Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bean and Beef Chili

I decided to make chili tonight and I tried a new recipe I found in the Food Network magazine.  I didn't have any beef chuck, but I used the same amount of ground beef and it worked out well.  I also didn't have any pinto beans, so I used one can of black beans and one can of kidney beans.  I also couldn't find any regular chili powder in the house, so I used a combination of a bunch of different chiles my mom had; it was a combination of cayenne pepper, red pepper chili flakes, adobo chile, and some others.  I used much less than called for, but it still had plenty of heat from the hotter chiles.  I also ended up cooking it on a low simmer for about six hours rather than the two it originally called for.  That really let the flavors marry!

Bean and Beef Chili with a piece of Cornbread!
Bean and Beef Chili

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 pounds ground beef
Salt and Pepper
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. adobo chile
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can low-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
Topping: Shredded cheese, sour cream

Heat 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Brown in batches, about 4 minutes, adding more oil as needed (especially if you're using lean ground beef), about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil to pot.  Add garlic and onions, and cook, stirring, about 6 minutes.  Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, adobo chile, chili powder, oregano, and tomato paste, cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

Return the meat to the pot and stir in the tomatoes with their juices, broth, coffee, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 4-6 hours.
Top with whatever you like.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Monday, December 19, 2011

Twix Cupcakes

Today my sister and I made a joint effort to make Twix cupcakes.  My sister, Alyssa, is much better at baking than I am, so I decided to consult her on this post.  First, we whipped up the batter; we cheated a little bit and used box chocolate cake mix, but we made the frosting so it's okay.

First cupcake going in!
 Then we baked the cupcakes; they turned out super moist!

So many cupcakes!
While we were baking the cupcakes, we made the frosting, salted caramel!  It turned out really yummy, but next time I would add a little bit more caramel and a dash more salt.  It ended up tasting like a very good, slightly salty, slightly caramely buttercream.
The cupcake recipe also called for a chocolate ganache, so we figured we might as well make that too!  After we frosted the cupcakes, we started by spooning the ganache on top of the cupcakes, but it was kind  of going everywhere.  Alyssa suggested we dip the cupcakes into the ganache as they do on all the baking shows, and that worked perfectly!  After the ganache, we topped each cupcake with a mini Twix bar.  Yum!

Twix Cupcakes
Twix Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe
24 fun size Twix bars, unwrapped
Salted Caramel Frosting
2 sticks room-temperature salted butter
5 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3-5 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup caramel syrup topping
Chocolate Ganache
9 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

In a small pan, heat one cup cream over medium heat until it reaches a simmer.
Remove from heat and add semi-sweet chocolate and corn syrup.
Whisk until smooth.
Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, or until it is completely cooled.
Prepare according to directions on the box.
Beat butter on medium speed until it is fluffy.
Beat in powdered sugar, salt, 3 Tbsp. heavy cream, and caramel syrup.  If frosting is too thick, add more whipping cream.

Once cupcakes are cool, top with caramel frosting.
Dip each cupcake into bowl of chocolate ganache.
Place one Twix bar on top of ganache.

Recipe adapted from Mini Baker

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Chicken

A couple weeks ago, chickens were on sale at the grocery store for super cheap, so obviously I bought one.  I have never cooked an entire chicken before, so I thought this would be a good experiment.  I looked up a bunch of recipes of what to do, but I didn't have all of the ingredients for any of them, so I made up my own.
I got up early so I could put this in the crock pot before work and let it cook all day.  First, I chopped up one onion and about ten cloves of garlic. Then it was time for the chicken.  I read one blog that said she took off all of the skin before roasting it, but I decided I wanted the skin in there for flavor, even if I wasn't going to eat it.  (Also, I started taking it off and it grossed me out.)  I put the chicken in the crock pot, threw in the onions and garlic, and some broth.  I had used about half a can of chicken broth earlier in the week so I put that in and then had to improvise with about half a can of beef broth.  I ultimately liked that combo of flavors, the beef gave it an almost wine-like flavor.  Then I added some sage, garlic, salt, and pepper and started cooking it on low.

Slow Cooked Chicken!
 I had actually only meant to cook it for about eight hours, but I ended up staying at work later so I cooked it for about ten.  I think all of the flavors married nicely and it was a successful dish!

Chicken and Rice
As a side note, I didn't feel like putting it away in tupperware when I was done, so I just put the entire crockpot in the fridge.  Then I took it out the next day and all of the fat and broth had congealed into a nasty jelly.  I recommend just taking care of it the night you cook it, don't wait!

Slow-Cooked Chicken

1 4-5 lb. whole chicken, giblets removed
1 onion, roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. parlsey
Salt and Pepper

Place onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place chicken on top.
In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, wine, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Stir.
Pour broth mixture on top of chicken.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Turkey Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

When Matt and I were on our road trip, Matt had a version of turkey sausage, potato, and kale soup and since then I have wanted to make it.  I looked at a bunch of recipes for similar soups, but ulitmately decided to make up my own recipe.  I threw an onion and four cloves of garlic into a big pot with some olive oil.  I accidently had the heat up too high and burned a little bit of the garlic, but it tasted fine.
After I cooked that down, I put in the potatoes and cooked those down for a few minutes.  After that I put in the sausage and kale.  I should have put the kale in in batches because it practically overflowed out of the pot I had so much!

There's soup under there!
After the kale cooked down for a minute or so, I added two cans of low sodium chicken broth and added some salt and pepper.  Then, I let that simmer for about an hour.

Simmering Soup!
I tasted it and added some more seasoning and it was ready to serve!

Turkey Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Turkey Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 lb. turkey sausage, removed from casing
1 bunch kale, ribs removed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When hot, add onion and garlic.  Saute until onions are soft, about three minutes.  Add potatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add sausage and kale.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until kale has cooked down for the most part.  Add broth and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taco Salad

I wish I could have been so cool as to have made bowls out of tortillas, but alas, I was not.  Matt and I have been trying harder to eat healthier lately, so we decided to have taco salads for dinner... that and avocados were on sale.  I cheated a little bit and had previously bought ground turkey already taco seasoned, so all I had to do with that was brown the meat.

Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey
Normally when I make taco salad, all I do is throw in fresh vegetables, but Matt recently had a taco salad with cooked peppers and onions in it and it was delicious, so I decided to follow suit. I cooked down a red pepper, a green pepper, and half an onion.  I seasoned them with some pepper, a tiny bit of salt, and some adobo seasoning.

Peppers and Onions
I also decided to add in some black beans, because who doesn't love black beans?!  I threw those in with the meat for a couple of minutes, just to heat them up.
Turkey and Black Beans

Finally it was time to assemble!  We didn't have lettuce, so we used fresh spinach as our base, then came the cooked vegetables, the turkey and bean mixture, one avocado apiece (YUM!), some lite sour cream, and a garnish of some cilantro and scallions.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. ground turkey
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
8 oz. spinach
2 stalks celery
1 avocado, pitted
1/4 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, diced
1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro

Add avocado, onion, garlic, tomato, and cilantro to a small bowl.
Cut the lime in half and add the juice.
Add salt to taste.
Set aside.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil.  Add turkey to skillet.  Add cumin and garlic powder.
Cook until turkey is almost cooked through.
Add black beans.
Cook until heated through.
Set aside.
Add additional oil, if needed. Add peppers and onion to skillet.  Cook until onions and peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.
Place spinach in bowls.
Add turkey and bean mixture on top.  Add peppers.  Top with guacamole.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spaghetti con Pomedoro e Tonno

