Sweet and Hot Sesame Cucumbers

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I mean, I should just give up.

Actually, I have thought about giving up blogging several times.  It takes a lot, A LOT, of time, energy, planning… all things that I have very little of.  And I don’t like to do things half-way; if I’m not automatically great at something, I like to quit while I’m ahead.  Or behind.

At any rate, I really don’t want to quit. I’d rather give excuses. I have a few good ones for my major blogging deficiencies that have been eating all of my time:

  • I’ve been taking a dance class,
  • I’ve been traveling for work,
  • I started tutoring at this AMAZING volunteer after-school program, and
  • I. MOVED. AGAIN.

Yes. I moved again. You know what? Continue reading

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Gluten Free(ish) Chicken Soup

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My name is Jenni B, and I have issues.

I mean, I come home after a dogged day at work, and my brain is screaming type, woman!  Type to your clamoring fans!  And my body just can’t move off the couch.  It’s not you.  It’s me.  Honest.

And it’s worse than just blogging:  I haven’t been to the gym since Nam.  I thought that going to a hella ‘xpensive fitness/spa/luxurious experience would get myself in gear, but all I can seem to do is Nexflix and chill.  In my head, I’ve run a 10k.  If only my brain could go to spinning (which I haven’t been in 4 months).

And it’s worse than not writing or working out.  I now have a stress-induced ulcer.  Or, ulcah, as my fellow Bostonians would say.  So I have that going for me, which is pretty nice.  So most of my evenings of late have been married to Hulu and/or Netflix out of necessity.

I am trying, my loves.  I’m trying.  In the meantime, I have been severely limited to what I can eat that won’t send me into a tizzy with heartburn, indigestion, and general ulcer-related goodness.  The best recipe that I’ve stumbled across has been this soup:  it’s a spin-off from chicken noodle soup (I’m trying to watch my carbs since I’m not burning many calories these days), but just as wholesome and hearty.  I wanted to post this today in honor of my gluten-free gal pal’s birthday!  I am not sure if it’s completely gluten free because of the spices I used, but let’s go with yes:)  Enjoy!

Materials:

  • slow cooker
  • cutting board
  • two forks
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • lime juice for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cover chicken with spices, then pour in stock.IMG_7144
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours.FullSizeRender (6)
  4. Take out chicken and place onto a cutting board.  Shred with two forks pulling opposite directions.IMG_7148
  5. Place chicken back into broth.FullSizeRender (5)
  6. Add corn and white beans and stir.FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (3)
  7. Serve with a splash of lime juice.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender (1)

Gluten Free(ish) Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:

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  • slow cooker
  • cutting board
  • two forks
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • lime juice for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cover chicken with spices, then pour in stock.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours.
  4. Take out chicken and place onto a cutting board.  Shred with two forks pulling opposite directions.
  5. Place chicken back into broth.
  6. Add corn and white beans and stir.
  7. Serve with a splash of lime juice.  Enjoy!

3-Ingredient Easy Roasted Cauliflower

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Oh, hey.  It’s just about Easter time?  What the what?  I am all out of sorts.  I still have shamrock shakes from St. Patty’s Day in my freezer.  Seriously, is ANYONE a fan of Eater in freakin’ March?  This is ridiculous.  Why does it hop around like that?  (Get it, hop?)  Other holidays are either a set date (like Valentine’s Day), or the first ____ of a month (like Mother’s Day).  This Easter business is a crap-shoot, and I’m over it.  No one even gets Good Friday off anymore, so why even do this in the cold?

Don’t worry, I have a solution:  let’s move Easter to the summer, when we can enjoy the egg hunt without our winter coats.  The calendar may say spring, but it just snowed this week, so who’s with me?

Also, with Easter in March, we are still (well, I am anyway) trying to work off all of the weight we packed on from indulging over the winter holidays.  Desserts, libations, and hibernating (via Netflix) magically make my clothes tighter, and the last thing I want to do is chow down on a spongy, fatty roasted pig and potatoes.

