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I cook with chicken fairly frequently, tending towards chicken thighs since they have a lot more flavor and are generally cheaper anyway. Last night I decided to go with my old standby of oven-fried chicken, based on this recipe I found a number of months ago although I’ve made a few changes to it (because that’s what I do, and I don’t have all the seasonings). The chicken always comes out very tender and juicy!

I also served a red cabbage salad that I got from blogger Molly Wizenberg’s book, “My Homemade Life” (a great read, by the way). It’s very simple, cheap, and as I discovered last night, delicious.

Lastly, some simple mashed potatoes on the side (because ”fried” chicken without a potato dish just seems so wrong to me).  

Oven-fried Chicken Dinner

Oven-Fried Chicken, adapted

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs (or whatever cut you like)
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly-ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ¼ cup butter

Preparation:

 Heat oven to 450°.

 Line a pan with heavy duty foil, then put your butter in the pan, placing it in the oven just until it melts.

 In a food storage bag or a bowl, combine breadcrumbs and seasonings. Coat your chicken pieces in this mix, making sure you get any little crevices.

Place chicken in your prepared pans in the melted butter. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn over and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until tender and nicely browned.

 

Molly’s Red Cabbage Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 small to medium red cabbage
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated if you can)
  • Black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Discard the outter cabbage leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters, discard the white core. Slice each quarter as thinly as you can and put into a large bowl.

Into the bowl over the cabbage goes all your other ingredients. Mix well until everything is evenly distributed. Now add more pepper than you anticipated, because black pepper is delicious.

Quick and Easy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup of milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste 

Preparation:   

Fill a stockpot about 2/3 of the way with water, and put on high to get boiling.

If you like, peel your potatoes. I prefer more homestyle myself, so I leave them on. Dice them and put them in the pot, letting the potatoes boil until soft.

 

Drain off the water, add your butter and milk. Mash away until as smooth or chunky as you like.

 

Season with salt and pepper.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

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Ham and Bean Soup

Ham & Bean Soup

This is an incredibly easy and tasty soup to pull together. Serve with some crusty garlic bread and a green salad for a rounded meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cannellini or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 2 Smoked ham hocks or ham shanks, thawed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 6 cups of water
  • Tbsp black peppercorns
  • Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

From here, all ya do is put everything in your crockpot and let it simmer on low for 6-8 hours, or if you’re in more of a hurry, you can put it on high for just a couple hours.

Then, take out your ham hocks or ham shanks, separate the meat from the bone and skin. Cut up the meat into smaller pieces, then add it back into the soup. You’re ready to serve!

If you want to add some other stuff, I’d suggest chopped celery, additional ham (especially if you’re using hamhocks and want more meat), or chopped spicy kielbasa that’s been lightly browned.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

You’ll come to see that I love using my crock pot… It’s easy to prep a meal the night before, dump it all in the pot and put in the fridge until morning. So easy, and so tasty. You can get away with buying some tough (ie cheaper) cuts of meat since it’ll be simmering all day and falling apart by the time you dig in for dinner.

Slow cooker beef stew

One thing I love about cooking, is that once you have a good base recipe, you can build variations off of it. Want a more robust stew? Swap the wine for a dark beer, maybe throw some barley in. More depth? Toss in a bit of good tomato sauce. How about spicy? A greater variety of vegetables, herbs? Go for it!

So, here’s my basic recipe. Once of these days, I may get around to making some beef stock, but until then, I do occasionally buy seasoning packets for stuff like this…

The recipe:

1 packet of beef stew base
1 lb stew meat
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 carrots
4 medium-sized potatoes
1 cup red wine
1/2 large yellow onion
2 tsp garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
1 cup water

Note: Vegetable amounts are estimated; once I add the meat, I just pile ‘em in my 5-quart crockpot until it’s nearly full.

Brown meat over medium-high heat. You’re not trying to cook it through, just get it looking tasty on the outside. While it’s browning, season the meat with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Once it’s done, pour the meat and juices into the bottom of your crockpot, then mix in your stew base, red wine and water.

Chop up potatoes, carrots and onion to your desired size. I recommend that you don’t cut them too small; they’ll nearly disintegrate (especially the potatoes) in the lengthy cooking process. I generally quarter the potatoes lengthwise, then chop them into about third-inch pieces. Carrots just get sliced into about quarter-inch thick chunks, and onion into about half-inch pieces.

At this point, you can put what you have in the fridge to start in the morning.

When you’re ready to get it cooking, turn your crockpot on low, and let the whole lot simmer for 6-8 hours. If you can, give it a stir once every couple hours, but this is not necessary.

I served it for dinner this evening, with some homemade wheat bread that I made last night.

You can also toss in some (thawed) peas or chopped green beans, corn, whatever floats your boat. I tend to hold off on that until just before serving so they don’t get mushy …and who likes mushy peas?

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

Tuna Casserole

Thought I’d start sharing my recipes, and gosh, why not start off with my lamest one? Hey, it’s a tuna casserole… it’s what you make when you don’t have a lotta time on hand or any meat defrosted.

