Growing up in my household, the food we ate very rarely came out of a box or a can. Everything was made from scratch and this stayed with me as I entered adulthood and I moved out on my own. Sure, there are times that I wish I had a box of KD or Zoodles in the pantry but there are always better alternatives. Entering motherhood, trying to make things "from scratch" is not as easy as I had hoped. I have definitely found it difficult to manage life in the kitchen with life with a newborn. Three months into it and I feel like I am finally just getting into some sort of routine which allows me to be in the kitchen (and actually eat) and refrain from anymore pizza slices or sushi rolls. I made an amazing Cottage Pie the other day and I am managing to make smoothies every morning. But there is still the occasional time where I want something warm, hearty, voluminous (for leftover purposes) and that is quick to make (cause lets face it, a cottage pie is all of the above but takes forever to prep). I always turn to this recipe that I learned from a mom I nannied for pre-Lennon. It's not from scratch, it uses ingredients from a can but it's darn delicious and is the quickest meal ever. One thing I have learned being a new mom is that you have to do what you can to get by, and if that means having the occasional recipe that is not from scratch - so be it! You'll be thanking me for this one!
You Will Need:
- a pack of raw chicken breasts
- 1 cup of BBQ sauce
- 1 cup of Root Beer
I usually use a large pack of 4-6 breasts but you can use the same amount of BBQ sauce and Root Beer for as much or as little chicken as your slow cooker will allow.
1. Throw the chicken into the slow cooker
2. Pour BBQ sauce and Root Beer over the chicken
3. Set the slow cooker on High and the timer for 4.5 hours
4. After 4 hours, open the lid of the slow cooker and, using two forks, start shredding apart the chicken. It should pull apart easily. It will seem like there is an excess of liquid/juice
5. After pulling the chicken apart, stir it a couple times and allow to cook for another half hour to absorb all the juices and to allow it to thicken up
There you have it, 3 ingredients and you've got yourself a versatile and delicious dish (okay, well if you count the ingredients within the BBQ sauce and root beer, this amounts to a bit more than three). Throw the pulled chicken over rice, toss it in a wrap or on a pizza or in a sandwich, add it to poutine or just eat it as is. I have made this for multiple parties and it has been a huge hit. Set up a station with sandwich bread, wraps and various toppings and let your guests fix their own to their liking. This is also great for those who don't eat beef or pork. You can also find BBQ sauces and Root Beers that aren't so artificial to make this dish healthier. If you try it out, let me know your thoughts on this recipe! Happy Cooking and Bon Appetit!
Edit: Shortly after publishing this blog post, I learned that November is actually National Pomegranate Month. I had no idea there was a month to celebrate pomegranates but it worked out well that I posted this in November...now let's celebrate this amazing fruit!
'Tis my favorite time of year as far as fruit is concerned. Actually, I really dislike this time of year mainly due to the weather (I honestly believe that I have SAD and living in a city that is nicknamed Raincity doesn't help). BUT, this time each year, the moment that I see the first pomegranate of the season sitting on a market shelf, I turn into a giddy school girl and I stock up. There could be a torrential downpour outside but those amazing fruits always have a tendency to turn my frown upside down. I felt it only right to dedicate an entire blog post to the fabulous fruit that is the apple of my eye (pun intended).
Why am I so obsessed with this amazing, juicy, delicious fruit you ask? Besides the fact that it tastes like heaven, looks beautiful in a fruit bowl, has plenty of health benefits, and enhances my mood? I think it comes down to the fact that I had a pomegranate tree in my backyard when I was a wee lass growing up in Greece and just makes me extremely nostalgic for the Mediterranean. Also in Greece, and I believe many other countries and cultures, the pomegranate is a very symbolic fruit symbolizing fertility, abundance and good luck. Many families have pomegranate decorations throughout their home and it is a fruit that is used in various ceremonies. The fruit is also prominent in the ancient Greek myth of Persephone, goddess of the underworld which is associated to the aforementioned symbolism. That's it, my obsession purely comes down to nostalgia. And maybe the nostalgia it creates for a warmer climate makes me forget about the dreadful weather in Raincity. But lets not get carried away with over analyzing why I am obsessed with pomegranates and talk more about the fruit itself.