If you’re in my boat, or if you’re cooking for someone who is carb-conscious, you GOTTA try this super-simple recipe:  roasted cauliflower.  3 ingredients, a few minutes, and you’re done.  It’s healthy, tasty, and won’t weigh you down.  And, if we can move this holiday to the summer, it’s good year-round!  Enjoy 🙂

 


Materials:

  • cutting board and knife
  •  1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag
  • non-stick pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • optional:  salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets.IMG_7082[1]
  3. Place cauliflower, garlic, and oil into Ziploc bag.  Shake to mix well.IMG_7085[1]
  4. Pour bag contents onto a nonstick pan.FullSizeRender_2[1]
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden-brown and tender.IMG_7087[1]
  6. Enjoy!FullSizeRender_1[1]

 


 

Easy Roasted Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Materials:

  • cutting board and knife
  •  1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag
  • non-stick pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • optional:  salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
  3. Place cauliflower, garlic, and oil into Ziploc bag.  Shake to mix well.
  4. Pour bag contents onto a nonstick pan.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden-brown and tender.
  6. Enjoy!

Parmesan Squash Ribbons

It’s times like this when I wonder why. WHY. Why am I living up north?  I mean seriously, who am I kidding with this bitter-cold misery?

But I like the seasons, I say.  We all say to justify this crazy thing called winter.  Let me tell you something.  I don’t ski or snowboard Snow-shoeing is out of the question and ice-skating is not for me.  I would be all up in the curling business if they brought that to Boston, but alas, we aren’t with it yet.

Do you want to know what my winter sport is?  It’s bundling up with layers upon layers until every inch of skin is covered thrice over, finding the shortest distance to my destination, and making it there without slipping on ice.  I could go pro.

I say all of this, but it’s not all dismal.  Winter is beautiful, and better yet, it’s a chance to cook hot foods 🙂  Soups, stews, boils, bakes… I love it all.  One of my favorite new cooking ventures that warmed my insides both physically and emotionally ironically featured a an out-of-season star:  the summer squash.  Okay, before you rain hate for me buying out of season, let me be clear:  I don’t care.  I buy what I want.  You should too.

So, this dish.  Oh, this dish.  Full disclosure, I ate the entire pot, by myself.  It was that good.  AND, so easy AND FUN to make, that I am actually excited to make it again 🙂  Enjoy, and stay warm!FullSizeRender_1


 

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • veggie peeler (horizontal)
  • knife and cutting board
  • large pot
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • two large summer squash
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • minced garlic to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil (about a tablespoon) in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Place onion into pot, stirring occasionally. IMG_6750
  4. While onion is cooking, create thin ribbons out of your squash by peeling long strands the  length of your squash.  You may need to rotate around your squash.IMG_6748FullSizeRender_2
  5. Place ribbons and garlic into pot and stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until squash is tender.  NOTE:  ADD WATER TO POT IF NEEDED (about 1/4 c).IMG_6751
  6. Remove from heat.  Add parmesan cheese, alt and pepper to taste and stir.IMG_6752
  7. Serve with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!IMG_6754

 


 

Parmesan Squash Ribbons

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • veggie peeler (horizontal)
  • knife and cutting board
  • large pot
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • two large summer squash
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • minced garlic to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil (about a tablespoon) in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Place onion into pot, stirring occasionally.
  4. While onion is cooking, create thin ribbons out of your squash by peeling long strands the  length of your squash.  You may need to rotate around your squash.
  5. Place ribbons and garlic into pot and stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until squash is tender.  NOTE:  ADD WATER TO POT IF NEEDED (about 1/4 c).
  6. Remove from heat.  Add parmesan cheese, alt and pepper to taste and stir.

White Turkey Chili

Christmas is in one week!  Can you believe???

Did I just send you into a cold sweat?  Sorry.  Didn’t mean to, honest!  Thankfully, my OCD, which is usually my demise, comes in handy this time of year– my presents bought, wrapped, and stacked for two weeks now.  But don’t worry, it’s not all bubbles and butterflies in Jenni’s kingdom:  I still have about 4 dozen deadlines for work (hence no blogging for, oh, 13 days now?) entwined with 18,000 meetings that are somehow scheduled simultaneously, and around coworkers dealing with the same dilemmas.  And maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like everyone has been totally on edge lately.  Perhaps it’s the cray cray weather, or maybe it’s just this time of year that brings out the ho-ho-horrible in people.  I don’t know, but I don’t like it.  Hard pass on that. Continue reading

Slow-cooker Stuffing

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Thanksgiving is upon us!  What’s your favorite food?  Mine is always the stuffing, unless it has celery in it.  Stop ruining a good dish with such a gross vegetable.  Just let me be chubby and eat my mounds of fluffy warm starch, please and thank you!

