Saturday, January 31, 2015

Honey Soy Chicken thighs

You ever have days where you take something out of the freezer and think, "By dinner time I'll know what I want to do with this," and then dinner time rolls around and you're just as uninspired as you were previously? Never happens to me either....Ha. My husband sat there looking at me like a crazy person going on about how I had to have a hundred different recipes. I preferred to just stare back at him like he had no idea what he was talking about and in no possible way was he right.

Ok, well, maybe I do have close to a hundred different chicken recipes pinned...Tonight gave me the opportunity to try one as I really was not inspired to be creative. There are some days when you just wish someone came over and cooked for you. And then mopped and dusted and did the laundry too.

I took tonight's masterpiece from She Wears Many Hats blog. It was one of those recipes that you look at and realize it 1) Sounds delicious and 2) contains things you have in the pantry. Always two big pluses in my book. I followed it pretty well. Well, in that mine has everything that hers does. I'm just not good at measuring spices. I just eyeball a lot of it. We're eating this with some stir fry veggies that were sauteed in sesame oil and soy and then seasoned with garlic powder and ground ginger; and we're eating it all over brown rice.

It's really quite tasty and your house will smell amazing while it's all cooking!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crock pot Chicken Vegetable stew

I had no intentions of blogging about tonight's dinner. Then I ate some of it. That's always a pleasant surprise.

When I started dinner this morning I knew we were having chicken and vegetables. I honestly just thought we'd each have a piece of chicken and the vegetables on the side. That's not what happened.

I took three, bone-in chicken thighs with the skin removed and put them in the crock pot. I seasoned them with lots of garlic powder and lemon pepper. By lots I mean I shook each contained until each piece of chicken was pretty well coated. I still used Campbell's condensed soups. I know I shouldn't and that there are replacements, but they're so easy and my husband keeps buying them so I keep using them. I used a can of cream of mushroom soup with this. I just spread it on each piece of chicken

For the vegetables I used three small white potatoes chopped in large chunks, three stalks of celery chopped, and three carrots chopped. Everything was kind of chunky chopped, not diced. I dumped each vegetable in their own little spot in the crock pot. I almost took a picture this morning, because the different colors looked so pretty and it would've been a great blog shot, but alas I did not. Once they were in I also decided that onion was necessary. I had some diced and frozen in the fridge so I dumped about a cup in the middle. I took a teaspoon of my homemade vegetable broth mix (I swear I've linked to this recipe in my last 5 posts) and sprinkled it over the veggies and put about 3/4 a cup of water in and turned it on low.

When it was about time to turn the crock pot off (about 8 hours later) I realized that the vegetables I used were really good soup veggies. That's when I decided this was going to be soup of some kind. I scooped out the chicken so I could pull the bones out (they'll shred right up for you). Then I added a cup of frozen corn and a cup of frozen broccoli. The mix was super thick so I also added a cup of chicken broth. Let it cook just a bit longer for the new veggies to thaw and yum. It's so very good. Still pretty thick, hence the stew name, but you could thin it out with more broth. If it didn't have potatoes it'd probably be amazing with some noodles. Try it out!

3 bone-in chicken thighs, no skin
3 small, white potatoes, chunky chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 c diced onion
1 c frozen corn
1 c frozen broccoli
3/4 c vegetable broth (made with 1tsp vegetable broth mix + 3/4 c water)
1 c chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
garlic powder to taste
lemon pepper to taste

Add chicken to slow cooker and season with garlic powder and lemon pepper to taste. Spread cream of mushroom soup to top. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions to top. Add vegetable broth and cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Scoop out chicken and remove bones. Shred to desired size. Add corn, broccoli, and chicken broth. Allow to cook on high for another 30 minutes, until frozen vegetables are cooked through.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Green Goodness

I may have a post titled this already. I don't care. There really is no better explanation for this smoothie. Try it out!

1 c spinach
1/2 banana
1 c frozen peach
1 c frozen pineapple
1 Hi5 Lean packet
1 c water

This smoothie has such a strong fruit flavoring that you can definitely increase the amount of spinach without consequence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another Green Smoothie

Sometimes you put something together that tastes so good you just have to share it with everyone. My smoothie this morning was fantastic. I have committed to 30 days of yoga and in order to fit it in today I had to get up 30 minutes early. I am not a morning person. Getting up at 7:15 is a problem. Getting up at 6:30 is an even bigger problem. Alas, I did it. I'll quit whining and get to the smoothie.

