Friday, April 26, 2013

Recipe: Lemon Chicken Romano

I love this site, Cooking Classy, as well as this recipe, Lemon Chicken Romano. Yummy!
2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved horizontally*, and pounded to 1/2-inch thick
2 oz shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
2 oz shredded Provolone cheese (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 oz finely shredded Romano cheese (1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Zest of 1 lemon (2 tsp)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Lemon slices or wedges for serving (you can just use the one that was zested)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle each side of the chicken cutlet lightly with salt (about 1/16 tsp per each side), let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Combine Mozzarella and Provolone cheese in a bowl, set aside.
In a shallow dish, whisk together flour and egg until smooth. In a separate shallow dish, toss together Panko bread crumbs, Romano cheese, oregano, lemon zest, garlic powder and 1/4 tsp pepper. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 chicken cutlet at a time, dredge chicken in egg mixture coating both sides and allowing excess to run off, then immediately transfer to Romano mixture and coat both sides with mixture, while pressing gently to allow crumbs to adhere. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat process with remaining chicken cutlets. Pour 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and vegetable oil into a 10-inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add 2 coated chicken cutlets and fry without moving them until bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 2 minutes, then using metal tongs rotate to opposite side and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer fried chicken to a large plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
Place cutlets on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle tops with Mozzaralle cheese mixture and transfer to preheated oven to bake until internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometor, about 12 minutes (you can broil during the last 1 - 2 minutes if desired). Remove from oven and garnish with lemon slices or wedges, serve warm. Squeeze fresh lemon juice from lemon slices over chicken just before enjoying.
*freeze chicken breasts for 15 minutes to help slice easier, then lye breast flat and trim into two pieces through the thickness of the breast.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, April 22, 2013

Random Post: A Beautiful Day!

It is a beautiful day here in the Northwest. Blue sky, sun shining, trees are full of buds. I love this weather. A great day to work in the yard and plant flowers, or sit in the sun and drink a cup of coffee.

Enjoy the rest of your day!


Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, April 19, 2013

Organizing: Store Coupons

I have started a new coupon organization system by store. So far the results have been incredibly helpful, organized, and a time saver.

I currently have two coupon expandable organizers, each section inside is labeled by category. The blue organizer carries all coupons relating to food, categories consist of: Baking, Canned, Cereal, Drinks, Frozen, Refrigerated, Snacks, etc.

The long purple coupon organizer holds all coupons relating to personal care and household related items, categories consist of: Beauty, Body/face wash, Deodorant, Toilet paper/Paper towels, Oral Care, Cleaning, Razors, etc.


I cut coupons each week and stuff them into the appropriate divider using the blue and purple coupon organizers.
Well lately there are so many good-can’t-pass-up-deals going on at multiple stores. I review blogs and go through store ads and cut store coupons I think I will use during the week. Then I match the store coupons with manufacture coupons. I take a long envelope and label it with the store name (Safeway, Walgreens, Target). I paper clip the store coupons together in one stack. I paper clip the manufacture coupons in another stack. Then I place the piles of coupons into the appropriate store envelope. When it is time to go to the store I have everything in one envelope. I know exactly what I need, and makes the shopping trip a lot quicker and smoother.

I will use the Safeway store as an example below.
Here is the paper clipped stack of Safeway store coupons:

Here is the paper clipped stack of manufacture coupons to use at the Safeway store:

Here is the envelope I keep my Safeway coupons in. It isn’t fancy, but it works for me and so far I have found it to be really useful.

I have been able to save between 47-65% off every transaction. I’m working on getting the savings number to be higher, but this is still a huge savings for us.
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Post: Money Saving at Target

I am just too excited not to post something about this last shopping trip at Target. First off, I LOVE Target. When I add Target coupons on top of Manufacture coupons, and gift cards I love them even more.
My last trip to Target my retail total came to $116.45. When I added coupons, and gift cards I only paid $31.14 out of pocket.  This trip was amazing. I also was able to get some free and majorly discounted new products to try, such as the Cambells Skillet Sauces, which I am very excited about.

