Monterey Chicken

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Chicken Dishes, Main Course, March 2013


OOOOH! Another yummy recipe I got from Pinterest!! ( you can find the original blog post here:


I am telling you….Pinterest makes you fat. IF you try all the amazing, recipes one can find there (this is my goal!). If you only pin them, or watch me make and eat all of them, then you will stay the lovely, skinny beeyotches that you are. Joking. Let me weed out the crappy ones for you and only try the ones I post here. Become my minions, my followers (PS- GREAT tv show btw).

I ended up trying this recipe because I had all the ingredients. No really! ALL of them!! Ok, wait. No. I had all but the colby cheese and I used different ones instead. Dammit. Thought I may have actually made it through a whole recipe without making an amendment. Nope, typical Erin.


What you will need:


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 pkgs of chicken tenders)
1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce ( I used 4 Tbsps Sweet Baby Rays)
1/4 c. real bacon bits (4 strips of bacon cooked in the microwave then cut up with scissors 😉 )
1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded (yeah, I used a mix of Jack, Mozza and Parmesan cheese…about 1/2 cup)
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added, can only get these in the States. But you could used diced tomatoes and add your own jalapenos)
sliced green onions


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper (or in my case…just season with pepper).

Grill chicken until no long pink (I used my stopetop grill pan I got at Mardens for $3.99)



Place on baking sheet covered with foil and brush each chicken breast with BBQ sauce



Top with tomatoes



Add the cheese, green onions and bacon bits.



Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes)



I like mine served with a dollop of fat free sour cream.




My hoover (read : son) said these would be delish in a sandwich (I think on a toasted roll with garlic butter and more cheese, or in a pita or rolled up in a tortilla!!! Oh yeah!)

The Rotel tomatoes are quite spicy. I think next time (I have 2 cans left from my last excursion to Calais, ME) I will mix with fresh diced tomatoes.

Oh and I forgot to mention…on the original blog she marinated the chicken in 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. soy sauce, 2 tsp. McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning before cooking it. I didn’t think i’d like the mix of oil and soy sauce so I marinated MY chicken for 2 hours in Italian salad dressing. 😉


Oh Pinterest, you may just be the death of me. 😉


I hope you enjoy!

love, peace & chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick

An Exercise in Decadence…Lobster Mac & Cheese

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Main Course, Seafood Dishes, September 2012


The Superstore had live lobster on sale for $5 a pound a few weeks ago…I got 4 lovely ladies for a little under $20. After eating one fresh out of the shell with butter and using another a lobster rolls I had hit a brick wall. What to do with the other 2?? I know I could freeze them for a later time but why not get a little adventurous?

I am fairly certain I had heard of Lobster Mac & Cheese on one of the multitude of cooking shows I watch. If you know me you know that its either HGTV or Food Network around here almost 24/7. Unless Big Brother is on….or Criminal Minds….or Sons of Anarchy. Anyway, the point is I watch a lot of cooking shows (and apparently other tv shows!). I googled for a recipe but since I was in my pjs and super lazy I had to do quite a few substitutions. Almost so many that it really cannot be considered “following a recipe”. I kinda made it up as I went along using the recipe(s) I found as more like guidelines then actual recipes per se.


So for my bastardized version….

What you will need is:



meat of two 1 to 1 1/2 lb lobsters, in largish bite sized pieces

3-4 cups of cooked elbow macaroni, drained and cooled

1 small diced onion

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I like old but you can use your preference…the recipe called for Gouda. I have never even EATEN Gouda cheese let alone have any in my fridge!)

2 Tbsps Cheez Whiz (recipe called for Velveeta…close enough)

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Chicken stock (the recipe called for dry white wine….yeah, none of that around here)

3 heaping Tbsps flour

salt and pepper

2 Tbsps + 2 Tbsps butter

1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream works!)

bread crumbs

garlic powder




Preheat over to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, warm cream.

In a separate medium saucepan melt 2 Tbsps butter over medium heat and saute the onions about 2 minutes.



Add chicken stock and allow to warm up for a minute or two.

Add the flour and whisk (it will make a paste).




Add the warm cream. Stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper).



Remove from heat and add the cheeses.





Stir until combined and melted. Add the lobster and continue stirring for a minute.



Add noodles and mix well.





Place mixture in a greased 9×9 Pyrex pan.



In a separate bowl add 1 cup bread crumbs (I like Panko Japanese bread crumbs as they are super crunchy), 2 Tbsps melted butter (microwave 20 seconds) and a pinch of garlic powder. Mix together.