I made this for dinner last night. It was that, or macaroni and cheese, and I needed some protein. No, there are no pictures. I’ll admit, this recipe is not so photo-worthy!

Hendersons’ Tuna Casserole

2 cans of tuna in oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup (do not add water or milk)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 pound egg noodles
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
salt
pepper

* Optional: 1 cup frozen vegetable like peas or corn

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large pot, boil water and cook noodles until they’re al dente. Be sure that they don’t get too soft–few things are a bigger food turn off to me that mushy noodles, especially in a casserole.

* If you’re adding a cup of frozen vegetable in with the casserole, you can add it to the noodles during the last five minutes that they’re boiling.

Once done, drain the water out of the pan and add your two cans of tuna, oil and all. Mix it up until the tuna is well integrated, then add the soup and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Take a casserole pan (lightly greased if it’s metal) and spread your casserole out, then top with the breadcrumbs as evenly as you can.

Pop it into the oven for about 25 minutes, then you’re ready to eat.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

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5 Rings Fitness

5 Rings FitnessMany of you have likely heard me go on about the sessions I started with 5 Rings Fitness back in JulyMy 90 days will be up in early October, and the results have been pretty fantastic so far. My range of motion, strength and stamina have all gone improved significantly and continue to do so. One of the most wonderful things about everything James has been showing me, is that it’s super easy to do at home and keep up with. All I need is a kettlebell and the knowledge he’s given me, and I’ll continue to improve.

KettlebellWhile my diet has been tweaked a bit, it hasn’t required me to make any significant changes. He’s shown me a lot about nutrition (it’s almost creepy the amount of information he has in that head regarding all these topics).

The only “downside”: needing to buy new clothes because some of what I own is starting to get a bit too roomy (jeans especially… I’ve gone from a size 15 to 10 already). POOR ME.

Another couple of points on James and 5 Rings Fitness:

  1. He never, EVER, sets you up for failure; he’ll work with you no matter what you’re starting point is — just listen, follow through and you’ll certainly see results.
  2. Pain is bad — if it hurts to do it, stop and do something else. This is different from what you see on TV, kids. More “work smarter, not harder”. Mind, you’ll sweat, but you’ll love doing it.
  3. One of my ultimate goals, and one that James has for you as well, is to strengthen the body’s “core”, not just build muscle tone everywhere hapazardly. And let me tell you, he’s got a great method that combines fun strength and cardio workouts combined with amazing body stretches that’ll get you loosey-goosey from head to toe.

Believe me, I could go on and on… and I will, but I’ll save more for another day. If you’re at ALL curious about 5 Rings Fitness, feel free to ask me questions or contact 5RF directly. A great way to get started would be to sign up for a Basic Membership, and that’s just $50 a month. There are classes in the morning, and some evenings/weekends as well (schedule; the Saturday morning class is an excellent starter).

Misc links:
Video: Hannah V Reviews 5 Rings Fitness
5 Rings Fitness on Twitter; on Facebook.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

Life…

On Monday morning, I was checking Facebook briefly while getting ready for work. I came across some, well, disturbing posts from a good friend of mine, Mikael Rudolph. Heartbreakingly, it turns out that he has Therapy Related Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS Rotunda Stage - Madison, WI.  2009 In January 2008, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, but beat it. Then his sister passed away late last year. Now this. When they’re able to get it into remission, he’ll be up for a bone marrow transplant. He checked into the hospital this afternoon for a three- to four-week stay.

I know most, if not all of you, have had your lives touched by cancer… be it yourself, friends or family. While there will certainly be a benefit coming up for him, if you want to help out, his favorite charity is RESCU (Renaissance Entertainers, Services, and Crafters United). You can donate either in his name or to the foundation itself to help others in similar situations (donation page is here).

Additionally, if you haven’t already, sign up as a potential marrow donor on the Be The Match Registry. Thousands of people with leukemia and other diseases are in need of matches, and you could help. If you happen to be a match for someone, it doesn’t cost you a thing to donate.

If you want to get in touch with Mikael and are on Facebook, here’s his page.

He’s one of the most determined people I know and is surrounded by loving friends so I know he’s not going to take this lying down. If ya have some good vibes or prayers to send, I’m sure he’d appreciate them.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

So yeah…

I haven’t been keeping up on LJ, blogs etc even remotely… so if anything big and/or crazy has happened in your life recently let me know!

Better yet, let’s hang out tonight… anyone down for an after-work happy hour at Nick & Eddie?

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

Y/N

1. You can ONLY answer Yes or No.

2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages or comments you and asks. -- and believe me, the temptation to explain some of these will be overwhelming as nothing is exactly as it seems.

Now, here's what you're supposed to do. . . Copy and paste this into your notes, delete my answers, type in your answers and tag as many of your friends as you'd like to.