Here are the details of my whole transaction:
Ponds Facial Cleanser     $4.22
Target Coupon              -$1.00
Manufacture coup          -$1.00
                Total            $2.22 each

I purchased 3 Ponds Facial Cleanser for a total (with coupons) $6.66, a $6.00 savings.

Shick 3 pc. Disposable razors      $9.49
Target coupon                         -$3.00
Manufacture coupon                 -$4.00
                Total                       $2.49 each

I purchased 4 Schick 3 pack disposable razors for a total (with coupons) $9.96, a $37.96 savings.

Voots Childrens Vitamin            $7.99
Target Coupon                       -$2.00
Manufacture coupon                -$2.00
                Total                     $3.99 each

I purchased 3 Voots vitamins for a total of (with coupons) $11.97, a $12 savings.

Cambells Skillet Sauces            $1.99
Target coupon                       -$1.00
Manufacture coupons              -$1.00
                Total                     $0.01 moneymaker (FREE)

I purchased 4 Cambell’s Skillet Sauces for a total (with coupons) for Free, a savings of $7.96

Excedrin Headache medicine, 24 ct.         $3.39
Target coupon                                     -$0.50
Manufacture coupon                             -$1.00
                Total                                  $1.89 each

I purchased 4 Excedrin headache medicine, 24 ct. for a total (with coupons) for $7.46, a savings of $6.10.

TUMS Freshers, 50 ct.           $3.99
Target coupon                    -$1.00
Manufacture cou                 -$1.50
                Total                  $1.49 each

I purchased 3 Tums Freshers, 50 ct for a total (with coupons) for $4.47, a savings of $7.50.

On top of the coupons I used, I also used a total of $21.40 in Target  gift cards I had received from promos.

This is an $80 savings with this transaction! My original transaction retail price before coupons and gift cards was $118.00. I paid $31.14.

Here are a few picture of my purchase from Target.

All of the above (21 items) I purchased for $31.14.

If I would of not used any coupons, the three packs of disposable razors (shown above) would of cost me $30 just by themselves. 

Happy Couponing!

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, April 15, 2013

Random Post: Save Money and Flavor By Freezing These Foods

I found this article from All You incredibly interesting, and I just had to share. I even learned a thing or two. Aside from all the items you can freeze listed below, I even freeze butter. A local grocery store had a sale on butter (plus coupons I had to use). I stocked up and threw half my stockpile in the freezer. I won’t have to buy butter for awhile.

I did the same thing with Starbucks 12 oz. coffee. The store was having a sale, plus I had coupons to make the items even less. I stocked up and put all the bags in the freezer.
Freezing food can be a great money saver and keep foods at their most delicious (just be sure to label and date everything!)

Freeze and save
Get the most out of your supermarket dollars by freezing extras strategically―you’ll be amazed by how much you can save! Be sure to label freezer bags carefully with the item, amount, and date frozen.

You can freeze many hard or semi-hard cheeses, such as Cheddar, mozzarella, muenster, provolone, Swiss and Parmesan. They may become crumbly after you thaw them, so plan to use them in cooking rather than to slice or place on sandwiches. Wrap cheese tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and use within a day or two of thawing.

Unless you know you’ll use a whole container shortly after thawing, it’s best to freeze milk in smaller portions. One-cup or pint-size portions are convenient. Freeze milk in freezer-safe containers or in well-sealed freezer bags – but be sure to include some extra space, as milk expands when it freezes. Use the frozen milk within 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator, and shake it well before using it. Milk sometimes becomes grainy after it’s been frozen and defrosted – if the texture is too unpleasant to use for drinking or on cereal, use the milk for cooking or baking.

The best way to freeze citrus is to freeze the juice in ice-cube trays until solid, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Freeze it in 1- to 2-Tbsp. portions―it should keep indefinitely. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge (or use lemon cubes in iced tea). You can also freeze the zest: Zest the fruit onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly and place in a freezer bag.

Whisk together whites and yolks until just combined. Measure into an ice-cube tray, using 3 Tbsp. of the mixture per segment (3 Tbsp. is equivalent to 1 large egg). Freeze until solid, then transfer cubes to a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

Tomato paste
Spoon tomato paste into an ice cube tray, freeze until solid, then transfer cubes to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to measure how much you’re putting in each compartment (1 Tbsp. is a convenient amount) and label it on the freezer bag.

Peel and slice ginger into 1-inch pieces, wrap in plastic and place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.

Place nuts in an airtight container, or wrap them tightly in plastic and place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator – or, if using them for baking, toss them into a recipe frozen (though you may need to add a few minutes to your baking time).

Fresh herbs
For whole sprigs, wash, pat dry with paper towels, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. Alternatively, chop herbs and place in an ice cube tray. Pour a tablespoon or two of water on top of the herbs and freeze. Transfer cubes to freezer bags; freeze for up to 6 months. To use, simply toss a cube into a skillet when the recipe calls for herbs and let the water cook off.

Again, don’t forget to label freezer bags carefully with the item, amount, and date frozen.

Reader Comment:  A fabulous reader emailed me with another tip about freezing food. "For liquid items that are frozen in ziplocks, you can lay them out flat on an empty corner of the freezer shelf. Make sure they are REALLY flat. Once they are frozen you can stand them upright, like books on a bookcase. It makes them all easy to see and is a good space-saver. It saves having to pull out half the bulky packages from the freezer to get to the back of the pile!" 
Thanks, Sara!

Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Post: Lemons Part 3: 21 Uses for Lemon Peels

21 Uses for Lemon Peels

Lemon juice is about 5 to 6 percent citric acid and has a pH level of between 2 and 3. This low pH acidity makes lemon juice a great ally in breaking down rust and mineral stains, but gentle enough to not dull finishes. There is generally sufficient juice left in used lemon halves to tackle small tasks, and it all comes with its own applicator (the rind itself). Plus, the oil in the peel is perfect for clever culinary applications, and not bad in the beauty department either.

Around the House
1. Clean greasy messes
Greasy pans? Splattered stove tops? Messy counters? If your kitchen has been the victim of some sloppy sauteing, try using lemon halves before bringing out possibly toxic chemical cleaners. Sprinkle some salt (for abrasion) on a juiced lemon half and rub on the greasy areas, wipe up with a towel. (Be careful using lemon on marble counter tops, or any other surface which may be sensitive to acid).
2. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot
For mineral deposit build up in your tea kettle, fill the kettle with water, add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well. For coffee pots, add ice, salt and lemon rinds to the empty pot; swish and swirl for a minute or two, dump, and rinse. Hello, sparkly.
3. Clean your microwave
All it takes is one exploding bowl of food to render the interior of your microwave officially gunked, sometimes gunked with cement-like properties. Rather than using strong chemical cleaners, try this: Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for 5 minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe away the mess with a towel.
4. Deodorize the garbage disposal
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal (and make your kitchen smell awesome at the same time). It is a great way to finally dispose of spent lemon peels after you have used them for any of these applications.
5. Polish chrome
Mineral deposits on chrome faucets and other tarnished chrome make haste in the presence of lemon–rub with a squeezed lemon half, rinse, and lightly buff with a soft cloth.

6. Polish copper
A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can also be used to brighten copper cookware, as well as brass, chrome, or stainless steel. Dip a juiced lemon half in salt (you also use baking soda or cream of tartar for the salt) and rub on the affected area. Let it stay on for 5 minutes. Then rinse in warm water and polish dry.

7. Clean a stainless steel sink
Use the same method described to polish chrome, applied to any stainless sink.
8. Keep insects out
Many pests abhor the acid in lemon. You can chop of the peels and place them along thresholds, windowsills, and near any cracks or holes where ants or pests may be entering. For other ways to combat pests naturally, see 7 Steps to Chemical-Free Pest Control.
9. Make a scented humidifier
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air.
10. Refresh cutting boards
Because of lemon’s low pH, it has antibacterial properties that make is a good choice for refreshing cutting boards. After proper disinfecting (see: How to Clean Your Cutting Board) give the surface a rub with a halved lemon, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse.

To eat
11. Keep brown sugar soft
If your brown sugar most often turns into brick sugar, try adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to help keep it moist and easy to use. (For all recipes using lemon peel, try to use organic lemons–and scrub the peel well to remove any residues and wax.)
12. Make zest
Zest is the best! Zest is simply grated peel, and is the epitome of lemon essence–it can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. If you don’t have an official zester, you can use the smallest size of a box grater. (If you know you will be using lemons for zest, it is easier to grate the zest from the lemon before juicing them.) To dry zest, spread it on a towel and leave out until dried, then store in a jar. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container. Use zest in salads, marinades, baked goods, grain dishes, etc.
13. Make twists
Strips of peel, aka twists, are good in cocktails, sparkling water, and tap water. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips, or use a knife and cut the peel into long strips, cutting away the white pith which is bitter. These can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container or bag.
14. Make lemon extract powder
Make zest or twists (above) making sure to remove any of the white (bitter) pith–and dry the strips skin-side down on a plate until they’re dried, about 3 or 4 days. Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Use the powdered peel in place of extract or zest in recipes.
15. Make Lemon Sugar
You can make lemon extract powder (see above) and add it to sugar, or you can use fresh twists, put them in a jar with sugar and let the peel’s oil infuse the sugar.
16. Make Lemon Pepper
Mix lemon extract powder (see above) with freshly cracked pepper.
17. Make candied lemon peel
Orange or grapefruit peel can be candied too. Yum. Candied peels are pretty easy to make, and can be eaten plain, or dipped in melted chocolate, used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes. These recipes for candied citrus and ginger use Sucanat, the most wholesome sugar you can buy.

For Beauty
18. Lighten age spots
Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots–apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. You can also try one of these 5 natural ways to lighten age spots.
19. Soften dry elbows
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows, just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (like you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.
20. Use on your skin
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic, then rinse. (And be careful around your eyes.)
21. Make a sugar scrub
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water and massage sugar mix all over your skin, rinse, be soft! You can also try any of these 5 simple homemade sugar scrubs as well.


Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Random Post: Lemons Part 2: Ways to Peel Lemons

Peel is versatile, but wash fruit and consider organic. Here are a couple of ways to peel a lemon, whether it is for garnish, or cooking with.

Round holes yield long, thin strips of lemon rind, perfect for ­garnishing soups or desserts such as cheesecake or ice cream

Razor-sharp tiny blades yield finely grated bits that distribute lemon flavor throughout; good for baking or salad dressing


Channel Knife
U-shaped blade yields long, curling strips. These curls can be used for decoration on top of cupcakes, or cakes.
Whatever you do, don't throw away the lemon peel. Yes, I am completely guilty of doing this. I will take a lemon, cut it in half, get the juice out, and peel goes straight to the trash. Not anymore I won't. I will make sure I put those peels to good use and make sure I use the whole lemon.

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, April 8, 2013

Random Post: Part 1: If Life Gives You Lemons

Lemons.  They are just so bright and happy.  You can keep them tart and tangy or turn them into something sweet.  They smell amazing and fresh. The best thing is they have tons of uses whether it is for household cleaning, cooking, or beauty. Who knew something so small could have so many uses.
Lately, I have really been into cooking with lemons. It must be getting closer to summertime! I have enjoyed lemons drizzled over chicken, making lemon bars, and always enjoy a slice of lemon in my ice cold water.

I have even considered growing a lemon tree. 

Here are some interesting facts about lemons.  I even learned a thing or two!

Please handle the fruit.
Regardless of variety, look for a lemon that feels heavy in the hand and which, gently squeezed, gives nicely and doesn’t seem to have a thick, hard rind (less juice inside). Lemons turn from green to yellow because of temperature changes, not ripeness, so green patches are OK, but avoid those with brown spots, which indicate rot.

Power in the key of C
One lemon contains a full day’s supply of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, but that’s the whole fruit; the juice holds about a third. Lemon juice is also about 5 percent citric acid, making it a natural for slowing the browning or oxidation of fresh, raw foods: apples, avocados, bananas, and other fruits. That power, and the C, makes the lemon a real health fruit.

Preserving lemons for savory zing
Lemons preserved in salt are a fragrant, distinctive flavoring in Moroccan and Middle Eastern stews, tagines, and other dishes. Find house-made preserved lemons at many Mediterranean/Middle Eastern groceries―we prefer these to the factory variety for their fresher flavor. Go easy: They’re salty!

Makes a versatile household cleaner
Dip a halved lemon in salt for a bit of gentle abrasive power, then scour brass, copper, or stainless-steel pots, pans, and sinks. Rub a cut lemon (sans salt) on aluminum to brighten it. Used lemons tossed in the disposal will deodorize it.

Get the most from every fruit.
Before juicing, roll a room-temperature lemon under your palm to break down the cells inside the fruit that hold liquid. If a fruit is especially hard (and sometimes it’s hard to find a good one in an entire supermarket bin), microwave the fruit for 20 seconds. You should get 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice per fruit.

In a pinch, is this a good lemon substitute?
We think not. Those cute little plastic lemons do contain lemon juice, but after the juice is reconstituted and mixed with preservatives the taste is notably off, not fresh, a bit harsh and thin. It lasts for months but doesn’t really add that divine fresh-lemon essence.

The special case of the Meyer
In 1908, USDA employee Frank Nicholas Meyer brought a little fruit back from China that looked like an orange-yellow lemon but tasted much sweeter. The Meyer “lemon” is thought to be a cross between lemon and mandarin orange. Lemon-fragrant with a sugary soul, Meyers are fun to experiment with in both sweet and savory dishes.


Adapted from Cooking Light
Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

This salad was incredibly refreshing and just plain delicious!


4 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 3-ounce package low-fat ramen-noodle soup mix , (see Tips & Notes)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
3 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
5 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
3 scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Crumble ramen noodles onto a large rimmed baking sheet (discard seasoning packet). Add almonds, sesame seeds and canola oil; toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir, then bake until the noodles are golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, place chicken in a medium skillet or saucepan with water to cover. Add ginger and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board to cool. Using forks, shred into bite-size pieces. (Discard the poaching liquid.)

Meanwhile, combine orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk or shake until the sugar has dissolved.

Just before serving, combine the shredded chicken, cabbage, carrot and scallions in a large bowl. Add the toasted noodle mixture and the dressing; mix well.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the vegetables, toasted noodle mixture, chicken and dressing in separate containers for up to 1 day. Toss together just before serving.

Tip: Ramen noodles, usually packaged with a seasoning mix to make instant soup, are a convenient—and seemingly healthful—product. But what you may not realize is that the noodles have been deep-fried. A serving of the soup contains 8 grams of fat. Look for baked ramen, with only 1 gram of fat per serving. Be sure to check the label so you know what you're buying.

Per serving: 399 calories; 12 g fat ( 2 g sat , 5 g mono ); 96 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 41 g protein; 4 g fiber; 558 mg sodium; 581 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Vitamin C (35% dv), Folate (26% dv), Magnesium (21% dv), Potassium (17% dv).

Source Eating Well

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, April 1, 2013

Organizing: Go Wireless Printing

In our office we had two printers (one for my husband’s desk, one for my desk). We really didn’t need two printers when we could share one, save space in our office, and even money with only one set of ink cartridges and paper!

I have been very happy with my Canon printer and that was the same brand printer my husband had. Picking out a wireless printer was super easy. My “printer must do” criteria list was incredibly short. It must be wireless. It must print, scan, and copy, and cost less than $100. We made a trip to Best Buy and there it was, the Canon PIMXA MX892 inkjet All-In-One and, well, problem solved!

Once we got the printer home and unpacked, we moved my husband’s printer stand to a central location in the office where it was easy for both of us to access. I organized the printer stand with the extra paper we had stored elsewhere, ink cartridges, and our shredder. I added all my sheet labels and cardstock paper into a magazine holder to keep them together. Now it is easy to access and everything is in one place for our printing needs.

We don't have wires to trip over or get tangled, it is cost effective, easy to setup, and has been a space saver if you are going from multiple printers down to one. I really wonder why we didn’t do this sooner!?!

Happy Organizing!
Print Friendly and PDF