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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Hearty Beef and Barley Stew

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I made this when Perry had been diving in the cold winter waters of the Pacific. I had never had barley, and because I grew up on chicken I never had a taste for beef either. This stew really opened my eyes to new flavors and we all absolutely loved it. It had a fantastic creamy broth and there were so many veggies I felt pretty guiltless eating it.

Serves: 10             Calories: 309           Time (including prep): 2 hours 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1.5 pounds stew beef
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cup sliced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley
  • 1 (1lb.) bag of large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons flour blended with 2 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

  1. I find it much easier to have veggies prepped first. Wether you do it the night before or chop and slice before you start your stew you’ll be thankful that you aren’t trying to stir the pot and chop an onion all at the same time. So do yourself a favor and prep your veggies/meats
  2. Cook bacon until crisp. Do not drain grease.
  3.  In a large bowl combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef pieces to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Add the bacon (including the bacon grease) to the beef mixture.
  5. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add oil, celery, onion, and meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and onion is transparent.
  6. Add beef broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes.
  7. After simmering add barley and carrots. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  8. After simmering add potatoes and repeat simmering process for an additional 25 minutes.
  9. Add frozen veggies and cook for an additional 10 minutes
  10. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe belongs to southernfood.about.com

Crockpot Chicken Potpie

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Its getting colder which means it’s about time to start making soups and stews in the crockpot. We’ve also been feeling a bit under the weather so I decided it was time for me to try my hand at chicken potpie. I stumbled on a gem of a recipe at allrecipes.com and was shocked to find out that you can make potpie in the crockpot. I changed so much of this recipe so I am adapting it as my own but want to give allrecipes credit for giving me the idea and the base. This is my dream recipe because it has little mess, little fuss, it is delicious and perfect for the chilly weather.

Serves:8           Calories:  263 (without biscuit)         Time: 6 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, washed/ trimmed and cubed (about 1in cubes)
  • 2 bags mixed frozen vegetables (we used corn, peas and carrots)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of chicken condensed soup
  • 1 can cream of celery condensed soup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • Biscuits

Directions:

  1. Combine everything but the frozen veggies in the crockpot. Cook on high for 5 hours
  2. Add the frozen veggies and cook for an additional hour.
  3. Serve with biscuits and enjoy!

*Idea adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Thai Noodle Bowl

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If you follow my blog you know that I love all things Thai. Growing up in Pennsylvania I never had any exposure to this wonderful cuisine. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I was introduced to it and now I cannot get enough! There is so much flavor and interesting mixes of spices that I’ve been inspired to try my own recipe. Here is my first “on-a-whim- recipe” that was an absolute hit.

Serves: 6    Calories: 395 (depends on how much chopped peanuts and peanut butter you decide to use. Keep that in mind)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pkg whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (more if that suits your taste but remember how many calories that adds)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup of frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies (Perry will not eat broccoli so I substitute with frozen mixed peppers)
  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Directions:

1.) Boil water and cook spaghetti

2.) Heat skillet over med-high. Saute peanut butter, lime juice, garlic, and ginger for one minute.

3.) Add edamame beans and stir fry veggies. Cook for 10-12 minutes until veggies are tender. Don’t forget to stir frequently because smoked peanut butter is not a good taste for this dish 😉

4.) Spoon veggie mixture over pasta and top with chopped peanuts and scallions.

5.) Enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Recipe was a whim