Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Rendition of Outback's "Alice Springs Chicken"

Central Oregon is not really fond of big chain restaurants.
This is the land of locally owned hole in the walls
with locally brewed beers on tap.
This may be the reason, after 15 years in business
Bend's Outback Steakhouse closed up shop. 
Don't get me wrong, I am all for "keeping it local"
yet it's been over a year and I'm still mourning the loss.

I loved Outback and had some wonderful memories there.
Before all the trendy new places opened up, 
Outback was one of the best places in town
 to get an "upscale-ish" meal. 
My grandparents (RIP Grandpa Gene) 
took me there the night before my graduation. 
My husband took me there when we first started dating.
But now the closest Outback 
is all the way on the other side of the mountain, 
and may as well be in the actual "Outback"
So I improvise, homemade is better, right?

Truth be told, 
I actually developed this rendition of Outback's 
"Alice Springs Chicken"  years ago, 
partly because after our second baby was born, 
my husband and I 
had become total home-bodies,
and partly because we couldn't 
really afford to eat out much anyway.
That's when I first started to realize 
Homemade is definitely better for the family budget.

If you've never tried "Alice Springs Chicken" I highly recommend it,
either at home or if you're lucky enough 
to have an Outback in your area, 
then by all means, go there right now 
and enjoy a bloomin' onion in my honor, 
but be sure to save room for this tasty succulent chicken dinner! 

Here's how you can make this right at home.

You'll need: 

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
honey mustard (recipe follows)
6 slices of thick cut Bacon
1 pint Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)

Honey Mustard Recipe

*You can use store bought honey mustard in a pinch.
(If so, I suggest the kind they sell individually at the deli counter, those are THE best!)
Or you can make your own by mixing up these ingredients:
3/4 cup dijon mustard, 3/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon brown sugar. 


Pour half the marinade over the chicken.
Let it marinate for 2-4 hours.
*Reserve the other half of the marinade.
After it's marinated, 
Preheat oven to 375.
Cook up your bacon in a skillet.
*Set bacon aside on paper towel.
*Proceed with caution*
Honey mustard+hot bacon grease = lots of popping. 
Use a splatter screen!
Sear chicken in same skillet (in bacon fat) 
for approx 4 minutes per side. 
Transfer chicken to baking dish 
& brush with half of the reserved honey mustard 
*Save the other half of honey mustard for serving. 
Meanwhile saute mushrooms in skillet.
Top chicken with bacon & mushrooms. 
Bake for approx. 10 minutes 
until Chicken is cooked through. 
Top with cheese and broil on low for 1-2 minutes 
until cheese is melted. 
Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce 
and a great side dish 
like a loaded baked potato 
or a side salad, 
if you're a wuss. (just kidding!) 

Like I said, I have been making this recipe for years.
So I hope I didn't leave anything out. 
If you have any questions, 
or just want to rant about how awesome this recipe is, 
or if you're from Outback Steakhouse
and want to offer me a job managing a restaurant in La Pine, OR.
feel free to post a comment below. 

Disclaimer: This recipe is an interpretation and my personal rendition of a restaurant dish.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chile Verde Smothered Burritos--My Aunt's Recipe

My aunt is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen and last week she made us a delicious dinner.
Her homemade chile verde sauce puts these smothered burritos over the top!! 

On the Facebook page I asked "fans" to "Like" this post if they wanted me to share my aunt's recipe. 

Check out the Homemade is Better Facebook Page
Like and share to stay up to date on Homemade is Better!

Well folks, the fans have spoken. 

With my aunt's permission, I am posting the secret family recipe and as usual the secret is in the sauce. 

After you try this fresh chile verde salsa you will never go back to the stuff in the jar.

Chile Verde Smothered Burritos

You'll need:
Boneless Pork
Seasoning: Salt, garlic, cinnamon, cumin.

Refried Beans: (Homemade refried beans recipe--on the blog soon!)

Salsa Verde: 
Fresh Tomatillos
Serrano Chilies
Fresh Garlic
Lemon Juice

Here's how:
Chop pork into bite sized cubes, season and sear it on high heat, 
Reduce to medium and cook until done.

For the Salsa Verde blend the fresh tomatillos, serrano peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. 
IF it seems too thick, add a splash of water.
Add ingredients to taste and make it as spicy as desired.

You may be thinking, "What on earth are tomatillos and serrano peppers and where do I find them?"

You'll find these tasty peppers in the grocery store in the produce section next to the jalapenos! 

Here's what to look for: 
photo credit: Urban Food Guy

Mix salsa verde with pork  

Now it's time to build those burritos! 
1. Warm up a tortilla
2. Spread  beans & cheese in the middle
3. Wrap burrito 
4. Top with pork salsa verde mix & sprinkle with cheese.
5. Microwave or broil on low to melt cheese if desired. 


Without Diversity Life Would Be Bland

I wrote a mini-essay for a diversity scholarship application last night and I must have had food on the brain--I usually do.

When I think about diversity, the first thing that comes to mind is cooking. Some of the best dishes result from fusing two or more types of cuisines together; for instance “Tex-Mex” and “Korean Tacos”. Just think about how bland food would be if we never took risks by combining different flavors together. That’s how I feel about diversity. Without it, life would be bland.

My family is a fusion of a variety of cultures from all around the world.  I am proud to be a mixed race. I live in a rural community where minorities make up only a small percentage of the population. However I do not let being different cause me to feel inferior in anyway. On the contrary, I feel honored to be apart of this community as a representation of my ancestors.  As a mother, I have taught my children to embrace their diverse heritage, which is something I will encourage my students to do as well when I become a teacher.

I am grateful to be apart of Eastern Oregon University’s online campus because it allows me to be connected with such a diverse group of students and faculty. I get the opportunity to correspond with classmates from all over and each one brings their own experiences, knowledge and outlooks on the world. I take great pleasure in learning all that I can from each interaction I have via class discussion boards, peer mentoring, and group projects. I believe the diversity that exists at EOU enriches the college experience for all students, as it does in all aspects of life.

I believe diversity is crucial for humans to thrive in the world. Just like a good recipe is not created with only one ingredient. It takes a variety of flavors to come together to create a truly satisfying meal.