Monday, January 31, 2011


I wasn't always a fan of avocados.  At Mexican restaurants, I was known to shove the "green slime" to the farthest corner of my plate.

That all changed with my first stuffed avocado from Trudy's restaurant in Austin.  Since that first bite, I've been an avocado fiend.  I use them in everything from sandwiches to salads.  I even created a dish incorporating the beloved avocado into a stir fry.  Surprisingly, though, I had never I made fresh guacamole until tonight.  This guac was phenomenal- even by itself!

Based on For the Love of Cooking

2 ripe avocados, seeded and diced
1/4 small red onion, diced finely
1 roma tomato, diced
1 small handful of chopped cilantro
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced finely (if you want it spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime

1.  Combine all ingredients.  Cover and let stand in refrigerator 15 minutes.  Serve.
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Crockpot Carnitas

This slow cooker carnitas was tender and spicy.  It was nice to venture away from my usual beef tacos.  I parsed the leftovers into individual servings and froze them.  They reheated well- you couldn't tell it had ever been frozen!

An Ommy Noms original

1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
Small pork shoulder (about 3-4 lbs)
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup chicken broth

1. Combine spices. Pat pork shoulder with spice mixture.
2. Pour chicken broth into slow cooker and add onion and pork shoulder. Place chipotle peppers on top of shoulder. Cook on low until meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork, 9-10 hours. Turn over halfway through.
3. Shred meat, removing the bone and fatty material. Enjoy!
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

White Northern Beans

Put away your canned pork-and-beans, it's time to let the white bean shine!

I've cooked many a pot of black and pinto beans, but had never paid any mind to the smaller white variety.  Then, I saw a drool-worthy picture of these northern beans at Gina's Skinny Recipes and headed out to the grocery store!  These beans turn out thick and hearty and were delicious with crackers and an avocado wedge. Thanks, Gina!

Based on:  Gina's Skinny Recipes

1 lb bag dry white beans (aka northern or navy beans)
2 smoked ham hocks (you can find this in the ham/sausage section at the grocery store)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
3 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak beans in water overnight. The next day, discard water and fill pot with 8 cups of water. Add 1 onion, ham hocks, and green pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

2. Add bouillon, cumin, chili powder, chipotle peppers, cilantro, and garlic.

3. In a separate pan, sautee onion and jalapeno in olive oil until onions are soft. Add to pot of beans and stir well.

4. Continue cooking for 30-45 more minutes until beans are tender and thickened to your liking. Discard ham hocks and serve over rice.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Winter weather is upon us, and I made this hearty soup to help usher it in.  My husband didn't care for the egg noodles in it, so next time I'll use a different type of noodle.  I thought it was tasty, and the leftovers were even better.

I froze some of the soup base (sans the pasta and milk).  I'm looking forward to enjoying it again!

From So Tasty, So Yummy

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon thyme
¼ cup flour
7 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups egg noodles
1 cup milk

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and chicken, until the onions are translucent. Add carrots, parsley and thyme, sauté for a few minutes until the carrots begin to soften. Stir in the flour until it is incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, salt and pepper, stir and bring to a boil. Add noodles and boil for 10 to 15 minutes more, stir in milk during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
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Banana Crumb Muffins

These muffins are great for using up ripe bananas.  They always turn out moist, and the crunchy topping is delicious!  I usually add a handful or two of chocolate chips to the batter.  

From Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crawfish Etouffee

This etouffee is fool-proof and delicious. I made a double-batch and froze the leftovers.  It's just as good out of the freezer as it is fresh!  From the detailed recipe website.

Veggies and butter- how can you go wrong?

The finished product:  not pretty, but VERY tasty!

From Detailed-Recipe
Serves 6

1 pkg frozen crawfish, thawed
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup onions
3/4 cup bell pepper
1/3 cup celery
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock
Salt & pepper
Hot Sauce


Melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, and bay leaf. Increase temperature to medium high. Sautee about 5-7 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Add flour, stir constantly. Cook one minute. Add crawfish and tomato paste, stirring constantly. Cook about 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups of stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, adding extra stock as needed. Season to taste, add green onions. Cook about 5 minutes. Serve over rice.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bread = Fail

Boredom overtook me at about 11:00 tonight.  I figured I'd try my hand at baking bread for the first time. I heated the water, stirred in the honey, and added my super amazingly active insta-yeast. (You get the idea.) I was a pro! Precisely ten minutes later,I mixed in my flour, kneaded 'til the cows came home, and flopped that perfectly imperfect lump into a buttered bowl. Splendid.

An hour later, I could hardly wait to see my dough, doubled in size. "Double dough," if you will. I lifted the towel from atop the bowl in grandiose fashion... and saw that my "double dough" turned out to be a "double didn't". That's right. Staring back at me was that same teensy perfectly imperfect lump of the hour before.

Where had I gone wrong? I had measured, mixed, and kneaded my little heart out. A few minutes on the internet was all it took to learn where I had gone astray. It was in that first little step. You remember- the "I was a pro" step. It turns out the point of mixing all that water, honey, and yeast served a greater purpose than to showcase my killer whisking skills. It's called proofing the yeast. It's supposed to foam up to show you that the super amazingly active insta-yeast is still super amazingly active.

Oh, it had proofed all right. It had "proofed" to be about as flat as a half-empty can of Mountain Dew on a redneck's nightstand. I'll have you know that I baked that lump of dough anyway. It came out as dense as a hockey-puck. Ah, well. I'll have to try it again with fresh yeast. I will conquer you, sandwich bread!
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