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General Tso’s Chicken

27 Jun

Despite the drama of the weekend, I also found the time to put together the Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken from the Crockpot 365 blog.  Perfect for race day, I threw everything together in less than 10 minutes on Saturday before leaving for the race.  By the time I got back from my post-race WW trip, I only had an hour to wait to add the last little bit.  Another hour after that, it was done.

And it was delicious.

There are definitely a few differences between this one and a General Tso’s from the Chinese takeaway.  For starters, like the Crockpot Lady said, the chicken isn’t battered and double-fried.  Personally, I think that’s a good thing.   The second is that it’s not quite as spicy.  I think next time, I’ll add a few more red pepper flakes and see where that takes me.

All in all, with it being so quick and easy, and only 4 points per serving, this one’s definitely a keeper.

 

How do you f#$k up a college staple?

13 Jan

It’s been an insane week so far, and we’re still not over it yet.  Last night, I almost called the sushi guy, but I stood firm and then made what had to have been the biggest disaster to date.

But first, let’s go back to Saturday….

  • Saturday was my first “meal” out since starting this little adventure.  It was an event, so it counted in the “rules. ”  My friend and I split a wine and cheese plate (which is why it’s a “meal,” not a meal).  Good times, but when I got home, I realized that before starting this project, I probably would have polished off that cheese plate myself.  I have to wonder, then, if stunts like that are what’s been holding me back in the WW arena?  Must explore further….
  • Sunday, sis cooked.  This is the second time she’s done it (two Sundays), and I have to say I like this pattern.  She destroyed the kitchen with the Chicken Pizza recipe from the new Hungry Girl show (don’t ask for it, I don’t think I was paying attention), but it’s starting to come back to normal.
  • Monday was the Shrimp and Grits.  Another one from the Cook This, Not That book, I only altered the recipe by making 3/4 c of grits instead of the 1/2 c.  Delicious, especially the next day when the broth had a chance to seep into the grits themselves.
  • Tuesday was Buffalo Chicken Dip. Not fancy, but a good comfort food when its supposed to be snowing outside.

Which leads us to last night.

Last night I just wasn’t in the mood to cook anything.  One of those house-full-of-food-and-I-have-nothing-to-eat kind of things.  I didn’t want to devote the time to actually putting together a full meal, but I also had had a long day and my brain was kind of done.  I was thirty seconds away from calling for sushi when I saw it: cream of broccoli soup, a can of peas, and some rice.

When I was in college, this was a typical finals-week meal for me.  One of those things that magically came together because I was either too poor to order or too not in the mood to make a decision about anything — especially pizza toppings.  A couple of cans, a thing of milk, and twenty minutes, and dinner was on the table.

So, I commenced to screwing it up royally.  First thing’s first.  It wasn’t broccoli soup in college it was Cream of Mushroom.  This, I learned last night, is extremely important flavor-wise.  Next, I forgot that the whole point of this is to cook the rice IN the soup mix.  Thankfully, another recipe I’m doing tonight (and NOT screwing up) needs brown rice.  Lastly, measurements are key.  The rice never quite soaked up all of the liquid, so I basically found myself eating broccoli soup with rice and peas.  Gross.

I’m pretty sure my college days are over for a reason.  Next!

First Week

6 Jan

It’s been a little busy since Sunday, but I’m pleased to report that I’ve been keeping up with things. My sister cooked on Sunday (hey, it counts since it was homemade),  Tuesday I ate soup, and Wednesday I didn’t eat much of anything due to a stomach virus that is best left not discussed.

That leaves Monday, and my little project’s first official disaster.

I’d made the Cavatappi with Cauliflower before, and it turned out pretty well (well, sis wasn’t that pleased with it but I was a fan).  I had no reason to think it was going to turn out any differently this time around either.   Yeah, not so much.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t let it steam long enough because the cauliflower was still pretty hard.  And burnt.  I’m pretty sure the lesson learned here was not to take a phone call in the middle of making dinner.  If only I’d been watching it….

There are no pictures of this week’s debacle.  I’m just too ashamed.

1 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), finely chopped (large)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, to 1/8, or to taste
1 Tbsp canned tomato paste
1 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped
16 oz frozen cauliflower, 1 package, thawed
2 cup(s) cooked pasta
  1. Heat the oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until the oil sizzles and the garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Place the cauliflower and tomato paste on opposite sides of the skillet and cook, stirring separately, until tomato paste turns orange-gold, about 1 minute. Add the broth, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is very tender, 20–23 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the trumpetti according to package directions, omitting the salt; drain. Add the pasta to the cauliflower sauce and toss until mixed. Serve, sprinkled with the parsley. Yields 1 1/2 cups per serving.

I’ll try this again one of these days, but I’m really not in any hurry. Here’s hoping that tonight’s Thai Rice with Pineapple and Shrimp turns out better.

Day 1: Greek Lamb and Orzo

30 Dec

I have a couple of life-rules that have served me well over the years.

  1. Never root for the New York Yankees
  2. Never start a diet on a Monday
  3. Never start your New Years Resolutions on January 1

#1 is pretty self-explanatory for a Baltimore girl, but #2 and 3 are the result of tried science.  When a new project is started on a Monday or on the first of the year, it’s almost guaranteed to fail within days.  Start it on an off day, and the results are much better.

So, I thought I’d get started this morning.

I decided to start out relatively easy with Betty Crocker’s Greek Lamb and Orzo, and headed downstairs to check the pasta supply.  That’s when things went horribly, horribly wrong.  I’m still traumatized by the details, so I can only say that I’m glad I was wearing my glasses when the entire box of spaghetti decided to empty its contents at my face.  I grabbed the box, determined to save at least some of the spaghetti that hadn’t fallen out, and tipped the box up.  Good plan, right? Well, it would have been if I hadn’t also been holding a box of orzo that then opened up and spilled a good portion of its contents all over the floor.

After cleanup and a trip to Wegmans for supplies, I was finally ready to get started. The recipe — billed as a quick 20 minute endeavor — was pretty spot on as far as prep time goes.  To be sure, all it was was opening two cans of tomatoes, cutting up some celery (I used two stalks, not one), and making sure the lamb cooked before adding everything.  Another five minutes or so, though, would have been better.

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well.  I did forget to drain the lamb, so it was a tad greasier than I anticipated.  Also, I turned the orzo up to boil and then was distracted by a shiny object. The result: I kind of forgot to turn it down. It was a little burned on the bottom, but not too bad.

Paired with an amazing Virginia Meritage, I’ll definitely take another pass at this again.

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