Thursday, May 15, 2014

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I wanted to make some chicken sandwiches, and my usual "recipe" is to put some chicken breasts in the crockpot and dump in some bottled bbq sauce.  (Sometimes I get fancy and slice some onions and grate some carrots in there too.)  But there are many reasons to not use bottled bbq sauce, the most important of which was I only had a few drips left in the bottle.  So I looked online and, oh my, people have very strong feelings about barbecue sauce.  I'm pretty sure this particular recipe is heresy so no offense intended to the believers, but it met my criteria:  it used what I had around and was only slightly harder than dumping in a bottle.

I liked the flavor, it was much less sweet than the bottled version so it worked well to use as an ingredient in a dish rather than a condiment.  If I wanted to make it to use as regular bbq sauce, I would probably want to sweeten it up and use tomato paste/less tomatoes not sure what proportions--this was really watery.  Also, it would need to simmer to melt the sugar and get all the flavors mingling, I didn't do that since it was going in the crockpot.

1 15oz can tomatoes (I used diced, drained off what liquid I could, then used an immersion blender to puree it.  I'm sure other types of canned tomatoes would work, perhaps better.)
1/2 c molasses (this gave it a bitter flavor, which I liked but you might want to start with less if you aren't sure)
1/4 c brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T white vinegar
1 1/2 t smoked paprika (alternately I saw a couple recipes calling for chipotles, which would also give a smoky flavor with some extra kick)
3/4 t pepper
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t seasoned salt

I used 5 chicken half breasts for this amount of sauce.  Also, I didn't measure with actual measuring cups and spoons--everything is to taste!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I've been trying to eat more filling breakfasts to make it through until lunch.  I've been experimenting with some different oatmeal recipes just for variety.  Overnight oats are convenient, but cold.  Overnight slow cooker oats are warm, but then I have to wash the crockpot.  Baked oatmeal I thought would be interesting...but it is just oatmeal.  And the biggest problem was I was starving while waiting the 35 minutes it needed to cook and I ate a brownie.  The oatmeal turned out yummy, but I could have made it in the microwave and skipped the brownie--that would have been a better plan.

So what I discovered worked best for me (both logistically and taste-wise) was to make a batch of my favorite oatmeal, then keep it in the fridge and warm up a serving every morning.  It was fun trying some different flavors from recipes, but one of them tops them all.  Pumpkin pie.  I based it on this recipe but wanted something warm.

1 c steel cut (or any kind--enough for 4 servings) oats
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1/4 c chia seeds (optional)
1/4 c maple syrup, or to taste
2 T pumpkin pie spice, or to taste

Make the oats according to package directions.  When finished cooking, remove from heat and add chia seeds and some milk and stir well to prevent them from clumping.  The chia seeds will absorb liquid, but you can make it whatever consistency you like.  Add the pumpkin, syrup, and spice and mix to combine.  Add more milk if necessary.  To serve, sprinkle with walnuts.  When reheating, I usually add more milk.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Oh how I love soup.  Oh how my family does not.  Sometimes they just have to suffer.

Most of the time I make this in the crockpot, I just cook the chicken in there by itself for awhile and then shred it and add everything else except flour/water and sour cream that I just add at the end.  Crockpots and soups are forgiving like that.

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T vegetable oil
4 oz can green chilies
15 oz can stewed tomatoes (Italian style or add 1 t oregano)
4 c broth
1 t lemon pepper
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t hot sauce
4 T flour
1/2 c water
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/3 c sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla strips (1/4 inch strips baked 10 min in 400 degree oven) or tortilla chips
cilantro, optional
white beans, optional

In a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic over moderately low heat for 5 minutes or until onion is soft.  Add chilies, tomatoes, broth, and spices.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine flour with water and whisk it into the soup.  Bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through (this does not seem long enough to cook chicken??  The last several times I've made it in the crockpot so I don't remember how it turned out for me making it this way.  Goes without saying, thoroughly cook your chicken people.)  Add a drained can of white beans if desired and warm through, stir in sour cream, salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro and tortillas.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

My very talented friend (I was about to say baking friend but realized this wasn't a baking recipe, then was going to say baking/cooking friend, then realized she is also really talented in so many other areas but I couldn't really say baking/cooking/teaching/crafting/home improvement/diy/decorating/everything talented friend, so I shortened it to very talented friend) recreated this recipe for her son from his favorite Panera soup.  I was tricked into going to Costco and had accidentally bought a gigantic bag of broccoli (long story) so decided to put it to use in this recipe.  I fudged a little on types of cheeses and spices because of what I had on hand.  I tasted it.  I did not share it with anyone.  Not out of selfishness of course.  It is just that I was recovering from a cold at the time at is was just so warm and comforting and delicious.  I seriously ate it for breakfast one morning because it was the only thing that sounded good.  Next time I make it I might not share it either.  Not out of selfishness of course.  I'll have to come up with another good reason.

I double or triple it, and adding cooked quinoa is an easy way to make it heartier.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

My 7 year old tasted Pao de Queijo at a school "Cultural Celebration" and couldn't stop talking about it.  I promised him I would make some.  I even found a simplified version that bakes in mini muffin cups instead of having to roll them individually into balls.  Then I spent the next few weeks unsuccessfully trying to find tapioca flour at a store I go to.  I finally had to make a special trip to Whole Foods just to get it, but he is happy to have his Pao de Quijo.  I personally did not really enjoy the glommy texture, I would prefer just typical cheese biscuits or something, but since it is now a favorite of the kids I had better keep track of the recipe!  We made it with queso fresco, very mild flavor.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

My sister recommended this recipe and it was pretty delicious.  I grilled it outside to save washing a pan.  The kids didn't like it (although my sister's kids do) but my husband and I liked it a lot.  I'm not sure what to think about the loads of heavy cream in it.  In fact, I try not to think about it because it is really yummy.  My brother came over and made roti, an Indian bread that his fiance taught him how to make, but it would also go well with pita or naan bread.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pozole Verde

My son said he wanted to try pozole.  So I found this recipe and made it.  (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, added pepitas to the tomatillo sauce, and used half the peppers called for in the recipe.)  It was tasty stuff!  It was fairly simple even though sort of a lot of steps, and lots of different ingredients that I don't usually have on hand.  So not something I could throw together last minute, but one I'll definitely plan on making again.  Now my son wants to try red pozole.