Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Website!

Hi everyone!

From now on, my humble little blog will be located at The Spicy Spatula.

Please check it out! I have lots of yummy stuff to share!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Roasted Garlic White Chili

This week has been freaking CRAY. I’ve had so much to get done, and Mike has too. So when I walk through the door and dinner is literally already waiting for us, it’s a reason to smile. I love using my crock pot. It’s so easy, and you can combine basically anything and you know it’s going to turn out well. In this case, I loaded up my crock with white chili. This is the epitome of a "dump and go" recipe. But this isn't just any ordinary white chili. I bumped up the flavor with LOTS of roasted garlic. Ah yeah. You see where this is going!

Lately Mike and I have been on a healthy kick. What this has really meant, is that anything I’m making is going to have about twice the amount of garlic I’d normally use, or twice the amount of chili pepper. Mama needs her flavor! However, I really loved how this chili turned out. It’s healthy, cheap and tasted freaking bomb. And, it was even better the next day at work for lunch!

Roasted Garlic White Chili

Serves 4

1lb of chicken, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 head of garlic, roasted (recipe below!)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cans white beans (I used cannellini) drained and rinsed
1 can chopped green chilies
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tspn dried oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Add all of the ingredients except the salt and cilantro to your crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours. When the chili is done, season with salt to taste and ladle into bowls. Top with the cilantro. It’s also great with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, but you can omit that if you’re watching your calories/fat.

Roasted Garlic

Several years ago I roasted garlic for the first time. I was shocked at how simple it was, and have been doing it since. It really mellows the garlic out, and it gives your food such a wonderful flavor. Go home and roast garlic people!

1 head of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil

So I made an extra to keep in the fridge. Is this really a surprise to anyone??? =P

Drizzled with olive oil

Ready to smear on anything
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top of the garlic off. You just want to expose the bulbs. Place the garlic in a large sheet of aluminum foil, then drizzle the olive oil on top. Seal up the foil to create a packet. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. When they are done and your house smells AMAZING, let them cool off for about 15 minutes. Then carefully open the packet. You will be able to squeeze the bulbs out with no problem. This garlicky goodness is even great on toast. Or just all by itself. Seriously, it’s SO GOOD! And it will keep in the fridge for about a week.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

52 Weeks of Cooking - Week 7

WARNING! The recipe below contains a butter sauce... it is NOT HEALTHY. However, it was freaking delicious.

Week 7 of the challenge was themed “poaching”. I am not a huge fan of poached eggs, so I decided to focus more on the cooking technique here. Poaching is the act of gently cooking something in simmering liquid. Simmering, not boiling. It’s pretty simple too.

I approached this challenge like I have many other weeks, in wanting to try something new. So in the end, Mike and I made Butter Poached Shrimp. Oh man, they were delicious. Perfectly cooked, buttery, salty gems from the sea. I really liked how simple this was, but I have yet to repeat it. I think actually cooking in butter is seriously decadent. It’s not an every night of the week affair.

This would be a great dinner to pull together for company though. It looks impressive and fancy even though it’s done in less than 10 minutes. That’s a win.

Butter Poached Shrimp

Serves 2

10 medium sized peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup butter/margarine
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the butter and the juice from half the lemon into a sauce pan. Slowly melt the better over medium-low heat. When the butter sauce begins to simmer, place the shrimp in the pan and poach them. This will only take a few minutes. The shrimp are done when they are pink. Keep a close watch, overcooked shrimp can be rubbery.

As you can see here, I served them up with some steamed broccoli and rice pilaf. Pretty simple stuff. I also used the 2 remaining lemon wedges to give the shrimp and broccoli a little extra zing.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Peanut Butter Heaven

So about a month ago, I was thinking about Katie’s upcoming birthday. I knew I had to make something delicious for her. Katie is a Reese’s fiend, so with that in mind, I made this pie that is pure heaven. Chocolate. Reese’s. Oreo crust. Boom. Amazing. The recipe is directly from What the Flicka. I was thinking about adapting it, but it’s freaking perfect all on it’s own.

Seriously, just look at that.

Ok, so it doesn't slice perfectly. Time to eat out of the pan!
That's what a sugar high looks like.
The things I do for my friends!!

Check out the above link for the recipe. It’s pretty simple to put together. However, I would recommend those calorie counters out there to save this baby for a fucking cheat day. This is not a healthy/diet safe dessert. But damn it… It’s delicious. Definitely worth a try.


Friday, August 8, 2014

52 Weeks of Cooking - Week 6

Today is my best friend Katie’s birthday. This girl and I have been through so much together, and she’s just the coolest, funniest, most laid back chick out there. She's the one I call when shit hits the fan. HAPPY BIRTHDAY WOMAN! LOVE YOU!

Week 6 of the cooking challenge gave us the theme Jamaican. I was really excited for this one and spent a lot of time digging around the interwebs for something new to try. After several hours of searching, I landed on the recipe for Curried Beef Patties. I was immediately intrigued.

Curry? Check.

Beef? Check.

Empanada-like? Check!

I don’t have much experience with making doughs from scratch, so I thought this would be a good way to get some under my belt. In the end, the dough was actually a snap to make. The filling is delicious, meaty and aromatic. And then you combine the two into a happy marriage of beefy-curried goodness.

Curried Beef Patties

Makes about 12

For the Dough:
2 cups of flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp curry powder
¼ cup shortening
½ stick margarine/butter
⅓ cup cold water

For the Filling:
1 medium onion, diced small
1lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup beef stock
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

To make your dough: Sift the dry ingredients together, then cut in the shortening and margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the water until the dough starts to come together and becomes slightly stiff. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough out until its about ⅛ inch thick. Cut into 8 inch circles. Cover the dough circles with a damp cloth so they don’t dry out.

To make your filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute your onion until it’s translucent (about 4-5 minutes) and then cook down your ground beef. Once your meat is cooked, drain off any fat. I used 85/15 meat, so draining was definitely necessary. Place the drained meat back in the skillet, and add the curry powder and thyme and stir well. Add the breadcrumbs and stock and mix well. Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. When all the liquid has been absorbed, you’re ready to rock and roll. Take the skillet off the heat, and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

To make the patties: Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the filling onto the middle of each dough circle. Moisten the edges of the dough, and fold over the meat, creating a little pocket of goodness. Pinch the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat until you’re out of dough, meat, or both. Brush the tops of the patties with an egg wash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops of the patties are beautifully browned.

Not perfect looking, but perfect tastin'!
There's a lot of yum happening there
Serve these with a cold beer… and enjoy!

Be prepared for Monday people! I am making Katie a birthday dessert that will knock your peanut-butter loving socks off!