Mushroom & Lemon Cream Sauce – Chicken

I love dark meat, yes it is true. I also love thighs: my thighs, fat thighs, Chris Pratt’s thighs, and chicken thighs…..which is what we are talking about today. Do yourself a wonderful favor and cook with some dark meat because dark meat is heavenly. You cannot argue that! I make this dish so often that I never thought to publish a recipe since to me it isn’t anything special, but good lord I posted a picture on Facebook and I thought I was going to get eaten alive. Y’all came after me. Enjoy! This also takes 30 minutes to throw down from start to finish so this fancy meal real isn’t that time consuming.

Ingredients
4 Bone in – Skin on Free Range Chicken Thighs
2 Cups Sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 red/white onion diced finely
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 Lemon worth of zest & Juice
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Whole Fat Milk
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
2 TBSP Flour

P.S I never said this recipe was healthy.

How To

Start getting a pan hot on medium-high heat, I used my cast iron skillet. Put your butter and a little oil of your choice in the pan. By mixing your butter and oil you get a higher burn temperature so that your butter doesn’t burn and ruin your whole dish. While the pan is getting hot salt and pepper your chicken thighs ON BOTH sides, love everyone equally. Place the thighs skin DOWN in the pan – your pan should sizzle – kitchen music. Let the thighs sit there and work there magic DO NOT touch them for 4-5 minutes and by the time you flip them over they should have beautiful brown caramelization. Now, you can finish your chicken in the pan but I through mine in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes because I wanted to finish my sauce by the time the chicken was done and you NEED those pan drippings. Chicken is in the oven. Throw a another pat of butter in the pan you used to cook your chicken and toss in the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. While you are moving everything around you will notice the drippings coming off the bottom of your pan….we want this! Once your onions are translucent add your flour and let it cook for a minute or so and then finally add your fluids: milk and broth. Stir everything together and let your sauce come to a simmer so that it can thicken. I add in the parmesan and lemon juice & zest right before plating so that it stays bright and fresh. I served this with mashed potatoes, then sauce, then chicken placed on top. The side dish pictured is brussel sprouts roasted with balsamic and walnuts.

I hope you enjoy!

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Protein Packed Twice Baked Potatoes (Vegetarian)

Protein? Without meat? Krystal, c’mon.

Y’all c’mon. In case you have not noticed a lot less meat is being consumed in my tiny household. A couple months ago I started having an odd aversion to chicken(no, I am not pregnant). I’m very in tune with my body and its cravings and dislikes. When I crave eggs I fry up an egg and eat it. So, when chicken became repulsive and I was still traumatized by seafood – vegetarian became much more dominant in my life, and since Kyle can’t cook his as well. I have been participating in meatless Monday for months now and at least 2 other dishes for any given week are also vegetarian. I have been challenged for new recipes that are unique, tasty, and still have an appropriate amount of protein. I have muscle dystrophy (muscle wasting) I need protein in my diet – it’s not negotiable. On average, I try to stay around 60-75g of protein a day.

Greek Yogurt!

If you have not tried subbing out mayo/sour cream with greek yogurt you are missing out. I swear it is good! AND packed with protein! Now, my secret is to still mix in a tiny amount of sour cream or mayo whichever the recipe called for with the greek yogurt because you will get less of that tang. I promise if you get a good quality greek yogurt and put it in a sauce or dip you may be able to tell the difference but it will not be bad! I used a cup of greek yogurt in these bad boys with just a couple tablespoons of sour cream. Delicious!

I ate these for lunch all week. Each HALF is as follows: 15g protein, 10g fat, 15g carbs.

Ingredients – 4 Servings
2 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Cup Greek Yogurt (I use Fage)
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Broccoli – chopped finely
1 Cup Spinach – chopped finely
S&P
Garlic Powder

How To

Line a baking pan with foil. Get your oven set to 450 degrees. Poke holes all around your potatoes and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, take them out coat in olive oil and sea salt and bake in for 20 minutes.
All other ingredients go in a large mixing bowl.
When the potatoes are down let them cool……or don’t like me and burn your fingers off. You’ll want to cut them horizontally and scoop out the filling into your bowl with all the goodies. Give everything a quick mash, stir, and then the filling goes back into the potato skins….add some extra cheese and cook for another 10-15 just so your small broccoli florets cook.