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything, but it's because it's been a long time since I've cooked anything!  I was home for the whole week of Thanksgiving and I also took all of the leftovers so I didn't cook for the week after either!  I'm glad to be back in the kitchen this week though and will be trying out a bunch of new recipes!
Obviously I love my fancy-sounding recipes on here, but mostly I'm all about cheap and easy.  This recipe may sound pretentious, but it's really just some spaghetti with tuna fish in it.  I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, but I figured I may as well try it, especially when it cost about four dollars to make four meals!
First I cooked down some onions and garlic in a big sauce pan.  I accidently burned some of the garlic because I had the oil too hot, but the final product didn't taste burnt, thank goodness!
Onions, Garlic, and Oil.  (You can see the little burnt garlics!)
After that, I added a can of stewed tomatoes.  That was supposed to be enough sauce, but it wasn't, so I also added some jarred tomato sauce. I also seasoned it with some added garlic (one can never have too much garlic).
The sauce!
After that, I flaked in a can of tuna fish and let that cook while I waited for the water to boil for the pasta.

It took forever for the water to boil because I didn't have
another medium saucepan!
Then I added the pasta and sauce together and it turned out great!  I also was supposed to use linguini, but I had two half used open boxes of pasta, so I used those.

Spaghetti con Pomdedoro e Tonno
Spaghetti con Pomedoro e Tonno

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp. basil
1 (6 oz.) can tuna, drained
1 lb. spaghetti

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.
Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.  Flake the tuna into the tomato sauce.  Cover and simmer until heated through, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large salted pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook al dente, according to the package directions.  Drain, then toss pasta with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.  Add about 3 ladlesful of sauce and continue to toss.  Distribute evenly, then ladle remaining sauce on top.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicken Wing Rice

I think it's pretty safe to say that if I was to be known for one dish it would be my chicken wing dip.  Tonight's dinner was like an entree version of it... and it turned out delicious!  I found some Knorr's Rice Side in Buffalo Chicken flavor and decided to cook that tonight.  I also cooked some chicken to accompany that.  (I did have a minor freak out moment when I lit the burner and the flame leaped out of the pan, but it calmed down, thank goodness!)

After the rice and chicken cooked, I added them together and added half a package of bleu cheese, some colby jack shredded cheese, and about half a cup of Frank's Hot Sauce.  Delicious!

Chicken Wing Rice

I should be a Frank's Red Hot spokesperson.
Chicken Wing Rice

1 chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1 package Knorr's buffalo chicken rice side
4 oz. bleu cheese crumbles
2 oz. colby jack, shredded
1/2 cup hot sauce

Prepare rice side according to package directions.
Add all ingredients to cooked rice.  Stir to combine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken, Sausage, Potatoes, and White Beans

I decided to make dinner last night for today because I didn't get home until 7:30 from work.  I also chose something that gets better as leftovers, my mom's chicken, sausage, potatoes, and beans in red sauce recipe.  First I browned the sausage and chicken in a pan.

Layered sausage and chicken
After that I steamed the potatoes until they were almost done and put those on top of the chicken.  Then I put a can of white beans on top of the potatoes.  

Addition of potatoes and beans
I only had Hunts canned sauce, so after I added a bunch of garlic powder and some Italian seasonings, I added a can a half of the sauce to the top of the casserole dish. 

Almost done!
After that, I baked it for an hour and let the flavors marry until the next day!

Chicken, Sausage, Potatoes, and White Beans
Chicken, Sausage, and White Beans

4 chicken breasts, halved
1 lb. hot sausage
6 potatoes, peeled and cut 1/4 inch thick
1 (14 oz.) can white beans, drained
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Sear chicken, about 3 minutes on each side. (It's okay if the chicken isn't cooked all the way through.)
Brown sausage.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in microwaveable dish and cook for 5 minutes in microwave.
Place in chicken, sausage, and potatoes in greased casserole dish.
Place beans on top of sausage, chicken, and potatoes.
Add sauce on top.
Bake at 375 for an hour.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken and Edamame in Spicy Coconut Broth

Tonight I decided I was going to make dinner last minute, so I grabbed some ingredients and threw them into the crock pot.  I literally only put two chicken breasts, a frozen bag of edamame, half an onion, two apples, a can of coconut milk, and a teaspoon of chili powder into the crock pot and cooked it.  I had a minor problem in that since the edamame was frozen, I couldn't really shell them, so then We had to shell them while eating, and it was super annoying.  Oh well.  It still tasted good!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Edamame in Spicy Coconut Broth
Slow Cooker Chicken and Edamame in Spicy Coconut Broth

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 bag frozen edamame, shelled
1 onion, diced
2 apples, diced
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. chili powder

Place everything in slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8 hours.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta

Okay, so the title makes this meal sound much fancier than it actually is!  Tonight I had to work until 5:30, so I needed a very quick weeknight meal, and this was the quickest one I could think of!  (It actually would have been quicker, but I cooked the chicken breasts whole instead of cubing them first.)

Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta!

Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta:


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 box frozen spinach
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 oz. feta cheese
1 Chicken flavored Pasta Side
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

Cook the chicken and flavor with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  (I actually used Paula Deen's house seasoning because I already had it made up, but obviously you can just use the ingredients separately.)
Cook the pasta according to the directions.
Once chicken is cooked, add tomatoes and spinach to the chicken pan to heat them up.
Add chicken mixture and feta to a bowl and stir.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple Crisp

In keeping with the fall theme for dinner tonight, I decided to follow it up with a fall inspired dessert, apple crisp!  The recipe I found was SUPER easy and required very little skill, but turned out awesome!  The recipe was supposed to be for individual apple crisps in ramekins, however, I don't have any, so I cooked it in a 9'' cake pan.  The only problem I had with that idea was that everyone wanted more!

Apple crisp- pre oven

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

Five apples, peeled, cored, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients for the filling together.  Place into sprayed 9'' cake pan.
Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl.  Blend butter into the mix to form pea size lumps.  Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Adapted from The Neely's

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

Today I really wanted to get into the fall spirit, especially because I had guests over for dinner!  I decided to make a butternut squash soup but take it to the next level with this recipe I found that also included apples, cheddar cheese, and bacon!  First, I cooked down the apples, onions, squash, and some butter.

All sorts of fall vegetables!

After I cooked them down, I added the broth, milk, and some cider.  I brought the soup to a boil and then simmered it for a while.  Then I added a brick of extra sharp cheese!

Before pureeing the soup!

I was supposed to puree the soup in a blender in batches, however, remember when I chopped up the rubber part of my blender?  Yeah, so, in following my mom's advice, I used my hand mixer and pureed it the best that I could.  It wasn't as smooth as I would have liked, but it still tasted good, so that's fine.

Post pureed soup!

After pureeing the soup, I cooked up some bacon for the garnish... aka the best garnish I have ever heard of.

Mmm, bacon!

After the bacon was finished, I cut the bacon into smaller pieces and let the guests sprinkle however much bacon they wanted to top their soup.  I also cut up some really yummy Italian bread for dipping, delicious!

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

Apple, Cheddar, and Squash Soup

4 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 apples, thinly sliced
1 white potato, diced
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, chopped and peeled
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup apple cider
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
6 strips bacon

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add onion, apples, potato, and squash.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes.  Stir in sage and flour.  Add cider and increase heat to high, stirring, until thickened.  Add the broth and milk, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until potato is soft, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in medium skillet until crisp, draining on paper towels.
Increase heat to medium and add the cheese to the soup and stir until melted.  Puree in a blender in batches, until smooth. (Or use an immersion blender)  Garnish with bacon.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Apple Casserole

Today I was in a autumn-y mood, so I decided to see what recipes I could find with sweet potatoes and sausage and found this.  After running to Target to get some apples, I was ready!  (I need them anyway for my dinner on Wednesday, so it worked out well.)  First, I cooked the sausage and then just layered in sweet potatoes and apples.  I topped it with brown sugar and some milk and baked it and I was all done!

The casserole before it went into the oven!

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Apple Casserole.  
If I make this again, or if you attempt it, I would suggest adding more brown sugar, so there's an even coat and to add a little more milk than called for.

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Apple Casserole

1 lb. hot sausauge
2 sweet potatoes
2 apples, sliced
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425.
Cook sausage until lightly browned.  Drain and place in bottom of greased dish.  Slice sweet potatoes 1/4 inch thick and place on top of sausage.  Add apples on top of potatoes and top with brown sugar and milk.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Cooks.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Christmas Chili

Today I decided to make chili.  I didn't realize all of the vegetables I used were red and green until they were in my crock pot, so I decided to name it Christmas chili.  I combined a couple of recipes into my own for this one.  First, I cooked down some onions, celery, garlic, and green peppers.  Once they were soft, I added ground turkey.

All of my green (and white) vegetables!
While they were cooking, I turned on my crock pot and added one can of chicken broth, two cans of diced tomatoes (with green chiles), and one can of red kidney beans.  After the turkey had cooked most of the way through, I added that and the vegetables to the crock pot as well.  To finish it off, I added a mixture of chili powder, Italian seasoning, cumin, and garlic.  I also added the rest of the tomatillo salsa I made the other day.

Even my crock pot fit the theme!
I cooked the mixture on high for two hours, stirring occasionally.  To serve, I threw some mozzarella cheese on top.  Next time, I will add a little bit more seasoning.  I actually used the seasonings that my mom uses in her white chicken chili recipe, but that has green chiles in it, so it doesn't need as much.  Here's to next time!

Christmas Chili
Christmas Chili

1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (14 oz.) can red kidney beans
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cilantro
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
Toppings: Shredded cheese, sour cream

Add vegetable oil to a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly soft.  Add pepper and celery.  Cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add ground turkey, cook about 5 minutes, it's okay if it is still a bit pink, you will cook it more in the slow cooker.
Meanwhile, add all other ingredients to slow cooker.  When vegetable and turkey mixture are done, add that to the slow cooker as well.
Cook on high for about 2 hours.
Top with whatever you like.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Hot Dogs, and Parsley

Today I decided to use hot dogs as my protein in dinner because they are super fast, mostly because they're already cooked.  I had success with the last time I used hot dogs with my pasta dish and this one turned out relatively successful.
I didn't have some of the ingredients because the tomatoes I bought last week had gone bad so I used canned tomatoes and I also used dried parsley instead of fresh.  It turned out okay, however I didn't feel like there was enough sauce to cover the amount of pasta used.  Next time I would add a can of sauce as well.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Hot Dogs, and Parsley

We had a candlelit dinner!
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Hot Dogs, and Parsley

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 pound hot dogs, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and, when hot, add the onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes (not the juice) and cook 2 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir to coat evenly.  Add 1 cup water and tomato juice and stir well.  Add the hot dogs and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the hotdogs are heated through.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook for about 8 minutes. (The pasta should be very al dente.)  Remove the pasta from the cooking water and add to the pan with the hot dog sauce.  Stir well to coat.  Season the pasta with salt and garnish with cheese.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chorizo, Potato, and Pepper Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

So once again, I cooked Mexican food courtesy of Rick Bayless.  I feel like we always have chicken, so I decided to go the sausage route tonight; the recipe calls for chorizo, however I didn't have any, so I just used Italian sausage.
First, I started making the tomatillo salsa.  It's supposed to be pureed, however remember when I chopped the rubber part on my blender?  Yeah, it's still broken, so I just kind of mushed it together.

Roasting the tomatillos.

Tomatillo Salsa
Next I cooked the sausage, peppers, and onions together in a skillet.  Then I grated some potatoes and added that to the mixture.  After those cooked down, they were ready!

Sausage, peppers, and onions.

The addition of the potatoes!

Chorizo, Potatoe, and Pepper Tacos!

