September 9, 2010

Pasta alla Vodka

I had this dish for the first time about a month ago at a family reunion and couldn't stop thinking about it, so I had to make it. It's really easy and SO delish! Here's what you need:

1 lb uncooked penne pasta
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vodka
1/2 Cup whipping cream

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown. Add tomatoes and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vodka and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss 1 minute. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or whatever you have in the fridge).

September 1, 2010

Chicken & Black Bean Burritos

I was looking for an easy meal to make and take the other night when I came across this lovely little number over at . This is so easy to make and I think everyone will like it, even picky eaters! Plus they freeze and reheat well (more on that later). Here's what you need:

1 box (7.6oz) Old El Paso Spanish Rice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pkg Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
2/3 Cup water
1 can (15oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 Cup sliced green onions (about 5 medium)
1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro - I left this out
1 pkg flour tortillas for burritos (8 tortillas, 8 inch) heated as directed
1 1/2 Cups shredded Cheddar cheese, taco seasoned cheese blend or Mexican cheese blend

In 3-quart saucepan make rice as directed on package, omitting butter. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat 1-2 minutes. Add chicken; cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir chicken mixture, beans, bell peppers, onions and cilantro into hot rice mixture. If necessary, cook until hot, stirring occasionally. Spoon slightly less than 1 Cup chicken mixture down center of each warm tortilla. Top with cheese. Fold bottom of each tortilla 1 inch over filling. Fold in sides, overlapping to enclose filling. Fold top over sides. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

*I made a few changes to this when I made it. First I didn't buy any cilantro so I didn't add that, although I'm sure it would be fantastic. Second I used the smaller fajita size tortillas with less filling and it made about 16 smaller burritos. I wrapped each burrito individually in foil and put them in a warm oven (turned off) to melt the cheese inside the burrito. They traveled easily that way, so taking them to someone for dinner was a cinch! I also froze about half of the burritos I made because there were so many. I just put the foil wrapped burritos into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. To reheat just place the frozen burrito(s) into a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until heated through. You could probably thaw them out and cook them quicker, but I was afraid the tortilla might get soggy that way.

I hope you enjoy this super easy, and super delicious Betty Crocker recipe!

August 3, 2010

Cape Cod

I have recently acquired a free flight from Southwest Airlines and I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out where I want to go. Do I go visit an old friend in a place I’ve been before? Do I meet said friend in a new city I haven’t visited yet? Do I go to Orlando because it’s my favorite? Or maybe Los Angeles because I love it there too! Well folks, I think I might have made up my mind. Actually, I think Ali Fedotowsky made up my mind when she ditched Chris L. for the very dreamy Roberto.

Let me explain.

If you don’t know me well, you don’t know of my love obsession for ABC’s The Bachelor/Bachelorette series (see here for my reaction to last night’s finale surprise). The season that ended last night was apparently the 20th season for this show and I’ve only missed 2 of them. One of the seasons I missed because it aired while I was studying abroad in Europe, valid reason, the other season I missed because I couldn’t stand the girl who was the bachelorette that season and I didn’t want to waste my time on her. In case you weren’t counting, that leaves 18 seasons of this show that I have spent wasted my time watching. Needless to say, I have loved and hated many, many participants that have been on each season. Never have I loved the final two bachelor/ettes than I did this season.

When Ali broke Chris’s heart last night Amy, Chelsea and I decided we needed to make a trip to Cape Cod to hunt down this guy, Chris, and force him to fall in love with one of us.

As I’ve looked on Facebook and Twitter today, I’ve noticed we aren’t the only ones who had this idea. So we might be in for a fight with some other ladies who fell in love with this sweet, sweet guy while watching The Bachelorette this season.

I really hope he doesn’t turn out to be The Bachelor on the next season of the show; he’s way too good for that.

**If you know, or know someone who knows Chris please contact me immediately**

June 29, 2010

Beef Stir Fry with Orzo

This is a Weight Watcher's recipe, it's a little twist on traditional stir fry. You serve it with orzo pasta instead of rice! It's such a delicious, unique blend of flavors. Try it, it'll quickly become a family favorite. Here's what you need:

1 1/2 cups orzo
1 lb. beef flank or sirloin steak
3 green onions
1 large orange
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp grated, peeled ginger root, or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

Prepare orzo as label directs; keep warm. Cut steak in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/8 inch thick slices. Thinly slice green onions. With vegetable peeler, cut peel from orange into thin strips. Squeeze juice from orange into cup measure. You need 2/3 cup of juice (add water if necessary). Into juice cup, stir sugar, soy sauce and cornstarch until blended. In nonstick 12-inch skillet or wok over medium high heat, in hot oil, cook green onion with ginger, garlic and orange peel until tender and lightly browned. With slotted spoon, remove to bowl. In remaining oil, over high heat, cook beef, half at a time, stirring quickly and constantly, until beef loses its pink color, about 2-3 minutes. Return beef to skillet, stir in onion mixture and orange juice mixture, stirring quickly and constantly until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Serve with orzo.

