Friday, May 14, 2010

Kielbasa and Cannelini Beans

Even though we have decided to eat a healthier diet, unhealthy items are still lurking in my cupboards and freezer. Since I don't want to waste food I'm trying to sneak them into our meals. I figure if you sneak a not so healthy item in amongst the healthy it will get canceled out, right. Well, even if it's not right, that's what I'm telling myself. This is my healthy way to use up some kielbasa. I must admit the whole time I was eating I was thinking how good it would be over garlic bread. This recipe was also fast, taking less than 20 minutes. I liked that the sauce, which had a nice tang, didn't overpower the rest of the ingredients. I still have some kielbasa in the freezer, so we may be having this again, probably over garlic bread.

Kielbasa and Cannelini Beans

From Quick Cooking

1 lb kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup packed brown sugar - I used slightly less than 1/4 cup and didn't pack it, I prefer it on the tangy side.
2 tablespoons A1 or similar steak sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (15 oz.) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

Cook sausage for 2-3 minutes in a skillet. Stir in onion and peppers. Cook stirring occasionally until sausage is lightly browned and peppers are tender. Drain any excess liquid. Combine the sugar with the liquid ingredients. Stir mixture into the skillet then add the beans. Cook until beans are heated through.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Portobello Mushroom Bourguignon

In an effort to improve our eating, I'm trying to come up with more meatless meals to have 2 or hopefully 3 nights a week. I was looking for something to use up leftover mushrooms when I ran across this recipe for mushroom bourguignon at Smitten Kitchen that looked interesting. Beef bourguignon is a favorite of mine and this looked tasty and much easier. But I didn't have enough mushrooms, only about 11 oz., so I substituted about 16oz. of top sirloin I had on hand for the missing portion of mushrooms. I know, I know, what happened to meatless? I didn't think my piddly amount of mushrooms would be enough and as it turned out it was nice being able to compare them.

The first dish pictured is the one I added beef to. I sliced the beef thin as I would for stir-fry and quickly browned them after the mushrooms. Then added the beef back at the very end so it would stay tender and not overcook. It was very good and but I really liked the taste of the mushrooms better than the beef, they went so well with the sauce. I knew I needed to try this again and follow the recipe this time.

For the second dish pictured, I followed the recipe, or almost followed the recipe. I used the whole 12 oz. bag of frozen pearl onions instead of just a cup. I also caramelized the onions after cooking the mushrooms. I think the caramelizing added just a tad more flavor.

There wasn't a great deal of difference between the two dishes. The sauce in the mushroom only dish was just as rich and flavorful as the one with meat. I actually like the meatless dish better due to the consistent texture of the dish. If you want you can garnish with a little sour cream to give it a strogonoff taste. I highly recommend it.

The recipe can be found at Smitten Kitchen.

Check out All That Splatters for the Saturday Blog Showcase and some great recipes.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the Road...

Last Saturday morning my friend Rosemary and I boarded this very fine bus headed for Chicago on a culinary tour of some of the established neighborhoods. I was worried that the cooler I took was too big, but after the first stop at the Chicago Fish Market, I was worried that it was too small. It was a very busy day as we made four stops, the first one at the aforementioned fish market where I bought lovely fresh scallops, tuna, swordfish, and grouper.

Our next stop was at Conte Di Savoia in Little Italy. I went nuts in this place;
Homemade Italian sausage
Homemade mozzarella
Coppa salami
Porcini stuffed tortellone
Portobello stuffed gnocchi
Chicken, portobello, red pepper stuffed ravioli
Several different shapes of homemade pasta

I had to stop myself. Rosemary bought a loaf of bread that was almost as tall as she was. I was going to take pictures of my wonderful haul of goodies, but by the time we arrived home I was pooped. I portioned it all up and put it in the freezer for many delicious meals to come. Part of the mozzarella and sausage turned in to this for supper Tuesday.

Our next stop was the Mexican Village. Unfortunately we picked the wrong place to eat lunch and most of our time was spent eating a long mediocre lunch. We did hit the market with all it's produce and meats that are not available in this area. The one upside to being short on time was that it limited me to a mad dash through the heavenly bakery. You've have to love a bakery that you pick up a pizza pan and tongs when you walk in and then just roam around and pick up all the wonderful offerings.

