Sunday, March 27, 2011

Braised Short Ribs

Saturday, we made short ribs for some friends coming over..


Recipe: Pioneer Woman (duh) Braised Short Ribs

Here, in pictures, is us cooking (I had paparazzi in the room!)
Brown bacon, remove from panDredge ribs chop veggiesChop veggies with nap-hair.Brown Ribs on all sides, remove
Add veggies to the pot - using my favorite kitchen tool - a pastry scraper

Add wine. This is NOT MY HAND... just in case you were wondering

Allow to simmer 2 minutes

Pour in beef broth

Add ribs back to pot

Add herbs (fresh is a must)

Into the oven for 3 hours - don't touch!

Holy moly...

Served with mashed potatoes and good beer/wine

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad. I mean I LOVE IT.

But - I am also picky about it.

No fruit. Not even grapes. MAYBE you could get green apple in it but I would have to be in the right mood...
Jason's Deli puts pineapple in theirs and it's... BAD.

Pecans or almonds are a must!

So let's get to how I make mine shall we?

First - do yourself a favor and get a rotisserie chicken. Canned chicken tends to be salty and the rotisserie adds a nice flavor..

Here is what you will need:Thank you Pioneer Woman for this idea!

1/2 cup of whipping cream
1 rotisserie chicken, mainly white meat
Celery - conveniently chopped at the store for you
Red onion - chopped/diced
Mayo - ONLY HELMANN'S!! ... sorry for the outburst.
Not pictured - pecans and brown sugar.

First toast the pecans in about 1/2 a tablespoon of butter and about a teaspoon of brown sugar:Meanwhile - chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks:In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream with a whisk until slightly thickened and foamy. Then add the pecans, celery, and as much red onion as you like. I only added a little...Then add in the chicken and about a 1/2 cup of mayo. I really only use it for the "glue"..

I add pepper, but not salt. A reason for this is that rotisserie or canned chicken tends to be a little salty already - so I wait to salt it when I have mixed and taste tested... Ok MIX!Now taste and salt as needed. It's best to chill this for an hour or so to let the cream thicken up on it's own a little more.

I like to put some on a bed of lettuce with a little creamy Parmesan dressing, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.. or on bread with crisp lettuce and some Parmesan cheese.

Sometimes, if I am feeling frisky, I add a little pesto to the mix.. but lately I have just wanted it plain and simple.

Or I like to eat it out of the mixing bowl when no one is looking.


Monday, March 21, 2011

New recipe and willfull gardening....

Do you get Real Simple Magazine? If not, you really should. Not only are the review on clothing, household goods, and cosmetics wonderful, there are super easy recipe's in the back as well.

Tonight we tried one that is in this month's issue - Chipotle Rubbed Pork Loin. It was so wonderful and EASY.

Recipe: Chipotle Rubbed Pork

Since the weather is super awesome right now, we decided to eat outside. Honestly, this may be a habit until it gets too darn hot...We put Logan in his car seat and just sat him out in the stroller so he could enjoy the fresh air.

While we were eating I looked over at this neglected pot of what used to be mint and noticed that it was coming back! This is after no water, no care at all.
Lee walked over and looked at our forgotten about garden and lo and behold there are strawberries!
Again, no water - no nothing at all. There were 2 red ones and they were delicious.
Also - Lee spotted an onion...
Most of all, my herbs LOVE the neglect. They thrive on it..

Oregano, Sage, and rosemary with some thyme trying to battle it's way through as well..

So - rather than fussing with the garden and fertilizing it and all that - neglect it and stuff grows!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Home Cookin

Some nights, you have to keep it simple...

And I find that lots of times, those simple meals end up being the most comforting and pleasing.

Tonight I knew I had some of that new Homestyle Kraft Mac-n-Cheese in the pantry b/c Lee and I both went into food coma's when we saw the commercials...

It's actually REALLY good, and I may try the other flavors soon.

I stopped at the store on the way home and grabbed some chicken leg 1/4's and bbq sauce, already had green beans at home..

We really like Sweet Baby Rays when we are grilling chicken and such. It's sweet and glazes well.

I salt, peppered, and seasoned the chicken with Tony's and popped it in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes. I didn't put the sauce on until the last 15 minutes.

Meanwhile I fed Logan and got him settled while Lee boiled the noodles for the pasta.

Once Logan was asleep I steamed the green beans and finished up the mac n cheese.

