Lately we’ve been…

Creating marble towers before church…

Making Marble Towers

Creating an entire code system for the alphabet and numbers up to 15:

Coding

Going to Cabela’s to look at tents and being amazed by all of the taxidermy animals they have there:

Cabela's(I mean, why are they fighting? Couldn’t they just as logically be eating a nice rabbit and some berries peacefully beside each other? Maybe they are arguing over who saw the fifty percent off hiking boots first.)

Making one of my two favorite dinner rolls:

Dinner Rolls

Making honey lime enchiladas for dinner (not to go with the rolls, but I mean why not?):

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Back to our system of me putting a bunch of books on hold at the library and then picking them up later in the week:

Books{J’s favorite has been I will Take a Nap!, A’s favorite is the Dinosaur Bones Encyclopedia, and I’m currently reading The Little Paris Bookstore and enjoying it so far}

And finally, playing hide and seek and eating snacks while waiting during A’s tennis lessons:

Tennis Lessons

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Spaghetti ala Carbonara

I saw this on “The Best Thing I Ever Made” and had to try it out…

I snapped a quick picture with my Ipod, so excuse the grainyness. It’s spaghetti alla carbonara.

What I liked about it: It was so few ingredients and comes together fairly quickly (around 30 minutes), my husband really liked the pancetta in it.

What I learned: It was more work than I expected to keep the eggs from not scrambling, oh and me+pregnant+onions=not a good mix. I keep eating onions and then realizing it doesn’t make me feel well afterward. Doh.

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Enfrijoladas…or Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

On Saturday Morning I caught an episode of Mexican Made Easy on Food Network. On the particular episode the host made this terrific looking bean and cheese quesadilla casserole. It is actually a two part recipe, and takes a little time, but once you make it, you can stretch it across several meals!

First you make this…

Mexican Bean Stew (“Frijoles De La Olla”)

Ingredients

* 3 cups dried pinto beans

* 4 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed

* 1/4 large onion

* 2 bay leaves

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Mexican crema or sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped white onion, for serving

 

Directions

Combine the beans, garlic, onion, and bay leaves in a medium pot. Add enough water to reach about 1 1/2 inches over the beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. Add more water if the beans are absorbing too much liquid. The beans should be soupy when done, with plenty of liquid remaining. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the beans and cooking liquid into soup bowls and garnish with Mexican crema, cilantro and chopped white onions. Alternatively, the beans can be drained and use as a filling for soft tacos.

 

Then you make this…

Enfrijoladas

Ingredients

* 4 cups cooked pinto beans, (Frijoles De La Olla, recipe follows) drained

* 3 cups chicken broth

* 1 tablespoon olive oil

* 3/4 cup chopped onion

* 1 plum tomato, roughly chopped

* 1 medium serrano chile, seeded and minced

* 2 garlic cloves, minced

* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 8 corn tortillas

* 2 cups shredded Manchego, Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese

* Mexican crema or regular sour cream, for drizzling

* 2 thin slices red onion, separated into rings

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the drained beans and chicken broth in a large bowl.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, tomato, chile, and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Rub the oregano, between palms of your hands and sprinkle over the beans. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the beans and broth to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool the beans for about 5 minutes before putting them in the blender. Carefully, pour the mixture into a blender and puree. Return the pureed mixture to the pan and gently reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Using tongs, pass the tortillas 1 by 1 through the refried bean sauce until they are somewhat softened and coated on both sides with the sauce. Set aside on a plate. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Fold in half and arrange them, overlapping, in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Top with an additional 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the bean sauce, just enough to cover the beans but allow the edges of the folded tortillas to show. Bake until cheese is melted about 10 to 15 minutes.

To serve, drizzle with Mexican sour cream lengthwise in a 2-inch thick strip down the center of the dish. Top with 8 overlapping red onion rings.

 

And you get this…

Yum!

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Turkey Chili Remix

I am positive I posted a chili recipe before. However, I never make my chili the same way twice! It’s one of those recipes that I typically have some sort of recipe I look at and then just mix in whatever I have of that recipe, and add a few things of my own. My sister and brother in law particularly liked this one, so here it is!

Turkey Chili Remix

Ingredients

1 tbs canola oil

1 lb lean ground turkey

1/2 yellow onion diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 red, yellow, or orange pepper

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 8oz can tomato sauce

1/2 bottle of beer (I use Sam Adams. Cause that’s what we had. Don’t use the whole bottle. It’s TOO MUCH)

Bay leaf

1 15oz can Kidney Beans (or another kind you like)

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs chili powder

1 tbs cumin

1/2 tbs Emeril’s Original Essence

Chicken Broth

Toppings: cheddar cheese, hot sauce, sour cream

Directions:

In a large pot or Dutch oven heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper. Cook for about five minutes stirring constantly. Add in turkey meat, break up and cook until browned. Add in cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, Emeril’s Essence and mix. Add in beer. Cook until beer has reduced about 10 minutes. Then add in the rest of ingredients except chicken broth. Turn heat to low and cook for about 40-50 minutes (the longer it cooks the better it is!). Add in chicken broth as needed if chili seems dry.

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White Chicken Chili

During my first year of college, this was one of my sister’s signature dishes. Besides hot dogs in croissants and that sour cream chicken casserole (so good! I need to post that) this was definitely one of my favorites. Now that it is below freezing (literally! I’m not exaggerating!), Monday night seemed like a good time to make this. Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

1 lb Cooked Shredded Chicken

1 Cup of Chopped Onion

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs diced garlic

2 cans great northern white beans (or whatever white beans you have)

1 can chopped green chilies

1 ½ tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper

Scant amount of cayenne pepper

1-2 cans chicken broth (or more to desired consistency)

2 tbs cornstarch

2 tbs water

Optional Toppings: Monterey Jack Cheese, Sour Cream, Taco Chips

Directions:

Heat olive oil in pan. Cook onion and garlic until translucent. Add chicken, then beans, chilies, seasonings and chicken broth. In a separate bowl combine cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add cornstarch mixture to chili. Cook until desired thickness.

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Cranberry-Orange Pork Chops

So, I’m behind in my posts again. Our laptop battery and ac adapter decided to die together on Sunday night. Which means I am attempting to write this post from my husband’s old desktop (with a monitor that I can barely see because of the lines). I adapted this recipe from one I found in our local newspaper.

Cranberry-Orange Pork Chops (Serves 2)

Ingredients

2 Boneless Pork Chops

1 tbs vegetable oil

2 tbs water

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbs sugar

2 cups orange juice

1 cup cranberries

rice

Directions

Brown the pork chops in the oil in a large skillet for about 4 minutes per side. Add the water and salt.

Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the sugar, orange juice, and cranberries. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cranberries pop. Serve with hot rice.

* If making traditional rice, start at the same time as the pork chops and the rice will be ready at the same time.

I have no picture (our laptop houses our picture software for our camera). Imagine delicious pork chops in a yummy cranberry sauce resting on a bed of steaming rice.

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Tomato Soup

I have to admit I never cared for canned tomato soup. My husband knows this as it is a noticeably absent from our pantry whenever he looks for it. I do, however, like tomato soup. I have tried different recipes and this recipe by Michael Chiarello from Food Network is by far my favorite. It is simple to make (and you can skip the step of roasting the tomatoes if you want), and I find myself making it over and over. It makes enough for two dinner portions, or four side portions. Or you can double the recipe and freeze the leftovers.

In addition if you don’t have a hand immersion blender, you can blend the soup in a normal blender (just make sure you take out the little top plastic piece and cover with a towel, so you don’t burn your hand).

Homemade Tomato Soup

Ingredients

* 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

* 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 1 stalk celery, diced

* 1 small carrot, diced

* 1 yellow onion, diced

* 2 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 cup chicken broth

* 1 bay leaf

* 2 tablespoons butter

* 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

* 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

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Steak Fajitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano

This is a recipe that you may think at first, what? fajitas with sweet potatoes? Trust me it is sooo good! I got this recipe from Real Simple magazine and it is also available on-line. It is really delicious, fairly simple, and makes great leftovers. It’s part of my continuing quest to get Super A to eat vegetables.

Steak Fajitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1?4-inch pieces

* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

* 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

* kosher salt and black pepper

* 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces

* 1/2 cup sour cream

* 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo

* 8 small flour tortillas, warmed

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add the sweet potato, onion, poblano, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat broiler. Season the steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet.

4. Broil the steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

5. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and chipotles. Fill the tortillas with the steak, vegetables, and chipotle sour cream.

Here’s a picture of all the vegetables cooking…

Yum.

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Chicken Fajita Tortilla Soup

I made this Saturday night for our football game watching with The Jordans. I love this soup because it’s easy to make and re-heats really well. You can also make it with shrimp, but if you make it with shrimp you cook it for a few minutes at the beginning like the chicken (until the shrimp is cooked through) then remove it. Put the shrimp back in at the very end just to re-heat it slightly. It’s an old Rachael Ray recipe, but I managed to find it on-line.

Rachael Ray’s Chicken Fajita Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

* 2 packages chicken tenders, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

* 1 tablespoon coriander, a palm full

* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, 5 to 6 sprigs

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced

* 1 large bell pepper, quartered and thinly sliced

* 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced

* 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

* 1 quart chicken stock

* 1 bag white corn tortilla chips

* 1 cup shredded pepper Jack or sharp white Cheddar

* 1 ripe avocado, diced

* 1 lime, juiced

* 4 scallions, chopped

* Handful fresh cilantro leaves or fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

And no the picture is not mine. I am getting so lazy with my food picture taking! This is from the food network website, so you have an idea of what the soup looks like.

Directions

Heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add chicken, begin to brown 4 minutes, add coriander, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, onions, bell pepper and jalapeno, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and stock, heat through.

While the soup is working, lightly crush some tortilla chips and divide among 4 bowls. You need a couple of handfuls per bowl. Top the chips with a little cheese. Toss the avocado with lime juice. Top the chips with ladles of soup. Garnish soup with avocado, scallions and cilantro or parsley

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