Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holy Clam Juice, Batman – That was Delicious!

So I've been avoiding a can of clams I've had in the basement for a while now. Only the good Lord knows why I picked it up in the first place, though I do vaguely remember enjoying some sort of spaghetti with clams my mom made growing up.

Tonight, I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner around 6 p.m. when I saw it and thought, What the heck? The only problem was, I had no idea what to do with it and my parents weren't on Skype. Without real long distance, I figured I'd go to my old standby, allrecipes.com, and found this recipe.

It was surprisingly fantastic. I say this because the inside of a can of clams isn't that appealing. The sound of it really isn't, either. Don't even get me started on smell. When I told my husband, Rick, what I was making he replied, "I don't think I like that." Well, turns out he was mistaken. He gobbled it right up, along with my 21-month-old. I couldn't believe it.

If you find yourself with a wayward can of clams and some pasta, give it a try. These are the adjustments I made: because i only used 1/2 a pound of spaghetti, i cut the oil down to 1/8 cup and used 2 TBSP butter, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 15 oz can of chopped clams and about half the juice, along with half of the spices.

Some other reviewers suggested adding white wine, which I may try next time. For sure, I'll fire up a piece of bread to sop up all the juicy goodness. Mmmmm.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Upside Down Chicken Rice

Our friends, the Cross Family, were coming over for dinner last Thursday and I had every intention of whipping up a batch of the simpliest, easiest, tastiest chicken dish ever, Sweet & Sour Chicken. My mom got this recipe years ago from Lipton Onion Soup mix; here's a version of it; she used to always use a whole chicken cut up and more preserves, but you can just wing it or let me know, and I'll look up the exact measurements.

Anyway, I was convinced I had all the ingredients on hand and even though I had made a note to double check, I decided against it and just went to the store for other items we needed. After picking up my son from his little pre-school and tucking him in for a nap, I go to assemble my ingredients and of course, they weren't all there.

In a rush to find some other kind of chicken I could make with ingredients I had on hand, I found this one for Upside Down Chicken Rice. It has a Mediterranean flare to it and even though I'm not a huge cinnamon fan and was a little hesitant about boiling chicken, it turned out really well. Give it a try.

The only things I did differently: used boneless skinless chicken breasts, added in about a cup of frozen peas as another reviewer suggested, and cut waaaaay back on the oil. Although I was tempted to toast the nuts in the oil, I just toasted them in a dry pan. And when I fried the chicken and carrots before adding the rice, etc., I only put in a tablespoon or two versus 1/4 cup.

I also tried to cut down on the number of dirty pans, though technically I dirtied more plates and bowls in the process. For instance, I didn't want to fry the chicken and carrots in a new pot, so I just removed the main solid contents to a plate and poured the stock into a bowl, then poured 3 cups of this into a 4-cup Pyrex liquid measuring cup. (BTW, the recipe is set up to make 12 servings so make sure to pare it down; I went to four.)

Otherwise, the only other thing I'd do differently in the future is skip the frying in the oil part. I don't think it's worth the effort, but you can make your own mind up. Enjoy!