Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's Cookin?

I have to admit, lately I have been not doing so great on my dinners.  I'm not sure what has happened.  I've lost creativity, I'm tired, it's yucky, and I'm the only one who will eat it.  So I went on strike.  I didn't really eat much besides my new favorite of air popped popcorn with cheese sprinkled on it. Daddy and the kids had Tony's pizza or mac and cheese or both. However, last night I got myself back in the game with some really delicious chicken noodle soup. Tyler hasn't been feeling very good and so I thought that might help him! I also tried to have the house cleaned up and calmer than usual (which would still be wild and crazy in most peoples homes) when he came home!

So, I'm going to try 3 new recipes over the next week or so:

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

• boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks (I used about 4)
• 1/3 cup flour
• olive oil
• 1/2 Tbl. salt
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 3 Tbl. ketchup
• 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (thaw or throw it in the microwave for 45 seconds)
• 4 Tbl. brown sugar

In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour the flour in a small bowl. Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess.

Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken.
The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot.

After the chicken is done cooking, pour the pieces into the crock pot. Then cover the chicken with your sauce mixture and give the pot a stir.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.

Serve over rice.

Bajito Chicken

5 chicken breasts
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
6 oz. Sprite (1/2 can)
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and cook 1 more hour. Thicken the juices with a little cornstarch mixed in water.
Serve with flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, black beans and any other taco fixings.
If you want it spicier rather than sweeter add a hotter salsa and more green chilies.

This would be easy to use as a freezer meal! Once it is all cooked and shredded, pour into a freezer gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Freeze flat. When you are ready to use it, quickly reheat it (either in a crock pot or even a microwave!). (It works best if you let it thaw in your fridge for about 24 hours before reheating it).

Lobster Bisque

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
8 ounces unsalted butter
1-1/2 lbs Maine lobster
32 ounces water
2 cups heavy cream
2 bay leaves
½ cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam lobster in water until done, about 8 minutes. Save stock. Remove lobster meat from shell; set aside. Break up lobster shells, then place them back into the water; simmer over low heat until reduced by half.
Heat half the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and celery and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add bay leaf, tomato paste and sherry and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
Add cream and lobster stock and simmer over low heat (Do not boil.) for 30 to 40 minutes or until soup begins to thicken.
Season with salt and pepper.

Remove lobster shells and bay leaves.
Chop up lobster meat and add to bisque. 
Stir in remaining butter.
Serve hot with a little crème fraiche and fresh chives.

Wish me luck!

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