First Chili of the season!

Greetings everyone!

I just put on my first batch of chili for the season and figured I better blog about it! I have another post planned this weekend, and I’ll still get to it, but this is just too easy.

So here goes…

Take a pound of ground beef (or turkey if you wish) and 3-4 big links of Italian sausage and brown it. I used ground beef and turkey sausage for this batch but it’s totally up to you.

While it browns, spray your chili pot w/ some non-stick spray. Dice up an onion and whatever other veggies you like, carrots, celery, green peppers, whatever. Saute them for a few minutes. Today I used an onion, and some garlic. I had some carrots but I hate mushy carrots so didn’t use them.

This recipe is all about “using what you have” as Bethenny Frankle would say. Time to raid the pantry. When your onion and veggies are cooked enough, add your pantry elements…starting with the tomatoes.

Today I used the following:

2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes

2 14 oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes

1 can of crushed tomatoes

I have an old recipe I use that calls for 2 25oz cans of diced tomatoes and 1 of whole peeled…so I improvised because I didn’t have enough diced tomatoes.

At this point I added some cumin and some chili powder. Just use it to taste. I probably but in about 2 tablespoons of each, but I did not measure it.

Now for the beans! Today I used:

1 14 oz can of black beans

1 14 oz can of dark kidney beans

1 14 oz can of great northern beans (or white beans)

Drain them and add them to the pot along with a package of chili seasoning.

Add your ground beef and sausage…and wait.

I let my chili simmer for about 4-5 hours.

Here’s a photo of it now…I’ll post one of the finished product later.

chili

Enjoy!

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I started this blog a year ago…and then I got sidetracked

First, thanks to all of you who have checked out my blog.

I’m sorry I got sidetracked but I have a good excuse. In September, I was recruited by my company to help re-launch our website, NASCAR.com. Please make sure to check it out when it debuts on January 3rd. My team and I are responsible for all the videos on the site.

That being said…I haven’t blogged or for that matter cooked for a while. Every now and then I’d bust something out in the crock pot but it was few and far between.

So here is one of those recipes…

I don’t do anything special…I just follow Emeril’s recipe..

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/chicken-and-smoked-sausage-gumbo-with-white-rice-recipe/index.html

and it came out like this!

turkeygumbo 054

The only difference is that instead of using chicken I used left over smoked turkey from Thanksgiving that I had frozen for this exact dish.

I promise to be better about blogging in 2013! Once NASCAR.com gets up and running and into a groove…so late Spring. 🙂

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

In honor of Julia Child’s 100th Birthday

Realizing that I have been lazy about my blog this summer…I decided to pay tribute to Julia Child’s 100th birthday today.

I have always admired Julia. I used to watch her show on KQED in San Francisco. I’ve eaten at the now closed, Julia’s Kitchen in Napa, which was a tribute to her at an amazing garden/museum called Copia.

So I decided to roast a chicken from one of her recipes…with garlic, lemon, rosemary and thyme. My parents had so nicely given me thyme and rosemary from the garden and had shared a ton of lemons they had gotten at the market but couldn’t use.

While searching for Julia recipes I stumbled upon a potato recipe from Judith Jones, who used to work with Julia on recipes. I decided to make it not only because it looked yummy but because I dug the story.

Judith Jones created this side dish while working late one night on a cookbook manuscript with Julia Child, who turned to Judith and said: “You make a nice little potato dish while I fix the meat.”

Just sounds like Julia Child doesn’t it? LOVE her.

So back to the chicken…

Per the recipe…found here…

http://americanfood.about.com/od/chickenrecipes/r/Chicken_Watercress_Recipe.htm

I bathed the chicken the juice of 2 lemons, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Since I had a massage that afternoon, prior to my friend Kelly coming over for dinner, I covered it in the bowl and put it in the fridge. But first I took some photos!

Yup starting to fool around with my camera a bit more! Watch out people!

Ok so as Julia directed, I preheated the oven to 400…got out my roasting pan, stuffed the chicken with the lemons, garlic, and herbs and cut up an onion and put my chicken in.

Drizzled some Olive Oil on it…set the time for 1 hr and 15 minutes and started on my potatoes.

Here is the recipe for the potatoes. I had to adapt it a bit to make it bigger.

http://www.oprah.com/food/A-Potato-Dish-for-Julia-Child

I also had a new mandolin so I was pumped to use it!

First, I peeled all of the potatoes. I used yukon golds.

and then I sliced them thin…

I also diced and smashed garlic and chopped some rosemary and after I took this arty photo I combined them with butter. I love butter.

I put some regular butter in the pan and then layered the potatoes in it…each layer adding some of the garlic rosemary butter.

