Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

I’m back online!

You may have noticed that the site was down for nearly a week!  There were apparently a few plugins that were hacked with malicious content and, in the process of getting those cleaned up, my entire site was wiped clean.  My host kept telling me to work with my web developer to get a clean copy reloaded from backup.  They didn’t seem to understand that *I* am my own web developer but am not a tech whiz.  I had my back ups but just couldn’t seem to get it restored on my own.

Soooo…. after much back and forth with… um…. outsourced tech service people, the site *IS* back now… for the most part.  It’s missing the more recent posts and I’m missing plugins but my work for the past year and a half is here. 🙂

Please bear with me over the next few days while I get everything back to the way it should be.  Since I work 7am – 7pm this week for my paycheck, it will take me a little while but we should be back up all the way by next Monday’s recipe post.

Whew!

Until later, sweet p’taters!


 

Edit: Everything that was missing is back!  Yay!

 

 

Chipotle Adobo BBQ Sauce

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With a can of chipotles in adobo as the base, this BBQ sauce is not for the feint of tongue!


It’s no secret that I loooooove condiments and have a tendency to go with nice strong flavors.  This is probably the most tenacious table sauce I’ll ever make because it certainly lets its presence known in your mouth.

This is actually adapted from the Texas-style barbecue sauce recipe over at Scarletta Bakes.  I’ve never been to Texas so can’t really speak on their sauce but I was definitely intrigued by the used of adobo sauce.  I didn’t want to have a bunch of adobo-less chipotles, though, so I pureed a whole can together.

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forgot to strain this through a fine sieve so it’s not a smooth as it should have been but it didn’t detract from the flavor at all.  A little also goes a long way.  See how much I have slathered on my pulled pork? Yeah… I did not need that much.  🙂

Even though this is a lot spicier than I normally make or use, it has a good flavor which I think is important.  I have a friend who goes for really hot food and has actually used ghost peppers.  Umm…. no, thank you.  I want to be able to taste my food.  And this is definitely tasty!

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Chipotle Adobo BBQ Sauce
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Makes: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 7 oz can chipotle in adobo
  • ½ c water
  • 1 c apple juice or cider
  • 2 ~ 6 oz cans of tomato paste
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
Instructions
  1. In a small food processor or blender, puree the contents of the canned chipotle in adobo with ½ cup of water until well blended.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the pureed adobo with the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine well.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium-low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until it reaches your desired thickness.
  4. Remove from heat. If desired, press through a fine mess strainer for a smoother sauce.
Notes
Adapted from Scarletta Bakes

 

Blueberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal

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Whether you are feeding a group of people or making breakfasts to last throughout the week, this baked oatmeal comes together quickly and can be eaten either cold or reheated.


Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  This month I was excited to be assigned Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy & Low Calorie by Debbi who is “determined to make healthy, low calorie meals without compromising taste” which is something I can definitely get behind.  She has so many recipes that I wanted to try but I ultimately settled on her Blueberry & Cream Baked Oatmeal because, well, I really needed a new breakfast option and blueberries are also coming into season so they are cheap right now.

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This was REALLY good!  Not too sweet but just sweet enough.  I ended up adding a tablespoon of brown sugar to mine before I baked it because it just sounded right to me but, if you like a little less sweet, just stick with the honey like Debbi did.  I ate my first serving fresh out of the oven but I brought this to work for breakfast the rest of the week and ate it cold.  I truly ended it both warm and cold.

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You don’t have to use only blueberries for this, either.  This week I made….

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…from some peaches I got at a farmers’ market this past weekend.  I used this same recipe but tossed some diced peaches with a tablespoon of sugar that I let set to macerate while mixing the rest of the ingredients.   Now I’m trying to decide what fruit I’ll use for next week!

Blueberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal
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Makes: 6 large servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c skim milk
  • ¾ c plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ c honey
  • 1 egg<
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c (1 pint) fresh blueberries (or you can use frozen)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, yogurt, honey, egg and vanilla until semi-mixed.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently until well mixed.
  5. Gently stir in the blueberries and pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Lay a cookie sheet on top (or cover with foil) and bake 25 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the center is set.
  7. Peaches and Cream variation: substitute the blueberries for 2 cups of diced peaches tossed with 1 Tbsp sugar. Prepare the peaches before starting the rest of the recipe and let set until needed.
Notes

 

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Chicken & Pineapple Fried Rice

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Rice and chicken cooked over the weekend make this an even speedier dish for a busy weeknight!


I was perusing the interwebs and came across a number of chicken and pineapple recipes such as chicken and pineapple skewers (much like the steak ones I made) and Hawaiian chicken sandwiches.  I started to think about doing a stir-fry but remembered the bags of Success Rice I still had in the pantry.  That’s how this fried rice came to be!

Mr. O cooked 3 chicken quarters and 3 bags of rice for me one afternoon and the next day I was able to throw this dish together.  I bought a mix of pea pods and baby carrots so all I had to do was toss the container into the skillet.  I used the cooking time for these to dice up my chicken, bell pepper, and pineapple, just pausing occasionally to stir the veg on the stove top.

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I also purposely left the pieces large instead of chopping them small like in traditional fried rice.  I think it makes it easier to eat, especially when eaten as a meal.  And, also unlike traditional fried rice, this has no egg in it.  Mr. Onion-hater is also an egg-hater but for different reasons.

The next time I make this, I want to use red bell pepper for no other reason than the color.  The yellow pepper looks too much like the pineapple so my eye would just prefer another contrast.

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See? Wouldn’t red look pretty?

This doesn’t have a super strong flavor which is a nice change from the usual bold flavors I tend to make.  Everything tasted like what it was with just a little something extra.  Want more flavor?  Then just double the sauce.  Easy fix! 🙂

Chicken & Pineapple Fried Rice
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Makes: 20 mins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 10 oz fresh mix of baby carrots and sugar snap peas (~2-3 cups)
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded, deveined, and cut into ½"X2" pieces
  • 4 c cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4-5½" pineapple slices, cut into small pieces
  • 6 c cooked rice
For the sauce
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and peas and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. While the peas and carrots cook, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  3. Stir in the bell pepper and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chicken and pineapple and cook, stirring, another 3 minutes.
  5. Whisk the sauce and pour it over the chicken and vegetable mix. Stir to coat.
  6. Stir in the cooked rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until everything is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Mustard Pasta with Homemade Bratwurst

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Easy to make homemade bratwurst cooked with red peppers then tossed with pasta and a super fast mustard sauce  is bowl full of summertime comfort without a grill.


 

I’d like blame the fact that I don’t own a grill on being a recently-moved apartment dweller but the truth is I didn’t own a grill even when I had my various houses.  I *love* the flavor of food off a charcoal grill but they seemed so fussy to get going and then having to clean them, etc.  And I am a lazy Sashi.  Yeah, I could have gotten a propane grill but meh.  It’s just not the same.

The apartment I live in now only allows grills to be used 15 feet from the building so I’d have to go down to the ground level and basically cook in my downstairs neighbor’s back yard.  That’s way more work than I want to devote to messing with a grill.

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Besides burgers and BBQ chicken, one of my favorite grilled meats are brats which are loaded with so many things that make my stomach hurt not to mention sodium nitrite which is a migraine trigger for me.  That’s why I had come up with the brat patties a while back.  I had planned to make them for dinner but, when it came time to cook, I realized I had already used the last of the burger buns from the freezer.

Fortunately, I had already been plotting this dish in my brain so it ended up being the perfect time to make it and it turned out so much better than I could have imagined!  The bratwurst mixture just takes a couple of minutes to mix up and then I let it sit while I got the water boiling for the pasta and cut up my peppers.  By the time the pasta was done cooking, the bratwurst meat and peppers were cooked and the sauce was heated.  Then it all got tossed and nommed.

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If you like a saucier sauce, then by all means increase it!  The pasta absorbs a lot of it so, if you have leftovers, it may be a little dry.  I just tossed mine with a little more mustard and it was fine.  If you like onion, I think replacing one of the peppers with chopped onion would be SO good but I couldn’t do that to Mr. O.And, if you really want to, you COULD use store-bought brats but this is so quick to mix up and you can see exactly what goes into it.  Plus, people seem impressed when you say you made your own bratwurst. 🙂

Mustard Pasta with Homemade Bratwurst
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Makes: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb reduced fat ground pork
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground mace
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne (1/4 tsp if you like a spicy sausage)
  • 12 oz wheat egg noodles
  • 2 bell peppers, deseeded, deveined, and diced
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ c olive or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground pork, ¾ tsp salt, coriander, sugar, mace, black pepper, allspice, paprika, nutmeg and cayenne. Mix well until well blended. Let it sit until needed.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat for the pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse.
  3. As soon as the water is on the heat, prep the peppers and set aside.
  4. Set a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat and let heat for a few minutes.
  5. Add the sausage mix and cook, breaking into to large bite-sized pieces. When the pieces are about halfway cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the peppers and cooking, stirring, until the sausage pieces are brown and cooked through, another 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove the sausage and peppers to a bowl and set aside.
  7. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, melt the better with the oil. As soon as the butter is melted, stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard until well blended. Stir in the pasta and toss to coat well. Stir in the sausage and pepper mix and serve.

 

 

Creamy Tuna Pasta

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Craving tuna noodle casserole but not the fat, sodium, or other junk that sometimes goes into it?  Here is a healthier version that’s pretty darn tasty!


 

Mr. O was craving tuna noodle casserole the other day.  I’ll be honest… I’ve never had it before.  I’ve never been a fan of cream-based sauces or anything with cream o’stuff soup in it and the thought of warm tuna was never high on my list.  But I thought his request would be a fun challenge!

My first thought was to do a cheese sauce using Parmesan and the rest pretty much came together from there.  Mr. O said it wasn’t the same as a tuna casserole but liked it and could definitely tell that that’s what I was trying to replicate for him.  I’m an optimist… I’ll take that as a win. 🙂

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This comes together pretty quickly, too.  While the pasta was boiling, the sauce is made and all comes together at the end.  Ta-da-daaaa!  Dinner!  While I the water was boiling, I did what little prep was needed: grated the Parmesan and drained the tuna.  I was exhausted after SO much work.  Heh heh! 🙂

Actually, after working all day, this was certainly a nice bowl of noodly comfort so I can certainly understand the appeal of tuna noodle casserole as comfort food.  But I like how this is a healthier, real food version.  I also like how little effort actually went into preparing it so I was able to sit back and relax a lot more quickly.And I am all for that!

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Creamy Tuna Pasta
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Makes: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz wheat egg noodles
  • 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • ¼ c wheat flour
  • 2 c skim milk
  • 2 ~ 5oz can tuna in water, drained
  • 1 c freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. 2 minutes before the maximum cook time, add the frozen peas. After 2 minutes, remove from the heat and drain.
  2. Once you add the pasta to the water, add the butter to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. As soon as it is melted, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook, whisking for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Let simmer, whisking occasionally, until the consistency of paint, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tuna, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts.
  6. Toss in the pasta and peas until coated and serve.

 

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