Category Archives: Side dish

Thursdays 2 new tries

This weeks schedule and meal plan hasn’t exactly gone as designed. 1st, Dominic found out that he was going out of town for the whole weekend for work, then it changed to 5 days, then it changed into 8 days. Some recurring insomnia interfered with wednesday’s recipe. And of course, to top it all off, there apparently isn’t a battery in this house that my camera deems worthy to power it and my cell phone camera just doesn’t cut it. I tell ya…some days! 😉 At any rate, I managed to get back on track, with the exception of my on-strike-camera, Thursday and I tried “Fettuccine with creamy chicken”. When all was said and done, it’s really Chicken Alfredo from scratch. But let me tell you, I think it was better than almost any I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I also made another new recipe on thursday, Baked Mushrooms with bacon. Again, another success! Woo hoo!!! Nick said the bacon was just a little too crunchy for his preferences but Justice definitely didn’t have that opinion. Justice, surprisingly, ate several mushrooms and she had seconds of the chicken with sauce (she won’t eat pasta). I got great results and it was wonderful!
Here are the recipes;

Fettuccine with Creamy Chicken – courtesy
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 25 min.
9 ounces fettuccine pasta (I used 16oz and had a small amount uneaten for 3 adults+leftovers)
1 lb. chicken breast fillets, cut into thin strips (I cooked 3 breasts, then sliced)
1 ounce unsalted butter
2 ounces unsalted butter, extra
1-1/4 cups cream
1-1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
1 tsp. black peppercorns, cracked (I just added pepper till it looked good 😉 )1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, keep warm. Melt butter in a heavy nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches if necessary, 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Melt remaining butter in pan, add cream, stirring over heat until boiling. Stir in chicken and remaining ingredients. Cook until heated through. Serve over fettuccine.


Baked Mushrooms with Crispy Bacon – also
Prep: 5 min, Cook: 15 min.
8 large mushrooms, flat (I used 12-14 medium/large white mushrooms, stems removed)
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
3 bacon slices, diced (we like bacon, I used 4 strips)2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3/4 Tbs. butter
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (I used dried)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place mushrooms, stalk side up, on a baking tray. Heat oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Cook bacon until crispy; remove from heat. (I used microwave ready bacon) Add garlic, butter and chopped parsley, mix to combine (I let the bacon cool and crumbled in my hands into pan with mix). Spoon bacon mixture onto mushrooms. Bake in moderate oven for 7-10 minutes or until mushrooms have softened slightly. Suggestion: Serve with scrambled eggs. (good suggestion, I might try that!)

I hope you enjoy both of these as much as we did. Add these to the ‘win’ column for us, and hopefully for your family as well!

Success seconded! Two hits in one day :)

So the brownies were in the oven and Yay! I get to sit and relax for a bit. What?! It’s time for lunch?? What do you mean it’s time for lunch??
That presented an issue I wasn’t yet prepared for….what to do for lunch? So, looking at the bag of potatoes on the floor, I remembered a recipe/idea I came across a few weeks ago and marked for ‘some undetermined future use’. Undetermined schmundetermined! Today’s lunch will be Broccoli cheese topped potatoes.
I found this recipe/idea on

Vegetable Stuffed Potato

Just 4 easy Ingredients:
Cream of Broccoli and Cheese soup (I used 2 cans low-fat. Could not find an organic alternative)
4 potatoes (or one per person being served)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups frozen broccoli mix. (I omitted)
I added some chopped ham to the mix
Rinse and scrub potatoes. Poke several times with a fork. Wrap with paper towel and microwave until cooked. (about 5-6 minutes per potato) I zapped each one separately.

Cut potato in half and smush down with fork.
Cook broccoli mixture in microwave according to the directions.
Mix soup, cheese, and broccoli mixture.
Scoop cheesy broccoli mixture over potato. Enjoy!

Everyone enjoyed this lunch. Pretty quick and easy and certainly a healthier more well rounded alternative to most lunch choices. Don’t get me wrong, mac and cheese and pb&j; are proven successful and mighty tasty but this is a great option when looking for something outside the box…lunch box that is. 😉

Enjoy the yummy topped taters!

A new repeat and a no-no; recipes # 6 & 7

Good evening friends!
Well this evening’s meal brought us a yummy change of pace and a universal veto. Recipes #6 & 7 are Baked Sweet-Glazed Hamsteaks and Baked Carrots both of which came from The Hamsteaks are a bit of a departure for us. The Ortega/Jantz household doesn’t usually have much pork products, aside from Bacon of course which makes Everything better! In an attempt to stray from the usual chicken and turkey I thought these would make a nice change. I was right! The recipe is easy, fast and delicious! And so much cheaper than buying a premade honey baked ham (Bonus!!). Other than the last minute run to the store for brown sugar, it went quickly and was easy. The Baked Carrots required a bit more prep and didn’t turn out as well. We’re calling this Veto Numero Uno. :) Can’t win ’em all huh?! BUT-I’m still absolutely encouraging you all to try them. Don’t hesitate based on our tastes.

