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Monday, May 12, 2014

Recipe Reveiw from 5/5/14

Another week of overcast skies that ended in fog and rain.  It's like living in Seattle, but without all the super tall pines.  And the mountains.  First ocean going "Saltie" arrived in the Twin Ports and immediately got stuck in the ice, where it sat, blocking ship traffic (yes, tis true! A vertiable "ship-jam!") until the icebreaker could set it free.

We ordered a new custom made kennel for my Houdini-dog Andy and it arrived on Tuesday.  I wasn't done with the pad though - when we removed the old kennel, I had pulled out the pavers, pulled out the old landscape fabric, hacked out all the grass that crept in over the last 11-12 years, attempted to level the bumps (ha!), put down new landscape fabric and put the pavers back in.

New and improved kennel!  Still under construction which is why you don't see any dog boxes.

Only to find the way I/we put the pavers back in left me 7 short.

Only to find, after 11-12 years, they don't make the same boring pavers I have.

New pavers were 1/4" bigger.  Argh!  Managed to wedge them in anyway.
Very light gray pavers in the corners are the new ones.  Which don't really fit.

One more step - I need to find some horse stall/horse trailer mats to throw down.  Friend of mine has them in her kennel and Hammie (a goldendoodle) hasn't been able to dig his way out of those. 

In the meantime,  meals continue to be warm and hearty until we can get some sun and warmer temps to work in the yard.  

The Meal Plan:
Sun - Slow cooked Smokey Sausage Chili  (make Quinoa dish)
Mon (yoga)  leftovers
Tues (yoga) leftovers
Wed - Chicken and Broccoli Mac n Cheese
Thurs - leftovers
Fri - ??  oops!  probably out.
Sat - Stovetop Italian

Lunches - One Pot Mexican Quinoa (M-W) Leftover Chili (Th-F), fruit, luna bars, nuts

Mexican Quinoa Salad (Damn Delicious Blog)  gluten free, vegetarian
Quick? Yes!  Easy?  Yes!  Tasty? YES!   This was a fabulous little recipe that can be pretty versatile - the author serves it warm, but I made it ahead of time for lunches for the week.  I did reheat mine, I have no idea if the Husband did so.  This would be a great picnic lunch, with some corn chips and fruit alongside. 

I did find two garlic cloves a bit much, and found myself making faces later in the afternoon.  Don't be afraid of that one jalepeno - it adds a nice background zing, but it was by no means "hot" or "spicy" (understanding that jalepeno's can vary a lot).   I skipped the cilantro because I didn't feel like buying it.  I skipped the avocado because I didn't have a way to serve it fresh with lunches.

This made enough for three lunches for two of us.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

Smokey Sausage Chili (modified; Slow Cooker Revolution, America's Test Kitchen)  gluten free
Several adjustments to this recipe:  I decreased the chili powder by half - Penzey's spices tend to a bit more potent than store bought and this was no exception.  I skipped the liquid smoke flavoring because I'm really not that wild about smoke flavor.

America's Test Kitchen tends to rely on the microwave. However, I don't own a microwave, so I have been just sauteing.  I'm still in favor of less prep when it comes to using the slow-cooker, but so far, with the ATK recipes, the bit of extra prep hasn't been overly inconvenient.  Whether there is an actual improvement in taste, is still up for debate. 

2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
photo by scifiwithpaprika@blogspot
1/4 1/8 cup chili powder 
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
 12 oz dried navy beans, rinsed and sorted
 2 1/2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
12 oz kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2" slices
8 oz andouille sausage, cut into 1/2" slices
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp mined canned chipolte chili in adobo sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp liquid smoke
salt pepper to taste

1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saute pan.  Saute red pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano until lightly softened and fragrant.
2) Combine everything into the slow cooker.  Cook on low, 9-11 hours, or on high 5-7 hours, or until beans have softened.
3)  modification/my notes.  Original recipe calls for removing 1 cup of bean and liquid mixture, pureeing and returning to cooker.  Seems messy, so I decided to just add 2 tbsp of tomato paste during last hour of cooking.  This sat overnight in the fridge, then I served.  Chili always tastes better the next day. 

Chicken Broccoli Mac n Cheese (Ckng Lght, May 2014)  gluten free options
This came from Ckng Lght's Fast and Easy issue, touting all recipes can be made in 25 minutes or less (give or take depending on what ingredients you buy).   This was closer to 30 minutes for me, but that's because I chopped my own broccoli (fresher) and grated my own cheese (no anti-caking agents and fresher).

Husband and I both thought this turned out quite satisfying.  Lightly cheesy, creamy (a bit runny - not sure what I did wrong), and perfectly seasoned.  Don't skip the tumeric, it's more for color than as a spice.   I did skip the bacon as I detest frying bacon, but I used some rendered bacon fat to saute the chicken in for the added flavor.  I would make this again. 
  • 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni (I used rigatoni
  • 3 cups pre-chopped broccoli florets
    photo from
  • 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped 
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
  3. While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with turmeric; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. Combine remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, milk, stock, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add pasta mixture and 2 ounces cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces cheese and bacon. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.


Dee said... have an Andy?

Our dog when I was growing up was an Andy. He was a giant poodle with a HUGE personality.

Karl A. said...

Fleet Farm sells the mats you are looking for, they are the farm section by the cattle feed pens. They are super durable but can still be cut to size with a sharp razor knife.

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