Monday, March 30, 2009

Cod with Spring Vegetables and Mint

Yep, it's official. For whatever reason, whether it was the extreme cold we had this winter (which I happen to love, but I'm glad it's headed out for a while), or the lack of green currently in our backyard (we've been working on that this last couple weeks - stay tuned!), I am addicted to serving as much green as I can bring to the table lately. And once again, Gourmet had just the ticket:

Roasted Cod with Spring Vegetables and Mint

I made this one last weekend, and it was truly a delight to prepare. I love the variety of veggies, and the mint definitely adds a nice touch.

I was reluctant to even cook it, as I could not stop staring at the greens. I love spring green, and I especially love green veggies. After a winter of few greens (except kale, etc.) this was like a breath of fresh air. I love cooking green vegetables, because (as long as you don't overcook them) they develop such a vibrant, deep green that just lights up the plate. I remember when I finally learned not to overcook broccoli, and what a huge difference it made in my love of that vegetable (and others). This recipe is a good example - you want the veggies tender, but not overdone. So don't set the heat too high, and stir often - check every now and then for doneness. They should look something like this when they're ready:

I served it with those potatoes I keep telling you about, to which I am also addicted. If you haven't tried those yet, run, don't walk!

We all enjoyed this, and the only note I really have is to say that if you prefer spicy foods, this one may not be for you. This recipe is all about nuances - the sweet flavors of the vegetables, fruity olive oil (use a good, extra-virgin one), the buttery flavor of the fish, the brightness of the mint. I added some extra black pepper for a little kick, but black pepper really enhances, rather than adds to, the flavors that are already present. So season as you see fit. Super yummy, and definitely a bite of spring!

Hope you enjoy!

For more wonderful meal ideas, check out Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace and Right Here Right Now!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Spring is Here!

I'm so excited to be back into menu planning in earnest - AND we're getting better about actually cooking most nights, which helps me with lunches and saving money on both lunch and dinner.

We're finally getting down to the last of the frozen things we had (meats, veggies etc.) which is nice, because a wider selection of both meats and fresh produce is very nice to see in our menus as we welcome spring!

I will say, we've definitely saved money (and time) with our "Frugal from the Freezer" and pantry plan. I don't have an exact savings comparison, because we had several factors that altered our budget landscape (joining Costco and spending a fortune there, but hopefully only every few months; learning the CVS game and starting to get everything - almost - free there, etc.). But I definitely think we have saved and, in the process, we've wasted a lot less food than we used to. Yay!!!

So, onto this week's menu plan. A few notes - last week our Publix had whole chickens on sale, so I got two and, borrowing from an idea in Gourmet, will make two at once and see how many ways we can use the leftovers. So far, I'm thinking my favorite chicken salad, chicken and mushroom calzones, chicken quesadillas or enchiladas, and of course the main entree (featured Saturday!) That will be a good number of meals to come from spending only $5 for two chickens! Let's see how we do! We're also trying some new things that have caught my eye recently. I LOVE trying new recipes, and the new ones we've enjoyed recently have made me smile! Lots of my friends have posted wonderful things we will also be trying in upcoming weeks, so look for those to come!

Saturday: Citrus Roasted Chicken, Panfried Smashed Potatoes (my new addiction), Broccoli

Sunday: Cajun Meatloaf, potatoes, green beans with celery salt

Monday: (workout night) Leftover meatloaf, baby carrots, wilted spinach

Tuesday: Roasted Cod with Artichokes and Tomatoes, Olive Cheese Bread

Wednesday: Ranch Style Chicken, corn, spinach

Thursday: (Workout night) Freezer Pleasers or Omelettes, garlic toast

Friday: (Workout night) Taco Braid (from Lora), Broccoli

That's the plan! For more Menu Plan Monday, head over to Orgjunkie!

Love, Dahrlin'

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday's Savings Roundup

Yep, I'm back to bore y'all with more CVS stories this week! But I can't help it. The deals just keep getting more ridiculous and I still can't believe they let people do this stuff. Even the cashier commented on how well I did. There's just something about seeing things ring up to $40 and then back off to $13. I'm addicted!

