31 March 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

This is more of a rewrite of a post from my old blog, so all of the photos are old. So why am I posting it? Cuz it's another use for the basic white cake recipe I posted the other day. :)

No ingredient photo, sorry. Not sure where along the line that photo got separated from the pack, but it's gone now, no use dwelling on it, right?

You'll need 1-2 lbs of fresh strawberries, about a cup of sugar (maybe more, maybe less), a tub of cool whip (or you really could whip up some fresh whipped cream, not real necessary, though), and a package of cream cheese. Oh, and a cake of some kind. The basic white cake recipe I linked to above works AWESOME for this. But you could just as easily use a frozen pound cake, or an angel food cake from your market's bakery, or I GUESS you could use some of those really nasty tasting little sponge cake cups that markets always seem to have on a shelf right next to the fresh strawberries. (Have you ever eaten one of those things? Gag. I'll eat the strawberries by themselves with a spoon first, thanks.)

Yummmmmm! Start by rinsing your strawberries. Cut off the tops and slice them up however you want. I normally slice them into quarter segments.

Then sprinkle them with about a cup of sugar and mix it all up. More or less, depending on how sweet your berries are and how sweet you like them to be. Yeah, you'll have to actually taste one to know. Cooking is so unpleasant, isn't it? ;)

Put the bowl of sugared strawberries into the fridge for a couple hours. This is a very necessary step. Why? Because you are macerating the strawberries. That sugar is not only going to make the berries sweet, but it is going to pull SOOOOOO much juice out of them and make a yummy 'sauce' for them, too! :D And yup, the photo of the finished strawberries apparently ran off with the ingredients photo. Oh well.

Meanwhile, bake your cake and make your cream. Put the whipped cream and the cream cheese in a large bowl and mix them up until smooth and totally combined. You can do this by hand or use a mixer...doesn't really matter. Hand mixing is better for your arm muscles, though! ;)

I really miss my red spoonula...I think it disappeared with the rest of the photos for this post. Its blue and green brothers are still in my drawer, though....*tears*

When you're ready to serve, put a slice of cake on a plate, and top with a few spoonfuls of the strawberries. Make sure to include lots of the juice to soak into the cake!

Put your cream mixture into a Ziploc bag and trim off a corner and pipe some of it over the strawberries.

Top with a few more strawberries, and make sure to spoon lots of the juice over the whole thing.


30 March 2011

Apple Cinnamon Cake

This is the first of what I'm sure will be half a dozen follow ups to my basic white cake recipe post.

Grease your pan with margarine (or butter, I guess). Peel, core and thinly slice 3 medium apples--any kind you like. Layer half the apples on the bottom of your baking dish. Sprinkle about 1/4-1/2 cup (yeah, I don't measure...just be generous) of brown sugar over the apples. Add about 1-2 tbsp of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients in the cake batter. You could also toss in some nutmeg or ginger or heck, even pumpkin pie spice would rock. Layer the rest of the apples on top of the cake batter, and again, sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Bake as directed.

29 March 2011

Basic White Cake

Pretty basic recipe for white cake. I didn't write it, and I don't remember where I got it, honestly. I've been using it for about 6 years now, though, and it rocks. :) It's amazingly light, yet substantial. It's sooooooo utterly moist (although if I recall correctly, I edited the recipe to include milk, because the original was almost the texture of cornbread). You can alter it in any number of ways, and it's always perfect.

Sorry, no photos, as I haven't made it plain in a couple months. I'll post some follow-ups to this recipe in the next few days with a few other ideas that work well with this recipe. :)

What you need:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine (I really think the original called for butter? But I use Country Crock for almost everything, so....)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (add more if you'd like. I never measure, so I'm sure I always do. LOL!)
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour an 8x8" or 9x9" baking pan, I use a Pyrex.

Cream the sugar and margarine together. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine the two mixtures, and then mix in the milk till combined.

Pour into the pan, and bake for 30-45 mins, or until a toothpick inserted half way between the edge and the center comes out dry.

