Monthly Archives: September 2011

Balsamic Vinegar Vegetable Spaghetti

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So after the annoying eggplant incident on Monday I decided I really wanted to make this dish! I had to alter my original idea but I think, and according to my family, this is a Great Dish!! I had wanted to grill the vegetables and then marinate them in an oil balsamic vinegar mixture, but the weather today did not cooperate with grilling so my first original dish has become a whole new original dish. I was taught to cook by throwing this and that, and some of that over there in a pot, and never measuring a thing, and somehow it all comes out yummy! Looking in the fridge and pulling out what we have, and creating a dish is kind of a sport for me and my mom. That is pretty much how this recipe came to fruition. As fall quickly approaches I wanted a healthy but rich dish to make to herald in the cold weather. I feel that this fits the bill. I hope you think so also.

1 zucchini cubed
1 summer squash cubed
1/2 of red onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 head of cauliflower cooked till fork tender and cut into florets
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
oregano to taste
garlic and onion powder to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tbs butter
3 tbs balsamic vinegar

In a large mixing bowl combine first 9 ingredients and toss to coat. You can cook the cauliflower ahead of time, I used a head that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago.

I really should have used my dutch oven, as it was I had to split my veggies into two sauté pans. So in a Dutch oven drizzle olive oil and heat over medium high heat and cook veggies till tender and caramelized for 10-15 min. During this time boil salted water and cook the spaghetti.

Drain the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and keep warm.  In the pasta pot add the veggies to the resrved water add the can of diced tomatoes and tomato paste and the vinegar. Add a heavy dash of oregano and 2 tbs of butter (this helps create a nice creamy texture).  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 min.

Plate the pasta and pour the veggie mixture on top.  Sprinkle with Ramano Cheese and enjoy a healthy and delicious meal!

Guess what? The carnivore boys did not even miss the meat or ask if there was any in it!  This is such a hearty dish!

So after the annoying eggplant incident on Monday I decided I really wanted to make this dish! I had to alter my original idea but I think, and according to my family, this is a Great Dish!! I had wanted to grill the vegetables and then marinate them in an oil balsamic vinegar mixture, but the weather today did not cooperate with grilling so my first original dish has become a whole new original dish. I was taught to cook by throwing this and that and some of that over there in a pot and never measuring a thing and somehow it all comes out yummy! So looking in the fridge and pulling out what I have and creating a dish is kind of a sport for me and my mom. That is pretty much how this recipe came to fruition. As fall quickly approaches I wanted a healthy but rich dish to make to start to herald in the cold weather. I feel that this fits the bill. I hope you think so also.

1 zucchini cubed

1 summer squash cubed

1/2 of red onion sliced

1 red pepper sliced

1 head of cauliflower cooked till fork tender and cut into florets

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

oregano to taste

garlic and onion powder to taste

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

2 tbs butter

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

In a large mixing bowl combine first 9 ingredients and toss to coat. You can cook the cauliflower ahead of time, I used a head that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago.

Weeknight Enchiladas

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First let me start off by telling you this is not what was planned for dinner tonight.  I had planned on making a wonderful grilled vegetable pasta dish that I had hoped would wow you all! As I was prepping my veggies I realized the Eggplant that I had just purchased the day before was now showing signs of being less than fresh.  Hmmmm I said to myself, and when I cut it open sure enough it was brown!!!! I was so aggravated! It is not like I had it sitting around in the fridge for a week or more. Plus I bought it at a very well known and posh grocery store!
So I had to quick scramble and decide what to make with two hungry boys staring me down.  I quick grabbed my Southern Living Easy Weeknight Meals and thought this would be easy and the boys would love it! So from WOW to easy dinner went…..
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Adapted from a Southern Living recipe
1 lb leanest ground beef
1 small red onion chopped
1 tsp of salt and pepper
2 tbs taco seasoning
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can enchilada sauce
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, sliced black olives, and fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large skillet drizzle olive oil and saute onion for 3-5 min. 

Add the ground beef and seasonings and cook till meat is cooked all the way through.  I add my seasoning while the meat is still red that way the meat really absorbs the flavors as it cooks.  If you wait till the meat is brown the flavor just sits on top and doesn’t give that layering of flavors you want to achieve.  Once cooked trough drain the grease off and add the cans of soup and sauce.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer cooking approx 8 min till thickened slightly.

In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish place a bit of the meat mixture on a tortilla and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.

Wrap each tortilla up and place in the baking dish seam side down.  Nestle each bundle in the dish tightly against each other.

