Kasia’s Shredded Chicken Tacos

2 chicken breasts
1 jar of salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning

Put it all in the crock pot on low for eight hours if the chicken is frozen, 4-5 if it’s fresh. Stir once in a while.

When done, take out and shred, mixing the chicken with the saucy stuff from the crock pot and serve with your favorite tortillas. Taco filling suggestions:

Lettuce
Tomato
Avocado
Cheese
Refried beans
Salsa
Sour cream
Chopped onions
Cilantro
Sliced black olives
Thin sliced bell peppers

Or whatever you like!

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DeeDee’s Baby Back Ribs

These are SO amazing! And easy.

4 lbs baby back ribs; cut in half to fit in your crock pot.

Rub:
1/3 c dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar

Cover the pork ribs with the rub, put it all (including extra leftover rub) in the crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve with your fav barbecue sauce if you want, but no need, they’re delicious as is.

Pumpkin Chili

This recipe is from Thug Kitchen, here is the link. I included it because the comments in the recipe are hilarious.

1 yellow onion
1 carrot
1 bell pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lime juice

Chop up the onion, carrot, and bell pepper into smallish pieces.

Cook the onion, carrot, and bell pepper in a big pot and sauté them until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, soy sauce, and spices and cook that all together for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin, broth, and beans and stir that up so everything is mixed.

Turn down the heat, cover, and let that simmer together for about 15 minutes. Stir it around every now and then. Stir in the lime juice and serve.

If you use vegetable broth, this is vegan. I added leftover thanksgiving turkey, and also threw in some kielbasa sausage later on (I made a huge pot, we had three meals and froze half of it.)  This is amazingly delicious, try it!

 

 

The Most Excellent Stuffed Peppers

1 chopped brown onion
4 good-sized bell peppers*
1 lb hamburger (beef or turkey, but you need spicier salsa with turkey)
1 jar salsa** (I like hot salsa)
1 cup cooked or instant brown or white rice
About 4 oz cheddar cheese, in 16 small slices. Or more if you want.

Put a big pot of water on to boil.

In a large frying pan, brown onion in olive oil, add hamburger, cook til done. Add tomatoes/salsa/rice, maybe a little water if the rice absorbs all the liquids…it should be a tiny bit wet rather than dry.

While this is cooking, cut the tops out of the peppers, slice each one in half, take out the seeds and veins. When the water boils, put the peppers in CAREFULLY and cook for two or three minutes, take out with tongs, put in a bowl or on a towel until you need them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the peppers, cut side up, in a 9×13 baking pan in one layer. It’s okay to squeeze them in a bit. Put one slice of cheese in the bottom of each. Spoon hamburger/salsa/rice mixture into them, heaping up if needed. Put the other 8 slices of cheese on top.

Cook at 350 for fifteen or twenty minutes til the cheese is melted.

One half is a decent size meal, two is a big meal. They reheat just fine in the microwave.

*Get peppers that are big enough that each half will hold a decent amount of filling; I like getting half red and half green, but whatever.

**This is most of the flavor of your meal, so go crazy! Try hot salsa, pineapple/mango salsa with turkey and Monterey jack cheese, or whatever your taste buds tell you. I just used Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar and it was GREAT in this.

Addendum: last night I made this, but cut the peppers in pieces about 3/4 inch square. I put half of them in the bottom of the baking dish, then a layer of meat/salsa, then a layer of brown rice, then shredded cheese, then more peppers, meat/salsa and cheese, and baked it for twenty minutes at 350. It was AMAZINGLY GOOD.

Lasagna

This one takes a long time, but it’s worth it. The basic recipe makes a deep 9 x 12 pan full, modify it to make more. I like to make several smaller pans full and freeze most of them, since this is so much work. I also usually buy aluminum pans from the grocery store, because they’re deeper and then I don’t have to scrape baked-on cheese off my glass pans.

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 chopped onion
  • either 2 cloves chopped garlic, or a heaping teaspoon of jar garlic
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 5 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley leaves
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds (about 10)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper, depending on taste
  • Salt to taste
  • A bag of sliced mushrooms, if you like them
  • 1 box wide lasagna noodles
  • 1 12oz bag fresh baby spinach
  • 32 oz small curd cottage cheese (lowfat is okay, don’t use nonfat)
  • 16 oz ball of mozzarella cheese (lowfat is okay, don’t use nonfat) in 1/8 inch slices
  • Grated parmesan cheese

So here’s how it goes, and you have to have all the separate pieces done before you put it together:

Make the sauce. Cook the onion, garlic and hamburger in a bit of olive oil, maybe 2 tsp. Add all three kinds of tomatoes, stir. Add the spices (and those are approximations, be creative with the spices!). Cook for an hour over low heat; it should simmer but not boil. Add the mushrooms, cook another hour to two hours.

Meanwhile, boil a big pot of water with a little olive oil in it. When it’s seriously boiling, add the whole box of lasagna noodles and stir til it comes back to a boil. Stir every minute or two so they don’t stick. Stop cooking them a bit on the hard side, just before ‘al dente’, because they’re going to get cooked more in the lasagna.

When the pasta is done, drain it and put it in a bowl; if it’s going ot be a while, put a cover over them to keep them moist.

When you’re ready to put the whole thing together (usually when the sauce is done, 2-3 hours along), set up a workspace. You need easy access to the sauce, the pasta, a bowl of spinach, the sliced mozzarella, the tub of cottage cheese, and the parmesan.

Just before you start putting it together, put the whole bag of spinach in a microwavable bowl and nuke it for two minutes on high.

Now you’re ready to put it all together! In your deep casserole dish(es), here’s the order:

  1. A small spoonful of sauce spread all over the bottom so the first layer of pasta doesn’t stick
  2. A layer of lasagna noodles; overlapping the edges a bit is okay, but it should just be one layer thick.
  3. A couple of spoonfuls of sauce, spread to cover the noodles
  4. Slices of mozzarella, maybe 3 slices torn in pieces scattered over a 9 x 13 inch pan; don’t worry about leaving space between, they’ll melt and there’ll be plenty of cheese.
  5. A couple of large spoonfuls of cottage cheese, spread around
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan. Maybe 1/8 cup?
  7. Another layer of noodles
  8. About half the spinach
  9. More mozzarella
  10. Repeat from step 2 until you run out of stuff. You have to kind of judge how much you have of each thing, how deep your pans are and how many pans you have. If possible, end up with the meat/3 cheeses step, so that the cheeses are on top to melt and bubble and brown.

This is the point where you can cover and freeze the lasagna, if you want. Or put it in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 for about an hour, til the edges are bubbling and the top is browned. If the top browns first, cover with aluminum foil. If the edges bubble, you can brown it with the broiler. Serve and enjoy.

Frozen lasagna- put it in the fridge for 12-24 hours to thaw, then cook as above. Cold lasagna might take an hour and a half to cook, depends on how thick it is and your oven.

You can make it vegetarian by taking out the meat, or adding tofu. You can add a layer of zucchini, slightly broiled on a cookie sheet after being brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper; don’t cook them too much or they’ll mush. Ditto slices of eggplant. You can pretty much do what you want with this- add stuff, subtract it, change up the spices, use ricotta instead of cottage cheese (I think it’s too sweet, but you might like it.) Have fun!

Wonderful Slum*

For 2 people, scale it up for more.

  • 1/2 to 2/3 lb hamburger, divided and shaped into two thickish patties.
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Cheese- I like using 2-3 oz of cheap medium cheddar per person, since it’s going to be melted, and I use block cheese; shredded and high-end cheeses don’t seem to work as well.
  • 11 oz can corn, I like the kind with no added sugar.
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 4 oz can sliced black olives
  • 4-6 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)

Get everything ready. Sprinkle garlic salt on the hamburger patties and grill/broil/fry them (I use a Foreman grill because I like that.)

While the patties are cooking, toast the bread in the toaster.

Put a saucepan on medium heat, drain the corn and olives, put them in with the green onions. Heat til you can smell the onions.

If you use mushrooms, sauté them with a tiny bit of olive oil in a separate pan so you can drain the juices when they are done. Add to corn and olives.

When the toast is done, put a slice on each plate. When the hamburgers are ALMOST done, cut up the cheese pretty small, add to the corn pan, and turn the heat to low medium. Stir and keep an eye on this pan, you want to melt the cheese but not let it burn.

When the cheese is melted and mixed in with the corn/onions/olives/mushrooms, put a hamburger patty on each piece of toast and spoon half the cheese mixture over each, serve immediately.

*When I was dating Mr. Otter, I went over to his house when he was sick. I’ll cook dinner, I said, and went looking in his kitchen. Typical batchelor kitchen, all he had was bread, cheese, hamburger, a can of corn, a can of olives and spring onions. I made this (we started adding mushrooms later) and served it for dinner.

What’s this called? he said.

I don’t have a name for it, I just slum it all together (riffing on Pogo).

Well, it’s wonderful, he said. And so it was named.

Spaghetti #2

This is the spaghetti my mom used to make, with some changes over the years.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 chopped cloves fresh garlic or a heaping half teaspoon chopped/crushed garlic from a jar
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can tomoto sauce
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 bag fresh sliced mushrooms
  • spices- these are approximate, put in what you like: 1/4 tsp fennel seeds; 1/2 tsp oregano, black pepper, salt; 1 tsp basil, parsley; 2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • Pasta. I usually use linguine or fettucine; I really hate spaghetti. Any pasta will do, choose your favorite.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a big skillet, add onion and garlic and brown.
Add hamburger and brown.
If your skillet is not big enough for all the ingredients, once everything is brown transfer it to a cooking pot; make sure to scrape out all the delicious brown bits and add them.

Once you’ve got everything in the pot it’s going to cook in, open the whole tomatoes and add the juice to the pot; put in the sauce and paste, and stir.

Put the whole tomatoes from the can into a bowl and cut into 1/2 inch chunks, approximately, and add to pot.

Stir and add spices, let cook for an hour.

Add the chopped bell pepper, cook for an hour.

Add the mushrooms, taste and adjust spices. Cook it all for one more hour (more or less) and start making the pasta about half an hour before you want to serve the spaghetti.