Sunday, November 29, 2015

Turkey Chowder

We made our favorite Turkey once again this year *Alton Brown's Super-Tasty, No-Fuss, Time-Tested, Totally Fool Proof Bird*  if you scroll down to the bottom of the recipe it gives you Bobby Flay's carving tips - which we are die hard fans of and even when everyone balks at our method - one taste changes their minds! And we had left over turkey. We saved the breast meat for future stars of dinner - and used the pieces both white and dark meat for this delicious chowder.

My husband searched recipes online and was craving something like this and set his mind to making it happen. We tweaked the recipe (of course) and it was AMAZING. What we came up with was (in his words) "the most delicious way I've ever eaten the pieces of turkey no one wants"

Turkey Chowder
1 medium yellow onion
1 1/2 c diced carrots
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz diced green chiles
24 oz chicken broth
1 1/2 c corn kernels
1/4 c flour
2 c half and half (or heavy cream)
3 c turkey

Heat EVOO in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and bell pepper until the veg begin to soften. Add green chiles and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and simmer for about 4 minutes.

Put flour in a medium mixing bowl and slowly whisk half and half in - making sure there are no lumps. If you use half and half - don't over whisk - you will get whip cream! This is your roux.

Add the half and half/flour mix slowly into the soup pot whisking to incorporate. Stir the pot often to encourage the roux to mix in with the soup while it thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the turkey last and cook just long enough to bring it up to temperature.

Serve with rolls and garnish with shredded cheddar if desired.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Soup in a Bread Bowl

Isn't this so cute? I picked up these pumpkin looking bread bowls at the grocery store and made a quick potato corn chowder for a festive fall dinner.

I used scissors to cut the tops off the bread bowls, then hollowed out the delicious bread inside and set it aside to be shared and dunked at the dinner table, then filled the hollowed out bowls with delicious soup!!

I made the soup in less than 30 minutes - and with these fun bowls - this is a meal the family will remember!

The soup isn't really a recipe - it's just Bear Creek potato soup (dry mix) and then anything you have around. I fried up some southern style hash browns in it's own pan, then in the soup pot, sautéed some onions, followed the directions on the package then added the cooked hash browns, corn, ham and cheese that was left over from a party tray the night before and voila!

My husband isn't really a soup enthusiast and he was the first one done! The kids thought it was so fun that you could eat the bowl… I'll definitely be doing this again.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Green Chili Frittata

This could also be named "Kitchen Sink Frittata" because you can use any leftover ingredients you have in your kitchen. The main components in this dish are the eggs and the milk - add whatever else you have on hand and WAHOO!! No wasted food!

I made Green Chili Enchiladas the other day and had leftovers of what went inside the enchiladas - minus the chicken - basically a bunch of veg… so I turned it into this!

Green Chili Frittata
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 eggs
1 c heavy cream or milk
1 c frozen corn
1 c diced tomatoes
1 c black beans (drained)
Roasted green chilis!!!!*
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the eggs and the milk together and whisk until incorporated.

If you are starting from scratch - and not with leftovers: sautee onions until translucent. Add all other ingredients except cheese - bring to a simmer.

Add the chili mixture to the egg mixture, add shredded cheese - stir until incorporated.

Butter an oven safe skillet (I use a 10" cast iron skillet) - pour mixture in - add extra cheese on top if you are totally crazy for cheese like I am and bake it at 375 for 40-45 minutes. You want the edges to be nice and brown. Let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

* HUGE TIP ALERT!! I lived in New Mexico for 7 years - yes - the home of the Hatch Green Chili. When I don't have freshly roasted Hatch Green Chili (or freshly roasted and flash frozen by yours truly) I either buy the Hatch brand OR a brand called "505 Southwestern" which is roasted green chili peppers with lime juice - oh. so. delicioso. We moved out of New Mexico state a few months ago and the ONE THING my husband insisted on was that I would buy a new (large bottle 2 pack) of 505 every time I went to Costco before we moved. We moved out of state 3 1/2 months ago and we are on our last of 10 bottles!!!! I actually did a post on our tradition of picking up a 25 lb box of chili's, having them roasted, peeling them and dividing them into serving sized baggies and also into homemade green chili sauce - but it was on my family blog that has been outdated forever.

Reworking Leftovers

…a personal on going battle for me. Why? Because… well… I don't do leftovers. I KNOW! Luckily my kids do - but an unfortunate side effect of my leftover snobbery is that after so many years together - my husband has also become somewhat of a leftover snob.

So - I am going to make this weeks meals a personal challenge for me to see how inventive I can get with the leftovers I have from the last couple days…

We recently had Cafe Rio Chicken, White Bean Chicken Chili, Green Chili Enchiladas (which you may notice I didn't follow that recipe exactly - but that's what cooking is all about!) and Sausage and Bow Ties in Vodka Sauce (which I make all the time but can't locate the recipe! I'll add it soon).

I am going to take the veg that was leftover from my Green Chili Enchiladas and turn them into a Frittata for tonights dinner! Stay tuned...

Sausage & Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Sausage & Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce
1 - 1 1/2 lbs sausage
3/4 - 1 lb pasta (I use bow ties a lot but anything will do)
1 c heavy cream
1 c tomato sauce (I've even used pre made marinara in it's place)
1 T Butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 - 3/4 c chicken stock
Parsley, basil, salt & pepper to taste* Fresh Parsley and basil are the best - use it if you can.

In a deep pan (like my large Creuset) crumble and brown the sausage until it is no longer pink. When you are finished - set the sausage on a separate plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the grease.

Using the same large pot you used for the sausage, fill with water and set to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, dice your onion, garlic, parsley & basil.

Sautee your onion and garlic in butter and EVOO. When the onion is nice and translucent, add the chicken stock. Now, it's probably time to add your pasta to the boiling water - do that.

Then add tomato sauce and slowly add the heavy cream. When it is all incorporated add the cooked sausage to the sauce and incorporate that. The pasta should be ready to drain. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water just in case the sauce is too thick for your preference.

After the pasta is drained, add the sauce (now including the sausage) into the large stock pot with the noodles. Add parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Serve!

*I hope this recipe makes sense - I make it all the time so it might seem all over the place - and sorry about the picture! I grabbed my sons lunch bowl with some leftovers the next day for the pic.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Game Nights II

These are REAL cheats - which are easier to get away with when my husband is out of town…

How does this sound for dinner tonight?
Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls? DELICIOUS right? Ready in under 10 minutes? Yep. Store bought chicken, Costco mashed potatoes, gravy from a jar and rolls in a bag. That doesn't sound as appealing - but it's GAME NIGHT!!!

Once again - I should be compensated by Costco for this but...

Have you ever tried Costco's Main Street Bistro Mashed Potatoes? A friend of mine told me about them a few years ago - they are great in a pinch!! Mashed potatoes ready in 7 minutes? Um yeah.

I LOVE the chicken sausage they have in their refrigerated section. I will get the brand name ASAP. We've tried several flavors - artichoke and mozzarella ranks up there as one of our faves - the ones picture are our current favorite - pineapple and bacon!! Slice them up and pan fry them - dinner in less than 5 minutes!!

Tonight we are having Cafe Rio Chicken - it's in the crock pot already! Going to serve it up with tortillas, cheese, sour cream, pico and creamy tomatillo dressing - EASY!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Game Nights"

A couple more ideas for those crazy busy week nights - taken from this very site!

Runnin' UTE Tailgate Chili - aside from browning the meat - it's another dump, dump, dump leave in the crock pot kinda meal. This recipe does make a lot though - so I use my 6.5 quart stock pot. If you don't have a huge crock pot - just cut the recipe in half.

We had it the night I made it with shredded cheese and sour cream, another night we had it over quick microwaved hot dogs and yet another night we had it on top of tortilla chips with shredded cheese on top!!

Mizithra and Brown Butter Pasta - this is one of my fav go to pasta recipes. Pasta in general is fast and easy. When I know I'm going to be short on time, I make the pasta al-dente before hand - drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and stick it in the fridge. When dinner time rolls around, the kids can choose whatever sauce they want (from a jar - alfredo, marinara, pesto) and heat the sauce and the pasta up in their own individual bowls. One of my kids favorite way to eat pasta is with a little pat of butter on top and reheated - so simple!!

Microwave Salmon - stay with me here. I know it sounds crazy - BUT I learned this trick from my brother in law who LIVED in SEATTLE for over a decade. I buy the frozen salmon steaks at Costco - throw them in a sink of cold water for a few minutes to thaw and then microwave them. Nothing could be easier! I usually make 2 extra steaks to use for lunches or another dinner and make Tuna Puff Sandwiches just substituting the tuna with salmon.

Cafe Rio Pork - so this is one of my favorite foods ever. I serve it as a salad, in tacos, in burritos, on hamburger buns… oh the possibilities!

Stay tuned! I'll be trying a bunch of new "game night" recipes again this week!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

A "game night" recipe. I am going to try a bunch of recipes I've seen on Pinterest - I'm going to post them all - the good and the bad and I'll review each one starting with Hawaiian Chicken.

This was a cinch to make - dump, dump, dump - turn the crock on. My kind of recipe. Mixed reviews here. My kids (ages 3-12) liked it. My husband said it was 'good', I ate it because I was starving. Personally, I didn't really like it - BUT I don't like sweets - and this is sweet - so take that with a grain of salt (haha - salt!)

An awesome tip I've used forever - but haven't shared before (I don't think) is that when I use the crock pot and the recipe calls for chicken, I generally just throw frozen chicken in and make this one alteration - set the crock pot on HIGH for the first hour - then go by the directions in the recipe. GENIUS!!

So… not the best picture - but because I was running around all day and would be coaching soccer while most of the family ate - I took a picture as I ran out the door - and not when it was served up nicely on a plate :)

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken
BBQ sauce - your favorite - the whole bottle (20 oz)
20 oz can pineapples (crushed, chunked or rings - I used chunked bc some of the kids like to eat the pineapple and some don't)
4-6 chicken breasts

Throw it all in the pot. Just make sure the chicken is covered by the sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours - or on high for 3 hours.

I usually shred the chicken - to make it go a little further and to avoid left overs - about 20 minutes before serving - then put the shredded chicken back in the sauce until we're ready. This fed all 6 of us.

Serve with Sweet Jasmine Rice (if you're really in a time crunch - I've heard those microwaveable rice packets aren't too bad…)

Breakfast Bake

Boy howdy do I love a good breakfast. My husband it the breakfast KING - when he is home he spoils us with omelets, waffles, pancakes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs - THE WORKS!

BUT - when he's not home we usually settle for cereal and once in a while I'll bust something delicious out - like this little number… I didn't have a recipe just whipped it up and DANG!

Breakfast Bake
1/2 - 3/4 bag frozen hash browns (diced or shredded)
Deli ham diced in bite sized pieces
7 Eggs
1 c Milk
1/2 t mustard powder
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Cheese - I used shredded cheddar

Mix eggs, milk and seasonings together - set aside.

In a 9x13" casserole dish, spray with PAM and line with hash browns. Sprinkle with ham and cheese then pour egg mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Back to School Breakfast Ideas

I took a loooooong break from blogging - I've been busy moving out of state - living with my in laws while waiting to find and close on a new house - and now that we are finally here and mostly unpacked - I'm BACK!

3 of my kids started school, dance, soccer, scouts, tennis, etc. a couple of weeks ago and we are BUSY!! I am going to do a few posts on "game nights" those nights that you are running all over the place and you don't have time to make a meal at dinner time - and everyone needs to eat - but not all at the same time - you know those nights? Stay tuned...

I have found a couple of solutions to having your kids eat a hearty breakfast THEMSELVES without making a mess!!

1. Einstein Bros. Bagels has a deal running right now where you can get a bakers dozen of bagels for $6 every Monday. Six dollars people!! I buy a big tub of plain cream cheese at Costco (which I also use in many dinners and appetizers) and make sure not to buy any "gourmet" bagels so I can stick to $6 flat.

2. Green Monster Smoothies!! These are super delicious - the kids AND the parents love them! I make a big batch and freeze them in single servings.

3. Make ahead Breakfast Burritos!!! These are sheer genius. I can get 10-12 per batch!

Breakfast Burritos
12 tortillas
10 eggs
1/2 - 3/4 bag frozen shredded hash browns
16 oz package Jimmy Dean sausage 
1 medium onion, diced
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Cook the sausage (with the onion) and the hash browns according to the package directions - don't forget to season the hash browns. So far, I have just used scrambled my eggs. I add a splash of milk, salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. 

I put the ingredients into an "assembly line" and have my kids make their own. I stand at the end of the assembly line listening to them ooh and aaah over just how delicious breakfast will be every morning and then I fold the burritos and wrap them in saran wrap. They mark the burritos with their initials and stick them in a designated section in the refrigerator.

