Porcupine Meatballs

Me: “Whitaker, we need to look for 3 porcupines for dinner tonight!” 

W: (His Face) “Wait, What?”

Me: “We are having Porcupine Meatballs for dinner.  I need to find 3 porcupines on our walk to use for dinner.”

W: (His Face, Again!) “Mom, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

Ok, you don’t use real PORCUPINES but these fun meatballs studded with rice will remind you of little porcupine quills.  Our weather in Atlanta has been a bit rainy and gloomy.  These little meatballs add a little fun to dinner.  

At dinner, it gave us a great time discussing the creativity of God.  I mean look at a porcupine.  How cool!

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

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Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

3/4 c. uncooked long grain white rice

1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 T finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish 

2 t Worcestershire sauce, divided 

1/2 t garlic powder 

⅛ t cayenne pepper 

Kosher salt 

2 T extra-virgin olive oil 

1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed 

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, milk, onion, parsley, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape beef mixture into 1 ½” meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook until golden, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs to a plate.

In a 9”-x13” baking dish, whisk together pureed tomatoes and remaining teaspoon Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper. Add meatballs to the baking dish and cover with foil. 

Bake until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes more. *Be sure to cook rice until tender or your family will experience a porcupine situation in their mouths.*

Sprinkle with more parsley and parmesan before serving.

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Business/Party Nacho Cheese Dorito Chicken

The last ten weeks have been like nothing we have ever experienced.  I have used the words “quarantine”, “shelter-in-place”, “Covid19”, “Coronavirus” so much that even my 6 year old understands everything is completely different because of one of those words.

I have been introduced to Zoom calls.  While not my favorite thing, I understand it is a way to connect and get to “see” others.  I also understand like many that you only have to be presentable from the waist up!  Business/Professional/Put Together on top and Party/Whatever/PJ pants I have been wearing for three days on the bottom.

During this ten weeks of our “Corona Chronologicals”, Will (14.5) and Chris, my hubby, have talked about the idea of a Mullet.  (Like “Business in the Front, Party in the Back” haircut.)  Will had no where to be and why not go for this look during his time off.  Chris watched a few Youtubes and felt confident that he could make this look happen.  So, a couple Saturday nights ago, on our outdoor deck, Chris and Will proceeded to make a memory with hair clippers. Within a few minutes, Will was ready for business and party!  I will admit that Will could pull off any haircut.  (The kid has good hair!)

This whole experience of Zoom calls in PJ pants and teenagers with mullet reminded me of a meal.  A meal that says, “I look like a hot mess with the ingredients I bring to the table but trust me.  I mean business!”  A meal that says, “Yes, I have Nacho Cheese Doritos all over me but guess what Fancy Pants?  You are going to be drooling over the business I bring to your mouth.”  

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In all seriousness, my boys loved that this momma brought a little party to the dinner table.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  Seriously, we are all trying new things right now.  Go for it!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Nacho Cheese Dorito Crusted Chicken 

4 chicken breasts, pounded
1 cup mayo
1 t Italian seasoning
2 cups Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed
¼ cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put chicken breasts in a zip-lock bag and pound to flatten.
Combine mayonnaise and Italian Seasoning in a pie plate.
Crush Doritos in a zip-lock bag.  You want chips small.
Dip chicken breast into mayo mixture and then roll in Dorito crumbs.
Place in a casserole dish and drizzle with melted butter all over the chicken.
Bake uncovered for thirty minutes.

Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Have you ever made a meal and then you feel like you completed cheated because it was so easy? Those are my favorite meals! Let me introduce to Rotisserie Chicken Tacos. Guys, this is so easy. First off, I am the girl that will always pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store. I mean all the work is done for you for 5 bucks.

Now you will take that magic chicken you bought and create chicken tacos that will have your family thinking you are a goddess in the kitchen. Chop up your favorite toppings and you are ready to roll. You have just changed the Taco Tuesday Game.

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Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
2 cups salsa (I used Mateo’s Salsa)
1 cup water
2 T tomato paste
½ t coriander
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 small rotisserie chicken (picked up from Costco), meat removed from the bones (you’ll want about 1½ pounds of picked chicken meat)
6 T vegetable oil
12 white 6” corn tortillas
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (I cheated and bought the bag)
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese or Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Toppings

Guacamole Homemade or My go-to
Sliced pickled jalapeños
Diced tomatoes
Thinly sliced red onion
Avocado wedges
Sour cream
Lime juice
Fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Use baking sheets with high sides ready that can hold 12 completed folded tacos (or 2 pans with 6 each). Brush both baking sheets with oil. This will prevent sticking. Lay out the corn tortillas, 6 per tray and brush the tops with the other half of the oil. Set pans aside.
In a large skillet, place salsa, water and tomato paste. Using medium heat, stir and combine. Add the coriander, chili powder and cumin seasonings. Stir together completely.
Shred the cooked chicken pieces into the salsa mixture and heat to hot then hold to keep warm.
Beginning working on taco assembly, divide the pepper jack between the 12 tortillas.
Divide the warm chicken mixture between the 12 tortillas, on top of the pepper jack. Leave some room around the edges so your tacos will not be too full (yet!) Now top the tacos with Monterey jack cheese.

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Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to get a little crispy and the mixture is hot and bubbly. Rotate halfway through for even browning.
Remove tacos from the oven. Then pick up each tortilla, fold in half and place in the reserved dish or pan, letting each taco stay folded by leaning on the one next to it. Add the lettuce at this time.

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Serve hot with whatever toppings you want including diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced red onion, avocado wedges, sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, fresh cilantro, etc.

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll

Super Bowl Week!  Yes, there is a football game but I get excited about all the yummy Super Bowl Foods!  I have been working on my menu and I wanted to share this new, favorite of my boys.  Seriously it is buffalo chicken and crescent rolls.  I mean two amazing things at one time!  It is super easy to make.  Plus I got a hug from my oldest saying “Mom, you created the best meal ever!”.

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2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 T ranch dry seasoning

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot (you can use whatever sauce you want- you completely have control the heat it brings.  Start with ½ cup and work up if needed.  

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 refrigerated crescent roll tubes

Dipping Sauces- Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Buffalo Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the chicken, ranch seasoning, wing sauce and mozzarella cheese and set aside.

Place one crescent roll onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Seal together to form a long rectangle. Open second crescent roll container.  Using only half of the dough, add on the rectangle.  Reserve the other half for topping.  

Place the chicken mixture down the center of the crescent roll.  Then bring sides together to form a log shape.  Fold the ends in to hold in the filling.  Take the  remaining crescent roll dough and cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Then lay on top of your newly formed log/roll.  Design however you wish.  

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Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat when ready to serve.  Cut into 1 inch long pieces.  

Serve with your choice of dipping sauces and celery.  

 

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

The man of this house LOVES Brussels sprouts.  Little does he know the amazing nutrition that is served up every time he eats these little buds.  Crazy amounts of vitamins  C and K.  High five for Brussels sprouts!  This creation was a perfect side dish and will be a regular addition to family dinners.  They take just a little extra work and it totally pays off with presentation.  Turn the blah side dish into a Bravo!  Get to stuffing- Amanda

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Don’t Judge by the Picture

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts 

15 very large Brussels Sprouts (think…I’m going to stuff these babies!)

1 c Skim Milk Ricotta

1 c shredded parmesan

1/2 c panko bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T dried Thyme

1 T dried Basil

1 t dried Marjoram

1 t dried Sage

1 t sea salt

a pinch of pepper

1 T Olive Oil

Wash your Brussels sprouts.  Trim the ends and cut into halves.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add your sprouts.  Let them cook for 2 minutes, remove, and let them cool.

Now you need to core your spouts.  Simply take a scoop out of the middle leaving a good shell.  Finely chop the cored Brussels sprout pieces.  In a skillet, add olive oil, finely chopped cored Brussels sprouts, and minced garlic.  Cook until the chopped sprouts are tender.

Mix sprout and garlic mixture along with ricotta, panko, parmesan cheese, salt, and herbs.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small spoon, fill in the Brussels sprouts with the stuffing.  Please over fill them.  Place on your baking sheet.

Bake the stuffed Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  (or until the caps are crispy and browned.)

Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

Complete CRAZY talk!  It’s a cheeseburger in a zucchini boat!  Honestly, all the goodness of a gouda cheese burger without the guilt of that carb-crazy bun.  Trust me, as you read through the ingredients you will question if I am a mad person!  Just give it a shot and you will see that deliciousness just arrived in a zucchini boat.  Set Sail!- Amanda  

cheeseburger zucchini

Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

1 T olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 small yellow onion, diced

coarse salt and fresh black pepper

1/2 T Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced, seeds removed

1/2 cup dill pickle, diced

Sauce:

1 T butter

1 T all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 T Dijon mustard

1 + 1/2 cups Gouda cheese, shredded, divided

3 medium zucchini

green onions, snipped with kitchen shears, for serving

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add ground beef and onion. Season well with salt and pepper. Add Tony Chachere’s seasoning.  Brown the ground beef until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess grease.

Add the ground beef mixture to a large bowl and mix in tomatoes and pickles.

In the same skillet heat the butter for the sauce over medium-low heat, whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add 1 cup of the Gouda stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Meanwhile wash the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds leaving the zucchini intact. Place on a large baking sheet or roasting pan.

Stir the cheese sauce into the ground meat. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the meat into the zucchini boats, sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup of Gouda.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with green onions to serve.

Chicken Tetrazzini

We all need a meal that does not need a lot of thought.  A little chopping, a little mixing, and throw it together over some heat.  This Chicken Tetrazzini was a complete winner at our house served with a green salad and warm, garlic bread.  Big score that we had a yummy lunch the next day.  Here’s to an easy night in the kitchen!- AmandaChicken Tetra

Chicken Tetrazzini

3 T butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery, chopped

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces

6 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken in half

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Cook until clear.  Arrange chicken in a layer over the onion and celery.  Add uncooked noodles.  Mix salt, pepper, soup, and chicken broth together and pour the mixture over the noodles.  Make sure that all noodles are moistened.  Place mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a little paprika.  Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

Why yes, I know it comes in a can!  So does shrimp but that does not mean it’s okay to serve.  Freshly made cranberry sauce makes the whole meal come together.  It was simple and a hit on our Thanksgiving table.  I predict this little number will be a regular with turkey in the Fuller home. Chunk the Can!-Amanda photo-90

Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground ginger

Dash of ground cloves

1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1 T grated orange rind

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat; stir in rind. Cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Zucchini Tots

As Chris prepared some mean hamburgers, I whipped up some zucchini tots.  These bite-sized tots are the perfect guilt-free alternative that complete our hamburger night.  Just a little prep work and pop those tots in the oven.  Nothing to it!- Amanda

Zucchini Tots

1 cup zucchini, grated- like a cheese grater- The whole zucchini!

1 large egg

1/4 onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1 T parmesan, grated

1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/8 cup Panko

Salt and Pepper

Take grated zucchini and by using paper towels squeeze out the excess water.  This will make sure your tots are not soggy.  No one likes a soggy tot! In a bowl combine all ingredients: egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, Panko,  zucchini, salt and pepper.

Prepare mini muffin pan by spraying with non-stick spray. Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  Makes about 12 tots.

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is another one of those items that everyone has opinion to add.  At the end of the day, you have chicken usually mayo and then all the other ingredients that you love in your chicken salad.  This is my plain “jean” chicken salad.  We have several favorites but this is an easy go to.  I’ll share our others soon.  This was a special request from Chris for Father’s Day lunch.  We love our plain “jean” chicken salad on flaky croissants.  Happy Summer!- Amanda

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked, finely shredded

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/8 t pepper, freshly ground

1/3 cup Hellmann’s light mayo

2 T bell pepper, finely chopped

2 t prepared mustard

In a mixing bowl combine chicken, celery, green onions, lemon juice, and pepper.  Stir in mayo, bell pepper, and mustard.  Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Serve your chicken salad on crackers or our family favorite, croissants.  This makes about enough chicken salad for 4 croissant sandwiches.  Plus it makes great leftovers.