a balanced plate with room for dessert

Leave a comment

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes

Summer means shorter work hours for me, but for some reason I’m finding myself less and less motivated to make elaborate meals. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe the shorter work weeks make me lazy. Maybe it’s Summer Brain.¬†

All that said, I love this dish because it tastes complicated but is really quite simple to make. The worst of it was it requires a lot of pans, plates, and utensils, but that’s not really my problem since Mike does the dishes ūüėČ

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes |

Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes

for the chicken:
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied and pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons capers
juice of 1 1/2 large lemons
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

for the potatoes:
1 pound red potatoes, quartered or cut into eighths if large
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. To make the chicken, place the flour, eggs, and panko in three separate shallow dishes. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper into the flour mixture.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. Dip into egg and then coat with panko, using your hands to gently press the panko to the chicken.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 – 4 minutes each side.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. Add in chicken broth, capers, and lemon juice. Spoon over chicken and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
  5. To make the potatoes, place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss gently until potatoes are coated evenly.

schnitzel recipe adapted from Food & Wine


Baked Sweet Potato Chili Cheese Fries

I. love. fries. Like, really love fries. I like to pretend that I’m not fully aware of how bad they are for you and always get fries at restaurants. Well, not always… more like 90% of the time. The last time I turned down fries was a couple months ago at a German restaurant. I opted for liver dumpling soup instead :-P. The last time I was out and had an option, Mike and I were in Milwaukee. I could choose between cottage cheese, fruit, or fries. I actually asked about the fruit first, but it had cantaloupe in it and I found out about a year ago that whenever I eat cantaloupe my throat and ears get really itchy. So… that wasn’t going to happen again. Long story short, I chose fries.¬†

I could have fries with every meal and be happy. In fact, I could have fries as  my meal and be happy. 


That’s what I did. I made a meal out of these and I don’t regret it one bit.¬†

baked sweet potato chili cheese fries |

Baked Sweet Potato Chili Cheese Fries
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1/4 cup corn starch
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 fresh jalape√Īo, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425¬įF. Lightly grease two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.¬†
  2. Cut sweet potato into 1/4-inch slices. Stack slices and then slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes to cut fries. 
  3. In a  medium bowl, whisk together corn starch, chili powders, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, ground cumin, and chipotle chile pepper powder. 
  4. In a medium bowl, toss fries with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and grill seasoning. Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over fries and toss to combine. 
  5. Divide potatoes between the two prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes, until fries are crispy. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place fries onto serving platter. Sprinkle with jalape√Īo¬†slices and green onions and serve hot.¬†

1 Comment

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

sweet potato shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s pie is one of my favorite foods. Sweet potatoes? Not so much. I like the color, but that’s pretty much it. I do, however, love regular ol’ mashed potatoes chock full of butter, salt, and pepper. As much as I love indulging, not every meal can be an indulgence. There’s only so much exercise I can fit into a day after all!

So I took the classic shepherd’s pie recipe and trimmed it down to something a bit lighter, yet every bit as fulfilling. And surprisingly, I actually liked the sweet potatoes on top! So, give this dish a try for St. Paddy’s Day instead of the traditional shepherd’s pie!

sweet potato shepherd's pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
inspired by Alton Brown’s recipe on Food Network

3 pounds sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup skim milk

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF.
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and place into a large pot. Cover with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and return to pot. Add in butter, salt, pepper and milk and mash until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a separate bowl and set aside. To the same skillet, add in onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour until well distributed. Stir in tomato paste, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Add beef back to skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in peas, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
  4. Spread beef and vegetable mixture into an 13×9 casserole dish. Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Spread potatoes out to edge of dish with a spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are lightly browned and filling is bubbling.
  5. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Salt & Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

I have two weaknesses in life: sour candy and salt & vinegar chips. Put either of these in front of me, I lose all self-control. I can demolish a bag of Sour Patch Kids in a day (or two) and the same goes for salt & vinegar chips. Obviously, neither of these foods are too good for me. You know, with all the sugar and fat and all…

It finally occurred to me that I should make salt & vinegar potatoes! I’m not sure why this didn’t come to me sooner, but I’m addicted to these. Are you a salt & vinegar chip enthusiast? If so, these are these are the perfect way to jazz up your dinner!

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
White vinegar, to taste*

  1. Preheat oven to 450¬įF. Toss potatoes in a large roasting pan with olive oil and pepper.
  2. Roast potatoes, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Sprinkle with vinegar and salt to taste and serve immediately.
*I ended up using about 1/4 cup of vinegar, but I love vinegar. I would start with a couple of tablespoons and work your way up from there.

Leave a comment

Potato Chips

My mother in law was recently on a low-iodine diet, which meant that she had to avoid pretty much all grocery store salty snacks because you can never tell if the salt used is iodized or not. The solution? Homemade potato chips! I peeled the potatoes and sprinkled uniodized salt on them. These were super easy and delicious to make and they were able to temporarily satisfy her craving for salty, crunchy foods. I think the best part may be that you don’t need a deep fryer (or a large pot full of oil) – these babies are microwaved!

Potato Chips
serves 1

1 large russet potato, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  1. Thinly slice the potato into paper-thin slices.*
  2. Place slices into a large zip-top bag with oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Spray a large plate with vegetable oil and place oiled potato slices onto plate, being careful not to overlap slices.
  4. Microwave for 3 – 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. If they aren’t browned, they won’t be crispy. Be careful – these will look uncooked one moment and then burnt the next!
  5. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve.


*I used a mandoline to slice mine. My food processor didn’t slice them thin enough (maybe there’s a blade I can buy?). The mandoline did the job though. It was really quick and easy to use.

Leave a comment

Tater Tot Casserole

I had the privilege of trying this delicacy for the first time last year. As much as I hate to say this, I actually kind of like it. A lot. And I have a few little secrets that make it even better.

1. Red pepper flakes, and lots of ’em.
2. Baking the casserole without cheese to get the tots crispy

I apologize in advance for the photo. I think it’s dang near impossible to take an appetizing photograph of this monstrosity of a meal.

Tater Tot Casserole
serves 8

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound frozen green beans
1 pound frozen corn
2 10.75 ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 32 ounce package tater tots (I like the mini tots)
1.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Sauté the onion in a large pot until cooked. Add ground beef and cook until browned.
  3. Mix in green beans, corn, and soup. Stir in red pepper flakes until well-distributed.
  4. Spread mixture into a casserole dish and top with tater tots.
  5. Bake 30 – 45 minutes, or until tots are golden brown and casserole is heated through.
  6. Top with cheese and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Leave a comment

Shepherd’s Pie

I remember the first time I tried shepherd’s pie. It was at Brocach in Madison, WI and I loved everything about it. One day I was standing in front of my fridge trying to figure out what to do with all the random food I had laying around and it dawned on me to make an attempt at recreating the deliciousness I had encountered at Brocach.

This meal is the perfect comfort food. I will definitely make it again when it gets colder out.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie
serves 4

6 large potatoes, peeled and quarted
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup beef broth
5 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and mash with butter and minced onion. Mix in 1/4 cup shredded cheddar and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375¬įF.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until clear, about 3 minutes. Add in beef, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook until meat is browned.
  4. Stir in flour and ketchup until well combined. Pour in beef broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour ¬†beef into a 9×9 ovensafe dish. Top with peas and carrots. Smooth mashed potatoes over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheddar.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.