Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chipotle-esque Burrito Bowl

I, as most people I know, LOVE Chipotle. It's a splurge, especially when throwing on the guac and adding a drink and chips to the mix. So I was inspired Sunday evening (Football Sunday) to create my own dish. I enjoy the Burrito Bowl, then eating the delicious contents with their tortilla chips. It is so yummy, plus it'll save almost half the bowl for another meal! The whole meal takes about 10 minutes to put together. I highly suggest getting everything ready before hand, as I have struggled twice now to have the toppings prepared before the meat is done. This is a great MYO (Make Your Own) where each family member can combine the ingredients however they choose. Also, make it vegetarian by removing the meat, add tofu if you like. Enjoy!


Guacamole: Peel an avocado and mash together with 1 T of EVOO and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Salsa: Chop 1 tomato, small handful of cilantro and 2 slices of onion, mix together with the juice of half a lime. (Or use salsa from a can, whatever you choose!) Set aside.

Chop up some lettuce (however much you like). Set aside.

Drain 1 can of black beans, but we'll only use about 1/2 the can. Set aside.

Grate a handful of cheddar cheese. If you have shredded cheddar cheese already in the refrigerator, use that!


Take 1-2 slices of onion and cut in half. Add a half of a green pepper, sliced thinly. With a small pat of butter, fry these until soft (3-5 minutes on medium heat). Set aside.

Next, brown meat* 5-10 minutes, depending on choice, then add a few sprinkles of McCormick Taco Seasonings (comes in little pouches) and a dash of beer. Allow it to simmer down to very little liquid.

If you have left-over rice, this is a great way to use it up, otherwise make 1 cup of rice by following the directions on the bag (you might have to make 2 cups, and just divide 1 out). Add the juice of half a lime, and a small handful of chopped Cilantro. If you are using leftovers, throw the rice, lime juice and cilantro into a small pot with about 1T of water. Heat on low (it will take only about a minute or so). Then remove from heat and put into the bowl you are going to eat/serve out of.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup of black beans to the rice.

Add the browned meat.
*Meat can be chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, pork, etc.

Add the green peppers and onions.

Add the guacamole. 

Add the salsa (tomatoes, onion and cilantro), and the lettuce.

Eat by yourself or share with a loved one. Either way, kick back with a beer, watch the game (or a good movie), and enjoy your Chipotle-esque Burrito Bowl!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

'Morning Glory!' Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Since beginning Graduate School two weeks ago I've learned two very important things: eat before you go to class, and take food with you. Classes start at 5:30 and end at 8:30, but with commuting the whole process usually takes up about 4.5 hours of my evening. So last night, since my 'vacation' started, I planned on making some blueberry muffins before class to take with me. I try to make bites like those healthier because, really, it's like eating a cupcake or a donut with the amount of sugar that's in them. So I found this great recipe on Cooking Light for Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. It got rave reviews so into the kitchen I went to test it out. Here's the recipe, but I also added some flaxseed meal to make it a bit healthier. They're fantastic! I'm calling them 'Morning Glory!' Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins because they are a perfect start to the day. Enjoy!


  • 1 2/3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 33/100 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • large eggs
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • 2. Place oats in a food processor; pulse 5 to 6 times or until oats resemble coarse meal. Place in a large bowl.
  • 3. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
  • 4. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  • 5. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.
*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder

Another crummy day inspired a need for comfort food. With the "James Taylor" Pandora Station on, I began looking up recipes to find the best one that would boost my mood. I decided to go with a Corn, Potato and Cheese Soup from Soup Bowl by Love Food. I had made this once before and loved it. Most of the ingredients it called for I had and I fudged what I didn't. Here's the approximate recipe I created from what the book dictated. Remember, when I cook I don't usually measure. Eyeballing is how I roll... ha :-)

This is one of my "One-Pot Wonders"

Heat 1-2 Tablespoons EVOO in large pot on medium and add 1/2-1/3 cup onions chopped. Cook about 3-5 minutes, until soft. Do not allow to brown. Add 2 cups chopped potatoes* and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of flour**. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay) and 1-2 cups milk (1%, etc.). Stir and allow to boil. Bring down to a simmer. Add 1- 1 1/2 cups corn, 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese*** (white, yellow, sharp, mild, etc.) and salt (and pepper) to taste. Stir and add Herbs**** and 1 cup cream/evaporated milk. Stir frequently. If the chowder looks to thick and gloopy (yes, that's a technical term), add some water or extra milk in small amounts. If it looks too thin, hold off on add an extra tablespoon of flour until it has time to simmer and cook together. Cook anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes, until chowder is thick. Serve with croutons and extra shredded cheddar on top!

