Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer's Best Chicken Marinade

Summer and grilling are almost one in the same!  It's hard to imagine going through this hot season of outdoor activity and long days without eating a grilled hamburger, chicken or pork chops.  Here's my first marinade recipe on the blog, and I know y'all will love this one!

That tantalizing picture of hot and juicy grilled chicken should tell you just how delicious this marinade recipe is.  Gah.... I think I'm going to make some of this chicken over the weekend, in fact!  I have already been asked by a couple of friends for this recipe after we cooked up this grilled chicken for them, so I knew I had to share it with you all!

My husband actually discover the recipe on the web and ever since we've dubbed it most definitely one of the best things to marinade chicken in.  If you're wondering, my quick go-to marinade that I really like is zesty Italian dressing, but if you have the ingredients this one is worth the extra mile.  This marinade is so full of savory and fresh flavors!! From the lemon juice to the Worchestershire sauce and the herbs, it all really infuses flavor all the way through the meat.  It's a strong enough marinade to soak only 30 minutes or you can leave it overnight (especially for large pieces of meat) and it will tenderize and flavor immensely!!  The key is keeping some of it (that hasn't been used to marinate the raw meat) to baste the chicken a couple of times while on the grill.  It keeps the meat moist and uber flavorful!  This recipe makes a large enough batch to marinade several chicken breast.  I think we used it once for about 8 large ones, and we still had some left over.

I hope this amazing grilled chicken marinade is something you will try this summer since we're still in the peak of grilling season!  It doesn't matter if it's chicken, pork chops or anything else you're grilling, I promise you'll be sharing this delicious recipe soon, too!

Summer's Best Chicken Marinade
Originally from:

1 c. Oil (We use extra virgin olive oil.)
1/2 c. Vinegar (We used apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip Light (or mayo)
3 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Salt (to taste)
1 Tbsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
Approx 1/3 c. Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (I added this for freshness and color.)

Mix all together in a medium bowl.  Reserve about 1/4 c. in a bowl and cover in the fridge.  

Put your meat in gallon bags and divide the marinade up between however many bags you have.  Close up air tight and smoosh it a little bit.  Place the marinating meat in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

When about to put the meat on the grill, strain off the excess marinade like you would any other time you marinade chicken.  Once the chicken is cooking you can use the unused marinade you have setting aside in the fridge to baste the chicken regularly.  This part is essential.

Once cooked through, transfer meat to a plate or bowl and cover with aluminum foil to let the juices setting in.  Just before serving sprinkle extra parsley on top.

Props to Mr. Cozy for this beautiful grilled chicken!

I had to add this adorable Fourth of July snapshot at my parent's big family picnic!  Sweet memories made!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Best Bacon Ever! (Oven Fried Bacon)

I'm not sure if there is a better aroma to wake up to than the smell of cooking bacon.

Well, maybe coffee and bacon! 

What a classic breakfast food that takes me back to my childhood and the big country breakfasts we had.  It reminds me of Christmas morning or when it's almost too chilly in the room to get out of bed, the frost decorates the windows, and you come into a candle lit kitchen to spy what Mama has cooking.  It somehow tastes cozy.  

Savory and crisp, it's the perfect side for pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, frittata, toast and eggs, fruit, or pretty much anything at all.  Can you tell I like it just a little bit?!!  :)

I don't eat it too often anymore, so when I do I want it perrrrfect! ...

Crispy with just a touch of chew.  
Dry, not soggy.  
Thin and crunchy, not sloppy- greasy.
Sometimes peppered.... YUM!!!

It can be difficult to cook bacon just right!  Frying it shrinks it to a third the size (and who can justify eating 8 slices??).  Also it tends to cook unevenly in a skillet.  It's naturally fatty making it greasy and wet, if not careful.  Not to mention it pops like firecrackers in a skillet!

Well thanks to my wonderful mom, the past several years we've found a genius great solution!

Oven frying the bacon!  

No spattering of grease.  No shrinking.  Even cooking.  No extra grease since it cooks on a rack for the fat to drip off.  In addition, no babysitting the bacon!  Let it cook itself in the oven while you cook everything else!

It's a life changing-- or at least breakfast changing--discovery and the only way we make it at home anymore.

Grab your first cup of coffee and get ready to make the best bacon ever!

Oven Fried Bacon

Bacon (Our favorite is Oscar Mayer Selects Smoked Uncured bacon.)
Fresh course ground black pepper
1 large sheet pan 
Wire rack to fit inside sheet pan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the rack on the sheet pan.  Lay bacon strips on the rack right beside each other.
Crack fresh black pepper right into the bacon strips evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes or until deep colored and crisp. (Give or take a couple minutes depending on your oven.) 
Carefully take the pan out of the oven, because it will be full of hot grease on the bottom where the bacon has dropped.  Using a fork or spatula, remove the bacon from rack onto layered paper towels and gently wrap to blot off excess grease.

Enjoy with your favorite breakfast, burger or BLT.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comforting Baked Ravioli

I'll start off by saying it was difficult to narrow down the title for this post.
Shall it start with...

Family favorite

The list goes on but ultimately it's all of those things which make it comforting to me!

Let me intoduce you to your new favorite go-to meal!  This is truly Italian-esque comfort food in everyway possible way.  It's the perfect easy meal for a busy mom who needs a few trademark simple meals on hand everybody eats, yet it's tasty enough for company.  This baked ravioli tastes absolutely divine, looks made from scratch (but so isn't), only calls for a handful of ingredients, and is soooo easy to make!  It's a cross between simple ravioli with sauce and lasagna, which is delish but so time consuming.  

You could dress this recipe up as much as you like.  Maybe adding fresh chopped spinach, olives or fresh basil.  You could even add some ricotta cheese for an even creamier dish.  This is the outline to a very basic, easy, amazing recipe!  You really can't go wrong with here.  

I made it last when my family came in to stay with us, and it was a big hit.  Our children gobble it up every time!  We enjoy eating it with a fresh salad and hot garlic bread.  Your family will love me, errr, you for this delicious baked ravioli!

Baked Ravioli

1 pkg. frozen beef ravioli (or cheese) We like Kroger's brand.
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella 
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.  

Pour a little sauce in the bottom and spread out to evenly coat the pan.  Line up the frozen ravioli to make an even layer.  Next layer 1 c. mozzarella cheese.  Next about 1/2 of the remaining sauce.  Repeat layers ending with the mozz cheese.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and Italian seasoning and salt to your liking.

Bake covered with foil for about 40 minutes and uncovered for another 15-20.  Done!