Cheater Chicken

I’ve had an epiphany.

Every week I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the intention of tenderizing them, seasoning and then grilling them so that we have fresh and cooked chicken ready to eat.

And more weeks than I care to admit, it goes bad before I can do all of the above.

What happens is it gets to be 5pm and things start to get nuts around our house. It’s too soon to eat dinner, yet people are hungry. Peter’s not due home for at least an hour and kids need baths and the house needs to be cleaned up and Auggie is insisting that his little 25lbs self be held so that he gets a closer look at whatever I’m doing. So my choice is to either have a screaming, crying baby cling to my leg while I pound on some chicken and then sweat to death putting it on the grill….or I let it go. You can see why I waste so much money on raw chicken.

Last week I picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner at Peter’s request. To my utter delight, both kids dug in and devoured half the chicken. And that’s when it hit me; rotisserie. chicken. It’s cheap ($5 for a whole chicken!), it’s delicious, everyone eats it AND IT’S ALREADY COOKED. I could buy the chicken, tear it apart and have chicken ready to go for lunches and dinners with no effort. And a third of the price.

Cheaper. Easier. Healthy. And everyone eats it. A. Ma. Zing.

WINNER WINNER CHEATER CHICKEN FOR DINNER!!

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Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

I found this recipe on Pinterest from the blog Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. It is DELICIOUS. Ridiculously easy and oh so good. Like restaurant quality. I used breasts once and it came out good, but not as good at the thighs. But don’t panic, the thighs don’t taste like dark meat. I also skipped the thickening process (because I’m lazy) and served over rice and steamed veggies.

I’m never sure about posting stuff you find on other sites and this was on Pinterest so I would think I could post it and I tried to find contact info for the creator to ask her permission but couldn’t find it…anyway, go to her site, it’s worth it!!

 

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken 

Summer Corn Chowder

I found a recipe for corn chowder and it was amazing – I added in a few things that the recipe didn’t call for that I think made it extra delicious! It’s the perfect excuse to hit the farmers market or road side stand and load up on fresh corn. It makes for a light dinner or a great starter or side dish.

This recipe could totally be vegan/vegetarian by leaving out the bacon, butter (use olive oil) and cream.

Ingredients:

6 large ears of sweet corn – shucked and silks removed

2 slices of thick cut bacon

3 tablespoons of butter

1 large diced onion

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup diced celery

1 medium red potato cut into half inch cubes

1 tsp marjoram

1/4 cup heavy cream

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of paprika

Sour cream for garnish

 

Directions:

– Cut the kernels of corn off the cob. Using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs for the corn “milk”. Set both aside.

– In a heavy pot, boil corn cobs with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the cobs and reserve the liquid.

– Dice bacon and throw into a large pot. Saute until crispy. Add butter, onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Reduce the heat, add celery and sprinkle with salt. Once veggies are soft, add the potato, marjoram, cayenne and paprika. Add corn stock. Bring to a boil then cover and lower the heat for 20-30 minutes. Add almost all of the corn (reserve about a cup) and simmer for 10 more minutes.

– I used a food processor for this next part, but a blender would work too – just be sure to cover it so you don’t get hot liquid all over the place! Pour the cooked mixture into the blender / processor and blend until smooth. Add blended puree back to the pot and add the remaining unpureed corn and milk to the mix. Season with salt and pepper and heat the additional corn through (about 5 minutes). Serve with a dollop of sour cream!

 

 

 

Interesting Enchiladas

I think *no jinx* I might be through the morning sickness business. I say this because over the last week I’ve stopped being totally repulsed by food and even, dare I say, started to get hungry for things besides turkey sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls. That said, I got a huge hankering for sweet potatoes…and black beans. A quick trip to my Pinterest “YUM” page and I found a recipe for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. I added the ingredients to my grocery list and headed out the door.

While I was mixing, I started getting second thoughts. Who they hell thought sweet potatoes belonged in enchiladas?? But I was already knee deep in the recipe and thought we could have quesadillas if it turned out as wrong as it sounded.

To my, and PW’s surprise, they were DELICIOUS! I put my own spin on the recipe by adding some frozen corn – a yummy addition if I do say so myself. I love how easy this is since most of the ingredients will last for a few weeks in the fridge and pantry making it a “go to” meal since it won’t require a trip to the store for fresh stuff. Also, I think it would freeze nicely AND would be a  nice gift recipe – you know, when someone has a baby, is sick or just needs some home cooked food!

Ingredients:

Small corn tortillas at room temperature (so they break less)

1 large sweet potato

1 can of black beans – I like Bush’s

1 small jar of salsa – I used Newman’s Own

1 can of red enchilada sauce – I used Hatch

1 small bag of frozen corn

Mexican shreded cheese

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Peel and cube the sweet potato into bite sized pieces. Put into steamer basket and cook until soft – about 15 minutes.

3. Drain can of black beans and pour into a large bowl. Add cooked sweet potato and about 3/4 of the jar of salsa. Mix in about half the bag of frozen corn. Add several good shakes of salt and a little pepper. Stir until combined.

4. Using a greased baking dish – take tortilla, spoon in mixture, roll and place seam side down in dish. Don’t panic if they break or spill, just squish them together. Repeat, lining them up side by side until the dish is full.

5. Pour can of sauce over the top of the tortillas so that it’s evenly distributed. Cover top completely with cheese.

6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the top is getting crispy. Serve with a big dallop of sour cream.

 

*this is where a picture would be…but since I thought they were going to be crappy, I didn’t take one! Oh well, use your imagination 😉

 

 

Pinterest in Action

I found these lovely little appetizers on Pinterest and made them last weekend for a dinner party. The picture doesn’t show the final product, which was drizzled in olive oil and balsamic reduction, but it does the little beauties justice. In addition to adorable, they are delicious! Little basil leaves wrapped around mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes…bite sized caprese salad!

