Monday, November 26, 2012

What I am reading now...

Actually, I have already read this book.  I couldn't put it down because it was a real page-turner. If you need a good book, then check this out.

Of all the reviews I have read about this book, this one is my favorite:
“I cannot say this urgently enough: you have to read Gone Girl. It’s as if Gillian Flynn has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good. Gone Girl is delicious and intoxicating and delightfully poisonous. It’s smart (brilliant, actually). It’s funny (in the darkest possible way). The writing is jarringly good, and the story is, well...amazing.  Read the book and you'll discover—among many other treasures—just how much freight (and fright) that last adjective can bear.” –Scott Smith,New York Times bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everything looks better on Fiesta. Doesn't this make you want to eat your veggies?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ina Garten's Mexican Chicken Soup

I seem to remember Ina Garten saying she doesn't like cilantro, so I was surprised this soup contained cilantro. I was excited to make it, but I didn't have cilantro. I left it out, and while it probably would have been better with it, it was still a very delicious soup. I will make this again. I cut the recipe in half when I made it and added a little extra tomato. Hope you find it as delicious as I did.

Mexican Chicken Soup
Ina Garten

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Red Beans and Cornbread

When I think about eating on a budget, I can't think of anything more cost-efficient than beans. The bag of beans was 59 cents. Now that is a bargain!

Red Beans

1 small bag of beans, sorted and soaked over night
1 small onion, small dice
6-8 slices of bacon, chopped
6-8 cups water
1 teaspoon Salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place bacon in pan and fry. Remove bacon.  Saute onion in bacon grease. Add beans, bacon, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook for two hours covered.

Serve with cornbread.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


You Woke Me From My Nap, HOW DARE YOU, PEASANT!
This is Schnitzel.  Her midday slumber has been interrupted, and she does not look happy. I think she is giving me the stink eye. It could be because I keep taking pictures with a flash. She is way over it. She knows I will back away slowly if she continues the evil stare, and I will. You do not mess with the QUEEN!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big Surprise--Mexican for Dinner!

My friends at work are going to give me a hard time because it seems like I can't go a day without Mexican food. I can't--it's true. I came out of the womb wanting a taco, so there, I said it. Don't judge me! Just go with the Mexican flow and enjoy the following dishes because they are delish!

It seems like ages since I have made enchiladas. My recipe is pretty simple--sharp cheddar cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, cooked chicken, sautéd onions, corn tortillas and canned enchilada sauce. I am not particular about my enchilada sauce. For cheesy chicken enchiladas, I like a red sauce, but any variety will do--usually it is Old El Paso. I don't even jazz it up. I mean who has that kind of time after work??? Roll ‘em up and bake them until the cheese melts.

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
32 oz. can Old El Paso Red Mild Enchilada Sauce
Corn Tortillas
Onions, sautéd

Heat some of the sauce in a skillet on low. Dip tortillas into pan to soften them. Place some of each cheese, chicken, and onions on tortilla. Roll up and place in baking dish.  Once all enchiladas are rolled, cover with remaining sauce and top with shredded cheddar. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

The rice is my new favorite. It is in my top rice recipes and so easy to make. I found it on the Life as a Lofthouse blog. I have made a gazillion mexican rice recipes, and I am never satisfied with them. But this one!  WOW. It was awesome.

Mexican Rice

1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup salsa (I used fire roasted salsa because it was the only salsa I had on hand, but any salsa will do.)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients into a medium pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with a fork.  Yay! Really awesome rice. Really EASY awesome rice!