Never Switching To Decaf

Ramblings about life, family, cooking and photography.

Baked chicken strips May 24, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Uncategorized — travit @ 10:02 pm
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My kids love chicken strips but I absolutely hate the mess and the work that comes along with  frying them and the strips they sell in the frozen food section are awful.  If I wanted to eat soggy rubber, I’d chew on my flip flop.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to get crispy and delicious chicken strips (or nuggets, if you prefer) straight from the oven.


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into even sized strips or nuggets
  • A shallow dish with seasoned flour.( I always add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and paprika and then whatever else I have lying around and I’m in the mood for)
  • A shallow dish with 2-3 eggs beaten
  • A shallow dish with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with your favorite cooking spray.
  3. Dredge the chicken through the flour mixture.
  4. Next put it into the beaten egg and coat well. (It helps to keep one hand dry so that your hands don’t turn into Floured Hulk hands)
  5. Coat chicken strip with panko.
  6. Place on baking sheet and continue until all chicken is coated.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn over the strips.  Bake for another 15-20 or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and vegetables.  Total prep time is about 15-20 minutes and cook time is about 45 minutes.  Sure it takes longer than getting them out of the freezer, but they taste so much better!


Baking for Boobs May 10, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food — travit @ 9:18 pm
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It’s a big day at work tomorrow.  We’re having a bake sale to help raise money to support me in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  It’s less than a month away and I still have a lot of money to earn and training to complete.  Hopefully this sale will help me on the way towards that.  We’ve been touched by cancer too much in our family so I’m not just walking for breast cancer but to bring an end to all cancers.

Some of my fabulous co-workers have agreed to help bake so I only needed to make two things for tomorrow. I decided to try two new recipes.

First up, caramel and chocolate covered marshmallows.

Pardon my lousy cell phone/instagram picture


20 lollipop sticks

20 marshmallows

1 bag of unwrapped caramels

1 bag of Wilton candy melts (I used dark cocoa)


  1. Put sticks into marshmallows
  2. Melt caramel in microwave according to package directions
  3. Dip marshmallows into caramel and coat (Lesson I learned: marshmallows dipped in super hot caramel start to melt. Duh.)  Place onto cookie sheet on your favorite nonstick material.  Because they will stick.  A lot.  No really, they are sticky little mofos.
  4. Place in fridge to chill for about 3o minutes
  5. Melt candy melts on 1/2 power in microwave
  6. Dip caramel covered pops into the chocolate and coat well.  Put on wax paper and back into the fridge.
  7. Once fully chilled, wrap and serve.  Or rap and serve depending on your MC skills.

Tomorrow, I will post the recipe for the chocolate covered pretzel cupcakes.  Um, yum!





Simple Barbeque Chicken Pizza May 6, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Food — travit @ 7:56 pm
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I don’t know about you but May is easily our busiest month of the year.  School year activities are winding down while summer activities are ramping up.  Plus our weekends are full of picnics, family parties, and recitals.  As a result I want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.  On our way to a party today, my husband reminded me that we had leftover barbeque chicken in the fridge and requested that I try to make one of his favorite restaurant items for dinner,  barbeque chicken pizza.  This turned out to be a quick, easy, and delicious way to use up some leftovers.

Warning dear reader: I have cooking skills.  I have photography skills. I have no skills when it comes to taking pictures of food and making it look edible.

I received the following recipe for the crockpot barbeque chicken from my brother Tony, I would link you to his twitter but he never actually tweets and I fear I would be wasting your time.


2-3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 large bottle of barbeque sauce

1 cup of Italian dressing

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 TBSP Worcestershire sauce


  1. Put chicken breasts into slow cooker.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours or low 3-4 hours.  Chicken is ready when it shreds easily with a fork.

I usually serve the chicken on a roll with a vinegar based cole slaw and hot sauce.  I also usually have a ton leftover which  made it the perfect topping for this pizza.

To make the pizza using the leftover chicken, I made my standard pizza crust.  I use a slight variation of this recipe.  It’s a New York style pizza crust but you can use any crust that you choose.  I live in the Chicago area but I think Chicago style pizza crust is the Devil’s cracker.  I expect hate mail for this.

I cook the crust for 5 minutes at 400 degrees before adding any toppings. I find this helps get the crust a bit crisper.

Layer your toppings on top of the partially baked crust.  I added the leftover barbeque chicken, shredded mozzarella, and diced red onions.

Barbeque chicken pizza prior to baking

After the toppings have been added. Ready for the oven

Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

Barbeque chicken pizza after baking

This is how it looked after coming out of the oven.

Verdict: The whole family loved it.  Yes, even the kids.  It’s a non-Christmas miracle!  I’ll make it again, next time I will experiment with a wider selection of vegetables.

