opened at the party. So I am thankful, if that didn't happen, I wouldn't have stepped out of my comfort zone and learned all sorts of new techniques and tricks.  Granted the cakes aren't perfect in my eyes...but they are perfect in Miss V's eyes.

A huge thank you to Hobby Lobby in North Port that had all the supplies that I needed to make this cake and I didn't have to run all around to find the GIANT cupcake pan.

Happy 11th birthday to my sweet little lady!

Also a huge thank you to Do The Happy Bounce for the awesome Army inflatable!  If you live in my area, I highly suggest renting from them!!!!

Our soldier.....

Sharing here:

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March posts....oh I have failed....

I feel as though I totally failed at making lots of new things last month.  March is usually a super busy month and I did make a few new things, but I quickly made a lot of older recipes.

I didn't even have time to update my blog, so in the next few minutes I am going to posting the new recipes that I did try and will back date them.

Hoping April will be loaded with lots of new things and I am about to get sucked back into Pinterest.

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