Monday, September 21, 2009

Somtimes You're Just Too Tired...

OK.. so I've been busy... flying... trying to figure some things out about school and classes. Really time consuming! And last night, I was jut too lazy to really put together a great meal. So, I took inventory in the fridge: Brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, cheese, cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, bread, butter, milk... you know.. the usual suspects. I had taken whole chicken breasts w/bone and skin , out of the freezer with all intentions of doing something special to them. Needless to say, it rained all day, I was tired and too lazy to do anything fancy. Then it occurred to me: stuffed chicken breasts. Easy, delicious and relatively fast. With my inventory in mind I set out to do something tasty with little prep time involved. I got some rice out and cooked it with a little veggie broth - you know the standard way: substitute the veggie broth for the water. Then I got out my cream cheese - which just so happened to be sun dried tomato flavored - and some garlic and my panko. I use whole wheat from Ian's. It's pretty delish. And then I don't feel so guilty about using bread crumbs. Anyway... here's what I did:

I took about half the container of cream cheese, and mixed it with: about a quarter cup of oil packed (drained, of course) chopped sun dried tomatoes to give it extra pizazz, 2 cloves of minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons of panko (I figured it would help the cheese from leaking out from under the skin!) and I mixed it all up in a bowl. Then, I slid the mixture, evenly divided between the two breasts, under the skin and secured it with a little metal skewer that I sort of 'knitted' down the side of the breast to hold the skin in place. I salted and peppered the breasts nicely and put them on a baking sheet lined with foil sprayed with a little organic Pam with olive oil. Then I popped them in the oven at 350 for about an hour and VOILA!!! Stuffed chicken breasts!
Gang... I have to say... for relatively no time involved, and little creativity - these came out great! The rice was perfect, the chicken breasts were juicy and the cream cheese stuffing was just right! Everything considered - sometimes being tired has it's advantages! Oh, and I know you're probably thinking... where were the veggies? I just sliced some tomato - you know, to keep with the theme!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All Things Considered

Has anyone noticed how trendy it is to be up on your vampire latest fad? There's the Vampire Diaries, True Blood, the Twilight series - and sadly no more: Moonlight. Man that Alex O'Laughlin was a hottie!! I must confess, I'm into True Blood. Big time. I think it's super sexy, super cool, and yes, a bit scary. That supernatural stuff is a bit crazy sometimes. I confess that I am a bit squeamish about that sort of thing. Still, I'm compelled to watch. I've always been intrigued by all things vampire. I love that they are immortal. That they can fly. Or how they get to stay up all night - God knows I'm a night owl, so it would be the perfect thing for me. Plus, I'm not really that grossed out by blood. In fact, I like my steaks rare. If there's not a pool of warm blood tinted juice for me to smash my potato into, then it's too well done. Mmmmm, the perfect bite is: a bit of baked potato smashed up with a bit of butter and sour cream, the swirled into the pooled steak juices on the plate - all piled up on a bite of a delicious rare rib-eye. OHHHHH hold me back!!! I am quite carnivorous. My mates that I swim with call me the 'hard core carnivore'. Aptly named, I think. I would eat burgers, steak, chicken, sausage - you name it if it's meat, bring it - anytime, everyday. So, tonite, in honor of the season finale of True Blood, I'm cooking up a nice rare skirt steak. I have to say, my recipe is quite nice. Though, after reading The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Grilled Rib-Eye with Blue Cheese Onion Sauce, it was all I could do not to run out and get heavy cream and some blue cheese and make myself that sauce. That said, I'm doing mine like this:

Skirt Steak Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce
1tsp roasted sesame oil
1-3 tbsp of honey (depends how much you like, I use a big squeeze)
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic smashed
a few shakes of red pepper flakes

Throw all of this in a bag, seal it up, sake well until all ingredients are combined. The honey should be dissolved into the ingredients. Then, throw in your skirt steak. I use about a 10-12oz skirt for this much marinade. Seal up the bag, suck all the air out to get a nice seal around the meat. Throw it in your fridge for about 2 hours. Take it out before you're ready to cook and let it come to room temperature on the counter in the marinade. Heat your grill up and have at it!
I usually serve it with a tomato salad (my version: tomato, hearts of palm, minced jalapeno, oil/vinegar, salt & pepper) and some nice fluffy garlic mashed potatoes. But that's me... rice would do, or even some quinoa. Sauteed spinach anyone? All of it sounds good to me.