I let them cook on medium for about 15 minutes and I thought there would be a pretty good crust on the bottom. Kelly and I devised a strategy to flip them out of the pan (as the recipe called for) and not get it all over the kitchen.

This was the result of that…hahaha good times in the kitchen.

So we slid it back in and let it cook for about 15 more minutes, after more butter on the bottom of course, and then once the chicken was out we put it on broil to get this side crusty.

Here was the chicken when we took it out…

So…how about I roasted my chicken upside down?

Here is the good thing about that…which I learned from my Dad when we smoke the Thanksgiving turkey. When the breasts are on the bottom…all the juices run into them and it makes the chicken really juicy and not dry. This was not my intent…it was just a mistake but the breasts were indeed very juicy. Hey…I keep telling you people I’m not perfect!

Another example of that…is the sauce. Julia said to use the bits in the pan, the onions, etc and make a sauce. Well my onions were burnt…and this is what the sauce looked like…so obviously we did not eat it. We stuck our fingers in it, because sometimes stuff that doesn’t look good still tastes good, but it was gross. Proof that sometimes, even when you follow a recipe…sometimes it was just not meant to be. The onions are on the left…sauce on the right.

All in all it was great catching up w/ my friend Kelly. Both dishes weren’t quite as I wanted them but both were tasty! Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Coming up…

Pesto: If you’ve never made it…you will soon as it’s SO easy!

Pasta Fagioli: An easy, weeknight soup I stole from Rachel Ray and made my own!

Odds and Ends

Hi Everyone!

So sorry that I have been away for so long. It’s just been a busy summer. I have no excuses.

So here are some random odds and ends. I have been thinking of you guys and trying to take pictures for you…

Where oh where to begin?

Ok let’s start with @5ChurchCLT. If you recall, I reviewed this a few weeks ago. I went back for a friend’s birthday and had the most amazing special. It was an herbed cannelloni pasta, filled with braised pork belly, chicken and turkey. I am a dumbass and didn’t take a photo but man was it good. I was encouraged, and I didn’t sit in those leucite chairs that weren’t made for girls w/ bootys.

Next…my Dad’s 70th birthday. He is a planner like me and made his own reservation at the Capital Grille. They were having a wine pairing special for $25 a person for wine they would pair with what you ate. Since we are all wine aficionados in our family, this was a perfect plan.

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, he called ahead to make sure he could wear shorts. I think that’s awesome.

Here’s a photo of my parents.

Also, mad props to the Capital Grille for the decorations on the table…

He had the lamb chops…he loves him some lamb.

A great time was had by all. The next morning I made them a breakfast casserole. It was so easy. Here is what I did.

I shredded some red potatoes, put some cooked sausage I had made the day before…

I scrambled 7 eggs…they were medium eggs from the farmer’s market. Put them on top and added some cheese and baked it for about 25-30 minutes at 375.

YUM!

After, I took the parents to the Super G Mart for produce…and they totally dug it. Dad was fascinated by all the frozen foods. They have every kind of dumpling or egg roll you can imagine.

Ok…what’s next. I have been attempting to grow tomatoes this summer. A work colleague who has a greenhouse gave me a plant in April and I’ve been nurturing it ever since.

This week I finally got a tomato off of it…

it got a little bit cracked because of the extreme heat we’ve had this summer so we only ate the bottom but it was very good and I can’t wait for more tomatoes!

Last but not least…I made some chicken tacos recently. If you ever find yourself w/ out taco seasoning…you can get by.

This is something I learned from the Pioneer Woman when I made some tortilla soup about a year ago.

Mix together some cumin, chili powder and garlic salt…boom taco mix. Sprinkle your chicken w/ some olive oil, spread the mix and put it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes on 400.

I used this for tacos, a quesadilla, and even gave some to my houseguest and dog brother, Jameson Davis, and he loved it.

Last thing…I am in Indianapolis this weekend for work and as is tradition…went to St. Elmo’s for a shrimp cocktail. If you have been there…you know. If you haven’t, you need to go. It’s an iconic steakhouse in downtown Indy, where the who’s who have dined for decades, and their shrimp cocktail is awesome. It’s spicy! They make their own sauce w/ fresh horseradish and it’s lethal. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

YUM!

Going to look for some gluten free recipes for my buddy Lisa next week. Stay tuned!

Chimichurri Flank Steak, Roasted Potato Salad and my version of a caprese

Greetings,

As you gear up for the 4th of July (my favorite holiday as my birthday is on the 6th), consider this easy breezy menu for your cook out. I made this for Father’s Day for my family and some friends and it was so easy and so delicious.

One of my staple recipes here at the house is Chimichurri Flank Steak. I saw Emeril make steak sandwiches with this sauce once and I salivated. I made them for an outdoor concert/picnic and they were a hit. Now I make this probably once a month in the summer time months.

