Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Chicken Cacciatore November 8, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Freezer Meals,Mushrooms,pasta — hmills96 @ 5:47 pm

One of the great things about this new apartment is how homey and grown up it is. We have real, matching (well, somewhat matching) furniture, and even though it’s just a one bedroom, we have enough room in the living space to have a “den,” and “office,” and a “dining room.” This makes it really easy to entertain, which we did for the first time last night.

I’ve had this recipe flagged for awhile. PW has this way of drawing you in with her bright, delicious looking food shots. This was no exception. So, when we made plans to have friends of Richard’s over for dinner, I knew this is what I had to make. It was a little acidic for me, so I’ve adjusted my recipe below to compensate for that. Otherwise, it was a great meal, especially next to roasted acorn squash (another recipe I got from PW), and some yummy toasted asiago bread. It’s a little time consuming, so it won’t be a weeknight meal most of the time, but worth it for company definitely. Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as Ree’s, but come on. Who can compete with the Pioneer Woman herself? I didn’t get a picture of mine, since we had company, so go on over to her site if you want to see some gorgeous food porn.

Chicken Cacciatore
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

8 chicken thighs (leave the skin on!)
1 pound Pasta Or Egg Noodles, cooked per package directions
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Halved And Sliced
2 whole  Bell Peppers, Cored And Sliced (I used one yellow and one orange, use whatever color you like)
5 cloves Garlic, minced
12 ounces button mushrooms, halved
1 tsp fresh thyme, stemmed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Red Pepper Flakes, Crushed, To Taste (optional)
3/4 cups Dry Red Wine
1 can (15 Ounce) Whole Or Diced Tomatoes (with Their Juice)
2 cups low sodium chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken thighs. Dredge lightly in flour.

Heat butter and oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown chicken, 4 pieces at a time, on both sides. Set aside on a plate.

Drain off about half of the oil, otherwise the sauce will be greasy later. Saute onion, peppers, and garlic for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and thyme, cook another minute. Add seasonings, then pour in wine, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Place chicken on top of the veggies and liquid, keeping the browned skin out of the sauce.

Put lid on pot and cook in oven for 45 minutes. Remove lid and raise temperature to 375. Cook for additional 15 minutes.

Take pot out of oven. Remove chicken to a plate so you can get to the veggies. Spoon veggies on a large platter over the egg noodles. Allow sauce to simmer over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes to thicken.

Arrange chicken on top of the veggies. When sauce has thickened, spoon it over the whole dish. You may not use it all without drowning everything, so just pour the rest into a serving dish for the table.

Serve family style in center of your table.

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Homemade Frozen Burritos September 11, 2011

Filed under: beans,cheese,Chicken,Freezer Meals,Mexican,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 7:13 pm

Wow guys. It’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. I’ve kind of been all over the place the last few months, and really not cooking very much–or at least no actual new recipes. I’m completely changing the way I eat so mostly it’s been a bit of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.

I went and visited my cousin in Winston-Salem a few weeks ago. She’s really big into clean eating–organics, local produce, no preservatives. I cannot afford to go as extreme as she does it, but I did learn some helpful lessons about what my body needs when. It’s been a bit of a shock on my body, to cut out so much of the junk. I’m not even talking about junk food, just the preservatives and extreme amounts of sodium so much of the convenience foods have today. Hence the trial and error–because of my migraines, I have to be careful about going too extreme too fast–which is why crash diets and cleanses have never really worked for me. I’m starting to feel a lot better–monitoring what goes in, as well as taking up biking.

Anyway, this recipe idea came at an amazing time. I’ve been trying to spend a few hours every weekend putting together a few dishes that I can freeze in individual portions. It makes it so easy then, to pack one of the meals for lunch. Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice  are great for portion control–but there’s a lot up unpronounceable ingredients on their lists. This uses simple ingredients and was so easy to throw together. The following is what I had on hand (and no, most of it isn’t organic, and probably does have some preservatives in it, but it’s still better for me than what I was eating), but feel free to change it up. I would have loved roasted peppers in this, and some cilantro.

Homemade Frozen Burritos

Inspired by The Kitchn 

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cups roast chicken (you can use raw, just make sure you cook it fully)
Cumin, chili powder, hot sauce (whatever spices you have on hand)
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn, thawed
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Tortillas (I used Low-Carb)

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft.

Add chicken, toss with spices of your choice. My chicken was left over from a roast I had done the day before, but feel free to saute sliced chicken breasts if you want.

Add beans, tomatoes and corn. Toss until warmed through.

Set up a little work station. Make a pile of tortillas, a bowl of cheese, your foil for wrapping.

