Yes, I said it. Fat and Happy after this amazing meal we made on Sunday! Still following The Pioneer Woman cookbook series, we decided to make Ranch-Style Chicken (Food From My Frontier, pp 208-209), Broccoli Cheese Potatoes (Come and Get It! pp 240-242), and we sauteed some spinach with mushrooms and garlic.
I am not a fan of chicken, especially of working with it while it is raw. Gag! This chicken recipe tested this distaste to a good extent because you have to halve the breasts horizontally. If I had to go through this, it had better turn out like unicorns and rainbows and anything else that is beautiful!
We didn’t have as many people here this weekend, so we followed the chicken recipe verbatim. We used 6 chicken breasts, halved them as directed, and marinated them in some honey, dijon mustard, lemon juice, paprika, hot pepper flakes and salt. They were cooked on the grill, topped with some bacon that had been cooked to chewy state, and some cheddar cheese. I really did not think I would like this. I stand corrected: It was love at first bite! It was worth moving past the trepidation, and I will definitely make it again!
Broccoli Cheese Potatoes
As if baked potatoes were not enough, we made them with the broccoli cheese sauce recipe, using both cheddar cheese and pepper jack. We also cooked up some sweet onions. They were supposed to have been cooked to crispy, but when they were thoroughly browned and carmelized, we didn’t want to cook them further. Honestly it was hard not to gobble them up on the spot! We also cooked the onions in a bit of bacon drippings. (SHHhhhhh. Don’t tell!) The onions were a garnish on the sauce, and it was quite pretty to look at. What I was not prepared for was the incredible flavor mix between the bacon-kissed carmelized onion and the cheddar-broccoli sauce. It was absolutely incredible with the sweetness of the onions and the savory sauce. I wanted more, much more, but I behaved myself. It was really hard to do!
Spinach is one of my favorite vegetables. Flora told me about a sale on spinach at Aldi’s; we picked up a couple of bags and some beautiful Baby Bella mushrooms. Now remember, the chicken had been topped with bacon and cheese, right? Well… we decided to share the bacon flavor with the spinach and mushrooms. We sauteed some mushrooms and garlic in a touch of the leftover bacon drippings and added the spinach. We just cooked it until it wilted. (And YES. That is a full TWO bags of spinach.) We added a touch of salt when the spinach was ready. Delicious!
But Wait, There’s More!
Did someone say, “What about Dessert?” I sure did! We decided to make The Pioneer Woman’s Blueberry Cake Shakes (Come and Get It!, pp 362-363), and boy are they an inspiration to try some other flavors in the future. Wow! The shake is made with vanilla ice cream, milk, a little bit of cake mix and some fresh blueberries. Plop on some whipped cream and sprinkle a few Jimmies on it, and it is the best milkshake I have ever had.
Our beautiful meal was now ready, set, go, GONE, and it was a huge hit. I would not have changed anything in any of the recipes we followed. Not a thing. Pioneer Woman, you hit a bullseye! Thank you for your inspiration.