Archive for the ‘So Freaking Good’ Tag

Veggiladas

Hi y’all.  I did some cooking last night, but you’ll notice that my usual series of pictures documenting the whole process isn’t here.  Why? you ask.  Well, the simple answer is because I didn’t take them.  See how that works?  I don’t take a bunch of pictures, and then you get a post (which is shocking in and of itself) without a bunch of pictures.  Amazing, huh?  I did take one final picture, but the quality is probably a little iffy since I used my aging Blackberry to snap the photo.  Lame, I know, but oh well.  Let’s talk about food.

So a couple weeks ago I was browsing recipes online, and I came across this one.  Hmmm, I thought to myself, that sounds interesting.  So I printed it off, stuck it in my massive, unorganized pile of recipes, and promptly forgot about it.  Then I had a dream the other night where me and this other mom I know went to a Mexican restaurant and I ate an entire vat of salsa and like 4 bags of chips and she was horrified and said her kid can’t play with my kid anymore (isn’t that mean?).  Anyway, when I woke up, I remembered the enchilada recipe.   So here’s what I did.

First, there is no way in hell that I’m going to use instant mashed potato flakes.  Not that there’s anything wrong with them (there is, actually), but I would rather just make my own mashed potatoes from real potatoes that I peel and cut myself.  Just a personal preference.  I also prefer now to make my own tortillas.  If you think this sounds time-consuming and difficult, you’re wrong.  It’s actually very, very easy, though you do have to give the tortilla dough an hour to “rest.”  Or whatever.  Anyway, it’s worth it.  Homemade tortillas taste 9 bajillion times better than store bought.

Anyway.

Ingredients for veggiladas (note: I have altered the recipe above, which I almost always do because I think I have better ideas than everyone else):

For tortillas: masa harina, water, salt
For enchilada filling: potatoes, butter, milk, salt, pepper, chopped onion, carrots, bell pepper, green chilis, olive oil
For topping: red enchilada sauce, grated cheese, green onion and cilantro to garnish if you wish.  I wished.

Okay, step 1:  Turn your oven to 425 and get all your ingredients out. We’re gonna tackle the tortillas first (if you’re making them yourself) and then go to the mashed potatoes (if you’re making them yourself, and if you’re not, then I’m pretty sure you’re committing some sort of mortal sin).

Step 2: Mix the masa harina, water, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  The dough should be moist but not sticky, and it should feel kind of springy.  I use Bob’s Red Mill masa, and it has the instructions on the back.  Pretty sure it’s 2 cups of masa, 1.5 to 2 cups water, and a 1/2 tsp. of salt.  After it’s mixed, cover it with a damp towel and set it aside for an hour.

Step 3: Put potatoes on to boil for the mashed potatoes.

Step 4: While potatoes are cooking, mix the chopped carrots, onions, bell peppers, green chilis with some olive oil (about 1/4 c.) and salt and pepper.  Spread this out in a thin layer on a baking sheet (spray it with Pam first) and then stick it in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring it once halfway through.

Step 5: Enjoy the small amount of downtime that you have while everything is resting/boiling/roasting by watching Vampire Diaries and thinking to yourself that Elena should really see if Stefan and Damon would be interested in a threesome.

Step 6: Check your potatoes; if they’re done, mash ’em.  Check your veggies in the oven; if they’re done, take ’em out. Turn your oven down to 350.  Grate some cheese and pour your enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl.  Mix your veggies into your mashed potatoes and set them aside.

Step 7:  Tortilla time.  Heat a skillet; while it’s getting hot, take your tortilla dough and roll it into 3-inch balls.  If you have a tortilla press, do whatever its instructions tell you to.  I have no idea what that would involve since I don’t have one, and I rely on a trusty ziploc bag (that I’ve cut apart so I basically have 2 squares of plastic) and a rolling pin.  The trick with tortillas is in the thickness of them.  If they’re too thin, they rip and fall apart.  If they’re too thick, they’re just weird.  Okay, so take your dough ball, stick it in between the ziploc squares, and roll it out to about 1/8 inch.  Slap the tortilla in the hot skillet, and cook on each side for 30 to 60 seconds.  Do this until all the dough is gone.

