Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gnocchi with Spinach, Peas, and Lemon

This quick, vegetarian gnocchi dish is a staple in my house.  It's a good way to eat some greens if you don't want to make a salad.  The lemon juice adds a great tang to the sauce and compliments the spinach.  I use a little extra lemon juice because I love the flavor it adds.  There's almost no chopping in this recipe, which makes it easy and quick to prepare.  I use frozen gnocchi, I think it tastes better and has a better texture than the vacuum packed stuff.  I added some extra peas to the dish because I'd had them in my freezer for a while and had about 3/4 cup instead of 1/2.  I think it's fine to add more peas, they're good for you. I also added some extra cheese because cheese is awesome.  The recipe calls for using 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water as part of the sauce.  I eyeballed it and didn't use all of the reserved water, I never do when I make this dish.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beer and BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I was at a party a few nights ago and someone was discussing the awesomeness of chicken cooked in beer and barbecue sauce.  I've always wanted to try a pulled meat recipe that included beer.  Cooking with wine is fun, so why not beer?  I searched the internet for a good crockpot recipe and found one with only a few ingredients.  This meal requires very little prep work and could be tossed into the slow cooker in less than 10 minutes.  But that's no fun!  Instead, I made my own BBQ sauce.  The recipe suggests that a thinner sauce is better for cooking the chicken, so I didn't leave mine on the stove for very long.  After I poured some in the slow cooker, I let it cook more to thicken it to my desired consistency.  The BBQ sauce I made freezes well.  If I was in a hurry, I'd just use a bottled sauce.  The chicken is amazing! The meat didn't taste like a chicken drowned in beer, it was a very mild flavor that went really well with the BBQ sauce.  My sauce isn't overly sweet, which I think is a good match for the beer.  The smoked paprika gave it a slight kick. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, the chicken required zero effort to shred.  When it was completely cooked, it took about five minutes to shred, mix with the sauce, and put on a bun.  This is a great dish for a work night if you can get it in the slow cooker in the morning (and it has a keep warm setting).  It's also great for leftovers.  I served it on an onion roll with some foil baked corn on the cob and a small salad.


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