Non-meat-eaters beware! Carnivorous recipe incoming!!
Sometimes, you just end up with an overstock of an ingredient. Whether you yourself accidentally bought extra, went a little crazy at a sale, or had a roommate leave ten pounds of chicken when they moved out, you need to do something with it, right? I mean, you can’t just throw it out!
I had boiled and shredded a ton of chicken, like I tend to do, and I tried an experiment. A bunch of it went into the freezer for soup later, but some went into the freezer packed in bar b que sauce (of course I labeled it to avoid a soup disaster). I stirred bbq sauce into the chicken (use your favorite brand), put it in a tupperware, then added a bit more sauce on top, and put it in the freezer. A couple weeks later, I moved the bbq chicken to the fridge to thaw for a couple days.
To reheat, spray a glass baking dish with baking spray, then spread your chicken out in it. I used a 9×9 pan, but it depends how much chicken you’re making. I sliced up an onion into large strips and mized it in with the chicken. I added a bit more bbq sauce, and a little water so everything would be nice and moist.
It tasted great! We ate it on sandwiches, and solo, and I loved it both ways. This is a great way to eat breast meat, which can be dry in my opinion, and a less-bad-for-you substitute for shredded pork.
I’m sure you have all figured out by now that my “recipes” are just, in fact, conglomerations of whatever random crap I have in the house at the time. For this one, I used chicken, but it is very simple to make this vegetarian or vegan; the variations are at the bottom.
Today we’re using one chicken breast, about a half cup of frozen peas, a cup of frozen broccoli, one cup uncooked rice, two scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and a bunch of teriyaki or soy sauce, whichever you like.
Start by cutting up the chicken really tiny, and sauteeing it in a large sauce pan. Get your rice cooking at the same time, according to the package instructions.
Chop what needs choppin’.
Throw the veggies in to cook with the chicken. You can add some teriyaki or soy sauce, and garlic salt at this point. You can use different vegetables, if you like, such as bell peppers (ew), water chestnuts (EW), or even just a bag of mixed frozen veggies. Once the veggies are almost done, throw in your raw scrambled eggs, and stir them around to cook. I throw teriyaki sauce on top of them while they’re cooking so they get some flavor.
Hey, the rice is done! It’s so fluffy and delicious! You can also use leftover rice for the recipe. If it’s a bit chewy, just throw it into the veggies, once they’re cooked, and add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Let it cook and stir it around to make sure all the rice gets coated in oil and heated up.
Once the rice and veggies are both ready, you can combine them in the pan, and stir everything together. Add your sauce and spices to taste.
To make this recipe vegetarian, leave out the chicken. You substitute tofu if you want, or add extra scrambled eggs. To make it vegan, leave out the chicken and eggs. I consulted my teriyaki sauce bottle, and it appears to be vegan. Everyone can enjoy my cooking; I’m just that amazing.
I love making quesadillas. They are hot, cheesy, melty, and easy to make. You can put almost anything in there and they are delicious. Once, Dr. Stacey and I made some with brisket in there, and yup, amazing. Today I used cooked, cubed, fajita chicken, onions, and cheese.
Just lay the bottom tortillas on a cookie sheet, and place the fillings on top. Try to keep everything on the tortillas so the clean up is easy.
Sprinkle cheese on top, add top tortillas, and put them in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Once the cheese is melty and the edges are crisp they are ready to come out.
Gorgeous and tasty!
Other filling ideas: beans, peppers, jalapenos, spinach, mushrooms, pretty much any kind of meat. These are a great way to use up leftovers, or tiny bits of things, like when you have just half a chicken breast, and don’t know what to do with it. There are tons of combinations that would be great, so have fun with it.
We don’t generally eat a lot of fruit, but during this time of year when it’s all delicious and cheap I can’t resist. The other day, strawberries were on sale for a dollar a pound, so I bought 3 pounds. We can’t eat all of that right away, so I cut a bunch up to freeze for later this year. I like to add them to pies and smoothies. First, I washed them all, cut off the tops, and sliced them in half. I lined them up on a cookie sheet that I know fits in my freezer, then I took lots of pictures of them, because they were so pretty.
