Celebrate with Fajitas and ‘Ritas

I’m dying for Mexican food right now, you guys. My hope is that Brian and I will be going out for tacos and stuff (mostly margaritas, but whatever) if he agrees to it, of course. Otherwise it might be blender ‘ritas and tacos at home for this girl. Either way, it’s fiesta time, my friends. And what good is a fiesta without food that leaves you ready for a siesta (I know. Bad joke. Don’t care)?

Brian: May the 5th be with you!
Me: Huh?
Brian: Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Me: Oh. Yeah. You too. Wait. We should get tacos and margaritas for dinner tonight.
Brian: …
Me: I mean, it’s the only logical thing to do.
Brian: I guess…
Me: Or we could skip the tacos and just get margaritas.
Brian: I’d rather have the tacos.
Me: Okay, we’ll compromise. You can get tacos, and I’ll get margaritas.
Posted by Quirky Chrissy on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So, if you’re sitting at home thinking about restaurant-quality fajitas for dinner tonight, I’ve got the perfect recipe (although, maybe not quite a full recipe as I’m a big fan of throwing shit in a pan and hoping it turns out). Allow me to light the path to Cinco de Happiness. Taco night and fajita night are both really big deals in our house. Brian loves pico de gallo the way I love cheese. It’s a staple. So any meal that includes his favorite staple is a win in Brian’s book. And I just love stuff with lots of ingredients. So there’s that.

I’ll warn you now, that this recipe isn’t for those who want everything homemade from scratch. That’s a rare occurrence around here, what with our crazy busy schedules. This is designed to be easy. Feel free to substitute the cooking part of the chicken with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I’m not saying we’ve never done that in order to save 30 minutes. (Spoiler alert – we do it all the time).

STORIES

Easy Fully Loaded Fajitas

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Bell Peppers – I use red, orange, or yellow, but you can rock any color combo you like
  • 1 Red Onion – feel free to use your favorite onion – I like red best
  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil – to cook veggies and chicken
  • 1 lb Chicken – you could do steak too, but I’ve always been partial to chicken fajitas
  • Fajita Seasoning – you can cheat and buy a packet from the grocery store or if you’re experimental, sprinkle in a teaspoon or so of each of these (Pro-tip: use the cayenne pepper to preferred heat):
    • Paprika
    • Cumin
    • Chili Powder
    • Onion Powder
    • Garlic Powder
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • Black Pepper
    • Salt
  • 8 Flour Tortillas – Brian prefers corn always, but I prefer flour for loaded fajitas because they hold together better
  • Guacamole – homemade recipe below
  • Pico de Gallo – we usually get ours from Trader Joe’s
  • Tomato Salsa – because sometimes you want more than just pico, amiright?
  • Trader Joe’s Corn Salsa – this stuff is fucking amazing
  • Sour Cream – I feel like it brings all the flavors together

Step 1: Slice peppers and onions into strips

Step 2: Saute peppers and onions in 1 Tbs of olive oil 

Step 3: Slice chicken into thin strips

Step 4: Saute chicken in 2 Tbs of olive oil

Step 5: Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, add the fajita seasoning

Step 6: Combine the veggies and chicken in one pan, allowing the seasoning to cover the chicken, peppers and onions

Step 7: Heat the tortillas in the microwave (wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat on high for 20-30 seconds)

Serve and enjoy.

I love guacamole. I love homemade guacamole even more. And when it all comes down to it, this easy recipe is DELICIOUS!

Homemade Guacamole

We’re big advocates for the simplest recipes. Guacamole is easy when you’ve got fresh avocados and a few key ingredients (lime and pico). I used to get all crafty and creative with the guac recipes, but then we tried this, and it was easy. And fucking magical.

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 Lime (zest and juice) or 2 Packets True Lime
  • 1/4 Cup Pico de Gallo
  • Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Step 1: Cut avocados in slices or cubes

Step 2: Mash avocados

Step 3: Add the other ingredients and mix well

BOOM.Fully Loaded Fajitas

What are some of your favorite go-to recipes for Cinco de Mayo? Have you tried making homemade guacamole? Will you be drinking margaritas with me tonight?

