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Tristyn Duffy
Works at Hoopes Vision
Attended North Harris College
Lives in Millcreek, UT
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Tristyn Duffy

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My son likes Lunchables. Actually, he likes exactly one kind of Lunchable, the cheese pizza. I don't like Lunchables; I think they're overpriced and low quality. So here's my quick and easy sub: pizza crust (scratch or buy dough from the store), rolled out, cut, and baked (I seem to have given mine a few minutes too many), squeeze sauce, and shredded cheese. All for a fraction of the price, with better ingredient control. 
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Tristyn Duffy

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QUICKPEAS!

I love chickpeas. They're filling! Lots of fiber! Lots of protein! I really like making roasted chickpeas, which is a very easy crunchy snack without a lot of simple carbs. Good stuff. But roasting chickpeas takes a while. So this is a chickpea recipe I invented tonight. The nice thing is, you could change up the spices and herbs to make this all kinds of interesting, and to complement whatever else you're eating. 

- 1 can of chickpeas (sure, you can soak from dry, but then they wouldn't be QUICKPEAS, now, would they?), drained and well rinsed. 
- A few cloves garlic, minced (the Asian market we usually shop at has bags of peeled garlic cloves)

Oh, I hate writing recipe lists. Okay. Here's what you do. Swirl a little olive oil into a heavy saute pan. Add minced garlic and salt. I like to actually brown the garlic here, for the nuttiness. Throw in your chickpeas, toss to coat with oil. Cook and stir on med-high heat for a while, get a little brown on the chickpeas. Maybe you need a little more salt, hm? Then add 1 Tbsp hot chili powder and 1 Tbsp cumin. Maybe a little more. Be generous. Cook for a minute, then throw in 1 Tbsp lemon juice. (Look at me with the measurements!) Cook down the lemon juice, toss in 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, grind pepper to taste, and serve.

It is seriously easy, and you could do lots of things with this: make it hotter with some cayenne! Use thyme and oregano and keep the lemon to make it Greek! Whatever you want. Chickpeas are pretty neutral - even my son likes them. 
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http://www.keepitsimplefoods.com/vegetarian/cornmeal-and-lime-cookies/

I made these as part of the bags of cookies I made for my coworkers (also featuring white chocolate chip oatmeal and Mexican chocolate cookies with cinnamon and chile) and they were delicious! Certainly unexpected - cornmeal isn't a typical cookie ingredient, but it goes so well with lime. The dough is pretty sticky - I dispensed it with a small disher, which worked well. My cookies were also much puffier than in the picture - more like madeleines, maybe. Nonetheless, I thought they were great, a definite make-again.
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Tristyn Duffy

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Weekend cooking recap!
I made this: http://www.thiscountrygirlcooks.com/chicken-italiano/
I didn't do the artichoke hearts, because I couldn't find them at the store, and I don't love artichoke hearts enough to go to multiple stores hunting for them. And no mushrooms, because I hate mushrooms. Also, I added a little balsamic. And I used thighs, not breasts. And linguine instead of spaghetti. Also I chopped my herbs fresh because yum. So that's packaged up for work lunches. 

I also made easy chicken: 505 green chile salsa, chicken thighs, crockpot. Set for 6 hours, after 5 shred chicken with two forks, then let it go another hour (I left the lid tilted because it was pretty liquidy). I got some refried black beans with jalapeno from TJ's, and I got raw corn tortillas (you griddle them for a minute or so; I've bought the flour ones before but had never seen corn ones). Also made cilantro lime rice, using pink rice for the hell of it. 

Hummus with roasted red peppers and roasted garlic gloves. Sliced cucumber chips to dip. (Fiona Dog wants it known that both hummus and cucumber are definitely food.)

Fancied-up a box of Near East Israeli couscous with diced cucumber, diced tomato, curly parsley, and a minced jalapeno. (Parsley, per Fiona, is not a food.)

Roasted fingerling potatoes with olive oil, salt, and rosemary.

Chicken thighs, rubbed with roasted garlic paste and lots of smoked paprika, and oven roasted. 
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Shepherd's pie! (No dairy.) 
Get the oven going to 400F. Blanch some pearl onions to de-skin them. 

Boil some red potatoes. Mash with a hand masher with salt, olive oil, and a little broth if needed. Set aside. 

