Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken

Outback Steakhouse alice Springs Chicken
I don’t know exactly where I got this recipe but there are a number of ones on the internet, some varying just a bit. This one is awesome and my family loves it.
I was interested in why this recipe would be called Alice Springs Chicken so I turned to the source of all knowledge: Google. Unfortunately for many like me, a US Midwesterner, Australia is just an exotic location far away and home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. I don’t think much was taught to us in World History class about Australia even though it played a rather large part in the South Pacific theater during World War II. Alice Springs located in the north central part of Australia is the largest city in the Northern Territory. But, nothing I read gives me an idea of why this recipe is called Alice Springs Chicken or if it is a just a “chook thrown on the barbie”. It doesn’t matter though, cuz it’s wonderful.

Ingredients

3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 and sliced mine almost in half)
Seasoning salt
6 bacon slices
1/4 cup regular mustard
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tsps dried onion flakes or
2/3 tsp onion powder or
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms or
one small can sliced black olives
2 cups shredded Colby/Jack cheese

chicken breasts
First sprinkle the chicken breasts with seasoning salt. cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
frying bacon slices
While the chicken is in the refrigerator, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside (I always let mine drain on a paper towel). ***IMPORTANT***Do not discard the bacon grease. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I am a great fan of bacon grease. Yes, it’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but what it does to the flavor of food! Amazing!
sauting chicken breasts in bacon grease
Saute the chicken in bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until browned. Place chicken in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish or pan.

To make the Honey Mustard:
Honey Mustard Ingredients
In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and onion (flakes, powder or chopped).
Alice Springs Chicken ready for oven
Spread some of the Honey Mustard over each piece of chicken, then layer mushrooms or olives or none (your preference), crumbled bacon and shredded cheese over the chicken.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

Serve with the left over Honey Mustard Sauce that you made.

Delicious!

Crock Pot Fiesta Ranch Chicken

corleyfoto fiesta ranch chicken small

If you are a baby boomer or working mother like me, you probably rejoiced when the first slow cookers came on the market some twenty odd years ago. How great was it to come home from work and know that with just a little advance preparation in the morning, your evening meal was done. I know I loved it and used it all the time. Even though I only work part time now, I still find it refreshing to come home to a meal that’s already cooked. Here’s a quick and easy recipe I saw when scrolling on
Facebook the other day.

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts
1 packet Fiesta Ranch mix
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel (or similar brand) diced tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 can corn not drained
1 block cream cheese or 16 oz. sour cream.

Place all ingredients in crockpot and stir to mix. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours or 6 on low. Shred chicken with knives, forks or if you are really lucky like I am, “claw tools”. (They work awesome!) Eat over rice or in tortillas like a burrito.

corleyfoto claw tools
What’s Happened to my Crockpot?

As we all know, everything that is made has to be improved on, so it is with the slow cooker/crockpot industry. When all we had “back in the day” was a high and low setting, now you can buy programmable ones, ones with a meat probe and probably ones that do things I don’t even know about. But one of the “improvements” was to raise the temperatures on the settings which now seems to result many times in overcooked, tasteless meats.

Vintage crock pot

My first crock pot

From what I’ve read, the reason why the newer slow cookers don’t seem to work as well as the older ones is that the FDA requires a higher “high” and “low” temperature which often results in overcooking the meat. If your slow cooker comes with an automatic warming temperature that kicks in after the timed setting has been reached, it often results in the continued cooking which causes problems.

I’m lucky in that my husband comes home from work not long after the lunch hour, so generally, I set my cooking temperature to low and ask that check it when he gets home and if he thinks it looks like its done, he unplugs the it.

Another suggestion if you don’t have someone who can turn off or unplug the pot is to purchase an inexpensive timer that plugs into the electrical outlet. You then set the timer for a specific amount of time and plug your crockpot into it.

Of course, all of this is contrary to the USDA and falls under the category of “Do as I say, not as I do”. The USDA rules for public consumption of food state that “leftovers must be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated within 2 hours.” Wow. I’m surprised my family and I aren’t dead by now. Wait a minute. I know why. If you haven’t eaten any of it yet, it can’t be “left-over” so the rule obviously doesn’t apply!

I still have this one!crock pot vintage smallWhich one do you have?

This dish is similar to the Mexican Cicken Casserole I posted about a year ago.

