Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Christmas, Classic, Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Cooking for Two, Dinner, Family Friendly, Healthy, Holiday, Homemade, Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Pantry Staples, Potatoes, Quick cooking, Turkey, Veggies, Winter

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Merry Christmas readers!

I don’t know about you but I’m pooped!  Every year I tell myself that I’m going to simplify the holidays but then somehow one party turns into three, the number of presents to wrap keeps growing, I’ll bake just one more batch of cookies, the holidays in non-profit world keep getting busier (not that I’m complaining about all the people we’re helping!), traveling gets more hectic.  And then all of a sudden it’s over and I realize I didn’t stop and remember the reason I feel compelled to do all that to start with.

I’m challenging myself over the next couple days before Christmas to slow down, enjoy time with family, remember to take a little “me” time and don’t forget to breathe.  One way I’ll do that is to relax and enjoy some of the little traditions we do this week.

One of my absolute favorite things to do during the holidays is curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa (and homemade marshmallows), a fuzzy blanket, and my husband and watch classic Christmas movies and cartoons.  Each time I settle down to watch Charlie Brown, White Christmas or Claymation Christmas I feel a calm settle on me.  I get super sappy and nostalgic when I watch those things.  I remember the childlike wonder and amazement of the Christmas season and at least for a few minutes all is right in the world.

My very favorite Christmas cartoon is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Not only do I love everything Dr. Seuss, I love the reminder that Christmas isn’t about things and being busy, it’s about the quality time we spend with family and friends celebrating the season.

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Let’s all take our queue from Mr. Grinch and Whoville and remember…

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.


Hash is a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies that are hanging in the fridge around the holidays.  I love to make hash and every time I do I can’t help but think of the Grinch slinking through Cindy Lou’s house stealing everything including the Who hash!

This hash combines sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and homemade turkey chorizo for a filling breakfast fit for a Christmas morning full of opening presents!!

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 Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos’ feast, he took the Who pudding, he took the roast beast. He cleaned out that ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash.

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The Grinch’s Who Hash

Olive oil
Garlic
1 cup red onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 cups sweet potato, pre-cooked (this is a great way to use leftover roasted potatoes)
2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced thin
Homemade chorizo (recipe below)
Fried eggs
To finish: salsa, cilantro, cotija cheese (all optional)

Turkey Chorizo
1 lb. ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Splash of apple cider vinegar

To make chorizo: Mix all spices and apple cider vinegar together to make a paste.  Mix it with the turkey until thoroughly combined.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add a big glug of olive oil and let heat. Add chorizo and cook 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan.

Heat a little more olive oil in the hot pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add onion, bell pepper and poblanos and cook until slightly charred around the edges. Add sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and cook another 5 minutes or so until all the veggies are cooked through and a little crispy around the edges. Add the chorizo back to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: top the hash with two eggs any way you like them. I prefer over easy with all their yolky goodness. Top with a little of your favorite salsa, cilantro and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. Yum!

Source: Ruth’s Table

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch / You’re the king of sinful sots / Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots / Mr. Gri-inch! / You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

I bet if the Grinch started his day with this hash he wouldn’t have been so Grinchy!  🙂

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Posted in Autumn, Chicken, Curry, Kale, One Pot Meals, Potatoes, Slow Cooker

Slow-Cooker Sunday – Chicken, Potato, and Kale Curry

Some weekends are just so busy that my husband and I only connect as one or the other of us is running out the door.  We had one like that a few weeks ago when he was working shows and I had an event and the only time were were actually going to be in the same room was for lunch on Sunday.

Then came the dilemma.

Do we have time to go somewhere for brunch?  Probably not.  There will be an hour wait.  All I’ll want to do is eat french toast and drink mimosas and will never make it to work on time (not to mention that delicious food coma that will hit right as I have to be “on”).  Do we just throw together a quick sandwich at home?  Sure.  That’s fine, but kinda boring.  When this is the one time we get to hang out and spend time together for the weekend it would be nice to actually feel like our meal is special.

Good thing I have a slow-cooker and know how to use it. 🙂

Indian food is a great idea when it comes to a slow-cooker.  A lot of Indian dishes require quite a bit of stove time and get better the longer they’re allowed to simmer so it makes total sense.  You know I love to spend time in the kitchen creating delicious dishes but even I can get impatient.

