Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Butter Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Sage

This recipe was adapted from one found on You can see pictures there. They don't look like they used a whole chicken, but pieces, which I would probably do the next time since I don't know how to carve and have it come out looking edible. But my bird was beautiful before I cut into it!


5 lb whole chicken
1 lemon, halved
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and pat chicken dry. Remove the giblets and place the halved lemon inside your bird. In a small bowl, mash the butter with all remaining ingredients. Gently loosen and lift the skin from the meat of the bird on the breast side. Use your fingers to rub the butter herb mixture into the flesh of the bird making sure to cover as much area as you can. Return the chicken skin to cover all of the exposed flesh. Roast for 17 minutes per pound. A 5 lb chicken will roast for about 1 hour 25 minutes. Let it rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before carving. Serves 6.

Notes: Like I said, I would use pieces next time (skinless) and just rub the mixture all over them. Of course, it also wouldn't have to cook for as long. I also didn't use all of those fresh herbs because I never know what to do with the tons I have left over. I just kind of guestimated.


I just made Aimee Krey's version of Chees-Its at It was basically the same recipe I made last week, but with a few much-needed differences. Her's was much easier to work with, I used my new food processer (SO nice!), and I left out the cayenne pepper which had made mine way too spicy. I also made mine round so Kales would not expect them to be like Goldfish crackers (didn't work).

1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
 8 oz. cheddar cheese (you could use a pepper jack cheese, parmesan, or colby jack, etc.)
4 tbsp cold butter
3/4 tsp sea salt
 1/4 tsp paprika 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (Optional)
Cold water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, or you can do it by hand with a pastry blender. Mix until crumbly. Add cold water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the mixture forms into a dough (I ended up using 4T). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or 20 minutes in the freezer. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each out to about 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Cut into little squares with a sharp knife or dough cutter. (I made mine round with the lid to a spice jar.) Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke a little hole in the center of each cracker (a chopstick works well). Sprinkle crackers with a little salt and bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are browning and centers are puffed. Watch carefully so you don't cross that fine line between golden and burnt. Remove from baking sheet to cool.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

It's a miracle, but it's a winner! (from

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler on high. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish. Serves 8.

No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

I am all about NOT kneading bread. I know some people who love to do it to get their aggressions out, but I don't feel like I have that much anger to vent. Basically, I'm lazy, and I have wimpy arm muscles. Therefore, this works for me!

1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
Coconut oil for greasing pan

Mix half the flour with the rest of the ingredients using a spoon. Add in rest of flour. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 5 days.

Shape into a rough loaf and put into an oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, then bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Let sit cooling in pan for 20 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack. Makes one loaf.

Oh, and see that little cooling rack it's sitting on? When the bread is cool, I just lay that on top and cut through the slats to make individual slices of bread. It works pretty well. Then, because we aren't huge bread eaters, I store the whole thing in a gallon-sized baggie and keep it in the freezer or fridge.

Magic Shell

This recipe is courtesy of


1-1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut oil (measured while solid)

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave about 1 minutes. Allow to sit a few minutes to allow the heat of the oil to melt the chocolate chips and then stir until smooth. It will be runny.

Pour into a bottle. I used a 2-pint Mason jar. A glass bottle works well especially since it will be heated in the microwave. Store in the refrigerator. To serve, heat bottle in microwave (without lid) for 30 seconds until liquid. Slightly shake and continue heating at 15 second intervals if not liquid after the first 30 seconds. Pour over your favorite ice cream and in a few seconds you will see magic!

  • You can substitute butter for the coconut oil, however the coconut oil gives the more ‘real’ Magic Shell flavor.
  • You can use milk chocolate chips, but everyone we served preferred the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Dishwashing Detergent

I just recently made this and have only used it a couple of times, but it seems to be doing the job. I decided to use up my store-bought detergent tablets first just so that I didn't have them hanging around taking up space in my pantry.

3 cups Borax
3 cups washing soda
1 cup LemiShine (for hard water issues)

Mix all ingredients together. Store in sealed container. Use 1 tablespoon per dishwasher load. (I just fill my little receptacle rather than measure it out.)

Laundry Detergent

I've been using this "recipe" for laundry detergent for about a year and haven't noticed a difference - other than it's much cheaper than buying it at the store!

1/3 bar Fels Naptha (or Ivory)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax powder
2 gallon size bucket
Sauce pan
Cheese grater
Containers in which to store

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the Borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look. I then store mine in 3 96oz. juice bottles. Use ½ cup per laundry load.

You can add ½ teaspoon essential oil if you like for fragrance or 1 cup of your favorite fabric softener or 1 cup of Oxi-Clean as a cleaning booster.

Fels Naptha, washing soda, Borax and Oxi-Clean can all be found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken

1 pkg boneless/skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Mix spices together and set aside. Mix honey and cider vinegar and set aside. Un-tuck chicken thighs and cover both sides in seasoning, set out flat on sheet pan. When all chicken as been seasoned, put under broiler* (I put mine on low just so I don’t worry about burning the chicken). Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side and flip. Cook for a 5-7 minutes on other side. Flip again and then baste the chicken with the honey/cider mixture. Be sure to slather the chicken really well. Add to oven again and let it cook under the broiler for a few more minutes until the honey starts to thicken up and glaze. It may smoke a little but this is completely normal. Take chicken out of oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Granola Bars

Because I was trying to make these as nutritional as possible, we'll probably have to sell our house to pay for them. They cost a small fortune, but are really, really good!

