15 Minute Pad Thai

IMG_7593editedOne of my favorite meals of all time in Pad Thai.  I have a hard time not ordering it whenever I go to my favorite Thai restaurant, Thai 9.  (PS…if you love Thai food, or even if you’ve never had it, GO to Thai 9.  Soooooo good.)

I’ve tried making Pad Thai before, but it’s a little daunting.  Lots of ingredients (some hard to find) and it’s kind of involved.  Alton Brown makes it look easy but, hey, it’s Alton Brown.

IMG_7592editedThe other night I was playing around with some stir fry and decided to add a dash or so of a dressing I had in the fridge.  Wow.  Jeff and I agreed it tasted JUST LIKE PAD THAI!  It was awesome!

Now, it’s no replacement for the real, authentic thing (or as authentic as you can be in the mid west), but it’s definitely a great stand in until we get the time to head back to Thai 9.

IMG_7594edited15 Minute Pad Thai

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
3 packages ramen noodles
1/2 bottle Ken’s Steak House Asian Sesame Dressing
3 eggs, lightly beaten
wok oil (or vegetable oil)
Optional:  bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, lime wedges, basil

In a wok (or large frying pan), heat your wok oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle your chicken with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink.  This step takes maybe 5 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.  I like to cut mine into bite sized pieces so it’s quicker.

Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the flavor packets to your water and cook your ramen according to the package.  Mine usually says about 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the pan, add a drizzle more oil to the pan.  Turn the heat up to high (most Asian food is cooked at a very high temperature) and add your ramen.  Keep the ramen moving a bit so as not to burn it.  After a minute or two, make a well in the middle of your noodles and add your eggs.  Stir your eggs without bringing any of the ramen into them until they are lightly cooked.  Then you can start incorporating your noodles.  Your goal is to have the eggs slightly scrambled and then add the noodles so the noodles get somewhat cooked together and clump slightly.

Add your chicken and your dressing.  Go a little light on the dressing at first and adjust to your taste.  I like to add maybe 1/3 of the bottle, toss to coat, and then let cook for a minute or so.  The sauce thickens slightly and clings to the dish even better.  If I think it still needs some flavor or looks a little dry, I’ll add more dressing.

Your options to top this dish are pretty vast.  Traditionally Pad Thai is made with bean sprouts, but I’m not a fan so I leave them out.  It is also usually topped with Thai Basil leaves, chopped peanuts, and a wedge of lime.  One of the great things about this dish is you can keep most of the ingredients in your pantry at all times and whip it up when you are running late from work.  The downfall is I had none of these optional ingredients on hand at the time of cooking, hence no “optionals” in the photos.

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Oh well.  It still tasted incredible.

A Little Slice of Summer

IMG_7558editedI don’t know about you, but I’m dying for it to warm up!  For the last few weeks it has been downright frigid outside!  I’m talking in the negatives, y’all!  (BTW…since when have I started saying “y’all”?  Going back to my TN roots I guess…)

My mom came to visit a few weeks ago and announced one day she was going to make ribs.  Ribs? In winter?  Uh…OK…

She swore they were just as good as being on the grill.  I was a bit skeptical, but I sat back and let her rule the kitchen.

You guys.  Yum.  Seriously.  These ribs are not quick, but they are soooooooo worth it.

Trust me on this one.

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Oven Ribs

1-2 racks of boneless baby back ribs
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce*
1/4 cup liquid smoke*
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled crushed
Steak seasoning
Salt and pepper if needed
Extra wide aluminum foil

*You can vary the amounts of these ingredients as long as they make up roughly 1/2 cup.

Preheat  your oven to 250°.  Working over a large baking sheet, tear off a few sheets of aluminum foil.  You’re going to make a package out of the aluminum foil to slow cook your ribs in.

Put the ribs on the foil.  Trim off any excess fat you don’t want.  Sprinkle your ribs with the steak seasoning, salt, and pepper (if needed).  I prefer the Dorothy Lane Market Grilling and Seasoning Rub, but it’s your choice.

Layer the onions over the ribs and scatter the garlic over the ribs as well.  Pour the liquid over the ribs.  Grab the longer sides of the foil, bring them together over the ribs, and roll until the foil is just touching the ribs.  Then roll up each of the two sides.  You want to leave a little bit of space for the steam inside the package to circulate.

Put in the oven and let cook at 250° for at least 5 hours.  The longer you cook them, the more tender they are.  One hour prior to dinner time, remove the ribs from the oven, open the package, and spread the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Put them back in the oven for the last hour, uncovered, and let the BBQ sauce cook into the ribs.

These ribs come out so tender, juicy, and flavorful it’s unbelievable.  You can literally pull the bones right out.  This method is perfect for making a rib sandwich!

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Oh yeah…and they’re toddler approved.

Frito Chili Pie

IMG_7550editedOne of my absolute favorite things my high school had for lunch was Frito Chili Pie.

That’s “walking tacos” to some of you.

IMG_7551editedCrunchy Fritos topped with deliciously spicy chili and gooey cheese.  What’s not to like?

