get ‘dis cashew chicken

earlier this week i decided to whip up some dinner for phillip and me.  i wasn’t terribly interested in any of the tried-and-true recipes from my cookbook (although they all have a special place in my heart), so i took to the world wide web in search of something good.  i didn’t have to look too far or too wide to find this delectable cashew chicken recipe from the pioneer woman.  this dish was so tasty that phillip barely said a word to me in between bites; compliments to the chef!  feel free to put the chicken on a bed of rice or noodles, whatever tickles your fancy.  the brown rice we had was a great base for the rich flavors of this sauce.  my only comment?  do be careful to not add too much salt; the ingredients you are using will be sure to take care of that for you.  🙂

gimme them grits!

tonight i was in a southern food kind of mood, so i whipped up some classic shrimp and grits with okra for phillip and me.  this recipe by bobby flay of the food network is simple and tastes like something you might get at your favorite local restaurant.  i didn’t have stone-ground grits, so i cooked up instant grits, timing it just right with the shrimp and okra.  and if i’m going to tell you one thing about this recipe, it’s that it wouldn’t be anything without the six chopped up pieces of bacon.  their salty nature is perfectly with the creamy, cheesy grits.  this one’s a keeper, for sure!

salsa – the number one condiment in america

recently phillip returned home with arms full of groceries from the local buford market for, you guessed it, taco night!  as everyone knows, no taco night is complete without chips and salsa, and phillip picked quite the winner with the herdez salsa casera.

this salsa is fresh and flavorful, everything you want in a little pre-dinner appetizer.  i mean, if you’re gonna fill up on chips and salsa, it may as well be the best stuff you can find!  this jar of condiment heaven is the perfect balance between chunky and liquid-y, if that makes any sense at all…?  i guess what i’m trying to say is that it’s kind of more restaurant style, and i think it is just divine.

also enjoyable is their verde salsa.  it was a great topping for my taco salad, and i’m sure it would be a great addition to a plate of enchiladas or maybe even chimichangas.  heck, dip your quesadilla in it, too!  the possibilities are endless!

i mean, as long as you don’t get your salsa mixed up with your seltzer, you’re good to go!

roasted tomato bisque – fancy!

despite the fact that it feels like the best of spring right now in georgia, i wanted a meal that was comfy and cozy for this december night.  i was fully prepared to just make breakfast for dinner (because late twentysomethings are allowed to do that still), but i reasoned with myself that something a little more substantial would probably satisfy my appetite a bit better.  i looked far and wide through my cookbook and online and finally came across this roasted tomato bisque recipe by chef jeff mauro of the food network.  his focus is typically sandwiches, but a good sandwich can always be accompanied by a good soup.  the more the merrier!

this recipe is very straightforward, and after following the instructions, i can testify that they are accurate and true.  the roasted vegetables in the oven will bring wonderful smells to your kitchen as will the soup as it simmers on the stove top.

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i paired my steaming bowl of bisque with a rich and savory white cheddar grilled cheese.  but wait.  what would this lovely dinner be without the perfect glass of wine?  incomplete, that’s what!  i couldn’t go wrong with a bottle of green fin white table wine direct from the local trader joe’s just down the road.

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the soup has the slightest kick to it because of the crushed red pepper, but it is divine.  by some miracle, i managed to not oversalt it, which is always the key with a good soup.  as i took bite after bite, i was prepared to eat the entire pot until i remembered i’d probably have a stomach ache afterwards.  there is such thing as too much of a good thing!  this recipe is an absolute must if you are a soup lover, so go get that immersion blender and sherry and get to work!  Živjeli, moji prijatelji!

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mmm, halos!

in an effort to get a jump start on the tried (and tired) tradition of resolving to eat healthier with the new year, i’ve decided that if temptation is out of sight then it is out of mind.  so, while cruising the local publix this past weekend, i returned the santitas chips, velveeta cheese, and can of ro*tel back to their shelves with much discipline and instead opted for something more natural and, overall, healthier for the body:  halos!

you may be familiar with halos because of all their cute advertisements lately.  for example, take my favorite commercial airing these days.

gaaaah, i about died when i first saw it!  now, it may be true that the target audience for halos is your average six year-old, but that doesn’t mean that we adults can’t enjoy them also.

i toted the five-pound box of citrus treats back to the condo and got to work.  i figure the easier i make it to eat well the more i will do it.  so, having healthy food in the house is step one.  step two?  make those halos even easier to enjoy by pre-peeling them!  getting those excuses out of the way will help hold me accountable to whatever wellness goals i may have.  the big question, though?  how long will it be before i give in to the stash of oreos in the kitchen?  keep your fingers crossed for me!

 

vegetarian chili – slow cooker style

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it felt like phillip and i had done an awful lot of eating out lately, so last week i let the crock pot whip up my new favorite dish:  vegetarian chili with sweet potato.  the recipe comes from the always trustworthy real simple.  yes, they did it again with a hearty meal full of deep flavors and rich in nutrients.  well, it was rich in nutrients until i suffocated my bowl with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream.  no judging!

but really, this one is a keeper for sure, and with the cooler months making a delicate entrance this season, i’m betting it will be a repeat before too long.

creamy chicken & mushroom potpie

years ago my mom introduced me to a magazine called real simple, and my love for all things domestic turned into an obsession as i read about cleaning tips, gardening advice (not that i’ve put it to use just yet), crafting ideas, and, of course, cooking.  i was trying to decide what to do for sunday dinner tonight, and as i flipped through the many pages of my cookbook, this crock-pot recipe popped right out at me:  creamy chicken and mushroom potpie.  um, yes, please!  we might not be in the dead of winter, and in the hottest heat of summer this classic dish may not sound the most appealing, but i never turn down comfort food.  i don’t remember the last time i had chicken potpie, and when i opened the kitchen door after church, the smells of childhood and home flooded my nose.  it turns out that the dish was just as delicious as it smelled, and i hope you think the same!

