Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week In A Day

If I am home at the right time, or scrolling through channels at the right time, I stumble upon the Cooking Channel. I admit, I am still in favor of the Food Network - I tend to like the shows better.
On Cooking Channel, Rachael Ray has a show called Week in A Day - where she basically preps/cooks all the meals for the week in about an hour or so. This appealed to me because weeknights for me are generally stressful. I drive 30 minutes to get Logan, and by the time I get home I am trying to play with him while getting dinner going. It's basically impossible.

First up I tried and actual episode:

Make It Work
Recipe Review:
Chicken with Fennel Cream Sauce and Penned - it was ok. Wouldn't make it again
Minestrone Soup - meh. Again, just ok.
Mushroom and Marsala casserole - awful. took 2 bites and threw it out. We had turkey sandwiches instead.
Pulled Chicken with Bourbon BBQ - i had forgotten an ingredient and didn't make this one.
Spaghetti with Bacon and Beef Sauce - this one was good but I prefer my regular spaghetti.

So all in all, it was a BUST. However, I could see how if we had liked all the food it would have been a wonderful time savings in the evenings.

I decided this week to try again.

This time I sat down and pulled recipes and tried to get some common ingredients. I also tried to think in terms of left overs.

First of all, I bought this during the week:
 I chose the Chicken Enchiladas and a Honey-Plum chicken recipe.

First, I started a whole chicken in a pot of water and then marinated chicken thighs in wine. Once the thighs had sat about 30 minutes, I put them in a dutch oven to brown:

Once the thighs were done, I mixed apricot preserves (i couldn't find plum), soy sauce, and honey and poured that over the top and let it simmer for an hour and a half.
The cookbook
The simmering chicken.
On the night we want the honey chicken, I just have to heat this back up and boil some egg noodles. Whala!

In the meantime I let the chicken cool and pulled it apart. Then started the chaos.

I had 2 skillets going. One for Enchiladas and one for chicken spaghetti.
I used half the pulled chicken for each.

Not your traditional chicken spaghetti. This one is better

Enchilada filling

Once I was finished making the spaghetti and getting it into a casserole, I assembled the enchiladas. Then everything had to find a home in the fridge:

That was... not easy.

Then I am done!

Oh wait...

There's this:


Here is the plan:

Sunday Night: Enchiladas
Monday: Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday: Honey Chicken
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: We have a work event but Donald is watching Logan and there are hopefully still some leftovers.
Friday: We always go out.

This makes the week nights much easier. Basically walk in the back door and turn on the oven or boil some water.

It's worth the time it took me to clean up, I suppose... :)

What do you do to make your week easier?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

7(ish) Layer Dip

I say -ish because I don't like olives and therefore didn't add them...

Everyone loves a layer dip. I actually didn't like 7 layer dip until college. Hell I didn't really like guacamole until a few years ago.

But oh how I love this dip.

Here is what I used to make mine for the Superbowl:

1 can fat free refried beans (healthy right?)
3/4 large container of light sour cream (light is healthier...)
taco seasoning
fresh guacamole
1 cup 2% shredded cheese (2% is better than 100%...)
1 large tomato
green onions

Start with a layer of beans -

Then the guacamole (made fresh at my grocery store)

Then put the sour cream in a bowl and pull out some taco seasoning.
Personally I love Penzy's Taco Seasoning
I keep it on hand always.
Then mix it all up and add it to the dish:

Then use your badly manicured/chewed upon hand to add the cheese:
Now add un-uniformly chopped tomatoes:
Confession: I hate raw tomatoes. I think they smell funny and taste like grass. But, I can't have them missing on this dip so I just pick them off my serving.
Yet I will eat them in a bit of guacamole.
Go figure.
Now for some green onions:

If you have or like olives, chop some up and add them to the top. I actually was going to add them to one half but after 10 minutes of not finding them in the store, I gave up.
Happy Super Bowl everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prime Rib and Beef Stew

The story around my absense isn't the greatest excuse but hopefully it will shed some light.

First, I do cook some of the same things over and over since they are easy, after work recipes. I don't want to clutter up with repeats.

Second, we spend all of Christmas Vacation with multiple sicknesses in this house. That led me not to eat much or cook much.

When I finally pulled my head out of the sand, I made a wonderful New Years Eve meal of Prime Rib:
Recipe: The Pioneer Woman

 And scalloped potatoes:
It was heavenly and the first real meal I had (and wine) in over a week.

Then I started playing with my new favorite toy from Christmas, my new Multi Cooker.
I love that you can saute right in the unit, and not have to fiddle with another pan OR moving the insert to the stove and back. Here is how this recipe went down:

First I sauteed the onions and garlic, then added a few tablespoons (about half a can) of tomato paste and some flour.

Then I started adding chicken stock and beef stock:

Plus any herbs and spices. You can barely tell in the photo but it's bubbling right there in the unit!

After all that I added the beef:

This recipe called for the veggies to be in a foil packet so they didn't mush and lose shape:

(Forgive my shortcut of pre-cut carrots but getting a meal into the slow cooker before work plus entertaining a toddler? HAHAHAH)

I found this method genius and it made me think of a time my mom was making potato soup. She makes her chunky, not pureed, and she went to stir the soup and said "Where did the potatoes go?!" They had disintegrated into the soup as they cooked. Why do I remember that? No idea.

I placed the packet on top of the meat mixture and set the timer for 10 hours on low:

Here is what the veggies looked like when I was ready to mix them into the stew base.

I mixed it all together and let it sit for about 30 minutes while I did my normal after work whirling dervish routine.

This was a good recipe, but it was missing a little something. I am sure I was too rushed in making it and will have to sit and look it over before making it again. I found it in the Slow Cooker Revolution Book that I got for Christmas!

You really can't go wrong with anything by America's Test Kitchen.

I will try to get better about posting what I am cooking. I may branch out into showing some of my tried and true methods, and how in the world I feed a growing boy!

Anything you would like to see on here as we start up the new year?