Sometimes I cook stuff. Don’t be afraid.

This blog is probably not listed in your blog roll under “Homemaking Skills.”  I can’t imagine why not.  I will have you know that I have kept my house clean for 4 full days in a row.  This has given me a new confidence, and I’m now ready to impart some great wisdom from my new-found throne of “Housewife/Goddess Divine.”

As much as I love restaurants (and I DO love restaurants), we only eat out maybe 3 times a month— that includes a quick drive-thru lunch for the kids on a busy day.  So I cook.  I’m not a great cook.  I’m a terrible recipe follower, severely threatened by many steps and/or many ingredients.  I make unauthorized substitutions and modifications to almost every recipe, and my family simply must tolerate the results.  To my credit, dinner rarely turns out inedible.  Usually our meals are built out of whatever ingredients I have on hand in an attempt to build something similar to a real dish I know I’ve had or tried before.  (I swear it’s not nearly as mad scientist as it sounds.)  Anyway . . .

I’m going to share with you 3 of my favorite recipes made of ingredients you will most likely have at home (unless you’re one of those people who runs to the grocery store several times a week to have varied, fresh food items on hand at all times.  In that case, God bless you, you don’t need my recipes, you can use the regular-people recipes in fancy cookbooks.).

The first recipe, Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup, is a recipe I found online about a year ago.  It’s a crock-pot recipe that I LOVE.  I seriously think it’s better than any soup I’ve ever had in a restaurant.  Love, love it.  Behold:

–1 pound chicken (I used frozen breast tenderloins)
–2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed  (you can also use 1 c. dry beans, but you’ll need to soak them overnight, plus increase slow-cooker time to NINE hours on high to get beans all the way soft)
–4 cups chicken broth (You can also use water/bullion)
–1 cup frozen corn
–1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz)
–1 1/2 tsp cumin
–1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
–shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)

In a  4-quart or larger slow cooker, add beans to the crockpot. Put in the chicken, and add the broth and salsa. Pour in the corn and add the cumin. Stir, but don’t disturb the beans—let them stay at the bottom of the pot, closest to the heating element.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5–similar to normal soup-cooking time.

If you’d like to thicken the broth (I did this),  scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in your blender. Stir the mixture back into the crockpot.  You’ll want to shred or cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices.  Also great with tortilla chips or corn chips.

See? Doesn’t that sound delicious?  The next two recipes are dishes that I made up with my own ingredients and, if I do say so myself, they turned out quite yummy.  I even used them at my meal-exchange group and people did not drop out of the group (a high compliment indeed).

Chicken Pot Pie

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (or any kind of cooked chicken or turkey)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 can cream of chicken soup (Campbells is best)
1 can cream of potato soup

1/2 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

2 9-inch deep dish pie crusts (You can use the frozen or refrigerated kind or (!) make your own.)
In a 9-inch pie pan, fill one crust with the soup mixture, then overlay the other crust on top. Crimp/pinch to seal and trim edges. Cut a few slits on top to let the steam escape.  You can also brush a milk/egg mixture on the crust to make it more “golden” when it bakes.

Bake 30-35 minutes until golden, longer if frozen (until heated through). 425 degrees

Meatball Stroganoff (8 servings)
2 cans (10 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
generous 1/2 tsp. black pepper
generous 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt to taste (+/- 1 tsp.)
8 oz. frozen peas
16+ meatballs  (I used frozen pre-cooked meatballs, Italian or plain)
Sour cream
Mix soup, milk, spices, then add peas and meatballs.  Cook over medium heat in a saucepan until it come to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer at least until meatballs are heated through  (can simmer longer for flavor).  Before serving, add 1/2 – 1 cup sour cream, stir in, and remove from heat.
Serve over any pasta (or rice).

So there you have it.  Now go forth and make dinner.  If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll put on an apron and snap beans and then dust all my furniture and hang out my laundry to dry.
. . .
Ha ha ha ha HA! *snort*