Improvise, a battle & an appliance obituary.


Well that didn’t go according to plan, at all. 

Everyday coming up with something for dinner can sometimes be a struggle, other days a battle to the death and there are times the heavens open up & produce a miracle where everything just falls together in one great stroke of genius. The latter occurs too few whilst  the battle royale occurs almost daily. Today was definately one of those days, I can still feel my frustration & despair ebbing under the surface of my skin, my lips are pursed into a thin line, today dinner won by a knockout  & I didn’t even see it coming. Dinner was a total douchebag, throwing cheap shots, followed by a brutal sucker punch.

In reality I didn’t pay attention, I made assumptions and had too much faith in what I thought I had on hand. Well it should have been an easy win, it was chicken after all & I famously write about chicken far too often. Piece of cake, or so I thought. I planned on a quick, easy & delicious jammy jam chicken. I went to the store, picked up the meat & came home. Imagine my disappointment when I rudely discovered I had no apricot jam, which was a vital ingredient, and then no Catalina dressing. This was the moment I realized I inadvertently stepped into a fight, I cursed, cursed some more & grabbed a handful of cookbooks I knew somewhere inside one of them I had to have enough of something to make a dinner delicious enough that even the pickiest of eaters would  slop it down. Page after page was turned, all the while muttering about the *&%$ing chicken, how the &%$*% was I going to cook the -&%$ing chicken!! A glimmer of hope occurred when I happened upon a homemade honey garlic sauce for wings but I knew it would work for the cuts I had picked up earlier.

Thinking I was on my way to a victory I bounced around my kitchen gathering & adding ingredients to the blender where once I whizz it around masterfully pulverizing the ingredients into a delicious sauce. Until the *&&%$ing blender decided that it was going to $%&* the bed. I was outwitted by a blender, try as I might I could not get my trusty friend to whiz even just a little bit. Instead I was given the weakest death cry I have ever heard from a kitchen appliance; the bastard.

Like a certified wuss & kitchen half wit, I called my S.O. to tell my tale of woe, curse the chicken some more, & discuss the blenders obituary. I thought it was over and was about to ask for fast food re-enforcements until there was another blow, he was going to be later than expected. Evil dinner really threw a curve ball, I really wasn’t expecting that one. Determined ever more so now not to give up on a delicious meal & saving my diet, I gathered my weapons & returned to the battlefield. There I found 2 forgotten friends, honey & Dijon who had a little back up with butter & curry powder. The winds changed in my favor and now, fingers crossed, there is a fabulous chicken dish slaving away in the oven.

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Blender 2009 – 2012

Here lies blender, whizzer of purees, soups, sauces & even almond tortes. It will be sadly missed by me. Predeceased by the frying pan whom was murdered by my hands on the kitchen counter top.

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Evening edit: I petrified the chicken, completely burned, more than a crisp. Fossilized on my favorite oven dish.

Pyrex 9×13 pan – 2009-2012 defeated in an epic battle against chicken. Will be missed by me. Predeceased by blender & frying pan.

Chicken Mammogram


Get your pitchforks and torches, you are about to become apart of an angry mob. Why? This is another chicken post. Before you click off this recipe has a big perk; you get the pound the snot out of chicken. It is just a fabulous way to vent out all the frustrations of the day/week/month, just be careful not to over do it otherwise instead of a nicely flattened boobie you might end up with mangled bits of meat that might be better suited for a Gwar concert or horror movie set. I enjoy this one again as instead of getting frustrated while I cook and end up swearing I get it all out before I even start cooking, it also requires very little prep which is a HUGE bonus in my books. Plus it makes you look like a savvy kitchen genius. Another gem from Mom edited and adjusted by me.

