Wednesday, May 1, 2013

El Pollo Loco

So, tonight, as I sat pondering my day, I realized that I really wanted to share every moment of my day with everyone I have ever met. More importantly, I need to share with everyone that is now about 815 miles away from me in my hometown. Right now my move is new and interesting so people love to get my texts and facebook updates. I expect the newness will wear off eventually and people will get tired of my crazy antics. I decided to return to you my beloved blog. And, funny enough, this entry will end with cooking!

Something I may never learn is to not trust technology. Because we have lived in this state for approximately 3 days, I have to use my navigation app on my phone to get me everywhere, including home. I always believe it… ALWAYS. But for all the faith I put into it, it seems to fail me constantly. First thing this morning I had an interview at a temp agency. My navigation said it would take 10 minutes. Thank goodness I didn’t trust THAT feature. (OK, you got me, I did. But, I left early so I could call the insurance company and get our car insurance transferred.)  After driving to the same building 3 times and each time realizing that there was no way this could be the right building, I realized I was supposed to be directly across the street! The interview went well though! I think I made a good impression. Other than, perhaps, I shouldn’t have mentioned that I can chit-chat all day but I refuse to work in customer service and that I also could not accept a position with windows looking out to sea. I can’t really afford to be fired AND have that on my resume right now so I have to avoid distractions!
Another thing that may hinder my job search, I had to fill out tax information and I am sure they thought I was crazy when I took a picture of the form. How else was I going to show my husband how a W-4 needs to be filled out! Seriously, almost everyone there were women so I feel confident that, had they asked, this explanation would be easily understood. But, no one asked, so after I left, I am sure they were discussing why there were camera flashes in the conference room when I was filling out tax information! Tonight I applied for a few positions in the temp agency and sent a nice little thank you/ follow up email to my recruiter. Soon maybe I won’t feel the need to share every aspect of my day because I will be busy with a job!

My interview took almost half the time they told me to expect,so I decided to drop by my new college to drop off some paperwork. Note to self- nothing will ever be quick in downtown. I drove around the block 5 times, took 15 minutes to get out of the parking garage, almost had the SWAT team called because I ran by the security desk to get to the bathroom, and then took 20 minutes to find my way back to my car. The weirdest thing ever, the parking garage had elevators on either side of the building and one side went to 2, 4, 6, 8 and the other went to 3, 5, 7 and 9. Uhhh… what? Aside from the other craziness of downtown and the college, this was the nuttiest thing I had ever seen.

My day started out with a lot of activity and $9 in parking fees. It was fun. I only got a little homesick once while I was lost on the way to the interview. There was an off track betting place that I had to pass each time I circled the block looking for the building, on the wrong side of the road. It had a big mural of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. I don’t actually miss the horse race itself, but I miss the chow wagon and the parade :(

After the eventful morning I picked up my husband, scolded him for dragging me across the country and having to endure this craziness and went to lunch. Where, yet again, the navigation app got me lost. I SAW the restaurant, but the navigation said it was still .5 miles away and I listened. That’s right, I believed a phone over my own eyes.

When we got home I took a nap while the man-child put furniture together. Then I emptied about 4 boxes got irritated, swore that I would never leave this house for anything (including building condemnation and birth of my own sextuplets), made a dinner of cheese, pepperoni and strawberries and retired to the semi put together living room for a night of updating my address. This task is getting almost as infuriating as changing my last name.

I am hoping to find a job soon and return to school in the fall and I have had a dream of being a homemaker since I was young. Apparently this dream will never die. So, I got a Costco membership and researched freezer meals. This evening I went through all my information and groceries and decided what I needed to do to get dinner ready for the next month. Now, all my attempts and good intentions of being a good homemaker have died a slow painful death, but I do love cooking so maybe this will work out! First task, cook my chickens in my slow cooker so I can have the chicken for recipes and then use the rest to make chicken stock. That’s right… I am on the ball! (For now) I rummaged through drawers and boxes to find the few ingredients I needed for tonight's endeavor and started to work. As I was pulling up the skin from the breast of the chicken and rubbing the seasoning paste in I made myself laugh at my ability to massage breasts. I thought that would be the night’s low for watching my homemaker award being stripped from me. Alas, no… soon, I took this photo:

That’s right folks; I shoved my hand up my chicken’s hooha as I was trying to season it and turned it into a puppet. More importantly, I then took a picture of myself doing this so that I might share my comedy with you fine people.

Oh what a night! I should receive some kind of medal for keeping myself so busy that I only had to unpack 4 boxes. At this rate, I may get to my Christmas dishes by Christmas 2020! Go Me!

FYI, here is the info on my whole chicken in the crockpot!

From: Busy Mommy

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3.5-4 lbs)
2 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional!)
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder or 3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

I will lose some of you here, but when I removed the "extras" from inside the chicken I put them in a baggies to add to the bones I have when the chicken is done to use for chicken stock. Place all of your ingredients in a small bowl and stir in water by the teaspoon until a paste forms. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and place the chicken in, breast side up.
Work your hand carefully under the skin of the breast to create an opening to put some of your paste. Coat the chicken inside and out with the paste. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3.5-4.5 hours. Make sure the thickest part of the thigh registers at 180 degrees.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leftover Bread Crust Pudding

So I made tea sandwiches the other day for a shower and I had a bunch of leftover crusts from my bread. I decided to try my hand at bread pudding. Sooooooo flippin' good!

- A bunch of bread crusts.
(If you don't have bread crusts, then just use cut up bread).  Enough to fill up an 8x8 baking dish with no gaps.
- 1/2 cup craisins (I used the cherry juice infused)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 and 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp rum extract
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Fill up your baking dish with your bread.
2. Mix craisins into your bread.
3. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, run extract and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
4. Pour egg mixture over the bread, and push down the bread to make sure all the bread is soaked in the egg mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when you lightly push it.
6. While pudding cools, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large saucepan. While stirring, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and stir 3 minutes more. Spoon over warm bread pudding.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chicken and Roasted Veggies!

I am always looking for something easy and relatively quick to make after work. I made this tonight after work and didn't take too long. It is also possible to get this ready the night before and just stick in the oven when you get home!

  • 1 lb (4) chicken thighs (I removed the skin and trimmed fat)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (remove ends and cut in half)
  • 2 bell peppers- your favorite color
  • 1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
  • 2 red onions, chopped in large chunks
  • 10 oz whole mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar ( I used a half packet of Truvia)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (I just make close cuts with kitchen sheers)
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed (I used the refrigerated garlic)
  • 1 tbsp oregano 
  • 1 tbsp thyme

Preheat oven to 425°.
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix very well.
Arrange chicken in a pan and the vegetables in a 2nd pan spread out as well as possible.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.

I loved, loved, loved the veggies and there were tons. That was great since I am trying to eat healthy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Meatloaf

So, you know what I hate? When a recipe calls for just a bit of something. I have heard that you can get tomato paste in a tube, but I am sure it costs more than my $.39 can of it, but how long does paste last? Even in a container? So, I defrosted some ground beef and decided to use a Kraft product that I got for a steal to make meatloaf. Of course, I am not happy with just dumping it in like the back of the container, so I rooted through my fridge and found a few leftovers from other meals and recipes that I dumped in to my meatloaf. My husband had 2 helpings. That's like saying it was from a 5 star restaurant. Especially because he already had one big meal today.
I expect you to root through your fridge and find things to dump in your meatloaf, but if you need some inspiration, here is what I found.

2 lbs Ground Chuck    
2 Large Eggs    
1 package Kraft - Fresh Take- Savory Four Cheese
3/4 can Peeled Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chopped Yellow Onion
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce   
2 Tablespoons Spice Supreme - Garlic & Pepper Seasoning

The directions for this are real easy:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Dump all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. (Don't be squeamish, you gotta get your hands in there. Yuck, I know!)
3. Pack into loaf pan evenly.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Take out and pour off some of the grease. (If you are dumping it in the sink, run the water!)
6. Bake an additional 30 minutes.
7. Pour off grease once more and serve!

We put ketchup on it, but we love ketchup.

Bet you can't guess what kind of sandwich my husband is taking to work for lunch tomorrow! ;)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cheeseburger Pie

I haven't been here in quite a while, but I need to get back to blogging. I have been sharing photos of my food on Facebook, but no recipes. Recipes are the most important part of cooking! People need to read the recipes and say, "I can make that better". Then tweak it and share it with someone. And so on and so on!

On to the reason you are here... FOOD!
Cheeseburger Pie
1 can crescent rolls (apparently, somewhere in the world they sell crescent sheets, but I have never
seen them!)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped dill pickle slices (still saying, go mini food chopper!)

2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups shredded American cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Unroll crescent rolls and press into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch pie pan.
3. Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned. Drain well.
4. Stir in onion, chopped pickle, ketchup and mustard.
5. Sprinkle with flour and add pickle juice and milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
6. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
7. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown.
8. Remove from oven and top with remaining cup of cheese. Let stand until cheese melts.

Yummy in my tummy :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I love taco soup, BUT my sister makes the best taco soup. I am not entirely sure what is so different. This turned out tasty, still not my sister's though!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, with liquid
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans with liquid
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
  • 2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 2 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • shredded mexican cheese
  • sour cream

  1. In a medium skillet, saute the onions. Then cook the ground beef with one taco seasoning packet until browned over medium heat. Drain.
  2. Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.
  3. Serve in bowls topped with cheese and sour cream... YUMMO!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (with meat option)

This is an awesome meat optional dinner! I made half meatless for me and half with ground beef for my boyfriend and his roommate. I would attest that mine was better!
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 cans diced italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers (any color (I used green, yellow and red), diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carton fresh sliced baby portabello mushrooms
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 1 lb ground beef or bulk italian sausage

1. Slice spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds.
2. Place squash on cookie sheet facing up and coat with olive oil, 1 tablespoon italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder.
3. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove squash from shell.
4. While squash is baking, mix tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, and remaining spices.
5. Bring tomato mixture to boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Then add tomato paste and simmer until squash is done.
6. In a 13x9 casserole dish layer half of spaghetti squash, grated parmesan cheese, tomato sauce with vegetables, the other half of spaghetti squash and top with mozzarella.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the mozzarella is bubbling.

(If you want to add meat, brown and crumble 1 lb of bulk italian sausage or ground beef with garlic powder, italian seasoning, pepper and salt. Add this as a layer in your lasagna.)

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