Top the Mac & Cheese with it.



Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbling. I turned the broiler on high after 35 minutes in the oven and just lightly browned the top for 1-2 minutes.



Serve immediately. Sprinkle with a little chopped or dried parsley.



This is SUPER rich and a small bowl is more then enough.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick


The best SteakHouse Steak (at home!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, July 2012, Main Course


I have a new addiction. Already addicted to coke (Diet that is), addicted to cleaning (OCD anyone?) and now I am addicted to Pinterest. Damn you Jen and Chantal!

I had decided initially to do a 30 Day Pinterest challenge and had the intentions of doing something found on Pinterest every day for the month of July. Then I remembered I am going to Vegas for a week. There will be lots of things I will be doing in Vegas…but they probably won’t be found on Pinterest and they will never be spoken of aloud to anyone….ever. So the challenge has been rescheduled for August.

However, since I had started my self imposed challenge I had done a few things from the site already….crafted some stuff, made homemade cleaners, created a table top S’More-er and tried some recipes. There are A LOT of great looking recipes on Pinterest. I currently have 166 recipes “pinned”. Since I am the epitome of a carnivore (I guess we humans are actually omnivores since I do eat a few veggies but LOVE my charred mammal flesh) this picture automatically stood out to me.


pinterest steak


This is a recipe that can be found on this blog: (i’m not smart enough to figure out how to add in a link…just copy and paste the address into your address field. If I have to explain copy & paste to you then you have more computer issues then me.)

What a funny and amusing blog! Not to mention this FABULOUS recipe for the best steak ever…with OR without a BBQ. I always said my last meal if I were on death row….or the zombies were coming….or Jesus….or whoever….would be BBQ steak as it was my favorite. Notice I said WAS. This will replace BBQ as my pre-zombie last supper.

There is not much that I changed in this recipe….but you know me….I had to change something.

For the steak you will need:

Um…steak. Now I could not find an 8oz filet mignon. Maybe i’m blind….maybe i’m stoopid…but there was just none to be had at The Great Atlantic SuperStore. I am sure if I had have gone to a real live butcher or to the City Market I could have but dammit I am lazy and just wanted to eat. So I bought the thickest steak I could find. They were aptly named “Beefeater” steaks. Would have confused the hell out of me had they been called “Chickeneater” steaks but then again I did snap THIS picture at the Superstore awhile ago….



So nothing would surprise me anymore.

The only other things you need is a GOOD salt, fresh cracked black pepper and oil. Now on Whits blog she uses olive oil. I used Grapeseed oil and i’ll explain why. Any time I have EVER made anything in the cast iron pan in the oven and used olive oil the entire house gets filled with smoke. Olive oil has a low smoke point (just before FLASH point) so as it heats and goes beyond 325-375 degrees (the normal “frying” temperature for oils) it will smoke and cause your oil to blacken and smoke to billow from your oven. Not to mention assault your ears when your smoke alarm blares. What you want is a SCREAMING hot cast iron pan. You are heating it on high and searing the beef on either side on the stove top (which most oils can handle) but then you are placing in a 500 degree oven (as per Chef Alton Brown) so you need an oil with a smoke point of 400 + degrees.  This gives you the choice of Grapeseed oil (no flavor), Canola, Corn, Safflower, Sunflower or Vegetable oil. I had Grapeseed so I USED grapeseed.

Give your steaks a generous rub of salt and pepper.



On the stove top heat your cast iron on high and add the oil (1Tbsp or you can simply brush your steak on both sides with oil and place into dry pan…this will also help to avoid smoke). Sear your meat 30 seconds on each side and place into the oven on the center rack.



Leave the steak in the oven for 4-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak and your preference for doneness (is that a word?) I like my steak Medium Rare so I leave a 1″ steak in for 4 minutes… a 2″ steak for 5-6 minutes…a 3″ steak for 6-7 minutes….you get the drift, right?

Be careful taking the cast iron pan out of the oven….that baby is going to be HOT.



This process is quick so have the rest of your meal ready or almost ready before starting the steak.

Let your steak rest for 1-2 minutes after removing from the oven and before slicing into that juicy nugget of goodness. Otherwise you are going to lose all that juice and the cutting board gets all the goodness.



For the compound butter you will need:

Butter NOT margarine…go ahead, splurge, you are worth it. Leave the butter on the counter for a few hours to soften.

Roasted garlic (very simple. Lop off the top of the whole bulb. Peel off the thin skin. Place in the center of a square of tin foil. Rub with olive oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes. Once cool, squeeze out the roasted cloves.)

Fresh chopped parsley and thyme

Lemon zest



Mix together your preferred ratios (I used 1/2 block of butter, A LOT of garlic…the whole bulb, 1Tbsp Lemon zest, 1 tsp each chopped herb). Place on the center of saran wrap or tin foil and roll into a log. Refrigerate.



Once your steak is plated. top with a thick slice of butter. Oh. Em. Gee. This is the kicker. It is soooooooo amazing. Trust me. My son even said that this was the best steak he has ever had and we both made little mewling noises as we ate. Sad huh?



A few nights later I had BBQ steak (no sauce) and added a coin of this butter (which by the way will keep in the fridge for a very long time!) and it was also delicious….although not as good as the pan fried one.




You try it and let me know your preference!


love, peace and chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick



Asparagus Beef Stir Fry

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, July 2012, Main Course


Oh my little blog babies…I am so sorry. I have been a neglectful blog Mama and have completely deserted you.

I have had a few wonderful and loyal readers approach me and ask what the hell happened, where did I go. I am embarrassed to say that life got in the way.  I went on vacation in May and lost the ooomph to cook and blog. Since the beginning of summer my dear son has decided to do a week at home and a week at his Dads and honestly when its just me I tend to eat a lot of toast. I am not as motivated to cook for just myself. I have to get out of that.


So here is a super duper easy but extra yummy recipe from Kraft. One of the things I like about most Kraft recipes is there are minimal ingredients. You will never see a Kraft recipe with 19 ingredients or asking for strange things that you can’t find at your local grocery store like dried shittake mushrooms. Simple=good (most of the time).

This one is really tasty.

What you will need:

stir fry, beef, asparagus, peppers, Kraft

1/3 cup Kraft Catalina Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips (I used 2 decent sized steaks)
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
1 red pepper, cut into strips
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2-2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
peppers, green onion, asparagus
Heat the salad dressing and soy sauce on med-high heat in a large skillet or wok.
Add the beef and stir fry for 3 minutes.
beef, sauce
Add the peppers and asparagus. Stir fry another 5 minutes or until beef is done.
asparagus, peppers
Add the green onions (and I added a dash of chili flakes to incorporate a little heat with the sweet).
asparagus, peppers, sauce, beef, green onion, chili flakes
Serve on hot rice.
Asparagus Beef Stir Fry
SO simple. SO quick.
There is no question I will be making this again. It reminds me a little of a frozen dinner I used to buy a lot. It may or may not have been a version of a Michelena dinner but it has not been for sale around here for a few years and I really REALLY liked it. Its not so pretty once stirred up but I really enjoyed it.
I hope you do too.
love, peace and chicken grease,
– A Cooped Up Chick

Edit: I now make this ALL the time but add a sprinkle of crushed red chili flakes to spice it up a little. It is one of my most favorite things to take to work for lunch/supper.

A Better Bulgogi

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, March 2012


I was just going to add an ‘update’ to my previous post on Jap Chae and Bulgogi but decided instead to just create a whole new post.

The previous times I had made Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) I used a purchased marinade from the Korean market. It wasn’t BAD per se it just wasn’t what I wanted….what I expected. Not super flavorful. Fresh is always better.

I Googled ‘bulgogi’ and found that there are dozens of variations all with the same base of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil but then had different accompanying ingredients. I searched through them all to find a recipe with ingredients I had on hand. This is the one that fit (since I don’t usually have rice wine vinegar or sake in my pantry). Feel free to add what else you would like.


What you will need:

bulgogi marinade

1/3 cup soy sauce (try to use the best soy sauce you can find since it is THE base of the marinade)

3 Tbsps sugar (I used half white and half brown)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 of a medium sweet onion, sliced thinly in half moon slivers

2 Tbsps toasted sesame seeds

2 pinches black pepper

1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (I used more like 1 tsp….but I LOVE ginger)

1/4 tsp chili flakes

2 green onions, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces

1/2lb of beef (I use eye of round and have the butcher slice as thin as possible)


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

soy sauce sugar


sesame oil onion


green onion chili flakes


toasted sesame seeds






I cut the beef into strips before adding to the marinade.

eye of round beef


strips of beef


The recipe called for 1-2 hours of marinade time…I marinated the beef for almost 24hrs. This is ok with beef because it has strong connective tissue and there is no acid component in this recipe. If there was lemon juice or if you used a different protein like pork or fish then you would need to stick with the 1 or 2 hours only otherwise the meat will start to cook in the marinade. We certainly do not want that.

marinating beef



Cook in a wok if you have one, if not use a good frying pan. Add a little vegetable oil and fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes. DO not wipe off marinade, simply drop by the spoonful into the wok.

Serve with Jap Chae or hot rice.


I think this marinade would also be awesome in a Beef and Broccoli stir fry….or any stir fry for that matter.

bulgogi on japchae


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick


Kitchen Bitch Episode 2 – The Anti Valentines Day Bitch

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, Desserts, February 2012, Main Course, Seafood Dishes



My little group and I decided the best way to celebrate the HORROR that is Valentines Day, aka ‘Single Awareness Day’, would be together, with lots of great food, music and alcohol. I don’t really mind V Day all that much other than all the hearts and pink stuff shoved in our faces by retail establishments that tell us if we don’t have a Valentine we are losers. To me its just another day that I have chosen to be alone. I am alone 364 other days of the year so why is the anniversary of the day that St Valentine had his head chopped off in 270 AD going to be any different? YAY….a beheading….here have a Hallmark card and some flowers to celebrate! ???? My highly intelligent and modern mind cannot grasp this concept. 🙂


So at the last Kitchen Bitch I took it upon myself to snap up February 14th as MY turn to host the next installment. I am so glad that I did. It gave me some fresh, fun eyes to view all the decorations that were up and around every where. Every time I would see a little cupid, I would picture him hanging in my house….decapitated, just like poor St Valentine. I thought it was a fitting tribute…not sadistic.

I would see a shiny, red heart and pictured it ripped down the center…depicting a ‘Broken Heart’.

I had purchased myself some flowers last week (which I do very frequently) and thought once they were wilted and dead they would make a fabulous centerpiece for the table.

I bought a bunch of ‘Love Animals’ clutching hearts dearly to their busoms…and hung them from nooses throughout the house.


Some may find this bitter and sad. It made me IMMENSELY happy. I don’t feel bitter at all. I do not want a relationship. I love my life just as it is. That is NOT to say that I do not get lonely from time to time…I am human…not Borg…but I do HONESTLY love my life just as it it. If a wonderful, generous, caring, loving, handsome, well-blessed man presented himself to me I would recognize and give him a chance but I am not actively dating or out looking. I would literally need Baby Jesus to drop him in my lap for me to notice. Please Baby Jesus….drop a rich, well endowed man into my lap. 😉

What I decided on for the menu was “Bad Date Foods”. Lots of garlic and spice. Messy foods. For an appetizer I found a recipe online for ‘Conceited Mushrooms’ (because they are full of themselves…..HAAAHAAAHAA). Of course, I tweaked it. I can’t help it.

For the Conceited Mushrooms you will need:

2 dozen button mushrooms

1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs, I used Italian bread crumbs from Progresso

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, diced fine

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsps tomato juice *my addition

4 slices cooked bacon, diced *my addition (cause I even have a T-shirt that says “everything is better with bacon”)

a sprinkle of crushed, red chili flakes *my addition

2 Tbsps fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley *my addition


First step is to have nice clean mushrooms.

Then separate the stem from the cap.


Take half of the stems and chop very fine. This is what makes the mushrooms full of themselves…we are going to add the stems BACK into the cap. Get it? Huh? 😀

Dice your onion.

diced onion

Add some butter or margarine to a small pan and saute the onions and mushroom stems until the onion softens. Add the garlic and sprinkle of chili flakes.

sauteed onion mushroom garlic chili flakes

Add sauteed veg to a bowl.

sauteed veg

Add the bread crumbs…

bread crumbs

…diced bacon…

…the Parmesan cheese…

parmesan cheese

…and the parsley. I tasted the mixture at this point. It was missing an acidic component so I had some tomato juice in the fridge and added a couple of tablespoons. It was PERFECT.

filling for Conceited Mushrooms

I found the button cap had to be modified a little. I took a paring knife and shaved a little around the edge to create a larger opening to restuff. I also sliced a small bit off the bottom to make it more flattened and stable.

Spoon the mixture back into the cap.

conceited mushrooms

Sprinkle a little Parmesan on top and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

stuffed mushrooms conceited mushrooms


For the main course I served Super garlicy, spicy shrimp pasta. I have blogged this recipe before (see ‘Spicy Shrimp pasta’ December 2011). I added a side of Roasted Garlic Cheesy bread. Simple french baguette, halved, with garlic butter and roasted garlic mash (lop off the top of a garlic bulb, douse with olive oil, wrap in tin foil, bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes). Add mozza cheese and broil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.


