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But 90% of the time, I’ll look at an elaborate recipe with 20 ingredients and think, “Yeah right! Not tonight, my friend.”
Which is a pity, because ingredient lists can be deceiving as far as effort involved.
On the other hand, if I come across a recipe with only 3 or 4 ingredients, I’ll probably dismiss that one too. “Not exciting. Probably has ‘boxed something’ as an ingredient.”
Sometimes I’m too judgmental.
Cover and cook. Eat.
And don’t get a steam burn!
No seriously, DON’T get a steam burn. I went to pull off the aluminum foil, and my hand got in the way of the escaping steam. It was one of those burns that actually took a second to reach my brain. At first it was like, “oh that was kind of hot,” and a second later I was jumping around the kitchen waving my hand in the air like I just didn’t care. Then I remembered to run it under cold water.
I’m quick like that.
Hours later, I was STILL icing my fingers because they felt like my skin was melting off. Unwrap with caution, folks.
Steamy Rice and Beans
Adapted from eat, live, run
2 chicken breasts, diced (or leave out the chicken!)
1 cup dry rice (I used Jasmine rice)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on how much kick you’re looking for.
guacamole for topping (I’m kind of obsessed with the Wholly Guacamole from Costco. Best ingredients list I’ve seen on store-bought guacamole.)
Preheat the oven to 350F
In a 9×13″ dish, pour in the rice, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Add the spices to the broth and whisk together. Pour the broth over the rice and beans, and give the pan a little stir. Add the chicken, and then cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 90 minutes with the foil on.
CAREFULLY remove the aluminum foil, top the casserole with guacamole, and serve.
Yours truly with peeling fingers,
Let’s pretend this is a photo of a beautiful quiche, ok?
And it’s all steamy, and delicious smelling, and puffy.
Puffy is a very important quality in quiche. And don’t tell me you can’t smell food photos. You may need to get your nose checked, ok?
In true Jo fashion, I made yet another meal that I took no photos of.
Not one. Not even an instagram shot.
I am so winning at being a food blogger!
1 Pie crust (this is the one I used)
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 or 1/4 tsp cayenne (or none if you don’t want any kick)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 375F
In a bowl, beat the eggs until all the yolks have broken and are combined.
Add the milk and spices and continue to beat until the egg mixture starts to get thick and frothy.
Stir in the vegetables and half of the mozzarella, and then pour the mixture into your pie crust. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the middle. If your pie crust starts to get too brown, line it with some tin foil. Serve while hot.
I’ve never had good luck saving quiche for leftovers. I’ve just never been able to reheat it well. Anyone have any suggestions?
It was so simple to come up with the first time. I was making chili, and I decided that curry powder would be fun to try instead of chili powder. And then of course I had to add coconut milk.
I do have to admit that I was pretty nervous about how this would turn out, and how it would be received, but it remains the most requested meal to date.
I make this exactly the same way as I make regular chili, but the difference in flavor couldn’t be bigger!
Curry Chicken Chili
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 14 oz can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Black Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
Saute the diced chicken until almost cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes (including the liquid), followed by all the beans. Add the coconut milk, curry and cayenne. Salt to taste. Stir until everything is combined, and allow to simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.
You can also make this with 1 pound of ground beef, or no meat at all!
How on earth has another year passed already?
My child, my amazing child, is READING HIS OWN BIRTHDAY CARDS!!
Obviously that’s not the only difference this last year has made, but I’d say that’s a pretty exciting difference. Wouldn’t you?
*Who am I kidding, I wish I was half as stylish as this kid!
And about 4 inches of vertical growth! I think I may have to keep up this feeding him thing…
By the way, I really need to thank Alton Brown for the most amazing Angel Food Cake recipe ever. The birthday boy was especially pleased.
A few notes about the recipe:
1. I didn’t have cake flour, so I made my own by measuring a cup of all purpose flour, and then taking two tablespoons out. I then added two tablespoons of cornstarch and mixed well.
2. I didn’t really wait for the egg whites to reach room temperature. I forgot. But it was just fine!
3. I used vanilla extract because that’s what I had. But it was just fine!
4. I used my new oven. This has no bearing on the recipe, per se, I’m just really excited about it still.
5. I served this cake with home made whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and homemade caramel sauce. Yeah mama!
I know I haven’t posted anything in awhile. And while I’m kind of sorry about that, I also really enjoyed the downtime.
And to be quite honest with you, I was feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen. I know, right? Kind of lame for a food blogger to stop having fun in the kitchen.
I don’t want to post fluff just so I can say I posted something. I write when I’m inspired. Or when I’ve had a success.
Or an epic failure.
And there were so many other things happening in my life–all for the good!–that what we were eating for dinner just kind of went on the back burner. (Kitchen pun! It’s ok, I know I’m hilarious.)
But let’s get back to that gorgeous photo at the top.
Dude, we got a new oven!
I’m in love.
Between the new oven and my dreamboat, I’m kind of in heaven. And! I’m ready to get back in the kitchen.
Watch out world!
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you My KitchenAid Stand Mixer:
(The folks at KitchenAid have no idea I exist, and I’m not getting paid or perked in any way. I’m just seriously in love with my mixer, and my amazing husband who gave it to me. This is a total gush post.)