In the morning, they remove the saran wrap and wrap it in a paper towel. Microwave for 60 seconds! They eat them with ketchup, salsa, sriracha or tabasco, my daughter even eats hers with sour cream.

You can also freeze these - but since these have run out before Friday every week - we're sticking with the fridge.

*Make these your own!! Ham, bacon, spicy sausage, chicken sausage, pepper jack cheese - tons of options! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Asian Crunch Salad

There are many variations of this salad - the common factor is ramen noodles and cabbage. I like all the variations I've ever tried for as long as I can remember. Tonight, I was craving it but didn't have what I needed to make my old stand by - and boy howdy I'm so glad!!

I'll be sticking with this version! The only addition I would make is add grilled chicken next time. I made this in-between my "bus driver" duties for the kids - so I didn't have time to defrost and grill the chicken.

Asian Crunch Salad
1/2 c evoo (I love Kirkland's Mediterranean blend oil)
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c rice vinegar
1 - 2 T Ponzu (citrus seasoned soy sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

16 oz bag shredded coleslaw (or 1 head napa cabbage, shredded)
2 bags Top Ramen, crumbled (any variety)
Mandarin oranges (as many as you like - I like a lot)

NUTS! Cashew pieces were awesome but slivered almonds, peanuts or sunflower seeds would also be good

Combine all ingredients for dressing, incorporate well and pour over the salad ingredients. Toss and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Top with nuts and thank yourself for this delicious bit of heaven!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pressure Cooker Pork Loin

We were having friends over for dinner and I've been craving Cafe Rio Pork Salad like crazy for a few weeks. I really wanted to put my pressure cooker to the test and see what it could do - and today was the day.

THIS is the usual method and recipe I use - it takes 16 hours - NOT including time it takes to thaw the tenderloin. So it's a plan way ahead overnighter meal. Will my new toy be up to the test??

I'll be posting more PRESSURE COOKER recipes - so I'll first tell you which one I got The Instant Pot  it is a pressure cooker, crock pot, rice cooker, sautee pot and on and on and on and on and on...

It's brilliant. So far so good. So - with the above information (16+ hours of cooking - always starting dinner before I went to bed the night before) this ABSOLUTELY KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF!!

I had 2 frozen (in the same package) pork tenderloins (from Costco) about 6 lbs. I cut the wrapper off the FROZEN tenderloins - stuck that in the pressure cooker - added the rest of the ingredients - locked it up and set it for 2 hours just to see where we would be in that amount of time. 

Would it be thawed? Would it be awful? How much longer will I need to cook it??

Well, IT WAS DONE!!!! Fall apart, moist, delicious, amazing PERFECT!! Do you believe it??

5-6 lbs FROZEN pork tenderloin
2 liter of Coke a Cola (or Dr. Pepper) 
2 12 oz La Victoria Red Taco Sauce
1 c brown sugar
1 T cumin 

People were going back for seconds - INCREDIBLE. Can't wait to see what else this baby can do!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brussels Sprouts That Your Kids WIll Devour!!

I had the amazing opportunity to go to High School In Brussels, Belgium. My entire family moved there and man o man did we have the experience of our lives. 

I went to the International School of Brussels. English was the primary language but other languages were taught and many cultures were incorporated into our education.

I had the rare opportunity to have dinner with one of my awesome friends from ISB last month in Santa Fe while she was here on business. She looks more amazing than ever and told me that she is in the midst of a brussels sprout obsession.

Tonight at the grocery store I tapped into that obsession and texted her for her fav reciepe and she came through...
Tonight we had grilled pork tenderloin, brussels sprouts and rice - pork tenderloin and rice are faves amongst our children in this house.

We had a bigger crowd than usual last night - the usual 6 of us + my 10 year old had a friend over. They were a hit with EVERYONE adults and kids from 11 - 2. The Brussels sprouts were gone first - and I made a TON of them. Delicious recipe - one we'll eat again and again!!

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts & Bacon via Christina Fiorenza Davis
1 lb bacon - cut into small strips fried
5 lb brussels sprouts
Fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher salt

Once bacon is fried - use a slotted spoon to drain the bacon on paper towels

Add thinly sliced brussels sprouts into the bacon fat and sauté until tender. Course salt and fresh black pepper as needed.

Garnish with bacon and toasted pine nuts!



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