This dish would be considered a “bad date food” on 2 fronts! Uber garlic breath and a wonderful, slurpy, pasta slinging mess! Love it. Me and my girls didn’t care!!

garlicy spicy shrimp paste


For dessert I made Sex-in-a-pan. I had never made (or ate) this before but I figured that just because we are single doesn’t mean we can’t have sex on Valentine’s Day….it would just have to be in a pan. And not in any kinky way. Again….I modified the recipe slightly.

What you will need (for my bastardized version):

1 package instant chocolate pudding

1 package instant vanilla pudding

(milk to make the pudding…4 cups)

1 container Cool Whip, thawed

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted margarine

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened

1 cup icing sugar

milk chocolate for garnish

butterscotch ganache (1 cup of heavy cream brought to a simmer on stovetop, remove from heat and one package Chipits butterscotch chips stirred in until melted. Allow to cool completely)


Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. The actual recipe called for 1 cup of chopped pecans but since I am allergic to nuts (take that however you want to! lol) I left them out. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Mine cooked for 16 minutes and was perfect. Allow to cool completely.

graham cracker crust

While the crust cools, make your puddings as per the directions on the box. These also have to set before continuing.

chocolate pudding

vanilla pudding


In another bowl, mix the cream cheese and the icing sugar.

cream cheese icing sugar

cream cheese mixture


Fold in 1 cup of Cool Whip.

cream cheese mixture with cool whip


Once the crust is completely cooled, add the cream cheese mixture.


Drizzle with butterscotch ganache.

butterscotch ganache


Top with chocolate pudding and some shaved or chopped chocolate.

chocolate layer


Add the vanilla pudding layer and top with the remaining Cool Whip.

vanilla and whip cream layer


Garnish with more drizzled ganache, shaved and chopped chocolate. To shave chocolate just drag a sharp knife across the chocolate bar. Chop what is left.


Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

sex in a pan


To top off the evening we also created a delicious libation. It started with Amandas idea to mix Peach Schnapps with grapefruit juice (the result of leftover Schnapps from the Belinis at her party…and whatever was sitting in her fridge. Thank GOD she didn’t have beet juice in there!!!) I never got an exact recipe from her so I took that idea and ran with it.

This poor drink has an identity crisis. At first Amanda wanted to call it a ‘Zipless F#$k’ since searching drink names and realizing ‘A One Night Stand’ was taken. This was her idea of a synonym. Since my mommy reads my blog (on occasion) and she would be disappointed in me for using THE BIG CURSE WORD…I nixxed that idea. MY idea of a synonym would be to call it a ‘Colin Farrell’. In my opinion, Mr Farrell looks like a dirty bird that would throw you over the back of a couch, ravage you and then leave you panting…wanting more…as he nonchalantly left the premises. Read: One Night Stand. I could be wrong about this. He could be a really sweet guy…maybe this is my fantasy version of the man! Amanda has since been calling is a ‘Saucy Monkey’. After a few drinks we were easily calling it ‘Colin Farrells Saucy Monkey’ 😉

What you will need is:

2oz Vodka

4oz Peach Schnapps

2 cups Ocean spray Ruby Red Grapefruit juice

3oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

2 Tbsps thawed grapefruit juice concentrate (not mixed with water…straight from the can)

1 squirt Real lemon juice

1 tsp grenadine

grapefruit zest for garnish

grapefruit drink crystals mixed with super fine sugar, to rim the glass.


I started by using the leftover, squeezed carcass of grapefruit to moisten the rim of the glass then coated it with the crystal and sugar mixture. SOOOOOOO fancy!

Then in a cocktail shaker I mixed all the ingredients except the grenadine and garnish. Shake (not stirred 😉 ) and pour into a martini or margarita glass. Drizzle in the grenadine and top with garnish. YUM YUM YUM!!! I drank these all afternoon. Of course just to get the measurements correct!

vodka peach schnapps grapefruit juice Colin Farrell



I think the 2nd installment of the Kitchen Bitch club was very successful and FUN! The ladies that attended got to take home a soundtrack with such lovely romantic classics as “These Boots are Made for Walking”, “Whats Love Got to Do With It”, “Love Stinks”, “I Never Really Loved You Anyway” and “I Don’t Need a Man”. Amanda made little Valentines boxes full of chocolates, cinnamon hearts and a little something extra for me. THANKS Amanda!!! I appreciate it!

Thank you to the girls that made it…Amanda and Jenn!! Without you Valentines Day would have sucked…again. I think this may have to be a yearly event at my house. As I take down the decorations and pack them away, I am filled with OTHER great decoration and food ideas for next year. ‘Colin Farrell’ will be there for sure!!



love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick