The Bored Girl's Kitchen











{April 3, 2016}   Leftover Ham Casserole

One of my favorite things about casseroles is the fact that they’re so open to interpretation.  You can throw almost anything together in a baking dish and call it a casserole; and on top of that it’s a great way to use up random leftovers that you’re not 100% sure what else to do with.

We recently celebrated Easter, and with Easter comes  a lot of Easter ham.  If your family is anywhere near as awesome as my family you also got sent home with an abundance of leftovers from both events you attended.  I made a few omelets, but mostly stared at the ham for a while before I shrugged my shoulders and decided to do what I’ve become quite adept at lately: throwing things in a casserole dish with some cheese and seeing how it turns out.

What I used to make this is pictured below, but boils down to:

  • leftover ham – if I had to guess, I’d say it was probably in the neighborhood of a pound
  • an onion
  • pasta
  • one packet of pot roast seasoning mix
  • one 8oz package of cream cheese
  • one 8oz package of shredded cheddar cheese
  • milk
  • some butter
  • one pint of french onion soup (not pictured because I forgot the canning jar after I used it)

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I started out by putting a pot of water on to boil.  While that was working, I set to chopping up the onion.  I went with more of a rough chop but you can cut them down to whatever size you like. They went into a separate pot with some butter while I started cutting up the ham.

 

Unfortunately that’s the only picture I managed to get of the ham before it made its way into the rest of the mix.While I was cutting, I periodically checked the onions to stir and make sure they weren’t burning. As you can see there was a fair amount of fat left on some of those pieces. You can choose to discard or keep as much of that as you want; I got rid of most of the big pieces of it. The water had finished boiling before this point, but I waited to add the noodles until I had finished dicing up the ham and had turned my attention back to the onions. This is also about where I set the oven to 350 to start preheating.

The pictures above take you through making the sauce I used. To the now softened onions I added the packet of pot roast seasoning and 1 1/4 cup water and mixed it in.  Once it started heating up I added in the cream cheese.  This is where it started getting really thick, so I added in a cup of milk and a pint of a beef broth based mushroom onion soup I had previously made and canned. Once everything was mixed up and seemed pretty even I added in the ham chunks and the noodles so I could transfer everything from the pot to the dish.  If you used a smaller pot to make your sauce in, you can mix it all together in a large bowl or even just in the baking dish if you’re feeling extra risky.

I like to spray my baking dishes with a non-stick spray just to be safe most of the time, it’s up to you if you want to do the same thing. On the left you see it all mixed together, and on the right is the extra cheese that I added to the top before baking. Cover in foil, bake for 20 minutes covered and an additional 15 minutes uncovered then let it cool for a while before eating.

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This is what it looks like as it comes right out of the oven.  Husband got home shortly after this picture was taken and proclaimed the house to smell wonderful. After digging in, I think I could have used all of the ham my mother-in-law sent me home with instead of half, but it was delicious either way!



{April 21, 2014}   Stuffed Shells, Takes 1 and 2

Verdict: My husband prefers the one I cobbled together, I agreed with him until my first full plate of recipe 1 and then decided I preferred that one instead. It’s a bit creamier and almost a little sweeter, but recipe 2 almost tastes like little personal lasagnas.

On a Monday, I decided I wanted to make stuffed shells. I headed to the grocery store to get my supplies, recipe I fully intended to doctor in hand. Well, in phone. I planned to make them Tuesday, but something came up. Wednesday wouldn’t work because we host a weekly dinner with friends that had already been planned and had stuff divvied out for people to bring. Turns out on Thursday he wasn’t going to be home early enough to put them in the oven if I prepared them ahead of time. Friday rolls around and I realize it will probably be almost another week before I get a chance to make them for dinner, so I said “fuck it” and made them Friday afternoon as lunches for however long it took everything to run out. The bonus to waiting? I got to use up the the leftover meat from Wednesday too!

I could post the original recipe I messed with, but you’re probably here to see what I did and not what that lovely woman from Pinterest did, so I’ll just go with that. Stuffed shells are another one of those awesome dishes that there really isn’t a wrong way to make. Well, I’m sure there are actual wrong ways, but there’s definitely more than one right way.

What you’ll end up needing for sure:
– Jumbo pasta shells
– Sauce to line the bottom of the pan and pour on top of the shells
– Stuff that works well with your sauce and itself (ingredients that play well together)

What I used for recipe 1:
– Ground beef mixed with pizza sauce, leftover from making calzones
– 1 cup ricotta
– 1 cup cottage cheese
– A small Tupperware container of chopped mushrooms
– Salt and pepper to taste
– A can of pizza sauce
– Mozzarella and three cheese shredded cheeses

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What I used for recipe 2:
– Leftover taco meat
– A jar of spaghetti sauce
– The rest of the ricotta
– Shredded sharp cheddar
– Feta cheese
– Pepperoni

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I started by boiling water for the shells and got to work setting up a spot to start mixing things together for recipe 1. In a large bowl I combined the meat, ricotta, cottage cheese, and mushrooms and mixed it all together with a spatula.

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I noticed the water was boiling and added the entire box of shells to it. At this point I realized that I am not a smart man, and my pot was too small. So I got out a bigger one, transferred the contents, added more water, and wandered off to do some laundry, open a bottle of wine, and started preparing the baking dishes. Both dishes have different dimensions but seem to have roughly the same capacity so I wasn’t too picky with which one I was going to start with, and your biggest criteria should be that it holds what you’re making and won’t break while you’re cooking in it.

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Taking the dish nearest to me, I poured a thin layer of pizza sauce along the bottom. Once the shells are done cooking, drain them however you want and bring them to your work space. Fill the shells with the delicious concoction in your mixing bowl and place them in the dish. You’re done filling it when you run out of space, filling, or shells. I ran out of filling first, although I did cram the last few in there because I knew I was running low on filling and didn’t want to have a pan with only a handful of that flavor. Pour the remaining pizza sauce over the shells, top with the shredded cheese, set aside to start working on the other dish!

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Having run out of filling but not shells, I set about to make more filling.

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Raiding the fridge I saw the leftover taco meat, feta, and pepperoni and decided to give that a shot. I tossed the meat into the mixing bowl, added some spaghetti sauce and feta, and stirred. It didn’t look quite right, so the rest of the ricotta went in there too. Declared my new filling good enough and went to preheat the oven. The last time I made shells I swore the temperature was 350°. This recipe called for 400°, but I was using glass and according to my momma should drop the temperature 25°, so I settled on 375° and got back to the shells.

Line the new baking dish with some spaghetti sauce, making sure everything is covered evenly. Stuff your shells and add them to the dish. Cover them with the rest of the sauce, sprinkle some more feta and the sharp cheddar across the sauce, top off with a few pepperonis, and you’re just about ready for the oven!

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Cover your baking dishes with tin foil and put them in the oven. Set your timer for 20-25 minutes and go enjoy a glass of wine. Come back and take off the foil but leave everything in the oven for another 10 minutes or so to let the cheese really melt.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool before attempting to enjoy.

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And look at all the lunches we got!

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If you enjoyed this recipe, share it with your friends and let me know how it turns out for you!



{April 17, 2014}   Homemade Calzones

Verdict: Om nom, nom nom nom.

Pizza is one of those dishes that my husband and I both love. It’s a favorite for him when he doesn’t feel like making a full meal because it’s quick and easy, especially when ordered. I like it for, well, most of the same reasons. We always end up compromising on what we get because I alwaya want a ‘fancier’ pizza than he does, so personal pizzas were a no brainer that I brain farted on until very recently. After talking with one of the ladies at work about how she threw together a calzone for her family in a reasonable amount of time, I decided that hey, I can do this too!

What you’ll need to make this: realistically anything that sounds good on a pizza. I went with

– Pizza dough
– Pizza sauce
– Cheese (I used mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and feta)
– Ground beef and pepperoni for my meat
– Mushrooms and garlic for my veggies

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Step 1: Brown your beef. I tossed it into a pan and let it simmer while I got to work chopping my veggies.

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Bonus shot of my pizza dough thawing on the pilot light.

Next step: cut up your veggies! This is also probably a good time to start heating your oven. I set mine to about 350°. Don’t forget to check on the meat periodically though. Here I chopped up some mushrooms and used my fancy shmancy garlic zoom (don’t judge, it was a wedding present) to get my stuff ready. I also had some extra time to chop up a few more vegetables for lunch time snacks.

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If you’re smarter than me, you’ll probably roll out your dough on a cutting board. I am not a smart man, so I greased up my cookie sheet, cut my dough ball in half, and started kneading it out with my fingers. It worked, but it could have turned out a lot better. In any case, get however many dough bits rolled out as you need and get them on your baking sheet to start filling them. When you start, you’ll want to keep in mind that you need to flip one half over so that all your ingredients are covered. I just tried to stick to filling one side of my dough. I chose to go sauce, cheese, meat, then veggies, and fold everything over. However you choose to do it is perfectly fine, just so long as you can fold over your dough and seal the edges.

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     Not pictured: well sealed edges.