The one problem on Thanksgiving is trying to time out everything that needs to be baked, right?  Pretty much everything except the gravy and the cran sauce needs the oven, which makes for a very stressful day for the cook.  Add a slew of in-laws, rugrats, and additional pets, and you’re bound to pull your hair out.  Luckily, there’s a solution:  cook your stuffing in the slow cooker!  I made mine in the crock pot, and not only was it delicious, but my place smelled awesome forever.  I highly recommend this.

I did try a new method that I don’t recommend:  if you’re not going to be around to turn off your slow cooker at the correct time and are worrying about burning the stuffing, you can place the ingredients in a smaller dish inside the crock, and surround with water.  IMG_6416

The result:  still delicious, but soggy.  It was in a steam bath for about 12 hours, so totally understandable.  I will definitely make this again, but this time on a day when I am around to monitor.  It’ll be great for tomorrow!  Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!


 

Materials:

  • large bowl
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • spoon or spatula

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of dry/stale bread, any kind (I used wheat), cubed
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 T sage
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • onion powder, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a microwave-proof dish.
  2. Place bread cubes into a large bowl.
  3. Pour melted butter, broth, and seasonings over bread.  Stir to combine.IMG_6414
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours, on LOW for 5 hours (be careful to watch the time, the CAN OVERCOOK!).  FullSizeRender
  5. Enjoy!

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Slow-cooker Stuffing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:

 

  • large bowl
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • spoon or spatula

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of dry/stale bread, any kind (I used wheat), cubed
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 T sage
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • onion powder, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a microwave-proof dish.
  2. Place bread cubes into a large bowl.
  3. Pour melted butter, broth, and seasonings over bread.  Stir to combine.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours, on LOW for 5 hours (be careful to watch the time, the CAN OVERCOOK!).
  5. Enjoy!

Cider-Glazed Carrots

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Thanksgiving is this week?  How did that happen?!  I mean, I know it’s always the last Thursday of November, but it truly feels like it came out of no where.  I would like to know who was on America’s party-planning committee and decided it would be a dandy idea to squeeze all of the best holidays together in an 8-week period.

Okay, chaps!  We have trick-or-treating, feasting until we pass out, and stressing over getting the “it” toy for our little brats.  Oh, oh yes, let’s not forget ringing in the new year with 4,000 of our closest drunk comrades crying in every pub about how their lives and marriages amount to nothing.  I suggest we get them all out of the way in one fell swoop.  Then, years later, our great, great grandchildren will spend the following 6 weeks on internet dating sites frantically finding a significant other to spend Valentine’s Day with.  Sound good?

Ahh, holidays.  Gotta love them!  Unfortunately, I will be missing out on gorging myself this Thursday due to work, but fear not.  I pig out pretty much every day, so it all evens out in the end.

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving meal, big or small, I hope this entry and my next couple will be of some use to you!  I came across this particular recipe last week when I had too many carrots on hand, and some amazing Wegman’s cider left over from my birthday.  Result:  my apartment smelled like apples and cinnamon for days.  Win.

Enjoy!


 

Materials:

  • pot with lid
  • spoon
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1-lb package baby carrots
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 c apple cider
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add carrots, covering with melted butter.  Cook for about 5 minutes.FullSizeRender
  3. Add rest of ingredients and cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until carrots begin to soften.FullSizeRender
  4. Remove lid, and allow cider mixture to reduce to a thick, dark glaze (like syrup).  Stir occasionally.FullSizeRender
  5. Dish will be done when glaze has reduced to at least half its volume.
  6. Enjoy!FullSizeRender

 

Cider-Glazed Carrots

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

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  • pot with lid
  • spoon
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1-lb package baby carrots
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 c apple cider
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add carrots, covering with melted butter.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add rest of ingredients and cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until carrots begin to soften.
  4. Remove lid, and allow cider mixture to reduce to a thick, dark glaze (like syrup).  Stir occasionally.
  5. Dish will be done when glaze has reduced to at least half its volume.
  6. Enjoy!