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Healthy, fast, and veggie.

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Vegetarian Coconut Curry

I have been making curry for a long time and every time I do I get these weird ass looks from people. Like, are we not in America? I don’t talk shit about your “Chinese” food……even though orange chicken from Panda Express is not authentic, Kyle. I can have any cuisine I want delivered to my door in a matter of minutes. America is a mixing pot of foods, hello! How are there so many people out there AND that I apparently know that have not had curry?! The real question is why have you waited so long to provide a recipe, Krystal?
Fine.

I just recently started using coconut milk. I know I know, vegan/vegetarian friends I am an awful person, but I have now seen the light. Another weird food people seem to be terrified of. You guys, unless you are allergic to coconut like my mother claims to be you must put coconut milk in this recipe or I will not speak to you. Coconut milk is luxurious, smooth, and adds a creamy component you never thought you needed and will never be able to live without. It does NOT make your dish taste like coconut, it does NOT taste like the coconut I guarantee most are familiar with because although Malibu rum is delicious it is not the real flavor of coconut…….Krystal.

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Now, let us discuss curry. “Curry” is a mix of spices made up mainly of: curry leaf, coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili peppers. I made this particular recipe with a yellow curry blend as it is the only blend Raleys sells…….because it’s not spicy and let’s be honest not too out of the norm. Curry comes in all different colors and spice levels though, and even I have yet to venture out and make those on my own. I do order red, yellow, and green curry when me and the other girl at work order Indian/Thai. You can, of course make your own blend, but no thank you for me. The spices in this blend are perfect as there really isn’t too much of any one spice to overpower the others.
Curry is set it and forget it for at LEAST a few hours. It’s stew but 100000 times better. This is an ultimate comfort dish for us and a staple. I make curry of different variations several times a month.

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Please don’t mind my giant tub of pink salt my dad brought me. Yay Costco!

 

Please please PLEASE get out of your comfort zone and make this. When you do post it. Even if you hate it and feed it to your dog…..tell me!

Recipe (Finally)

Ingredients
1 Can of Coconut Milk
4 Tablespoons Curry Powder of your choosing
2 Tablespoons of Kerrygold butter
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1/2-1 Cup Veggie Stock
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Can of Chickpeas
10-15 Small Golden Potatoes cut in quarters
3 Carrots
Green onions or cilantro, jalapeno, lime, and a runny egg for garnish if you so choose.

Saute your onions and carrots in the butter and avocado oil and once they are golden in color add your garlic to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add your curry powder to really wake up the spices, and then add the entire can of coconut milk to the pan. Mix and get all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Now, when to add the chickpeas is a personal opinion. I personally like them to simmer for the few hours with the potatoes and carrots, but some people prefer them to maintain their body and then you would want to add them about an hour before serving. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Because potatoes soak up so much flavor/fluid I added half cup of veggie stock which made the curry initially too thin BUT once this simmers for a few hours it is perfect. Consistency is very similar to a beef stew that has marinated all day. Remember you can add whatever you want to this! I simmer mine on low heat for 4 hours and everything comes out magical.

Serve over rice or even more veggies!

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Wine @ 815

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There are three things I am exceptionally good at in life: cooking, writing, and wine tasting. The struggle with wine tasting (and I use struggle lightly because we all know I still get in my car and go) is that the nearest wine country is about 45 minutes from where I live. Amador County is where I go to giveaway all my money to grapes less fortunate than myself. Napa is about an hour and a half away, and so realistically reaching wine country is not too bad, but then Wine @ 815 moved in 5 minutes from my house. Girl, we are in trouble. Rayann and I did not walk we ran to see what this was all about.

From all stand points Wine @ 815 is genius.

