Monday, March 31, 2014

Pita Bread

Warm pita bread- fresh from the oven. Delicious and actually easy to make!

I did it! I actually created a baked good that is worthy of sharing on this blog!  Okay, I did make these pretzels and this grapefruit quick bread but those don't count because sugar hides a multitude of sins (except gluttony).

This pita bread is actually quite easy to make and the hands on time is minimal, but it is about a day and half long project and requires storing the dough in the fridge, so be sure you clear out space before you embark on this journey.  You might also consider bringing some friends along for the ride.  I brought Littlest. He ate frozen peas while I mixed the dough, and by the time he finished his peas, I was done with the hands on part for the day.  The next day, he took a nap and I finished the pitas.

The inspiration for these came from a repin of a recipe that is no longer available on Damn Delicious but I'm linking there anyways because that is some good food (or at least good food photography which I appreciate more every day).  She apparently used to have a recipe for a pulled pork Gyro, which is a great idea because really who knows how to cook lamb.  Not to mention that's like $27 a pound around here (possibly slight exaggeration, they don't actually sell it at the two closest grocery stores, so I wouldn't really know the price).

Anyhow, the Pin inspired me to make homemade pitas, and for once in my life it worked.  I had to adapt this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because my first few didn't turn out like I would have liked.

Once I got the technique down, the pitas poofed beautifully with a pocket of steam and a single slice yielded that traditional pocket that just waits to be stuffed with all kinds of Greek goodness (or lets be honest here, turkey and Sriracha work nicely too).

Deb of Smitten Kitchen compares the process of making these to the process of making pizza dough, but I disagree somewhat.  If you've ever done the "wet dough" technique associated with artisan bread in 5 minutes a day (sorry no link, to lazy and I'm not Amazon affiliate so there's really no point in my Googling this on your behalf) its more like that.  The basic difference is that with pizza dough, the rise really isn't that important, but with pita bread the rise is very important.

Also, before you start you're going to need some essential tools.
  1. Large 2 Quart Mixing Bowl (Ice cream buckets work too)
  2. Rolling Pin
  3. Plastic Wrap

Homemade Pita Bread

Pita Bread- It's like a carb pocket ready to be filled with Greek goodness

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 Full Pitas

  • 3 Cups +1/2 Cup for sprinkling Flour
  • 1.3 Cups + A few teaspoons for sprinkling Warm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1. Mix water, yeast and sugar and allow yeast to proof ten minutes. 2. Add three cups flour, salt and olive oil and mix well. Then knead the dough briefly (2-3 minutes) and allow dough to rest 10 minutes 3. After resting, flour surface generously and begin kneading the dough. You may find that the dough gets too dry or to sticky. Add more water when the dough is too dry or more flour when its sticky. Knead for about five minutes 4. Oil a bowl and put dough in the bowl to rest. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least eight hours (but don't ignore my next instruction)5. For the first four hours of the rise, punch the dough down about once per hour. 6. When you are ready to make the pitas, flour a large surface, then grab a chunk of dough and make a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Flatten the ball into a disk (about the size of a CD) 7. Cover the disk in oiled plastic (reuse the covering of the bowl) and then repeat for all 6 pitas. 8. Allow dough to rest under the plastic for about 10-20 minutes. 9. Using a floured rolling pin on a floured surface roll out on pita disk at a time. The dough should be thin but not see through. Put the flat dough on a plate to rest. Generously rub the dough with water. If the dough starts to tear, you screwed up and you should start back on step 6 with that particular ball of dough. 10. Heat oven and a baking tray to 475 (ie put the baking tray in the oven while it preheats) 11. Place one pita on the hot baking tray and bake for four minutes and 15 seconds (basically for 45 seconds after the dough poofs, but the pita shouldn't be brown yet). 12. If you resist eating it right away, it's nice to cover these with a clean tea towel

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Black Bean "Meatballs"

Black Bean Balls! Alliteration makes all food delicious!

Today, I had a rather odd and off topic conversation at work about cheating in school verses "cheating" in the workplace.  The biggest hurdle that many of us had to overcome in joining the workforce from our education is that cheating is not only fine, its encouraged.  Meaning, you should never write code from scratch if there's already code existing.  You should never do a project that's been done before because its a waste of time.