This week's haul:

$42.06 before coupons and savings
$13.09 paid out of pocket
Savings: 68%
$8.49 in ECB's remaining
$4 off $20 new coupon received this week

As I've mentioned, I don't "count" my ECB's and new coupons until the visit where I use them. But if I were to count them on this trip, it's like I paid fifty cents for $42 of merchandise!


To see how other Southern Savers friends did this week, check out Jenny's Friday Finals!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Greens (Wednesday's Weeknight Recipe Review)

So we made the orzo salad from Monday's menu. And it was EVERY bit as good as I remember it being when a friend brought it for us to try last summer. I mean, it's so good I am having trouble staying out of the refrigerator. And that's saying a lot, considering a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates is sitting right next to me. And they're not what I'm craving at all!

I have found that loading the pictures to go with this post has done nothing to satisfy my intense craving for more of this pasta salad. So I'm glad I took photos before dinner, because there is a distinct possibility that you may never read this post. I may instead spend the next forty five minutes devouring the remainder of the salad. And then collapse into bed in a pasta coma (well, okay, I could probably finish the salad it in a LOT less than 45 mintues... but I digress). So, on to the rest of the post, and quickly!

As I was saying, this stuff is seriously yummy. Really, REALLY good. And it's as pretty to look at as spring itself!

I love spring green, and this salad has plenty of green going on. While the pasta was cooking, I mixed up the veggie side of the salad - some baby spinach, green pepper, green onions, Kalamata olives, and capers:

Then I added the hot pasta, and tossed it until the spinach wilted a bit:

Lastly, I added the feta, toasted pine nuts and dressing, and served it alongside some Italian Herb Whitefish. And devoured every bite!

I highly recommend this one. It's officially my new favorite pasta salad, and I predict we will make it a lot this summer. The only difference I would suggest in terms of recipe preparation is the hot pasta step I mentioned - I prefer the texture of slightly-wilted spinach, so if you toss the hot pasta with a little oil first (don't rinse it first as the recipe instructs), then toss it into the greens, you just stir for a couple minutes and it will be perfect!

Hope you enjoy! And hope you have a great Thursday!

Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sausage, Tomato and Bean Ragout (Tempt My Tummy Tuesday)

Happy Tuesday!

We made another long-time favorite recipe recently that I want to share with you. I love this one because it's very healthy and lightens me up a bit, without giving up substance and personality in the recipe (that's what the sausage is for, LOL!) Instead of posting the recipe I will just link you to it (easier to print), but I'll give you my notes below as we've made it a number of times.

This is a great "method" recipe too - meaning you can vary the ingredients as you see fit or based on what you've got on hand. This one is generally Italian in its flavors, but I think you could do chicken (instead of sausage) and fennel (instead of zucchini) and have a lovely French-inspired dish (throw in some herbs de provence for a little added emphasis). It's basically a variation of stew, so there are many possibilities. It's great for you as-is (use organic chicken or turkey sausage to keep it extra healthy) and I love all the colors in it. Plus it's got that "warm and hearty" feeling to take you through chilly spring evenings. I'm not ready to give up my comfort food yet - it's just not that warm here so far.

In terms of the actual recipe provided, I use chicken stock instead of water (but watch the salt; alternate with water to your taste) and I double the garlic (almost always the case when I cook!). And for this one I happened to have diced roasted tomatoes, so that's what I used.

The other note I would add is that this is a great freezer and pantry meal. I keep bulk Italian sausage in the freezer (brown it like hamburger meat), along with chopped kale (this time I had curly red kale, but you can use any kale you prefer). Canned tomatoes and white beans round it out and you can even skip the zucchini (I did this time) if you don't have it handy. Like all stews and soups, it's a great recipe for using up odds and ends, too. I threw in a couple other things I needed to use up - some leftover lima beans and a couple tiny yellow potatoes that were languishing (chop them finely). Our most recent batch came out great and even hubby loves this one! It's quick and easy for a weeknight too.

For more wonderful meal ideas, check out Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace and Right Here Right Now!

Love, Dahrlin'

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Frugal from the Freezer

Yep, you guessed it... we're STILL eating out of our freezer, LOL! This week's menu will take advantage of a lot of freezer meals, and a couple of leftovers for workout nights. By buying only some fresh produce, milk and feta cheese we've got our meals for 6 nights (we have a buy one, get one coupon for our favorite Mexican restaurant for the 7th dinner).

