Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crock-Pot Chicken

When I head into the kitchen to cook a chicken, Raymond is always sure to have a seat on the couch directly in front of our bar that overlooks the kitchen sink.  He likes to have a front row seat to the show.  Once, he even called one of his friend's who then listened in...

You see, I'm not really a fan of disgusting things.  Cleaning a chicken is one of those disgusting things.  It usually involves me wearing throw away rubber gloves, screaming, hopping around a bit, and closing my eyes while I'm pulling things out of the cavity.  I'll open my eyes to check and see if I have gotten everything and if not, I'll close my eyes again and pull some more.  Finally after I have finished getting everything cleaned out, I rinse the chicken really well.  After this is done, I'm not as grossed out handling it.  Who knows, maybe one day Raymond may actually get tired of watching and offer to clean the chicken for me.  ;-)

It is true that a rotisserie chicken is really easy to come by and not all-together that expensive for those recipes that call for cooked chicken.  However, if you buy a full chicken, you can not only cook the chicken for the meat, you can also make 5-6 cups of chicken broth, which I will tell you about soon, without much effort at all, and at a grand total of under $5!!  Other plus's are that you know exactly what is used to cook the chicken and make the broth, no preservatives are used, it is much healthier, AND it is incredibly easy!  All you need is a crock pot, your favorite rub, and some foil.


1 Chicken
2 Tbs of your favorite rub or seasoning


Clean the chicken, removing all the insides.  These can be saved and frozen for broth at a future date once you have gathered the insides from several chickens.

Rinse the chicken well and pat dry.

Rub the chicken with your seasoning of choice.  Depending on what I'm doing with the chicken depends on what I use.  Some of our favorites are a spicy seasoning we get from one of Raymond's co-workers, a mix of rosemary, garlic, and other Italian seasonings, and lemon pepper.

Roll up four pieces of foil into a ball and place inside your crock pot.

Place the chicken on the foil balls.  This step is critical if you are planning on eating the skin and would like it crispy.  We don't typically eat the skin so I skip this sometimes.

Cover and cook on low for 5.5-6hrs.  Make sure a thermometer registers at least 162 degrees-F before taking the chicken out.  Once done you can place on a broiling pan and broil in the oven for a few minutes if the skin is not as crispy as you would like, or you can serve as is.

This is a great way to make a chicken when you are short on time and want to get ahead by pre-cooking the chicken for Chicken, Butternut & Sweet Potato Lasagna, or if you need a protien to accompany a Sweet Potato Rissotto or something like that. ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Egg Bruschetta

It all started the morning after I threw a surprise dinner party for my husband's birthday.  It's a shame I didn't take more pictures while I was making it because it could have supplied posts for the next month or so.  I made lasagna, re-created Raymond's favorite salad from Greece, bite size eggplant parmesan with a dipping sauce, bruschetta, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, chicken fettuccine alfredo, and of course Raymond's favorite cake.  Sadly, I only remembered to take a picture of his full birthday cake with my cell phone before we cut into it.  We ate half of the cake that night!

We were meeting my parents for lunch the next day, so I just wanted something small for breakfast.  I looked at the abundant amount of homemade pesto that we still had, along with the diced tomatoes and leftover cheese.  Thus, the egg bruschetta was born.  I had this for breakfast and really enjoyed the flavors, and have since had if for dinner several nights.  It's so simple as well which is another big plus.


2 tsp Pesto
1 Tomato slice, diced
1 Tbs Cheese, I used a mixture of Parmesan and Mozzarella
1 Slice bread, I used a sandwich thin and it was the perfect size
1 Egg


Heat a flat saute pan or griddle with a spray of olive oil and turn oven to broil.

Put bread in oven to lightly toast.

Crack egg onto pan, cook about 90 sec on either side adding your favorite seasoning to the egg.

When bread is slightly toasted, remove from oven and spread pesto on bread slice.

Top your bread with the fried egg.  Add diced tomato, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Broil for about 3-5 min.


Makes 1 serving each.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breakfast Banana-Nut Brithday Surprise Cake

Whew, that is a long title!  I just had so much I wanted to say to describe this treat, so that is what I came up with.  :-)  Today is my wonderfully fantastic husband's birthday!  Unfortunately, due to my crazy workload at work I haven't made his actual birthday cake yet.  He will be getting his favorite Italian Cream Cake on Saturday.  This morning I got up early to make him this mini breakfast birthday cake, which is pretty much a large glorified muffin.  The best part is that this is actually a rather healthy breakfast cake...see the included whole wheat flour and flax seed.  :)  The recipe is written to make two cakes but can be modified to make as many as you would like.


1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch cloves
1 banana (very ripe and mashed well)
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 Tbs greek yogurt
1 Tbs of your favorite jam
2 Tbs walnuts, chopped

Crumb Topping:
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 Tbs flour
1/2 Tbs butter (cut into small squares and very cold)
1/2 Tbs oatmeal
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Grease 2, 7-8oz ramekins. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients excluding the sugar.  Set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix until well combined.  Add in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla and stir. 

Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula (do not overmix). Add chopped walnuts.  The batter will look thick and chunky.

For the crumb topping, combine all the ingredients except the butter.  Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse read crumbs.

Scrape the batter into the ramekins until halfway filled.  Drop spoonfuls of jam onto the center of the ramekin, take a knife through the batter to swirl.  Add a few berries, I used cherries, but I’d imagine blueberries would be great as well.  Top the ramekin with the rest of the batter. 

Add the crumb topping to the ramekins.

Place the ramekins onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and only a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the center.

Cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle, then light a candle, sing happy birthday and enjoy.

Enjoy the yummy goodness of the surprise jam and berry layer:

Happy Birthday Raymond, you mean the world to me.  I love you!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top 10 of 2011

2011 has been a big year for me.  Lots of changes, lots of firsts, and a lot of memories.  I have most recently become a licensed professional engineer, I have a new niece, well technically I have 6 new nieces and 1 new nephew, I have climbed 2-14er's, gone on a biking brewery tour of Denver, added Greece and Belgium to my list of places traveled, I enjoyed a great weekend with some of my best girlfriends in New Braunsfels, I witnessed some great friends and a cousin get married, I started a food blog, but my favorite moment of 2011, hands down...

...when I married my prince charming.

Though my husband and I toasted the coming of 2012 with painkillers and NyQuil we had a great time doing so because we were together.  He had just had surgery on his shoulder 3 days before, and I had a sinus infection.  We have had a great 2011 and look forward to whatever 2012 brings.

As we were talking about this past year, I asked him for help coming up with my top recipes for the year.  When talking to a friend about posting a top recipe list, we both decided that since I didn't post as much as I had hoped to this year, I should probably just do a top 5.  The problem with that is, I don't post anything unless I really love it.  It was so hard to narrow down the posts, but here is my list of the top 5 recipes of this year:

These took a little bit of effort, but were not altogether really hard to make.  They were so fun making and they turned out incredible.  They were even just as great re-heated after being frozen.  I am so glad I decided to try my hand at making Runza's.

I was absolutely thrilled with how this risotto turned out.  It was so creamy without all the fat!  I have made this dish multiple times this year and loved it each and every time.

This was Raymond's first suggestion when I asked him for help with the top 5 list.  It is a dish I will continue to make for him over the years without changing a thing about it.  We loved it just as is.

This was a hard decision.  Depending on what day you ask me this could be my favorite of the year.  This soup turned out so good that I was even a bit surprised with myself.  Please make this if you haven't already.  It's a creamy yet healthy soup.  What more could you want?

I made this lasagna the end of 2011.  What a great end of the year recipe.  Though I may be partial to butternut squash, this was just outstanding!  I love how well the flavors all paired with each other.  If you only make one recipe from my blog, please make this one, you wont be disappointed.

Just because I have a hard time picking because I love all the recipes I post, I decided to list of the top 5 most viewed recipes this year:

This was such a different way to serve sweet potatoes that it won me over right away.  If you are a curry fan you will love this.  I've served this twice this year and learned that people either love it or hate it, mostly based on the curry.

This was another one of Raymond's picks for the years favorite, so I'm glad I got to include it with this list.  Defiantly a dish worthy of company.

We have a double batch of this in our freezer right now.  It is so easy to put together and freezes well.  The last time we had pizza I made a double batch and froze them in individual Ziploc bags with enough sauce per bag to sauce a pizza.  It makes the next pizza night that much easier.

This recipe is definitely worth a re-peat in the lists.  It is fantastic.  We both loved the smoky flavor of this creamy soup.

It is easy to see why this recipe was the most popular of the year.  I have been making this recipe for years.  It is incredibly easy and oh so good.  A hearty soup with big flavor makes it perfect for the cold winter nights.

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!  I hope you are all in for a great 2012 and thanks for stopping by!