*Edited to add: I found photos that I posted on my old blog when I posted Strawberry Shortcake the first time!*

28 March 2011

BBQ Meatballs

One of my all-time favorite things! Sooooo yummy & SOOOOOOOOO easy!!!!

A sudden craving for these came over me this morning, so I just had to make them for lunch today. :)

It's basically the same recipe I'd use for meatloaf (only for meatloaf I'd use a mixture of ground meats) or salisbury steak, only shaped into meatballs. :)

What you'll need:

Hamburger--About 2 pounds, but you could use more if you wanted to make more; seasoned bread crumbs; salt & pepper; one medium onion (feel free to use any color you have); 3 cloves of fresh garlic; one egg; ground cinnamon; Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick.

Not present for picture day: Soy & BBQ sauces. My bad!

Throw the hamburger into a bowl and grate the onion with a box grater directly into the hamburger (you want all the juice, etc., too). Make garlic paste and add it to the bowl as well. Add a palmful of grill seasoning, the egg, a dash of cinnamon, about 2 tbsp of soy sauce and about a cup of the bread crumbs to the bowl. Mix it all up with your hands, but don't over-mix it, as it'll make the meat tough.

Turn the meat out onto a cutting board (or counter, whatever), and divide it evenly in half repeatedly until you have 32 equal portions (you could absolutely make them larger or smaller, these will be about 2-3 bites each). Roll the portions into balls.

Heat up a skillet (I used a non-stick skillet, but it really doesn't matter too much) over medium heat and plop a few in the pan--do NOT over crowd the pan!! I do batches of about 6. Brown one side, flip, brown the other, flip, brown another, etc. I usually only do 3 sides. You're going to bake them, so don't worry about cooking them through, just make them a little crunchy on the outside. Remove the meatballs to some paper towels to drain the grease, and throw another batch in the pan. When the grease drains, move the meatballs to a foil-lined baking pan. Trust me...line your pan with foil. Your husband will thank me later when you make him do the dishes. ;)

When you get all of the meatballs browned, top them with your favorite BBQ sauce. Use whatever you like, really. I'm usually a fan of home-made sauces, but I really love Sweet Baby Rays for this.

Bake at about 375-400 degrees for about an hour. They will be all sorts of ooey gooey yummy when you pull them out.

Yes, as you can probably tell, they were too good to keep people's hands off them, so I wound up taking photos after plates were dished. haha!

Serve over rice, with tooth picks as an appetizer, on hoagie rolls with swiss cheese, etc. NOM!

27 March 2011

Garlic Paste

This is one of my favorite things to make just to have on hand. I used to buy garlic paste in a resealable tube, but then I saw someone on Food Network doing this about 7 or 8 yrs ago (I really want to say it was Rachael Ray?), so I tried it once, and I've been doing this ever since.

All you need is fresh garlic and coarse salt (nothing finer than kosher salt).

Just peel the garlic and cut the ends off (you probably don't have to cut the root ends off, but I always do). Then just keep mincing it till it's as small as you can get it.

Here's where the magic happens: Add a pinch of salt, right on top of the minced garlic. Run your knife through it some more. Lay your knife flat on top of the garlic and press down on the knife with your palm while moving it across the pile of garlic. I really hope that made sense? Just smash the ever-loving heck out of it. The salt will help smash it up like you wouldn't believe. If you feel you need to add more salt, feel free. A small pinch of salt will help tear up about 5 cloves of garlic, so that's a pretty good guideline. :)

Just keep going till it looks like this:

Click to see larger.
You can keep going if you want it even MORE fine, but this is usually fine enough for my purposes.

Throw it into ANYTHING you want to put garlic in--AWESOME in mashed potatoes! Just remember, it has some salt in it, so make sure you add it BEFORE you put any salt in your dish, and taste it before adding any additional salt. :)

26 March 2011

My Favorite Blankie

So, I have this blanket. Affectionately known as "my pink blanket". My dad's aunt made it for me when I was 3 or 4, and it's been my favorite ever since. It's a hand-stitched lightweight linen quilt. Or, well, it was. Now, 25 yrs later, it's not much more than a rag, but it's still my favorite blankie. :)

The problem is, however, that my husband and my children ALSO love it. It's a favorite throughout the whole house. I almost never get to use it. It even went on deployment with my husband in 2003. And most other times his ship went out, for that matter. I brought it downstairs the other night to curl up with on the couch while my husband worked a late shift. The next day, I had my feet wrapped in it and my 5 year old demanded I pick my feet up and then flat-out stole it from me! That is how much it is loved around here.