New to Me, Mirror Redo

Mirror RedoA couple months back, I traveled to see my step-daughter in a town about 100 miles away. We spent the afternoon running around shopping and visiting antique malls. In one particular mall we went to, I found a mirror that I was sure I wanted for my hallway. I’ve had the same wooden rectangular mirror in my hallway now for probably 25 years and I’d gotten a bug to replace it. I loved the mirror I saw; it was nothing like anything else I had in my house; it was oval and sort of 1960ish, but I thought it would look great. But somehow, during the course of the day, walking around the antique mall, I never made it back to the stall with that mirror in it and left without it.

My grandson loves to peruse the local thrift shops looking for great bargains and I have to admit, he is pretty good at finding them. Right before school started, we decided to spend the day rummaging through some of the local thrift shops when I came across a large oval mirror in a tan fake plastic basket weave pattern. I know these mirrors were popular back probably in the 70s. It was pretty ugly, but for $3.00, I figured it couldn’t hurt to buy it. Worse case scenario, it would end up back at the thrift store. I bought it and it laid in the back of my Jeep for several weeks until I finally took it out. I’d thought about the color I wanted to paint it and I finally settled on black. Many of my wall hangings have black frames, so why not? I found a can of spray paint in the garage, hauled a large piece of cardboard to the yard and proceeded to spray paint the frame. A couple days after I hung the mirror on the wall, I inherited a flower bouquet from my job. It came in a tall glass vase with brown and clear glass pebbles in the bottom of the vase. After the flowers died, I emptied the vase and had the glass pebbles drying on the counter. I kept looking them and suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. basket weave close-upSo just a little E6000 glue and I have a new to me artsy mirror!

Sunrise, Salsa, Jalupas and a Do Nothing Cake

Sunrise
Yesterday I had my whole day planned. I was going to get an early start on the day since I had to be at my son’s house at 6:45 a.m. to get my grandson off to school. But that’s okay, since I don’t seem to sleep past 4:30 a.m. any more. Why is that? Does it have anything to do with age? After all, I’m not THAT old. When I got back home at 8:15, I was ready to get started with the first item on my mental agenda; making salsa. With all the rain we’ve had this summer, my vegetable garden looks like a tangled mess. The tomatoes have bushed out and grown to over 5’ tall and the cucumbers and pumpkins have grown out of their designated areas and intermingled with the tomatoes. But man, what a crop of tomatoes I have.
tomatoes on the shelf

I’ve made salsa the last couple years using vegetables from my garden so since I had a whole shelf and refrigerator crisper drawer full, I thought it was Salsa Time! I put my pot on the stove to prepare the canning jars and turned on the electric stove…only it didn’t turn on. What’s up? Then I remembered that the little light on my electric toothbrush wasn’t lit last night (doesn’t everything have some little light on it now? My husband’s man cave looks like a landing zone). So down to the basement I went. I know how to tell whether a breaker is thrown or not and sure enough, there was the culprit, and a big culprit it was too, the breaker for the entire electrical subpanel. No problem, or so I thought, but the dang thing wouldn’t reset.

I called the electrical company that we normally use and got a generic voice mail. What company does that? If you have a business, wouldn’t you at least have a voice mail that said when you would be open for business? So I waited until after 9:00 a.m., thinking for sure they would be returning their phone calls soon, but nothing. I don’t have a lot of patience for things like that, so I was on to the next electrical company. At least they had a nice lady who answered the phone and promised she would call me as soon as they had an electrician free. Luckily, my husband snuck home from work and flipped the exact same breakers I did, but for him they stuck. Must be the man thing. Incidentally, the first electrical company finally called back at 10:30 a.m. I told them when they didn’t answer their phone, I found someone else.

So after a several hour delay, I was on to making my Salsa. That went well and it was done and cooling in the jars by 1:00 p.m. Wow, all that boiling sure made the kitchen hot. My next project was a recipe I had seen on cakescottage.com called “Do Nothing Cake”. And believe it or not, I had all the ingredients on hand except one. Well, I can always substitute, I always do.
Do Nothing Cake

Do Nothing Cake

Adapted from cakescottage.com

Preheat oven to 350°

Ingredients for Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar (yes, this seems like a lot and it makes the batter really, really sweet. I’m sure with the icing, you can cut down on the sugar by at least half a cup and it would be fine. I know I will the next time I make this cake)
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juice

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. I had to bake mine for about 44 minutes, but it will depend on how your oven heats.

While cake is baking prepare the icing:

Ingredients for Icing

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 5 ½ oz. can evaporated milk*
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

*I did not have any evaporated milk so I substituted ¼ cup whole milk. I didn’t notice any difference and as sweet as this cake is, I’m not sure if using the evaporated milk with its extra sweetness is necessary.

