Michele72's Profile

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Looking for ideas for a Sunday Supper for 30

Being here in the Arizona heat as well, a taco bar sounds fantastic. There's just something about crunchy and cool that makes it that much better in the heat!

Maybe mix it up with fish tacos, lengua, as well as some chicken or beef. Have some assorted salsas and margaritas or cervezas and you're set. Yum. :)

Aug 23, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Best wording to offer chef services as a gift to bride & groom

I really like this idea!!!

Aug 12, 2014
Michele72 in Not About Food

Wasted food due to guest taking too much -- any solutions?

I second this. All of this!

Wasted food due to guest taking too much -- any solutions?

What a horrible way to "deal" with the problem. I would be mortified, and would never show up again. I am sure my husband would be, too, for being told he is essentially required to be my garbage disposal. And how utterly insulting that if the situation were to be addressed, it is with him, not with her.

Perhaps that would resolve the situation, though.

What Grocery Store Sales or Bargains Have You Bought Recently?

My best from yesterday:

Herdez salsa- $0.59 each. My favorite jarred brand.
Dozen store brand eggs - free w/ coupon
Marzetti Simply salad dressings - 2 for $2.25. Ranch and Caesar are quite tasty.
Blueberry Eggos for the kids - $0.99
Chili's frozen chicken fajita entree - free w/coupon. May be all it's worth! :)

Aug 10, 2014
Michele72 in General Topics

Wasted food due to guest taking too much -- any solutions?

I had gastric bypass many years ago, and STILL struggle with this constantly. Speaking only for myself, there can be a number of reasons why I take more than I need, and I know most are psychological. For myself when I was at my heaviest, I was always hungry, and could have easily gone back for multiple portions at every meal, but at the same time always felt the judgement of all other eyes thinking "Why is SHE going back for more, she hardly needs it..." Going back for another portion seemed like more of a failing than just taking a large amount initially. I still feel some of that judgement, imagined or not.

And for a less psychological reason, a not-uncommon side effect of bypass for some is - delicately speaking - that food may not stay down. I deal with this quite often (at least once a day)... so I often get a little more of a portion assuming I may be eating twice just to eat once. Call it laziness! But I always figure what I don't eat I will just save as leftovers and eat the next day. In that situation, I would LOVE the offer to take it to go if it was a genuinely thoughtful offer, and not passive-aggressive snarkiness.

Worse McDonald's Item (No McD bashing, please)

I don't mind the McGriddle "buns" if eaten alone as pancakes (in fact, I find them tasty), but in a sandwich - particularly one with cheese - REVOLTING.

Aug 02, 2014
Michele72 in Chains

Lay's Potato Chips' New Flavors -- Seen or Tried Them?

Tried the Bacon Mac & Cheese, the Cappucino, and the Mango Salsa today. I found them all in the larger "single" serving bags at Circle K, and took them to my step-son's birthday party for some novelty sampling.

The Bacon Mac & Cheese was entirely mediocre, I thought. Step-son said he thought it tasted "exactly like crispy bacon" - I thought it tasted like smokier, cheesy Lay's. I don't think I would have identified the flavor as "bacon" unless prompted by reading the label.

Next up was Cappucino. I was prepared for this to be HORRIBLE. I am not a big coffee fan to begin with, and the sound of coffee and potato chips together sounded like something out of The Inferno to me. However, I did not find them completely vile, as expected. I can't say I found them *good*, either... I would never purchase them myself, but they were better than they should have been (which seemed to be the opinion of a few others that tried them with me, too).

The Mango Salsa... I took a large chip, and bit off a small sample. It was like something horrible exploded in my mouth, and I just wanted to get it out immediately. A three year old was at the party, and he took one at the same time I did... he took a little bite, made a "WHAT IS THIS HORROR IN MY MOUTH?!" face, and then shoved the chip back in the bag. At least we all got some humor out of it. Everyone disliked this flavor.

Bought the Wasabi Ginger as well, although I didn't try those. They had been sampled by others at the party who told me this was actually the worst of the 4 flavors, and after the Mango Salsa debacle, I just wasn't willing to jump back into that pool again. :)

Aug 02, 2014
Michele72 in General Topics

What to make with 20 drumsticks

I read this as "Stinky" Chicken Drumsticks and was SO CURIOUS what made them stinky.