Problem is, it's falling apart. Duh. But, every time I wash it, I find pieces of it in my lint trap. :( I really should have it professionally cleaned and put it away for safe keeping. But ya know what? I'd just miss it too much. Call me sentimental, but I can't bring myself to do it.

24 March 2011

Tater Tot Casserole...or something kinda like it!

So, I need to go grocery shopping. Like, pretty bad. I had planned to go today, but I kept one of my kids home from school, and I have this hang up. I do NOT like to take kids or my husband with me. I spend way too much money when I take them, and it is SOOOOO much less stressful without them. haha! Bottom line: I didn't make it to the store today. Oh well.

I was fishing through my kitchen for something for dinner. My thought process went something like this: Hmmm...hamburger, steaks, pork cutlets, chicken breasts...all still frozen. Hrm. Out of rice....crud. Out of pasta, but I suppose I could make some quick home made pasta using Pastor Ryan's recipe/method. (Ok, OT...but his blog rocks, and I've never made ANY of his recipes that didn't totally rock, too.) But, I'm REALLY not in the mood to clean up that kind of mess tonight. *sigh* *looks around some more* Oh, there's Rice a Roni in my cupboard. WHY is there Rice a Roni in my cupboard? Where the heck did THAT come from? Yeah, not in the mood for Rice a Roni. Ummmmmm...

Ok, so you get the idea. My thought process wasn't real cohesive tonight. This is what I came up with...I took some photos, but no ingredient photos since I threw it together without much of a plan.

So my 'cooking' tonight went something like this:

"Suppose I ought to defrost SOMETHING. Hmm...Hamburger." (Hamburger into the microwave.)
"Ooh! Hot Rotel! Great!" (Rotel into the bowl!)
"Ooh! Southwest mix frozen veggies!!" (Veggies into the bowl!)
Hmmm...this could be awesome on tortilla chips...
"hmmm...I suppose if I make something spicy, the husband is gonna complain if there's no cheese." (shreds cheddar cheese.)
*BEEEEEEEP* (Puts still-half-frozen hamburger into a skillet to brown.)
"I should add some beef-ish flavor to that rotel veggie mix." (Tosses in a bullion cube.)
*drains & rinses now browned hamburger*
"Hmmm...should probably season the hamburger." (Tosses in a few tsp of Katherine's Taco Seasoning and about half a cup of water)
"Hmmm...should probably just mix it all together and serve it over rice or something." (Mixes the hamburger mixture with the Rotel/veggie mixture in the skillet, lets it boil a few mins.)

"Oh, I forgot. No rice. Great." *Fishes through the kitchen again*
*Remembers bag of tater tots that has been in freezer for the last 6 weeks.*
*Turns oven up to...well, where ever it landed...450, maybe?*
"Hmm I suppose I could cook this all together. OH! We can call it Tater Tot Casserole!!!!!!" (insert somewhat proud feeling here!) (Pours veggie/hamburger mix into the bottom of a foil-lined 9x13 baking pan.)
"Oh yeah, cheese for the husband." (Sprinkles a handful of cheddar over the meat/veggie mix. Tops with tater tots and presses them down into the hamburger/veggie mix to soak up the liquid during baking.)
*Throws the now exceedingly heavy tray into the oven.*
*Goes about her regularly-scheduled whatever it is she does.*
*Forgets about dinner.*

Almost an hour later....

"OH CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPP!!!" *Runs to the kitchen, pulls pan out of the oven...PERFECTION!* *WHEW!*
*Sprinkles with a bit of cheese because my husband will whine I didn't use any if he can't SEE it...*
*Cranks the oven to Broil and throws the pan back in for about 3 mins till cheese is bubbly.*


Ok, not in any way, shape or form healthy....but it was good, used up a bunch of stuff that had been sitting in my house since we moved in last month...and no one complained about it! That, my friends, is the very definition of a successful meal in my house!

