Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pinterest Challenge – Buffalo Chicken Wraps and Baked Pickles

I have always admired the Skinny Taste blog. This girl is great. She does a new recipe a day. She takes things people love and alters them slightly to make it a wee bit healthier… and then reports basically all nutrition information. It’s a great idea. And if you subscribe to her blog – you get a new recipe in your inbox every day. A clever way to discover meals that you’d never consider making!

This time – I was attempting the Buffalo Chicken Wraps and her Baked Pickles (which were like fried pickles… only more healthy). And the buffalo chicken? Made in a crock pot. #winning

It's healthy. And delicious.

It’s healthy. And delicious.

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 24 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 celery stalk (didn’t have… so didn’t use)
  • 1/2 onion, diced (didn’t have… so didn’t use)
  • 1 clove garlic (didn’t have… so didn’t use)
  • 16 oz fat-free low sodium chicken broth (I think you most likely need WAY more, maybe go with two cans?)
  • 1/2 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (I used more here too… wanted more of a kick)

For the wraps:

  • 6 large lettuce leaves, Bibb or Iceberg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (I just did one carrot… it’s all for the look anyway… right)
  • 2 large celery stalks, cut into 2 inch match sticks (whoops. consider that forgotten)
  • (I added blue cheese. Come on, with buffalo chicken wraps? It’s basically a requirement)

Directions:

In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn’t enough). Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

Poor dented little crock pot.

Poor dented little crock pot.

Remove the chicken from pot, reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.

To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

You guys. This chicken was the bomb.com. I used it the entire rest of the week on salads and in random other things. So good. This recipe I absolutely suggest!

But the chicken wraps themself don’t make for a very glamorous dinner. So I added the baked pickles. Here’s the thing, I LOVE fried pickles. I’m not sure whoever thought – yeah let’s take this salty semi-tangy thing, bread it and then FRY it. But I like that person. That person deserves a gold star. High five dude.

Oven “Fried” Pickles (she had a homemade ranch with this, I skipped it and went for the store-bought kind)

Ingredients:

  • 2 -16 oz jars (48 slices) sliced oval dill hamburger pickles, I used Vlasic (warning – this is a lot of pickles – I mean, don’t try to eat this alone)
  • 1/2 cup of Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder  (who has this? not this girl. I went with chili powder, it was already in the spice rack)
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley (skipped it)
  • 1/8th tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg 1 large egg white
  • olive oil spray (about 1 tsp)

Directions:

Place pickles to drain on paper towels (you’re going to need a lot of paper towels). Mix crumbs and flour together along with paprika, parsley, and half the chipotle powder and salt. Whisk eggs and egg whites in a bowl and season with remaining chipotle powder. Dip pickles in egg mixture and then into the crumb mix, pressing down on the crumbs.

So... so... many pickles. Pickles for days! P.s. These pickles = not good reheated. Just sayin.

So… so… many pickles. Pickles for days! P.s. These pickles = not good reheated. Just sayin.

Heat oven to 450°F along with 2 baking sheets. When the oven reaches 450°, remove baking sheets and spray with olive oil spray; place pickles on the baking sheets and spray the tops of the pickles with the more oil.  Bake 8-10 minutes, turn and spray if needed and cook an additional five minutes. Remove pickles from cooking sheet and serve hot with ranch dip.

Here’s the deal. The baked ones were good. But someone in the kitchen (it wasn’t me I swear) started frying up some of those pickles. And boy oh boy were those tasty.

Whoops. Where did that pan and all that oil come from?!

Whoops. Where did that pan and all that oil come from?!

Yum. To die for delicious.

So – if you’re maybe not on a health kick, I might get out the vegetable oil and have that on hand if you get tired of waiting for the pickles to bake…

Overall, I liked every part of this, and I think the pickles would be a great dish for a big gathering. And the chicken will absolutely happen again as something to eat for lunches for the rest of the week. Yum. Thank goodness for that crock pot… and for Skinny Taste!

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The Crock Pot

Of course security would search through my crockpot bag. Hope that gave someone a laugh...

Crock pot, Tupperware and clothes. That’s what everyone carries in their suitcase… right?!

I bought a crock pot many moons ago and I rarely used the thing. It just sat in a cupboard getting dusty. Because what on earth would you use a crock pot for? It’s sad friends. But we all know it’s true.

