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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?
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…
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.
When you buy something at Costco, you don’t just end up with one package. So, the other package of sausages have been sitting in our refrigerator long enough that I was worried we’d have to throw them away if I didn’t come up with something.
Our broccoli was the same deal. We had a lot of it, and although we’d been slowly nibbling on it for awhile, (and adding it to a few dinners) I knew that if I didn’t use up a big portion of it, a big portion of it was going to go in the trash.
Ok, so we totally can, but we needed to use it up faster than nibbling would allow.
You can freeze what you don’t need right away, thereby not wasting any food, and you have back up dinner or lunches when you’re pressed for time.
And Nick thought the sausage taste was disguised enough that he didn’t even realize it was the same sausage. Win one for me
Chicken Sausage Calzones
1 pre-made pizza dough (I used my bread machine, but lots of stores have ready made stuff in the freezer aisle)
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/2 cup sliced onion
3 sausage links (3 oz each) sliced into rounds. I used these
2/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup grated mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
cornmeal to sprinkle on the baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 350F
On a cookie sheet, spread the sausage out to create one layer. Roast on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes (or until done), making sure to move the sausage around on the pan several times to prevent burning.
On a separate cookie sheet, spread the broccoli and the onion out to create one layer. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, moving everything around on the pan several times to prevent burning.
Set the vegetables and sausage aside to cool slightly before adding the cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir everything together until fully combined.
Increase the oven heat to 400F
Prepare a stone baking pan or cookie sheet by sprinkling cornmeal onto it.
Divide the pizza dough into 8 equal portions, and roll or spread the dough to create little circles. Add a few spoonfuls of the filling onto one side, leaving about 3/4 of an inch edge. Fold the other side of the dough over to create a pocket, and use a fork to seal the edges. Cut a slit or two in the top, and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
You know that scene in Amelie where she reaches her hand into a sack of beans because it’s one of her life’s simple pleasures? That’s how I feel about a bag of cornmeal. I have to resist the urge to dip my fingers into it every time I get it out of the cupboard.
It’s ok. I know I’m an odd duck.
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 425F
**Follow your favorite cornbread recipe, omitting most–if not all–the sugar. Add enough batter to an 8 inch round pan to fill the bottom about a half inch. (Use the leftover batter to make cornbread muffins!)
Bake the cornbread for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in the broccoli.
Pour the egg mixture over the cornbread, top with the cheese, and reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Put the quiche back into the oven and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Just until the eggs are firm and everything turns a nice golden brown color. Serve hot.
If you want a little more kick or moisture, feel free to add some salsa as a topping.
Recently, my husband and I took a trip to sunny* California. What follows are a few photos of our favorite meals.
We ended up walking between 5 and 10 miles every day taking in the sites and the food. I’m certain there are many amazing things we missed, but man did we have fun! I guess we’ll have to go back soon
*I’m sure that San Francisco is generally a sunny, warm place, but when we were there, I froze! Like, had to buy a coat and why did I only bring sandals froze. Santa Monica and Venice Beach were much more to my taste.
How’s your summer going?
We’ve been pretty busy, but we’ve managed to do 90% of all the very fun things we love to do when it’s warm outside.
You know, Farmers Market, canoe trips down the river, run through sprinklers, tour with a dance company…that kind of thing.
And because we’ve been so busy, we’ve gotten really good at the seriously fast, seriously easy dinner prep.
These kabobs taste fancy. Like someone spent all day mixing a marinade and then slaving over a hot grill.
(But there’s only four ingredients! Shh, no one has to know that these took no work or thought at all. Just go with it)
Are you ready for the mind-blowing list of ingredients?
I know it seems weird to marinate steak in lime juice, but you just have to trust me. Your mouth will thank you.
Lime Marinated Kabobs
1 pound of roast or steak, cubed
5-6 limes, juiced
Vegetables (we used onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and pineapple cause it’s delicious, but use what you love)
1/4 cup olive oil
Place the cubed meat in a bowl or ziplock bag, and pour the lime juice over the meat. Allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator for up to a day, but no less than 2 hours.
If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in a pan of water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skewer the vegetables and then brush them with the olive oil. Use separate skewers for the meat. We like to do all meat kabobs and all vegetable kabobs to allow for varying grill times. We also have some vegetarian friends who appreciate not having to pick off the meat. We also have some meat eating friends who appreciate not having to pick off the vegetables.
Grill the meat kabobs first, adding more lime juice if they start to dry out. After about 5 minutes, add the vegetable kabobs to the grill and brush on more olive oil if they start to dry out.
You can serve them on the skewers or pull everything off and mix it in a bowl, as you prefer.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear the sprinkler calling my name.
We’ve had a long spring this year. A long wet spring.
Great for the grass and my water bill, not so great for morale.
But even though I’m seriously a happy camper, turning on the oven when it’s 85F in my kitchen is just asking for trouble. And melted popsicles.
So what’s a Jo to do? Make a giant salad! With chicken! And vegetables! And no oven!
Summer Survival Salad
4 unfrozen chicken breasts (I like boneless and skinless, but use what you’ve got)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas (you can leave them whole, but I cut them in half for easier eating)
your favorite mix of lettuce
Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes, up to a day, in your favorite Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette (I’ll give you my favorite recipe at the bottom).
Grill the chicken (outside! not in your kitchen!) until fully cooked, adding more marinade each time you turn the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest covered in tin foil before you slice it into strips.
In the meantime, assemble your salad. I like to do it in layers, ’cause it’s more fun that way. Then plate and serve.
My favorite salad dressing/chicken marinade
from Emeril Lagasse
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients into a lidded container. Shake or whisk until everything is combined. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
What are your favorite summer survival foods?