18 March 2011

"Quick" Project

Ok, so there's nothing quick about it...especially when you sew all of the hems by hand. hahaha! But, I do love it! And it totally serves my purpose, which was to block the sunlight from coming through that window and hitting people in the living room in the face. As much as I loved how light and bright it helped make my living room, that window is about the worst-placed window I've ever had in a house. The sun comes right through it for about 4 hrs in the afternoon. Thankfully, the other two big windows in my living room let in a lot of light. :)

The photo of the fabric is from my phone, so it's a little blah and washed out. The fabrics are both slightly darker. :)

This one's a little dark, but I'm still pretty happy with the results. :)

We won't go in to how I had to balance on the barstools from the kitchen and still had to use a spatula to shove the curtain rod up that high; or how after I was up there, I dropped the curtain rod and curtain and had to beg my 7 yr old to help me get it because I didn't want to climb back down; or how I twisted my back wrong when I was climbing down. Cuz it's done. And I love it. And it was...um...worth it? *snicker*

Now...to make a matching 3 piece set for the back door, a panel for the small window in the stair way, and a valance to go over the sheers in the entry way window.

16 March 2011

Hawaiian BBQ Pork Cutlets

Doncha hate it when a recipe has "Hawaiian" in the title, and the only thing even remotely "Hawaiian" about it is that it has pineapple in it? Yeah, me too. But this is one of those recipes. ;) haha!

No photos again tonight, sorry! But, it's pretty much the same method as my Pineapple Upside Down Pork.

What you need: 8 boneless pork cutlets, your favorite BBQ sauce (I like the recipe linked below), a can of crushed pineapple, flour, Old Bay seasoning, olive oil.

Start by mixing a handful of Old Bay into about a cup of flour. Dredge the pork cutlets in the flour/Old Bay mixture. Put them in a hot skillet (medium-high or slightly lower) with about a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Cook till golden brown on the bottoms, flip them over. Smear a spoonful of BBQ sauce on the browned side while the other side browns.

When the bottom is brown, flip the pork cutlets sauce-side-down into a baking dish and smear the other side with the BBQ sauce. Then add a spoonful of crushed pineapple to the top of each pork cutlet. Continue this method till all of your pork cutlets are in the baking dish, stacking them as you go.

Throw the baking dish in the oven at 375 degrees (or higher, I used a glass pan and that's about as hot as I'm comfortable using it) for about 20 mins.

Here is the BBQ sauce that I used...amazingly yummy, like EVERYTHING this guy cooks. :)

11 March 2011


I don't know about your family, but my family has a total love/hate relationship with leftovers. *I* love them. Everyone else hates them. haha!

If I have learned anything from cooking for my picky husband for the last 9 years, it's to plan ahead for leftovers. Don't put away leftovers of whatever it is I serve for dinner. For example, if I make lasagna tonight, I don't plan to serve leftover lasagna. Ever. If I put away leftover lasagna (or any other dish), I'd better be planning to eat it myself, because otherwise it'll sit there until it's time to throw it away.

So I plan ahead. Make extra sauce, brown extra meat, shred extra cheese, etc. Use what is needed for tonight's meal, and put the rest away in the fridge or freezer to assemble into another meal entirely. So another night this week, we can have spaghetti, or I can incorporate the meat into tacos or enchiladas, and then use the marinara sauce with deli ravioli or something else another night. If you make meatballs, make a triple batch, and tonight you can put them with spaghetti, a week from now, you can throw them in the crock pot  and make sweet and sour meatballs out of them, another night you can make BBQ meatball sandwiches with your favorite BBQ sauce, some swiss cheese and a hoagie roll. If you make mashed potatoes--make extra, and incorporate them into a shepherd's pie the next night or make potato pancakes for breakfast the next morning.

I made another batch of taco chicken the other day. We didn't eat it for dinner that night, but I froze it in small batches. Tonight we are having chicken quesadillas made with 'leftovers'. I've been making what I call 'cheater' meals like this the last couple nights, which is why I haven't posted recipes. haha!

