Hurricane Sandy+Cabin Fever=Delicious

hurricane Sandy rolled into town this week and caused probably the worst destruction the east coast has ever seen.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible storm.  I’m very thankful that my friends and family in New York and New Jersey are all ok.  I’m also very thankful that we didn’t lose power and being on the 10th floor, we didn’t experience any flooding.  My office notified all staff that we would be closed Monday and Tuesday, I’d rather have a mini vacation under different circumstances, but I rolled with it.

Eric and I did all our grocery shopping on Sunday, braving the masses who were stock piling bread, milk and water.  Probably a good thing we don’t really buy bread, we have gallons of water already and I drink Lactaid (which wasn’t flying off the shelves at record speed, go figure).  People must have hoarded Halloween candy too, because all that was left was Reese’s and Crunch Bars (lame).  Of course when we got home, Eric realized we have way too much food and I bought doubles of things, subconsciously I was thinking we’d be trapped in our apartment for days.  I think next week will be an experiment to see how many meals we can create just by using what we already have, should be fun, I’ll keep you posted as to how it turns out (that is, if by our shopping day,Sunday, I don’t just say “forget it! We’re going to the store”).

The weather by us wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, don’t get me wrong, it was nasty, but it could have been 10 times worse.  It’s strange, I don’t like snow, I can tolerate it, but I absolutely hate rain.  I hate driving in it, I hate walking in it, I just hate it.  Even Quincy, my dog, hates the rain, though he hates pretty much anything that causes him to get wet.  I have to say, the last few days, Q has been a trooper, he even wore his raincoat outside!

Quincy “Storm Chaser” Peterson

We both were very content staying indoors the last two days, any longer though, I would be totally bored and probably would have run out of ingredients for baking.

Monday was sort of a free for all.  We just hung out and noshed on snacks all day.  I did make sugar cookie cut outs for Halloween, that kept me busy for a while.  After the cookies were done I found a box of brownie mix that I figured I’d get rid of, so I made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies for work.  It’s Halloween today, so I figured brining in two treats was totally warranted, I hope my co-workers agree.  Though I promise that I won’t bring in any more treats for at least two weeks, maybe three…maybe.

Tuesday was full of decorating the sugar cookies.  I can’t imagine being a cookie decorator, I probably already have carpal tunnel syndrome from doing just 24.   They did come out cute and judging from how many Eric ate while my back was turned, they must have been pretty good too. 

You know how I love my Pinterest. Last nights dinner is compliments of Pinterest.  I’ve been slacking on the whole “I’m trying new recipes” thing, so last night I decided to try a recipe from the blog Southern Girl Cooking, Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Creme Penne.   Here’s the recipe, you should try it, like this week.

Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Creme Penne

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

1/2 bottle of Lawrys Herb and Garlic Marinade

2 large spoonfuls of Pesto 2 boneless chicken breasts.

Cut chicken into one inch strips. Using same knife make slits into chicken. Pour Lawrys marinade and pesto over chicken. Marinate over night (I did mine in the morning and had it that same night)

For the Sauce:

8 ounces of your choice of pasta

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

2 spoonfuls of pesto (I like Classico brand, if you don’t have homemade)

1/2 cup of chicken broth

8 ounces of tomato sauce

1 cup of half and half (I used good ole Lactaid, it was fine)

Directions:

Boil water and start on noodles.

Pour entire batch of chicken, marinade and all, into skillet and cook chicken fully (the marinade will evaporate/cook down)

Heat olive oil, cook garlic. Add pesto. Simmer in chicken broth until half has cooked down. Add tomato sauce. Then add milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Toss pasta in. Add flour if it needs to be thickened (I actually added a little cornstarch to my milk, but after I did, I thought of adding tomato paste to thicken it a bit) Place chicken on top of pasta when serving.

Verdict:  It was really good, definitely one to put in rotation.  The best part about it is that its super easy and fast.  Eric said he could have kept eating, but wanted to save some for leftovers.  Another good thing about this recipe is that the chicken could be served on its own, I’d suggest maybe grilling it, that would be really yum.

I hope everyone has a very spooktacular Halloween!  I hope we get some Trick or Treaters, we’ll have a lot of candy if we don’t.

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Fall Is In the Air

It’s finally beginning to feel like Fall and not only because I lit my Autumn Wreath candle, but because there is a bit of a crispness in the air.  I was actually cold today and wore a sweater, which is a nice change, since I’m actually getting tired of wearing summery clothes.  I actually spent this weekend getting out some Fall decorations, all we really need is some pumpkins and gourds.  I really need to find a farmers market around here, like a legit one, with a little store to buy baked goods and apple cider…I really miss those…

The last week has not been very exciting culinary wise, well, unless you think pasta, pancakes and take-out are exciting.   I definitely made up for the slacking last night with a wonderful dinner of Asian Style Pork Chops, Yorkshire Pudding, and steamed broccoli.   It really was easy, the crock pot did most of the work and in lieu of mashed potatoes we had Yorkshire Pudding, a side dish that I’ve been craving for a long time, my mom makes the best.    I don’t utilize my crock pot enough, it’s my goal that this winter I use it more.  I’m all about setting and forgetting until it’s time to eat.    In fact I’m going to try to make slow cooked oatmeal tonight for tomorrow morning, if it turns out good I’ll let you know.

This week I was perusing the internet and found this blog called The Cooking Husband, pretty cute and full of really great sounding recipes.  The only thing we changed was using bone in chops, they were good, but I think the boneless ones or at least loin chops would have been moister (just because they wouldn’t be as thick as the ones we had) not that these were super dry, they weren’t, I just like really moist meat.

Asian Style Pork Chops The Cooking Husband

Ingredients

4 boneless pork chops

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place pork chops and remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Verdict:  They were really good, just could have been a bit more moist.  Also, I think I would double the liquid and use a bigger crock pot (or smaller chops)   Eric thought they were really good, so that means we’ll probably try them again.  I’ll keep you posted if any of the changes I make help make this dish more delicious.

Now for the Yorkshire Pudding.  This side dish is probably my favorite, especially if you serve it with a roast and gravy.  Now I only have one piece of advice for making this dish, do not use a glass dish to bake this in, it won’t work.  If you don’t have a metal baking pan, use muffin tins, that’s what I did and it worked perfectly.  I think I’m only going to make this in muffin tins because it creates a lovely crust around the whole individual pudding and allows the middle to stay light and moist. Only problem is, you’ll probably eat way more than you would if you made it in a pan, but really, is that such an awful problem to have?

Here’s a recipe for the Yorkshire Pudding.  I’m not sure where I got this from, its pretty basic so if you were to google it the recipe wouldn’t really change that much.

Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the dry mixture, then pour in the milk, whisking thoroughly. Beat in eggs one at a time. Pour dry mixture into a blender, then add water. Blend until the mixture is light and frothy. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, covered.

Let batter warm up to room temperature before using. While batter warms up, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place butter in a 9×12-inch baking pan or muffin tin in oven and cook until sizzling, at least 5 minutes. Pour the batter over the melted butter and bake for 30 minutes, if using a pan, 15 minutes if using a muffin tin or until the sides have risen and are golden brown. Cut into 6–8 portions and serve immediately.

Verdict:   Yorkshire Pudding was something that my mom used to make every so often when I was growing up so I know its delicious.  Eric said he’s never had it before, not entirely true.  A few years ago my mom and I tried to make it but I didn’t have a metal baking pan, so we tried it with a glass one, it was not good.  Eric really enjoyed these individual ones, I have a feeling I’ll be making it a lot more often.

All in all, this meal was the perfect meal to start off the Fall season.   Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80’s….not Fall weather…

Tonight is fish tacos, but we’re trying a new peach salsa, I gotta use up those jalapeno!  I’ll let you know how it is, I have high expectations, we shall see.