Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taters for Two

So I cheated a little tonight... prepackaged pot roast, canned beans and canned pineapple. But I redeemed myself by making homemade mashed potatoes... mmmmm. If you can make one really good homemade side, it really saves an otherwise ordinary meal. I didn't have a recipe, I kinda made this one up, so all the measurements are approximate (as in I didn't measure anything).

Redskin Mashed Potatoes
1. Grab a pot, fill it halfway with water, start it boiling.
2. Scrub and cut up 3 large redskin potatoes into bite sized chunks (leave the skins on!). When the water is boiling, add the potatoes, a little oil, and some salt. Boil for about 12-15 minutes. I usually pop one in my mouth to see if they are ready. You want them tender but not mushy.

3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, throw in:

  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons stick butter
  • 1 palmful of dried parsley
  • 2 cloves minced garlic, or garlic from a jar
  • about a teaspoon of garlic salt
  • a few good dashes of black pepper

4. When the potatoes are finished, drain them into a colander and then put them back into the empty hot pan momentarily to get rid of excess water droplets. Then throw them into the mixing bowl. Bust out the trusty hand mixer and beat the mixture on low until combined. Then add a little splash of milk and mix. Repeat with the milk until they are the consistency you desire. I prefer my potatoes on the thick side.

5. Tada! Transfer directly to a plate or keep warm in a oven safe bowl in the oven. Eat them plain or with some gravy. Hope you like them!

Shelly Rule: Does your recipe suck? Chances are it is minced garlic, garlic salt, or cream cheese. I haven't met a recipe I didn't like that contained cream cheese!!! And there is no such thing as too much garlic. =)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

This recipe comes compliments of my knottie friend, MrsLaurenandJustin. It is super simple and smells wonderful! Matt is not a huge Mexican food fan, so I toned down the seasoning. Also, I thought I had a packet of Mexican rice mix in the pantry... I was wrong... so I just threw some stuff together. It wasn't too bad.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Serves 4
1. In a crockpot:

  • Add 4 FROZEN chicken breasts (I had 2 super huge ones)
  • Sprinkle 1 packet taco seasoning over the chicken (I used half)
  • Mix together 1 cup salsa and 1 can cream of chicken soup and pour over chicken

2. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Mine ended up being in for closer to 11 and it was fine, I love crock pots!

3. When you get home from a long day at work, figure out your side dish and start making it. Below is the recipe for the rice I made with it. Once the side dish is almost done, add 1/2 cup sour cream to the crock pot and mix in. Also, break up the chicken into shreds, it should just fall apart. Let it sit for a couple minutes while the sour cream warms.

4. There are many ways you could serve this... by itself, over rice, in a tortilla, with tortilla chips... I chose to pile it onto a store bought tostada and sprinkle on a little cheese and a dab of sour cream... and a couple jalapenos. Mmmmm. Thanks Lauren!!

Mexican Rice

1. Prepare 1 package of Rice-a-roni chicken flavor rice per directions except:

  • Add a handful of diced onion and half a diced jalapeno to the browning of the rice
  • Reduce the water by 1/2 cup
  • Add 3/4 cup salsa and 1/2 cup canned corn when you add the water

2. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't stick/burn due to the reduced water. It depends on the liquid content of your salsa.

3. Enjoy.

Chicken Croquettes

Mmm, Matt gave these 2 thumbs up! We had just gotten home from a long day and had no idea what was for dinner. There wasn't much in the fridge so this is what I came up with. The side dishes are nothing special, just mixed veggies and some pineapple.

Chicken Croquettes
Serves 4
1. Splash a little olive oil into a large pan on medium high heat and add:

  • About a pound of fresh chicken (I used 9 chicken tenders)
  • About 1.5 cups of diced onion
  • Salt and pepper

Cook chicken for a couple minutes each side until no longer pink in the middle and the onions begin to caramelize.

2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl:

  • Lighly beat 2 eggs
  • Mix in 1 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

3. Once chicken and onions are done, remove to your cutting board to cool a bit. Then with a big ol' knife, finely dice the mixture and add to the egg/bread crumb mixture.

4. Stir the whole mess together. If it appears to be too dry and won't stick together, add another lightly beaten egg. If it is too wet, add a little bit more bread crumbs. Divide into 10 balls-o-chicken.

5. Back to the same pan over medium to medium-high heat, add a little more oil, but this time veggie oil. Maybe a tablespoon or two. If you flick a LITTLE bit of water into the pan and it sizzles, you know it is ready. Careful, it might splatter and burn you. Now place 5 chicken balls into the pan and press down a bit with a turner. Fry for about 3-4 minutes until browned. Then flip and repeat. Remove the patties to a plate and pat with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat with the other 5 chicken balls, adding a smidge more oil if necessary.

6. Tada!!! Now enjoy with your favorite side dishes. There will probably be leftovers. I am willing to bet they would be great on top of a salad.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Cooking Blog

Here are some things you should know about me as a "chef":

1. I have "Shelly's Rules". I will throw these out at random. They are kinda like those beer commercials with the "Man Laws".

2. I don't really like to measure things. So if you see a recipe with "about" or "approximately"... you really don't have to be exact. A lot of times I use the "until it looks right" approach. Hopefully that won't frustrate you. I once heard that "Baking is a science, and cooking is an art". That basically means that you do have to measure correctly for baking, so I will try to be specific in that area.

3. I am wordy. I throw out lots of comments in my recipes, like preferred brands of products. I hope it helps someone.

4. A lot of my recipes aren't 100% homemade. I work full time, I don't have time to be Suzy Homemaker... so I like the semi-homemade approach.

5. I am really picky. You won't see a huge variety of recipes on here. Matt and I generally don't eat seafood, and I am not into a ton of red meat. But if you like starches and desserts, I'm your gal!

Matt's Favorite Cookies

My fiance Matt loves chocolate chip cookies. It took me forever to find/modify the perfect cookie recipe to meet his standards. This is actually a half recipe, so it obviously could be doubled. He absolutely devours these cookies!

Chocochip Cookies

Yield: 15 cookies

1. Set out a stick of unsalted butter to soften ahead of time. In a pinch you can microwave the stick very quickly (like 10 seconds) to soften it. But if you melt it, the consistency of the cookies will change.

2. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. In a large mixing bowl, with a hand/stand mixer cream together the following:

  • 1 stick softened (1/2 cup) UNSALTED butter (not margarine)

  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract (don't mess with that imitation crap)

4. In a small bowl, sift/mix together the following:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/8 teaspoon salt (I prefer kosher for baking)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet.

6. Stir in about 9 ounces (3/4 of a bag) chocolate chips. I like to mix half semi sweet and half milk chocolate. I think it really 'makes' the cookie.

7. Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Make sure there is about 2 inches between each ball.

8. Bake for approximately 9 minutes, depending on how you like your cookies. Matt prefers his cookies on the (super) soft side. Cookies are done when the edges are lightly browned and still appear moist in the middle.

9. Take pans out and let cookies cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes. Then remove the cookies to a cooling rack, countertop, wax paper, whatever to cool completely... or at least until they are cool enough to devour with a big glass of milk! Enjoy!


Hello. I have finally given in and started a blog. I suspect this will be mostly a food blog, but we shall see. Currently I have a ton of projects going on because I am getting married in September, so I am not sure how often this will be updated in the next couple months. But after the wedding I am sure I will need something new to occupy my time, so I will probably go back to cooking. Check back for updates, I will do my best. Thanks for visiting!

Disclaimer: I do not have the best digital camera in the world, so be patient until I can get a new one.