Oh, and I made the cake plate – more on that in a later post 😉

 

Love and Cooking

To me, cooking is love. Making a meal for your family is an expression of how much you care for them. So this Valentine’s day, we’re doing dinner in. I’m making of PW’s favorite dinners: marinated flank steak, sauteed mushrooms, twice baked potatoes and cookies that B helps make. I’m hungry just writing it!

See my post on Scottsdale Moms Blog today for the recipes: http://scottsdalemomsblog.com/

And do me a favor and pretend that we are making Valentine’s cookies and not Christmas cookies in Baylor’s pic – k? Sometime’s there’s just not enough time and or cold medicine in a week to stage a holiday appropriate pic!

Little Spheres of Heaven

A family friend brought what looked like little chocolates for dessert to Ali’s baby shower. I had one…and then another…and then another. And it didn’t stop for two days until I had eaten all of the left overs. I stopped counting because I didn’t want to admit how many I had.

Despite the recipe, these really come out more like cake. I’m thinking maybe another try at cake pops in my near future?? Make them. Make them soon. Your mouth will thank me (I don’t want to hear what your butt will have to say).

1 SM BOX CHOC INSTANT JELLO PUDDING
1/2 C COLD MILK
BEAT PUDDING AND MILK WITH WHISK FOR 2 MIN  (IT REALLY DIDN’T TAKE THAT LONG)
CRUSH 36 OREO COOKIES FINE (ABOUT 3 CUPS)
ADD PUDDING MIX
SHAPE INTO SMALL 1 INCH BALLS  FREEZE 10 MIN
MELT 12 SQUARES OF SEMI SWEET CHOCK(1 1/2 BOX)
DIP INTO MELTED CHOC AN AND SET ON WAX PAPER   COOL 20 MIN.
MELT 1 SQ WHITE CHOC AND DRIZZEL LITTLE DESIGN ON TOP

 

 

Pasta Fagioli

I am so fortunate to have become good friends with the other two room moms from Baylor’s class. They are incredibly funny, smart and freakishly talented multi taskers. And they like wine so we were a match made in heaven.

We sipped and snacked on Monday night at Postinos. I’m embarrassed to say that it was my first time there (look, I like to ride my bike and I live where I can do that to like 15 great restaurants, why go where I have to drive?!). We all ordered a cup of the Pasta Fagioli with sausage and it was awesome. I googled around and found a great recipe. It’s soup, but very hearty and great for a meal.

My  variations are that I used fresh herbs because I had them, hot Italian sausage (Safeway meat counter), kidney instead of cannaleni beans and I added 3 tablespoons of butter to the final mix, just to give it a little more flavor. I loved this recipe because it was a chop-and-dump-into-pot variety which is my favorite. Be sure to add the Parmigiano on top, it really pulls it all together.

Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 onions, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 carrots, peeled & chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, chopped
    • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage links or 1 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled ( can use turkey sausage)
    • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
    • 1 tablespoon dry basil
    • 1 -2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
    • 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
    • 3 -4 cups vegetable stock or 3 -4 cups chicken stock
    • 1 can progresso cannellini beans
    • 1 cup ditalini or 1 cup small shell pasta
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
    • parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat.
  2. Cook onion in oil 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, celery and carrots and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add and brown crumbled sausage.
  5. Add basil, oregano and red pepper.
  6. Toss to coat.
  7. Stir in tomatoes and stock.
  8. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  10. If necessary, add an additional cup of stock or water and stir in beans and tiny pasta.
  11. Simmer for 6- 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  12. Stir in parsley and serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe credit from:http://www.food.com/recipe/pasta-e-fagioli-italian-soup-with-italian-sausage-38088

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Ok, so I’m into butternut squash right now. It’s just so easy. And tasty and I can buy it at the farmers market and it’s almost impossible to get a bad squash…in other words, I heart butternut squash.

I came up with this recipe after seeing a magazine cover and almost drooling on myself while waiting to check out at the grocery store. I make a rule not to buy stuff like that at the grocery because I think it’s over priced (but then I never buy it at all so really, I save a lot this way). So I took a mental picture and decided to try it out. And the results? Delicious!

And yes, CO, this does count as a recipe because you have to roast the squash.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (duh)

1 box of pre-made cheese ravioli (like Bertoli and they are usually in a cold case near the deli)

Fresh spinach

Olive oil

Butter

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Slice the squash long ways making two halves. Scoop out the seeds and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the squash, insides facing up, on a foil lined try into the oven. Roast for about 40 minutes. Really, it’s hard to let it go too long and it’s better than not enough time. It should be fork tender when ready.

Cook ravioli according to the instructions. When done, place in a tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan and add ravioli to saute. Add in spoonfuls of the cooked squash and stir gently. Add in the basil leaves (diced) and let all the flavors blend together (about 3 minutes). Plate and serve!

The beauty of this dish is that the final product looks way fancier than it has any right to given the amount of effort that goes into the dish. This would be great for a dinner party, especially when there are vegetarian guests.

Butternut Squash Soup

Mmmmhhh….

I love this because it’s so simple. And because it’s a great fall dish!

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (or precut squash works well too)

1 large yellow onion

1/2-1 tsp Thyme – preferably fresh but dried is ok

1/2-1 tsp Sage – ditto

Chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Peel, seed and cube the squash into 1 inch(ish) chunks.

Dice onion and saute in butter. Add sage and thyme. Then add in cubed squash and lightly cook adding salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken stock and cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

Transfer mixture to a food processor. Cover food processor with a towel before blending. Again add salt to taste. Ladle in to bowls and serve as an appetizer, soup course or the main meal. I think it would be delicious with fresh bacon crumbles and a blue cheese salad on the side!