Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tuscan Pot Roast

Most food bloggers will admit it.... 

Sometimes it's hard to get amped up to blog. 

Hey, we love cooking, but if you have to stop and double check all your ingredients, check if your kitchen is clean and where the HECK is your camera again, sometimes you just say "I'm just making dinner, not blogging".
And then it happens....
The dinner starts to become something you know you want to share, you want to talk about, you want your readers to know that this is the one to make too.  This made a wonderfully flavorful pot roast with Italian sauce and veggies and so comforting served over polenta. I've made polenta before, which is just about the easiest thing, but if you want a quick, easy recipe check it out.

We've been in our new house for less than a month, and somewhere my little camera sits, waiting, waiting for me to find it.  I've been using my cell phone because someone keeps telling me that it has the same megapixels as the camera I favor for blogging.  It seems different. I miss my little camera.  Oh, we have a fancy ole SLR camera, but since my hands are usually messy and food is sometimes flying in the kitchen, I just can't trust myself to be as careful as I should be. 

Finally, I had to ask for a new camera for my birthday, so going forward I am hoping my photos are better.  And now I have a spare for when I drop mine in the sauce, the sink or the soup!  huh?

I apologize that the photos aren't that great, but not too shabby with a cell phone,

Serves 4-8
2-3lb. beef pot roast
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh pepper

2 onions, cut into large chunks
2-3 stalks celery
2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
8 oz. mushrooms, cut into quarters
14oz can of diced tomatoes, and juice
6oz can of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
6-8 cloves garlic, cut into chunks

Add the olive oil to a pot over medium high heat, salt & pepper your pot roast generously and brown on each side for 4-5 minutes until you get a nice brown sear.  Add the onions and peppers and stir them around the sides of the beef for a couple minutes.  

Add the red wine, carrots, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes & juice, tomato paste, garlic and seasoning.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Cover and add to a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Lazy Girl Crock pot version- Brown the pot roast and add to your crock pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 4 hours. If it's not as thick as you like, take the lid off and cook uncovered for the last 30-60 minutes.

NOTE: Just so you know, if you are feeling really, really lazy you could add the pot roast to the crock pot without browning it.  You get more taste from browning it, so I do recommend it.  But if you are trying to run out the door one morning when you are throwing this in the crock pot. I totally understand why you wouldn't.  I've been there, oh yes, yes I have.

This would also be great served over noodles or even mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Best, Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

I love to make chicken stock.
I know a lot of people buy it in little containers.
I do too sometimes, in a pinch.  But I do regularly make my own stock.
It is really easy, and the ingredients are closer than you think. And yes, I do work full-time "plus" these days and still do it.
I also freeze it in "good to go" containers much like those little boxes that cost $3.  
Hmmmm.... lemme see, $4.99 for a chicken dinner plus about 3 equivalent boxes of stock.  Now that makes good sense and tastes WAY better!

Every time I go to Costco I buy one of their $4.99 roast chickens.  The main reason is that I love them and they taste great.  What a easy dinner, or two.  But the best reason to buy a Costco roast chicken is to make chicken stock. I know, you think I'm crazy.  But I do even make stock on a Tuesday night, when I get home, while I am making dinner just because I CAN! Obviously, you don't have to buy a roast chicken at Costco when they are available at any grocery store, but the Costco ones are VASTLY superior.  Yup, I can't lie, they are sooooooo much better, it's not even funny.  Spend $6.99 for a scrawny little chicken at Albertsons, or $4.99 for plump, juicy roast chicken at Costco.  I know what I want, and I CAN taste the difference in my stock.

I like the roast chicken carcass for a couple of reasons, the first is that it is already roasted/browned and therefore, you get lots of flavor from it, and second, it is truly the leftovers, and you are making good use of it.

Good stock uses veggies too.  You can use whole carrots, celery and onion quarters but I have a better idea.

During the week, every time I cook, I save the bits and pieces of the veggies

and throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer, so when I am ready to make stock, I can reach in the freezer and I am ready to go.  It looks like this.

Here's what I usually save for stock
- Carrots
- Celery
- Onions (skin and all)
- Green Onions
- Leeks tops
- Garlic
- Fresh Parsley, even just the stems

I try to avoid the following because it sometimes makes it bitter, or "off" flavor, but really it IS up to you!
- Broccoli
- Bell Peppers
- Zucchini
- Radishes
- One caution about onions, don't save too many of the brown onion skins, once I used a bunch and got a much more bitter "tannin-like" broth.