Chorizo, Potato, and Pepper Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

12 oz. chorizo (sausage), casings removed
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium poblano pepper, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, grated
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
12 tortillas, warmed
Tomatillo Salsa
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and tomatillos, cut side down.  When the tomatillos are well browned, 3-4 minutes, flip.
Scrape the tomatillos and garlic into a blender and let cool to room temperature, about 3 minutes.  Add the jalapeno,  cilantro, and 1/4 cup water.  Blend to a course puree.  Pour into a bowl and add extra water if necessary.  Rinse onion with a strainer and add to the salsa. Season with salt, about 1/2 tsp.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chorizo, stirring frequently and breaking up the clumps.  Cook until chorizo is half cooked, about 4 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high.  Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring almost constantly, about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle the grated potatoes over the mixture.  Continue to stir frequently, and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.  Taste and season with salt, if needed.
Scrape mixture into a bowl and add cilantro.  Serve with warm tortillas and salsa.

Recipe adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken

So today I decided to make a healthier choice and use spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti.  I cut the squash in half, sprinkled some salt and pepper on, and roasted them for about 45 minutes.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
I made the sauce from scratch, just adding random spices that I thought sounded good: garlic, onion flakes, Italian spices, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Next I cooked some chicken with red peppers, onions, and red pepper flakes.
Chicken, red peppers, and onions.
Then I added the chicken concoction to the sauce, let it simmer for a little bit and scooped it on top of the squash.  It turned out great, with a little kick from the red pepper flakes.  Yummy!

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Red Sauce
Spaghetti Squash with Chicken

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 chicken breast, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut spaghetti squash in half and sprinkle inside with salt and pepper.
Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, add tomato puree, garlic, Italian seasoning, onion flakes, and red pepper flakes to a medium saucepan.  Heat on low until spaghetti squash is done.  (The longer it cooks, the better!)
As sauce and squash are just about done, add olive oil to medium frying pan.  When hot, add chicken and peppers.  Flip everything over after about 3 minutes.  Cook until chicken juices run clear.
After spaghetti squash comes out of oven, let cool and use a fork to scrape the squash out of the skin.
Serve the chicken and peppers over the spaghetti squash with sauce over top.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Today I was feeling a little under the weather so I decided to make Matt and I soup for dinner.  Chicken soup is so easy because you can throw just about anything in it and it will taste good.  I got home from work too late to get a good base, so I just threw a can of Campbell's condensed cream of celery soup, water, half an onion, two chicken breasts, and a bag of mixed frozen vegetables.  I also added a bunch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, and parsley.  If I had had more time, I would have used fresh vegetables, but the bagged veggies worked out great!

Chicken Soup cooking away in the crock pot!

Chicken Soup (Note the new festive table cloth!)
 I added a little shredded cheddar cheese at the end for some added creaminess and a little extra saltiness.  Delicious!

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 (10 oz.) cream of celery soup
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
1 Tbsp. parsley
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Stir.
Cook for 3-4 hours on high.
Sprinkle cheese on top as you're serving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Apple Quesadillas

To continue on with my Mexican Fiesta noche, I decided to make sweet apple quesadillas, which I found the recipe for on the tortilla package!  These actually turned out quite good, though the last one I made, the pan got a bit too hot and I set off the smoke alarm... again.  Luckily, it didn't go off for the whole building!  
Also, as a side note, I would add more sugar next time; the recipe called for apple pie filling, but I used real apples, and didn't add enough sugar to make it sweet enough.  Also, the recipe called for Mexican shredded cheese, but I used cottage cheese to make it less salty.  Oh well, buenos noches!

For real, I didn't do this on purpose, but it's awesome.

The apples, cooking away!

Apple, raisin, sugar, and cinnamon mixture!

Cottage cheese, added!

Yum!  (The darkest one is the one that set off the fire alarm.)

Sweet Apple Quesadilla!  
Sweet Apple Quesadillas

2 apples, chopped small
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup cottage cheese
4 small tortilla shells
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Place small saucepan over medium heat.  Add apples, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook until apples are soft, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.
In a small frying pan, add oil.  After hot, add one tortilla to oil.  Place about two Tbsp. of apple mixture and 1 Tbsp. cottage cheese to half of the tortilla. Fold tortilla over itself.  Flip.  Cook until golden brown.