I call this “The Stove Saga”.

If you were around last deployment, you may remember “The A/C Saga” which is oddly similar to this one.

Okay, so I have one working burner on my stove. Is it called a burner when it’s a gas stove? I have no idea. But only one of them works.

And this happened because way back in March, my stove started ticking.

(Let it be known that at this time, I had 3 working burners.)

A really nice guy came to fix it and I was grateful that he didn’t judge me based on the amount of dust and dog hair that was behind the oven.

Buuut, by the time he was done “fixing it”, the one burner that hadn’t previously worked was the only one working.

So I’ve had one burner since then. Which isn’t TOO bad but it gets annoying. Like, I can’t boil noodles and cook sauce at the same time. What was once a 20 minute meal now takes an hour. So yeah, it’s annoying.

But I stuck it out because I always feel like the maintenance guys have better things to do. There’s probably someone on post experiencing a leak in their roof or something equally horrible and I don’t want to take the maintenance guys away from stuff like that.

I realize this is most likely some deep-rooted self-esteem issue that I should probably be discussing with a therapist and not my food blog. But whatever.

Every few weeks, I get really fed up and I call the office and tell them the story and they say they’ll call me back. And they never do.

Actually, one time they did and the women told me to call her back but the number she left wasn’t in service which just made me angrier than if she hadn’t called at all.

Well, I’m officially at my end with it. And this is pretty typical of me. I wait and wait and put up with stuff and deal with it. And then I’m done all at once. And I’m fighting back tears in a housing office filled with soldiers while my kids quack loudly because they’re amused by the echo.

Uggghhhh, Army housing.

So I’m waiting for a phonecall. Again. I’ll keep you updated.

Until it’s fixed, I’ll be using my slow cooker a lot. I made this earlier in the week and my kids gobbled it up. They said it tasted like the sweet & sour chicken they always get from our favorite Chinese place.

Click for the full recipe

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My number 1 goal for the summer was to go to the aquarium. I’ve been putting it off because it’s in Denver and Denver feels so far away. When in reality, it’s only 40 minutes. And after surviving the Epic Summer Roadtrip of 2014, I decided that a 40 minute drive was doable.

So we did the aquarium yesterday and it was awesome.

While we were standing in line to buy tickets, I noticed that the lady in front of me had a Trader Joe’s tote bag and I did the loudest internal scream. TRADER JOE’S! I’ve never even seen one!

Obviously we went there after the aquarium.

You guys, I was so underwhelmed when we got there. It’s like the size of a Walgreens.

But I quickly learned that they jam so much goodness into that little Walgreens-sized building. I bought so much meat and so many coconut products. And that pretty much sums up my diet.

That really has nothing to do with these chicken thighs but I wanted to share because I’m super excited that A) I went to Trader Joe’s! And B) I now realize that it’s only 40 minutes away and it’s totally worth it to make the drive once a month or so.

These chicken thighs are my current favorite protein. I’ve gotten into a ground turkey rut the past few months – that’s pretty much all I’ve been putting on my salads – and I was desperate to switch things up. So I started cooking these thighs once a week and then using the meat on my salads or just as a quick snack or meal. I use the Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard every day of my life and these are SO GOOD with it. And they’re super simple: just a quick brown on the stove and then baked for 20 minutes!

Seriously easy and seriously good.

Click for the full recipe

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Delicious homemade enchiladas made with the best canned tomatoes!

I am going through withdrawals from my favorite Mexican restaurant right now. My husband and I go ALL THE TIME but since he’s deployed, it feels kind of wrong to go by myself. So I’m toughing it out and dealing with my taco cravings and my neon margarita cravings and it’s all been pretty awful.

I was really desperate recently and had to have an enchilada. Like, I wasn’t going to make it through the day without an enchilada.

I used to always buy enchilada sauce in a can but I’ve found recently that it’s just as easy to make your own! I went to Walmart and bought some Hunt’s tomato sauce which was the base of my sauce. You just add in the spices and bam, enchilada sauce!

Hunt’s is my favorite canned tomato brand. I counted the Hunt’s diced tomatoes in my pantry just so I could share with you guys aaaaaand…. 13. Yeah, I think I have a Hunt’s diced tomatoes problem.

Hunt’s uses a really unique flashsteam peeling method that you can read about here if you’re interested.

So for my enchiladas I wanted chicken and beans. I don’t typically got for beans in my enchiladas but I just really wanted some pinto beans!

The filling is just the chicken and the beans and the sauce. That’s all wrapped in corn tortillas and rolled up. And then they are topped with more sauce and lots of cheese! I topped mine with some sour cream, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro but I really wished I’d had some avocado on hand, too.

These totally satisfied my enchilada craving and for the first time in a long time, I was actually excited about eating leftovers!

You can find more great recipes featuring Hunt’s canned tomatoes at www.hunts.com and www.readyseteat.com.

Be sure to follow Hunt’s on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, too!

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas (Summer Recipes)

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can Hunt's Tomato Sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese
sour cream, cilantro, tomatoes, olives, etc for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes and salt.
  3. Pour in Hunt's Tomato Sauce and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and allow to cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and set aside.
  4. Stir the shredded chicken and pinto beans into the remaining sauce.
  5. To assemble, place your corn tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 20 seconds or until soft and pliable.
  6. Working on one tortilla at a time, spoon about 1/3 of the chicken mixture into the tortilla. Wrap up and place seam side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  7. Pour the reserved sauce over top and sprinkle with the cheese.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with garnishes if desired.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/06/11/chicken-bean-enchiladas/

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Buffalo chicken is one of those things that I never really think about until I see some on TV or on a blog or in a magazine. And then it’s all I can think about. Like, if I don’t get some soon I may not be able to go on.

That happened recently. I don’t remember what triggered it but I couldn’t stop thinking about buffalo chicken. And my go-to is usually the frozen veggie buffalo “chicken” nuggets but since I’m doing (kind of) the Paleo thing, I wanted to actually make my own.

From actual chicken.

I thought these were interesting because typically when you see a recipe with “nugget” in it, it’s just chopped up chicken breasts. But this recipe uses ground chicken which makes it seem more like a fast food nugget. And you guys know I like a McDonald’s nugget every once in a while.

The recipe also has a breading made from coconut flour. Coconut flour is super fine and it seemed to stick to the chicken a lot better than your usual breading options. I have never had good luck making “oven-fried” chicken and things like that because my breading always falls off or burns randomly, but this one worked so well!

I really, really liked them. I ended up using them on salads in place of my usual (bland and boring) ground turkey and it was a really nice change.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients

1 pound ground chicken (a little fat makes for a moister nugget)
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons buffalo sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the breading:
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
1/3 cup buffalo sauce
3 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to mix together ground chicken, egg, 1/4 cup coconut flour, buffalo sauce, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Do not overmix.
  3. Take about 1 1/2 tablespoons and roll into a ball. Flatten slightly into a "nugget" shape. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  4. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup coconut flour, 2 tablespoons flax meal and 1/4 teaspoon salt and dip each nugget gently into the flour mixture until coated on all sides.
  5. Place the coated chicken nuggets onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. While chicken is baking, melt butter. Stir in buffalo sauce.
  8. Once the chicken has baked for about 15 minutes, remove nuggets from the oven and carefully dip each one in the butter mixture until coated on all sides. Place each nugget back on the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/05/29/baked-buffalo-chicken-nuggets/

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I had the most disappointing Pinterest fail this week.

It was a breadstick recipe to go with this pasta and I swear, it was one of the first things I ever pinned. So for years, whenever I’ve gone digging through my Pinterest bread board for inspiration, I saw those breadsticks and thought “THOSE LOOK SO GOOD! But they aren’t right for this week.”

So when I finally decided that it was time for those breadsticks, I was more than a little excited about them.

And they were awful.

Years! Years of looking at these stupid breadsticks and then they just fail me like that.

So send me twisty, Parmesan-y breadstick recipes. Please. I need some really awesome breadsticks in my life.

This Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta saved the day though. I’m not usually a pasta fan unless it’s super spicy, has bacon, or is topped with a fried egg but this one really blew my mind. It’s so simple and has so few ingredients but somehow, I loved it.

My kids really enjoyed it too. Not one of them complained about the chunks of tomato which is unheard of around here!

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

Ingredients

1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups water
1 – 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses.
  3. Set an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, the water, 1 cup of the chicken broth, and the pasta to the pan, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer, then cover the pan and continue simmering (you may need to reduce the heat slightly) until the pasta is tender, about 16-18 minutes. Stir the pasta frequently as it cooks.
  4. Once tender, remove the cover and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the pepper, and the chicken. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary. If the mixture seems dry, mix in as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth as needed to loosen it up. Sprinkle the top evenly with the mozzarella cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and bubbles around the edges. Garnish with the basil before serving.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/05/22/chicken-parmesan-baked-pasta/

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