Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata, the Italian dish of elegance in the States. Chicken sautéed and placed onto of a bed of pasta infused with a lemon white wine sauce and capers. Sounds absolutely lovely, doesn’t it?

When Bryan and I were at the taste testing for our wedding many moons ago, the chicken piccata at our venue was amazing. But so was the chicken marsala. It was horrible having to pick between the two. Mushrooms with wine or capers with wine. And of course, I just could not serve two chicken dishes. After nearly half an hour of going back and forth we finally decided to go with the chicken piccata and all was well. It was the capers that became the deciding factor. Bryan and I love capers.

Whenever we go to an Italian restaurant and chicken piccata is on the menu, Bryan always get it. ALWAYS. And I ALWAYS have to have a bite of it.

Even though we decided to eat yummy Puerto Rican food on our anniversary, I decided that I was still going to make chicken piccata a few days later. I had found the perfect recipe about a week beforehand but when I went back to it to actually make the dish, the recipe, much to my chagrin, was gone. All there was on the post was a picture and a bloody wine pairing. Really? Seriously? What the bloody hell made you decide that hey, lets do away with the recipe and right about how amazing the bloody recipe is and how well it pairs with this white wine?!?!?! Needless to say I was furious.

The recipe I had found was the only one that was simplistic with few ingredients. I get how elegant this dish is, but I’m not going to add 15 bloody ingredients to achieve the same thing I could achieve with seven. So I rummaged through various sites, looking at pictures, reading extra carefully that it had all the ingredients I had already bought and ended up creating my own. Ok, it’s more of a hodge-podge of 17 different recipes that seemed to have roughly the same simple ingredients.

So essentially this is a lighter version and stripped down to the bare minimum. Thank god for deductive logic.


Chicken Piccata

8 thinly sliced chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 lemons
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons capers, drained
chopped parsley for garnish
1 pound angel hair pasta


Prepare pasta using packaging directions until al dente. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!!!!!!

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of chicken, then dredge in flour.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Fry chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides. May have to do this in batches if all the chicken breast don’t fit in the skillet.

Remove chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium – low and pour in wine and chicken broth, and squeeze in the juice of the lemon.

Whisk the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow sauce to cook and bubble and thicken until reduced by about half.

Add in capers.

Reduce heat to low and pour in cream and half and half.

Whisk together and allow to cook for a couple of minute until sauce thickens.

Add in angel hair pasta and mix until well combined.

Plate be putting some of the pasta on the plate, then a piece of chicken half on the pasta, half on the actual plate, and garnish with a little bit of parsley.

Makes 8.

OMG. This is the most amazing lightest flavorful pasta I have ever made. This is better than at a restaurant. BETTER!

Did I say better, because it’s better.

The acid from the lemon, the creaminess of the creams, the tanginess from capers, and the amazing undertones of the wine come together to create pure perfection.

It is rather tangy, but I like it that way. If you don’t like capers, you can always take it out.

Some tips for first timers: don’t buy expensive dry white wine. I literally bought the cheapest bottle of chardonnay I could find at HEB and like all cheap ass wines, it was dry as fuck. Needless to say, this is now going to be the cooking wine I use when I see dry white wine as an ingredient. Also, when you pour the cream in, pour it slowly, because as the sauce thickens, it looks all curdle-y and you start freaking out over the fact that you might have actually potentially ruined something so amazing. If the sauce doesn’t thicken to your liking, add the pasta to it a little early so that it continues cooking in the sauce and therefore gobbles up all that liquid. Also, buy the thinly sliced chicken breast that way you don’t have to pound the breast down to make it thinner. Unless you’re pissed and need to let off some steam, then by all means pound that anger away.

I also decided to use one lemon instead of two because one is all I needed. I wanted a light lemon kissed flavor not a pow right in the kisser sort of flavor. Also you can use heaving cream only if you like. I had actually ran out and ended up improvising. That and I could have sworn that original recipe had half and half in it. So it’s really up to you – half and half, heavy cream, or a combo.

Either way, it will come out amazing.


Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Casserole

There is one thing I despise about slow cooker recipes and usually if it is part of the directions I say, “Meh” and move on to the next one – cooking of anything.

Isn’t the point of a slow cooker is that all you do is dump everything in it and it cooks everything over a certain period of time freeing you up to do other things like oh let’s say, studying, cleaning, taking the puppies for a walk, and other daily life errands?

