Monthly Archives: February 2011

Toads in the Hole

Are you going to watch the Oscars tonight?  I am.  I usually do, even though I get so annoyed with the whole insane production that I think, ‘Why am I watching this?’  all night long. And by ‘long,’ I mean ‘looooooooong.’

I’m rooting for The King’s Speech for Best Picture. And Colin Firth for Best Actor. He just has to win. And I’m not just saying that because I totally think he’s the cat’s pajamas. He was just so remarkably good in that role.

And a good-looking bloke, to boot.

But looks don’t count in that category. At least I don’t think they do.

So in honor of The King’s Speech winning Best Picture, (whoops, I mean hopefully winning Best Picture) I served a British dish for dinner tonight.

Toads in the Hole.

Toads in the Hole is basically sausages cooked in Yorkshire pudding. It gets its name from the fact that it resembles little toads sticking their heads out of a hole.

Whatever. I think it just looks like sausages in Yorkshire pudding, but at least it’s fun to tell the kids we’re having toads for dinner.

Toads in the Hole

This recipe is from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-ounce package breakfast sausage links
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Brown sausage in a large skillet. Drain, and place in a 9×13-inch baking dish
  3. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Add flour, water, and milk and beat all together. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture over sausage and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is brown and crusty. And Bob’s your uncle!

I guess traditionally, this dish is served at dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, but I don’t know, I think that’s bollocks. The way I fancy it is to serve it like breakfast (for dinner) with maple syrup and fruit.

Toads in the Hole

Toads Dinner

Okay, I have to admit. This bloody well isn’t my favorite. I think it’s the Yorkshire pudding. I’m just not a big fan. The kids thought it tasted a lot like pancakes, and I don’t like pancakes, so there you go.

But the sausages dipped in syrup are quite lovely.

The critics said:

Batman: I tasted it, and it is delicious!

Curious George: I think it is 150 stars!

Elmo: Nyuh. (I think that’s good. She ate it, anyway)

Sarah Crewe: With syrup, I give it a lot of stars.

Don Corleone: I like this a whole lot better than The King’s Speech.

Humph.

Enjoy the Oscars. I wish Steve Martin was hosting, but it will be interesting to see how James Franco and Anne Hathaway do. The commercials are cute.

I know I said I get annoyed with it, but the truth is, I do like to watch. It’s fun to see who’s there, and what they’re wearing, and then practice my own acceptance speech when I’m in the bathroom during commercials.

I don’t like those shows, though, where they blast everyone for their attire. It’s just plain mean, and should  only be done in the privacy of my your own living room.

With fun Oscar snacks, which I forgot to  buy. Do Ritz crackers and chocolate Teddy Grahams count as fun Oscar snacks? I guess they do this year.

Well, that’s all folks! Cheerio!

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Hello there! Happy President’s Day!

This post is going to require some audience participation. That’s right, you have some work to do.

Who do you think makes a great fictional movie president?

Harrison Ford, Air Force One

"GET OFF MY PLANE!"

Bill Pullman, Independence Day

"And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

Kevin Kline, Dave

"Hail to the chief / He's the one we all say "Hail" to. / We all say "Hail" / 'Cause he keeps himself so clean! / He's got the power, / That's why he's in the shower..."

Morgan Freeman, Deep Impact

"Life will go on, we will prevail."

Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove

"The doomsday machine? What is that?" "A device which will destroy all human and animal life on earth."

Michael Douglas, The American President

"We had a nice couple of minutes together. She threatened me, I patronized her. Didn't have anything to eat, but I thought there was a connection."

Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks!

"Why can't we work out our differences? Why can't we work things out? Little people, why can't we all just get along?"

Henry Fonda, Fail Safe

"Moscow's been destroyed. Drop your bombs according to plan."


Those are my suggestions. Who am I forgetting?

Oh, don’t worry, I have a recipe today, too.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 18-ounce bottle buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Put the chicken into the crockpot and top with onions. Pour the wing sauce over the top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. For the last hour of cooking, shred the chicken and add the sour cream. Serve on whole wheat kaiser rolls with blue cheese and pickles.

 

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

I only had one critic to comment on this recipe, because it was so spicy hot that I couldn’t give it to the kids. So they had turkey and cheese sandwiches instead. They were pleased.

The executive branch of the household loved it.

Wait, who am I kidding? Executive branch? Why, that would imply that my household is a democracy. Ha! I laugh in the face of democracy! No, sir, this home is a complete and total dictatorship! Yuppers, the infidels may kick and scream all they like, but there is only one two in charge here!

Anyway, the dictators loved it. It was deliciously spicy, but not so spicy that it was uncomfortable. I did not put blue cheese on mine, but instead had a side salad with blue cheese dressing. I will most certainly be making this again.

Oh, and one last thing. Since he’s a tv president and not a movie president, he’s not in the running, but he’s just so awesome that I thought honorable mention should go to Dennis Haysbert in 24.

