Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Crispy Mustard Glazed Chicken Breasts January 16, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 6:16 pm

Guys, I have some big news! I’m engaged! If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Pinterest, you’re probably thinking “Big surprise, everyone already knew that!” We joke because it’s been the worst kept secret in town. We’ve been planning the wedding since Christmas, but because the ring was on order, it wasn’t “official.”

On Monday, Richard had told me that he was going to have to work late because too many people had called off work. He had been there since 6 am, and was understandably frustrated. I decided, instead of working late too, I’d come home, do some laundry, make dinner, and clean up so he could relax when he did get home.

But, when I opened the door to our apartment, I walked in to purple crepe streamers EVERYWHERE. He had made a timeline of our relationship and it crisscrossed around our apartment. I started following it, all the time thinking he was still at work, and how could he have gotten this done, since he left before I did that morning. I was laughing and crying as I read the date cards that were placed every few feet on the line.

The timeline wrapped back into our bedroom–where I was expecting a card or clue or something, since I still didn’t think he was home. At that point he popped out of the closet and proposed! Well, almost proposed, because I think I said “YES!” before he even got the words out. Oops. Me and my big mouth!

To everyone who has sent their congratulations, thank you! We are so excited and can’t wait to be married in the fall.

The recipe that follows is what I made for dinner last night. I have been told that I must add this recipe to my regular meal plan, because Richard loved it.

Crispy Mustard Glazed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
4 Tbsp butter, softened
2 1/2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
3/4 cup Panko
2 tsp dried dill
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rub chicken with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Combine 2 Tbsp butter with mustard. Reserve two tsp of that mix for sauce. Smear the rest on the chicken.

Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter, mix with Panko, dill, salt and pepper. Dredge the breasts with this mixture.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Sear chicken until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes each. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through–15-20 minutes.

Transfer chicken to serving platter. Add stock and cream to skillet over medium heat, and stir until creamy and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in reserved mustard mixture.


Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops January 10, 2013

Filed under: Pork,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 8:11 pm

Holy crap, you guys. I am SORE. Today is day two of our workout/diet plan and man. My body does not like the change so far. But that’s good right? It means that I’ve made an adjustment to the terrible way I was living.

I’m not doing anything really structured–I always fail miserably at those plans. One day missed on the plan and I revert back to my inert laziness. Instead, we are making an effort to eat less fat and preservatives, and work out during the week. Richard works late 2 or 3 nights a week, so we are doing cardio together on his early nights, then sitting down to a well-rounded, healthy dinner. On his late nights, he works out in the morning, and I’m doing a strength-based exercise regimen courtesy of Pinterest. It’s only been two days, but I think we will be able to keep each other accountable.

Or, if I’m being honest, he’ll keep ME accountable. Because let’s face it–he’s much better at sticking to a plan than I am. The hardest part will be the weekends, when we usually drink lots of beer, go out to eat, or order Chinese takeout.

I am quickly becoming addicted to balsamic vinegar. It fulfills all the savory, sour, rich flavors that my palate craves 90% of the time. It’s so easy to toss some greens and veggies with a splash of balsamic and just a bit of EVOO.

I came across this recipe in one of my old binders and knew I had to make it. It was DELICIOUS. It was very quick to throw together, but there was no sacrificing the flavors here. It was deep and sweet and tangy. I ended up dousing some green beans in leftover sauce to eat for dinner tonight.

I had every intention of crediting the author here, but my wonderful boyfriend cleaned our apartment while I was at work today, and threw away the recipe. This is not a recipe I created out of my head, so my sincerest apologies to the original author. Just trust me. Make this soon!

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

2-4 boneless pork loin
EVOO, salt pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs Honey
1 Tsp chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp butter

Drizzle pork with EVOO, salt and pepper. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature.

In a small saucepan, boil balsamic and honey until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add butter and rosemary, remove from heat.

Preheat skillet on med high heat. Place pork in pan, baste with balsamic mixture on both sides until cooked through. Mine were thin, so this only took a few minutes. Thicker loins will take longer.

Serve with veggies, and applesauce of course!


