Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings

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Sometime back in August (or, July maybe?), I made a list of football food. Dishes I could cook up on Sundays while Mark and I were hanging out and watching the game. I had grand visions of lazy days and indulgent food.

What happened, you ask? Well, we’re Giants fans. I think that explains it well enough.

Still, there were a few things on that list that I couldn’t wait to make – whether we were footballing or not. This is one of them. Chunky, spicy beef topped with cornbread? I don’t think you could dream up a better meal for a chilly fall night.

Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings
(slightly adapted from Donna Hay)
Serves 6

For the beef:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
2 chipotle chilies in adobo
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 32 oz. can cherry tomatoes
2 cups beef stock

For the dumplings:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup instant polenta
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper and brown, about three minute, cooking in batches if needed. Remove the beef to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the paprika and chipotle chilies and cook for 1 minute. Return the beef to the pan along with the brown sugar, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 3–3½ hours or until tender.

Preheat oven 400F degrees.

Place the flour, baking powder, polenta, buttermilk, salt, pepper, cheese and cilantro in a bowl and mix to combine. Spoon onto the beef and bake, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through and golden.


Barbecue Quinoa Salad #VeryVegetarian

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A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge hosted by OXO and Plated. It’s a really fun event - OXO sent bloggers a package of cooking tools to use in creating a vegetarian dinner recipe for Plated. Plated is a service that sends you the ingredients to make a gourmet dinner in under 30 minutes – and they’ll be selecting a few of the recipes submitted to the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge to feature in their meal plans next month. Very cool, right?

I had a lot of fun coming up with a dish to make and submit. This one turned out perfectly - it clocks in at just about 20 minutes and is ridiculously easy to get on the table. It’s also one of those vegetarian meals that will easily please meat eaters too. It can also easily be made vegan – just make sure you’re using a vegan barbecue sauce and skip the cheddar.

Barbecue Quinoa Salad
Serves 2

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small head broccoli
1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper
1 cup black beans
2 oz. cheddar cheese
4 green onions

Equipment:
Small saucepan
Salad dressing shaker (or small bowl + whisk)
Medium skillet or frying pan
Corn peeler (or sharp knife)
Tongs
Cheese grater
Mixing bowl

 

Prepare quinoa: Rinse the quinoa and add to a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed.

Prepare dressing: In a salad dressing shaker, combine the barbecue sauce, Cajun seasoning and 1/3 cup olive oil. Shake until well combined. Set aside.

Cook vegetables: Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces (florets only) and dice the red pepper. Add both to the pan. Using a corn peeler, remove the kernels from the corn and add to pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until broccoli starts to soften. Move the veggies around with tongs occasionally to keep from burning. Add the black beans and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Prepare toppings: Shred the cheddar cheese and dice the green onions.

Assemble the dish: Add the quinoa and cooked veggies to a large bowl. Pour the dressing mixture over and toss using the tongs until evenly coated. Divide between two bowls and top with shredded cheddar and diced green onions.

Enjoy!


Recipe Swap: Jalapeno Popper Pizza

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Happy Recipe Swap Friday! The latest swap was blogger’s choice so I could pick anything I wanted off of Jenni’s blog, Dough See Dough. As it usually happens, I couldn’t pick - so I sent the link to my husband for his opinion. He took all of 5 minutes to decide on this pizza.

We made this on a Friday night instead of going out. It was a really fun, restaurant-type dish at home. Pizza at our house is usually of the plain or pepperoni variety, so this was outside the box for us and we really enjoyed it. If you’re looking for something for dinner tonight or to much during the football games this weekend, this pizza is an awesome idea!

Jalapeno Popper Pizza
(from Dough See Dough)
Serves 4

For the jalapeno-ranch sauce:
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 green onion, ends trimmed
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup light mayo
1 Tbsp. cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened

For the pizza:
1 lb. pizza dough
Jalapeno-ranch sauce
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Place a pizza stone in oven and let it heat for at least 30 minutes.