"Listen to me. All of you. Take a good look. Do I seem scared? Am I breaking into a nervous sweat? Am I babbling? At a loss for words? Is my voice shaking? Can any one of you look me in the eye and tell me I'm disabled?"

So what do you think?

Everything Chicken

“Everything Chicken” is just like an Everything Bagel, but without your jammies and the Sunday paper.

I was uninspired as to what movie to tie in with “Everything Chicken,” so I chose a movie that really has nothing to do with the dish, but that I love and watched recently.

Back to the Future.

"Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"

When I was a kid, I was in love with Michael J. Fox. My bedroom walls were plastered with posters of him from Teen Beat. I cried actual tears when he married Tracey Pollan. Why? Did I really think I had a chance? I was fourteen!

Crispin Glover As George McFly In Back To The Future (1986)

"I'm George, George McFly. I'm your density. I mean... your destiny."

Anyway, I’m glad he married her, because if he had waited for me, then I never would have met my husband. And I think things turned out pretty well 🙂

Also, if I married Michael J. Fox then, who knows, I might never have discovered

Everything Chicken

(this recipe is from Rachael Ray)

  • 3 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons garlic flakes
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into tenders or small pieces
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brick cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped

 

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Place the minced onion, garlic flakes, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper and coarse salt on a plate and mix it together. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and toss with the olive oil.

Dip each piece of chicken into the seed mixture and turn to coat. Repeat until all the chicken has been coated, then transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once about halfway through the cooking time.

While the chicken is cooking make the dipping sauce: in a bowl, combine the soft cream cheese with buttermilk until smooth. Stir in the vegetables and season with a little salt and pepper.

 

I usually halve the recipe for the dip, because my kids won’t eat it. But I think it’s one of the best parts of the meal!

I’m such a dingaling, I totally forgot to ask the critics for quotes for this recipe. But I can tell you that they always love it. I know, this is heavy!

"Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly. Think!"

I’m also a dingaling because I didn’t remember to take a picture until the next day. So I’m sorry to say, I’m serving you a leftovers photo. Without the dip. Because Somebody ate it all! (Ahem, Self!)

 

Everything Chicken

And speaking of leftovers, this is the kind of dish that you might see in the fridge the next day when you’re getting out the peanut butter and jelly for lunch, and you take a piece. And then later when you’re getting your toddler some milk for her sippy cup, you see it in there again and you think, “Ooooh! Everything Chicken!” and you have another piece. And perhaps when your kids are asking for a snack after school you open the fridge, and the chicken says, “Hi there! Remember me?” and you have another piece.

Not that I do that. I’m just sayin’.

"Well, that is your name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over your underwear."

 

I make this chicken a lot, because everyone likes it, it’s healthy (provided you go easy on the dip… AHEM, Self!), and it’s not too expensive, now that I started buying poppy seeds and sesame seeds in bulk from amazon. They store very well in the freezer, and they’re much cheaper than at the grocery store.

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that, yet. But your kids are gonna love it."

I usually serve this with potatoes that I cut into small pieces and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper, and bake in a 45oº oven for about 30 minutes, until very crispy. Also I serve carrot and celery sticks. Rachael Ray suggests red grapes as a side, and I think I’ll try that next time. Grapes don’t usually last too long in my house.

"Don't worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88mph the instant the lightning strikes the tower... everything will be fine."

Enjoy the chicken! Just don’t go for a drug test afterward! And don’t forget to floss!

 

 

 

Use the Fork, Luke!

My kids have been asking to watch Return of the Jedi, so we decided to make a Dinner and a Movie out if it.

The Menu

Jabba the Hut Dogs
Vader Tots
Buffalo X-Wings (Fighters)
Yoda Soda
Obi-Wan Cannoli
Han Solo in Carbonite Jello

I had a lot of help from cyber-space for this menu, because, let’s face it, you put “Star Wars food ideas” into a search engine (heck, “Star Wars” anything), and you will have no shortage of reading material for as long as you live long and prosper.

(I know that’s not from Star Wars, but it’s the same group of people that rule the web, so I thought it would be okay. If slightly blasphemous.)

Is there any girl who grew up in the 80’s who didn’t wish they were Leia at this moment?

"Someone who loves you" -Return of the Jedi

Is there any guy who didn’t doesn’t fantasize about this image?

"We have powerful friends. You're going to regret this." -Return of the Jedi

Trust me, there isn’t. Google “Princess Leia Jabba.” You’ll see.

What’s that, you say? There’s a lot more to Return of the Jedi than kissing and gold bikinis? I know that! Of course I know that!

There’s big scary guys

darth-vader.jpg

and little scary guys.

There’s big furry guys

Chewbacca

and little furry guys.

Wicket the Ewok

And lots of shooting and light-sabering.

Return of the Jedi deleted scene shows Luke assembling new light saber

 

By the way, is the guy who played this fine fellow:

the same actor who played Dumb Donald in Fat Albert?

 

My favorite part of the meal was the Obi Wan Cannoli. Mmmmm… cannoli.

Help me, Obi Wan. You're my only cannoli.

I did not make these. We got them from the Italian market near my house. Is there anything better than the smell of an Italian market? It always makes me want a sandwich.

The kids enjoyed the Yoda Sodas, which was just Sprite and lime sherbert. My husband’s was served in his original 1977 Burger King Darth Vader glass.

Yumm... Tasty this is

And last but not least

He should be quite well protected. If he survived the gelling process, that is

Han Solo was (after being sterilized) placed into a tray of grape Jello. I do realize that this is not the right Han Solo figure, but do you have any idea how fast a toddler can lose an action figure?

I got a lot of ideas from The Ultimate Star Wars Party. And I’ll probably steal more if my boys decide they want a Star Wars birthday party this summer 🙂

My kids liked the movie, but they all agreed that the first movie (well, the real first movie, not the new first movie. The original one. You know what I mean) was the best one. I have to say that I really enjoyed re-watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but I was actually kind of bored through this one. But apparently I am alone on that one. At one point I looked at my husband and mouthed, “I’m bored” and he looked back at me and said, “WHAAATT?!?!? Are you an IDIOT???”

Humph.

On a more positive (and slightly bragging) note, here are two Return of the Jedi pictures done by my 6-year-old.

Luke & Darth Vader

Luke & Jabba the Hut

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I found the other Han, just before we started the movie. He was in the seat cushions. I swear I looked there!

 

P.S. I’ve been informed that the image I used for Darth Vader above is not, in fact, from Return of the Jedi. I sincerely apologize, and hope that you do not hold this against me.

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Taco Chili

Happy Groundhog Day!

groundhog day, bill murray

"There is no way that this winter is *ever* going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don't see any other way out. He's got to be stopped. And I have to stop him." -Groundhog Day

Well, unlike the movie, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, so according to him, we will have an early spring. What does he know, he’s only been right 39% of the time since 1887! I shouldn’t be too hard on him, though. He’s as good a meteorologist as any, I suppose!

"This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather." -Groundhog Day

Well, I know I’m in the minority, but personally, I like winter. In fact, I love winter! Spring is nice, sure, but I just love everything about winter, from Christmas right on through to… well, whenever it decides to end.

"Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today." -Groundhog Day

Anyhoo, whatever Mr. Phil says, it’s still winter right now. And if you, like much of the country, it seems, are looking outside and seeing something like this:

My neighbor's tree

or this:

Another neighbor's tree

or this:

My tree

or this:

My backyard

then what YOU need is chili.

We have chili a lot in my house, in various forms. It makes my husband and 6-year-old very happy. It makes my 4-year-old very angry. In fact, he stormed into the kitchen at dinner time and said, “I HATE chili! Make me some pasta!” As it happens, I already had a pot of macaroni cooking for him, because I always make plain macaroni for the kids when we have chili. But a “Nope, sorry, there is no pasta for rude little boys” prompted an apology, and he happily ate his pasta at dinner.

Turkey Taco Chili

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (like Rotel)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 TBSP taco seasoning*
  • shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
  • sour cream

*I don’t know how many tablespoons are in a packet of taco seasoning, but I’m guessing 1 packet will do. I make my own taco seasoning from this recipe, and I just keep it in a gladware container in the pantry, because you never know when you’ll have a taco emergency.

Brown the turkey with the onion and garlic and drain. Place in slow cooker with the beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Add the taco seasoning and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

And for those of you non-crockpotters (you know who you are!) this can just as easily be done on the stovetop. Or you can just go buy a crockpot, because they’re AWESOME!

 

turkey taco chili

I like to top mine with cheese and sour cream.

And, of course, one must always remember to accessorize:

 

chili accessories

I was going to post this recipe last night, but one of the accessories (I’ll let you figure out which one), made me (and my husband) fall asleep on the couch right after dinner and not wake up until after the kid’s bedtime.

They didn’t mind.

And for dessert:

 

"Antique car" pound cakes

How cute are these little cakes?

Pound cake cars 2I made these chocolate chip pound cakes using a pan I got for Christmas a few years ago. I don’t use it very often because I’m not very good at decorating them! But it makes these super cute little antique cars:

antique car cake pan

It isn’t so super cute when it comes time to clean it, though! 😦

Of course I heard no complaints from the critics about dessert. But dinner?

Batman: It’s delicious! A bunch of thumbs up!

Don Corleone: This is really good. If you make this every day, I’m going to need some new pants.

Sarah Crewe: Leaning towards good… I think.

Curious George, who did taste it: I don’t like it. It’s spicy.

I asked Elmo if she liked it, and she nodded and said her new favorite phrase: “There it is!” And she did, in fact, eat every bite.

Now go make some chili!