Peanut Sesame Dressing January 6, 2013

Filed under: Asian,Quick and Easy,Salad,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:46 pm

Let’s face it, I have been doing hell to my body for the past year. I’ve hardly cooked (as evidenced by the lack of posts on this blog), I’ve drank a ton, and I’ve rarely exercised. Add a lot of stress and a job where I sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, and the results are not pretty. It doesn’t help that buying fast food is so much cheaper than buying all the ingredients needed to make a healthy, well-balanced meal. But, I guess you get what you pay for.

Now I have no more excuse. I HAVE to get back in shape. Richard and I both agree we need to lose weight. Neither of us feel well most of the time, and there is so much going on in the next year that we need to have energy for. I went on a mega grocery trip yesterday and spent all day today prepping for meals. Man it felt good to really get back into the kitchen and letting my creative juices flow.

One of the things I prepped was this dressing. It’s maybe not the healthiest dressing out there, with the peanut butter and oil, but it’s better than what I HAVE been eating for lunch. I also cut up an apple and bell pepper, and roasted a chicken tonight, so I have plenty of toppings for the mixed greens I bought. It’s a step in the right direction, definitely.

This dressing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s very strong, but also very delicious. You don’t need a lot–the flavor goes a long way. Oh! I even put some in a baggie with sliced chicken breast for stir-fry on another night. Yum!

Peanut Sesame Dressing
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I used chunky)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine (I used flat champagne leftover from New Years.)

In a blender, mix ingredients until well combined to your taste. Add more of something if it needs it. I played around with it for awhile, even tripled the recipe so I could use it as a marinade.


Beef and Broccoli Udon October 23, 2012

Filed under: Asian,Beef,Broccoli,pasta,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 11:47 am

We are finally starting to really get settled into our apartment. The furniture is in it’s place, clothes are put away. I even built a desk this weekend! It’s good to finally feel at home, instead of being so displaced like I have been the past year.

One thing that Richard and I both agree on is the importance of sitting down for a real meal when we both work the early shift (since he works retail, that’s not every night). This is great for me, because it gives me a chance to get back into cooking. Plus, it’s just really nice to sit down and talk about our day and unwind.

We’ve been eating way too many prepackaged meals lately, so we went on a mega food shopping trip this weekend and stocked our pantry. Boy does it feel great to have real food in my fridge! Things with color! What better way to celebrate that than to cook something vibrant and fresh. This dish fits that to a T. Quick and easy, which was perfect on the stereotypical Monday we both had. But also hot and flavorful. And I got to work some of my stress out on the cutting board. What is better at relieving stress than smashing some garlic cloves and stir-frying veggies?

Make this soon. It’s healthy, fulfilling, and it’s a great way to use up any extra veggies you may have in your fridge. I’ll definitely be making this often in some form or another.


Beef and Broccoli Udon
Adapted from Dinners for a Year and Beyond


2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Sriracha to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 pound beef tenderloin, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp honey
2-3 drops sriracha

4 teaspoons oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, large dice
10 button mushroom, sliced
2 cups broccoli
2 7oz packages udon noodles
Combine marinade for ingredients. Toss beef in marinade, let sit at room temp while you prep the veggies.
Combine sauce ingredients, set aside.
Heat large pan on high heat. Add 2 tsp oil. Saute beef until just brown on both sides. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add other 2 tsp oil. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds-1 minute. Add red peppers and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add broccoli, cover and steam for 2-3 minutes, until veggies are tender-crisp. Add sauce, noodles and beef. Cook for 1 minute just to warm everything through. Serve!

Spanish-Style Rice October 10, 2012

Filed under: Mexican,My Recipes,Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 10:40 am

I moved AGAIN this weekend. Three apartments in 12 months. WHEW! I am so not moving again for a long time. But, now that we’ve gotten most everything put away, I actually feel at home. I’ve been feeling like a guest in someone else’s place for awhile, so it’s a relief to be so much more relaxed.

We had our first company over last night for the Red’s playoff game. I am in training this week with a new group of employees, and I knew I’d be getting home after Richard’s friend was already there. Because I needed a quick, easy meal, I settled on tacos. Those are pretty self explanatory–meat, seasoning, cheese, shell. Some refried beans on the side (or the way I like it–in my taco). But, I wanted to cook SOMETHING. This rice was super easy–just throw it all in a pot for 25 minutes. That gave me time to crack open a beer (Sam Adams Harvest Nut–get your hands on this, if you haven’t already), catch up on the game, and talk to our company. The boys loved it, so I will definitely be making this again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture of this. There wasn’t really any recipe that I followed, just threw everything together based on what I THOUGHT was in Spanish Rice. It worked for us, even if it wasn’t totally authentic.

Spanish-Style Rice
Original Recipe

1 15-oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 1/2 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (I actually used a ramen noodle packet because that’s what I had on hand.)
Generous amount of a cayenne pepper/chili powder based seasoning blend
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp soy sauce (or Worcestershire would work as well)
2 Tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to low heat. Cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Don’t touch this why it’s simmering, otherwise the rice will come out sticky and gooey.

Remove from heat when rice is tender and has soaked up most of the liquid. Serve hot.


Seafood Stuffed Peppers June 28, 2012

Filed under: Fish,Leftovers,Quick and Easy,Seafood — hmills96 @ 6:48 pm

It is 106 degrees today in Indy. 106!!!! The next 7 days are supposed to be over 100 degrees. This is craziness. I’m starting to think someone switched my Hoosier State with Arizona. It’s so dry–I’m not sure I have ever experienced a dry heat like this. It usually gets pretty hot in August, but we have storms every other day to balance things out. I couldn’t tell you the last time it rained here. The grass looks like straw, and the rumor is that the 4th of July fireworks are going to be cancelled.

So of course, what do I do when it’s hot? Turn on the stove and the oven. Yeah…great plan Haley. But, today was really stressful, and that means it was kitchen playtime. I had sauteed an extra bass filet the other night and it needed to be eaten, and my bell pepper was begging to be roasted. This was really great, much more my style than rice stuffed peppers. You could use anchovies in this, if that’s your style, or salmon. Really any seafood. These quite spicy enough for me, I’ll maybe add sriracha or cayenne to it next time.


Seafood Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from

1 bell pepper, cored and seeded
Olive Oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Cooked fish of any kind
Your choice of herbs, minced (I used basil and dill)
Red Pepper flakes
1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (I used crackers)
1 egg, beaten with 2 TBSP warm water
1 cup cheese (I used Italian Blend, again, use what you like)

Preheat broiler.

Sautee garlic in oil. Add flaked fish, herbs, and crumbs. Cook for two minutes.

Stir in beaten egg. Add cheese, and more water if needed to make a soft mixture.

Stuff peppers with egg mixture.

Place back in pan, and roast under broiler until peppers are starting to blacken.

Remove and enjoy!

You could definitely roast these in a baking pan if you were doing multiples. Or make the filling ahead of time, freeze, and then stuff and roast the peppers as you want them. Or these would be great on a grill! Gotta love flexible recipes!


Baked Egg Caprise June 14, 2012

It’s hard to believe I’ve lived in Indy for 6 months now. It was an adjustment, getting used to living in the city, since I’ve lived in small towns my whole life. But there are so many benefits. I’m close to work, there’s so many great restaurants and bars and breweries here. I’ve made so many new friends I can’t even count them.

Another benefit I have discovered this summer is that the farmer’s markets are much better here too. More people = bigger venues = more vendors. I have not made it downtown yet, as the market is on Wednesdays while I am at work. But the one just north of me is wonderful.

I picked up a couple of tomatoes this weekend. I normally associate tomatoes with late summer, but these looked so good I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve had leftover roast chicken the last three nights, and while it is delicious, I was ready for something new. This was the perfect remedy. I just did one in a custard cup, but you could do this easily in a muffin tin if you are feeding a family or a group! Would be great for breakfast too!


Baked Eggs Caprise
Original Recipe

1 tomato
1 egg
1 basil leaf, torn or cut into pieces
Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut the top off the tomato, and with a spoon, scoop out some of the insides. Leave plenty of meat on the tomato though!

Place in greased custard cup.

Crack egg into tomato. Top with basil and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until whites are set.

Eat! I didn’t do this tonight, but I bet some good quality olive oil would be fantastic drizzled over the top. Or some balsamic? YUMMMMM…