Crockpot Chicken Fajitas….i’m SERIOUS!!

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Chicken Dishes, September 2012

 

First off I have to tell you I love my crockpot/slow cooker. Sorry, there is the first debate already. I call it a crockpot even though mine isn’t REALLY a Crockpot. Mine is a slow cooker of the Betty Crocker variety (I think?). This argument is along the same lines as whether it’s a Kleenex or a tissue. And before you ask, yes…I call it Kleenex. At least I am consistent.

Crockpot is essentially a brand name as is Kleenex. We shall put it in a Sheldon-like analogy. Crockpot is to slow cooker as Kleenex is to tissue.  I love Sheldon. Even though he is a gay man playing a neurotic, Asperger, genuis. I don’t think either of them would be attracted to me. Oh but I digress (and my ADD makes an appearance!).

 

I am so glad it is fall. I love summer, don’t get me wrong. I love spring too. But there is just something about fall that I adore. The crisp weather (as much as I love Jamaica, I am not really one for the heat. I’m so happy God invented air conditioning! ADD!!), all the pumpkins and scent of cinnamon and nutmeg (ok, that’s my Scentsy warmer….check out my website www.erinsperfectscents.scentsy.ca), Halloween and my birthday (which means VACATION!).  I ALSO love fall because I bring out my crockpot. Not sure why I feel it’s wrong and blasphemous to use it sooner. I like coming home to ready made meals in July too. Hell, it probably makes MORE sense to use it in the summer when it’s too hot to use the oven. Dammit…a flaw in my reasoning. Sheldon will never love me now.

 

Anyway. So we all know I have been on a bit of a Pinterest kick lately. Did you see my vases?

 

I found this recipe for Crockpot Chicken Fajitas on ‘The Pinterest’ and since they are one of Brens favorites I thought i’d give it a try. BIG HIT!!! They are soooooo good. I pretty much followed the recipe to a ‘T’. Well if by ‘T’ I mean that all the ingredients she listed, I included, then YAY I did! I don’t measure though so I can only guesstimate how much I actually put in. Oops.

Here is the exact recipe: (props to www.stacymakesscents.com)

 

1 yellow onion, sliced (I used 1/2 of a large sweet onion)

3 sweet peppers, sliced (I used 1/2 a green pepper and 1/2 a red pepper)

1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs (I used 4 boneless, skinless breasts)

1/4 to ½ cup chicken broth, depending on preference (I used 1/4 cup and then when I came home and the crockpot was on ‘keep warm’ I felt it looked a little dry so I added another 1/4 cup)

½ teaspoon salt (4 sprinkles?)

2 tablespoons cumin (I used 1/2 tsp)

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder (I used 1/4 tsp)

Squirt of lime juice (half a fresh squeezed lime)

Tortillas

Fajita fixings (PICO DE GALLO!!!!!! and sour cream)

 

Here are the complicated, in depth instructions.

Spray crockpot with Pam (or no name equivalent!).

Place sliced veggies in the crockpot.

Place chicken breasts in the crockpot.

Pour in chicken stock.

Add lime juice.

Sprinkle with all the spices.

 

Cook on low 8 hours.

Shred with a fork.

Place on warm tortilla with your favorite fajita condiments.

Eat.

 

once the chicken has been shredded with 2 forks

 

 

 

 

For the Pico de Gallo (fresh salsa?) I chopped 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped 2 green onions, added 1 tsp chopped garlic and 2 Tbsps lime juice to a bowl. In a food processor I added 1/2 sweet onion, 1 whole jalapeno (removed seeds) and a handful of fresh cilantro. Pulse until onions are macerated. Add to bowl. I added a pinch of salt (to taste) and 1/2 tsp cumin. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

 

 

SO GOOD!!! SO EASY!!!!!

 

ready ta EAT!

 

Sorry there wasn’t many pictures but seriously it was so easy that the steps were irrelevant!

And before you judge, yes that is string cheese on the fajita as well. I wanted cheese and I had nothing else. We improvise around here! A salty cheese like feta or queso fresco would have been fantastic!!

I hope you enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick.

 

An Exercise in Decadence…Lobster Mac & Cheese

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Main Course, Seafood Dishes, September 2012

 

The Superstore had live lobster on sale for $5 a pound a few weeks ago…I got 4 lovely ladies for a little under $20. After eating one fresh out of the shell with butter and using another a lobster rolls I had hit a brick wall. What to do with the other 2?? I know I could freeze them for a later time but why not get a little adventurous?

I am fairly certain I had heard of Lobster Mac & Cheese on one of the multitude of cooking shows I watch. If you know me you know that its either HGTV or Food Network around here almost 24/7. Unless Big Brother is on….or Criminal Minds….or Sons of Anarchy. Anyway, the point is I watch a lot of cooking shows (and apparently other tv shows!). I googled for a recipe but since I was in my pjs and super lazy I had to do quite a few substitutions. Almost so many that it really cannot be considered “following a recipe”. I kinda made it up as I went along using the recipe(s) I found as more like guidelines then actual recipes per se.

 

So for my bastardized version….

What you will need is:

 

 

meat of two 1 to 1 1/2 lb lobsters, in largish bite sized pieces

3-4 cups of cooked elbow macaroni, drained and cooled

1 small diced onion

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I like old but you can use your preference…the recipe called for Gouda. I have never even EATEN Gouda cheese let alone have any in my fridge!)

