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Arroz con Pollo (Caribbean Rice with Chicken)

6 Jul

I’ve found the best time to trick my husband into giving me massages is when he’s on his computer. At first read, this may not make sense to you. However, it works. If he’s on his laptop, all I have to do is scurry over and tell him to rub my shoulder while he’s perusing whatever computer nerd stuff he reads. This way, he’s so engrossed in the newest Android phone specs that by the time he realizes he’s rubbing my shoulders, 10 minutes have already passed. Genius, my friends. Genius.

Work shouldn’t feel like work. It should pass by as quickly as those 10-minute computer-shoulder rubs.

At first, this recipe might seem like a lot of work. Marinate the chicken for how many hours? Dice up how many vegetables? The best part is, though, once you start chopping, then simmering, then cooking, you get caught up in the fragrant wafts and you forget how much time has passed since you started cooking. (Unless, of course, you’re cooking a meal for guests that needs to be ready by 5:00 p.m., and you’re watching the clock more seriously than you ever supervised your baby brother 5 years ago.)

This is a classic Puerto Rican dish. It’s glorified chicken and rice. Very delicious. Not spicy.

Marinate your chicken overnight or a few hours before cooking. (Don’t you just love pictures of raw chicken? BLECHlaksdjflakjYUM!)

Dice your fresh veggies.

Start to brown your chicken with your ham.

Toss in your chopped veggies.

Stir in your rice, then add the water.

Cook until the water cooks out and the rice is dry. Remove chicken and keep cooking.

Cook until rice is soft. Add peas and chicken back in to warm before serving. (more…)

Pasta and Fresh Spinach Salad

28 Jun

Running clears your head. You suddenly de-stress as your feet pound the pavement in a steady rhythm. And your body looks totally hot.

At least this is what happens in the movies.

In fact, I’m not really sure if running truly has these effects on me, but because I like to think that it does, I’ll let the placebo effect do its job.

This meal is stress-free. It’s one of my favorite summer meals. It’s fast, easy, and cool; the spinach makes me feel healthy; and it tastes great.

Marinate cooked pasta in teriyaki mixture.

Combine mandarin oranges, green onions, shredded chicken, sesame seeds, and Craisins in a large bowl.

Combine the pasta with the oranges/onions/chicken mixture, and toss in fresh baby spinach last.

Top individual servings with Parmesan cheese and honey roasted peanuts. (more…)

Easy Peasy Burritos

11 Jun

Men say they hate shopping, but I don’t buy it.

Have you ever been to an auction? At all of the many  three auctions I’ve been to, I’ve found that there is a disproportionately high ratio of men to women.

You can tell the men are excited to be there, examining the goods and trying to outbid each other. I was trying to figure out why men like auctions more than traditional shopping, and I’ve come up with an explanation: “competitive shopping.”

Maybe regular clothes shopping isn’t exciting enough for most guys. It’s slow-paced and generally friendly; there’s not a clear-cut winner. And maybe that is exactly the reason I like shopping: I feel like a winner each and every time I leave with a new shirt, dress, or measly bottle of nail polish.

Let’s all be winners.

Here’s probably the easiest burrito recipe yet. It’s tasty, fast, and uses normal ingredients you are likely to have on hand.

The best part of these burritos has got to be the cinnamon and brown sugar. Put those ingredients in ground beef and magic happens.

A snapshot of your onions, meat, beans, and corn filling.

Generously pile on that mozzarella cheese.

Ta-da! (And no, I did not attempt to take pictures of my folded-up burrito.) The inside shot will have to do. (more…)

Pad Thai

21 May

We live in a small, rural town. By “small” I mean ghost town when university students leave for the summer, and by “rural” I mean I can see llamas in a field from my kitchen window.

Needless to say, there’s not a large selection of ethnic restaurants to choose from.

There is a grand total of two Thai restaurants in this little town. You might be thinking, Hey for a small town, that’s pretty good! Well, it would be good if the food tasted good. (Yes, that is meant to sound snarky and critical.)

We went to one of these Thai restaurants a few months ago and ordered Pad Thai. Everything was fine and dandy except it simply did not taste like Pad Thai. The other, stranger part was that my Pad Thai tasted very different from my husband’s Pad Thai. Mine reminded me of grape jelly. (For those of you not familiar with Pad Thai, it should not taste like grape jelly.)

This recipe will not remind you of any flavor in the jelly family.

Once again, this originates from my brother-in-law. The recipe itself is not too difficult, but everything happens fast and furiously once you start cooking. If you’re fortunate enough to have a helper in the kitchen, now is a nice time to put them to use. One person can stir while the other one pours food. I like this recipe because even though you might not already have all of the ingredients on hand, it doesn’t call for anything too wild like fish sauce or tamarind paste like most other recipes, and yet it still tastes like Pad Thai.

Hint: Prepare and chop all of your ingredients, and put them within arms’ reach of your wok.

(more…)