Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Cooked a Chicken

I cooked a chicken. Not just a chicken breast. A whole chicken. This is a first! And it was a success. I wouldn't say that I made up the recipe, I just put something together based on other recipes I'd read. Here's what I did.

We got a two pack of cornish hens for this project. They look really small, but we cooked one and it was the perfect size for us! No leftovers=success. I stuffed the inside of the hen with onions and crushed cloves of garlic, then I coated the outside of the hen with oil and seasoned with sage, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I rubbed the seasonings in, because that's what you're supposed to do. It's a little icky, but I wanted to make sure everything was pretty evenly seasoned. I baked it for an hour at 380 (it's supposed to cook until it has an internal temp of 180- and beautifully golden brown), then I let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

As I was cutting it (which, by the way, is harder than it looks), I realized that I forgot to take a picture. I can't believe I didn't take a picture! It was pretty :) I wish you could have seen it.

In other news, we've got some busy weekends coming up. This weekend, Lan's brother is coming to visit and we're beginning the search for a new chair for the living room (yes, I hope there is another monkey picture in my future!). The next weekend, MSU is playing Houston here so we've got lots of college friends coming to visit. Then, the week after that I'm heading back to Mississippi for the SSRC's 60th anniversary celebration! Busy, busy, busy.

More updates on our life next week. Love from Houston!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mac and Cheesy Goodness

I want to share with you my favorite Mac and Cheese recipe ever. If you love Mac and Cheese (and who doesn't), you will definitely love this recipe. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe. I owe my PW obsession to my friend Katherine. So thanks, Katherine, for opening up the door to PW culinary delights! After hearing of PW's awesomeness, I bought her cookbook (best purchase I ever made), and my junior/senior year roomie and BFF, Sarah, and I started working our way through it. Good times. This recipe is one of Lan's favorites. And it is oh so tasty. Here's the link...

I must say, this can be a little daunting at first, but not to worry, you can handle it (and it's totally worth the work). My advice? Definitely read through it first. Do the prep work (measure everything out) before you start. It also couldn't hurt to recruit some help for your first time, though you can definitely do it on your own (especially if you measure everything out first).

Also, if you're cooking for 2, half the recipe. You have to half an egg (which can be a little confusing- I normally beat the egg then take out what I think looks like half for the recipe), but I do it almost every time and it still tastes great. One other thing we do is leave out the dry mustard (I'm sure it tastes good with it in, but Lan doesn't like mustard, so I leave it out).

A picture...

Yum! (Yep. This is a half recipe.)

We had it with grilled BBQ chicken. Lan seasoned the chicken with Weber Smoky Mesquite seasoning and coated it with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ. This was also quite delicious. I'm getting hungry just looking at the picture.

Well, that's my recipe for the week. As you may have guessed, not much is going on with us right now (which explains the whole blog post related to food). We are taking some time to relax and rest from our busy lives, which is nice. When we start doing exciting things again, though, you'll be the first to know.

Love from Houston!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Married Life

So, I write a lot about things we actually do, but I thought it would be a nice change of pace to write about married life in general. We LOVE married life. Living with your best friend is so worth the wait. We really do have a lot of fun. And laugh. A lot. We laughed together when we were dating, but our laughter has, like, increased twofold since we've been married. I think it makes our marriage that much happier. It's fun to do the little things together. Like grocery shop and watch TV. We are enjoying learning about each other and learning about how to be a good spouse. It's easy to see why God considers marriage to be so important. Not only are we learning more about each other, but we're learning how to be more Christ-like in a way that we didn't when we were single. So, in summary, marriage is awesome. :)

Another fun part of married life is cooking. I get to try lots of new recipes with Lan (though if they involve lots of vegetables or tomatoes, Lan sometimes rejects them...). This is one of those. We made it for the MSU game last night, and I'd like to share it with you. It comes from the Southern Generations cookbook (Starkville JA).

