Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mediterranean Pasta

Today I basically Re-created the Mediterranean pasta I made last week, except I added roasted red peppers and chicken to make it a non-vegetarian meal.  I also used spiral pasta instead of linguini.
So, first I cooked the chicken with salt and pepper.  Then I added garlic and a bag of spinach.  I added feta and roasted red peppers to the bowl, then the chicken and spinach.  Finally I added the pasta and some olive oil.


Mediterranean Pasta 
Mediterranean Pasta:

Ingredients:
1 large bag spinach
Half jar of roasted red peppers, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. pasta (whatever shape you would like)
1 container feta
2 chicken breasts
Salt
Pepper
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil, to taste

Directions:
Cut raw chicken into bite-sized cubes.
Cook chicken and season with salt and pepper.
When done, remove and put in large bowl.
Add garlic to pan as well as bag of spinach. When spinach is cooked down, add garlic and spinach to bowl.
Meanwhile, boil pasta.  When that's done, also add pasta to bowl.
Next, add the feta and peppers.
Finally add enough olive oil to coat the pasta, and toss.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Today I wanted to make stuffed peppers because I had a couple of green bell peppers in the fridge, but I didn't have any ground beef.  So naturally I called my Mom and asked if I could use sausage instead.  She said she didn't see why not!  So, this is what came out!  First, I cooked the sausage.  I didn't have to de-case it because it was in a roll, so I just cooked it through.  That step took a little longer than expected because it was partly frozen in the middle.  After it cooked, I threw it in a bowl with two stalks of celery, a cut up piece of bread, some egg, and some cheese.  (I originally had roasted red peppers in there, but I didn't hear a pop when I opened the jar, so I threw them out in case of botulism!)

Stuffing mixture
After that was mixed, I put the mixture in the peppers and topped them with sauce and a little more cheese.  I then popped them into the oven!  I did not think about the fact that I was only making two peppers, so next time I would half the recipe I used.

Before Baking
I baked them for about 35 minutes, and they came out delicious!  Next time I would nix the bread, as it just tasted like bread in a yummy sausage filling.  Which means the egg would be out as well.  My mom included them as a binding, but I don't think we needed it.

Stuffed Peppers!

Stuffed Peppers:

Ingredients:
4 Bell Peppers
1 roll sausage
2 celery stalks, chopped
Shredded cheese, your choice (I used a four cheese Italian mix)
Tomato Sauce (Pick your favorite kind, or make your own!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.
Rinse and scoop the seeds out of the peppers
Brown the sausage
Put sausage, celery, and some cheese in a bowl and mix
Put filling into peppers
Top with more cheese and sauce
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pepper is easily pierced by a knife.
Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coleslaw

To go along with the barbecue beef, I wanted to make a side of coleslaw!  I also found this recipe in "How to Cook Everything" and was extra excited because it didn't call for any mayonnaise.  (I don't really like mayonnaise.)  The base dressing consisted of olive oil, dijon mustard, and lemon juice.

Coleslaw Dressing

After adding the vegetables to the dressing, it recommended that I let it sit for at least an hour in order to get the flavors to blend; so that's what I did!  (Matt had a snack in the meantime!)

Coleslaw 
Next time I will add more pepper and salt.  I also didn't have freshly ground pepper which I think really could have made this recipe that much better.  It was really good though, and might be one of my favorite coleslaws of all time.  I also think that if I had made this the day before it would have been superb!  We shall see when it's time for leftovers!
I also ended up putting the coleslaw on my barbecue beef sandwich... delicious!!

Barbecue Beef and Coleslaw
Soundtrack: Ziggy Marley


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crockpot Pot Roast and Vegetables

When I made the turkey a couple days ago, I had to make room in my freezer for the other half of the turkey, in doing so, I had to pull out a rump roast, meaning I had to cook it!  Tonight I decided to make it from this recipe I found in my new comfort foods cookbook.  However, being a comfort food cookbook, it obviously had a lot of butter in it, so I had to lighten it up.  I also cooked it in the crockpot so I could leave the house instead of putting it in the oven.
I started by cutting up an onion, some baby carrots, and a few potatoes.  I put those in the bottom of the crock pot.  After the vegetables I placed the roast in the crock pot and rubbed the top with salt, pepper, garlic, and dill.  Then I added some red wine and cooked it on low for about 8 hours.  

Pot roast before it cooked!  
The vegetables came out good, but the pot roast came out a little bit dry.  Next time I will poke holes in the pot roast and put in garlic slices for more flavor.  I also plan on pouring the wine over the pot roast (and into the slats) and then rubbing on the spices.  Hopefully it will result in a more flavorful, tender dinner. 

Crockpot Pot Roast and Vegetables
Soundtrack: Syd Barrett 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roast Turkey

Matt's Dad cleaned out his freezer while we were at his house, (which was awesome!) and along with that clean-out came a 21 pound turkey.  Yes, 21 pounds.  Now, I didn't realize at the time that I took it that it was so big, I figured, why would one man have anything bigger than a ten pounder... WRONG!
Yesterday morning when I set out to cook it, I realized we forgot to pick up a roasting pan.  I was going to try and invent something using a 9x13 and some cookie sheets, but my oven is too small for that, so I called my mom.  She told me that I should cut the turkey in half and and use the 9x13, so that's what I did!  (Okay, really, Matt cut it in half... and it was still kind of frozen, so he had a heck of a time!)

Matt hacking away at our turkey
After it was cut, it fit perfectly in our 9x13 and became a great 11 pound bird.  I rubbed the outside with garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and sage.  (I didn't have rosemary or thyme!)

Half turkey before going in the oven
Then I covered it with foil and cooked it for an hour on 325.  After an hour, I took the foil off and let it cook an additional 2 hours.  I pulled it out and when I cut into it, the meat was white!  We ended up going out to dinner last night with Matt's aunt, so we put it in the fridge.  When I took it out to make hot turkey sandwiches tonight, I realized the center was still a little pink.  However, after I nuked the sandwiches in the microwave, the meat cooked.  Next time, I will cook it for about 3 and a half hours.  However, it was very tasty and juicy!  I think it was a pretty good first attempt at a turkey!

Roasted Turkey
Roast Turkey

Ingredients:
1 10-11 lb. turkey
2 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. sage

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325.
Rinse turkey and pat dry.
Mix garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and sage in small bowl.
Rub spice mixture over turkey.
Cover and cook for 1 hour.
Uncover and cook for an additional 2.5 hours, or until juices run clear.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Today I decided to try and roast a chicken in the Crockpot.  I had to do a little research beforehand to see if I had to put any liquid in there, and it turns out I don't!  I also have been trying to cook a little heart healthier, so I added some baby carrots, an onion, and some diced potatoes in the bottom of the crock pot beforehand.

Veggies
After I wrestled with the chicken (it was still a little frozen, so I had to run hot water in the cavity so the goody bag could come out), I rubbed the skin with salt, pepper, garlic, and dill.  I didn't have any real lemons, so I also added a bit of lemon juice. 

Raw Roasted Chicken
I cooked it on low for about eight hours, and then it was ready to go!  It turned out just a little bit dry, so next time I will rub the skin with olive oil to keep some of that moisture in there.  

Roast Chicken and Vegetables
Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients: 
1 whole chicken (4-6 pounds)
1 medium onion
3 medium potatoes
A handful of baby carrots
Salt
Pepper
Garlic
Dill
Lemon Juice

Preparation: 
Chop onion and potatoes and place in bottom of Crockpot with carrots.
Wash and pat dry your chicken.  Pull out goody bag and discard.  (Or you can save it and use if for stock.)
Rub outside with olive oil (heart healthy) or butter (better tasting!)
Add desired amount of salt, garlic, pepper, and dill.  If you're feeling super fancy, put the spices under the skin as well for an even deeper flavor.
Squirt in a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. 
Enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Drunken Venison Chili

Tonight I decided to make some chili (I know I've been doing a lot of chilis lately, but it's just so good!)  I've never cooked venison before, but I decided to it a whirl because friends of ours left some venison in our freezer!  I also figured that chili would take away the gaminess.  I combined several different chili recipes into the final product, and it turned out great!
First, I browned the venison with some onions and garlic.  After the meat browned, I added a little bit of salt and pepper, tomato paste, and half a can of beer.  I cooked that down for about 5 minutes.

Venison cooking away!
Then to the crockpot, I added kidney beans, diced tomatoes, corn, the rest of the beer, the venison, and some spices.  I let that cook on high for about five hours.

Frozen corn!  (It's so much better than canned!)
Drunken Venison Chili
After it cooked, I served it with a sprinkling of cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  The venison turned out super tender and not at all gamey... it was great!  I also used a piece of cornbread I made a couple weeks ago that I froze!

Drunken Venison Chili 

Drunken Venison Chili:

Ingredients:
1 loin of venison (approx. 1 lb.) chopped into bite size pieces
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
1 can of beer (I used Labatt's!)
1 package frozen corn
1 large onion
1 Tbsp. garlic
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Brown venison in pan.  After almost browned, throw in onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.
After about 5 minutes, add tomato paste, and half a beer.  Cook another 5 minutes, so the beer cooks out a little.
While the beer cooks out, put beans, tomatoes, corn, venison mixture, spices, and the rest of the beer into the crockpot.  Cook for 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  I always stir occasionally, but if you're just leaving for the day, that's fine too!
Top with some shredded cheese and sour cream.  Serve with a side of cornbread that you froze from last week!
Enjoy! :)