Next stop Chinatown. We arrived just in time to hit the Noodle Co. and get a big box of homemade noodles. By this time my cooler is stuffed and there is absolutely no more room, so that saved me from buying anything else... except the gigantic cream horns from the bakery.

We had a great day and now I will have too drive to Chicago to get more grouper and mozzarella and sausage....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Yummy Breakfast

Well it's been a while, but I'm back. I started back to school full time at the beginning of the year and the blog got kicked to the side. It must be spring in the air but I've been getting the itch to post. I named this blog Verbarrhea when I first started it because I thought it would be about my different interest and the stupid stuff that spews from my mouth or in this case fingers. But it ended up with mostly food. While it will continue to have lots of food (and my terrible food photography), I intend to make it what I had originally intended. The Little Buddy and I have started to change the way we eat, so I'll talk about the changes we are making to have a healthier diet and the economic side effect of eating healthy. I've heard many people say it's too expensive to eat a fresh diet, I think their wrong so I'm going to track it. Not to mention we put together our raised bed garden yesterday, I'm very exited to get started and can't wait for all the great veggies that are going to be coming our way.

On to the yummy open faced spinach and egg muffin. This is sooo good, I'm going to have to stop myself from eating it every day this week, I've already had it twice. This dish caught my eye as I was thumbing through Everyday Food. It looked delicious and would add some greens to my diet, it also met my other criteria of being quick. The garlic and the spinach go so well with the poached egg, you must give this a try it's so good. There really isn't a need for a recipe. While your egg is poaching, toast a muffin(Everyday Food used some sort of bread) in a pan or toaster, then slice one small garlic clove thinly add to a pan with a tsp. or so of oil after about a minute toss in a handful of spinach and toss until done. Assemble, add some fruit and eat the yummiest breakfast you'll have this week and it's pretty healthy.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Soup

My favorite soups as a kid, Mushroom, Cream of Celery, Bean and Bacon and Vegetarian Vegetable, all Campbell's. I still eat those soups today but now they are homemade. This mushroom soup is tasty and quick, you can have it made in about 30 minutes. If you want to take this soup to the next level top the soup off with a slice or two of Brie.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Recipe downsized from Diane Phillips

2 tbls. butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 level tbls. flour
1 lb. mixed mushrooms Cremini, Shitake, Button
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
1 tbls. cream sherry
salt and pepper

Melt butter in heavy bottom pot and add shallots. Cook shallots for 2-3 minutes then add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes until the juice starts to evaporate, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Once the rawness is cooked from the flour add the chicken stock, stir until everything is smooth. Add the cream and sherry and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for just a few minutes making sure everything is incorporated. Serve with a sprinkling of chives and some brie.

This soup is easy to increase, just add another shallot, cup of broth, 1/2 lb of mushrooms and 1 more tbls. sherry.

Check out the Grocery Cart Challenge for more great recipes.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon

It's been unseasonably cold here this past week, today the sun actually came out but it was still chilly. Nothing better than a long cooking stew on such a day, by late afternoon the house was smelling really good.

This recipe comes from a French woman I took a cooking class from. I really enjoyed the class, the food was great. The dish she cooked was much chunkier but my stew meat was pre-cut in smallish chunks so I cut everything else to match so it would cook more evenly. This has a great taste, caramelizing the onions and mushrooms separately adds a lot of flavor.

Check out more great recipes at Blessed With Grace.


Boeuf Bourguignon
6 oz. bacon
3 lbs. beef shoulder
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. flour
2 1/2 cups French Bourgogne red wine (Pinot Noir)
2/3 cups beef stock
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbls. herbes de Provence (blend of thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary)
Several cups of water
20 pearl onions
1 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. sugar
3 tbls. water
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced

1. Cut the bacon slices into 1/2" lardons (wide strands) . Cook the bacon in a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat until the bacon is cooked through, but not crunchy. Remove the bacon from the pot, and set aside.

2. Cut the beef shoulder into 2" cubes. Brown the beef in batches in the pot, being careful not to crowd. If you should need more oil use the 2 tbls. of olive oil. You want to develop a nice fond on the bottom of the pot but be careful not to burn.

3. After the beef has browned add the onion, carrot and garlic to the pot and saute until lightly browned.

4. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot along with the flour and stir, cooking the flour for just a minute, stirring constantly.

5. Add the wine, stock, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence to the pot and mix well.

6. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 2 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary.

7. Meanwhile, peel the pearl onions and place them in a saute pan with 1 tbls. olive oil, sugar and water. Cook the onions over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until they caramelize and the sugar becomes syrupy. Remove the onions from the pan, and set aside.

8. Add the sliced mushrooms to the same saute pan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.

9. About 10 minutes before the beef mixture is done simmering add the sauteed onions and mushrooms to the pot.

10. Serve immediately over noodles or potatoes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Pomodoro

This is a quick and easy chicken dish. Even though it has a little cream in it, the lemon makes it light and fresh.

Check out the Grocery Cart Challenge for more great recipes.


Chicken Pomodoro
4 chicken cutlets, flattened to about 1/4"
2 tbls. Canola oil
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 tbls. heavy cream
1/3 cup scallions, minced

Heat skillet on med-high heat and add canola oil. Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Saute cutlets until just done, a few minutes on each side. Remove from skillet. Pour off any excess fat from pan and deglaze off heat with vodka. Return pan to flame and cook until vodka is almost gone. Add broth and lemon juice and return cutlets to the pan and cook each side 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to a warm plate. Finish the sauce with tomatoes and cream. Heat through, then pour over the cutlets. Garnish with the minced scallions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Root Vegetable Stew

Fall has finally arrived. The temperature was down in the thirties last night and it was a cold and rainy day. Just the right kind of weather for a good stew and this is a good stew. It has a different taste to it with all the sweet root vegetables. The first time I made this stew I tasted the broth at the beginning when the beef was just starting to cook, I thought I'd made a big mistake and it tasted, kinda harsh. But I continued on, figuring The Little Buddy would eat it, he'll eat almost anything. I'd just have peanut butter toast. After the vegetables were added and everything cooked, it was a whole different stew. All those wonderful sweet root vegetables had cooked together and added a subtle sweetness to cut the harshness of the red wine and all that basil and garlic. The two flavors really work well together balancing each other nicely. This is really a unique taste and a good change of pace from the tomato based stew.
This is great with whole grain bread or rolls.

Check out other great recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge.


Fall Root Vegetable Stew
1/2 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
2 lbs. Stew Meat, cut into 1" cubes
3 tbls. Canola Oil
1 Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Beef Broth
3 tbls. Tomato Paste
2 tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Dried Basil
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/2 lb. Sweet Potatoes, cut into 1" pieces,
1 1/2 lb. Turnips, cut into 1" pieces
1 lb. Carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Cups Frozen Small Pearl Onions
2 cups water (add this as needed)

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Heat dutch oven to med-high heat. While dutch oven is heating cut beef into 1" cubes and dredge in flour mixture. Reserve any leftover flour mixture. When dutch oven is hot add oil. Shake off excess flour from beef and brown in dutch oven until browned on all sides, you may have to do this in a few batches. When beef is browned add wine, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, basil and bay leaves to the pot with the beef. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hr. This will depend on the type of beef you use. When the beef is almost tender add the carrots and onions, cook for about 15 minutes. You may have to add some of the water at this point. Next add the turnips and cook until carrots and turnips are almost tender, about 30 minutes, then toss the sweet potatoes with the remaining flour mixture and add . Cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir every 15 minutes or so because this will stick to the bottom.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Roasted Vegetables

I had a lot of pieces of different vegetables left over from this week, red, green, yellow peppers, mushrooms, onion, zucchini and asparagus. So I chopped them up, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them, not really having any plan on what to do with them when they were done. I could have just eaten them as is but they needed to turn into supper. I ended up mixing them with orzo and chicken thigh meat, sprinkled on a little fontina cheese and it wasn't bad. Forgot to get a picture of that.

As they were roasting I had so many different ideas, frittata's, gazpacho, omelet, different pasta dishes, definitely some things I want to try. Roasted vegetables are so easy to make and have so much flavor.