So here are the recipes and pics for your perusal;

Baked Sweet-Glazed Ham Steaks
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 20 min.
•1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
•1/4 cup honey
•1/4 tsp. dry mustard
•4 whole cloves
•4 boneless ham steaks, about 1/4 lb. each (I had 5)
•4 pineapple slices
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 2-3 minutes. Discard the cloves. Place ham steaks in a well-greased baking dish. Top each steak with a pineapple slice and an equal portion of the honey and brown sugar glaze. Bake for 15 minutes.

I left ours in for about 25 minutes (I had 2 pans with a total of 5 steaks). If you make more than 4 you’ll need to increase the amounts of each above by a little. I didn’t put any glaze or pineapple on the 5th as it was for Justice. During baking, the steaks release some of their water so it thins out the glaze a bit, hence the recommendation to make more glaze for more than 4 steaks. 😉

Baked Carrots
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 25 min.
•1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
•1 ounce Swiss cheese, grated (I’m pretty positive I used about 3-4oz as I grated about 1/2 the 8oz block)
•1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter
•1/4 cup onion, minced (I used dried minced as usual and only a Tbsp or so)
•1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. all purpose flour
•1 cup skim milk, hot
•1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (cornflake crumbs as usual)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place carrots in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover saucepan and steam 3 minutes or until tender. Transfer half the carrots to the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle half the cheese over carrots. Add remaining carrots and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion 2-3 minutes or until tender. Whisk in flour and salt to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Very gradually whisk in hot milk and stir until sauce is thickened. Pour sauce over carrots and cheese. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden.

I used cornflake crumbs and let me warn you, 1/2 cup is too much. You only need 1/4 cup. Ours turned out way too ‘crumby’ and I didn’t even use the whole amount. This dish just wasn’t to our tastes, but it sure did sound good. Carrots-good. Swiss cheese-good. What’s not to love? For us, it was the overall finished product but I absolutely still recommend you try this one. I hope to hear from many of you telling me how much of a hit it was for you. Let me know!!!

Justice guarding the finished hamsteaks! :)

Hope you all enjoy these new additions to the mix and can’t wait to hear some feedback!

Tomato FREE Meatloaf – New recipe’s #3 & 4

Hello all! :) Well, I attempted new recipe #’s3 & 4 last night. #3 was a NO tomato meatloaf that I found on I personally, am not a meatloaf fan. It made frequent appearances in my mom’s house and was never one of my favorites but in an attempt to find more options, I decided to try it. Let me tell ya now….It was Good!! :) I even had a small 2nd helping (as did Evan). Justice quite enjoyed it as well. And just a word of warning; Nick tried ketchup on it…Not a good choice apparently. LOL  As mine was made with ground turkey instead of beef, that could be the culprit but-consider yourself warned! 😉 I made this, as with most of these recipes, during the late morning/afternoon and then refrigerated it once cooled. I preheated the oven to about 325 or so and threw this on (covered in foil) to reheat. It handled this quite well. I was also rather impressed because it was NOT dry. At all! Yay! So here’s the recipe. My changes are in red (as always).

1 lb each of ground beef and ground chuck (I used 2lbs ground turkey)
1 cup chopped green peppers (I omitted-no peppers in THIS house)
1/2 cup minced onion (I used dried and didn’t measure this much out-just sprinkled in)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used cornflake crumbs)
2 eggs
1/2 can Cream of Mushroom soup (I used 10 1/2 oz [standard can size] of Organic Creamy Mushroom)
1/2 can Cream of Chicken soup (I omitted [cream of chicken in with beef or turkey??])
1 packet dry onion soup mix
I added some celery, a few dashes of Tabasco, and some Hamburger seasoning — quite good and the sandwich the next day was stellar!

Mix all ingredients together.

Bake in a loaf pan at 350° for about 75 minutes or until done.

I added some diced celery and it was a nice addition. Afterward, I see I probably could have used a little more cornflake crumbs, but all in all it was quite good! :)

I also made another new recipe last night, Buttermilk & Bacon Mashed Potatoes that I found on I grew up with pretty tasty skin-on, hand mashed potatoes (never instant in my mom’s house) and that’s what I made for years. I admit, I’ve done almost solely instant potatoes for the last 2 years out of laziness, but I got back to the good stuff last night. My apologies for the lack of pics for this one, they were done in a little bit of a rush after I got home late from karate (Ayahhhhhh!!!!!!). Here’s the recipe;

Bacon and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 30 min.
•3 slices of bacon
•2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (I left skin on and used about 4-5 med. potatoes)
•1/2 cup buttermilk (I added a little more when they looked a little dry during mashing)
•1 Tbs. fresh chives or scallion tops, chopped (I used dried chives)
Sauté bacon in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain, reserving 1-1/2 tsp. drippings. (I used pre-cooked bacon and just nuked it for 22 seconds) Crumble bacon and set aside. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water about 30 minutes, or until very tender. Drain well. Return potatoes to pot. Add buttermilk, reserved bacon and drippings and salt and pepper to taste. Mash and add chives. I also threw in some finely shredded cheese as well to top it off.
These were a little dry and thick (I prefer creamy) for my taste. The buttermilk certainly adds a different flavor. I usually just add milk and butter to desired consistancy with my normal potatoes…

I hope you all enjoy these 2 recipes and by all means-let me know what you think!!