Heat the butter, sugar and evaporated milk in a small saucepan until boiling. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add coconut and nuts.

When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and using a wooden spoon with a round handle, poke plenty of holes in the cake for the icing to seep down into it. Pour the hot frosting over the hot cake and spread evenly. Allow cake to cool. This cake is very dense and moist. I’m keeping mine in the refrigerator.

If you wanted to cut corners, I’m sure you could use ready-made Pillsbury or Betty Crocker Coconut-Pecan frosting. Remove the frosting from the plastic container and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave in 1 or 2 minute increments with a small amount (1/4 cup?) of milk, stirring until it reaches a creamy, pourable consistency.

Now my dessert is done and I need to think about dinner (after all, since dessert is the most important part of the meal, it comes first). The oven is already hot, hmmm, and so is the kitchen, but I really wanted Jalupa Casserole for dinner. I have a great recipe that I’ve used for several years and its made its way around many church dinners. Each time I make it, I use whatever substitute ingredients I have on hand and it still tastes great.

Jalupa Mexican Casserole

  • 2 8 oz. cans chicken or 2 cooked, chopped chicken breasts (I used canned this time)
  • 1 can cream chicken soup (or mushroom or celery, or cream of something)
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • ½ pound shredded cheddar cheese (or Colby or Mexican or your favorite)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (if you don’t like tomatoes, you can substitute another can of diced green chilies)
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 medium onion chopped (omit if you don’t like onions)
  • ¼ bag regular flavor Frito or tortilla chips

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and spoon into in a 2 quart or larger casserole dish sprayed with no-stick cooking spray. Put a layer of crushed chips on the bottom and spoon some of the mixture on top the chips. Add a second layer of chips and mixture and top with a final layer of crushed chips.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

I put this casserole in the oven not long after I took the cake out to save preheating time. When it was finished I took it out and now we had dinner and a dessert. Oh yeah, and a really hot kitchen. That was about the time my husband remarked on the temperature in the kitchen and I wrote it off to the fact that I had my stove and oven going most of the day. At least I hoped that was the reason. But, I didn’t get that lucky. An hour later and after much fooling around with our air conditioner, the verdict was in. The air conditioner wasn’t working. So which came first? The chicken or the egg? The tripped breaker or the kaput air conditioner? It really doesn’t matter. The air conditioner has to be replaced. Guess I won’t be doing any baking for the next couple days.

On the positive side, my husband loved the Jalupa Casserole and adored the cake! But wanted to know where the ice cream was to top off the cake. Men.

P.S. The next piece of cake he ate came complete with whipped topping. He is raving about this cake!

Luscious Lemon Delight

Luscious Lemon DelightI saw a post on Facebook the other day about this really great looking lemon dessert. I shared it on my page and my brother’s comment was that this looked just like a recipe our mother used to make for us from our elementary school Mother’s Club cookbook and it was sooooo good. I just happened to have one of those old cookbooks, circa 1977, and sure enough, there was the recipe except it was for coconut cream instead of lemon. I’ve been craving something creamy and cool (not that the  ice cream I indulge in isn’t creamy and cool) so I couldn’t wait to make this recipe.

20150724_12405220150724_123953Ingredients

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks) softened
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar ( or 1/2 c. if you like a sweeter crust)
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream  or Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 c. powdered sugar

For the Pudding Layer and Topping:

  • 2 small packages instant Lemon Pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 c. cold milk
  • 1 (16oz) container whipped topping

Instructions
Mix the flour, sugar and pecans in a medium bowl. Slice the butter into pats and cut into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Believe it or not, this was the first time I’ve ever used the pastry cutter I bought several months ago. How did I go this long without a pastry cutter? Oh, I know, I always take the easy way out and buy my pie crusts ready made.
Using pastry cutterWhat’s up with this?

Using Pastry CutterPress into a  9 x 13 baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
20150724_120053Beat together cream cheese and sugar until creamy and smooth and add 1 cup of the whipped topping to the cheese mixture.

Cream cheese and powdered sugar creamedSpread over cooled crust.

20150724_132513Mix the pudding and the milk and let stand for about 5 minutes to thicken.
Mix pudding with milkSpread on top of cream cheese layer. Allow the pudding layer to set up for about an hour.
Spread pudding on top cream cheese layerTop with the remaining whipped topping and an additional 1/4 cup chopped nuts, if desired.
Top with whipped topping and chopped nutsI couldn’t wait to cut into this luscious dessert. It was every bit as decadent as it looked and my husband thought it was fantastic.Cut into the Luscious Lemon DelightFor a printed version click here.