Thursday, June 25, 2009

baked chicken flautas

I suck at baking.  But I'm a great cook!  I made this recipe last night, after some inspiration from this one.  I've actually never tried this one, but thought it sounded delicious.  I didn't have all the ingredients, and I really like to put my own spin on things, so I cooked these last night and they were awesome!  Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Flautas

3 chicken breasts
1 small tub of light cream cheese
handful of cilantro
2 green onions
a few fresh jalapenos (from your own garden, perhaps!)
garlic powder
chili powder
sea salt
1 lime
corn tortillas
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut up your 3 chicken breasts into chunks - about 4 pieces/breast.  Put them in a pot, add about 1/4 cup of water, put the lid on, and let them cook on medium heat.  They'll take about 20 minutes to cook all the way through, but they'll be nice and tender this way.

Meanwhile, chop your jalapenos.  I used 4 very small jalapenos from my father-in-law's garden and they were HOT.  So adjust as you wish.  Chop your fresh cilantro.  Chop your green onions.  (I actually use scissors and cut the green onion from the tip all the way down -- it's so easy!)

When your chicken is done, take it out of the bowl and pour off the extra water/juice.  Put about 2/3 of your tub of cream cheese into the hot pot, but turn the heat off.  Using two forks, shred your chicken.  Now toss the shredded chicken and all your chopped veggies into the pot, and turn the heat back on to low.  Add some lime.  I used just under a tablespoon, but I love lime.   Mix well.  Add your seasonings to taste -- I used about 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.  No need for salt right now.  

Swat your husband's hand for trying to steal from your yummy chicken salad mixture.  He'll have to wait for the finished product. 

It should look a little something like this:

Can you believe I actually took the time to shoot a pic of my food?  Ha!  I am no photographer.  I cook better than I shoot.  So even though this picture isn't one for the high-gloss cover of REAL SIMPLE or something, cook these anyway.

Now, it's time to make your flautas.  Put about 4 tortillas in the microwave with a damp paper towel and heat for 25 seconds.  They should be steaming hot and really flexible.  You don't want them to crack as you roll these suckers up.  If they're a little soggy because you put the wet paper towel directly on top of them, that's okay too.  Sogginess will go away.

Put about 2 good forkfulls of chicken mixture into each tortilla.  I really stuffed mine full, because Adam likes things meaty.  Well, and I only had so many tortillas!  Repeat until all your chicken mixture is gone.  Or until you run out of tortillas.  I made 12 flautas.

Roll the tortilla as tight as you can and put it seam-side down onto a cookie sheet.  Recipes like this are the only reason I even own a cookie sheet.  Because I don't bake, remember?

When they're all settled on the cookie sheet in nice neat rows, brush the tops lightly with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on the top.  (This part of the recipe I really did steal from here.  And it was such a great idea!  Actually, I've made several things from here, and their recipes always turn out great -- so you should stalk their blog.)

Bake for about 10 minutes.  Then turn the bake feature of your oven off and turn on the broil.  Broil on low for about 6-7 minutes, to brown the tops just slightly.  Now you're done!

I served these with black beans and a garden salad.  Delicious!  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

happy father's day!

I forgot to get pictures of the Father's Day celebration with my side of the family.  But here's a quick pic of Adam's dad with his two youngest at our Father's Day lunch!  Can't you tell they're related!  :)

chocolate chip disasters

Last night, some friends of ours came over for dinner and we were joking around about how I did not cook dessert.  And how I never cook dessert because I totally suck at baking.  If Adam and I want dessert, which we usually do!, we eat ice cream from the freezer or go to TCBY for sorbet with gummy bears - totally awesome, by the way! get psychedelic sorbet, it's the one that looks like Play-Doh, and cover it with gummy bears, delicious!  About a year ago, I just quit baking altogether, because every single time I baked, it turned out disastrous.

Adam agrees.  You should see the smirk on his face when this subject gets brought up.

One time I tried to make chocolate chip cookies but they all ran together to form some kind of burnt, bubbly-on-top dough soup that didn't even taste good.  When I make brownies, even from the box, they're burnt on the bottom and mushy on the top.  And even if I use one of the pre-made cookie dough varieties, I always put the cookies way too close together so they bake into one big clump and it's not a pretty sight.

I used to put all the blame on my oven.  We had a really cheap oven in our other house and I complained that it was the oven that ruined all my creations.  Then we got a new oven, and the same things still happened, so I quit baking.

Anyway ... back to dinner the other night.  Caroline says, with all the confidence in the world, "I make great chocolate chip cookies," and she does!, "I'll show you how!"  So after dinner, we went to the store and got all the ingredients.  Even bought the butter that says, great for baking on the box.  

We were so confident that we would achieve cookie success that we even made a double batch!  My plan was to take some to our neighbors, and she wanted to take some home for her in-laws who were coming to visit the next day.  We followed the recipe to the T.  And Caroline is a rule-follower, we did not deviate one single bit.  (See, me, on the other hand, am not so much a rule follower, especially when it comes to cooking.  I take many creative liberties that usually work in my favor.  In fact, I'm a really good cook!  I just suck at baking.)

Here's a few shots of us in action, courtesies of my husband.

We put those cookies into my super fly oven and set the timer.  The directions said 9-11 minutes so we checked the cookies after 8 minutes.  No where near done.  

At 11 minutes, still dough.

At 14 minutes, still dough.

At 18 minutes, not much had changed.

We went on like this.  I think that first batch was in there for something close to 30 minutes.  And when we took them out, even though they looked really light and mushy and pretty, they were hard.  Really.  They looked mushy but they were hard as rocks.  We had to scrape the little suckers off the pan because they stuck! so they didn't even turn out pretty after all!

And the second batch burnt to a nice smokey crisp after being in the oven for like 15 minutes. 

Did they taste good?  No, not really.  I lied and said, oh they have good flavor but they really didn't.  In fact, when Caroline left, I threw my half away because I knew we'd never eat them.

Can you believe this?  So pathetic.  Caroline really does make good cookies.  I've had them.  But with me, she too was cursed to suck at baking.  

So I think we'll stick to sorbet with gummies or vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.  It's pretty hard to ruin that!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

meet daisy

So I promised my friend Kathryn that I would never post stories and pictures of my dog on this blog in a sorta wanna-be-mom kind of a way, as if my dog were half as cute as this family, or this one, or this precious face...

And I'm sure that being Daisy's mom isn't anything at all like being a real mom.  But with the whole grad school thing, being a real mom is going to wait a while.  Sooo, I post stories and pictures of my dog.  on my blog.  Sorry Kat.  (And that very Seuss-ish rhyme was for you.)

Allow me to introduce you to Daisy, our two year old Weimaraner.  You may recall this little peanut from facebook pics a few years ago...

Well, Daisy loves to run, jump, fetch, sit on the couch, ride in the car, run, chew bones, catch ice in mid air, run, shake, roll over, run, play with Shelby, eat sticks, run, and go running with me.  But until today Daisy hated hated hated hated to swim.  Ever since we moved into the new house she's been terrified of the pool.  

One time Adam threw her in the pool just, ya know, to see, and even though she made it out just fine, she stayed at least three feet clear of Adam for the next several days, terrified that he would throw her in again.  

A few days ago, we decided to entice her into the pool with her very favorite... a pink frisbee.  And, after lots of running and barking and being spastic, she got in to fetch the pink frisbee!  And swam back to the edge!  So we've been practicing every day for the last few days and today we had breakthrough.  

I took her out to the backyard to play and fetch the pink frisbee in the pool, which she did, very well.  And then I decided to swim a few laps.  I know I know it's not really a lap pool but why not burn a few calories while I get some sun, huh?  So I started swimming back and forth back and forth.  Daisy runs alongside the pool, watching me, barking occasionally.  She gets really excited when we swim.  

And then there was a splash.  She jumped in right behind me, and started swimming next to me.  And she swam back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, right next to me, for like 10 or 15 minutes!  She had gotten in the water without the enticing pink frisbee!  

I was such a proud mama.  Umm, dog-owner.  

I laughed out loud, the whole time.  I couldn't believe she had gotten in!  Our dog who was terrified of the water!  I got some pics of the pink frisbee catching.  I promise this is the last time I post dorky pictures of my dog.  on my blog.  Okay, I don't promise anything.     

Dorky or not...  She is the best.

Monday, June 1, 2009

the most wonderful weekend

Let me just start out by saying that when we were building the house, and I was finishing the semester, and Adam's work was crazy busy, we spent very little time together.  And if you know us, you know that we l-o-v-e to spend time together.  We kept saying, "when we get into the house, things are going to change."  And, "just wait 'til this summer, we'll get back to being us again." 

Well, things have been better since we moved in.  Dinners at home, a date night or two, gettin' back in the groove.  But nothing compares to this wonderful weekend, where we really jump-started the romance!  Our whole weekend was one big date!

I worked on Friday with Michelle, one of my dear dear work friends.  (I hate that saying, because she's my friend outside of work too but work is where we became friends.) So after we got off we met our husbands at a sports bar near the Galleria and had a wonderful dinner.  We got home really late but Adam surprised me by having the house all clean and the hot tub working!  So stayed up half the night eating ice cream in the hot tub and it was wonderful!!

We got up on Saturday morning and drove to San Marcus for the day.  Can I just say that I married a man who will drive me three hours to shop for eight hours only to drive me three hours home?  Yea.  We had a blast.  We went to the outlet mall on a search for a few things for the house.  We had no luck at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware outlets so we ended up doing some clothes shopping. Very successful.  But the best part was being in the car together, walking around together, eating lunch together.  I don't think we ever left each other's side.  Except when Adam was taking forever at the Oakley store and I walked across to Crate & Barrell.  It was so great.

Well, we left the outlet mall and couldn't decide on a dinner spot.  So we drove to Austin!  Just to eat dinner!  We used Urban Spoon (if you don't know what that is, you need to get an iPhone) which directed us to a little hoity toity Mexican restaurant called Manuel's in downtown Austin, right off of Congress.  It was delicious!  We had the nicest dinner. 

We even hit a TCBY on the way out of town for some sorbet with gummy bears, our favorite! and drove home late that night.  We had to go pick up our puppy, who was at my mom's for the evening.  Thank you, mom! And Thank you, James! for taking care of her while we were gone!

Then ... as if we hadn't had enough of each other ... we woke up Sunday morning and went for a nice little family walk.  We explored some of the walking trails around here, and even got off the beaten path for a little bit to walk through the woods.  We came home, put on our suits, and layed out by our gorgeous pool.  It was better than any vacation I've ever taken! Except maybe our honeymoon.  Adam grilled burgers and we ate our lunch with our feet in the pool.  Fantastic.

In the afternoon, my friend Kelly came over with her three munchkins and we played in the pool for several hours.  We entertained the boys and everyone had a blast until the middle munchkin had a major allergic reaction to Daisy and we had to do Benadryl and a bath -- but even that wasn't too bad.  

We ended our wonderful weekend by running and riding, I ran, he rode, and a short visit with some more friends, and a Kroger sushi dinner.  Man!  We were exhausted!

I am so thankful for this weekend.  I kept saying - I feel so spoiled!  And I am!

Thank you baby, for an amazing few days.  I love you so so much.