Genius #1 – it is actual wine tasting in Historic Folsom. $5 per flight (5-6 tastings) which is extremely reasonable and tasting fees are waived if a bottle is purchased.

Genius #2 – Marketing. Wine @ 815 consists of 3 wineries: Rempfer Cellars, Fiddletown Cellars, Los Portales. Cross promotion makes me swoon, and these guys are doing it right. All 3 are local as well.

Genius #3 Atmosphere. I really just want to take my laptop and setup shop there while sipping on wine all afternoon, and I might actually get something done(probably not cause I totally love Lia the Tasting Manager). The shop is small but they have kept the floor plan open so the feeling of being in a tiny space never sets in. Dimmed lighting is key, because everyone looks better in dimmed lighting, right?

Genius #4 Make your own cheese board. Okay, so I almost never order cheese boards, because they always consist of cheese I can’t pronounce and I don’t want to look like a fool AND there are more creepy cheeses than anything else. 815 has changed the game, though. They have a tiny fridge filled with a wide variety of cheeses, pickles, olives, crackers, and snacks. You pick what you would like, pay for those items only, and grab a cheeseboard to eat off of. Unique and fun.

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Genius #5 Experience. I am not going to give too much away here, because wine tasting is really something that absolutely has to be experienced in person. I will tell you that I would have been more than happy to stay at 815 all day and chat with Lia. The education provided while tasting is the perfect blend as all highlights about each bottle, awards, and regions are discussed, but not so in depth that you need a full glass of wine just to be able to listen about the next. Having only 3 wineries provides a more in depth discussion for each pour, and each back story is extremely unique. Lia is fun, smart, and you can really tell she has passion for what she does.

The Wine. Have ya’ll just been waiting for me to talk about the wine? Shut up, Krystal and talk about wine. Okay, here is the main thing. Just go there. Seriously. I will tell you the most shocking reason you should take all your friends and go. Wine @ 815 is red. Red. Red. Red, and some more red. They did not have Los Portales in when I visited so I was only able to taste Fiddletown and Rempfer which are both red. Let’s be honest California is red. Krystal (me) is a white girl living in a red state, and I loved every.single.pour, AND bought with REAL money Rempfer Cellars Petite Sirah and my life was forever changed. I have been to Amador more times than I can count and I have NEVER brought home a red. I thought I would be the girl that loves bubbles and German wines forever, but I am very excited to say that my favorites are now changing thanks to 815. I will put the tasting flights below. I am not going to repeat the fun facts about either the wineries themselves or each wine because it is such an amazing experience to hear Lia tell you for yourself. I will be back. I might live there. I may have them on speed dial. Follow them on Facebook!

 

 

Grown Up Chili Mac

Kicking off the series Cook Like A Grown Up is a childhood favorite Chili Mac. Traditionally: the combination of boxed macaroni & cheese and chili from a can. Yum. My dad made this constantly and then our babysitter made it constantly. Chili Mac was and is still a staple in many homes. I was probably the only kid that did not leap for joy when it was placed in front of me.

I do not like beans in my chili. Hate them. The only person that would comply with my spoiled requests for no beans was my grandpa, but that was homemade chili that we ate over white rice with ranch. Yes, white rice and Hidden Valley Ranch. Oh, cheese.

So, my liking for chili mac at home was not the most enthused but I ate it, because I was hungry, and my parents made it because it was easy and cheap. I gave this dish a much needed twist with not only homemade macaroni and cheese AND chili but twists on both dishes individually. NO BEANS.

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Pepper Jack Mac n Cheese

Other than my choice of cheese this is a pretty basic mac, no fancy tricks here. I wanted it to be smooth and velvety without orange dust incorporated.

