Four Cheese Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese

Me: Is it weird that I don’t really like mac and cheese at restaurants?

Brian: No way. You make awesome mac and cheese at home.

Me: You’re so right.

Brian: Can you say that again?

I love mac and cheese when it’s properly crafted. It should be smooth, creamy, cheesy, and packed with flavor.

But it can be a PITA to make. All that time making the roux and cheese sauce, boiling water, cooking pasta. So much work. And I’m so lazy. So I order mac and cheese at restaurants. And my disappointment is inevitable.

So when Hamilton Beach sent me a rice cooker/steamer, and told me to look at the billions of other things I can make in this puppy, I was like WHAAAAAAT? Mac and cheese in 15ish minutes!? I’m in.

I looked at the recipe, as I tend to do…and then I said, “Okay, now how can I Chrissify this?”

And then I made my own recipe.

I even measured it for you.

Ingredients for rice cooker mac and cheese

This is everything you need for a creamy delicious rice cooker mac and cheese.

  • 16 oz pasta shells
  • 1 container of chicken broth (for future reference, I recommend full sodium; this needed a lot of salt to get the taste I wanted)
  • 4.5 oz Cheddar & Gruyere(shredded) If you don’t have Trader Joe’s, do half cheddar and half gruyere
  • 4.5 oz Havarti (cubed)
  • 1 tbs salted butter
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • 2/3 cup Pub Cheese
  • Salt to taste (this is the most important part. Also, if you have truffle salt, USE THAT)

Okay, so don’t worry about shredding or xubing the cheese yet. First, pop the broth and noodles into the rice cooker. Cook on the heat simmer setting for 13 minutes.

Cooking pasta in a roce cooker

While the noodles are cooking, shred/cube/measure the cheese/butter/half&half. We’re on a time crunch here. I tried to shred the Havarti, but it wasn’t really working for me because it’s too soft.

Using Havarti in mac and cheese

So I hacked it up with a knife.

While that’s happening, make your husband/boyfriend/kids set the table and pour you a glass of wine. You deserve it.

Super creamy homemade mac and cheese

When the pasta is soft, add the rest of the ingredients to the rice cooker (no need to drain anything!). Add salt (I forgot this part and it was a little bland). Stir. Voila. Serve.

Serving creamy homemade mac and cheese

If you’re like me, you’ll serve it with a Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken, because we’re all abour convenience and class, here.

creamy homemade mac and cheese with rotisserie chicken

And BBQ sauce. Because mac and cheese and BBQ sauce is a flavor match made in I’m-a-12-year-old heaven. And this BBQ sauce is from Canada (my Reddit Secret Santa sent it to me)!

creamy homemade mac and cheese with rotisserie chicken and sliced tomatoes

And tomatoes. Because Brian is obsessed with tomatoes in the way I am obsessed with cheese.

Overall, it wasn’t my best work because of the forgotten salt fiasco, which isn’t quite as bad as the one time I tried to make blueberry pancakes for Brian and Cletus for breakfast and used salt instead of sugar…but the convenience made it totes worth it.

So when you’re  a few weeks out from your wedding or any other stress-inducing event, try this easy dinner on for size. And this rice cooker may just be my new favorite appliance.

Want your very own  4-20 Cup Rice and Hot Cereal Maker to make delicious mac and cheese, among other things? Take a look at some of the recipes from Hamilton Beach and leave a comment telling me what you’d make in this beast. 

This contest is now over. And my random number generator picked…Melissa!

Congrats to Melissa for winning! I’m sending an email your way.

While I was given a Hamilton Beach rice cooker and steamer in order to facilitate this post, all opinions are my own. Hamilton Beach is sponsoring the product giveaway.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Jalapeno Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks – Because Everyone Should Try Something Crazy at Least Once

Sometimes, Brian sends me an animated gif of some magic foodie creation he wishes me to make a reality.  Many times, I just laugh it off, and tell him he has two hands so he can make that shit himself (for the last time, BRIAN, I am not making a fucking turducken). But sometimes, like that one time I made an ice cream sandwich cake, I realize he’s discovered gold, and I should go help haul that shit home.

Other times, I look at the project potential and think, I like all those things. That gif is a magical creation sent to the Internet by God, himself. I will make that delicious feast. Such as what happened with Brian’s ice cream cake a few years ago. It’s also what happened when he sent me a gif featuring Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks. Of course, I wasn’t in the mood for the fiery red poops that go along with Flamin’ Hots (come on, you know that happens…) when I decided to surprise Brian with homemade mozz sticks. So I opted for the less flamin’, still kickin’ Cheddar Jalapeno Crunchy Cheetos. Second only to Puffs, these delicious beasts are amazing solo…and pretty damn delish when paired with more cheese.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos add just a hint of kick and added flavor to homemade mozzarella sticks

Cheetos mozzarella sticks ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed crunchy Cheetos (any flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 sticks of string cheese, cut in half
  • 1 small bowl of flour
  • frying oil

Prep and cooking process

Step 1: Set out your breading station. You’ll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Set out your breading station. You'll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Step 2: Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Step 3: Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you’ve completely coated the flour with egg.

Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you've completely coated the flour with egg.

Step 4: Quickly toss the egged cheese stick in the crushed Cheetos, making sure to cover every open space so the cheese doesn’t fall out (if it does, it’ll still taste pretty good though…let’s be honest here – you’ve seen my photo).

[There was no way in hell I was taking a photo after my fingers were all eggy and Cheeto-y.]

Step 5: Freeze for several hours. I made them in the morning, put them on a pan (Oh – and before you get started, make sure your pan will fit in your freezer. The pan fit in my freezer, but not Mom’s which is where we ultimately cooked these bad boys up-mostly so we didn’t eat 8 stick of cheese each), and froze them for about 8 hours.

Freeze cheese sticks for several hours.

Step 6: Heat a pan 1/3 or 1/2 filled with frying oil or start your deep fryer. We’re not super fancy, so we just opted for a pan with oil. Mama Bear has specialty frying oil, though, so bonus!
Cook the Cheetos Mozz Sticks in a deep pan filled 1/3 or 1/2 way with hot oil. Cook until the sticks are floating - and try to get them out before the cheese falls out.

Step 7: Cook until the sticks are floating – and try to get them out before the cheese falls out (something we failed to manage because we were fighting over who would get to take them out of the pan. Ultimately, I won that battle, just a minute or two too late).

Step 8: Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Overall review of Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks

After watching an animated gif about turning Cheetos into Mozzarella sticks, I was sold. And made my own batch.

Guys, let me tell you, this is not for the weak-hearted. It wasn’t easy, and I probably won’t do it again. After the fourth or fifth stick, the Cheetos all started gluing themselves to each other with the egg, while the egg refused to stick to the cheese stick and I had one hell of a time trying to get the Cheetos bread crumbs wrapped around the stick. Then, there was the whole, cooking to the right temperature and not sticking cheese to paper towels part of serving that shit…it was a little rough around the edges. But you know, if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go. It was still pretty tasty, although the over-powering frying oil seemed to overtake the delicious Cheetos flavor. If I were feeling up to the challenge again, I think I might try baking them.

What crazy recipes have you tried lately? Which ones do you want to try? Would you eat these tasty beasts?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

EASY Toaster Oven Lunch Plan – Spicy Baked Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub

You guys know I love me some Gorton’s Seafood, right?

Easy, fast, and delicious fishy goodness. Perfect when you’re forced to cook seafood for one…or when you go to your parents house to cook a meal for everyone except your boyfriend because he hates seafood…

Well, I recently discovered that these delightful little Simply Bakes are PERFECT for lunches at work (if you have access to a toaster oven or full-size oven – which we have both). I decided I’d pack everything I need for a tasty little tilapia sammy. I wanted it to be simple and flavorful. I had a French baguette waiting to be used, so I sliced a sandwich size chunk and bagged that for work. Then I grabbed a toaster oven sized panto put the Simply bakes bag in. I knew I had tiny packets of Tabasco sauce at my desk, and figured cheese was a necessity in this venture. When I left for work that morning,  I grabbed the baguette, the fish from the freezer and Trader Joe’s truffle goat cheese from the fridge, threw them in the bag with the pan and jetted to the train.

Spicy Baked Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub at Work

Spicy Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub

Ingredients

  • 1 Gorton’s Seafood Simply Bakes Tilapia fillet (if you only have access to a microwave, you can use the Gorton’s Grilled Tilapia, but it won’t be as saucy)
  • 6-inch French baguette
  • 1-2 oz truffle goat cheese
  • Tabasco sauce to taste

Process

  1. Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Put the fish in the toaster oven for 20-25 minutes
  3. Remove fish and let stand in bag
  4. Toast the baguette
  5. Spread goat cheese on one side of the toasted bread
  6. Flake the fish over the cheese
  7. Drizzle sauce from the bag into the sandwich
  8. Top it all off with a healthy spray of Tabasco
  9. Devour

This healthy(ish) and delicious recipe is a result of working with my friends at Gorton’s. This month, they’ve partnered with SparkPeople to focus on realistic resolutions. Now, you’ve all seen my 2015 resolutions, and I wasn’t kidding. I’m not doing anything to lose weight this month. But I couldn’t just send you to a site without checking it out. That’s not my style. So, I signed up for an account and set my SparkPeople goals to maintain my current weight. I decided that I would check out the Realistic Resolutions 30-Day Challenge, and I’m really glad I did. SparkPeople offers a great tracking tool and community for you to get started on your weight loss (or maintenance routine). The challenge has 30 daily tasks, all of which are pretty simple changes to make if you’re interested in getting started on a healthy journey.

The Giveaway

In addition to leading you to The SparkPeople and sharing my new favorite lunch recipe, I’m hosting a delightful little giveaway for some goodies. All you need to do is comment below with your favorite seafood recipe or dish.

One lucky winner will receive:

While you’re playing the giveaway game, you can enter the Gorton’s Eat Smarter Sweepstakes to win $5,000 or one of many daily prizes.

This giveaway has ended.

Blog Friends, what’s your favorite seafood dish?

This post is brought to you by my friends at Gorton’s. I was not paid to write nice things, but I did receive free products in order to give you my honest opinion. You can get social with Gorton’s and like/follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram using the hashtag #RealisticResolution.

Gorton's Blogger Giveaway
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza – It Sounds Gross, But Even Brian Liked It

Okay, so after Thanksgiving, my girlfriend Brookie Banosnapper Snapchatted me with her fancy “Turkey and hollandaise with poached eggs on flatbread” and “I’m making all the soup from Thanksgiving leftovers” I’m-cooler-than-you-videos.

In typical lady fashion, I had to one-up her.

I also had to use some of the Thanksgiving leftovers that I had in order to make room in my fridge for Second Thanksgiving food prep and such. It was a Saturday morning. I was bored. I was hungry. And I thought…what the hell? Let’s get experimental and crazy up in here.

So I did this. And OMG even Brian was down with it.

Holiday leftovers breakfast pizza

If you have Snapchat, why aren’t we friends yet?

The beauty of this breakfast treat is that it’s totally relevant after whatever holiday feast you’ve got going for you. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Random fancy-pants Sunday dinner if you do that sort of thing.

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Holiday leftover breakfast pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 1 cup turkey
  • 1 cup ham
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese (or more) (I used brie on half and Vella Dry Monterey Jack on half)
  • 3 Eggs

Method

  1. Roll out crescent rolls in a circular shape on a round pan (I used my pizza stone, but you can use non-stick pans or whatever you prefer, really)
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the type of pan you used (longer for stoneware) and your preferred crustiness
  3. Slice or shred cheese (I sliced the brie and shredded the Jack)
  4. Dice ham and turkey (if you don’t have a cup of each, don’t worry about it…I’m really bad at that whole measuring thing)
  5. Add the meat to a non-stick frying pan (or a regular frying pan with your spray, butter, or oil of choice)
  6. Cook for a minute
  7. Crack the eggs over the meat and scramble in the pan (I prefer this method to pre-scrambling, but you can do it your scrambled way and it’ll work just fine)
  8. Set the scrambled eggs aside
  9. Remove the crescent crust from the oven and spread with cranberry sauce (I knew Brian wouldn’t want the cranberry, so I only used that on half the pizza)
  10. Evenly distribute the scrambled eggs on the cranberry sauce or crust
  11. Top with cheese (I used brie over the cranberry side and the Jack on the non-cran side)
  12. Return the pan to the oven to melt cheese (keep it on bake if you’re using stoneware, broil otherwise)
  13. Remove when cheese is melted
  14. Slice and enjoy

Brian was surprisingly impressed with my Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast pizza concept (and thankful that I didn’t include the cranberry sauce on his half). I had two slices for breakfast and two slices for lunch, while Brian ate 4 slices for brunch – he doesn’t wake up in time to eat breakfast with the laypeople. He also added a little sriracha hot sauce to his slices, and that was pretty damn tasty too.

