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Long Dogs Love Vegetables

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 in Long Dog Diaries | 0 comments



Tucker Nomming Kale

Oscar Nomming Kale

The doggies love vegetables. Sometimes they happen upon them if I drop something, but this time I gave them a try with some of the leftover trimmings from making the kale chips. As usual, they loved them.


Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 in Kitchen Tools | 0 comments

Mr. Misto

This little guy is very handy in the kitchen. It sprays oil like an aerosol, but without the chemicals (not good for me or my cookware). I load it up with 1/4 of olive oil and spray in place of cooking spray for most everything except baking. I recently got a bottle of olive oil that has a lighter flavor so I may use it more often. The oil lives in the bottom chamber with a funky looking spray mechanism. You pump the lid up and down to create pressure in the chamber which makes the oil spray out in a fine mist. It’s also great for spraying on foods that need a light coating of oil (like kale for kale chips or potatoes for baked fries) and salads for a quick dressing. Thanks, Mom, for this great tool.

*Full disclosure:  I only mention brand names here so that you’ll know what I have used and recommend. This is in no way sponsored content.

Update on Kale Chips

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 in Come Together | 0 comments

Kale Chips

I tried the kale chips over the weekend. When they first came out of the oven, they were great – crunchy and crispy, almost airy. They definitely have a deep green flavor like their leafy friends spinach, turnip greens, and cabbage. I enjoyed them, and they were very easy to make.

However, they were terrible the next day – chewy with a horrible smell. I had been warned by Mom that this would be the case so I only baked half of my batch of kale. I followed this recipe from I have a Misto sprayer so I used that to spray olive oil on my pan and kale, then sprinkled with kosher salt.

You have to wash the kale very well. There were definitely some offensive things that washed away while I was working. You’ll want to make sure the kale is dry before you stick it in the oven. You can let it air dry or run it through a salad spinner like I did.

Betty Becca Trick: I stored the left overs like I do other leafy greens. In an air-tight plastic container with a damp paper towel on top. This is a great way to keep greens fresh (thanks for the tip, BB!).

Here’s a shot of the fresh kale before chopping:

Fresh Kale

Natural Stone Trivets

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Around Chez Ary, Kitchen Tools | 0 comments

Natural Stone Trivets

These beauties were made and given to me by my father-in-law. Not only are they beautiful, they are incredibly handy, too. They are wonderful when pulling a hot pan or dish out of the oven; it can go straight on top.

They give height to serving dishes on the table at a party for visual interest, and they would work great for a cheese course. The added height is a also bonus if I’m using my computer or phone for a recipe to keep the device out of harms way. The stone coordinates perfectly with my countertops and kitchen decor. Can you tell I love them?

If you’re not familiar with the term trivet, it is an alternative to a cloth potholder that protects your counter or table from heat. Trivets are usually made from wood, metal, ceramic, or cork.

What Happens When You Leave Out an Ingredient

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Everyone Will Eat It, On the Basics | 0 comments

Creamy Chicken Pasta

This is what I ate for dinner last tonight. I whipped it up Sunday during one of my token weekend cooking frenzies. And I realized yesterday afternoon that I left out a very key ingredient (better late than never?).

It’s Creamy Chicken Pasta inspired by Creamy Chicken & Noodles by  Plain Chicken. This blog is great for the picky eater set out there, and I’ve found a few new things for Mr. J by following.

Contrary to the name, this is very similar to chicken alfredo, just with a slightly different format. Ok, start boiling some noodles. I used rotini because I didn’t have enough egg noodles like Steph calls for. I had some cooked chicken ready to go, but if you don’t add some butter to a skillet and cook up about three breasts (checking for doneness with a thermometer at 165 degrees). Or bake some (Hi, Amanda W!) by putting a little butter or olive oil in a glass baking dish (I use Pyrex) with the chicken on top with some S&P, and let it hang out at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. My chicken was delicious smoked chicken that the hubs prepared on New Year’s Day. It’s been in the freezer, and this was the perfect occasion. I thawed it in the fridge overnight, and it was perfect and ready to be chopped.

When the noodles are done, strain out the cooking water; toss with the butter; and add a can of evaporated milk, the parsley, and Parm. Then, think to yourself, this needs some seasoning (uh…duh…that’s because you left out the Italian dressing mix), so I add some garlic, of course, and some S&P. I also topped with a little Italian blend cheese.

This is a good time to point out that I usually run through the ingredients list several times while I’m cooking to make sure I haven’t left anything out. It’s a great checks and balances system because, trust me, I’ve done this a lot. Sometimes, recipes are printed wrong, and you can figure it out if you’re checking both the ingredient list and the directions. It’s a good practice to read through an entire recipe before you start to make sure you have everything you need (pots and pans and preheated ovens included). If I had used the seasoning packet, my dish would have beautiful colorful specks of flavor, but I was doing 800 other things.

Another thing I’ve learned is that it is very hard to over-season. You don’t want to over-season because it’s hard to come back from that, but if you taste along the way, don’t be afraid to put in a little more than you think it needs. Just remember that some flavors develop over time. Confused yet? If you’re not great at seasoning, it will come with time. Follow the recipe for now, and learn what your palate likes. You’ll discover what spices and flavors marry well together, and you’ll be a master in no time.

Back to this recipe…it was quite tasty, but I’ll have to try it again with my lonely packet of Italian dressing mix. It is a super fast recipe for weeknights if your chicken is ready to go (or even if it’s not). If you can plan ahead and cook the chicken on the weekend, it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together for a great meal after work. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredient list:

  • 1 (0.6-oz.) envelope Italian dressing mix
  • 1 (8-oz.) package wide egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions from Plain Chicken:
Cook noodles according to package directions; drain well, and return noodles to pan.

Stir in 2 Tbsp. butter, and toss to coat. Stir in chopped chicken, next 3 ingredients, and dressing mix. Cook mixture over medium-high heat, tossing to coat evenly, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Betty Becca note: My can of evaporated milk was 12 oz., and I used 12 oz. of rotini. Steph calls for 8 oz. (1 cup) of evaporated milk and 8 oz. of egg noodles. I was able to keep the same ratio of sauce to noodles (1 : 1) and not waste any evaporated milk. Also, I can’t use whipping cream because of an allergy.