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Catching Up January 30, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Desserts,Entrees,Life,Products,Soups,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 4:03 am

I am supposed to be doing work right now, but I am really not interested so I figured it would be a good time to catch up on my blog. 

 

We’ve had some very random meals lately.  Many were not at all bad, but just not really worth mentioning.  Here are some of the highlights (some good and some not so good).

  • Chicken Pot Pie.   I originally wrote about this recipe in this post.  I love this recipe.  The thyme is very tasty and the wine adds a very nice flavor.  I made this one day last week when we were stuck home in the snow.  I decided to switch it up in a few ways.  First, I made it in the crock pot.  I made up the sauce on the stovetop and poured it over 2 large chicken breasts in the crock pot.  I added carrots, celery and onions and cooked it on low for about 6 hours.  Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed it from the crock pot and shredded it up with a fork. While I was shredding, I added a cup of frozen peas to the sauce in the crock pot and let them heat through.  I mixed the chicken back in with the sauce and put it in an 8×8 baking dish.  Now – here comes the special trick that made it extra tasty –  a few Sunday’s ago, Ross made homemade biscuits for breakfast.  He makes awesome biscuits and I always beg him to make them for me.  I think this was the second time, so hey, I can count on them once every couple of years or so.  Anyway, he froze extra dough.  I thawed it out and rolled it into an 8×8 square.  I placed it on top of the chicken mixture and baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes.  It was awesome.  I don’t know his recipe for biscuits, but any recipe would work.  It is much tastier than a pie crust, I  promise you that!
  • Tonight, we had another crock pot meal (I’ve been on a crock pot roll lately).  I was in a hurry this morning, so I just put some chicken in there and poured Lawry’s Caribbean Jerk marinade over it.  It was horrible.  I hardly ate any.  It was the saltiest stuff ever, so salty that I couldn’t even taste any of the flavor of the sauce.  I will definitely never buy that again, or probably any Lawry’s marinade.  It was that bad. 
  • In addition to the chicken (thank goodness we had something else with it) we had a Southwestern Corn Chowder.  I didn’t make it; this one came in a box.  Yes, a box.  It was a V8 soup.  Who knew V8 made soups?  I don’t think I could force myself to drink a V8 juice, but soup I could try.  It was great!  As advertised on the box (looks like an overgrown juice box) there is a full serving of veggies inside.  That along with a great flavor and hearty, thick texture, you can’t go wrong!  Apparently there are several other flavors.  I want to try the Butternut Squash and the Garden Broccoli!

  •   I have one other random note, and I add this only  because Amy Burns of Amy’s Confection Company isn’t making cakes so much as her other sweet treats anymore.  After finding out that Amy couldn’t make my wedding cake, I went on a long and difficult search for someone to do the job.  We ended up going with Once in a Blue Moon Bakery in Cary.  I am pretty sure that other than “congratulations”, the comment I heard most on my wedding was “where did you get that amazing cake?”  Not only did it look beautiful, but it was the best tasting cake I have ever had (again, only saying this because I’ve never tasted one of Amy’s!).  I mention this because I just ordered another cake from there for a gathering I have this weekend.  I ordered the same flavor as my wedding cake, chocolate with hazelnut mousse and cream cheese frosting.  I can’t wait to eat it.  They are also super cool because you can place your order online if you do it 72 hours in advance.  If you ever need a great cake for a special event, I highly recommend them!  They also have a really cute little cafe where they offer breakfast treats,  lunches and other sweet treats.  Check them out!

This isn’t the best picture of our cake, but it was the most convenient one for me to put here. 

OK, now I am off to go do my work!  Yay for tomorrow being Friday!!!

 

Frugal Food January 19, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Entrees,Panini,Products,Soups,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 3:36 pm

Frugal is something that by nature, I am definitely not.  Especially when it comes to food.  When Ross and I got married, we knew that our biggest downfall is that neither of us is very good at all about spending money wisely.  We’re a little too “live in the moment” when it comes to spending!

 

However, there are a few major home improvement projects that we really  want to do, so we are trying to save money in order to complete them before we move out of this house.  We’ll see how it goes.  Unfortunately, food is the most logical area to cut back on.   After all, it’s easier to cut back on food than electricity or something, right? 

 

I think in part this is why I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  Our food just hasn’t been interesting enough to talk about.  I’m going to try to be more creative with our cheap groceries and get more interesting.  Food is one of my highlights each day; I look forward to dinner the second I finish lunch.  So, I want it to be exciting and fun and interesting, even if it is cheap.

 

There was chicken on a major sale at Lowe’s this past week and I bought a whole bunch.  I froze them in packs of 2 so that instead of making 1.5 lbs of chicken for just the 2 of us, I am making a more reasonable amount and saving the rest for another meal.  On Saturday, I took 2 chicken breasts and covered them with my favorite lemon garlic marinade from Wegman’s.  (I always bring a bunch of this back everytime I visit NY).  I let it cook for about 6 hours and then shredded the chicken with a fork.  We loaded ciabatta rolls with the shredded chicken, caramelized some red onions and sauteed some mushrooms and topped it all with a slice of Swiss.  We grilled these and ate them alongside a new and tasty soup. 

 

Campbell’s Select Harvest Caramelized French Onion Soup was wonderful.  It was close to some I’ve tasted at restaurants, and only required being heated in a pot.  It is lower in sodium than most French Onion soups, but didn’t taste like it was.  We threw a slice of cheese on top and let it melt and really enjoyed this with our sandwich.

 

Last night, I wanted to make homemade soup.  I have a recipe for one that we’ve only had once, but I remembered that we really liked it.  I cooked this up last night, and ended up tossing in the leftover shredded chicken from the night before.  2 chicken breasts fed 2 people for 2 meals!  I’m proud 🙂

 

Bean, Pasta and Pepper Soup

 

1 tablsespoon olive oil

2 large carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

1/2 cup uncooked diatalini pasta (I couldn’t find it so I used elbows)

1 can chicken broth (or veggie to make it vegetarian, and I used doulbe this amount)

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 

Heat oil in a pot.  Add carrots, celery, onion, parsley and garlic, cook until tender.  Add tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth.  Heat to boil.  Cover and cook 15 minutes or until pasta is done.  Add peppers and vinegar, heat through.

 

That’s all!  It is quick, easy, cheap and has a wonderful flavor.

 

Birthday Party January 3, 2009

Filed under: Desserts,Entrees,Family,Life,Products — lindsayrose @ 6:20 pm

My sister’s birthday was last Monday, but we didn’t get to celebrate with her until last night.  She offered to make dinner as long as I brought her a chocolate birthday cake.  Kara loves chocolate, and she loves brownies.  So I started by just googling chocolate brownie cake.  Well, what I found Kara and I have decided to call Chocolate Butter Brownie instead.  Any recipe that calls for butter in terms of pounds rather than tablespoons is a bit scary… and automatically delicious.  It really just calls for 1/2 lb, which is 2 sticks, but when you say it in terms of pounds it just sounds like more.  Plus, there is an additional stick in the frosting.  And a pound of confectioners sugar.  And a brick of cream cheese.  Wow.  The recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cake is from Emeril and is definitely worth a try.  It isn’t too hard to make and tastes great.  The frosting recipe is a good one to keep on hand, it is a great chocolate buttercream frosting that could be used for anything, not just this cake recipe.

 

For our main course, Kara made fried black bean cakes which were awesome.  Just as great was the cilantro cream sauce she made to go along with them.  We also had Mexican pie (not sure what it’s really called, but that is what I call it) which is just layered tortillas, refried beans, salsa and cheese put in a pie plate and  baked in the oven. SO good.  We were stuffed!

 

Before dinner, Kara’s boyfriend Mark tested out a theory.  He wanted to prove that wine tasted differently after breathing.  He set up a pretty high tech tasting where we each got 4 mini glasses of wine, 2 had breathed and 2 hadn’t.  We had to match up the 2 that were the same, determine which ones had breathed and determine which ones we liked better.  I was surprised at what a difference there was.  I wasn’t surprised that I totally messed mine up.  I had to taste about 2 million times and eat 48 crackers in between to try to figure it all out.  I ended up having them not even matched up, I got so confused, but it was fun and I learned that for even an unsophisticated palate such as mine, there is a definite difference and it does taste much better after breathing.  It was fun!

 

After dinner, we played a new game that Ross’ sister Lara gave us for Christmas.  Smartass is the name of the game, and as advertised on the box, you can win even if you are a dumbass!  We actually played it twice, and had a ton of fun.  Nights with Kara and Mark are always some of our favorites. 

 

As a side note, I must add that one of my many wonderful Christmas gifts this year was a Slanket.  A Slanket is a blanket with sleeves.  Best. Invention. Ever.  I am sitting here typing on my laptop and my entirebody is warm, not just my lower half.  I am covered in blanket from neck to toe and all the way down to my wrists.  I can play the Wii and stay warm, and I can lay on the couch and read a book, reach for my coffee, the remote or the phone and not have to suffer through that terrible cold breeze that comes when you have to pull your arm out from under the blanket to do any of those things.  It’s great!  I still have my piles of regular blankets everywhere else in the house that are perfect for sleeping and laying around, but this one is a nice addition to use when you want to be warm, but need to be doing something at the same time!

 

 

You Must Try November 9, 2008

Filed under: Desserts,Products — lindsayrose @ 1:36 pm

Limited Edition Old Fashioned Candy Cane Creme Oreos. 

 

Oh my goodness.  These are so tasty.  They look just like regular Oreos (the package has a candy cane on it) but they have just the right amount of peppermint flavor.  Not too overwhelming, but just enough to make it so delicious.

 

I am thinking of making Ice Cream Cake with these Oreos and vanilla ice cream as a holiday treat.

 

One of my other favorite treats from childhood was my Dad’s milkshakes.  In first grade, my class came up with a class cookbook as a gift for our parents.  We had to include our favorite recipe that our parents made.  My mom made homemade meals every night, always something new and delicious.  However, for my favorite recipe from home for this cookbook, I chose my Dad’s milkshakes!  Poor Mom.

 

Anyway, I think milkshakes would be awesome with these Oreos, too.  Put some vanilla ice cream in the blender, add a few Oreos, some vanilla (or some peppermint extract, depending on how pepperminty you wanted them to be) and a bit of milk and you’ve got a tasty treat.  You could even add red food coloring to make it festive.  Hey, if you really  wanted to impress, you could make  a red batch and a white batch and layer them in a glass to look like a candy cane!  Whoa.