To make the burritos:

1. Grab a tortilla.

2. Spread a little line of cheese down the middle.

3. Scoop about 1/2 cup of filling onto the cheese (you need less than you think).

4. Fold two ends in towards the center. Roll burrito.

5. Roll completed burrito in foil.

6. Repeat until you have all your tortillas filled!

7. Freeze.

8. To heat, remove the foil. Wrap in a damp paper towel (this will help keep the ends from getting hard). Microwave for 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Man, I wish I would have taken pictures of this process. I could have gone all Pioneer Woman on you. Unfortunately, I do not have that much foresight or blogging prowess. Make this though. It’s so easy, and it’s soooo yummy.

 

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast July 11, 2011

I have some big plans for my future. I can’t tell you what they are yet, only that I could use some prayers, thoughts, etc for the next several months. I’ll let you guys in to my secret as soon as I know what’s going to happen!

Part of this new plan is to lose weight. I need to lose 10 pounds at first, but want to lose 20 altogether. I started this plan Tuesday, and I’ve already lost 5 pounds!

I’m doing the Slimfast 123 plan, which is working really well. I’m doing a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, a slimfast shake at lunch, and some kind of meal in the evening. I usually stick a slimfast bar in there somewhere as a snack.

My biggest struggle with this diet is the variety. It’s a LOT of sweets during the day, and I’ve never been a HUGE sweets person. Occasionally yes, but I much prefer more savory foods. By the time I get home at night, I crave real protein. So yesterday I decided to braise a lean pork shoulder so that I could have some good things in the evening. This recipe is more of a how-to than anything. there isn’t much to the marinade–just a few things to tenderize the meat and bring out the flavor of the pork. I’ll use the meat to make tacos, pulled pork sandwiches (on lowfat bread and with a vinegar based sauce instead of a heavier one), etc etc.

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast
Original Recipe

1 lean pork shoulder
1 can light beer
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 large onion, quartered
Dry rub of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Trim most of the fat off of the shoulder. It’s ok to leave some, it will keep the meat moist. But mine came with a good 1/2″ of fat on one side…that’s too much!

In a large plastic bag, combine all ingredients, excepting the pork and onions. Add the pork and marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours).

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry with a papertowel. Rub on all sides with your favorite dry rub. Brown on all sides in a medium skillet over medium high heat.

Place in crockpot with onions, wine and chicken stock, and turn crockpot on medium low (mine is the 8 hour setting. Cover, and let it do it’s thing for 6-8 hours.

The meat should be fall off the bone tender when it is done. Literally. The shoulder bone was completely separated when the pork was done cooking. Use two forks to pull the pork apart. Use for anything!

 

Vermicelli with Peas May 30, 2011

I’ve been finding myself a little burned out lately. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and just not really taking much time for myself. Even my weekends have been busy. This long weekend was much needed. I had a graduation party Saturday evening, so I went home for that. But that was my ONLY event the whole three day weekend. And OH how I relished the peace. I watched scary movies, drank some wine, visited with some friends, and caught up on my YouTube Subscriptions (PhillyD and Shaytards. I love them.). I finished a book, and started another.

Today was a little bit more productive. I cleaned my kitchen, did some laundry, made stock. I cut up a fresh pineapple and put the rind and core in vodka to infuse for a week. And the big one–I mowed my yard! Ok, just the front part. I still need to do the back half. This was the first time I’ve ever mowed. My neighbor has done it for me a few times this summer, but it was time for me to learn to do it on my own. The only problem? I couldn’t get my mower to start. I had a friend come over and take a look at it. He jostled a few bits around and got it to start for me. Oh man, mowing is hard work. I have a GIGANTIC hill in the front of my house, and that was not easy. I’m just a little too short, the mower a little too big, and the hill a little too steep. I can’t pretend that there wasn’t lots of cussing and more than a few tears. But I got it mowed. I’ll do the back half another day…or I may just find some high school kid who I can pay to do it. I’m not afraid to admit I felt more than a little defeated.

The rest of the afternoon I just relaxed. I watched a movie and listed to some music. I was planning on just popping some popcorn for dinner, but, as usually happens on my productive days, I decided to play with my food. The following is what came out of that little game. Very springy tasting, very fresh (even if the peas were frozen). The sage is what is left of my herb garden last year–it grew back! And the purple flower was mixed in with that super plant. Pretty (I didn’t eat it, don’t worry)!

Vermicelli with Peas
Original Recipe

6-8 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp Butter
1 half white onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful Sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, Optional

Boil and salt a pot of water, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan over med-low heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown and soft. Add garlic and sage, cook another 2 minutes.

Add peas, cook until heated through. Add lemon juice and a Tbsp of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to pea mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with Parmesan.

 

Country Onion Soup May 1, 2011

I have always been fascinated by storms. I remember one summer, when I was really young, my dad pointed out a massive storm cloud gathering over the fields, and told me, “That’s where tornadoes form.” I remember Mom freaking out one afternoon because Dad had taken off to follow a funnel cloud. Ever since then, I’ve watched the clouds, curious about what makes one thunderstorm different from the cells that form tornadoes. I watched Twister so many times, enthralled by the power and beauty (only now do I realize how awful that movie really was).

