Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Have You Tried...

Have you tried freeze dried herbs? I know that fresh is best, but its the middle of winter and I live in Lansing, MI. So I have resorted to using freeze dried herbs and so far am pretty impressed with their flavor.

Creamy Chicken Chowder- MY WAY

Last night I made a delicious Creamy Chicken Chowder in the crock pot. I loosely followed a recipe found in a cookbook, but made quite a few adjustments. Its a great winter treat. Top it off with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and some tortilla chips!

Here's how I made it:

combine the following in the crockpot:

about 1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 11oz can corn with sweet peppers (drained)

1 10 3/4oz can cream of chicken soup

1 10 3/4oz can nacho cheese soup

1 4oz can fire roasted green chile peppers

2 tbs freeze dried cliantro (or fresh snipped)

1 envelope taco seasoning

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup PACE tomatillo salsa (you could probably use whatever kind you want, just NOT fresh because its too watery)

COVER, cook on LOW 4-6 hrs, or HIGH 2-3 hrs.

in a small bowl, stir 1 cup of the soup mixture into 1 cup of dairy sour cream. Make sure its REAL and not reduced fat!!! stir sour cream mixture into crockpot mixture, use a whisk if necessary to make it smooth. Add 1 14oz can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed). Stir. Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes or until beans are heated through. I decided to add the beans last because I didn't want them to turn into total mush.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


it is SO like me to start a blog and almost immediately abandon it...

i'm going to try to give this another shot.

so, here goes...

tonight i made a basic white sauce, but added a few teaspoons of curry powder with the flour, and used half milk and half chicken stock for the liquid. i then added bits of cooked chicken (torn hungrily from a cold rotisserie chicken) and a bit of fresh ground black pepper. i'm eating it now over brown rice. it tastes wonderful. i only wish i had some frozen green peas to toss into the mix. i'd have taken a picture (its a lovely yellow color) but my camera needs new batteries.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

finally...pork chops that don't suck!

Since I started cooking I've had issues with pork chops. They're always dry and tasteless. But not anymore...
This technique is a combination of tips from friends, my mom, and other websites. I would not have guessed that cooking pork chops in milk would make them tasty, but it really works!
I recommend using a cast iron skillet.
First set your oven to 325.
Next, cut a large onion into thick wedges (maybe 1/4 inch each) and saute them along with some sliced baby portabella mushrooms in some olive oil. Season with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper then set aside.
Season 4 large bone-in pork chops. You can season them however you want, just do it generously. I've used a combination of spices, including a premade steak/chop rub consisting of sea salt, garlic, coriander and black pepper, which was good. Rub the spices into the meat. Make sure you get both sides. Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto each side then brown in some hot olive oil. Don't try to cook them, just brown each side for a minute or two. I have a 12 inch skillet and can brown the chops two at a time. Set them aside.
Scatter some of the onion and mushroom mixture onto the bottom of the skillet. Place the pork chops on top. Depending on the size of your chops and your pan, you may have to overlap the edges.
Warm up about 1 cup of either whole milk, half & half, or heavy cream. I've tried all three, heavy cream tasted best. Don't boil it- just warm it, then pour over the chops and onions and mushrooms.
Cook for 1 hour.
ENJOY! (and don't have a heart attack from all the fat!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Modified Converse Shoes

Another project in the works...
I'm so taken by this new style of Converse shoes that has no laces. You just slip them on. Very nice for a person like me who has clumsy fingers. What doesn't make sense is why shoes with no laces should cost more than shoes with laces. So, I'm going to try to modify a pair I already own. A little elastic, a needle and thread, and a little time should do it.

PVC Dog Bed

I'm working on making an awesome bed for Ramona out of PVC pipes. You can buy them pre-made but they're pretty expensive- like $75. I spent a lot of time at LOWES yesterday exploring my options. I never knew plumbing supplies could be so complicated. All these white plastic pieces that all look the same. The two employees trying to help me out seemed amused. When I told them Ramona weighs over 70lbs. one suggested I go to Art Van Furniture and check out the queen sized beds on sale. Anyway, I think materials are going to cost about $15 tops!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Apple Cider-Ginger Barbecue Sauce (Low Cal)

This is a low calorie adaptation of a barbecue sauce recipe from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook. This one is only for people who aren't afraid to eat Splenda!

3/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
1 cup water mixed with 1 small can tomatoe paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer about 10 minutes, ENJOY!