Friday, February 16, 2018

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

We have something on the calendar each night this week, so we celebrated Valentine's Day the night before. It was a dinner for all four of us, but my tablescape was still a Romantic Paris-Inspired theme. Never to early to teach my twelve-year old son how to appreciate a little romance! And of course Jewell loved it. She is truly a romantic at heart.

Here's a bird's eye view of our beautiful tablescape last night. You can see every inch of it by clicking here.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but like most of them, I modified it according to what I had. I also made some changes that I'll share with you as we go.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

for the chicken
12-14 chicken tenders
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of EVOO
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

for the creamy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
four slices of bacon, diced
16 oz package of brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Parmesan, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

Begin by mixing the EVOO, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Add chicken to a gallon zipper bag and add EVOO mixture. Seal and massage into meat, distributing evenly. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders and brown on both sides. Remove to a platter.

Add another tablespoon of EVOO to the pan and add mushrooms.

Allow to saute without stirring until they get a little brown. Then stir them around a little.

Add minced garlic and stir for a few seconds until you smell the garlic. Don't allow it to burn.

Add cream and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken.

After about 8 minutes on simmer, it still was not as thick as I would have liked, so I mixed one teaspoon of corn starch with a tablespoon of water. Then I drizzled it in slowly while I whisked the cream sauce. It thickened perfectly. Add chicken back to the sauce and let it simmer about five minutes or until the chicken is done. The tenders don't take long. 

I had cooked my bacon the night before, so I added it before serving. The recipe actually called for cooking the bacon before sauteing the mushrooms. I thought I wanted my bacon to be crispy, and so I added it last. In all actuality, it was not needed at all. It really didn't add anything to the dish. I will leave it out next time.

The original recipe also called for boneless chicken thighs, but since I always have boneless tenders, that's what I used.

I will make this again. Everyone enjoyed it.

I served it with a wild rice and quinoa blend, brown butter garlic green beans, and garlic knots. I'll share the recipe for those soon!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Romantic Paris-Inspired Valentine's Day Tablescape 2018

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! Buckle up, 'cause this tablescape is not for the faint of heart! But it is perfect for Valentine's Day. I'm so pleased with how this design came out! 

Back at the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to buy very little, if anything, this year. Mama and I made a quick trip to the lake last Friday when I saw that one of my favorite thrift stores was having a half-off sale. On the way, I had a little talk with myself to clarify exactly what the above challenge meant. The way I understand it (and myself agreed!), is that I am not planning on buying anything new to design a specific table this year. For example - for this Valentine's Day table, I used what I had. Nothing new. However, when the best thrift store in the world (in my humble opinion) goes half off, it's fair game to stock up on a few pretties. As long as we all understood what I meant!

On to the tablescape...

As (almost) always, I began with my white tablecloth. It is polyester, but I refer to it as my white "linen" hemstitched tablecloth. I have two - a larger for my dining room table that fits when my leaf is in and this one for the kitchen table. I'm needing to replace the one for the dining room as it has developed a hole from wear and tear. However, it still works when I'm using an the one below.

This gorgeous cut was in my fabric closet. I had bought it for a couple of bucks off the remnant table back when a local fabric shop was going out of business. I think it may have even been 75% off a couple of bucks. As I used to use red as my accent color through the house, I intended to make pillow covers. In fact, I still may. My new sofa and loveseat are a pretty neutral color and this would make great accent pillows for February.

My local Dollar Tree had a ton of chargers during Christmas. A couple of my simple gold ones that I had for years were beginning to crack, so I pick up a dozen new ones. They also had them in a pearly white. Fantastic investment. A pretty charger really sets off a stack of dishes. 

The pretty dinner plate above is "Double Phoenix" in red by Nikko. I love, love, LOVE these dishes. I only have four dinner plates. They're pretty rare. I usually have three of them hanging in a plate display rack in my foyer. I pulled them for tonight's dinner. I'd love to have more of these one day.

On top is a salad plate - also by Nikko - called "White Satin". This is the everyday pattern I got when we married. The outside rim of the plates is similar. These are so versatile. They're nearly 20 years old, but they still look fresh and modern. 

On top is a sweet little red beaded bread and butter plate from JC Penney Home Collection. I found these last year at a thrift store for .25 cents each. I only have four, but that's all I needed tonight!

These beautiful stems are "Jamestown" by Fostoria. The color is called amber, but it might as well be gold. They are gorgeous with the chargers. 

The flatware above is called "Golden American Chippendale" by FB Rogers. These were a gift to myself a few years ago. I found them on eBay.

Here's a look at the entire place setting.

My centerpiece is a little French-style vignette. I don't usually like anything tall in a centerpiece, but since you can see through it, I went for it.

I found the Eiffel Tower-esqe statue at Kirkland's several years ago.

These cuties looked a little French...maybe like Little Boy Blue? This has been part of my "Be My Valentine" hutch display this month. It came from Hobby Lobby.

The gold-patterned glass votive holders came from The Dollar Tree a couple of years ago, but they usually have something similar in stock. I scattered four of these down the middle of the table.

I thought a small simple vase with flowers might be something like you'd see on an outdoor French bistro table. The vase is a little brass milk bottle. It picked up on my gold accents.

Here's an aerial view of my tablescape. I love it! It was rich, beautiful, and romantic, and would have been perfect for just me and my sweetheart, but my children appreciated it, too! I had a lot of fun pulling this together. 

We have a busy week - as usual - and this was our only night home, so we actually celebrated a day early. Check back in to see what we had for was scrumptious!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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I wouldn't want you to miss one crazy thing!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bananas Foster Banana Pudding

We wrapped up our New Orleans-themed menu for my daddy's birthday party with "Bananas Foster Banana Pudding". Basically, the only difference is that you saute your bananas in brown sugar and butter, and then top it with a baked meringue. I made my vanilla pastry cream from scratch! 

I found the recipe online. You can check it out here.

Isn't that meringue pretty? Best I ever made!

Here's one last look at my Mardi Gras tablescape. 

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Let's be honest. The reason people go to Red Lobster is for the biscuits. Am I right, or am I right?! You can buy the mix in stores now, but why? It's such a simple and inexpensive recipe. You can throw these together and bake in less than 30 minutes! 

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter plus 2 tbsp, divided
1 c buttermilk
1 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
chopped parsley (preferably fresh)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients. Add cheese and toss to coat. Melt better in a saucepan and allow to cool slightly. Add buttermilk. Add to biscuits and mix well. I used a cupcake scoop to drop mine onto the baking pan. You could also use a greased 1/4 cup measuring cup. Bake until golden. While baking, melt two tablespoons butter and add a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley. Brush the biscuits with butter mixture as soon as they come out of the oven. Serve hot.

These were the perfect accompaniment to our meal!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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