Thanks to the Internet, I can do something I’ve always wanted to do–Chase storms. Ok, so I’m not ACTUALLY out in Kansas with radars on my truck, but it’s still pretty thrilling. This will be my third season watching StormScapeLive.com, with Michael Phelps behind the wheel, teaching all of us amateurs/wanna-bes what is happening as a supercell develops. There’s 20-30 of us regulars who have really become a family on the chat. We always look forward to storm season, not just for the cells but also for the conversation.

This has been a particularly crazy season so far–the kind that us storm nerds both love, and hate. The storms that have hit America so far have all been in majorly populated areas, in Wisconsin, and the southeast, instead of in the middle of nowhere in the plains. As much as we love seeing the awesomeness of an F5 sighting, when it devastates an entire town, we are struck silent in the chat, we are praying, we are mourning. None of us want to hear that 200+ people are gone forever, thousands are injured and suddenly homeless. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the storms this spring.

Minestrone di Cipolline (Country Onion Soup)

Adapted from Smoky Mountain Cafe

1/4 cup olive oil
3 small yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp sage leaves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
6 cups chicken stock
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup red wine
10 oz vermicelli
Grated Gruyère or Parmesan

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook onions 8-10 minutes until golden-brown and caramelized. Add garlic and sage, cook another minute or two until soft. Add tomato sauce, cook another 2 minutes.

While onion mixture is cooking, put bouillon cubes in one cup of stock, microwave 2 minutes, or until dissolved. Add this and the rest of the stock to the onion mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Bring to a full boil. Add pasta, cook until very al dente (You want to keep the pasta with some bite to it).

Serve hot with lots of shredded Gruyère or Parmesan over the top. You can broil the cheese French Onion style, only without the soggy bread.

 

Tortellini en Brodo March 25, 2011

Filed under: comfort food,Freezer Meals,pasta,Quick and Easy,soup — hmills96 @ 9:16 am

What a crazy week! It’s definitely has been up and down! As in our IT systems at work. We are all exhausted, stressed out, backlogged. But somehow my team just keeps pushing through it. It’s why I love working where I do. We just do it. We just get it done.

Not only have things been all over the place at work, but can you say Spring in Indiana? Monday I was at the park in shorts and a t-shirt. Today, I had to wear my winter coat to work. Last night we had some epic storms in the area. The temps dropped 30 degrees in a few hours!

To combat this craziness, not to mention the sudden plunge in temperatures, I needed something warm and comforting. This dish was just the thing. Now, I have a new friend who loves the blog and was looking forward to my next post. Unfortunately, he’s going to be really disappointed because he hates spinach. I suppose you could leave it out, but it just wouldn’t be as good. There really isn’t much to this soup, but is filling and hearty.

I would recommend using homemade broth. It may take you a few hours on a Saturday to make, but the clean, pure flavors really shine in this dish. You can use any flavor of tortellini you want, or even buy two different kinds and mix it up! But really, this is way too simple and too amazing not to make for dinner tonight.

Tortellini en Brodo
Adapted from Skinny Taste

1 Tbsp Butter
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Rind of Parmesan (I actually used Guyere Rind because that’s what I had)
2 pkgs tortellini
10 oz Frozen spinach
Pepper, Nutmeg, and Salt

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat for about 6-8 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Add broth, water and rind and crank the heat up to medium high. Bring to a boil. Season broth with salt (taste it, if you’re using store bought, you won’t need as much), pepper, and nutmeg. Add tortellini and spinach. Simmer until pasta is al dente.

Serve warm, but be careful, the insides of those tortellinis will be lava hot!

 

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans March 2, 2011

I love pasta. It’s kind of my “everything but the kitchen sink” type meal. When I’m pushing my budget for my biweekly pay cycle, but have a gourmet craving, it’s so easy to throw whatever I have into a pan and simmer for awhile.

This is one of those great dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans are two ingredients I stock up on when I have some cash and keep them in the pantry. And when have you ever not known me to have garlic and pasta? I used bowties but I think longer pasta would be great with this, like fettuccine. A splash of lemon juice, if you had it, would brighten things up even more, and play off of the tart tomatoes.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans
Adapted from Amateur Gourmet

4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups pasta

Boil your pasta in salted water.

Pour 1 Tbsp of sun-dried tomato oil into a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, let cook for 1 minute, until just soft. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cook for another 2 minutes.

Add 1 ladle of pasta water. Simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in beans, a pinch of salt, and another ladle of pasta water. Simmer for 4 minutes.

Add pasta to the sauce and toss together. Serve and relax!