This is them in the freezer. Once they were all frozen, I put them in one big freezer bag.
I used the same method to freeze a whole bunch of chicken the other day. I just covered the cookie sheet in wax paper so they were easier to pull off and put in a freezer bag. This method is a great way to take advantage of sales or when produce is in season.
We have had a ton of chicken in the house lately, and Hubby is starting to get tired of it. Being the Clever Chick that I am, I plan on tricking him into eating as much of it as I can. I cubed up some baked chicken to make into chicken salad. Hubby loves spicy stuff, so I threw in some Sriracha, or Rooster sauce, to liven it up. You will need:
Dill, garlic salt, Sriracha, ranch dressing, mayo, chicken, celery, and peas.
I microwave the frozen peas in water, then drain it.
This is 2 or 3 chicken breasts, 3 celery stalks, and about 1/2 cup of peas. I like a high veggie to chicken ratio in mine.
I also like it moist, so let’s just say there’s probably an unhealthy amount of ranch and mayo in there. I added the Sriracha gradually, since it’s very spicy. I used maybe a teaspoon of garlic salt, and maybe two teaspoons of dill. I tend to cook by adding a little something, tasting, then adding more if I need to, which is why I’m terrible at giving real recipes.
Anyway, here’s what it looks like when complete. I usually just eat it with a fork, or on a salad, or wrapped up in a piece of lettuce. I have been obsessed with Sriracha, so expect more recipes with it in the future.
This one is simple, tasty, comfort food. Start out with your basic soup fixin’s: carrots, onions, celery, water, boullion. I added shredded chicken to mine, but I used vegetable broth so it would have been vegetarian otherwise. Chop up and saute whatever veggies you’re going to use.
The important part of this recipe is using a pot that can go in the oven, meaning metal handle, not plastic. If you want a more vegetable-heavy soup, you can add turnips, sweet potatoes, and turnip or mustard greens. Leeks might be good too, but I haven’t tried it.
After sauteing your veggies until they are slightly golden, add broth or your water and boullion. I threw in my chicken also, since it was fully cooked. If you have some cooked beans or barley that would be good at this point. I added my usual spices: cumin, garlic salt, chili powder, and made sure the broth was delicious.
I then turned off the soup and let it cool for a bit. I turned the oven on to 400, which is the biscuit cooking temperature.
I used the HEB “Texas Style” biscuits, which is a misnomer, because they are actually kind of small. I layered them on top of the soup, and put the extras on a cookie sheet to bake at the same time. I baked all of this together for 15 minutes, or whatever the package says.
I want more of this now that I saw this picture.
The biscuits soak up quite a bit of the broth, so it ended up making less than I thought it would. My solution next time would be to double the veggies and meat, and add a little extra broth. I was worried about the biscuits overflowing from the pan, but I think there could have been a lot more in the pan before they would do that.
So, definitely not low carb, and those biscuits are definitely full of fat and other bad things. Another way to make this would be to use bisquick, or something similar, make biscuit dough, but then just spread it over the top as a crust, rather than as individual biscuits. This type of thing is great for winter days though.
By “Best” I mean the ultimate combination of cheap, easy, and tasty (that’s what she said?) Buy chicken at the store. It can have skin and bones, and this recipe is great for breasts because it keeps them moist (oh my, this whole thing is spiraling into an endless stream of double entendres. You can play along by yelling “That’s what she said!” at the appropriate moment).
I de-skin the chicken, and chop up some onions in big chunks. The trick to this is the right bar b que sauce. There is no way I’m going to take the time to make my own, so I’ve tried a couple brands at the store. My favorite is Stubb’s bar b que sauce, if you’re lucky enough to live near Austin. They sell it at HEB. I love to rub Stubb’s sauce all over the breasts.
