Its gettin’ hot in herrrrrrree…

Except seriously.

It is disgustingly hot out this week. It’s 6:45 pm as I write this and it is currently 90F. Annnnnnd this girl has no AC. So basically its the worst lol.

But it has inspired me to share a recipe with you that won’t turn your entire house into an oven. Hooray! and then we can catch up on what’s been new in our lives and reminisce about America’s birthday (happy belated bday Ammurica).

This horrible weather is the PERFECT weather for bustin’ out your crockpot. FACT. Because that biz doesn’t heat your house up AT ALL. I recently busted out mine and made some tasty Crockpot Chicken Fajitas. They are super easy and cheap to make which, in this heat, is a major plus. Also they taste great.

Here’s how you can whip some up for yourself-

Biz you’ll need:

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 4..but it depends on how much you want to make)
  • peppers
  • onion
  • garlic
  • fajita seasoning (or taco seasoning if that’s your jam)
  • optional add ons: black beans, corn, chilis, tomatoes, other veggies/beans
  • other stuff for eating: sour cream, cheese, rice, tortillas

Ok so you start by chopping up your veggies and putting them in the bottom of your crockpot.

I like to cut the veggie into big slices so they are more prominent in the fajitas

I like to cut the veggie into big slices so they are more prominent in the fajitas

Then add your corn/beans/tomatoes if you’re using them. Next place your chicken on the veggies and top with the seasonings.

Chicken and spices on top

Chicken and spices on top

Cook on low for 4 or 6 hours, or high for 8 or 10 (depending on your time frame).  Once done, shred the chicken with a fork. I like mine in bigger chunks so I didn’t shred much…but the chicken is so tender you can shred to your personal preference.

mmm...Fajitas!

mmm…Fajitas!

This ended up being a really great last minute meal planning adventure. I hadn’t decided what to make before going to the grocery store so I just figured I’d just throw something together. Notes on this recipe: its really customizable. I went really minimal with my ingredients because I didn’t plan on making them, so get crazy! Also, I had a lot of liquid at the end, so I did use the cover and sort of strain/dump the extra liquid.

Lunch!

Lunch!

I even brought some leftovers to work for lunch. It’s definitely something I’ll make again.

In other news…America just had another birthday…Yahoo! This time, rather than celebrate in Beantown with the gang like last year, I was in California with some fab ladies for our friend J’s WEDDING!!! I had been looking forward to this trip for months because the 5 of us haven’t all been in the same place since 2008….ew…I’m old. We go way back these ladies and I, we met when we became roomies during our semester abroad in Italy five years ago. Since then, life has spread us all over the place…Cali, Arizona, Boston and London. We rented a house for the wedding long weekend and had the best time. And given the nature of this blog I’ll share some of the food adventures as well as the reunion/wedding magic.

On the 4th we had a bitchin’ BBQ (shout out to grill master F) with carne asada, super spicy corn (that I was too chicken to try), homemade guac, roasted veggies, and tasty stuffed portobello mushrooms. After eating we headed to the fireworks!

Happy Birthday America!!

Happy Birthday America!!

The next day was J and D’s wedding! AHHH. It was so much fun! The bride was beautiful! and obvi I cried like sap lol. I was thrilled to be a part of the magic day and share in the start of the happy couple’s new adventure 🙂 Also, the week I spent with these lovely ladies was a BLAST! It was awesome to get to see them again and catch up face to face on all the amazing things going on in their lives…and meet their special someones (who were such amazing sports during all the reunion craziness! love you guys!).

The Florence Girls <3 #viadelmoro4life

The Florence Girls ❤ and Mr and Mrs B 🙂
#viadelmoro4life

I can’t wait to see everyone again!

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and behaved like true patriots (A’mmmuricaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!)

And good luck with this heat!

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There’s Always Time for Chicken

Sorry for such a long break between posts. Things have been a bit hectic lately. I just started a brand new job and have been super busy catching myself up to speed on everything. Overall it’s been great so far and I’m much happier. Hooray for positive life changes!

My final two weeks at my old job corresponded with the Boston Marathon bombings and ensuing search and capture of the suspects. So needless to say it was a stressful period. And then I immediately started my new job…so I got a little overwhelmed and my time in the kitchen dropped significantly. I did make one interesting thing during that period that I wanted to share with you all. Better late than never I guess.

I was feeling broke and lazy so I was particularly interested in finding a crockpot creation. When in doubt I always turn to chicken…its pretty hard to screw up chicken. I did a quick search and settled on a recipe. Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken.

As a note: I didn’t turn to my trusty pals over at Google this time…I went directly to a great crockpot site called Get Crocked. I discovered this site a while back and it has HUNDREDS of amazing crockpot recipes.

I realized that I already had most of the ingredients so I figured it would be a smart try. Here’s what you need:

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

  • ~5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 c brown sugar (packed)
  • 2/3 c vinegar
  • 1/4 c Sprite (or other similar soda would work too)
  • 2 -3 Tbs garlic
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper

Add the chicken to the bottom of the crockpot. Add everything else together, and pour over chicken. Now, I didn’t really pay attention to the directions (whoopsies) and I added everything separate…I don’t think it makes much difference but it may help to mix it first. Cook for 6-8 hours on high.

I cut my chicken breasts in half...I fit 5.

I cut my chicken breasts in half…I fit 5.

IMG_2296 IMG_2297

After 8 hours I had a lot of sauce…Corn starch thickened it a little.

