Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 1...

Its pretty clear 2017 is going to move as swiftly by as 2016 did...one week - POOF - gone.

Last week, for a short week, was crazy at work. Everyone seems to be trying to get the ball rolling and made a lot of requests last week. At the same time, trying to get goals set up and the team working towards them proved to keep us busy.

Still, the week ended with out any major issues. No family members in the hospital. No cuts. No nothing. I'm calling it a success.

I started my bullet journal last week and got it laid out and ready to start tracking some stuff in a fun, unique, and creative way.

I put my 52 Weeks of savings tracking in it.
I put my weight loss tracking in it.
I put a book Bingo page to help me read outside my norm.
I put pages to review my book club books and any other books I read this year (my goal is 24).
I put pages for my 24 New things.
I put pages for Blog ideas, sunday dinner theme ideas, and restaurants I want to try.

Basically everything in one place. What a concept.

Other exciting things this week was... well... nothing. Just another ordinary week.

Oh, I started a menu delivery service. You know those companies who deliver the ingredients and you do the cooking? Yah, one of those. This particular service I had cancelled and they delivered accidentally. Tried the first recipe tonight and man or man was it delicious. I found a new salad I'll be making on a regular basis. Hop over to my cooking blog for the recipe.


Caprese Chicken over Warm Spinach Salad

Someday I will learn how to fry chicken with Parmesan on it and not 1) burn it or 2) under cook it. Today was not that day.

My mistake was I didn't pound the breast thin enough I think.

Regardless, this recipe was from the company Plated. I signed up for one of those services that deliver the ingredients and you cook it. I signed up and then cancelled within 30 minutes. Somehow, Plated didn't get the cancellation and delivered the first box (they refunded me the $$ by the way).

The first recipe is Caprese Chicken over Warm Spinach Salad. The chicken was fantastic. I under cooked it, but had to stick it in the oven to actually finish cooking. The Parmesan was becoming too brown in the skillet. I felt like I couldn't cook it in the skillet any longer. Popping it into the oven wasn't a bad idea.

If I make this again, I might grill the chicken to make it lower calorie.

Caprese Chicken over Warm Spinach Salad
Recipe from Plated


Serves 2
800 calories

1/4 oz basil, divided
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, minced
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T Champagne vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
3 oz baby spinach
1 c flour (this is actually a bit much for 2 chicken breasts. You could cut this in half.)
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
5 T olive oil

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet pound to 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

Place flour on a plate. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk egg. In another plate, mix the panko and Parmesan. Dredge chicken in flour, shake off excess. Dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on a plate.

Add 2 T olive oil to pan, heat over med-high heat. When shimmering, add chicken and sear until crust is browned and chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to paper towel lined plate to drain.

Make the vinaigrette. Heat 1 tsp in olive oil over medium heat.  When oil is shimmering, add shallot and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in Champagne vinegar and mustard. Whisking continuously, slowly add 3 T olive oil until fully combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

Immediately add spinach and tomatoes and toss to coat. Add mozzarella and half the basil to bowl with spinach - toss to combine.

Divide spinach salad between plates and top with chicken. Tear remaining basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle over the top.

Serve warm...and dig in!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Old Fashion Goulash

Apparently this is a comfort food. Anything labeled "comfort food" and I'm all in. Tonight is my last night to each "unhealthy" so I figured I'd go out with a bang.

I don't recall every having goulash as a kid. It seems like something a 70's mom would have made so I'm sure I have had it, just don't remember.

At any rate, super easy recipe and SUPER good. I would not put in the Adobo seasoning next time I make this. I think it made it just too salty.

Old Fashion Goulash
Recipe from MyIncredibleRecipes.com
Serves - a lot

2 lbs ground beef or turkey
3 tsp minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2.5 c water
1/2 c beef broth
1/3 c olive oil
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T Adobo seasoning
3 bay leaves
1 T seasoned salt
2 c elbow mararoni, uncooked
1 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

In a large pot, cook your ground beef until just done, add garlic and onions. Cook until beef is completely done. Add broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir. Add seasonings.
Cook for about 20 minutes.

Add macaroni and stir well. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaves. Remove from heat.

Add cheddar cheese. Mix until combined. Add mozzarella right before you serve.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Oh...my...God...were these good.

Tradition in my house is the December Sunday dinner is a cookie exchange. This year I made these cookies...and lord were they good.

Make these cookies...

I didn't end up with enough powdered sugar to make real frosting, but ended up with a ganache type texture ... and truthfully I was ok with that. They were tasty.

Found this recipe on a blog called Cookies and Cups. I'll be visiting more often for sure.

Buckeye Brownie Cookies
Photo from
Cookies and Cups blog

Cookies and Cups
Makes 24

1 box 18-19 oz Brownie mix
¼ c butter, melted
½ c cream cheese, room temp
1 egg
¾ c peanut butter
¾ c powdered sugar
¾ c chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine brownie mix, butter, cream cheese and egg. Stir until dough comes together, it will be very thick and sticky. I used my hands.

Form rounded tablespoons sized portions of dough into balls, placing on baking sheet about 2 inches apart, making an indentation with your thumb in the center of each.

In another bowl stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar. Form peanut butter into teaspoon sized balls and press into the indentations in the brownie cookies.

Press peanut butter down slightly because the peanut butter won't spread and you don't want the cookies to be too tall.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.

When cooled top each cookie with about a tablespoon of chocolate frosting.
Note: I tried to use her chocolate frosting recipe...I fell short on the powdered sugar. Here's the recipe for you though. 

Argentinean Flank Steak with Chimichurri

So this last year I wasn't great about cooking new recipes AND definitely not adding them to the blog. This recipe was a Sunday Dinner meal I think in ... well, crap I have no idea which one. 

I love Chimichurri and think it and pesto are two of the best things ever created. I wrote on the bottom of this recipe to "make again" which only means that it was delicious. 

Argentinean Flank Steak with Chimchurri
Photo from FoodNetwork.com

Recipe from Weight Watchers Magazine July/August 2016

Serves 4

2 oz fresh parsley, (1 small bunch), stems removed
4 clove(s) garlic clove(s)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 tsp olive oil, divided
1 pound(s) uncooked lean and trimmed beef flank steak
2 spray(s) cooking spray
Salt and pepper or to taste

Puree parsley, garlic, vinegar, water, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and pepper flakes until relatively smooth. Remove 3 tablespoons chimichurri to a small bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon oil; rub mixture over steak, cover and marinate for 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to remaining chimichurri; reserve in refrigerator.

Off heat, coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray. Preheat grill to high heat.
Wipe marinade off steak and pat steak dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel; season steak with additional salt and pepper. Grill steak until medium rare, flipping once, about 5 to 7 minutes per side (or longer, if necessary, for desired degree of doneness). Remove steak from grill and let rest a few minutes before slicing against the grain. 

Serve steak drizzled with reserved chimichurri.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Peanut Butter Bars with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite combinations. Blueberry makes peanut butter balls every year for Christmas. This year she wasn't able to, so in their place I decided to make these for the annual Cookie Exchange Sunday Dinner.

Peanut Butter Bars with Salted Chocolate Ganache
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller, FoodNetwork.com

Nonstick cooking spray, for baking dish
Photo from FoodNetwork.com
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, optional

Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir to combine the confectioners' sugar, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Place the chocolate and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 1 minute and then whisk until completely melted and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mixture and refrigerate until the chocolate is cooled and set, at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.

Sprinkle evenly with the flaky sea salt. Cut into squares to serve.

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

I bought myself an Instant Pot this year. I have yet to use the pressure cooker side of it. Instead, I've been using the crockpot part of it. Fall/Winter is crock pot season to me. A soup even makes it better.

This is a "just ok" soup. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious. Its just not my favorite and with so many other recipes to make, I most likely won't make this again.

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup
Recipe from TipHero
Photo from Yourhomebasedmom.com


 1-½ to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots, diced into ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced small
3 stalks celery, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts beef broth, divided
1-½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 – 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
¾ cup barley, rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste


Generously season the cubed beef with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about half of the oil. Working in batches, sear beef on all sides, using more oil as needed. Transfer the seared beef to a 6-quart slow cooker.

Return the skillet to the heat and add 1 cup of beef broth. Heat to a boil and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then add to slow cooker.

Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, diced tomatoes, barley and remaining beef broth to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or thyme.

Hearty Beef Stew with Yukon Gold Potatoes

I'm a big fan of stew. Especially this time of year when the rain is pouring outside and it's dreary.  Stew is such a comfort food for me.

The recipe I've used my entire life is a modified version from my Grandma Spaid. Why try something new when that recipe is so darn good. And let's be honest here, stew isn't a hard dinner to make. Or maybe it's just me.

I saw this recipe on MyKitchenEscapades.com and knew I had to make it. Truthfully it was the photo that got my mouth watering.

Photo from MyKitchenEscapades.com
I mean, really? How could you not want to eat that? Such a gorgeous photo.

What made this stew different from my Grandma's is the cooking of the stew in the oven.

Now, I didn't plan well enough, AND didn't read all the instructions, so I did 1 1/2 hr in the oven, took it out of the oven, put in the carrots and potatoes and did another hour on the stove.

The outcome was the tenderest meat and veggies ever. I just couldn't believe how good it was.

So, if you're looking for a solid, good, full of flavor stew recipe, this is the one for you!

Note, read all the instructions. It takes 3 hours to cook this recipe, not 2 like I had read


Hearty Beef Stew with Yukon Gold Potatoes
Recipe from MyKitchenEscapades.com

3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 Tb oil
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 Tb tomato paste
1/4 C flour
4 C beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thick
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peel and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Season the beef pieces well with the salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven pot, preheat 1 Tb of the oil over medium high heat. Once hot, brown 1/3 of the meat turning with tongs once a side has gotten golden brown, Don't rush this process or overcrowd the pan or you will steam your meat instead of browning it. That browning in the pan and on the meat gives you the great flavor. Once brown, remove to a large plate and repeat with the remaining two batches of meat with the remaining oil.

Add the onions, garlic and balsamic and red wine vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute before adding the beef with the juices on the plate. Sprinkle with flour and stir until the flour covers all the ingredients. Cook for one minute then add the beef broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir again, scraping anything off the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours.

Remove pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and put back in the oven for another hour before removing it from the oven. Taste the broth and add any additional salt and pepper needed. If you have the time, this stew is even better on the second day! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Salisbury Steak Meatballs (Instant Pot, Stove Top, Slow Cooker)

I think everyone I know has an Instant Pot cooker. I finally broke down and bought one. Terrified to use it because of the "pressure cooker" side of it. I have nightmares, for some reason, of pressure cookers exploding. Now, I've never see it happen, but for some reason it terrifies me.

This ain't your grandma's pressure cooker. It's an all in one pot that does slow cooker stuff, pressure cooker stuff, and rice cooker. Got rid of the rice cooker and slow cooker!

THIS recipe is absolutely delicious and so dang easy. With the Instant Pot it was super easy and done quickly.

When I make this again, I'd not put in the 1/4 cup beef broth in the meatball mixture. It made the mixture a bit too wet for my liking. But putting tomato paste in the meatballs? Brilliant! Just brilliant.

And for the record, SkinnyTaste.com is one of my all time favorite blogs (and cookbook). If you've not checked it out, you should.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs
Photo from SkinnyTaste.com
Recipe from SkinnyTaste.com

2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup minced onions
1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef
1/2 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1/3 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
kosher salt
pinch black pepper
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1/4 tsp mustard powder
5 oz sliced mushrooms
1 1/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


Finely chop 1 oz of the mushrooms into small pieces and set aside. Heat the Instant Pot (or a large nonstick pot on medium-high) on Sauté add 1 tsp oil and onions and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Divide onions in two.

In a large bowl, combine half of the sautéed onions with the ground beef, ground turkey, chopped mushroom, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 cup of the beef broth, 3/4 tsp salt and black pepper.

In a small bowl, blend flour and 1 cup broth until smooth. Mix in remaining onions, remaining 1 tbsp tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder.
Gently shape into 20 small meatballs.

Heat the Instant Pot (or non-stick pot) back on saute, add remaining teaspoon of oil and brown the meatballs about 2 minutes until no longer sticks, turn and brown an additional 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper and pour the sauce over the meatballs, cover and cook on high pressure 10 minutes (20 minutes in a regular pot). Let the pressure release on it’s own. Garnish with parsley.
Slo

w Cooker Directions: Saute meatballs in a skillet, transfer to slow cooker with mushrooms, salt and pepper and pour sauce over. Cover and cook low 6 to 8 hours, until tender.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Carolina Peach Sangria

For book club this month I opted to try to bring summer into Seattle. I made this Peach Sangria. And let me tell you...

1. Super refreshing
2. SOOOO good
3. A little beyond delicious
4. Have a designated driver


Carolina Peach Sangria
Recipe from Southern Living

bottle rosé wine
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup peach nectar
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
(6-oz.) package fresh raspberries - I found frozen raspberries held up better in this drink
2 cups club soda, chilled

Preparation

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries. Cover and chill 8 hours.
2. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.
*Peach-flavored vodka may be substituted. Omit peach nectar