Archive | April, 2010

Don’t Go Off-Recipe When You Can’t Taste {recipe: teriyaki chicken with broccoli rice stir fry}

15 Apr

So I am feeling a little under the weather and I decided to try a new recipe last night. In an effort to stretch our grocery budget, I am looking outside of my typical recipe ingredients for new recipes that are good and cheap.

[Enter dark meat]

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are healthy and wonderful, but they are also the most expensive cut of chicken, so when I saw a recipe for teriyaki chicken legs, I thought I would try it out. Five pretty large chicken legs cost less than $3 at Sprouts.

So I made the chicken legs and decided I would spruce up the white rice called for in the recipe. I added all sorts of stuff…soy sauce, orange juice, ginger…and I kept tasting it, and it tasted like nothing…just bland rice. I was confused at how all of that flavor was just soaking into the rice.

It wasn’t. I have a cold and I couldn’t taste anything. I realized that once we were eating and I said, “I marinated this chicken in teriyaki sauce all day and I can’t even tell….oh, wait.”

I am not going to tell you what I put in the rice. You don’t want it. There is enough soy sauce in it to give you hypertension with just one bite. Just make the white rice like the recipe says.

Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli Rice Stir Fry

adapted from Rachael Ray

serves two

  • 4 chicken leg drummers
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) teriyaki sauce
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated or minced
  1. Place chicken drummers in a resealable plastic bag with the teriyaki sauce and let marinate 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400
  3. Arrange chicken legs on a roasting pan and season chicken liberally with coarse black pepper.
  4. Cover chicken legs with foil and roast 20 minutes.
  5. Turn legs over and roast 10 minutes more.
  6. Remove foil and roast an additional 5-8 minutes to darken and crisp.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. While the chicken cooks, bring stock and water with 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil to a boil over high heat. Add rice and stir, bring back up to a boil then reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer 18 minutes then fluff with fork.
  9. While chicken roasts the last 10 minutes, bring a few inches of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook 2-3 minutes, then drain. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add blanched broccolini. Stir-fry 2 minutes, add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 1 minute more. Serve chicken legs with stir-fried broccoli and rice alongside.


Easy, Hearty Dinner {recipe: taco chili}

14 Apr

We eat a lot of tex-mex food. It is easy, delicious, and you can use the same ingredients over and over. This recipe originally came from another food blog. I made it once and loved it, then went to make it a few months when I was pregnant. I figured I would make enough to freeze some for post-pregnancy, so I doubled the recipe. I forgot that the recipe already serves about 8. So, with my crockpot filled to the brim, I was making Taco Chili for 16. We just finally finished it.

Lesson learned – the recipe freezes well and it’s one of those dishes, like many soups and chilis, that seems to get better with leftovers, the flavors all have a chance to meld together.

Make a big batch when you’re expecting the whole family in town, or when you need to stock your freezer for busy weeks ahead!

Taco Chili

Adapted from Rebecca Crump (

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans RO*TEL® diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • Garnishes: Tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro, sliced avocados
  • 1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat until beef is no longer pink. Drain, using a slotted spoon, as you transfer browned beef and onions to a Dutch oven, stockpot or slow cooker.

    2. Add tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Stir in the taco seasoning and ranch salad dressing mix.

    3. If you’re cooking on the stovetop, cover the pot and simmer soup over low heat for 30 minutes up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If you’re using a slow cooker, cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

    4. Garnish individual servings with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and cilantro, if desired.

    original post:

    Cooking for Eight {recipe: green chile chicken enchiladas}

    8 Apr

    A lot of the recipes on here are sweet. But, let’s get practical. We’re all making regular dinner meals way more than we’re baking flourless chocolate cakes, whether we want to or not.

    With a baby and just the two of us grown-ups, here is my secret for eating home-cooked meals every night: cook for eight. That will give you enough for dinner and then lunch the next day, and another dinner+lunch meal to throw in the freezer. It also breaks up the monotony of sandwiches for lunch.

    I freeze everything now. Most recipes are freezeable if you just freeze them before the last few steps of the recipe are complete. You don’t want to put the finishing touches on a meal and cook it to its fullest, then freeze it, thaw it, and end up cooking it more when you reheat it.