09 March 2011

I'm Such a Spaz....

This will probably be the first of many similar posts I make....because I really am a total space cadet/clutz/spaz/etc.

So, tonight was the first time I've made mashed potatoes since moving in to this house. Got the potatoes peeled...ran the garbage disposal...clogged the drain. Yup, I knew better than to put potato peels down the drain, did it anyway, cuz I'm a space cadet.

Got on my hands and knees, took the drain apart, cleaned it out, and reassembled it. Problem solved.

Washed my hands, cut up my potatoes, and put them in a pot of water. Brought the water to a boil, then it hit me....guess what? I have no potato masher! "HONEY GO TO THE DOLLAR STORE, QUICK!!!" My ever-loving husband was halfway out the door before I realized that I while I have not yet purchased a potato masher for my new kitchen, I HAVE purchased a hand mixer. DERRRRRRR.

And if I didn't have two filthy chairs that were just begging to be shampooed when they came out of our moving truck, I would have never purchased the $6 hand mixer from Walmart. So for that, I must thank my children, because without that $6 hand mixer, their poor father would've had to run to the dollar store up the street for a cheapy potato masher to 'save' dinner. hahaha!

I'm such a spaz...

Why are you getting up at 0600?

Typical Wednesday. Alarm goes off (Yay for sleeping longer than the kids! *snicker*), I turn it off and lay there a minute, enjoying the 'calm before the storm'. After a few minutes of quiet, I get up, get dressed, do my hair, etc. Head back into the bedroom, warn the husband, who is still in bed, that I'm going to turn on the light, flip the light on and start grabbing clothes for the kids to wear to school.

It is only after I throw the kids' clothes on our bed that my husband chimes in 'WHY are you up at 6 am? Is there a reason for it?' ummm...DUH? "I've got to drive you to work and then come back and get the kids to school." 'No, Babe, I've got the day off.' "WHAT? It's Wednesday?! I thought you were off this weekend?" 'I am, but I'm also off today. Come back to bed.' "*grumble* You couldn't have told me this LAST NIGHT, as in, before I set my alarm? As in, while I was making your lunch for today?" 'Sorry, I thought I did.'

*Grumble* This had better not be an omen of how my day's gonna go. Hahaha! On a good note, I don't have to take the kids to school OR do their morning routine. This is going to be my husband's 'punishment' for not telling me I didn't have to get up at 6 am. *evil laugh*

08 March 2011

"Mexican Rice"

I made a simple and quick dinner tonight, and wasn't in the mood to take photos...so you're getting a recipe/method and no photos. haha! Healthy it's not, but it's super yummy and will feed a crowd.

Ingredients: 1 lb hamburger (or you could totally throw in my Taco Chicken if you have some already cooked), 2 cans of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilis), 1 bag of southwest mix veggies (Birdseye makes one I love...corn, black beans, onions, red and green peppers, etc.), 1 1/2 cups of white rice (you COULD do this with brown rice, I suppose, but it'd take forever to cook....not really worth it when you're making a 'quick' meal lol), 3 cups of water, 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, and a few handfuls of Fritos (and tortillas if you'd like).

Simple enough. Brown and drain the hamburger (I throw it in a colander and run hot water over it to drain it) and put it back in the pan, season it with whatever grill seasoning you like, toss the frozen veggies and rice into the pan and mix it all up with the hamburger. Open the Rotel and toss it in, too. Add 2 1/2 cups of the water (you may or may not need that extra half a cup, depends on how soft you like your rice--taste it at the end). Cook it till the rice is tender (you want a LITTLE bit of water left in the pot), and add the shredded cheese. Mix it all up.

Serve in bowls topped with a few Fritos, or wrap it up in tortillas. Everyone loves it.

