Home In Disarray

March 24, 2016

Eggroll Stir Fry Bowls


I totally stole this idea from another blog.  It sounded pretty legit, so I fussed with it to suit our tastes and not depend on leftovers. I am well aware that this is one of the least photogenic foods that has existed.  I’m comfortable with that.  It’s delicious.  If you’re not being so strict about watching carbs, adding shredded carrots or thinly sliced red bell pepper would be really nice.  Really anything can be modified, this is just what I put in mine.

egg roll stir fry

Eggroll Stir Fry Bowls (makes 8)


  • 32 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs – trimmed & marinated in a little tamari and white vinegar, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 chub “hot” style breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium-large head green cabbage, cored and shredded (about 24 oz)
  • 12 oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 container firm tofu, drained, and extra moisture pressed out (if you freeze and thaw, the tofu can be rung out kind of like a sponge) – cut into 1/4 – 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tsp ginger root, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili oil


  • If you have a super hot stove burner and a wok, please, I defer to you.  I don’t.  Everything was done in batches and mixed together in a bowl off the heat.  If you are a mere mortal, follow my instructions.
  • Make sure everything is prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.
  • In a large skillet, brown your sausage.  Once browned, pull the sausage out of the pan into a large bowl but try to leave as much of the rendered fat in the pan.
  • Add your tofu and cook over medium heat to allow the tofu to crisp
  • Once tofu has crisped, dump it into a large bowl with the pork.
  • Reheat the pan over high heat, and add your chicken thighs.  Cook until browned, add to bowl.
  • Pour a little avocado oil into the pan, reduce heat to medium high and add your sliced mushrooms.  Cook until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms begin to turn golden brown. Add them to your bowl.
  • Add the rest of your avocado oil and cabbage.  Cook over medium high heat until the cabbage begins to darken or char a little on the bottom.  Stir/flip the cabbage until it all begins to soften.
  • Add your ginger and garlic to the cabbage.  Stir.  As soon as it begins smelling really great, add the tamari, vinegar, sake, sesame oil, chili oil mixture.  Shake/stir until cabbage is coated and remove from heat.  Add to the bowl.
  • Thoroughly mix everything in the bowl and split the mixture into 8 portions.
  • Enjoy

egg roll bowl assembly

Nutrition Breakdown (per 1/8 recipe)

462 calories

36g fat

10g carbohydrates

4g fiber

36 g protein


Posted in: Cooking, Food, Low Carb
March 20, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

This is as ridiculous as it sounds.  But it is also delicious, filling, and if you’re keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake, low carb.  It also gives you all the flavor of a bacon cheeseburger without the bun.  Either eat this on its own, or have it over a simple salad.  I like to double the recipe, make 2, and freeze one of them for a few weeks later.  In my experience, when eating a restrictive diet, the easiest way to set yourself up for success is having tons of “premade” stuff that is ready to eat – which is why I usually have already peeled boiled eggs, string cheese, salami, and jello in the fridge.  This bacon cheeseburger quiche is one of those puzzle pieces.  It keeps in the fridge for a full week easily, although we’ve never had it last any longer than that, if you know what I mean. 😉

bacon cheeseburger quiche


Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche (makes 6 servings – photos show a double recipe)

Ingredients(one pie plate):

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon dry chopped onions (or fresh if you like chopping a tiny amount of onions)
  • 5 oz shredded kerrygold cheddar
  • 4 thick slices bacon, fried till fairly crisp (I use Fletchers from Costco)
  • 71 grams mayonnaise (a few tablespoons)
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Cook your bacon (I trust you’ve done this before and know what you’re doing)
  • In a large skillet, brown your ground beef.  Add the dehydrated onion to the skillet as it’s cooking.  After the beef has browned, drain and remove it to a bowl to cool.
  • Shred your cheddar, and chop the bacon.  Once the beef has cooled, mix in the cheese and bacon.  Transfer beef mixture to a pie plate. It doesn’t need to be greased. There’s enough fat in this that it doesn’t really stick.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, eggs, salt & pepper in the bowl.  Whisk until they’re homogenous, and pour the mixture slowly over the beef.  It takes a while for the egg to seep down into the beef mixture.
  • Bake the quiche in a 400 degree oven for 25 -35 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly when bumped.
  • Remove and allow to cool to room temp.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, or place into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months(I made that number up, freeze for however long you’re comfortable freezing)
  • Slice into 6 slices, reheat in the microwave, and enjoy!

Bacon Cheeseburger QuicheBacon Cheeseburger Quiche

bacon cheeseburger quiche nutrition copy

Posted in: Cooking, Food, Low Carb, Meal Plan
January 27, 2016

Brats with Bacon Braised Cabbage

\Brats with cabbage

This is a goody.  Simple and satisfying as a small meal, or add a side of some sort and serve it as a “normal” meal.

Makes 5 servings, takes 45 minutes


  • Pack of 5 Trader Joes uncooked bratwursts
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz shredded cabbage
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet, crisp your bacon. Allow it to cook over medium heat until it is starting to crisp up but isn’t destroyed.
  • Remove the bacon to a plate and set aside, but leave the fat behind. Add your brats and brown them on each side. Once you’re satisfied with their color, add the bacon back to the pan and remove the brats. Add your cabbage, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
  • Saute for a few minutes until the cabbage begins cooking down. Add your ACV and chicken stock, plus a large pinch of salt and allow to come to a simmer, still over medium heat.
  • Add your brats back to the pan(nestled into the cabbage) and allow to simmer gently for 10-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Taste a little of the cabbage and adjust the seasonings.
  • To serve, place 1/5 of cabbage mixture on a plate and top with one bratwurst.Brats with cabbage
September 14, 2015

Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry

puff pastry setup and wreckage

Time to stop talking about chickens, and start talking about pastry.  Puff pastry is a pretty magnificent creation.  If you’re not familiar with puff pastry, it is a ton of super thin sheets of dough separated by a ton of super thin sheets of butter.  When rolled out, sliced, and baked, the butter begins to steam, separating the layers of dough and crisping them up.  This is totally incredible.  Unfortunately, most puff pastry purchased at the grocery store is made with a combination of butter and palm oil, or straight-up palm oil.  It doesn’t taste as good.  All-butter puff pastry can be acquired, but a tiny bit costs like $13, and frankly, if it’s something that I can make myself in bulk and save 90%, I’m gonna go that route.  Last time I made puff pastry for croissants, I went through it so quickly that I deeply regretted not having made more.  As the weather has finally begun cooling down in the Seattle area, I have started putting stuff up for winter – starting with several pounds of puff pastry.  Photos indicate a quadruple batch, although you may find that making each batch separately is an easier proposition.  I certainly did.

puff pastry dough

butter prep for puff pastry

Adapted from Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry



  • 2.5 cups unbleached AP flour – about 12.5 oz
  • .75 cup cake flour – about 3 oz
  • 1 stick butter, 4 oz, cold
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp very cold water


  • .25 cup unbleached AP flour, about 1.25 oz
  • 1 sticks butter – 1lb, cold


Mix the dough

  • Place the flours in a 3 quart bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine evenly and break up lumps.
  • Slice butter into thin pieces and add to bowl
  • Rub the butter in by hand, squeezing and breaking up each piece.  The mixture should look homogeneous with no visible chunks of butter remaining
  • Stir the salt into the cold water to dissolve, make a well in the flour mixture and add the butter.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape across the bottom of the bowl and through the center of the dough.  Turn and continue scraping until a ropy dough is formed.  Don’t apply any pressure to the dough with the spatula
  • If the dough seems dry, add more cold water a tablespoon at a time.  Don’t worry if it is a little dry.  Cover the bowl and set it aside (in the fridge if you have room) while you prepare the butter.

Prep the butter

  • Place your .25 cup flour on your work surface and roll the sticks of butter in it.  If you have a wooden rolling pin and don’t mind hammering directly on your counter use that.  If you have granite counters and a marble rolling pin, maybe take some precautions.  I used a large plastic cutting board and a metal meat mallet and it worked fine.
  • Pound each stick of butter with your mallet until flattish.  Stack, coat in flour, and pound together.  Fold, coat in flour, pound again.  Continue pounding and folding until the butter has become malleable and the flour has all been incorporated.  Shape into a square approximately 1 inch thick.

Form your dough package

  • Flour your work surface and pour your dough out onto it.  Form into a rough square(about an inch thick) and don’t be concerned that it’s not holding together smoothly. Turn dough 45 degrees and roll each of the corners out into thin flaps.
  • Place the butter square on the dough so that the corners of the butter are evenly between flaps.  Fold the flaps over without stretching and make sure that no butter is exposed.  This may mean that you need to pinch together little bits.  Do it.

Roll it, Roll it good

  • Flour the work surface and the dough and begin rolling out.  For me, the most effective way is making a few horizontal taps along the surface of the dough to kind of hammer it flat with the rolling pin, then rolling.
  • Make sure that the dough remains floured and does not stick to the surface.  Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 3/9-1/4″ thick.  Try to keep the corners square.

