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Monday, January 16, 2017

Recipe Review from 1/8/2017

It was cold, like below zero cold with biting winds.  Then it warmed up to 20*F and it snowed.  And in 12 hours, it dropped to zero again.  A person can get mental whiplash from these kinds of weather swings.

Bottom line is, this is soup, stew and chili weather!  Pull out those slow cookers, warm up the ovens, and get cooking!  
The Meal Plan for week of 1/8
Sun (L) leftover curried lentil soup   (S)  Tequila and Lime Chili
Mon (yoga)  leftover chili
Tues - out or at home shoveling and leftover chicken dinner
Wed - leftover chicken dinner
Thurs (yoga)  leftover chili
Fri- soup and grilled cheese??
Sat (L)  pasty         (S) Bulldog game - out

Tequila and Lime Chili (modified from America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution)  gluten free
This was a bit putzy on the front end - sauté onions, garlic, tomato paste, spices; add turkey mixture and sauté; add tomato sauce and sauté - at this point I was beginning to wonder why not just cook the whole darn thing on the stove?   But, there's nothing quite like a long, slow cooked chili, the house filled with the smell of spices and tomato-y goodness.  So into the slow cooker it went.

This was outstanding.  Husband voted it best chili yet.  I would make this again without hesitation, but in the future I would add either another can of beans, or a can of hominy.  I thought the chili was a bit lacking in the "filling" department.  This is a perfect chili to make on a weekend. 

This made 6 servings.  

Step 1
1 slice bread, torn into quarters (I used homemade wheat bread)
2 tbsp 1/2n1/2
1 lb ground turkey (ATK recommends NOT ground turkey breast, aka 99% fat free - you need the fat)
vegetable oil (I used bacon fat)

Step 2
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce

Step 3
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes (don't drain)
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tequila
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp minced canned chipolte in adobo sauce

1 tsp grated lime zest (about 1/2 of a small lime)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (I used 1/2 of a small lime)
more tequila if too thick

Step 1 - Mash bread and milk together in a large bowl using a fork.  Mix in ground turkey, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper using hands.

Step 2a - Heat oil (or bacon grease) in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are just starting to soften.

Step 2b - Add turkey mixture and cook, breaking up any large pieces.  Cook about three minutes or until outside of turkey starts to brown (good luck seeing that under the tomato paste and chili powders...).  Stir in tomato sauce, scraping up any browned bits and transfer to slow cooker.

Step 3 - Stir diced tomatoes with juice, beans, 3 tbsp tequila, soy sauce honey and chipolte into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until turkey is tender, 4-6 hours on low.

Step 4 - Let chili settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface with a large spoon.  Break up any remaining large pieces of turkey with spoon.  Stir in remaining tbsp of tequila, lime zest and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper, tequila, and lime juice to taste.  Serve!

Chipolte-Spiced Pumpkin Soup  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)  gluten free, vegetarian option
This recipe is part of a "Make It Three Ways" article, and I've now made all three: Pumpkin-Apple Soup, Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup, and Chipolte-Spiced Pumpkin Soup.  I also made all three with Butternut squash.

Another OMG good soup!  One significant modification and that was to double the squash.  I like my squash soup thick.  I didn't double anything else and didn't feel the overall flavors were diminished.  Of the "Make it Three Ways", this one was my favorite:  bit of heat, fragrant, filling.  Recommended.

Even with doubling the squash, this made exactly six servings.  
2 tablespoons olive oil
photo from
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups (1/2-in.) cubed peeled fresh pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1 lb. 2 oz.)  (I used 2lbs of butnut squash)
1 large Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1 finely chopped seeded chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups unsalted vegetable stock (such as Swanson)
1/4 cup water as necessary to thin soup to desired thickness.  I like mine thick, so I skipped. 

1 ounce thinly sliced and slivered Spanish chorizo  (I used 1 link of Mexican chorizo, crumbled and fried.)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add pumpkin, apples, chopped chile, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes or until pumpkin and apples are tender.

2.While soup cooks, place chorizo in a small skillet, and cook over medium-low heat until crisp.

3.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Divide soup evenly among 8 bowls; sprinkle evenly with cooked chorizo.

Worlds Best Oatmeal Cake (variation by Pinch of Yum blog)
I've been facilitating a fair number of meetings this past December and January and even I've grown tired of the donut holes (the blueberry version was the best received) and so-so store bought cookies (m&m cookies are a favorite).  Plus buying so many treats gets a bit hard on the wallet.   This weeks meeting landed on a Wednesday, which meant I was home on Tuesday and could actually bake something!   A previous co-worker used to make a version of this cake for potlucks, it was always well received, and so I went in search of the recipe.  I couldn't find the one from before (and I forgot to check my own blog...), but I think this was pretty close.

Easy to whip up, most folks have these ingredients on hand, and frosting is optional.  This one called for a ganache style frosting (which I skipped), and I found other recipes with a German Cake-style with pecans and coconut topping, or a classic cream cheese frosting.  I like plain.  So plain it is.   Follow the recipe link for the chocolate frosting option.

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (*I used regular rolled oats)
  • 1¾ cups boiling water
Photo from Pinch of Yum blog.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, divided (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Add boiling water to oatmeal and let stand for a few minutes (*10 minutes if using regular rolled oats).
  2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Add flour, soda, salt and cocoa and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
  4.  Add softened oats/water mixture to the batter and mix well. Stir in half of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces).
  5. Pour into a greased or buttered rectangular 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the rest of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces) and walnuts or pecans if using.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.
Pinch of Yum Notes:
*You can substitute rolled oats for the quick cooking oats, but they should be soaked in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Also, if you use rolled oats, the texture of the cake will be different as the oats will be more noticeable.

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