This week's menu doesn't feature a lot of new stuff, but it's quick, easy and features favorites!

Sunday: Balsamic grilled chicken, Orzo and Spinach salad (do try this salad, it's awesome!)

Monday: Cheese tortellini with marinara, green beans with shallots

Tuesday: Burgers, corn on the cob, wilted spinach

Wednesday: White fish with baby limas, garlic bread

Thursday: Sausage, Bean, and Tomato Ragout (this was planned a couple weeks ago but we ended up making late last week...these particular leftovers are yummy!)

Friday: Pepper Steak, rice, buttered broccoli

Saturday: Out or may have friends over

Hope you have a GREAT week! For more great menus, check out Menu Plan Monday over at!

Love, Dahrlin'

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday's Savings Roundup

Good morning!

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I have discovered the fun and savings to be had with taking couponing seriously (something I never managed to do before). The primary website I am relying on to learn from was shared by my BFF and is called Southern Savers. That site ROCKS and Jenny (its author) is my money-saving heroine, LOL! I don't know where she finds the time, but she does a marvelous job of keeping the rest of us informed as to what, and where, the deals are every day.

I'm having so much fun (particularly with CVS because it's quicker and easier than major grocery runs) and thought I would share my savings highlights for the week. So far this week it's only been CVS, but we'll go to Publix today or tomorrow as well. I don't yet have a ton of coupons stockpiled, but we saved $35 there last week and I'm hoping to do at least that well this week.

This week's CVS run produced $9 in ECB's (this is like CVS cash that you can use to buy anything in the store) and a coupon for $4 off my next $20 or more purchase (Katherine, I'm seeing a ton of those $4 off...hope you are finding some too!) So far I'm sticking only to things we would buy/use normally, so I'm passing up some deals where we could get ECB's (just because I don't really need/want the item even if it's free).

Our total cost before sales and coupons: $60.18
Total paid out of pocket: $32.04 (plus tax)
Saved: $28.14 or 47%!
ECB's and coupons remaining: $9 ECB and $4 off $20.

Now, I'm off to make my list for Publix. Happy weekend and happy shopping!

Love, Dahrlin'

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two New Recipes (Tempt My Tummy Tuesday)

Happy Tuesday!

We've tried several new recipes recently, and this is one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Giada has never let me down, and this is another winner. Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce. Hubby LOVES it, which makes it a definite keeper around here. And as Giada mentions, I think it would be good on really any meat - steak, pork or chicken.

I will link you to the recipe as opposed to posting it, but I have a couple notes on the recipe. First, it's a great one to make ahead for lunches later in the week. Secondly, because the sauce is cooked, you can add more to your finished chicken without that "cold sauce out of the bottle" taste. You'll see a better photo toward the end of this post, but we made a few extra pieces because chicken was on sale this week:

Next, I tried a second recipe that caught my eye recently. While browsing the March issue of Gourmet (a great print and online resource, and NOT difficult cooking, as the name might otherwise lead you to believe), I found this little gem: Panfried Smashed Potatoes. And let me tell you, it's definitely going into our regular menu rotation. Ohhhh so good, and not unhealthy (lightly friend in olive oil, which is great for you!). The recipe I tried reminds me of PW's post on Crash Hot Potatoes. Hers are baked instead of fried, and I may try that next. But by boiling the potatoes in the same pan I fried them in, I saved myself washing a separate baking sheet, so I will probably keep this method for now. Meanwhile, you can see our version of the potatoes in the dinner below. They came out so well and we both loved them!

For more wonderful meal ideas, check out Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace!

Happy week!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Forcing Spring - Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits

Happy Sunday!

We had some gorgeous weather here last weekened and early in the week. That high of 79 degrees has tapered back to a current high of 43 degrees (at noon) and we're in our second consecutive day of rain.

With the changing moods of spring, I love to combine foods that still take their cues from the cooler weather (like the meal I'm posting tomorrow) with foods that remind me spring is coming - and making an appearance at the grocery store.

Last weekend our store had fresh strawberries that were actually good - they weren't (too) undderipe and they were decidedly tasty. They were also on sale, so I couldn't resist. And one of my favorite things to make with strawberries is these little parfaits:

They are super easy - perfect for everything from an afternoon snack to a dinner party dessert. You can place them in any glass - here I used a wineglass for fun. If you do them in a tall, skinny glass you can make it look more "officially" like a trifle. When it's just us and/or close friends, we're more interested in digging in than making them fancy. But here you go - this recipe is easy to play with and could feature almost any fruit you like. If you want to enjoy it year round, freeze sliced fruit at its summer peak, then keep frozen homemade pound cake, ice cream and cool whip in your freezer. Super fast and easy!

Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits
(Adjust servings as needed - this is for 4)

1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 tsp brown sugar (more if you want)
Pound cake (cut into cubes)
Vanilla ice cream
Cool whip or real whipped cream

Stir together sugar and strawberries. Let sit a few minutes to form a glaze. In a glass, layer cake cubes, ice cream, berries and whipped cream/topping. Add any other toppings of your choice and serve immediately.

Happy Spring!

Love, Dahrlin'

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do you CVS?

Some of my long time readers will recall that we've been doing freezer and pantry meals for the last couple months, in an effort to be a little more frugal and use up what we've stockpiled before buying more. That's been going so well that it has sort of motivated me to see what else we can save.

I've never been much on coupons, mostly because I try to cook fresh food (and there's rarely any coupon for mushrooms, for example!) and it just seemed like we were sort of wasting money and time - money to buy the paper to get the coupons (we don't normally subscribe), and time to hassle with culling them, keeping up with them and juggling them as we (or, more often, just I) went through the store.

With the recent economic crisis, though, my attitude has shifted in a decidedly more thrifty direction. I rarely pay full price for much these days and if I'm not happy with the price, I simply don't buy it. Meanwhile, my friend Katherine has gotten me onto the CVS bandwagon. Do you know about this? The whole world is catching onto it and it's very very cool. I'm learning how to stack deals - like combining a buy one get one deal with a manufacturer's (or CVS) coupon, and then taking advantage of the extracare bucks (CVS "cash") that CVS gives on a particular transaction. My BFF Angie pointed me to a GREAT website that explains how to work the CVS deals (and, if you live in the south, helps track your local savings opportunities - see Southern Savers).

So this week I had a couple coupons (they print at the end of your CVS transaction receipt) and a couple manufacturer coupons in hand, and decided to take my first crack at the CVS game. And I was thrilled to find it worked just like everyone said it would. Some of this will be obvious to most people, but I just never knew stores would let you combine deals this way. I always thought it was a "one offer per transaction" type world. Apparently I had another think coming!

Let me give you a couple examples:

The first time I went, I had a CVS coupon for $4 off a $20 transaction. I also had a coupon for $2 off Tums (yes, I actually take these, stop laughing!) and a $1 off Ghirardelli (chocolate gets me through the workdays, people!). Now I could have just grabbed whatever occurred to me to fulfill my $20 requirement, but instead I grabbed the store circular (you know that little newspapery thing that is always floating around in shopping baskets and on the floor of the store? Yeah, that thingy, the one I usually ignore) and found several deals for buy one get one free. So I got a couple cans of shaving cream, a couple deodorants, and a couple toothpastes - all BOGO. I also got my chocolate bar and the Tums - grand total, $20.07 before coupons. First I gave them my $4 off $20 (you have to do this first so your other coupons don't bring your total below the required mark). Next, the $2 and $1 coupons.

Grand total paid? $13.65
Grand total saved?: $14.26 (with buy one get ones)

I got eight items (one, the Tums, is usually $5.79 just by itself) for $13. I was thrilled!

But the next day was even more fun. While perusing the circular (I stopped going through it once I got my total to $20), I found (at the very end) a buy one get one (BOGO) for a vitamin that I take. Normally the vitamin is ridiculously expensive, and I'm all for being healthy but I had been looking for a deal on it. Normally $25 for 30 pills, CVS was running the BOGO - but they had also stocked the manufacturer bonus bottle - 45 pills for the price of 30. Then, I had my $4 off $20 coupon, so I ended up paying $21 for two bottles of 45 pills - to get 90 pills I would normally have to pay $75. Woohoo! Savings of $54. And I'm officially hooked on this game.

So today we went to Publix and (using the same method of stacking deals, taking advantage of BOGO's, printed coupons, etc.) we saved $35 on $145. I'll take 25% savings at the grocery store any day!