The other option, if you happen to live further away (which is fine because the city is full anyway; you’re probably better off where you are), is the Kraft Original bar b que sauce. Sounds boring I know, but it has the perfect blend of the flavors I look for, plus it’s fairly cheap for a large bottle.
I don’t have a grill, so we are baking these suckers to perfection. I usually spread a little sauce in the bottom of my glass baking dish with my finger, then lay the chicken on top. I throw in the chopped onions, and pour more sauce over everything. I usually make a whole bunch at once, then eat the leftovers for lunch later in the week. I bake the pan for at least an hour at 350, sometimes turning pieces over to keep things moist.
When I’m packing up the leftovers, I pour all the excess juices over the meat in the containers. This keeps the meat nice and moist for whenever I want it. This is a great recipe for when you have a bunch of stuff to do, and just want to put something in the oven and ignore it.
So how many “That’s what she said!” did you end up with? I counted 5, or 5 1/2, depending on your interpretation. If you found many more than that, you’re probably trying too hard. Have fun with your meat! (6).
Since you got a bonus post yesterday, which you undoubtedly utilized today for your Thanksgiving feast, and you’re probably about to slip into a carb-coma, (and I’m probably not far behind), and the frights of the holiday shopping season are not quite upon us all yet, I decided to write a little post. The end.
Just kidding! As I’m sitting here, Hubby is begging me to go make some chicken salad. Yes, MY Hubby that hates all poultry loves my chicken salad. It’s one of the recipes I like because it’s easy, and has laziness built in. I’m going to get it started, then come back and pass my wonderfulness onto you minions. I swear, you must be the luckiest minions ever to exist.
I start off with chicken breasts. I don’t get the boneless, skinless ones, because they cost way more. It only takes a minute to rip the skin off, and since we’re making shredded chicken, the bones don’t matter. I did a very early post about shredding chicken, and making soup, but I’ll just reiterate here. Since my only goal is to make chicken salad, this will be a bit simpler. Remove the skin from the chicken, put it in a pot of boiling water, cook until you can easily pull the meat off the bones with a fork, of course playing video games in the meantime. Once you can pull the meat from the bones easily, take the chicken out of the water and set it on a plate to cool. Play more video games.
Once the meat has cooled, I rip the big chunks off the bones, and use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces. I personally don’t like cubed chicken in my chicken salad, but whatever floats your boat. I do put cubed chicken into soups, because it’s less labor-intensive than shredding everything by hand. For this, I take the smaller cubes and shred them into a tupperware.
**At that second, I heard my pot boiling over and raced into the kitchen to prevent a mess. Obviously, I was way too late, and the water had put out the gas burner, plus coated the stove. I turned off the burner, and scooped out about 4 cups of chicken water. Let that be a lesson to you all not to over-fill the pot, especially if you plan to be 40 feet away from the stove while it’s cooking. This thing is called “My ATTEMPTS at Cleverness” for a reason, people.**
The other day, I was shredding a bunch of chicken at once, and decided not to make the chicken salad right then, but I didn’t want the shredded chicken to dry out. I stirred mayo and ranch dressing into it, and put it into the fridge that way, planning to add the other ingredients later. It worked out well, because the chicken soaked up a lot of the dressing, and was flavorful, and moist, even though it’s all breast meat.
Once you have your chicken shredded, chop up some celery and mix it in with the chicken, ranch and mayo. Ranch dressing gives this stuff more flavor than plain mayo. You can add some garlic salt and dill as well. The other thing I like to add is cooked frozen peas. They make it even tastier. I usually just eyeball the amounts on all of the ingredients, and taste it several times along the way. If you can, add the celery and peas at the last minute. This will help the celery stay crisp, and prevent the chicken salad from getting watery.
**Yep, just had to race into the kitchen again, swearing the whole way. You’d think taking about half the water out of the pot would help, but no. Now I have the lid off and the heat down some. I’ll be heading in there to read at the kitchen table in a minute so I can keep a closer eye on the death-chicken.**
This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. You can eat it by itself, in a sandwich, in lettuce wraps, or on top of a salad. While the chicken is boiling, I have one chicken breast in the oven for myself, and a butternut squash for dinner. If it weren’t for all my overflow issues just now, I would be one smug chick, with all this multitasking going on. The dryer is going, and I even gave the dog a bath today! I am awesome, other than the chicken water coating my stove, making the whole house smell like cat food a bit. And I was feeling so clever, too.
I baked tons of veggies and meat all at once the other day, and made some beans in the crock pot. This fed me and Hubby for the week, and here are some of the recipes I made with all that.
I started by making a cup of instant rice, mixed in a cup of my beans noir, 1/2 a can of Rotel tomatoes, 3 slices of American cheese, and about a 1/3 of a can of refried beans. I also mixed in some garlic salt, chili powder and cumin.
Add a pile of veggies and some sliced tomatoes, and it was awesome. Healthy, fast, and delicious!
We simply microwaved and ate a bunch of the batch cooking for lunches and dinners for the week. I also shredded a bunch of chicken and made chicken salad, a pot of Mexican chicken soup, and a whole pan of chicken enchiladas.
When we got to the point when there were a couple tupperware of veggies left, I made a big casserole. It was like a broccoli rice casserole, but all kinds of veggies.
This is what you’ll need: 2 cups of instant rice, 1 can of cream of chicken, 1 can of broccoli cheese soup, and about 2 cups of shredded cheese, along with all the veggies.
Mix all that stuff together, but save at least one cup of cheese. Spread the mix into the casserole dish, and spread the last cup of cheese over the top.
And it was delicious! Cheese makes sure everything gets eaten!
I read lots of articles on how to save money. I get sick of reading “stop going out to eat!” Uh, no crap. Maybe you could tell me something useful? Apparently common sense isn’t as common as we’d all hope, because lots of things I’d consider basic ways to save money (“Paint your own nails instead of getting manicures!”) make up entire articles on other sites. Not this site! I believe you all have brains of your own, and don’t need me to spell every little thing out for you. You’re welcome.
One idea I have read many places, whether it’s saving money or eating healthier, is batch cooking. Most articles referring to this suggest that you, for example, make two casseroles, eat one and freeze one. I think this idea is on the right track, but with a couple flaws. 1) I only have the freezer space available in my side-by-side. I don’t believe that buying a whole other freezer is worth the tiny amount I’d save by buying and freezing my own vegetables while they’re in season, not to mention the extra electricity it would take up. Plus think of the clutter! Uck! And what if the power went out and all that food got ruined? Forget it. It’s sounds like one more hassle I don’t need. 2) If I made 2 casseroles, don’t I now need 2 casserole dishes? At least? If I was doing that habitually I should either buy stock in Pyrex, or get a ton of those aluminum catering dish things. It sounds pretty wasteful and cluttery, again.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing a blog post just to complain. Well, I would, but I’m not at the moment. I put all the clever little gears in my brain to work on the best way to do batch baking, and have I got a bitchin’ idea for all of you! (That’s your reward for fighting your way past my ranting. Give yourself a pat on the back!) Why should you cook just the same thing when batch cooking? My plan is to bake lots of basic elements that can be made into tons of meals. So we start off with veggies.
During this time of year, lots of veggies are in season, and therefore super cheap. I hate cutting vegetables, so I bought probably about 20 pounds of broccoli, zucchini (or courgettes, if you’re feeling fancy), cauliflower and other veggies that were around $0.88 per pound. I busted out my food processor, and let it chop them all to bits for me! Usually, I wouldn’t get it dirty just for that, but I was also baking my Tomato Glut Sauce the same night, and I knew it would be getting dirty regardless.
