Friday, November 27, 2009

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I last posted!

Wow, I'm an awful blogger! I can't believe that I haven't posted in two weeks! I apologize for being so lax, but I've been working 11 and 12 hour days so I've been a little too tired to do a proper blog post lately. I will try and get caught up on everyone's blogs over the weekend! Also, get excited, because I've got SEVERAL new recipes to post over the next couple of days.

That said, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope y'all had a nice and relaxing holiday. I cooked for the first time and actually made a proper Thanksgiving spread for the bf, my mom and myself. I'll post pics soon of the spread which included: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, glazed carrots, broccoli casserole, green beans with bacon and onions, gravy and crescent rolls!

Have a nice Friday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

$5 Friday (on time this week!)

I'm very excited about this week's $5 Friday. Although the ingredients for this dish are definitely in the $5 to $10 range, it is also a great meal to make out of the contents of your fridge and pantry (seriously, most of the stuff you will already have!). Besides the fact that you've probably got everything on hand anyway it also takes about 15 to 20 minutes to make!

Pasta with Parmesan Bacon Cream Sauce
3-4 slices bacon chopped
1 onion minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 - 1.5 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 spoonfuls pasta water
0.5 to 1 lb pasta
In a large sauce pan bring water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook. While the pasta cooks/water comes to a boil, in a large skillet brown the bacon. When the bacon is almost crispy add the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the onion until it is soft. Add the flour. Reduce heat to med. low. Add the evaporated milk and stir well making sure the flour is not lumpy.
Now that the milk has been added to the bacon mixture add the cheese a little at a time. Stir well and add some more salt and pepper to taste. The sauce will be really thick. Add a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water to thin out the sauce. Mix well.
Adjust the seasonings. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce. If you've got some on hand, add some fresh parsley.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Before I get to posting my new recipe, I've got another story to share. It has been a pretty eventful week for me, I saw 50 Cent at Macy's on Monday and Bill Clinton across from my train stop today. Very exciting.

Last night for dinner the bf and I wanted something quick and easy, so I did a new twist on one of my favorites -- stir fry. I made a lemon/lime chicken stir fry with spicy saffron rice. It was delicious and super quick. Because the stir fry cooks so quickly, start the rice first and let it go for a bit before you start the stir-fry so that everything will be finished at the same time.

Lemon/Lime Chicken Stir Fry with Spicy Saffron Rice
Spicy Saffron Rice
1 cup brown rice
2 - 2.5 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon of each: crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
1 pinch saffron
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 1-2 cloves garlic minced)
In a saucepan melt the butter over med. to med. low heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for a bit then add the rice. Allow the butter to coat the rice and add the saffron. Now add the water. Stir well and add the salt and pepper. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Allow to cook until rice is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.
Lemon/Lime Chicken Stir-Fry
1 package boneless skinless chicken breast very thinly sliced
1-2 cups frozen "Stir-Fry" mix vegetables
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1.5 tablespoons of each: lemon pepper seasoning, granulated garlic, pepper
dash of chili powder
1/4 cup flour + 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
Heat some cooking oil a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. In a shallow baking dish mix the flour and the steak seasoning. Toss the thinly sliced chicken in the four mixture. Add to the hot oil. Cook for a bit until the chicken has browned. Add the frozen vegetables. Add the lemon pepper seasoning, granulated garlic, pepper and chili powder. Add the soy and teriyaki sauces. Stir well. Add the lime juice. Stir well and continue cooking until the vegetables are warm but crisp and the chicken is fully cooked.
Serve with the spicy saffron rice and sliced limes if you'd like.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fun Day

Today as I was leaving the Daley Center I was very excited to see that the preparations for the upcoming holiday season are in full swing! The tree in the plaza is now up and I'm assuming in the process of being decorated.

Macy's on State Street has also unveiled it's holiday windows. This definitely caught my eye and since I only had to work a half day today I decided to pop in and see what the inside of the store looked like. Needless to say I had no idea what awaited me inside.

Long story short, as I walked inside expecting to to hear the sounds of the season, I was shocked to hear 50 Cent's "In Da Club" playing extremely loudly. I was also surprised to see a crowd gathered in the middle of the store.

I soon found out why -- 50 Cent himself was there promoting his new fragrance. Seeing 50 Cent was definitely the highlight in an otherwise uneventful day so I thought I'd share my sighting with all of my fellow bloggers.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

$5 Friday (on Saturday)

Still celebrating our being sworn in, the bf and I went out for all you can eat sushi last night, so I did $5 Friday today.

The bf wanted clam chowder which I saw as a challenge and won (kind of). I spent $12.70 in the ingredients for clam chowder at my local supermarket. However, this could be under $10 if you've got some of the ingredients at home, since I realize that most of us have things like celery and onions on hand most of the time. Also, if you've got bacon on hand this cuts the price of the meal to $8 since the bacon was almost $4.

Anyway, here's the recipe for my $12 clam chowder (even though it was over $10, $12 for clam chowder is still pretty impressive if you ask me!)

Clam Chowder
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
2-3 potatoes chopped
4 slices of bacon chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cans whole baby clams drained with liquid saved roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of each: salt, pepper, Emeril's Essence, granulated garlic
3 sprigs of fresh thyme chopped (OR 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 bay leaf

In a large dutch oven cook the bacon over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and thyme. Stir well. Add the potatoes and the liquid from the clams as well as the chicken broth. Add the salt, pepper, essence, bay leaf and garlic. Cook the potatoes in this mixture until fork tender. When the potatoes are finished mash up a bit with a potato masher. Add the chopped clams and the evaporated milk. Reduce heat to low and bring this mixture to a simmer. Serve with saltine crackers or corn muffins.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Big Day!

Guess who's officially Esquire.. ME! To celebrate this occasion, I've decide to do something that I've never done before, reveal myself posing with my newly issued law license!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to doing what I do best

As promised, here are photos of last week's $5 Friday. As you can tell the Tex Mex Bowls can also be served as a taco filling.

I also recently purchased individual ramekins for making things like chicken pot pie. Since I still had a pie crust left over from making the apple raspberry crostata as well as some left over chicken stock, I decided to make individual chicken pot pies.

I am very excited about the way they came out if I do say so myself. They were also super easy to make.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies:

1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves garlic minced)
1 onion minced
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 zucchini chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1.5 - 2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (or 1 additional tablespoon butter)
2 tablespoons flour
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 tablespoon each: salt, pepper, sage, Emeril's Essence, granulated garlic
several sprigs fresh thyme

In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over med. low heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and celery. Cook for a bit then add the chicken. Add the chicken stock, water (only add enough water to barely cover the chicken), thyme, salt, pepper, sage, essence, and granulated garlic. Poach the chicken in this mixture. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 (or whatever the pie crust directions say).

In a small skillet saute the zucchini in some olive oil or butter. Remove from heat.

Once the chicken has cooked remove from the poaching liquid. Allow to cool, then shred and return to the pot. Add the zucchini and the frozen peas. In a small bowl mix the butter (you may have to microwave it a bit to soften it), vegetable shortening and flour. Make a paste out of this mixture. Add to the chicken vegetable mixture. Whisk into the chicken mixture well. Return the chicken mixture to a low simmer.

Simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken. When the mixture looks like a very thick soup transfer to the baking dishes. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Roll out and cut rounds to top the chicken mixture. Place on top of the baking dishes (which have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and brush with olive oil and top with some Parmesan cheese.