The other day when I was meal planning, I thought about making chili.  Then Frito Chili Pie popped in my head.  It was settled.  I spent some of Sunday afternoon standing in my kitchen making a yummy pot of chili.  Even Jeff said so.

Wanna make your own “walking tacos”?  It’s pretty easy.

IMG_7553editedStep One: make a batch of your favorite chili.  I used this award winning chili recipe from Allrecipes.  I had made it before and it was just a little too spicy for me, so I halved the chili powder and the hot sauce.  I think it was the perfect spice level for us.

Step Two:  assemble.  Fritos in the bottom of the bowl, top with chili and a sprinkle (or three) of cheese.

That’s it!  It’s soooooooo easy.  And equally delicious.  Plus, what smells better than a pot of chili simmering on the stove in the middle of winter?

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Hey, Y’all

You all miss me?  It’s been quite some time since I blogged.  I know I posted here and there over the last several months, but nothing’s been consistent.  I can’t guarantee this is my big comeback or anything like that, but I hope it is.

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So…what’s been happening the last few months?  Tons of stuff and nothing at all really.  You may remember that I got transferred from my store in Beavercreek to a store in Kettering.  That’s where I’ve been for the past eight months.  I was working hard and didn’t really have time or energy to blog.  So what’s changed to allow me to have a little more time on my hands?

Drumroll please…

I got PROMOTED!  I was an assistant manager for 6.5 years, but I guess all the work as paid off!  I was told last Wednesday that I had proven myself and was being given the chance to see how I could run my own store.  Lots of things change with this promotion, but one of the biggest perks in my opinion is a better schedule.  I have most weekends off, which means plenty of time with my guys.  It also means I actually have a set day to meal plan!

This morning, while Jake was eating breakfast and playing, I planned our meals for the next week, made a grocery list, and showered.  Then we were off to the grocery store.  We purchased all our groceries, then came home and Jake went straight to bed to nap for a few hours.

I set to work prepping the ribs for tonight and then took a little time out to write this blog!  Now I’m about to go do some meal prep for the rest of the week.  It’s so incredibly nice to be able to set aside the same day every week to focus on meal planning and (hopefully) blogging!  I have had several people tell me they missed me.  Aww *blush*.

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I’m sure you’re excited to hear what I have on the agenda:

Sunday-Oven Ribs
Monday-Peach Whiskey BBQ Chicken Thighs
Tuesday-Macaroni & Cheese with Beef
Wednesday-Oven Corn Dogs
Thursday-Green Chicken Enchiliadas
Friday-Frito Chili Pie

I hope to be back soon with an update on how things turn out and…gasp…possibly a recipe or two!  Stay tuned!

Caesar Cornflake Crusted Chicken

caesar chicken

Continuing with the theme meals that are so prevalent on the blog lately, this dinner is another great one to have in your arsenal.  It’s quick, easy, and extremely delicious.  It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.  Throw in some rice and a veggie and you’re good to go!

Caesar Cornflake Crusted Chicken
1 pound chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup Caesar dressing (or more if desired)
2 cups corn flakes cereal, crushed
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425*.  Put your Caesar dressing in a wide dish (I tend to use cake pans).  Put your crushed up corn flakes in a second dish.  Lightly spray a broiler pan or something similar (like a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet) with nonstick cooking spray.

Dredge each of your chicken breasts first in the dressing, then in the corn flakes.  Place on rack.  Repeat for all breast pieces.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes on 425*.

*You may need more dressing and/or corn flakes if you don’t have enough to cover all your pieces.

That’s it.  Simple as that!

Bowtie Pasta with Sausage Cream Sauce

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Another one? In less than a week? I know…I amaze myself too.

I’ve been really trying to cook for the family lately. We all love pasta and sausage and…well…cream. So when I saw this dish, I quickly added it to my dinner plan.

This dish came together super fast and it was DELISH! Not the healthiest meal but definitely a tasty one.

Bowtie Pasta with Sausage Cream Sauce
1 box bowties
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups heavy cream
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil. Cook bowties according to package directions.

In another large skillet, cook sausage and red pepper over medium heat, breaking into pieces. Once cooked, add onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, then add tomatoes, cream, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and let bubble away while pasta cooks.

Once pasta is done, drain and add to sauce. Toss to coat, then let cook in the sauce for a minute or two. This allows the pasta to soak up some of the sauce.

To serve, top with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Of course, the little boy only ate the pasta. I’m beginning to think he’s part vegetarian!

Mexican Chicken Thighs

chicken thigh

What’s this?  A RECIPE??  No way.

Hello, blog world.  I’ve missed you terribly!  You guys know I’m super busy and quick, easy meals are a necessity in my life.  Well, this one couldn’t be easier.  You take some chicken, dust it with dry rub, let it sit, and then cook it.  Seriously.  It’s simple.  Try it.  Tomorrow.

Mexican Chicken Thighs
1 pound chicken thighs
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup salsa (or to taste)
1-1.5 cups taco cheese

Preheat oven to 400*.  Season chicken thighs with taco seasoning, really rubbing the seasoning into the thighs.  Let sit in the fridge at least one hour or overnight.  Brown chicken in olive oil over medium high heat.  Transfer chicken to a baking dish.  Cover with salsa and cheese.  Bake at 400* for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with sour cream, avocado, or any other toppings of you choice.

