Supper Squash Medley

>I just finished prepping my second crock-pot recipe for tomorrow! This one will only take 6 hours…probably because it is vegetarian but I plan on making a chicken breast to go along with it! The recipe called for green chiles but I am a little afraid of using fresh chiles so I used canned ones…don’t get me wrong, I love heat. Just not the kind that makes your eyes burn just from cutting up the pepper. So I thought the more milder canned kind would be better for now! Here is the recipe.

Combine the following ingredients in your crock-pot, cover, cook on LOW for 6 hours:

-2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (I only had one butternut squash so I added two small acorn squash…hope this ends up working out!)
-1 can of undrained tomatoes (I always buy the no salt added type because it keeps the sodium down!)
– 1 can corn, drained
– 2 onions, chopped (I used small yellow, milder onions)
-2 green bell peppers, chopped
-2 teaspoons minced garlic (I put more than that in there because I love garlic!)
– 2 green chiles, chopped
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 can tomato paste

after 6 hours…remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and combine it with the tomato paste….add back into the crock-pot, stir well, and cook for another 30 minutes!

I am very excited! I hope my substitutions work out!

Left overs

>There’s something about leftovers…there are many pros and cons of leftover food.

Pros: no preparation time, cheapest way to eat (other than free!), all you have to do is microwave
Cons: you have to eat something for an extended period of time, microwaving isn’t the most appetizing cooking technique

I have taken to making a ton of food all at once and then eating off of leftovers for the rest of the week. I am so torn about that technique because I don’t like eating things for a long time but I love not having to cook and spend a lot of time preparing things when I am busy during the week.

This past week I had leftover tomato soup and quite a big of couscous. So, I decided to put the couscous in the soup and add some hot sauce, garlic, and edamamme. It turned out quite well and now I have three individual servings of it in my freezer! I have also been eating my feta, chicken, lima bean, noodle salad this week. I am about ready to be done with that one! I also finished my beef stroganoff this week (which was pretty salty to begin with) by adding some raw tomatoes and cooked carrots to dilute the salt. I have become pretty good in doctoring up leftovers to make them taste differently than the original meal! That is the only way to eat leftovers!

Crock Pot

>Today, I made my first dinner in a crock pot. I was very excited about the prospect of coming home to dinner hot and ready. I decided to make beef stroganoff and prepped it this morning. While I was prepping it this morning I had quite a few difficulties that probably should have hinted to the fact that the dinner wasn’t going to be good but I ignored them!

I spilled the dry onion soup mix all over my counter and the cork in the wine cracked so I couldn’t get it out. It took me an extra 20 minutes to prep this morning but I was still excited about the meal. At lunch I came home and stirred it and is smelled salty. I decided to add some water to dilute the salt and I went back to class.

When I got home I could smell it in the hallway! But it was a disappointment. It turned out to be a salty, runny beef stew. I am a little annoyed with the crock pot recipe book that came with my crock pot but I will really want try making something it it again. The idea of a crock pot is a great idea but my first recipe was terrible…I am thinking about making a chicken chili next…the recipe is from a different cook book so hopefully it will be better! To make up for the bad stroganoff I had some Starbucks vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and some sprinkles! That’s the way to end a bad dinner!

Weekend Food!

>It is only Saturday night and I have a lot of food to talk about!

Last night I went to dinner with a friend. We went to Flattop Grill! I absolutely love Flattop…being able to make your own stir fry but not have to cook it is the best thing! I had always thought that people made their Flattop dinners just like mine. I put in a little bit of noodles and a ton of vegetables. However, last night the friend I went with and quite a few people around us made a sort of lo mein (mostly noodles and a small amount of vegetables). I am not sure I would ever make my Flattop dinner like this but it was interesting to realize that everyone personalizes their Flattop experience very differently! Also, if you have ever been to Flattop I have two tidbits of information: 1) don’t put rice in your stir fry bowl because they will bring it to the table for free and 2) you can get more of the really good flat bread for free if you just ask!

After dinner I went grocery shopping and because of that I got to cook this afternoon! One of my favorite cold salads is a combination of my aunt’s recipe and some of my changes. The way she made the feta salad was with noodles, spinach, feta cheese, chicken and balsamic dressing. I am not a fan of spinach but loved the idea of the salad so I changed the spinach to lima beans and started making it with whole wheat noodles! I love making it because all you have to do is boil noodles, thaw a package of lima beans, crumble some feta cheese (I use a really great feta from my hometown dairy!), and cook some chicken breasts! After all of that is done is put it in a bowl and pour the balsamic salad dressing on it. It usually lasts me a week of lunches which is so great because I don’t have to worry about making something in the morning!

For tonight’s dinner I really wanted something warm because it is freezing in my apartment today and I wanted tomato soup because I just bought a loaf of pepper asiago cheese bread and thought it would be good with tomato soup. But Friday night I made a box of plain whole wheat couscous and it tasted like cardboard (I normally make the kind with a flavor packet – Garlic and Olive Oil is the best!). I didn’t want to throw it away but I knew I couldn’t just eat it with a chicken breast because of the way it tasted. So I decided to make some tomato soup, poor the couscous in it and then I had half the bag of lima beans left so i threw them in! It started turning out pretty good but it was lacking flavor. I poured in a bunch of hot sauce, some chili power, some garlic powder and pepper. Once it was heated I grated so Jarlsberg cheese on top and it was great! I love making dinner out of a couple random ingredients, a bunch of spices, and a great topper (the cheese)!

New Blog Topic

>I am now blogging, not about myself, but about food! I absolutely love food and as a college student, plan to not eat like one! Over the summer I have discovered that I am decently talented in the kitchen and love the products of spending time there. In the past I never spent much time in the kitchen and was not very adventurous. I grew up eating meat and potatoes every day of the week except Tuesdays when we had beef tacos with lettuce and shredded lettuce. Because of that limited menu I have become pretty adventurous with new foods and learning how to cook interesting ingredients.

I have conquered some great ingredients this summer including kale, bok choi, squash, and couscous. I can even make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch (I put hot sauce in it to make it a little different)! I have also been a little weary about baking but recently made whole wheat banana muffins from scratch two weeks ago!

I make pretty simple meals but make them special by doctoring up inexpensive ingredients and making things last. I will be blogging about what I cook, recipes I have found and tried, and positive or negative restaurant experiences that have influenced how I may cook in the future.