Mega-Deadline Fajitas for the non-Martha Stewart Writer

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Popping in here to say that… If you’re like me and you’re trying to a) reduce pizza delivery/consumption and b) still want something quick and tasty and c) time to cook is laughable, I give you:

CROCK POT FAJITAS

2 to 3 Pounds Chicken Breast (sliced)
1 14 oz Jar Salsa
1 Red Pepper (cut into strips)
1 Green Pepper (cut into strips)
1 Yellow Onion (sliced into rings)
Cilantro (to taste)
Sun Dried Tomatoes (to taste)
Taco/Fajita Seasoning (to taste)

Dump into crock pot. Add 1/2 cup water. Low for six to eight hours or high for four to six. Broth is perfect for soups, otherwise use slotted spoon, fill tortillas – and viola! Painless, easy-ass dinner.

    Mood: Hungry.
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My DIY Recipe for Thai Peanut Butter Stir Fry

peanut butterHi everyone! This week’s recipe is my concoction for a do-it-yourself Thai peanut butter stir-fry. I call it DIY because it’s never tastes the same twice! This recipe’s instructions are cooked in a wok, so keep that in mind if you want to cook it in a different pot.

Primary ingredients:

(a) Package frozen veggies (any will do)
(b) Choose your meat or protein (I prefer pork with this particular recipe)
(c) Choose your grain (I prefer whole wheat egg noodles)

To brown your meat, you’ll need:

Garlic
Onions (I prefer scallops)
Sesame Oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok on medium heat. Add your meat and toss frequently. (If you’re using tofu, recommend cooking it according to its instructions and then adding that last so it doesn’t get too gushy.) If your meat starts sticking to sides of pan, toss in a little bit of broth or apple cider vinegar. Once meat is fully cooked, add veggies and cover.

Sauce:

1/2 to 3/4 cup of any peanut butter (HIGHLY recommend the Asian Peanut Curry Spice from www.pbloco.com)
1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili paste

Stir the sauce thoroughly. It will be thick, almost like the consistency of a frosting, but that’s okay. After the veggies have had the chance to cook a little bit, add the sauce and stir. There will be some juices in the wok from your cooking, but that helps spread the consistency of the sauce. The more chili paste you use, the spicier the sauce will be. If it’s too spicy, tone down with cinnamon or honey. The grains will help ease a sensitive palate; I recommend not adding the grains to the wok for that reason.

Typically, I also crush peanuts and scatter them over the top. Lots of variations and different ways to make this recipe, but the sauce is pretty simple.

Remember, the secret sauce is the best part but you can spice it up (or down) as needed. I’ve also tried this recipe with cashew and almond butter; so far, peanut butter spreads the best. If you’re sensitive to peppers, just take it down a notch and add something a little sweet to balance the spice.

Hope you enjoy this spicy concoction!

My Recipe for Spaghetti With Bacon

Occasionally, I get the cooking bug and start experimenting to see what happens. Spaghetti with Bacon is a favorite in my house. Don’t laugh, but I did attempt to switch out some ingredients so it’s a little healthier…

Base Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 jar generic spaghetti sauce
3 strips uncooked bacon

Secret Spices

red wine
maple syrup
garlic
dried shallots
oregano
olive oil
red pepper flakes

Slice the uncooked bacon into square pieces. Then, brown ground turkey with bacon in skillet. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and as much garlic as you normally would. Once it’s cooked, you’ll want to drain the fat before you add anything else to your concoction.

After I put the meat back in the pan, I add about a quarter cup to a half cup of red wine and stir that into the meat. I find that the wine takes that “turkey taste” edge off. Then, add your tomato sauce, some dried shallots and oregano. Let that simmer for about five minutes on low heat. If your sauce thickens too much, add a little bit of water to it to thin it out.

While your sauce is simmering, fill your pasta pan with water and add a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and some herbs. Don’t be afraid to be generous with your sprinklings here. This step is totally worth it because the taste of the herbs will infuse into the noodles while they cook, which makes a cheap pasta taste like it was created at a gourmet restaurant. Once the water is boiling, you’ll want to follow the directions on the box to ensure your pasta is cooked correctly. I usually break the spaghetti in half before I add it to the pot.

Immediately after you’ve added your pasta to the water, stir your spaghetti sauce and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and about a tablespoon of the best maple syrup you can find to it. Then, turn your heat down on your sauce even lower. Once your pasta is done, you’re ready to eat my recipe for spaghetti with bacon.

The best part about this concoction, is that there’s a number of different ways you can spice this up. I should point out, however, that if you’re going to use red meat you might want to consider adding some milk to your tomato sauce instead of maple syrup. Beef tends to have a fuller flavor and you don’t want your spaghetti sauce to taste like a bacon burger. Or maybe you do? Either way, there’s a lot of variations that you can try here.

Sadly, this is not a vegetarian recipe but that doesn’t mean I won’t try a version that’s vegan-friendly. If you’re meat-free and are inspired, be sure to let me know what you’ve come up with.

Enjoy!




Monica Valentinelli >

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