Cooking

Cooking Without a Kitchen

by Koko on September 29, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking, Kitchen Remodel, Recipe

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Q and I don’t eat out. It’s just not our thing. We much prefer sitting in our own home with homecooked food. So when this kitchen renovation came around, I was worried. What would we eat? Would we have to order take out every night? Our solution: set up a make shift kitchen in the mud room. I’ve got a microwave, a hot plate, a toaster oven and a coffee maker. What don’t I have? A sink. This truly is the MOST annoying part of living without a kitchen. We try and eat on paper plates, but I still have dishes to clean each night. Picture me standing above a bucket and a hose outside scrubbing pots. Not so much fun. But we are doing it.

What is working for us:

-The slow cooker saves us most nights. I come home from work around 4ish, pop some chicken or ground turkey in the slow cooker along with a mixture of a yellow onion, beans, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and any veggies laying around and hope for the best.

-The rice cooker (we have this model and love it). Another incredible tool. Most nights I make 1.5 of brown rice to go along with whatever slow cooker concoction I came up with.

-Making enough for 6 servings. I make enough for dinner, lunch the next day, and two frozen servings for later. This is a lifesaver on nights where I get home too late or don’t think of anything in time. I started freezing dinners about a month before we went into our reno knowing that there would be many nights when I wouldn’t be able to pull anything together. We currently have a mix of roasted tomato soup, Asian fried rice, turkey chili, red beans and rice and an assortment of one-off meals that I stuffed in there.

-Not having a picky husband. Q is just happy to have something homecooked on the table. If I make turkey chili 5 nights in a row, he still says thanks. Gotta love him.

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The hardest parts of not having a kitchen:

-Not being able to bake anything. We had a wives’ function this past week and of course I immediately thought, “Oh, I’ll bring some cookies” and then I remembered I am kitchenless.

-No sink. It is seriously killer. Next time you use your sink or dishwasher, think of me and how jealous I am right now. We have those big drinking water tubs from the grocery store for drinking with and are using the Brita religiously. Washing plates outside in a bucket is my least favorite thing to do after dinner.

-No entertaining. We can’t even have people over to watch football because our house is a dust bowl and I have no food for anyone. We are super excited to have a big shindig once the kitchen is complete.

-Those nights when you think “OMG what are we having for dinner?” and can’t think of anything and end up getting pizza (it’s only happened twice folks). I always regret it and the pizza is never as good as homemade.

I have a question for you: what is your favorite slow cooker/one pot wonder meal I should incorporate into our lives during this remodel?

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Lunch on the Go

by Koko on September 26, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking

lunch

With construction, subbing every day, and the lack of a great kitchen, I have been doing a lot of quick grab and go lunches. Now this is not one of those “WOW I made this home cooked meals and it took no time” recipes. It is more like a “this has nothing homemade in it, yet it tastes incredible and works for me right now” recipes.

The key here is to spruce up something you already have on hand. We always carry cans of soup, but I NEVER just eat soup (booooring and not very satisfying). Instead I take my soup (usually tortilla or black bean), I add about a 1/4 cup of cooked rice and 1 link of chicken sausage (diced) and heat it up. Then (and here’s the kicker),  I add a big dallop of Greek yogurt and half an avocado and TA-DA! These additions make a simple cup of soup into a real meal. And let’s be honest, it takes about 3 minutes from start to finish.

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What are some of your favorite meals on the go?

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Turkey Taco Casserole

by Koko on September 16, 2014 · 1 comment

in Cooking, Main Course

taco casserole

So this could be my new favorite weeknight meal. It’s basically all of the yumminess of Mexican food in a casserole. PS how Southern am I making casseroles? It is super simple to make and can be frozen or prepared in advance (don’t you love when you can do that?).

The base is a simple mix of onions, green bell pepper and turkey. Add in a mixture of beans and tomatoes, top with cheese and chips and bake. Viola. The casserole can have any toppings you want! I liked the addition of fresh tomatoes and some green onions to make it feel healthy (ha-ha-ha).

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Turkey Taco Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 10

Turkey Taco Casserole

This quick and easy weeknight Mexican meal takes 20-minutes and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) jarred chunky-style salsa
  • 8 to 9 cups (about 7 ounces) corn tortilla chips
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • Assorted toppings such as sliced avocado, sliced green onions, sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, plain Greek yogurt. additional salsa, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly mist a 9×13-inch baking dish with a cooking spray or oil mister. Set aside.
  2. To a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. With a wooden spoon, break up turkey until almost cooked through (it is ok if some of it is still pink). Add corn, all of the beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne (if using) and salsa. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in the prepared baking dish. Drop half of the bean mixture in dollops over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with half of cheese. Top with the remaining chips, then spoon on the rest of the bean mixture, and finally sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot throughout, about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with desired toppings.
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I am a magazine hoarder. Seriously. I subscribe to just about every magazine (fashion, home, cooking), read them through once, rip out articles and save them. I have piles on piles of recipes in our home. Occasionally when I get in a rut, I rifle through them to get inspired and that is where this recipe came from!

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You guys know how much I love a quick weeknight meal. There is nothing worse than coming home from work and spending an hour making dinner. I much prefer a quick 30-minute meal. Voila- weeknight fried rice. So easy, especially if you have cooked chicken and rice in the house. If not, pop some chicken in the oven and rice in the rice cooker as soon as you get home and you will be good to go.

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