So, remember my Cheezey Spaghetti? Well, if Pinterest is to be trusted, the new big thing in dairy free “cheese”-making is butternut squash. Its got that hint of sweetness but takes on a really nice savory quality without being overpowering, which made it the perfect substitute for the cashews in my original “cheeze” recipe. Hell, it’s even got the perfect color, right?
Good lord…these pictures are gross. That’s what I get for using a crap camera. And for eating at 9 at night.
This recipe really reminds me of those casseroles of old my mom used to make with Velveeta…*sigh*. Epic. What we’ve ended up with here is a pretty rich plate of goodness that is probably one of the most nutrient dense meals you can put together in 30 minutes that isn’t, like, plain chicken and vegetables. And, obviously, without velveeta. Whole30? 21DSD? GAPS? Autoimmune? Yep, gotcha. Don’t like chicken? My next little experiment is going to be with some ground beef…I’m thinking a kind of cheeseburger casserole kind of thing? Enchiladas? Vegan option? I’m dying, you guys. Possibilities. Endless.
My winter break was almost seven weeks long. Seriously. I have never…in my LIFE…had this much time off to do absolutely nothing. Maybe it would be OK if I was like all of my classmates and took a trip somewhere? Or if I was capable of sleeping 14 hours a day? Except no.
The house is cleaner than it’s been or will be for decades. I’ve put in a bazillion hours of MCAT prep. I volunteered at the hospital. The pups have gotten more walking in the last 6 weeks than they had all last year. Ate a few too many of those chocolate covered acai berries (the ones from Costco…dangerous). Too much…*way* too much…has been spent at Target. I don’t know what else to do, you guys.
Class starts next week and it’s the home stretch…4 more months of pre-med and then…well, I’ll let you know. Maybe. Lots of *life plans* in the works and I’m honestly not necessarily sure how it’s going to pan out. Not gonna jinx it. Nope nope. I can tell you, though, that we will be…moving…again. Since I left college I have moved through 3 different states, 1 year-long deployment to Iraq, 5 different homes. Six if you count my CHU in Iraq but I really don’t think that counts. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone unless you have some weird desire to live in a big tin box and sleep on a plastic mattress that smells like mothballs. Blech.
Enough of that…how about I make you dinner? Following my weird BBQ fetish, I’ve been doing a lot of Asian cooking lately. And by that I mean I’ve been putting fish sauce and coconut aminos in *everything.* I recommend it.
This dish can be made meatless or with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork…or all of the above. We like options, don’t we?
So I made some baked apples this morning for breakfast and then realized I could use the same pan to roast up a bunch of chicken for this week’s lunches. No, I didn’t wash it in between (who does that?) so there was still a little coconut oil, apple goop, and allspice left behind. No big deal or anything, but this is the best damned chicken ever. EVER.
Speaking of chicken…Ross and I are in a roast chicken phase. Like, at least once a week for the last couple months. Whole chickens are super cost effective, even if they’re free range and organic…which they should be because unhappy, drug-induced chickens are no bueno for a lot of reasons. But we all knew that. Anyway, lots of roast chicken means lots of opportunities to make some fresh chicken stock without an ass-ton of added sodium and Goodness knows whatever else goes into the canned stuff. So go roast a chicken and make stock out of its carcass. You know you want to.
And of course, Fall is upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic and so it Soup Season. How convenient! Stock = Soup. I do love a good bowl of soup when the weather gets cooler, and I love soup, too, because it’s so low maintenance. Chop, toss, boil, eat. Boom. This is my latest concoction and it turned out swimmingly. Full of veggies and enough heat to warm you up!
Welp, class is in full swing again, which I have to admit is kind of refreshing. After 4 years of working non-stop I kind of forgot what a real “summer break” felt like. I’m not exactly good with free time on my hands…Netflix has nothing to hide from me anymore. Nothing.
Oh! I did manage to get away from the house for a week in there and spend a solid week in Oregon with my folks. My dad has this obsession with road-tripping so they rented a car and we drove from Portland out to Crater Lake and Bend back to Roseburg and made our way up the coast to end at a family reunion in Corvallis. Amazing. Except when I got home–post-vacation depression is bad for me. Seriously, I need like a week to recover from a long weekend away…seriously.
With classes going again, the slow cooker is running almost daily again. I really hope it survives the semester…otherwise it’ll be canned tuna and avocados and…I dunno, maybe some apples or something. I’m hopeless.
This recipe rocks because, not only is it a toss-n-go into the crock pot (lots of rough chopping and tossing, oh yes) but it’s an excellent way to use up leftover chicken. Leftover chicken is an issue here since I make a big tray every week to make my lunch salads and haven’t managed to figure out that no, I will not eat 6 pounds worth of chicken breasts in a week. I just won’t. Maybe next week, though.
Score one for three…THREE…ingredient recipes. Especially ones where you just toss and bake.
Well…not counting the pesto, but that’s super easy and I made a HUGE batch a little while ago after my awesome mother gave me a giant bouquet of fresh basil. I miss living in the country sometimes…we always had an awesome vegetable and herb garden but somehow with all the kids out of the house, Mom is pretty much running a farm these days. Having me living close by gives her a convenient way to pawn off the surplus, and I’m not complaining one bit!
¾ c Olive Oil (can be more or less to achieve desired thickness)
Combine the sausage and sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt until fine.
Add the olive oil a little at a time (if you’ve got a food processor with one of those openings in the top, drizzle it in while the power is on as you would for mayonnaise) and pulse until you have reached your desired consistency.
Add the pesto to the sausage and sweet potatoes and mix well.
Transfer to a roasting pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are a little brown and the dish is super-fragrant.
I’ve been eating too many of these lately. It’s OK, I bike to school now. Gotta keep up my strength, right?
Speaking of strength…I honestly can’t remember if I posted it here or on my Meathead Site, but I’m not going to weigh myself again until I back squat 200#. I made some good headway this past weekend and don’t have too much to go. Then again, I have to remind myself that gains are asymptotal and come more and more slowly with time and progress. Like that I use all my new-found mathematical knowledge in real life? OH! I also started watching Breaking Bad again…I’m hoping it’ll make me better at chemistry.
Toss this recipe in with my other “I have zero time to cook anymore but don’t want to act like it” recipes. I know I’m a student again but I’ll stop washing my clothes or showering before I quit making time to make my meals enjoyable. Just who I am, dudes. Admittedly, I eat a LOT of leftovers…but then again making enough to feed 10 people on Monday means Ross and I are good to go for the whole diddly darn week. Get me?
All I had to do for this chicken was take a little inspiration from this recipe and this recipe and toss some over-ripe peaches into a blender with some other stuff, pour it over a dish of raw chicken thighs (any cut will do), and toss it all in the fridge to marinate while I was in class. Then I got home, and let it bake while I binged on reality TV studied diligently. Boom.
Super easy meals are awesome. Especially this one…it’s THREE ingredients, people. Well, four if you count salt. But some people don’t salt their food nearly as much as I do…and “three ingredients” just has a nice ring to it. So much less intimidating. Especially on a Tuesday night when you get home late from school and the gym and still have calc homework and you’re just beat. Seriously…I prepped these while I was in the shower and baked them while I finished homework/watched Arrested Development.
I know like, everyone has already finished the new season…please don’t spoil it for me. We only got the Roku working a few days ago so I’m SO far behind. Pathetic, just pathetic. Know what else is pathetic? Realizing my undergraduate education…AND my master’s degree are worthless. Utterly. I’ve been sitting in math class for the last 2 weeks with the dumbest looks on my face. Seriously, no clue what’s going on. I guess that’s what happens when you’re an Art, Philosophy, and Literature major and decide to be a doctor. Totally makes sense, right? …Right…?
I actually did these in like, 25 minutes. No big deal. I was hungry, whatever.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had any “fast food.” I don’t like gutting myself with commercially fried crap. God, I’m such a snob. But seriously. I grew up on McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets and Coke and French Fries done up in rancid peanut oil…I think my body is still purging 22 years of crap from its delicate little system. Did you know there’s more than 20 ingredients in a Chicken Nugget? That’s bananas. Mom, I love you…but really?! It’s OK. These ones here have like, FIVE ingredients. Well, more than that if you count “salt and pepper to taste”–whatever…maybe you don’t even use salt and pepper!!–oh, and dipping sauces and stuff. I went all European with grainy mustard and mayo–but you could go all retro and do honey or BBQ sauce, too.
You know what’s super cool about this recipe? I ground my own chicken for it…in my very own meat grinder!! How cool is that?
Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to be all cool like me and grind your own chicken. Store bought is fine. If you must.
If you haven’t tried the Tessemae’s line of dressings and marinades yet, you’re missing out. Even Whole9 has endorsed it and there are so many awesome favors. Wing sauce, though, is my absolute favorite…on these burgers, on wings, on steak, on eggs…so good. It’s probably going to be one of my only nice memories left in a couple months when I’m unemployed. Yeah, I’m being a little negative about the whole getting out of the Army thing. Finding a job is HARD. The totally pretentious part of me just wants to be like, “But I’m a VETERAN!! HIRE MEEEEEEE!” Yeah…well, I mean…might be worth a shot, right? Or maybe living below an underpass really isn’t that bad?