Monday, November 21, 2011

Grilled Chicken Wrap

Some days we all want something home cooked, but that does not mean we have time to pull out several pots and pans to slave in a hot kitchen. Honestly, who really has any time these days?

This latest recipe is something home cooked with out the hard labor, which was nice especially since I actually cooked it while I was in the middle of cooking several other things. It’s quick, simple, easy clean up and tasty. Who could want more?

Grilled Chicken Wrap
2-3 Servings

2 Chicken fillets, season to your taste
½ of a red pepper
½ of a green pepper
½ of an onion
3 tortillas (Or however many are needed, in my case there was enough for 3, but my tortillas were tiny.)
Shredded Cheese to taste

Step One: After seasoning the chicken, grill it until it is finished cooking. Feel free to cut open the chicken to check how done it is, since later on the chicken will be cut apart anyways.

Step Two: While the chicken is cooking, slice the vegetables. I sliced enough for two pieces of each vegetable per tortilla, but again, if you have bigger tortillas feel free to add more of each vegetable.

Step Three: When chicken is done and cooled enough to touch, slice the chicken and divide between the tortillas. Add the vegetables, followed by the cheese. Finish wrapping the tortilla, use a toothpick if desired to hold it closed.

Step Four: Place back on the grill to warm and melt the cheese. If there’s enough cheese, it will hold the tortilla closed and the tooth pick is no longer needed. Serve with a dipping sauce that compliments your seasonings.

If you have time: Saute or grill the vegetables as well.

Also try: adding other vegetables, seasoning the tortillas, other meats, marinating the chicken.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly

So no spiders and no flies are mentioned in this post (and none were involved either), but rather a quaint little restaurant called, “The Parlour” in Jackson, MI. My mother and stopped there this past Saturday after a day of wonderful wine tasting (Do not worry, I will talk about glorious wine tasting soon enough). From the pictures, it’s easy to tell the place looked quaint and rather old timey.

While known for it’s ice cream, we ate dinner as a pre-cursor to the tasty ending. I ordered “The Parlour Signature” burger ($6.95, the most expensive burger). This burger had a ⅓ lbs beef patty and was topped with onions, lettuce, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, tomato, mushrooms, bacon and ham (Yes, it had a slice of ham on it)! While I opted out of the cheddar cheese an tomato, this hamburger was delicious. Admittedly, I was expecting a much greaser burger, but I was pleasantly surprised at the very minimal amount of grease and even that was just juice. Just see for yourself how tasty the burger (and fries!) look:

But the best part, however, was the “Sundae of the Month”. The sundae this month contained one scoop vanilla, one scoop cinnamon, and one scoop pumpkin spice ice cream ($5.95). Than it was topped with two cherries, a mound of whip cream, and the topping of our choice, which was caramel at this case. No one in their right mind could resist this (Not even my vegan brother):

As if this was not amazing enough, they have their “Dare to be Great” challenge. For $29.99 you get 21 scoops of ice cream and multiple toppings, but if you alone finish it with in an hour you can get it for free! They also have the “Baby Dare to be Great” which we saw a great grandpa treating three rambunctious boys which is 10 scoops instead of 21.

If you’re in Jackson, MI, this is a cute place to check out with decent food, great ice cream and good prices.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roasted Garlic, Mmmm

Recently I have been all about roasting garlic. Granted, I have always been all for garlic, but lately roasted has stolen my heart. Maybe it is the amazing garlic roaster I just put an order in for from Avon (Yay for my Aunt being an Avon Rep!)* or the fact that some how my boyfriend and I keep finding restaurants that have roasted garlic in our meals, but any way you slice it (or roast it... bad joke, please bare with), roasted garlic is amazing.

Yesterday I roasted garlic for the first time using tips from these two blogs/websites:

The Hungry Mouse
Simply Recipes

I love the fact that The Hungry Mouse (Such a cute name!) not only shows an obvious infatuation with garlic just like me, but also shows multiple ways of using roasted garlic, including garlic infused oil and compound butter. Plus all the pictures let me know I am doing it right. Let’s face it, I am a highly visual person, sometimes I just do not get written directions. While sometimes her written directions are hard to follow, the pictures helped me at least, keep me on the right track.

Simply Recipes just had the most amazing tip: put the garlic in a muffin tin. It not only holds the garlic straight up, but it is perfectly sized for garlic. The only issue? If you are trying to infuse cooking oil at the same time, it is a hell of a feat to get the oil from the muffin tin into a container. Nearly darn impossible… Trust me, I tried it yesterday and mess one big mess.

