Flank Steak in the Slow Cooker

So remember how I said that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog more?  Well, that was over a week ago.  Oops!  I do have a good excuse – I, like the rest of the country, got sick.  And, that was after my husband and my 8-month old baby got sick.  Let’s just say it wasn’t the best week for our family.

Anyway, I did manage to make a meal courtesy of Pinterest this week.  This recipe for Flank Steak, from LifetimeMoms, promised the following in its pin description:

If you enjoy cooking with a crockpot, this flank steak recipe is for you. Flank steak is a rather inexpensive cut a meat. If it is not prepared properly, it can be rather tough. This recipe is so easy and makes the most tender flank steak.

Basically, you throw the browned flank steak into the slow cooker with a few spices and green chillies, and it makes the most tender flank steak.  I followed the instructions (using 1/2 a can of green chilies because we were not in the mood for spicy) and by the end of the day, I had some very tender flank steak.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really taste like much.  I didn’t taste the green chilies, in fact, I think it tasted like pot roast.   I was planning to serve it on tortillas with some pickled onions and sour cream, but I wound up shredding it with some BBQ sauce and serving it on buns.  Not a bad save, but not what I was hoping for.

BBQ Beef

Here’s the recipe.  If you give it a try and it turns out with a delicious, spicy Mexican flavor, let me know what you did!

Flank Steak

1 Flank Steak –  1 3/4 lbs to albs (cut in half)
1 small can of green chiles
1 large red onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 cup of water
1 tbsp of olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic minced (depending on taste)

1. In a small pan, brown flank steak in olive oil on both sides.
2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
3. Cook on low for 4-5 hours if you prefer it sliced, cook 5-6 hours if you prefer it shredded.

Serve shredded over rice, in a tortilla or even plain.

Recipe courtesy of LifetimeMoms.com

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No-Knead Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season.  I had a very wonderful yet incredibly busy holiday with a road trip back to Michigan.  I took a little break from blogging to recover, but I’m back and better than ever.  In fact, I made a resolution to blog more, so here it goes!

So, this pin – No-Knead Crusty Bread – is all over Pinterest these days.  One of my Facebook friends gave it a try and it looked amazing, so I decided to give it a try a few weeks ago.

I’ll put the full instructions at the bottom of this post, but here’s the quick and dirty.  Mix some yeast, flour, salt and water.  (I threw in a tablespoon of sugar, too.)  Let it rise overnight, then back in an 450 degree oven for 45 minutes.  You have to preheat the pan for 30 minutes beforehand, so plan on an hour and 15 minutes of time with the oven on. Here’s a look before everything went in to the oven.  (Side note: I got this cast-iron dutch oven from my husband for my birthday.  It’s perfect for this recipe!)

Pots and dough

That’s it!  No kneading, no fussing around.  And, when it’s all done….

crusty bread

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Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini

Raise your hand if you have leftover turkey!  Since I hosted Thanksgiving this year and all of my guests had long drives home, I have a lot of turkey just sitting in my fridge.  And, I can only have so many turkey sandwiches.  So, where do I go to find good recipes for leftover turkey? Pinterest!

Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini, courtsey of Taste of Home, was floating around Pinterest, so I thought I would give it a try.  A huge bonus – I had all of the ingredients (or at least a variation) in my house so no need to run to the grocery store.  This dish was the best way to use up all of those leftover ingredients in my fridge.

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Maple Sugar Cookies

Well, Thanksgiving is officially over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m still stuffed.  So much good food over this weekend.  I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time (yikes!!) but everything went off perfectly.  (My Trader Joe’s turkey was delicious – very moist and juicy.)  But, one of the highlights of this weekend’s culinary experience were a cookie recipe I found on Pinterest.

On Monday, I threw together a batch of these delicious Maple Sugar Cookies, courtesy of www.thirtydayshomemade.com.  Maple is my husband’s favorite flavor so it was kind of a no-brainer to give these a try.

The recipe is pretty simple – a basic sugar cookie with a splash of real maple syrup.  Yes, you have to get the good stuff, but it’s so worth it.   I made three dozen cookies and froze the rest of the cookie dough for Christmas.

Here’s how they turned out:

 

The verdict from my Thanksgiving guests – huge thumbs up!  The maple flavor is subtle but enough to amp up your average sugar cookie.  I will say that the recipe makes a whole lot of icing, so I might cut it in half and make a little more if I need it.

So, if you need a delicious cookie for presents or a cookie exchange, give these a try!