I've rambled on long enough but wanted to share this for anyone who isn't yet familiar with the savings to be had these days. Between coupons you can print/gather from the newspaper, and coupons and deals the stores are giving, it's worth the time and effort (at least for us) to do this these days. Hope you enjoy and find some deals for yourself!

Happy Saturday!

Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Atkins Park Pork Tenderloin

Happy Tuesday Y'all - and a special shout-out to all who are visiting from Tempt My Tummy Tuesday! Check out other wonderful recipes at TMTT every week!

Today I'm posting one of my truly all-time favorite recipes.
Long time readers of this blog have seen me reference this recipe more than once - that's how much I love it. It converts beautifully to a freezer meal (the same type of idea as Super Suppers, but you make these yourself). And it's quick and easy for a weeknight meal - but it's true restaurant food made at home. What more can you ask for, LOL?

There is a little bit of a story behind this recipe. Atkins Park is one of my favorite restaurants here in Atlanta. Before our last move, we lived near one and I met my friend Steph there all the time for yummy dinners. They have a fantastic menu all year round, but after tasting this pork dish I rarely managed to order anything else. I so badly wanted to figure out the recipe that I wrote to our local paper asking for it. They have a feature column where you can request any restaurant recipe and they will see if the chef is willing to share it. Thankfully, mine was answered and voila, I had in hand the recipe for Bourbon Pork Tenderloin. I rushed home to make it and have been making it ever since - always with delicious results. It's super easy and hubby-approved!

As a side note, don't laugh that we're still serving brown rice as nearly every side dish for posted meals lately ;-) Remember we're working off our Four Months of Frugal Meal Planning. I have developed a true love for the stuff with butter, a little salt and lots of black pepper stirred in. It has a risotto-like texture that is totally unlike white rice. And it's guilt free!

So here you go - the recipe and photo to go along with the dish you keep seeing pop up on my menu plans. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Atkins Park Bourbon Pork Tenderloin

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes,
plus 1 hour or more for marinating
(Also makes a great freezer meal kit!)

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki glaze
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 shallots, sliced
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
1 1/2 pounds trimmed pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine broth, bourbon, teriyaki sauce, teriyaki glaze, soy sauce, brown sugar, shallots and rosemary. Reserve half the mixture for the glaze, and use half as marinade. Marinate the pork tenderloin for at least 1 to 2 hours (if making as a freezer meal, freeze meat in the marinade with glaze in a separate ziploc bag). After marinating, drain meat.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Brown meat on both sides. Add reserved marinade and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until meat is just cooked through. If needed, you can remove the meat to a plate and keep warm, while you reduce the glaze a little further. Serve over (or with) rice and any veggie you love!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Frugal, Week...

What week IS it, anyway?! LOL!

The weeks just keep on flying by around here - faster with every Monday! And this one will come extra quickly, with Daylight Savings Time and "losing" an hour. Anyone else hate this? Can I get a show of hands of others who understand how it works, but still, like me, feel like they're losing an hour off their life every year? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Why can't they just let things happen naturally?

Sigh. Anyway,

On to the menu plan. I'm back to planning menus after a few weeks of winging it. We've both been trying to work out more in the evenings, and both have had to work late a bit recently, which hasn't left us a lot of time for cooking. But we'll be getting back to it this week, continuing with our "freezer and pantry meals." What began as a plan to use up some things and save a little $ has turned into quite the surprise - it's already March, and we've still got food in the pantry and freezer, LOL! I can't figure out how we keep going with this, because I really haven't bought much in the way of food (except produce) recently. I think we can probably make it two more weeks, anyway, before we have to restock a little. Which will be about the right timing. We've saved some by eating more repetitively (making Italian, Mexican and Asian type meals that are good for several dinners during a week). But, after a couple months of this I'm getting a little bored - and I miss cooking!!

So this week will feature a couple standby meals - things you've seen here before, but which work well for freezer and pantry cooking. Then I plan to make a few different things and maybe try some new ones that have caught my eye recently - we'll see how it goes!