Ingredients

1 Box Elbow Macaroni
1 Block of Pepper Jack Cheese Shredded
1 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup flour
3 Tablespoons of Butter
3 Cups Chicken Stock
S&P

Recipe

Make a roux with your butter, flour and an oil you keep on hand. We have been over roux before, please try and keep up.
The ONLY fanciness here is that I don’t use ALL milk in my sauce, reason being I did not have enough #adultingalready. We do not drink milk sooooo I did not know how much to buy.
Once your flour is cooked add your chicken stock—-hey this is gravy! 3 recipes in 1. THEN add your milk and finally your cheese. Wait for the cheese to melt and you will have a beautiful cheese sauce to drown your pasta in. DONE.

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Chipotle Chili

I realize this is probably too much reading for most adults.

Ingredients

1lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
32oz Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can Chipotle Peppers – Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic – Chopped
1 Yellow Onion – Chopped
2 Tablespoons of Butter
S&P
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Cumin
Paprika

Recipe

Sweat your onions in butter and a little oil, once translucent add garlic. Brown ground beef. We went over “browning” as well in previous posts. Add tomatoes and chipotle peppers, and spices. Simmer for 4-6 HOURS. Cry me a river.

The Chili Mac

Mix. Together. Relish in your adultness.

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Why I can’t Eat the way You do

I have been wanting to write a post like this for quite some time, and yet lacked the motivation or inspiration until now.

I am more often than not critiqued on the way I eat and even more so the grocery stores I shop at and the money I spend on food. Now, before we continue please read that one more time and really focus on the last word. Food. Food is the essence of life. We live off of food and food alone. We either slowly die from the food we are consuming most or we thrive. Those are truly the only two options. Food is important to me for many different reasons and I am hoping to explain them in way you can understand in this post. I will not blab about organic, GMO, or all the other new hippy words on the market. I am simply going to explain why the quality of the food I feed myself and my family is fundamentally important to me and in so hope to gain some understanding.

#1 Food Fuels My Body
I have an autoimmune disease. If you are new to this blog I have Dermatomyositis to be more specific. You can Google that on your own time, and I wish you luck….no one suffers from it so no one cares. You will not find charities, ribbons, t-shirts or research.
I have to take care of my body. Shocker, right? The funny thing is, though: so do you. You may not be sick, diseased or disabled such as myself, but for me it would be an even better reason to take care of my healthy body. Okay, back to me. Food makes or breaks me. I have been so in tune with my body this year. I can tell you what I need to eat to feel better, I can tell you the exact time I need to go to the bathroom (accomplishment when you’ve taken medication since the age of 9),and I can tell you what I ate that sent me into a spiral of misery. I know my body.

When you suffer from a disease you are forced to become more in tune with your body. When you live in pain you become much more aware of “triggers” because baby Jesus knows you don’t need more. I eat Taco Bell, I eat fried foods, I live on butter, and I am by no means the idol of perfect health. Yet, everything I eat I know exactly what I am in for. Kyle and I had Smash Burger yesterday for lunch. My order: fried chicken sandwich, sweet potato fries, and fried pickles. Yes, girl I can eat. Do you know what the rest of my day looked like? Me rolling around on the floor in agony while my dogs trampled me thinking my entire existence was nothing but a joke. I did nothing the rest of the day. I eat bad. I just know the consequences. Want to know what I ate today? Some dandelion root tea, a vegan protein shake, some chicken sausage, and a banana protein muffin. It is 2:30pm and I am overflowing with energy. I made breakfast burritos for the week, those muffins, marinating chicken for another post, and this isn’t the first post I’ve written today….its the 3rd. If I was physically able to I’d run a couple miles. I feel amazing today, and I have lived too much of my life miserable or in pain to sabotage myself too often. My body suffers when I treat it like crap. My hair is starting to grow back after 15 years. My hair.  This may be due to me no longer being on medications, but I have not taken a chemo based drug in over 10 years….if my hair was going to grow back simply by being off of that it would have happened a while ago. Derma (skin) my skin is better. My joints only ache when I overdose on unhealthy foods (totally worth it from time to time). I have never had a sweet tooth, and I truly think it was my body’s way of protecting me when I was initially diagnosed and still to this day….sugar lights my body on FIRE. I am telling you that I am not healed but I am better. I am better because I eat like I give a damn.