Moving on…

Here’s what I learned a couple of months ago. You can put something in the crock pot at the beginning of the day… and then you get home… and it’s just ready to eat. Genius. So smart.

Well, when I moved, I left the crock pot in Lincoln. Not purposefully. I just wasn’t thinking about it. But now that I’m cooking up a storm, I was really craving that crock pot.

So my last trip home was a short weekend, but I decided to pack not too many things in a large suitcase, so that when I flew back – I’d have a room to put the crock pot in my suitcase. Man, how smart am I? This saved me from buying a new one – or paying someone to ship me my old one. This option was FREE!

Things I didn’t consider:

  • The throwing of my suitcase
  • Potential damage to my crock pot
  • How the guy/gal in security would feel when they opened the luggage and saw a crock pot in there. Don’t worry, I’m not smuggling drugs, just cooking supplies…

I got home and ended up with some broken Tupperware and a largely dented crock pot. Great news – it still gets hot – and there’s nothing wrong with the inner bowl. And did I mention… this option was FREE.

Now, every time I look at that crock pot I will smile. And think of how clever I thought I was being. Oh the good old days…

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You might be a drag queen if…

Whoa.

Whoa. Trust me. This is not our normal look.

You scared yet?

Knife Girl and I went to get our makeup done.

The results were a bit scary. Cakey and scary.

Glittery, cakey and scary.

So. Much. Foundation.

So very very much powder.

And don’t even get me started on the eye shadow.

It made for an excellent laugh and some fantastic friend bonding. Moral of the story: If anyone ever invites you to ‘some event’ and ‘this one place’ with a ‘stranger showing us new makeup’ – say yes. Or rather, check your schedule to make sure you don’t have any plans immediately following… and then say yes.

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February Resolutions

If you’ll remember – last month I came to the genius conclusion that setting yearly goals for myself just didn’t work. I procrastinate. Bad style. If I did that – I’d wait until December to even attempt to start something that really I wanted to start a year ago. That just doesn’t make sense.

But you know what did? Monthly goals. Love me a box to check. Plus – if I tell you – then you know about it and I am held accountable. I really think I’m on to something here.

So here’s January’s goals and how they shook out:

  1. Buy nothing month. We knew it was going to be a little rough with two sets of visitors coming into town and a trip home. But I tell you what. I actually got into the habit of bringing my own lunch to work. I stopped going to Target when I felt the whim and started making a list. That way I actually think about something before I buy it awhile to see if I really needed it… or just wanted it. Those tweezers? Yup. Those are a need. The tape? Well, I found some in my tool closet (where else?) and now I don’t own two rolls. High five Betsy!
  2. Drivers license and license plates. I tried. I really really tried. I just didn’t have the right paperwork. #Bummer. Don’t worry, that moves to the top of my list for next month…
  3. Thank you notes. I didn’t write about it, mainly because that would be extremely boring. But I did it. Check. Watching The Bachelor and writing thank you notes is absolutely the way to go. I highly recommend it.
  4. New Way to Exercise. Bam. Frequency of exercise maybe not so great. But I found something I love. Hm. Maybe I should set a goal about that this month…
  5. Cook one new meal every week. Done! I blogged about those here, here and here. And don’t worry, there’s a fourth. But I’m a huge slacker and I haven’t blogged about it yet. Stay tuned.

I’d call that a pretty great month. So great, that I will absolutely set goals for February.

  1. Driver’s license, license plates, Passport. That’s right. I’m adding Passport to the list. This requires going to Walgreens, getting a photo and then going to the Post Office and spending a ridiculous amount. That’s easy. And what if I end up with a whim to go to Paris? I mean, it’s not ‘no spend January’ any more… I’m going to need that sucker.
  2. Appointments. It’s time. I’ve been here three months. I need to find new people. This month I’m scheduling an eye appointment, a dentist teeth cleaning visit and I need to find a vet to see K and Phoebs. I know, this is an extremely sexy goal. Even though it’s maybe disgustingly practical. It’s a need. And I’m doing it.
  3. No recorded TV until I’ve exercised for the day. What?! Here’s the deal, I really like my bed. Like, a lot. That combined with my absolute lack of discipline leads to me going home and crawling into bed and watching tv. Instead of doing something active. For heavens sake, there’s an elliptical in my living room. There’s no excuse to not jump on while watching a show. Or spending quality time with Julian before seeing what’s happening with Jess and Nick. This is happening. Count on it.
  4. Crock pot fun. I brought my crock pot back from my old home this month. I love my crock pot. And there’s one million things to try with it. Once a week – I’m making a crock pot meal. Yes I will take suggestions. Send them my way if you have them.

