Saturday, March 27, 2010

Enchiladas for my Chica

One of Drama Queen's good friends is Latino, and every time Boog goes to her house, her Mom makes Chicken Enchilada's. Now, DQ is a picky eater (I have NO idea where she gets that from) but she likes to frequent their house and devour these. She orders them whenever we go out, sans the beans. I had a casserole about 7 years ago at a scrapbooking retreat that were very good. DQ said that M's mom makes hers in a casserole also. I put this together based on her observations and what I remember from the retreat.
Boog's Chicken Enchilada Casserole
2 poached chicken breasts, shredded
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
1 can mild enchilada sauce
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
garlic salt
onion salt
Goya seasoning blend
seasoned salt
flour tortillas
After poaching breasts in chicken stock, remove and cool. Shred with two forks. Pour can of soup into saucepan. Stir in sour cream and chicken, a good sprinkle of garlic salt, onion salt, a small packet of Goya seasoning and a good sprinkle of seasoned salt. Heat through and stir in Monterrey Jack cheese to melt. Remove from heat. Spray a 9x13 glass dish with Pam. Put two heaping tablespoons of chicken mixture in middle of each tortilla. Fold two edges over, then roll up so all filling is covered by the tortilla. Put each tortilla in pan seam side down. Spoon any remaining chicken filling over tops of tortillas. Pour enchilada sauce over all the enchiladas, making sure to cover sides so they don't get too crispy. Cover with the Mexican blend cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let sit for about 10 minutes to set up before serving.
It was very good. I ate one and a half and saved some for Dude for his work lunch for tomorrow.
Off to read a book. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A quick update

Hi everyone, just a quick update. Still not digging my cast-can you believe it? More pity parties for myself than I care to count. I think it is the whole "I can't get comfortable in any position" that is making me so cranky. I did get out all last weekend, which I enjoyed, but by the end of the nights, my arm was throbbing and I just wanted some morphine.

Friday night I met a bunch of my "Alum Chums"-people I went to high school with that didn't hang out together really back then, but we all kind of reconnected on Facebook. Three of them had birthdays in the beginning of March, so we had a party at a bar in our old stomping ground-7 houses down from where I grew up. Let's just say the neighborhood has changed...and not for the better. Guys were escorting us to the cars.

At the Cherry Pit

Saturday night, Dude and I went to dinner with friends we haven't seen since Hermit Crab's grad party. They had found a restaurant that they really liked in Red Wing called Smoking Oak. It has a giant rotisserie right when you walk in the door. Chicken, ribs, pork roasts, beef roasts.
It was fabulous! I forgot my camera, but I had a pulled pork sandwich that was incredible, Dude had a Prime rib dip and our friends both had the beef brisket sandwich. If any of you find yourselves in Red Wing, try this place-you won't regret it!

Sunday was really busy. A high school friend lost everything in a fire at the beginning of March. Unfortunately, her neighbor lost her life. One of the Alum Chums organized a benefit fundraiser at another local bar in our old neighborhood (safer!). The bar owner donated space and appys and a meat raffle and the friends donated goods for a silent auction. I won a pair of cute weinie roasting sticks....that look like men.....guess where you put the hotdog...yup! I had seen something like them on line and one of the guys from school makes them.

At Obb's. Krissy (with drink) organized the benefit-she rocks

After I left the benefit, I headed to Woodbury to meet some of my oldest (read: friends I have had the longest, not age related-in case they read this!)

We haven't been together, all 4 of us, in about 6 years. We are hoping that now that our kids are teenagers, we will have more time to meet. The girl sitting next to me is Lori. We have known each other since Kindergarten. Kim is across from her and we met in 7th grade. In peach is my BFF Liz. We met in 10th grade and have been best buds since. Well, actually we were not "buds" at first-we were both close to a third girl and 'competed' for time with Coleen. When Coleen moved away, we both felt really sad and commiserated with each other. Besties since then!

I've been on light duty at work. I can't go in the plant with my cast so I am in the office doing small projects for different people. It is nice that I can work four 10 hour days during the day. Makes it easier to sleep when Dude isn't there-keep running unto him with my arm.

I've been visiting every one's blogs but haven't left many comments as it is hard to type a lot with the one hand. I have had to take 3 breaks while typing this since it makes my right arm hurt because of the weird position, but I am staying caught up with you, I promise!

I have a baby shower tonight for someone I used to work with at the bank. It will be nice to see everyone again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Slow Cooker recipe and an arm

I was looking for a nice, warm, comforting meal that all three of us would like. Drama Queen would love enchiladas every day I think. She won't eat pork unless it is ham or bacon, or pulled pork sandwiches, doesn't like meatloaf or fish. She is hard to feed. She does like chicken and spuds, so I threw it all in the Crock Pot and let her rip.

Creamy Crock Chicken

4 chicken breasts-I had boneless, skinless on hand
8 yellow skinned potatoes
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 can of water
poultry seasoning
salt and pepper

Rinse off chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle each breast with poultry seasoning and paprika, salt and pepper. Cube up spuds and slice onion and scatter on bottom of slow cooker. Mix the can of soup with the water (to thin out a little) and pour over spuds, retaining about 1/3 cup. Place chicken on top of spuds, spoon reserved soup mix on top of each breast. Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours or on LOW 6-7.

It creates a gravy that infuses the potatoes and keeps the chicken from drying out too much, which can happen if you leave it in too long,

Drama Queen was quite happy with it and we had no leftovers.

For the arm part, I had posted about having an MRI last week. I saw the doctor yesterday and I have an inflamed tendon with several small tears under the inflammation. He thought we can fix it with Cortisone and a cast.

Isn't it delightful? I have to have it on for 4 weeks. I can't cook, I can't clean, I can hardly put on undergarments (bras one handed?) and I can barely sleep since I sleep on my left side and I can't find a comfy position. Dude had to cut my food last night. It hurts to type with one hand because of the cramped position and he is concerned with a spot in my right wrist that has a cyst-like bump and is inflamed, which he attributes to over-compensating with that hand. I need to call the plant and see if they can put me in a different place for a month or if they really want me to sit on the packing floor for 12 hours a night and just sit. To say I am depressed is an understatement. I'm trying to look on the bright side that after nearly a year of pain, this may just fix it. Tell that to my poor hubby who had to listen to me cry at 3 this morning because I was exhausted but couldn't sleep because the cast is heavy and I couldn't find the right spot to sleep in. Unfortunately we don't have a recliner so I couldn't even sleep sitting in that.

Might have to take a trip to the furniture store...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cuban Pork Roast `a la POM

The gracious and generous folks over at POMWonderful sent me a box of 8 bottles of POM juice. I have made a punch with it, used it here-but have yet to drink it straight from the bottle. I should remedy that with one of the bottles left.

I first had a Cuban sandwich in 2001 when I took my daughters to Florida for a mini vacation at my Dad and step-mom's rental house. They were in the process of building their house and rented a home so Dad could oversee the construction. Since we went in June it was super hot outside. We literally went from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned restaurant/store/other people's homes. They took us to a small restaurant and we had Cuban sandwiches. I of course don't like pickles so I had them hold those. That was one terrific sandwich. I have had a couple here in Minnesota, and while they were good, they didn't quite get the taste spot on.

I found a recipe for Cuban Pork Roast from Hamilton Beach while doing a search on-line. I didn't follow it exactly, but rather used it for a guide for some seasonings. It didn't taste like the pork in the sandwich either, but it was so good.

Cuban Pork Roast `a la POM

5 pound pork roast-used a bone in
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. southwestern season blend
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice, zest the lemon first
3 TBSP fresh lime juice, zest the lime first
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/3 cup POM juice
the lemon and lime zest

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except roast and zest. Store zest in zipper bag in fridge.
Place roast in gallon size zipper bag and place the baggie in a bowl. Pour the marinade over the pork, squish around to cover meat and place in fridge overnight. In the morning, remove roast from the marinade and place in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with the citrus zest. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

We had this for dinner the first night, and I shredded the rest of the pork up, stirred in some barbecue sauce and served it as shredded pork sandwiches the second night. It was honestly delicious. It was flavorful and tender, not really sweet but had a small hint of the juice. The original recipe calls for red wine, but we are not huge red drinkers and I also made it on the work weekend, so I didn't want to open a bottle and have it sit in the fridge for 3 days until we could drink it.

Still looking at our options for the mini remodel of the kitchen along with the lower level bath remodel. I may have to lower my standards on the counter top and the dual fuel stove as our dishwasher broke and we needed to gut the downstairs bathroom because of a leaky shower and potential mold issue. I want to check with our remodel guy about the choices of the granite-look laminates and I found a stainless steel 5 burner, all gas model stove that is really nice-and about half the price of the dual fuel. While I would really like the electric oven for baking, I need to be realistic about what I want and what I need.

Had my MRI this week and just about tossed my cookies on the poor radiographer's shoes. I am so claustrophobic it isn't even funny. Everyone laughs when I tell them that I can't even watch people scuba dive on TV because I can't breathe. It is a pain and I feel like a big baby. I have a really high threshold for pain, but apparently narrow, white tubes that make loud clicky noises turn me into a sniveling mess. The only saving grace was that it was elbow they were looking at, so I had to put it up over my head in a kind of 'arm cuff' and they only pushed me in to about my chest. I was able to see out of the end so I didn't panic as much as I did last time. All that was running through my mind was how I could wiggle out of the cuff and escape if the power went out and they weren't able to get the slide to come out of the tube. I know, I need professional help! Hopefully we will know next week what we are dealing with and how long I will be out of commission. I need to get some more food made and pictures taken so I have some in reserves.

Off to catch up with every one's posts.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Attempt at Brining

It seems to be the 'thing' to do; brining. I have read on many blogs about everyone's success and wonderful-ness of brining, so I decided to take it on, albeit in a small package. Pork chops are my least favorite pork product. My husband loves them, but they are always dried out and blah.

When we got home from work on Thursday morning, I set myself to brining. Being lazy, I didn't turn on the computer to research the brining 'recipe' as I knew I would be sucked into two hours on the 'puter and wouldn't get any sleep. I remember that people were putting in equal amounts of salt and sugar, and some water, wine, etc. Since I was only fixing 2 pork chops (Drama Queen won't eat them) I started small.

Brined Pork Chops

2 bone in pork chops
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cran apple juice
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water in a gallon plastic food storage bag. Add the juice and sauce. Break up the herbs and put in mixture. Place chops in baggie and remove air. Squish the pork chops around in the mixture and then lay out flat so marinade is covering them. Place on a high sided dish so they lay flat and will catch marinade if bag has a hole in it. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Rinse off chops; pat dry. Sprinkle each side with pork seasoning and some paprika. Put into a scorching hot pan to sear. Turn heat to med-high and sear about 4 minutes. Flip and sear another 4-5 minutes. Check with instant read thermometer to make sure the temp is 165 degrees. Remove to a platter and tent to keep warm. Temp will come up the 5 degrees while resting. I actually removed mine at 155 because I had to reheat them at work. I made some fried, diced potatoes to go with the chops.

Delicious! Oh my goodness, they were so tender and flavorful! I'm a believer, I am.

I am trying to get some stuff made this weekend as I am waiting for a call back from the Orthopedic surgeon. I have been dealing with Lateral Epicondellitis (Tennis Elbow) for about 11 months. I have done two stints of Occupational Therapy with no relief. I have been on Light duty for 10 weeks and my co-workers pretty much hate me. We are waiting on confirmation from Worker's comp that I can have an MRI to check it out. He said it is one of three things:
1) No tear, but inflamed
2) Small tear
3) Large tear

For #1 and 2 they will pretty much give me cortisone shots and put my arm in a sling and I can't use it at all for 3 weeks. For number 3, I would have to have surgery, be casted for 3 weeks and then slinged for another 3, again not using it at all.

Needless to say, I won't be cooking (or scrapping, and little else) for awhile. I figure if I have a few things in the computer, I will be able to hunt and peck with my right hand to do a couple quick posts.

Who wants to run away? Anyone? Apparently my hubby. He said the other day that he wants to sell everything we own, buy a 50 foot sailboat and just cruise the oceans, go from port to port and find the bars, and sail nekked. I just keep smiling and nodding at him. I even played along while we looked up sailboats for sale on the Internet, all the while interjecting that even with selling all the cars, the house, the toys-I don't know that we could live for 20 years until we can get Social Security and our 401(k)'s. His answer? We will do fishing tours, snorkeling tours, booze cruises out of southern ports. Oh, did I tell you? Neither one of us know how to sail-at all. He said we could get "Sailing for Dummies" and read up on it. Plus the big sailboats have power winches so I won't have to unroll the sails and rigger them. I totally made that up, but I know I have heard 'rigger' about sailing.

Smile and nod, just smile and nod.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A trip to Mickey's

This is Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul. It is a landmark-both literally and figuratively. It is on the National Landmark Registry. It has been in this location for 70 years and is still owned and operated by one of the founding families.

I have lived in Minnesota my entire life (except for those 2 plus years as a toddler) and have just eaten here for the first time today.

The conversation started on Wednesday night/Thursday morning around 4 A.M. I was jonesing for a burger and no place in our town is open 24 hours a day. We would have had to go to Faribault for that. Dude said we could drive up to Mickey's and grab a burger. It was tempting, but I had on jammie pants, a wool hat and a bathrobe-not the time to be taking a trip. I made waffles and he made bacon and we survived.
Tonight was Drama Queen's spring concert (she had a solo and was totally fabulous-just so you know ;-}) and after we called Grandpa so she could interview him for a speech she has to do, Dude said "Let's go to Mickey's and get those burgers". It was 9-and we hopped in the car and left. 35 minutes later we were there.

Dude's Sputnik burger with hashbrowns-they shred them on site

My Bacon Cheeseburger

Dude eating his big burger

Drama Queen spooning up the malt

It is a small place-4 booths and 10 stools. 30 minute time limit. Breakfast all day. Totally old school. It rocked.