In a food processor, combine all sauce  ingredients except for the cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Pulse in cream cheese until well combined.

For one large pizza, stretch pizza dough into a circle 12″ in diameter. Fold edges over to create a crust.

Pour the jalapeno ranch dressing over dough and smooth to the crust. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Top with jalapeno slices and bacon.

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and crust is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

You can check out what the other swappers made below. As always, thanks to Sarah for hosting!


One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

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Our pasta pot was passed down to us from Mark’s parents when we moved into our first apartment. It works – so we’ve yet to replace it – but, my goodness, does that pot take a lot time to come to a boil. And I sometimes avoid making pasta because I don’t want to deal with it. Sad, but true.

It’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to this recipe – one pot pasta that doesn’t need to be made in the pasta pot! This was as easy as it gets: dump, stir, cook – done. Simple, but delicious.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(from Apron Strings)
Serves 4-5

12 oz. linguine pasta
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. extra virgin olive oil Parmesan cheese for garnish

Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil to a large stock pot. Add in vegetable broth and sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle with oil.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until the desired amount of liquid has evaporated .

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring the pot several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.


Rum & Coke Glazed Ham

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We made up this gorgeous ham for Sunday dinner a few weeks ago when we had company. I sort of love making ham – it’s so hard to screw up and there’s so many fun recipes out there. I ran across this one last month when I was browsing for ideas for my What’s Baking submission and couldn’t get it out of my head.

The glaze isn’t an in-your-face rum and coke, but the flavors are there if you’re looking from them and it adds a really nice sweet and spiced-ness to the ham. It’s the perfect ham for a special summer dinner.

Rum and Coke Glazed Ham
(from Noble Pig)

1 large ham
60 oz. coke, divided
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. prepared yellow mustard
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. dark rum
1 T. dry mustard
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.

Pour 36 oz. of the Coke into the bottom of a roasting pan and add the ham on a rack. Bake, tented, for one hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Reduce the remaining 24 oz. of Coke over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes, until there is a 1/2 cup left. Mix in the remaining ingredients and simmer to dissolve.

After the ham has been cooking for an hour, uncover and glaze every 15 minutes during the last hour. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.


Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread

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My husband has been working late recently. A lot. Which means I’ve had a lot of nights to make things he doesn’t like for dinner – like eggplant. Topped with tomatoes.  Topped with ricotta. Three things he’s not a fan of – all at the same time.

Just the name of this sandwich made me drool. Warm, crispy eggplant topped with garden-fresh tomatoes and a delicious, roasted-garlic ricotta spread. On a warm roll fresh from the bakery. Mark would have hated it. I loved it immensely.

Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread
(adapted from Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Serves 4

1 medium eggplant
2 large eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 c. regular breadcrumbs
1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
1 T. Italian seasoning
Olive oil spray
4 rolls
1 c. arugula
1 tomato, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, skin left on
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 c. whole milk ricotta

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season with slat and pepper. Beat eggs in one shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning.

Dredge each eggplant piece in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking sheet. Spray the tops with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them over, spray with olive oil and bake for another 15 minutes.

In a dry skillet over medium heat, place the garlic cloves with the skin still on. Toast, flipping occasionally, until they start to blacken and are fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Let the cloves cool and then remove the skins and mash. Mix with the ricotta and parmesan.

Slice the rolls in half and top with arugula, eggplant, sliced tomato and ricotta-garlic spread.


Easy Roasted Eggplant

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I’ve been loving all the gorgeous eggplant at the market. I’ve pinned about a million eggplant recipes to try and eggplant has been on my weekly shopping list. This was the first eggplant dish I made this season, and it’s dangerous.

Eggplant dishes (at least the ones I tend to pick out) seem to take a lot of prep. This one takes all of three minutes and then you can do other things while it roasts. After a busy day at work, it’s an awesome dinner and now that I have something so delicious and easy under my belt, it’s been hard to get motivated to do anything else with my eggplant!