07 March 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Everyone loves Chicken Parmesan, right? RIGHT? :)

What you need:

Grated Parmesan cheese (don't buy the stuff in the can....either get the stuff in the tub at the deli or get a whole chunk of it and grate it yourself); seasoned breadcrumbs; oil to fry in; eggs; salt & pepper; flour; chicken tenderloins (this is a 1.5 lb package....and you can totally use breasts, just butterfly them and/or pound them thin....I just forgot to take chicken breasts out of the freezer, so I stopped at the store on my way home this afternoon, and I said 'hey less work for me!' and grabbed tenders; pasta (I used whole wheat linguine tonight. Use what you like).

Not present for picture day: Mozzarella cheese--and only because I didn't PLAN to use it, but my husband whined, so I sent him to the grocery store down the street while I was breading and frying the chicken. haha!

Start by setting up your typical 3-part breading 'station'. Seasoned flour--heavily seasoned with salt & pepper; eggs (feel free to add some milk to this if you want, not really necessary, though); breading. For the breading, I mixed equal parts grated Parmesan cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs. This was a 5 oz tub of grated parmesan cheese, and I basically dumped it on a plate, filled the tub with breadcrumbs and mixed them together.

If I were you, this is where I'd get a cooling rack out and set it near my breading "station", pour about half an inch of oil in the bottom of either a big skillet or a dutch oven over medium-medium high heat, and then lay out about 4 or 5 layers of paper towels/paper bags/newspaper under an upside down cooling rack next to the stove.

Trim any icky parts off your chicken, then get to dunking. Flour, shake off the excess--coat in egg, let the excess drip off--breadcrumb/cheese mixture, get a good thick coating on there. Then just set the breaded chicken tender on the cooling rack.

Once you get them all breaded, fry them up in small batches--don't overcrowd your pan or they won't brown and it'll be a big icky mess. haha! I find for my dutch oven, 3 at a time is perfect and leaves me lots of room to get in there and flip them over. Fry them until the bottoms are nice and golden brown, then flip them over and cook till the other side is golden brown. Don't worry TOO much about cooking them through, as you're gonna throw them in the oven anyway. Remove to the cooling rack next to your stove. Lather, rinse, repeat until all of your chicken is cooked.

Pile all the chicken up into a glass baking dish (and resist the urge to nibble....or, well, just don't take a photo of that 'step')....

NOMNOMNOM...snag a couple for lunches, these make killer sandwiches!
Pour your favorite red sauce over it. Tonight I used a simple 3-ingredient red sauce (tomatoes, butter, onion) that I made too much of and froze a couple weeks ago. All I added was some oregano. Use whatever you like. Then, if your husband is whiny like mine can be...sprinkle the top with cheese...ugh.

Cover with foil, and bake at 375 degrees till it heats through (about half an hour, 45 mins for tenders, but I'd probably do an hour for breasts). Then remove the foil and put it back in the oven till the cheese browns if that's what you're into. ;)

Serve over pasta, with a nice salad, maybe even some fresh garlic bread. :) NOM!!!!!

06 March 2011

Pineapple Upside Down....Pork?

Not entirely sure what to call this. Kind of a cooking fail, but it tasted good so I thought I'd share it anyway. I started out thinking I'd make a BBQ pork cutlet with pineapple on top, and it went in a different direction entirely by the time I bought all the ingredients. haha! I suppose I'm just as scatter brained when I shop as I am most of the time! :)

I just realized I put margarine in my ingredients photo when I used vegetable oil instead, so ignore that. I also forgot the garlic....so, um, use your imagination and pretend there's a head of garlic in this photo, ok? Ok.

What you're looking at:

Boneless pork cutlets (you could totally use 8 cutlets with the same amount of other ingredients, or even use thick cut pork chops. This is what I had in my freezer, pork-wise, and I only needed 4 for dinner tonight.); Flour; your favorite grill seasoning. I'm in love with the one pictured, and use it in most things; ground cinnamon; Fresh ginger root; soy sauce; apple cider vinegar; ketchup; crushed pineapple in 100% juice; dark brown sugar; salt & pepper.

Not present for picture day: Vegetable oil & a head of garlic.

For some reason, I didn't include the ingredients for the rice I served this with. For the rice, you'll need jasmine rice, maraschino cherries (in a jar), and some chopped nuts (whatever you like....doesn't really matter. I used almonds).

