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.