Chicken and Broccoli

• June 28th, 2014 •

Last night I made chicken and broccoli. I had broccoli that I needed to use and it was rainy out so I knew a creamy luscious white sauce was going to be in the mix. White sauce always makes broccoli better (more…)

My Favorite Pasta Salad

• June 18th, 2014 •

Yesterday it was hot out and I thought, “What a perfect day to make my favorite pasta salad!”. I have been making this pasta salad since I was in my early twenties.  My best friend, Wendy, made it up and we used to eat it all summer long when we were roommates. The funny thing is, Wendy is not known for her cooking skills, (more…)

Italian Sausage and Potatoes

• June 10th, 2014 •

It was kind of chilly yesterday, so I decided to make my mother’s Italian Sausage and Potatoes. As the days pass here in Spearfish, I find myself missing my mom. When this feeling overwhelms me, (more…)

Turkey Chili

• June 7th, 2014 •

Today was cold and rainy so I decided to make turkey chili with a little south western flare. Chili has been a go to dinner for me for years. I keep all the ingredients on hand because it is a great quick meal that can be done in about 30 minutes if you are defrosting meat, otherwise it is a 20 minute meal. The best part is that you can make it a million different ways by adding or changing up the ingredients.

This time I decided to give it a decidedly south western touch by adding left over smoked corn on the cob. I also used ground turkey. About 50% of the time I use the chili packet you can get in the grocery store. It is quick and is a great base for the chili. This time I added extra cumin, garlic and seasoned salt. I always add extra spices when I use turkey. The turkey just seems a little less flavorful than beef. I hope you keep this in your repertoire, itll get you out of some tough binds and also give you a great meal and a nice break on a rainy day!

taking corn off cob for turkey chili

I started by taking the corn off the cob. If you invert a small bowl in a large bowl, your corn doesn’t go flying all over the place.

shucked corn

Here is the shucked corn. It looks dark because I smoked it in the smoker for a couple of hours. The small blob is herb butter that I originally served with the corn. Figured it couldn’t hurt!

the mix for turkey chili

I didn’t take a photo of the ingredients. Sorry. This is the shucked corn, 1/2 a rough chopped onion, 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a 14 oz can of pinto beans. I also added one can of water to the mix. (Usually I saute the onion with the turkey, but I got carried away and forgot.)

turkey

One pound of ground turkey.

cooking turkey

Brown the turkey and then add the chili seasoning packet.

seasoning

At this point I also added a teaspoon of cumin,a teaspoon of seasoned salt, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.

adding to the chili

Then add the bowl of goodness into the meat mixture. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer for 15 minutes.

cooking chili

This is how it looks in the beginning of the simmer.

simmering turkey chili

Then it starts to reduce and concentrate all those wonderful flavors.

the toppings

This is the time to get the toppings out. You can go crazy and make a whole topping bar, but for just the two of us, I kept it simple.

bowls of turkey chili

Scoop out the chili…

turkey chili with all the toppings

Add the toppings…and enjoy!

 

 

Nectarine Chutney

• June 2nd, 2014 •

I was feeling very inspired yesterday when it came to cooking, so I smoked pork chops  and topped them with nectarine chutney.  I was looking for any reason to stop unpacking boxes.  I was sure that the boxes were breeding when we weren’t looking because it felt like the amount of boxes was increasing, not decreasing. Okay, that’s another story for another time, back to cooking. (more…)

Roast Chicken

• February 24th, 2014 •

Last night I decided to make a roast chicken for dinner. To be honest, I wish I could say that I always make a roast chicken, but in these busy days I am usually buying the roasted chicken at the grocery store, bringing it home and throwing it on a platter. Now, there is nothing wrong with those pre-cooked chickens, but there is also nothing better than roasting one yourself. A roast chicken is one of the simplest and one of the most rewarding meals to cook. It is easy, yet yields phenomenal results. I forgot how easy it was.

I started by melting butter and adding thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil. Then I massaged it into the bird and then roasted it. Really, really simple and not only yummy tasting, but your house will smell wonderful! So, don’t walk past those whole chickens in the grocery store, pick one up and go home and roast one!

the ingredients for roast chicken

1- 4-5 lb. chicken- Make sure you take out the gizzards from the inner cavity and rinse and dry your chicken.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 stick butter

2 tbl. olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

lemon zest for roast chicken

First, zest a lemon.

lemon juice for roast chicken

then melt the butter and add the juice of half the lemon.

marinade for roast chicken

Mix the thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil into the mixture. Then tie up the chicken legs to each other with twine.

tied up chicken

After you have massaged the mixture into the bird and tied up the legs, you can add the half of lemon directly into the cavity. I also add extra salt and pepper into the cavity for extra flavor.

roast chicken

Bake in pre heated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg reads 160 degrees. Take chicken out of oven and let it rest for 20 minutes.

roast chicken dinner

Carve and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!

