Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, MSH

The previously promised photos are up!

This is the blog I intended for today, but the tomato thing was on my mind. But this one will be on top, so hopefully, it will get all the attention it deserves.

Today is My Sweet Husband's birthday! I love this guy more than I can tell you. He's kind and smart and funny. He has strong moral convictions and a big heart, oh, and he's cute too. Even when he does this:

Stepping in front of my camera while I'm trying to take a photo of a blooming cherry tree, saying, "Oh, what, were you trying to take a picture of something?". Butthead.

But, I love him because even though he does these things, they're funny and he's adorable. He's always been adorable. Just look at this and tell me I'm wrong.

This picture makes me want to have 15 babies that look just like this. I can't look at it very often because the neighbor upstairs calls and complains that the ticking of my biological clock is keeping her awake and scaring her cat every time I do.

Oh, and don't tell him, but I'm giving him a party as his gift this year. I've taken all the decorations and plates and cups and balloons, etc. and put them all in a big box that I've wrapped with a note inside telling him about the party. I'll give it to him tonight at dinner. I've had such a hard time keeping this a secret. It's not that I'm afraid that some one else will tell him; it's just that I get so excited that I want to tell him so that I can see his reaction. Hopefully we'll be able to dance at the party because he's always had killer moves. See.

I told you he's cute. And this picture makes me want to have 4o babies, so I never look at it. I wrote this whole post with my eyes closed so I wouldn't have to look at it. Because if I look at it, the seismic activity caused by the ticking would register on the Richter scale.

I love you, MSH. Happy Birthday!

From Me

Scary Foods

So, as you may have guessed from this blog, I love food. Especially, homemade, fresh foods. But, I just have to ask, what is going on with all the contaminations of fresh vegetables? Of course, I'm talking about the tomato scare that's going on right now and the spinach fiasco from last year. It breaks my heart, especially the tomatoes, my favorite of all the veggies--although technically it's a fruit. If it smells like a vegetable, tastes like a vegetable, and is grown from a plant, it's a vegetable in my book. But, I digress.

Vegetables are supposed to be a symbol of all that is healthy eating, a beacon of hope in the grocery store filled with sugary this and fat-laced that. In the last few years, we've seen huge beef recalls, E. coli infested spinach, and now tomatoes with salmonella. When will it end? Unfortunately, we don't have a yard to grow our own food in, and even if we did, my thumb is black as midnight--My Sweet Husband does all the plant-tending around here. Luckily, my favorite indulgence, the cherry tomatoes, have been spared, but how is a girl supposed to make a decent salad without tomatoes, and how is MSH supposed to enjoy his shrimp burritos without pico? The tomatoes growing on our balcony have started fruiting (is that the word?), but the tomatoes are still tiny and green and probably unfit for human consumption. So until this is all sorted out, I'm going to be encouraging our cherry tomatoes to act like big tomatoes and hoping that our tomato plants are bountiful and quick.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recipe Review: Salsa Lime Chicken

OK, I know my posting schedule has grown a bit wonky lately, but I've been trying to keep My Sweet Husband from climbing the walls and chewing his fingernails to nubs--I'll tell you all about that some day soon.

At any rate, I do have a recipe for you--with photos--of a dish I made a week or so ago. It's based on Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken, formerly known as Tequila Lime Chicken. I never found out why they changed the name, and I worked for Applebee's at the time of the change. But, I was just a waitress and bartender; they didn't consult me about marketing decisions very often. MSH calls it "That Cheesy Chicken" which totally confuses me because the overwhelming flavor in this dish is not cheese, it's salsa, and I make a couple of other cheesy chicken dishes that have much more cheese than this one.

Here's what you'll need for 2 servings, but it's easy to increase for more:

2 chicken breast - or whatever cut you prefer
1 lime, cut in half and reserve 2 slices
1/2 cup sour cream or ranch dressing
1/2 cup salsa
1/3 cup shredded cheese, I usually use cheddar, but I had this Mexican Melting Cheese on hand
Spanish, Mexican, or Yellow rice
1 can corn, drained (I don't use this because MSH can't eat corn)
Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips (optional)--We had chips & salsa as an appetizer that day, so I didn't bother with this, but I usually do for an additional texture.

Here's what you do with it all:

1. Start cooking the rice according to the instructions on the package.
2. Squeeze limes over chicken breasts. It helps if you poke holes in the chicken to increase the absorption of the lime juice. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. If you want it really limey, you can marinate this overnight.
3. Mix salsa and sour cream or ranch dressing.
4. Brown chicken in a skillet. You don't have to cook them all the way because we're going to stick them in the oven soon.
5. Transfer chicken to an oven-safe dish. Top with reserved lime slices.
6. Cover chicken with salsa mixture.
7. Bake at about 350 for 20 minutes or until chicken is done and no longer pink in the center.
8. Top with cheese and return to oven for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
9. If you're using corn, mix it with the rice and let it heat up while the cheese melts.
10. Serve chicken beside or over rice. If your rice is on the side, that's the perfect excuse to spoon the sauce over it. Top chicken and rice with tortilla strips.

Here's what it looks like when I make it.

Here's what I made while I waited for the chicken to bake, because "I like pina coladas" and it was about 150 degrees in my kitchen. I swear the kitchen is the hottest room in our home.

Make this, eat it, and enjoy, but be prepared for your family or significant other or cats or your own tummy to ask you to make That Cheesy Chicken at least once a week!

By request from my sweet SIL Amanda, I will be posting a review for a dish I made Friday evening next.