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Pecan & Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken

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Let me describe to you how my first experience cooking in my new place went...

But first, a question: Have you ever wondered how loud a smoke detector can be at 9:30am on a quiet Sunday morning?  Pretty loud, just so you know.  My smoke detectors (plural!) come with a not-so-soothing robotic voice that screams "Fire Alert!" repeatedly.  This is followed by shrieking beeping noise, also on repeat. 

Cue a frantic search through the apartment for my smoke detectors (I had no idea where they were initially), followed by a search for a step stool so that I could reach them.  Once I was able to access them, I quickly pushed the "Silence" button, which, mysteriously, DOESN'T WORK!  Ugh. I finally pulled a fire detector down and realized it was hardwired.  I immediately looked for the fuse box, crossing my fingers that by turning off the switch labeled "Smoke Detectors", the incessant beeping noises would stop.  Nope.  No such luck.  The next stop was for me to actually pull the smoke detectors out of the ceiling.  That'll fix this problem, right?

Wrong.  Those suckers still kept screaming.  Keep in mind that there are 2 smoke detectors, which means that there are two of them going off at the same time and I'm moving the step stool from one room to the next in order to reach them.  I then realized there must be a battery in these things which needed to be removed.  After quickly popping the batteries, out, there was blissful silence.  Thankfully this ended up being the final step in this harrowing process.

Guess what I was doing when all of this went down - preheating my oven.  That's right!  I wasn't actually baking anything yet in my new kitchen.  I was simply 2 minutes into preheating the oven in preparation for baking this Pecan & Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken dish.  Suffice it to say that the smoke detectors have not been reattached after this debacle, as I'm still getting over my traumatic experience.  However, this chicken dish was so delicious and worth all the trouble that I went through to make it.  Pecans, goat cheese, mustard, and chicken are a few of my favorite things, so putting them all together is a winning combo for me!

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Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs

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How can these short ribs be so easy!!  I swear I must have done something wrong, but I actually didn't.  That's a shocker.  There's typically at least one thing that i miss or screw up in recipes as of late.  It's a Christmas miracle that I can sustain a food blog!

In more exciting news, I'm heading to the Bahamas this Friday!  I'm super excited.  It's my mom's birthday and retirement party, all wrapped into one, so this will be quite a celebration.  Let's keep the pictures to a minimum after the 3rd drink, shall we?  Hmmm....I'm looking forward to warmer weather, ocean breezes, and home-cooked Bahamian food.  I'm not sure I'll get another recipe captured this time around, but I'll certainly try!

Final update: I've finally caught up with my old food posts and going forward, all my pictures have been taken in my new digs.  Ahhhh!!!!  I'm still fiddling around with lights/lighting.  Hopefully I will obtain a professional light this summer.  Game-changer!  But seriously, I do get pretty good lighting already in this place.  In fact, I made sure to search for a place with good lighting so I would need to do the minimum amount of work for pretty pics.  Can't front.  It's all about the lighting.

OK, enough rambling for one post.  You've come here for the short ribs.  I understand.  That's what I'm getting into as well.  This is my very first time making short ribs and I think they came out well!  What better way to ease into cooking this meat than to throw it in a slow cooker and let it be?  What other meat should I try to cook?  Tell me!  Tell me!

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Mediterranean Chicken

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It's time for the Secret Recipe Club again!

We took a short break from the SRC to account for the hectic holidays, but now we're back on track!  I was paired up with Kate from A Spoonful of Thyme this month.  Isn't that a cool blog name?  It may well have to do with the fact that I love the smell of thyme a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.  Other things I love include the following Spoonful of Thyme recipes:

Sausage & Sun-dried Tomato Sauce over Pasta - I have a jar of sun-dried tomatoes hanging out in my refrigerator and needed an excuse to use them up.  This is the perfect recipe for such a situation!  However, before I was able to make this, I found another recipe that made use of those sun-dried tomatoes.  More to come on that in a future post!

Rosemary Potato Frittata - As much as I love the smell of thyme, I actually prefer the smell of rosemary.  This is my favorite herb of all time.  Also, who doesn't love a good frittata.  Come on now.

Grilled Tomatillo Guacamole - I loved avocados before I even knew their real name.  Seriously, in the Bahamas, we always called them pears.  Sometimes they would be called avocado pears.  I also developed a real love of tomatillos after my friend Matt showed me how to make the best tomatillo salsa of my life!

