Monday, October 24, 2011

Crockpot Beer BBQ Pulled Chicken and Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yesterday was a cookin' day.  Beloved was up, up and away at work, which left me to alternate between intense Kindle reading and cookin'.  Both of these recipes were taken from the Tasty Kitchen website.  If you aren't already getting recipes from there, I give you permission to go there now, but make sure you come right back!

Both recipes turned out great!  We had the Broccoli Cheese Soup for dinner last night, but neither of us could help but sample the chicken, which we'll be having tonight when Beloved's sister comes over for dinner.  Let's start with the chicken:

Mine looks way saucier than this...but would you expect anything less of me?

3 lbs chicken breasts
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz beer
32 oz barbeque sauce

Ok.  Right out the bat, I didn't have onion powder or smoked paprika.  I shook some garlic powder, regular old paprika, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes on my chicken.  So I say:  season how you please!  Put the seasoned chicken breasts into your slow cooker.  Crack open the beer (I used a brown ale Homebrew) and pour over the chicken.  I think the glass beer bottles hold 16 oz?  That's how much I used.  It was barely early enough to start drinking, so I figured I'd let the chicken have all the fun.  After that, squeeze the barbeque sauce into the chicken hottub.  I used Sweet Baby Ray's.  The original recipe advised against using a thicker barbeque sauce unless you up the liquid (beer, or ginger ale, or broth, even!) to prevent burning and whatnot.  I used 28 oz bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's and it was fine.  Set the cooker to low and cook for 8 hours (mine was ready in about 7) and then shred the chicken.  Done!  We'll be having ours tonight on Bangor Rye rolls along with Broccoli Slaw. 

On to the soup:

Mine wasn't this green, but I didn't do what they said.  And I'm ok with that...

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups beef broth or boullion
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar
1 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp yellow cheddar
4 cups steamed broccoli, pulsed into meal

In a heavy stockpot (I used my Dutch oven, made by Martha Stewart exclusively for me while she was serving time...) melt the butter.  Add the chopped onion (if you measure this, so help me...just cut off a bit of onion, chop it fine, and throw it in, ok??) and cook until it's soft.  Or until you're ready to move on.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.  It's gonna get brown.  It's ok.  Add the broth and milks alternately, making sure you stir, until it's all combined.  Bring to a boil.  Mine took a while.  Not a huge deal.  Just stir and, if you're like me, chop the broccoli.  I bought a bag of frozen broccoli and just let it thaw on the sideboard.  Then I used my food chopper and chopped it down.  Not into meal, but just into wee bits.  Once your base is boiling, add the broccoli and cheese and stir until the cheese melts.  Salt and pepper as you wish.  I turned it down to low once the cheese was melted and it thickens up.  We had this with cheese bread, and it was really nice. 
Both of these recipes got the Beloved seal of approval, which is what I most care about.  Try them.  They're easy!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wicked Easy Recipe and Why I Need A Full-Length Mirror

I am a hoarder of recipes.  I get emails from all over the internets for recipes that I think I might like to try.  I have a cookbook collection three shelves tall in my kitchen built-in (always room for more...they only take up one half of the shelves!) and a binder with all my printed recipe gems.  This week I actually took to cooking some of the recipes, instead of just collecting them, Hoarders-style.  Over the weekend I made Moose Sausage and Spinach Pasta Bake...which was really good after I realized it needed re-saucing.  It soaked up all the sauce in the original recipe and was a wee dry the first time I tried it (Beloved, in all his male wisdom, ate it without complaint) but I gave it the ol' one-two-Ragu and it was delicious. 
The pictured recipe is courtesy of Kraft, which always sends me very easy recipes, which I can appreciate on a weeknight.  They call it Saucy Mexican Chicken.  I call it Really Good With Two Glasses of Reisling. 

On to the recipe:
1 lb chicken breast (they left theirs whole; I cut mine up into smallish pieces)
15 oz can black beans, undrained (I used Turtle Beans, Hannaford brand)
1 cup salsa (I used 16oz jar Newman's Own Hot Salsa)
Mexican blend cheese and Sour Cream (and/or any other toppings you'd like)
Cook chicken breasts in non-stick skillet (I used cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil) over medium high heat until brown on both sides (I cooked it until it was mostly done, mostly because I didn't read the entirety of this part of the directions...)
Add the beans and salsa and bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until chicken is done.
At this point, you're done.  If you make it with whole chicken breasts, they recommended taking it off the heat, adding 1 c of cheese and letting stand until cheese was melted.  I brought our cheese to the table and we added it ourselves (I didn't use 1/2 c of cheese for my plate...I'd appreciate some clapping here) and added sour cream.  I also made Minute Rice brand Spanish Rice and we served that and corn in a big Mexican mashup.  It was so good!  Could easily throw this in a soft taco shell if you needed some more carbs (and who doesn't??) For two people (with 1 1/4 stomachs total) it fed us and there's a good amount leftover for Beloved to have lunch today.  The trash will not be getting these leftovers.


