Let’s be honest- having people over is stressful…unless:
A: You are a total dude (like my husband) and you think a few bags of doritos and burger patties =’s party central
B: You are a gazillionaire and have party planners, caters, and servers
C: You just don’t give a snake’s rattle and you enjoy things as they come (if this is you, let’s talk…I’ll $$$ for your info on how you do it)
You have The Wifey’s Survival Advice!
I used to attend BBQ’s like a deer in headlights- stunned by my friend’s abilities to put on a culinary show and was terrified to try to follow their efforts.
Then I realized something: people like to eat. And drink. And enjoy themselves. If you serve them enough to fill them up they will be happy.
Also? People love tacos. Which is how I came up with Wifey Fiesta Night- a DIY extravaganza. And now I’m sharing the wealth*.
You ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!
What You Need/Grocery List:
- fish/shrimps/meat/chicken of your choice (I like to get pre seasoned shrimp and fish from the counter if they have have it)
- tortillas (I polled the ladies and flour wins every time) – a package of flour tortillas is perfect
- salsa/pico de gallo- it’s your choice (I’d include a mild and medium…if you serve a pico de gallo- you also get your onion serving in there)
- gauc- make your own or buy pre made – *I like to buy pre made
- cheese- Mexican blend cheese ideal
- sour cream/greek yogurt
- hot sauces of choice
- tortilla chips! ( I like to have a low fat/organic option and an old stand by as well)
- put out every hot sauce you own- the more the merrier
- I like to serve a fruit salad as well, for those who don’t feel like Mexican
- cut up a few avocados and serve those – they make everything look a little more fancy
- a tequila drink or Coronas with cut limes
What To Do:
- KNOW YOUR GUEST ARRIVAL TIME- For a fiesta- most things need to happen right before or as guests arrive
- fire up your grill
- put our your guac, hot sauce, salsas, cheese, sour cream/yogut, chips…..
- set out tortillas in tin foil and put to the side ( they will go on the grill for 2 mins per side at the last moment)
- grill ears of corn for about 10 mins on medium, turning every 4 mins or so, season with salt. pepper and a little butter. Cut off ear and serve as a side.
- microwave a bag of instant Spanish rice (90 seconds) and serve in a fancy bowl
- Amy’s brand refried beans (or any brand really), is so simple to make- put the beans in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a min or so and stir, serve in a fancy bowl
- cut some limes up for people to squeeze over the shrimp/fish/meat and beer
- throw your shrimp on the grill, cook for about 2 mins per side or until shrimp isn’t pink or translucent
- toss foil wrapped tortillas on – 2 mins per side- then serve on a plate or in a basket , covered with a napkin
- set everything else out with some pretty plates (paper or not), silverware and napkins and FIESTA!
After a brief hiatus…The Wifey is BACK for Wifey Wednesday.
ANYHOO- let’s talk about how STIR CRAZY we’ve all been about this Winter that seems to never end!
And yet, everywhere we look it’s all about : SPRING! Spring fashion =’s less clothing and > pasty legs and arms.
So I’ve come up with a one pot/wok dinner that’s both satisfying and healthy. Modify as you wish with protein. * add chicken, beef, subtract shrimp- whatever you like.
stir it up… (in Bob Marley voice)
This list may look like a lot, but I promise it’s mostly canned stuff and almost any grocery store in the USA will stock the list.
I really love Trader Joe’s for an excursion of this type, but no matter where you go, it’s cheap and easy.
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a bag/ handful of snap peas (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)
- a can of water chestnuts – sliced
- a can of “stir fry” mushrooms or fresh mushrooms
- a can of bamboo shoots- sliced
- a can of baby corn – *side note..you either love or hate baby corn so omit if you wish
- a handful of mixed peppers, sliced (green, red, yellow… I got mine from the Whole Foods salad bar)
- a small handful of sliced zucchini (I got mine from…the “cheater bar”. If your grocery doesn’t have a salad bar, simply slice up strips of a small zucchini)
- a pinch of shredded carrots from…. (I won’t even insult you at this point)
- a bag of frozen, shelled edamame (you will use about 1/4 a cup)
- a bag of pre cooked and cleaned, frozen shrimp
- a package of instant and microwave friendly rice (I like either brown or sticky white)
- a package of seaweed snacks (you can eat 10 FOR 30 CALORIES!?!?!) *pick them up at Trader Joe’s or in the ethnic isle near Asian foods, I like the Wasabi Flavor
- a small bottle of sesame oil
- a bottle of soy sauce (I like low sodium, regular makes me look like I’ve been crying all night)
- a bottle of teriyaki , or any other kind of Asian stir-fry sauce that floats your boat. *I got mine from Trader Joe’s
What To Do:
- heat about 2 tsp of the sesame oil in a pan or wok on medium high heat
- add all the veggies, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts & baby corn to the wok/pan and with a large spoon/stirring thing- make sure all your veggies are coated
- dump your frozen cooked shrimps into a strainer or bowl and run cold water over them for about 5 mins until they thaw. dump water out, and pat shrimps down with paper towel. * you can also use frozen uncooked shrimp, just cook in a separate pan until they are pink and then add to the mix
- either stir constantly or hold the handle, tilt the pan down and flip the veggies until they begin to brown
- pop the rice in the microwave and cook according to directions. (peel the top off and cook for 1 min)
- when veggies begin to brown a tad, add shrimps to the mix.
- add about 1 tsp of your sauce or just soy sauce to the pan/wok and continue to flip or stir until the entire mix begins to brown. Be sure to give it all your attention here- burning is NO GOOD.
- dump rice into a bowl, pour stir fry over rice.
- serve with seaweed for wrapping into mini burritos or just pretty color.
- bow gracefully and accept praise!
Last Sunday was my niece Izzy’s 3rd birthday party and my brother in law Andy made pulled pork in his slow cooker. People were acting like they were starving contestants on Survivor and had just been given a food prize. Just wolfing them down.
He gave me a pretty simple recipe, which I modified and made into The Wifey’s version.
Ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a package of pork shoulder & butt
- a can or box of chicken broth
- a medium yellow onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper
- chili pepper
- apple cider vinegar
- brown sugar
- a bottle of bbq sauce- I used Sweet Baby Ray’s
- mini King’s Hawaiian rolls
What To Do:
- cut your medium yellow onion into slices
- slice 4 cloves of garlic
- pour the can of chicken broth into the slow cooker
- pour 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into the slow cooker
- dump the sliced onions and garlic into the pot and spread out
- dump 1/2 cup of bbq sauce on top
- mix : 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of salt & 1 teaspoon of cumin into a large bowl.
- dry off your pork pieces and then dump them into the bowl, and coat with the spice mixture
- layer the pork in the slow cooker , add 1 cup water and cook on low for 8 hours
- pull out the pieces from the slow cooker and put them on a large cutting board, pull apart with two forks. it should fall apart easily. at this point I separated the men from the boys (pork and onions) and set the onions aside for people to use if they want. place pork into a large bowl.
- pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot and boil it for 15 mins or so- until about half of the liquid is gone.
- dump 1 cup of the liquid over the pork.
- slowly mix in remaining bottle of bbq sauce until it’s one big bowl of magic
- serve on mini rolls, accept praise.
In honor of the NCAA Football Championship game, I decided I’d cook a real “manly” meal for Alex.
So I sent him a list of ideas and OF COURSE he choose: Beef Stew.
What’s wrong with that you ask? Oh, just 1. that it’s his favorite meal from childhood 2. I’d never made it before 3. I don’t eat beef so I can’t try it and season as I go.
BUT in true Wifey fashion- I “manned” up and accepted the challenge.
It was guys. It really was.
In the end- 7 hours later- it was pretty much exactly what Al was dreaming of and he ate two helpings and took the rest to work.
How did it go wrong and then end up right?
Let’s get Wife’ed Up.
Wifey’s What A Croc Beef Stew over rice
What You Need/Grocery List:
- 2 lbs beef stew chunks (I used only 1b and it wasn’t enough) They sell this in the butcher section, I got mine from Whole Foods- organic
- 3 carrots or a bag of frozen sliced carrots
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 box or can of beef gravy – you can also use beef stock, I used gravy for added POW
- 1/2 cup Worstesture sauce
- 2 tbs of tomato paste
- flour- just make sure you have lots on hand
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper
- white rice- instant or not- it’s your jam
- a big ziplock bag
- vegetable or canola oil
- a croc pot or slow cooker
What To Do:
- cut potatoes into large chunks. I halved, then quartered, then cut them so they were all about the same size. Think- you need to use a knife and fork to cut for a bite- drop into pot
- cut onion into slices- drop in pot
- if you’re using fresh carrots- cut into circles or get fancy and slice of each rough side so it looks like a box and cut little squares- dump into pot
i did both- squares and rounds
- NOW- HERE IS WHERE THINGS WENT “WRONG” FOR ME. I MISUNDERSTOOD THE RECIPES I WAS ADAPTING THIS FROM AND DUMPED THE FLOUR INTO THE POT. YOU ARE ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO USE THE FLOUR FOR SOMETHING ELSE. IT ENDED UP BEING MORE THAN OK, BECAUSE IT WAS TOO WATERY SO THE FLOUR HELPED BUT I WILL EXPLAIN HOW TO DO THIS AT THE END INSTEAD.
- dump about 1/2 cup of frozen peas into the pot. At this point I freaked – hence no photos of the peas.
- heat a pan with a couple tsps of canola or vegetable oil- as you prep the meat
you will get no photos of the next few steps because I was in frantic mode
- take a 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of pepper and the meat and put them into a big ziplock bag- shake and coat so the meat is evenly covered.
- I ALSO BIFFED THIS AND JUST COATED IT ON THE TABLE- IT SURVIVED.
- take the meat in batches and sear each side in the hot pan until the meat is brown. SEAR it- don’t over cook it. Just make sure it hits almost all sides and turns a different color. This happens quick- so I advise to do about three chunks at a time. When they are brown- drop em into the pot
- pour your box or can of gravy over the top of everything
- dump 1/2 cup of Worsteschire on top of everything
- add 2 bay leaves to the mix
- sprinkle 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp pepper up in there too
- put your Croc pot on HIGH and set for 6 hours- place the lid on top
- stir every few hours or so (if you can- if not- no biggie) and add a pinch of salt and pepper with each stir
- after about 6 hours your stew should come out pretty BOSS. serve over noodles, rice, with bread- or solo.
HERE IS THERE THINGS WENT VERY WRONG- AGAIN FOR THE WIFEY… PLUS! HOW TO FIX A WATERY STEW
I opened my pot around the 5 hour mark to show Alex and wasn’t greeted by a beautiful thick stew- rather it looked more like soup. There was zero thickness. I silently freaked and went to the internet to search for how other Wifeys fixed their issue.
Here’s what worked for me:
- take out 2-3 cups of stew liquid (try to only get the liquid) and dump into a sauce pot
- add 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste and stir
- add about 1/4 cup of flour and whisk over medium to low heat until there are no lumps in your gravy.
- still not thick enough? slowly add flour while you whisk – a bit at a time- until it’s how you’d like it
- add 1 tsp salt and pepper, stir
- return your now THICK gravy to the pot and stir with the rest of the stuff to combine
- let it continue to cook for the final hour
- serve your perfection with confidence- they never even knew there was an issue! WINK.
Hey Wifey’s! Are the holidays killing anyone else’s waistline or is it just mine??
The parties, cocktails, endless apps and obligations- kill me now, right?!?
Here’s the Wifey Tip of the week; enjoy the party food and when you’re not spreading holiday cheer- whip up this Detox Shili to eat and share.
WIfey Detox Shilli (Soup/Chili)
What You Need:
- two cans of fire roasted tomatoes * in the canned veggie isle*
- a can of corn or bag of fire roasted corn *same isle or the freezer section- I love Trader Joe’s fire roasted frozen corn*
- a can of kidney beans
- a can of black beans
- a can of navy beans
- a can of chick peas
- 1/2 tsp of cumin or taco seasoning *in the seasoning or ethnic isle*
- fresh rosemary, thyme and sage or dried- 1/4 tsp each
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 tsp olive oil
- parmesan cheese- shredded
- a large pot
What To Do:
- put the 2 tsp olive oil in the large pot and heat on low
- open all cans
- dump all ingredients into the large pot and stir
- add cumin or taco seasoning packet, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and stir
- add a dash of cheese, if you wish…serve, and eat with no regrets
Cooking can be confusing-watch me make this here