Chicken Posole

I found this on WeightWatchers and made it my own.  The recipe on their site is a bit different than mine.  You could also throw in a crockpot.   That’s not my thing though. Simple and Delicious!

Chicken Posole
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Ingredients

1 pound, chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
4 ounces pickled jalapeno peppers, mild variety, diced, drained
14 1/2 ounce canned Hominy
14 1/2 ounce canned diced tomatoes
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

1.  Place 1 Tablespoon oil in dutch oven or soup pot.  Lightly salt and pepper one side of chicken thighs.  Brown both sides.  Remove from pot and cut into bite size pieces.  Set aside.
2.  Add celery, onions and green pepper to pot.  Saute until veggies are soft, 5-8 minutes.
3.  Add garlic and mix in with veggies until fragrant.  30 seconds.
4. Add rest of ingredients; pickled jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, chicken, water, seasonings.
5.  Cook at medium high until simmering. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes.

That’s it.  How easy is that.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Stuffed Peppers

I have been craving stuffed peppers.  My mom used to make these and I hated them.  I didn’t mind what was inside but did not like those peppers.  I guess my taste buds have changed – died due to the aging process 🙂 but I love peppers now.  I used green bell peppers today but I think next time I will use red, orange and yellow.  I also would like to try some other peppers besides the bell variety.  This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes to bake.   I found this recipe at  America’s Test Kitchen.  It reminds me of my mom’s recipe.  Here goes;

Classic Stuffed Peppers
(just like mom’s)

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4 green, red, yellow, orange bell peppers, 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded (I used 6 green, they were small to medium size and on sale this week!)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1# ground beef (or any ground meat.  If you don’t want meat add more veggies and/or rice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained – 1/4 cup juice set aside for later use
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper

Directions

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1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Adjust oven rack to middle position.

2.  Bring 4 quarts water and 1 Tablespoon of salt to boil in large stockpot over high heat.  When water boils,  add your peppers.  02062014 006Cook until peppers begin to soften, 3-5 minutes and remove with slotted spoon.
3.  Set the peppers upside down on paper towels to drain water, then flip over as soon as drained.
4.  Return water to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rice and boil until tender or 12 minutes.  Drain rice into colander and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
5.  While the rice is cooking heat a 12 inch heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat until hot, add oil and swirl to coat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6.  Transfer mixture to the bowl with rice, stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
7.  In a small bowl stir together the ketchup and remaining tomato juice.
8.  Place peppers cut side up in 9 inch square baking dish. 02062014 009 Fill each pepper with meat/rice mixture.  Spoon 2 Tablespoons of ketchup mixture over tope of each filled pepper, sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, about 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.02062014 013

Don’t limit yourself to the classic stuffing.  You could use any kind of ground meat, different cheeses, grains, veggies.  The list is endless.  Hope you enjoy this simple and delicious comfort food meal!!

 

 

Veggie Dish – Simple and Delicious

One of the things my mother always said to me before I left Syracuse was “take care of YOURSELF!”  Now that she is gone I won’t have her to remind me.  I decided to take her advice.  I joined Weight Watchers (again) and am back to walking and yoga daily.  I will keep that promise to myself and to her.  I have to be around the next 30 years to give my kids random advice too!  Here is a dish I made this evening.  Simple, delicious, fast AND healthy.

Veggie Dish

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Ingredients

2 pieces bacon
1 teaspoon bacon grease
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch slices
1 yellow squash, cut in 1/4 inch slices
5 asparagus stalks, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (I use coarse grind, you may want to use 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder OR whatever seasoning you desire)

Directions

  1.  Fry bacon until crisp in non-stick skillet (remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towel.  Drain grease in small bowl.  Wipe out frying pan.)
  2. Add 1 teaspoon bacon grease and 1 teaspoon olive oil in skillet. (You can use just bacon grease or olive oil.)
  3. Add onions and peppers, saute until onions opaque.
  4. Add rest of veggies, saute until done.  5-8 minutes.
  5. Add crumbled bacon, mix together and serve.

You can use any combination of vegetables you would like. Would love to hear your veggie combinations!  This was really delicious.  Could that be any simpler? IMG_5476 (2)

All’Amatriciana – DELISH!

I had this dish at a restaurant recently.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to try making it at home.  Didn’t take long to find a recipe online.  Simple and Delicious!

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

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Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or chopped unsmoked bacon (I used pancetta)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Kosher salt
12 ounces dried bucatini or spaghetti (I like rotini so that is what I used.  Not a fan of longer noodles.  I blame that on my mom. She did not like spaghetti.)  🙂
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino (I used Pecorina Romano.  You could use Parmesan.  Please don’t use the green can.  Buy a chunk of the real thing.  It really makes a difference. You will thank me.)

Directions

  1.  Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. (Be sure to constantly move around to avoid burning. Pancetta cooks fast.)
  2. Add pepper flakes and black pepper, stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (remember to crush with your hands), reduce heat to low, stir occasionally, until sauce thickens.  15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and make pasta per the directions. (Don’t overcook.  Cook to al dente instructions.)  Be sure to add salt. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain in colander.
  6. Add pasta to sauce in skillet and toss. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and mix thoroughly until sauce coats pasta.  Add more pasta water if seems dry.  (1/2 cup was enough for me).
  7. Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lasagna – A Family Favorite

Lasagna has been a family favorite for years.  I have been making this lasagna recipe for 40 years. Yup, since I was 18 years old.  I think I got this one covered.  Guess it is time to share this recipe so my kids can make their own at their home.  For Eric’s birthday this year we had lasagna, meatballs with sauce (these meatballs were delicious.  Been making those a few years, too),  rosemary focaccia bread and Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Lasagna

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You start with:

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce.  Depends on my mood.)
1# sausage, removed from casing
1 small-medium red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (cheese is salty so taste, taste, taste!)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1.  Remove sausage from casing and add to frying pan.  Cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and put on paper towel lined plate for grease to drain. Set aside.
2.  Clean out fry pan with paper towels.  Add olive oil to sauce pan on medium heat.
3.  Add diced onions.  Cook onion on low to medium heat until opaque, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cloves of garlic and let cook 30 seconds.
4.  Add cans of tomatoes and let cook about 5 minutes until warm.
5.  Add rest of ingredients, including sausage and let simmer 30-60 minutes.  If you want you can simmer longer but it is not necessary.  Sauce does not have to take a long time.  Taste it, if you like it, then it is done.  I like it to cook down a bit so I usually go 45-60 minutes for a tomato sauce.

Next, prepare lasagna;

Ingredients

Lasagna Noodles (16 noodles work for me)
1 – 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 13×9 inch baking dish.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.  I use 16 noodles.
  3. Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, eggs, mix well.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking dish, top with 4 lasagna noodles, spread ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup sauce, 1/4 cup parmesan.  Repeat layering. Last layer of noodles, top with sauce and 1 cup mozzarella.
  5. Cover, bake 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Uncover, and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown mozzarella.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Makes awesome leftovers!

My Mom’s Goulash

I was talking with my mom over the weekend.  I mentioned how I make hamburger and beans quite often. Kent and Eric enjoy it.  She was so surprised. She did tell me that she did not call it hamburger and beans.  She called it Goulash!  So I am updating this recipe per my phone conversation with my mom.  I am correcting the recipe name from Hamburger and Beans to:

My Mom’s Goulash

August 201 035

 

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped or sliced very thin – that is up to you (she used green bell pepper)
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced very thin – that is up to you too!
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2-15 oz cans Bush’s Original Baked Beans (You can use whatever beans you like, kidney, cannellini, baked, whatever is in your cupboard.  My mom used Campbell’s Pork and Beans)
2 Tablespoons fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh basil you don’t have to add any.  I know my mom didn’t add basil. I love basil.)
Salt and Pepper (of course)

Directions

1.  Using a 12 inch skillet, add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, add peppers and onions, saute for 2-3 minutes, add garlic.  Stir together.
2.  Add the ground beef to the peppers and onions, cook until no longer pink.  Drain any excess fat.
3.  Open up those cans of beans and add to the hamburger/peppers/onions.  Stir together and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4.  Add basil (or not) and stir together.  ALL DONE!

I never thought that anyone in my family would like this super quick meal.  Kent, myself and Eric really enjoy it.  It is super simple and very delicious.  Give it a try!  😉

Stuffing or Dressing-Your call

I start thinking about Thanksgiving sometime in July.  This is my favorite holiday.  I love thinking about the menu and getting everyone involved.  I drive my kids nuts talking about it more incessantly as the months go by and the day gets closer.  It is quite enjoyable. 😉  This year my stuffing was incredibly awesome.  Here is the recipe;

Checkerboard Stuffing

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Ingredients

16 ounces bread (mix of Pepperidge Farms Hearty White, Dark Pumpernickel and Rye)
12 ounces breakfast sausage
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
16 Tablespoons Butter (2 sticks.  I know it’s a lot of butter. That’s okay, it’s Thanksgiving!)
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 cups turkey stock (or chicken broth)

Directions

  1.  Weigh out 16 ounces of combination of above breads.  I placed slices of bread on a wire rack and covered with parchment paper.  I left out for 3 days so it could get hard rock stale. Next year I will cut into cubes before I do this.  However, it was simple enough to break/slice into small cubes. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In medium skillet over medium heat brown breakfast sausage.  Set aside.  Place in bowl last. That will give it time to cool.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 16 Tablespoons butter.  Add onions and celery along with salt and pepper.  Saute until transparent, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. While onions and celery are cooking chop your herbs.  Add herbs to the bread.  Then add the onions and celery along with the turkey stock and mix well.
  6. Place stuffing in 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 15-30 minutes depending on how crispy you like your stuffing.

This was so flavorful.  You will love it. I know our family did!  Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a GREAT night!

 

 

 

 

 

Peas and Macaroni – Simple and Delicious

When I was younger every Friday my dad made dinner.  My favorite Friday dinner was when he made Peas and Macaroni.  I enjoyed watching him make it (he always seemed happy). I also enjoyed eating it, lots of it!!  I know this was a meal he had when he was growing up.  This is another “Depression” food but as far as I am concerned it is definitely not depressing!  One thing though, my mom always bought the LeSeur brand canned peas.  I also still buy the same peas.   Sometimes I will use frozen peas and a can of chicken broth.  It just doesn’t seem the same.  When I make this meal all I can  think of is my dad getting home from work on a Friday night, having a beer in the breezeway sitting on the steps, then coming in the kitchen and making the most delicious meal for all of us.  Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

Peas and Macaroni

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Ingredients

1 pound pasta (I use large elbows, you can use whatever you like.  I find the smaller pastas go better with this dish.)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans of peas, not drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Cook pasta according to directions on box
2. While pasta is cooking add 3 Tablespoons olive oil to fry pan over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and peppers.  Cook until onion opaque, about 8-10 minutes.   Add garlic, oregano and basil. Mix through.
3.  Add 2 cans of peas. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4.  In the meantime drain pasta in colander, then put back in sauce pan.
5.  When peas are heated through add to the pasta.  Mix the pasta and peas together.   Have a bowl and enjoy!  Simple and Delicious!!

Steak Fajitas with Onions and Peppers

Found this recipe in a Food Network magazine. A simple and delicious weeknight recipe.

Steak Fajitas with Onions and Peppers

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1 Tablespoon Paprika
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 2 teaspoons.  Cumin is my absolute, favorite spice.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (I used beef tenderloin, per Kent’s request.  Great choice!)
Juice of 3 limes
3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the grill
4 bell peppers, thinly sliced (make it colorful!)
2 red onions, thinly sliced
8-12 flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro, for topping

Directions

  1.  Mix the paprika, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. (If you use table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon)
  2. Put the steak in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the spice mixture, seal the bag and rub the spices into the meat.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to 2 hours.  While the steak is marinating chop the onions and peppers.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Toss the bell peppers and onions with the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, juice of 2 limes and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Add to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and charred around the edges. (Honestly, I put the oil in the skillet, added the veggies, lime juice and salt in the frying pan.  One less dish to clean.)
  4. Preheat grill to a medium high heat and brush the grate with olive oil.  Grill the steak 3-5 minutes each side for medium rare.  Remove and place on cutting board, let rest 5-10 minutes. (No grill, no worries.  Use your cast iron skillet or a good old frying pan. However, if you have the grill, once again, one less dish to clean!)
  5. Warm the tortillas as label instructs.  Slice the steak against the grain, season with salt if desired.  Serve on the tortillas with onions and peppers; top with cheese and cilantro (unless you are a cilantro hater!)  Serve with lime wedges, if you wish.

Enjoy!!

 

Caribbean Curried Chicken & Chickpeas

Found this recipe in a Food Network magazine.  Super simple to make and delish.  Give this one a try on a weekday.

Caribbean Curried Chicken and Chickpeas
(Better pic to follow.  I forgot to take one and then remembered!!  Here it is…)

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Ingredients

5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons Madras curry powder (I used the Penzeys Now Curry)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans chickpeas (do not drain)
1 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
Caribbean hot pepper sauce, for serving
2 pieces naan bred, warmed and cut into wedges

Directions

  1.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot.   Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes.  Add curry powder and half of the garlic.  Cook Stirring, until the garlic softens slightly, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir the chickpeas and their liquid into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the remaining garlic, cilantro, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, the lime juice and vinegar in food processor or blender until a paste forms. (You could use mortar and pestle too.  Not my thing.)
  4. Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cilantro past; cook until dark green, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add the coleslaw mix; season with salt and toss to coat.
  5. Top each serving of the chicken curry with the slaw mixture, hot pepper sauce and cilantro.  Serve with the naan.

IMG_4406 I LOVE all my Penzeys spices.  I go there at least once a month to buy a new one to use or just to look around.  Fun, fun, fun!!