Fold the dough

  • Fold both ends of the dough in towards the center, then fold the dough in half.
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees and begin to roll out again.
  • Once you’ve reached 3/8-1/4″ thick again, repeat the folding process again
  • Roll once more time, fold, and set the dough aside, preferably on a baking sheet that you have made room in your refrigerator for.  If you’re making more than one batch, complete the remaining batches through this step.  I usually make all of my dough, all of my butter, then go from dough package through refrigerator ready with each batch separately.

Chill your dough, lather, rinse, repeat

  • Place your dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour and a half.
  • Remove from refrigerator and complete 2 more roll-and-fold scenarios
  • Chill it again for at least an hour and a half, and then roll and fold twice more.
  • Roll to about 1/2″ thick and cut off and set aside any unsightly ends (there is a use for these).  Cut each rectangle into 2 pieces (I separate mine with parchment) and place into gallon sized freezer bags or foodsaver bags (I prefer foodsavers, but they’re totally not necessary.)
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator stored completely flat. If vacuum sealing, freeze before sealing so that the dough doesn’t deform under vacuum. Label, freeze solid until ready to use

Use the dough

  • To use, remove dough from freezer and set on a flat surface in the refrigerator for a few days (you know how long it takes things to defrost in your fridge).  Roll out, and use in any recipe calling for puff pastry.  If cutting, use a sharp knife.

puff pastry assembly


rolling puff pastry


To use the trimmed-off ends of the puff pastry, line them up and roll them out together.  Sprinkle with some sugar, spread with nutella, or anything else that you can think of that isn’t too bulky (maybe parmesan cheese and pesto or sun dried tomatoes?).  Roll up into a log.  Chill thoroughly (I actually like to freeze the log for 20 minutes or so) and slice into pinwheels.  Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the palmiers have puffed a little, the edges are browned, and the center looks cooked.

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food
August 6, 2015

It’s Hatch Chile Season! Preserve some for the rest of the year!

Roasted hatch chiles

Get out your rubber gloves, it’s time for Hatch chiles! Hatch chile season only comes about in August.  The town of Hatch, New Mexico has some special conditions that create these incredible chiles.  Either way around it, they are only around for a few weeks, so you have to strike!  I found the first bits of this year’s crop at a local grocery store and promptly purchased 4 pounds of peppers.  I had the day off and was going to get them “put up” for the remainder of the year. Apparently in the Hatch area, there are regularly guys on roadsides with these big metal roasting rigs that will just sell you boxes of charred hatch chiles.  The Whole Foods in our area gets them each year also and will sell you cases of charred chiles also.  This is definitely easier and only marginally more expensive, but I don’t mind doing my own, so I got to it.

Roasted hatch chiles


My method is actually to fill the charcoal chimney for my Weber grill all the way to the top with charcoal, light it, get it nice and hot, and then set my grill grate directly on top of the chimney, and then place my chiles on that.  It takes a little while, to do all of them, but the chiles char more evenly and faster than when they’re further from the coals.  This can also be done over a gas grill, using a propane torch, or if you’re manly, over a campfire or whatever.  Then the chiles get piled up in a container that will assure that they are stacked on top of each other, and covered in plastic wrap until they are cool enough to handle.  Now for the next part, for the love of god, wear rubber gloves!  I made this mistake last year, and apparently was too stupid to remember it this year, and made it again.  Hatch chiles are hot.  They run between 5,000  and 7,000 scoville units. For reference, Jalapenos are in the 2,500-8,000 range.  Just keep that in mind.  After doing probably 20 peppers, my hands were BURNING.  And I tried many different things to get rid of the pain, all with very limited success.  I had to remove my contacts and wash my face using a rubber glove that night.  Not exaggerating, it took 24 hours to stop hurting, and even 36 hours later, I would get occasional burning sensations.  Not pleasant.  Wear gloves.  Anyway, once the peppers have been charred, covered, and cooled, the skin should be loose and peel off pretty easily.  Peel all of your peppers.  Then go through and remove the stem end and pull the inner membrane and seeds out.

Roasted hatch chiles

After roasting, peeling, and deseeding, I individually vacuum packed each chile. I know that this seems wasteful, and it kind of is.  My reasoning is that last year I packed a few in each package and would usually only use one or two for a particular recipe or dish, and then struggle to find a use for the remainder of the package.  This way, they defrost in seconds under a stream of warm water and I won’t have leftovers.  Your mileage may vary. After vacuum sealing each pack, I labelled and weighed (I love weighing everything) and tucked them away in the freezer.  Recipes utilizing hatch chiles to follow!

