Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Eats : )

I had one of the worst commuter experiences of my life today.  To make a long story short, my husband and I went to three different commuter rail stops (I got dropped off at the third) before I decided to stop waiting in the cold and grab a cab to the local T stop about 10 miles away.  Thirty dollars broker, I arrived at the T just in time to get on as it was going inbound to Boston.  Unfortunately, three stops later, it decided to stop in between stations for 45 minutes due to a "disabled train."  So there I was, in my gym clothes at 9:30am and still 20 minutes away from work.  Luckily my work was accommodating and I was able to shower and get to my desk by 10:15am.  Needless to say, commuting sometimes really blows.

But on a brighter note, I cooked up some delicious meals over the weekend.  My plan on Saturday was to bake cookies for the Blogger Cookie Swap, grocery shop and then head into town.  Unfortunately, my plans got derailed when halfway through the cookie process I failed AND I started to feel sick.  So I decided to bail on the Cookie Swap. My first non-successful cookie was these 5 ingredient macaroons from Ina Garten. 5 Ingredients- how could I mess that up?  Well as most of you know, 14 ounces of liquid is not the same as 14 weight ounces (OBVI!)  Needless to say, I ended up with little blobs.  I know exactly what I did wrong (didn't add enough coconut) and I know I will make these another time successfully.
Aren't they scary???
Lucky for me, I had planned to make TWO kinds of cookies.  The others were from Jen at Peanut Butter Runner/Bakin' and Eggs and they were successful  - Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies.  I added in the almonds because I really wanted to make an Almond Joy inspired cookie.  Another thing that differed from her recipe is that I only had enough for about 20 cookies and she made 30.  Hmmm... I really need to work on my baking skills! But these cookies were delicious and I wish I got to share them at the Cookie Swap!
On Saturday night I made one of the most delicious soups I've ever tasted- Tortilla Soup from Baked Bree. The freshness of the ingredients made this vegetarian soup (well, I used Chicken Broth) really delectable.  I just absolutely loved everything about it!
Tortilla Soup
2 cans Rotel tomatoes, I used one mild, one medium
2 carrots, peeled
1 green pepper
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
1/2 cup cilantro
tortilla chips

for garnish:
tortilla chips

Put the Rotel, carrots and pepper in the food processor.
Process for a few minutes but keep a little chunky.  
Then in a large Dutch oven (if you are a lucky enough to have one) or pot, saute onions and garlic until soft and then add in all the spices.  Cook for one minute.  Add tomato mixture, broth, beans and corn.
Simmer partially covered over low heat for 30 minutes. Add clilantro and then ladle the soup into bowls.  I added more cilantro, avocado and cheese on top.  Oh and I would have served with tortilla chips but I only had pita chips...
Mmmm... I wish I still had more leftover!  So fresh and delicious.

I also made Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker using both chicken tenders and chicken thighs.  It was pretty simple- a recipe I found in Everyday Food by Martha Stewart.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless,skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces ( I bought tenders)
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup Buffalo Wing sauce ( I used Franks)
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tbsp. molasses

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Repeat with chicken breasts. To skillet, add onion, garlic, red pepper, and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker. To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours. Shred chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on buns. 
 With all the leftover chicken, I made Buffalo Chicken Tacos on Sunday.  All I did was saute up some red onions and slaw mix, hit up the chicken mixture and serve it in a Josephs Flour Tortilla.  If you're into blue cheese or ranch dressing you could add that.  But thats not for me!
Oh... and lastly, I made some breakfast "loafs" for the week using my amazing new loaf pan!  I wanted to do a take on The Chic Life's Green Monster Muffins but as loafs and with banana as well.  These were pretty fun to create and I'm sure look pretty scary to non-healthy eaters!
Green Monster Banana Mini Loafs
1 cup oats
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
Wet Ingredients: 
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup of milk
1 cup PACKED, triple washed baby spinach, chopped by food processor into small bits 
1 ripe banana, mashed 
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your mini loaf pan. Add dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together. Mash the banana then whisk in the rest of the wet ingredients. Pour dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredient mixture, add 1/4 cup walnuts if desired, and stir gently just to combine – do not over-mix. Pour batter into loaf pans – about 3/4 full each. Bake for 15-25 minutes until centers set or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Pop out of loaf pans and let rest.  Then enjoy!  
I'm telling you, these were delicious!  You can't even taste the spinach but you know its there because of the pretty green specks!  A nice way to throw some greens into your food : )

..And I'm off... here's hoping the commute home is better than the commute in : )


  1. Blahhh that commute sounds awful! I get so anxious and unpleasant in those situations. Sometimes the MBTA really sucks.
    But your food looks awesome :) especially the buffalo chicken. I need to remember to make more slow cooker meals!

