Tex Mex Potato Chowder

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To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Baked Cheeseburger Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce

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It is no big secret that I love to egg roll and wonton everything. Just scroll through this blog and you will see that I cook with wonton and egg roll wrappers quite a bit. That said, burgers are just one thing I’ve been apprehensive about “egg-rolling.” This recipe has been floating around Pinterest for quite some time, but it never truly appealed to me. Finally, one night I was scrolling through Pinterest when my husband saw it, and he HAD to have it. I will admit that he has great taste so I went with it. I’m glad I did because these egg rolls are delicious. They will likely be put in regular dinner rotation at my house. Now let’s get down to it. Although I’m not being paid to talk about it, the gourmet burger seasoning makes the beef super savory and sets these babies off! The diced pickles bring a crisp texture and the burger sauce is the perfect creamy “dip-able” addition. I like that the wrapper is filling enough to make this feel like an actual burger, but light enough to be able to eat two of these without guilt. I came into this recipe a skeptic, and left ready for seconds. This recipe was adapted from Will Cook for Smiles which is another gorgeous recipe blog.

Time: Approximately 1 hour

Serves: 12 egg rolls

Ingredients for Egg Rolls:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp gourmet burger seasoning (I used Weber’s)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 slices of cheese (this depends on what you like on your burger I used thin sliced cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • egg roll wrappers
  • 3 tbsp canola oil to brush over the egg rolls when baking

Ingredients for Burger Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove pressed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. In a large pan heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Remove the beef from heat and stir in the burger seasoning, salt/pepper, cheese and sweet pickles.
  5. Once the cheese is melted through and the beef mixture is well combined start assembling your egg rolls.
  6. If you are not used to assembling egg rolls here is a really helpful link to guide you. You will notice this recipe uses an egg wash which I don’t use. How to roll
  7. After rolling each one place them seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush the rolls with oil and bake for 20 minutes flipping them 1/2 way through.
  8. While the egg rolls are baking mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  9. Let the egg rolls cool for a minute than dish and enjoy!
  10. If you plan to have these as left overs they should be re-heated in the oven. It is possible to heat in the microwave but it is just not the same.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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

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!

 

 

Stromboli

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Pizza, in all its shapes and forms is always a welcome dish at our table. This blog has inspired me to experiment with pizza recipes. I’ve done freshly made dough, tested various toppings and have even tried grilling it. I’ve gotten so crafty that I realize I have skipped some very foundational pizza recipes. Here we have a Stromboli. It is easy and quick to make, and just as importantly, it is delicious. I chose to stuff this one with pepperoni and salami as the original recipe suggested, but obviously you can stuff it with whatever you like. I think next time I will attempt a spinach and artichoke variation with white sauce. This works well as a weeknight recipe if you use store-bought dough like I did. I was pretty impressed that it took at most 30 minutes to make this beautiful Stromboli. I will strongly suggest that if you are cooking for more than three people it would be wise to double the recipe. If you have little ones this is a fun recipe to get them involved in the kitchen. They can put the toppings on and even help you roll the Stromboli if you are brave. As always, I want to give credit to the original source of this recipe. I found this recipe at http://www.therecipecritic.com . I did make some variations to the original recipe, but I do recommend looking at the original to see if it fits your tastes better than my adaptation.

 

Makes: 1 Stromboli; approx. 6 servings

Calories: 387 per serving (keep in mind this is with the exact ingredients I used, and will change if you use different ingredients.)

Time: 30 total minutes -10 minutes prep; 20 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, about 1/2 cup for the Stromboli and the rest for dipping
  • 1 (3oz) package of dry Italian sausage
  • 1 (3oz) package of sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Garlic powder to taste, I only used a light sprinkling
  • Italian seasoning to taste, I only used a light sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle your working surface with flour and stretch out your pizza dough.
  3. Spread pizza sauce over the dough being careful not to get too close to the edges. When you roll the Stromboli it will be messy if you have sauce oozing out of the edges. You will not use the entire jar
  4. Sprinkle 1.5 cups of mozzarella over the sauce followed by a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to your personal taste. Once cheese is laid start placing the pepperoni and salami.
  5. Roll the Stromboli length wise being careful not to tear the dough. Pinch the ends and place on a baking stone or cookie sheet seam side down.
  6. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the Stromboli, then slice a few little vents on the top. Distribute the remaining mozzarella cheese on top and finally sprinkle the garlic powder and Italian seasoning over the top (to taste).
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing as it will be piping hot.
  9. Enjoy with the remaining pizza sauce for dipping!

*The photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe adapted from http://www.therecipecritic.com