What about you friends? Want to accomplish something this month? Shoot me an email. I’m more than happy to hold you accountable! Overall, January was a fantastic month. The temps were warm. I had fabulous visitors. I found a groove. I’m looking forward to February as it’s looking as if it’s going to be pretty darn wonderful month. More fun visitors, more fun new places to try, great work to be done and some wonderful new friends to explore more of life with!

Pinterest Challenge – Frittata

I post a nice long rant about the DMV and disappear for a week. Man I’m fickle!

I took a trip home this weekend. Saw my friends, my family, my special friend, a terribly depressing play and spent some qt with my “little ones” while hanging out and watching a high school basketball game. It was glorious. Plus, I accidentally spent an extra day in Lincoln due to some serious fog (think Sleepy Hollow style). Plus, I picked up my birth certificate, so watch out DMV, here I come!

But as the post title suggests, I also got some cooking in. That’s right friends, I cooked on my vacation. Be scared. I’m a whole different person these days. The family went to church, we came home and in discussing the various ingredients already in the fridge… we settled upon attempting my first frittata (thank you Pinterest).

How cute is my mom? She wanted to set out fruit nicely as a pretty backtop for my blog photos. Love her.

How cute is my mom? She wanted to set out fruit nicely as a pretty back drop for my blog photos. Love her.

Here’s the recipe thank you to the lovely Jessie over at the Pleasant and Plump blog (ps. the name. kills me.) :Spinach and Potato Frittata

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 small red potatoes, sliced (or just six potatoes, you know, whatever is available)
1 cup fresh chopped spinach
2 tablespoons sliced green onions (we used plain onion, because it was on the counter)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste (what this is saying, SALT ME OR I WILL BE BLAND)
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional) (seriously, who makes cheese optional? silly frittata)

Place potatoes in a skillet with olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes cooking them until tender (but still somewhat firm). Stir in spinach, green onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted.

Slicing potatoes with a big girl knife makes the world of a difference... How close are we to my birthday... Sigh.

Slicing potatoes with a big girl knife makes the world of a difference… How close are we to my birthday… Sigh.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Pour into the skillet over the vegetables. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until eggs are firm.

You guys. There is such as thing as a GARLIC PRESS. Why would you not get one? This keeps you from STINKING like garlic for days after using it to cook. So smart. You're welcome for that handy tip. Oh, you already knew? Shoot...

You guys. There is such as thing as a GARLIC PRESS. Why would you not get one? This keeps you from STINKING like garlic for days after using it to cook. So smart. You’re welcome for that handy tip. Oh, you already knew? Shoot…

*You can also add bacon, sausage, or any other kind of breakfast meat if you want.

(Did you see that footnote at the bottom? I missed it. This would have been incredible with some salty bacon goodness in it. Instead – we had bacon as a side dish. Also – it took much longer than 5-7 minutes to cook it in the end. But you’ll know it’s done when the eggs are nice and firm! ) Overall – this was quick – it was easy – and it was a PERFECT way to fairly quickly throw food into a LARGE skillet and tada! done! The best part? I feel like this is fairly customizable. Have tomatoes? Sure, throw them in. Leftover chicken? Why not. Some spices? Toss away.

It did take long enought that by the time it was done - I was ready to eat it. Therefore, no 'finished' photo exists. Whoops.

It did take long enough that by the time it was done – I was ready to eat it. Therefore, no ‘finished’ photo exists. Whoops. And I might be a little bit of a messy cook. My bad. No worries. I do clean up after myself…

We’ve got a way to go until we’re absolutely caught up on blog posts. A story about a crock pot… a post about some buffalo chicken… and the follow-up on my January goals and setting goals for February. Maybe you’ll just get two posts today? Could you be so lucky?You might friends. You just might. Keep those little fingers crossed!