I pull the chicken meat off the bones and retain it for another use (need some ideas? see below or my "Got it, Cook it" page for cooked chicken.  It's kind of hard to see from the picture, but the container on the right is bones and the one of the left is the chicken meat I pulled off.  I left a bit of chicken on the bones (because I am a lazy cook) because it tastes good in the stock.

Throw all the bones and any meaty bits you don't intend to eat at in a stock pot (mines about 12 qt), add the veggies, a bay leaf, some peppercorns and some garlic. Add water to about 2" from the top.  Bring to a boil, then immediately drop the heat to about medium low and simmer for 1-2 hours on low heat. 

Here's what it looks like after a couple hours:

Drain the broth from the veggies and bones.  Cool the stock.  If you see some especially meaty bits in the stock solids, you can 'pick the bones' as my dear ole'Mum used to say and shred any chicken bits to add to soup later on.

Once your stock is cooled in the fridge, if it stiffens up like Chicken Jello, then congratulate yourself, you have succeeded in making some slam dunking wonderful chicken stock. You can pick off the cold chicken fat that has accumulated too at this point.

I pour my stock into 4 cup containers, about 1" from the top and freeze or refrigerator.

See the white yogurt container?  I use the old containers for stock in my freezer, marking the top with STOCK.  Easy to see in the freezer and a nice way to reuse containers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blueberry Tea

Still snowing here and it's just after 3pm, which makes it "snow day" cocktail time, doesn't it?
Yep, Blueberry Tea isn't much tea at all, more of a cocktail.  It's a strange combination of liqueurs; Grand Marnier (my favorite!) and Amaretto- somehow that magical mixture makes a blueberry part.  Plus hot tea, that's the tea part. 

Mmmm, tastes like hot Blueberry Tea.  Really! Or close enough... 
You don't need a snifter, but it is how they are served in restaurants because it helps to concentrate the wonderful aromas wafting from your glass, but you can use a mug.

Stay warm folks, can't believe the snow hasn't let up all day. Yuck.

Makes one

1 jigger Grand Mariner (1 oz.)
1 jigger Amaretto (1 oz.)
1 tea bag, orange pekoe or black tea
1 snifter
Hot water

Add the liqueurs to a snifter, add the tea bag and then fill with hot water.  NOTE:  Water shouldn't be too boiling; you don't want to break your glass.  Let the tea steep for a minute or two, then sip and enjoy.

Be careful, the snifter is pretty hot, you're going to have it hold it from the footed bottom for a while!

Cheddar Cheese & Beer Soup

A cozy soup for a chilly day.  This soup comes together very easily and quickly. 
Add biscuits, or homemade Artisan Bread and salad and you are set for a great dinner.

If you don't have extra sharp cheddar, you could use regular cheddar.  To give it a 'sharper' bite, add about a 1/2 tsp of dry English Mustard powder with the flour and butter mixture. I used extra sharp white cheddar which was great, but it might be a nicer color with yellow cheddar!

NOTE: I made this a couple times, first time with a 12oz (1 1/2 cups) beer and 2 1/2 cups milks, but it had a bit more bitterness from a double portion of beer, so I suggest the ratios below!

Serves about 4
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp. Flour
3 cups Milk
2-4 tsp garlic, finely minced (I did 4 tsp, and it was quite garlicky)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup dark beer

Chopped chives, or parsley (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Combine butter, flour, red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté on low heat until melted and it comes together into a paste.  Cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat.  

Add the milk while whisking.  Heat gently, and when starting to thicken, add cheese and beer and continue to whisk until smooth and melted. Adjust taste with salt and pepper, I was surprised that it needed quite a bit of salt to have it taste right to me.  Don't boil.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lazy Girl Crock Pot All Veggie Chili (Vegan)

All veggies, all goodness and a very satisfying meal.

I had all these veggies, and a promise, a New Year's promise to make more Vegan entrees and, oh yeah, it was snowing. In Seattle... it almost never snows like this here.  

What should I get in the crockpot to start cooking?  

I've got lots of veggies on hand, dried beans and some spices.   I was gonna make a run for it with what I had. I would recommend that you mix and match veggies that you have on hand, and things you like, just omit anything that you don't like!  I probably will use a red bell pepper, not a green, next time. It might sound a bit strange to put broccoli stems in, but the firm veggies hold up great while getting tender too.  It's a perfect meaty consistency that has a nice body for a bowl of chili.

I had some extra firm tofu, but it had been in there a while, so I pitched it in the compost, but if you have tofu, I think you could add it in too.

 (I showed Olive oil and used about 2 Tbsp, but it's not necessary)

Serves about 8

1 lb dried red beans (or pinto, kidney)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 large bunch broccoli, including stems, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic
1-2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, chopped, or 1 14oz can tomatoes
1/2 can chipotle chilies, minced
3-4 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1-2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 6oz can tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
6-8 cups water, or vegetable stock 
6-8 corn tortillas, chopped 

Chop all the veggies

Add the spices, tomato paste and water.  Mix.  Cook for 6-8 hours on high setting. About 30 minutes before serving, add the chopped tortillas and cook until they dissolve.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Mexican Cornbread

Thanks to my oldest (in a nice way...) buddy Kelly for bringing this dish to our last get together with some other couples.  She even offered to bring the White Bean Chicken Chili too, she's such a doll.  Not one other girl like that one, I gotta tell you.

I've known her over... ummm, over 40 years. 
Saying almost 50 years just doesn't sound right to me.  

We are just too immature for that.
I'm older... by 9 months... same year.  Doesn't that equal that we are the same age?
Yup, I agree.

She offers to bring the dinner, you coyly ask only for cornbread. In she walks in with fancy wines, homemade brushetta and salami, sugared almonds cornbread and still warm Frango chocolate cookies.
Just like always... not always the way things, just an amazing variety of giving... always.
She's all that and a bag of chips.
Still, she could bring a six pack of Diet Pepsi, and I'd still think she was amazing.
Thanks for being an amazing friend Kelly... OXO

On to the cornbread... the best corn bread EVER! Kelly sent me the recipe, one that she found online.  I'm not sure exactly where, so I am sorry I can't give credit here; except to Kelly for finding it, making it, sharing it and even leaving me some leftovers.

Be prepared to beat others off the leftovers of this moist, sweet, cheesy and spicy cornbread with a wooden spoon and hide it for yourself.  It's is the BEST cornbread, I ever, ever, ever had.  I want more.

It's worth buying canned creamed corn for this, even though I am NO fan of the stuff. It is so delicious in this. Next time, I might try thawed frozen corn, blended chunky smooth next time.  Might be less sweet, but I always have frozen corn on hand. 

9x13 pan
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1 Tablespoon honey
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup cornmeal
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese (grated)
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn 
1/2 (4 ounce) can chopped jalapenos (drained)

Large bowl:  
Cream together butter and sugar
Bend in eggs, milk and honey.

Med bowl:
Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt

Add flour mixture to butter, sugar, egg, milk and honey mixture..
Stir till just blended (batter will be lumpy)

Stir in cream corn, jalapenos and cheeses.

Pour batter into buttered 9x13 baking pan
Bake at 300 for 1 hour (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garlic Spinach Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash

It's snowing here.
Yeah, and I have about 20 lbs of chicken thighs marinating and, now cancelled, incoming 25 family members. We're trying to re-schedule for tomorrow, so now I have to find something to eat for the two of us for tonight.  My sister had the same problem at her house... "I have a huge salad for tonight and not much else to make".

Don't you just hate to make an unexpected dinner, one that you had no intention of making?

What I improvised was delicious and something I will make again. Last night, besides the 20lbs of teriyaki chicken, I didn't really have anything else that was thawed.  I had a small amount of cooked frozen prawns and lots of fresh veggies.  I could have easily made this and served it over rice, pasta or polenta instead of spaghetti squash.  But I love spaghetti squash and I needed to use this one.

It was so yummy, and even though we ate kind of a lot, we felt good knowing we were mostly filled with veggies!

 (I forgot to photograph the fresh spinach and red pepper flakes.  
The wine? 
It was for me, I didn't end up using the wine in this dish as the juice of one lemon was perfect!)

Serves 2-4

2-3 cups prawns, fresh or frozen
2-3 Tbsp olive oil (or butter, or combination)
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
8-10 mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1-2 cups of fresh baby spinach, chopped or left whole
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 lemon,  juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & Fresh Pepper

2-4 cups spaghetti squash or pasta

Microwave the spaghetti squash for about 15 minutes. BE SURE to poke some holes in it with a sharp knife (carefully...) so that it doesn't explode in your microwave! 

Removing the hot spaghetti squash from the microwave, cut it in half with a serrated knife.  Remove the seed section from the squash, if possible, before shredding the meat of the squash with a fork. (see that darker yellow section with the seeds in it? Take that out!)

Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a large saute pan.  Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the bell pepper and mushrooms (if using) and the garlic.  Saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach, lemon zest and parsley.  Cook until the spinach is mostly wilted and add the prawns and cook until the prawns are pink.  Add lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, taste and adjust if needed.  If you don't think there is enough sauce, you could add a tablespoon of butter, or white wine. Serve immediately over hot spaghetti squash or other noodles.

Here's some other ideas with frozen prawns:

Baked Prawns with Feta and Orzo Pasta
Jambalaya- Chicken, Hot Links & Shrimp
Prawns al Fresco 
Shrimp, Cream & White Beans over Rice- Cajun Comfort Food
Southwestern Seafood Chowder
Spicy Shrimp Curry

Friday, January 13, 2012

Corn, Avocado, Tomato & Cilantro Salad

Okay, so maybe you are one of the 10% who doesn't like cilantro?  
Fine, don't add it.  
Make this salad your own.... add green onions or chopped parsley instead of cilantro.
I guess you DO have to like corn though...

I could eat this salad almost every day.  In fact, after we sat down to eat dinner, I had to jump up and take another picture of my dinner.  As I gazed at the nice salad, and the Dry Rubbed Chicken, I considered how great it would have been to chop up the leftover chicken and add it to the leftover salad for a healthy lunch the next day.  If you don't eat chicken, add cooked rice, quinoa or farro to make a filling, yummy salad.

Serves 2-4 people
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/2-1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1-2 avocados, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, or just leaves
1 jalapeno, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin or chili powder
Salt & Pepper

Chop everything, combine. Adjust seasoning.  Serve. Eat.

Here's my dinner, as I was imagining what I could do with leftovers...
Alas, I ate all the salad, and had to put the leftover chicken away all by itself.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lemon Bundt Cake

Geez, am I embarrassed.
I just made the same thing twice. Almost.
In different shapes... does that count as new and different?

When we were moving houses, I found an old binder of recipe articles that I had ripped from magazines, including one from Saveur on Maida Heatter.  It included a famous recipe for East 62nd Lemon Cake... it was said to be ordered by Nancy Reagan and other celebrities. It looked awesome.

So I made it the other night to take to work for a big group of co-workers birthday, including yours truly.  But I was having some freaky deja vu.  The cake turned out beautifully and was enjoyed by everyone. 

So tonight as I was sitting here thinking of what to say about that cake and I thought back to my Moist Lemon Bread back in April 2011 and checked it out. 

Oh no...
Yep, just about the same recipe, 3 cups flour vs. 3 1/3 cup flour and some salt, otherwise exactly the same.

Only different...
The one I made the other night was a bundt cake, and the ones last year were loaf pans.  
They tasted totally different. The weird part is that I found the recipes in totally different places and both are attributed to different people.

1 bundt cake, serves about 12
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb butter (1 cup)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 lemons, zested

1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar


Adjust oven rack 1/3 from bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9x3-1/2-inch tube pan and dust it lightly with fine, dry bread crumbs.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In large bowl of electric mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs individually, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula to keep mixture smooth. On lowest speed alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the milk in two additions, scraping the bowl with the rubber spatula as necessary and beating only until smooth after each addition. Stir in lemon rind. Turn the batter into prepared pan. Level top by rotating pan briskly back and forth.
Bake for 1 hour and test, my cake took only 1 hour, but the original recipe says 1 hour 15 minutes.

Let cake stand in pan for about 3 minutes and then cover with a rack and invert. Remove pan, leaving the cake upside down. Place over a large piece of aluminum foil or waxed paper and prepare glaze.
The glaze must be used immediately after it is mixed.
Stir the lemon juice and sugar together and brush all over the hot cake until absorbed.

Let cake cool completely. Use two wide metal pancake turners or a cookie sheet to transfer it to a cake plate.
Do not cut for at least several hours.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quiche- Any way you like it!

Quiche.... such a simple thing, but so badly maligned over the years.