 

 

Pantry Soup

• February 6th, 2014 •

I make pantry soup at least once a month. It is a great way to use up veggies, rice, or pasta that is either left over or needs to be used up. Pantry soup is always such a comforting meal, no matter what I add to it. It is basically a bunch of veggies that need to be used up before they go bad, either ground beef or turkey for meatballs, or roasted chicken, and a starch, either rice or pasta. This is a great way to use up those 1/4 boxes of pasta. Sometimes I will add several kinds. Today I used up some onion, red pepper, crooked neck squash, celery, carrots and spinach. I defrosted some ground beef and made meatballs, then I found some Spanish rice in the fridge that was leftover from enchilada night. I grabbed some stock from the pantry and some spices and 90 minutes later I had a huge pot of delicious soup.

I initially started making this soup when I realized how much waste was coming out of my fridge. Vegetables that never made it to the table, or I forgot I had bought them. I decided a couple of years ago to really make a concerted effort to stop wasting food. Although I had the best of intentions, waste is waste. I make a lot of soup and then I freeze it in individual portions. They are a meal unto themselves, or with a sandwich for lunch. I have even made it for company and it was well received. On some level, soup is just plain comforting to just about everyone. I know my mom had a complete repertoire of soups that she made for the family throughout the winter months.

The Ingredients:

the ingredients for pantry soup

These are the veggies I used this time for my soup. Not shown is the stock, an egg and bread crumbs for the meatballs, and salt, pepper, dry thyme, and garlic powder. I also add red chili flakes. All the seasonings are based on how much you make and taste.

sauteeing vegetables for pantry soup

Here are the veggies sauteing. So bright and vibrant. If you want your veggies to stay bright, you can blanch them first, but I was in a rush today.

meat for meatballs for pantry soup

Here is the meat mixture ready to roll and drop into the soup. I don’t fry meatballs, I usually cook them in the oven, but for soup I prefer to poach them in the stock. It adds lots of flavor to the soup.

pantry soup

Here is the soup simmering away!

pantry _ soup

Enjoy!

Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

• February 2nd, 2014 •

Today I made pasta with ricotta and spinach. I was hungry and wanted something that was relatively healthy, quick, and filling. I perused the fridge and came up with some great ingredients that needed to be used up. (more…)

Fish Tacos

• January 22nd, 2014 •

I leave for vacation in 36 hours, not that I am counting, so I am trying to use up what I have and avoid the grocery store at all costs. I decided to make fish tacos. I have never tried them, but my hubby loves them so I thought I’d give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy they were to put together and more importantly how good they were.  The first thing I did was to season my oil before I cooked the fish. All I did was to cut a peeled clove of garlic in half and add a few pieces of raw poblano pepper to the cold oil. Then I set the pan on low and let it come up to a point where there were bubbles at the bottom of the pan. Then I turned it off and let it cool for about 15 minutes. I took out the garlic and pepper and voila- seasoned oil!

I also made a cream sauce to top the tacos by mixing 1 cup of sour cream with 1/2 a cube of chipotle chili that I had frozen. This really pumped up the flavor! I think that sometimes we are afraid to just take a chance, mix some flavors, and see what we get. There really isn’t anything special about fish tacos, but I can take the basic recipe and change up the fish, the sauce, or the protein. That is what makes a recipe a keeper!

The Ingredients:

the ingredients

1/4 poblano pepper

1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half

chopped cilantro to top tacos

thinly sliced red onion to top tacos

shredded lettuce for tacos

corn tortillas, warmed

1 pound of tilapia

salt & pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cube (1 tbl.) chipotle chili

seasoned oil

Place enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan. place garlic and poblano pepper in oil and turn heat to low. Let it heat up until there are tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pan. Turn heat off and let cool for 15 minutes. Discard the garlic and pepper. Now you have the seasoned oil to cook the fish in.

fish cooking

Heat up the oil on medium and place tilapia in hot pan. Cook for 5 minutes and turn fish over. Cover turn heat to med low and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Make sure to not overcook the fish.

chipolte cream sauce

While the fish is cooking, mix the sour cream, chipotle and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

fish tacos

Once your fish is cooked, flake pieces off and place in a warmed corn tortilla. Add lettuce, red onion, cilantro and the cream sauce. Serve with re-fried beans. Enjoy!

 

Leftover Chicken

• August 5th, 2012 •

As I gazed into my fridge yesterday, knowing we were having company in an hour, I knew I had to make something kinda quick and easy. I had no time to go to the store, no time to defrost anything, and I was trying to stay true to my plan to not waste food. That left me with leftover chicken. Now, I know you are thinking, “leftovers for company!”. You think I have gone mad, (more…)