Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Subway Woes


Thank you,


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shrieking and Running Around Crazy-Like

WEEEE GOTTTTTT IPODS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TJ got one for his birthday from me. I got myself one for just being me.

So we may be a little distracted for awhile to figure these bad boys out. Let me say this, I can download episodes of:
"I Love New York"
"Rob and Amber Show"
"No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain"
and so much more!

Friday, February 16, 2007

If I was a Mexican Food Party, this is what I'd be:

I would be margaritas and sangria. There is boxed Sangria mix at Trader Joes, I think. Just slice up some lemons, limes, oranges, and add it to the wine mix. Put it into a pretty pitcher; I've heard Snowman Pitchers would be a nice irony, considering it is a WARM weather drink and there is a foot of snow on the ground.

I would also be a spread of dips. Salsa, Guacomole, Black Bean, and Queso would be perfect! And there are multi-colored chips at Trader Joes (the blue ones), as well as precut carrots, celery and peppers. Even better, Whole Foods veggie counter will package up those vegetables for you, even if they aren't already prepared in the Cut Vegetable Case.

There are two very easy crockpot meat recipes, that would then be perfect for burrito/taco bars. Put a roast in one crockpot, with a package of taco seasoning and some beef broth. Put chicken breasts in another crockpot, with the same and let them cook up to shredded seasoned goodness. Along with the seasoning, cut a lime in half and put that with the chicken. Cut an orange in half and put that with the beef.

I swear I created this dish in college and now it is all over every "easy dinner" webpage in the world. I called it Enchilada Lasagna. Now it has stupid names like Enchilada Bake, Casserole, whatever. It is pretty much all from the can, and I just needed a can opener and an oven. I lived off of this when I did my student teaching. Fast for when I got home at 630pm, and great in my lunch, since I left at 530am.

Here are the recipes!!

"Why didn't anyone tell me about this" Salsa
Can of chopped tomatoes with garlic and onion
jalapeno (canned) slices
lime juice
BLEND in food processor. This tastes just like the Senor Antonios, Las Margaritas, and La Vaquera salsas!!

Black Bean Dip
Mini food processor: Place:
a can of drained black beans.
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of chopped red onion
A handful of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic.
Blend until smooth.

Guacomole (buy it when you are at Whole Foods)

Melt Pepper Jack Velveeta (it is white like real queso blanco). Add a can of Rotel tomatoes with chile peppers. I have this little dipper crockpot that would work great for this.

Enchilada Lasagna
1 large can of white meat chicken (or use the crockpot chicken)
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 package of flour tortillas
1 can of refried beans
1 chopped small yellow onion
1 shredded cheese package
1T oil, to saute the onion and combine with chicken.

Layer from bottom of casserole dish up:
tortilla, refried beans, chicken and onion, cheese, tortilla, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken and onion, cheese, tortilla sauce cheese.

For the crockpot meats:
Brown the roast and then put into a crockpot. Pour a can of beef broth over the roast, along with the package of taco seasoning. Anti packaged seasoning? Use Cumin, Coriander, Chile Pepper, Salt. The halved orange adds an interesting flavor. 8 hours on low.

Chicken can be thrown in raw. Pour the broth over it, and add the seasoning. There are some other marinades that could be used instead of the seasoning. They are on the top shelf in the Mexican aisle at any grocery store, and generally, I can't reach them very I have never bought them. But it could work!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me: Or, I Am Only Doing This So People READ My Blog!

Weird Thing Number 1:

I know the entire dance number at the beginning of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. This occured because I did not have cable or an antenna one WHOLE summer in college.

Weird Thing Number 2:

I love working out while watching the Food Network. Especially Tyler, Michael Chiarello, or Giada Big-Head de Laurentis. Strike that, I don't LOVE working out, but I can tolerate it while watching people make food that will refuel the calories I just burned.

Weird Thing Number 3:

On my list of reasons to have children with my husband, the top two are: 1. To see if they are cute. 2. To see if they can sing.

Weird Thing Number 4:

I stopped eating meat for SIX years basically so I had a good excuse to eat a lot of pasta, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Oh I know there are meat products in stuffing. I didn't say I did it to save the animals!

Weird Thing Number 5:

I love Taco Bell Nachos Bell Grande, will buy it while driving, eat it before I get home, and hide the evidence. Luckily, there isn't one NEAR my house, so this does not happen too often. However, TJ has a nose for onions and can smell those pesky green onions the moment I enter the door.

Weird Thing Number 6:

I teach World Literature and TOTALLY got a D in British Literature. AND I have been picked to go to London with students for school. I get to go for FREE! I got a D people!!

Weird Thing Number 7, in case one of those was more a confession than weird:

My hands are freakishly small, and I ROCK at Thumb Wrestling.

This is called a meme. I do not know what that means. It is like a blog chain letter of sorts. So, people reading who do not have blogs, just post your weirdnesses in the comments section. Please?

Friday, February 09, 2007

That is so last year!

Have I mentioned that I would like last year to go poof? Because I would. It influences my life weekly, down to the fact that I think cooking or eating certain things reminds me and my husband of last year, and therefore we no longer like them.

