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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goodbye, January ~ Hello Comfort!

 
Why hello there! Just in time for my three-year blogging anniversary, I was inclined to do a post highlighting a beautiful standing rib roast, with all the trimmings, and a peppercorn gravy to boot! However - when I really thought long and hard about it, I thought that in this economy -  is that what people really need, a ridiculously expensive roast? Ahem. That would be no. Soooooo...by way of explanation, THIS is what I found in the fridge one frigid (pun intended) January morning...
 
 
 
Leftover enchiladas. Now, to most people, the obvious solution would be to re-cover the tray with foil, place the whole thing in the oven on low, and enjoy the enchiladas again. OK, here is my problem.....when I see that tray of enchiladas (which were perfectly delicious, mind you) my brain screams "NOOOOOOO!" "Not again!". I know, I have a problem. Seriously, I absolutely, positoooovly, HATE and DISLIKE leftovers. What do I detest more? Waste. So....inspired by lovely Daughter S., (plus the fact that we both love chili to the point of obsession),  I decided to remove the chicken (Free Bird, get it?) from its corn-based wrapper, and make something new with it! The best part is that since I was using leftover (yikes!) chicken, this turned out to be a quick-cooking, awesome re-use.  First, let us assemble the players for what I'm calling "Free Bird Chicken Chili".
 
 
From left to right, chicken stock, chili powder, salt, garlic, onion, cumin, Creole seasoning, pepper, oregano, great northern beans, diced tomatoes.  First, dice your onion and garlic pretty small...
 
 
 
Then, put in your saute' pan with some canola oil. Note: I did not use any jalapeno in this mixture, because there is already an entire diced one in the enchilada mixture..
 
 
Saute' the garlic & onion on low heat, with perhaps a dash of salt until tender, but not browned...about 10 minutes.  Then, turn the chicken from inside the enchiladas (as well as much of the sauce your can get) on to a plate.
 
 
Not pretty, I know...but hang in there, it gets better. When the onions are soft and translucent...
 
 
Empty your plate of "freed bird" into the saucepan with the chicken stock..(I'm not having fun with that metaphor, or anything).
 
 
Then, add your canned tomatoes and beans. I like to keep the liquid from the canned items in the dish, as I feel like as the chili cooks down, it adds to the flavor...
 
 
Now, throw in your spices...
 
 
Then, stir to combine, bring to a good bubble, turn to low and let simmer. I kept mine uncovered because I was ravenous wanted it sooner, rather than later. If you are going to keep this on low for quite a while, cover it, and stir every now and again, as it thickens. Here is mine, beginning to simmer...
 
 
 
Bowl o' goodness underway! Now, as well as an unnatural obsession with chili, I happen to constantly love & crave the nutty goodness that is...
 
 
I also love the fact that grocery chain stores are getting the fact that a lot of us have an educated palate, and do not eat ONLY American-style foods now! Now, while the rice was steaming away, I got the usual perpetrators for toppings ready...
 
 
By the time the rice had steamed....the chili was done! My results?
 
 
Wooohoooo! Free Bird! ♫ (Pixie holds lighter in air, burns fingers, then, sheepishly returns to eating chili).
 
What way did you dress up your leftovers?
 
Eat well, my friends...and remember Fall is for resolutions, Winter is for gratitude, and Spring is for.....SURPRISE! We shall see! Love and kindness to all,
 
Pixie



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Confessions of a Foodie...

               


 
I have to admit it. Although I'm an omnivore of the highest order, there are a few things I actually do NOT love to eat. For instance....I love sushi and sashimi and seafood galore, but cannot stand the taste, nor texture of scallops. Weird, I know. Also, Dear Mom N. will describe the glories of her favorite Waldorf salad.....and I will cringe, because as much as I love apples, the idea of apples in a salad situation has as much appeal to me as.....well, a root canal.  Well, yesterday, while absorbing my daily overdose  ration of food related cooking, I saw Miss Giada make these Curried Chicken and Apple Wraps! Click here for her recipe. They......looked......so.....good. And healthy, too. I knew I must bite the bullet and make them. You know the weirdest thing of all?
 