Cheesy Bacon Dip (serves 8 to 10)

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cp mayonnaise
1 cp grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cp butter crackers (Ritz), crushed

Mix together the first 4 ingredients. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with bacon and crackers. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.

Everyone who ate this last night commented on how tasty it was. I added a little more cheese than it called for and more bacon (yum!). If I had it to do over, I would mix more bacon in the actual dip (the recipe doesn't call for this, but I did it anyway, and I liked it- I just wish I would've put more) and not add so much extra cheese (it made the dip too cheesy- which was tasty, but it made it harder to spread).

Anyway, we have a fun-filled weekend ahead. We're going to visit our friends Chris and Marley in the Woodlands tonight and tomorrow, Lan's aunt and uncle are coming to visit and we're going to see his cousin play football! Fun!

Happy Friday!
Jennifer and Lan

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Secretly Want to be a Food Blogger

Well, you all know how much I love food. Last week, Lan and I made an amazing dinner, and I felt the need to share the recipes we used with you. But first, some background. A long time ago, I had a steak at Harvey's that was marinaded in soy sauce and pineapple juice. Well, it was delicious, and ever since then, I've been interested in trying a similar marinade, which is how we ran across this Teriyaki Pineapple Juice Marinade from Pineapplejuice.com.

We have now used this recipe twice (once for the steaks and once on chicken) and have loved it both times. I will say that if you have never cooked with Sesame Seed Oil before, you may be a little surprised. I almost substituted canola oil for it, but they definitely aren't the same. When I added it to the marinade, I instinctively regretted it, because the smell is very strong, but not to worry. Stick with the recipe and it will turn out great. The smell may be strong, but the flavors are balanced in the final product. Also, both times I've made it, I halved the recipe. It was almost too much for the chicken (2 large boneless breasts), but just right for the steak (3 small steaks-- maybe 8 ounces each?).

And, for your viewing pleasure...

The finished product! The picture turned out a tad bit blurry, but it was DELICIOUS.

The second recipe we tried that night was for Grilled Corn Salad. This is a recipe of the Neely's, who I love, so I was not surprised when I loved this recipe. We didn't exactly follow the recipe, though. We left out the arugula. Though I thought it would be delicious, Lan doesn't do salad, so we left it out so he would like it. Also, I didn't really do the Lemon Dressing. I didn't have fresh lemons, and I knew store bought lemon juice wouldn't be a good substitute, so I just tossed the salad in olive oil and seasoned it with salt and pepper and the Neely's BBQ Seasoning (to taste), though it would have been delicious with just salt and pepper.

One more thing... we halved the recipe, and it was waaaaaay too much for two. We ate it that day, and ate it again with two of our friends last Sunday. So if you're cooking for two, half is probably going to be too much.

The finished corn salad- YUM!

Okay, that's all my food info for now. For those of you not interested in our food life, here's what's new with us... Last weekend, we made a trip to New Braunfels to float the river. I've been to rivers in Mississippi many times, but I've never floated a river in my adult life. We had a really good time! We went with our friends Chris and Marley and one of Chris's work friends.

This weekend, Lan went back to Mississippi for some awesome football. I am very proud of the bulldogs and very pleased at the outcome of the Ole Miss game :) He's not quite home yet, but I know he had a really good time seeing friends and watching football.

I spent the weekend resting and getting things done. Yesterday, I got my hair cut and had an awesome afternoon of shopping for work clothes with Emily! We went to Katy Mills, a REALLY BIG outlet mall in Katy. Last night, I went over to Jonah and Anne Marie's (our friends in Katy) and we grilled steaks, went to HEB (a really cool Texas grocery store!), and watched Star Trek. I spent the night and went to church with them this morning. I had a great weekend!! Oh, and I saw Beth Moore at church this morning! She's doing a study on Tuesday for the women of church, so I'm really excited about hearing her speak. More on that next time :)

Love from Houston,
Jennifer and Lan