Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 67: Cul-de-Sac Dinner!

Well, we planted a winter garden for the first time ever in our Cul-de-Sac and it's now just starting to come together for us!  In celebration of our first harvest (collard greens), we got together and cooked some good, old fashioned southern collard greens with smoked turkey legs and cornbread!  We used Paula Deen's recipe for collard greens and they were really amazing!  I am from the Chicago suburbs originally, so we never ate collard greens growing up and I've never served them in my home!  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them!

My daughter, Annabelle (9 years old), just got a new cookbook from some friends and she wanted to use it to make dessert Sunday.  She picked a recipe for cake truffles (aka cake pops) and we made the cake from scratch and I used leftover icing that was in my freezer to complete the recipe!  Then, we rolled them in powdered sugar!  Delicious!  I'm so proud of her because she made almost everything by herself.

Cake Truffles actually looked like chocolate donut holes to me!  

Week 67 Menu

Sunday - Turkey legs, collard greens, corn bread
Monday - Meatloaf, green beans
Tuesday - Mahi-mahi, roasted mixed veggies
Wednesday - Chicken tacos, black beans, rice, seared zucchini
Thursday - Spaghetti with meat sauce, broccoli, zucchini noodles (angel hair for kids)
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Out to dinner

Have a great week, everyone!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week 66: How Sweet it Is!

It was definitely a sweet weekend in this house! Our friends from New York visited this weekend, so we had cinnamon rolls, brownies and carrot cupcakes scattered over the past 2 days. The kids are in heaven and most of the adults were pretty happy too. ;)

We did also have 'real' food, but I enjoy recalling the sweets so much more fondly! It was a fun weekend filled with my kids attacking my hubby's college roommate with crazy wrestling matches, some great hiking at Sope Creek and lots of good food.

Week 66 Menu

Sunday - Chicken salad sandwiches
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday -  Beef tacos, black beans, white rice
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry, cabbage, red peppers, leftover rice (didn't get to this last week)
Thursday - Spaghetti with meat sauce, broccoli, zucchini noodles (angel hair for kids)
Friday - Roasted salmon with mixed roasted veggies
Saturday - Out to dinner

Have a great week, everyone!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

'Sort-of' Dragon's Breath Chili

You have to try this chili! I am always looking for a new chili recipe, but I'll be sticking with this one for awhile.  I guess I just get bored with making the same kind of chili every Fall and my kids were having trouble eating the previous recipe because I was making it 'too spicy' for them!  The original Guy Fieri recipe for this chili is probably very spicy, but I changed quite a few things based on what I had in my pantry and the heat factor.  

Dragon's Breath Chili (Adapted from Guy Fieri)

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 red bell peppers, diced (about 2 cups)
4 jalapeños, minced
3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped (optional)
2 yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 head garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
2 pounds ground beef, coarse grind
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup tomato paste (I used about 1/2 cup because it's all I had)
12 ounces lager beer or beef broth
1 cup chicken stock
2 (15.5-ounce) cans pinto beans, with juice
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, with juice

In large stock pot over medium-high heat, add butter and oil. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, chiles and onion and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute longer. Add ground beef and sausage to brown and stir gently, trying not to break up the ground beef too much. Cook until meat is nicely browned and cooked through, about 7 to10 minutes. Add in powdered onions and garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add in tomato sauce and paste and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in beer(or beef stock) and chicken stock. Add beans, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced green onion if desired!  For an extra special treat with leftovers, we are always game for chili dogs!  



Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 65: Welcome Fall!

Loving this cooler weather this week!  We went camping with some friends this past weekend to Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia and it was in the 40's when we woke up Sunday morning!  That was a bit colder that I was ready for during an already very rainy weekend!  My sleeping bag was calling to me on Sunday morning saying 'don't leave me yet!'  If you've never checked out Cloudland Canyon, you really need to take some time to visit it!  The canyon is not like you might imagine a canyon out West, but it's deep with waterfalls at the bottom and the hike down into the canyon is awesome!  The hike around the rim is beautiful as well!  There's great hiking, mountain biking and the camp sites are very spacious!

Annabelle enjoying a toasted marshmallow! 

I had my first day at our local Cross Fit Gym today!  I was totally wiped out this morning, but very excited that I made it through day 1!  I have 2 weeks of beginner's training and then I get to go to the 'big kid' classes with everyone else!  The owner of this gym is really a great leader and teacher, so I was fortunate to have a private lesson with him this morning because no one else wants to get up and be there at 6am.  Imagine that?

So, it's been a good 2 weeks since I posted a menu, but I'm back and ready to have a menu up.  It's been fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants with cooking here lately and that makes dinner time really stressful for all of us!  I spent a week helping coordinate the CCC MOPS Children's Consignment Sale in Smyrna, GA two weeks ago and then I spent last week recovering and dealing with a few sick kids.

Onto the menu. . .

Week 65 Menu

Sunday - Marinated salmon with roasted mixed veggies
Monday - Pork sirloin roast, cauliflower, potatoes and carrots
Tuesday -  Leftovers
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry, cabbage, red peppers, white rice
Thursday - Chili, steamed broccoli, salad
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Out to dinner

Have a great week, everyone!


Argentine Chili with Chimichurri

I have been in a bit of a cooking rut, simply sticking to familiar recipes I know and love every week.  So, we tried a few new ones a few weeks ago and this one was truly delicious!  At first, I taste-tested the chili alone and it was just ok.  It needed a bit of time to blend the flavors.  After an hour or so, the chili was great.  However, with the addition of the chimichurri sauce, this recipe was out of this world!  

Argentine Chili with Chimichurri (Adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe)

Ingredients for Chili:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds lean ground sirloin
1/4 to 1/3 pound Spanish-style chorizo, casing removed and chopped or crumbled
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 small jalapeño peppers (red preferred, but green will be fine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 rounded tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 rounded tablespoon ground ancho chili powder or basic chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef stock

Ingredients for Chimichurri:
1 cup packed fresh herbs, coarsely chopped, including any mixture of: parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil or cilantro leaves (I used parsley, oregano and cilantro)
2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Chili Directions:
Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and the meat and brown until crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chorizo for just a minute, then add the onions, garlic and chiles.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes to soften the onions mixture.  Add the oregano, paprika, and chili powder. Once the seasonings have blended in the pot, add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the beef stock, lower the heat, and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. This chili can be cooled and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal and reheated over medium-low heat with a little extra broth or water to reconstitute. The chili also freezes well.

Chimichurri Directions:
Place the garlic and shallots in the food processor and pulse quickly to finely dice.  Add herbs, salt and pepper, to taste, vinegar and oil in food processor bowl. Process until finely chopped but still a loose sauce. The sauce can be made fresh or refrigerated for a few days in airtight container.  I promise that it won't last long!  You can put this stuff on so many things and it's amazing!

Transfer the hot chili to serving bowls and topped with Chimichurri sauce. Another way to enjoy this recipe is in tacos.  I found that the chili was quite thick and a bit too spicy for 2 of my 3 kids, so we put the meat in tacos and topped them with shredded cheese. Delicious!