Pork Tinga with Red Potatoes, Avocado, and Queso Fresco - I didn't end up making this because it turns out it was a recipe that Kate made for the SRC already.  However, it looks divine.  I might be slightly obsessed with tinga.

I finally settled on making the Mediterranean Chicken with Tomatoes & Cannellini Beans.  Except I hate all beans that aren't chickpeas or soy beans, sooooo....you guessed it!  I used chickpeas instead of cannellini beans.  To say this is a tasty dish is an understatement.  I bumped up the spices because I just can't stop myself.  The chicken thighs came out juicy and tender and seasoned to the max.  Thank you so much for this recipe Kate.  I will be making this again!

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Turkey Spinach Korma

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Don't mind me.  I've just been trying to make this recipe for the past two years.

Remember when I used to make Indian-inspired recipes on this blog?  Yeah, I do too.  I had a craving for Indian food the other day and decided it was finally time to hunker down and make this dish.  I'm very much against ordering food to my apartment.  Since I've lived here (almost three years now!) I've only ordered food once.  That must be some kind of record for the NY/Hoboken area.  I think my sister (who's visited and stayed over a number of times) has probably ordered food here more than I have.  In fact, I know she has.  I simply can't justify spending $20-$30 on one meal when I can go to the grocery store and buy food for a week with that money.  So let's fast forward to this korma.  It is a winner!  It made the entire apartment smell amazing and it's fairly healthy as well.

Speaking of my entire apartment, I'm going to be moving again you guys.  Ugh, I hate this process.  Finding a new place is something I'm excited about, but also not excited about.  Can I please magically transport everything I own from one place to the next and just have it all fit perfectly while I lay here with a pina colada in hand?  Also, while you're at it, can we please make sure I'm not living in a closet-sized box?  Oh, and is a dishwasher too much to ask for?  Thanksmuch. So this is your fair warning that the next month and a half will be filled with food posts that also adequately, or not so adequately, describe my intense dislike of the moving process.

Well, let's bounce back from that not so exciting news and return to the deliciousness of this turkey korma.  If you're looking for a quick and easy and tasty Indian dish, then let's do this!

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Roasted Sausage & Tomatoes with Polenta & Gorgonzola

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I'm losing my mind.  You may ask...why?  You may not ask anything.  But I'll tell you anyhow.

There is a smoke detector beeping in my apartment!  I am losing my mind because I can't make it stop.  Someone send help.  Seriously, I mean it this time!

Let me be clear.  The smoke detector itself is not actually in my apartment, but the NOISE from the smoke detector is.  I know it's not in my apartment because I've tracked down all the smoke detectors in this place (I have two).  I have stood (or squatted, since one is in the crawlspace above my kitchen) underneath them and listened for beeping noises.  I still hear the beeping noises, but they're not coming from my apartment.  This is for certain!

So where is it coming from?  Good question.  I still don't know.  Ugh.  Someone save me.  Or send earplugs.

Anyhow, to take my mind off the random beeps currently interspersed in my life, I made roasted sausages.  Not just any roasted sausages.  These sausages are atop a bed of polenta, onions, and tomatoes.  So basically every super tasty thing is captured on this baking sheet.  Then we top it with tangy Gorgonzola cheese.  Stop it!  OK, no, don't stop it.  Excuse me while I faceplant into this dish to drown out the incessant beeping that is stillllllll going on...

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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Taco Bowls

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I'm having some issues with my Halloween candy consumption.  As in, the consumption is REAL!  I purchased two bags of mini M&M's last week for my coworkers.  I'm not exactly sure they were even aware I had them, as they seem to have disappeared rather quickly.  Into my mouth.  Sad, but true.  Fries have also been a bit of an obsession over the past few days.


Send help please.

I needed a distraction.  This is a non-candy- / non-fry-based distraction.  Tacos!  More specifically, taco bowls, because ain't no one got time to go out and purchase tortillas.  Also known as "Good grief, I forgot to buy tortillas and I'm too lazy to go out and get some."  Soooo....when in doubt, add rice.  Or quinoa.  Or pasta.  Do you.

I don't need an excuse to pull out my slow cooker.  But if you do, here are two: During the summer, it's "too hot" to use the oven, and during the winter, it's "perfect weather for a stew (or insert your fave slow cooker recipe here)".  So there you have it.  The only reasons you will need.

I wanted to make these tacos with chicken since I usually get in the rut of using tougher meats in my slow cooker.  Gotta switch it up!  I used chickpeas in the recipe because I'm less than enthused about any other type of bean, with the notable exception of edamame/soy beans.  This was a really quick recipe to throw together.  It could even be referred to as a "weeknight dinner", it's that quick to make.  I'm a fan of this and can't wait to make it again.  Maybe with beef next time?  I'm living dangerously now!

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Hot Sausage & Tomatoes Over Fried Polenta

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I swear to you this is not turning into an Italian food blog.  However, if you've checked out several of my recent recipes (including this one!), you may beg to differ.  I may also have another Italian recipe coming soon...I can't help it!  On a positive note, I think this would qualify as a "Fall recipe".  So there's that.  I've been trying to cook things that would be easy for me to take to work for lunch (welcome to that brown-bagging-it life) and Italian food is just calling my name.  I'm going to have an intervention with myself though.  For the sake of the blog and my desire to eat (and cook!) other cuisines.

In the meantime, I played around with some polenta for you!  Here's a tip: if your polenta comes packaged in water like mine did, drain it and pat that polenta dry!  Otherwise, you might also be like me and stand around waiting for your polenta to crisp up in the pan.  Waiting.  And waiting.  Forever.  And your "quick weeknight dinner" turns into a midnight mass.   Don't be like me.  Pat your polenta dry!

In other (quick!) news, I'm enjoying my new job so far!  I had my first commute in undesirable weather, but it's nothing I can't bounce back from.  It does, however, take some of the fun out of commuting.  OK, that's all on the life update front.  Let's get into this recipe!

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Crockpot BBQ Beef

 

Summer and BBQ's are pretty synonymous with each other.  While I absolutely love barbecued meat, the only way I'm ever going to be able to grill at my place is to set up on the fire escape.  I think the local police frown on that, and seeing as the station is a mere 3 blocks away, I'll take a pass.

What I CAN still do, though, is break out my beloved crockpot to help me out.  I've finally taken a break from using my oven this summer and I've returned to my slow cooking ways.  At least for now.  Next week I'll want to braise something in the oven for 3 hours.  It's inevitable.

The perfect thing about this barbecued beef is that I can do so much with it!  Want a sandwich?  BBQ Beef Sandwich.  Need a topping for a salad?  Here's your BBQ Beef salad.  Looking for a quick meal?  Throw some BBQ Beef on top of mashed potatoes and dig in.

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Roasted Sausage & Peppers

Roasted Sausage & Peppers

 

You know how some people get into "beast mode"?  Well, I'm in "roast mode". Why else would I choose to roast all the things I can roast just when the weather is warming up?  My apartment heats up like a furnace when I turn on my oven for more than 10 minutes.  That would be nice in the dead of winter (aka last week) when I'm still wearing sweats while using two strategically placed heaters to warm up just my living room.  However, I probably don't need the added warmth when it's over 35 degrees.  So of course that's pretty much exactly when I'm making this.  Flawless logic, right?

All temperature issues aside though, I can't deny that this meal is amazing.  It's not only super easy to prep and assemble, but after you put it in the oven, you're pretty much done.  Really, the only thing left to do is eat up.  I wish I had thought of this earlier in the winter months because I know I would have made this every other week.  It's simply that good.

At the last minute I picked up some rosemary and butternut squash to add to this because apparently I'm also wishing for Fall to come back (no I'm not).  Still, I really liked the addition of these items.  I haven't eaten butternut squash for a while, which is just crazy talk if you know how much I love it.  I am also a fiend for rosemary and so I had to add some into the mix to make things more interesting.

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Crockpot Balsamic Shredded Beef


You may not know exactly how long I've been waiting to make this dish.  I think this recipe (not this exact one, but something similar) was one of my first "pins" on Pinterest, and I've been on that site for yearsssss.  So there's that.

As you already know, I love my crockpot.  You can find evidence of this by heading over to that neat little "Recipe Index" link at the top of this post.  What you may not know is that I also have some deep love and affection for balsamic vinegar.  I travel almost every week for work and I keep a full-size bottle of balsamic vinegar with my travel items because I have an unrealistic fear of running out.  True story.

Now that I've thoroughly convinced you of my strangeness, please let me present this balsamic beef recipe to you.  It's simply amazing.  As always, I put my ingredients into the crockpot late at night and then I am warmly greeted by a finished meal by 9 o'clock the next morning.  Tip: I usually turn the crockpot to the Warm setting for a few hours until I'm ready to eat lunch.  But let's face it, "lunch" usually happens at 10:30am since I've been sniffing this dish for the last hour and a half and I only have so much willpower!

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