I got a new blender for Christmas. It's a personal blender, so I can make my smoothies in the same cup I'll drink them in. I love this because it makes things a little simpler in the morning and I don't have to worry about making too much smoothie. I also just like new kitchen gadgets.

Here's what went into today's breakfast:

2/3 c water
1 pk Hi5 Lean protein powder
5 slices frozen peach
~ 6 cubes of frozen mango
8 grapes
1 banana
half an avocado
1 c kale

Blend it all up and you've got yourself some deliciousness. It's really filling as well. AND it's husband approved :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Have I mentioned before how much I love soup? I do. Have I also mentioned how much I love the Pioneer Woman? I do. She's been posting tons of soup recipes lately and I've been in my kitchen adapting her recipes to what I have. This recipe is adapted from her Hamburger Soup recipe.

The first thing I noticed when I started cooking today is that I did not have enough meat. She uses 2 1/2 lbs of ground chuck. I had 1 lb of ground turkey, so that's what I decided to go with.

I started with what was going in the pan with the ground turkey, the onion, celery, and garlic. I also laid out the carrots because I only had baby carrots and so I mimicked what 4 carrots might look like.
I got those all chopped and put them in the pot with the ground turkey. 
I used my 4 qt pot for this and everything fit. If you follow Ree's recipe though, you'll want to get a bigger pot though. 

I went ahead and got all my other veggies chopped while the meat and veggies cooked. You want to let those cook until the meat is cooked through and then drain as much fat as you can. With the ground turkey there really wasn't a lot of fat, but there was a lot of liquid, so I drained that out as much as possible. 
There were so many pretty colors in this. I've got the carrots chopped here, in addition to a red, orange, green, and yellow pepper. I added 2/3 c of frozen corn as my own design. I also used 5 small russet potatoes. Ree called for red, but I used what I had. I didn't peel them, just a chunky chop after they were brushed clean. 
You'll also use a 14 oz can of tomatoes and some tomato paste. I used diced tomatoes, Italian style. 
Once the meat is cooked and drained, start adding all the veggies. 
I strayed from the recipe on the liquid base. I used 2 c of chicken broth and 1 c of vegetable broth. 

Mix everything up and let it come to a boil. After it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. 

Look at all these colors! So pretty. You'll want to salt and pepper to taste, as everyone likes a different level of those things. Ree's recipe calls for dried parsley and oregano. I didn't add those because my vegetable broth has lots of spices in it. If you have time, make this vegetable broth base yourself. It's delicious and very easy. I had everything in my spice rack to make it myself.

1lb ground turkey (or more, up to you)
2 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, on the large side, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots (or about 16 baby carrots), sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
5 small russet potatoes, chopped
2/3 c frozen corn
1 14.5 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 c vegetable broth
2 c chicken broth

Brown the meat with the chopped celery, onion, and garlic. Drain as much fat as possible. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Smothered Chicken and Veggies

My husband came home while I was cooking tonight and said, "what are you making?" My response, "I'm not sure yet." I had a vague idea when I started dinner of what I was going to do, but some nights you just go with the flow. Tonight was one of those nights.

I started with boneless chicken thighs. I had four defrosting today, so I trimmed the excess fat and tried to decide what to do with them. I grabbed some whole wheat flour and poured the last of the bag onto a plate. I would estimate there was about 1/2 cup. I seasoned it with lots of garlic and onion powder, I didn't measure but I would estimate about 2 T each. I did a couple shakes of salt, pepper, and lemon pepper and then mixed it up really well. I dredged each piece of chicken through the seasoned mixture. OH - I also took 3 T and set it aside for probably want to do that before you start dredging your chicken through it...

I had my favorite non-stick skillet heating up some olive oil. I didn't measure the oil, but I poured enough in the pan to cover the bottom but it didn't rise higher than a centimeter. I cooked two piece of chicken at a time. I didn't really worry about them cooking all the way through at this time, I just wanted a nice golden color on each side. Once finished, I transferred them to a plate layered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
While the chicken is cooking, chop a small onion. You can use whatever kind of onion you want, depending on how strongly you want to taste it. I used a yellow onion. I also chopped some carrots. I had about 1 1/2  cups when I was finished.