Pour the rest of the meat mixture on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 min.  Uncover and sprinkle the rest of cheese on top and continue cooking until it look like this….

Serve with the garnish and enjoy a quick and easy weeknight meal or a quick and easy weeknight meal when the one you wanted to make goes awry…

Chipotle Black Bean Pasta with a White Wine Tequila Sauce

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First things first, My Camera is Back!!! My Camera is back!!!! I hope that you can tell the quality difference and that you are as happy as I am!!!
Ok on the to recipe….. (too silly…)
I made this thinking that my very picky husband would love the flavors and go crazy for it!  Little did I know that when I so lovingly purchased all the ingredients and planned his welcome home dinner that he had filmed at a pig farm……. Turns out the Micro Brew that he was filming donates all their used Mash (the left over grain from beer brewing) to a local piglet farm.  This farm does not  grow pigs to maturity for slaughter.  They just raise piglets to be sold to grow to be slaughtered by a different farmer.   So he spent all day last Friday with these adorable little piglets and what do I do when he gets home?  I feed him pig.
Now mind you pig is normally one of his most favorite meats of all time.  Need anyone mention the word Bacon around a man….. we all know the answer to that.
So I thought I was doing an amazing meal for my absent husband.   Wrong!  Now mind you this meal is AMAZING, just not to someone who just loved on some little cute piglets!

3-4 thin cut pork chops
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp ground cumin
1 package black bean tagliatelle Here is the site to purchase Pappardelle’s
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Hatch Chile diced how to roast hatch chiles or 1  4oz can green chiles
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
2tbs tequila
juice of one lime
1 cup heavy cream

Place pork chops in a large zip loc bag empty contents of ranch dressing mix and 1tsp of cumin in bag and toss to coat.  Chill for 30 min. 
Heat oven to 350
In a hot non stick pan (no oil) sear pork chops on both sides

Place browned pork chops in a baking dish and bake for 10-15 min depending on the thickness.  Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook the tagliatelle, drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, reserve.  To make the sauce: In a sauce pan saute the minced garlic, the hatch chile, cilantro, and butter till combined and creamy. 
Add the wine and tequila and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 min.
Make sure the wine you use is the wine you serve with the meal. And ahead an have a glass while you are cooking.  You deserve it!
  Add the heavy cream and heat through.  Add the pasta to the pan that you browned the pork in to absorb that flavor and pour the sauce in and bring to a boil.
On a large serving platter plate the Tagliatelle and place your pork chops on top. Serve and relish in the compliments and oohs and aahhs… unless your husband has just been to a piglet farm…..
Did anyone catch the Monty Python reference????


Veggie Fries

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Who doesn’t like fried food? Crazy people that’s who!!! No seriously I know that the trans fat and artery clogging food is not good for our body or our soul….. but dog gonnit it is so darn tasty!!! So every now and then I have to indulge in a little bit.  Not too bad right?? Right??

See Vegetables and Panko bread crumbs.  I told you not too bad!!
You can use any veggie combo that you like.  This is just what I happen to have and also like!

1 eggplant peeled, sliced in french fry style and sweated. (that means after you slice it up place on paper towels and sprinkle a little salt and let the bitterness sweat out for approx 30 min.)

2 zucchini sliced in french fry style
2-3 potatoes sliced in steak fry style
flour to coat
1 egg and 3 tbs water combined
panko bread crumbs to coat
 canola oil to fry

In 3 separate bowls place flour, egg mixture and panko bread crumbs.  In small batches coat the veggies first in flour, second in egg mixture, third in panko. Try to use one hand for dry and one hand for wet. It will help keep the mess to a minimum.  Well sort of……
Heat 1/2 inch oil in a pan and in batches fry the veggies about 2 min per side till golden brown. Drain on paper towels for a few seconds….. And you all know the Rule by now right?  Right?  Place on a cooling rack to keep crispy!!!!
Now you have a healthy fried food!!!!

My very own BBQ Chicken Legs

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Ok Please remember that my good camera has been Filming in Klamath Falls Oregon the past two week. (More on that story in a bit) The camera I have here now, although is a nice one, it is just a Point and Shoot and I can’t really get the look I want.  So in short this photo of my Chicken Legs and Veggie Fries does not look that Ooh La La, take my word for it they are Tres Magnifique!!
Now as for the afore mentioned filming project, my Husband Steve is starting a Webisode TV show about Micro Brews and Craft Brewing.  His project is called American Brewed and as soon as it is ready to go I will let you all know!
Now on to the recipe!