This is my oven with pans of veggies and sweet potatoes in it cooking. At the same time, I had the crock pot going with beans, and a pot of soup for dinner.
I’m calling these “beans noir” because they looked pure black and white in real life. This was a mix of black beans, northern beans, and black eyed peas.
All those little bitty chopped bits that always occur when you chop vegetables? Where can they go?
That’s right! In the soup! This is the chick that pioneered the almost free soup. Of course it’s going into soup! Plus, little bits of green stuff in soup make it look more appetizing, and like you did lots of work to make it. It’s all psychological, people.
I baked an oven full of veggies, an oven full of meat (mostly chicken), made a pot of soup, and a pot of beans in one night. The rest of the week, all I had to do was basically microwave food, and then eat it. The whole idea here is to minimize the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen, and to heat up the kitchen only one day a week. I’ll post what I made with the batch cooking later this week. Noms!
I apologize in advance if this post isn’t 100% coherent. I am starving right now, and the enchiladas I’m about to write about are in the oven, filling my home with the delicious scent of temptation; the temptation to burn my entire mouth with a scalding ball of cheese encased in a searing tortilla. (Homer Simpson voice) “MMmmmm, searing tortilla….*drools*”.
You will need: tortillas (about 10), cheddar or colby jack cheese (2 cups, shredded, more for cheese enchiladas), one can enchilada sauce, 1 uncooked cup rice, Rotel or salsa. Optional: onions, beans, peppers, and whatever fillings you want.
The way I start out is with a 13×9 casserole dish, sprayed with a little non-stick spray. Cook the rice how the directions on the package say. When it’s cooked, mix about a 1/3 cup cheese, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, and as much drained Rotel or salsa as you’d like. I also usually throw in some chili powder and garlic salt. You want this mixture to taste great on it’s own, like so good you might think, “Forget enchiladas, this s**t is awesome!”
Spread the rice mixture into the bottom of your 13×9, and flatten it out. One important note about rice: Make sure it is 100% cooked before you start doing other stuff to it. It will not get softer in the oven, and your whole meal will be ruined by crunchy rice. Also do not believe the package. It might really take 22 minutes, not 20. Trust your mouth, not your eyes. I speak from personal experience. (I always said this blog would catalog my failures as well, so you could learn from them).
Now you have the rice in the bottom of the pan, turn the oven on to 350 degrees to preheat. Pour about half the remaining enchilada sauce into a bowl. Dip a tortilla in on both sides, so it is coated in sauce. Lay this tortilla on top of the rice, and put whatever filling in it you want: cheese, onions, beans, cooked ground beef or chicken, spinach and cheese, whatever you can imagine, some weirdo in Cali has probably done it. I had squash and corn enchiladas there once. Those people are strange. Squash and corn mixed together? Don’t try to call that Mexican food! Anyways, back to the food.
You should have the tortilla laid flat, with the filling in a line down the middle. Now roll it up, not tight, just fold the sides over. Turn it over, and nestle it gently into the rice. The rice keeps them rolled up, and absorbs any excess sauce. I lay them in the pan 8 perpendicular to the pan, and two long ways.
Once the pan is full, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top. You can throw some diced raw onion on top also. Spread the remaining cheese, about a cup to two cups, over the top. Pop the pan into the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. This just depends how crispy or melty you want your enchiladas.
I did the math for my groceries, and a pan of ten enchiladas, filled with beans and cheese, with the rice underneath, costs about $6. For the whole pan. That is CHHEEEEAAAAPPP!!! And you know I love me some cheap food. This will be dinner for me and hubby, plus my lunch for tomorrow, or about $2 per meal. That beats the cheapest hole-in-the-wall Mexican place, ever!
There is a debate about flour versus corn tortillas. Corn is more authentic, but I like flour because they soak up the sauce, and hold together well. It’s up to your preferences. Oh! I almost forgot to tease the yankees! It’s pronounced ehn-chill-AHH-dahs. I tease because I love!!