My Chicken, Potato and Kale Curry is the perfect dish to throw in the slow-cooker the night before and enjoy for lunch on Sunday.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken, Potato and Kale Curry

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small onion, diced

3 garlic cloves

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 Tablespoon Garam Masala

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional, depending on how hot you like it)

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 small can tomato sauce

Salt & Pepper

1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes, diced

1 small bunch kale

Splash of half & half

To serve: cilantro, chopped cashews, rice, naan

  1. Put chicken, onion, and next 10 ingredients in the bowl of a slow-cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Add the kale and half & half.  Season with salt & pepper and let cook another 20 minutes.
  3. Serve over rice, top with cilantro and cashews.

Source: Ruth’s Table

Posted in Appetizers, Autumn, Comfort Food, Date Night, Fall, Healthy, Holiday, Nuts, One Pot Meals, Party Worthy, Potatoes, Soup, Supper Club, Vegetarian, Winter

Soup’s On!

How many times do you catch yourself saying “we should really get together more often” or “let’s do this again real soon” when you’re hanging out with friends?  How many times do you actually follow through?  We all have good intentions but “life” gets in the way and we go months before making plans.  When we finally do we have such a great time and then make the same promises all over again.

IMG_0895Well, I’m VERY thankful for friends who take the initiative, make a date, invite us all and stick to it.  We should all be more like that!!

Our friend Nick is exactly this kind of person.  We have been talking for month’s about getting together and cooking for each other and hanging out and we’ve just kept putting it off.  Finally, a couple weeks ago Nick just picked a date, invited us over and told us to bring soup.  The monthly Foodie Pow Wow was born.

My contribution to this culinary endeavor was one of my favorite go-to soups.  You really can’t go wrong with rich, silky butternut squash in the winter time.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Granola

    • 1 (2 1/2 pound) butternut squash
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cups peeled, diced sweet potato
    • 2 teaspoons fresh sage
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut squash in half lengthwise, spoon out seeds.  Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Remove peel and mash the pulp.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add onion, saute for 2-3 minutes or until starting to brown around the edges.  Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the squash, vegetable stock and the next six ingredients (through bay leaves) and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove bay leaves.

Place one-third of vegetable mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining squash mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in honey.  Top individual servings with spiced granola.

Spiced Granola

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix oats, walnuts, garam masala, salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant, stirring once.  Remove from oven and add honey, cranberries and sage.  Let cool.

Source: Soup adapted from Cooking Light http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-butternut-soup-with-goat-cheese-toasts-10000001932617/, Granola by Ruth’s Table

Our other delicious creations…

Red Beans & Rice
Red Beans & Rice
Steak and Black Bean Chili with Cornbread Waffles
Steak and Black Bean Chili with Cornbread Waffles
Cornbread Waffles (yummy!)
Cornbread Waffles (yummy!)
My favorite jams!http://www.bathtubginonline.com/
My favorite jams!  Goes great with cheese!
http://www.bathtubginonline.com/
Balsamic Strawberries and pound cake (recipe for another day!)
Balsamic Strawberries and pound cake
(recipe for another day!)

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?” – Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Stay tuned for scenes from our next Foodie Pow Wow…

Posted in Baking, Beer, Bread, Casserole, Chocolate, Comfort Food, Dessert, Irish, Potatoes, St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I think St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect comfort food holiday.  Spring is almost here but there are still those chilly, rainy days that remind you that Old Man Winter isn’t quite ready to be finished.  The random changes in weather wreak havoc on my sinuses and cause awful headaches.  My allergies start flaring up.  Spring is the busiest,  most stressful time for me at work.  All these things combined call for Shepherd’s Pie, bread pudding and a tall cold pint of Guinness!

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients
For the potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the milk and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the cheese and egg yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the olive oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire, oregano, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Alton Brown http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2/index.html

 

No St. Patty’s day meal would be complete without dessert and beer!  I’m killing two birds with one stone on this one!!!

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Guinness Syrup

Ingredients:

For the bread pudding

  • 4 cups French baguette or Italian bread, cubed
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For syrup

  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread chocolate chips and walnuts.  In another mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Pour over bread and let soak for 30 minutes.

While bread is soaking, bring Guinness and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Mixture will become more syrupy as it cools.

Put bread mixture in a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until top is brown and custard is set.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve with syrup.

Source: Ruth’s Table

 

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing