Gnocchi and Vegetable Soup

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My husband and I recently returned from a dive trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing trip filled with great diving, good friends and TONS of delicious food and drink. That said, when we returned home from a week of lush eating and drinking we needed to incorporate a healthy dose of vegetables into the week’s menu. It is not necessarily soup weather where we live at the moment but I could not pass this recipe up. As is my pattern, this is a super easy dish to throw together. Seriously, the most difficult part is prepping the veggies. This recipe will be ideal for brisk fall and brutal winter nights to warm up your core and fuel your body with nutrients. This recipe was adapted from Umami Girl who hosts a wonderful recipe blog.

Serves: 8

Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (32 oz) cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can of white beans
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • crushed red pepper flakes to top

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-hot heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until tender/crisp (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the three cartons of vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to create a simmer.
  3. Once simmering stir in the white beans and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add in one gnocchi and cook it until it pops up to the top. I do this in order to taste the broth. Taste your tester gnocchi with a healthy spoonful of broth and veggies. Add salt/pepper to your taste at this point. Once you have the broth up to your standards add in the rest of the gnocchi and cook until they pop up to the surface of the soup.
  4. Dish the soup and top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Sriracha Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

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My husband and I will soon be entering a transition period in which our “home roles” reverse. I will be launching a career and he will be staying home with our kids more frequently to accommodate my work schedule. This means that I will be letting him take the reigns in the kitchen a little more often. This is a beautiful thing and is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wanted a place where all of our favorite recipes could live and be accessed from anywhere by anyone. I will admit that I am a little concerned about this transition as my dearest husband has trouble making mac-n-cheese from a box with clearly listed instructions… That said, I took on the hunt for this recipe as a challenge to find a dish similar to the meals my husband makes when he has to cook. There are a few things he can whip up for dinner really well and his go-to dish is ground beef tacos. This recipe is as easy as ground beef tacos, takes about the same amount of time, and the flavor is phenomenal. I am confident that my husband can pull this recipe off. This recipe was adapted from a fabulous recipe blog called Budget Bytes. I highly recommend Budget Bytes to everyone as the dishes look delicious and the author, Beth, breaks everything down financially for people like me who like to eat under budget.

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1bsp canola oil (or whatever unflavored oil you like to use to brown/cook your meat)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced with a potato peeler
  • 1 bunch of green onions, rinsed and sliced
  • 5 oz can of water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • extra sriracha to top the dish (optional)
  • Rice noodles to top the dish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and brown sugar. Mix until combined and set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil over a medium flame and add the ground beef. Once the beef is mostly cooked add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until fragrant.
  3. Add in the reserved sauce you made in the first step along with the sliced cabbage and carrots. Toss this mixture together and cook until the cabbage is tender crisp.
  4. Add the green onions and water chestnuts. Cook until the water chestnuts are just heated through. You don’t want to cook it too long or the green onions and water chestnuts will begin to loose their crunch.
  5. Plate the stir fry and add your optional toppings. We used crunchy rice noodles and a drizzling of extra sriracha.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Spinach Tomato and Sausage Skillet over Angel Hair Pasta

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I am not a big fan of super saucy dishes unless it is curry. I feel that when things are over sauced it takes away from the real stars of the dish. The big players in this one are spicy sausage and chunky style sun dried tomatoes. The combination of these two offers a degree of savory-sweet (with a kick). It is my favorite flavor combo making this recipe a new favorite in my Rolodex. If you are into bold flavor and a meal that will feed your family for a few days than give this dish a try! This recipe was adapted from a beautiful recipe blog called Julia’s Album.

Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I went with spicy but refine to your own taste)
  • 8.5 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes julienne cut in oil (reserve the oil you will use it to cook)
  • a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes. I tend to like things spicy and opted for upwards to three pinches. Tailor it to your taste
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • One bunch of fresh basil, chopped (I am aware that “one bunch” is incredibly vague so to clarify just buy a packaged bunch of fresh basil from your market’s produce section)
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet heat the entire contents the sun dried tomato jar over low heat. Once heated up the temperature to medium and add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add Roma tomatoes, basil, spinach, garlic, and salt/pepper to taste. Toss this mixture gently to be sure that all veggies get coated with the tomato oil goodness. Continue to cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Then remove the skillet from heat and cover it.
  3. Cook your pasta per the packaging, drain and add it to your sausage and vegetable skillet. Mix it all together and plate.
  4. One extra and totally optional tip is to reserve some of the spinach (or buy extra) and add crisp spinach to the dish as you plate it. This adds color, nutrients and a wonderful crunch to the dish. I highly recommend.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Fruit Salsa and Churro Chips

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This recipe is a fresh summertime staple. Packed with sweet berries, sour Granny Smith apples, and tropical kiwi you won’t be able to get enough. My kids particularly like the churro chips as the bottoms are caramelized and crunchy like the outside of a churro, but the tops are softer like the center of a churro. I always make extra chips just because they are so good on their own. The recipe below is written for one batch of chips, but it is well worth it to double up on the chips. This salsa is inspired from my mom’s old recipe. It is very easy to throw together and is the perfect desert for a summer BBQ.

Salsa Time: 20 minutes

Chips Time: 30 minutes

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into small chunks
  • 2 kiwis, diced into small chunks
  • 1 carton (1lb) strawberries, washed and diced into small chunks
  • 1 carton (8oz) raspberries, sliced in half
  • 3 tbsp fruit preserves, my mom always used apple jelly but I prefer strawberry preserves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tsp lemon zest

Churro Chip Ingredients:

  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions for Chips:

  1. You will want to start with the chips first because you can utilize bake time to start making the salsa.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350
  3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon
  4. Rub both sides of the tortillas with butter and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on both sides as well.
  5. Stack the tortillas a few at a time and slice into 8 triangles.
  6. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Repeat for additional slices.
  7. Be sure to rinse the baking sheet between batches because the sugar residue will burn. This results in a smokey kitchen and the second wave of chips will have burnt bottoms instead of caramelized ones. This takes a little extra time but it is well worth it not to have burnt chip bottoms or a screeching fire alarm.

Directions for Salsa:

  1. Combine all the prepped fruits, lemon juice, zest and preserves.
  2. Mix really well
  3. Serve with Churro Chips
  4. Enjoy!

 

 

Hearty Hot and Sour Soup

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My gosh this soup has so much flavor! With this recipe you’ll expect tons of veggies, tons of spice and such a savory broth. Don’t be surprised to find yourself slurping up every last drop of this stuff. I had started getting tired of the traditional vegetable soups. You know the usual culprits – barley vegetable, summer vegetable, root veggie puree. We desperately needed something different so I turned to my recipe companion, Pintrest. I fall so hard into the Pintrest web but have climbed my way out with some killer recipes, this being one of them. The original recipe does include tofu and mushrooms, but there are just some things I cannot stomach and those are two of them. So if you want to make this soup even more hearty then you will want to visit the original recipe posted at http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com.

Serves: 8     Calories: 200/serving     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (Add an extra one if you really like it hot)
  • 1lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced into disks
  • 1 small savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2.5 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 6-8 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onions, ginger, and jalapenos Cook for a few minutes, stirring.
  2. Add in the carrots, and cabbage. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until cabbage starts to wilt. Add in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, cold water, and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add the zucchini, and bell peppers to the pot. Simmer until the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the soy sauce mixture and stir until the soup thickens, about 8 minutes. Add in the bok choy and tomatoes and bring the soup back to a simmer. Stir in the sesame oil.
  5. Dish and Enjoy!

*Photo and video are originals belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa – ★★★★★

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Growing up Pierogies were sort of a staple in our diet. We had then for dinner at least one a month so I have always loved these pasta/potato pockets. I guess the pierogie movement never made it out west because Perry claims that in his 52 years of life he’s never had one. I was appalled upon hearing this and insisted we make pierogies straight away. I will never eat perogies any other way again. This recipe is absolutely perfect and I challenge you to try and top it 🙂 I did have a little grilling trouble (as per usual) so my recipe differs from the original which tells you to grill the pierogies. My grill was literally on fire… Like I turned off the gas and the whole grill was still in flames. Needless to say I did not grill everything that was to be grilled. I only “grilled” (and by grilled I mean “smoked”) the kielbasa. Perry handed out 5 stars for his first pierogie experience. Here is why:

“It is no secret Kelsey is terrible on the grill. To set the record straight, I will have you know she caught the grill on fire while making this recipe. I had to come to her rescue. Luckily the kielbasa tastes even better “smoked” so we were able to salvage the recipe. In the future I will be manning the grill.  I feel robbed that I’ve never had pierogies before now, but on the other hand this recipe was well worth waiting for. I loved the grain mustard sauce and want Kels to make some for my turkey sandwiches. And to anyone who has not had pierogies before the only way to explain it is taking a ravioli and stuffing it with mashed potatoes. It is pure goodness. The leftovers are even better if you can believe it.”

Cook time: 30 min     Serves: 4     Calories: 580    Carbs: Approximately 11.3 per serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Kielbasa, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 lb frozen potato-and-cheddar pierogies (or any flavor that takes your fancy) , do not thaw
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the kielbasa, turning, until marked, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter (If you see smoke like I did turn off the gas immediately and have a water bottle handy…Hopefully you guys aren’t as bad at grilling as I am.)
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth
  3. Toss the onion and pierogies with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slide into pan and cook on medium high, covered, until the pierogies thaw and the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the pierogies and onion and continue to cook, covered, until the pierogies are cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 6 more minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet or platter.
  4. Slice the kielbasa into pieces and add to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Roughly chop the onion and add to the bowl along with the pierogies and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  5. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe belongs to http://www.foodnetwork.com

Chipotle Shredded Beef Pockets (slow cooker) – ★★★★★

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Anyone who is new to cooking or is newly married or simply does not own a slow cooker needs to run to the store as fast as they can right now and buy one. My slow cooker makes about 75% of my favorite meals. You throw in all the ingredients and let it sit for a few hours. Also it’s pretty hysterical watching your partner pace infront of the cooker after smelling a delicious meal and trying to sneak a taste when they know they had better not lift the lid until it is ready. This recipe makes for tons of leftovers and it’s one of those “tastes-better-the-next-day-and-the-next-day” dishes. The chipotle gives it a kick while the brown sugar gives it some sweet. Your tastebuds will thank you. Also, you do not have to make mini pita sandwiches like I did. You can put it over rice or veggies too. Get creative, that the fun of being in the kitchen 🙂 Perry gave this one a full 5 stars and this is why:

“We try not to eat a lot of red meat because of my cholesterol so when we do I like this recipe because not only is it tasty but it lasts a few days for lunch. Kelsey gives this one just the right amount of spice and it only gets better each day you heat it up. We tried it in pita sandwiches this time which was good for me because otherwise I just keep spooning more hunks on my plate. This is my favorite beef recipe that Kelsey makes.”

Serves: 10 +

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (use the sauce from can of chipotle peppers)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (1.5-2 lbs)
  • OPTIONAL: brown rice, pasta, veggies, pita, (cheddar cheese is also optional however I think it will ruin the taste)

Directions:

1.) In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, peppers, brown sugar, bay leaves, adobo sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered fro 4-6 minutes or until thickened.

2.) Place roast in slow cooker, add tomato mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until the meat is tender.

3.) Discard the bay leaves and remove the meat. Shred with 2 forks and skim fat from the juices.

4.) Return the meat to the slow cooker and serve with the optional ingredients listen above.

5.) Enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Recipe came from an index card I found when we moved. I believe it came from a Fix it and Forget it Cookbook but and not 100% sure.