Mom’s Asparagus Pesto Chicken

AKA: The Chicken Mammogram

Kitchen stuff you’ll need:

  • Oven or convection toaster oven, 9×13 pan (best for 6 boobs…. an 8×8 would work for 4 boobs), a meat tenderizer (it looks like a mallet), a cutting board, sharp knife (whatever size you are comfortable with, you don’t need it for much), possibly a cheese grater unless you cut up bits of cheese with a knife instead. Oh and a large freezer bag, and 2 plates.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breasts (I use 6)
  • 5 Spears of Asparagus per piece of Chicken (in my case for 6 boobs = 30) with the hard bits snapped off and washed
  • 1/4 cup of mozza approx. per chicken breast (or provolone or your preferred cheese or blend of cheese)
  • 1 Jar of Basil Pesto sauce (I use Classico)
  • fresh parmesan cheese (optional)

Note: The pesto sauce comes in a small jar, do not be alarmed, this would cover 12 chicken breasts, I made the mistake of putting my spoon inside the jar after it touched raw chicken so I HAD to dump the whole thing on the boobs otherwise I could have made do with just half the jar.

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
  • Flatten the breasts one at a time inside the freezer bag using the FLAT end of the meat tenderizer mallet and a cutting board (to save your surface from oddly shaped divets from your tenderizer depending on how hard you pummel the chicken). They should be about 1/4″ thick all over by the time you are done. I do them all at once to get it out of the way & pile them on a plate. You can sprinkle them with your preferred seasoning or just salt & pepper. I keep it simple and leave them naked for the time being.
  • Shred your cheese and put your asparagus into groups of 5.
  • Put a flattened boob on your spare plate, top with 5 spears of asparagus almost centered, sprinkle with your cheese, and roll the breast over the cheese & asparagus encasing them. Place in your oven dish and repeat until all your boobs are stuffed.
  • Next drizzle the breasts with pesto sauce as much or as little as you like. At this point you can also sprinkle with parmesan cheese or more mozza or not. Make it yours, fiddle with it until you find your favorite.
  • Place in the oven for about 40 minutes (or more or less depending on your oven and quantity of breasts. Ensure that no pink juice runs out when you poke them with a fork. If you have an instant thermometer the centre should read about 165 degrees F. I don’t have one of those I just uses my e-balls to determine no pink.

Good luck and happy eating

Chicken parm parm


Another Chicken  post, sorry. It’s a current trend and I’ll be posting some tips at a later time which are non-chicken related. I stumbled upon an easy way to make chicken parmesan that I don’t think is too bad for you besides the cheese. Added bonus is that it is baked not fried like it is traditionally served in restaurants. I’ve been serving it up beside spaghetti noodles & greens of some sort. I like it as it doesn’t require a lot of “prep” which is great for those who don’t have a lot of time (or for some of us patience) for that kind of thing. And it doesn’t require any fancy schmancy kitchen stuff either. Again another easy recipe to halve, or multiply. The topping turns into this awesome crunchy, chewy cheeziness I can’t get enough of…. yummm

So here it is…..Chicken Parm Parm

Kitchen stuff you’ll need:

  • oven
  • a way to mash up garlic either a press or one of those ceramic thingy’s or the fine grate on your cheese grater (the little tiny ones)
  • 9×13 dish
  • A cheese grater unless you are using pre-grated cheese

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts (I serve 6)
  • 2 garlic cloves shredded or mushed or pulverized
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more or less or omit)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese (I use about 2 cups… you can use more or less)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese  (I use about a cup total…again you can add more or less)
  • A package of croutons in your favorite flavor… I prefer parmesan…again make it to your taste

Note: the sauce can be a ready made flavored sauce like a parmesan, four cheese, or basic basil or you can use a large can of crushed tomatoes and season with fresh or dried herbs. I like to keep it basic as I am usually in a rush so I stick with a large jar of Parmesan Tomato sauce.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over base of 9×13 pan
  • sprinkle mushed up/finely shredded garlic & red pepper flakes on bottom of pan, swirl around to spread it out evenly
  • Place chicken breasts nicely in pan, try not to crowd them too much
  • Pour jar of tomato sauce over breasts (or crushed tomatoes and then season with fresh or dried herbs to your taste) make sure all your boobies are covered
  • Sprinkle half your Mozza & Parm over the sauce try to get it evenly if you can, if not no big deal.
  • dump croutons and spread out over cheese/boobs evenly
  • Top the croutons with the remainder of your cheese.
  • Pop in the oven and for 6 boobs time would be about 40-45 minutes. If making this with 4 I would hazard a guess your boobs would be done in 30-35 minutes depending on their size. If making this recipe for 2 or less halve this entire recipe.

