Sunday, January 26, 2014


It's my 4 year blog anniversary!  What better way to celebrate than with some jambalaya?

Don't be intimidated by the lengthy list of ingredients.  This is originally a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal recipe.  I made some tweeks to the ingredient list based on what I had on hand.  Although I can't say I was able to put this together in a mere 30 minutes, it was very simple and took less than an hour to prepare.

Adapted from Rachel Ray

2 cups white rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken
3/4 lb sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery
1 chipotle pepper diced, or a few dashes of hot sauce
2 tbps flour
14oz diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 lb shrimp
chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. In a large pan coated with oil brown chicken and sausage, 5-10 minutes.  Add onion, celery, chipotle pepper.
3. Saute for 5 minutes, sprinkle flour and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and Cajun seasoning.
4. Bring liquid to a boil and add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
5. Scoop jambalaya into bowls, top with rice and cilantro.

It's all made in one large skillet, with exception of the rice of course.

There ya have it kids.  Delicious one pan jambalaya an excellent, stick-to-your-ribs kinda meal that's just perfect to warm up these cold winter nights.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Starbucks New Chocolate Caramel Muffin Review

It's been a while since I've reviewed anything, so here goes nothin'.  I got an intense amount of giftcards this Christmas from my students.  Starbucks was the predominant gifted giftcard, so needless to say I've been treating myself to some tasty coffee a few times a week.

On this particular day I decided I deserved a treat as well as a latte.  Behold the chocolate caramel muffin!  It's cute that they call this chocolate caramel filled treat a muffin and not a cupcake.  It's a muffin, so I can totally eat this thing for breakfast right? Right on!

You can see that Starbucks was not shy about the caramel distribution here and I could not have been happier.  This is an awesome "muffin."  We will not discuss calorie content and nutritional value here.  You know what your getting into with chocolate cake and caramel for breakfast.

The official verdict? Eat it right now.  It's ridiculously good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken and Frito Casserole

YES! FRITOS! In a casserole that's all cooked in a crock pot! You are going to loooooove this one.  Seriously, it may not seem like a whole lot is going on, but this is crazy delicious.

Crock Pot Chicken and Frito Casserole
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 lb potatoes, cubed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp instant tapioca
1/2 cup frozen corn
3 cups Fritos, crushed
1 1/2 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Combine tomatoes, potatoes, paprika, and tapioca in the slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours until chicken is tender.
2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces.  Stir 1 cup Frito crumbs, 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, corn, and cilantro into slow cooker until cheese is melted and mixture has thickened.  Stir in shredded chicken.
3. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and 2 cups of Fritos, cover, and cook on high for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

America's Test Kitchen does not disappoint.  Trust me on this one.  You need this in your belly asap.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chicken Hummus Pitas

These pita sandwiches are a great weeknight meal.  Why might you ask? It only requires one pan, chicken is the only thing that needs to be cooked, no measuring cups are required.  Those are some darn good reasons to make this for dinner tonight.

Chicken Hummus Pitas
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half
lemon juice
hummus, any flavor you desire
plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber
3 green onions
Feta cheese
4 pita pockets

1.  Season chicken breasts with oregano, salt, pepper, and a dash of lemon juice.  Cook chicken in a large skillet with olive oil until no longer pink.
2.  In a bowl mix together sliced cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro.  In a separate bowl mix 1 container of Greek yogurt with equal parts hummus, about 1/2 cup each.
3. To assemble, spread pita with hummus yogurt mixture, pile in vegetables, chicken, and Feta cheese.

Easy right?  This could also be a great way to whip up a weeks worth of lunches in one evening too.

This is the final installment of my Better Homes and Gardens chicken recipe blitz.  Hope you try some of them!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Asian Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is my second installment of a chicken recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine from the January issue.  There's one more up next too!

The recipe for Asian spaghetti and chicken meatballs can be found here at the BHG website.  I made some minor ingredient adjustments based on my personal tastes (no peppers) and what I had no hand (sadly, no sesame oil).

I found this recipe to be a nice change of pace from my usual pasta meals and I did enjoy the chicken meatballs, but I thought it needed a little kick in the pants in terms of it's flavors.  I wanted more garlic, more ginger, more everything coming through, most specifically in the meatballs.  If I were to make this again I'd up the ante on ginger, garlic, and soy sauce as I thought the meatballs were a bit bland.

But all in all it was really quite tasty and left the 2 of us with some serious leftovers to cover in siracha for the rest of the week.

If you're looking for a different take on spaghetti and meatballs, or a snazzy weeknight meal, check this recipe out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I'm back everyone! I will say I really hit a home-run with this casserole.  It's really rich and hearty.  Perfect for a January evening.  Make it for your family, hell make it for yourself.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup chopped carrots
3 leeks, halved and rinsed, whites parts only
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 preserved lemon, diced, see note
1 cup rice, cooked
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Saute carrots, leeks, and garlic in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray until vegetables are tender.  Mix milk and flour in a measuring cup.  Add milk mixture and chicken broth to skillet; cook and stir until thickened and bubbling.  Stir in cream cheese until melted.  Stir in lemon and season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread the rice in an even layer in a 13x9 baking dish, top with chicken and vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.  Cook for 15-18 minutes.

Note: I love me some preserved lemons, but they are most likely not waiting for you in your cupboard.  Juice and zest a lemon and it will be just perfect.

I hope you like it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Experimenting with Mac and Cheese

So I saw this cheddar cheese soup at the supermarket and thought that it would be super cool to use it to make mac and cheese.  I was imagining that this was a delightful cheese sauce in a jar, since it is a condensed soup.

I also have a cold, so the siracha is here to add pizzazz as well as a decongestant.

I boiled the pasta as usual, drained it, then stirred in the cheese soup.

Now was this a super fast and easy 2 ingredient mac and cheese?  Yes.  Was it delicious? NO.  There was no flavor to speak of even with the siracha, salt, and pepper added.

Total disappointment.  I went back melted a piece of cheese into what was left in the pot, but alas it really made no difference.

My first night back in the kitchen in weeks was a flop.  Sorry guys, hopefully I'll be cooking more successful dishes soon enough.