Instagrams of things I ate and drank recently

It’s been noted that I take a lot of photos of my food. Well, it’s true and I don’t apologize for it. You first eat with your eyes. And I love when food just looks amazing and it must be shared. So here are a few things I ate recently:

Vanilla brioche French toast from @thesugarfactory. #brunch #breakfast #yum #latergram

A photo posted by @angelich on

Fluffernutter milkshake from Sugar Factory in Rosemont. #yum #food

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Bloody snowman in my hot chocolate. Hahaha #yum

A photo posted by @angelich on

#Christmas jello shots.

A photo posted by @angelich on

Snowballs ready! #yum #cookies #Christmas

A photo posted by @angelich on

Beef Stew

There are times when you just want a big bowl of beef stew. I recently discovered Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew. Delicious. I actually did make this on a Sunday. But I had to adapt it to my tastes. If you like turnips and onions, check out the original recipe! I go with carrots and green beans for my version.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

I think the broth is truly what makes this recipe great. The mixture of beef stock (which I’d never used before), tomato paste and Worcestershire make it so delectable.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I actually made a double batch of this last time which is when I took the photo. It took two stock pots.

Ingredients:
1.5-2 lbs. of stew meat
32 oz. or 4 cups of beef broth, I would say have 1-2 cups extra depending on how thick or thin you like a stew
Olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
A couple tablespoons of minced garlic
4-6 oz of tomato paste (usually the cans have 6 oz. so you don’t want to waste)
Onion powder
Worcestershire, probably 2 tablespoons or more. It’s to taste.
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper
Carrots
Green Beans

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Start by heating about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot with the tablespoon of butter. Let the butter melt.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Season up the beef with salt and pepper before sticking them in the pot.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

Do one layer of beef in the pot at a time. Give each piece of meat its own space.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Brown the meat on all sides then pull it from the pot and put in a container off to the side. Do this with all the meat.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

Add the garlic to the pan and brown slightly. Don’t let it burn.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add in the beef broth and the tomato paste. Stir so the tomato paste melts into the sauce.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add the meat, plus the drippings back into the pot.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Time for the Worcestershire. Again, the Worcestershire is to taste. I like a lot. Also, season with the salt, pepper, onion powder and add the sugar.

Bring the pot to a boil and then lower the heat. Let it stew for roughly an hour and a half with a lid. A lid is important.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

In that time, prep your green beans and your carrots.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I actually use baby carrots for pretty much all my recipes. Why? They’re all roughly the same shape and size. So then you can cut them easily into smaller pieces. You also don’t have to peel baby carrots, so less time handling them.

Ok, so your hour and a half is up.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add your carrots and green beans to the pot and stir. At this point, decide if there is enough broth in there for you. If it’s too thick, add more beef broth or even water.

Stew for at least another 30-40 minutes with the lid back on. You can test how soft the carrots are to see if the stew is done or not.

Beef Stew  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

And there you have it! A beautiful stew with tender meat and it just fills you up. You can eat this by itself or it tastes good with mashed potatoes or rice. Yum! It freezes pretty good too. Either in tuperware or freezer bags.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t believe I’m over stating it when I say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

I affectionately call these “Tessa’s cookies” because the recipe comes from a former coworker named Tessa. She brought these to a work potluck once and then she was required to bring them to every following potluck. And then she gave me the recipe and I’m hooked.

They are the perfect mix of salty and sweet, jam-packed with chocolate chips. Plus they are firm around the edges and then soft and gooey in the middle. What more could you ask for from a chocolate chip cookie?

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I’m not even going to give you the ingredient list for a single batch. No. I’m just going to double it outright. This makes a little more than 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 scant teaspoons salt
A little over 4 cups of chocolate chips
Coarse Kosher salt

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Waiting for the butter to soften is the hardest part of this recipe. I usually cut it into smaller pieces and let it sit on my counter for awhile.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is warming up, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and egg until fluffy.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt (not the course salt).

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined. I do them in shifts. A couple spoonfuls at a time.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

Then you are going to need to fold in the chocolate chips. Do this by hand with a spatula and not with your mixer.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I bought the industrial sized back of chocolate chips from Costco. It was worth it.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Spread the chocolate chips throughout the mixture until all combine.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I use a tablespoon scoop so all the cookies are roughly the same shape and size.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Drop onto a greased sheet or nonstick foil. Do them all at once. I end up with four pans worth. You aren’t going to remove the cookies from the pans until they set up.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Then bake for 6-10 minutes. I’ve found the perfect time for me is 8 minutes.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Leave the cookies on the pan until they cool down! They set up on the pan and become firm yet soft.

Creamed Corn

Have you been to Texas? I went to Texas for the first time a couple years ago and I was introduced to Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ. I don’t really go there for the BBQ though. No. Every time I’ve been back, I go for the creamed corn:

Tim knows the way to my heart. First thing we do in Texas: creamed corn at Rudy's. #yum

A photo posted by @angelich on

The creamed corn is an absolute must. To my dismay, there are no Rudy’s locations up north. So I’ve been trying to find the best substitute. And I did find a great copy cat recipe. It’s not the perfect replica, but it’s still quite tasty.

Creamed corn

Consider adding this to your Thanksgiving meal this week, or just have it for a weeknight dinner. It’s quick and simple.