Sticky is not nearly so interesting (although it sounds delicious)!

Apr 08, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Shrimp on pizza, yes or no?

One of the best pizzas I've ever had was a thin crust white pizza with olive oil and garlic brushed on the crust, mozzarella and small clumps of fresh ricotta, with crispy bacon crumbles, caramelized onions, and a 1 very large shrimp centered in each slice. Absolutely amazing.

Every other time I've thought about shrimp on pizza.... blech.

Mar 25, 2014
Michele72 in General Topics

"BULK" cooking?? Whatcha cooking today or this weekend?

So far this weekend:

A batch of steel-cut oats in the small crockpot made with milk and vanilla. Froze those in individual portions for weekday mornings, with a little cinnamon and sugar on top. Love it warmed with a sliced up banana.

Pre-made pie crusts were on sale this weekend, and I had everything else needed for a chicken pot pie, so I made a large one and that's cooling on the counter now. That will be lunches for myself for work this week.

The 7qt slow cooker currently had a very large batch of beef stew for dinner tonight for the family (of 5) and lunches this week for my husband.

In the small crockpot today, cooked two chicken breasts in half a jar of Trader Joe's Salsa Verde, and some Chicken & Tomato broth. Cut those into a small dice once they were done.

Made a large batch of spanish rice, and mixed in whole pinto beans and corn. Used this and the chicken above to make some chicken burritos (with pepperjack and cheddar) that will get frozen and used in lunches at some point. The remainder will get frozen and used as the foundation for burrito bowls - also for work.

Cooked up a large pot of brown rice that is being individually portioned off and frozen. These come in handy for quick lunches and dinners.

And still to come this afternoon, a large batch of oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies to freeze and take to our corporate blood drive later this week for post-donation pick me ups. :)

Mar 23, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

was this a social faux pas?

I would have sincerely appreciated the signage at your event, and the thoughtfulness in preparing two dishes. I am someone who often prefers the "mild" end of the spectrum, and would be afraid to have sampled the dishes if only the "native spice" level was available, for fear they would have been too spicy, and the host/hostess may feel bad in my clearly not eating/enjoying them.

I think your accommodation goes above and beyond in this situation, and this person who took offense sounds like someone who chose to behave that way, and probably would have found someone else to get insulted with sooner or later.

Why do people go to All-You-Can-Eat Buffets?

I like them because I love the "try a little bit of everything" style of eating. I really don't think I end up eating considerably more than a main dish + side type of dining, however usually those are often more than a person needs, too. :)

Everytime I go, though, I am always excited, and then start sampling dishes and reminded of the utterly mediocre food, and walk out saying "Not worth the bother". But then a year or two later I give it another go.

Mar 01, 2014
Michele72 in General Topics

Cook on Sunday - Eat All Week?

I use this exact same strategy, and it's fantastic. Helps me save time and money, as well as to keep from "losing" things.

Allenki, I agree with many others here that freezing some things, even if just selectively, will make your life considerably easier. I think everyone agrees that some things freeze better than others. :)

When I am cooking something that I know will freeze well, like chili, spaghetti sauce, dirty rice, etc., I intentionally cook 2-3x as much as will be consumed immediately to freeze the rest. I'll freeze in a variety of sizes from single serve (lunches) up to a large family size.

Then I try to look for ways to make those frozen portions into other meals. Chili might be served with cornbread, made into tamale pie, used in taco salad, top some nachos or a baked potato, etc. Spaghetti sauce might top simple pasta, get baked over a chicken breast, I chop up cooked chicken, and use it to top salads, as quesadilla filling, part of a teriyaki bowl, etc.

Being able to "shop" my freezer with these pre-made components makes life much easier. :)

Has anyone tried the chocolate chip cookie recipe posted on Serious Eats?

