Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting chilly, so we need some Chili!

Happy Halloween! 

Fall is finally here.  We have had it pretty easy up until recently and now it's time to start gathering those cold weather recipes.  This one is perfect for those weeknights or busy Sunday afternoons.  When we had this recently our son said "Hey, we don't have chili until Super bowl Sunday, how come now?"  The answer was easy - he had a ton of activities for us that day so when we left the house at 9:15, we put the crock pot on a timer and when we came home at 4:00 dinner was ready when we were.   Hubby prepped everything the day before and had it in the refrigerator all set in the crock pot liner.  One hint - don't cut the onions up until you put in all in the crock pot or your refrigerator will smell like onions. ( A small dish of baking soda will take care of odor.)




Slow Cooker Chili

2 lbs. lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion chopped (save time by using one cup of frozen chopped onion)
1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, un-drained (or 2 – 14.5 ounce cans)
1 – 16 oz.  can chili beans in sauce, un-drained (use hot chili beans if you like it spicy)
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, brown ground beef (I give the meat a sprinkle of salt and pepper), onions and garlic over medium heat until beef is cooked; drain.  Place beef, onion, garlic and remaining ingredients In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Home is where....

Love my girl!

Home is where Mom is... As my daughter posted this weekend on social media.  She came home for fall break and we had a packed weekend from tailgating with our peeps to a birthday dinner for my husband's mother.  And while she was home we dropped her off to see her best friend from high school best for the night at our old Alma Mater, that came with a return trip to pick her up18 hours later.  Felt a bit nostalgic driving around the campus.  

And while we all know home is where mom is, in our house home is also where Dad asks "what do you want special for dinner?  The reply was "that shrimp dish with the arugula and pasta".  No problem!  This dish has been a Lenten favorite as the kids call it, so we haven't made it in awhile.  It has all of the kids favorites in one dish - pasta and shrimp, and from our favorite Italian chef Giada.

Dad and his little Girl
Our local college team versus the Nations #1 Team

We served this with Roasted Brussels Sprouts that were tossed with some diced red onion and diced pancetta.  The roasting in pretty easy with this dish and makes a great aside dish.   Trim the sprouts and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Toss with some olive oil,  1/4 cup chopped red onion and 2 oz. of diced pancetta.  Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. 


Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil


For the lemon oil:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested
For the pasta:
1 pound linguine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces frozen shrimp
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the lemon oil: Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.
For the pasta:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add some of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Brussels Sprouts with red onion and pancetta

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dinner Club Time....

I have been a bit busy lately and haven't posted much. As I was looking through my recent pictures I found a bunch from our last dinner club.  We changed things up a bit for this one.  Nobody got the recipes before hand.  All they got was a list of groceries to bring.  And to make things even more surprising, the ingredients were switched up a bit.  We wanted to make it a bit of a guessing game.  So one couple got a list of some of the ingredients for apple crisp but had to bring a jalapeno for the green beans made on the grill. 
We went with this concept to make it very easy for all parties.  Our part was setting the table, picking up the filet's we were preparing and making the Easy Risotto. 

After the table was set I set up the work stations for the couples.  Some of the basic ingredients we provided and we gave them the recipe and the prep tools they needed.

Set up for Apple Crisp which I have blogged before.

Set up for the appetizer recipe shown below.

Set up for Jill's grilled green beans.
The main course was blue cheese stuffed tenderloins, an old favorite recipe of mine from my favorite restaurant in the Virgin Islands, The Lime Inn.  We also made Ina's Easy Risotto, a great side that is made ahead without all of the stirring that is normally involved with Risotto.
So the recipe I wanted to feature was the appetizer I had my neighbors, Giada and Mike, from across the street make.  It is one of my favorite recipes to make that is very easy and very tasty.  None of the recipes we choose were new to use, but were new to our guest besides the tenderloins.
This recipe calls for simple ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to make.  The honey makes this dish.

Crostini with Gorgonzola and Honey

From Giada De Laurentis

36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread, about 1 loaf
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces Gorgonzola, sliced
3 tablespoons honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the sliced baguette on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
Arrange the cheese on the toasts and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
Drizzle the toasts with honey. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thai peanut noodles

Many years ago a co - worker asked if I wanted to be featured in our papers cook of the week section.  I went ahead and did this making up a few dishes to have photographed and sat with the reporter to give some stories behind the dishes.  This was probably around the time of our dinner club started and when we really started trying new recipes and dishes.  One of the dishes I featured was spicy peanut noodle.  The sauce for that dish is made ahead of time and slowly gains "heat" as it sits. I love this dish, but you have to plan ahead.  So when I found this recipe on Pinterest I had to try it.

Hubby was have a business dinner and so my son and I were on our own.  I knew I had all the ingredients except the scallions, so a quick stop at the farm market on the way home solved this.  Since this only called for 8 oz. of linguine and I knew my son wouldn't even try it I made the whole pound into Thai Peanut.  I split the noodles when done and topped his off with the remaining pesto in the refrigerator.  It came out great.  Very easy to make and taste authentic.  Hubby got home from his dinner and had some.  He liked it too!

 Thai Peanut Noodles

3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used jarred ginger)
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
8 oz linguine noodles
sesame seeds for garnish
green onions for garnish

Cook the noodles in a large pot according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, in a medium sauce pan whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, ½ cup chicken broth, minced garlic, ginger, and sriracha chili sauce. Cook over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the noodles and toss in the peanut sesame sauce. Serve immediately