Happy Eating

Here we go again & Mom’s Jammy Jam Chicken


Well I assume it has been well over a year since I posted on here and since I am back on mat leave  cookin up some delicious things in my kitchen which are simple and super easy to make I thought I’d start sharing again.

Today I am cooking up the second set of this delicious chicken dish I received from my mom and no swear words were uttered as I prepared this dish. Its fairly economical to prepare as one 500mL jar of jam & one 473 mL container of salad dressing is enough for 2 dinners, plus it uses chicken thigh which is cheaper than breast however more fatty. So if you want to use only white meat purchase instead a package of 6 breasts and the sauce should cover it (I have yet to try since chicken boobies are pretty $$ still) This recipe can serve 5 adults and one toddler with 3 thighs each  & one for the toddler, 6 people if using 6 chicken breasts or just 4 people with 4 thighs each. Its also easy to reduce this to 2 servings or multiply for more so it will be good for pot lucks or serving for guests too.

Mom’s Jammy Jam Chicken

 

Things in the kitchen you’ll need: oven, 9×13 oven safe dish, bowl, something to mix with.

Ingredients:

1 package of chicken thighs or chicken breasts

1 cup of apricot jam (or peach jam)

1 cup of catalina dressing

1 pkg of onion soup mix

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix catalina dressing, jam & onion soup mix together in bowl.

place chicken evenly in dish, try not to crowd the meat too much, pour mixture over chicken evenly. place in oven for 60 minutes, then pull out, flip chicken over and bake for another 20 minutes.

ding! chickens done.

Broccoli & rice make great sides for this. Highly unlikely you’ll have leftovers but it will reheat well on the rice the next day.

Happy eats!

Happy Balls


Mega Meat Balls

Mega MeatyBalls!This evening I made meatballs subs, pictured are the ones I made previously. I changed things up a bit this time and edited my sauce. What I am discovering is finding the perfect ball size. Last time, as you can see, my balls were HUGE, these were stuffed with mozzarella cheese which of course made them quite a bit bigger than what they already were. This time I reduced the amount of meat mixture I used to make them as well as made them a bit easier to handle; previously I could barely make it through one ball let alone three that was called for each serving. They went from being the size of my fist down to fitting comfortably in my hand (about 1-1/2" diameter) and thus I actually made it through two balls, so I am making progress. Making the right size balls is quite the art and it actually does affect the way the dish tastes. When the balls were huge the only flavor one could focus on whilst eating was meat, it was actually overwhelming. With the smaller balls I could actually taste the delicious sauce I made AND the cheezy surprise hidden perfectly in the centre. It was delicious. So my dear flakies, when you make your dish make sure you make your balls the right size! Everyone will prefer a different size ball so play around with them until you find what works best for your table.What I enjoy about this recipe is that it uses italian sausages so you don't have to fiddle fart around with your meat mixture, it's already done for you.Amazing Meatball Subs!Feeds 5-6 (3 balls per sub)Kitchen stuff you will need:scissors, sharp knife, largish bowl, cutting board, oven or toaster oven, stovetop or hotplate, large skillet and rectangular pan, spoon, tongs (or fork would do it), can openerIngredients:Italian Sausages, I used mild flavored and 2 packets of 4 sausages @ about 4" in length, remove meat from sleeveMozzarella cheese cut into bite sized cubes, one cube per ballExtra Virgin Olive Oil1 onion chopped2 garlic cloves chopped6 mushrooms choppedone 28oz can of crushed tomatoesjust under 1 tbs of italian seasoning (a blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano) you can use fresh or dried.)1 tbs ketchupsalt & pepper to tasteAbout 1 cup of shredded fresh parmesan cheese or use the pre-shredded Kraft Italian Blend cheese.6 italian sub bunsDirections:Preheat oven to 425 degreesCut mozzarella cheese into cubes and set near the mixing bowl.Remove meat from its outer "shell" and place in bowl. Form into balls and place on the rectangular pan. Put one cube inside each ball and ensure it is completly encased in the meat. Drizzle the meatballs lightly with olive oil, roll them around a bit in the oil so they won't stick to your pan (I learned this the hard way) Once the oven is done heating up, stick your pan of balls inside and cook for about 18 minutes.Once the meatballs are in the oven put your skillet on the stove on about medium heat with about 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes, once the onions and mushrooms begin to soften it is time to add the crushed tomatoes, italian seasonings and ketchup (salt and pepper to your taste). Turn the heat down and keep an eye on it as it will bubble and spit at you if it gets to hot. Bring this mixture to a nice simmer. place your sub buns on baking sheets and toast them in the oven once the meatballs have been removed. Only keep them in there about 3 minutes or so as they will burn quickly.Now plate up one bun, top with 3 balls and goob the sauce over top quite liberally and top with cheese, repeat for each serving. Serve with a mixed green salad and your favorite bevvie : )Enjoy!Dinner is served!