So then why do most slow cooker recipes require cooking a few ingredients before assembling it in the slow cooker to then cook for like 4 – 8 hours? Couldn’t this be construed as over cooking? Or is it just an easy way of letting the flavors merge and become one happy amazing yummy thing?

Either way, I don’t approve of the precooking of anything if it is part of a slow cooker recipe. I think other than this time, I’ve only done it once. And I still didn’t understand why I was going to dirty an extra pan if the point of the slow cooker is one dish, hardly any clean up. Hell, if you buy the bloody liners to the slow cooker then there is no clean up. NONE! And who can say no to not having to wash dishes?

So to sum this rant up, having to cook before putting everything in the slow cooker negates the whole purpose of using a slow cooker.

But I still did it, and was pissed the whole time doing it.

You’ve probably noticed how there isn’t a picture. Two reasons – I couldn’t get a good picture of it that wasn’t primarily melted cheese and when I put it on the plate it fell apart and looked like dog food. Do you want me to post a picture of what looks to be dog food? I think not. Also, all the pictures I found we not appetizing at all. So I spared everyone. You are welcome.

Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Casserole

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
2 cups salsa
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 10oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups corn
5 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Mix the beef, salsa, onion, garlic, cilantro,  onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and garlic powder together in bottom of slow cooker.

Spread evenly across bottom of slow cooker.

Spread the beans on top of beef mixture.

Dump the corn on top of beans.

Place the corn tortillas on top of the corn into a even layer.

Top with cheddar cheese.

Cover and cook on high for about 2 hours.

Makes 8.

This came out surprisingly well. I wasn’t too sure about the salsa or the tortillas.

It’s packed with protein and vegetables so its a well balanced meal.

But what really made it amazing was the combination of Mexican flavors. The cumin, the paprika, the cayenne pepper and the cilantro.

In the end it actually tastes like a beef enchilada. And it doesn’t take as long or needs that much patients because you aren’t taking the time to roll each enchilada.

I probably should have made some enchilada sauce to drizzle over it, but eh, maybe next time.

Greek Burgers

When Mumika called stating she was coming to town, I really didn’t know what to make her first night. I was sort of grasping at straws as I went through my list of recipes to try.

When I came across this one, I knew it would be fun and different. I like testing new things out when Mumika is around. She’s literally my guinea pig, whereas Bryan will lecture me for 30 minutes on why he doesn’t want or like fired rice for dinner.

It isn’t a true Greek burger because I used beef instead of lamb, but all the components come across as Greek.

So If you are tired of the same ole bacon cheese burger and want to try something a bit more adult, more gourmet, and more elegant, this Greek burger is definitely for you. You could even make sliders out of it as a appetizer when having company over.


Greek Burgers

1 pound ground meat beef
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, divided
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
1 bunch of spinach, torn
1/2 cup Tzatziki sauce
1 sliced tomato
1/2 sliced red onion
6 hamburger buns

Combine the meat, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, feta cheese, bread crumbs and Greek seasoning in a mixing bowl.
Get those fingers nice and dirty until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Form into 6 patties. Grill or pan fry over medium-high heat on each side until it ha reached the level of doneness you want.
Arrange some torn spinach leaves on the bottoms of each hamburger bun and place the patties on top.
Top with tomatoes, red onions, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.
Makes 6. Per Greek burger.
Bryan and Mumika loved this. I hated it. I blame the use of nutmeg in my Greek seasoning. It was all I could smell and taste.
Other than that, it was pretty amazing.
The crunchiness of the onion, the saltiness of the feta, the tomato, and the creamy tzatziki sauce created these amazing layers of flavor that enhanced all the components found in the Greek burger itself. This isn’t gourmet, it’s a masterpiece.
Only thing I would do is cook it a little extra. My first two burgers were still raw in the middle despite looking cooked on the outside. So cook it until there’s a little bit of charring on the outside. As Bryan so eloquently put it that night, “It’s not ready until it’s burnt.”
The reason why it takes so long to cook causing some charring is the amount of stuff put inside of it having to cook as well. Just something to keep in mind.

Apple Dumplings – the easy way

I know you’ve seen it, the facebook and pinterist posts of apple dumplings using an apple, a tube of refrigerated crescent dough, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and get this: sprite.

Does it work? Does it not work? Why on earth am I using sprite?

The whole sprite component through me for a loop. A complete loop. Most of these recipes use mountain dew, but I HATE mountain dew. Sprite it was.

This is also half the original recipe. Why? I was testing it out.

The only reason why I’m making apple dumplings this way was because it was my anniversary and I didn’t have the time to homemade apple dumplings. That and well, I spent the day with Mumika and we ended up spending the day getting alcapurria and empanadas and drinking coffee. You know, importante boriqua stuff.

Bryan had never had apple dumplings until his dad took us to a Chinese buffet that happened to have them. I couldn’t resist having one and as usual, because I did not make these, I had to give half of it to Bryan. We have rules. They keep me alive.

“Oh my god, this is amazing!”

This is the thing though – Bryan doesn’t like pies or anything where the fruit is baked. The fact that he loved the dumplings sort of opened a new universe to me.

So I tried the – I don’t have time for that easy way.

Apple Dumplings

1 granny smith apple, cut into 8 wedges
1 tube of crescent dough
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 oz Sprite


Spray 8X8 square cake pan with cooking spray.

Pop open dough tube and wrap 1 triangle around 1 apple wedge.

Place apple wrapped dough wedge in baking dish. There should be enough room.

Mix melted butter with sugar, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Gently pour the sugar buttery goodness over each dumpling.

Gently top each dumpling with cinnamon.

Pour the sprite into the cake pan. Be sure not to pour it on top of the dumplings. Pour it on the sides until each dumpling is surrounded by sprite.

Bake at 350 in the oven for 40 minutes.

Makes 8. Per dumpling.

OMG! OMG! Whoever thought of this was a genius!

The vanilla and the butter and the dough and the apple is phenomenal. It made my house smell like fall. Smelled so good I could taste it.

The sprite, holy fuck balls Batman, created a citrus caramelized syrup of awesomeness.

I loved how the apple wedge disintegrated into the dough.

This is perfect for Thanksgiving. Skip the pie. Make little individual apple doughy goodness instead. You could put some ice cream on top and spoon some of the left over citrus syrup on top to make the most gooey yummy happiness ever created.

I should of thought of that the second time I made it. Grrrr.

I wonder if I could make peach dumplings the same way…..hmmmm…..


Tzatziki Sauce

The holy sauce of all sauces.
The one thing that makes shwarma shwarma and gyros gyros and if you decided to make either of these without the sauce, well, people are going to angry and it will be anarchy.
Usually it’s made with goats or sheep’s milk but um….yeah. I just don’t see that happening. Sometimes people put olive oil or lemon juice or parsley or mint. Yeah, didn’t do that either. I stripped it down to the nitty gritty.
I was scared of making this sauce to be honest. Bryan has such a high expectation when it comes to these things. It has to be better than perfect or everything is off.
But I passed with flying colors.
“What’s in it?”
So if you want gyros or shwarma but don’t feel like going out to get it, know that at least for now, there’s a rocking tzatziki sauce you can whip up that will make anything a bazillion times better. Or add pita chips and make it a dip.
Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons dill
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and very finely chopped
Combine all  ingredients in a medium bowl.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before use.
Makes 12. Per 2 tablespoons
I actually made my cucumbers a little chunky because I wanted to see the chucks of cucumbers in there. But the more finely chopped they are, the better. If you want it chucky, then make it chunky.
And you know what it really goes amazing on top of? Greek Burgers!

Greek Seasoning

I searched high and low for Greek seasoning in three HEB’s and two Walmarts and came up empty handed. Why isn’t there Greek seasoning on the market? You have Italian seasoning, steak seasoning, poultry seasoning, even creole seasoning, but nothing Mediterranean or Greek.

However, at one place I did remotely find what I was looking for. Only problem was that it was essentially Italian seasoning and dried minced garlic. How is that even remotely close to being considered Greek?

Then I remembered that Mediterranean cuisine adds cinnamon and nutmeg to their ground beef. My own personal Greek Seasoning was born and it is amazing.

Greek Seasoning

4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon paprika


Throw into a bowl and mix.

Store in an empty spice container.

Makes 4 tablespoons. Per tablespoon.

This is perfect for Greek burgers, gyros, and an other Greek seasoned meat.

Jalepeno Poppers

During the making of this snack, I managed to get jalapeno juice in my eye and I nearly died from the intense burning sensation. One whole side of my face was radiating in hottest fiery pain. I should have known better, my best friend Kelly warned me about such a thing happening when she accidentally did the same thing in 2010. If was one of those hilarious moments that she decided to tell me after I got out of the hospital leaving me laughing and gasping for air.

Moral of the story: Don’t get jalapeno juice in your eye.

I hate jalapenos. Then I went to HEB and tried half of one. Not bad, I thought. I considered buying a package of them until I realized I could make them myself.

The next day, while rummaging through the fridge, I found cream cheese. 4 ounces. Well hot damn, I have to make them now.

You have a choice of whether to bake or grill. I choose to bake.


Jalapeno Poppers

6 jalapenos, deseeded and halved lengthwise
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
6 slices bacon, cut in half


Mix cream cheese with green onions in a small bowl.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into cavity of the jalapenos.

Wrap each jalapeno with half a slice of bacon.

Place on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Makes 12. Per jalapeno.

When I gave these to Bryan, he looked at me and said “Wow, this is a strip of chicken away from white wings.”

“White wings is a jalapeno popper with a strip of chicken on top that is then wrapped with bacon?” I asked.


“Hmmm….maybe next time.”

He then proceeded to eat 10 of them.

Originally he was all, green onion, getting all fancy, but the green onion compliments the coolness of the cream cheese, the heat of the jalapeno, and the crispiness of the bacon.

You could hold everything together with a toothpick, but I wrapped the bacon around the jalapeno half tight enough that it wouldn’t unravel. Also, try to find the plumpest jalapeno to even out the cream cheese to jalapeno ratio.

Look at me, making Texan cuisine.


Mumika is coming! & an anniversary! & new hair!

My life has been taken over by graduate school. My life is study, study, write notes, write a paper, write a discussion board post, reply to a discussion post, go to class, do assignments and then cook, attempt to clean, and go to work…sometimes.

Despite me telling Mumika that she would be more welcomed in mid – october because my course load goes from three classes down to two, she decided she was going to come visit. Her reasoning – I have winter clothes for you. Who am I to say no to free clothes?

Saturday is my “anniversary” so of course I have to make something special. And I’m marking this new year of marriage by doing something drastically different with my hair. Mumika has perfect timing in coming up because she likes to do photo shoots whenever I do something new AND I am hoping to get puppy and mommy pictures. I have been photographed with the puppies since last thanksgiving. Maybe I can convince Bryan to do a one picture family pic of us with Shadow and Akira.

SO it’s a big weekend in which I have to make time for even though me and time are in a furious debate of what courses of actions are the most proficient use of said time. AKA – I don’t have time for this but I’m being good and makin time even though I am still writing notes from last weeks Ethics readings. It’s a 50 paged chapter and the chapter I just read for the same class is also 50 pages. I’m up to my eye balls in reading. And I still have a paper, an interview, a powerpoint presentation, and a discussion and reply post to do this week.

But I figured out the menu for this Friday and Saturday and that’s all that matters.

Anniversary weekend menu:

Friday dinner – Greek burgers with Tzatiki sauce and sweet potato fries
Saturday dinner – Chicken Piccata
Saturday dessert – apple dumplings

I know it’s not much. But it’s a lot for me right now. That and Mumika is leaving Sunday morning so I don’t have to cook as much.

AAHHHmazing King Ranch Chicken

There aren’t too many things Mumika can cook amazingly, but this is definitely one of them. My only problem, if I remember correctly, is that her recipe calls for some canned soup things. We all know how I feel about the use of canned soup in recipes. But I still love it. She made this for my first Master’s graduation party and it got eaten up a wee bit more quickly than we anticipated.

When I came across this no soup can recipe, I heart jumped for joy. Although it looks like a lot, and if you add the total amount of time needed, it seems to take forever, but in reality it’s quite easy.

Only problem is that I was in the middle of writing a short paper when Bryan tells me he’s hungry and asks what’s for dinner?

“Um, I thought when you decided that we were going to your parent’s for chicken gumbo that that was dinner.” I reply.
“No, that was lunch.”

Seriously Bryan. We ate at like 2PM, how on earth is this lunch. And why did you wait until 7 bloodyPM to tell me your hungry. Bloody hell!

So I stopped working on my paper which I had finally started to write after 2 days of being mentally blocked and unable to due to an awesome bereavement conference and lack of electricity because Bryan was putting the power lines underground and made him his food. It was 730PM when I started, and it was ready by 9PM.

But that first bite made my pissiness and cussing under my breath wanting to stab him with the kitchen knife in my hand disappear. It was not amazing, it was aahhhmazing.

This is definately one of those, your picky and put your nose up on me so now what bitch kind of dishes. The I can make this better than your great great grammy sort of dish. The I’m going to make you wish you didn’t think those assumptions about me thoughts. The shut the front door and call me Shipley sort of dish.

Because in all honesty, when you hear King Ranch Chicken you either get all excited eee! or you’re like, really? Seriously? I’m coming to dinner and you are going to feed me this slop. This recipe will make those haters stop in thier tracks and convert them to the awesomeness that is King Ranch Chicken.


King Ranch Chicken

1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast
1 lime, juiced and divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 10 oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes
4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
3 cups of shredded colby and cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste


Season the chicken with the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of paprika and a dash of salt.

In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken until no loner pink

When chicken is done, shred it with two forks and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook until tender.

Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoon of paprika, until well coated.

Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened.

Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.

Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan on top of the sauce.

Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Makes 8.


So yummy.

Just the right heat.

Absolute perfection.

This is definitely better than your mothers versions and better than any version using canned anything.


Red beans and Rice

There are days where my heart cries out for that good ole creole New Orleans food. Not Louisianan food, but my hometown, New Orleans food. I have always been proud that I was born in a city that knows how to party and invites the people into the world of the eclectic. Everytime I’m in New Orleans there are three things I must do: go to Cafe DuMonde, get me a Strawberry Daquiri and of, course eat me some of that amazing red beans and rice.

God, do I love that red bean and rice.

I crave it. I look forward to it. I jump for joy as the smell of New Orleans takes over my kitchen bringing me back to my home, my happy place, the only place where I feel normal here in America. Even though I moved to Texas when i was 2 1/2, that New Orleans vibe never left me. We are social butterflies, kind souls, and the good kind of crazy.

I was worried about this whole slow cooking thing. Slow cooking red beans and rice, am I crazy? Why yes, yes I am. And it came out so good. Those creole smells residing in my nose while that creole taste had a party in my mouth.

I’m going to have to make me some jambalya or some dirty rice in a few weeks at the rate I’m going.

And the best part – It is literally full of protein. Can’t make a diabetic girl happier than that….okay you can, it’s called god getting rid of my diabetes and saying, “Oooops, my bad. Gave it to the wrong Michelle. I can’t believe it took me over 5 and a half years to notice this error. Toodles.” But we both know that that’s not going to happen any time soon.


 Slow Cooker Red beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans
7 cups water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound of kielbesa sausage, sliced
3 tablespoons creole seasoning
6 cups of rice, cooked


Put all the ingredients except the rice in the slow cooker.

Cook on HIGH for 7 hours.

Serve ontop of cooked rice.

Makes 12 servings. Per Serving.

This makes a lot. {Edit: It took Bryan and I four days to eat it all up.}

Which I was fine and dandy with. I could eat red beans and rice all day every day.

It taste just like New Orleans. Just like it. And I was doing a dance as I ate the first bite. The oh my god it’s so yummy I’ve died and gone to heaven dance.

I’m not joking, it’s that good.

And it tastes even better on the second day. Why? Because all of those flavors mesh together overnight and the sauce ets thicker and next thing you know you’re in true Creole form putting Trappey’s Peppers on top and eating it without a second thought. Bryan made me buy the hot sauce. Except, it’s not that hot. And it adds just a nice touch of heat to it. Tabasco peppers soaked in vinegar, well I never. This girl has come a long way in this whole eating heat thing. A long way. The English and Puerto Rican cuisine isn’t exactly know for it’s heat like the Cajun’s, The Thais and that curry, or Mexicans with their ghost pepper salsa.

{Edit: How did it taste the fourth day, you ask? Just as good as day 1 and day 2. Honestly, if there’s only two people, make it and freeze it. But if you’re having a get together like a crawfish boil, hell bring it. No one is going to say no to red beans and rice just like no one says no to gumbo.}

Quick funny story: So red beans and rice were normally cooked on a Monday using the ham leftover from Sunday dinner. A nice way to make dinner while cleaning the house. Guess what day yesterday was: Monday. It was destiny. God looked upon me alon with the angels and archangels and said onto me, “Michelle, today you will be make those heavenly red beans and rice you’ve been craving and it will be good. Heaven and earth will rejoice as that Creole New Orleans smell doth waife throughout your kitchen.”


The yumminess in the slow cooker.