Monday, November 20, 2017

Hot cocoa

Here's another recipe that I can never remember.  About a month ago Benjamin wanted hot cocoa.  I remember making it last year and that it was easy.  I also remembered making the syrup first then adding the milk.  I looked all over pinterest and do you think I could find what I was looking for?  NO.  I finally found a couple, but all used differing amounts of cocoa, sugar and milk.  I ended up remembering it may have been actually on the cocoa container and lo and behold it was.  However, that recipe was on the higher end of sugar.  I mixed and combined a few and made something up.  Thought I printed it, wrote it down, something, but alas when Benjamin wanted hot cocoa tonight do you think I could find it?!?!  You guessed it, NO again.  Went through the same story as last time but a bit quicker because I had pinned a few recipes last month.  I still ended up combining a few, so here is what we did and I loved it.


  • 4 1/3 cup milk (divided)
  • heaping 1/3 cup sugar  (1/3 is probably fine, I was just reducing and a bit worried of it being bitter.  And by heaping, I don't mean overflowing, just a bit full.)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • couple grinds of salt
  • splash of vanilla (I splashed a bit more than I wanted to today, but it sure was good!)

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and 1/3 cup milk.  (Most recipes online and the recipe on the box of cocoa call for water here, but I like extra milk.  Just be sure to not keep the heat too high, and to stir constantly if using milk.)  Bring to a boil and boil stirring constantly for 2 min.  This should be nice and syrupy after the 2 minutes.  Stir in the 4 cups milk and vanilla and heat to desired temperature.  (Here again recipes tell you to bring to just below a boil but not to boil it.  I just warm it up until it is a good drinking temp.  If you mess up and get it too hot, you can always add a dab of cream to cool it down.  We ended up doing that this evening.  No one complained. ) 

Monday, April 18, 2016

refried beans

I have made this recipe a few times and really like it as a basic pinto bean / refried bean recipe.  It is pretty mild, so if more flavor is wanted increase the spice by adding more chili powder, pepper, cayenne powder, chipotle powder, diced jalapeno, etc.  I like to make it this mild for pickier/younger eaters, then let others add more spice as desired.
This makes quite a bit, feel free to cut the recipe in half.  I doubled what I started with because I started making and freezing burritos with the beans.


  • 2 lbs dried pinto beans
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
1.  Rinse and sort beans
2. Heat oil in a large pot.  Saute onions 4-5 minutes, add garlic and saute a few more minutes.  Stir in seasonings and beans.  (Sometimes if I don't have any oil left I add some water to scrape up any browned bits.)  Cover the beans by about an inch with water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until soft adding water if they get too dry.  (Takes a few hours 3-4)  
3.  When desired texture, remove from heat.   You can let them cool a bit at this point.  They will continue to absorb some water.  Mash to desired texture.  I usually mash some and leave some a bit whole.

Serving ideas - 
As a side dish alone or with rice
Our favorite - as a bean and cheese burrito - add sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and wrap in a tortilla.  Guacamole is also yummy, or a bit of salsa.
On tacos
I believe I've even seen my oldest eat these with eggs one morning.  (not that I'm suggesting that or anything.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thai Chicken

Yet another chicken that started in the American Test Kitchen slow cooker revolution volume 2 book.  This one however didn't really look like the original dish by the time I finished with it.  It was however, delicious!  I've been wanting to blog it forever so I wouldn't forget what I did.
You can certainly be more traditional and not shred the chicken and serve it over rice.  I made it into a casserole because we had already eaten a lot of rice that week.


  • 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I lowered this, but then upped the coconut  milk, I'd go back up to 2 Tablespoons if making this the same way again.)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant tapioca
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 package bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed (I also skinned them.)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • about 12 oz noodles of choice (we used up some bowties and some other macaroni)
  1. Whisk 1/2 cup coconut milk, curry paste, tapioca, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in slow cooker.  Roll chicken in mixture and cook in slow cooker 3-4 hours on high (until super tender and shredable.)
  2. When Chicken is tender, cook noodles according to package directions.  Microwave asparagus and oil in a bowl for 5 minutes, stirring mid way through cooking.  Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred.
  3. Add remaining coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce to sauce still in slow cooker.  Heat through.  Add shredded, chicken, asparagus, noodles and cilantro.  Stir to combine and serve.

Mediterranean Chicken with Potatoes, Fennel, and Olives

This was the other chicken dish we had while my mom was here.  She remembered the fennel and lemon, so I'm not sure which she was wanting but here is the other recipe.  This was good.  The kids weren't huge fans of the fennel, but I liked it.  It was different and good.  Probably not a top pick for me, but then again, it has to be an amazing chicken dish to be a top pick for me.  This was definitely different, but a good different -like if you are tired of the same boring chicken, try this.  I liked the fennel and orange combination.  Not something I would ever have thought to put together, but they went well together.  I will note here that the original used butter.  I did not because I am currently eating non-dairy.  The book also gives a nice vignette on olives on this recipe's page - certainly one of my favorite things about American Test Kitchen books.

  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 package bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed (I also removed the skins.  For this meal, I think it would be easy/nice to use boneless, skinless thighs, or something already boned for easy serving since I wasn't shredding them at the end or anything.  Maybe next time.)
  • 1/2 cup pitted salt-cured black olives, rinsed and halved (I may have forgotten to add these at the end.)

  1. Microwave potatoes, fennel, onion, olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a bowl for 5 minutes stirring midway through cooking.  Pour into slow cooker.  Stir in broth, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 3-4 hours on low.
  3. Remove chicken and serve.  Stir olives, salt and pepper into veggies and serve.  (Can also add butter or parsley if desired.)

Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup

I've been in crock pot mode for a while.  I'm loving my new book American Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution volume 2.  Most of the following had their beginnings in that book and were modified by me to fit my family/cooking style.
I'd be a total slacker, but the next couple of recipes are things we made while my mom was in town and I told her I'd post them a week ago.  Sick kids and normal business has delayed my posting, but here they are.
This one is for a soup that was very good.  I only moderately modified it from the original.  I loved how it was creamy without cream since I'm currently eating non-dairy for my nursing baby.


  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken broth.  (I use 2 heaping tablespoons of an organic better than bouillon paste that I buy at costco.  I boil the water and dissolve the paste to make my broth.)
  • 1 package bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed (I also skinned mine)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

  1. Microwave onions, carrots, garlic and oil in a bowl for 5 minutes stirring mid way through.  Place in slow cooker, stir in broth.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender.  3-4 hours (book says on low, but I say on high for that short of a time)
  2. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred/chop into bite size pieces.  Skim any excess fat from top of soup (I don't find this necessary if you remove the skin from the chicken before cooking.)
  3. Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together in a bowl.  Temper egg  mixture by mixing 3-4 Tablespoons of hot soup into the lemon/yolk mix, then whisk they lemon/yolk mix into the soup until well combined.  Add the shredded chicken and rice and cook until heated through.  (5 minutes or so)  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

honey garlic chicken

I have been using the crock pot a ton lately.  I've just decided it is way easier to try and make dinner when I can during the day rather than trying to do it when I'm trying to help with homework, run children here or there, teach a piano lesson, and/or take care of a baby.  This one was super simple and tasted great.  The chicken cooked perfectly and it made a lovely sauce that I served over brown rice.  This made way more sauce than needed.  You could probably add more chicken thighs and have lots of left overs or a second meal.


  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • cornstarch (1-2 teaspoons)

  1. Place chicken in the crock pot.  Mix Ketchup, soy sauce, honey and garlic in a bowl.  Pour over chicken and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4.  
  2. Remove chicken, cover to keep warm.  Pour sauce into a saucepan (I poured it through a strainer so it wouldn't be chunky.)  Mix about a little water with cornstarch and add it to the saucepan heat to thicken. 
  3. Serve chicken over rice and top with sauce.   

refried black beans food storage style

So I went to make some slow cooker refried beans today.  I've tried my sisters recipe with success in the past, and I wanted something vegetarian tonight because we've had a lot of meat this week.  I also had nothing planned so I figures surely we had dried beans.  However, we are out of dried pinto beans.  I also haven't been to costco this week and we have run out of my diced frozen onions, our bag of mini sweet bell peppers, I'm out of garlic....  You get the picture, I need to go grocery shopping.  Great reason to make this a food storage meal right?  That's what I did.  I modified my sister's recipe first and foremost using black beans instead of pinto.  Then I also used dehydrated or dried everything.  I even added some celery and bell peppers to give it a few extra veggies.
This turned out great.   I love cooking beans in the crock pot.  I totally have to remember to do that more often.  I did think it was a bit peppery.  Would love to fiddle with the spices in the recipe - less pepper, maybe add chili powder or chipotle chili powder for spice?  However, everyone ate and loved the burritos.


  • 3 cups dried black beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 Teaspoon dried garlic minces
  • 4 Tablespoons minced dried onions
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried celery
  • 1/4 cup dried bell pepper mix (red and green)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pepper.
  1. Rinse and sort beans.  Add to crock pot with all remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or until soft.  
  2. When done, drain (saving liquid)  mash with potato masher or immersion blender or whatever you want to use to get the desired consistency, adding reserved liquid as necessary.  (My sister suggests making them a little on the runny side because they thicken over time.  
  3. Serve as a side, or add 


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