Chicken/Veggies/Potatoes Bake – Too Simple to be Good?

This recipe has been floating around Pinterest for the a while now.  It’s one of these recipes that looks too simple to be good.  So, I thought I would give it a try.

I couldn’t find a webpage that links to the description so here’s the pin description with the recipe:

A friend of mine brought me this when I had surgery. Now it is my “go to” dish for taking to people who have had babies, surgery, etc. 4-6 raw chicken breasts, new potatoes, green beans (fresh or canned-really any green veggie would work. Broccoli is good, too). Arrange in 9×13 dish. Sprinkle with a packet of Italian dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Enjoy!

I followed the instructions as written – chicken, potatoes and a can of green beans.  I used two large chicken breasts and one can of beans, cutting down on the quantity since there are just two people in our house eating table food.  (Pureed sweet potatoes doesn’t count…sorry baby Avery.)  A stick of butter and the Italian dressing mix, and in the oven it went.

One hour later, our house smelled like wonderfully baked chicken.  I thought about pulling it out a little early since my dish was a little smaller, but the potatoes were still a little crunchy at the 45 min. mark.  That being said, I wish I would have boiled the potatoes a little bit before baking because the chicken was over-done and a bit chewy.

With a little tinkering, I think this recipe could be a success.  This one may be a little too simple to be a success, but I’m willing to give it another try.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

You know that you really want to try a recipe when you find the same pin multiple times on your board, “Recipes to Try.”  Yup, that was me.  I guess I really wanted to try this one because I had pinned it twice.

Here is Crockpot Chicken Tacos – courtesy of Chocolate Therapy.  And, I’ll be the first to admit – I was very skeptical of this one.  Throw chicken breasts, salsa and taco seasoning in a crockpot, and presto?  Perfect chicken taco meat?  No way.

So, I threw three boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) into a crockpot with one jar of salsa (ok, it was more a mishmash of salsas that I had in my fridge) and 1/2 of a packet of Trader Joe’s taco seasoning.  (I used half because that’s what it calls for when you use about a pound of meat.)  Six hours later on low….

And, perfect, juicy tasting chicken ready for tacos!  I shredded up the chicken breasts and poured a little bit of the cooking juices and mixed with the shredded chicken.  With a little tomato, sour cream and lettuce, we had juicy, delicious chicken tacos.   I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo because my husband gobbled it up.  His quote: “These are the best tacos we’ve ever had.  You can make them every time.”

Having Dinner with Friends – Pesto Orecchiette With Chicken Sausage

So, it’s been over two years since my husband and I packed up our house and moved from Michigan to Kentucky.  It was one of the toughest decisions we ever made – leaving our friends and family for a new job and new adventure.  Looking back, I’m still proud that we took the leap and moved south.

Thank goodness for Facebook, Skype and now, Pinterest, to keep my in the loop with all of our friends in Michigan.  Sometimes I feel like I’m peeking into their kitchens to see what they are making for dinner.  And when I make one of their favorites, it’s like we’re sharing a meal – 350 miles away.  🙂

So this week, we “had dinner” with our friends, Michelle and Jeremy.  Michelle posted this recipe – Pesto Orecchiette With Chicken Sausage, courtesy of Real Simple – on Pinterest with the note that it was one of her husband’s favorites.  We had to give it a try!

Pasta with Peas and Beans

The pasta was delicious – a nice combination of chicken sausage, peas, green beans, pesto and pasta.  And, it was easy to make – just throw some pasta in a pot to boil, add the veggies at the end, brown the sausage and toss together with some pesto and parmesan cheese.  I used frozen peas and french green beans, but the pesto really brings a fresh flavor, so you couldn’t even tell that they were frozen.

So, even though our friends were far away in Michigan, we thought of them fondly as we enjoyed one of their favorites.  If you want to “have dinner” with the Bosschers, here are a few of our favorites:

Grilled Chicken with Goat Cheese Zucchini Pasta,
Chicken and Rice Casserole,
and good old’ burgers with a little blue cheese on top.

Trader Joe’s Tamale Pie

Oh, Trader Joe’s.  How I love thee.

Really, I think I have a little bit of an obsession with Trader Joe’s.  You can not believe my excitement when Louisville got a Trader Joe’s in October 2011.  I finally lived in a town where there is a TJ’s and to top it off, it’s less than 3 miles from my house.  Heaven, seriously heaven.

And, one of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s is trying new ingredients.  Each time I go, I try to grab one or two things that are new to me, just to give them a try.  And, I had been wanting to try their tomato-less salsa, made with corn and peppers.  The TJ’s website had a recipe that included this ingredient, so I thought I would give it a try.  Here’s my version for the Tamale Pie.

The pie is polenta with a mixture of chicken chili and the tomato-less salsa and cheese, and topped with more polenta and more cheese.  Because I was able to buy pre made polenta and a can of chicken chili at TJ’s, it took minutes to put together.  I served it with a little sour cream to go on top.

Here’s a snapshot of my version of the tamale pie.  As you can see, we dug in and it was polished off in two days.  It was delicious!  The polenta was creamy and has a wonderful corn flavor.  The chicken chili and the tomato-less salsa was the perfect filling.  Needless to say, we are officially adding this to the rotation at the Bosscher house.

There are so many products at Trader Joe’s that I want to try that I’ve started a Board on Pinterest to keep track – my Trader Joe’s Shopping List.  Because I have Pinterest on my iPhone, it’s easy to access the list when I’m at the store.  Just one more reason that I love Pinterest.

“So Good You Can’t Stop Eating” Rice Krispies Treats…Made with Coconut Oil!

Oh, brother.  This is one of those pins that I almost wish I had never found.  And here’s a random story to go with it!

Trader Joe's Coconut OilSo, my baby girl has a little cradle cap.  And last week, I was hanging out with my sister, Kathy, who suggested that I use a little coconut oil on her head to heal those scaly things.  Kathy happened to have some with her, so I took a bit and rubbed it all over her head.  It not only worked, but now I had a little Hawaiian Tropics baby because she was smelling so good!  I ran out to Trader Joe’s the next week to pick up a jar of the coconut oil for my own.

The jar was a little bigger than I had anticipated, so being my thrifty self, I was determined to find another use for coconut oil.

Behold, Rice Krispies Treats with Coconut Oil!  According to WhiteLotusCooks.com, coconut oil is a healthy substitution for butter.  It turns your ordinary treats into a rich, gooey dessert that you can’t stop eating.  (This was my first bite.  The whole pan was gone not long after that.)

Rice Krispies

 

I have to agree with WhiteLotusCooks.com that the coconut oil gives the treats a nice hint of coconut that makes you want to go back for seconds…or thirds in my case.  We had a few friends over the night that I made these, and they agreed that the flavor was subtle but delicious.  

And, since the recipe is so short, I thought I would add it right to the blog:

Rice Krispies Treats with Coconut Oil (courtesy of www.whitelotuscooks.com)
makes one 9 x 9 pan (about 16 generous squares) or a 9 x 13 pan (makes about 30 thinner squares)

Butter or coconut oil for greasing the pan
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1 10 oz. bag of large marshmallows (about 40)

With butter or coconut oil, grease the baking pan and set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Once all liquified, add all the marshmallows, stir for one or two minutes until everything becomes an ooey gooey mess. Once melted, remove from heat and mix in the rice krispies cereal. Place the marshmallowy cereal in the buttered pan. If the cereal is sticking to your wooden spoon or whatever you used to stir the pot, I will sometimes switch to a rubber spatula when placing it in the pan. Let cool and set for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Goat Cheese Pasta

Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni

I’ve been on a roll lately, trying new recipes that are a little outside of my comfort zone.  I’m a true Dutch girl so most of my meals consist of a meat, a potato, some sort of veggie and a fruit – applesauce anyone?  A few weeks ago, I tried a pasta dish that seemed a little strange to me, but is now a regular in our household. Behold Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni, courtesy of www.savvyeat.com.

I tried this recipe because of a few things: peppers were on sale at Kroger, I had a log of goat cheese from Trader Joe’s just begging to be opened, and I had a coupon for Johnsonville’s Chicken Sausage. I’ve never had chicken sausage before, so I was very interested to try it.

I’ve made the recipe three times since finding the recipe on Pinterest.  The first time, I followed the recipe as written, but I’ve made a few adjustments in my second and third tries.  First, I tossed the pasta with some marinara before topping with the peppers and onions.  I also didn’t have any dry white wine in the house (I was a little thirsty this weekend…), so I skipped that step and just threw the sausage in with the peppers and onions.

Peppers and Onions PastaAnd the results:  fantastic!  We’ve had it three times in the last 6 weeks; it’s that good!  The flavors are different than your average pasta dish – the peppers and onions are delicious with the goat cheese.  I don’t cook very often with sausage, but I’m hooked!  This dish is a now a regular in our house – you should try it today!