What are some of the things you do with roasted vegetables?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quick and Easy Chili

I luuuuuv chili. I could eat it every week no matter what the weather. When I was a kid my mom and I often ate at a little restaurant that had the best chili, I have been trying to recreate it with no success. My standard chili recipe is one my Grandpa got off the radio, it's suppose to be the recipe for the chili served at Chasens, the once famous L.A. eatery. I make that quite often, but I still search for that elusive taste from my childhood. I ran across this recipe a few years ago in the Rachael Ray magazine. It's not what I was after but it was good and it can be made quickly and doesn't use a lot of ingredients. I was a little wary of it at first since it called for adding the beans and liquid from the can. I always rinse canned beans, because I thing the packing liquid is kind of... well gross, but I followed the recipe and low and behold the liquid really adds a thickness to the chili that is quite good. I would recommend using a good quality canned bean like Bush's, which is what I normally use, the one time I used a generic brand from Wally World it was noticeably different and not as good.

How does everyone eat their chili? To me it depends on the chili, I can eat it plain or with a combination of crackers, buttered crackers, jalapenos, Frito's, cheese, corn bread and to the Little Buddy's disgust, pickles. Do you have any odd foods you eat with chili?

Check out more great recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge.


Corn Chip Chili

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 15-ounce can black beans
One 15-ounce can pinto beans
One 10-ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
Salt and pepper
12 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (optional)
One bag Frito's

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef over medium-high heat. Once beef has lost it's pink color, add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the beans, with their liquid, and the tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to serve with the cheese turn off heat, then top with the cheese, cover and let stand until the cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Place a handful of corn chips in a bowl. Top with the chili and serve.

You can adjust the heat by using different levels of canned tomatoes with green chilies. Other additions that go well are jalapenos either cooked in the chili or sprinkled over the top as a garnish.

The original recipe can be found here. Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Turkey Bacon Club Salad

Summer means fresh ripe tomatoes and all the things that go with them. I like turkey-bacon clubs but sometimes I don't want all that bread. Also, I'm not overly fond of hard to eat food, clubs aren't really user friendly. A salad is a good alternative. I can have all the goodness of a turkey club in nice neat little bites, no worrying about keeping the sandwich together and stuff shooting out the back because I have to compress it to take a bite. To make this extra good, make homemade croutons, it really makes a difference. I just make simple croutons for this with only a little salt and pepper for seasoning, I don't want to detract from the salad.

For homemade croutons: Cut some Italian bread into 1" cubes. In a skillet over medium-High heat melt enough butter to lightly coat the amount of bread you are using. Once the butter is hot add the bread and toss to coat, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Cook stirring as needed until the bread is browned. Remove to a plate to cool.

For the Salad: Cook bacon to desired doneness and remove to paper towels to drain, then cut into 1" pieces. Clean and prepare iceberg lettuce, chop tomato, and dice a 1/2" slice of turkey into cubes.

When I make these type of salads I put all the individual components out buffet style. The Little Buddy and I never seem to like the same amounts of things in salads. This way we can make our own and everyone is happy, or you can just toss all together in a big bowl.

I want this to taste like a club so I just make a simple mayonnaise dressing. Take mayonnaise and thin to the proper consistency with half and half or cream, then salt and pepper to your individual taste.

Check out more great recipes at Blessed with Grace for Tempt my Tummy Tuesday and The Grocery Cart Challenge.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Caramelized Pears

I'm back after a little vacation from blogging. We've had a cool stretch this past weekend with lows in the 40's and highs in the 60's. A little tease of fall. It's really gotten me ready for the change in seasons. Fall is my favorite season, The Little Buddy thinks I'm whacked, but I love the colors of everything as they die, leaves rustling, the cool crisp air and the start of the fall rainy season. The food changes to a heartier fare and you go from the berries of summer to apples and pears. The first of the pears haven't really started to show up yet, but I did manage to find a few at the store that would work for the this quick and easy dessert. It only takes a few minutes to make and taste great.

Check out other great recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge.


Caramelized Pears

4 pears
about 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 water

Cut the pears in half and scoop out the core. Press pears cut side down in the sugar, then place cut side down in a skillet. You want to use a skillet just big enough to fit all the pears. When I make just 1 pear I use a small sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until pears begin to turn brown. 8 minutes or so.

Add 1/2 cup water, cover and simmer until pears are tender, 5 to 10 minutes (depending on ripeness). Add more water if sugar begins to burn. When done remove pears from skillet. If the liquid in the pan is thin, simmer until thickened to a sauce like consistency. If it's thick, add more water.

Serve pears with sauce. This is very good with ice cream or just drizzled with cream.