Do not let the slow cooker part confuse you. This recipe is not a quick toss everything into the slow cooker and enjoy sort of recipe. It’s a bit more labor intensive but oh so worth it!
Now that I have been cooking regularly for several months, I have been trying to modify and create my own recipes. Many Italian recipes I have been finding online requires a jar of spaghetti sauce. That is the first thing I eliminate from every recipe I try. Instead, I substitute a can of tomato sauce.
I do this for two reasons. First, with tomato sauce, I can control the level of salt and spices. Spaghetti sauce generally is full of salt. I can just add a pinch of salt instead of being subjected to the already mixed salty sauce. Plus, my herb garden allows me to add fresh spices instead of the dried ones. Second, a can of tomato sauce is far cheaper. So with health and my wallet on my side, I haven’t missed the jar of spaghetti sauce in my recipes.
True to form, I have modified this recipe slightly. Subbing out the spaghetti sauce and modifying some ingredients and prep. This recipe was a huge hit. It allowed us to enjoy the delicious taste of wings without the deep fried fat.
The dreaded bar exam is lurking around the corner. In 16 days, I’ll be sitting down in a crowded, stuffy classroom, surrounded by over-stressed, nerve-ridden students waiting to take a two day-12 hour exam that will decide whether or not we are fit to practice law in Minnesota. Sounds great huh? Bring on the fun!
While I wait in anticipation of this joyous event, I have been cramming every single piece of law I can into my over-sized head. It’s gotten to the point that when I have conversations, they consist of me telling someone about a certain area of law. “Hey! So you’re never gonna believe this crazy piece of information! You can use prior inconsistent statements to impeach a witness. AND it can come in as substantive evidence.” Yeah, I know. Crazy. But it’s true!!
So since I can only speak in legal jargon, I’ve decided to stick to crock pot recipes for the next two weeks. Anything that takes more than 20 minutes to cook makes me feel guilty for reading something that isn’t cluttered with italic, Latin phrases. My poor summer fun reading list has been set aside (sorry Jessi Witkins!) And this recipe only calls for ingredients that most people have on hand at all times. No need for a grocery run.
The heat index in Minneapolis has started to decline (we live in house without air conditioning. the last couple days were less than pleasant) so using the crock pot isn’t completely unreasonable. Plus, after a full day of studying, a warm meal sure feels great! And hell, who doesn’t love chicky catch with some long ass rice (much love to my boy Tom Haverford).
Hot summer afternoons means gardening. My garden has doubled from last season. I have a special herb garden filled with cilantro, basil, mint, orange mint, rosemary, hot and spicy oregano, chives, and parsley. Plus two huge planter boxes my husband made me stuffed with red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, carrots, several types of tomatoes, garden salsa peppers, okra, sugar peas, potatoes, and cucumbers. I know—it’s a lot of plants! (I have 15 basil plants! My backyard smells heavenly). But my goal is to be self-sufficient this summer and autumn, and I think I’m right on track. With all these fresh vegetables and herbs, salads are a must!
Two of my friends started CrunchTime Fitness, a website focused on helping individuals attain their physical fitness and nutritional goals. Thanks to them, I started and finished one round of p90x (next round to be started soon) and rejuvenated the way I look at food. This salad has been modified from their recipe box. The dressing was delicious! I plan to mix up this dressing with different salad variations throughout the summer. It’s the perfect way to meet your veggie requirements on a hot, sunny day.
I never knew my love for Indian food until I moved to the Twin Cites. My friend Leslie was coming to visit and wanted Indian food. She did some online research and found The Dancing Ganesha. The food was amazing! It quickly became my favorite restaurant, and I have celebrated many occasions there. Since starting to cook, it has been a goal of mine to make Indian food at home. It took a while for me to track down garam masala, but once I found it, I couldn’t wait to make this. And it was definitely worth the extra effort.
When I want to splurge, I buy red, yellow, or orange bell peppers. Matt buys fried chicken. As much I as love Matt, fried chicken doesn’t have many healthy redeeming qualities so we went for a compromise. Matt whipped up some homemade onion rings for himself, and I made a chicken entree with bell peppers. (although I did sneak a ring or two and they were amazing!) But what’s with all this splurging? Well, I had my health law final yesterday, and it went well! One thing you learn from law school is the importance of celebrating the little victories. So today’s dinner was our mini-celebration. I found a traditional South American sauce to pair with our chicken and peppers. This sauce has a bold, herbal flavor that is perfect for summer grilling.
Growing up in a small town means no Chinese food restaurant. So the first thing I did when I got my driver’s license was drive to the near-by town with my best friend to go to the Chinese buffet. It was the ultimate sign of freedom. (although we somehow managed to get lost driving home from Marshfield. To this day, I have no idea how we did that).
Now that I live in the “big city” getting Chinese food is less of a special event, but it still tastes just as delicious. Unfortunately, the deep fried dishes and heavy sauces take a toll on the waistband. This healthy version of Orange Chicken doesn’t sacrifice any of the taste and cuts down the calories. Instead of deep frying the chicken, the chicken is sauteed. Plus, the sauce is full of fresh ingredients and low-sodium soy sauce. Place this chicken and sauce over rice, and it makes a great meal. Matt and I aren’t big fans of rice so we opted out of the rice. Without rice, this meal is 5 Weight Watchers Plus Points.
I have always been a sandwich lover. From peanut butter and jelly to my “world famous” turkey, avocado, tomato stacked sandwich, I can always go for a sandwich. This chicken pita has a zesty, fresh taste that is perfect for lunch or dinner. With all the hype around the Hunger Games, I named this dish after my favorite character Peeta Mellark.
I woke up this morning and realized I only have one month left until I graduate from law school. And that means a summer of studying for the bar. And if I’m gonna stay sane, there is going to have to be lots of cook outs, happy hours, and patio drinking (I’m talking to you Mel Bakker!)
I’m too excited to wait for warm weather so I broke out some new grilling recipes. Tonight I made Key Lime Grilled Chicken Kabobs for only 5 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points.
My favorite go-to meal. This fun Mexican dish is so easy to make because you just toss everything into the slow cooker before you leave for work, and you come home to a wonderful meal waiting to be devoured! Matt loves this meal and asks me to make it at least once a week.
A college tradition at La Crosse was Wednesday night wings. Every Wednesday, you and all your friends would walk down to 3rd street to get 10 cent wings and dollar PBRs. It was a fun tradition that Matt really misses now that he’s a “grown up” who lives a city where Wednesday wings means 75 cents a wing. Not much of a deal. So I decided we could make our own Wednesday night wings. Only this time, they would be healthier. Now that I am in the middle of p90x, I really can’t be eating deep fried wings. I found this great recipe from SkinnyTaste that is amazing. It’s a mixture between our Wednesday wings and Chinese food. And the best part is it is healthier than both! It is a bit saltier so you will want to keep your portion small. (unless you are Matt who devoured that entire plate!)