Tag Archives: dinner

The Best Lima Beans Ever!

 

Hey guys!

Today I want to share with an accidental success I ran across last week. I discovered how to make the best Lima beans ever! No really, hear me out.

Captain Cupcakeasaurus shared with me his least favorite food: Lima beans. I took this as a personal challenge to make the best dang Lima beans he’s ever tasted. I’ve never made Lima beans. Never. I’m not even really certain how other people make them. I don’t know how they are “supposed” to come out but these turned out freaking awesome and I’d be willing to voluntarily make them again.

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My thought process for how to make these typically dry waxy beans delicious went as follows:

  • What makes everything more delicious?

Bacon! I shall start with bacon.

So I threw bacon in the pan and let that start simmering while I was figuring out the rest.

  • What adds flavor and pairs well with beans and bacon?

Onion! I have red and yellow onions. Let’s try the red one. That will be perfect!

I added chopped red onion and a tiny bit of butter so the onions wouldn’t stick to the pan. Next was figuring out the Lima beans part.

I grabbed the bag of Lima beans out of the freezer and since I’d never made them before, I read the back for instructions. Well, the instructions said something about boiling the Lima beans until tender and then draining them. That was not going to work. I didn’t want to drain off all the deliciousness and I did not want to mess up another dish. Can you tell sometimes laziness is inspiration for all sorts of life’s solutions? I swear, if I can prevent from having to create an additional dirty dish, I totally will.

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So I took out a bowl and filled it with hot water and then added my beans to it just to unfreeze them. Then I added them right into the pan with the bacon and onions. Realizing I wanted them tender and not dry, I added some of that water to the pan as well. Not too much water,I wanted everything still sizzling.

I added a chicken bouillon cube to the water to help add to flavor. If I had chicken stock on hand I would’ve probably just added it in instead of just the water. This would be in the “How I could Do It Differently” section of new recipes. But, then came the flavoring part.

I wanted to make the Lima beans a bit sweet because I think people dislike them because they can be bland. So I added a bit of honey and a bit of brown sugar to make a sweet sauce for them. Add a little salt and pepper and we are almost done.

I am a bit of a seasoning fanatic. I have lots of seasonings and I use lots of seasonings. So I added a bit of garlic powder. You’re lucky I didn’t put actual crushed garlic in these things. And then I added my new favorite seasoning.

Being a born and raised Carolina girl, we don’t have this seasoning up there. But, since I’ve moved here to Florida, it is by far one of my favorites and most used.

Best_Lima_Beans_EverBehold the Everglades seasoning!

It is perfect for just about everything. It does have salt in it so I’d be careful adding too much salt and Everglades simultaneously but the flavor is delicious.

Best_Lima_Beans_EverSo what do you do when you have a food someone doesn’t like to eat? Mask it with really delicious flavors of course!

 

Captain Cupcakeasaurus could barely believe he was eating Lima beans. I have never just had Lima beans as a snack but I did today because they are so good. Sweet and savory and probably not as healthy for you as those dry chalky Lima beans but they certainly do taste better.

What are your favorite ways to mask the not-so-desirable foods in your house? How do you handle the Lima bean situation?

So, as with Lima beans, just add honey and sugar to make life taste sweeter!

Comfort Food: Chicken and Dumplings

Hey guys!

I mentioned before in How To Start A Meal Plan how I labeled each day of the week to make it easier to plan out meals. Well, Tuesdays is Home Cooking Tuesday or Comfort Food Tuesday, or…. I really need a good alliteration for this day of the week. If you think of one, please leave it in the comments so I can stop going mad over here.

Tuesday is the day that I am able to pull together 4 generations of knowledge and love and make meals that have been passed down through my family. If you have ever sat on the counter and watched your grammaw cook, you know what I mean. All the measurements are eyeballed and you can tell by looking at it if it is the right consistency and you won’t know it is done until it smells right. These can be some of the hardest recipes to master but they are by far my favorite.

My grammaw is the matriarch of my mother’s side of the family and her food has brought our family together year after year, holiday after holiday. Many of my comfort foods were first experienced in her kitchen. One bite reminds me of home and that’s all that matters.

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Yesterday I made Chicken and Dumplings. I don’t think you can have a food more comforting than that. I’ll warn you now that I do not make Chicken and Dumplings the way many people do. I do not roll out my dough and cut out dumplings. I like big, fluffy balls of dumplings. An upside is that my dumpling dough is easily convertible to the roll out (“roll out!” in my best Ludacris voice) method if you so desire.

In true home cooking fashion, we won’t even bother with recipe cards. No worries folks, there are literally five ingredients to these Chicken and Dumplings. There are seven if you include salt and pepper as ingredients.

Step One: Get large pot and fill half way with water. Place pot on stove set for high heat. Place 4-5 frozen chicken breasts (I told you I use frozen chicken for almost everything) in the pot. That is going to be doing its cooking and eventually boiling thing while you are busy making dumplings.