So I have some mixed feelings about this recipe to be honest. A few things concerned me…such as the fact that mine looked very different from the recipe photo (take a peek here). The photo shows a piece of chicken with a sort of sauce coating. Mine was VERY liquid. I read through the comments (which is SOOO helpful sometimes) and realized that others had this problem too. I added some cornstarch to the sauce at the end to thicken it up. (add a few tbs of cornstarch mixed in water FIRST, then add it to the sauce).

It tasted okay. Its not a recipe I will likely rush to make again, but it wasn’t bad either. Next time I will definitely decrease the liquid ingredients. I served it over rice.

Meat and Po’tater Casserole

When you read the title, imagine it with a southern accent…because that’s how I hear it haha…

So last week I went over to a friends house and we whipped up a tasty meal. She had found a recipe for Meat and Potato Casserole online so we figured it was worth a try. We did however make a few changes….namely that we used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes.

Its actually pretty simple to prepare and doesn’t cost a fortune to put together…so clearly I’m a fan. I WILL however point out some key things that you’ll likely miss if, like me, you read and prepare one step at a time.

Meat and Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional

Now before you read ahead, Note: YOU COOK THE POTATOES FIRST. After you peel, slice, and butter’em up you have to bake them for about 20 minutes! We sort of missed that part and it set us back time-wise so I thought I would tell you guys up front.

Directions

  • Toss potatoes with butter and salt; arrange on the bottom and up the sides of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Sprinkle beef and corn over potatoes. Combine the soup, milk, garlic powder, pepper, onion and 1/2 cup cheese; pour over beef mixture.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

It was super yummy and you can spice it up by adding other spices or veggies. And it all totally holds up when you take it for lunch the next day!

Note for vegetarians: This recipe can totally work with meat substitutes like lentils and soy-fake meat (sorry I can’t remember the actual name)

On an unrelated note: Its holiday fair season! woohoo! I can not express how much I love a good fair/yard sale. I happened to get a MAJOR steal when I went with my fam the other weekend! I got this AMAZING crystal cut punch bowl set complete with 12 glasses and stand bowl for….wait for it…..SIX DOLLARS. I basically died. I love it so much and CAN NOT wait to use it!

Punch Bowl Set!

 

How have the rest of fared at these fairs?…see what I did there…college money well spent.

Hearty Beef Stew to Warm Your Belly

Sandy oh Sandy. As I’m writing this the lightening is flashing and the thunder is booming outside my apartment. We were hit (more like open palmed slapped…half-heartedly) by Hurricane Sandy yesterday, and I figure this is some sort of aftershock-esque weather. I only had to work a half day at work because the T shut down at 2. But to be honest I was radiating with annoyance at having to go into work at all…there’s nothing I love better than a stormy day in my sweat pants. But whatever right? There are people with ACTUAL  problems resulting from Sandy so I’ll stop being a jerk.

this poor guy seems to be the only casualty on my street!

Anyways…I’ve been meaning to post this for like 2 weeks. So I’m sharing it with you now. A few weeks ago I busted out the ‘ole crockpot and whipped up some Beef Stew. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts I’m really not a soup person; it’s just not my jam generally. But I wanted to branch out and give it a go…partly because the weather turned arctic…remember that week? brrrrrr!

It’s actually really easy to put together and you don’t need any other pots or anything…it’s mostly just layering. Here’s how the magic happens: (recipe from Get Crocked)

Hearty Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs. stew beef
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 4 lg. carrots, peeled & sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 lg. potatoes, peeled & chopped into chunks
  • 1 c. condensed beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1 lg. onion, sliced
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
  1. Layer potatoes on the bottom of your crock pot.
  2. Next, layer carrots on top of potatoes.
  3. Place meat on top of carrots.
  4. Sprinkle meat with soy sauce, salt, paprika, pepper & flour.
  5. Layer chopped onions evenly on top of sauce/seasonings.
  6. Combine beef broth & tomato sauce and pour over everything in the crock pot.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hrs. (or high 4 – 5 hrs. if pressed for time

    Now I changed it up a bit to suit my tastes…I added canned corn and a sweet potato as well.

This is an easy recipe for putting the freezer for later cooking, or just feeding yourself slash your family. I think it’s a good one to keep in your arsenal for this winter!

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie…Yes Please!

True story: I love chicken pot pie. Let’s be serious here people, what’s NOT to love about it? Answer: nothing.

So obviously when I came across an opportunity to combine my love of chicken pot pie with my love of crockpots…BOOM…it was a big lovefest.

Its actually super easy to whip up…and is perfect for this chilly (sometimes freezing) fall weather.

 

Here’s how you make it:

  • 1 – 1/2 lbs. Chicken Thighs, boneless
  • 10 3/4 oz. cream of chicken, canned
  • 10 3/4 oz. cream of celery, canned
  • 10 3/4 oz. cream of broccoli, canned
  • 8 oz. corn
  • 8 oz. carrots
  • 10 oz. green beans
  • 8 oz. peas
  • 1 large potato (I added this to the recipe because I love potatoes in my pot pies)
  • Biscuits, package of 8-10

1. Fill the bottom of the crock pot with boneless chicken thighs and potatoes.

2. Pour a can of cream of chicken, cream of celery and cream of broccoli soup over the chicken and potatoes.

3. Cover. Cook for 6 hrs on low.

4. Add a can of corn, carrots, green beans and peas and cook for 45 min longer on low.

5. Make biscuits in the oven and scoop pot pie on top of biscuits.

So easy and delicious!