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: Gruesome Halloween Snacks

This year, I had a lot of fun with our inaugural (note how I DIDN’T say first annual) Halloween kickoff party. If you remember, I did some bad ass disgusting bathroom decor for my guests to appreciate…but I also made some sweet (and not so sweet) snacks. And you know how I looooove snacks.

Of course, we’re not the only Halloweenies in our group of friends, and our old roommates had quite the food display, as well. With their permission, I’ve included some of the gruesome Halloween treats they created. Without further ado…

When Halloween rolls around, I like to be the hostess with the mostest and show off my creative mad-scientist skills in the cauldron and make seriously creepy party food.

Cow Guts: Beef Chili

Make your own homemade chili or buy it prepackaged. Toss it in a crock pot and you’ve got an EASY and tasty treat for your guests. This was actually a huge hit!

Chicken Guts: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Mix shredded chicken (I buy a couple of rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club because they taste better than canned chicken), Frank’s Red Hot, cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles, and ranch dressing for a really delicious treat on crackers.

Gruesome Halloween Snacks

Delicious and gruesome Halloween snack packs. You’ll note that I labeled everything so my guests could see how twisted I am. I didn’t take a picture of the two large crock pots, which are cow guts and chicken guts (beef chili and buffalo chicken dip, respectively).

Mold: Cheese

Duh. Mold is cheese. Cheese is mold. And Cheese is DELICIOUS.

Mold, Brains and more

Mold: What’s a Chrissy party without cheese?

Worms in Dirt: Brownies with Gummy Worms

A kid-friendly favorite. I had to have one. This one isn’t so gruesome as it is delicious.

Worms in Dirt

Worms in dirt anyone? Garbarge brownies with triple chocolate, caramel, butterscotch chips, white chips and dark chips. And nuts. And worms.

Brains: Jello Mold

I just used raspberry Jello in a brain-shaped Jello mold, and then added a bunch of random crap around it to add to the creepy/nasty factor. It was actually quite delicious.

Brains

Brains: A simple JELL-O mold with raspberry JELL-O, whipped cream, chocolate and strawberry sauce and sprinkles. Because everyone likes sprinkles.

Dead Man’s Toes: BBQ weenies

I used Lil Smokies and a sweet Michigan cherry BBQ sauce, because it has little baby cherries which added more creepy texture. These were easy to cook in my medium-size slow cooker.

Dead mans toes

Dead Man’s Toes: BBQ weenies. In Michigan cherry BBQ sauce. Because that’s how I roll.

Leatherface: Ham and Prosciutto

Use a Styrofoam head to add meat and olives to create a creepy looking Leatherface. Our old roommates wrapped the foam head in plastic first for easy cleanup and reusability.

Leatherface

Leatherface: Our old roommates’ creation. Ham and prosciutto with olives wrapped around a head mold. Surprisingly, I’m the only one who ate some of this guy. This girl doesn’t turn down prosciutto.

Bloody Shots: Cherry Vodka

Not much else for explanation here. Inject your mouth with vampire blood (cherry vodka). You just need to buy the plastic shot syringes. I think I’m going to try these at our next party but with something better than cherry vodka…maybe like…whiskey or something.

Shots of blood

Shots of blood: Another of the old roommates’ collection. I didn’t try this, with my aversion to fake cherry…but they used UV cherry vodka in these really cool 1.5 oz FAKE syringes.

Witches Brew: Lime Punch

This is a fan favorite. It tastes like happiness, but looks wicked. I’ve also made it in a witch’s cauldron and used a plastic glove and blue food coloring to make a blue hand of ice.

Witches Brew

Witch’s Brew: 2Liter of Diet 7up, 1/5 (that’s the entire contents of a normal size bottle) Captain Morgan Lime Bite, 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, and 1 carton of lime sherbet. You’re welcome. Also great for St. Patrick’s Day. Or any party. Because this shit is delicious.

Bashed Skull: Cream Cheese and Pepper & Onion Relish

I just used a simple, inexpensive mask that I got at Michael’s. I painted it with cream cheese and covered it with pepper and onion relish (I like the one from Harry and David the best – code20 will get you 20% off). Serve in a glass pie plate with crackers and garnish with plastic scorpions. I also use slate labels to let my guests know what they’re eating…sort of.

Bashed Skull

Bashed Skull. I don’t know why, but no one wanted to eat this one.


120x60 - Harry & David Logo

What scary treats do you make for Halloween? Would you eat any of these delicacies if you showed up at my party?

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: October is National Pasta Month!

So I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, and I thought it was high time I share some more delicious recipes with you! In fact, I’ll bet you didn’t even know that October is National Pasta Month. Lucky for you, there’s me. And lucky for me, the fine people at The Pasta Shoppe were kind enough to send me some amazing pasta samples to try out. So that YOU can see some really delish ideas from my culinary mind, and then go to your kitchen and make them too.

Now, as you may know, I work a full time job in the city and live in suburbia, which means about 2+ hours of commute time when I add the morning and the evening together. So Brian and I don’t get home until almost 7. At which point, I’m RAVENOUS. And if you remember from the rules of owning a Chrissy, feeding me regularly is more than a necessity. It’s survivalism. So I need to make dinners quickly. The pasta that I received is fast. Easy. AND TASTY.

Basil Garlic Angel hair pasta nests

Basil Chicken Nests with Marinara Sauce and Cheese

  • 6 pasta nests
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 6 small slices of cheese
  • Fresh basil chiffonade

Last week, I used the Pasta Shoppe Basil & Garlic Pasta Nests, which cooked rapidly on my stovetop while I pan-fried a sliced chicken breast. I sprayed my toaster oven size baking pan with PAM, delicately placed the nests, filled them with the sliced chicken, and topped them with my homemade sauce (which I made over the weekend) and Thai basil Jack cheese.

Basil Garlic Angel hair pasta nests

I baked them in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes, and was left with a deliciously tasty meal for two. Then I garnished mine with a basil chiffonade (Brian hates added herbs) and voila! Brian was thoroughly impressed. (He’s always impressed when I actually put sauce on pasta, instead of just olive oil and cheese…which tends to be my MO.)

Basil Garlic Angel hair pasta nestsBasil Garlic Angel hair pasta nests

Basil Garlic Angel hair pasta nests

Basil Garlic Angel hair pasta nests

In addition to the fancy-pants pasta nests, I also received a slew of other goodies, most notably Snowman Pasta, Halloween Pasta and Under the Sea Mac and Cheese. Yes, my friends. DOLPHINS. AND CHEESE. IN ONE MEAL. (No dolphins were hurt in the making of this pasta.)

Dolphins and Cheese!

Halloween PastaHalloweenie Chili Mac

  • 2 cups Halloween pasta
  • 2 cups chili
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • Nacho jalapenos

I was planning on making the Halloween pasta for our little Halloween party, but I quickly realized that with the number of people we’d be having, it probably wouldn’t have been enough. So instead, last night, I used leftover chili to make some chili mac. I love to make chili in the fall, even when death bugs are trying to poison it…Of course, every time I make chili, it’s totally different, but you can find one of my recipes here: Turkey Chili.

Halloween PastaThis time I used less veggies and real ground beef, so it was the perfect chili mac chili. I cooked the pasta (only 6 minutes!), reheated the chili and then layered a bowl with pasta, chili, jalapenos and cheese. I microwaved the bowls for about a minute each until the cheese was melty and then we dined. It was. AMAZING. I didn’t even know how much I loved chili mac until last night. Plus, spiderwebs, ghosts and pumpkins just sort of made this super fantastic.

Halloween Chili MacPasta from the Pasta ShoppeSo you want to know more about The Pasta Shoppe? They make small batch pastas with fun shapes and delicious flavors. Some come with added seasoning for pasta salad, mac and cheese, chicken noodle soup and so much more. When I checked out their websites, I was totally impressed. And SUPER excited.

In addition to being awesome, they run the Fun Pasta Fundraising company, so you or your kiddos can raise money by, wait for it, selling pasta! But not just any pasta…the delicious, fun-shaped, small-batch pasta from The Pasta Shoppe.

I’m saving the mac and cheese for a special occasion, but I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out!

Want to create your own delicious pasta recipes with fun pasta? You can win a $30 prize package from The Pasta Shoppe! Just fill out the Giveaway Tools form below.  Make sure to leave a comment telling me which pasta you would most like to try and what you would do with it? The recipe that sounds the tastiest may just be featured on another Tasty Tuesday!

 

Good luck! The giveaway will run for one week!

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?

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!