Thursday, January 16, 2014


I've developed a knack for homemade fajitas. I grew weary of the prepackage fajita spices (the extra ingredients, too salty, too strong  of flavor when done with full package) so over the past few years I've amassed the spice collection to forgo those packages. Unfortunately, I don't measure anything so I'm almost guaranteed that the end result is never the same. It's kind of fun, but it can also be unpredictable. Maybe it's time I write this "recipe" down?

Brown meat (can be done with full pieces of meat of already cut into strips) in oil
As its browning: Salt, Pepper, Ancho Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper (CRP), Cayenne Pepper, Cumin (so I like pepper, huh?)
Deglaze with chicken or vegetable broth & cook down until meat is fully cooked, sometimes a second addition of liquid is needed.

If using chicken, I then transfer to my KitchenAid stand mixer and use the paddle attachment to shred the chicken.

Return to pan, taste, add more spice as necessary.

Add a splash of lime juice

Cook Bell Peppers & onion in olive oil, salt & pepper, ancho pepper, CRP

Serve with tortillas, salsa, cheese & sour cream & rice.

Improvised Italian Chicken w/ potatoes & carrots in the Crock Pot

So yet again my dear readers, I'm improvised my crock pot set up. This time, though, I actually WROTE IT DOWN! My dear husband actually liked this, as did I so I plan to make it again. It was especially nice to create a full 1 pot meal. I was expecting leftovers and looking forward to dining on them for lunch the following week, but in the ultimate testament to him liking the recipe, there were no leftovers!

What did I do?

Browned chicken thighs in olive oil/butter mix
salt/pepper/crushed red pepper
Added chopped onion, carrots (sliced lengthwise), & garlic
Deglazed pan with chicken broth (veggie broth would work too)

Added cut red potatoes to crock pot
Poured chicken/carrot/onion mix
Added a splash of lemon juice & roasted red pepper dressing

Cooked on high for 4 hours.

Potential future alterations: Greek
adding shallots
cutting the roasted red pepper dressing
adding herbs (rosemary & thyme)

Overall I'm excited how well this recipe turned out, especially as I kinda winged it!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Clam Chowder

Oh the weather outside is frightful.... It was downright scary crazy stupid cold here on Monday. Not the coldmaggedon/coldpocalypse the media made it out to be (after all I was over by Tuesday afternoon) but it made for an excellent excuse to whip up a big pot of soup. Instant leftovers to pack for lunch. Cozy comfort food in a thick cream based soup. perfection!

I have 2 clam chowder recipes and a recipe for wild rice & chicken soup. Over the years I've perfected the wild rice  & chicken soup to create a nice thick soup and a consistent outcome for taste. I make clam chowder less often so I do not have that one quite as perfected.

Recurring theme: I improvise, mesh recipes, create awesome meal, forget exactly what I did so I am always trying to recreate it.

Clam chowder is no exception. Note: Most people do not respond well to, "So I don't remember how I did it last time so I'm just going to merge these 3 recipes and hope for the best!" Needless to say it does not instill very much confidence in the diner.

This time:

Melted 1 stick of butter
Added celery, pepper, onion, shallots, carrots
Sauteed for several minutes (until vegetables were softened)
Meanwhile: peeled and cut potatoes and boiled them in the juice from 3 cans of whole baby clams with some dried thyme
After the vegetables had cooked, added 1/2 cup flour to make a roux
When roux was complete, added hot clam/potato juice into the roux (strained out potatoes).
Added additional vegetable & chicken broth (next time seafood stock?)
Added potatoes & clams
mixed well
Added half & half (3 cups)
Salt & pepper to taste

End result: a very thick cream soup. Not overwhelmingly clammy. I may go back to using the minced baby clams as I'm not so keen on the effect of the whole baby clams. I'd give my made up recipe 4/5 forks with room for some improvement/perfecting.

Recipe Review: Crockpot Pulled Pork -Paleo-style... kind of


I found this while on pinterest. It's one of several pulled pork recipes I've bookmarked and I decided that Sunday was the night I was going to try it. I love when I can think ahead on a weekend and just set up something in my favorite kitchen accessory because sure enough we went grocery shopping and the last thing I would have wanted to do upon getting home is come up with dinner.

Alterations: I used both a shoulder roast and some pork chops. I coated them in the spice mix as directed and added to the crockpot.

Taste: The chops were a bit over done. They had the spicy coating, but were rather dry/bland inside. I was not impressed with the overall flavor of it and know that I've made better pulled pork and pork chops in the crockpot in the past.... now if only I could remember what I did?!?

I'd give it 2/5 forks (Is that what I used to use? Who knows, I'll go with it!). As it didn't quiet live up to expectations, I removed it from my board. It was a success, but not one I plan to recreate anytime soon.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Improvised chicken in the crockpot

I had chicken to use up. Part of my evolution as a cook has involved more improvisation. Often my go to recipes rarely taste the same each time as I forgo measurement letting instinct, google and taste be my guide. I'm not quite to the point I can taste a dish and identify what its lacking. Someday... maybe. :)

Working 2nd shift, I tend to cook only a couple times a week and subsist on leftovers. Today I decided to put my new crockpot to use. 

Improvised Chicken in the crockpot

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
vegetable stock
crushed red pepper
diced tomatoes
a squirt of roasted red pepper dressing
a splotch of pesto

I browned the chicken in the oil with everything except the tomatoes. Put it in the crockpot, used some extra stock to deglaze the pan and then dumped the tomatoes over the chicken. Cooked on high for 4 hours. In my head it would almost form a sauce that would be good over penne noodles with a bit of mozzarella/parmesan cheese sprinkled on for good measure. 

I did not get to enjoy this dish yet as I was at work but I did sneak a bite of the chicken when I got home and I'm ranking it a success! Maybe i'll call it an unbreaded deconstructed chicken parmesan?

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Maybe I should try resurrecting this again? It was interesting to look back on some of the old posts I have made. I found things I never even remembered trying. Did I really make pudding from scratch? Wow. I this age of pinterest, unless I pinned it in my Nailed It folder, I forget I ever try things.

What is my cooking profile? How would I describe my cooking in 3 phrases:

Slow cooking
Made from scratch
Branching out from recipes/experimental

I'll try posting to this blog this year more often. Some will be pinterest successes, others my offline recipes and experiements!

So here we go!

Friday, November 12, 2010

In a recipe rut

I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I've been working WAY too many 2nd shifts which throws a wrench into it all. So the diet has been suffering to say the least. I haven't gained any weight -- mostly because I'm staying active, but I'm no longer losing -- *insert :( .

After getting my hair done on Tuesday, my future sister in-law gave me the real simple magazine and perusing that was enough to spark some cooking energy! Thursday, the fiance and I went grocery shopping and filled our cart full of good food and things to make the bunch of new recipes I found!

Tonight's meal will be one from the magazine: Roasted Tilapia with potatoes and lemon

Upcoming recipes:

I'm hungry! Hope my tilapia finishes soon!