Friday, August 18, 2017

store bought favorite: tj's enchilada sauce










My husband texted me this picture of our glass recycle bin so I would begin to comprehend my consumption of this dream sauce- Trader Joe's bottled enchilada sauce.  There's nothing like it!  It started with one innocent bottle and has led to enchilada-eating that has grown to out-of-control proportions.  I admit it- I eat an enchilada for breakfast and lunch every day.  Every single day (except when I'm on vacation and there's no Trader Joes to be found).  I know.  It's weird.  But I ask you to just try an enchilada the way I make them.  Fresh every time.  Now my kids are asking for them.  I introduced them to my mother when she was in town and she has since introduced them to my brother and his wife.  It's a thing.  I'm telling you...

trader joe's enchilada sauce enchiladas
1 tortilla (I use whole wheat tortillas)
a nice scoop of shredded chicken (cooked in the crock pot with some salsa)
shredded mozzarella cheese (my kids prefer Cheddar but I prefer lower fat)
trader joe's enchilada sauce 

Place a tortilla on a microwave proof plate.  Spread a line of chicken across one end of the tortilla.  Pour some enchilada sauce over the top and a little cheese.  Roll up.  Pour more enchilada sauce over the top.  Be totally generous with the sauce- don't hold back.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. 

pressure cooker teriyaki chicken










I asked my friend with a pressure cooker for a favorite recipe so I don't waste any time with so-so recipes and she enthusiastically shared this recipe, which she makes weekly for her family.  My family LOVED it.  I wish I had made more because 3 pounds of chicken wasn't enough (and I didn't even have any because the sugar content would put me into a coma).  Now my family wants it weekly.
I have to say I am a huge fan of these new pressure cookers.  They are silent!  I was worried mine wasn't working because I grew up with my mom using an old school super noisy, scary one.  I was always worried it was going to explode and kill us all after she warned me not to get too close.  I feel nice and safe with my Instant Pot.  Now onto the recipe:

pressure cooker teriyaki chicken (Dee-Anna found this recipe on allrecipes.com)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 cup chicken stock
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used frozen from Costco)
2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
2 tablespoons cold water, optional

Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, pepper, crushed pineapple and juice and chicken stock and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Place chicken thighs in the pressure cooker and pour in the sauce.  Stir gently to coat.  Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, maintaining high pressure.  Cook for 20 minutes.
Stir cornstarch into cold water and set aside.
Reduce the pressure using the rapid-release method.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a serving dish; cover with foil and set aside.  Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.  Serve the chicken topped with the teriyaki sauce.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

instant pot beef gyros










My husband got me an Instant Pot for my birthday and after trying it out using this recipe...I LOVE IT!  I love this recipe and I love my new appliance.  These beef gyros were incredibly tasty.  INCREDIBLY.  I silently told myself about a million times what a good cook I am while I enjoyed my beef gyro.  Do not, I repeat do not use a store bought tzatziki sauce.  Make it using the recipe below.  You'll be telling yourself what a fine cook you are.

instant pot beef gyro (My Crazy Good Life)
2 lbs. beef roast, thinly sliced (I bought the carne asada meat because it was thinly sliced)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Pitas or Naan bread, or Flat Out pitas

tzatziki sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cucumber peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. salt and pepper
2 tbsp. fresh dill


toppings: sliced carrots, sliced onions, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese

Directions for Instant Pot Beef Gyros:
1) Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pan warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pan and let it get hot.

2) Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.

3) Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method. 




Directions for Instant Pot Beef Gyros  stove top directions in italic):
1) Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pan warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pan and let it get hot. Do this on your stove top. 
2) Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes. Same directions for stove top. 

3) Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method. Add lemon juice and broth, cover, let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

orange marmalade bbq chicken










My young son made this delicious chicken for dinner tonight.  True story.  I've been having each my kids make dinner one night per week and it's a smashing success!  If I had made this chicken myself he maybe would've eaten one drumstick.  He ate three!  He couldn't believe how delicious they were.  One of my daughters who doesn't like chicken ate it too!  Everyone loved it.  Three ingredients.  Three!

orange marmalade bbq chicken (slightly adapted from Lord Byron's Kitchen)
16 chicken drumsticks
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1 cup Smucker's orange marmalade
salt and pepper, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray  a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil (that's what I did).
Position the drumsticks on the sheet, skin side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Now stir the marmalade and the barbeque sauce together in a bowl and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the sauce on top of each piece of chicken.  Use half the sauce.
Return the chicken to the oven and bake another 20 minutes.
Once again, remove the chicken from the oven and spoon more sauce onto the drumsticks.
Bake 10 more minutes.
Now spread the rest of the sauce over the chicken and bake 10 minutes more.
Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

no churn two ingredient ice cream













Happy Mother's Day!  I was spoiled today from morning til evening with delicious meals from my husband.  For dessert he made crepes and my oldest daughter pulled out this no church two ingredient ice cream that she made.  The ice cream went into crepes with more strawberries and Nutella than you have probably ever dreamed of.
This ice cream is decadent. (And not overly sweet like store brand ice cream.)  My kids decided I should stop buying ice cream and stock up on whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk.  My daughter says you can add vanilla extract or other extracts to the mix or whatever add-ins appeal to you like chopped cookies or fruit.

no church two ingredient ice cream
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whipping cream

My daughter says she poured the two ingredients into a bowl and used a hand mixer to whip it up until it formed soft peaks.  She poured it into a freezer safe bowl and froze it overnight. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

candy piano










We had a La La Land party because we had some celebrating to do so I looked online for party ideas and found this easy piano!  I didn't know where to find white chocolate kit kat bars so I texted a friend and what do you know- with her help I found them on the first attempt.  That's something to sing about.  (Tip:  Fred Meyer)

candy piano (makelifelovely.com)
white chocolate kit kat bars
mini kit kat bars 

All you do is line them up on a tray- as long as you want.  This made a really easy alternative to a birthday cake!!

tip: how to cut brownies










tip:  how to cut brownies
This double chocolate mint brownie recipe is one of my most loved and requested recipes and they're easy to make so I like to take them to parties, potlucks, etc.  The only thing I didn't like about them was cutting them into bars...until now.  I shared this recipe with a friend and she came back and asked if I had ever cut them with a plastic knife.  The answer was no.  Why would I think to use a plastic knife!  She's right- a plastic knife cuts them beautifully!  I just had to share this little tip if you should decide to make THESE wonderful brownies.  Taking two pans of these delicious brownies to school this morning for teacher appreciation was a cinch.