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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spaghetti Squash- where have you been all my life??

I used this recipe as the base for dinner tonight. It was really good!

I had never cooked a spaghetti squash in my life, nor eaten one.

First, I used a metal skewer to pierce the squash in many places all around. Then I put it on a jelly roll pan and baked it for about 45 minutes @ 400. Once done cooking and cool enough to handle I split it, removed the seeds and pulp, then scraped the flesh out with a fork.

I had thawed 2 large chicken breasts and sliced them thinly. These I sautéed in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) with onion and garlic, a couple splashes of lemon juice and a couple splashes of Chardonnay and some sea salt.

When the chicken was done I put it aside in a bowl. I then followed the above recipe with the following changes:
- substituted EVOO for the vegetable oil
-finely diced about 1/4 of a red bell pepper and added it after the onions were softened
- simply chopped 2 mid-sized vine ripened tomatoes
-nixed the feta because I abhor it
-nixed the olives (ick!)
- easily doubled the basil because 1- I like it, 2- I have it growing out my ears
-added a light dusting of sea salt and a touch of pepper

I did toss the squash into the pan with everything else to warm it all up nicely. I did not add in all of the chicken to the finished product. I left about 1/3 of it out for other uses.

I was the only one who ate this for dinner as my husband had been traveling and was not hungry (though he liked the taste he had) and it was well after 8PM by the time I ate. The children had already :) Since I was famished I easily ate half of it.

I look forward to the rest for lunch tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My weekend project.

So glad to be nearly done. :) The closet doors have been primed, yet still await paint. I love the color! It is a grey/blue (Sherwin-Williams "Sleepy Blue") which provides a very nice backdrop for the lighter furniture in particular. It sure beats the former white which was peeling in a few spots revealing a sickly yellow underneath. I'm so glad for the ONE coat of primer needed vs. the three coats the girls room (2x's the size!) required on walls and ceiling.

I'm still waiting for enough inspiration to tackle the master bedroom. The former owners painted over the not-so-lovely oil based Pepto-Bismol pink that covered all moldings and built-ins/closet doors with a much preferred white. Only the white is latex. Can you guess what it looks like now? Yep- like it's been bombed. (Is this where I mention that pink is certainly NOT one of my favorite colors?) Dh and I had the Master bedroom assigned a week this past summer, however, a family emergency requiring 6 of dh's weeks took priority. Hopefully we will be able to work on it during Christmas break. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flavorful beans/rice/meat

I made this for dinner and thought I'd share. It was an instant favorite when I first tasted it sometime after moving to NYC. :)

Start by making "Sofrito".
(Here is my modified version as I can't get all the original ingredients (ajises, recaito) outside of NYC.)

3 bunches of cilantro
1 can mild green chili's
1 lg white onion
1/2-1 bell pepper
6 cloves garlic
olive oil to liquefy
1 tsp of original "Adobo" seasoning
(You can add in red bell pepper or pimentos if you choose. I do not.)
Puree it all together. It will fill a blender. I store it in quart-sized ziplocs frozen flat and chop off what I need. (One recipe make about 3 ziplocs divided evenly.) I like a lot of flavor so I use at 1/3 to 1/2 of a frozen bag for each recipe.

Sofrito can be used as a seasoning base not only for rice and beans, but also for meat dishes- like pork roast, or arroz con pollo.


To make beans and rice-

Dump one can of black beans (my favorite! Or pink beans, or kidney, or chick peas, or white beans) into a pot on med heat.

Add in the sofrito (frozen or thawed), a good dose of oregano (like at least a TBSP of dried) and a touch of olive oil.

Dump in one 8 oz. can of Spanish style tomato sauce if you can get it or just regular if you cannot. (Alternatively, you can use 3 'ice cubes' of frozen tomato paste. I have come to prefer this method over tomato sauce.)

Add in a ham packet (Goya ham flavored concentrate) and a Goya Sazon (accent mark over the 'e') packet. (These both contain MSG. You can add in some small bits of ham in place of the ham packet, and the sazon packet has some garlic, cumin and coriander.)

Simmer for a couple minutes on low for flavors to blend.

Add to pot 4 cups of water, stir, then add in 2 cups rice. Give a stir, let sit for a couple minutes, then stir again then DON'T touch for the rest of the cooking time. Turn to low. It's done when the rice is cooked.
My Puerto Rican friends tend to let the water boil down to the top of the rice then cover- but the rice is a bit drier that way- which we do not prefer.


If you were to make Arroz con Pollo (Chicken w/ rice) you follow the same basic directions with these modifications:

Leave out the beans.
Get 6 leg quarters (with skin) and cut at joint and I also cut off the last 1" or so of the drum bone.

Dredge chicken in some Adobo and oregano and minced garlic. Brown in the sofrito/tom. sauce (or paste)
/oregano/oil mix.

Follow the rest of the recipe as written. You can add in chicken bullion granules with the water or use chicken broth in place of the water. With meat in the pot I do add in more sofrito- doubleing what I'd use for rice and beans, and Oregano. I also double the 2 flavor packets.

I am not one who typically leaves the skin on chicken. I do not eat it, BUT in this recipe the bones and skin make a huge difference and are much more authentic. I have tried it with chicken breasts both with and w/o bone and they are always pretty dry. The dark meat is the best! (I only like dark meat in this recipe and in the form of BBQ'd chicken.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have rescued my blog from "The Cutest Blog on the Block"! The background went funky and the colors awry. I replaced it with a template for Blogger and found and removed the code that was partially blocking the template and writing over my Sonlight widget.
It now looks normal. Even ok. :) Next task at some set about 'cute- ning' it again. Dang. I rather liked what I had.