Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Semi-Homemade (without Sandra Lee, thank goodness)...

I’m a little ashamed of this post...not to mention my blogging hiatus. Between memo, spring break, and upcoming exams, I’ve been short on time and the extent of my cooking or baking has been forced to become rather unimpressive. By unimpressive, I mean semi-homemade. Pretty sure I can blame Sandra Lee’s Food Network show for my ill-will towards semi-homemade cooking. I cannot stand Sandy Lee for multiple reasons. One, half the crap she makes looks and sounds disgusting (White Chocolate Polenta? Now that's just wrong!) Two, everything about her is rather obnoxious (Those tablescapes? Gag me. And her constant use of the word “pop”: I’m just gonna pop this crushed up bag of Ramen noodles and these canned mandarin oranges into this bowl of pre-packaged iceberg lettuce, and Look! It’s Chinese Chicken Salad. Gross. This serves to further illustrate my first point). But I digress…

Sandra Lee - putting the 'ho' in 'Semi-Homemade'

So, in light of my semi-homemade ways these past few weeks, I thought I’d share with you a few of the “quick-fix” recipes that I’ve made lately.  These are pretty much the easiest to make. No really—so easy (as in like two ingredients). And SO much more appetizing than anything you’d see on Sandra’s FN show.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
A bag of frozen meatballs (my favorite variety comes from Costco, but Trader Joe’s has some good ones, too)
1 jar of quality marinara sauce (my favorite is TJ’s Arrabiata sauce)
Noodles (I think y'all have this part down)

Put the frozen meatballs on a plate and defrost them for a bit in the microwave (makes this “recipe” even faster)…maybe 3 minutes of 50% power. Pour the jar of sauce into a medium saucepan and heat on the stove. Put the meatballs in the sauce. Simmer until meatballs are heated through. I like to make a bunch of meatballs at a time. You can use leftovers to make meatball subs on toasted baguette with melted provolone. Seriously so easy. And so good.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
 Frozen (or fresh, doesn’t matter) chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 jar of BBQ sauce (again, I love TJ’s Kansas City BBQ sauce…it’s fabulous & doesn’t have any corn syrup or other gross ingredients)
Prepackaged coleslaw
Hamburger buns

I usually do this in a slow cooker (which I doubt most of my fellow law students own), but it can also be done in an oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken in a small baking dish and pour the BBQ sauce over the top. I like to add a few dashes of Tabasco for extra kick. Cover with foil and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Shred with two forks. Serve shredded chicken on toasted hamburger buns with a scoop of coleslaw. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, open a can of baked beans and serve them alongside the sandwiches.

Roasted Garlic and Balsamic Dipping Oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Peel away the outer skin layers of a garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the bulb on a sheet of foil and a few tablespoons of olive oil on top. Add a couple dashes of salt. Wrap the bulb in the foil and place on a small baking dish. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or so. Let cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves from their skins and put in a bowl. Add some salt and mash them with a fork. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar and a generous dose of olive oil over the roasted garlic and add some chili flakes, dried herbs (basil, rosemary, or oregano would be good) and more salt, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.

1 comment:

  1. I totally second your feelings about Sandra Lee. Her food always looks disgusting, and I am not convinced she has any actual talent. However, she did invent the Kurtain Kraft in the 90s ( gross. I am going to try the pulled chicken sandwiches--sounds delicious and fast!