I served this over chicken flavored rice and it was yummy!

Also tastes great in a tortilla.
tortilla thigh

Sorry

JacobMommy2

Hey, guys.  I have been having a nagging feeling about not posting something in quite a while.  I hate not having my outlet to share recipes, photos, and videos with you guys, but honestly I just have zero free time lately.  Here’s why:

Right around the time of my last post (early June), I got transfer to a new store.  (Retail manager right here.)  Normally, it would take me a few weeks to get my feet on the ground and back into my routine, but this time things are a little different.  First off, I’m less of an “assistant manager” and more of a “store manager” meaning I have a lot more responsibility.  When things go wrong, don’t happen, etc I’m the one they look to instead of my actual store manager.

Secondly, my staff at the last store ROCKED and were very self sufficient.  The new store has a ton of potential, but they still need some tweaking, which takes time.  Finally, as I’m the only salaried person in the new store, I often have to stay late or come in early to get everything done that needs to get done.  This includes working on my days off sometimes.

It’s not all bad though.  I get most of my nights and half of the weekends off now, which is quite different than before.  Good for the family, bad for the blog since my prime blogging time was on my mornings I worked or on my days off.  I could blog at night, but by the time Jake goes down for the night (between 8:30 & 9p) I’m beat.  I usually head to bed shortly after.  Womp womp.

I hate that this blog is sounding like a big downer post, but I really wanted you guys to know I think about blogging a lot, but just don’t have the time to invest in quality posts right now.  I guess I could slap together some half assed, uninspired posts to appease you, but I don’t want to do that.

I’m hoping things calm down and I can get back into my groove so to speak, but with inventory and holiday season coming up, I just don’t know when that will be.  I’m sure I’m going to lose some of you from lack of posting, but I really hope the rest of you stick with me through this hectic time in my life.  I love writing and sharing with you and your feedback means so much to me.  I don’t want to give it up.  I hope I don’t have to.

In the meantime…Be Well.  :)

Run Baby Run

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I had been looking forward to my girls’ weekend away in Louisville for a while now.  Not only would I get to see my bestie, but we were doing The Color Run too…“The Happiest 5k on the Planet”!

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You may remember when we did this run last year.  I remember thinking it was just OK but I wasn’t sure if I’d do it again.  I’m so glad I did!  I’m not sure if it was because we knew to expect about an hour wait at the lineup or what, but this year was so much fun!  Could have been partly to do with these jokers keeping us entertained while we waited!

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We took our time getting to the race because, as I mentioned before, we knew we’d have to wait a while at the lineup.  They let the runners go across the starting line in waves so the color stations don’t get too clogged up.  We killed time taking pictures.

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After about 45 minutes, we were on our way.  Blue was up first!

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There were three (well, technically four) more color stations, but I didn’t take any more pictures until almost the end when there was a fun wall everyone was able to sign.

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Look closely…can you spot my name?

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By the time we were done, we were both a hot mess.  But in the best way.

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Afterwards, I messed around with the panorama function of my iPhone!

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One of the best parts of the Color Run is the color throw at the end.  I missed it last year, but this year we were dead center.  It was fabulous!

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I loved this saying:

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What a great time we had!

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While we were walking to the car, Carolyn spotted a friend of hers, who she promptly stole.

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This little bundle was the cutest thing ever!

From there, we went to my favorite breakfast place in the world…Wild Eggs!  So good!

There was a 45 minute wait (worth it, btw), so we got some coffee and headed outside to kill some time.

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It was a gorgeous morning.  I think it was about 70* with a slight breeze.  It was the perfect morning to chill outside!

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Of course, once we got inside, it was just as good.  I ordered the chilequiles and we split an order of the raspberry lemon pancakes.  They were both out of this world.  I already want more.

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Once we were done eating, we were both pretty tired, so we headed home to rest up and get ready for painting that night.  Stay tuned…

What has been your favorite 5k (or longer) you’ve run in the past?

#WDMU

If you’ve ever seen this tag (#wdmu) on my social media feed, you may be wondering what it means.  It means a good time!  It stands for windows down, music up.  Basically I attach it any time I’m listening to a really good song and I just need to crank the music!

Here are some songs I’ve been loving for warmer weather driving lately:

Tripping Billies – Dave Matthews Band
We play this song at work and whenever I hear it, I can’t help but move my feet a bit.  It’s definitely one that makes me smile.

Ride Wit Me – Nelly
Always a classic.  This song will forever remind me of high school.

Miami – Will Smith
Judge if you want, but it’s a fun song!  And all about vacation!

All Summer Long – Kid Rock
I had forgotten about this song until it came on one of my Spotify radio stations.  But it’s been stuck in my head for a few days now!

Be As You Are (the entire album) – Kenny Chesney
I was randomly browsing the country section (which I never do) at Best Buy one day when the cover for this album caught my eye.  I picked it up and it’s been a favorite ever since.  I love every song but my top picks are Magic, Island Boy, and Guitars and Tiki Bars.

What’s your favorite #wdmu song?