Food

https://www.thecut.com/2014/09/for-real-italian-food-skip-these-seven-dishes.html

Welcome to a series I will call The Cook Who Is Out of His Element (get the pun here?).  I do not have a ton of experience with the apron or chef’s hat on, however, I will not starve, either.  I know just enough to be dangerous.  In fact, in this series, that is just what I will be:  Dangerous.

I love to eat. My waistline is a testament to that statement! While I understand the importance of eating well and exercising consistently, and am in the middle of a journey losing weight (20 pounds and counting), who can resist a plate of homemade manicotti, a delicious hamburger, or crispy fries? Not me.

While I’m an accomplished eater, I have more recently taken up the spatula, at least in a more serious role. Not an experienced cook by any stretch of the imagination, I do enjoy experimenting with food in ways that make it delicious for me. This page will focus my favorite foods and my attempts to prepare them in ways that will make them exclusively mine. I am sure to make a lot of mistakes, however, that first time I find a perfect way to cook something, it will all be worth it.

NOTE: I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Be prepared for slop, grease, sauce, and salt. You will not pick up any surgical cooking techniques here. If you’re into presentation and fine dining (nothing wrong with these things at all) you may have better luck on a cooking channel!

All of this said, I am totally into receiving any pointers, tips, advice. Send them my way!

Another Air Fryer Pork Chop Recipe

Ingredients:

2 center cut, bone-in pork chops

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees

Pat chops dry with a paper towel

In a small bowl, mix together all dry ingredients

Coat the chops in olive oil

Rub chops in the mix (use all of the mix)

Cook at 400 degrees for 14 minutes (flip after 7 minutes)

Air Fryer Steak Tips

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds sirloin steak

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon parsley

Instructions:

Cut the steak into bite size pieces.

In a medium to large bowl, add the olive oil, steak, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.

Cook steak for 4 minutes and check for doneness. NOTE: I prefer my steak a little pink. Cook to your desired tenderness, however, watch closely.

While steak is cooking, melt butter in a skillet on the stovetop. Once melted, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds while stirring. NOTE: Garlic should start to brown.

Add steak to garlic butter and toss to coat.

Add parsley on top.

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Ingredients:

16 oz pasta (fettucine in the picture)

30 0z pasta sauce

1 pound ground chicken

1/2 cups Panko

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 large egg

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions:

Combine the Panko and seasoning (Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) into a small bowl and stir.

Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Add the Panko/seasoning mixture to the chicken, along with the egg. Evenly distribute the contents by hand.

Shape the combined mixture into meatballs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once skillet is hot, add half the meatballs. Cook meatballs for one minute each side (6 sides) until browned and completely cooked through.

Transfer the cooked meatballs to a clean plate.

Repeat with the other half of meatballs.

While meatballs are cooking, boil water in a large pot and cook the pasta for 7-10 minutes. Drain when cooked.

Add the sauce to a medium sauce pot and heat over medium-low. Stir occasionally.

Add all meatballs to the heated pasta sauce and stir.

Pour meatballs and sauce to the drained pasta and stir.

Chicken Parm Casserole

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)

1 cup mayo

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Panko bread crumbs

Instructions:

Preheat the oven on BAKE for 375 degrees.

Cut the chicken breasts in cubes or bite size pieces.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.

Place sliced chicken into a lightly greased 9X13 casserole dish.

Spread mayo mixture evenly on top of the chicken. Make sure to cover each piece, including getting down into the gaps.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, as well as the bread crumbs evenly across the top of the chicken.

Place baking pan into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Mac and Cheese #2

Ingredients: 4 cups dried macaroni

1 whole egg

4 tablespoons salted butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 pound cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt (more if needed)

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (more if needed)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Ritz crackers, Doritos, or desired topping

Instructions:

Cook the macaroni until very firm.

In a small bowl, beat the egg.

In a large pot or skillet, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. whisk continuously while cooking for 5 minutes.

Pour in the milk and add the mustard. Whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is significantly thick. Reduce the heat to low.

Borrow 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg. Whisk constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth.

Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking constantly until smooth.

