3 Top Ways to Redeem a Kitchen Blunder

3 Top Ways to Redeem a Kitchen Blunder
We've all been there. High hopes and great intentions turn into dismay and disappointment.

Menu planning? Check.
Grocery shopping? Check.
Ingredient prep? Check.
Mistake that could ruin dinner? Check, check, check. 

In the past, you may have thrown out that big pot of a mistake or fed it to the dog. But you do not have to anymore!

There are lots of ways to take a mishap in the kitchen and transform it into a masterpiece on the dinner table. Most of those fixes can fall under one of three approaches. 

The first route you can take is to change the volume or amount of what you are cooking. Too much salt in the soup? Make more soup, and then the amount of salt is in better proportion to the amount overall. Too much milk in the baked potato soup? Add more potatoes and other veggies to even it out. Increasing how much you make is especially helpful when you will be feeding a crowd anyhow. 

Another option is to adjust your seasonings. Too much salt, flavor too bland, or too sour? All of these concerns (and more!) can be addressed by adjusting your flavorings. You can add potato to a dish that is too salty, and the potato will absorb some of the salt as it cooks. When a dish is too bland, the sky is the limit. You can add herbs, spices, salt, or vinegar to amp up the flavor. Speaking of vinegar, what if your dish is too sour because you were a bit heavy-handed with the vinegar bottle? Try adding something sweet.  Honey, milk, and caramelized onions will all help you turn the corner on that one. 

If you cannot up the volume, and you need to do more than just alter the ratio of the seasonings in your dish, your third option is to repurpose entirely. I used this one in our kitchen just this week. Mistakenly adding tomatoes with jalapenos and habaneros (instead of tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano) to homemade marinara sauce caused our sauce to be WAY too spicy for our spaghetti. And way too spicy for our kids to eat it. Instead of throwing the pot of sauce in the garbage bin, I decided to use that base to create a pot of chili. A can of kidney beans, some ground beef, a little chili powder and cumin, and VOILA! Marinara repurposed into chili. We tried it over corn chips and topped with cheese. Frito pie was not on the menu for this week, but I am so glad it found its way into our kitchen just the same. 

Cooking a meal for the fam, like so much in life, does not always go according to plan. How we respond, though, could just turn into a fantastic, although unexpected, dinner.

Here’s a video on how I did this myself recently. https://youtu.be/byZupnKDbmM
 Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy!

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy!
Just about everyone loves a chicken pot pie. But who has time to make one during a hectic week? You do! 

This recipe for chicken pot pie utilizes some shortcuts from the store to take this comfort food classic away from being a laborious task and make it accessible, even on a busy workday. I almost always double or triple this recipe, as we love chicken pot pie. I like to make one for our dinner (serve with a salad and some garlic bread, yum!), one for a friend, and one more for the freezer. Everybody wins!

I love making homemade pie crust. I love roasting a whole chicken and taking the meat off the bone. I love making a roux and homemade sauce for my chicken pot pie. 

But I also live in the real world!

When I have the time, I will make all things from scratch. But when I don't, I still like to make delicious meals for our family to enjoy. This recipe is born out of that reality. Maybe you hear me on this one?

Some of the shortcuts I have used are: celery and carrot sticks from the produce aisle in our grocery store, a rotisserie chicken, cream of chicken soup, and freezer pie crusts. Don't tell me grandmother about that last one. 

Chicken Pot Pie

4 celery sticks
15+ carrot sticks
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can of peas
3T butter
rotisserie chicken
1-2 cans cream of chicken soup
splash milk
2 pie crusts
salt and pepper to taste

Chop celery and carrot sticks. Melt butter on medium heat. Saute onion for 1 minute, then add carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Chop chicken to bite-sized pieces while veggies saute. Once veggies are translucent, turn off the heat and allow them to cool. Add chicken, peas, and cream of chicken soup to the veggies. Stir and check consistency. Add additional can of cream of chicken soup and/or a splash of milk, depending on desired thickness and creaminess. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Place one pie crust into a pie plate. Pinch edges into a fluted shape and pierce the bottom of the pie crust with a fork several times. Add pot pie filling into the base crust. Top the filling with the second pie crust. pinch the edges of the two pie crusts together, which prevents overflow while baking. Pierce the top crust with a fork several times as well, allowing steam to escape during baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Half of the cooking time, the pot pie should be covered to prevent the edge from becoming overdone. The second half, uncover the pot pie so that it can bake to golden brown. 

Check out our YouTube video on how to make your chicken pot pie. Here's the link for you. Enjoy and tell us what you think!

The BEST Cilantro Lime Rice

The BEST Cilantro Lime Rice
There's a burrito restaurant that has the world's BEST cilantro lime rice. I mean, we go there for the rice more than we do for the burritos. It is that good. Since our whole family loves it, I created my own recipe for cilantro lime rice. It may be different from the recipe at our favorite burrito spot, but the flavor is right on. We like this rice recipe so much, I will often double the recipe so we can have some leftovers available in the fridge. 

Cilantro lime rice pairs great with tacos, tortilla soup, under chili, with enchiladas, and any southwestern, Tex-Mex, or Mexican dishes. We recently had our cilantro lime rice with chicken fajitas and it was a fantastic meal. 

I get asked sometimes about subbing for the cilantro in this recipe. You can absolutely use flat-leaf parsley if you are not on team cilantro. But I do have to tell you that it just won't be the same. Since cilantro is the first word in the title, it probably goes without saying that the cilantro is a bit of a driving force in the flavors of this rice dish. Other herbs and lime will give you some great rice. But I think you'd be missing out. Because I am definitely on team cilantro. I may be the captain. 

Many cilantro lime rice recipes, and really any recipe that includes citrus juice, often leave out a very important ingredient. They all include the juice. But for the most impactful citrus flavor, you truly need that zest! I have a zester that I love. The most important thing to remember is to just get the outer layer of the zest. If you go too deep, you will get the white pith, which is bitter and not what you are looking for!

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 c. rice
4 c. water
2 bay leaves 
3T extra virgin olive oil
3 limes, juice and zest
3 lemons, juice and zest
1 bundle cilantro
salt to taste

Bring salted water to a boil. Add rice, bay leaves, EVOO and stir. Bring back up to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 20 minutes. While rice cooks, zest lemons and limes, then add the juice from the fruits to the zest. Chop cilantro, removing the leaves from the stems. When rice is finished cooking, remove bay leaves and fluff with a fork. Then stir in citrus juice, zest, cilantro, and additional EVOO and salt to taste. 

I have a video of our chicken fajitas, cilantro lime rice, and citrus yogurt cake over on YouTube. Here's the link so that you can check it out. We'd love to hear how you love the rice. Come back and tell us when you make it!

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas
Being from South Texas, we eat lots of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. A perennial favorite is chicken fajitas. We love to do a big batch and share with friends. There are lots of variations on the toppings as well as the sides to serve with your chicken fajitas that are all great. We love to grill our chicken outside on the grill, but we cannot do that during some parts of the year due to the weather. Preparing your fajitas on a sheet pan is a great way to enjoy this treat year-round, and not just when you can get outside and prepare them on the grill. We love to serve ours with ALL the fixin's! 

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas:
1 lb chicken breast
1 lb chicken thighs
2 green bell peppers
1 orange pepper
1 red pepper
1 red onion

For the marinade:
3T extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 T sugar
1T salt
1T cumin
1/2T garlic
1/4 cup water
1/2T chili powder 
1/2T onion powder
1/2T paprika
1/2T pepper

Slice vegetables into strips, trying to get onions and pepper strips to be about the same size. Slice chicken into strips. Keep the vegetables and chicken in separate bowls. Mix marinade in a bowl and then pour over vegetables and chicken. Marinate chicken and vegetables in the refrigerator separately, from one to eight hours. Remove chicken and vegetables from the fridge. Cover your sheet pan in aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange vegetables on the sheet pan in one layer. Layer chicken over the vegetables on the sheet pan. Place into the oven for forty minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about five minutes. Serve on tortillas with avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, salsa, and pico de gallo. We love to have beans and rice as the side for our chicken fajitas. I'll share my cilantro lime rice with you so you can try that with your chicken fajitas. 

Here's a link for you to watch a video on how to make these chicken fajitas, along with the cilantro lime rice and a yogurt lime cake, too! Once you watch, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!



Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan
I said for years that I do not like eggplant. But then I tried it cooked correctly. And now I am hooked. 

Eggplant Parmesan is DELICIOUS! If you think you don't like it, then you probably have not tried it. I was looking for a lower carb version of this amazing classic. So I decided to make up a recipe myself. The biggest change is the dredge used to bread the eggplant slices. 

Start with an eggplant, and cut into rounds. I like these better than cutting the eggplant the long way. It makes the eggplant easier to bread and cook and even eat.
Set up your breading station. I used coconut flour, beaten eggs, and pork Panko (ground up pork rinds) mixed with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Dip the slices of eggplant into the coconut flour, then into the beaten eggs, and lastly into the pork Panko mixture. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment (or foil sprayed with olive oil) and then place your breaded eggplant onto the baking dish. Roast the eggplant in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. 
Once the eggplant comes out of the oven, layer 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Next, add a layer of eggplant slices. Top those with 3/4 cup more marinara ( I like to make my own), half of the mozzarella cheese, then repeat layers. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with more Parmesan and fresh basil. 

We like to serve this with a chicken breast or other protein, because while this dish is low in carbohydrates, it does not pack enough of a protein punch for us. 

Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplant
  • 2-3 eggs 
  • 2-3 cups pork panko
  • 1-2 cups almond flour
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 cups marinara sauce 
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil









  • Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400° F.
    • Slice eggplant into rounds discs. 
    • Beat 2 eggs. You may not need all three, so beat more as you need them.
    • Mix Pork panko with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste, but the cheese is already salty by itself.
    • Dip into almond flour, egg, then "bread" crumbs. Then roast in preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
    • Put ½ cup marinara sauce in bottom of baking dish.
    • Layer eggplant slices with ¾ cup sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and top with Parmesan.
    • Bake until cheese is completely melted and slightly golden brown. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
    Once you have tried this, leave a comment below with how you like it. And share your favorite recipe for a delicious, easy meal for you and your family!
    We share more recipes and healthy living in our free Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/groups/smallstepsandselfcare.. We would love to meet you and chat more!
    .
    XO,
    La Sheonda