Monday, April 23, 2012

A&J Tackle PW: Week Four

This week, we went after Ranch Style Chicken, Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin, Chipotle Steak Salad, Apple Dumplings, and Barbecue Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas.

This time around, I'm going to do our reviews first, so that you don't have to hunt through the recipe if you don't want to.  As always, the recipe title (not my pink ones) will take you to the website, assuming I could find one.

~Ranch Style Chicken~

Wow.  This was really  REALLY good.  And easy.  I emailed my sister and she said it looks too complicated, and I guess it sort of does look intense, but trust me: IT'S NOT.  At all.  I threw together the marinade while Warren watched Umi Zoomi, and Nick threw the chicken on the grill a few hours later.  Roughly seven and a half minutes of work.  Nick says the bacon and cheese didn't really add anything to it, and I could go either way.  I peeled the bacon off and just ate mine. The bacon I mean.

I will say that the thin sliced breasts I usually buy, they weren't there, so I got another brand.  And didn't notice that they were not thin AT ALL.  So I guess I recommend really pounding those suckers thin. 

Angela used the phrase "this was nothing short of amazing."  She did hers in a skillet on the stove instead of the grill, and she used provolone instead of cheddar because that's what she had on hand.  She said everyone in her family gobbled it up, and she's definitely going to make it again.

Ranch Style Chicken (p209)

Added by Ree on August 19, 2009 in Main CoursesPoultry

  • ½ cups Dijon Mustard
  • ½ cups Honey
  • 1 whole (juice Of) Lemon
  • 1 teaspoons Paprika
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional To Taste)
  • 6 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 pound Thick Cut Bacon
  • Bacon Grease
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese, to taste
  • Canola Oil

Preparation Instructions

-To begin, make the marinade. In a large bowl mix together ½ cup Dijon or country/grainy mustard with ½ cup honey, juice of ½ lemon, ½ teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon salt and whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like things a little spicy. Set aside.

-Next, rinse the chicken breasts, place between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to around ½ to ¾ inch thick with a mallet. Next, add the chicken to the bowl with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.

-While the chicken marinates, fry up some bacon. When finished cooking, reserve ¼ cup of the bacon grease and clean out the skillet.

-When you're ready to cook the chicken, grill it over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.  Bursh a little bacon grease on the chicken before placing it on the grill (gross, I did NOT do that)

-When a couple of minutes of grilling time are left, lay a few pieces of bacon over each chicken breast. Sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the top of the chicken as generously as you like. Return pan to oven for an additional five minutes until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling. Serve immediately.

*on this website, she says cook it in an oven, but in the book, she says to grill it.  So I deleted that part and copied out what was in the book*

~Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin~
This was okay.  Good, not great.  I love potatoes, but no one else does, so it's always a bust.  I used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream, and I halved the whole thing.  Next time, I would smush up the potatoes a lot before popping them back in for the last twenty minutes.  And it did NOT take that long for mine to be done.  At all.  I would make this again if I were really craving potatoes, but unfortunately it probably won't be a regular side over here at the Engelbrecht's.  It was good though. 

Angela's email about this one was sorta long, so I'm gonna cut and paste.  Here goes: I changed quite a few things in this recipe. First, I sliced the potatoes with a slicer instead of dicing them b/c it's way easier. I used one can of regular evaporated milk and one can of fat free, instead of heavy cream. I shredded a variety of cheeses and mixed it with the milk (I had some left over from different recipes and just used the rest of it up). I didn't imagine the flavor to be ideal if it was just the milk, and not cheese actually IN the potatoes. so I mixed them all together before putting it in the oven. I also sprinkled some of my 'house' seasoning in it since I wanted it to be super flavorful. Once it was done, I topped it with more cheese, just as the recipe calls for. They were super good. It took a little while to prepare and to cook, but it was very very good. The garlic and cream and cheese with the soft potatoes was yummo!

Yes.  She used the word yummo.  I can't make this stuff up people.

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin (p226)


  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.
Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.
Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving by the spoonful. Delicious!

~Apple Dumplings~
I didn't get to this :( Sorry guys.  Angela did though.  Also, I didn't get to the chipotle steak salad, and she did that too.  But I'm moving that review to next week because she made it after she sent the email about all these ones.  And I'm tired and want this done tonight.

Anyway.  Here's her review of the apple dumplings.  And I can't WAIT to make them tomorrow, mainly because of her review, and the fun stuff she texted me last night while she was making and devouring them.  All.

Here's what she said:
genius. amazing. perfection.
they were so easy and so so good. obviously not something you should consume five or more of in one sitting, unlike myself, but so hard not to.
(I followed the recipe exact)

Have I mentioned that I can't wait to make these tomorrow?

Apple Dumplings

Added by Ree on July 12, 2009 in Desserts


  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 1 .5 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cinnamon, To Taste
  • 1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda
  • Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream, for serving

Preparation Instructions

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.
WARNING: Prepare this dish at your own risk. It is beyond imaginable.

~Barbecue Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas~

This was not good.  Pineapples and BBQ sauce just didn't do it for me.  At all. But if it sounds like something that might strike your fancy, more power to you. I won't judge.

Here's what Angela had to say:  For this I did a couple of things differently. I don't have a 'grill' on my stove so I melted some butter in my skillet and browned the pineapple in it prior. When I make quesadillas, I like to use super large tortillas and then fold them over, instead of using  one on top and one on bottom. Makes it much easier. I diced the chicken up and sauteed it in a skillet prior, I then coated it with bbq sauce. I used 'kickin chicken' seasoning on it to give it flavor. For the cheese I used pepper jack. The quesadillas were okay... they weren't bad at all, but they weren't anything special. 

Can I just say that she's a genius? Try flipping a quesadilla with the one on top and one on bottom idea.  I'm so stupid sometimes I can't even believe it.

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadilla (p154)
Added by Ree on May 17, 2010 in Main CoursesPoultry


  • 8 whole Flour Tortillas
  • Butter Or Margarine
  • 2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced
  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
  • Cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

Preparation Instructions

To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.

To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter or margarine in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. 

Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You’ll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.

So that was our week.  I was a little bummed about the quesadillas, and even more bummed that I, with no job, no hobbies other than watching tv, no volunteer work, and basically no responsibilities at all, could not find time to cook everything.  While Angela, who works full time and then goes home to two babies, did just fine.  But whatever. It's not a competion.

What? Yes it is!! That's why we're calling it a CHALLENGE!!! Dummy.

Anyway.  My other friend is supposed to join us, so hopefully I'll have some more input.  And we need to pick a system for rating these recipes girls!!

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