Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

We'll Be Back!

While I adore cooking and have been preparing a few things to put up here when I get all active on this wing of the blog again, everything is on pause here on this wing for a while.  I simply don't have the space, the lighting, or the fortitude to keep on blogging in my current situation and uber teeny, inefficient kitchen...it is a wonder I managed as long as I did, to be honest...but one day in the future, that WILL change!  I will be back, in full swing, and posting some awesome new things.  Big plans in store, just trying to strong arm life into cooperating.  We just all have to hope for sooner rather than later!  I just figured it would be better to pause things entirely than to have posts once a month or less until things can get back at a steady pace.

In the mean time, please don't forget there's plenty of time to waste reading all sorts of fun things over on the Craft Wing and also the Beauty Wing for those of you who are into that kind of stuff!  :)

<3 Wookie Wifey

Saturday, December 14, 2013

French Toast Breakfast Sandwiches

This was an idea that came from combining the ideas of a few friends from Find A Grave and turned out delightfully glorious.  On with the song and dance, no?

First, mix up a few eggs and some milk, like you would for normal french toast.  Since this is more savory than sweet, instead of adding cinnamon to the mix like I usually do, I added a bit of seasoned salt.

Plop in a piece of bread...

...flip that puppy over so it is coated...

Then put it on a griddle or skillet warmed over high heat.  This may vary depending on your stove, but my heating element has been cranky, so I have to use high.

Flip them over once they start to look golden and toasty so the other side can cook.

Plunk a few pieces of ham steak that are cut roughly sandwich-sized on there to warm up.  They only need about 30 seconds on each side since they are already cooked...Just enough to get them hot.

Put down one piece of french toast and sprinkle it with a bit of cheddar jack cheese.

Add a ham steak piece on top of the cheese, then sprinkle with a little more cheese...

...and that's it!

These were surprisingly good and definitely a recipe that will stick around!  I love french toast, but am not too awful big on syrup, so this was a great way to turn a normally sickeningly sweet recipe into a hot, savory breakfast sandwich!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breakfast Burritos!....and an epic fail

Once in a blue moon, we decide to do breakfast-for-dinner week around the house.  We only go grocery shopping once a week, so when inspiration REFUSES to strike (or money is uber tight and we're sick of ground beef), I just take the easy way out and we have breakfast week.

This time, I decided to have some fun with it and consulted a bunch of friends/readers on a forum to see what they'd like to see posted with the ingredients I had and I got some great suggestions, including crepes, which I plan to try my hand at for the first time in a few days.

This go, I settled on breakfast burritos, which had been requested.  The Wookie asked for a sandwich instead and wanted his eggs over-easy.  Well, I've never done that before.  I don't care for runny eggs, but for him, I gave it a shot.  It ended in me screaming obscenities, but we'll get to that later.

For starters, I put two eggs in a bowl and stirred them up with milk and seasoned salt for the burritos.  Yes, I do make a massive mess every time I cook.  It is part of the fun.  :)

Then, get the bacon frying.  Also, the sausage if your significant other has requested something different.

Scramble up the eggs....

Now, for breakfast burritos, I like the cheese to be all melty, so I toss it in with the eggs as soon as they are done cooking and give it a good stir.

Add the bacon to some warm tortillas...

...then add the eggs, and roll 'em up.  You can add salsa at this point if you'd like, but I prefer my salsa to stay cold, so I like it on the side.  You can tuck the ends if you prefer, but it isn't necessary.

Nom.  Now, these are super easy to store in the fridge for a few days to reheat for a quick microwave-friendly breakfast.  The trick is to let them cool on the counter for about 30 minutes or until they are room temperature.  Once that is done, you wrap them in wax paper, then tightly in saran wrap.  When you need a quick breakfast, just pop one in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and you're good to go!  I'd love to tell you how long these keep for, but they've never lasted more than 2 days here...

Now, on to the fail!

Me, being the genius I am, thought "well, I can make eggs over hard with about a 90% success rate, so I don't need to look up no stinkin' instructions!"

I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

For starters, eggs are the one thing I just can NOT seem to be able to cook in cast iron.  Seeing as how the only other skillet-like object I own was the crepe pan full of bacon and sausage, I figured a nonstick saucepan would do the trick.  First mistake.

I cracked the egg in over medium heat, and the butter was all caramelize-y and it looked like things were going well!  It was time to - if I may borrow from Julia Child - gather the courage of my convictions and flip it over.  Turns out, I'd have had more success flipping it off.

Well, shit.

He wanted two eggs on his sandwich and the second one ended up just as bad.

Now, let me just clear something up here...When I fail at cooking something, particularly something simple, I get extremely frustrated and disappointed in myself and begin doing things like grumbling and shouting "fuck" a lot.  This was only exacerbated by the fact that, by not looking it up, I completely did this to myself.  The stream of profanity pouring out of my kitchen was enough to make even the most hardened of sailors blush.  I'm not exactly sure where I went wrong, or in how many different ways, but I plan to try again one day...When I have a proper egg skillet or griddle.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Easy Crockpot BBQ Sausuage

This is one of the Wookie's very favorite main dishes.  I actually hate BBQ sauce straight-up, which is how I came up with this little concoction.  This is one of the simplest things I make, so there isn't too much in the way of instructions, but here goes:

Get your favorite brand of sausage and cit it up into little rounds roughly 1/2" thick or so.  Toss in about 2 tablespoons of butter, a cup of BBQ sauce, 2 tablespoons of water and 1/3 cup of honey.  Cover that puppy up, set it on low and walk away.

No, really, that's it.  You can let it cook for between 2 and ??? hours.  I've left it up to 6 before and as long as you keep the lid on, it should be fine.

Now, this was one of those "last meal before grocery shopping" things, so I didn't have any fresh carrots and I had to use canned.  I drained their water off of them and instead heated them over medium-high heat with half a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of honey, just enough to heat them up and get them nicely coated.  If I'd had fresh, I'd have roasted or sauteed them.

Plate it up, serve it with your favorite bread or salad and you're good to go!!  Easy!

Listening to:  "Fee Ra Huri" - Omnia

<3 WW

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings - The Easy Way

Hello?  Anyone still there?  Remember me?

Yeah, it has been forever, and trust me, I'm chastising myself enough for the whole class because of it.  I could sit here and make a billion excuses, but what it boils down to is I could have made time to blog.  Should have, as well, since it is something I love and find relaxing and I need all of that I can get, especially when life gets chaotic.

I hear it now.  Enough of your excuse and your shit, SHOW US THE FOOD!!  :)

Start off with getting a bunch of water boiling.  If you're using a raw chicken, you can plunk it in there with enough water to make it float and boil it up as is, then de-bone it and save the liquid.  However...

...I used this.  I recently discovered it is actually CHEAPER here to get a baby rotisserie chicken than it is to get a baby raw chicken.  This is awesome, because not only does it still have a carcass to make stock out of, but it also has great flavor, so I bought one and plopped it in the fridge overnight until I was ready to start cooking.

If you're using a pre-cooked chicken, strip all the meat off, set it aside, and toss the carcass and skin into the pot of boiling water to make your stock.  Now, this part is very important.  You see that goop in the bottom of the chicken holder thing?  You want that goop.  That's good goop.  Do not throw it away.  Add it to the stock pot.

Once it looks like the above, let it boil for about 2-3 hours.  Add water as you need to in order to keep the level up.  You'll need quite a bit of stock.

After that time, you should have a nice, murky, liquid.  That's your chicken stock.  Strain the bones out, then put the stock back in the pan and you should have this:

Homemade chicken stock?  CHECK!  (Blogger does NOT want to un-center this one part for some reason.  Sorry.)

Next, before you dump the chicken meat back into the pot, take out a large mug of stock so it can cool off.  If I forget to do this part early, I do like 1/2 stock and 1/2 cold water from the fridge to get it more room-temperature-ish. 

Now, it is time for the good part.  Chop up one medium onion and add it to the pot.  Purple or white work fine, but I personally prefer yellow for this particular recipe.

Mince up some garlic and toss that in.  I used 5 medium-sized cloves.

...4 stalks of celery go into the drink as well, keep it all boiling, adding water as you need to.

DUMPLING TIME!  Mix one cup of flour with some salt and pepper and a generous pinch of parsley.  Add one egg and mix it all up.  I find a fork really is the best option for this part.

If you have a crumbly-looking mess like above, you've done it right.

Next, take that cooled-off stock in the mug and add it, a little bit at a time, and stir until the dough all comes together.  You don't want a super wet, sticky dough, you want to mix it until it just forms a ball.

I didn't take this one out just because I think it is pretty.  No apologies.  This next part there are no pictures for as my hands were covered in dough and you have to work fast, but here's how it goes:

Grab a teaspoon and dunk it in the boiling pot of stock until it gets hot.  Not long enough that it conducts the heat and burns your hand off, or anything, you just want the spoony-part hot.  This will help the dough not stick.  Once it is hot, working quickly, grab small pieces of dough with the spoon and dunk them into the stock.  Since the spoon is hot, they should release with minimal mess - just a bit of swishing.  Keep the spoon hot and repeat until you run out of dough.  Keep re-mixing the dough and doing the spoon thing until you get the desired amount of dumplings.  I find that for a whole baby chicken that 6 cups is perfect...but we like A TON of dumplings.

For some odd reason, this seems to work a thousand times better for me if I mix the dumplings one cup at a time.  If I do a huge batch all at once, they turn out with sort of an odd texture because I can't work fast enough.

This is what you are left with.


Your kitchen will probably look like this, but you won't care because you will have this:

And that makes you the winner.

One picture with flash and one without since I cook late due to the odd-ass schedule the Wookie and I keep, and it is getting dark early!

I'd say this is one of our very favorite winter foods.  What are some of yours?

As usual, would love feedback if you try this!  I have a second recipe for dumplings I'll post in the future...The more time-consuming but oh-so-delicious old-fashioned, roll-out ones, but this is my "lazy" dumplings recipe.  :)


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Simple Chicken and Pasta

I haven't been cooking many blog-worthy things lately.  It is eleventy billion degrees here (I can only be off by 2 degrees, max), so I've been all about quick, easy, light, and *not* heating up the entire house.  Due to the heat, I've also been cooking much later than usual which means LOTS of bleached-out flash pictures.  Sorry.

At any rate, this was born:

Take half a large purple onion and cut that puppy up.  Add 2-3 tbsp of minced garlic, 3 tbsp of olive oil, and pop those puppies into a skillet over high heat.  You want to cook all of this until the chicken gets nice and seared on both sides and the onions get transparent, but not caramelized.  Pro tip:  pat your chicken dry before putting it in the skillet.  This helps you get that pretty sear.

I also added a dash of sea salt, a bit of black pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and about 1 tbsp each of basil and parsley.

Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta of your choice and about a cup and a half of water.  Leave it in there with the chicken so that as the chicken cooks, the juices will come out and form sort of a tasty broth that will help flavor the noodles.  Keep cooking it on high heat until the noodles get soft.

The water should all cook off before then, so once it does, add water 1/2 cup at a time, until the noodles are al dente.  You don't want a lot of excess water because you want the flavor to really stick to everything instead of losing it down the sink when you strain.  :)

Once the noodles are done to the desired tenderness, dice up a few roma tomatoes (I used two large ones), and toss it all together.  Dice up the chicken, too, if you prefer.

Plate it up, top with parmesan, and you're good to go!  This is very simple and quick and only takes the one large skillet, so it is also easy clean-up.  It came out light, flavorful, and fresh-tasting, which is a super bonus when it is so hot you feel like you very well may keel over if you eat something too awfully heavy!!



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancakes

Yeah, I'm behind on...everything.  I know.  I haven't been cooking much interesting lately and I have about 5 million half-finished craft projects laying all over the house that I see to have just plain run out of steam on.  I haven't wanted to do much of anything lately other than watch Netflix, play WoW, and ignore the ever-mounting pile of things needing to be done.  I'm sure that, as usual, I'm getting more accomplished than I'm giving myself credit for, but thus is life.

First off, make pancakes.  I just used a simple box mix because I haven't made pancakes from complete scratch yet.

This is what made things special.  I bought these once on a whim and we haven't looked back since.  They are a bit on the pricey side, but they are super sweet and last forever and ever, so they are worth it.

I made the pancakes, then started layering them with a bit of these spreads, alternating between the white chocolate peanut butter and the dark chocolate.

 I sprinkled them with a few white chocolate chips for prettiness...

They were very sweet and needed zero syrup...I recommend juice, though, since without syrup they are a bit dry.  I may experiment in cooking down one of the flavors into a thinner sauce to go over the pancakes.  Not an unsuccessful experiment, at any rate, and I'm not usually a fan of sweet things for breakfast, but when you have a craving, you have a craving!  :)