Roasted hatch chiles

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food
July 20, 2015

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers – AKA Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs)

smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe.  And in true Laurel fashion, I have totally forgotten about the specifics of this recipe.  But luckily, this recipe is more of “a little of this and a little of that” type.  You know, when you combine bacon, cheese, and smoke, it’s hard to go wrong.  Seattle has been experiencing a heck of a heat wave this year.  I’m already sick of meal planning to avoid putting much heat in the house, and we are only in July.  There is still a solid 45 days left of hot weather.  Anyway, this is a simple way to reduce overall house-heat, and can be done fully outside if you either have an outdoor burner of some sort or just omit the sausage.  I am not entirely sure where the name came from, but the Atomic Buffalo Turd designation seems to refer specifically to jalapeno poppers that are cooked on a grill or in a smoker, stuffed with both cream cheese and a meat product of some kind (many people use lil smokies) and wrapped in bacon, vs breaded and fried.

smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers


smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers

Atomic Buffalo Turds


  • 15-20 jalapenos
  • 1 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 1lb “hot” pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups medium or sharp cheddar cheese
  • (optional, cayenne, mustard powder, dry rub, Worcestershire sauce, etc)
  • 1-2lbs bacon (at least 1 strip per jalapeno half)
  • Toothpicks



  • Cut your jalapenos in half lengthwise.  Use a knife or melon baller to remove the stem end and white membrane/seeds.
  • Combine your cream cheese, sausage, and cheddar, and optional additional fillings
  • Using a spoon, piping bag, or dishing scoop, transfer your mixture into the jalapeno halves and mold into a smooth mound shape
  • Wrap your jalapeno in bacon, trying to cover as much of the cheese mixture as possible.  This takes a little bit of futzing, but I managed to make it work by starting in the middle and kind of criss-crossing the bacon, then securing the ends with a toothpick.
  • Heat up your grill.  If you are using a gas grill, have half of it heated up to high heat, and half to low.  If you run a charcoal grill (they will always taste better on charcoal) make a 2 zone fire with a big pile of coals on one side, and a scant coating of them on the other.
  • Cook jalapenos over low heat until the bacon is starting to look “done” and the jalapenos themselves appear to be cooking through(don’t worry about a little of the cream cheese leaking out, it happens).  Once you’ve gotten there, transfer them to the high heat side and allow to brown and crisp.  As long as they don’t get totally charred, the bacon will remain chewy and moist where it contacts the filling/jalapeno.
  • These go great with a beer or a nice bottle of dry hard cider!

smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers

Posted in: Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 8, 2015

There was this one time that I made 16 pies.


Our friends Jeremy and Kial got married on March 14.  In case you don’t understand the significance, the date (at least in the US) is 3.14.15, or the first few digits of the number Pi.  Which also makes it Pie Day!  When they got engaged, I begged them to let me make their wedding cake, and when they told me they wanted pies, I was over the moon excited.  And then I started thinking of the logistics of making enough pies for an entire wedding.  And I got a little concerned, but then I got to planning, which I am great at.  We selected 4 different pie flavors: Strawberry rhubarb, cherry, key lime, and candy bar.  And I got to it.  We needed at least 9 pies for the 80 people addending the wedding.  In my experience, if there are different flavors available, people are more likely to go back for seconds to try another flavor.  I decided to err on the side of caution, and bring a dozen pies(3 of each type).  But I didn’t want to count on not having any terrible mistakes happen, so I made 4 of each type of pie so that if something went horribly wrong, I’d have alternates.  First off, I needed 16 pie plates!  So I appealed to my local Buy Nothing group, and was able to get 5 plates donated.  The remainder were picked up for $3 each at Ross and Goodwill.



The candy bar pie is the most time consuming.  It’s multiple different stages to get the end result, but it also stays good in the fridge for weeks and freezes beautifully.  I started on it a week in advance, making the crusts and salted caramel, and a few days later, making the peanut butter nougat, then finishing the pies off the day before the wedding and freezing them.   I took the day before the wedding off from work so that I could spend the whole day baking.  I had 8 fruit pies to bake, each taking an hour in the oven, and needing to be in there on their own to ensure that the bottom crust crisped effectively.  That was 8 hours in the oven.  I also had to do the key lime pies.  After probably 14 hours, I had completed everything. I got to the venue a little early to delivery the pies, and everything was going smoothly.  Unfortunately, it got so hot inside that the key lime started melting, but everything still tasted great, and as far as I know, nobody got food poisoning!
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Posted in: Baking, Cooking, DIY, Food, Pie