Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Salad

My mother has a habit of buying me things at sam's club in large quantities, which I might not necessarily buy myself. Example: Canned Chicken breast (see picture). Not to be confused with nasty little cans of pureed chicken. This is a quality product. Just strange! She used to buy it for me all the time in college, and I never really knew what to do with it. I made chicken salad with it and curry chicken salad, but I just never enjoyed it. So I would give this canned chicken to Rob (this was before we were dating but lived together in a giant de facto co-ed fraternity). Rob a lover of all things spicy came up with this super easy recipe!

  • 1 Can of Chicken Breast
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (adjust at will)
  • 2 tablespoons of Frank's Red Hot (this works best for us but please use your favorite Buffalo sauce)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup dice onion

Drain the can of chicken and shred it with a fork in a medium sized bowl. It comes in big chunks, so it's nice to have it more manageable. Combine all the ingredients. Adjust the hot sauce levels to your liking. (Rob put even more hot sauce right on the bread!) We had ours on wheat bread (mine toasted!) Also since I had an avocado that needed to be eaten we put in chunks of that in the sandwiches which proved to be very tasty.

Please enjoy this Robot House Recipe!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home made meatballs

Yesterday I had the day off for MLK day so I figured why not spend a little extra time on a dinner for me and my sweetie.

This is a super easy recipe, especially if you have a crock pot. It was so easy I really just made it from memory from when my mom used to make it.

I used:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef (you can use fattier I suppose but I'm always looking for ways to be cardio-conscious)
  • 1 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (if you are using plain bread crumbs make sure to add oregano and other seasonings you like. Maybe some chili powder for a SPEECY SPICEY meat-a-ball)
  • 1 egg (probably should use two though, it holds them together better)
  • 1/4 cup of asiago cheese shredded
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic also finely diced
  • I didn't have this but some finely chopped cilantro or basil would be great to mix in

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl WITH YOUR HANDS. Making sure to make it all very consistent. You don't want a big chunk of breadcrumbs with no meat! Roll these into about 2 inch balls. You can make them bigger or smaller, but keep in mind that will either add or subtract to time it's going to take to cook.

Brown the meatballs in a saucepan in hot olive oil. Make sure all surfaces are cooked and you can see no pink. They are going to be still raw/pink in the middle. I salted them at this point.

You should have probably done this step first, but put your crockpot on. Personally I emptied a can of diced tomatoes and some left over marinara sauce into the pot. (Hey I'm only a quarter Italian give me a break, I have only made my own sauce a couple times however when you're making meatballs that's a great time to whip out grandma's SAUCE recipe.) You need to fill it with at least enough sauce so that the meatballs will be submerged. I threw in a couple peel pearl onions because I heart them. Other tasty additions would be green bell peppers or cloves of garlic.

Plop (yes plop) your cooked meatballs into the sauce filled crockpot. You now have the choice to leave it cooking on low for the day (say you cooked them over night and set them up in the pot in the morning before work) or cook them on high over an hour and a half-2 hours depending on what size you made or how thoroughly you fried them. Regardless you are going to want them to be cooked all the way through and brown in the middle.

If you don't have a crockpot I suggest filling a pot on the stove with sauce and simmering.

Serve over the pasta of your choice or in a sub roll.

Monday, January 12, 2009

baking goodness

Last night I made a super easy dinner with Rob that was perfect for the cold snow covered night that it was. I'd just like to say here this blog really only is for maybe getting ideas or just for me to keep track of what I've been cooking. So it might not be very original, ideas may have been pulled from elsewhere (I will credit the sources when this happens). So yeah not taking myself too seriously here.

ANYWAY. The great part about this meal was that the only mess it made was in the tin foil packets we cooked it in and on the plates we ate off.

Roasted butternut squash
I peeled (with a knife) and diced (one inch cubes or smaller, trying to be consistent) one whole butternut squash. Making sure to chuck the seeds and goo. Kind of like a pumpkin. Butternut squash is great because it can stick around for up to a month. So see it on sale, grab it and keep it in the pantry for when you're in the mood. It makes a great soup as well. I made a tin foil packet and threw all the squash in there. I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salted, pepper and rosemary...ed. Ideally you want it to be 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Since I was cooking chicken it ended up being much longer. This would also be pretty epic on the grill. The squash was savory and sweet. Perfect for a Fall or Winter dinner! Pretty much an easy delicious side dish you can feel good about.

Lemon Chicken
I bought chicken tenders (this is a cut of chicken, not to be confused with breaded bits of fried chicken) because they cook faster. I made another tin foil packet and plopped them in. On these guys I drizzled olive oil (I actually think I put in too much making them a little make sure you don't do that!) Also just a tiny bit of soy sauce. I was using Tamari (aged soy sauce) so I was pretty sparing. I smashed some garlic and put it on top. These guys got the salt and pepper treatment of course. Also I found these little baby onions called "boiling onions". They were pretty cheap so I figured why not. I peeled and halved them and nestled them in with the chicken.

I used a whole lemon for the chicken (just less than a pound). First I took a vegetable peeler (if you have a clean cheese grater or even better a microplane use those!) and just got some of the skin onto the chicken. You aren't going to eat it, because it's tough but it has that lovely lemon oil that is much stronger smelling than the juice that will help add flavor. Before halving the lemon I rolled it on the table like I was using a rolling pin. Do this as hard as you can. This breaks up all those membranes inside the lemon so when you squeeze it the juice comes right out! Make sure not to get the seeds on your chicken. I used all the juice.

The chicken went in for about 50 minutes covered in tinfoil, the last 10 uncovered to brown up a little.

Rob really liked the food! We paired it with an old vine zinfandel (gnarly head)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mushroom Omelette

A good hangover food is wholesome and a little greasy. Like a good friend you go to who you know what to expect from...who doesn't shower often? Wow that's a gross metaphor.

Anyway I woke up craving something delicious to start off my weekend right. I lay in bed trying to think what I had in my fridge, I remember that I still had some organic eggs, half a box of white button mushrooms and good shredded mozzarella. I don't know what it is but the wholefoods shredded mozzarella is just prettier than normal stuff and well delicious which is important.

When I'm making a vegetable omelette I like to cook the veggies a little bit first in the pan with a little bit of butter. I don't usually go the olive oil route when making omelettes. Because they're really not going to cook while they're in the omelette, you basically want them to be in the wings waiting until the perfect time to fold them in. So in the case of the mushrooms I just made sure they were just brown and soft and off they went onto a nearby plate. If you like mushrooms raw then hey go for it.

I cracked the eggs into a bowl and just broke them up with a fork lightly. It is at this point that I throw in some salt and pepper. I don't add anything to my omelettes, however if you like them kind of bigger and fluffier add a little milk. I like them sort of thin like a crepe. To get them flat pour the eggs into a hot nonstick pan and make sure they distribute across the bottom. The bigger the pan the flatter you can get it. I use a medium sized pan for 2 eggs, and the big one for 3 or 4. (An omelette that huge would be for sharing! Portion control people!) I keep it on a low heat and before it's too cooked I add the cheese in. When little bubbles start to come through and it's just a little bit runny (not too runny!) add the mushrooms.

Don't overcook the omelette. Making it thin will make you able to cook the whole thing evenly fast without burning the bottom waiting for the top to finish. Also if it's thin you can fold it over and it looks very pretty. Folding it a couple times looks pretter than the just one big fold in my opinion. That just looks like an egg quesadilla. Not that quesadillas aren't amazing.

Anyhoo enjoy the mushroom omelette and mix it up!

2 eggs
3 bigger white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon of butter (I used margarine :( )
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella

[no photo someone came by and scarfed it down...]