Sunday, June 2, 2013

salad. it's what's for dinner.

So, shit's gotten real lately.  I haven't been nearly as domestic as I'd like, and that actually pisses me off a great deal.  Between the usual end-of-the-school-year chaos, a bunch of pending court crap versus my ex-husband (after ten years of never asking him for a dime, I'm actually pursuing child support), and my last class EVER for my MBA?  Sleep and other silly things are at a premium.  

Anyhow, here's what I'm making for dinner tonight.  It's a lovely summer salad, and a great way to sneak in some spinach.  Enjoy.


1 bag baby spinach, topped with: 

1 pint strawberries, cleaned and sliced 
Sugared almonds (below, I always make lots of extras) 
Dressing (You can either buy some poppyseed dressing from the store, or use the recipe below. I usually double the recipe because it makes a great marinade for salmon or chicken too) 
1 marinated boneless skinless chicken breast per person, cooked on the grill or on the stove (marinade recipe below)
Any other stuff you want - popular things in my house include mandarin oranges and pineapple cubes.


1 bag slivered almonds 
1 egg white 
White sugar 

Whip egg white until frothy (not quite peaked), fold in almonds to coat. Remove coated almonds from bowl, stir coated almonds in sugar to coat, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350* for about 10-15 minutes (watch carefully!). When you take them out of the oven, stir the almonds every minute until cooled, set aside. 

Tip: use foil on the cookie sheet.  It makes it a whole lot easier to get the sticky almond mess off of the pan without resorting to a bunch of cussing and a chisel.

1/2 cup sugar 
2 tblsp. Sesame seeds (optional) 
1 tblsp. Poppy seeds 
1/2 tsp. Minced green onion 
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1/4 tsp. Paprika 
1/2 cup salad oil 
1/4 cup cider vinegar 

Combine together, and pour over salad shortly before serving. 

1 tsp ginger
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, put through a press twice so that it's damn near liquified
juice and zest of one half of a lemon
juice and zest of one half of a lime
1/4 - 1/2 tsp of Siracha sauce (the red shit with the rooster on the bottle - this is optional)
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
(or you can take the lazy way out and buy some of the yummy Tropicana Pinapple / Orange / Banana juice and use that - it also is delicious with rum, just sayin' ...)

Throw a chicken breast for each person on the cutting board.  Trim any of the fat off of it, and stab it repeatedly with a fork to pierce the flesh.  This will help the yummy marinade seep in.  

Put the stabbed chicken into a gallon ziploc bag.  Throw all the rest of the ingredients except the juices in there.  Smoosh the chicken around to distribute all of the good stuff evenly.  Then dump enough juices in there to cover the chicken.  Smoosh around again, and let sit for at least an hour before grilling or frying in a pan.  Use the extra liquid to baste / brush on the chicken while grilling.  Slice up the chicken into either strips or chunks to put on top of the salad.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I love wings.  Traditional buffalo style bits of saucy chickeney goodness?  That's the way to my heart.

Lately thought, I've managed to have a real run of nasty wings.  It is, indeed, possible to screw them up.  They've been overdone, dry, and just disgusting.  I like tasty and moist and dripping with saucy wings!  So, as I've been known to do?  I made my own.

Here's my sauce recipe so far.  It's still under construction, but it's pretty damn good so far.

You'll need:
2 sticks butter y'all.  I prefer salted, but unsalted will work too.
1 cup hot sauce.  Don't laugh, but WalMart's version of Frank's is PERFECT, with no added water like its namesake.  And it's literally 1/3 of the price!
2 Tablespoons plain white vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp Chili Powder (omit this if you want mild wings, increase for more heat)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 -4 cloves garlic, put through a press twice and chopped until it's pretty much liquified.

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan.  Heat up till just simmering (DO NOT BOIL) over low heat.  Use a whisk or immersion blender to whip it up and make it a delicious saucy emulsion.   Cover, remove from heat, and let sit to come to room temperature.  Use at that point, or refrigerate until you need it.  As this is natural (not a bunch of canola oil and preservatives), it will separate.  You'll need to warm it up and whisk it again before you toss the wings in it.