Here's this week's list:

Sunday: Two new ones to try - Balsamic BBQ Grilled Chicken, Panfried Smashed Potatoes, and Garlic Butter Green Beans, with Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits for dessert

Monday: Make your own take-out - Chinese Pepper Steak, Brown Rice, Lemony Broccoli

Tuesday: (workout night) Sesame Pork Stir Fry, Brown Rice

Wednesday: Sausage, Bean, Tomato and Kale Ragout, Garlic Toast

Thursday: (workout night) Skillet Mushroom Chicken, Corn, Green Beans

Friday: Cheese Tortelloni with Marinara, Lemony Chard

Saturday: Friends coming over - menu to be determined!

For more menu ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday hosted by Orgjunkie!!

Love, Dahrlin'

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Everybody say...


This is one of our favorite Little Ones - his parents are some of our very best friends. Here, he is giving Miss Snufflepuppy a big kiss. He is such a love!

Happy Friday! For more Fx4 fun to end your workweek, head over to Candid Carrie's!

Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

"I love it when..."

How would you complete that sentence? What small serendipities in life just makes you smile?

The other day I was planning to make a recipe for Teriyaki Glazed Chicken. I love stir fry for weeknights and had planned to make this earlier last week. However, for various reasons the chicken was thawed in the fridge, but I had not gotten around to making the recipe. So on Saturday I decided to make it for lunch. Everything was going fine, until I realized that I was out of teriyaki glaze (and yes, I do use bottled sauce for most stir fries - since speed is the whole goal :-) - Kikkoman makes a decent one). I was in a bit of a hurry, so not in the mood to try and experiment with making my own glaze. But I did have sesame oil and soy sauce, so I figured with a couple of drizzles each, I could make an entirely different dish.

It came out beautifully, and I love the flavor combo. It would have been even better if I'd had some sesame seeds to toss over the top. Sesame is something I love in restaurants, but it's a flavor I rarely use at home. That's going to change! This is great "make your own takeout" if I do say so myself. It was YUMMY!

What I love about stir fries of any kind is their convenience. You can vary the meat and vegetable combination (or leave out meat entirely) based on seasons, convenience and your taste. This is a standby freezer meal for us - I will chop up whatever kind of meat I have, freeze it, and chop any extra bell peppers we have around. Freeze those too. With frozen broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms... almost any veggie you want can be tossed in. If you like brown rice, keep some of that made and in the freezer, and all you'll need is some onion and garlic to complete the meal. I don't freeze onions (though some people do) because I find they are too watery and a hassle to cook with when thawed. But use whatever works for you! (Just don't forget your sauce of choice, LOL!)

This recipe is a great method - vary it as you see fit. I'll give you the ingredients I used for this one, but almost anything goes. Just remember - the key to a great stir fry is to keep adding things in the order of their cooking speed. Things that take longer to cook go in first. Enjoy!

Sesame Chicken Stir Fry
(Adjustable - serves 1 or a crowd)

Chicken breast, cut into chunks (trim any visible fat)
Bell peppers (any color combo) - slice into strips then halve
1 pkg sliced portobello mushrooms (they cook way down)
1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chunky slices
3-6 garlic cloves, chopped (your call)
Couple handfuls frozen green beans - break in 1/2
Olive oil for browning everything
Soy sauce (to taste)
Sesame oil (to taste)
Cornstarch (dissolve 1 tsp in 1 oz water to start)
Prepared rice of your choice (optional)

Brown chicken over medium-high heat until golden. Don't stir it around too much - you want it to caramelize. Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm. Stir in onions, peppers and garlic, tossing frequently to ensure garlic does not burn. Once everything begins to soften, add in the mushrooms and green beans. Continue tossing until mushrooms have cooked down and most of their liquid is gone, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low, return chicken and any juices to pan, and begin adding soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Start with a little, stir and taste - add the sesame very slowly, as it doesn't take a whole lot. Begin with maybe a teaspoon of that, and keep checking as you go. Once it's seasoned to your liking, mix a little cornstarch in a very small amount of water (start with a teaspoon of cornstarch to an ounce or two of water) and add to pan - this will pull the sauce together and form a glaze. Continue cooking until it's the consistency you like - then serve over hot rice and enjoy!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Need a Snow Day!

But I'm probably not gonna get one. It's snowing like crazy outside, but unfortunately, it's not sticking. So we're watching this and feeling sad that we still probably have work tomorrow. Wait. No, back up. I'm not sad that I have work, I'm thankful. But you know what I mean!

Love, Dahrlin'
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