Kissed any one of your LJ friends? --- yes
Been arrested? --- no
Kissed someone you didn't like? --- yes
Slept in until 5 PM? --- yes
Fallen asleep at work/school? --- yes
Held a snake? --- no
Ran a red light? --- no
Experienced love at first sight? --- yes
Totaled your car in an accident? --- no
Been fired from a job? --- yes
Fired somebody? --- no
Sang karaoke? --- no
Pointed a gun at someone? --- no
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? --- yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? --- no
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? --- yes
Kissed in the rain? --- yes
Had a close brush with death (your own)? --- yes
Seen someone die? --- no
Played spin-the-bottle? --- yes
Sang in the shower? --- yes
Smoked a cigar? --- no
Sat on a rooftop? --- yes
Smuggled something into another country? --- no
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? --- no
Broken a bone? --- no
Skipped school? --- yes
Eaten a bug? --- yes
Sleepwalked? --- no
Walked a moonlit beach? --- yes
Rode a motorcycle? --- yes
Dumped someone? --- yes
Forgotten your anniversary? --- no
Lied to avoid a ticket? --- yes
Ridden on a helicopter? --- no
Shaved your head? --- yes
Blacked out from drinking? --- yes
Played a prank on someone? --- yes
Hit a home run? -- no
Felt like killing someone? --- yes
Cross-dressed? --- yes
Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? --- yes
Eaten snake? --- no
Marched/Protested? --- no
Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? --- yes
Puked on amusement ride? --- no
Seriously & intentionally boycotted something? --- no
Been in a band? --- yes
Knitted? --- no
Been on TV? --- yes
Shot a gun? --- yes
Skinny-dipped? --- yes
Gave someone stitches? --- no
Eaten a whole habenero pepper? --- no
Ridden a surfboard? --- no
Drank straight from a liquor bottle? --- yes
Had surgery? --- yes
Streaked? --- no
Taken by ambulance to hospital? -- yes
Peed on a bush? --- yes
Donated Blood? --- yes
Grabbed electric fence? --- no
Eaten alligator meat? --- no
Eaten cheesecake? --- yes
Eaten your kids' Halloween candy? --- no
Killed an animal when not hunting? --- no
Peed your pants in public? --- no
Snuck into a movie without paying? --- no
Written graffiti? --- yes
Still love someone you shouldn't? --- no
Think about the future? --- yes
Think about the furniture? --- yes
Believe in love? --- yes
Sleep on a certain side of the bed? --- no

So my dining companion and I were looking to get our grub on last Sunday night: It was about 10:30PM, but we figured, “Hey, this is a big city, this isn’t a problem!” Oh ho ho! While not a huge hurdle, we did run into some frustrations that led to the idea for doing this little series and future investigative work.

That night, we stopped in at a favorite of mine, Nick and Eddie, only to find that even their bar menu wraps at 9PM on Sunday evenings. Damn! We stuck our head in over at Joe’s Garage, only to get a similar story. Thankfully, my compatriot in hunger mentioned Chiang Mai Thai’s late-night happy hour so I gave them a call and confirmed that they were still serving food before we hustled down there, stomachs ready to be stuffed.

While our actual entree ended up coming to the table first, we waited a few more moments for the appetizers to come to the table before digging in.

We started things off with an order of the Fresh Springrolls with curried beef (comes with two per order, $5) as well as what turned out to be a ton of their Burning Wings of Fire (big plate of 12 tasty wings, $9). Certainly, both were devoured quickly. *Note that app prices do not reflect the great happy hour that runs 10PM to 12AM Sunday through Thursday.

Considering that we ordered two big appetizers, we decided to just split an entree: Garlic Pepper Stir Fry (with chicken, $13), served over white rice. Very, very peppery and really hit the spot for my craving of spicy food. The chicken was moist and tender, the veggies seemed pretty fresh and not overcooked (I hate limp broccoli).

To drink, I went for the “Urban Monk” (Stoli Blueberi Vodka with lime, orange and mango juice, $7.75). While tasty, think I’ll just stick to the wine and beer lists next time… the flavored vodka made for an interesting mix that was actually pretty good, but I’m not really into paying 8 bucks for a cocktail (I live close to the 19 Bar, home of cheap and strong drinks).

All in all, I was a very happy girl when we left: Full of delicious, fairly-priced food. And since we loaded up on apps first, I had leftover stir-fry for lunch the next day. This will definitely be on my list of places to hit up if I’m looking for a bit of spice late at night. I attempted to take pictures with my little cam phone, but no dice: it’s pretty dark in there at night.

Quick Facts
Located in Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Ave #109E
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 827-1606

Business Hours: Everyday 11:00 AM -1:00 AM
Full menu until 11:00 PM

Happy hours:
Sunday-Friday 4:00-6:00 &
Sunday-Thursday from 10:00 PM-Midnight

Next time: Rinata

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.

Red Dragon

This Wednesday at 6:30 PM I’m going to take my friend Tyler from Idaho to the Red Dragon for dinner and drinks… you are hereby invited to join us. If you’re at least considering it, drop me a comment or email so I have a rough guess of how big of a table to get. It’d be great to see you! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a few of ya.

Originally published at Opheliac9. Please leave any comments there.