Today I attempted to leave the house in my leggings and a longish button down shirt.  I felt very "Hollywood, just thrown together, it's fall but I go for the no-pants" kinda look.  As I bent down into my car to put my travel mug in it's spot, Beloved pointed out that you could see my underwear clear through the leggings.  Defeated, I went inside and put on age-appropriate jeans (knowing now my leggings might not see the light of day again) and trudged back outside.  Beloved declared that he thought that was the look I was going for.  Why would I go to work with my skivvies shining through like the sun???  All he could do was laugh at me.    It made me laugh that he sort of argued for me to keep the leggings on, because you could only see them when I was bent over.  If you got it, flaunt it?? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Woman Is Sufferaging...

I love mail.  I love getting mail with my name on it.  Samples from companies, magazines, heck, throw in the occasional medical bill.  It's for me.  It makes me feel important.  I've done a lot worse than enjoy mail in the name of low self-esteem.
Poor Beloved's only mail seems to be advertisements for Important Homeowner's Insurance that he Must Not Delay in purchasing. 
In other words:  junk mail. 
Not to be left out, I've started getting junk mail.  In regards to our wedding.  Beloved gets the manly things, like sway mail regarding allowing the racino in Biddeford and supplemental insurance policies, and I get the lady junk mail.  Advertisements for places in Maine I couldn't put a pin on in the DeLorme, wanting us to come spend my parents' hard-earned money on for one party reflecting my Misery-style commitment to Beloved. 
Having this junk mail doesn't make it any easier for me to make any plans.  We've only just narrowed it down to the weekend of such and such a month because we now have Beloved's work schedule for next year (that electricity doesn't make itself, folks.  And, I've learned, it doesn't come from flipping on a light switch.  I could never pinch-hit as a Roving Operator.  Oh well.  Someone has to watch "Last Man Standing.")
But, having the manly junk mail is learning me some important lessons:  when we're supposed to vote again for the Prezzy Prez.  I don't keep track.  I also choose to vote by absentee ballot, because voting in public is just like going to Walmart:  it just shouldn't be done after 8 a.m.  Because everyone is there.  And have you seen Our Fellow Men recently? 
So Beloved schooled me that we vote for the Prez every 4 years (that part I vaguely remembered) and we'd know which year we were supposed to vote in when it was divisible by 4.  So we vote in '12 because it's divisible by 4.  It was the dang 12 that got stuck in my head.  I somehow thought that was the number to remember, and the number 8 came into play via the news (I only get channel 2 and we know that is NOT Maine news...Portland is barely Maine) and I texted:  "8 is not divisible by 12" to a groggy Beloved on his 2nd night of night shift. 
Smarty Carhartts Beloved:  "I'm half asleep and I have to call to explain this to you again?"
Dumb Pajamas Me: "Well, I'm half awake..."
SCB:  "Hon, if the year is divisible by 4, we vote for the President in that year."
DPM:  "Oh, so 12 has nothing to do with it?"
SCB:  "No.  Only that we're doing some Presidential voting in 2012."
DPM:  "Fantastic.  I've a handle on it now."

Just wait until I need him to 'splain the candidates and their platforms to me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Than 140 characters can handle.

Those aren't the 140 characters in my head, mind you.  There's so many more in there.  It's like the town of Clifton in this noggin.

Worry:  wedding planning.  I can't decide where to go for dinner if Beloved and I have the opportunity to dine outside 04428.  I'm worried I'll make the wrong choice (how is there a wrong choice??), so how much more does it sucketh that I have this same perception going into the planning of my Husband Bagging Party? 
  • I should be thinking:  I'm having a Husband Bagging Party!!!!  And it will be Somewhere!  On a Certain Day!  And I probably will only day drink once three times to get through these 365ish days until it happens!
I am trying to keep in the back of my backwoods head that this is just the party and in no way has any bearing on the marriage itself (unless I catch someone in a coat closet) and if something isn't just right, or someone is disappointed, it will be OKAY.  Unless that person is me.  So for my something new, I'm just suggesting the Cake flavored Vodka.