Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Southwest Tuna Casserole

As I was going through pictures on my hard drive, I realized there are several quality meals that I haven't shared with you yet! As you may know, my mom likes to cook also, and she shares recipe ideas with me all the time. This recipe came from her, but she found it on foodnetwork.com. I love tuna casserole and this one has some awesome add-ins. I probably will add more spice the next time I make it. In fact, I'll probably make it soon since it's been about four months since I took these dark dark pictures :)

Southwestern Tuna Casserole
Chef to the Rescue - Featuring Cat Cora
(sorry Cat, I can't find the link on the website)

1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups thawed corn kernals
1 (10.5 oz) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup salsa
1 tsp chili powder
1 (6 oz) can tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
2 1/2 cups rotini (or whatever noodle you like), cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350

Coat a two quart casserole with cooking spray

Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onion and celery until softened, three minutes or so. Add corn and cook two more minutes. Stir in the soup, salsa and chili powder until incorporated.

Add the tuna and pasta, stirring enough to coat. Pour into the casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

Also, I want to share with you one of the many challenges I face, which is mainly brought about by my laziness and also by the fact that my house is also home to two big hairy dogs. When we found out about the baby, we moved our computer desk into the guest bedroom. It's a little tight in there, but it works. Now Gracie has somewhere to lay while I'm playing on the computer.

It just happens to be on top of the clean laundry waiting patiently on the guest bed to be put away. The dog has no shame, and I am obviously an enabler. Sorry honey, for the dog hair in your clean socks.

*This post was written to the beats of N.E.R.D.'s In Search Of... (cause I'm the sh!t)

Apricot Honey Chicken

The next time I make this recipe, I will get up five minutes early (yeah right) to marinate the chicken before I leave for work. Though the dish requires almost zero effort, the total start-to-finish time is a little long for a weeknight dinner.

The chicken came out of the oven super juicy, with a great sweet and tangy flavor. No dry baked chicken here, lovelies!

Also, expect a new theme to this blog, a constant stream of complaints about the quality of my photos. I hate these dark pictures! One of my favorite things about food blogs is beautiful photography, and this blog don't got it. I need to get ahold of either a lightbox or an external flash so I can amaze you not only with yummy food, but also with quality photography!

Apricot Honey Chicken
from Joelen's Culinary Adventures

1 pound chicken breasts
2 tbsps canola oil
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tbsps honey

Combine all ingredients in a large ziploc bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, as long as overnight.
Preheat oven to 350
Use cooking spray to grease a large baking dish, place the chicken breasts in the dish, discarding the marinade.
Bake until juices run clear, 30 to 35 minutes.

*This post was written to the tunes on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Playlist on Rhapsody. Funk and old rock, man.

Excuses, excuses...

I truly hope I haven't lost all of you, my internet friends, due to my FOUR MONTH absence from blogoration. And even worse, especially since this is supposed to be a food blog and cooking is something I vowed to make a central part of my home-life, I didn't even step foot into the kitchen for about TWO months of that absence. My excuse is simple...a UFO abducted my DSL line and kept me off the internet! No, not really. How about, a new life form stole my appetite, made brushing my teeth something I had to do near a toilet, made 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day mandatory and forced me to live off of cheese and crackers for about ten weeks? That's more like it! Figure it out yet??? We are expecting a baby! We had a positive test right about the time of my last post (yes, that was the end of September, ghaw) and soon I began feeling the morning sickness (more like all morning, day and night sickness) that stuck around 4eva. Not fun, but worth it. Props to the ladies out there with the m/s.

Now for the baby stats. As of this moment, I am 23 weeks into my pregnancy. Don't ask me to convert that to months. My doctor and my trusty pregnancy book both refer to weeks when discussing gestation length, it just seems easier. My due date is May 25, 2009, Memorial Day, how cool is that? Last Memorial Day I was drinking a beer or five on the lake with my husband and our friends Amy, Shawn and Lanie. I don't expect Memorial Day 2009 to be quite the same, but then again, I know our lives changed that day last September when the two pink lines appeared on my Target Brand First Response test stick.

In mid-December we found out that Baby Smith is actually Baby Boy Smith! I felt him kick for the first time right around Christmas and his dad felt him kick for the first time last Sunday! My favorite thing is to feel him rearrange himself when I roll over in bed at night. Not only do I have to rearrange my nightgown, hair, pillows, etc. when I roll over (yes, it's a process) but he also has to get re-situated.

We have a lot of baby related things to do in the next few months including setting up the nursery, registering at a few baby stores since my wonderful friends have offered to throw a baby shower for me, and taking some childbirth classes **epidural, here I come**. I will post baby updates here since lots of my readers are family and friends IRL. And yes, now that I've returned to the land of the non-nauseous, I will be posting about FOOD again. A huge thank you to those of you who have stuck with me through this delay. I know a quality blog includes timely posts, and I know how disappointed I am when my favorite blogs go awhile without posting. I will try not to let this happen again.

Oh, and a new part to my blog: I love good music and I'm always looking for new suggestions. I'm going to try to remember to end each post by sharing the musical selection I was enjoying while writing. Today it was the self-titled album The Bird and the Bee. Very dreamy, very clubby. Good inspiration!

And thank you to my boss for closing the office today due to the massive ice/sleet storm that's been moving through Tulsa since yesterday afternoon. You rock, dude. (I can say that to him because I'm relatively sure he has no idea I have a blog, let alone care to read it).