Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spices that should always be available if I come to visit....

I'm currently visiting my mother-in-law's house and have done most of the cooking since I arrived. I'm not complaining about cooking, because we all know I love to. But I would like to tease her a moment for her very lacking spice cabinet! (And since she reads this blog, I don't mind teasing her about it. ;) Love you Becky!) When we first arrived we had to run to the store to buy some things that are considered staples in my home, such as cream cheese and cream of mushroom. But as my time is drawing to a close, I realize that she needs to have a general list of spices and other "things" that should be available anytime I'm here and cooking.

Now, I realize, Becky, that many of these you already have, but I wanted you to have a general list to double check. ;)

Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Fresh Garlic
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder (for those dishes Chris insists I cook w/o onions but I know need the onion flavor ;) )
Italian Seasoning
Fennel Seeds
Chili Powder (not the Mexican blend)
Lemon Pepper
Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes
Vanilla Extract
Soy Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
White Vinegar
Active Dry Yeast
Cajun Seasoning (But, Becky, you only need one thing of this. You have like 5 in your cabinet. ;) )

Ok, so that's all I'm able to think of off the top of my head. So everyone else share in the comments. What should she ALWAYS have in her spice cabinet -- especially when I come to visit?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken and Blackbean Soup

I saw a crock pot recipe for a chicken, salsa and blackbean soup and decided that that was what I was going to have for dinner tonight. But I wanted to use my leftover rotisserie chicken and I didn't want to use the crockpot. So after unsuccessfully trying to find a recipe I wanted to use here's what I came up with. The ingredient list is kinda long...but if you have a well stocked pantry you should have most everything on hand.

2 cups diced cooked chicken (I just tore the chicken into smallish pieces)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can of water
1.5 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp mexican oregano (optional)
2 cans black beans rinsed
1 can corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs hot sauce (optional)
2 cups salsa (I used Old El Paso)
optional add-ins:
cooked brown rice
sour cream
shredded cheddar
chopped green onions

In a large pot saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth plus fill one can with water and add to the pot. Add the black beans. Using a potato masher mash the black beans to your preferred consistency (I also added 1 extra can of black beans I had run through the blender to make the soup thicker). Add all other ingredients except the add-ins. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 30-45 mins. Put rice on the bottom of your bowl then spoon in the soup and top with sour cream, cheese, and onions. Enjoy!

NOTE- I made two seperate pots of this. Once I added everything but the meat I set aside a small pot for the Vegetarian. Instead of adding chicken I added 2 veggie bugers that I had cut up. In retrospect I would have just added one to such a small pot. Though honestly, it really didn't need anything extra since I had already added that extra can of beans. We all loved it. And the Veggie's friend ate 2 bowls...which is a big deal, this boy eats like a bird. My toddler loved it, and it didn't take near as long to have her finish her dinner than the usual days. This is definately something we'll make again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicken Curry Soup

I made this last night for the sick vegetarian staying with us. Her friend...who's a boy (but don't say boyfriend)...took her to the ER yesterday b/c she had a high fever and was feeling awful. Knowing they'd be there for quite a while and would be hungry when they came back I made this soup for her. It's pretty good. I liked it. I didn't add chicken but I would next time I make it for the rest of us.

1 cup thinly sliced chicken breast (this is easier to do if the meat is a slightly frozen)
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups water
1 chicken or veggie bullion cube
2.5-3 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs parsley
4 cloves smashed garlic
1 clove smashed and minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 butternut squash diced into larger pieces
1 med sweet potato diced
1 large diced carrot
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery diced

saute the chicken on med-high heat with salt and pepper and 1 clove of minced garlic until no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 mins or until veggies are soft.

NOTE-My vegetarian doesn't mind chicken stock but to make this truly vegetarian stick with vegetable stock. You can also substitute the chicken for Quorn chik'n tenders or tofu. This soup isn't spicy but it has a lot of flavor and is perfect for what ails ya.

Borderland Chicken

Have you ever had those days when you realize you're running low on groceries but you still have to figure something out for dinner? That was me yesterday. I realized the only meats I had were frozen and if I were going to make something it would have to be in the crockpot (I hate waiting for meat to defrost). So I threw a bunch of things together and came up with a very yummy and flavorful recipe.

6-8 boneless chicken thighs (I used frozen boneless and skinless)
2 sliced bell pepper (red or green or both)
1/2 med onion sliced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp pepper flakes
1 packet of McCormick fajita seasoning
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 can chicken broth

Mix wine, broth, and seasonings into the bottom of the crock pot. Add chicken pieces and flip so both sides are coated. Add onions and bell pepper. I cooked this on high for 4 hrs and it was on warm for another hour and it was perfect. The meat was tender but didn't fall to pieces. I did turn the pieces over half way into cooking. I served this over spanish rice and topped with extra juices to make it spicier for my husband and I.

NOTES-It wasn't too spicy for my 2 year old and she loved it. I didn't have any onions or bell peppers and made this without them but if I had them this is how my recipe would have went. And I'd probably add garlic if I had it...but I didn't add that into the recipe since the flavors were great even without garlic.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Semi-Homemade Spaghetti sauce

It's a sad day in my house when I realize there's no garlic. That day was today. Having been raised by a Korean mother a love of garlic was instilled. I recently found out that apparently the average Korean consumes 22 lbs of garlic per year. I believe it! This would explain why my recipes always call for so much garlic. Always keep in mind you can cut back on the garlic. Tonight I'm making spaghetti. It's such an easy dish and we all love it. I am sad though, it'll be sans garlic this time around.

1 jar/can of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tbs of olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic smashed and minced
1/2 cup diced bell pepper

In a saucepan heat the olive oil. When oil is heated throw in the mushrooms, garlic, and bell pepper and saute but do not allow them to get too soft (about 5 mins). Add the spaghetti sauce of your choice and allow to simmer for about 15 mins. Serve over pasta of your choice!

NOTE- Sometimes I add meat and sometimes I don't. I used to always use ground beef when cooking spaghetti. Now days I rarely use ground beef. Tonight I pulled a bag of frozen turkey meatballs from the freezer and they were the first to get dropped into the olive oil. Other times I'll slice up some chicken and saute it with garlic before adding the veggies. Whatever I have on hand really. It's just as yummy without meat though.