Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fiesta Chicken

There are two things I almost always have in my fridge - salsa and cheese. I'm not sure why - well, actually, I guess I do know why - because salsa and cheese are awesome. Especially cheese.

But I digress. Anyway, I had chicken and was trying to figure out what I could do to make it delicious. I did my typical fact finding mission by looking through the fridge to see what was in there for me to use. It was hard to miss the gallon of salsa verde (green salsa) and 5 pound bag of shredded Mexican cheese.

I figured it taste great on chicken tacos, so why not just bake with them? It was super easy and ended up tasting great. As mentioned previously, I used salsa verde and Mexican cheese, but you can use any salsa/cheese combination (I'll definitely be experimenting with these). Go nuts. And enjoy another super easy, why-didn't-I-think-of-that? dinner!

Fiesta Chicken

2 chicken breasts

1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Cut fat off of the chicken. Combine chicken with salsa in a large zip locking bag. Shake until chicken is completely covered. Let sit in fridge for 30-45 minutes (or longer).
Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in a glass dish and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 20-40 minutes, depending on size of chicken.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

This is totally unrelated to my recipe, but I read an article about a woman who baked her neighbor cupcakes to distract him so that she could steal his car. I mean, how awesome of a tactic is that? Sure, she could have just bought the cupcakes, but what's the fun in that? This woman actually took the time to make the
cupcakes beforehand. She obviously must have been hatching this plan for some time. "How can I get into this man's house so I can get access to his keys? I know! I'll make him a delicious treat that he can't resist, make my way into his home and steal his car keys while he's distracted." Brilliant.

On a side note, don't be frightened if I come to your home with baked goods. I promise I'm not trying to steal anything...or am I?

Anyway, these cookies were one of the first things I ventured to bake when I moved to Denver...more than 6 months after I arrived. I was terrified of baking in high altitude and was afraid to even make an attempt, even with a high altitude recipe at the ready.

I am super glad I decided to take a chance a try baking, because these cookies are delicious and still, after a whole year of baking, are my husband's favorite. The cookies are soft and a bit cake-like and the frosting is sweet but not in the oh-god-this-is-way-too-sweet kind of way. They are more-so sweet in the oh-my-god-these-are-awesome kind of way.

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Mix in dry ingredients, a little at a time. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for easier handling.

Preheat oven to 350.

Shape the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until set. Let the cookies stand on the cookie sheets for 1 minute. Remove the cookies to cookie racks or wax paper and let cool completely before frosting with the Pumpkin Frosting (ingredients and directions below).


1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons milk, divided

In a small bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together. In a mixer, beat the shortening and the vanilla for 30 seconds, or until light and creamy. Gradually beat in about 1 cup of the spiced and sifted powdered sugar until well combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, beating until well combined.

Gradually beat in the remaining spiced powdered sugar and the milk. Continue beating until well combined.

Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cookies.

They only lasted long enough for me to get a shot of this one cookie.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Day in the Life

I work for the federal government, and two weeks ago I deemed "non-essential" and was furloughed during the shut-down. I was getting stir-crazy (don't worry, there has be PLENTY of baking I'll be blogging about) and complained to my husband about it. He suggested that he plan a day for me and since I was running out of things to do, I readily agreed. So yesterday, I had a Ryan Day. Here's what was on the agenda:

Here's a break-down of how it went:

9:30 - run
10:15 - shower
Outfit for the day (per instructions):

10:30 - coffee and imgur
I wasn't sure if "Coffee - Dunkin" meant drink Dunkin Donuts coffee or drink coffee with Dunkin, so I did both:
 10:50 - Breaking Bad, episode 1
 Ryan put Breaking Bad on the list because he has been wanting to get me to watch the show and I have no interest (yes, I realize this makes me weird). My thoughts on this episode? The scene of Walt and his wife in bed after his surprise party was extremely uncomfortable. Yeah, not much else to add.

12:00 - Breaking Bad, episode 2, beer #1
I figured I'd just go ahead and get Breaking Bad out of the way. After episode 2 I was still not interested in the series. Ryan told me a just need to watch two more. I have a feeling after two more episodes, he'll just tell me to watch two more until I've watched the whole series. No thanks.

1:10 - lunch, beer #2, imgur
 Here's a snidbit of a convo between Ryan and me at this point:

how is it going?
Making grilled cheeses
I'm drunk after one beer so I need foods

this pleases me

I was going to order pizza but it was just soooo complicated
My stomach had not been feeling well before I had started my day, but I decided to go through with the day anyway. That, combined with the fact that I hadn't had anything in my stomach, cause me to go from 0 to drunk in one beer.
1:30 - Army of Darkness, beer #3 and 4
2:10 - Soup
Yes, straight from the container (yes, I heated it up).

This is how Army of Darkness went:

Army of Darkness takes place in medieval times?
am I watching the right movie?

oh yeah
are you sure this isn't Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
I thought he had a saw for an arm?
or is this not Ash

good lord what are you watching?

now he does
I swear he didn't have it before

yeah he didnt have it on for long in the begining when he was a 'slave'

oh just magically came back?

the wizard guy gives it to him
this movie is confusing
because beer
my confusion is partly because I took a bathroom break and didn't pause
I can't back that up
I didn't know what was going on before I went to the bathroom
he swallowed a tiny version of himself and now he has two heads?
I'm not asking for me, Dunkin wanted to know
omg the animation is TERRIBLE
it's like claymation?
no, claymation is better
And some of my favorite lines from the movie: 
"You know, your shoelace is untied."  
"Yo! She Bitch…Let's go."
"I've got a bone to pick with you." 
"Buckle up, bonehead, cause you're going for a ride."

3:10 - NAP
4:25 - beer #5 and imgur

4:40 - The Last Starfighter, beer #6
I could see why my husband loved this movie as a kid. A kid gets a high score on an arcade and then is recruited to fight in an intergalactic war. I'm sure every time Ryan played one of his games he thought it might be the day he got picked to join space war. While watching this, Ryan came home and we ate leftovers and my Ryan day was complete. I was sad I didn't get to play any video games, but overall, I think the day was quite successful.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is my favorite time of year! Football is back on (go Tigers!), the ridiculous heat is subsiding and it is no longer weird for me to bake with my favorite ingredient, pumpkin. There's just something about pumpkin and all of the rich spices that are used with it that just make me so happy.

My husband's coworker started calling them Clemson cookies. I actually had the same thought while I was making them since they are orange. And from another of hubby's coworkers: "Your wife must be a wizard because these cookies are magical." Much akin to a cheesy pick-up line, but I figured it was worth mentioning, at least for the cheese factor.

Another alternative is to use raisins instead of chocolate chips. They are equally as delicious =)

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Beat in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. Add flour mixture slowly, mixing thoroughly with each addition. Add milk and mix completely. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Roll into 1-inch size balls and place 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes and then place onto wax paper or wire rack until complete cooled.