Pop that bad boy into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is as toasty as you want it. Pull it out. Let it cool, and enjoy! I did thoroughly, because I never get to put that much garlic on anything and it was a nice treat for me. Not as much for my husband when I tried to kiss him later, but for me anyway, and that’s really the important part.

Hope you enjoyed my bored return to the kitchen!



{September 3, 2013}   Clops

Verdict: Delicious, as always.

Clops are one of those things I’ve never really been able to explain to people very well.  I usually settle on “meatloaf patties.”  I honestly don’t even really know the history on it other than my mother says that it’s a Hungarian dish and she grew up eating it and made it for us and that’s what it’s always been called.  She always makes it better than I do, but I like to think that mine aren’t half bad either.

So what you’ll need for this:

– Ground beef.  I used two pounds and ended up using two bowls to make what you see below.

– Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, other seasonings you may want to add.

– Onions.

– A few slices of bread.

– 2 eggs, but you can use more if you want.

– A splash of milk, although I forgot to add the milk.

Step 1: Make sure that your meat is all thawed out and all that good jazz. Cut up your onion and tear up your bread.

Step 2: Add all of your extra ingredients in and mix well.  It will probably work best to add them one at a time for the most part.  So egg, mix, onion, mix, bread, mix, milk, mix, seasonings, mix, etc.

Step 3: Form the meat into patties and put them on a plate to get them ready to be cooked.  You could probably grill them if you want, but we’ve always made ours in a pan.  As long as they’re not really touching, you can put as many in the pan as you want.  Flip them after a few minutes when they’re cooked about halfway through.

At some point you may notice an excess amount of grease in the pan.  You really don’t want to let your clops soak and cook in this stuff, so you’ll want to periodically drain it.  Don’t be me and grab the closest thing to you that turns out to be a red solo cup.  They melt.  Use something sturdy and solid.  If you use something disposable like a styrafoam cup you can just toss it once its solidified, but don’t just drain it down the sink.

Oops.

Once they’re all cooked, go ahead and enjoy them! I like mine with ketchup, but you may want to put them on a bun with cheese.  It’s all up to you!

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!



{June 17, 2012}   Take one at tacos

Verdict: Coulda been better, but weren’t terrible.

Every now and then I get some serious cravings for tacos, and not the kind with ground beef.  I’ve never really made them before and always sought them out, but being on a bit more of a budget than I have been in the past I decided to give it a shot.  What you see below is what I was able to do with what I found around the house.

To copy me exactly, you’ll need:

– Some really freezer-burned meat masquerading as steak

– Various veggies: I used a sweet onion and some avocado

– Seasonings: I used garlic powder, roasted garlic red pepper, and celery salt

– Butter

– Tortillas.  I usually prefer flour, but all I had was corn.

– Cheese

Step 1: Cook the meat.  You can defrost it completely first, or do what I did and try to defrost it a bit then toss it in the pan with a lid on low heat to have it cook and defrost at the same time.  Once the outer edges are at least no longer frozen and can accept seasonings, you can season your meat now if you’d like.

Step 2: While the meat is cooking, go ahead and get your veggies and the like sliced up.

Step 3: Once cooked at least pretty much all the way how you want it, pull it from the pan and cut it up.  You can do strips or chunks or whatever you want.  I ended up with strips because I was too lazy to cut everything up into small chunks.  Then everything goes back into the pan for some more frying in butter.  You’ll also add your onions and season to taste here as well.  Once everything’s all done, drop your meat onto a plate.

Step 4: You can choose to heat your tortillas up a bit if you want, or just start building your tacos right away.  I chose to heat mine on the stove for a few seconds.  Once they start moving – changing shape, curling edges, bubbling – it’s probably time to pull them and start building your tacos.

You can assemble with more onions, tomatoes, avocados, whatever you want.  I opted for just avocados and cheese and even more onions.

This was nowhere near as good as authentic tacos, or even how I butcher assembling tacos when friends make them fairly authentically, but it hit the spot for the moment and I was happy enough with it.

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!




There is nothing more delicious than fresh noodles, sea food and fresh veggies on a cool spring night.

And if you’re economic like me, there’s nothing better than all of that on a single plate and in every delicious bite.

After a year of tweaking, I’ve finally found my perfect dish after trying a version of this soup in an instant noodle bowl that has since changed. (saddd faccceee)

I present to you…

Stinky Noodle Platter

Make at your own caution.

