This week is a little bit crazy. In fact, the past few weeks have been a little bit crazy. What I’m trying to say is, my life has gone from having days where I didn’t know what to do, to having very little free time (in which I can’t decide what to do because there are so many things left to do).
I know what you’re thinking. “Welcome to my life.” And yes, you’re absolutely right. I guess I’m just not used to having a packed schedule, and I’m doing my best to adapt. I’m happy, exciting new things are happening every day, and I truly have nothing to complain about.
Well, my kitchen could use some love. I hear my utensils cry a sad little moan every once in a while, and the oven has been a little empty. As has a little space in my heart. Eating out is fun, and it’s crazy convenient, but it definitely gets old. I mean we haven’t been eating out for every meal, but I don’t think anyone’s real excited about fish sticks and corn tonight either.
So I cook. I write things in my planner daily and I have to get out of bed earlier if I want to start my days off right. Big deal. Let’s do this. Bring it on. (I could keep going but I think you get the picture).
This Thursday is our anniversary (4 years! I feel ‘legit’ now)… and we also have some friends in from out of town, and we also get to see good friends who are expecting and…the list goes on. So I have (realistically) only about 3 meals to plan. But dammit, those 3 meals are going to be spectacular.
I’ve recently found myself scrolling through pages and pages of the adorable, witty, and drool-worthy blog, How Sweet It Is, and it served as my inspiration for meals this week. I’ve only gone a few pages deep but I think I’ve already found the recipes I want to make this week. This week will be different than my “Cooking with Alli” posts in the past. I’ll just go ahead and post the recipes and the grocery list, and I’ll post my “review” and pictures as I make them. I figure you’ll either cook with me or you won’t, but maybe, just maybe there’s some of you out there who are like me and don’t have your week’s meals planned, so you’ll see my post and make a pit stop at the store and cook with me. These meals after all, might just change your plans.
Hot Blueberry Cheddar Dip with Toasted Bread (shut up, this looks so good!)
Southwest Chicken Salad Slider Melts (makes a lot, but who doesn’t like leftovers?)
Bacon, Egg, and Asparagus Personal Pizzas (Love me an egg on pizza. And bacon? I’M IN.)
Here’s the grocery list: Just click here to print!
I can’t wait to cook this week. I’m excited to make time. I don’t know just what nights it will be yet, but these meals are going to be delicious. If you have time to cook with me, print out the grocery list, whip it up, and send me your pics and I will post them! If not, drool over these recipes, enjoy How Sweet It Is, and have a great (busy) week.
If you’re just joining us, or if you’ve been following all week, there’s no denying these pizzas make your tummy grumble a little bit. It’s almost 11 o’clock and I’ve eaten plenty today but they still make me want pizza. Just a little bit of that sauce and melty cheese…
“We can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow!” -Jenna
Amber said the pizza was great and easy to make and that she was so excited to add 3 new recipes to her repertoire from the week! What a compliment!
I hope that if you cooked with me this week you had as much fun as I did, and I hope that if you didn’t, our lovely pics have enticed you enough to join us next time!
I’ll be posting the dates soon, but for now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to improve this for next time! Or maybe you just have a meal you’d like to cook with us? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy Thursday to you all! Little known secret…Thursdays are my favorite day of the week. Always have been. Something about the day I was born on and being little and having “library day” at school … anyway. It’s also about to be pizza day, which only makes things better.
I’ve always loved pizza. I’ve always loved making pizza. But for some reason, I’ve never made a deep dish pizza. What is wrong with me? Of course I knew I’d love it, so after watching a little food TV and getting inspired, I decided to go for it. It turned out to be perfectly saucy and delicious, with just the right spice and crunch and ooey gooey cheese. I have to give credit to my MIL who introduced frozen bread dough as a pizza crust to me, which obviously is one of the better things I’ve learned in my life.
Bon appetit! (you must say it like Julia for the full effect.)
What you will need:
1 log of frozen bread dough
1/4 C pepperoni (who’s really counting here?)
sliced bell pepper
sliced crimini mushrooms (pre-cook these to avoid too much moisture on your pizza pie)
1/8 C sliced black olives
…I added a few sliced pepperoncinis, a little oregano, and a little crushed red pepper flakes.
So the thing about pizza is you can really do whatever toppings you want. What I’m going for here is sort of a “supreme” deep-dish. But the thing about the Chicago style is the layering is totally different. Cheese, then toppings, then sauce. Got it?
So by now your frozen bread dough should be not-so-frozen anymore. If you followed my directions (pointing finger) then your dough should have been sitting in the fridge all day. When you get home from work, or are ready to start cooking, take it out of the fridge, and lay it in your pizza pan. I used a cast-iron skillet. I think 1 log of frozen bread dough will either make 2 smaller cake pan-sized pizzas, or a slightly bigger (10” or so) cast iron pan, or regular oven-proof skillet. You want to oil your pan really well and then place the dough in it. Let it rise and get nice and soft. If it still seems cold or isn’t working up the sides of the pan well, it just needs to sit. Just lightly cover it and let it be for a bit longer. Patience is a virtue.
When it’s risen up, simply work it up the sides of the pan (I poked it with a fork a few times so it wouldn’t get too bubbly), and start with your layering. Cheese, toppings, sauce. Let it bake at 450 for 25 minutes and that’s it! Got it? You can follow along through my photos for more guidance. :)
I hope that you have all enjoyed cooking with me this week as much as I have enjoyed your company. Let me know if you have any thoughts as to how to make this project better, or if you have recipe ideas or things you’d like to try together! I hope to see you next time!
