what happens in Vegas …

Sous Chef Geno has been getting the royal treatment lately.  He got into some trash (not our doing or fault… don’t get me started, I have the issue under control and have spoke to the appropriate people) and hasn’t been feeling or acting like himself. 3 trips later [to the vet] and slowly his usual cuteness is returning. The royal treatment per meal: 2 spoon fulls of pumpkin pie filling, 1 tummy ache pill, 1 steroid, and 1 pro-biotic … plus us having the pleasure of watching him go to the bathroom. I know I know, this is close to TMI (especially for a food blog) but I started off mentioning all of this because a dog eating trash and getting sick was similar to us eating crap … resulting in not feeling well. Could it be a metaphor for life? Maybe. STOP EATING TRASH! What’s that saying… you are what you eat? I think it totally holds true.

<end rant>

So I’m home from Vegas and I’ll tell you what, I went against everything I’ve been working hard at since last year – eating right, not eating as much, etc. I did manage to not snack although it was tempting. You’re on vacation and you think “I can cheat”. DON’T DO IT. You’ll thank me later! I cheated, big time. I had fast food, sweets, soda, and mega-carbs. You name it, I ate it. Boy did my stomach hate me (maybe I could have used some of Geno’s pills.. JUST KIDDING. Chill). It was all so delish though! Geeze did I miss the flavor of grease and the sweetness of real sugar. Then again, I ended up with massive headaches and my guilt kicking in. The next vacation I really do need to stick to my new eating habits, not feeling well for 4 days while I was supposed to be enjoying time off, was definitely not worth it. Listen, in moderation I think all of things are okay but not jammed packed, back to back for each meal, 4 days straight.

Okay, okay – I’ll give you menu for this past week.  Thank you for sitting through my venting.

Tuesday- Zucchini Lasagna.
“When you said zucchini lasagna I didn’t know you meant no noddles” Josh. Who didn’t listen when I explained that this zucchini lasagna used NO NODDLES; the zucchini becomes the layer separation. Which also means he took too much insulin because he thought there’d be a lot of carbs. I did serve garlic bread though to help balance veggies vs. carbs but it wasn’t enough; he went hunting in the fridge for more food. MEN! 😉

This is not a vegetarian lasagna, it calls for ground beef (I used turkey). I’m sure you could remove the meat because there are a ton of veggies in it, or just double what the recipe says and there will plenty of “sauce” to add between the layers.

My dish did not come out as pretty as the allrecipes.com post, of course. It’s incredibly messy but it was sooooooo good! Bit of a change to the recipe: I forgot the thaw the spinach so it didn’t get added. Oh well. I honestly ran out of stacking space so it worked in my favor (Take out the meat and use spinach? You’d have the room for it). I think next time I might grill the zucchini (on the g.f.), the dish needed structure which stiffer/thicker noodles typically provide. By grilling, I’d think that it’d firm the veggies, giving it more structure instead of just slopping onto my plate.

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Wednesday was a slow cooker repeat, our favorite enchilada meal. I used baby shrimp this time around – so good! I love that recipe, it’s the easiest and tastiest. I didn’t double it, just made enough for one night. Thursday had shrimp planned again and I didn’t want insane leftovers of shrimp dishes although my husband wouldn’t care. He’s my garbage disposal after all!

Thursday brought on a new recipe via Paula Deen which we all know means there was a TON of butter in the recipe. I cut it by half and you wouldn’t know the difference (my arteries did and thanked me).  This was my best creation yet. I’m still trying to figure out the correct amount of s & p to use; I know that sounds ridiculous but I honestly can’t get it right! It’s either too much and I feel like I’m licking a brick of salt or there’s not enough and I may as well be eating cardboard. Cooking takes work on balancing spices, keep at it and one day, voila, success! I wanted to go back for seconds but I knew better. ImageImageImage

To make eating easier, I cut all of the shrimp tails off PRIOR to cooking. I don’t feel like working for my meal … either way I’d cut them, may as well do it before I sit down. On top of the called for ingredients I added my last zucchini, rather use it than toss it! You can add any veggie to this, at least that’s my opinion. We have leftovers which I’ll be enjoying tonight – Josh is off to Austin for a JROTC competition, only 1 night so he won’t get to enjoy that weird city (so many great food options out there!). 

