Friday, November 16, 2007

Old standby

This is at least a twice monthly dinner in our house. It's pretty easy, and makes two meals, so I don't have to cook the next night! Always a plus.

Grilled Chicken:
1 bag frozen tenderloins (I like HT brand the best)
1 bottle Italian dressing
1 can crushed pineapple

Add the dressing and pineapple to the bag of chicken, and marinate for at least 6 hours (it's best if it's overnight though). Grill. Can't get easier than that!

Smashed Potatoes:
Red potatoes (I usually use about half a bag)
1/4 stick butter or margarine
Sour cream
1 cup Cheddar cheese
Garlic Salt

1.Quarter the potatoes and boil them until they are soft.
2.Drain potatoes and add butter to hot pot.
3.Smash potatoes with a spoon (they don't need to be completely smooth, but you don't want them too chunky either. Mmm, chunky, there's an appetizing word)
4. Mix in enough milk and sour cream until they are the consistency that you want.
5. Mix in cheese, bacon (I usually use bacon bits) and a healthy sprinkling of garlic salt (to taste, I use a lot).
6. You can add cheese on top, but it's not necessary. Stick in the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes.
Enjoy! These are super yummy, and the garlic salt adds enough flavor that you don't have to use a ton of cheese if you don't want to.

And the spinach is the HT frozen variety :).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Mike and I just got back from a very quick, but very fun trip to Baltimore. He had a meeting there on Monday, so we left Raleigh at about 8 am Sunday morning so we could have a little fun there Sunday afternoon/evening. We really wanted to go to the aquarium, but we ended up not getting there until about an hour and a half before it closed, and decided it wasn't worth $45 for that short a visit.

So we just wandered around the Inner Harbor area, which is really cool (and cold...but I guess it is November!). I discovered a store called Filene's Basement, and I probably could've spent the entire trip shopping in there. Mike decided to spend some time over at the ESPN Zone while I shopped there for a bit.

::side note::
Unlike many women, I do not care about expensive purses. Or expensive shoes. I've never bought a purse for more than $25 and my most expensive shoes are my Uggs, which I pretty much wear every day during every winter. But I do love dresses. Not just normal dresses, but fancy dresses. So I ended up trying on half a dozen at Filene's. One in particular caught my eye, it was $80, marked down from $288. Amazing deal. It was gold with sequins and a bubble skirt (sounds ugly but it was so adorable) and it fit me like a glove. Oh, and when I put it on, my favorite Michael Buble song started playing over the speakers. It was fate. But alas, I decided that even though it was an incredible deal, I just couldn't justify $80 for something I'd probably only get to wear 3-4 times. Sigh. I should've bought it. I miss that dress.
::end site note::

So then we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner real quick. I had lots of cool suggestions for dinner, but ended up choosing a local place that Mike's client suggested, called Petit Louis . It. Was. Amazing. I had the best French Onion Soup I've ever had, including when I had it in France. The rest of the meal was very good too (I got Steak Frites, Mike got pork, we split some gratin de pomme de terre, and for dessert he got sorbet and I got a pot de chocolat), but that soup...oh man...that was some awesome soup. We split a bottle of yummy red wine, and it really was just a perfect meal. Very comfortable, intimate restaurant with wonderful service.

So all in all, it was a great trip! I really wanted to stop at Ikea on the way home, but Mike's meeting ran late and we had to be back in Raleigh by 9 to pick the pups up from boarding. Guess I'll have to wait until the Charlotte store opens! Oh, here are the pictures we took.....perhaps it was too dark, lol.

Friday, November 9, 2007

At the other end of the scale...

Hehe, get it? Scale? I decided to try and make up for my Heart Attack Soup last night by making something healthy for the hubby tonight. My mom e-mailed me a Spicy Turkey Chili recipe, so I decided to try that. DH loved it! He ate two huge bowls (good thing it's healthy!). Here's the recipe:

1 lb. extra lean (99% fat free) ground turkey
1 large onion (chopped)
2 large cans of whole or diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can chili beans (make sure you get chili beans, not chili with beans. Bush's makes three kinds: mild, medium and hot, and I bought the hot kind)
2 oz. Chili powder (they were out of chili powder when I went to the store, so I bought Mexican Chili Powder, and it just made it a bit spicier)
Salt, pepper to taste

Brown the ground turkey and onion together in a large pot. Add canned tomatoes, including tomato liquid. (If using cans of whole tomatoes, make sure to chop up before adding.) Add both cans of beans including liquid. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. I usually add a can or two of water to chili also depending on how much time I have for it to simmer. After bringing it all to a boil, let it simmer for a few hours.

I added 2 cans of water and it was perfect after simmering for about 5 hours. I'm not very good with a crock pot, but I'm sure you could make it in one. DH said it was spicy, which means it probably would have set my head on fire, but I did use the hot beans and extra hot chili powder! And I did take a picture, but stupidly deleted it, so I'll take another one when I unfreeze the remainder of the chili.

Best. Meal. Ever.

Some nights I make a meal and I'm just like "man, I am awesome at cooking." It doesn't happen very often, but last night was one of those nights. YUM! So we had loaded potato soup (I found a recipe online that was an O'Charley's imitation), cheddar biscuits (Red Lobster imitation), "life changing chicken", and a lame mesclun salad for Mike. Everything was awesome. I could eat a thousand of those biscuits. And the soup was delish! I froze the rest to save for lunches (although I hope you can freeze potato soup...we'll see!).

So recipes:

Very quick, very easy, very delicious (That's what she said)

I of course omitted the chives and parsley, and I also only used 4 cups of half-and-half, and added 1 can of chicken stock. I also added some extra cheddar and some cornstarch at the end to thicken it a bit. Heart attack warning: if following the exact recipe, this soup contains 97% of your daily fat intake. Yeah. No wonder it's good, right.

Life changing chicken:
Chicken tenderloins (fresh work better than frozen with this recipe. I use 2 packages for me and DH, I use 3-4 packages for company)
1 c chopped cilantro
6 T olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic (might want to make it 2 if you are using fresh garlic)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c lime juice

5 T brown sugar
2 T mustard (I use honey dijon)
3 T hoison sauce
1.5 T red wine vinegar

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Combine last 4 ingredients in a separate bowl. Spoon all of the first bowl and about half of the second bowl into a large ziplock baggie. Add chicken, coat it well and stick in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours. Keep other half of second mixture in the fridge too (helps it thicken up a bit). Thread the chicken onto metal skewers and immediately put on a hot grill. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side, basting generously with the remaining mixture. It should be charred but not burnt when you take it off the grill. Eat and enjoy!

These are great for parties too, just take them off the skewers and stick a toothpick through each one. You can even make them ahead of time, refrigerate, then heat and add a little extra sauce. They won't be quite as good as fresh, but they'll still be delicious!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mia Monster!

Sorry for the double dog post, but Mia turned 1 on November 1st! And b/c she is ridiculously spoiled, she not only got presents (a tunnel and agility water bowl), but also a cake complete with candle! Unfortunately the candle really freaked her out, but she stayed long enough for a photo op. I love my little Mia, despite her being incredibly demanding and difficult. Life was much easier before we got Mia, but she brings so much joy to my life that I'm so grateful we adopted her (am I a cornball or what??). Plus we are having a blast learning the sport of agility together!

So Happy Birthday to my little Miss Priss, may she have many more!