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Step Two: I bet you can’t guess what step two is. I’d lose that bet, you guys are pretty smart cookies. It is dumpling making time! In a large bowl pour about 2 cups of Self Rising flour. I know almost all of my other recipes say All Purpose but PLEASE make sure to use Self Rising flour for this one. Dumplings just wouldn’t be the same. I’ll be honest I am completely guessing at measurements right now though. Bare with me because it is definitely going to be based on consistency. You will add a little milk at a time mixing it into the flour until it feels like a firm dough.  Don’t pour too much because then it will be like doing eye makeup and trying to make them even and everything spiraling down from there. The dough, however, should be a bit dryer than bread dough and you should be able to easily pick it up like a softball without it being sticky.

Step Three: Check on your chicken. If the meat looks like it is getting pretty close to cooked, I take the pieces out and cut them into bite size pieces. This is a personal preference. You can have big chicken if you want it (no judgement). Once returning the meat to the pot, you can now turn down the heat to medium low. Now pinch off quarter sized balls from your dough and just plop them into the pot. My family absolutely loves these things so I make a ton of dumplings.

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Step Four: As your dumplings cook, you’ll notice they float to the top. Cut one stick of butter into Tablespoons and add the whole stick to the pot. Before you go thinking I’m some sort of Paula Dean wannabe, please remember the no judgement above. Comfort food isn’t meant to be extremely healthy. No one ever wanted to curl up with a salad when they didn’t feel good.

Step Five: Add salt and pepper to taste. I also will mix flour with cold water in a small bowl until all the lumps are out and then add that to the pot to thicken the broth.

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That’s it! Wasn’t that super easy? Five ingredients folks. That’s it! So as the weather starts cooling off (everywhere but here in Florida), you’ll want to have meals that will stick to your bones and keep all those wind chilled faces warm and smiling. Homemade Chicken and Dumplings is just the meal to bring the family together and make life taste a little sweeter.

Comfort Food: Easy Chicken and Rice

       Hey Guys!

I was meaning to post yesterday but life happened. So, in honor of not having time to do the things we really want to do, today I am sharing the easiest and fastest meal I know.

       Let’s face it, not every night do we feel like going to the store and getting fresh ingredients and making some beautifully delicious meal. I may be a stay at home mom now, but I wasn’t for a good six years. I would work a nine-hour day with a 45 min drive time each way. When I got home, I barely wanted to stand let alone cook.

      This is one of my son’s favorite dishes and is considered comfort food in our home. It is easy and relatively fast. It also doesn’t require many ingredients so it is also inexpensive and I usually have all of these ingredients on hand anyway. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to make this meal healthier and I’d love to read your variations of this dish in the comments.

      For easy meals, I usually always pick up a bag of frozen chicken. There are just so many dishes you can whip up quickly with chicken. Some may use breasts and I do on occasion but I am a dark meat fan. I get a bag of thighs and find that the meat stays juiciest that way.

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Is that really a pot of frozen chicken? Yep.

      Another staple is boil in bag rice. I have many talents but one of those talents is recognizing when I don’t have a particular talent like boiling rice. I’ve tried doing regular rice because it is cheaper but it doesn’t pay off if it turns to mush or burns on the bottom so I spend the little bit extra to have it in little easy to boil bags. I guess that is considered cheating but again as a busy parent or just an overworked exhausted adult, it makes putting dinner on the table so much easier. Life is hard enough without having to worry about burning the rice. Also, for this recipe, there will be enough liquid from the chicken broth and cream of mushroom soup that a little overcooked rice could easily turn into mush if not careful. Don’t worry, I’m not going to let your meal turn to mush!

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“Life is hard enough without having to worry about burning the rice.”

     Start by putting three to four pieces of your frozen chicken in a pot and cover in water. You’ll want to bring it to a boil until your chicken is cooked completely through. Pull out your chicken and set aside to cut into bite size pieces. Set aside a little bit of the chicken stock as well. Now you can either dump the rest, save it or, do what I do and boil your rice in it. I boil two bags of rice for 3-4 pieces of chicken. While that is boiling, get a large mixing bowl to put your chicken in. I like to grab the one with a lid because it will be the same container the leftovers stay in after dinner. Once cooked (it only takes a few minutes), add the rice to the chicken and pour can of cream of mushroom soup over. It will be a bit globby at first but as you mix, it will cream up. Add salt and pepper to taste and if the mixture seems dry add some of that saved chicken stock. 

That is it folks. Three ingredients and you have yourself a meal in about 15-20 minutes and that’s only because of the chicken. It is inexpensive, so easy to prepare and a meal I don’t have to bribe the little one to eat.

This is not a “pretty” meal. This is not one that you present to your in-laws the first time you have them over. Chicken and Rice is a comfort food. It is what you want when you are sick and achy or when your cramps are getting you down. It reminds you of home and fills your tummy with familiar warmth. Even without Grandma’s presentation, this meal is still able to make life a bit more enjoyable. You could even say that it makes life taste sweeter. 😉