Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet Georgia Brown Chili

This recipe came as part of's chili contest.  It's one of those contests that I think I should enter, but the time period passes before I get my act together.  Too many other things to do before that right now, I guess.  But, I still can reap the rewards of getting a few new recipes.  I'm not much of a collector of anything except recipes, but I really love my collection of any recipe but especially chili recipes.

I adapted this recipe.  Shocking, I know.  And I really like how it turned out.  I debated throwing in that much brown sugar and putting in any whisky.  Glad that I did on both counts since I think those are key.  I made the chili on a Sunday night through the 20 minute cooking time.  All I needed to do on Monday after work was add the last few ingredients and chop a few items for garnishes which came together quickly.

Sweet Georgia Brown Chili adapted from contest where it was the chili contest winner!
2 oz dried ancho chiles, seeded and torn into large chunks
2 cups water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell peppers, chopped
1 large red bell peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz 99% lean ground turkey breast
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) + 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
Combine ancho chiles and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth.
In a large stockpot, heat canola oil over medium-high heat; add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the ground turkey; cook until no longer pink, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Mix well until incorporated throughout the meat and vegetables.
Add the pureed ancho chiles, black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add spices, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
Let cook for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Add brown sugar, whisky, and chocloate and let simmer for about 10 more minutes. Serve garnished with grated bittersweet chocolate.
Yield: 12 cups.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Good Lunch

Yea....guess who is rockin' lunch lately?  I woke early in the morning trying to think of what I had to put in lunches.  With all the Thanksgiving shopping and pre-Thanksgiving shopping (groceries) I was a bit low.  Besides, there were two days of school this week..that's all.  I came downstairs and was so excited when I had this idea.  I had one avocado left from our sushi making adventure.  It wasn't ripe that night.  I scooped out some of the avocado, mixed it with some drained tuna, and added a tiny bit of mayonnaise.  I rubbed the avocado that was exposed with a cut lemon and filled the middle.

It's for creations like these that I like to get a bit low on ingredients.....necessity really is the mother of invention!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Sandwich Ever!!!

Yep.  That's what Eleanor said about this one. I have to agree:
leftover smoked turkey
mango chutney
cranberry white cheddar cheese ( was on sale)
sliced apple

Made into a panini.  Now that's the way to eat Thanksgiving leftovers!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


My never ending quest to find a way to make sushi even I went to a sushi making class.  Actually I was  coerced in the friendliest of ways to go to the class as part of a Healthy Living class at the Y.  My friend, Kelly, convinced me to go to this; although the truth be told, she paid my $5 class fee.  

I learned how to make spicy mayo...hooray!

It was really fun to run out of work to go to a cooking class in the middle of the day.  For an occasional activity it was well worth the going in early and staying late to have this right in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.  

I learned to cut my nori a bit smaller and to sharpen the knife if you aren't purchasing the $200 sushi knife.  Those tips...along with the spicy mayo recipe may be the gems of the day.  

Spicy mayo:
Sriarcha aka rooster sauce
sesame oil
That's it....mix to taste.  I do need to remember to keep a bottle from the Sriracha and then put the spicy may on that bottle.  That way I can make cute rows and swirls with it....on the sushi and on the plate.  

Another fun thing about this class was the $5 gift card to the Fresh Market which I offered to Kelly since she paid for my class.  And we got the Fresh Market flyer which has a few yummy looking recipes as well.  So, I got to have a long and fun lunch, see Kelly in the middle of the day, have sushi for lunch, get a few recipes, help Kelly fill a class that needed participants, and get the spicy mayo recipe.  I'd say that's a pretty good Wednesday!

Making the spicy mayo and adding canned tuna and spreading that on the nori.  Oooolala.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Biscoff Bread

Pumpkin Nutella Bread
I think weekends were just made for baking (and laundry and errands and cleaning).  I love the feeling of pulling something extra special out of the oven before the week begins.  There is just too much to do during the week to allow extra time for something as decadent as pumpkin bread.  I mean, there is laundry to do and workouts to be done and meals to be made.  And often there are some work tasks to complete as well.

I try to get meals planned and groceries purchased before the week begins.  I like to make some yogurt and granola as well (how earthy does that sound?).  And, then it's fun to make something a bit extra...perhaps caramel sauce bread.  I miss having a bit of time during the week to do a few little fun things, but I like working full time as well, so these things move to the weekend.  Maybe, after I build my PTO bank a bit more, I can take an occasional day off during the week to get back a bit of that type of life.  I'm also thinking that over the Thanksgiving weekend I may get a little nap on either Saturday or Sunday.  Sigh....we'll see what really happens!

Nutella Pumpkin Bread

from Two Peas and Pod via thesweetslifeIngredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp Biscoff
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray loaf pans with cooking spray.2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and extract until smooth.4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until completely mixed.5. Evenly divide batter among loaf pans. Drop 4 tbsp of Nutella per loaf (or 2 if using mini) onto the top of the batter. Using a knife, swirl Biscoff into batter.6. Bake loaf pans for 35-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool pans completely on a wire rack before removing loaves from pan and slicing. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Waffle Recipe

Waffle Recipe
The hot breakfasts continue at this house.....but I did need a version for the days when I don't plan ahead and get the batter going the night before.  Actually, Eleanor found this recipe when she wanted waffles this summer and didn't want to wait.  I have converted to using this recipe quite a bit since there's only so much planning I can do.

So, Thanksgiving ahead.  The sweet potato biscuits I made a couple years ago will be in the menu again.  The request is that I make a double batch!  I am planning on making mashed potatoes, twice baked sweet potatoes, arugula salad and dressing.  Paul is making the turkey.  My parents and Paul's sister and brother in law will all be here....hooray!  We're excited to have them here as well as celebrate Luisa's first Thanksgiving.  The girls will have swim practice and we will eat early since my parents are leaving the next day for a few weeks....they just may need a few hours to get ready.

Hot's what we do here.

I don't have a picture of these....but I guess they aren't that exciting to look at anyway!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff
I'm thinking about Noodles and Company....and love their mushroom stroganoff.  I thought it would be a good autumn dish...and I was right.  This is one of those recipes that tastes best the day it is made, so my recommendation is to make just what is needed.   It wasn't bad reheated....but not nearly as good as the first time around.

My version was adapted from the link above to find her recipe.  I'm not usually a fan of low fat ingredients, so that's why I changed the sour cream to the real thing.  I tend more to being a whole food kind of person since I find a long list of ingredients a bit more frightening than a bit of fat.  But, that's just me.  Read a cool whip ingredient list and compare it to whipping cream....then tell me what you think:)  For sure there is room for disagreement on that one.

Anyway, I am back to blogging a bit.  I miss it since it is a fun hobby.  Not too much is new with us.....swimming for the girls (club season now), work and exercise and cooking and cleaning for me, traveling and doing his stuff for Paul.

Gearing up a bit for Thanksgiving....we are having it at our house!

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 oz sliced Cremini mushrooms
  • 8 oz sliced baby Bella mushrooms
  • 3.5 oz Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1/4 cup  sour cream
  • 8 oz uncooked noodles 
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


Cook noodles in a pot of salted water according to package directions, I like to under-cook them a bit so I can mix it with the sauce and let it finish cooking.

Meanwhile, while the water starts to boil for the noodles, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter over medium heat and add onions to the pan. Cook 2 - 3 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add flour; stir with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Gradually add broth, and Worcestershire sauce, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper; stir and cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Potatoes

This came courtesy of Nicole, preventionrd.  I love the Buffalo flavors...the vinegariness of the wing sauce...the spiciness of it...and the creamy bleu cheese.  I'm just not a fan of it in Buffalo wing form.  It's just another place that Paul and I disagree since he is fanatical about wings.  If he sees them on a menu it is hard to hold him back from placing an order.  It just may be a bit of my OCD-ness that I don't like food that requires getting hands dirty.  I don't like ribs and I don't like chicken wings.  It could be the hand thing or it could be that the meat cuts are named too close to what they are...not really sure.  But, I do know that I don't like having to wash hands immediately after eating.  Yikes...who wants to eat something that is served with a handwipe?  Not me. 

That being said, I love the Buffalo flavors.  Let me say that again....LOVE those flavors:)

 I wasn't so thrilled with these as a main dish; however, I would probably make them again as a side dish.  Or maybe I should just have these when I am not as hungry as I was the night these were the headline.  The blog linked above (and below) is really one of my favorites when I'm searching for a quick and new recipe.  I haven't gotten too much time to look through too many online sources for recipes.  I know they are there, but I think I'll have some time on a cold and snowy (non skiing...non running...non Y) sort of evening or weekend!

Buffalo Chicken Topped Potatoes

3 medium potatoes
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp calorie-free buffalo wing sauce, divided
1/2 cupcheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
chives, diced
Scrub and pierce potatoes. On a lined baking sheet, bake potatoes at 375 F for 1 hour or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving thin shells.
Meanwhile, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add diced chicken and saute 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of buffalo wing sauce. Continue cooking until cooked through, an additional 3-4 minutes.
In a large bowl, mash the potato pulp with cheese, yogurt and remaining 2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce; add chicken. Spoon into potato shells.
Place on a baking sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes longer or until heated through. Top with blue cheese and green onions. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I like a good and hearty meal on a Sunday night (as well as all the laundry done and clean sheets and clean bathroom and stocked refrigerator).  This was a meal that made both girls happy at the end of a weekend.  Sweet potatoes and harvest grains were both from Trader Joe's.  The harvest grain blend is one of our favorite things....and arugula salad...yum.  Seriously, the sweet potatoes were frozen into discs that I cooked.  The chicken was as follows:
Pound chicken breasts into thin and fairly even layers.  Dip in buttermilk.  Then in cornmeal mixed with some Parmesan cheese.  Bake until done.  I was planning on breading the the chicken with breadcrumbs; however, my well-stocked pantry wasn't as well stocked as I had thought it was.  Oops.  But, that gave me the opportunity to make it in a different way. 

The weeks are flying by without too much blogging dedication from me.  We still are eating well, so I am managing a post every now and then.  Some of it is the shift in my work schedule...and some of it is that I need to shuffle my workout times a bit for Eleanor and Luisa's schedules.  And, yea, sometimes I just run out of day. 

Today I was able to take a long lunch and go to a sushi making workshop with a friend.  It was such a nice break to get away from my desk and listen and watch and eat.  Yep, I will need to remember to do that a bit more often since it was decadently fun.  I am planning on making a bit of sushi over the weekend, if I can find a tiny bit of spare time.  We're over the high school swim season (hooray...but that's another story) and back to club swimming, so that is changing a bit of my time.  There are a couple meets coming up in the next few weeks, so that may keep me busy as well.  I think a bit of sushi time will be in order though. 

The crockpot is a is planning ahead.  I find that I really need to keep things a bit ahead....prepping things for dinner the following night after dinner.  I get it; I want to sit as well and unwind...but I do know that just 20 minutes more of work makes the next night so much better as far as dinner.

Tomorrow night is the high school swim banquet, so dinner is done for tomorrow.  Guess that's why I can type a quick blog post tonight. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lunch Wraps struggle nearly every morning.  I'm just not a good lunch maker.  Here's a good idea though: hummus, black olives, feta, and arugula.  Maybe I could become a super-duper lunch maker (and eater)?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Indonesian Peanut Saute

Indonesion Peanut Saute

My friend Judy posted this on her facebook and commented that she needs to make this now that she lives miles and miles from a Noodles and Co restaurant.  She moved from our little 'burb to a ranch in California.  It looks like she's in a beautiful spot...and now that she can make this for her family all is well in the teenage world at her house!

This is one of my favorite items at the restaurant, so it was a fun idea to try it at home.  I have made quite a few similar things, but wanted to try this recipe too.  Hey, there's always room for another recipe in my house.   Paul had a recent trip to a couple Indonesian locations, and he says that this is a made up name since the food he sampled in that country wasn't very good.  Although he isn't a fan of Noodles and Co, so maybe there is a bit more authenticity than I think!

I made this with tofu since we had a number of chicken items on the menu already for the week I was making this.

Indonesian Peanut Saute with Tofu
Saute cubed tofu in:
1 T oil with...
1 T Sriracha
lime juice (juice from one lime)
ginger (about 2 T)
garlic (3 cloves, minced)
soy sauce (2 T)
Toss in grated carrots and chopped broccoli and cook for just a couple minutes.  I like my veggies slightly crisp, so it just took a minute or two.

Cook 1 lb noodles.  I used linguine.

Peanut Sauce:
1 c chicken broth
6 T peanut butter
2 t Sriracha
3 T honey
6 T soy sauce
3 T ginger
4 cloves garlic
Heat the above ingredients in a pan until blended.
Put it all together and garnish with limes, peanuts, and cilantro.

The girls and I really liked this dinner.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Olive Biscuit Cookies

Olive Biscuit Cookies

I ran into this recipe while cruising the web a couple months ago and was intrigued.  I just needed to make these for the perfect occasion, which I knew would present itself at some point.  The thing is, with working full time, I have lost the niceties in life.  Sending my SIL flowers after a recent surgery.....not done.  Getting together with friends....not done as much as I would like.  However, I really miss my peeps from the dorms at violin camp.  Our kids have grown and don't need us at camp for the entire week any more.  It's a bit sad...these kids all big teenagers now.  But, our kids all still take violin from the awesome-est teacher....and our friendship remains, even though we aren't all getting reprimanded by the RA in the dorm (I really have been reprimanded more as an adult in the dorm than as a college student).

It just takes a bit of planning to get all of us together a couple times a year.  We like to meet for coffee; however, I had the idea for a late afternoon/early evening party since our kids are now all in the group that meets on Friday from 4:30-6.  Hmm...doesn't seem like coffee should be the beverage of choice now......

So, I decided to have a wine and whine party.  And throw in some crab to go with our wine.  And these little biscuits seemed like just the thing to add to the party as well.

We really are not a whiny bunch though.  We tend to be "glass half full" people either because we have been indoctrinated in the Suzuki method or because we lean that way normally and are attracted to the Suzuki method.  That being said, there really isn't much to whine about.  It was a crazy week at work...but we tend to be more of the people who are thankful for work and productivity and being busy, etc.  So the party really wasn't so much about whining but more about catching up.  And I like the IDEA of a crab and whine and wine party. 

So, along with my goal to set aside time to meet up with friends a bit more frequently...and get back into the blog habit, I'm trying to get a bit better about keeping the things in life that are nice and special.  And, I really do like the work that I do.  It's just a bit to juggle with exercise and eating healthy and cleaning my house.

And these cookies were just the thing to make.  I really really liked these!

This is from the blog, 101Cookbooks
I made it exactly like the recipe, believe it or not:)
I used regular canned black olives; nothing exotic on the mushroom front.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Taco
Buffalo Chicken Tacos slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is by and then by me into the following:

1  lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
large pinch of cayenne peppe
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing) + 4 Tbsp, for drizzling
1 Tbsp olive oil
10 6-inch corn tortillas

1 avocado, sliced
4 oz gorgonzola
broccoli slaw
lime wedges

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder. Stir in chicken. 

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and once it gets hot, add chicken and brown on both sides – about 3-4 minutes per side. Once the chicken is done, set it aside in a bowl and toss with 1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce.

Add toppings and serve. 

All three of us (the three of us who are in town and not entertaining Asian employees) really liked this!