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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Popcorn... All gown up.

This one is insanely quick and easy. I made it on Monday night before I settled in for a movie. It literally takes the 3 min (or whatever that preset is on the microwave) to make an awesome batch of popcorn!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

This particular dish is one I will request on my deathbed. It's definitely one of my holiday must-haves. My mother's butternut soup will always be the best, but I can try.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey Day Oops... Not A Problem

OK, so I was thinking about what is the absolute single must have ingredient in your kitchen over Thanksgiving. Or any major holiday meal for that matter... hell, why not just have it on hand all the time. You'll use it. I promise.
The ingredient? Stock. In this case, poultry stock. I always have chicken stock on hand. For Thanksgiving, you can use turkey stock if you want. It's totally up to you. Either way, no pantry is complete without it.
I normally use a reduced salt variety only because
I like being in control of the end result.
Now, you may be wondering why I'm slightly fanatical about this stuff. Well, that's because it will save your holiday meal. That and I use it in just about everything. (Here's my little secret: if I'm not using stock, then I'm using a bouillon cube of some sort... it just makes water soooooo much more interesting.) I guess that's not much of a secret.

Anywho, as I said, it can save your meal...

Potatoes too dry and you've used all the cream? Add some stock.
Gravy too thick? Add some stock.
Cooked that turkey just a wee bit too much? Dip it in some hot stock after carving. (This little trick adds flavor, moisture, and heats up that bird in a snap.)
Make your stuffing with stock and not water. As I said, way more interesting.
If your serving soup... make it with stock, not water.

See what I mean? It's not only in everything, but it can help fix those little blunders.
Hope this tip is helpful!
Have a ridiculously delicious Thursday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Andale, andale, AREPAS!

Ok, so I've officially discovered a new obsession. Best of all? My gluten free people (my mother and best girlie are both allergic) can eat as many as they want! YEY! Just as cool? It's a BLD ~ Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Yup, these little beauties can be consumed anytime, anywhere. Stuff them  with a fried egg for breakfast, PB & J for lunch, and latin style chicken for dinner! See why I'm obsessed? I've finally discovered the perfect food.

Oh, and did I mention that a blindfolded two-year-old could make them? Yup, they're that easy.
Breakfast (honey and butter)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Turkey Chili

Hi all! Ok, so this is one of my absolute FAVORITE fall meals. It's an adapted recipe of my grandmother's.

Yield: about 6 seriously healthy servings... more if you're piling on the toppings

  • Gound turkey (dark meat is better for this)
  • 1 huge yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 28oz can whole
  • 2 T oil (for sauteing)
  • 1/2 bottle IPA (the bitterness of this beer adds a nice balance)
  • Tomatoes (I like to mash them myself for a nice texture)
  • 1 can each kidney, black, pinto beans
  • 2-4 C low-sodium chicken stock (low-sodium allows you to control the salt)
  • lots of spice... I make my own mixture:
    • 4 T cumin
    • 2 T chili powder
    • 1 T chili flakes (I have chipotle for a smokey flavor, or jalapeno for a south of the border flavor... depends on my mood. Lately I've been obsessing over the chipotle for chilies.)
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/3 C cocoa powder (this wont sweeten at all, it just ads a really nice deep flavor... think mole sauce)
    • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Corn bread:
  • I'm lazy and use a mix... just follow the directions. I do, however, highly recommend baking in a cast iron pan. It imparts a great cowboy-esque feel. ]
     Everyone likes to personalize there chili. If your serving this to a crowd of hungry fellas for Sunday's tailgate, make sure and have a few to choose from.
  • Cheddar cheese (in my book, the sharper, the better.)
  • Sour cream (I like low-fat. NEVER non-fat. To me, it has a nicer, smoother consistency.) 
  • Chopped onion, raw
  • Cilantro... you can never have enough of this stuff! Mmmmmmm....
  • Anything else your heart desires.

  Okay, so start by sauteing the onions until lightly translucent in a big ol' pot. I use a glazed cast iron giant. Throw in the garlic, a few tablespoons of the spice mix, and the turkey.
  Cook the turkey through, about 3 min. Deglaze (i.e. dump some liquid) with the beer. Stir around the pot to collect all of the yummy brown bits stuck to the bottom. When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the turkey to a dish and set aside. (It will be reincorporated at the end... no one likes tough meat.)
  Turn the heat back up to med-high and add the tomatoes. Using the back of your slotted spoon (or a potato smusher) squish the tomatoes until there are only little bite-size pieces. Add beans, and a nice heap of the spice mixture (I end up using all of it by the end, but it really is up to your personal tastes. Start with a few tablespoons and work your way up.) Now cover everything with about an inch of chicken stock.
  Once the mixture has come to a boil, stir and reduce to a simmer. Place lid loosely, so that steam can escape, and flavors can deepen. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Taste your creation. Add S&P to your liking.
   Some of the liquid should have reduced, but if you like your chili a little thicker, take out that smusher again and pummel some of the beans. Not all of them, but give it a few good smashes so that some of the beans break open. Cook for an additional 15 min. The starches in the beans will help thicken everything up. Reincorporate the turkey. It's already cooked, so it just has to heat through.
    If some unexpected guests show up, cook some elbow pasta on the side. You can stir in a few spoonfuls per bowl to bulk up the meal. (Keep it separate until serving, though, because the pasta will absorb all of the liquid and leave you with really mushy pasghetti.)

Time to dig in and enjoy the game, movie, book, blanket... whatever. It doesn't really matter what's going on when you have a nice warm bowl of chili.