So another big thanks to my two biggest fans of the moment, Jenna & Amber. You guys have been awesome this week, and I will forever be grateful for your support. One day I will publish a cookbook and you will get a proper thank you! ;)
As for the rest of you, if this doesn’t entice you enough to make Chicken Pot Pancakes, or to try something new, I don’t know what to tell you.
Amber’s lovely table setting for one, complete with (not just glass) but bottle, of white wine. :)
Jenna & Nick’s plateful of pancakes. These look dill-licious! (oh yes I did).
So keep up with us if you want to cook along, or check back soon for an update on when we will be cooking next!
Chicken Pot … what?
Yes, I said pancakes. And the first thing I have to tell you is to get the image of buttery, syrupy, sweet, pancakes out of your mind. It’s time to think of pancakes in a different way. Once you can do that, you are left with a doughy, bread-like base. Almost like a biscuit. And when you add some veggies and chicken and cover it with gravy (because what shouldn’t be covered in gravy?) it’s almost like pot pie. And now that I think of it, “pot pie” is in the exact same situation. You have to take out what you originally think of with pie, cherries, apples and cinnamon… It’s like I planned this or something.
What you will need: (just trust me, it’s gonna be good)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons dill
Salt and pepper
2 cups pancake mix
1 1/4 cups milk, (as needed, according to the pancake mix package directions)
1 egg (as needed, according to the pancake mix package directions)
1 cup store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup frozen peas, carrots, or mixed vegetables
3 green onions, diced
Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth and season with salt, pepper, and dill. Keep on low heat and stir often.
Love me some dill.
Don’t slack on your whisking. If you do, you’ll end up with tiny clumps that will be impossible to get smooth. Also remember that if it’s not quite thick enough, you can always make a little rue (melt a little butter mixed with flour) and whisk it in to thicken the gravy.
Meanwhile, mix pancake mix according to package directions. Stir in chicken, frozen veggies, and green onions. Cook them just like regular pancakes in a skillet over medium heat and serve with gravy!
Nah, DH didn’t like em’ much either. ;)
I hope you have all had a wonderful week so far, and can enjoy creating and savoring your dinner. That’s what it’s all about, right?
A huge, heartfelt thank you to my dear friends and family, and fellow cooks who cooked Tortilla Soup with me last night…from their own kitchens across the continent. It really means a lot to me to have participants and for us to create together…without having “too many cooks in the kitchen!”
Beautiful soup and presentation a la Toni Markow, my wonderful MIL.
A very hearty bowl (and look at that backdrop!) from my dear friend, Amber.
And, last but not least, two adorable bowls from two adorable people, Jenna & Nick.
My absolute favorite part of seeing your beautiful meals is that I could tell who’s was who’s without seeing the names! Everyone made their dish their own, which is the key to cooking.
I hope to see you all back here on Wednesday night for… “Oh, what’s that? You don’t know what we’re making yet?” HMMMM…. ;)
So here it is! Tonight we will make Chicken Tortilla Soup (feel free to omit the chicken and it will be “almost” as tasty!) This soup is like most soup, fast, simple, something I think you will be happy to know won’t take much more out of you than this Monday already has, but will leave you feeling satisfied and maybe even a little spicy.
You will need:
3 corn tortillas, cut into strips OR a handful of tortilla chips broken up
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes(fire-roasted or regular)
1 Chipotle Chile in Adobo sauce, chopped fine (Start with 1/2, taste then add more if more spice is desired)
2/3 cup salsa
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup shredded chicken (from a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
salt and pepper
1 avocado, sliced
sour cream, for serving
cilantro, chopped for serving
Tonight, we’ll only use about 2 cups of the shredded chicken.
Is there anything better than a ripe, buttery avocado?
A little bit of cilantro goes a long way.
There are a few different directions you can go with this soup, which is part of what makes it so easy and lovable. For instance, if you want to use corn tortillas, simply cut them up into strips, toss them on a cookie sheet, spray them with cooking spray, and bake them at 375 for about 10 minutes while your soup is simmering. If you want to go the easy route (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you), just crunch up a few tortilla chips on top of your soup when you serve it.
Other than that, here’s what the rest of the soup looks like. (I’ll write it out because it looks a lot nicer than saying “JUST DUMP IT IN THE POT.” …Even though that’s all we’re really doing. ;)
*Combine chicken broth, tomatoes, chipotle chile, salsa, and corn in saucepan. Bring soup to a boil then turn to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the chicken into the soup, season with salt and pepper. Serve with avocado slices, sour cream, tortilla strips, and cilantro. Makes 2 BIG bowls.
While you’re cooking tonight, feel free to take pics and shout it through the interwebs using the hashtag #cookingwithalli, or email me at email@example.com. I would love to see how your meals turn out and share them on my blog!
Sorry guys, ice cream is not on the grocery list…
First off I want to say thank you to all of you who went and filled out the survey and told me what you wanted to cook. I can’t thank you enough. It really excites me that you are out there and want to cook with me!
As for the results of the survey, most of you seem pretty easy to please. Only a few of you have particular diet restrictions (tisk, tisk), and over-all it looks like we will be cooking 3 meals just for 2 people. This, we can do.
So to keep things a little mysterious (who doesn’t like a little mystery?) I thought I would give you a grocery list, without telling you exactly what we’ll be cooking. Sound good? I think you will find that you will have a lot of the listed ingredients already in your kitchen, and the rest of the items are pretty basic and affordable. The idea is that the meals will be easy and can be made in a short amount of time, yet are perhaps new or different versions of things you’ve had before.
You can find the grocery list here, and let’s aim to cook next Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So as long as you get your groceries before Monday night, we will be all set!
I’ll let you know what we are cooking the night before, so you can prepare yourselves, and then the full recipes the morning of. You can thank me later.