 Easy Roasted Eggplant
(inspired by purevege.com)
Serves 2

1 large eggplant
1 T. olive oil
1 T. herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score a diamond pattern into the white side. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Spread half the oil over each side, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the herbs over each half.

Roast until lightly golden brown and a knife slips in easily.

Serve with a side of tomato sauce.


Taco Bread Twist

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I realize it’s only mid-August, but I’m mentally preparing myself for fall. Fall is always a weird season for me. I love so much about it: apple everything, pumpkin picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, changing leaves, football. The end of Fall is always disappointing. I hate winter so I try to stretch out fall as long as possible. Which means even though it’s only preseason, I’m in full football mode. And that I’m making fun Sunday dinners while watching the game.

This easy dish could be either dinner or a fun appetizer. It was also a lot easier and quicker than I was expecting. It’s basically all the goodness of a taco, shoved inside a bread. The recipe relies on pre-made dough, but you could use your own favorite French bread recipe.

Taco Bread Twist
(from Bev Cooks)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground chicken
2 T. taco seasoning
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 chipotle peppers, diced
3 t. adobo sauce
1/3 c. black beans
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 (11 oz.) tubes refrigerated French bread
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. Mexican oregano

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

In a large pan, brown the ground chicken. Stir in the taco seasoning, red bell pepper, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, black beans, salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook another 3 – 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat.

On a clean and lightly oiled counter, place the French breads side by side. Using a serrated knife, lightly cut into each loaf from tip to tip. Using your fingers, spread the dough until you get a 4-inch well in the center.

Sprinkle the cheese along each well. Divide the chicken mixture between the wells. Using your fingers, pinch the dough tightly, closing the mixture inside the bread.

Transfer each loaf to a lined baking sheet, placing them seam side down. Twist each loaf around each other.

Lightly brush the twist with the egg wash. Using a small knife, lightly score little slits across the top of the twist, allowing for ventilation.Sprinkle the Mexican oregano on top of the twist.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread is cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.


Spicy Sausage Pasta

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I’m very fortunate. Even though I love cooking, there are nights that I just don’t want to spend time in the kitchen. When that happens, Mark is always happy to step in and take care of things. He’s a great cook.

This is one of the dinners he cooked up recently. Its a one-pot meal – you don’t have to cook the pasta separately, just keep adding things to the pan and in the end you have a creamy, spicy pasta dish. It was awesome.

 

Spicy Sausage Pasta
(from A Bitchin’ Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 T. olive oil
1 14 oz. package smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 c. heavy cream
8 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (about 2 1/2 c.)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Thinly sliced scallions
Salt, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil until smoking.  Add the sausage and onion to the pan, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the broth, tomatoes, heavy cream, uncooked pasta and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.

While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven broiler. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Add salt to taste. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.


Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos

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I’m currently in the middle of a summer fresh produce binge. I love everything with lots of fresh veggies and every trip to the grocery store ends up resulting in produce department impulse buys. I can’t get enough.

I made these a few weeks ago as a new-mom meal for a friend. They seemed like a good meal for that sort of thing, and I just wanted some more veggies.

I kept a few for myself for lunches and they were gone so quickly I had to make another batch the same week. These are simple, but so, so good!

Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos
(from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 8

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
1 red onion, cubed
2 jalapenos, diced
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 t. olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Handful chopped cilantro
Squeeze of lime
Whole Wheat Tortillas or Wraps
Nonstick olive oil spray
Foil

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together veggies with olive oil. Add spices and toss until evenly coated. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. When done, set aside to cool.

Add the black beans, cilantro and lime to the cooled vegetables and toss to combine. Divide mixture between wraps. Spray lightly with cooking spray and wrap in foil. Refrigerate – these will stay good for several days or can be frozen.

When ready to eat, put the wrapped burritos in a 350F degree oven until heated through – about 10 minutes.