 


I had all.....the...ingredients! ON HAND! Seriously! No, you don't understand! This kind of luck almost never happens to me! Sort of like the day I found that there package of goat cheese (on sale one day before its sell-by date - for $1.99!). Anyhoo...trust me, I believe in signs, and since I also happened to have leftover cooked chicken on hand, I knew I had to make it. From far left; olive oil, lime, garbanzo beans, hot sauce, apple, leftover salad, tortillas, Greek yogurt, goat cheese, dried mint, raisins, salt, pepper, curry powder, green onion, and mango chutney. As you can see, I did not have fresh mint, nor did I have whole-wheat tortillas.....don't judge me. Anyway, I know it is ingredient-heavy, but since I COULD NOT BELIEVE I had it all, I did not care. I also had this in the fridge...

 


You betcha...leftover shredded chicken. We are in business.  First, I combined the yogurt with the curry powder, lime juice, mango chutney, salt and pepper.


 
 


Then, I placed the mixture into a larger bowl. Kinda blurry....once again...I wanted to get to the eating part. My bad.


 

Then, we rough-chop the garbanzo beans. I'm saving the rest of the can for a mini-batch of hummus.

 
 On top of the dressing we put the crumbled goat cheese, olive oil, scallions, mint
hot sauce, and raisins.

 

 Then, throw in your delicious (I used Gala, here) chopped apple....in...a....salad. Hey, I'm working on it....it's a process.








 Mix it all together...



 Then, fold in your chicken..



And heat a tortilla in a non-stick...just until soft and pliable..



Now, line the tortilla with some lettuce of your choice - as you know I used some from last nights' salad.



Then, put your chicken and apple mixture-o-loveliness on top..
 
 

 
Now, roll up tightly, burrito style...and snarf down like there is, in fact, no tomorrow. How was mine?

 
 
 
 
 
 Let me put it this way......I WAS going to have it for lunch again tomorrow....but, I highly suspect....there will be none left. It was that, darn, good! (I'm snacking on the rest of the mixture as I write this post!).  Oh, and HEY, MOM! I ate apples....IN....A.....SALAD.

What food aversion did you successfully overcome?

Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for the big blog-a-versary special celebration meal.  Love and kindness to all,

Pixie


 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Something From Nothing!



 
That's right! I'm back with another use-it-up kinda moment....batten down the hatches, and get ready to be surprised! First, let's get a look at our poor, unsuspecting piece o' vegetation... 
 

 
Yes, that is the poor, un-loved stalk of broccoli! Did you know it was edible? Not only can you eat it, but it is delicious, with a texture similar to crisp water chestnuts, and a faint broccoli taste. I usually peel it, cut it into coins, and use in a stir-fry, but today I was in a slaw-tacular kinda mood so...I peeled the stalks, and got my remaining slaw ingredients together.

 
 Clockwise from the broccoli stalks; salt, pepper, mayo (vegans and heart-healthy readers may want to choose veganaise, or safflower mayo-look in the health-food aisle), red wine vinegar, raisins and salted roasted almonds. I prefer peanuts in this slaw....but this what I had that day, and I'm a nutty kinda gal, so I went for it. First, grate up your broccoli (you may use your processor, but I hate to clean mine, so I just used my box grater) into a bowl. I apologize for the blurry photo...truth be told, I just wanted to get to the gorging quality-control part of the deal...


 
Then, rough-chop your nuts....(nope, I'm not gonna say it). 
 
 
 
 
Then, mix a couple tablespoons of mayo with some red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Thin the mayo with the red wine vinegar to achieve a salad-dressing kind of fluidity. You will have a lovely, pink-ish dressing.
 
 

 
Then, with wild abandon, (or conservative grace, depending on your level of solemnity that day), throw the raisins and nuts onto the shredded broccoli slaw.
 
 

 
Ooops! The onion, I forgot the onion! Take ye a nice red onion..See? Mine is organic, because that's how nearsighted hipster, hip-hip-hippee I roll. Um, yeah. Cut off a small piece and chop into small dice.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why yes, I do have some mad knife skills, if I do say so myself! Amazing what 30 years of practice can do...ahem. Mix them thar onions and the dressing into your slaw, too.
 
 
 
 
Now, place in the fridge for the flavors to blend, or do what I did...pile on to a plate, garnish with a little cilantro, and....inhale! Go back to fridge....repeat! Repeat until gone. Ut-oh, I've said too much. The finale?
 
 
 
 
 I must tell you...the crunch from the broccoli stem, and the nuts, the chewy sweetness from the raisins, and the tang of the red onion, were divine. I feel better, too...knowing that instead of throwing away the misunderstood broccoli stem...I turned it into something healthy and delicious! It was fabulous, and I have some more stems in my refrigerator that are going to make their florets blush! Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for the beeeg three-year blog-a-versary bash!
 
Love and kindness to all,
 
Pixie