Category Archives: Food

Coconut Poke Cake

For my birthday this last year, I had a wonderful friend tell me that she was bringing me a cake.

Because it’s not a birthday party unless there is cake. She was so right. I adore her.

And the cake she brought? It was magical. Honestly, I’m not a giant cake person… but I am a giant everything in the world coconut person. And this little magical beauty is covered in coconut. It was perfect and incredible and sweet and marvelous and so heart warmingly coconuty that it filled my birthday with so much happiness and joy. Not to mention, it’s just a very pretty cake. Totally went with my princess themed party (seriously). And when Stevie brought the cake out there was singing and dancing in all of the lands. People rejoiced. I think I sang on a rooftop?

Okay okay, you get it, it was a great cake.

So when a friend of mine asked some of her friends to bring some desserts to her wedding – this cake came floating back into my mind. It was tasty enough to be acceptable at a wedding, but also pretty enough to belong on a shabby outdoorsy chic dessert table… and it felt like my big chance to test drive this cake! Don’t worry, I realize that test driving a cake at a wedding feels a little risky, but I knew if I failed I could just pick up a cake at Whole Foods and throw it on a platter and no one would be any wiser.

Not that I’ve ever done that before… Ahem.

So I asked my friend for the recipe and she shared her secret with me – it’s easy to make.

Stop it. A cake that tastes like happiness and is so incredibly attractive can not possibly be easy?

Wrong friends. It totally can. And I will now share with you how to succeed in making a cake that requires almost no ingredients and will stun your guests (granted, those guests have to like coconut).

Thanks to allrecipes for publishing this gem!

Coconut Poke Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut (not coconut milk!)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package flaked coconut

  1. Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. While still hot, using a utility fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake. (I used a straw, because who knows what on earth a ‘utility fork’ is?!)
  2. Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the still hot cake. Let cake cool completely then frost with the whipped topping and top with the flaked coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.

Now, I switched things up and I made a layered cake. So I let the cakes cool, put one on the cake plate, frosted the middle, poked the holes and then combined the liquids and used about half over the cake (since it didn’t have anything to sit in and soak).

It looks weird in this stage, but trust me, totally not weird and 110% delicious.

It looks weird in this stage, but trust me, totally not weird and 110% delicious.

Then I generously frosted it with whipped cream (which, by the by, is fantastically easy and I had a ton leftover) and patted coconut all around the outside. And you guys – it was beautiful.

Did I use this wedding as an excuse to buy a cake plate? Yes. I absolutely did. Totally worth it for the 'wow' effect. I mean, it was going to a wedding, I just HAD to have a cake plate to be classy...

Did I use this wedding as an excuse to buy a cake plate? Yes. I absolutely did. Totally worth it for the ‘wow’ effect. I mean, it was going to a wedding, I just HAD to have a cake plate to be classy…

I made it the night before and let it sit overnight (as it was a early wedding Saturday) and I was mildly worried that it would dry out… but luckily there’s so much liquid in this cake I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

It looked good.

And for the record, it wasn’t the only thing there that looked good.

The cake wasn't the only thing there winning that day. Check out me and my wedding date partner in crime.

The cake wasn’t the only thing there winning that day. Check out me and my wedding date partner in crime.

I have got to start wearing more polka dots.

And making more cakes.

I’m pretty sure if people made more of these cakes, there would be world peace.

Start baking and let’s test this out shall we?

And if you don’t yet own a cake plate, seriously go buy one. I promise it’ll make everything you do feel so much more fancy.

Happy cake baking friends.

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Annette’s Enchiladas

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I have something special for you.

So special that I made this sucker twice in one week and ate it for leftovers FOR DAYS.

And those of you that know me, know I don’t do leftovers. But this? This I can stand in the kitchen with a fork eating it straight out of the pan. Which, is exactly what Shauna Niequist warned me would happen when I read about these initially. Yes, this is another incredible success from Bread and Wine. Yes, she has the recipe on her blog here. Go. Read. That. Book. Now.

