Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

The same day the bf sent me the pork & bean casserole recipe, he sent me this chicken enchilada pasta recipe. I bookmarked it for later use since I'm pretty much always craving something Mexican.

The bf was sold when he realized it had crunched up Doritos on top!

Again, I pretty much followed the recipe. After running the idea past my mom, I decided to cook small shell-shaped pasta and mix it all up rather than stuffing manicotti-sized shells (because I was feeling lazy). Honestly, the mixture was so thick that I had to add some extra enchilada sauce and some Rotel tomatoes to loosen it up. It would probably be better stuffed, but small shells worked fine if you're feeling lazy.

I served it with sour cream, guacamole, and a black bean and corn salad (1 can black beans rinsed and drained, 2 bags of frozen sweet corn kernels, 1 chopped up bell pepper, Rotel, salt, pepper, lime, and extra taco seasoning from the casserole).  We enjoyed it, but it's too similar to our Mexi Mix and we much, much prefer Mexi Mix.

Oops, I started eating and then remembered to take a picture! :)

Pork & Beans Casserole

Whoa, I haven't updated this thing in a while! I've actually made some things I need to share, so I'll start with the Pork & Beans casserole. Actually, I'll start with a story...

This is me and the bf nearly every night (except he's the ponytailed one and he probably would've taken me up on the tacos):

A few weeks ago, I asked him what was for dinner. I think he was being a smarty butt when he IM'ed me this:  After the initial horror and asking if he was kidding me, I had two thoughts: 1. I'll show him! and 2. Hmm, it's relatively healthy and this might not be so bad!

I followed the recipe except I used pork tenderloin cut into cubes and I doubled it because we love our leftovers. Oh, and I topped it with some cilantro I'd just picked from the garden.

What a pleasant surprise! It was actually really tasty and really easy to make. We enjoyed it with roasted broccoli and fresh tomato from a little roadside stand we stopped by on our way home from Savannah. I think this one worked its way into regular rotation!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps

I've neglected this little blog lately, mainly because the one potters have been lacking. With the warmer weather in Atlanta, the boy and I have grilled hamburgers a few times (and man are they delicious). I've made some Mexi-Mix. We even have a little urban garden, so I cooked up the collards and swiss chard for another Southern feast kind of night with fried chicken and mashed potatoes. There's just not been much to blog about. Then last night I made these sriracha beef lettuce wraps for the second time and figured I should share!

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It's so quick and easy and yum.

-Brown the ground beef
-Drain the grease
-Add 1 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp of fish sauce, and as much sriracha as your little mouth can handle
-Add a bunch of chopped green onions, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice
-Serve in lettuce leaves (I prefer Boston) and I like to add a little brown rice to make it more filling

This is exactly the type of thing I have to eat to feel good after two straight nights of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and greens cooked in bacon fat. Oh, and let's not forget the dessert- biscuits with honey or grape jelly. Sheesh! Yes, I needed something a little lighter and healthier and this is my new go-to. I'm already thinking about the leftovers I'll enjoy tonight... Yum!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Southern Feast

I've been making some repeat offenders lately (spaghetti, chili, etc.), but this week I had a hankerin' for some soul food. Monday was a work holiday for me and since my boyfriend had to work, I thought I'd treat him to a Southern feast when he got home. The menu was Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, truffled macaroni and cheese, mustard greens, and cornbread. This is the food I grew up on, so recipes weren't required. However, the one complaint about this meal is that everything takes about the same amount time to cook and I'm just one little girl with 2 hands. You should've heard me screaming "Ow!" while trying to flip the popping steaks while mixing cornbread without letting the preheated oil in the oven ignite into flames. But meals where a lot is going on at once make me feel accomplished when I get to sit down and eat 'em. This one was well worth it and the boyfriend most definitely agreed. In fact, I think he said he was "the luckiest boy in the world for having a girl who could cook stuff like that." I'd have to agree... ;)

BTW, have I mentioned lately how heinous I find those plates? Heinous!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spicy Shrimp & Pasta Casserole

A One Pot Shot success! Finally! Hooray!

I went back to trusty and found this recipe from Paula Deen. It sounded so strange that I decided I just had to try it, especially since it included a few of the bf's favorite things-- angel hair pasta and salsa. I bet he never thought he'd get those 2 items together and I certainly never thought I'd mix them! It has some Italian, Mexican, and Greek flavors going on, but it works. Trust me. It works. As a general rule, seafood and cheese do not mix. Except in this recipe. I found that it's not cheesy at all, just creamy. A few things I did differently...

-I accidentally ended up with mozzarella instead of Swiss cheese. I don't think it made much difference, but next time I would go for Swiss.
-I used Greek yogurt instead of plain because I like that little tang.
-I used a full box of angel hair because I wanted lots of leftovers. In retrospect, I probably should've upped the liquids a bit more, but it turned out fine anyway.
-I used hot salsa. We like it hot.
-I tossed my shrimp in salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. Again, we like it hot. And the title of the recipe is "spicy" but it only calls for "mild salsa." No ma'am, Ms. Paula. I want some spice!

I served it with a side salad and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

My picture taking skills are terrible, especially when I'm hungry. I snap a pic and dive in. And since I'd decided to send my gluttonous January out with a bang, we topped this meal off with a lazy version of a hot fudge brownie sundae. Little Debbie brownie + chocolate syrup + zap in microwave for 25 seconds + vanilla ice cream + more hot syrup. Mmmmm!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Unsuccessful One Potters

I haven't posted any updates lately because I haven't cooked anything worthy of sharing. As a former food snob, all of my recipes came from Food Network chefs and they were always good. Lately, I've been testing out easy things I find on Pinterest and have been underwhelmed. Then I get annoyed and frustrated and cook something tried and true that I've already posted on here (Mexi Mix, spaghetti, etc.). The latest disappointment was these crock pot chicken and dumplings:

Now as a true GRITS (Girl Raised In The South), I know my dumplin's. These were not my mama's dumplin's and it just made me angry. The onion was overpowering and stunk the house up for days. The biscuits did not cook up in 30 minutes and never got that fluffy, dumplin' texture. They just didn't hit the spot. Thank the baby Jesus for a boyfriend who eats anything or else I'd be really mad. Luckily, they don't go to waste and he's so patient with all my experimenting when he probably secretly wishes I'd just cook the dinners that are both delicious and make me happy!

One thing I did make from Pinterest that was pretty good and easy was this Pizza Pasta Casserole:
My one complaint is that the jar of spaghetti sauce I used was a little sweet for my liking. I don't do sugar in my homemade sauce, so I would probably just make my own next time.

I do plan on trying a few things out for the Super Bowl, so hopefully they'll be good enough to post about. Stay tuned and wish me luck!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crock Pot Adaptaions - Learning from Failure

I had an underwhelming cooking day on Sunday. I wanted to stay in the kitchen so I wouldn't care about the Falcons game (yep, they lost), so I decided to make this s'more cobbler and a variant of this chicken, rice, and broccoli. Well, the s'more cobbler was a'right. It was rich and gooey and needed less melted marshmallows and more graham crackers. The chicken, rice, and broccoli was just a mushy mess.  It was the first I'd ever heard of converted vs. unconverted rice and I tried to speed the process along by cooking it all on high for 3-4 hours instead of on low for 6-8.  I think that's what caused the mushiness. However, my bf eats anything and both are all gone 4 days later. Whew!

My friend Heather has requested I take a stab at converting this recipe here for Great Green Chili to a crockpot recipe. Given the crockpot mushiness, I'm not sure how good at this I'll be, but I've learned a few things from my failures.  Namely, rice needs to be cooked low and slow and undisturbed OR cooked separately and stirred in at the end. I've also learned other little tricks, such as small veggies (mushrooms, green peas, pearl onions, etc.) don't need to cook all day. You just add them in for the last 30-60 minutes. Also, fresh herbs added just before serving add a little freshness to anything!

So, if I were to cook this in the crockpot (and I just might have to try it soon), this is what I would do:

1. Let's combine their steps 1 and 2 for the most part. Put the chicken, chilies, garlic, cumin, jalapeƱos and hominy* in the crockpot. Mix the gravy mix with the broth and pour on top of everything else.
2. Cook on low for 6 hours or high on 3. I don't think anything will turn to mush here.
*A note on hominy. I don't have much experience with it. If this does turn out mushy or you're scared of the hominy going mushy, add it for the last hour of cooking.
3. You'll notice I left out the cilantro, one of my most favorite flavors. I would add that 1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro during the last 30 minutes or so to just keep the flavor extra fresh.
4. Proceed with steps 3-5 and enjoy!

Heather, if you try this in the crockpot, do let us know how it turns out. And if it sucks? Well, I apologize in advance! Thanks for the blog post suggestion!