Archive - January 2015

Open-Faced Pot Pie

When I put this dish in front of Jason yesterday, he asked, “what do we have tonight?” I wasn’t certain how to answer so I said, “open-faced pot pie.”

*shrug* Why not?

This is a seemingly flexible recipe, and can be altered to be more or less hands on. You can slow this down to cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. You could add more chicken thighs if you wanted to (just don’t forget to add more of the other ingredients to adjust with the chicken). You can also bake your own biscuits, but as I haven’t been feeling well the past two days, I opted for the easier way out.

Open-Faced Pot Pie Crock Pot
(Recipe inspiration from Real Simple)
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 skinless chicken thighs
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup choice broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 14 oz bag of frozen, chopped kale
1/2 cup heavy cream
Store bought biscuits, or home made

1. In slow cooker, mix carrots, celery, onion, flour. Place the chicken on top and season with dried herbs, dash of salt and pepper. Cover with wine and broth.
2. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Add kale to crock pot. Cover and cook another 1/2 hour.
3. 15 minutes before serving, cook biscuits as described on container. Add peas and heavy cream to the crock pot.
5. To serve, spoon stew into a shallow bowl, place chicken on top and serve with biscuits and baked potato, should you choose!

IMG_4875b

Celebratory BBQ Dinner

Jason had a great day at work today. He received some excellent news that is a reward for all of the hard work he puts in year round. I decided to make a nice dinner for him to come home to. It consisted of Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket, Sautéed Kale, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans.

Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket
(Recipe inspiration from chow.com)
Brisket Sauce:
1 ½ cups ketchup
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup water
½  medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup bbq sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
 
Brisket Rub:
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 lb beef brisket, trimmed of fat

  1. Pour all sauce ingredients into slow cooker.
  2. Combine brisket rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub mixture all over brisket.
  3. Place beef on top of sauce in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 7 hours, or until tender.

DSC_0025(Brisket in slow cooker after approximately five hours)

Sautéed Kale
(Recipe inspiration from Bobby Flay)
1 ½ lbs kale, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
red pepper flakes
½ cup (choice) stock
salt and pepper

  1. Heat oil in large wok over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until soft but not browned.
  2. Add kale and stock, raise head to high heat. Toss the kale to spread oil and stock throughout. Cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and cook until all liquid is gone.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

DSC_0015 (Kale in wok right after cover was removed.)

Cole Slaw
(Recipe credit to food.com)
1 (16 oz) bag of coleslaw mix
⅔ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients except coleslaw mix in a bowl.
  2. Add the mix and toss. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving cold.

DSC_0968(Slaw ready to marinate in the fridge.)

Baked Beans
(Recipe inspiration from Paula Deen)
2 16-oz cans, navy beans, drained
1 large onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
*OPTIONAL: ½ lb. bacon strips, cut into ½ inch strips* 

  1. In an oven safe casserole dish, mix beans, mustard, ketchup, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.
  2. *OPTIONAL: Cover with bacon strips.*
  3. Cover and cook in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Uncover, stir, and cook for another 15 minutes.

*For our dishes, I split the recipe in two and put ¼ lb. of bacon on Jason’s dish. Use the full ½ lb. if everyone eats it!*

DSC_0943(Ingredients lined up for beans.)

DSC_0009(After the beans were uncovered, about to go back into the oven)

Here we go…

I like taking pictures. Ever since middle school I can remember having a digital camera with me everywhere I went. I enjoy cataloguing my life. It is nice to be transported through pictures back to the moments they were taken. Sometimes my memories blur between events I actually remember and the images I’ve looked at over the years. I constantly find myself going through old pictures and recalling when and where certain things took place. It gives me the ability to piece together a timeline, and refresh my memory.
IMG_4763 Facebook ends up being the home to many of the pictures I take. It’s comforting to offer them to the people I’ve shared experiences with, so we can all reminisce together. Especially now that my husband and I live across the country from our family, they’re able to keep tabs on us. Since 2010, I have posted over 120 albums on Facebook. That’s an average of 24 per year with the number of pictures per album ranging from 20-200. That’s a lot. What can I say? I like taking pictures.
IMG_4770 (1) I also like baking and cooking. For some, they only like baking OR cooking. That’s probably because they’re very distinct disciplines. Baking is a true science. Too much baking powder, salt, or butter will give you a completely different outcome than you had anticipated. Cooking offers more give and take. You can add more garlic here or cayenne there. Different parts of my brain have a great appreciation for both art forms. I find the kitchen cathartic. Not everything comes out perfectly, but I enjoy the process and sometimes, the frustration.
IMG_4771 Those are my “Stills and Spills”. The still images that represent my life’s ups and downs. The spills in the kitchen that have been successes and failures.

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