Chicken, pineapples, and peaches, oh my

This dinner is seriously yellow… in a good way.  I’ve been making this a lot lately, especially with the overflowing shelves of fresh pineapples in the supermarket these days.  I use a big saute pan to grill a few chicken breast slices (sprinkled with cajun seasoning), grill some fresh pineapple chunks in the same pan with the chicken, and cook some Goya spanish rice (right out of the box!) in my handy-dandy rice cooker.  All yellow, all delicious, all in less than 30 minutes.  You can even do it in about 15  minutes if the rice is already made from the night before.  Easy peasy!

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Grandma’s lasagna and meatballs

01 Finished lasagna

Well, today was the big day!  Every year for Christmas I dig out my grandmother’s recipes and make her famous lasagna and meatballs, and this year was no exception.  I can’t give away the secret recipes, but I did snap some photos along the way to show you how it all came out.  Above is the assembled lasagna, ready to pop in the oven for a few hours on Sunday.  Mmmm…. doesn’t it look just absolutely delicious?  : )  This lasagna is neither low-fat nor vegetarian – it’s full-fat and full of meat.  A real indulgence for the holidays.  I cannot WAIT to dig into this bad boy!  It’s a lot of work to put together, but the yumminess is totally worth it.

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Chicken-mushroom quesadillas: quick and delicious!

Easy chicken-mushroom quesadillas

Tonight I whipped up some chicken-mushroom quesadillas (recipe courtesy of my old friend, the Food Network), and not only were they super easy and quick to throw together (less than 30 minutes start to finish), but they were also DELICIOUS.  I love having the time to cook again!  Oh how I’d missed it all semester!  I was pleasantly surprised that this recipe used such simple ingredients and was so quick to make but still managed to be incredibly tasty.  Awesome.  I’ll be making these a lot more often, and my belly will be thanking me.  YUM.

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Skillet rosemary chicken: my new favorite dinner

Skillet rosemary chicken -ready for oven

Mmmm… this was delicious.  It’s the Food Network’s skillet rosemary chicken, and it’s hands-down the most delicious and satisfying dinner I’ve made in a long time.  Not only is it super tasty, but it’s pretty healthy, nice and hearty on a cold night, and not all that difficult to put together.  All in all, I give this recipe 5 stars, plus a gold star because it’s so pretty to look at.  : )  It took me about an hour and a half to make last night, which is a little on the long side, but the amazing results are worth the effort.  More photos after the jump!

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Maple-glazed chicken: it’s not me, it’s you

Maple glazed chicken - Food Network photo

Mmmm. (Photo credit: Food Network)

Sometimes when I cook things they come out like crap.  Observe: this seemingly-delicious recipe for maple-glazed chicken from the Food Network.  Looks good, no?  All stylized by professional food photographers and filled with yummy ingredients like maple syrup and fresh fall apples.  It had me at hello.  I bought the ingredients.  I thought about it all day at work… oh the possibilities!  The yumminess!  The satisfaction of making something delicious from scratch!  I left work all excited about my cooking adventure.  I chopped, I stirred, I seasoned, I simmered, and I took a bite… and it was… eh.  What a let-down, Food Network!  Come on, don’t leave a girl hanging like this.  Where are your manners?  GEEZ.

Oh wait, maybe it’s not you, Food Network… maybe it’s me.  Sorry, maybe I should take the blame.  After all, I’m still single at 31, so I’m probably doing something wrong, right?  Right???  Sigh.  But I followed instructions!  I let you watch football when I wanted to watch the Sex and the City movie.  I didn’t complain when you left the toilet seat up.  I even let you stare at my hot friend’s boobs.  Where did I go wrong, Food Network?  What did I do to make you shun me like this?  Let’s see if I can figure it out before I swear off all of your beautifully-photographed recipes forever…

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Caramel pecan pumpkin pie

Caramel pecan pumpkin pie - closeup

As I mentioned last time, I really enjoy cooking Thanksgiving dinner every year, and even though I was only cooking for one this year, I couldn’t leave out the pies.  I mean, what’s Thanksgiving with out pie? If you’re going to stuff yourself with goodies and regret it the next day, you might as well really go for it and throw in some rich, buttery pie.  It’s an American tradition.  : )  Typically I make at least two pies – apple, pumpkin, and maybe a berry pie if we’re having a lot of guests – but this year I reduced it to just the basics: good old pumpkin.  To be more specific, I made a caramel pecan pumpkin pie from my weathered copy of Better Homes and Garden’s New Cookbook.  Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.  Mmmmm…. pie.  Are you drooling yet?  I am.

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Brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries

Raw brussels sprout

When I lived in New York, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family every year.  Truth be told, I was pretty excited to do it.  : )  Thanksgiving is a great excuse to try out a bunch of new recipes and not feel guilty about tossing aside the non-fat cooking spray in exchange for a little butter.  It’s only once a year, right?  But anyway, although I moved to Boston last year and haven’t be able to make it home for the past two Thanksgivings, I’ve still been cooking up a storm, albeit a slightly smaller one than usual.  You know, fewer power outages, less news reporters flying away.  This year I whipped up some of Alton Brown’s brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries – a super easy recipe that has all the Thanksgiving food requirements: (1) can pass as a traditional Thanksgiving dish; (2) uses butter; and (3) contains enough greens to pass as healthy.

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