Do you have a favorite non-traditional pizza recipe?  Or a great way to re-purpose boring leftovers? Share them in the comments section.


Chicken Parmesan Recipe July 22, 2008

Filed under: Cooking — travit @ 12:27 pm
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This is my favorite simple chicken parmesan recipe.  I serve it over whole wheat angel hair pasta.  Pair it with a side salad you have a delicious meal.

I lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat

1 jar of favorite pasta sauce or 2-3 cups of homemade pasta sauce

2-3 eggs, beaten

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated.  Fresh is best but you can use the Kraft version.

1 cup Italian style bread crumbs

2-3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press

salt, pepper and seasonings to taste.

1-2 cups of flour

olive oil

1 large thin slice of mozzarella cheese per breast

Preheat oven to 375º.

In a small bowl combine flour with salt (around 1/2 Tbsp) and a few good grinds of pepper.  In another bowl add the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and additional seasonings of your choice.  If I’m using flavored bread crumbs I will only add crushed red pepper for taste, if I’m using plain bread crumbs I add oregano and other Italian spices.  Dredge each chicken breast through the flour mixtures, then the egg and finally into the breading mixture.  Make sure the breast is completely coated in breading and set aside.

In a large skillet preheat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Over medium high heat cook the chicken breasts until the chicken is cooked through and the breading is crispy and golden brown.  I usually flip the chicken breasts every 2-3 minutes to keep the crust from burning.

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of pasta sauce.  Place the chicken breast into the baking dish and cover with remaining sauce.  Put 1 slice of mozzarella cheese on each breast.   Since I like mine spicier than the other members of my family I will add additional crushed red pepper to the top of mine at this point so I can tell which is the spicier one once it is cooked.  Cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.


Chicken Enchiladas & Corn Cake July 17, 2008

Filed under: Cooking,Food,Me — travit @ 3:21 pm
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For dinner last night I pulled the extra Chicken Enchilada pan out of the deep freeze.  I covered it with aluminum foil and cooked it in the oven at 375º for about an hour.  I removed the foil for the last 15 minutes. It tasted exactly the same as when cooked fresh.  I will never just make one pan of the chicken enchiladas again, this made for such a tasty, easy supper.

As a side dish I made corn cake, we went to Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant while in Minneapolis and it made me crave corn cake.  It’s a simple recipe and the kids loved it!


1 stick softened unsalted butter

4 ears worth of corn removed from the cob (you could also use frozen corn),

1/3 cup Mexican corn flour

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

pinch of kosher salt

2-3 grinds of black pepper

1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine butter, corn flour and water and add in the corn.  In another bowl mix together the remaining ingredients.  Add this mixture to the corn mixture and pour resulting batter into a loaf pan.  Bake at 400º for 60 minutes, keep loaf pan covered with foil for first 45 minutes of baking.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Scoop out and enjoy.


Chicken Enchilada Recipe July 9, 2008

Filed under: Cooking — travit @ 9:13 am
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This is a very fast and simple chicken enchilada recipe. This yields two 9″x13″ pans of enchiladas.  I made them last week, cooked one pan and froze the other for a meal to be named later.

2 lbs cooked chicken, shredded

1 lg can enchilada sauce -I prefer spicy but if it’s too hot you can cut the heat by adding a sm. can of tomato sauce

20 tortillas, corn or flour

2-3 cups of shredded Cheese – I use 1/2 colby and 1/2 jack freshly shredded

I can of black olives, diced

1 bunch of scallions, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, diced without seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375

In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 of the cheese, chicken, chopped onion, jalapeno with enough sauce to coat the mixture.

In a sauce pan heat the remaining sauce over low heat.  Using tongs dip a tortilla into the sauce to coat one side.  Fill coated side of the tortilla with the desired amount of the chicken mixture.  Roll up and place into your pan.  Repeat until all tortillas are filled.  I pack them tightly into the pan to keep them from unrolling during cooking.

Pour the remaining sauce in the pan over the enchiladas and top with the remaining sauce.  Combine the black olives, scallions and tomatoes and sprinkle on top of the cheese.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.


Bulk cooking update June 29, 2008

Filed under: Cooking,Family,life,Me — travit @ 10:45 pm
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I ended up making three lasagnas tonight.  The third lasagna did not end up getting as much of the cheese mixture as I would like but it will do.

It really was no more difficult to make three lasagnas than making one.  I had no wasted ingredients at all and I now have at least two more meals prepared and ready to be put in the oven when I need them.  It’s a great feeling.

Based on a suggestion from my brother, Tony (who needs to get a blog!), I will be trying this method out this week with my mom’s delicious chicken enchilada recipe.  At this rate my freezer will full in no time.