Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Snacks!

It's super bowl week, which means we're having nachos on Sunday! Nachos and chili are the things that immediately come to mind when I think super bowl, what about you? What are your favorite game time foods?


We're making steak quesadillas to take to my brother's place along with beer for the game, he's providing guac and bean dip. We always seem to end up on a Mexican theme for the game, maybe it's a regional thing?

Menu Time: January 26, 2009

Pretty pedestrian this week but with a hectic work schedule simple is good;

Black Beans with Bacon, Rice, Shredded Cabbage salad with blood orange vinnegrette

Split Pea Soup

Leftovers (gotta clean out the fridge too . . i think there's a gremlin living in there)

Meatloaf and Mac n Cheese

Dinner out with some friends

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Recipe: Sweet pea pesto

I adapted this from a recipe I found at "Cooking with Amy". It is super easy and super cheap, even with the Parmesan.

2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup frozen peas
1 hand full of fresh basil chopped roughly
8oz pasta, any kind really will do
1 Cup reserved pasta water

Cook the pasta per the directions on the box, drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
Add the garlic to the pan
When you start to smell the garlic add the peas
Add a little water and cover the skillet and cook till the peas are heated through
Remove the lid and allow the water to cook off
Transfer the peas to a blender or a bowl if using a stick blender.
Add the basil and blend the peas till smooth, add pasta water as necessary to get the consistency you want
Toss the pesto and pasta together, sprinkle the parm over and serve.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guest Post: Jack's Mild Turkey Sausage Chili

Jack has been asked a few times for his chili recipe and asked if I'd be willing to post it. I said of course, I'm always looking for a new chili recipe to try. I like the look of this recipe because it has corn in it, always a good thing in chili. Enjoy.


1 pack of Hot Italian Turkey Sausage (about 5 sausages)
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 15 oz can of pinto beans
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can of diced green chilis
1 green pepper
1/2 white onion
1 cup frozen corn
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp paprika (preferably a smoked paprika)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder


Pan cook the sausages on med-high for about 7 min on each side, or whatever it takes to get the juice to leak out and brown up really nice. While those are cooking you can throw everything else in a crock pot. Dice up the green pepper in chunks that are just a bit bigger than a bean then throw it in the crockpot and turn the crockpot on low. You could dice the 1/2 onion in the same way, but I like to stick in the the food processor and it comes out as a consistency somewhere between baby food and a very fine dice. Throw the onion in the crockpot. Smash the garlic in a press and throw that in. Mostly drain the 2 cans of beans and throw those in the crockpot. Throw the tomatoes, corn and green chilies in. I suggest using the frozen corn in a bag as opposed to any canned corn because the canned corn is very sweet.

Now the sausages should be done (you did watch them and flip them when appropriate right?). Pull the sausages off the hot burner and let them cool. Put your spices in the crockpot and mix well. Now clean up all of your mess while the sausages cool. When you have nothing else left to clean see if the sausages are cool enough to handle, you want to cut each one in half length wise then cut them up width wise so that the chunks are about as wide as a bean. Dump these into the crockpot as you go. Cover and cook for a long time. I've done this on the fast cook setting (higher heat for 4 hours) and it came out fine, but I would suggest doing it for 6.

For extra credit when your chili is done but the crock pot is still on the "warm" setting, sprinkle in about a tablespoon of Masa flour. This will thicken it up a bit and give it a very good taste that nobody will be able to identify.

Now comes your most important decision: how to serve it. While the chili tastes great alone, it is meant to be poured on top of something. I usually pour it on top of Basmati rice. Delicious alternatives are a baked potato, crunched up Fritos, or oyster crackers. Customization options are to sprinkle on some grated cheese, diced red onion, or finely diced chives.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Time: January 18, 2009

Oven roasted chicken breasts, sweet pea pesto and pasta

Grilled Cheese and squash soup

Veggie stir-fry

Dinner out

Pork Chops, cous cous and pan roasted brussel sprouts

Chicken stew and biscuits

It's gonna be beef and potatoes but the specifics haven't been figured yet ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No Menu Time this week

We're out and about the second half of the week so the cooking is limited at the homestead this week, mostly clearing leftovers outta the fridge/freezer and taking advantage of some gift cards.

In the meanwhile compare what you keep in your pantry and freezer to what some well respected food authors think you should be keeping.

Mark Bittman - The Latest Must-Haves for the Pantry
We've switched over to mostly making vinaigrette on an as needed basis over the course of the last year and while we are not growing herbs indoors, yet, we will have a fresh herbs at our fingertips once the garden goes in this spring. This year I'm trying to make the switch to more whole grains (damn you quinoa I will make you correctly!) and dried beans.

Michael Ruhlman - The Freezer Pantry
Stock, Stock and more Stock is already in our freezer, and of course bacon! One comment I especially loved was to freeze cookie dough already portioned, that would save us from having to thaw it out 12 hours before we want cookies, brilliant!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Commuting is fun, as long as you have an iPod

How long did your commute take today?

If you drive more than half a mile in the Denver metro area I bet it was twice as long as normal? This was the traffic map at 9:40am . . . ugh. Can't wait for that commute home!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recipe: Vegetable Barley Soup


2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable broth or water
1 cup uncooked barley
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup cauliflower
1 onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon parsley, chapped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Saute onion, celery and carrot in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil for 2 minutes
Turn down to medium heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until barley is tender

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Menu Time: January 4, 2009

Vegetable barley soup, biscuits

Hamburger steaks, potato gratin, broccoli

Leftovers - aka variations on turkey

Pork Chop (for the non fish eating wife), Salmon (for me), cous cous, sauted squash

Spinach frittata, oven fries

Soupy pinto beans, rice, cucumber/yogurt salad

Beef pot roast in crock pot

Recipe: Twice Buzzed Chili

It was a tie in the great Chili cook off of 2008. I'll leave it to Curt to post his recipe, if his site is back up soon. This chile is pretty thick, just the way I like it, and makes a great dip for chips. We serve it with homemade tortillas, sour cream and cheese. It makes up a good amount but freezes well for lunches later.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
3 cloves garlic diced
Roasted Chiles to taste, diced (I use 3 or 4 Roasted New Mexico Chiles
2 cans chili beans
1 can tomatoes
1 can corn
1 bottle beer

Sweat the onion, green pepper and garlic in a little oil with salt and pepper for 10 minutes, add the chiles in the last 2 minutes. Remove veggies from the pan to the crock pot.
Brown the beef and sausage in the skillet until no longer pink, move to the crock pot.
Add chile powder, cumin, oregano, etc. to taste to the crock pot and stir.
Dump all the canned ingredients and beer into the crock pot, cook for at least 8 hours.