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  1. Thursday, August 20

    Microwave Homemade Mac & Cheese

    Years ago I did a Call for Recipes for homemade mac & cheese. Many tasty recipes were submitted and I’ve used several with great success. There was one in particular, though, that caught my eye. It involved the microwave and seemed almost too easy. I finally tried the technique out last week and loved it so much it deserves its own post!

    microwave homemade mac & cheese from @janemaynard

    Cailean was the lovely person who shared the recipe with me. I checked with her and she has no clue where she got the recipe from, although there are many permutations of it online. She knows she didn’t make it up herself, but she did notice that her version doesn’t have butter, which is different than most other similar recipes. So, we’re just going to give Cailean credit. Sound good? Great!

    microwave homemade mac & cheese from @janemaynardmicrowave homemade mac & cheese from @janemaynard

    You’ll still need the stovetop to cook the noodles, but the sauce gets cooked in the microwave. I kid you not, in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the noodles you will be done making the homemade mac & cheese. It’s super awesome and takes up as much of your time as boxed mac & cheese. Which begs the question, why would you ever go back to boxed mac & cheese after this?!

    microwave homemade mac & cheese from @janemaynard

    Microwave Homemade Mac & Cheese
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Recipe originally from reader Cailean, but I've added a few things and written it in my own words
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 16-ounce package of pasta, small shells or elbow macaroni
    • 2 cups milk
    • 6 tablespoons flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • Two pinches nutmeg (optional)
    • 2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar is great on its own, but doing half gruyere-half cheddar is nice. For more mild flavor, half monterey jack-half cheddar nice, too.)
    • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Put the water for the pasta on to boil.
    2. Shred cheese. In a good-sized microwave-safe bowl, whisk together well the milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg (if using). Stir in the cheese.
    3. When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
    4. While pasta is cooking, cook the milk-cheese mixture in the microwave on full power 1-2 minutes at a time, whisking after each time. Keep cooking until cheese is fully melted and you have a nice, smooth sauce (probably about 5 minutes total).
    5. Drain pasta, return to pot then add sauce and mix well.
    6. If you want to top the mac & cheese with breadcrumbs, boil the pasta in a wide, oven-safe pot (like my Le Creuset 5½ quart). After the mac & cheese is all mixed together in the pot, sprinkle evenly with panko bread crumbs (about ½ cup or so) then drizzle with butter. Place pan in oven under high broiler and cook until breadcrumbs start to brown, a few minutes. If you don't have an oven safe pot, feel free to transfer the mac & cheese to a 9" x 13" casserole dish before adding the bread crumbs and broiling in the oven.
    Notes
    Serves 6-8. A good rule of thumb for pasta is 2 ounces uncooked pasta per person.

     


  2. Thursday, October 23

    Fast and Easy: 4-Ingredient Lemon Pepper Chicken

    I recently discovered a quick “recipe” for lemon pepper chicken that I simply have to share with you. The chicken is tender and flavorful and it’s just so easy to make! This chicken is delicious fresh out of the oven served with rice and a veggie, but I also love it served cold over salad. It would be great in sandwiches, too!

    easy lemon pepper chicken from @janemaynard

    I sort of accidentally created this recipe. I thought I was making a recipe for luscious lemon chicken that I received from a friend 15 years ago. I was going from memory and the final result was what you see here in this post. Only, when I looked the original recipe up later, I discovered I left a bunch of ingredients and steps out! So, now I have two awesome lemon chicken recipes. 😉 And, yes, one day I’ll share the luscious lemon chicken recipe with you, too!

    easy lemon pepper chicken recipe from @janemaynard perfect for salads!

    Today’s version of the recipe really is SO easy and delicious. My little Anna especially loves it! Be sure you use the stabbing-the-chicken-with-a-fork trick – that is the key to this tender, flavorful chicken!

    Lemon Pepper Chicken
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Super easy with delicious results, this chicken has a nice peppery flavor with a hint of lemon.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
    • Lemon Pepper
    • Salt (kosher preferred)
    • Cream
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    2. Stab chicken breast(s) all over on both sides with a fork (click here for details on this trick).
    3. Sprinkle both sides evenly with salt, then sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper on both sides.
    4. Place chicken in a baking dish then pour cream over the chicken to coat. Flip chicken breasts in the dish with a fork to coat both sides of the chicken with cream.
    5. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and/or internal temperature of chicken reaches 160ºF.
    6. Serve hot out of the oven with rice and veggies. Refrigerate leftovers and serve cold on salad or in sandwiches.

     


  3. Tuesday, September 16

    Baked Stuffing-Coated Chicken: Only 3 Ingredients to Pure Deliciousness!

    My mother-in-law Pat claims she’s not a good cook, but I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Some of my very best cooking tricks, tips and recipes have come from her. And some of my favorite non-recipe “recipes” come from her. Pat has a knack for making easy-to-prep food taste really good.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard

    Today I’m sharing one of those non-recipe recipes. It is seriously beyond easy with only 3 ingredients. The recipe is a little old school, i.e. there is canned cream-of-whatever soup involved. I rarely buy canned soups, but I certainly do for this chicken recipe! The chicken comes out so tender and juicy, and the stuffing cooks perfectly, soft and yummy where it touches the chicken with a nice crunch around the outside.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard (>> Find out more…)


  4. Friday, March 23

    Spinach Mushroom Panini with Feta

    Yesterday I shared my friend Natalee’s apple ham panini with you. Now it’s time to talk about the second panini flavor she shared with me, which was equally delicious.