I try to marinate the steaks over night if possible, but it can be done for just a few hours as well. Here is his recipe, sometimes I put different amounts of different herbs in…but you can’t go wrong following this recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/skirt-steak-with-chimichurri-sauce-recipe2/index.html

Also a tip…set aside some of the marinade before you put the meat in (and I use a gallon ziplock) and use it as a sauce. DO NOT use the sauce you had the meat in. Gross.

I also made a very simple roasted potato salad.

I chopped up some red potatoes and put them on a cookie sheet.

I added some red onion, olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and some chopped rosemary…

and put it in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes and let them cool.

I added in about a quarter of a cup of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and wallah…roasted potato salad. It was a big hit on Father’s Day and fairly healthy.

The last thing I made was by far the easiest. I took a few tomatoes, some buffalo mozzarella, and some basil and chopped it. Added in some salt and pepper and some balsamic vinegar. Done. Caprese Salad. When I make it for a group like this I just throw it in a bowl. Sometimes when it’s just a few people I stack it like in a restaurant.

Here was a photo of my plate before I dove in.

Oh and look at that I forgot the asparagus!

So easy! So trim the ends of the asparagus…drizzle some olive oil and salt and pepper on them and put them under the broiler for 10 min or so. You don’t want them to be mushy still a bit crisp.

A good time was had by all…even Mr. Jameson Davis. The best part of this meal was I was able to make everything ahead of time and just had to grill the flank steaks so I was able to spend time with my guests!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I swore I wasn’t going to cook this weekend…but I did…French Onion Soup

I got home from Mother’s Day brunch at Georges Brasserie (which was lovely) and it turned into a rainy, gross day. I wanted something warm and cozy but not too heavy because I ate well at brunch…and these onions I got on the way back from Darlington Raceway at McLeod Farms were calling my name. I also wanted something easy and hassle free as it had been a long weekend.

How could I not turn them into a delicous French Onion soup on this rainy Sunday?

I used the Google machine and found a basic Betty Crocker recipe that I used as a guide.

I chopped the onions. Melted 2 tablespoons of butter and put them in the slow cooker for an hour as directed.

I then mixed as directed

a tablespoon or so of worstershire sauce

3 tablespoons of flour

pepper

and a teaspoon of sugar together and added into the slow cooker along with about 6 cups of beef broth.

Set the slow cooker for three hours and walked away.

About two hours in…I noticed that the onions were not as carmelized or as soft as I would like. So…I punted. I took the onions and added some olive oil, a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper and put them in a pan to carmelize. So glad I did.

It took about 25-30 minutes to get them looking this yummy. I added them back into the broth in the slow cooker, added some chopped thyme and let them cook for another hour.

After the hour I put some in a bowl, added some crusty bread and some parmesean cheese and put it under the broiler for just a few minutes.

Easy. Breezy. Cozy. Yum.

Run don’t walk to Super G Mart

I checked something off my Things I want to Try list this weekend.

I drive by the Super G Mart on Independence Blvd in Charlotte all the time. I’ve always wanted to go in. I have heard great things about it. So this weekend…I made my first trip and it will NOT be my last.

Don’t be intimidated by the International market. Sure there was some stuff there that I will never be courageous enough to try. It’s filled with asian, indian, and latin food treasures. Upon entering…you will be BLOWN away by the produce and the price of aforementioned produce. It’s amazing.

Here’s a photo of the Super G Mart…you know where it is…in the shopping center where the Best Buy used to be just past or before (depending on which way you are coming from) the CarMax on Independence.

I was in heaven in the produce department. Cooking Thai food or an asian stir fry? No problem. They have Thai Basil, fresh ginger, fresh lemongrass. Making tacos or in my case Yucutan style fish (the real reason for my visit)? No problem. They have so many kinds of peppers it’s crazy (including Thai peppers). The tomatoes? They were $.59/lb. Yup. And…I got the most amazing fresh spinach for $.99 cents. This warrants a photo. Stat.

Right?

I went there for Anchiote paste for a dish (next blog entry) and they had it in two different forms a paste and ground up. I also got some frozen veggie spring rolls, two different kinds of rice, some rice noodles and some lo mein noodles. I guess I will be blogging about asian food in the near future! 🙂 Stir fry has been on my mind.

So be brave and head on in there! To cap off this blog I will leave you with two photos that perfectly illustrate why you should go.

This was my bounty:

 

The green leafy stuff on the left…beautiful cilantro. Three bunches for $.99 cents.

This was how much the bounty cost:

Yup…$38 bucks.

Super G Mart on Independence. Look. Into. It.