So, I started out by heating a skillet over medium high heat, with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix a couple cups of flour with a good palmful of the grill seasoning and about a teaspoon of the cinnamon. Season the pork cutlets with salt and pepper, and then dredge them in the flour. Toss them in the pan and cook till they are good and golden brown (about a minute on each side). Pull them out and put them in a glass baking dish (I used a 9x9").

Mix about a cup of the dark brown sugar, a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, a good squirt of ketchup, an inch of freshly grated ginger root, and a good sized clove of garlic (minced finely) in a bowl till the sugar dissolves completely. Pour it over the pork cutlets, and flip them around to coat.

Then open a can of crushed pineapple (I suppose if you were super ambitious, you could use a fresh pineapple, but you'd probably need to add a bit of pineapple juice), and pour it evenly over the top of the pork cutlets and sauce.

Throw the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, make your rice. I used 1 1/3 cup rice, 2 cups water, and about 1/3 cup of the juice/syrup mixture from the jar of cherries in mine. Rethinking it, I might use all water instead of the juice/syrup next time. It tasted awesome, but the color was weird. haha! Chop up about 10-12 cherries. When the rice is finished cooking, mix in the cherries and about half a cup of chopped nuts.

Serve the pork chops over the rice. :)

05 March 2011

Taco Chicken (Crock Pot)

I've had a couple people ask me for this 'recipe' (if you could call it that, really), so I thought I'd post it here. It's awesome stuff to have around, and cheap to make. It freezes well, too, so you could make a huge batch and freeze it. I make it in 3 lb batches, and then we have taco salads all week for lunch. :) You could use it for tortilla soup, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas (I'd throw it on a grill pan and char it up pretty good before serving for fajitas, but I like that extra smokey flavor for fajitas)...I've even had a friend tell me she poured scrambled eggs over a spoonful of this chicken for breakfast. Not sure I'd go that far, but it is pretty versatile. :)

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use the frozen ones as they come in 3 lb packages and they're pretty cheap--uh, HELLO?! $7 for 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts!--but you can use fresh if you have them on hand....you could use thighs if you prefer dark meat, too.)

16 oz jar of your favorite salsa (or make it yourself, whatever), the thicker the better, though.

3-4 teaspoons taco seasoning (I use my friend Katherine's recipe, which totally rocks... http://pleasegivepeasachance.blogspot.com/2008/04/are-you-buying-taco-seasoning.html )

Peel of a tangelo (I know, I know, this is weird, but the first time I did this, I happened to have just peeled a tangelo for my husband's lunch, so I used that, and now I just make a point to buy tangelos when I'm planning to make this for dinner. haha! You could probably use an orange or tangerine peel, though. :) Just make sure you use the whole thing.)

That's it, really. Throw it all into the crock pot (I have a painfully small crock pot and normally have to defrost one of my chicken breasts partially and cut it into chunks to get it to fit in there). Set it to High and cook it till it's falling apart. Crock pots vary so much, it seems. My last one, I could leave chicken breasts in it from 8 am till 6 pm and they'd be perfect....this one, chicken is cooked in less than 4 hrs even on low, and it'd be burnt if I left them all day...so use your better judgment. You know your crock pot better than I do. haha!

It will be soupy, so when I'm ready to serve, I use a slotted spoon to fish out all of the chicken (pick out all of the tangelo/orange/tangerine peels and discard them), and put it into a bowl or a pan and shred it all up with 2 forks. Then I add about 2-3 cups of the liquid from the crock pot back to it and mix it up pretty well. 

Best. Stuff. Ever.

(Edited to add a photo, by request. I used it in quesadillas tonight.)

*Edited June 4th, 2012*
So, I thought I'd add a few more photos of this marvelous stuff! :)

(To freeze: Portion it out into standard ice cube trays, freeze overnight, and then pop the cubes out and place in a Ziploc bag....each cube is just enough for a quesadilla; two cubes for a taco, etc.)


Just a quick hello to break the ice! :) I hope to be posting regularly on this blog within a few days, but for now I'm playing around with settings and templates, etc., so forgive the mess! :)