Now some of you might be asking the most important question: Why roast garlic?

First off, it tastes amazing, alone or with other food. Secondly, it is a healthy alternative to butter. Thirdly, it keeps the sparkly weirdos far far away, as well as their squeaky fan girls. Fourth, you can easily turn it into a garlic paste and use it mashed potatoes, with vegetables, mix with butter, etc. I am sure I am missing some fantastic reasons to roast garlic. So feel free to share your ideas with us!

* Speaking of Avon, if you are ever looking for an Avon lady, I know a swell one. Just let me know and I will get you in touch with her.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mustard is Evil

I hate mustard. Plain and simple. Never have liked, never thought I would, but lately some recipes have opened up my mind to the possibility of maybe, perhaps, kind of sort of liking mustard. Not plain mustard, mind you, but the wonderfully flavored mustards.

This recipe uses an amazing mustard my boyfriend and I found at the Michigan Renaissance Festival this year. The company, Garlic Festival, is aptly named considering the wide variety of garlic based products they have: seasonings, salsas and dips, marinades, sauces, pickled garlic, and of course, garlic mustard. This particular garlic mustard, is a garlic jalapeno mustard that is quite amazing.

The following recipe uses that mustard, though any other mustard can be used as a substitute.

Garlic Jalapeno Mustard Chicken
2 Servings

2 Chicken Fillets
4-6 Tablespoons of Garlic Jalapeno Mustard
4 Medium Sized Carrots, Sliced
1 Onion, Sliced
Minced Garlic to Taste
Oil or butter for the pan

Step One: Marinate chicken in the mustard for about an hour at least (I really just rubbed the mustard on the chicken and let it sit for a while to soak up some of the flavor.).
Step Two: Heat pan with oil or butter, than add the chicken fillets.
Step Three: Once the chicken fillets have started cooking, add the carrots a few minutes after. Add the onions one the chicken fillets after about half to 3/4s cooked through. Add minced garlic when desired (it all depends on how strong you want the garlic flavor and how well you want the minced garlic cooked).
Step Four: It is finished when the chicken is cooked through, the carrots are soft, and the onions are translucent.

Serve with extra mustard for dipping on the side.

Things to add: Salt/Pepper (this is a definite, I’m fairly certain a touch of both work have done the recipe wonders), other vegetables, more jalapenos.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Breaking News: A New Addition to my Cooking Family!

Of course, when I say "Cooking Family", I mean all my fun utensils and gadgetry that can be found in my kitchen. This new addition I have been threatening to adopt for a long time, but my human family beat me to the punch by literally just a couple of days by giving me one of these babies for my birthday:

20-Cup Cool Touch Digital Rice Cooker

And this baby is not just any rice cooker. She is also a steamer and can make rice while steaming meat and vegetables. Besides that, she can be used as slow cooker (which is great for when I go to make my wonderful soups) and has a time-delay for up to 15 hours (which is amazing considering how busy I get).

Oh my little cooking family has grown! I will be sure to use her to make some lovely new recipes to share and I will definitely let share how well she handles once I do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spicing up Diet Drinks

Personally, I like the flavor of diet pop* in the way that people like the musty smell of old books: it's about the memories. My Nana and Pawpaw have always had diet, caffeine free pop in their house, at least as long as I can remember... That still it doesn't mean I necessarily like the taste the best.

So whether you're dieting or just reliving some fond memories, try these tricks to make it taste just a little sweeter.

  • Add just a touch of flavored pop. Seriously, just a dash of a flavored pop mixed with the diet pop and the diet pop will take on the flavor of the flavored pop.
  • Add some flavored syrup. The same goes for flavored syrup, it doesn't take much, but it'll flavor it well. They can also be used in other drinks like coffees or teas. Also try extracts, like vanilla extract if you fancied vanilla pops.
  • Add some fruits. You add lemon to water, why not add lemon to diet pop? You can do the same with oranges and other fruits. Whether you add them in at a whim or infuse it, it will add a little flavor and a little colour. On another note, having a mix of berries looks fabulous in clear drinks if you want spice up the look of pop at a party.
  • Add mint leaves. Not much to say here, I just like mint and already chew mint leaves. So it seems like a natural place for me to use them. Considering I've also had ice cream made from rose petals, you could always try other plants as long as you know they're safe to ingest.
I'm sure there are more things that can be added to diet pop to make it more pleasing to the tongue, but honestly more and more diet pop tastes like the real thing. Have fun experimenting! :)

*"Pop" can be translated to "Soda"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(Insert Steretypical Ice Reference Here)

Admittedly, I have a thing for ice. So when I first saw the star ice cube tray at Ikea (Not list on their website/not sold online), I fell in love. I thought of all the amazing things that would happen when I put said ice cubes in my drink: I’d be able to fly, colours would start changing, and suddenly I’d be a millionaire.

Needles to say, none of that happen.

I did however get a giddy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw those stars… Which may or may not have been the result from too much whiskey.

So here are some fun ice cubes for you to buy and enjoy!

Colourful Star Ice Cubes (Reusable) via Bed, Bath & Beyond $2.99

Cool Shooters Ice Shot Glass Maker via Perpetual Kid $6.99

Fossiliced Dinosaur Ice Cube Tray (Set of Two) via Perpetual Kid $14.99

Gin and Titonic Titanic Ship Ice Cube Tray Mold via Gadgets and Gear $8.99
Brain Freeze Ice Cube Molds via Think Geek $8.99

Don’t worry, I’ll be posting more in the future including: Top Five Geekiest Ice Trays, Best Kids Party Ice Trays, and more I’m sure.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fried Apple and Onions

I know what you’re thinking. Who in there right mind fries apples? With onions, of all things! First off, I never said I was in my right mind. Secondly, when visiting Greenfield Village the other day, that’s what the reenactors where about to make for dinner, so our old timey ancestors thought it was a great idea apparently.

While my mother and I did not get a chance to stay and watch how they cooked it, we assumed that we could figure our how to fry’em up! While they are surprisingly tasty, it is an unusual taste compared to what modern taste buds are used too. The onions become slightly sweet and the apple’s sweetness is cut down a bit, but it shines through the onion and bacon grease taste. Hope you enjoy this little experience as much as we did!

Fried Apple and Onions
1 to 2 Servings

1 medium sized apple, sliced (I used a green apple, because that is what we had handy)
1 medium sized onion, sliced (I used a sweet onion, because that is what we had handy)
1 tsp margarine
1tsp bacon grease

Step One: Melt margarine with bacon grease.
Step Two: Add apple slices
Step Three: Once apple slices are appropriately half way cooked, add onion slices.
Step Four: It is done when apples are cooked through and onions are translucent.

I served it with bacon since I do not have random bacon grease sitting around for recipes.

Things to add: Salt/Pepper, sweet spices, savory spices, maybe garlic. Honestly, however, I think it would be better to keep this recipe as simple as possible considering the odd mixture of apples and onions to begin with.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simmered Green Beans

Recently I cooked my current boyfriend a lovely dinner of chicken and broccoli bake (Step-by-Step Comfort Food from Confident Cooking) with simmered green beans on the side. They worked well together, if only because they both used chicken broth, garlic and some form of onions.

Now granted this was my first stab at simmered vegetables, but I think they turned out extremely well (and so did he). Considered yourself forewarned, now onto the recipe!

Simmer Green Beans*
2 to 3 servings

- 1 Can or approximately 16 oz. of Green Beans (I used french cut, but any kind will do. Fresh is generally best though, just ignore the fact that I used a can. )
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
- Minced garlic to taste
-2 teaspoons chopped onions (or to taste)
-Salt and Pepper to taste

Put ingredients into a pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until onions are translucent and beans are well flavored. Also keep in mind the amount of broth you would like kept with the beans. Personally I simmered it until the broth was almost gone, leaving just a slight amount to pour over the served beans or to dip other foods in.

Things you could also add: Ham, Turkey, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Other Greens, Bacon (Everything is better with Bacon)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Beginning

For as long as I can remember, I have been baking cookies at Christmas time and helping my mother cook various meals. Admittedly, "baking" and "helping" has been used very loosely until recently, especially since I wouldn't go with in ten feet of the stove and argued over every step of recipe. Really, I was just in it for the end product (but who isn't, to some point?).

Until the last year or so, I hated heat and hesitated going any where near a stove, sometimes even the toaster oven and my easy bake oven. Last year I pulled myself through a lot of anxieties, including my cooking woes.

I'm at the point now where I'm cooking for hours at a time, always finding a new recipe or technique, and am only anxious to find myself more hours in the kitchen. This blog is the excuse: I not only get to exercise my writing fingers, but I get to experiment with lovely food.

Here's what to look forward too:
- Tips and Tricks to getting at ease with the kitchen
- Recipes, from the quick and easy to the complex and amazing
- Quirky ways to have fun with cooking
- Other Blogs or websites to check out
- Cooking Anecdotes
-Restaurant Reviews (Because sometimes we all need a break from cooking)

Let's get to know each other over food!
-The Tentative Cooker