*The original recipe calls for 'potatoes'. It does not specify whether raw or cooked. I used raw and it took much longer and more attention until they were cooked through. If you want to SAVE TIME pre-cook the chopped potatoes.
** Add flour one tablespoon at a time. You can always add more, but once the soup is thick it is difficult to thin it out without loosing flavor.
*** Cheese gives the soup extra flavor. If you're feeling AMBITIOUS try using different kinds of cheeses. Stay with those that are soft and don't have an overwhelming taste; gouda, sharp/light cheddar, etc.
**** Experiment with herbs. Be AMBITIOUS. The original recipes called for Sage. I used Parsley and Oregano instead. If you are nervous, spoon out a sample of the soup, add a piece of herb and taste!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

While looking through the October 2011 Food Network Magazine, I spotted a delicious meal that was perfect for the overcast, rainy day. The chicken pot pie featured required many steps, and as many others might experience, I tend to loose energy when the sun doesn't shine. I decided that I couldn't muster up the almost 3 hours it would take to make this meal, so into the freezer and pantry I went. I found frozen mixed veggies, Pillsbury crescent rolls and a chicken breast, and in the pantry found chicken broth, evaporated milk and flour. Perfect! Here's my recipe.

Recipe Makes 2-3 servings in a 5'x5' ceramic dish

Heat oven to 350˙.

Boil 1 cup of chicken broth with 1 (defrosted) chicken breast until cooked through. Remove chicken, allow to cool then shred or cut into small pieces. Add 1-1 1/2 cups mixed veggies, pinch of salt and pepper and 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped oregano*. Allow veggies to thaw and cook, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, about a 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or whole, 2%, etc.) and about a 1/4 cup dry white wine (i.e. Chardonnay). Bring to a boil then add 2-3 Tablespoons Flour. Simmer until it thickens, stirring regularly as so not to allow clumping. The consistency should be like a thick potato soup. If too thick add a dash of water. If too thin add a bit more flour. You want to avoid clumps and bumps.

Grease pan. Roll out crescent dough and lay enough to fill the bottom and sides of the dish. Spoon in filling until it reaches the top. Cover with more crescent dough to reach the edges. Cut excess off if necessary but leave enough to pinch the bottom and top dough together, like a pie. Bake 20 minutes, or until brown on top. Enjoy by yourself or with a loved one!

* Veggies, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper can be increased or decreased depending on your palate.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Banana Ice Cream

This is a great treat for everyone, especially if you love banana! It's very simple and can be done in about 2 minutes (or less)!

1-2 Frozen bananas
chocolate chips (optional)*
peanut butter (optional)*

Blend the frozen bananas in a blender or food processor. You want the bananas to come to ALMOST the consistency of soft serve ice cream. If they need some help, put a dash of milk, about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. Throw in however many chocolate chips you want, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Finish blending. Use a spatula or spoon to scrape sides if ingredients stick so you get a well blended product.

*You can add whatever you want to make this ice cream tasty. I advise putting in small amounts of the 'extras' at a time, taste it, then add more if you like.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Inspiration from a 6 by 5 Kitchen

I recently heard about a woman who made a recipe for what she calls, 'The Engagement Chicken'. Many women who were chomping at the bit to get engaged made this oven-roasted chicken for their man. A high percentage of the woman who made this chicken said that either that night, or within so many days of making it, their boyfriends proposed. It got me thinking, so many women are told, 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach' and after hearing that I'm even more convinced. But what interests me more is that women (and men) want to create delicious meals for their loved ones but don't want the hassle of a long recipe, an expensive trip to the store or the need to hire a professional team to assist in the complexities of the meal. So I thought, give them what they want! On this recipe website I will be posting pictures, recipes, the good and the bad, of what I make in the kitchen. Each recipe will be lower-budget and include options for a quicker meal or homemade meal, ingredient replacements and so much more. I want these recipes to be accessible to all. I have a kitchen that is smaller than 30-square-feet with very basic equipment and I've managed to roast an entire chicken, make soup from scratch and a bake and decorate a two layer cake. So fear not, you can do this too! Stop by to see what new thing I have cooked up! Give them a try and feel free to leave comments, questions and suggestions. And who knows, maybe one of these recipes will help snatch you a man (or woman). Happy cooking!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved