Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy Stovetop Taco

This recipe was SO easy and quick. While not a dish to impress your parents or new boyfriend, it's a perfect weeknight meal for you and the kiddos. But I like it too.

Stove-top Tacos
Makes 4 servings

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
6 (6 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 can of condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of chunky hot salsa
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded (I used 1/4 c sharp yellow and 1/4 c mild white cheddar)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet or pan. If you are not using grass-fed beef, you may need to drain the fat after cooking.
Break tortillas into small pieces and add to the pan. Stir in soup, water, and salsa. Bring mixture to a boil. Then, simmer for 5 more minutes.
Top with cheddar cheese and serve.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cowboy Spaghetti

It sounds a little manly but I liked it. And the sauce actually seemed kind of light. I know what you are thinking "How does a sauce with bacon in it seem light?" Okay, it wasn't a "light" dish but you use a small amount of sauce to pasta ratio making it feel lighter. This is a Rachel Ray 30 minute recipe though it did take me slightly longer. It also says that the full recipe makes 4 servings. Well, I halved it and still ended up with 4 heaping servings so keep that in mind. I also used whole wheat spaghetti to make it a tad healthier.

Cowboy Spaghetti
Probably makes 8 servings - Source


1 pound spaghetti, whole wheat preferred
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 slices raw smoky bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
Ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 (14-ounce) can, chopped or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 (8-ounces) can, tomato sauce
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 scallions, sliced


Heat a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and salt the water. Cook to al dente.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary. Leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add beef and crumble it as it browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, garlic and stir into meat. Season the meat with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add 1/2 cup beer and deglaze the pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes more then stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add hot spaghetti to meat and sauce and combine. Adjust seasonings and serve up pasta in shallow bowls. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with scallions. Garnish with crisp bacon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something Smells Fishy

I made fish last my house. I'm sure that I've mentioned before that I have an aversion to cooking fish at home but don't mind it at restaurants. The smell just gets to me. But this didn't make my house too smelly and it turned out pretty good. I don't have good pics because I only took one of my non-perfect fish packets before they went into the oven. A note about the banana leaves: You might not find them displayed in your grocery store so you will likely need to ask one of the produce employees to get it for you from the back. At least, that was my experience at Whole Foods. They brought out a huge sheet and offered to cut as much as I needed. It was $5.99/lb and I ended up purchasing 87 cents worth. The leaves can be a little tricky. They started breaking apart while I was handling them. The recipe isn't my own but was passed on to me from my aunt who found it here.

Baked Wrapped Tilapia

1-inch cube fresh gingerroot, finely chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 green onions (green part only), finely chopped
Fresh chile to taste (I used one serrano - use more if you like spicy food)
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp grapeseed (or safflower) oil
Dash of toasted sesame oil
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of fish sauce
4 tsp dark maple syrup
4 fillets (4 oz each) fresh tilapia (or other firm-fleshed whitefish)
4 large banana leaves (or unbleached parchment paper)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a fillet on each banana leaf and divide topping evenly among them, spreading it over the top. Fold each banana leaf over to form a packet around each fillet and seal the edge of each packet with a small piece of aluminum foil, crimping it tightly. Place on a baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes.



Monday, August 22, 2011

A Taste of Tuscany

Well...sort of... This recipe has a Tuscan flair but I am certain it wouldn't live up to an actual meal in Tuscany. While I have never been (this is on my bucket list), I do know that the food in Italy is wonderful. I went last year and made it to Florence which is basically "right there" but didn't get to the Tuscan countryside. The incredible thing about the food in Italy is that the dishes seem much simpler than the "Italian" dishes we make here but they are simply amazing there. A little olive oil here and there and voila, you have this superbly flavored meal. My mouth waters just thinking about their florentine steaks and cannellini beans. But for now, my kitchen will have to do.

This recipe looks and smells great and is also low calorie. It was pretty tasty, however next time, I would use thinner pork chops or at least pound them down some. I felt like the ones we used were too thick to really absorb all the flavor. But give it a try yourself and let me know how it turns out!

Tuscan Pork Chops
Source: Southern Living Cookbook

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
4 boneless pork chops
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp capers


Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; dredge pork in flour mixture.

Cook pork in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes each side at least.) Remove chops from the skillet.

Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add vinegar and broth, stir to loosen particles from the bottom of the skillet; stir in tomatoes and capers. Return pork to skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer at least 5 minutes or until pork is done.  Serve chops with sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peachy Burgers

I liked this recipe even if it's not for everyone. (You gotta like peaches.) But who in Georgia, doesn't like peaches this time of year? And it's best to make use of them right now while they are cheap and in season (they won't be for long.)

Cheddar-Stuffed Burgers with Peach Ketchup Based off a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 4 burgers

2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
1/8 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Tiny dash of cayenne pepper
1 lb. dry aged ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup white cheddar or havarti, shredded
Whole wheat buns


Prepare ketchup. In a blender, combine peaches, sugar, vinegar, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne. Blend until smooth and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix meat with half of the peach ketchup.  Add salt and pepper. Divide burgers into 4 balls. Make an indention at the top of each ball. Fill the indention with cheese. Work the meat around the cheese to form hamburger patties.

Use a gas or charcoal grill and cook burgers to your desired temperature. Serve on buns with lettuce and remaining peach ketchup.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wine and Wine

No recipes today but I might have one to share tomorrow. I'm making peach ketchup to go with some cheddar-stuffed burgers. Mmm...

But I did have two more of my wines. I've been forgetting to post about the wines that I drink lately. (Don't think that just because I didn't post means I took a break from the wine.)

We opened another one of our bottles from the Sonoma trip, Robert Young Merlot. No, I haven't finished all those wines yet. See Mom, I really don't drink THAT much. It was a really nice red and went well with our pasta. I don't buy Merlot too often. I used to drink them fairly often towards the end of my college years. However, a well-known movie, Sideways , came out shortly after and ruined it for me and many other winos. This is the movie that made it uncool to drink Merlot. Sadly, I was too embarrassed to continue my love affair with the drink. But now that I'm too old to care, I can enjoy it every now and again. So if you are still down with Merlot, this is a good one.

Another California wine...Muir Wood Chardonnay. I liked it but it was a tad sweeter than I usually like for my Chardonnays. It'd be a nice wine to drink on the porch but not so much a dinner wine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Healthy Mexican Chicken in Slow Cooker

This recipe is so easy and so tasty! I didn't plan on blogging it originally so there is no picture. But I will definitely make it again so I wanted to document it.

2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 Tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2/3 cup salsa
1ish Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
Rub spices onto both sides of chicken breasts and place in the slow cooker.
Pour salsa over the top of the chicken.
Set slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 3 to 3.5 hours.
Remove chicken and place on plate or shred into tortillas.
Add cornstarch and sour cream into the liquid in the slow cooker. Mix to create sauce.
Spoon sauce over the chicken.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taco Soup

The following recipe is great for when you need a healthy, weeknight meal. It definitely looks and tastes like chili but it's called a soup. This might be because it's not a slow-cooking type dish.

Taco Soup

16 oz grass-fed ground sirloin
1/2 C yellow onion, chopped
1 recipe taco seasoning (I made my own using this recipe)
14 oz tomato sauce
14 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
14 oz kidney beans, dark, drained
1 C water
1 C corn, frozen
4 oz green chilies, chopped
1/2 C garbanzo beans, smashed


Brown ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add seasoning cook for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and cook additional minute while stirring. Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn, green chilies, and mashed garbanzo beans, simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, chips, cheese, or sour cream.

Number of Servings: 6