Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I must admit that I love popcorn. Is there anyone out there that doesn't? The days of popping it on top of your stove was over ruled by microwave popcorn, but at a cost and it's not just to your wallet. I hope you are brave enough to read the ingredient list on the store bought versions, that speaks volumes. I have read many articles about how bad the store bought versions are so I gave up my microwave popcorn. Until....I made this version myself. Now once again I can eat my popcorn with wild abandonment and not feel guilty. Freedom! A girl just needs a crunchy salty snack every now and then. You may add any seasoning that you wish, salt, garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, etc. My son bought me some cheese popcorn seasoning for popcorn, he knows I'm a sucker for a new spice. Thank you Matt for inspiring me to make this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 1/2 tsp canola oil
  • salt, or seasoning of your choice 
  • lunch bag size brown paper bag, mine was 6 1/8 x 4 x 12 3/8 inches

In a medium size bowl add popcorn, oil, and salt. Mix together well and pour into bag, folding and sealing many times over. 

All microwaves are different, but mine was cooked perfectly after 2 minutes. If you are unsure about time just stand there and watch and as soon as it stops popping continuously remove it from the microwave.

Carefully open it because it is very hot and hot steam comes out when you open it. So don't be a ding a ling and peek into the bag and burn your eyeball! Did I just say that, yes I did, please be careful. Open it over top of your serving bowl and eat ASAP. Season it with more seasoning if needed. Enjoy!

* CLEAN UP TIP* Make sure you wipe out your microwave oven bottom to get the oil spot left behind.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Roasted Chicken Roaster ~ Spatchcock Style

Spatchcock Chicken Roaster was a big winner at our house tonight. I love to roast my chicken on the grill, but I needed to make a cooking adjustment for this windy cold Winter day. All you need to do is cut out the backbone and press hard on this baby bone side down on the breast to help flatten it out, then season and bake. Soon you will be rewarded with a tender juicy chicken with nice crispy skin. Bingo! I added a small bag of Yukon Gold potatoes to the mix and roasted those babies right on in there with Mr.Roaster. Also this method of cooking makes it so much easier to carve and speeds up the cooking time. You know what, I like this method better because crispy chicken skin and tender juicy chicken is where it's at.

  • Chicken Roaster, mine was a little over 8 lbs.
  • Mrs.Dash salt free seasoning (tomato, basil, & garlic flavor)
  • Yukon Gold gourmet petite potatoes, 1 1/2 lb bag
  • garlic flavored olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

The hardest part to this recipe is cutting away the backbone and trust me it's not that hard. My Stud Muffin did well removing it under my supervision. I recommend sharp kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. The average person can easily do this, shame on my Frankeneck for not letting me be able to.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile remove inside packet of gizzards, neck and such, rinse bird well inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on a large platter back side up. Cut out backbone down one side then the next, follow this on either side of the tail by back legs. I threw my insides and gizzard stuff away, but you could easily simmer it to make a broth for later or to make gravy. 

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with Mrs.Dash seasoning. My potatoes were cleaned and did not need to be washed. I guess gourmet means cleaned, ready to go and perfect. It should be for the price so if you want to save some money you can just wash and cut up a larger potato. Now add the potatoes to a medium size bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until coated evenly.

Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray ~~~ for easier clean up. Place chicken in the center of the pan and scatter potatoes evenly around chicken. I scraped out the excess oil from the potato bowl and spread it evenly on top of the chicken skin.

Every oven is different, but my 8 lb roaster was ready after 90 minutes at 450 degrees. 

If you are cooking for more people you may want to double up on the potatoes. I love how the chicken juices season the potatoes, it makes them extra delicious. Be creative and add a variety of vegetables to roast. Also I'm sure the chicken fat leftover in the pan would make an excellent gravy for this meal. We are trying to watch what we eat so we did not indulge in making gravy for us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach

Oh boy did I hit the Jackpot when I made this recipe. It sounded so delicious and indeed it is. I love when I find a healthy recipe that is ever so tasty too. Double goodness! I found this recipe on the Kaiser Permanente site. I know it's not an original from me, but of course I put my own twist on it to make it extra special.

When I make soup it has to be a big batch, so I just about doubled the recipe for starters. Think big like me. Of course it needed more garlic (it keeps the vampires away), and a few other changes. Stud Muffin loved this one as much as I did and it was a first for me to make the same soup twice in one week. Once you try this baby you will crave it for a regular fix. I found the red lentils (look orange to me), in the dried bean section and I bought the Goya brand ones. I love Goya products, they have a great price and quality.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic (yes count em 10), peeled and pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups water
  • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable base ( I used chicken)
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1, 16 oz bag of Goya red lentils
  • 8 oz bag fresh baby spinach

In a large soup pot over medium heat saute the garlic and onion until translucent. 

Add the next 8 ingredients to the soup pot and bring to a boil, now add the lentils and bring to a boil again. Cover pot and lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Then stir in the fresh spinach, don't worry it looks like alot at first, but then it wilts down. Stir well and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until the spinach wilts down. Enjoy!

I freeze the remaining tomato paste for later use, waste not want not. This soup is not only delicious and healthy, it is also so quick and easy to make. I knew I was in a love with this soup when I almost had it for breakfast, guess what ~  lunch time came a bit early that day.