June 24, 2010

Sorry About That...

Sorry about my super long absence from blogging, but I actually have a good excuse this time! My laptop has been out of commission for the past few months and I just got it back! It's now in working condition, so hopefully I'll get back into the swing of blogging and give all my faithful readers (I still have readers, right?) some new recipes to try out.
I've been on a mission to lose weight lately, so my recipes will probably be a little lighter from now on since I can't so much eat those super fattening, buttery things that I used to! Hope that's alright with y'all...

April 10, 2010

Crockpot Black Beans

A while back I decided I should start making my own black beans from dried beans instead of buying the canned kind. There were a few reasons I wanted to do this 1) It's cheaper that way 2) I like that I would control what went into the beans. It took me a while, but I finally got around to making them this week and it was pretty easy. One 16oz bag of dried beans makes approximately the same amount of beans that are in 3 cans and one bag of beans costs about as much as one can of beans. I got the recipe from this fantastic website, if you haven't looked at it before, you should, and you can get some great recipe ideas. The only thing I did different was add some garlic cloves to the water. Here's what you need for the recipe:

1 bag (16oz) black beans
crock pot and liner (if you want)

Pour the entire bag of dried beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. If you see any beans that have broken in half, or skin that floats to the surface, get rid of it. Also pick out any beans that look shriveled and gross.

Dump all the beans into your crockpot. Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches.

Cover. Do not turn on. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. If you live in a very warm area, and the crockpot won't be in a room that is climate-controlled, put the stoneware in the fridge. You don't want bacteria to have the opportunity to grow.

In the morning, dump the water, and rinse your beans. The water will be bean-colored.

Put the beans back into your crockpot and cover with enough fresh water to completely cover the beans with an extra 2-3 inches.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

The beans are done when they are bite-tender. Don't worry if the water hasn't all absorbed. You're going to dump it, anyway.

Drain the beans.

When cool, put 1 2/3 cups of beans into storage containers or freezer bags (you're adding this amount because you aren't adding filler-liquid like the cans have). The beans will store nicely in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.

Use as you would canned beans in your favorite recipe.

Like I said, I added a few garlic cloves into the crock pot while the beans were cooking, but I don't think it added any flavor to the beans. I would suggest adding a little salt or other seasonings because the beans have absolutely no flavor when they are done cooking. I love this new method of making beans because it's easy and I know that they are good for me because I control what goes in them.

Hope you enjoy!

March 30, 2010


Wait, I have a blog? I think I totally forgot about it, oops! I'm back though and I'll try to start updating with recipes on a regular basis. But for tonight I will tell you what my night consisted of.
First I got to spend some time with my favorite baby sister, M, who is at a precious age right now, although sometimes she can be quite a terror. Did I say terror? I meant perfect angel. We were watching the intro to Ni Hao, Kai Lan tonight and she started dancing and I'm pretty sure she slapped her butt at one point. I'm not sure where she is learning her dance moves, but I don't think that one is age appropriate.

After I left my parents house I decided I needed some Chinese take-out, it's my favorite. So I called up Great Wall and placed my regular order, cashew chicken with no celery with white rice instead of fried (I mean, at least I try to be somewhat healthy) and an egg roll (cancel that healthy thought). It was delicious as always.

Please ignore the discarded water chestnuts in the background, I detest them.

When I got home it was time for the OKC Thunder game! I love the Thunder and always try to watch the games when I can't be there.

Kevin Durant, up close and personal

And then to top off the evening friends came over to watch Lost, which is in it's final and best season. We gather together almost every Tuesday night to watch Lost and have for the past 3 or 4 years. It's always a good time, no matter who shows up. It had been such a long time since we had been together that we all sat around and talked for a long while after the show was over.

Great friends, great food and some great TV made for an exceptional Tuesday evening. I hope yours were as good as mine was!