Step 8: Pour a little of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Take a tortilla, dip it in the enchilada sauce that’s in the shallow bowl, then lay it in the casserole dish.  Fill it with the mashed potato mixture, top with a bit of cheese, then roll that mofo up and make sure it’s seam side down.  Do this with the remaining tortillas, and then pour the rest of the sauce over all them and top with cheese.

Step 9: Put the casserole pan in the oven and bake for 20ish minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with green onions, cilantro, sour cream, whatever you like.

Step 10: Commence stuffing your face.

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Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

So…it feels like it’s been awhile.  Possibly because it has, but I’m just hypothesizing here. 

Basically, there are two main reasons why I’ve been absent for awhile.  1) I’ve been really busy since school started, and it’s all come as a complete shock to my system to get out of lazy summer mode and into busy-as-f**k fall mode.  Pardon my language, but that’s the best way to describe it.  2) I watched a life-changing documentary that has essentially ensured that my love affair with butter is over.  I thought I would be way sadder about this, but I’m really not.  I’m not going to get into all the details about it because you can check it out for yourself (here’s a trailer for film), or not.  All I know is that I am in the process of doing a complete overhaul on not only my kitchen and the foods I put in it, but my recipes, and my entire perspective on food as well.

So this is probably my last wholly unhealthy recipe that I’m going to blog about.

Sigh.

I guess I’m a little sad, maybe….but I’ll be okay.  There is a fair to middling (read: definite) chance that you’ll be seeing some vegetarian recipes soon.

Also, vampires aren’t real, but horses are.  My 4-year old nephew told me that the other day, and I feel duty-bound to share this knowledge.

Anyway.

Let’s talk about cookies.  Now, the person I got this recipe from might be a tad pissed that I’m blasting it all over the internets, but I don’t care.  I think it’s uncool to recipe hoard.  If you want to make the absolute best chocolate chip cookies in the whole wide freaking world, then there should be nothing stopping you, butyou HAVE to know about this top secret ingredient before you can do that.

DRUMROLL, PLEASE…….

Voilà.  Wal-Mart brand, smashed, old (?) instant vanilla pudding mix.

That’s it.  That’s the big secret.  Pretty crazy stuff, huh?  Throw a package of this in with the dough, and you’re golden.  Your husband will bow at your feet (not really, but almost), your kids will declare that you (or Phineas and Ferb, it’s still undecided) are their new hero, and anyone else who eats them will make sounds that should really be limited to the bedroom only.  It could get awkward.

I use the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, and here’s how it goes:

Take two sticks of butter (wah!!!!), some brown sugar, and some white sugar, and mix it all up.

Then add two eggs and some vanilla, and mix that up too.

Now just add the dry stuff: flour, salt, baking soda, and the pudding mix.

Mix again.  All this mixing is getting really repetitive, isn’t it?  Fear not, though, relief is coming in the form of chocolate chips, which you get to STIR in.  Exciting, huh?

After you stir in the chocolate chips, if you need to take a break and eat some dough, I understand.

While you’re doing that, please take a moment to observe what was on my ceiling:

Ew.  Yes, there was panic and heart palpitations and sweaty palms when I realized that the stuff of my nightmares was directly over my head (and my cookie dough!), but I did have the presence of mind to take a photo so I could share the moment with you.

Then I fled the kitchen and made Trent deal with it, because that’s why I married him.

Anyway.

Drop the dough into rounded tablespoons, or use a fancy-schmancy cookie dough ball scooper thingamajig if you want them all uniform. 

The recipe says to bake these for 9 to 11 minutes, but I like soft cookies and my oven cooks slightly unevenly, so I put them in for 8, then turn the cookie sheet, and let them go for another 30 seconds or so.  It’s what works for me.

Well hello there.  And hello to you too, and you, and you, and you…….

Oh my.  I just love these cookies.  It’s not unheard of for the entire batch to be half gone within an hour.  Trent is SUCH a pig. I have nothing to do with it.

So there you have it.  Those are my not-so-secret-anymore ingredient chocolate chip cookies, and in my vast experience with cookies, these are definitely in the top three.  Prepare to stuff your face.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz.)
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  In a large bowl, mix butter and both sugars; add eggs and vanilla and combine completely.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and pudding mix; mix.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop dough in rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

These have been sitting in my house for the last week or so.

They’ve been speaking to me, telling me how wonderful they are, how happy they can make me, how just a few of them at a time aren’t bad for me. 

They want me.

And I want them.

Do chocolate chips talk to you all too?

Okay, so instead of just stuffing handfuls of them into my face (which, believe me, I am not above), I decided to bake with them.  Originally, I was going to keep it real simple and just do chocolate chip cookies, because I haven’t made those in awhile and I have a CLASSIFIED recipe that is super TOP SECRET and so CONFIDENTIAL that I can never, ever, ever post it on here.  Just kidding.  I’ll probably do that in the very near future.

I just didn’t have the secret ingredient handy for chocolate chip cookies.

But I did have a can of pumpkin available, and if I could name two of my favorite foods, it would probably be a superclose tie between chocolate chips and pumpkin, or mozzarella and crème brûlée.  (Do you know how long it just took me to 1) find out how to spell crème brûlée and 2) look up those f’ing symbols?  Please take a moment to appreciate my efforts in correctly spelling this divine French dessert.  Thank you for your cooperation.)

Anyway.

I had a can of pumpkin, and I am obsessed with pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese, hell, I’ve eaten just straight up pumpkin out of the can before.  (I do not recommend that, by the way, because it is nasty.  I was pregnant, however, and having an in-freaking-tense pumpkin craving, so shoveling a spoonful of raw pumpkin into my yapper is excusable.)

So if chocolate chips and pumpkin were to bang and the pumpkin got knocked up, pumpkin bread with chocolate chips would be the love child of this blessed (and messy?) joining.

Also, just so you know, it’s been a long day and I’ve had one two three glasses of wine.

Soooooo……I got onto my most favoritest recipe website ever, and I found this recipe for the bread.  Take a stick of softened butter and some sugar and throw them in a bowl.

Then you mix it all around like you just don’t care.

Now add two eggs, cause that’s what it says to do.

Beat those in and then prepare yourself, because the pumpkin is coming next. 

Is anyone wondering why I’m holding a cup of pumpkin puree in my hand?  Well, do you remember how I said a moment ago that I  have an obsession with pumpkin?  I may not like the taste of raw pumpkin, but I LOVE THE SMELL.  I’m holding it because after I took that picture, I had to stick my schnoz in there and take like 12 big whiffs.

It was heaven.

So toss in the pumpkin, mix it, and set it aside.

Goodbye for now, my pumpkiny friend.

Now we need to get together the dry ingredients.  Grab another bowl and toss in some flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Gradually add this dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture, folding it in and mixing until it’s all combined.

Add the chocolate chips and some walnuts if you want to, and then scrape the whole shebang into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Pop it in a 350 oven for about an hour, savoring the aroma that will fill your house for the last twenty minutes of cooking.  Seriously, people, SAVOR IT.  It’s so much better than any of the autumn scented Febreze products. 

Oh baby.  You had me at hello.

Make this next time your chocolate chips speak to you and you find a forgotten can of pumpkin in your pantry.  You’ll be so glad you did, PROMISE.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.  In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  Gradually add dry mixture to pumpkin mixture, mixing until completely combined.  Add chocolate chips, and pour into loaf pan.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thanks to Michele McFie for sharing this tasty recipe.

Trent’s Second Favorite Meal

So this happened last night.  And it was highly caloric and fat-laden and completely butterfied.  That’s right, it was butterfied.  There was so much butter in there that we almost didn’t have to chew when we ate it. It just slid down our throats, leaving behind a delicious butter trail.  Just kidding on that last part.  But there really was a lot of butter involved in this.

I generally try not to make stuff that is this unhealthy, but some days I just say “F–k it, I want gravy” and then this happens.  And this was my mindset last night.  Also, my friend Grizzly Adams Eric said he made something like this the other day and he shared his recipe with me, and once that happened, I couldn’t shake the greasy, buttery, crispy, FANTASTIC images that were conjured up.

And so it became a reality.

So this is really 3 recipes….the pan-fried chicken, the decadent mashed potatoes, and the bacon-y and brown sugary green beans.

Here.  We.  Go. 

The chicken ingredients

 

The mashed potatoes ingredients

The green beans ingredients

Note: There are a few ingredients (cream cheese, chives, and bread crumbs) not pictured because Trent wasn’t back from the store yet.  He just loves when I make him stop watching Jersey Shore to go the store for forgotten ingredients for me.  LOVES IT. 

Anyway.

So the first thing you need to do is wash, peel, and cut your potatoes into cubes, then toss them into a big ol’ pot of boiling water.  I’m not going to give you step-by-step instructions on the basics of making mashed potatoes, however, because I trust that most of you already know how to do that.  Also, you’re not idiots*. 

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your chicken breasts by cutting off all the icky fat and then flattening them with a mallet or a rolling pin or whatever you have handy that will effectively flatten raw chicken breasts.  Then get your breading stuff ready.  Mmmm….breading stuff…..mmmm.

Bread crumb mixture, flattened breasts, and egg…..the holy trinity of fried chicken. 

Meanwhile, throw a few slices of bacon into a skillet and git them to cookin’.  This is for the green beans.

Fry like bacon, you little freshman piggies!  If anyone can name that movie, without googling it (we’re on the honor system here, folks), I’ll give you $1,000,000**.

Now turn your attention back the chicken.  Does this feel to anyone else like a tennis match? You’re looking one way, now another, and back the other way, and on and on.  This is sometimes how I feel when I’m cooking and I’ve got a few dishes going at one time.  It’s madness, I tell you, MADNESS!  Not really.  But these really are the times where my family knows that if they come in the kitchen and ask me ONE MORE DAMN TIME when dinner will be ready, they’re going to get smacked with a spatula.  You should see me on Thanksgiving…actually, you shouldn’t.  No one should ever see that.

Okay…chicken.  Heat some oil and a large, heaping, ridiculous amount of butter in a skillet.  Dip the chicken breasts individually into the egg and milk mixture, then coat them with the bread crumbs mixture.  When the skillet is nice and hot and everything inside has melted into a bubbly mess of golden goodness, lay the breaded chicken breasts in.  The goal is to get the outside nice and crispy and golden brown, and the inside thoroughly cooked.  Sometimes, I struggle with this.  Today I didn’t, and I don’t know why.  The planets must have been aligned. 

So the chicken will cook for a few minutes on each side.  Try to resist picking them up and checking them, because this will RUIN THE WHOLE THING.  Not really….but still, resist.  It’s better that way.

Now the potatoes are probably done, so it’s time to transform them from bland tasting things that grow in dirt into something that can only be described as magical.  The following ingredients are necessary for this: butter, sour cream, cream cheese, chives, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and milk or buttermilk.

Before....

 

After!

See?  I told you magic would happen.  Once you mix everything together (first pic), put it in a buttered oven-safe dish, dot the top with butter, and sprinkle on some more chives (second pic).  Stick this in a 350 oven for 10 minutes and understand that once you eat these, you’ll never be able to eat regular mashed potatoes again.

And I hope you’ve been monitoring your chicken while everything has been happening…..

Hi! Remember me?

Okay, back to the green beans.  Your bacon was probably done like 9 hours ago, huh?  Oh well.  Remove it from the skillet, drain it on some paper towels, and then chop it up.  Leave all that wonderful grease in the skillet because that’s going to help flavor the green beans.  On medium heat, add green beans (I use frozen, but if you have fresh, use those…may take a lot longer though), brown sugar, a little bit of water, and the chopped up bacon.  Stir it and put a lid over it.

So everything is getting wrapped up now.  Am I forgetting something?  I feel like I am.  I usually am.  But maybe not.  Oh well.  The green beans will cook in about 10 minutes, the potatoes have 10 minutes in the oven, and the chicken is probably just about done or already done, depending on how much chicken you cooked.  If you are a gravy addict like me, you can use the drippings left in the chicken skillet to make a simple gravy.  It’s just the drippings, flour, milk, and salt and pepper, baby.  Whisk it all together until it’s the consistency you like.  Here’s mine.  It was a little lumpy; I was sad.  But it was still good.

Gravy = GOOD

So that’s it, friends.  Pan-fried chicken, garlic and sour cream mashed potatoes, and sweet and salty green beans.  That’s Trent’s second favorite meal.  His first favorite meal is a warm fudge brownie with a scoop and a half of vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and caramel and topped with freshly whipped cream.  Oh!  And a cherry.  Oh wait…that’s my favorite meal.

Enjoy!

*If you really don’t know how to make mashed potatoes, I apologize for calling you an idiot.

**I’m not really going to give you a million bucks for correctly identifying a movie quote.