The thing I like about quiche is... it's good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, make ahead meal, it's a good traveler and it tastes good!  It's highly customizable too.... don't like ham? Leave it out.  Don't like gruyere or Swiss cheese (not my favorite....) leave it out.  Need to use up some bits and bobs of cheese, use them in quiche.

I'm going back on my opinion on pre-made Pillsbury pie crusts for this one.
It makes it so, so easy.
Unless you really, really want to make your own, just go ahead and use the pre-made one for this. You have my permission... hahaha.

For years, my quiche wasn't the greatest, the crust was soggy, the eggs too hard and spongy... just not my best thing.  So on New Year's eve, we had an uncertain amount of people attending a party and I was a bit worried about having too much food.  So i searched for some recipes, and found a five star rated recipe from Emeril.  Okay.... I tried.  Oh yeah... it's the one.  I believe an important component is prebaking the crust (who knew?) and using some half n' half with your eggs.  It came together within 15 minutes, and then baked for another 35 minutes.  Everyone loved it. It was good I've made in three times in a week.  You'll feel pretty tricky bringing homemade quiche for your breakfast (or lunch) at work... I know I did.  Yum, oh yum.

Makes one 8-9" quiche, serving about 6-8

1 pie crust
2 eggs
2 egg yolks (save the whites for scrambled eggs)
1 1/4 cups half and half (or milk & whip cream)
2-3 pieces bacon
1/3 cup white onions, diced small
1 cup cheese
Fresh Pepper and Salt* (if needed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 15 minutes until mostly golden brown and getting crisp. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

While your crust is baking…
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft and getting some color.  Drain onions and discard any leftover fat.

Arrange the bacon and onions evenly over the bottom of the baked crust.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Add any other ingredients you are adding, plus the cheese and top with the beaten egg & cream mixture.

Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.
* I didn't add any salt because I used a combo of bacon and ham in my first quiche which was salty enough, especially when combined with cheese.

Here's some ideas for making your quiche great... just add the quantity that seems good to you. That could be as little as 2 Tbsp and as much as a cup.  Don't over think it.
  • Diced ham
  • Diced red bell pepper
  • Cooked chicken
  • Green Chilies
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Taco meat
  • Zucchini slices
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • What else can you think of?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lemon, Onion & Cucumber Salad

I love the Vancouver BC food blog, Everybody Loves Sandwiches.  She blogged about this recipe last Spring, but it just sounds like a terrific light salad for February when we're enjoying some great weather and it feels like Spring. When I read this it was immediate love... and I just happened to have everything for this on hand.  I love recipes like that.  I don't share her aversion to cucumbers, or the seeds, so I left mine in. 

This may seem like quite a bit of lemon zest and juice, but adding a bit of honey does something wonderful to the combination and accents the cucumbers and the sweet onion. I'm going to make this again and again. I might try red onions next time, or even thin slices of sweet red bell pepper.

I'm going to take another photo when I do... I'm not sure what I was thinking with the above photo. I apologize it's so blurry.

Serves about 4

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced on the diagonal
   or 4-5 Persian cucumbers
1/2 sweet onion, sliced into thin strips
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey,  sugar, or Stevia
Salt & Pepper and seasoning salt, if desired
(I used Greek Seasoning because I love it...)

Zest your lemon, use a microplaner, it makes it goes so fast and makes great zest.  Juice your lemon into a small mixing, or serving bowl.  Add the sliced onions, zest and cucumbers. Add the olive oil, honey and seasoning.  Toss.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve.

The leftovers of this salad tasted good the next day, but the textures of the cucumbers and onion weren't quite as good as it was when it was fresh!

Here's some other fresh salads I like like are Vegetarian or Vegan friendly:

Apple, Cabbage & Hazelnut Coleslaw

Couscous Black Bean Salad
Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Grilled Peach & Pecan Green Salad
Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad

Kale, Cherry & Almond Salad
Orange, Fennel, Ginger & Arugula Salad

Southwestern Edamame Salad
Spaghetti Squash Salad with Arugula & Cherry Tomatoes
Spicy Coleslaw

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zucchini and Black Bean Saute- Vegan Main Dish

So I've been thinking about Vegan dinners for a long while.  
I really have no intention of becoming a Vegan, but I do know, and love, enough of you "Veganites" that I view making good meals, quickly and nutritiously, as a fun challenge.

I just happen to love butter, cheese, eggs, cream and yogurt too much.  I do also like ... meat. Sorry for that, but I don't look down on you for choosing to be a Vegan, so let's just keep it mutual, okay?  I am excited to make some yummy stuff that is good for us all.

I'm going to make at least 5 Vegan meals this month, and I will share with you.  This one was so good that I think I will enjoy it as much as you.

There is a little bit of chopping for this dish, but it's not too hard at all.  I had a couple tomatoes that needed to be used up, but you could also use canned (drained) diced tomatoes too.  When I make brown rice, I usually make a large pot and freeze the leftovers in 2 cup portions in a ziploc bag.  If you flatten them, they defrost very quickly in your microwave.  This whole dinner took less than 20 minutes because the rice was made.  This saute of veggies and  beans would also be a nice side dish for a bigger dinner too.

(Not shown- garlic, salt and pepper)

Serves 4-6

1 cup diced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchinis, diced (about 2 cups)

1 cup diced tomatoes
1 14oz can of black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup green onions

1/2 lemon, juiced
 Salt & Pepper 

Over medium high heat in a deep fry pan, or a dutch oven, saute the onions in the olive oil until they start to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes longer.  Add the zucchini and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring.  Add the tomatoes and cook another couple minutes.  The zucchini should still have some almost firm texture and be bright green.  Add the black beans and cook until the mixture is hot throughout.  Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately over rice.

Here's some more Vegan friendly dishes that I like:
Carmelized Green Onions, Tomato and Zucchini
Moroccan Vegetable Stew
Red Quinoa and Butternut Salad

Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomato-Almond Pesto
Spaghetti Squash, Arugula & Tomato Salad


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chipotle Cocoa Pork Tenderloin

Hey, I got a new house, with a really nice kitchen and a Viking range!!!!
Best Christmas present ever!

 I am so happy to have room to move and to finally have enough cabinets for all my dishes, pots & pans and drinkware!  Woo HOO!  Can't wait to see what trouble I can get into now.

Here's a little picture of my stove while I was cooking this! I'm not 100% moved in, but getting there.  I asked my hubby if he could install a pot filler spigot over the range, and he said "sure" with a big smile!  Nice... I love living with Mr. Fix-it. 

Here's another better shot of the kitchen that I took before we moved in. P.S. That stuff on the counter is not mine!

I found this great recipe, but it called for Chipotle Chili powder, which I don't have, so it got me thinking of how to use the canned Chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce that I almost always have on hand!  Have I mentioned that I like chipotle before? Oh? I have...

This is a simple dish to make.  Marinate the meat the night before, or in the morning.  Brown the pork and then finish in the oven.  The marinade makes into the sauce so easily and frankly it was not too spicy, almost Mexican mole sauce-like with the sweetness and the cocoa.  Don't worry about using the marinade that had raw meat in it, because you are boiling it, it is completely safe to eat.

Serves about 4-5
1-2 Tbsp canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced (about 2-3 chilies)
1-2 tsp adobo sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp olive, or canola oil, divided
2 - 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat

Leftover marinade from above

2/3 cup red wine, or broth
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Line the inside of a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

Mince the chilies.

Place chipotle chilies adobo sauce, honey, cocoa powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, salt
and half the oil in a ziploc bag.  Mix to combine. Add the pork and make sure the mixture has coated the meat all over.  Place in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours.
In a grill pan or large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, warm remaining tablespoon of canola oil. Place the tenderloin in the skillet and cook, turning it over to ensure even browning on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Place the meat on the baking sheet, and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until the internal temperature is about 145.  Let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes covered with foil while you make the sauce.

 According to the new USDA guidelines, pork chops, roasts, and tenderloins can safely be cooked to medium-rare at 145 degrees, not. 160,

Take the leftover marinade and add to the same pan that you browned the meat in.  Add the leftover marinade to the pan over medium high heat with the wine and the red wine vinegar whisking until the mixture comes to a boil.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  If it is too spicy, you could add another tablespoon of honey.

Cover the pork tenderloin with a tinfoil and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing for extra juicy pieces. 

Here's some other favorites with pork tenderloin:
Tequila Lime Pork with Mole Sauce
Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sauce
Pork Tenderloin with Cheese Polenta & Sauteed Kale
Cuban Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Fruit Salsa