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Ingredients:

1 package of bonito flakes

1 kombu kelp

2 cups water

1 bottle clam juice

1 tbp sesame oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

5 raw shrimp

6 oz salmon fillet

2 bunches of bok choy, chopped

¼ cup grated daikon

1 tsp grated ginger

3 cloves of garlic, grated

½  onion

8 shitake mushroom, diced fine

½ zucchini, julienne fine

½ package of fresh noodles

Dash of salt and sugar to taste

Dash of mirin (sweet cooking sake) to taste

This recipe calls for a lot of prep work, but once you have that out of the way, you’re golden.

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Alright, to start – soak the kombu kelp in the water for a half hour, no heat.

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While waiting, cut the onion into bite size pieces.

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Cut the bok choy leaves into fine shreads.

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Grate the daikon.

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Dice the shitake mushrooms.

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By now, the kombu kelp has hydrated, so turn the heat on and let it come to a soft boil. Add the bonito flakes and set on medium low.

Back to veggies!

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Grate the garlic cloves.

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Charming to look at, huh?

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Grate the ginger.

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I’m a huge fan of keeping my station clean, so everything onto a plate or dish if you haven’t already.

Back to cutting!

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Cut the zucchini in half. Cut that piece in half.  Cut that half of a half (zucchini inception anyone?) into three pieces width wise. Cut that now length wise.

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Onto the plate it goes!

Now we can start cooking.

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Add the sesame oil to the largest pan you can find.

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Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté. Add salt and turmeric.

Why turmeric now?

Oils really bring out the flavor of spices better than any sort of heating or cooking method. If I added the turmeric later, I wouldn’t get as much flavor and I really love the taste of turmeric.

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Let this cook until a gorgeous golden caramel color.

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Let’s check on our bonito/kelp stock – it looks plenty disgusting, which means it is done.

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Add the rest of the vegetation to the pan and sauté until slightly softened.

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If you were a quitter, you would stop now and devour this pan.

But you’re not a quitter, are you? You know paradise is just a bit more away.

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Separate the stock from the solids, we won’t be using that (I mean, you can if you want, but I don’t).

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Add the claim juice.

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Add the sugar to taste (shut up, I like it a little sweet).

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Add the dash of mirin.

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Set to medium.

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After 10 or so minutes, I add a little bit of vegan butter (curse you lactose intolerance) for extra creaminess. You don’t have to, I just do.

Now, you could stop right here, add the noodles and be done with it. But we’re going full stop here.

Onto the seafood goodness!

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Peel the shrimp from their shells.

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I don’t mind the skin from the salmon (and it holds it together), so drop that right into the stock.

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Nestle that shrimp in there good.

Alright, I forgot to take pictures of this, but add the noodles straight into the broth once the shrimp and salmon are about down. It’ll take only a couple minutes and really thicken up the soup into a sauce.

Serve on a single plate with a nice garnish of black sesame seeds.

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Enjoy.

Fin.

Rating:

I’m still dreaming of the next time I can make this.

Now, this is a very flexible recipe – you can use whatever vegetables, spices and meat you want. You can make it spicy, you can add cheese, you can make it into a completely different taste. The choice is up to you.

Good luck!



{May 10, 2012}   Customized Pizza

Verdict: Not half bad!

With my new schedule comes getting used to a new schedule.  That meant that when I didn’t eat breakfast in the morning and then didn’t get a lunch, I was very hungry for a short while, and then by the time I got home I wasn’t all that starving anymore.  A few days of eating a normal sized dinner and nothing else led to me feeling like no matter how much I ate I was still hungry, so I got home from work one day and decided I was making myself a pizza and playing a game of how much of it could I eat before I felt full.

To do what I did, you’ll need:

– A frozen pizza of whatever brand you like.

– Slices of cheese.

– Notes: You can use more shredded cheese if you have that, but I had slices and they just stacked so darn neatly.

I promise you the steps for this are super easy.

Step 1: Unwrap the frozen pizza, taking note of the cooking instructions.

Step 2: Add as much cheese as you want to the pizza.  Eat some of the cheese while you’re adding it.

Step 3: Follow the given cooking instructions. Adjust the time if after the allotted time it isn’t cooked to your liking yet.

Step 4: Allow to cool, and then cut and enjoy!

I managed to make it through about half the pizza before I didn’t want to eat anymore, but didn’t feel full until after I ate my next meal.  This is something you can do to spruce up just about any frozen pizza you can buy.

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!



{April 29, 2012}   Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles

Verdict:  Omg tasty!

I like making cookies, but I don’t eat them all that often.  At least not often enough to really justify making them that often.  I think what I like so much about making them is that I think it’s really cool to watch all these (not so) random ingredients turn into something delicious.  My best friend of … well, let’s not start counting… a very long time, wanted to make cookies, so we sat down with one of my mom’s cookbooks (The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook circa 1976) and took at look at what cookies there were to make.  We settled on the snickerdoodles.  What we did varies slightly from the written instructions, but you can follow either one.