  2. Sorry your week got off to such a rocky start - ouch! Hopefully tomorrow is better.

    Again, you impress me with another round of delicious eats! I am dying to that slow cooked buffalo chicken. I once had a reputation for being obsessed with buffalo wings. I'm not sure that's something to be proud of, but I still love 'em!

  3. that soup is right up my alley! I'm sorry you didn't make the cookie swap and for one hell of an awful commute.

  4. I swear, I shouldn't read your blog when I'm hungry! SO GOOD! I am impressed you tried all those recipes!! Sign me up for some Green Monster bread!!

  5. Oh the soup looks amazing, i've been poking around for recipes so thanks!!

  6. What a horrendous commute. I feel so bad for my New England friends!

    And I agree with the above comment: I should not read your blog when I'm hungry. The dinner I'm making doesn't look half as good as your eats!

  7. A Green Monster smoothie is one of my favorite things and this mini bread version looks really interesting.

  8. I'm so sorry about that awful commute!! That sound incredibly frustrating. I think I would've been ready to scream by the time I made it to the office.

    And I know those macaroons didn't come out right, but they still look delicious to me! If you don't want them, I'll take them off your hands. ;) Everything else you made looks delicious as well! I tried to channel some of your food-prep skills and made extra lentils and butternut squash tonight. But that's about as far as I got. Oh steps, right?? ;)

  9. I'm sorry the macaroons didn't work out, but those other cookies look fabulous! I think you're getting better and better at baking! You'll be a pro in no time!

  10. Commuting is the WORST. Especially in Boston where the trains can be so unpredictable. Oy.

    I want to dive into that bowl of tortilla soup! It looks so delicious...and so healthy that I'm sure it cured whatever sickness you had instantaneously!

  11. seriously your food just makes my mouth water. YUM! And UGH - the T and MBTA are not things I miss from living in Boston The T just sucks.

    Thank you so much for the Achilles advice - I hope you're right :)

  12. The soup and buffalo chicken sound awesome! Bummed that you didnt get to make it to the swap, but yes we should definintely meet up!! That girl from Holliston was Allison! She actually ended up at UNH (where I went too) so I would see her here and there, too funny. Yes I totally miss working there :)
    Hope your commute is better today!!

  13. I love the addition of almond in the cookies! They look pretty tasty.

  14. Sorry about the bad commute. The cookies look fabulous!

  15. Sorry about your crappy commute! I know that can completely ruin a perfectly good day.
    You really can't taste the spinach in those? I would love to try making that, but I can almost guarantee my husband wouldn't eat it!

  16. I love that you added spinach to your banana loaves! I've tried the green monster smoothies but haven't experimented with baking yet. I love the smoothies (keep telling myself to get back into habit of making them) so maybe now I'll try baking with spinach!
    And yeah, commuting is awful this winter!!

  17. you had quite some fun in the kitchen this weekend :) hope you're feeling better, missed you on saturday! those cookies do look yummy, hope you're enjoying them amidst all those other fabulous meals!

  18. Yeah that's the truth. commuting does blow.

    Ha....the cookies remind me of the waffles I made on Saturday.

    Oh my gosh I printed out the green monster banana bread!

  19. That commute sounds like a nightmare. I would have given up! I hope today was better!

  20. Um, I wish you got to share your cookies too, they sound delish! I never get as many cookies as a recipe states... but it's because I'm good for eating half the dough ;) We missed you!

    I love the idea of the buffalo chicken tacos.. you are totally on to something.

  21. Boo to your commute and your cookie fail. I've heard good things about that Ina recipe so I wonder what happened. Baking is so weird sometimes.

    I tend to make pretty small cookies so that might explain the 20 v 30 issue but regardless, I'm glad these turned out for you!

  22. tortilla soup is one of my favorite soups too! i have to try this recipe! ive been hearing a lot about rotel tomatoes and i need to try those too!