Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's no skinniness in cooking!!!

*Foreword*-  Please don't kick me yall...I know I've been on a major domestic diva kick lately, and I promise to cool it for a bit after this post.  I swear.

I can't help it. I love to eat.  I love food in general.  Allllllll food.  My parents thought I was a phenomenal child when I was little because there wasn't any food I wouldn't try.  Granted, this reaction comes after they went through 20 kinds of hell trying to get my older brother to try anything, but still.  
*Side note*- how Kent eats NOTHING but pizza, chicken tenders, hamburgers, & Peanut butter, yet never gains any weight BLOWS MY MIND.  Seriously, talk about winning the metabolism lottery. Oh wait. Maybe its because he is 5'11, and I am 5'1.  Totally fair. Not.

Anywho, Jan (aka my momma) probably cooked 5 nights a week when we were growing up.  When I would ask her how she learned to cook sooooo many things, her response was "Well, if you love to eat, you have to know how to cook." Simple, yet so true. However, her statement didn't really hit home until I went to college.  After a semester in the dorm, I found myself literally craving a home-cooked meal (Ahem, this craving a home-cooked meal also came after I probably had polished off chicken fingers, pizza, waffles, etc. Oh college. And I wonder why I gained weight my freshman year. Tsk Tsk.)
Obviously, I couldn't really cook in the dorms, but it made me appreciate my Mommas cooking about 10 times more than I ever had in high school.
While we had a fantastic team of cooks at the Chi Omega house, I LOVED Sundays  because it meant that the kitchen was open, and we could have (some) free reign to cook what we wanted.  So, i would just take various left-overs & add stuff to them to make them more appealing to my taste buds.
Don't be jealous our sorority house resembles a Steam boat.  ha.
However, it wasn't until my senior year of college that I started to get more into cooking real food, and figured out that I actually did have some skills in the kitchen.  Now, I love my college besties, but none of them were really known for their cooking.

RIP Woodland Ave (Les, don't kill me- I don't know where you were that night)
Soooo, after I replicated a few of my Mom's easiest recipes, my girlfriends were all super encouraging about me learning more recipes and/or repeating favorite dishes that I had tried out of them previously.  At the time, I'm sure I really thought that my meals were gourmet master-pieces, when in reality, they were just the most basic type of recipes a person can follow.
Kevin & I also started dating around this same time, and I quickly figured out that there was no way this boy was gonna end up with someone who couldn't cook, especially given the fact that he had grown eating delicious dishes by his Mother.  So obviously, as time continued, I just kept on trying out new recipes & conquering things I'd never done before in the Kitchen.

So, as I said before, some of friends aren't exactly whiz's in the kitchen, so I'm never surprised when I get a call, email, or text asking about a recipe, requesting a recipe, or just a simple cooking question. **Side note**: One perfect example of this was when my friend Lindsay called to tell me she made dinner.  Oh maah Lord, she was proud of herself.  Of course, I first was super excited that she had actually finally located the kitchen in her home, but I was even more excited to hear what she had made.  So what was her culinary masterpiece? Don't worry, it was Hamburger Helper. There. Are. No. Words.  Needless to say, for her bday that year, I got her a gorgeous dish that was designed to hold her microwave dinners perfectly :) 

Meet Lindsay. Love her heart.
To be 110% transparent, I am far from being the next Rachel Ray, but I have definitely gotten better through the years, so I can usually handle whatever my friends throw my way.   I have to remember that my culinary improvement only occurred because there has always been a plethora of people on hand that I could call when I had a random cooking related question.  (Thank you Jan, Pat Gray, Michelle, Mary Jo, Hazel, and on the rare occasion, Big P.)  I'm mildly embarrassed to admit this, but I'd estimate that I've probably made (& will prob continue to make) HUNDREDS of frantic phone calls asking ridiculous questions, butttt... versus sounding like I stalk my family, I'm just gonna say that all calls were/are made to insure that Kevin gets top quality out of his dinners :) Bahahahahahaha.
Sooooo since my girlfriends always seem to enjoy when I tell them about a new a simple & delicious meal we've recently tried out, I thought it is only fair that I share a couple of my favorite fall soup recipes that are extremely simple, yet beyond yummy.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Who doesn't enjoy a nice soup in the fall?  This one is incredibly easy to prepare, but it tastes like it took you hours :)

-2-3 Chicken breasts, cooked & diced
-2 cans of chicken broth
-1 can of cream of chicken soup
-1 can Rotel
-1 small can of yellow corn niblets
-1 can of black beans
-1 onion, chopped
-2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning
-1 Tablespoon chili powder or cumin (Depends on your preference for spicy things- Cumin has more of a kick.)