Remember last Christmas when I yelled at family? This year was stunned silence. Speechless awe.
Yeah, Nick gets me. He knows what’s what.
And this mixer is what, let me tell you!
And my talented husband knows how to work that roller.
Sure, the filling tasted amazing. And balsamic brown butter sauce is epic. But paper thin pasta rolled to perfection just can’t be beaten. Or competed with, really.
And making cookies with this mixer? No sweat.
Literally! I don’t have to mix the chocolate chips in by hand anymore!
You know how some people choose a certain car or shoe designer to fall head over heels for?
For me, it’s this mixer. And I anticipate we’ll spend many happy years together.
Now it just needs a name…
I know, I know. “Pork roast? Come on, Jo; two weeks ago I was gorging myself on honey glazed ham and pierogies.
Roast is so…not festive.”
I hear ya! I do. But I think what I need now is comfort food. And the added luxury of not having to come up with a full dinner menu is so nice. It makes the transition out of the holiday mindset just a little easier.
Pork Roast in the Crockpot
Serves 4 with leftovers
I have to admit, I did not use a recipe or write down what I was throwing into the crockpot, so this is an estimation to the best of my memory. Feel free to add or subtract whatever spices you prefer.
2 pound pork shoulder (or other cut of meat suitable for roast)
1 quart beef or vegetable stock (enough to cover the meat in the crockpot)
1 medium onion, sliced into big chunks
1 or 2 large turnips, sliced into half-rounds
6-8 red potatoes, cut into evenly sized chunks
1 bay leaf
1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
Rosemary, basil, salt, pepper, oregeno and thyme to taste
Pour the stock into your crockpot and add all the seasonings. Stir gently to combine. (If you like a thicker, more gravy-like sauce at the end, add 2-3 tbsp of cornstarch to the stock with the rest of the seasonings.)
Cut the pork in half, or smaller, to ensure that it’s covered almost completely in the stock. Then add the vegetables on top of the roast.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. You just need to make sure the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160F.
Remember those bacon things?
That just doesn’t seem like something I’d do.
Call something by its proper name? Not me!
I made bacon things and apple things, which is why there’s bacon in the photos. I briefly considered combining everything into bacon/apple things, but I was lazy. It will happen soon, don’t you worry!
2 apples (of your favorite variety) sliced thinly
1 can crescent rolls
8-12 tsp cream cheese
brown sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375F.
I’ve made these with baked apples and raw apples. Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference, so if you’re pressed for time, just slice the apples and go.
“Bake” the sliced apples by gently heating them in a skillet or griddle over medium heat. You may want to use a little cooking spray to keep them from sticking.
In the meantime, spread out the crescent rolls. Drop a teaspoon to teaspoon and a half of cream cheese on each. Sprinkle the cream cheese with brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with several slices of apples, and roll up the crescents.
Bake for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for several minutes before serving.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you on something mediocre! I’m told this was an excellent pie.
The bite I tried was…cherry pie.
If cherry pie is your thing, this one shouldn’t disappoint. It has a nice balance of tart and sweet, decadence and simplicity.
But man, it’s still…cherry pie.
Makes one pie
2 chilled pie crusts (making your own is easy!)
4-5 cups of frozen pitted cherries
1/3 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
juice from one medium lemon
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tbsp cool water
Preheat oven to 375F
In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss together until all the cherries are covered.
Roll out one pie crust, and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Fill with the cherry mixture. Roll out the other pie crust and top, crimping the edges together to seal. (If you don’t want to mess with a lattice top, I don’t blame you! Just make sure to cut slits to vent the steam) Brush the top with the egg wash, and then sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for at least an hour, and as much as an hour and a half. Cover the edges of the pie with tinfoil after a half an hour to prevent them from getting too brown. You will know the pie is done when the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
Allow the pie to rest at room temperature for several hours before serving. It’s even better (I’m told) the next day, so if you have time, make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
“So then what’s with the overly dramatic title?”
I have these ingredients on hand 99% of the time.
ALL the ingredients.
And these bars are so fast to throw together that you can basically have them done before you give it a second thought.
“Yeah, but I’m not a food blogger. I don’t have fancy ingredients around 24/7. I’m not in any danger.”
Do you see what I mean?!?
I took these bars to my son’s school for Parent Teacher night, and I was stopped in the hallway twice by someone who wanted the recipe!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes 1 9×9 inch pan
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oats (quick cooking works best)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the oats and stir until everything is moistened. Turn heat to low and continue to stir this mixture until the chocolate is ready.
At the same time, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent the chocolate from burning. When the mixture is completely melted and smooth, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour just over half of the oat mixture into the 9×9 pan. Use a spatula to spread and compress the oats. I used a sheet of parchment and pressed the mixture down with my hands. When you have a smooth surface, pour the chocolate over top, and use your spatula to spread and smooth the chocolate. Carefully drop the remaining oats over top to create clumps.
Freeze the pan for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight. Allow it to sit out at room temperature to make the bars easier to cut.
And while you’re at it, you might as well make a double batch and keep one in the freezer.
You know, for emergencies.