Brown some ground beef. (Ground lamb would be more traditional - I mean, shepherd - but guess what I had in my freezer? There you go.) And really, brown it well. You know how the best part of a burger is the crust on the outside? Yeah, that's the good part. Get it looking like that, lots of brown stuff. De-pan the meat, leaving the fat in there (I used a heavy saucier, just FYI). 

Depending on the percentage of your meat, and what you're into, either get rid of, leave, or add some fat (i.e. olive oil) to the pan. You're going to caramelize up the pearl onions and a couple brunoised shallots in there. Good times. Once they're looking nice, add some broth (I use chicken because I think beef broth on beef gets a little heavy sometimes), and some green beans. Bring a boil, reduce to simmer for a couple minutes. Add some peas. Now, I had originally planned to make an olive oil/flour roux but I totally forgot about that. That would have been a good idea. But since I was in a pinch, I used cornstarch in broth to thicken. I think a roux would have been better flavor, but there it is. I already also made a chicken and orzo thing today, and a chickpea/broccoli/pasta thing, and really I just want to get done with the cooking so I can get back to knitting in front of some Sopranos until Game of Thrones comes on, you know? 

Okay, so salt and pepper - I use a lot of pepper - and I like a little granulated garlic. You've already got allium representing with the shallots, but a little granulated garlic never hurts. Once your veggie and sauce mix tastes nice, add back the meat and stir it in with some fresh herbs (I did parsley, and oregano, because the oregano is going rampant in the window box). Pour this in a 9x11 baking dish, then spoon the potatoes over and spread them around. Spritz the top with a little cooking spray to encourage browning, then into the oven until the potatoes are looking nice and brown and the filling is bubbling. 

Gabe actually ate this right up, despite it not being "simple food," so that's pretty encouraging, right? 
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This is the story of How I Gave Bisquick Every Chance To Succeed (Until I Burned It)...

Bisquick is not a product I've actually ever bought before. It's not really on my radar, but I read a recipe on Skinnytaste that called for HeartSmart Bisquick. And then I saw it at the store the next morning and decided to give it a shot, out of curiosity (when I'm cooking for 7, the occasional shortcut doesn't go amiss). 

First, is it actually Heart Smart? Well, yes, comparatively,if you're working from a rather low baseline. Look at the breakdown: same portion size, 40g. Original is 160 cal, HS is 140. Protein 3g for both. Carbs - not stellar, original actually has 1g fiber per serving, HS has less than a gram. (You want at least 1g per 100 calories.) Where it really comes down is the fat content. Oy vey. Did you know original Bisquick contains trans fats? I realize the USA hasn't gotten to the point of banning trans fats, like some other countries have, but I thought...who actually eats them on purpose? They're so ludicrously, indefensibly* bad for you, I see them as the sort of thing no one would feed to anyone, except maybe Honey Boo Boo, IDK. Anyway. Original: 4.5g fat, 1 of which is saturated and 1.5 trans fat. HS: 2.5g fat, 0.5g polyunsaturated and 1.5g monounsaturated. 

So yeah, they've made an effort at making the fats better for you. Otherwise, the nutritional breakdown is average at best. Would like to see a few more grams of fiber per serving before I'd consider "HeartSmart" a reasonably fair descriptor. 

Anyway, I made the biscuit recipe, adding a little cayenne, granulated garlic, and shredded Trader Joe's Lite Sharp Celtic Cheddar. I also folded some oven-roasted broccoli (400F for 10 min, best way I know to reduce moisture and add flavor!) into the dough. Baked 10 min at 425F, brushed with butter and sprinkled with a pinch more cheese, then baked for...should have been about 2 min, but I got distracted. Oops. They're good anyway, dough is not bad at all. 

*You'll notice there's no Lipid Refiners Association making commercials trying to convince people that "fat is fat, your body doesn't know the difference!"
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Last night's NYE dinner with the kids: super easy enchiladas

Made from: tortillas; chicken/white bean filling; rice; cheese; green enchilada sauce

Filling: sweat onion, garlic, red bell pepper. Add a couple cups of cooked and shredded chicken breast. Add cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, salt, and pepper. Add a couple cans of cannellini beans, and a can of diced green chiles. Add a little chicken broth and cook and stir till mixture is tightened (not liquidy at all). Stir in a good handful of chopped cilantro, and adjust salt as needed.