Case in point: Balsamic Chicken.
I used to recommend this gem of a dish to anyone looking for a light, not bad for you, tastey chicken dish. I got the initial recipe off of a Weight Watchers webpage, and aside from adding a little more olive oil, I follow the recipe and do not need to doctor it up. But we are done with it. I made it last night, and I think I decided that balsamic vinegar is no longer a necessary ingredient in my house. On salads, perhaps. But champagne vinegar may be the new balsamic. (Honey, it is used in Bernaise sauce. And we LIKE THAT on steaks; you'll be reminded tonight at Hyde Park!!)

Anywho...for some, butternut squash is "so last year". But I got the guts to start cooking with it and sweet potatoes THIS year. Note: a "year" to me, begins in September and ends in June.

I have made: butternut squash soup, butternut squash cream sauce for gorgonzola raviolis, and I put it in a pot sticker wrapper for a squash ravioli. The soup was created this week, along with a laundry list of other things. The list and recipes will follow:

Butternut Squash Soup: I found this on!
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped (I also chopped up a small leek)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed (I used one red potato, one sweet potato)
1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock (I used less than this)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
My herb additions:
chopped sage
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1 t red curry powder
2T brown sugar

White Bean Dip:
Can of white beans
Blend and dip carrots, red peppers, and celery in it.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:
4 boiled, shredded chicken breasts
equal parts: (In this case, 8 ounces of each)
Franks Red Hot
Cream Cheese
Ranch Dressing
Shredded cheddar on top (amount may vary)
Soak chicken in Franks in the casserole dish that you will use to bake it. Melt cream cheese with dressing, mix. Top the chicken. Top all with cheese. Bake at 375 until it is bubbly melty.

"Why didn't anyone tell me about this" Salsa
Can of chopped tomatoes with garlic and onion
jalapeno (canned) slices
lime juice
BLEND in food processor. This tastes just like the Senor Antonios, Las Margaritas, and La Vaquera salsas!!

Soft Pretzels
1 tsp dry yeast
2 tbls and 2 tsp brown sugar
2+ cups flour
coarse kosher salt
baking soda
shortening or butter (I used cooking spray...with NO problems)
Directions: 1) In large mixing bowl mix 1 tbls HOT water and 1 tsp yeast. Mix until yeast dissolves completely. 2) Stir in 2/3 cup WARM water. 3) Stir in 2 tbls and 2 tsp brown sugar. 4) Slowly add 2 cups flour, stirring constantly. Contuine stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. 5) Lightly flour counter. Dip your hands into extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work) 6) Grease cookie sheet(s) well with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheet(s) with kosher salt. Preheat oven to 475. 7) Using liquid measuring cup fill a large saucepan at least 1/2 full of water. For each 1 cup of water, add 1 tbls baking soda. 8) Divide the dough into 16 equal sized pieces. 9) Using the following 4 steps shape each dough ball into a pretzel shape... 1)Roll the dough into a rope 14\" long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the dough into a U shape. 2) Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips. 3) Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends back, towards the middle of the U. 4) Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly. 10) Bring water into saucepan to a gentle boil (not to many bubbles) 11) Use pancake turner to lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Then lift the pretzel onto the greased and salted cookie sheet (shaking off excess water back into the saucepan). Repeat until all the pretzels are done. 12) Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in preheated oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.

Pizza Dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Increasing Readership

If I really want people to read my blog, I should probably post more than once a week or so. I would. I totally would! If I knew people gave a poo. I have two avid readers. Love you guys. Word to your mothers.

My latest blog topic idea is what foods do you ignore? I mean, if you see a recipe, judge it by the title, look at the ingredients, what is a trigger ingredient that makes you go, "nope! not for me!" ??

My Top Four (I can't think of five!):
1. Velveeta
I don't want it in my house. I don't want to be seen with it at the checkout counter. I don't want to be tempted by its creamy fake goodness. Yes, I like a good Mexican cheese dip, a la my sister in law's which has sausage in it. YUM!! Problem: I could eat it all. WIth a spoon. By itself.

I recently saw a recipe for Cheeseburger Soup. Cheeseburger, good. Soup, good. I bet this would be for me! Ingredient Numero Dos: Velveeta. Calmly I set the recipe down. And walked away. Shaking my head.

2. Yeast
It doesn't like me. I apparently live in a Yeast Free Zone, where yeast (yeasts, yeasti, plural??) are rendered inactive. Bread does not rise. Pizza doughs taste like Saltine crackers. I stay away.

3. Olives
Love all mediteranean foods, but olives don't do it for me. So tapenades, olive martinis, olives in layered dips do not occur in my kitchen.

4. Chicken Thighs or recipes requiring various chicken parts.
I am Chicken Racist. White meat all the way. Dark meat and meat that gets too close to a bone or ligament gives me the willies. When you swore off chicken for 6 whole years, you tend to still have your standards.

So take a risk. Hit reply or post a comment, whatever it says down there. And reply with your own personal banned ingredients.