armadillas


It’s not raining in Seattle

It’s raining. It’s been raining what seems like all week. But by my count that has technically only been two days, so I can’t really complain. I don’t mind a little wet weather anyway. Plus, gloomy days are perfect for pulling out the crock pot. Mmm hmmm.

Not too long ago Timeline activated on my FB (I held out as long as possible) and now I’m free to spend my days pinning away until the school year starts (finally got my TB screening squared away and am submitting the final bits of my application on Thursday- because that’s when they’ll do my fingerprinting). Needless to say, I’ve probably compiled enough recipes to last me the rest of 2012. One of those recipes is crock pot chicken and dumplings. Yummm! What a day for a good bowl of chicken and dumplings. Oh yeah, and I don’t have to do any work. Throw it in the pot, place a lid on it, and go finish your Supernatural marathon. Summers are great for marathons, aren’t they? Any excuse to drool over Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padaleki). To this day, I’m not sure which brother I would choose. Sweet, sensitive Sam who seems to have certain demonic connections with outbursts of rage and violence. Or gruff, wisecracking Dean who keeps his vulnerable side on lock down, always the tough guy, always the protector. Oh, the choices! Guess I’ll just have to take both, please. I’ve seen most of the later episodes by chance, but now am working my way season by season.

Yup, sci-fi/fantasy geek here! I don’t deny it. And I can’t wait to finish off the second season with a steamy bowl of goodness. Yeah man! This is my first time making chicken and dumplings on my own. The last time I tried to make a soup with dumplings…it turned into a pot of goop. There are a few reasons for that and I won’t go into detail, but I have complete confidence this time things will fly smooth. Being armed with a recipe from this lovely blog helps, I’m sure. Thanks Polish the Stars! Oh Pinterest, I can already see a good thing turning evil…

Recipe adapted from Megan

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can peas
  • 1 can refrigerator biscuits
  • Pepper

Lightly pepper your chicken breasts and place them in your nifty handy dandy crock pot/slow cooker/whatever you wanna call it! I decided salt was not necessary. The cream of chicken smells salty enough in my opinion anyway

Go ahead and toss your two tablespoons of butter on top of the chicken. I didn’t bother cutting it up. No biggie

Now the wet ingredients! Pour the two cans of cream of chicken soup and the one can of chicken broth into the crock pot.  At first, I had my doubts about how much soup I’d get out of all this. Silly me. I’m pretty sure three cans is sufficient for a home of only two

 

Mmm looks appetizing

That’s it! Place a lid on the whole shebang and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8). Since I started so late we are taking the high route. I do tend to take my time, don’t I? Guess I should start pinning earlier in my day. By the way, no need to stir everything together. This is one of those things in life that can let itself go (hehe). After the prescribed time, it’s time for some added magic. Shred the chicken then put it back in the crock

Add the peas. We add them late so they don’t get too mushy. That’s my excuse anyway

Now for the dumplings! Take four of your flaky biscuits and cut them into little pieces. Drop them into the soup (or is it considered a stew?)  and cook for another half hour or until the biscuits are cooked

Voila! Dinner is served

Not too bad for a first attempt, though I do feel as those the dumplings were a little too doughy. Next time I might try a different approach.

I’m beginning to turn sweet on my crock pot. Last night I made a lovely Dijon pork in the crock pot that I’ll have to share later. Very flavorful. Another Pinterest discovery. I’m telling you, I see and addiction in the near future. I also found a bunch of freezer slow cooker meals. I’m thinking about whipping a few of those up this week. Quick and easy! Just remove from freezer, empty into pot, and a few hours later a full meal is served with no mess. Ingenious!

I still need to update everyone on Saturdays cook-off!

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Whitetail

Well, dear friends, it seems my computer has taken a dive off the deep end. The poor guy has been struggling to keep chugging for over a year now, but I’m pretty sure hope is finally lost. He met the black screen sometime last night while I was at work. Seeing as computers are his specialty, the boyfriend tried to doctor him up to no avail. I’d like to say this is a sad, sad day, but honestly I hated that little bugger. Always giving me problems, never functioning properly- and I hadn’t even had it that long when it started rebelling against me (though that cause could have something to do with a litter of kittens I possessed at the time, which is another story unto itself) Anyway,updating my kitchen adventures has suddenly become exceedingly difficult. I’ve resorted to using Facebook as a kind of photo medium between my phone and my blog. Fortunately, a new hard drive is being shipped as we type and will have to suffice until I can afford a new computer in my post-grad state (ahem dirt poor).


But last night I did make some pulled pork! Not THE PULLED PORK (as seen above) , but what I did come up with wasn’t too shabby. You see, I’ve been cooking with a lot of Mojo recently, a citric marinade found in your Hispanic food aisle at the grocery. It was first introduced to me a few years ago by a Cuban friend. She made mepapas rellenas. It was fabulous. She used Mojo. Now I use Mojo. Anyway, I’ve mostly only used it as a marinade for chicken. This week I so happened to have a boneless pork butt in my freezer, so I defrosted it and put it in some Tupperware filled with Mojo and let it chill out for several hours while I was at work. When I came home, feet weary from standing for so long, I took a shower, made some dinner, and finally got the pork into the crock-pot around 1 am. Nothing like a crock-pot doing all the work for you overnight. By 8 am this morning, I had nice juicy, succulent pork. I’d say it was falling off the bone, except there was no bone. Still, you get my drift!

Of course, the pork stood alone on it’s own just fine, but being the southern belle that I am, pulled pork just is not the same without a good ol’ barbecue sauce. And I’m talking real barbecue sauce. For those of you unfamiliar with real, authentic bbq sauce, that would mean a true vinegar based sauce. None of that ketchup based shenanigans. Now, I could tell you some stories about vinegar. It’s practically revered in my family. Remember the Portokalos family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gus’ feelings toward Windex? That’s my family toward vinegar. It’s a cure-for-all-ailments, and besides that a great addition to many meals. I love vinegar. There’s just something about that tanginess that gets my mouth watering every time. Slrrp

(Yes, it’s this serious. Bulk, baby!)

Anyway, let’s move on to the sauce. Usually, I double my batch and let the pork slow cook with half of my yield. I also generally use a dry rub on my pork and let it sit overnight. But I eliminated those steps since we used the Mojo. After all, this is not THE PULLED PORK. No, today we made a sauce strictly for dipping- or dousing- for the already cooked pulled pork. This will let individuals choose their own sauciness. Boy, do I like being saucy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

This barbecue sauce is super easy! After today, you will hence forth make your own and always impress your guests. They’ll question if you’re indeed from the South. I like mine to have a little kick to it (mmm sweet, tangy, and spicy!), but you can always adjust to your own tastes. So…mix all the dry ingredients together!

Whisk your mixed up dry ingredients into the cider vinegar. Put sauce into jar/bottle/bowl and cover. Stick it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but take note- the longer it sits, the tastier it becomes. You could always make it the night before use to get those flavors flavorful!

All done! Yay! Now go get your grub on!

Hope you like it! Remember to feel free to experiment. Next time I make pork, I’ll share my traditional recipe 😉

Tijuana