(1.5 hours prior to eating)
-Sprinkle the chili powder (or cumin) on chicken
-Cook chicken at 450 in oven for 40-50 mins
-Sautee chopped onion for 5 minutes in Soup Pan
-Mix chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and taco seasoning all together until smooth
-Stir in cooked chicken
-Stir in rotel, corn, beans
-Put soup on simmer for 35-45 mins
-Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortillas

Jan's Chili
This is the chili that I grew up eating.  Maybe I am biased, but I have yet to find another red chili recipe that rivals this one.  The hubs even agrees that it is the best chili he's ever had. (PS- don't let the amount of ingredients fool you- it is beyond easy to make.)

-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic
-2 lbs ground beef (I use lean)
-2 cans chopped tomato's (chili style)
-1 can tomato sauce
-3 cans chili beans (I use 2 hot, 1 mild)
-1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
-1-2 Teaspoons Cumin 
-1 Teaspoon salt & pepper
-1/2 teaspoon sugar
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon oregano
-1 teaspoon basil
-Elbow Macaroni

-Brown onion, meat, & garlic in large pot
-Add beans, tomatoes, and all spices
-To prevent chili from getting thick, be sure to add 1 cup of water as needed (I usually end up having to add 1.5 cups by the end.)
-Let simmer for 2-3 hours & enjoy!

-**Continue to taste while chili is simmering, and feel free to add more/less of any of the spices to suit your taste buds**
Also I know not everybody likes noodles in their chili, but for those who do....
-Boil water, cook noodles as directed
-Add noodles 15 minutes before you are ready to eat (Adding the noodles anytime before then makes the chili waaaay too thick.)

Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe is about as basic as you can get, but believe me- it hits the spot on a cold, Fall day.

-Cream of potato Soup
-Cream of Chicken Soup
-1/4 cup milk 
-2 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
-Frozen vegetables (Since my husband is beyond picky, I tend to just use frozen peas & carrots)
-2 Pie Crusts
-1 teaspoon pepper ( I always end up adding more)
-1 1/2 teaspoon of thyme

-Cook Chicken for 40-45 mins in oven on 450
-Cook frozen veggies on stove--> Follow directions on package
-Mix Cream of chicken soup & cream of potato soups together
-Stir in cooked chicken & cooked veggies
-Add in pepper & Thyme
-Cover pie pan w/ 1 pie crust, fill with chicken/veggie mixture
-Top pie pan w/ 2nd pie crust
-Be sure to make a few holes w/ a fork in the top crust
-*Put in oven for 45 mins at 350 degrees

Like the title of the post says, there is NO skinniness in cooking.  I refuse to skimp on certain items in recipes because it inevitably takes away from the taste.  I don't use fat free ANYTHING.  I will, however, sometimes opt for the "light" version of ingredients.  IE: Lean ground beef, light sour cream, skim milk, etc.  I can promise you that if you opt to use all fat-free items, your food will suffer.  Just ask Kev about the chicken Alfredo pasta disaster of 09' :) Believe you me, my aversion to using fat free foods is also the reason why I work out 5-6 days a week... otherwise I'd definitely be the next contestant on The Biggest Loser :) 
Mmkay yall, thats it for now. And per usual, if you have ANY questions about the recipes, feel free to email me :)


  1. yummmy! Your cooking skills sound about like mine. My roomies were always impressed but I had one roomie who only ate frozen pb&j sangs (the uncrustables) and didn't know how to heat up a can of soup. Swear. Can't make this stuff up. If you can't make a pb&j, we've got problems. Anywho ... I have a low cal chicken pot pie recipe that I LOVE, I lick my plate. It's half the calories because you only use one crust. Still just as good. ok side note ---- someone just coughed the grossest cough ever a few desks down. I'm disturbed.

    All right I loved your post as usual. I may have to try Jans chili out once it gets cooler in Tejas. Thanks Jan!

  2. Those dishes look fabulous! I will totally be trying them out this fall. Thanks so much for sharing.

    I'm with you on the no skinniness! There are just SOME recipies you DON'T skimp on!

    Have a great day!


  3. haha I completely agree!! love all these recipes I def will be trying them :)

  4. I will definitely be trying out your dishes asap!!

    And is it just coincidence or do all Chi O houses look like boats bc the one at Mississippi State looks like a ship?? ha

  5. 1. I had NO idea you were 5'1'' little lady!!

    2. Hamburger Helper is a delicacy...I don't care what they say! ;)

    3. Cinnamon AND sugar in chili?! Aw hale...I need to try this.

    Stop being so domestic. You're making me look bad...