Or, just run straight to the grocery store to grab these ingredients and happily make this at home instead.

You’ll thank me later.

I’d read about these in Bread and Wine initially. Then I’d heard friends rave over these. And then I saw them as a suggested dinner for an If: Gathering and I finally cracked. They just sounded like warmth, home cooking and happiness… and every once and awhile that just sounds fantastic. Plus, I was going to have dinner that night with a new dear friend and I just knew she’d be game for staying in with wine, trying a new recipe and laughing in the kitchen together (and God bless those instant kindred spirit type friends). So I ran quick to the grocery store on my way home, prepared to wow her with this meal when I showed up on her door step with it perfectly cooked and ready to enjoy.

Well Praise the Lord that she’s good humored, because within five minutes of arriving home I realized:

  • Chicken takes twenty minutes to boil and I didn’t budget pre-cooking chicken time, so dinner was just going to be late. (Side note: The dreaded ghetto Safeway that I live close to doesn’t have rotisserie chickens just hanging out at the checkout isle. Deep Sigh. I hate you Safeway. Even if you are quick and easy.)
  • I no longer own a 9×13 pan. It seems mine has wandered off.

So! After a quick text to my new BFF I packed pans, bowls, measuring cups, all of the groceries, and headed over to steal her kitchen (and her pans!) and finish the meal there. See. Total new best friendship.

We laughed, we discussed hopes and dreams, we dug deep. Seven hours of friendship total and she knows me better than some people I’ve known for years. Which might explain how we missed the very crucial step of turning on the oven. Which may or may not have doubled our cook time. Which is exactly why you should also grab chips and salsa as a compliment to this meal. Perfect appetizer and accidental tide over when dinner takes an hour!

I remade it that same weekend when The Boy and I decided to do dinner and a movie in on a rainy lazy Saturday. It was perfect. I don’t want to say we both got up for seconds (and maybe even thirds). But so far, it’s gotten some serious stamps of approval. And there’s just something about a meal that you have the ability to throw together quickly, that you know people will love and will turn out well that that warms my heart.

So my friends, I give you this meal. Perfect for making and enjoying with new friends and loved ones. Or making and taking to friends with new children. Or who have recently lost loved ones. It’s comfort food. Through and through. It tastes like happiness, it’s easy to reheat quick. And it honestly might be better day two after everything has perfectly jelled together.

Looking at this again is making me want it again for dinner tonight. Okay. Someone might need to stage an intervention.

Looking at this again is making me want it again for dinner tonight. Okay. Someone might need to stage an intervention.

Happy eating.

Annette’s Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 28-ounce can green enchilada sauce (Las Palmas is best)
  • 2 4-ounce small cans green chilies, diced
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 corn tortillas (I’m using 18 little guys)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Mix green sauce with chilies and sour cream.
  2. Smooth 1 spoonful of the sauce mixture around the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.
  3. Simmer the chicken broth in a skillet, and before placing each tortilla in the 9 by 13 pan, use tongs (or fingers if you’re less fancy and don’t own tongs) to pass the tortilla through the broth for just a few seconds. If you leave the tortillas in the broth for too long, they’ll fall apart, so just dip each one in for a few seconds to soften it before putting it in the enchilada pan.
  4. Layer 4 tortillas over the first layer of sauce. (Here’s where I’m adjusting, 4 doesn’t make sense to me if you’re using the little guys, so I use 6 little guys and it works wonderfully)
  5. After tortillas, add half the chicken, then one-third of the sauce, then one-third of the cheese.
  6. Repeat so there are 2 full layers.
  7. Finish with a layer of 4 more tortillas (or six!), the remaining third of the sauce, and the remaining third of the cheese. – Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. Let sit at least 15 minutes before cutting. Top with chopped cilantro.
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OVERNIGHT BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST

You know how every once and awhile you do something accidentally genius?

Well, today I feel like an accidental genius.

Because I found the best, most easy and totally inexpensive breakfast dish ever. And it tastes amazing.

Let me just summarize: carbs, cream cheese and blueberries… Yeah. It’s that good.

And when I say ‘I found’ I mean that in strictly the loosest terms. Because what really happened is this incredible lady sent it to me (as she’s been reading my cooking adventures) IN JANUARY with the suggestion that I try it because it was a sure fire win… and it’s taken me this long to try it.

Which, to be fair, it serves eight. And let’s be real, I’m not around eight people for breakfast that often. Ain’t nobody need to see me that bright and early, let alone seven poor souls hanging out with pre-caffinated Betsy.

But, what I realized was, I am hanging out with a group every week that was already used to seeing Betsy before the sun rises… and that they’d totally be the right crowd for this job! My Friday morning Bible Study. I sort of wish we had a catchy name for our crew to insert here, but we don’t. We’ll work on it.

Basically, it’s the most amazing group of women that has come together with the most amazing fearless leader. We meet before work every Friday at 7am and we’re having so much fun that we keep accidentally not leaving until 8:30am. We totally lose track of time as we chat – and that, my friends, is the sign of a great group! We laugh. We cry. We’re struggle together all while diving in and really focusing on some great scripture. Truly, it’s the highlight of my week every week and I just feel so darn lucky to have these girls loving on each other, pouring into one another, praying for each other and encouraging one another in every aspect of life.

Phew. Not to get too sentimental there, but gosh, they are just the best.

AND the most loving.

So! If I was going to have a cooking fail, then this felt like the perfect crowd to do it with. You know, the kind that would laugh with you as you all took the first terrible bite together? And then you’d joke about it for years to come.

Great news: That didn’t happen. And spoiler alert, I ::might:: have gotten called Betsy Crocker this morning. Yup. True story.

And all after minimal effort. Let’s just say, this sucker is going into rotation for everything! The blog that it comes from, Real Mom Kitchen, says she makes it for Easter every year. And since Easter is sneaking up on us, I’m taking that as a sign (thanks Jesus) that I have to make it for Easter brunch this year!

Overnight Blueberry Casserole

French Toast:

  • 12 slices bread, cut into cubes (I used Texas Toast and you should too.)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1 cup blueberries (use fresh! come on, you know you want to!)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups milk (why yes, that is the size of the little drinking containers at the grocery store!)

Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh!)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

 Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and blueberries evenly over the bread cubes. Top with remaining bread cubes. Mix together eggs, milk, and syrup. Pour over bread cubes and cover pan with foil. Let chill in refrigerator overnight. Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Top with sauce.

Serves 8.

Sauce: Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch until thickened. Stir in blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve over the french toast. (Important Note: ‘cook until thickened’ requires more time than one minute… but if you’re, let’s say, in a hurry and you have to sort of just boil it together with the blueberries for a bit… it’s just as tasty!)

And this my friends, is what it turned out looking like:

Yuuuuuuuuuuum.

Yuuuuuuuuuuum.

See the melty cream cheese? See those fresh blueberries? CHECK OUT THAT TEXAS TOAST THAT SOAKED IN THAT EGG?! Delish. I don’t want to say that everyone had two servings, because we’re ladies. But you know, we totally did.

So thank you Kara for sending that my way and for making me look like a total rock star. I so appreciate it. You’re awesome.

And note, if you have something that’s a staple in your life, I’m so game to try it out. Just send it my way! Not only will you receive a shout out (I mean, take that for what it’s worth!), BUT you could contribute to altering my entire cooking future. And that’s really worth the investment… (maybe, probably, most likely)

Happy Friday my friends! T minus not too many hours before the weekend begins!

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Goat Cheese Omelet

Did you just die reading those words? Is your heart happy because you saw GOAT CHEESE in the title?

If not, I’m confused as to how we’re friends, but, I’ll attempt to move past that and continue upon my merry way of telling you about how I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING INCREDIBLE.

Let me start with the two things that weighed into this:

  1. I recently finished reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. You guys, it’s incredible. It’s about friendship and wine and community around a table. And you know what’s better? It’s a collection of short stories, most of which feature a memory centered around a dish. Being at the lake house with friends and always having XYZ for dinner, knowing someone was sad and needing a casserole and feeding them the casserole. At the end of each of these fantastic stories, she includes the recipes. Which, are fantastic. I loved this book. I’m loving the recipes. Do yourself a favor, go buy a copy of this book for yourself, and one for your best friend, so you can read it together and then gab about how fabulous this incredible woman is and how you want to stage a random meeting and somehow get invited to one of her dinner parties…
  2. I adore breakfast. I could probably eat eggs for every meal. Especially if they were served with greasy hash browns and bacon… but even without all of the million extra calories those delicious side items I’ll take the eggs. For. Every. Meal.

So after reading one of my potential new bff’s new favorite author’s stories about goat cheese scrambled eggs… I thought “eggs and goat cheese… yes.” And then happily added ‘goat cheese crumbles’ to my grocery shopping list.

I thought maybe I’d save it for when there were a couple of people around to try it out with me… but then I remembered the losing streak I was on and decided to give it an initial go on my own.

So I threw a couple eggs in a bowl, whipped them up and then poured them into my fancy new mini skillet (thanks dad!) and cooked them on one side. Then I flipped those suckers over and while they were cooking the other side, I added goat cheese crumbles and spinach (you know, the vitamins and anti-oxidants and whatever else that’s good in spinach offsets the badness of the goat cheese… right?!) and folded it over and BAM! it looked just like a little breakfast place had made it for me.

So it's a little torn... and on a plain piece of toast... but it's still magically beautiful.

So it’s a little torn… and on a plain piece of toast… but it’s still magically beautiful.

Okay, it looked a LITTLE bit like a professional made it for me. You know, because it wasn’t burnt and had some fancy ingredients in it!

And then I took my little fork and cut myself a little bite and tried it.

And then I died and went to heaven. My heart was filled with joy and happiness. And the sun started shining and there were rainbows and a unicorn. Eggs and goat cheese.

Flipping genius.

I officially know what I’ll be eating for lunch every day this week. Um, you know, cause I want to practice my technique and um, really make it so that I can WOW guests when they come over.

Oh who am I kidding. It’s because it’s great and I want to eat it every day all day long.

Your takeaways from this blog? Go buy that book right now and read it. It’s so amazing.

And then sprinkle a little magic dust… I mean… goat cheese on your eggs the next time. It’ll make your stomach cry happy tears of delight!

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‘Pesto’ Chicken and Pasta

I’ve been on a BIT of a losing streak lately as far as cooking for The Boy goes.

And by lately, I mean, my all time record. And by a BIT I mean… I’m 0 for 3. First I strongly over spiced the brussel sprouts on our first dinner, then I made the very bland and not-so-tasty spinach squash lasagna (I know, I know, the name says it all),  followed by the pancake fail.

And in reality, it’s mainly just that I keep trying things out of my wheel house on him and they don’t turn up that great. Because now thinking about it, I’ve also made him Chicken Spectacular and some Italian Nachos (chips, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, banana peppers… broil five minutes… you’re welcome) and those were both successful. So I’m really more 2 for 5. Which, is still not a passing percentage…

And I’m determined to change that. So my friend was telling me about this great recipe she made of HOMEMADE ‘pesto’, that she tossed in with some chicken and some noodles and ta-da! Dinner!

Well, an easy meal is my very favorite type, and friends, boy oh boy do I have a treat for you!

Things you’ll need:

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • Noodles (any size, any shape!) for Two
  • Chicken (I used shredded rotisserie – it’s just so darn easy!)
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes on Olive Oil
  • More Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • A Package of Fresh Basil
  • A Magic Bullet (Or a Blender I Suppose)

Ready for the steps?

  1. Boil noodles.
  2. While noodles are cooking, shred your chicken and throw all of the other ingredients into the magic bullet.
  3. Magic bullet the stuff. I guessed at how much to put in of everything and it worked perfectly.
  4. When the noodles are done, drain and then toss in chicken and ‘pesto’ and THEN EAT IT AND LOVE EVERY BITE.
Yup. It's just as good as it looks.

My amazing camera phone just can’t do the tastiness justice. But trust me. Your mouth and stomach will rejoice!

If you’re a Parmesan cheese person, I’d go ahead and top with that, you know, if you can remember, before you quickly devour the entire bowl. I mean, good luck with that.

And the best part?

A winning review by the boy! Which, brought me up to a 3 to 6 ratio. And then I introduced The Boy and his roommate to enchiladas last night. Hard recipe it is, just following the back of the can… But that got a glowing review as well… so I’m going to go ahead and call it a 4 to 7 ratio. Which means my at bat ratio here is 57%. Still not passing… but we’re strongly increasing!

And other great news? I officially have pancake mix in the cupboard now, so I’ll be prepared for any guests that come over for breakfast now.

Well… I’ll have mix. I still can’t promise meat, eggs, cheese or milk… but I’ll probably prepare for it if you let me know in advance…

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Pancake Fail.

A couple of weekends ago, I promised The Boy I’d make breakfast for him before church. I had grand ideas of pancakes and bacon and eggs and happiness and rainbows and sunshine.

Well, all of those things hinged on having the right ingredients in the fridge. And as I opened my fridge I realized I had two eggs.

That’s right. Two eggs. No milk, no bacon/ham/sausage. No toast. No pancake mix. No maple syrup. Nothing. Nada. Zlich.

But I’m not a quitter. No! Surely I could just make some pancakes with water and flour and a little oil and an egg… right?

And I remembered that my mother used to make amazing home made syrup with mapeline and sugar. But I didn’t have any mapleine. But I DID have vanilla extract! And vanilla syrup is probably amazing. Right?

Everything LOOKS normal!

Everything LOOKS normal!

Did you just laugh out loud to yourself about the idea of semi hard biscuit like pancakes covered in runny strongly vanilla tasting sugar water?

You should have. Because that is what happened.

However, if my secret strategy was to be taken out for breakfast… I will tell you that I accomplished my mission.

And for the future, I plan on keeping a box of pancake mix in the pantry. You know, because that’s probably a kitchen staple…

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What. The. Squash.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement:

Squash is the worst

Let me clarify… PREPARING Squash is the worst.

I was coming off of my Crockpot Taco Chicken Chili high and was thinking I was invincible. The poo. I could dominate and regulate any recipe I so desired. Because I could cook.

And then I read this recipe for Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna Rolls and I thought this would be the perfect simple dinner for a good after work meal.

Let me just tell you. That was cute. That idea you could just whip up some squash, boil noodles, make the insides and then ‘toss’ it all together. Oh, and did I mention? This is the first time I attempted to make anything lasagna. So yeah, using the word ‘underestimated’ – that’s an understatement. I was out of my league in a big way.

Let me just walk you through what really happened:

  1. I had approximately one hour before The Boy came over for dinner and the roommate would get home. I ran to the grocery store. Got the ingredients. Ran home. Took the squash out of the bag and then went to dice it… and it was hard. And there was a skin. Sigh.
  2. I called my BFF Niki (Young Life Leader, Amazing Person, Knower of ALL THINGS Crafty and Domestic) and asked her what you do with a squash. She laughed after asking if I had not already cooked it to make it tender (no? you have to do that?) and then told me to get a potato peeler out.
  3. I start peeling (potato peeler style) the squash and am also trying to thaw the spinach and grab the other one million ingredients I would need, while starting a LARGE pot full of water to boil on the stove (for the massive noodles).
  4. I throw the noodles in the pot. They don’t fit right (because, why would they). So… I just jam part of them in. While throwing my diced squash (WAIT there’s also seeds inside this squash? Seriously squash?! ::shakes fist::) in another pot to boil until tender (read: for one hundred minutes).
  5. I’m feeling defeated, and we’re on step two of like twenty, so I grab a wine glass, open a bottle, pour myself a glass and snack on some sesame seed sticks.

Which, is exactly how The Boy found me. Shoulders hunched, wine in hand, sheer terror in my eyes.

Luckily, The Boy is not only experienced in all things kitchen, but also has seemingly endless calming capabilities and enough patience to power the world. God bless him.

So, The Boy takes over, I’m running here and there to piece this part and that together… and he’s just moving on forward. He’s laughing through my kitchen storage, trying to find an inch of space on the counter and after he gets everything under control (read: puts me back on the right track), he goes on his merry way organizing all of the misplaced things in the kitchen.

Sigh.

Funny side tangent that has nearly nothing to do with this story but just sets the scene of night in a major way: My house is OLD AND COLD. And the fridge is in this very cold sun room off the kitchen (it’d be too easy to have the fridge in the kitchen). One morning, I had the genius idea to put up a curtain in the door way to stop the artic breeze from rolling in from the sunroom to the rest of the house. Which, I still provide is the smartest thing I’ve thought of this winter. It’s made a HUGE difference. However, somewhere in the midst of all of this scurry in the kitchen, I run into the sunroom for something out of the fridge, trip over the curtain, rip it from the wall and fall basically all the way to the ground tangled in the curtain. Which, should surprise exactly no one that has ever walked anywhere near me, or has had the responsibility of catching me as I fall (I’m looking at you Orlowski). But really surprised The Boy. Who laughed. And compared me to his mother. Which, I’m taking as a compliment. But you know, I would fall and destroy something as I’m also trying to look like a domestic goddess to my suitor and already failing at that miserably. When these moments happen, you know, the ones where things just aren’t going your way… and then you trip and fall. These are the moments I just laugh to myself and feel certain that God has an amazing sense of humor. And good news: The Boy witnesses all of this insanity and mess and disorganization and still thinks I’m great. Thank God.

Anywho, after this long process, the meal finally goes into the oven. I start prepping the salads. I make the garlic bread. And the lasagna rolls come out of the oven as my roommate walks in the door to eat with us. Everything is perfect. It looks incredible on the plate.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

And it tastes like nothing. Nada.

It’s just not awesome. Not even close to awesome. Some might not even call it good. Most would call it bland. You’re eating squash with fat free cheese a noodle and some spinach. I wanted to scrape off the squash and cover it with butter and brown sugar. That’s all I could think.

I had photos of every step of the process, I had notes for things you’d need to know when making it… but I didn’t want to share any single one of them with you, because it’s really just not worth your time to make.

How sad is that?

Lessons learned:

  1. Not all recipes are equal.
  2. Squash requires time and effort.
  3. Long noodles for lasagna need a large pan. And guess what, just sticking one end in… that’s not the solution because it means half of your noodles are cooked entirely differently than the other half.
  4. Even with not-so-great meals, The Boy will take two helpings just to make you feel better about your life.
  5. When something’s not great the first time, the leftovers are miserable.
  6. Grocery shop on the weekend. For goodness sake Betsy, aint nobody got time to go to the store and make a two hour meal on a weeknight.
  7. You should never attempt a new cooking endeavor without a bottle of wine nearby. You know, just in case.
  8. There’s always humor in the kitchen. Mistakes will be made, things will go south, you will inevitably have forgotten at least one ingredient… but hey, that’s just funny.

One year later… I’m getting better. I have some great safe meals under my belt that I could pull out at any point… and I’m not afraid to try new things.

And I’m always, always ready to laugh. Thank God for that.

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The Runza… Meets Taco Salad

This is the story of how I realized I was a grown up.

Awhile ago on facebook, I saw a picture of a recipe. AND IT LOOKED DELICIOUS. And in my head I thought “I could probably make that.”

Which, wouldn’t seem like such a big deal… but it is… BECAUSE THERE WERE NOT DIRECTIONS TO FOLLOW. I just made it up.

Yes. You read that correctly… I, Betsy, the girl who one year ago had rarely used the oven to make anything harder than cake from a box… made it up.

I looked at it. Thought through what it probably needed. And then I just made it. And are you ready for this? It was incredible.

Which, is why I can call myself a grown up. Because, confession time, I’ve thought this to myself before and then it’s turned out terribly. And those things I don’t blog about, because it’d be embarrassing to confess that I combined rice, green beans, cream of mushroom soup and tuna and thought that it might end up the best new recipe of all times (news flash: that’s a terrible combination, do. not. try. that. at. home). So, I choose to keep most of those (clearly not that one) to myself.

But this time. I won. And since your life on the interwebs needs to look perfect… I am here to brag about how genius I am.

Kidding. I’m not that girl.

But I AM the girl who wants you to know about this because it’s freakishly easy and totally delicious. And you will thank me for it being like a taco salad combined with a Runza. Yeah, I said it. Go with me here, you won’t regret it.

Oh, what’s that? You want proof? Fair. I’ll show you the finished product before we go any further:

I've convinced you right? Yuuuuuuuuuum.

I’ve convinced you right? Yuuuuuuuuuum. Thanks Instagram for making my photos cooler than they really are.

Yeah. And the great news? It’s real easy.

Cool Bets you’ve been rambling for a while now, let’s get to the point shall we?

Here’s what you’ll need friends:

  • Two cans of crescent rolls. I used just one, but to really overlap the triangles more all while making it more carb-filled and delicious, I’ll use two going forward.
  • A pound of hamburger.
  • A packet of taco seasoning.
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream… or whatever else you’d use to top your taco salad!

Start by cooking your hamburger… add taco seasoning according to the directions. While the meat is cooking, arrange the crescent rolls as such on a baking sheet:

It's a star! Sort of... So, I'd use two cans and have them overlap more next time.

It’s a star! Sort of… So, I’d use two cans and have them overlap more next time.

When your meat is fully cooked, you’ll add that to the ring of triangles and then fold the flaps over…

Yum. And, this is the perfect example of how you need more rolls...

Yum. And, this is the perfect photographic evidence of why you need more rolls…

And then you cook according to the directions on the crescent roll container. When the rolls are nice and browned, take them out, fill the middle of your ring with salad fixings… and TADA! a quick, warm, family (or roommate) friendly meal.

And here’s what happened… As I was pulling out this quick dish from the oven, my roommate walked in and was so excited that dinner was on the table and ready to enjoy. And then got even MORE excited when she realized it was actually tasty dinner. Seconds? Yes please.

Meanwhile, I took a bite and thought “oh my gawd it’s a taco seasoned Runza!” Which, as you all know, just made my heart sing with joy… all while getting me to think through how I should maybe reach out to Runza and let them know that I have a BRILLIANT new product line for them… I’ll probably become a millionaire. I’ll keep you posted on my progress on that front (read: you’ll never hear about this again because the idea will flop).

Anywho, that friends, is the story of how I became a millionaire product inventor an adult. Wow. Only took 28 (nearly 29) years to get here!

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You know those Yams in the plastic wrap?

The ones sold individually?

Did you know they were wrapped like that BECAUSE YOU JUST THROW THEM IN THE MICROWAVE? Plastic and all?

Five minutes. Cooked yam. WHO SAW THAT COMING?!

Five minutes. Cooked yam. WHO SAW THAT COMING?!

Yup. Learned that lesson last week. Had no idea. Which, made my roommate laugh as she was wondering why I kept buying them in the wrapper. I just thought that all individual ones came like that. Nope. Not true.

Noted. Will keep that in mind the next time I’m buying sweet potatoes.

And I’ll be in awe…

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The. Best. Recipe. Of. All. Times.

Everyone.

I have found… MY MOST FAVORITE RECIPE OF ALL TIMES!!! Or, more accurately, I feel like maybe I should call it “my most favorite FALL recipe of all times” as it’s warm and delicious and makes your house smell like happiness. But if it was a hot summer day and you have no air conditioning… it would be just more hot. You’d be hot. It’d make your house hot. Hot. Hot. Hot.

But that’s neither here nor there… because it’s getting cold and FALL HAS ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRIVED! It’s true. The Pumpkin Spice Latte told me so.

And you guys… This. Is. So. Amazingly. Easy.

Here’s what I’ve learned… there’s nothing like throwing some stuff in a crock pot and coming home later to a perfectly prepared meal with no work to do before being able to consume it.

This whole adventure started because I’d been craving soup (because that’s just what happens to me when winter is coming) and decided to go on the hunt for a soup recipe. First stop, the lovely SkinnyTaste blog. Why? Because this lady is not only genius, but loves the crockpot. And I love her for that. And after a few clicks, I found it. I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili.

I mean, doesn’t that just sound like a cozy meal? Answer: Yes.

There’s 10 servings. Which means, you can eat it night one when you come home from work and then 9 days straight… OR you can place it in ziplock bags and throw it in the freezer to take out and easily throw it in the microwave at a later date. Or heck, you could probably make it for a group… but I just didn’t think ahead like that. And after tasting it, I was reluctant to share. It was that good.

Enough talking Betsy – get to the goods.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans (I made the executive decision to drain them)
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans (I made the executive decision to drain them)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker.

No big deal. Just threw a whole bunch of stuff into a crock pot and stirred it. Done.

No big deal. Just threw a whole bunch of stuff into a crock pot and stirred it. Done.

Place chicken on top and cover.

Seriously. You just set it on top. No cutting. No dicing. Yeah, you want to try this right now don't you?!

Seriously. You just set it on top. No cutting. No dicing. Yeah, you want to try this right now don’t you?!

Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

You come back... to this. Perfectly cooked, absolutely delish chicken.

You come back… to this. Perfectly cooked, absolutely delish chicken.

Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

It just fell apart. Easily. With two forks. Perfectly. Cooked. Tender. Chicken.

It just fell apart. Easily. With two forks. Perfectly. Cooked. Tender. Chicken.

Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in  (I’m going to be perfectly honest here… I shred it. And then put it directly into my stomach. Ain’t nobody got patience to WAIT AROUND FOR FUN when the meal is ready… Just sayin’). 

If you're wondering if this is the point where I just dipped a cracker into the crock pot... you know... to just sample it... then you'd be wondering correctly...

If you’re wondering if this is the point where I just dipped a cracker into the crock pot… you know… to just sample it… then you’d be wondering correctly…

Top with fresh cilantro (Um… yeah… I skipped that). Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (Or high fat cheese. Or no cheese. Whatever strikes your fancy).

And are you ready to see the final product?!

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. Best meal I've ever made.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. Best meal I’ve ever made.

I just put some on a plate. Added a little sour cream. A dabble of cheese and then scooped it up with crackers. She suggests rice or noodles as other alternatives (as in – put some rice at the bottom of the bowl and throw chili over it).

I will give you one quick PSA. I KNEW that when you opened cans you were supposed to be careful of the jagged edge. But this time, I really learned my lesson (scroll quick if blood makes you queasy!).

Ouch. Plain and simple.

Ouch. Plain and simple.

Here’s the trouble with hurting yourself in the kitchen. You’re working with food and suddenly you’re bleeding everywhere. It’s just a messy scenario. So don’t do it. Go ahead and just be careful with freshly opened cans and save yourself the frantic search for the Disney Princess bandaids. You’re welcome in advance!

It has honestly been my kitchen favorite and I can tell you right now, I’ll be using this often this winter. Group dinner? Check. Feeling cold because my windows leak cold air like it’s their job? Done. Feeling lazy and don’t want to make dinner every night for the week? Pray answered!

Got any great crock pot recipes I need to try on another cold day? I think this crock pot and I are going to have a very very happy fall together!

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