I poured out most of the oil when the chicken was finished. There was maybe 2 T left. You really want to make sure all those bits left from the chicken stay in the pan though. Add those 3 T of reserved seasoned flour to the pan and mix it up well. I had the heat on low here. Add about 3/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan slowly, mixing as you pour. It should thicken up a little, but not too much. If it gets too thick, turn the heat down and add a little water.

I added all four pieces of chicken back to the pan at this point. I also added the veggies to the pan. I tried to push them between the pieces of chicken so they were in the chicken broth mixture. Cover the pan and let it simmer about 20 minutes. That seemed to be the perfect amount of time to get the carrots softened without being mushy.

We ate this over some brown rice. It was really, quite good. I missed  having something green on my plate though. Some broccoli or green beans would be a good addition to this meal :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mofongo with Chicken

I haven't been this excited to try a new recipe in a long time. I got to visit Puerto Rico almost 5 years ago while my sister was teaching there. Loved the whole experience. Swimming in the Caribbean, old San Juan, the food...just great.

I never would've thought about trying to make mofongo on my own until November when one of the girls I work with was talking about how she was making mofongo stuffing for Thanksgiving. My ears perked up and I immediately requested the recipe. Turns out, it's really not that difficult to make (at least that's what I thought while reading the recipe).

I did some research and found so many different ways to make it. They were all pretty consistent with a few things. This is the recipe I took the mofongo from, it's in Spanish but your web browser should translate it for you. I was reading another recipe though and loved the idea of bacon, so I also incorporated that as well.

Ok. First things first, get the plantains. I have never bought these before. I just grabbed three from the store that didn't seem too mushy. Next time, I will actively search for firm ones. I'm not a huge sweets person (when it comes to meals), I prefer savory dishes. The plantains I purchased were a little too sweet for my liking.

Chop them up and let them sit in salted water for 15 minutes. I used season salt.

While they were soaking, I chopped my veggies and chicken into cubes. I also got a pot of water on to boil and started heating my skillet for the bacon.

Transfer the plantains to boiling water after the 15 minutes are up. Boil them for 5 minutes.

I started the bacon before I started boiling the plantains, so it's be done before the plantains.

Add the plantains to the skillet you fried your bacon in. Now, none of the recipes I used called for doing this, but my friend said to so I listened. I used a coffee mug to smash the plantains down while they were frying. Let them fry pretty until you get them nice and golden. Next time, I will use more oil here. This isn't a particularly healthy dish, but it's not one I'll make all the time so I might as well do it right!

In the meantime, I added chopped orange bell pepper and mushrooms to another skillet. I let them cook about 5 minutes and then added 2 cloves of minced garlic. Most of the recipes called for onion, I was out so I skipped it, but I bet it'd be a great addition. They also called for tomato sauce, which I also didn't have, but I did have a tomato. I added 3/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan, the chopped tomato, and the chicken. I seasoned the chicken with adobo, cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also added cilantro and oregano to the pan. I put a lid on it and let it cook over medium high heat while the plantains finished up.

I used my food processor to mash up the plantains. I tore up the 4 pieces of bacon, added 1 T of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of chicken broth. I threw in all the plantains and let it go until it was a mashed potato-like consistency.

All of the recipes I looked at had it in pretty bowl like forms. I tried to do that, but it kept falling apart. I used my muffin tin and tried to bake them for a bit. I put them in the oven for 15 minutes at 400. They came out pretty good, but when I flipped them over they fell apart :).

I added the mofongo pieces to a plate and ladled the chicken mix over it. All in all, I'm quite pleased with how this turned out. It's a little too sweet for my liking, but I think I can fix that by buying less ripe plantains next time. There will definitely be a next time though.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Banana Ice Cream | A New Year Treat

Happy 2015 people! Just a quick post today. I'm sure any pinterest addict has seen some version of this post before, homemade banana ice cream. We spent our afternoon (at least 15 minutes of it) enjoying this treat. I almost always have bananas in the freezer for smoothies, I throw them in there whole and chop and peel them when needed. I took three large bananas, chopped them up, and threw them in the food processor with about two tablespoons of cocoa powder and two tablespoons of pb2. Let it blend until you have ice cream consistency! So easy and such a nice, guilt free treat. Hope your new year is blessed with lots of good food!