Monday, January 5, 2009

My (cheap) easy dinners...

Living on my own I've discovered that I don't know how to cook and that eating out is too expensive. I'm not really sure how I survived the last year, I remember eating lots of chips and salsa... So in the past few months it's been my quest to learn how to cook, simple, healthy recipes. I thought this would be a breeze, but it turns out that one, it's really hard to find simple, healthy recipes and two, being a visual and kinestic learner, I don't learn best by reading a recipe. And besides, I wanted (still want) to actually learn how to cook so I can create things on my own or vary a recipe (without it turning terrible). So I've been on the hunt, asking anyone and everyone to share their everyday recipes - I'm not looking for the fancy stuff, just what you make yourself for dinner. And forcing all those I come in contact with at meal time to teach me what they are doing - beware you may fall victim to this.

So in light of what I've been learning I thought I would share my recipes (note, these are not all healthy...that has been waay more difficult).

Mom's Super Simple Chili:
2 cans of tomatoes "chili ready" (it will say this on the can)
1 can of beans "chili ready"
1 lb (or less) of ground turkey

Brown turkey, drain fat, put everything together in a big pot, wait until it's hot (some think letting it simmer makes it taste better) then eat.

Beans and Weenies (as inspired by my grandparents, but made with mom's simplicity)
1 can of cheap pork and beans
Favorite BBQ sauce
2 turkey hot dogs

Slice turkey dogs, add to pork and beans, add as much bbq sauce as you like (I go by color), then heat up (stove or microwave works).
*I found a bbq sauce that is light on sodium and calories.

Katy's Baked Chicken
Chicken tenders or breasts (however many you want to eat)
Crackers (I use healthy saltines)
*Egg if you are making more then one or two servings

Thaw chicken, preheat oven to 375 to 400 degrees, crush crackers (enough cover your chicken) into a very fine dusty like texture (Katy says so they don't look like crackers anymore) - Katy uses a food processor to do this, I crush them in a bowl with the bottom of a spice bottle. Add spices to crackers - this is where I have a hard time and have to consult the internet - whatever spices you like and think would go together. If you are making enough that it makes it worth it to crack a whole egg, then do it, coat the chicken it the egg (Katy says it makes it better, but I've never made enough to try it). Season chicken (salt and pepper it). Put chicken in crushed crackers and coat well. Coat pan with Pam - if you don't own Pam like me, I wipe a bit of oil on the bottom of the pan - Katy says to do this even if you're using a non-stick pan because it helped it brown the outside a bit. Bake in oven for 10 to 20 minutesish...I check every 10 mins. and cut the chicken open a bit to see if it's cooked.

Black Bean Pizza (it's been awhile since I've made it's a bit vague)
1 can of black beans - rinsed
Pesto (can typically find this premade in the store - my mom finds hers in the produce department by the salads at Target in a tube)
Mozzarella cheese - shredded
Premade pizza crust (whole wheat if you can find it) - I think find these in the pasta aisle
*Tomatoes (fresh or canned - drained) (optional)

Preheat oven to a reasonable temperature (350ish), rinse black beans, spread pesto on pizza crust enough to cover the crust you don't need a ton, add black beans, then tomatoes if you would like, then cover with as much mozzarella as you would like. Bake until cheese has melted and crust looks good enough to eat.

So if you have any simple recipes please let me know...variety is a good thing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Passive Voice?

I finally learned what "passive voice" meant! I just hit ignore on grammar check all through college, because I had no idea what it was talking about. Who knew it helped make my ideas more clear? I can now be even more anal when writing papers. :)

Sorry to all those grammatical experts out there that twinge every time they read improper English, but I plan on being as passive as I like on here...being unpassive would require waaaay too much thinking...and this is about free flowing thoughts.

Otherwise, good day. Had breakfast with an old mentor, did laundry, worked on my super secret book - to get me in the mood for working on my essay, hung out with awesome cats, and now working on my essay. It amazes me something so short can consume so much of my time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eating beans and weenies drinking dr. pepper...and writing

So I'm trying to write an essay for a grad school's suppose to be a narrative. I haven't got my spark...which is killing me. I hate writing without a spark on things like this...because it just turns out manufactured. It's so much more real when I do it when I have a spark. And for some reason that spark makes it go from simply okay, to INCREDIBLE. And since I would really like to get into this particular grad school, I'm shooting for the incredible. That being said, I can only recall a handful (or once) when I've written with the mindset that I truly wanted something incredible...but it wasn't a paper paper. So, alas this trying to write an incredible paper is new territory. I don't normally care. Now I care. And I'm a bit scared because of it.

I've been trying to listen to songs that make me want to change the world to get my spark. I've been trying to think of all the great times I've had with clients. I've tried drawing pictures to help. Drinking caffeine to get me a bit more hyper (and passionate). I'm thinking that I just need to go to bed and try again tomorrow evening. I'm tired. Arg. Now I can feel my adderall kicking in...getting too tired to write, but not capable of sleeping. This ought to be interesting.