All in all, this was one of those meals where we were just all "mmmmmmm!" over something that was SO EASY. It reminded me of home for some reason.

What do you like to cook that is simple yet wholesome?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's Complicated...

Last night Lee and I tried a very complicated meal - Thai Curry Chicken.
Lee gets this magazine called Beer Advocate (because he is obsessed with beer) and this recipe was in it.

When the first page is all ingredients, you know it's going to be a tough one.

First - some ingredients were hard to find at all. For instance, shrimp paste. Yeah, HEB was stumped on that one. It was only a teaspoon amount so we just moved on and left that out.

We started getting all the ingredients out and noticed I was missing turmeric, coriander, and cumin. So Lee went to the store to get those and I started to prep.

First, Logan was chilling in his bouncy on the kitchen table. This is his chill spot in the mornings while I am eating breakfast and getting ready for work.I clipped this activity thing to it and he loves it! Also - the boy is so long he sticks out of the chair.. nice.

Also, I would appreciate you ignoring the clutter everywhere in this photo. Eventually I will move it.. to another place to pile up.

Then I started chopping up things to put in the food processor.Then I prepped the veggies that go in the pot with the chicken.

I have never worked with a butternut squash before and that was a pain in the ass.
The dogs started dancing around the butcher block gobbling up things that fell, including shallot and onion.Momma, we can has veggies?

By the time I was finished cutting the most un-uniform chunks of squash, Lee was back with the spices.

The whole thing about this recipe is that it takes 2 bottles of a certain kind of beer - plus a can of coconut milk. It says to put all this stuff in a blender (lemongrass, shallot, garlic, lots of spices, etc) and blend until very fine, about 3 minutes.

Lee recently threw my blender away because it was a cheap piece of crap. All I had left was a mini prep and a leaky food processor (i kept it because I could still use it for dry stuff). Well with 2 bottles of beer and a can of coconut milk, the mini prep was far too small. So we went with the food processor.

The minute the beer and milk were poured in, it started leaking. We blended for as long as we could stand it and then just poured it into a bowl.

This doesn't include the mess all over the food processor that went, you guessed it, into the trash. Next to go, the toaster. That's another story.

So I browned the chicken and onions, then threw the veggies in and poured the sauce over it. We put it in the oven for 45 minutes and I made some rice.

Either my uneven chunk-ing of the squash or not enough cook time caused the veggies not to be quite done. So we ended up putting it back in the oven awhile.

All in all - it turned out great. But man what an adventure.Then I rewarded that hard work with ice cream and thin mints, because my mouth was a bit on fire from the squirt of siracha I added to my bowl.

Yes, that is a pacifier thermometer in the background. Our house is covered in Logan things.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm back! I hope...

Oh hello there!!
Over the last few months I have been cooking a little here and there and either it's the same deal (tacos, spaghetti, etc) or I totally forget to take a photo! Otherwise, I make bottles all the time...

However, last night I remembered!
I have always been afraid to make peanut noodles because I was convinced all I would taste is peanut butter.... WRONG! We went to a friends house and she made this and I was in love!

So I made my own version last night. Here is the recipe:

Crunchy Noodle Salad

Now, I added chicken, which I simply salt and peppered and cooked in the skillet:Then I did snow peas rather than sugar snap because I love me some snow peas. I stir fried it all together until everything looked softened and happy.
Meanwhile I made the sauce for the noodles. Once they boiled and got everything stirred together:

I have to say, I used an entire pound of noodles and felt there was plenty of sauce on them. The recipe calls for only 1/2 a pound and I think that's too little...

Also lately, I have been making these chocolate chip cookies over and over. I didn't see the recipe until I read PW's Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and it's in the back. I just looked and it's on the website - which is nice so that I don't have to drag my Kindle into the kitchen when I want to make these.

I made a few changes, however.

I use 2 sticks of butter, no margarine. I don't like flat cookies and I feel like margarine does that.
I either use dark chocolate or semi sweet chips. I loathe milk chocolate.
I add pecans sometimes when I feel feisty.
Flaxseeds? nope.

Anyway here is the recipe:

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is what they looked like on my butcher block:I took a baggie of these to work with me and they didn't even last until the end of the staff meeting.

I am now trying to balance baby & work so hopefully I continue to (A) Cook new things and (B) remember to take photos... especially since I have an awesome camera now!