    Enter the spinach mushroom panini with feta. This is a nice vegetarian option that is full of flavor. There’s a little prep work involved, but it’s still easy, I promise! And the flavors are all just so yummy together. Mmmmmm. Natalee made these paninis for our friend Ana, who is a total foodie. Ana said it was the best panini she ever had. Now that I’ve set your expectations really high…whoops…here is the recipe!

    Spinach Mushroom Panini with Feta
     
    From my friend Natalee
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Panini
    Ingredients
    • around 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • Sliced mushrooms (8 or 10 ounce package)
    • Small bag of spinach (6-10 ounces or so)
    • Crumbled feta cheese
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Sliced bread of your choice
    Instructions
    1. Sautee the mushrooms in olive oil in a large sautee pan, until moisture is released and mushrooms are cooked through. Add spinach, tearing up the leaves a bit as you add them to the pan (if you feel like you need another swig of olive oil added to the pan, go ahead and add it). Cook until spinach has wilted, then add feta to taste – we found adding a lot of feta was better. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir.
    2. Use mushroom mixture as filling for the panini and cook paninis as you normally do, in a press or with two frying pans.

     


  5. Tuesday, January 5

    Tuscan Tomato Soup

    My aunt recently sent an email to my extended family inviting everyone over for “amazing tomato soup you don’t want to miss,” or something to that effect. Well, I didn’t want to miss the soup, but I had no choice since I live nowhere near any family! I knew I had to eat this soup one way or another. Thankfully she shared the recipe, saving me a few hundred dollars in airfare.

    tuscan tomato soup web

    This Tuscan Tomato Soup is very yummy.  And easy to make! Quick disclaimer before you start thanking me for sharing a healthy recipe to complement your New Years diet resolutions. Um, yeah, there’s cream in it. But cream has protein and calcium, right? Are you with me, health gurus?

    Tuscan Tomato Soup
     
    Prepared by Chef Kent Andersen from Chef’s Table in Orem, UT- modified by Jane Maynard (that’s me!)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
    Ingredients
    • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1 Onion, Small dice
    • 3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes (original recipe: 5 Cups Diced and Seeded Tomatoes)
    • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
    • 1.5 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
    • 1 Cup Basil Pesto (Auntie Barb likes Target’s pesto better than Costco’s; I used Trader Joe’s, which was 1 oz short of a cup but still tasted great; you could always make it, I suppose)
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Heat oil in a medium large soup pot. Add onions and cook over moderately low heat until completely translucent. Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow for interchange of flavors.
    2. Add whipping cream. Add pesto.
    3. Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender. (Barbara reserves a little bit of the soup un-blended so there are some chunks.) Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

     


  6. Monday, October 27

    Featured Recipe: Thai Chicken Pizza

    One thing we really miss in San Diego is Leucadia Pizza.  And one of our favorites at Leucadia is the Thai Chicken Pizza.  If you live in San Diego and you are NOT eating this pizza, it’s a crime.

    I’ve begun my quest to recreate it.  And I think I’m almost there!

    Featured Recipe: Thai Chicken Pizza
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, Pizza
    Cuisine: Thai
    Ingredients
    • Pizza crust (homemade, TJ’s $1 crust, whatever)
    • Shredded carrots (about ½ – ¾ of a carrot…1 full carrot was a little much)
    • Bean sprouts
    • Chopped green onion
    • Chicken breast, cut into small cubes or strips and sauteed in olive oil (season with s&p)
    • Peanuts (I went with roasted unsalted…you don’t need the salt on the peanuts)
    • Peanut Sauce
    • Chopped Cilantro
    • Mozzarella Cheese
    Notes
    Leucadia’s peanut sauce really makes the pizza. A perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I tried the Trader Joe’s Satay Peanut Sauce. It was definitely not sweet enough and the texture wasn’t right.

    I just bought Organic Peanut Sauce at Whole Foods. I think this just might do it. I haven’t used it on the pizza yet, but I added some brown sugar to the sauce and it tastes awesome. And the texture is better for pizza. Next time I make the pizza, I’ll let you know how this sauce goes.  I think it will be a winner!


    Whenever I make homemade pizza, I always put all the toppings on top of the sauce and add the mozzarella cheese last. Especially with fresh herbs. It’s the way to go.

    If anyone has a recipe for a great peanut sauce, please share!

     


  7. Wednesday, January 31

    Spaghetti Pomodoro

    Spaghetti Pomodoro
     
    From Liz Findlay
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    Instructions
    1. Cook spaghetti, do not over cook. Add fresh tomatoes, a ton of fresh garlic, some salt, and let it simmer (perhaps some olive oil as well would be good – note from Jane 🙂 ). At the last, throw in a whole bunch of basil. Serve immediately. We love to eat Spaghetti with fresh sliced cucumbers drenched in balsamic vinegar and a baguette broiled with butter and garlic and parmesan cheese.