Maybe it sounds simple? But try it... it's a nice easy Asian inspired recipe. And it sure doesn't need any fancy ingredients - in fact, you probably have most of them in your pantry right now. So, have at it... tweak it to your liking. Mostly? Enjoy it... off to eat my steak... signing out:
The Hardcore Carnivore.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something Off Beat...

Ok, this is for the ladies out there... I have a confession to make, which I'm sure many of you will be right on board with: I love make-up. Love it. Have loved it since I was a wee girl. Now that I'm a big girl and can get it and wear it whenever I want? I indulge. I'm currently on a nail polish kick and have discovered the most awesome site for those of us who are into polish. Her site is called Vampy Varnish. She's a nail polish fiend!! I love her for it! No more going to the beauty supply (or drugstore!) and ruining your manicure because you want to know what the polish looks like before you actually commit to it. How many of you have a closet full of colors that looked great in the bottle, but looked horrid on you when you actually painted them on? I do, for sure. So Kelly has solved that for all of us!! She patiently paints her nails and photographs them to let us see just how the polish looks on. She even lets you know how many coats it took to get that look. I am grateful! So far? She's saved me a lot of trouble... but also only fueled my addiction!! Some of the polishes are easy to find, others are available thru the web, but she lists links to buy them. Her site is GREAT! And if you want to get into the latest shades, then check out Vampy Varnish. You will be glad you did! And thanks Kelly... you've made my life a lot easier!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer's End

Well, it's been a crazy end to summer... full of crazy activities since my last writing. I've gone back to school - again - and been filling out applications for colleges all over New York. I decided after not getting into the Physician Assistant program that I worked so hard towards...that I would just keep at it and stack up more credits worth some lofty goal. I'm really not in the mood this semester for anything school like. I killed myself for the last year and a half and I would prefer to go to work rather than study. Hard to believe. I guess if I didn't have to work to support myself, school would definitely be the right thing. Sadly, I haven't won Lotto or Powerball, so off to fly I go. I have 2 classes this semester for 10 credits. Crazy. I have no idea what I was thinking. I'm already bored in one and disliking the prof... c'est la vie. I tend to be more partial towards the professors who demand something of me. So far, this one guy is a dud spud.

Speaking of spuds...

I have a fondness for all things potatoes, as I'm sure alllllll of us do. I also love the cruciferous family. Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, all the cabbage - you name it, if it's from that bunch, I love it. I also LOVE Bubble 'n' Squeak. Originally, a dish from the other side of the pond, designed to use up left-over veggies. Personally, I make it on purpose with fresh veggies and enjoy every last bite! They call it Bubble 'n' Squeak because they say if you make it in a big cast iron pan, that while the cabbage and potatoes are browning up, they bubble and squeak. I only get this sometimes. But it's none the less, delicious.

Here's my quick version, and left-overs are great!

Bubble 'n' Squeak

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thinly
4 or 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform pieces
6-7 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper

First, set a big pot of water on the stove with your potatoes - put them in the water cold and the pan cold on the stove. Never add your potatoes to boiling water! YIKES! Add to this, the garlic cloves and bring to a boil until the potatoes are tender. Then, mash with some butter, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Put about 2tbsps of butter and a good pour of olive oil in a big frying pan. Melt them together over medium heat. Add to this, the thinly slivered cabbage. Keep an eye on the cabbage, it browns quickly. After the cabbage starts to wilt and brown, remove from pan. Keep pan warm. Mix the cabbage into the mashed potatoes. Then, make patties in whatever shape and size you like. Add them back to the hot pan - being careful when you work w/ the veg and potato, it's hot! You may need to add a bit of olive oil more to the pan. Cook your patties until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Sometimes when I'm feeling creative, I add shredded carrot or zucchini, but if it's not around, no worries. I love these as a meal by themselves with some salad. They rule with a roasted chicken.

Back to reading for the dud spud... wish I had Bubble 'n' Squeak instead! And off to finish the laundry... it is Labor Day, you know...