My husband's ex is a baker, and she had fowarded me the recipe/column, and then made them for Christmas Eve get together. They were pretty darn good. I don't know that *I* would go to the trouble to make them (I like to cook many times more than I enjoy baking), but I was more than happy to snarf up a few of them! :)

Jan 26, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Chocolate chip cookies always turn out puffy

I was going to post this as a response, too! What a great article that was. I find the "why-fors" behind cooking fascinating. :)

Jan 22, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #269 - It's Just Messy Outside Edition [through Jan. 24, 2014]

We're having Jansgiving today for dinner tonight. I had a 17 lb turkey in the freezer taking up room that had to come out, and it's in the final stretch of roasting in the oven now. Made stock yesterday for the gravy, fresh cranberry sauce earlier today. About to start the mashed potatoes now, made with a ridiculous amount of butter. A ridiculous amount of food for two people, but looking forward to leftovers this week for lunches, along with other varied turkey dishes (tettrazini, in particular!) with the remains.

I have some of a bunch of nuts and such. What to do?

I used Alton Brown's recipe for granola as a base for Christmas gifts, with alterations that included a variety of chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts). The recipe calls for coconut, and I also added a bunch of chopped dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, cherries and apricots). Everything else I did as directed.

I got raves back from the family, including appeals to "please never make this again, I cannot stop shoveling it in my face" from my carb-avoiding sister. :) It was fun to just throw ingredients into a bowl and have it come out so well!

Jan 09, 2014
Michele72 in Home Cooking

What ratios do you use for your mashed potatoes?

I watched an episode of Ramsay's "The F Word" and he was making mashed potatoes - also used the 1:1 potato to butter ratio. While watching, I thought that couldn't possibly be right, and imagined the mouth feel would be that of eating nearly straight butter.

However, I had to try it to be certain it was really as awful as I expected! I made them... and both my husband and I thought they were the best mashed potatoes we've ever had. I made them again for a work potluck; and the vote there was LOUDLY and unanimously in support of the 1:1 potatoes. :)

Like biggreenmatt posts here also; it's not something we make routinely (typically just Thanksgiving and New Years, and maybe a third time in a year if my husband's lucky). But every time I make them, we can't stop talking about how sinfully delicious they are.

Nov 20, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Cooking week's worth of food.

I often will make large batches of chicken breasts that I cook in the crock pot with salsa and some taco seasoning, then shred and save in individual meal sizes. This works well for all kinds of things; tacos, enchiladas, burritos, taco salads, or nachos. Also do the same with ground beef. I have heard that lentils can make a good substitute for the ground beef, but haven't tried that yet!

Even my non-cooking husband can wrangle the tortillas, grated cheese, lettuce, onions, etc. to help get dinner on the table this way.

We also love beans & rice. I'll make a large pot of the beans (with ham hocks, jalapenos, carrots, celery, bell peppers and onions), and freeze into meal size serving. We reheat rice (I also make it ahead and freeze), reheat the beans, and dinner's ready within minutes. They taste even better as the weather gets cooler. :)

Oct 09, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

What to do with "salad" shimp?

I had a bag of these myself, and used most of them in fried rice. The kids used them in their Top Ramen - they were quite proud of themselves for putting "real food" in their noodles. ;)

Oct 01, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Baked Beans...from scratch or not?

I really enjoy the recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site for The Best Baked Beans Ever. She uses canned beans, then doctors them with BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, onions, peppers and bacon. My husband and I have never been huge baked bean fans, but the recipe converted us both (and the others at the BBQ we took it to).


Oct 01, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Sandwich Inspiration - what was your last "sammy"?

Some torn romaine lettuce (a second one was made later with spinach - equally great). Some finely shredded red cabbage. Matchstick cut carrots and zuchinni. Thinly sliced red onions and green bell peppers. Drizzle of some greek salad dressing on top. Sprinkling of feta cheese.

All rolled up in Lavosh bread that was smeared inside with some spicy red pepper hummus.

Fantastic!! May have to make a run to the store to restock because I am continuing to crave this one!

Aug 07, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Bake sale recommendations?

Personally, I always like finger foods that can be put into a small, cute bag and grazed upon while on the go. I realize that's not nearly as gourmet as the Crêpes, but it's nice to have a variety of options to appeal to all buyers!

Things like:

Flavored Chex mixes: Apple Cinnamon, Coconut Almond, Lemon, Cinnamon Churro, etc.