As far as preparing the wings, if you suggest that I bread them, I will come there and kick you in the shins.  The only acceptable way to eat wings is to FRY THEM.  If you're trying to cut calories (aside from the fact that you shouldn't be eating something whose main ingredient is BUTTER, Y'ALL), you could bake them I guess.  But really - frying them is the way to go.  Just remember that they need to reach 180 degrees (using a meat thermometer stabbed into the meatiest part of the wing), so you don't get sick.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

i have the plague

So, help me understand something.

Why is it that when MOMMY is sick, no one does a damn thing around the house?

My house was social worker clean yesterday.   We had our home study for the adoption of my stepdaughter yesterday.  We passed with flying colors, and I can only assume it's not because I'm a decent parent and shit.  Oh, no.  It was because my house was SPOTLESSLY clean for the social worker to view.  As in - she could have even opened closets and cabinets and not been pelted by an avalanche of crap.  I was so proud!

And in a scant eight hours, my children destroyed it.

My kitchen is a mess.

My living room is a mess.

Their rooms are trashed again.


Seriously, this is horrid.  Mommy just went on a congested hissyfit streak.  They're now doing the dishes.  And I may or may not kill them.

Have I mentioned that I'm overly dramatic and bitchy when I'm sick?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

l. a. z. y. she ain't got no alibi

I've really been a slug lately.  Between my husband's illness, the usual chaos at work, and the family nonsense?  Compounding that with financial stress is simply just too much.  My bike is lonely, I didn't get to run the Cupcake Classic by the deadline, and I'm just pouty all around.

I've also not really cooked anything creative lately.  Mostly, I've eaten unimaginative things.  But I've still managed to put a little flair with them.

Start with this:  I like a good steak.  I prefer strip most of the time, but will eat filet or ribeye if I'm going out someplace.  I always like a starch (potato) with it, and usually mushrooms too.  And of course, there's always steak butter, y'all.

Anyhow, here's some side-dish love for ya.  I'll kick myself in the ass and make something worth writing / reading about soon.


Grab some white mushrooms or baby bellas (whatever's on sale works).  Slice them up into about 1/4" to 1/2" slices.  They don't have to be pretty or perfect.  Throw them into a bowl, and toss them with just enough EVOO to coat them.  Not too much!  Then, dump in some red wine, about 1/2 cup (4 ounces, or a bit more than half of one of the little trial size bottles).  It doesn't have to be special wine ... T-Box or the $1 Trial Sizes will be just fine.  Smoosh up a few cloves of garlic, and slice up a little bit of onion if that moves you.  And then - let them sit for at least a half hour.  Every few minutes, toss them around to be sure they're still coated.  The 'shrooms and onion will soak up some of the wine, but there will still be a little puddle at the bottom.

When you're ready to saute, throw about a tablespoon of the previously mentioned / prepared steak butter y'all into the pan, melt it (but don't let it caramelize), and then dump the whole bowl in - extra wine and all.  Simmer the mixture to reduce the red wine down, and serve on the side with your steaks.  These usually cause my youngest to say "ewww gross" (she hates mushrooms), and everyone else to say "gimme hers if she doesn't want them".

Twice-Baked Potatoes:

These are super-easy to make.  Grab some white potatoes (Yukon Golds are too soft), wash 'em, stab 'em with a fork, and bake them for about an hour at 425.  When they're done, slice them in half lengthwise, scoop out the guts using a tablespoon, and throw the potato insides into a mixing bowl (I use my kitchenaid).  Add an appropriate amount of butter y'all (the steak version works here too), and some shredded cheddar cheese (start with a cup, and increase until you reach an adequate amount of cheesyosity).  Add in just enough milk to make them smooth.  Whip the hell out of the potatoes - NO LUMPS.  Use your spoon to put the whipped potatoes back into the peels, and throw them back into the oven for about 15 or 20 minutes - the tops will start to brown just a bit.  Take them back out, top them with bacon bits and a bit more shredded cheese (if you like), and put them under the broiler to get all deliciously crispy.  Serve with sour cream.  And wine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

more crock pot goodness

While at my favorite place (Mosley's), my lovely husband spied some Italian three-cheese sausages.  Of course, he had some wrapped up for me.