Now I know what you are all thinking: "How could you love a fruit that is such a pain in the butt to consume? So much effort to clean for such a little amount!"...well, my friends, this too is how I felt prior to last year. I would buy 5 pomegranates at a time and I just couldn't find the time (or patience) to de-seed them all before they would go bad...that is until I saw THIS, and it changed my life for the better (watching this may make you pomegranate obsessed as well. You have been warned):
And ever since this magic came into my life, I get a joy out of de-seeding and devouring this wonderful fruit! I de-seed a bunch of them at a time and keep a container of them in my fridge (or freezer if I don't think I will eat them in time) and then they are readily available for me to throw in my yogurt, my oatmeal, in a smoothie, a salad, or just to eat as is. When we were in India in February 2013, we participated in a cooking class where we made a vegetable biryani that had pomegranate seeds inside! That was delicious! How do you like to use pomegranates? Do you have any recipes that you use pomegranate in? And as I sit here and write about my favorite fruit, while, not surprisingly, devouring some delicious pomegranate seeds, I wonder do you have a fruit that you obsess over or am I just a special case?
I leave you with a gallery of various pomegranate inspired photos I have taken in the past few years....click on the photos for a description! Enjoy!
The last six weeks were spent in Italy, Greece, and Paris with my husband Perry finishing off our extended honeymoon (which explains my absence from blogging). We spent lots of time wining, dining and cooking (oh yeah, and relaxing) and we learned lots of new recipes to add to my collection. From our many hosts, my family in Greece, and just from the various inspirations from the many places we visited, I collected enough recipes, notes and ideas to keep me busy in the kitchen for weeks to come. I will be sharing these recipes as I recreate them so keep checking back or follow me on Twitter to be informed of any updates.
The first recipe was introduced to us on the last stop of our trip: Paris! Our host Eleni, a Greek national studying in Paris, had a fantastic kitchen full of great ingredients, Greek honey included! Greeks love to mix honey with other ingredients and in their deserts. Honey with yogurt, honey with almonds, honey with raki...and now we were about to discover honey with apples. Eleni made this for us the first night we arrived...and we ended up making it for Eleni and her boyfriend Monsuy for the following 3 nights we were there....we are hooked! The best part is, this is relatively healthy and very simple to make AND super satisfying to the taste buds and the belly!
You will need:
- Apples. I use 1 per 2 people because you get quite a large amount once it is sliced. Also, we used Granny Smith apples as the tartness goes well with the honey and cinnamon
1. Slice the apples into thin slices. I start by slicing the apple in half and then half again so you end up with four segments (see photo below). I then remove the seeds and slice each quarter into thin slices.
2. Place the slices on a plate. Try to not layer them too much so that each slice gets a bit of honey and cinnamon on it (think of it like making nachos and cheese...you always go for the tortilla chips with cheese on it, don't you?! So make sure every apple has a bit of the honey and cinnamon on it!)
3. Drizzle honey on top of the sliced apples
4. Lick the spoon. You don 't want that honey to go to waste!
5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the apples with honey. There you go! A nice and simple treat or desert that takes 2 minutes to prepare!
This is a great snack and/or desert for the summer. For the colder months, you can place the above recipe in the oven and roast the apples (with the honey and cinnamon on top). I tried this as well and it was also nice but I do prefer it colder. What I did like about the roasted recipe though, was that the honey turned syrupy which was nice to "mop up" with the apples . You can also drizzle some lemon juice on top of the apples when roasting for a sweeter taste. Also, a different variety of apples (besides Granny Smith) may taste nicer when roasted as we found they didn't work so well (because of the taste). If any of you try this recipe with a different variety, let me know how it turns out!
Enjoy and happy cooking!!
Click on the photos below for descriptions