And it struck me, that is why I've started this blog. Because I love to learn and discover and grow, and  I want to let my project lead me instead of my deadlines.  But there's not time for that at work,
Upon further reflection, I've realized this blog isn't totally original.  In every post I have several links to other blogs or recipes, and I'm not totally sure that I'm making something better.  I'm okay with this, but it does mean I am not a genius yet, at least not by the talent borrows, genius steals paradox proposed by T.S. Eliot.

T.S. Eliot wrote, "One of the surest tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest."

Nobody except Picasso ever claimed that they were great from the beginning, and the 10,000 hour rule proposed by Malcolm Gladwell seems to be pretty well accepted as pop-sociology fact, so I hope that someday I will no longer be a blogger who defaces what I borrow, but who steals content only to make it better.  

In the meantime, I would like to thank all the recipe bloggers and other sources of inspiration for giving me free access to your work and your life.  I am really thankful that you enable me to crowdsource my dinner.

Thank you all for allowing me to philosophize over this triviality of a blog.  And onto the recipe.
These black bean "meatballs" are incredibly delicious, I got this inspiration from Foxes Love Lemons.  I definitely like them better than any real meatballs that I've ever had.  I would compare the texture favorably to falafel, but the flavor is distinctly Italian.  Within one bite, the Mad Scientist told me that these were on the keeper list, and Littlest screeched with delight every time I gave him a bite.  Its so fun for me be able to feed Littlest the same food as the Mad Scientist and I eat.

Black Bean "Meatballs"

This meatless main dish is hearty and delicious, and better than any real meatballs that I've ever eaten.

Prep time:  Cook time:  Total time: < span class="value-title" title="PT4H30M">
Yield: 10 golf ball sized pieces

  • 1 Cup Dried Black Beans- Soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 White Onion Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced or Pressed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Flavored Bread Crumbs
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1. Cook beans with 2 cups of water, garlic powder, salt, and italian seasoning in a crockpot for four hours (low heat) 2. Drain beans and set 2 cups in a large bowl (this should be most of the beans, but I always manage to have some leftover) 3. Combine beans, onion, bread crumbs and egg and mix thoroughly using your hands. 4. For balls about the size of a golf ball and set onto a plate.  5. Heat oil, and in small batches of about 3-5 pieces fry the meatballs. Be sure that each side of the meatball gets a nice crisp crust (should be a very dark brown) 6. Serve with marinara sauce over pasta.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chicken Fried Couscous- Fancy Frugal Foodie #3

When leftovers get married and have a baby, its chicken fried couscous.

These fancy frugal foodie posts are not very popular.  I think it's because the pictures always look pretty bad, but the pictures look bad because I make this food later at night and out of leftovers, so my lighting isn't as good and the colors are never as vibrant, but the food is good, so I will share on.  If ever become a great photographer, this won't be an issue anymore.

Now that the needless self-deprecation is out of the way, I will tell the six of you who are still reading an amusing story about grocery shopping during our early marriage.

Before we ever met, the Mad Scientist was a mad couponer.  He even subscribed to a coupon matching service that would help you figure out which coupons to print, which to clip and where to shop.  Coupons tend to be for processed foods and hygiene products both of which I tend to avoid (kidding); this means that even the best couponers have to supplement their stockpiles with things like produce, meat, and herbs and spices (the savvy couponers get these on sale with same as cash store coupons).

This is not a story about coupons, but about grocery shopping, so I digress.  Usually when it came time to do our weekly grocery shopping, the Mad Scientist made a list of items to buy for pennies on the dollar at three different grocery stores, and I skimmed the weekly circulars and mentally made a meal plan with virtually no consideration for the things the Mad Scientist purchased.

Over time, our stockpile grew quite large, and we were not eating very much of it (except the cereal.  We were making our way through that at pretty good clip).  This large stockpile of food grew and grew, much to my dissatisfaction, but being both female and of Scandanavian descent I thought a passive aggressive approach would lead my husband to quit stockpiling (marriage tip- this is not helpful).

So to send the message that we should quit stockpiling since we really aren't preppers (and if you are don't you think this should have come up in pre-marital counseling), I decided to start a stockpile of my own.  I guess my intention was to fight fire with fire.

Unfortunately my frugal nature would not allow me to commit to heavily to this plan, so on the first round, I bought an extra head of broccoli, and a twenty pound bag of couscous which I had never tasted before.  I will also allow that even at the time my decision seemed ridiculous, but passive aggression can make a person do some strange things.

That night, I made couscous for the first time - it was gross, and the flood gates of emotion opened.

"I bought twenty pounds of couscous because I don't like macaroni and cheese or brownies," I blubbered. "And I don't know any recipes for sweetened condensed milk, and cereal is not a healthy breakfast choice, and I am so sorry that I bought couscous to make you feel bad, and now I hate couscous."

Needless to say, the Mad Scientist stared in bewilderment as I cried about about the fact that I didn't like couscous, and he couldn't quite make the connection to why couscous might make him feel guilty, but he forgave me.  We talked through my feelings, and over the next few weeks, we ate through a lot of the stockpile; we ate through all but the couscous.

That bag of couscous has remained in our marriage for over two years, and has largely been untouched until now!

After running out of basmati rice, I committed to using up the couscous before buying more rice, and so I bring to you Chicken Fried Couscous.  Not only does this recipe use up an ingredient that I am not overly fond of, but it also utilizes leftovers.  A double frugal win!  Best of all, it tastes great!  Its reminiscent of fried rice, but the unique pearly texture of couscous yields a slightly different flavor profile.  Even Littlest enjoyed it!

Chicken Fried Couscous

Using up leftovers and couscous in one recipe, and it tastes amazing! You can substitute for almost any veggies or protein you would like.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 Servings

  • 1 Cup Couscous
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Large White Onion- Chopped
  • Garlic Cloves- Minced
  • Carrots- peeled and diced
  • 3/4 Cup Broccoli- chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Mushrooms- Sliced
  • 1/3 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Cup Cooked Chicken- diced
  • Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1. Cook the couscous in the chicken broth until all the broth is absorbed (this takes less than five minutes)
2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil to a high temperature then add onion, garlic, carrots, sesame seeds and broccoli, stir frequently for 3-4 minutes
3. Add mushrooms, soy sauce (any additional seasonings as well), corn and chicken and cook 2-3 additional minutes
4. Make a large well in your crockpot and crack egg into it. Scramble the egg, and slowly incorporate into the couscous mixture.
5. Serve with your fried rice favorites (Soy Sauce, Sriracha, cilantro, green onion, etc.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad: It looks like bread, but its called a salad so it must be healthy.

These days, I am learning to bake, and that involves a fairly steep learning curve.  If you've never baked anything except cookies or brownies from a box, I can't say that I blame you. That was the extent of my baking knowledge just a few weeks ago.  Since then, I've attempted a lot of baking: biscuits, cupcakes, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, baguettes.  You name it, I've tried it.  The only things that have been successful so far are the cupcakes, the pretzels, and the grapefruit quick breads (ie the desserts, I must pay special attention to those).

All this failure, I hope, is paving the path to a glorious baking career, but until then, I have an overwhelming amount of mediocre bread.  I don't want all of this to go to waste, so here is a list of five things that I've made with mediocre bread that will make your mouth do the happy dance.

  1. Croutons
  2. Egg Bake
  3. Stuffed French Toast
  4. Bread Pudding
  5. Panzanella Salad!
A lot of people don't know about Panzanella salad, probably due to the overwhelming popularity of Paleo diets and not becoming fat.  Panzanella salad is not healthy at all, but it is extremely delicious.  The sweetness of the bread contrasts perfectly with the lively acidity of the lemon balsamic dressing.  The bread soaks up this dressing and then mingles with the bright notes tomatoes, cilantro, feta and green onions.  Mediocre bread no more, this salad will rock your face off.

Panzanella Salad

Recycle old bread into a delicious flavor explosion

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 Reasonable Servings

  • 1 Baguette chopped into crouton sized pieces
  • 1/2 Lemon Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vineagar
  • 3 Tablespoons (increase if you prefer less acidic dressings) Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Pint Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 2-3 Green Onion Chopped
  • 1/4 Bunch Cilantro Chopped
  • 2 Ounces Feta
1. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, Italian seasoning, sugar, and garlic powder. Test to ensure the dressing is to your liking. Adjust proportions as needed 2. Pour dressing over bread and allow bread to marinate for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours 3. Add tomatoes, feta, cilantro and green onions and serve. 4. Leftovers are pretty good for about 1-2 days.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Steak Salad: How to Sear a London Broil

Perfectly cooked medium rare steak on salad with feta and dijon mustard
A well cooked steak is a thing of great beauty!

When I was pregnant with Kenny, I walked down the baby food aisle of Target exactly one time and determined that I was going to have to make my own baby food.  Not that you care to know why, but it is because the thought of pureed meat made me want to vomit, and paying someone to puree fruits and vegetables struck me as stupid.  As a result, I Googled exactly one baby food recipe and determined that I was pretty much an expert in baby food preparation.

Surprising as it may seem, I was not an expert, and Littlest refused almost all solids from six to seven months.  Other than the guts of a clementine around Christmas, Kenny ate almost no solids until another kid gave him a pretzel which he sucked to little bits in a ritual akin to eating (differing mainly in that no nutrients actually entered his body).

After the pretzel episode, Littlest warmed up to food fast.  The advice on the interwebs is to proceed with caution, but in all my excitement that my Littlest was finally eating, I gave him everything except meat.  I cannot abide by the thought of pureed meat.

In all my extensive Googling of baby eating habits (read not extensive at all), I never stumbled across what to do when your baby decides he wants to eat steak, so I was caught off guard when the Littlest would not stop reaching for my plate the night that we made this delicious steak salad.  He would not be sated by a shred of lettuce or even an animal cracker.  It was clear to both me and the Mad Scientist that Littlest wanted steak.

The Mad Scientist looked at me and said, "Well, are you going to share with him?" 

But this steak was so tender and so delicious that I really didn't want to share with Littlest.  I responded, "I don't think babies are supposed to eat meat until they have teeth.  It probably says so on the internet."

"Okay, but he's very insistent, and the steak is really tender.  Maybe you could give him just the littlest bite."

"Why don't you share your steak with him," I asked.

Immediately, the infamous Mom guilt started.  How could I withhold steak from my own baby because of my selfishness. The Mad Scientist had already started meticulously cutting extremely tiny slivers of steak, and I said, "Its okay, I'll share with Kenny."

Then I cut several tiny slivers of my own steak, and I began to feed them to Littlest one by one.  If you have ever seen a seal show or a whale show at the zoo, you will be able to picture this seen very clearly.  Just replace the whale with a baby, the tricks with the cutest smile ever, and the whale trainer with me.  Over and over again, Littlest would smile and open his mouth, and I would insert the meat, and he would gum and drool and swallow, shake his head and repeat.

What can I say, the Littlest has good taste.

Do you want to make this Steak that is so delicious, and the salad which is a perfect complement?  I hope that you do because you're about to get the recipe.

The first section is a tutorial which I have modified very slightly from this one on Smitten Kitchen where she incidentally also discuss feeding her baby steak, which makes me feel guilty only for not wanting to share my meat, and not for potentially feeding my child steak before he was ready.

How to Sear a London Broil

If you are lacking a grill (or perhaps you live in Minnesota, so there's a 75% chance that there is snow on the ground), this is a great method for cooking a perfect medium rare steak in a frying pan.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One Pound (about 3-4 servings)

  • One Pound London Broil
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1. Slice steak crosswise. Crosswise means that you will have two pieces of steak that cover equal surface area, but are half as thick as the piece as a whole was. 2. Generously cover both sides of both pieces of steak in salt and pepper. 3. Allow London Broil to come to room temperature. Based on research that is readily available on the internet, most chefs do this to ensure an even cook. 4. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Your burner should be between 6 and 7 on a scale of ten. 5. Add one piece (or both pieces if you have a large burner) of steak to the frying pan, cover with the lid, and allow it to sit on the heat for 5 minutes without touching it. 6. Flip steak over, cover with the lid again, and cook for another 4 minutes. 7. Remove steak from heat, and place onto a cutting board. Allow the steak to "rest" for several minutes before slicing it. This will allow the steak marinate in its own juices, and make it even more delicious.

Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vineager
  • 1-2 Teaspoons (to taste) Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • To taste (I used none, Rob used about 1/4 Teaspoon) Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly using a fork or a very small whisk.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Happy Bloggiversary to Me!

Do you want to know what is delicious? These cupcakes.  Unlike a lot of cupcakes, these cupcakes are not light and airy. Instead they have a chew to them, one that could almost be called density, but not in the same way you describe pound cake.  More like a chewy cookie, but the moistness and cakey-ness is not lost.  In baking terms, the crumb is not compromised by the chew, and, oh my, they are good!

Am I waxing poetic about these cupcakes? Only because they deserve it.  I'll give you the recipe at the end of this blog post, but first you have to celebrate my blogiversary with me.

Technically, the one month anniversary of my first blog post was yesterday, but I forgot.  As a result, I would like to pretend that this is a Middle School relationship.  While February 23rd was the first date, this blog and I officially became a couple the next day (you know, like when you exchange hoodies in middle school).

In honor of my first month of blogging, I give to you a list of 7 things that I've learned about blogging since starting.

  1. If you plan to take a picture of a recipe, there is a 38% chance that you will screw up the recipe and the food will look weird and taste bad (no matter how many times you've made it before)* Note, your odds may vary depending on how hard core your son is teething at the time.
  2. There are a lot of people who blog about blogging. No, seriously, a ton.  Type this into Google "Blogs about Blogs"
  3. A fancy header makes you feel legit.  This is a link to the site that taught me how to use Picasa to make a banner.
  4. Not only can I crowdsource my dinner, I can crowdsource the whole blog. Here's a link that taught me about formatting in blogger
  5. And here's the link that taught me about Archive Pages
  6. It turns out social media is important. My one post on Facebook this month yielded 60% of my traffic this month.  Since I'm not going to post this on the Facebook, I know the only people reading are close friends or relatives, so the first person to comment gets a baked good from me (if you are in a different state or country we can work out the details)
  7. You are always supposed to have odd numbered lists because humans retain odd numbers better than even.
If anyone is curious about why I started this blog, it is so I can become rich and famous like The Pioneer Woman, but if that fails, at least I will have eaten many delicious meals.

Since this post is already incredibly random, here's a picture of Kenny that I edited in Picasa.

Since I can't add it in my list (it will be an even number, I will also state that blogging is a great opportunity to do the humble brag.  For example, I can say, "Kenny is such a stinker" but I mean everyone admire my child.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

A chewy chocolate cupcake topped with decadent buttercream frosting. The perfect celebratory dessert for my one month of blogging anniversary

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
  • 1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1.5 Sticks Butter Melted
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Package Instant Pudding
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
For the Frosting:
  • 2 Sticks Butter Room Temperature
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Half and Half
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Bar KIt Kat Candy chopped
1. Mix flour, baking powder, instant pudding and salt thoroughly in a a medium mixing bowl. 2. Beat eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is fluffy. 3. Add 1/2 the flour/pudding mixture and mix for about 30 seconds to one minute 4. Add all the milk and vanilla and mix for another 30 seconds 5. Add the rest of the flour/pudding mixture and mix until combined. You don't want to overbeat the mixture to ensure that the cake maintains some element of lightness. 6. Pour mixture (approximately 1/4 cup) into cupcake liners and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Use a toothpick to test doneness (cupcakes are done when the toothpick comes out clean)
For the frosting:
1. Mix cold butter with about 1/2 of powder sugar and chocolate. 2. As mixture becomes smooth add more powdered sugar. 3. Taste mixture to be sure you have approximately the right amount of sweetness then add vanilla and half and half. 4. Add more powdered sugar or more half and half until you reach the desired consistency. 5. Only frost cooled cupcakes. 6. Top frosted cupcakes with chopped candy of your choice.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fancy Frugal Foodie #2: Leftover Chili Enchiladas

Put leftover chili to good use by making filling up enchiladas.

Chili is tough to make for just two people, but eating leftovers for several meals is the worst (the worst, really? Paper cuts, those are the worst). Since I prefer a new meal every night, when I planned Turkey Chili in my meal plan (that's a fancy frugal foodie tip for you- make a meal plan), I planned a second meal to recycle the food without recycling the flavors.  Enter these leftover chili enchiladas.

These enchiladas are a creamy, chessy, spicy dream, and surprisingly have a very different flavor and texture profile from the Turkey Chili that is the primary ingredient in the filling.

Not only are these enchiladas craveably delicious, you can make them in about 5 minutes of hands on time (including grating the cheese).  So here's a link to Ellen Degeneres Here and Now which is pretty much the greatest stand up of all time.  What else can you do with your leftover time?  Maybe read another food blog.  Here's a link to Enchilada Hot Dish from Carpe Season which is a really delicious Enchilada meal too.

Leftover Chili Enchiladas

Use up leftover chili by making a totally new delicious dish

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Enchiladas

  • 1.5 Cups Leftover Chili
  • 1/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • 4 Flour Tortillas
  • 8 oz Taqueria Style Prepared Salsa
  • 1/2 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Green Onions Sliced
1. Preheat oven to 450. Then, mix Leftover Chili and Sour Cream in a medium bowl
2. Fill center of flour tortillas, then fold two sides in followed then roll tortilla and place in an 8"x 8" glass pan. Repeat with all four tortillas.
3. Cover filled tortillas with salsa
4. Cover casserole with grated cheese
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes then top with green onions.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Turkey Chili

I Love this Flavor Packed Chili!

I am a relative amateur to the whole mom thing, but I did hope that I would be a natural.  It turns out I am not.  For example, I will tell you how my son nearly died yesterday.  

From all my babysitting experiences, I learned that kids are irrational and they don't like toys. As a result, I have bought very few toys for Littlest.  Instead, I keep a Tupperware bin full of household objects on the floor of our living room that Littlest can use for playing.  These objects are mostly smallish tupperware that he can hold himself along with some unused sponges and washcloths.

This worked great for about three weeks, but now he thinks that he should be able to play with all the boxes in our house.  Yesterday, as I was working in my office, I thought of an ingenious ploy to trick littlest.  I filled a small box on our book shelf with random objects from around the office that wouldn't kill him, and then I set him in front of the box.  The box contained old credit cards, a few random plastic objects, and a large pack of gumballs.  The gumballs were in a plastic package, and Littlest loves plastic.  I thought because the package was closed he would be safe.

I was wrong.  Within about two minutes of playing, I looked over to hear him shrieking in delight, and I saw this:

Blue Gumball Drool!

Littlest had not only managed to get the package open, but he put one enormous gumball into his mouth, and was gnawing on it.  I snatched the gumball out of his mouth and he started crying hysterically.  I was just relieved that he hadn't died.

So moral of the story, I probably need to buy toys for the Littlest one, and be a lot more careful about what is in reach.  Maybe next year I can go for mom of the year, but this incident assures me that I am out of the running for now.

At least we had a virtuous dinner, and Littlest got to eat some too!  This turkey chili is flavorful but not overly spicy.  Like most chilis it is very chunky and relies minimally on broth. The sweet potatoes take the place of beans in this chili and provide a sweetness and a richness that beans do not.  Also, the smokiness of the chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce is a flavor that I've been craving lately.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Turkey Chili

This turkey chili is a savory meal with just a kick of sweet and spicy. Replacing the beans with sweet potatoes was inspired by a common substitution in Paleo cookbooks.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 Generous Servings

  • 1/2 Red Onion Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 6 oz Prepared Salsa Verde
  • 14 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Sweet Potato Diced
  • 1-2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1. Heat Olive Oil in a large stock pot
2. Add onions, garlic and ground turkey until turkey is browned (about 6 minutes)
3. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spices and slowly add chicken stock to your desired thickness.
4. Allow chili to simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer is better)
5. Serve with sour cream, mozzarella, tortilla chips, avocado and cilantro

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