Happy Eating!

 

side note


upon reading my most previous post, I realized how horribly written it was. I have since hung my head in the paper bag of shame.

excuses for no excuse


In all honesty there is no excuse for my not writing once a week, I missed last week even though I DESPERATLY wanted to get on here and type my tiny little heart out however my day job amped up AND my business amped up at the same time not to mention the family stuff and plain ol fatigue.

I do have several things to write about (if I haven’t already mentioned my hand), I did attempt this Friday night when I was waiting for a very old and dear and VERY pregnant friend for coffee. In which I was using the tiniest keyboard I have ever used which makes my fingers look like sausages and I am constantly pressing the wrong buttons then as she walked in the door I too quickly closed the page and thus my painstaking hard work and tiny words were lost in the underverse of the internets. (insert LONG sympathetic sigh here).

Finally here I am several days late explaining why I am so late. The other factor is, I almost have to be in the mood (which I am so often in the WRONG situation) and of course my best ideas strike right when I am stressed and in the middle of something VERY important. I am glad I was never commissioned for anything like Michalangelo was, I would never get anything done. The ceiling of the Sistine would be a sun dyed white to date. Alas I am here and I am writing that counts for something right??? As mom always said “No excuses”  and in all honesty there is no such thing as a good excuse. The fact is I should have remained committed to both blogs and wrote my heart out no matter the hour in the evening. So my dear flakies I apologise for my absence.

Well my nights in the kitchen have been interesting to say the least, I nearly sliced off my hand, I screamed and swore at pizza dough and I burned my face off 3 times in one week. It was BAD, for some reason most of the fam didn’t mind what I called “epic fails” they liked the extra heat in my dishes and no one died so that is a good sign too. In nearly slicing off my hand the knife skills I was teaching myself went by the wayside, I was attempting at halving a butternut squash in half to stuff with vegetarian chili luckily hubs was there to point out I was about to cut my hand off, and in a nasty way because I also discovered cutting a squash, let alone 3 of them, is really tough business.

I have since learned from my dear facebook friends (who occasionally are a wealth of knowledge when they aren’t being absolutly hysterical on thier status updates) that if you ask the produce department very nicely they will go and cut the squash for you.

I learned that one cannot substitute chipotle chili powder for regular chili powder, it doesn’t even subsitute when you halve it. Whenever one sticks it in the dish it will end up burning my face off (for spicey heat wimps like me).

Be wary of zests and how much you put in. I’ve experimented with lemons, limes and now oranges (the latter being the WORST) and always pay special attention to just how much fresh zest to put in the dish. I recommend that when orange zest and sweet potato are to be mixed with sour cream AND butter just to ignore the orange part…. and maybe the sour cream. I can’t describe what happened in my mouth though I don’t think anything can be as bad as a durian. (Apologies to those who love the durian!)

When making your favorite soup, don’t make it if you don’t have what you need to give it actual flavor, I ended up with beans in slightly flavored water which wasn’t appetizing at all.

Did I mention DON’T **&(^*^&%$ with orange zest?

So always make sure your knives are sharp, cut away from yourself, don’t stick your hand under the blade. Don’t mess with orange zest, its more punch in a teaspoon than Brock Lesner. To burn your face-off add copious amounts of Chipotle Chili powder to recipes that call for regular chili powder. If there are no parmesan cheese rinds, fresh thyme, or rosemary about, skip the soup (if it is a veggie or light chicken flavored one).

And the best part, make time for your friends, tell the ones you love them and say something positive to yourself and someone who needs it. Which in my experience is everyone.

Happy Eating!