    Also we got rid of our microwave because it just didn’t fit in the kitchen, so we reheat stuff in the oven. Do that. Food is heated much more thoroughly in the oven, and you can cover your meal with foil (don’t use that in the microwave) and it actually just gets heated, and not cooked/dried out more.

    These enchiladas are great, easy, and they freeze well. Serve them up with a side of queso.

    Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

    • 2 T butter
    • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
    • 1 can green chiles (I used medium)
    • 2 T flour
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cups sour cream
    • 16 oz jar tomatillo/green salsa
    • 1 t cumin
    • 1/4 t cayenne
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/2 t pepper
    • 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (cook your own chicken breasts, use leftover chicken from something else, or grab a rotisserie chicken)
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 12 flour tortillas, small size
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar
    • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack
    • 1/2 red onion, diced

    Preheat the oven to 350.

    Melt butter in a large saucepanover medium heat. Drain chiles and put in butter pan with the garlic, let cook about a minute. Stir in the flour and let cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, let cook until the mixture bobbles. Stir in sour cream, salsa, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and cilantro until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.

    Butter a 9×13 baking dish*. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, cheddar cheese, and chopped onion to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.

    For two people, split the recipe between two 8×8 pans and freeze the second one.

    To freeze: Cook the sauce and cool completely. Store in a freezer bag. Store your pepper jack cheese in another freezer bag. Assemble the enchiladas without the sauce in portion-friendly dishes and wrap well with plastic wrap or foil. When you’re ready to cook them, thaw the sauce at room temperature, pour over the top and top with shredded cheese. To cook thawed, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (or to an internal temperature of 165). To cook straight from the freezer, increase the baking time to 45-55 minutes.

    Original post:

    How to Renovate Your Wardrobe for Free {recipe: maple walnut shortbread}

    1 Apr

    So I have learned some things at work that are completely not work-related. Like how to tie a good scarf knot and how to make stellar cake balls and how to plant a container garden. And how to have a Clothes Swap.

    Let’s face it. I just had a baby and those once-tight jeans are now too-tight jeans that would look great on you and the flowy top that you wore twice and now hate? It would look great with my baby-feeders. So, get all your lady friends together, bring the stuff from your closet that you don’t wear anymore, spread it our in a giant room and get your friends to do the same. And then shop. For free. Donate what’s left and go home happy!

    Here are the rules for a Clothes Swap that go in an Evite. Just copy and paste them, and send to your own friends!

    Bring your old clothes and an appetizer or a dessert or something to drink to the swap, along with a bag or two so that you can haul away your new goodies.

    1. Clean out all of the Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Purses and other Accessories you don’t want (all of those things that you need to get rid of because no matter how many times you try them on, they will always be too small/too big/too tight-in-the-wrong-place/the wrong color/wrong material, or just plain ugly);

    2. Come to the swap and take new-to-you clothes that you do want (free shopping!); and

    3. laugh at what is just plain ugly.

    4:00 – Show up and grab a drink and some appetizers while you sort your clothes. We’ll have all items divided into different categories of clothing in different rooms of the house.

    4:30 – Go time. Start bagging what you want, try things on, solicit feedback from your peers (ask questions like, “does this make me look fat?” and get told you look fabulous).

    5:00 – Have another snack and laugh at what is ugly (perhaps an award will be given for the worst piece?).

    Later – Go home. Brag to husband/fiancee/roommate/mother how you just got bags of fantastic clothing and accessories for free, AND got rid of the crap in your closet.

    Great, huh? Now go do it with your friends!

    You can make these for your snack. They are quick and tasty. Eat the leftovers with coffee on a groggy Saturday morning.

    Maple Walnut Shortbread

    from Real Simple

    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 egg, separated
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

    Heat oven to 300° F. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
    Spread the dough into an ungreased 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet with sides.

    Beat the egg white in a small bowl with a fork until foamy. Spread evenly over the dough.

    Sprinkle on the nuts and press them gently into the dough.

    Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the shortbread shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan. Do not overcook; you want them to be a little chewy. Cut diagonally into 3-by-1 1/2-inch bars.