What weirdo creations have you concocted with leftovers? Tell me your leftover war stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. Any kitchen successes that probably should have been fails or vice versa?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Easy Peasy Ice Cream Cake for the Lazy and Crazy Like Me

I know. That title is terrible. But this ice cream cake? SO. NOT. TERRIBLE.

Make your own ice cream cake using ice cream sandwiches, chocolate sauce, caramel and cool whip for an easy, delicious treat | Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

So last week, Brian sent me an animated gif with ice cream sandwiches becoming a cake. With Brian’s birthday this past Saturday, and the fact that he NEVER requests things like that…I knew I had to make this cake. Of course, there was no how to on the gif, so I made it up as I went.

Yesterday, we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday, Brian’s birthday and sort of my brother’s birthday (he’s 30 this year, so we’ve got another party for him next week). I got all the ingredients to make this sweet little cake and dropped them off at Mom’s.

After dinner, I pulled out the ingredients and quickly whipped this cake into shape. It was seriously the easiest thing ever. And the 15 minutes? Totally included picture taking.

15-Minute Ice Cream Cake (serves 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 9 ice cream sandwiches
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup
  • Cool Whip

Steps

  1. Lay 3 ice cream sandwiches next to each other
  2. Drizzle chocolate and caramel over the sandwiches (this keeps the layers all stuck together-I also considered using real frosting or fruit)
  3. Lay 3 ice cream sandwiches in the opposite direction
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3
  5. Cover the entire cake with Cool Whip
  6. Decorate as much or as little as you like
  7. Slice lengthwise for ice cream cake joy

BOOM.

Also, don’t you dare judge my super awesome chocolate caramel heart on the top of the Cool Whip. I forgot to bring maraschino cherries.

You guys, this was seriously delicious. Everyone enjoyed it. It got a little messy near the end–definitely more difficult to cut than I thought it would be. Just make sure you slice all the way through the cookie layers, and you’ll be good to go.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tastefully Simple Recipe Ideas – Dips and Desserts!

Good morning, Blog Friends!

Tastefully Simple Products

I spent a brief period selling Tastefully Simple products (and was terrible at it, mostly because I only wanted the discount and didn’t really focus on the selling part), so I’m quite familiar with them. And they rock.

The perks of Tastefully Simple

  • Tastefully Simple products are great for people who love good food and don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking. All of the products can be easily made using 1-2 ingredients within an hour.
  • The possibilities are endless. I’ve included some of the recipes that I created with TS products on my own, but the website also offers a HUGE recipe bank of ideas.
  • They offer standard and seasonal products, so the product list is always changing, but they always offer fan favorites.
  • The products will ship to your door quickly and easily by purchasing items through their online shop.

Here are 3 recipes of my own creation that I absolutely LOVE:

Light Spinach and Bacon Dip

Bacon Bacon

  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light mayo
  • 2 Tbs Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon™
  • 1 Tbs Tastefully Simple Spinach & Herb Dip Mix

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with raw veggies, pretzels, or reduced guilt potato chips (I like Trader Joe’s the best). Brian and I may or may not have consumed an entire bag of chips and the whole damn dip during one weekend Dr. Who marathon…

Absolutely Almond Pound Cake™ French Toast with Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup

Absolutely Almond Pound Cake

This is NOT a light recipe. But it’s certainly a delicious one.

Pound Cake recipe:

  • 1 box Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix™
  • 3/4 cup butter (I use whipped butter)
  • 1 cup water

Mix ingredients, pour into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

French toast  and syrup recipe:

  • 4 slices of Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound Cake™
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs Tastefully Simple Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread

Combine egg and milk-stir well. Coat each slice of pound cake lightly in the egg mixture. Heat a greased pan to medium heat, and place the coated slices in the pan. Cook each side until golden brown. Combine maple syrup and fruit spread, stirring well. (Optional: warm syrup in the microwave). Serve.

Key Lime Coconut Yogurt Fruit Dip

Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheese Ball

  • 1 box Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix
  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs Tropical Coconut Balsamic de Modena (or any coconut flavored white balsamic vinegar)
  • Tropical fruit (I used mango, papaya, and pineapple) cut in cubes

Combine the first 3 ingredients (discard the graham cracker crumbs from the cheese ball mix or save for another recipe). Serve chilled with tropical fruit.

 

What do you think? Have you ever used Tastefully Simple products? Did you create any of your own recipes? Tell me in the comments below.

*I was not compensated for the nice things that I have said about Tastefully Simple, nor was I contacted by anyone affiliated with the company to write this post. I just enjoy the products and decided to share them with you.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Turkey Chili

If you remember the story of Death Bug, you’ll remember how I almost died…and how Death Bug tried to poison my homemade chili. I take a lot of pride in my homemade chili, so I thought that I would share with you my secret recipe to greatness.

Brian loves it when I make “comfort foods.” He prefers roasts and stews and chilies to anything fancy and delicious that I can make. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super nice, I will make them for him. This week, I made my chili again. Thankfully, there were no Death Bugs hanging around post-frost to try and poison us.

My mom taught me how to make chili, and if I didn’t tell you this, she might get upset. My culinary talents come from both of my parents, and the amazing chefs that I’ve had the opportunities to work with. This one’s a Mom creation that I’ve made my own.

As you may remember, I am doing the Weight Watchers thing, chili is an excellent way to get in your daily dose of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) crazy amounts of veggies, based on preferences, and oodles of protein. This recipe is just 5 points per 1 cup. Although I usually add 1-3 points worth of cheese…and then another 3-5 points worth of tortilla chips to use in place of a spoon…but I digress.

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

Simmering joyful goodness

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

(I use Trader Joe’s for almost everything, but it’s super easy to sub these out for your own favorite or generic brand…it also usually depends on what is in my cabinets at the time)
 

The Ingredients

  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili with Beans
  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Black Beans
  • 1 can Bush’s Best Mild Chili Beans
  • 1 can of Sweet Corn (low sodium)
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 lb Empire Kosher Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced jalapenos
  • 1 cup sliced or diced zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • Smoked Paprika to taste
  • Ground Cumin to taste
  • Onion Powder to taste
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (I use a 3-pepper grinder and white pepper powder)
  • Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce to taste

The Steps

  1. Brown turkey with the spices, salt, and pepper. I use the same pot that I’m going to cook the chili in to save dishes.
  2. Once the turkey is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cover and simmer on LOW heat for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft.
  5. Serve with chopped raw onions, shredded cheese (I’ve used smoked gouda and Kerry Gold Dubliner-both are delicious), and Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt tortilla chips.

1 serving = 1 cup = 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus

Make it Vegetarian Chili for Lower Points Plus

  • Substitute an extra can of mild chili beans for the turkey chili with beans
  • Substitute 2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms for the ground turkey

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite comfort food recipes, friends?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus Chicago Style Hot Dog

So one of my plans/goals for this year is to lose some weight and get back to looking like the Chrissy in this karaoke picture. As Weight Watchers has always been my go-to weight loss plan, I’m back at it. Back in the days of college I lost 40 lbs when Katie at Words for Worms and I did WW together. I was way skinnier back then to start though! It’s amazing how you think you’re big until you get older and look back thinking, SHIT…I was so skinny!

My biggest reason for always going back to Weight Watchers is the flexibility. I can eat the foods I love. I can eat cheese (and the good stuff, not that nasty plastic fake cheese you people call American Singles) as long as I account for it. The trick is in the tracking.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on a new site for my foodie-ventures (which has, of course, encountered some snafus)…and I think that it’s all going to be Points Plus calculated when it is officially up and running. I may end up having to start it as a WordPress.com blog if I can’t get what I want working soon. But that’s beside the point. /end internal dialogue>

Chicago Style Hot Dogs Weight Watchers Points Plus

So last week, I was jonesin’ for a hot dog like nobody’s business. And quite frankly, the thought of a diet dog makes me cringe. I’m from Chicago (ish) for God’s sake. So I’m willing to sacrifice the poppy seed bun for a whole wheat bun, but in no way on Earth am I sacrificing the meaty goodness of a Vienna Beef Hot Dog. Lucky for me, and you, on Weight Watchers, a small Vienna Beef Hot Dog is just 3 Points Plus.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs Weight Watchers Points Plus

A true Chicago-style dog includes the following ingredients:

  • Poppy Seed Bun (Steamed)
  • Vienna Beef Hot Dog (Boiled)
  • Mustard
  • Bright Green Pickle Relish
  • Chopped Onion
  • Sliced Pickle
  • Sliced Tomato
  • Sport Peppers
  • Celery Salt

Chicago Style Hot Dogs Weight Watchers Points Plus

You’ll note that most of those ingredients are 0 Points Plus! The poppy seed bun is 4 points (S. Rosens brand, if you will), but the whole wheat bun (Healthy Life) is only 2 points. (For the record, if I’m only having one dog, I’ll suck it up and use the extra 2 points…but I had 2 dogs because they were delicious and I’m a glutton.) Green relish can be full of points, but 1 tablespoon is 0 points…so measure wisely.  (I didn’t have any relish, which is sad, but you know…I survived. I also subbed pickled hot peppers for sport peppers because I was missing a few ingredients…so adjustments can definitely be made…)

Chicago Style Hot Dogs Weight Watchers Points Plus

One last thing: if you put Ketchup on your hot dog, I will forever judge you. That is all!

What are your favorite local “delicacies?”

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: Asparagus and Brussels Sprout Salad

While I’m still in the process of getting my foodie section up and running, I figure that now is as good a time as any to give you a teaser post! My friend Valerie started a Tasty Tuesday weekly, so I thought I’d join her today.

Last year, I discovered Brussels sprouts. I know what you’re thinking… Seriously, Chrissy? Last year? How old are you? 10?

Until last year, I had only ever had frozen Green Giant Brussels sprouts (OK, maybe that should be sprout-singular) and I thought it was gross. Cue Brian’s mom, the best roast-maker ever, who would cook lamb roast with all sorts of delicious veggies. And the Brussels sprouts from her garden were delightful. And I wanted Brussels sprouts all the time.

Similarly with asparagus (as I had only ever had nasty overcooked stringy foul-smelling beasts of asparagus), I tasted a fresh al dente asparagus a few years ago when a chef friend of mine made me try it. Also delightful.

So I was hungry for some veggies one night and Googled (as I tend to do) to see if other people combine asparagus and Brussels sprouts into one dish. As it turns out, yes…they do.

I stumbled upon a Warm Asparagus and Brussels Sprout Salad recipe at Lauren’s Latest and modified it to suit what I had in my cabinet.

I subbed out the pomegranate seeds with dried Craisins, the bacon with ham, the white onion with a red onion, and added a little olive oil because there was no bacon grease. I also added crumbled goat cheese, because everything tastes better with cheese.

I’ve made this salad several times since, and I actually think that I prefer it served chilled. Here’s what I did the last time I made it. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 lb  Brussels sprouts (shredded)
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus (cut)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb turkey bacon (OK if you’re missing 2 slices)
  • 8 oz Craisins
  • 8 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Start with a 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Toast the almonds in a skillet (I didn’t use any oil here).

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After removing the almonds, fry the turkey bacon with a little cooking spray. (Also okay if you accidentally tear the bacon in half when you’re pulling it out of the container.) I’m not a big turkey bacon fan, but Trader Joe’s makes a pretty good one. And my mom doesn’t eat red meat or pork, so I had to be accommodating.

Microwaved turkey bacon

It’s not okay to microwave turkey bacon when you realize you want to cook all of it instead of just half a package… This is the result. These two lonely slices made their way into the mouth of the garbage bag (because we still didn’t have a garbage can yet…)

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

I wasted a lot of little containers taking pictures for you. I hope you’re impressed.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After removing the turkey bacon to let it cool, saute the onions in the oil until they are translucent.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Chopped asparagus (no icky bottoms, thankyouverymuch).

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the asparagus to the onions

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

I could lie and say that I shredded the Brussels sprouts myself…but really… would I do that to you?

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Bagged Brussels Sprouts from Trader Joe’s. Making my life easier one plastic bag at a time.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the chopped Brussels sprouts to the asparagus/onions

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After you chop the turkey bacon, add to the pan

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the almonds back into the pan

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Craisins are super pretty 🙂 Mix them into a slightly cooled salad

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Finish the whole thing with the goat cheese. *Drool*

There you have it. One of my favorite side dishes. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. Except for the goat cheese with my sister. Apparently, she hates goat cheese. Apparently she didn’t know that until Thanksgiving. It was actually hilarious watching her expression.

What’s your favorite veggie side dish?

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