Spiced or Candied nuts

Flavored pretzels

And while I have made a variety of similar myself in the past, the thing I am asked for EVERY time is Rice Krispie treats. I put an obscene amount of butter in mine, and I simply think no one else can bear to make them that way, but they all want to eat them. ;)

Whatever you make, have fun!

Chow Fun noodle recipe - no, not a dish, the actual noodles....

Recipe for Chow Fun as given to me by my sister-in-law. Apparently my husband's family grew up on this in Hawaii, and this is one of their favorite childhood comfort foods.

I've only had it once, liked it quite a bit, but have no idea how "authentic" it is. :) Here's the recipe verbatim from what she sent to me (with a bottle of their favorite Shoyu soy sauce from Hawaii).

1-2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of fresh garlic
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
1 bunch of sliced green onions sliced about 1 inch in length
1/2 cup carrots thinly sliced
1/2 cup green beans thinly sliced
Mung bean sprouts (if desired)
3 pkg Chow Fun rice noodles
Soy Sauce
Garlic Powder

Cook noodles (10 minutes) drain and rinse and set aside.

In wok or large frying pan, sauté sliced garlic and slices of ginger in oil. Remove from pan.

Cook the chicken thighs in oil until done, season with salt, soy sauce and garlic powder to taste.

Add carrots and green beans, cook until soft but still crunchy.

Lower heat and add the cooked noodles, mix, more soy sauce to taste.

Add the bean sprouts and the green onions and mix all together.


Jun 21, 2013
Michele72 in Home Cooking

What ingredients/stocks, etc. do you make ahead and freeze?

Taco meat
Spaghetti Sauce - I actually used canned sauce as a base, then add lots hamburger, onions, peppers etc to it. I usually make a fairly large batch once a month (we love the thick sauce, and have been known to eat it without the pasta).
Mexican Shredded chicken - I'll throw a bunch into the crock pot with Salsa and/or Rotel, shred, use some immediately, and freeze the rest. Great for enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, etc.
Chili - will make a very large batch o either the stove top or slow cooker, intending to freeze at least half.
Chicken Tortilla Soup - Make it in the crock pot, freeze remainders in single-servings for lunches.
Vegetable Beef Soup - Same as above. :)

Aug 19, 2012
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2012 [OLD]

I think they put something illegal and addictive in these things. AHMAZING.

Aug 10, 2012
Michele72 in Chains

Blood orange juice in the Scottsdale/Tempe/Chandler area?

I saw some at Whole Foods on Rural in Tempe not too long ago. They had it up front on the cooler to the right as you walk through the doors in their store-packaged area. :)

Feb 28, 2012
Michele72 in Phoenix

Amazing lunchbox lunch ideas?

I highly recommend Googling "bento lunch" or something similar - the keyword you're looking for is Bento. The bento lunch style is fantastic, healthy, and great, particularly, for kids.

This lovely lady has a blog about the bento lunch she packs daily for her son in preschool. Great ideas of what to pack, and lots of tips on how to make packing a lunch even more convenient. I stumbled across her blog a few months back, and it singlehandedly inspired me to start packing my lunch in a similar fashion. http://lunchinabox.net/

Oct 21, 2007
Michele72 in Home Cooking

Need suggestions: Asian food in PHX East Valley.

I'm looking to try something new and avoid another trip to PF Changs for dinner out Friday night with a friend.

She's requested Chinese, and wants someplace 'a little nicer' where we will feel comfortable taking up a table for awhile to do some catching up. (I think we'd both be willing to do someplace more casual if it offers great food, and won't be concerned about a slow turn on the table.)

Her suggestion was PF Changs, but I would like to try something new , and even better if it's a non-chain. I think I could talk her into Japanese, however she's not a sushi fan (although I am), so we'd have to go somewhere that offers more than just sushi. Perhaps Vietnamese as well; I'm not much of a Thai fan, though.

We'll be meeting at AZ Mills, but I am comfortable driving to Scottsdale or wherever for a nice meal. Price isn't a primary concern. We're also planning on eating a little on the early side (6pm or so) so hopefully crowds won't be as large of a factor.

She'll want to review a menu online prior to agreeing, as well. Not as large of a problem as it used to be, but still a possible factor!



Oct 17, 2007
Michele72 in Southwest