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p.s.  the only thing i changed in the recipe was that i used biscuits instead of puff pastry because, you know, i’m in the south, and that’s just what we do.

p.p.s.  i also whipped up a mountain of malted milk chocolate chip cookies.  this is what i do with my sundays.  🙂

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amy’s spicy asian shrimp with rice noodles

last week my friend amy posted a recipe for spicy asian shrimp with rice noodles on her facebook wall.  the picture looked divine, so i sweetly insisted she give me the recipe right away!  she kindly obliged, admitting that she actually thought of this dish all on her own.  i asked if, after making it, i could post it on the blog, and she gladly agreed.  thanks, girl!

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before i get to the actual recipe itself, though, let me introduce miss amy.  it was a hot august afternoon back in 2006 when amy and i met at band camp for the university of georgia redcoat marching band.  yes, we were both band geeks in the absurdly lame mellophone section, and although we may have refined ourselves in the many years since, i think we will always have a bit of a music nerd tendency in us.  we spent our fall semesters side-by-side as we cheered on the georgia bulldog football team through some dismal losses and glorious victories.  i guess it’s not always about the outcome but the experience and journey, right?  sure.  whatever will help your championship-less heart heal, kels.

what else did we do?  oh, yeah, we (and larissa and justine!) danced around my freshman dorm room like crazy ladies who belonged in an asylum.  those were the good ‘ole days when brumby hall was an all-girls dorm, when homework only took me a couple of hours, and when all was right with the world.  ah, where did the days go?

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before getting this post together, i asked amy if she remembered the video we were watching when we were going out of our minds that night.  her memory almost escaped her, but then she saved the day by recalling it was this video:

now, why were we so obsessed with this video?  i have no idea!  all i remember is that we watched it probably 20 times in a row, laughing just as hard the last time as we did the first.  it’s one of those videos where you think it’s hilarious but then you show it to a friend and their level of laughter response is not nearly through the roof as you would expect it to be.  that, honestly, happens to me quite often.  i find myself slightly embarrassed and then remember that i don’t care, that if i think it’s funny, i’ll watch it over and over again until my sides hurt with stitches.

for example, this video usually gets a decent laugh, but i remember having tears in my eyes when i saw it the first time.

oh, and then here’s another.  actually, now that i think about it, my mom and brothers always laugh at this one with me because we had a corgi growing up.  oh, sweet casper, we miss you so much!

another hit that caused me to fall off a cooler as i became victim to the silent laugh is bizkit.  i’ll admit, i’d had a few to drink.  thank goodness the cooler wasn’t tall and there was carpet on the floor!

this next one, warning, does have some explicit language.  however, i couldn’t help but include it!  credit for this video goes to my old roommates kellie and aja when we lived in alpharetta.  man, those were the good times!

and who can forget kittens inspired by kittens!!!  i love to quote this one and am unstoppable when i remember just how hilarious it is.

wait, is it interesting or embarrassing that most of these videos are animal-related?  to save face, we’ll say it’s interesting, although we all know that when someone says something is “interesting” they really mean they don’t approve or like it.  whatever!  this blog is mine, so i’ll post whatever funny videos i like!  God bless the internet!  (okay, i don’t mean that in the rude way it may have just come across.  please still like me!).

okay!  so, now that i’ve got all of that out of my system, shall we make some spicy asian shrimp with rice noodles?  sure, why the heck not!

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au naturale!

earlier this week i needed to whip up a quick dinner for phillip and myself.  we’d already done some serious work on my mom’s famous chicken tortilla soup, so i was in the mood for something summer-y and easy.  i knew bratwursts were a good choice along with some velveeta shells and cheese.  i needed something a bit healthy to go on the plate, though, so, in a moment of inspiration, i decided asparagus would be an excellent idea.  it’s one of those vegetables i don’t usually prepare too often for myself but very much enjoy whenever i have it with my meal.

after a quick trip to publix, i got home, lopped off the rough ends of each piece, and lined them up nicely on a foil-covered cookie sheet.  i coated them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then popped them into the 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  it was just enough time to get them crisp and crunchy, avoiding that soggy, chewy texture that no one likes in their asparagus!

the oven beeped loudly to announce that its job was done, and after setting the tray on the countertop, i kind of stood and admired what was before me.  okay, maybe admired is the wrong word to use here, but the beautiful color of this natural food that had come from the earth almost mesmerized me.  i mean, sure, i love a good processed and pre-packaged guilty pleasure just as much as the next foodie, but every now and then i eat something so simple and fresh and flavorful that i just have to stop and appreciate the moment.  join me, won’t you?

phyllis’ breakfast strada

a chilly saturday morning in greensboro calls for a tried-and-true family recipe.  enter phyllis’ breakfast strada.  it’s all kinds of easy to make, so here’s the recipe for your cooking pleasure.  shine on, phyllis!

ingredients

2 lbs. breakfast sausage (like jimmy dean’s), crumbled, browned, & drained

8 slices of bread, ripped up into bite-size chunks

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup cream of mushroom soup (be sure to measure it)

1/2 cup water

directions

line 9 x 13 glass pan (no metal!) with bread chunks and sausage.

mix cheese, eggs, milk, and mustard and pour over bread mixture.  to quote mary willa, “make sure you use your hands to smoosh the liquid mixture down in the bread so it gets nice and soaked.”

cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

add cream of mushroom soup to the water and mix together.  pour on top of casserole.

bake uncovered at 300 degrees fahrenheit for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  remove from oven and let stand and set for 5 minutes.