In the original recipe, the instructions are all one paragraph that’s essentially one long step.  I broke it up to make it easier to follow with pictures.

What you need:

– 1 cup butter or margarine, softened. To aid those of you who don’t do a lot of baking, that’s two sticks.

– 1 1/2 cups sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 2 2/3 cups unsifted Pillsbury flour*

– 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

– 1/2 teaspoon soda

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 2 tablespoons sugar

– 2 teaspoons cinnamon

– 1 cup of chocolate chips (this is optional, and I decided to added it myself.  Well ok, it was Connie’s idea, but still an addition not in the original recipe)

– Notes: They say you can use whole grain flour if you want, and if you’re using self-rising flour you should omit the cream of tartar, soda, and salt.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. For a softer, gooier, cake like cookie set it to 380 instead. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

Step 2: Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Step 3: Stir in the flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Once everything’s all mixed, add in the chocolate chips.

Step 4: Combine the sugar and cinnamon together.

Step 5: Shape the dough into balls, using a rounded teaspoon of dough for each.  We opted to use a mini ice cream scooper that worked pretty well, and we decided to put the dough in the fridge for a while to firm it up some.  It worked great for a short while, but after the third ball it was gooey again, so that part is totally up to you. Roll the balls of dough in the sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  We used parchment paper and it worked just fine.  The instructions say to bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are set.  We had our heat turned down and baked them about 15 minutes and they came out perfectly.

Step 6: Allow to cool, and enjoy! Ours stayed on each sheet about 15 minutes or so before being transferred to a plate.

The chocolate chips were actually seriously tasty in there, and the cookies had what I would describe as pretty much the perfect texture.  The outside had a light crisp and the inside was fluffy, almost like cake!

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!



{April 26, 2012}   Quick Avocado Snack

Verdict: Success!

I was hungry one day, but didn’t really feel like making anything.  Also, there were a lot of dishes piling up and I didn’t feel like cleaning them to make enough room to really make anything. (Have you senses a recurring theme yet?) Anyway, I spied some avocados and decided that what the hell, I’ll make a quick snack.

What you need for this:

– 1 small avocado

– Salt

– Crackers of your choice.  I used Triscuits because I had those around.

Step 1: Take your avocado in hand.  Halve it, and then pit it.

Step 2: Slice lengthwise in about 1/4″ strips, and then widthwise in about 2″ chunks. Spoon it onto a place and add a light coating of salt.

Step 3: Put on cracker and enjoy!

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!



{April 24, 2012}   Poor Man’s Burgers

Verdict: Yum!

I enjoy burgers, and anything I don’t really have to cook myself. My mom enjoys shopping at Costco.  During her most recent trip she picked up a bunch of what was essentially ground beef patties. While she was freezing the ones she knew we weren’t going to use before they went bad, I snagged a few of them and decreed that we were eating burgers that evening. So I took the husband outside and headed to the grill.  The result? Tasty burgers! I seasoned, he grilled, we ate.

What you need for this:

– Ground beef to make the patties.  You can use whatever patties you want.  Ours ended up coming in half pound balls that my mom flattened a bit to make into better shaped patties and we just ran with it.

– Seasonings: I used celery salt, garlic powder, and a roasted garlic with red pepper mix

– Bread for buns. You can use real buns if you want instead.

Step 1: Turn on the grill, and wait for it to warm up.  While you’re waiting, go ahead and season your patties.

Step 2: Put them on the grill when the meat sizzles when it touches it. When you start getting some well defined char lines, go ahead and flip them.  Feel free to season this side of the burger too, and flip it again to cook the seasonings in when you start getting good char lines on that side too.  You can cut into the middle to check for doneness, or go off your gut.  But they’re done when they’re cooked how you like them.

(Grilling, complete with even more waiting!)

Step 3: Serve on sliced bread with any condiments you may want.  That’d be your cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, or whatever else you may want  or have laying around. You can have a side dish as well if you want.  It’d go great with chips or a cold salad (either regular salad, or a pasta salad, or potato salad, or anything else served cold).

If you look carefully, you’ll see on the right that I started eating my tasty burger and then discovered we had cheese.  Yay cheese.

I enjoyed the hell out of my burger, and so did my husband and my mom.  Quick, easy, delish.

If you have any questions or comments you can either leave them below, or email me.  If you have a suggestion for a recipe or any other ideas, that email address is theboredgirlskitchen@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!



et cetera
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