That’s my week, feel free to wear it [the recipes] out! Bonus: my tummy is almost back to normal. I think my body absorbed more than I thought…

P.S. that enchilada recipe was my first pin on Pinterest … what was yours? Comment below! Also, how many of you actually make the things you pin? Sure, I have my “one day” kind of board, like artwork I’d love to create or furniture I’d love to own … but I stay true to my “yum-o” board. I’ve cooked almost everything pinned.

Don’t forget my IG food tags #kitchentails to see my current cooking adventures!!

 

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I wonder if dogs like jalapeños …

Knives dropped: zero … wow, this is some accomplishment.  Actually it’s not, Josh had the dogs outside while he was cooking on the grill.  I know, I know! You must be thinking, Josh helped with dinner? Well this is how that magnificent miracle went down.
J- can I help with anything?
D- do you want to put the steaks on the grill?
J- what do you want?
D- do you want to make my blog?
J- YES
D- go start the grill
He always asks to help and I usually give him a dumb task such as getting out the griddle. It’s not that he can’t cook but he’s screwed up spaghetti. No, seriously.
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Back to tonight’s dinner… Grilled sirloin steak with mango & chile salad (coconut-ginger rice was to be a side but let’s be honest, I ain’t got time for that!). This was a super easy dish, took 25 minutes of prep, it should have been 15 but the damn mango was too ripe & was leaking EVERYWHERE. My counter turned into a mango juice pool… I almost lost a knife. Half way through mutilating the poor mango, I realized I should have peeled it, whatever, it turns out the same.
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So, chopped cilantro without slicing my fingers – I don’t have the best technique. I compare my chopping style to the “grandma bowler stance”… it’s awkward but gets the job done.
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Yes, that’s bottled lime juice, deal with it.  I hate buying limes because I forget about them, I can’t make that up! Now remember to cover the extra cilantro with a wet paper towel & store in a container… to the fridge it goes for another meal.  It can last for a week so freakin’ reuse it (read my 1 TBSP blog on July 16). Next I had to chop a jalapeño, I took the ribs & seeds out of my half and left Josh’s half in tact, he’s a freak & can handle any amount of spice. What’s that you say? The furry white and black thing at my feet? Oh, that’s Sous Chef Ella hard at work.  She got a taste of that pepper, serves her right. Let’s continue, almost time to get the steaks on the grill until Josh stops me, and I shit you not he asks me to measure his arms. Remember, he asked to help and managed to get side tracked with his muscles. Here’s how that went down: I’m in the middle of chopping carrots for a side salad and…..
J- where’s your measuring tape?
D- it’s on the other table
J- I want to measure my arms
D- ok
J- babe, measure my arms… well, when you get a chance. I want to see how big my arms have gotten
(he’s standing in the kitchen, holding the measuring tape out to me)
D- you realize I’m putting this in my blog too
J- no! Don’t do it! Actually good, because if April reads this she’ll appreciate it.
Sorry, no picture… but I did stop to measure his biceps and they are a gnarly 14 1/2 inches.  He’d want me to brag.

Image  Alright, dogs… uh, sous chefs are ready to approve of the steaks

Image Final product! Cut the steak AGAINST the grain after letting it rest for 5 minutes. Side dish: brown rice & cilantro (healthy option!), not everything has to be “fancy”. I typically aim for one homemade item each night, seriously who has time to make an entire meal including 2 side dishes + the entrée. HA.
You want the perfect steak? Salt & pepper each side, brush on some vegetable oil – good to go. 3 minutes on each side. NO MORE, NO LESS. Josh isn’t allowed to leave the grill once a steak goes down. P.S. if you don’t have a grill, the broiler should become your new bestie.  Really! Cook any meat on top of a greased cookie cooling rack (pan underneath covered in foil), BOOM… meats are juicy and takes maybe 5 minutes for steaks on “HI”. I love the broiler.

We had a side salad as well, I used the left over grape tomatoes and lettuce from yesterday’s dinner. Plan to use ingredients more than once.
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California BLT’s + zucchini/tomato/goat cheese wrap.

useless sous chefs

useless sous chefs

Sous Chef Ella – on the couch.
– she approves of everything I throw away

Sous Chef Geno – on the blue blanket
– he sits ON my feet, we need to work on his begging skills

Sous Chef McLane – in Ella’s pink bed
– he’s not the brightest most of the time, but he keeps watch on all kitchen activities from his castle (under the dining room table)