I grew up in a small town with a Kozy Kitchen and two American fast food burger joints. Any food that isn’t served in a diner is not served in my hometown. So when I got my driver’s license, my best friend and I drove to the “big town” a half hour away and ate at a Chinese restaurant. It tasted of freedom. Salty freedom followed by a fortune cookie. After three plates of chow mein, chicken, beef, and veggie dishes, we shoved 10 crab ragoons in our purses and munched on them on our parentless drive home. Ever since, Chinese food has always had a special meaning to me.
This beef and broccoli dish is easy to make and easy to prep in your crockpot to enjoy after a long day of work. The joy of a warm dinner with the freedom of no cooking.
It’s been a while! I have so many new recipes to share and so many pictures to edit. Hence the lack of new recipes.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for Thanksgiving. Now that I have a full-time job, long vacations are far and few between. No more month winter vacation or no class Fridays. Eh. The growing pains of becoming an adult. So a 5-day weekend–it felt like winning the lottery!
This long weekend has been a great opportunity to make new, fun side dishes. Honestly, with working every day, making multiple dishes each night is a bit of a handful. So in my effort to learn to cook, my focus has been on main dishes. Thanksgiving was a great chance to master some appetizers.
Matt has always been a dip-guy. He loves chips. So when I found this kopanisti recipe, I had to try it. This dip is great for pita chips, carrots, celery, and other finger veggies. A great change from the usual french onion dip Matt has been devouring.
This weekend my in-laws came to visit. It’s a 6 hour drive from their place to ours so they usually do not get in until around 9 or 10. The visit always starts out with my father-in-law suggesting we get pizza. But because it’s around 9, all the places around us only do delivery and Matt and him debate whether delivery will take too long. And after discussing it for 20 minutes, a delivered pizza would likely already be on its way. So this time I decided to skip the whole first act and make something. This pizza bake was a huge hit. My father-in-law got his pizza fix, and Matt got his bake fix.
Today was harvest day at the Cremona house. With my handy shears, I plopped tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, serranos, green beans, and an orange pepper into my basket. When I was done, I looked like I raided a farmer’s market.
I am so proud of my orange bell pepper. Last year only my green peppers grew so I was thrilled when this year turned out to be different. I didn’t want my miracle pepper to go to waste. This pepper needed to be used in a truly fun recipe. Something unique where the flavors of the pepper stood out.
This twist on the traditional, tomato-based bruschetta was excellent. The orange pepper makes the bruschetta sweeter and crunchier. Next time I make this I think I’ll use different color bell peppers to see how that mixes up the taste.
I bought quinoa almost a two years ago. I tried to make it and completely failed. Either I cooked it too long, not long enough, or I did it right and couldn’t even recognize it. Either way, I gave up. Put the bag in my cupboard and forgot that I even had it at all. Until earlier this month. People kept pinning all these recipes with quinoa as the staple. It was time to bring my cupboard quinoa out of retirement and try to make something. So I picked some herbs from my garden, threw all the veggies we had in the crisper together, and tossed a dressing. It was delicious. Now I can see what all the fuss was about.
I have made a conscious decision. This is going to be the best summer ever. See, I am unemployed and studying for the Minnesota bar. In short, I go to 3 hours of class a day and spend the rest of the day doing whatever I want. Sure, I gotta get some studying done. But it’s completely self-scheduled studying. No meetings. No office I have to be at. No uncomfortable suit jacket to wear. No recording every 6 minutes of my time. Instead, I get to sit on my porch, drink a beer, crack open my Barbri books and relearn everything I learned my first year of law school. It’s not too bad. In fact, I love it. Because I have complete control over my schedule. If I want to work-out at 3 in the afternoon, I can. If I want to run to Target, I can. If I want to study in my swimsuit and get a tan, I can. This is far better than sitting in an office all day. And chances are, I will not get the opportunity to have such freedom with my afternoon schedule ever again.
Still, with watching Criminal Minds and falling deeper in love with Matthew Gray Gubler studying for the bar, I haven’t had as much time to make full meals. Rather, I have resorted to snacking. And of course, when I think of great snacks, anything that can go on chips sounds like the perfect study aid. This black bean salad is excellent on chips–its a great garnish for tacos and is even tasty all by itself. Even better, all you gotta do is throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Even a brain mushed from too much studying of property law can manage that!
I LOVE chili. Love it. In fact, whenever I cave and decide I’m going to get fast food, I pick Wendy’s so I can get chili. I have multiple different chili recipes, and I have yet to take a side on the noodles or no noodles battle. But one thing I can definitively agree upon is using turkey instead of beef (or you can opt out of meat all together and make this vegetarian). The beans and tomatoes serve as the prominent flavors so any distinguishable taste between turkey and beef is effectively muted. For only 4 Weight Watcher’s Plus points per 1 1/2 cups, this chili is a healthy and filling meal.