Recipe

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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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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Mini Muffin Tin Pizzas

by Koko on August 18, 2014 · 0 comments

in Appetizers, Cooking, Recipe

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Let’s talk about the easiest and tastiest 10-minute appetizer ever, shall we? These Mini Muffin Tin Pizzas will blow your mind. Created with tortillas cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter (genius) and filled with whatever pizza toppings you have on hand, these babies turn out delicious.

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Last minute dinner party? Give it a go! It’s truly the easiest process there is- and you can use whatever pizza toppings you have in the fridge (olives, peppers, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, you name it).

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Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a biscuit cutter (or the bottom of a can!), cut rounds out of a tortilla. I usually get 3-4 per tortilla.

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Step 2: Line a lightly greased muffin tin with tortilla rounds.

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Step 3: Fill with toppings. I used a mix of a sundried tomato pesto, pasta sauce, fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, shredded Parmesan and mini pepperoni. I made different mini pizzas with a variety of toppings, so no two were alike!

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Step 4: Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted (I may or may not have left mine in a minute too long). Remove from oven. Top with fresh basil. Serve!

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Mini Muffin Tin Pizzas

Makes as many as you want (I used about 5 tortillas for 24 pizzas)

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortillas (I get the larger size so I can get more rounds from them)
  • Pizza or pasta sauce (pesto works too!)
  • Cheese (fresh mozzarella, burrata, shredded mozzarella, shredded Parmesan)
  • Mini Pepperonis and any other toppings of your choosing
  • Fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin.  Using a biscuit cutter or bottom of a can, cut rounds from tortilla.
  2. Line muffin tin with tortilla rounds. Fill with sauce, cheese and toppings.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and top with fresh basil to serve.

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Summer Eats

by Koko on August 4, 2014 · 2 comments

in Cooking, Recipe, Uncategorized

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This summer has been the summer of the tomato. I have about 12 plants that are constantly growing fresh tomatoes, so there is no excuse not to have tomatoes for every meal. The simplest way to enjoy fresh tomatoes is with a little olive oil (splurge on some really good stuff), and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Sometimes if I am getting crazy, I’ll add a dash of balsamic vinaigrette and a piece of toast. Other favorites are caprese salads and sandwiches (also made with homegrown basil). I’m a big fan of putting my caprese over baby greens for dinner to make it really feel like a meal and not an appetizer.

Other favorites this summer include turkey sloppy joes, a recipe I promise to post soon, and lots of meals with mushrooms. I guess mushrooms are normally a fall staple, but for some reason my summer palette has been craving them. I usually saute them in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and then put them over brown rice, toast or with some asparagus.

And let’s not forget summer roasted potatoes. Nothing goes better with some grilled chicken then some rosemary roasted potatoes. I buy baby potatoes, slice them in quarters or halves, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper (see a theme here?!?), add some rosemary from our herb garden and roast for about 25-30 minutes at 375 (until fork tender).

PS all of these photos were taken with my iphone and posted on my Instagram. If you wish to follow me in real time, you can do so here: @kokolikes.

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