Creations: “Open-faced omelet” and scrumptious simple chili

For the past couple of nights, I haven’t really planned ahead for dinner.  Five months ago, this would have resulted in a trip to Subway or to the grocery store for a DiGiorno.  But I was wearing my bravery boots, so I attempted–for two nights in a row–to make up my own meals.

Last night, I made what my fiance has dubbed the “open-faced omelet.”  Against my better judgment, I started by peeling and dicing two russet potatoes.  I say it like that because, as many of you already know, potatoes are my sworn enemy.  Those uncooperative little bastards never do what I want them to do, so I usually avoid them altogether whenever possible.  Since one of my goals in the kitchen is to never give up, I dumped the diced potatoes in a heated, oiled skillet and crossed my fingers.

It took about 20 minutes, but the potatoes finally turned soft on the inside and browned on the outside.  I was absolutely ecstatic that they didn’t turn to mush like they typically do!  Once they reached a beautiful brownness, I added chopped onion, chopped garlic, and about 10 ounces of sliced turkey kielbasa.  In a bowl, I whisked together some milk and eggs and poured the mixture into the pan, letting the eggs scramble among the rest of the ingredients.  Once the egg had cooked, I topped it all with some Parmesan and Romano.  Mmmmmm, it was delicious.

Tonight, I was in the mood for chili.  Since chili is something I have yet to fail at, I thought I’d try my hand at making chili without a recipe.  It turned out so good that I’ll even share what I did!  It’s SUPER easy, but nice and flavorful.  Even my test subject (fiance) approved.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can chili beans
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin

1)  Add ground beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper to a large pot.  Cook over medium heat until beef is browned.

2)  Add the remaining six ingredients to the ground beef mixture.  Stir well.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

I’m feeling really proud of myself.  Five months ago, I couldn’t even chop an onion.  Now I’m making up my own recipes and–gasp–sharing them with others!  That’s a LOT of progress made in just a matter of months.  GO ME!

He made, she made

Dinner tonight was a joint effort between my fiance and me.  He’d been planning to barbecue some chicken breasts, so I told him I’d “come up with something” to go with them.

And that is how I get myself into stupid situations.

By the time I got home from work, I had about 0.0000000012794362% of an idea in mind.  It involved rice.  But if I didn’t come up with a plan for the rice fast, we’d be eating our barbecued chicken with bone-hard, plain white rice.  After opening the refrigerator, the cupboards, AND the freezer, I had gathered chicken stock, frozen broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, and the ingredients to make a bechamel sauce.

I started by cooking the rice in the chicken stock.  While I left them to do their thing, I dumped some frozen broccoli florets into a mini food processor.

I’ve never used my itty bitty food processor to chop frozen veggies (or frozen anything, for that matter).  It’s probably breaking some culinary rule and I’m probably lucky I didn’t break my appliance or myself.  It took a little longer than the usual time to chop stuff, but the results were exactly what I’d hoped for!

I added the broccoli to the rice and whipped up a quick bechamel sauce.  That’s right, I whipped up a quick bechamel sauce.  Looking back on how badly my first one came out, I’m so proud that I can make such a statement!  Anyway, to the bechamel sauce I added about a quarter cup of shredded sharp cheddar, and then I stirred it into the rice.  While my fiance was outside working the grill, I sneaked a test bite of the rice.  I expected it to be okay, but not phenomenal.  It was actually pretty fantastic!  Much better than what I’d anticipated.  The only downfall was that it needed a little salt.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I currently have no salt in my house.

Honestly, who runs completely out of salt?

I finished the rice and got a mini grilling lesson from my fiance (more of those to follow, stay tuned……).  Between the two of us, dinner was wicked awesome.