Carne Asada Nachos

I am totally justified in eating these nachos.  Let me tell you why.

Last weekend I did my weekly outdoor workout in Central Park which is led by my friend and trainer, Nerijus, of TrainP3 (amazing workout, by they way!).  After that, I braved my allergies and proceeded to hang out in Sheep Meadow for a while.  Somehow our workout seemed to continue with some partner acrobatics, deep stretches and backbending action taking place in the middle of the meadow.  I was super excited to have my first "flying" experience in parter acro, which is basically where someone bases you and you do all the cool stuff ever while being supported by their legs and sometimes their hands.  It's so much harder than I thought!  Then the surprise rains came and I finally made my way home.

These nachos are totally acceptable to eat when all that working out is over and done with.  I mean, I definitely already burned off these calories, right?  I know tortillas aren't the healthiest option, but I have an addiction to Tostitos Hint of Lime and I needed my fix, so there's that.  I topped the tortillas with flank steak that I made in the slow cooker, and avocado and greek yogurt (because sometimes you can't make it to the grocery store to purchase sour cream).  This combination was heavenly and I may have possibly eaten these nachos every day since.  I'm going to need an intervention.

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Crockpot Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

Last weekend, I wore MC Hammer pants.  I will vouch (for myself) that I never thought I'd see the day that happened.  But my group workout class had a 90's theme!  Of course I had to buy the drop-crotch pants to match.  I would say "ugh" right about now because I'm over myself, but since wearing them this past weekend, I've developed a fondness for those pants.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them in public.  As in, it won't be a part of a costume.  Thankfully they're black and not some fugly patterned mess.  So there's that silver lining, right?  Someone out there is understanding my thoughts.  I'm sure of it.

Here's something that easier to understand: the amazing-ness of making Mexican stuffed peppers in a crockpot.  I've made stuffed peppers once before but I refused to revisit it again because it was such a chore to make those at the time.  Fast forward to today, hand me a crockpot, and I'm back in business!

Lately, I've been obsessed with Mexican food.  This should not be a surprise, because cheese is my kryptonite.  I would like to make it known that I can eat Mexican food at any time.  If there is a Mexican food throwdown, I'm there.  Needless to say, you may be seeing a few Mexican-inspired recipes from me in the near future.  I have to say that these pepper turned out to be mighty tasty.  The combination of the meat, rice, vegetables, and sauce made this an excellent dinner option for me the other night.

And cheese. And sour cream.  They just get me.

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Crockpot Sausage and Peppers

Hi friends! Before anyone says anything, yes, I know this is Thanksgiving week, but no...

No, I do not have a turkey dish for you.

No, I do not have Thanksgiving sides for you.

No, I do not have anything related to pumpkin for you.

But what I do happen to have is some sausage and peppers.  Eat it.  It's good for you.

I mean....I don't even know what to tell you about this.  I've been developing a love of sweet peppers over the past few months. Working in Philadelphia all the time is wearing me down! I've always loved sausage, so when I saw this recipe, I was all over it. Wait, I get to use my crockpot too? I'm done.

So um, by the way, I popped some avocado on top of this because I maybe forgot to throw in the cheese.  WHAT?!?!? Maybe Philly hasn't gotten their hooks in me just yet.  I threw this sausage and pepper mix on top of some egg noodles, but I wouldn't be mad if you chose to toast some buns and get your sandwich on.

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Crockpot Pulled Chicken Cheesesteak

Why is the name of this dish so complicated?  Should it be Crockpot Pulled Chicken Cheesesteak?  Or should it be Crockpot Cheesesteak Pulled Chicken?  You have no idea how many times I switched these words around.  You probably don't care.

This is the kind of day it's been for me, folks.  It also happens to be only 8pm and all I wanna do is go to sleep.  Oof.

In other news: I'm heading to Nashville in 2 days!  Yes, you heard me.  I'm visiting the south in August.  What of it?  I've wanted to visit Nashville for some time now and when my friend said, out of the blue, that she also wanted to go, we got down to planning this thing.

Don't you worry, I'm going to take lots of pictures.  And since my birthday happens to be *ahem* tomorrow, we will have lots of celebratory pics from this trip. I'll make sure to weed out any inappropriate ones and only post the relevant pictures.  Just kidding!  Totally not kidding. Warning: I'm planning on eating my way through Nashville so that post will be a good time.

I kind of got off track.  Does it matter?  Probably not.  I'm still going to post the recipe for this delicious pulled chicken cheesesteak business, or whatever we happen to be calling it now.

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Slow Cooker Turkey Cabbage Rolls

It's amazing how many things you realize you don't have once you move into your own place.  Something that I sorely missed right away was a slow cooker.  My roommate was the owner of the slow cooker that I used to use.  But once I moved across town,  I was on my own.  One of the first things I did was order up a new one with a sweet Amazon giftcard my mom gave me as a housewarming gift.  Oh Amazon.com.  How I love thee.

Well, after I got my new appliance, it only took me...ahem, another 6 weeks to use it.  Hmmm...funny how I was pining for this thing but once I got it I just let it chill out for a while.  It's not like I don't love the ease of making food in it.  I do.  I just got caught up with other things and didn't get around to using it.  I finally forced myself to make something in it.  After all, I needed to at least confirm it arrived to me in working condition.

I love cabbage rolls.  I feel as if they are an underdog of sorts when it comes to meals.  I feel as if they never sound quite appetizing.  However, a few years ago I became a convert.  I used to work closely with a Turkish coworker.  One of the things we discussed one day was a Turkish version of cabbage rolls.  It got me pretty interested in making them and I whipped them up one night to try them out.

They were delicious!  I was instantly hooked.  Don't let my words fool you though.  I made the old school version of this dish and it took me hours to separate cabbage leaves, make the filling, blanch the cabbage leaves, roll the filling up in the leaves, then finally bake them in the oven for the specified time.  Seriously, this whole process took for-e-ver.  This would be the sole reason I have not made cabbage rolls since 2008.

But wait!  Stefanie over at Sarcastic Cooking has saved the day.  She basically posted a recipe for cabbage rolls that could be made in a slow cooker.  Whaaa?  Let me at this!  This was definitely the first thing that would be made in my new kitchen toy.

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Crock Pot Picadillo

Sometimes you sit on the couch all day long and end up buying clothing and workout wear from three different websites.  Have I mentioned that I'm on crutches and probably won't workout for at least another week and a half?  Oh, and have I also mentioned that the main reason I leave the apartment right now is for doctor appointments?  Let's overlook all that.

Ugh.  I do have a reason though!  (My roommate is totally rolling her eyes at that line because I may have used it a few times in the past.)  I went on a no-buy in January, which means that I only purchase essential things.  I was relatively successful with that endeavor.  Then February happened and there were all these President's Day sales staring me in the face (Sidebar: Weren't these sales supposed to end on Monday?  I thought it was safe to go "online window shopping" again.) ... Need I say more?  Now I need to go back on another no-buy.  Especially since the doctor's bills are starting to roll in.  Yikes.

What does this have to do with picadillo?  Nothing.  There's just a lot on my mind and I happen to be writing about it.  So I guess I should bring the focus back to the picadillo.  Fine.

Picadillo is a traditional Latin dish that I would loosely describe as a ground beef taco filling, if you really want a comparison of sorts.  There are several variations out there, but this version is chock full of onions, peppers, garlic, and smoky spices.  Sooo pretty much everything you need to ensure a good meal.  And I made it in a crock pot.  Boom.

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Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

According to my Hungarian friend, I made this incorrectly.  Allegedly, if I were to make true Hungarian goulash, the result would be more of a soup instead of a stew.

Apparently, he thought I would care.  My kitchen isn't exactly a democracy.  When I think of goulash, I think of a beef stew, not a beef soup.  I also happen to like stews better than soups.  So I can make my goulash any which way I please.  And I did.  It was marvelous.  And I even "cheated" by using a crock pot.  So take THAT, you Hungarian.

There's also something new that I've been trying lately with my crock pot dishes.  I've been setting them up to cook overnight so they are done by the time I wake up in the morning.  This works particularly well for me because 1) I have no problems with taking down a bowl of stew for breakfast and 2) I typically work from home on Fridays, so this solves the problem of what to eat that day since my meal is already waiting for me in the slow cooker.  

You should try this too.  In fact, I encourage it.  Alternately, you could do something like on a Friday or Saturday night so that it's ready for brunch the next day.  That's convenience, I tell you.  Get with it.

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Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken

Don't give me the side-eye for the details I'm about to divulge.

I made this chicken while I was sleeping.  I am not kidding.  This was the easiest, tastiest pulled chicken recipe ever.  Now, I don't normally do something this, but it had been a hectic week and it was about to be a hectic weekend.  So I decided to sneak in some cooking time overnight.  I fired up the crockpot when I got home late on a Thursday and by Friday morning, the deed was done.

Now I have to admit that I was slightly inconvenienced by having to wake up twice during the night to stir the contents of the crockpot and make sure it wasn't burning, but this was completely something that I felt the need to do.  It's not required.  If you think about it, many people turn on their crockpots to make meals while they're at work all day.  Presumably, no stirring goes on during that time and their meals seem to pull through in the end.

No matter when you choose to make this chicken though, I would like to assure you that it will be absolutely tasty and flavorful.

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Slow-Cooker Texas Chili

Summer, where did you go?

I enjoyed having you around.  I liked the bright sunshine and the endless outdoor events.  I liked the cute summer dresses I got to wear.  I liked the warm breezes that blew past me in the evening.

I didn't like the stifling, humid days that turned (several of) my cupcake attempts into mush.  I didn't like the way you made me sweat in places I really don't want sweat.  I didn't like the endless block parties across the street from me which threatened to only end after 3am.

But now your cooler counterpart is here: Fall.  Welcome.  You are my favorite.

NFL football has started again.  I can wear sweats with wild abandon. Pumpkin coffee is back at Dunkin Donuts.  Nuff said.

And now that I am thoroughly satisfied with the weather, I can sit down on the couch (in sweats, of course), watch some quality fall television programs, and chow down on a bowl of smoky, spicy chili.  More specifically, some Slow-Cooker Texas Chili. 

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Saucy Pulled Pork

There is nothing like the idea of perfectly seasoned strands of pork dredged in barbecue sauce to get me excited. Like REALLY excited! Maybe giddy is a better description. I just know that life in general is pretty awesome when I'm about to take a bite of a pulled pork sandwich. Or when I stand over the slow cooker and shovel forkfuls into my mouth.

When my friend Lindsey sent me a link to some cupcakes at the AmyBites blog, I naturally perused the website for other recipes. Why wouldn't I, right? Then the heavens opened and people started singing when I alighted upon a recipe for pulled pork. I've made pulled pork before, but the results were OK. The pork was pretty good, but I later realized that I hadn't allowed the meat to get to the "falling apart" stage before attempting to shred it. So although it was fully cooked, I had to exert excessive energy into shredding. At any rate, I was also interested in trying out another pulled pork recipe. You really can't have too many, you know.

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