#2 Knowing WHERE my Food comes from is Important
Some foods are much better organic, but I am always more interested in WHERE my food comes from. Why? Because, local is better. Less travel time means food is at its freshest. Less travel time means less chance of contamination or losing quality. Believe it or not I only buy certain foods organic, and the list is very small. I prefer to shop local. I prefer to shop quality. Food is going into your body for one reason: to provide your body energy. Food tastes great but our bodies do not care how food tastes our bodies care about how they can use it to heal us or keep us healthy. I buy Kerrygold butter because it is grass fed (do your own research, ever wonder how I weigh 90lbs but eat butter with ultimately every meal? Grass fed…..breaks down in your body completely differently….your body can use it), I buy meat from our local butcher because the meat comes from a farm less than 100 miles away, I buy local cage free eggs — way more important than organic eggs. Now, buying local comes at a price simply because farmers or local businesses cannot beat out large store prices. Take that or leave it. I find quality and peace of mind in buying ingredients local so I know exactly what I am getting, and you are helping along someone’s dream.

#3 Food is my hobby
Hello? I write a food blog. I love eating. I love cooking and I place importance on those two things. Local and better quality food tastes better which results in a better end product for me to publish. Kyle and I go out to eat maybe twice a month. We do not live a lavish life and so many things that we save on is what allows us to have a larger grocery budget than most. People spend their money on things and items that are important to them. My health and food go together, so how is me spending more money, time, and energy on food any different than someone spending their hard earned money a brand new TV? It’s not. I have priorities different than someone else. Welcome, to life. You can bet anything in the world that I will buy a $5 bottle of almond milk, but you can also bet that you won’t see me at a bar downtown every Saturday night buying drinks or buying name brand socks….Target brand that shit.

I hope this opens the eyes of one person. I know long posts tend to be my least popular, but it was something I felt. I write what I feel. Your food is fuel. Your food is medicine. Your food is your life.

 

 

Grown Up Ramen

I am fairly confident that I ate Ramen in moderation growing up. I was not obsessed with it as so many people my age were. My husband would quite literally live off of Ramen if I allowed him to, and not the good Ramen you buy at a reputable restaurant but the crunchy noodles that come in plastic packages for .10 cents.

My fondest memory of Ramen comes from preparing a bowl of it with my aunt. My aunt always had the “cool foods” aka name brand foods AND real soda….these were cool things as a child, okay? I have no idea what we added to the crunchy packages of noodles that day to make them awesome, but I remember thinking how strange it was to add more food to an item that you are supposed to eat solo. Well, Ramen is not meant to be just noodles and broth I am well aware of that now.

Ramen comes down to the broth. If you are a hermit like me and stay at home most weekends it is perfect because the broth can simmer all day long. Or if you are not a hermit and also not afraid of your crockpot you can achieve the same goal. Winning! I made my own broth for this recipe, but I still used the crunchy noodles from the cheap plastic bags that only costs me .10cents….nothing else really compares.

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Recipe for Broth

6 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Miso Paste
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Ponzu Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Siracha
1 Yellow Onion Cut in Half (just throw it in)
4 Carrots (again, throw in)
3 Cloves Garlic
4 Stalks Celery
1/2 Jalapeno
*Simmer at minimum 4 hours…..6-8 is ideal*

Recipe for MY Ramen (pictured above)

Want to know what is so great about Ramen? You can put whatever you want in it! Whatever! Customize it to your liking, and if you do not like mine then do not make it that way. How easy is that?

Instructions

Boil crunchy weird noodles in broth for 5 minutes.

Toppings
Green onion
Sliced Jalapeno
Siracha
Sauteed Mushrooms
Bean Sprouts
Crispy Tofu (Put a cast iron skillet on top of extra firm tofu wrapped in a paper towel, you want to get as much moisture out as possible, and then slice, fry in butter/oil in cast iron skillet – done)
Black Sesame Seeds

 

Make some super weird Ramen like a grown up and tell me what you put in it!!!

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