2 Tbsps Cheez Whiz (recipe called for Velveeta…close enough)

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Chicken stock (the recipe called for dry white wine….yeah, none of that around here)

3 heaping Tbsps flour

salt and pepper

2 Tbsps + 2 Tbsps butter

1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream works!)

bread crumbs

garlic powder

 

 

 

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, warm cream.

In a separate medium saucepan melt 2 Tbsps butter over medium heat and saute the onions about 2 minutes.

 

 

Add chicken stock and allow to warm up for a minute or two.

Add the flour and whisk (it will make a paste).

 

 

 

Add the warm cream. Stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper).

 

 

Remove from heat and add the cheeses.

 

 

 

 

Stir until combined and melted. Add the lobster and continue stirring for a minute.

 

 

Add noodles and mix well.

 

 

 

 

Place mixture in a greased 9×9 Pyrex pan.

 

 

In a separate bowl add 1 cup bread crumbs (I like Panko Japanese bread crumbs as they are super crunchy), 2 Tbsps melted butter (microwave 20 seconds) and a pinch of garlic powder. Mix together.

 

 

Top the Mac & Cheese with it.

 

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbling. I turned the broiler on high after 35 minutes in the oven and just lightly browned the top for 1-2 minutes.

 

 

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with a little chopped or dried parsley.

 

 

This is SUPER rich and a small bowl is more then enough.

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

 

Roasted Tomato Soup (best soup EVER)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: September 2012, Soups

 

My go to comfort food has always been tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Whether it was a break up, a bad test mark, a job I didn’t get or a painful hangnail, tomato soup always made it better (even if only temporarily…Polysporin helps more with the hangnail). So when I came across a recipe for ‘Roasted Tomato soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons’ I knew I had to make it. Unfortunately it ruined me. This soup is sooooo ridiculously delicious I don’t think I will ever be able to simply open a can of Campbells Tomato Soup ever again.

I have made this twice in 3 weeks. And other then one bowl I gave to my friend Steph I have eaten every last drop myself.

It is easy but time consuming. From start to finish it takes about 2 hours…but then again, any homemade soup is a lesson in patience. The longer it stews the more flavor you get. It’s well worth it, trust me!

 

What you will need:

 

 

6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup whipping cream

 

Heat the oven to 400°.

In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper.

 

 

Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

 

 

Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.

 

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat.

 

 

Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes.

 

 

Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet.

 

 

 

(liquid gold pure FLAVOR!)

 

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth.

 

 

Stir in the cream.

 

 

Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming.

 

The Grilled cheese “croutons” are simply a grilled cheese sandwich cut into cubes. They get very soggy very fast so don’t leave them in the soup too long. By the time I took the pictures the ones in the bowl were a icky, yucky mess. I tossed them, however if when eating your soup you simply drop one in and fish it out right away…YUM YUM YUM!!!!

 

 

Now the second time I made this the cherry/grape tomatoes were no longer on sale so I took a risk and bought what WAS on sale which were hothouse tomatoes (I got 7 LARGE tomatoes for only $3.68!!!)

It works just as well and tastes just as good with these bad boys as their little bitty cousins. Other then the different ‘style’ tomatoes everything else was done exactly the same.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Comeback Sauce

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: September 2012

 

So I have been neglectful of blogging as of late. Blame Pinterest. I do. I have been blaming Pinterest for all of my shortcomings lately (and there are a lot). My house isn’t as clean as it usually is….funny since I have been ‘pinning’ so many cleaning shortcuts and how to use baking soda as a miracle cleaner. Recently we have been eating hot dogs, french fries, salads, frozen pot pies, etc….again funny since I now have 272 food pins, 177 desert pins and 30 pins dedicated to cupcakes. Damn you Pinterest, you have taken away hours, days, weeks of my life. 😉

 

ALTHOUGH….

I have found some great recipes that I HAVE tried and am going to (finally) do a few blog posts on those.

Right now I have this sauce marrying in a mason jar (actually 2) in my fridge. Apparently it is a miracle sauce and can be used on just about anything from french fries to seafood to salads to burgers to sandwich spread to veggies (dip?). The original poster, Jackie Garvins actual words were “….good on EVERYTHING except Cheerios”. Since I have so far only had it on a finger….MY finger….I will have to take her word for it until later when I plan on using it to dip my fries in. With hot dogs. Shut up. Don’t judge me. 😉

 

What you will need:

 

sauce ketchup mayo

(and that is one cute lil Chihuahua peeking at what Mama is doing in the kitchen!)

 

1 cup mayo (NOT Miracle Whip…I used Hellmans)

1/4  cup ketchup

1/4 cup chili sauce  (DO NOT substitute Thai Chili Sauce)

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon ground black pepper (I used more like 1 1/2 teaspoons…I like pepper)

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup light olive oil (I was out so I used light grapeseed oil…it has next to NO flavor)

juice of one lemon

 

You can use fresh diced onions and fresh chopped garlic but this will reduce the shelf life of the condiment. With the powdered versions it will last as long as ketchup and mayo will in your fridge….if you don’t eat it all first.

 

The instructions are super simple. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk. Done.

 

 

I poured the sauce into 2 mason jars and they should keep nicely in the fridge for awhile.

 

 

Jackie was very clear to say that this should “marry” in the fridge overnight. I used it a mere 4 hours after making and it was good but i’m sure will be better tomorrow. Fries or salmon cakes for breakfast anyone?

Enjoy,

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick