Friday, October 31, 2008
I couldn't find any recent pics of Gennaro alone. He's always the one taking the pictures! Isn't he a handsome guy?!?!?!
Happy Halloween! Be Safe!!! If anyone wants any neat Halloween recipes check out http://www.bakespace.com/. The talent there is beyond belief!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Yes, it really was that good. I burned my mouth and tongue in several places while eating this chili. I just couldn't wait for it to cool off! So consider this a warning!!!
This was the very first chili recipe I ever made and I am sticking with it. There has been no need for me to try any others. Don't be put off by the amount of beans, it really is very tasty. However, you can substitute the beans for whatever you like or leave out the ones you don't like. This time I used what I had in the pantry, dark kidney beans and pinto beans. This dish is very hearty but can also be very lean. Substitute the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken and you have a very high protein low fat chili. Of course, watch out for those toppings! Choose low fat sour cream and reduced fat cheese to keep this healthy.
This recipe was created by Food Network Chef, Ellie Krieger and can be found on their website www.foodtv.com. I followed the recipe exactly but added extra cumin because I can never get enough of that smoky flavor. I didn't plan on making chili so I didn't have any sour cream in the house so instead I topped the chili with shredded cheddar and crushed tortilla chips. I think I like the added crunch better than the sour cream. If you are doing this the low fat way you should skip the chips.
Three Bean and Beef Chili
Copyright 2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound extra-lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ground beef; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano and salt and pepper. Cook, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I am a pot roast virgin. I've never made it before and it isn't something my mother made often but I have eaten it and I've wanted to make it for a long time. I decided that this fall I'm going to try to use my slow cooker more often. It's so nice to come home from work to a kitchen that smells like I've been there cooking all day without having to do any watching or stirring. So this morning I prepared my crock pot for some pot roast. In hindsight, I can laugh at what I must have looked like rushing to get dinner started and get dressed and ready for work at the same time. It resulted in a cut finger and the smoke alarm blaring which means I'll need to do some preparing the night before the next time I make this. I may have rushed around but when I came home I was nice and relaxed and ready to enjoy my dinner. I have only one complaint and it's not with the recipe but just something that comes with using a slow cooker....I could not make the gravy in the crock. I took all the meat out and the potatoes, added my thickeners (tried three different methods) and it just did not thicken up to a gravy like consistency. I took out the juice and added it to a small pot and put the heat up, within minutes I had a delicious thick gravy (Dad, you would approve!) I assume that the crock pot does not get hot enough for the liquid to boil and that's why it didn't thicken. If anyone has any tips for this I would love to hear them!
I found the recipe just by searching for healthy slow cooker pot roast recipes. This recipe was found at about.com I searched for healthy recipes because most of the ones I found contained canned gravy or condensed soup. Although I'm sure those would taste equally delicious it's just not what I was going for.
Give this recipe a try, it's definitely a keeper in our house!
Crock Pot Pot Roast Dinner
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1-1/2 lb. boneless beef top round, cut into 6 pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
16 oz. pkg. baby carrots
14 oz. can ready to serve beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in small bowl and coat beef with this mixture. Cook beef pieces in olive oil in a nonstick skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side to brown. Set aside.
Combine potatoes, carrots and onion in 3-4 quart slow cooker. Place meat on vegetables. Pour beef broth and Worcestershire sauce over meat. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours until beef is tender.
Remove meat and vegetables from crock pot and place on serving platter. Cover with foil to keep warm and place in slow oven.
Combine rest of broth and the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well with wire whisk. Add to liquid in crock pot, turn to high and cook for 10-15 minutes until gravy is thickened.
Serve with beef and vegetables. 6 servings
Monday, October 6, 2008
Fall is finally here!!! That makes me happy because fall is my favorite season! I love the cooler weather, the warmer clothes and beautiful colors...not to mention the best foods! I would take soup or stew over something on the grill anyday! To celebrate the season, I decided to make a dish that reminded me of fall. I found the recipe for Chicken with Apple Cider Gravy on Every Day with Rachael Ray. The recipe was written to include two sides, rice pilaf and string beans.
The recipe is definitely a keeper although I did make some very minor adjustments to suit our tastes.
- I used chicken cutlets instead of breasts (next time I will just pound out some breasts because these were too thin and they didn't get good color b/c I was afraid they would dry out, they seemed to be thinner than usual.
- I boiled the string beans and seasoned them with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and left out the scallions.
- The reserved scallions were used in the rice and in the gravy which worked out very well.
- I added one teaspoon of butter to the gravy at the very end. It cut the tanginess of the cider a little.
The flavor of the cider gravy reminded me of the sweet yet tangy flavor of capers. It was sweet but not too sweet. I really liked it. I wouldn't consider this rice pilaf, it was very creamy, more like cheesy rice but I did enjoy it. Steve didn't love the rice as much as I did.
Just in case you didn't follow the link above, here's the recipe!
Chicken with Apple Gravy, Rice Pilaf and Green Beans
From Every Day with Rachael Ray
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 scallions, chopped
1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the rice and toast until light brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, stir in the peas and cheese.
2. While the rice cooks, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook until the juices run clear, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet, then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the apple cider and 1 cup chicken broth and cook until slightly thickened; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
4. While the chicken cooks, in a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans, cover and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans and return to the saucepan. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the scallions; season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the apple gravy over the chicken and serve the rice and green beans alongside.