2-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal*
2 cups old fashion oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 honey
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1/4 cup packed coconut
1/4 cup mini chocolate morsels
1/4 cup peanuts (or other nut of your choice)

In a large bowl, combine the cereal and oats. Grease or line a 9x13" pan.* Mix brown sugar, honey and peanut butter in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until just boiling. Add to cereal mixture along with vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts. Press into the prepared pan using a spatula, spoon, or your hands. Set aside to cool, then cut into bars. 

Notes*: To make them more nutritional, I used organic cereal, organic peanut butter, and sea salt. The oats were from the LDS Church cannery, so I figured they're as pure and clean as they're going to get! I crushed up the chocolate and nuts to make them a little more fine. Line pan with Saran Wrap for easier clean up. Also, the organic peanut butter needs to be refrigerated, so if you use that, you'll want to keep the bars in the fridge also. As you can see, I put them in little snack bags rather than wrap them in Saran Wrap. They're kind of sticky, so you won't want to stack them together.

Parmesan Chicken - not to be confused with Chicken Parmesan

I got this recipe from the website who happened to get it from  "The Essential Mormon Cookbook" (I believe in giving credit where credit is due!). We had it last week before my sister-in-law, Cindy, had the food blog epiphany, so there isn't a picture of mine. This is the one from the website, but it actually looked the same.

2 C crushed Ritz crackers
3 T grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic salt
8 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (or use tenders)
1 C plain yogurt
1/4 C butter, melted

Combine cracker crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic salt.  Dip each piece of chicken in yogurt to coat and then in crumb mixture.  Arrange in greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Drizzle with melted butter.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  Serves 8.

Notes: In trying to make this a little better, I checked out the whole wheat Ritz crackers at the store. They were only 10% wheat, so I said, "Forget it!" I just used the regular and prayed that we would live to see another day. I also only used four chicken breasts, because that was all we needed, but would suggest doubling the coating ingredients if you're going to do all eight. It was starting to get kind of soggy and gummy towards the end of the four, or maybe doing half the chicken in a second batch of coating.

Red vs. White

Kayleigh was taking exception to the whole wheat bread thing. I finally got her to eat some French toast the other day (pre-Agave Nectar ban, we were using it as syrup) and she liked it. I found some white wheat flour at the store so will be making Farmhouse White Bread with it today. We’ll see if that passes muster with her. I also plan to do a little research to see if one is better than the other.

Healthfood Stores - Non-Existent in Northern Utah?

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find organic and natural foods in our area without much success. There is a Whole Foods in Salt Lake, and it’s huge, but who wants to drive all the way down there to buy a few groceries? Not me. WalMart has a few things, Harmon’s has a good selection of organic produce. There is a Good Earth on Riverdale Rd., but it’s kind of small (and mostly prepackaged stuff).  Costco has organic eggs for much cheaper than anywhere else. I looked up several health-food stores online and took some time checking them out and they no longer exist. This is another reason why we’re not going gang-busters with this whole eating better thing. Some things are just not available in our area. I’m looking forward to buying from farmer’s markets this summer.

Food Processor

Many of the recipes I’ve been seeing on my obsession ( have recommended using a food processor (which I don’t have). Back in the day, when Bob and I got married, my mom gave me an Oster mixer that had all these cool attachments like a food processor, food grinder, blender, etc. It was great, but I didn’t really appreciate having them as I’m not a huge fan of cooking. And, eventually, the whole thing died a major death. Since then, I’ve gotten by with just a little hand mixer or two or three and good old arm action for chopping.

I was making Chees-Its, and plan on trying them again as they need a little tweaking, and decided that today was the day (this and after chopping onions the other day convinced me as well) to go out and buy a food processor. I took some of my “reinventing myself” cash and did it. I’m excited to try it in the next day or two. I’m also convinced that it will make my new cooking experiences much more enjoyable.

Agave Nectar - You Did Me Wrong!

Agave Nectar is supposedly this great natural sweetener from the Agave plant grown in Mexico and South Africa. It’s kind of a syrup and is a little pricey. I was in heaven, though, because I found it to be a good substitute for sugar in some of the recipes I was making. I posted something about my use of it on and my hopes and dreams were dashed by one of my neighbors. She, Becca, sent an article about how it’s really not “natural” or even from the actual plant at all! The article even said that after it’s processed in your body it ends up being worse than the high-fructose corn syrup we’re told to strictly avoid! This was practically devastating for me! I’ve been sort of following this diet called The Perfect10 by Dr. Aziz. He’s where I’ve gotten a lot of my information about eating naturally and the effects of chemicals on your body in relation to losing weight. So much of what he says about how different things affect your body make total sense. And, it really follows along with the guidelines in the Word of Wisdom (which gives me more confidence that what he says is true). So back to Agave Nectar…what to do? What to do? I’m guessing honey is probably the next best sugar substitute, and probably cheaper and less processed, so we’re “picking our poison” so to speak. I had had high hopes to be able to use the Agave and still be able to have sweets, yet not feel guilty about it, but I guess we really don’t need them that often. I’m sure we’ll still have good things (tasting, not for us) occasionally since we’re not super-fanatical about all this. We’re trying to take baby steps and make changes where we can without making our lives miserable.

Chicken Scratch Kick Off

My sister-in-law, Cindy, suggested (probably jokingly) that I create a food blog. I’m no cook and I don’t know that there is even room out on the blogosphere for yet another food blog, so at first, admittedly, I scoffed at the idea. Then I got to thinking that at least it would be a way for me to journal my sometimes futile/sometimes successful efforts at trying to help our family eat better. By better, I mean more nutritiously and “cleaner.” “Cleaner” meaning not eating so many processed foods and cooking with more natural (and organic where possible) foods…basically trying to eliminate as many chemicals and unknown ingredients as possible. I also don’t like the officialness of writing in a journal daily, so this is kind of my way around that.