As my Sundays are typically wasted by watching NFL football until my brain freezes, I wanted something easy to prepare with them.  Of course, my usual opening of the cupboards produced a can of tomatoes, a can of mushrooms, and some farfalle.  I looked in the fridge, and we had a half-jar of leftover pasta sauce. Score!

So I threw the sauce in the crock pot, drained half the juice off the tomatoes and threw them in, and then drained the liquid off of the mushrooms and threw them in too.  Stirred that up, tossed in the sausages and coated them, and set it on high for four hours.

This is the amazing deliciousness that ensued:

You know, sometimes the best meals are the ones you create by accident.  This was amazing, easy, and not terribly expensive.  The family gave it five "mmm more of that please" votes out of five.  Give it a try!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

this is totally getting made in my crock pot next.

I love this site too.  Gotta go add it to my A-list.

High Heels & Grills: 8 Can Taco Soup

bawk bawk bawk

There are two things on this planet with which I am obsessed:  Chicken, and my Crock Pot.  Seriously folks, the crock pot is the lazy girl's BEST FRIEND EVAR.  How awesome is it to just throw shit in there, turn it on, and come back like four hours later to dinner?

I've been on quite the crock pot bender lately, and so I'll be sharing some of the recipes.  However, most of the time?  My crock pot happenings are because I get up and say "oh shit we need dinner, what do I have?".  Then, I open the cupboard and cuss some more.

Here's what we did yesterday.  I'm here to tell you that it was AMAZING.  And it was so easy!

I bought four leg/thigh pieces and a big bone-in breast (my husband's a boob man, what can I say) at Mosley's.  I washed them, patted them dry, and smeared a bit of butter on them, y'all.  I shook some Italian seasoning on them (oregano and the Scarborough Fair mix*), and laid the first three leg/thigh pieces meaty side down.  Then, I smooshed three cloves of garlic and cut up 1/4 of a medium-sized onion (enough to put two or thee slices on each piece of chicken).  Threw that in there, and then did the same thing with the remaining leg/thigh piece and the breast, only I layered those meat side up.  I dotted the top of those pieces with a bit of butter too, y'all.  Here's what it looked like when I was ready to put the lid on:

I then let it do its thang for about 6 hours on high.  I stabbed the meatiest part of the breast with my meat thermometer (poultry should be about 180 degrees when done), and then pulled the meat out of there.  This proved to be a challenge, because it was so well-cooked that it fell apart.

I took the drippings that were in the bottom of the crock, and made a quick gravy with them.  Here's how I make my gravy with no lumps:

Take out the drippings, and put them in a pyrex (clear glass) measure.  You're going for a total of 2 cups of liquid (drippings and milk here), so it's kind of important to know how much drippings you have to work with.  Measure out the remainder of the 2 cups' worth in milk, but DO NOT COMBINE THEM.

Throw 2 tablespoons-ish of the drippings into the bottom of a saucepan.  Turn the heat on medium-high (I use the "7" setting on my electric stove).  Have a wire whisk handy (I like a lightweight flexible one for this task).  Get some basic all-purpose flour, and sprinkle it on top of the drippings.  Quickly whisk the flour in.  This makes a roux.  Let it brown up a bit - not too dark, or it'll get weird-tasting.  Once that happens, dump in your drippings.  Whisk the hell out of it to make sure there are no lumps.  Get that warmed up, and then dump in enough milk to make a total of 2 cups of liquid.  Heat that up to a simmer, stirring almost constantly. You'll see that it thickens up nicely as it cooks down, about 10 minutes.  If you've been cooking it for a while and it's still pretty runny, add a bit more flour.  Just sprinkle it on top of the liquid, and whisk it in like it's your job.  

Got lumps?  No worries.  I highly recommend that you invest in a set of mesh strainers.  I bought this set of three for $10 from Bed Bath and Beyond, and I can't tell you how many times I've used them. If you get lumps?  Simply strain the gravy through one of those little puppies and TA DAH!  No more lumps.

I served my chicken and gravy with some mashed potatoes.  And my family was pretty happy.  I think that next time, I'll use boneless chicken ... it was a royal pain in the ass to pull the meat off the bones, so I might just pay the extra 20 cents a pound and let someone else do it for me.  They gave this meal a rating of "four cocks out of five", because of the creepy de-boning process.

* the Scarborough Fair mix = Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.