Add in the cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt, seasoned salt, and pepper into the sauce. Add more if needed. More is better!

Pour in drained macaroni and stir to combine.

Pour into a baking dish, top with extra cheese and either crumpled Ritz crackers or Doritos.

Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

4 large baked potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt

ground black pepper

garlic powder

Italian seasoning

dried parsley

4 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.

Rub potatoes with olive oil.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parsley

Cook in air fryer until potatoes are soft (approximately 45 minutes. NOTE: Watch closely for desired tenderness, as potato size may factor into cooking length.

Slice potatoes lengthwise.

Pinch both sides of each potato, forcing the potato to slightly open up.

Place 1 tablespoon of butter into each potato.

Air Fryer Pork Chops

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of bone-in pork chops

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons oil

3-4 spritzes of oil from spray bottle

Instructions:

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.

Pat the pork chops dry.

Mix the bread crumbs and spices together in a bowl.

Put the oil in a second bowl.

Lather both sides of the pork chops in the oil.

Press both sides of the pork chops in the bread crumb mix.

Lay in pork chops in the air fryer basket. Spritz lightly with oil. Make sure chops are single file in the basket.

Cook for 6 minutes and then flip to cook another 6 minutes. If chops are still not cooked, give it another 1-2 minutes. Monitor closely. NOTE: The size of the chops greatly affects the length of cook time.

Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.

Pat chicken dry and run with canola oil.

In a small bowl, combine salt, parsley, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken.

Lightly spray the inside of the air fryer basket with cooking spray.

Place the chicken in the air fryer basket.

Cook for 12 minutes. If you like your chicken skin a little crispier, cook longer. WATCH CAREFULLY as you cook longer.

Cook until desired.

Air Fryer Ravioli

Ingredients:

1 package (12-13 ounce) frozen cheese ravioli (thawed)

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 cup flour

2 large eggs (somewhat beaten)

1 cup marinara sauce

Cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and basil

In a second bowl, place flour

In a third bowl, place beaten eggs

Thaw ravioli

Dip ravioli into flour (both sides) and shake off excess

Dip ravioli into eggs (both sides)

Dip ravioli into crumb mixture (both sides)

Arrange ravioli into SINGLE LAYER BATCHES onto sprayed tray in air fryer basket

Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown

Turn each piece, spray, and cook another 4-5 minutes

Repeat so ravioli is cooked in SINGLE LAYER BATCHES

Warm one cup of marinara sauce and pour over cooked ravioli

Air Fryer Pasta Chips

Ingredients:

8 oz short pasta (rotini in the picture)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4.5 teaspoons parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Boil water in large pot and cook pasta to instructions.

Drain pasta and space into a bowl.

Season evenly with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

Add in parmesan cheese and evenly coat.

Preheat air fryer for 350 degrees.

Cook for 20 minutes. Shake halfway through. NOTE: Again, I like my food extra crispy. Keep an close eye during this process for desired tenderness.

Air Fryer Potato Wedges

Ingredients:

2 large potatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1.5 teaspoons seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Wash potatoes and cut into wedges.

Place wedges in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Drain wedges and place on a plate to dry.

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.

Place wedges in dry bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Toss to coat.

Place wedges in air fryer basket and cook for 20 minutes. Periodically open and flip. NOTE: It is best to have wedges placed single file (and not on top of each other) to ensure crispiness.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless chicken breast

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

1 cup bread crumbs

2/3 cup grated parmesan

1 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Instructions:

In one small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper.

In a second small bowl, whisk the oil and minced garlic.

In a third small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, and paprika.

Cut the chicken into cubes or strips (depends on whether you wish to present nuggets or tenders).

Place each nugget into the flour mixture, then oil mixture, and finally the bread crumb mixture. Each nugget should be evenly coated.

Preheat the air fryer for 400 degrees

Place the nuggets in the air fryer and cook at 400 degrees for eight minutes.

Flip nuggets and cook for another ten minutes. NOTE: I like my nuggets crispy. Cook for less time if desired.

Barbeque Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon, diced

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 cups pasta (rotini and noodle mixture in the picture)

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cups barbeque sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 small handful mini pepperoni’s (not necessary, just something I added)

Instructions:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat

Add bacon and cook until crispy (5-7 minutes)

Stir in chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until golden brown)

In a large pot, cook pasta for approx 15 minutes

To the bacon and chicken, add garlic, chicken broth, milk, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Drain pasta and add to the mixture

Stir in barbeque sauce and cheese until heated through (approx 1-2 minutes)

Let cool for a few minutes

Pizza Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

Salt

1 lb penne

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 cups mozzarella (grated or shredded)

1/4 lb pepperoni slices (cut into small cubes)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Boil water and cook pasta

While pasta is cooking, melt butter and whisk flour in a large skillet over medium heat

Add tomato paste and whisk in milk until smooth

Add oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil (simmer on medium for 1 minute)

Pour in half the cheese

Add pasta to the mixture

Top everything with the remaining cheese

Sprinkle pepperoni

Bake for approximately 10 minutes

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

Ground beef 1 pound

2 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon paprika

2 14.5 ounce cans beef broth

8 oz noodles

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no pink remains

Add in the garlic and onion powder, cooking for one minute (drain grease)

Cook and drain the pasta

To the ground beef, add the salt, pepper, and paprika; Stir

Add the beef broth and parsley (stir and bring to a broil)

Reduce to a simmer for two minutes

Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain

Add the pasta and stir

Continue to simmer until the sauce starts to get thick

Add and stir in the sour cream

Remove from heat and let it cool down before serving

Cheesy Chicken and Spaghetti

I robbed this recipe and tweaked a couple of things to adjust to my personal taste buds. Here is the link to the original:

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

https://easychickenrecipes.com/cheesy-chicken-spaghetti-casserole/embed/#?secret=ozUijy1Aoo

Ingredients:

16 ounces of cooked spaghetti (angel hair)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup Velveeta cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cut up rotisserie chicken

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Parsley

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a 9X13 baking pan

Cook and drain the spaghetti

While spaghetti is cooking, combine cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, cheddar cheese, Velveeta cheese, salt, pepper in a medium bowl

After spaghetti has been drained, add chicken and cream mixture to it

Pour entire mixture into the baking pan and top with Parmesan cheese

Bake for 40 minutes uncovered

Pinch a little parsley over the top

Serve and eat!

Delicious Hamburger Patty

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs or 1/4 cup regular breadcrumbs

1 large egg

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, add in ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, milk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper

Mix by hand until well mixed

Press the mixture down in the bowl

Cut and divide six large patties

Gather each patty and press firm; set them onto a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil

Press a dent in the center of each patty with your thump or a small spoon (this is so the patties do not puff as they cook)

Preheat a skillet to medium heat

Fry the patties for approximately five minutes per side (watch for thorough cooking, as these are thick burgers)

Serve with hamburger buns

Buns and fries separate

Baked Moist Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

3 boneless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon season salt

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare baking pan with vegetable spray

Season the chicken with salt and pepper

Mix bread crumbs with salt and Italian seasoning in a bowl

Slab the chicken with mayonnaise and dip into bread crumbs

Sprinkle chicken with Parmesan cheese

Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts

Never mind the presentation!

Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

1 cup uncooked rice

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 soup can of water

1 teaspoon of dried parsley

salt and pepper

paprika

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line baking pan with foil.

Arrange the chicken in the pan, skin side up.

Pour the rice evenly around the chicken.

Pour soup over the chicken. Add soup can full of water to the rice around the chicken.

Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and paprika.

Cover with foil and tightly seal.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. At 45 minutes check chicken.

Pull out of oven and cool for 15 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1 cup peanut flavored chips, or any candy you desire

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients (except for the candy pieces) with an electric mixer.

Stir in candy pieces by hand.

Form small to medium sized balls and press down gently to flatten.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool and harden.

Homemade Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts

1 cup butter

3 cups heavy whipping cream

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Cut chicken breasts into cubes and place into frying pan

Cook chicken on stove top on medium heat (stir occasionally)

Cook 1 box of fettucine in boiling water to al dente

Add butter and heavy cream to a large skillet

Simmer over low heat for two minutes

Whisk in garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper for one minute

Whisk in Parmesan cheese until completely melted

Layer sauce and cooked chicken into spaghetti

Homemade Chocolate Cream Pie

I was charged this Thanksgiving with desert, and was happy to oblige! This was my first take on a chocolate cream pie! I borrowed heavily from Lauren Allen at https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/chocolate-cream-pie/ and made a few small changes to make it my very own!

Ingredients:

Crust:

28 Oreo cookies (I use the peanut butter filling, but it’s not important)

5 Tablespoons butter

Chocolate Pudding Filling:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 ½ cups of whole milk

6 large egg yolks (minus the egg whites)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

6 Tablespoons butter

8 ounces of a name-brand semi-sweet chocolate

1 ½ Teaspoons vanilla extract

Whipped Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 ½ Teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Utilizing a food processor, break down the Oreos until they are crumbs.

Pour the Oreo crumbs into a bowl.

Melt the butter.

Pour melted butter into the Oreo crumbs and stir.

Using fingers, press mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie dish.  Ensure the sides of the dish are covered, as well.

Bake for 10-12 minutes and set aside to cool.

Add sugar and milk to a medium saucepan and whisk frequently over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer.

In a second bowl, and the egg yolks and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. 

Once the first bowl is simmering, temper the eggs by adding several spoonfuls of the hot liquid into the egg mixture.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the saucepan.  Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to boil.

Take saucepan off the heat and whisk in the butter, chocolate, and vanilla extract.  I run the chocolate through a food processor before adding.  Stir until there are no lumps.

Pour the entire filling into the cookie crust and smooth until even.  Place wax paper over the top, gently, but so it is touching the pudding and put in refrigerator.  I like to keep in in the fridge overnight, but six hours or so would be okay.

Whipped Topping:

The following day, add whipping cream to a mixing bowl and mix electronically on high speed for two minutes.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continuously mix for three minutes.

Spread the topping evenly over the pie.

Dressing:

Anything works here, such as Hershey Kisses, Oreo crumbs, or chocolate curls.  I like to take one King-Size Hershey bar and grate it with a cheese grater over the entire pie.

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

Continuing with my Italian theme, yesterday, I attempted for the first time, homemade spaghetti and meatballs, complete with marinara sauce. I have to say, it was delicious, and I found a couple of alterations to the recipes I was borrowing from to fit my needs!

Homemade Meatballs:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ diced onion

1 pound ground beef (80% lean)

1 pound ground pork

2 eggs

¼ bunch chopped fresh parsley

3 cloves of crushed garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Cover a large baking sheet with tin foil and gently spray with cooking spray.

Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 20 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir onions until brown (approximately 10 minutes).

Mix beef and pork evenly in a large bowl.  Stir onions, breadcrumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into the meat until combined (I use my hands, but a spatula will also work).  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wet your hands.  Roll meat mixture in balls approximately 1 ½ inches in diameter and arrange onto the baking sheet.  Leave about ½ inch in between each meatball (use two baking sheets if necessary).

Bake in the preheated oven until a brown glaze appears and the meat is cooked through (15-20 minutes).

*Prepares approximately 32-40 meatballs.

Homemade Marinara Sauce:

Ingredients:

1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes

1 medium yellow onion (peeled and cut in half)

2 large cloves garlic (peeled but left whole)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt, if needed to taste

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes and juices, halved onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, and oregano.

Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat to maintain a simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  After about 15 minutes, crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot.

Remove the pot from the heat.  Throw away the onion.  Smash the garlic cloves into the sauce.  Crush the tomatoes as you see fit.  I prefer to use a blender to make a fine, smooth sauce, but that is totally up to you.

Add salt if necessary.

Cover to keep warm while you are tending to the meatballs or cooking the spaghetti.

*Makes enough sauce to merit 8 ounces of spaghetti.

Enjoy!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

I recently shared someone’s homemade mac and cheese recipe.  Yesterday, I had the desire to try it, albeit with a few minor tweaks that made this delicious dish my own. 

Ingredients:

1 box dry elbow macaroni (16 oz)

4 Tbsp salted butter

2 cans of evaporated milk (12 oz)

1/3 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

4 cups grated cheddar cheese (can be bags of shredded)

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (can be bags of shredded)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 small 8 oz back of Doritos (flavor is up to you)

Instructions:

Boil a pot of water.  Add the box of macaroni and a dash of salt.  Cook as desired.

Drain into colander and pour pasta back into the pot.

Add the butter.  Stir until the butter melts completely into the macaroni.

Find a large bowl.  Mix the milk, evaporated milk, eggs, and garlic salt until it is a nice fine combination of the ingredients.

Find another bowl and mix together the cheeses.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Spray a 9X13 inch baking pan.

Layer the bottom of the baking pan with approximately a third of the macaroni.  Next, layer a third of the cheese.  Repeat until completed.

Pour the milk mixture over the top.

Sprinkle the paprika across the top.

Break the entire bag of Doritos and distribute over the top.  Crackers work here, as well.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  The extra five minutes may be all it takes for that amazing crunch that I love!

Set aside to cool and enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding:

Yesterday, I had a hankering for chocolate pudding, and not the kind in a box.  I had never made this yummy treat from scratch before.  It’s pretty easy.  Just be careful on the sugar!

Ingredients:

½ cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

1 cup Sugar (too much makes the pudding too sweet)

1/3 cup corn starch

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

3 tablespoon butter

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Whisk.

Cautiously begin to add milk to the saucepan.  Whisk until all ingredients are bended in.

Cook over a medium high heat.  Continuously stir.  Eventually, your mixture will begin to boil.  Once boiling, set time for one minute.  Keep stirring.  The pudding will quickly thicken.  This is important because once it is cool, it will not thicken.

Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla.  Whisk away.  You will develop nice bicep muscles with all the whisking!

Pour into a serving bowl.

NOTE:  This works well with homemade whipped cream or if you’re too exhausted after your 15 minutes in the kitchen, store bought will suffice! 

Chicken Parmesan:

Ingredients: 

NOTE:  The quantity of each ingredient will depend on how many people you are feeding, as well as how much leftovers you desire.  Here, I am feeding myself and three other people.

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts (6)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 can Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 can Italian breadcrumbs (I go heavy on the breading)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (feel free to experiment with different flavor cheeses)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning (feel free to experiment with seasonings)
  • Vegetable oil (eyeball it!)
  • 36 ounces marinara sauce (can be jarred, which is my lazy way out!)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the eggs in a pan and beat/whip.

Whipped egg

Place the flour on a piece of wax paper or in a dish.

Combine the Panko breadcrumbs, regular breadcrumbs, parmesan, and seasonings onto a separate piece of wax paper or a dish.

Flour and breadcrumb mix

Slice chicken breasts in thirds.  Depending on the size of the breast, you may be able to slice into fourths.

Sliced chicken into thirds or fourths

Dip each chicken slice into the flour and gently wipe off any excess.

Dip each chicken breast into the whipped egg.

Dip each chicken breast into the breadcrumbs.  Use a little muscle in order to get a lot of this particular mixture on the chicken.

Preheat vegetable oil in a large pan.  Brown the chicken on each side.  They do not need to cook all the way through.  That said, I like to brown them to where they are quite crispy.

Crispy browned chicken

Place enough marinara sauce in the bottom of a glass cooking dish to cover in a thin coat.    Add browned chicken and lightly spread marinara sauce and a healthy amount of shredded cheese and parmesan over the top.  Again, I tend to go heavy on the cheese.  Apply any way you wish.  Experiment!  Have fun!

Bake 20 minutes or until golden. 

Heading in to bake

Use an oven thermometer to determine thorough cooking of the chicken.  Depending on the number of chicken breasts you are cooking, you may need repeat steps 10 and 11.

Out of oven

Cook ¾ box of pasta.  The pictures in this example are of linguine, however, I usually prefer angel hair.

Mix chicken with pasta, serve, and enjoy!

On the table
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