Creamed corn

Ingredients:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. frozen corn plus a little bit more.
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Creamed corn

 

Put the pint of heavy whipping cream in a pot with the 4 oz. of cream cheese. I cut the cream cheese up a bit smaller. You’ll be melting it over medium heat until it melts. A whisk is best used to stir it as well.

Creamed corn

 

Let it boil for a little bit just to make sure the cream cheese is melted and it’s heated through.

Creamed corn

 

Add the corn, salt and sugar. And make sure the corn gets heated through. If it looks like there’s too much sauce/gravy, try adding more corn. Mine turned out a bit more soupy, but it was still good.

Creamed corn

 

Pour into your container to serve and sprinkle on the black pepper.

Creamed corn

 

Ready to eat!

Also, if you do find yourself at a Rudy’s, I love the brisket. And you need a buy a bottle of their Sissy Sause. I actually just ran out of the bottle I bought a few months ago. Tastes yummy on chicken.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I know, it’s been forever! I’m getting back into the blogging mood, although the cooking mood seems to escape me at the moment. But I’ve still been documenting new dishes.

Last winter, I lived off a soup from Au Bon Pain during lunch. It was a Butternut Squash and Apple soup. Sweeter than most butternut squash soups I’ve had in the past. I was trying to find a similar recipe or even a knock-off and was failing with Google searches and Pinterest searches.

Then it hit me, I had tried a recipe a few years back at a library event. I had to tear through my apartment trying to find the piece of paper the recipe was on. One day, looked under one of my living room side tables and found gold!

Butternut squash and apple soup  |  craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

This is a sweet, but not too sweet recipe for butternut squash and apple soup. It freezes really well (directions at the bottom).

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Ingredients:
– 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of butternut squash peeled and cubed
– 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into little cubes
– Onion powder (or 1 med. shallot)
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup dry white wine
– 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if necessary)
– 1 cup apple cider
– Little bit of nutmeg

You will need one large stock pot and I use an immersion blender to puree everything.

I don’t drink wine, so one of the best tips I have for you is get the mini-bottles of wine. Then you only need to open a small bottle vs. a really large one. Less waste.

I also have a Costco membership. I’m sort of addicted to shopping there now. But butternut squash has been one of the best deals I’ve found there. Less than $5 for about 2 lbs. of butternut squash already peeled and cubed.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Start by putting the olive oil and butter into the stock pot. Melt it over medium heat.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Put all the butternut squash and apple into the pot and brown it. If you’re using the shallot put it in as well. Otherwise season with the onion powder.

After browning the butternut squash and the apple, deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook off the alcohol.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Once the wine is cooked off, add the apple cider and the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil and then simmer. Add the pinch of nutmeg at this time.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Simmer for about 30-40 min. You can see in the photo, the apple and butternut squash are looking a bit mushy which is what you want. They need to be soft.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Puree! Make sure it’s nice and smooth and there are no chunks of squash hanging around. At this time, you can also add more chicken broth if you want to thin it out a bit more. You can also add pepper if you want as well.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup | craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

There you go! Delicious and pretty healthy butternut squash and apple soup.

Now if you’d like to freeze this, let the soup cool down. You can then stick it in quart freezer bags and freeze. I do suggest for the first few hours it’s freezing, you stick it on top of a baking sheet and lay it flat. You can also use small tuperware to freeze it. Works really well.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken

Bacon. I wanted some. I wrote about a Baconfest recently and I have just been thinking about eating some bacon. So I decided to incorporate it into dinner. Plus, lucky me, I found an awesome deal on bacon.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 1

This had a bit of kick to it, more than I expected. It smelled amazing (until the brown sugar started burning, but that’s besides the point).

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 6

Ingredients:
– At least three chicken breasts
– 1 lb. of bacon
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar
– Cayenne pepper or chili pepper

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 5

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the chicken, then portion it out into two or three pieces per breast.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 4

Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can do the same with the cayenne pepper or chili powder. I used cayenne, but it ended up being a bit more spicy than I wanted. Take into account who will be eating it.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 7

Wrap each piece of chicken with one slice of bacon.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 3

Take each piece of bacon-wrapped chicken and roll it in the brown sugar.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 2

 

Stick the chicken in the oven for 30-40 minutes. At 35 in my oven, the extra brown sugar on the pan starting to brown too much. So make sure to check it when it’s getting close.

Bacon-wrapped sweet and spicy chicken 8

Yum! Peas and alfredo pasta on the side.

 

Rolo-stuffed sugar cookies

I’ve wanted to try stuffing cookie dough with something else for awhile now. A trip to the grocery store this weekend provided an excuse to try. The tube of cookie dough was 50 percent off.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 1

I’m sold on the awesomeness. Look at that! Yum.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 7

Two ingredients: sugar cookie dough and Rolos.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 8

I unwrapped two dozen candies (photo taken before I was done in case you count the number in the bowl).

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 6

Slice your dough into even pieces. About half an inch thick is good. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 5

Take one slice of cookie dough and one candy. Roll up the Rolo in the sugar cookie dough.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 4

Space out the cookies on a large baking sheet. Stick it in the oven for about 11 minutes.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 3

After cooking time is done, let the cookies sit until they are pretty cool on the baking sheet. Don’t try to move them or they will smush or break.

rolo-stuffed sugar cookies 2
Look at how gooey that is! So good.