 For the rub for the Chicken Legs

1 tsp of each: coriander, white pepper, black pepper, salt, cumin, smoked spanish paprika
2 tbs of chili powder
dash of cloves and a dash of red pepper flakes
For the BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup prepared mustard(yellow)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
1-2 tbs butter
1/4 tsp soy sauce

Now you have to know that I grew up in Memphis, TN and that I like my sauce thin and sweet and “if it aint pig in aint Q” (I don’t talk like that I was born in Chicago, IL but it is a funny and a TRUE saying) so to my BBQ purist friends I am SORRY about the Mustard!!!! I have to confess I like North Carolina BBQ sauce also…….
Combine all the rub ingredients in a mixing bowl and coat chicken legs completely

Set Chicken aside, and make the Sauce by combining all the ingredients except the butter and soy sauce in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 min.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and soy sauce.

The butter will add a richness and give it a little body. Chill until ready to use it can be kept for up to two weeks in an air tight container. This will make aprox 1 1/2 cups.
Rub a little oil on the drumsticks and grill on direct medium high heat.  Baste the legs halfway through grilling with the Sauce.  Don’t put the sauce on right away or it will burn.  Grill them with just the rub first to lock in that rub’s flavor.
When juices run clear the legs are done.  Baste with the sauce once more before serving and make sure that you have the sauce on the table because everyone will want some more!
Enjoy these with the Veggie Fries (Post on Wednesday, you will just have to come back and check them out!)

Sweet Cherry Peppers

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So my wonderful husband has the fancy camera with him this week in Oregon, so my last 3 posts and these next 3 posts have less than stellar photo’s.  But really at the end of the day it is about the food. And the food is Good!
On the heels of the Hatch Chile’s I am posting more Peppers.  We are kinda Pepper crazy in this household. Except I hate Green Bell Peppers. Weird…. I know but that is me.  I love all other peppers except yucky ole green bell peppers.  These make a fun after school snack, a great appetizer, and just a nice bite in the afternoon, evening, or anytime really.
Crazy easy and hardly any ingredients!

So the amounts will depend on how many you want to make.
Fresh Cherry Peppers
Cream Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
Cilantro

Cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds

fill each pepper with cream cheese

Heat oven to 375 and place peppers on a jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle a small amount of olive oil.

 Bake for 30-45 min. Till cheese starts to brown and peppers are soft. Place a little cilantro for garnish.  You can serve them hot, room temp, or chilled out of the fridge.  I like them chilled but that is totally any one’s preference.

New Mexican Corn Chowder

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After a week of super ridiculous easy recipes I thought it was time for something with a bit more substance.  This dish is by no means hard, I don’t do hard, but it does have quite a few steps.  Don’t be intimidated though, this is worth every bit! I am talking show stopping you will want everyone you know to taste it! I adapted this from Light and Delish.  As the summer winds down and we are quickly approaching cooler weather it is time to grab up the last of summers bounty! Corn and Hatch Chile’s are the main ingredients in this dish.  If you read my How to Roast Hatch Chile’s post you will know how much I love these!

8 cups fresh or frozen corn (I have to confess I used frozen. 8 cups of corn is an awful lot of ears to strip)
1 roasted and diced Hatch Chile see this link on how to roast How to Roast Hatch Chiles
if you can not get your hands on these chiles 2 4oz cans of drained green chiles will work
1 cup onion diced
1/2 tsp each of Cumin, Mexican Oregano, Marjoram, Salt and Pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cups Chicken broth
1/2 c half and half
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes well drained and 1/4 cup cilantro minced (not pictured because, well I forgot)

In a dutch oven drizzle olive oil to coat bottom of pan and cook corn, chile, onion, garlic, and seasonings for 8 min on med high.

Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover pot and cook for 15 min. Stir in a large pinch of the diced cilantro.  If you have an immersion blender you can blend till creamy.  If like me you don’t then transfer to a blender and puree till creamy.  Hey Steve here is another good Christmas gift idea!

Return the soup back to the dutch oven and add the 1/2 cup half and half and another large pinch of cilantro.  Cook over low for 5-8 minutes.  At this point I do a tasting and add any seasonings it may need.
In a mixing bowl stir the fire roasted tomatoes and the remaining cilantro with salt and pepper to taste.
Plate up the chowder and garnish with the tomato mixture. I promise that you will love it and this will become a family favorite!