Rice: Either make a batch of Spanish rice or, if you're like me and just trying to get a family dinner on the table and don't feel the need to make every step of this homemade, just microwave a couple bags of Uncle Ben's. It takes 180 seconds. 

Cheese: few cups of shredded pepper jack here. 

Green enchilada sauce: see note regarding rice. No green chile sauce recipe tonight, I got it from a can. 

When Alton Brown comes over for dinner, even the tortillas will be handmade. The kids wouldn't notice. Know your audience, and pick your culinary battles. 

(Even Alton has said nice things about box cake mixes. I think he'd understand this.) 

Anyway. 

Assemble! Lay out a tortilla. Add about a (generous) half cup chicken filling. 

Then some rice. 

Sprinkle some cheese over. (You'll have to picture this because I forgot to photograph it.) 

Roll up and place in the pan (which already has a little sauce on it, right?). 

Get all the enchiladas done, then pour the rest of the green sauce over the top. Bake at 400 for 15-25 minutes, just keep an eye on when the tortillas start getting browned. Add cheese over the top, bake just enough more for the cheese to melt. Remove from the oven and let them sit for 5-10 min to gather themselves. 

Serving ideas: sour cream, salsa, scallions, avocados, cilantro. 
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Lasagna alfredo rolls! (Warning: this is a "add enough so it looks/tastes right" recipe, unless otherwise specified.) 

First, make the filling: spinach, thawed and well drained; a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley; ricotta (um, I think about 12 oz?); some of the cheese used in the alfredo; an egg; salt; garlic powder; nutmeg (not much, maybe 2-3 passes on the microplane). Last time I made this, I brunoise'd some shallots and sweated them in butter and put that in as well. That would be a nice thing to do, maybe some onions, some garlic. Whatever you're feeling. 

(Actually, first should be turning the oven to 375F, getting a 9x11 baking dish ready - you could spritz with cooking spray, but I prefer making a parchment paper sling for easier cleanup - and getting your mise en place ready: squeeze some spinach, grate some cheese, chop some parsley, get a colander in the sink, etc.) 

Then, get a pot of salted water boiling. Cook a box of lasagna noodles while you're making the alfredo. You don't even want them to al dente, just cooked enough that you can roll them up without them breaking. 

Alfredo sauce: the way I remember is, a stick, a pint, a cup. That's a stick of butter, a pint of heavy cream, and a cup of Parmesan cheese. (I actually used Grana Padano for this, because Costco has it for a good price. It's tangier than Parm and I worried the kids wouldn't go for it but they did. I think it adds a nice bite to alfredo, which can get pretty heavy.) In a heavy saucier, melt the butter, then add the cream. Stir occasionally and bring just almost to a scald. Then whisk in the Parm slowly. Add salt, maybe some white pepper, little nutmeg (I skipped it here because I put nutmeg in the filling), garlic powder. If you haven't made alfredo before, be prepared to be surprised by how much salt it needs. Stir and taste and get it how you like it. Take maybe 2/3 c of the sauce and coat the bottom of the baking dish with it - just pour it in and shake the pan to get it spread around. 

Okay, so you've got your pasta in the colander (it helps to have a sous-chef around, especially if he makes drinks). Rinse with cold water just until the noodles are cool enough to handle, shake dry. Take a noodle and scoop up a little filling with the other hand. I find it's easiest just to use my hands to get the filling patted and spread over the noodle - leave an inch or so uncovered at the end of the noodle. Roll up so that the uncovered end is on the outside of the roll (i.e. start rolling at the other end). Put that roll in the baking dish. Keep doing this 11 more times. If you're weirdly uptight like me, you could weigh your filling or divide it into 12ths to make sure you have the same amount for each roll. 

Once you've got the rolls all made, pour the rest of the alfredo sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, until you start seeing browned bits on the top of the pasta, 20-25 min. Pull the baking dish out and let it rest 5-10 min. I served mine finished with a sprinkle of parsley, Grana Padano cheese, black pepper, and rosemary finishing salt. 
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Education
  • North Harris College
    nursing, 2005 - 2010
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Gender
Female
Relationship
Married
Work
Occupation
Nurse and general knower of things
Employment
  • Hoopes Vision
    LPN, present
  • First Choice Home Health & Hospice
    Field Nurse, 10 - 4
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Currently
Millcreek, UT
Previously
The Woodlands, TX - Binghamton, NY
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