I almost never serve a meal without vegetables, but, if I’m being honest, that doesn’t always mean the meal is completely guilt free. It has healthy components, but there are usually some guilty pleasures involved too. Not so much with this dish. I’ve been on a pretty strict diet which has involved serious calorie cutting and sticking to a basic clean eating plan. This black bean and butternut squash chili fits the bill. I cheated a bit with the beer, but it really adds a ton of flavor and when all the other ingredients are guilt free I figured using beer as part of the cooking liquid wasn’t that bad. If you want you can omit it and just add more vegetable or chicken stock. (more…)
A few weekends ago I went to Carrabba’s Restaurant for lunch. I don’t go to Carrabbas that often but when I do it’s hard for me to pass up their spicy sausage and lentil soup. It’s probably my favorite thing on their menu. As I was eating it for lunch that day, I thought to myself, this can’t be too hard to make. I tried to really taste the different flavors and components so I could replicate it at home. And I think this recipe comes pretty close. It may not be exactly the same as Carrabbas famous soup but it’s close enough, and really delicious. (more…)
I very rarely buy sweet potatoes. I know, I know. They are super healthy and packed with loads of vitamins and nutrients. They are really filling and great for muscle building. I know. It’s not that I don’t like them, unless they are candied and topped with marshmallows. Yuck. I’ve never been into that Thanksgiving staple. But in most cases, I like them. I guess I just find them a bit boring? Unless you eat them like this…In which case, the fat content in the rest of the ingredients probably outweighs the health benefits of the sweet potatoes. Anyway, sweet potatoes can be boring if they are baked and served plain alongside some kind of a roast. Blah. (more…)
When I’m perusing the buffet at an Indian restaurant, there are a couple of staple dishes I always get excited about. Chana Masala happens to be one such dish. When I eat chana masala, I’m convinced I could be a vegetarian. It’s everything I want in a dish. Hearty chickpeas, spicy tomato sauce. Serve it with a piece of warm naan bread and I’m in heaven.
This spicy chickpea curry is my quick and easy version of chana masala. There are tons of variations and recipes for chana masala but I promise, this is a good one. (more…)
I always do this. I tell myself I’m going to lose weight for an event and then suddenly the event is one month away and bummer, I’ve only lost 2 pounds. Needless to say, I’m in that same scenario now. So, I’m on a very strict diet/cleanse for the next week or so and I’m not going to lie to you guys, it sucks. It really really sucks. But you know what? It’s working and recipes like this spicy, braised kale make it slightly more bearable. I cheated a bit with the bacon, but 4 thin slices of bacon for 10 oz of kale is not that much right? Hmm…Maybe this type of rationalization is what gets me into trouble in the first place. (more…)
Wow…The last time I posted was in March. I didn’t even realize how much time had actually gone by since my last post. I knew it had been a while but when I logged in to write this post I was surprised at the date of my last one. Well, life has been busy, that’s for sure. Too busy for my liking. Sometimes I feel like life is a bit of a whirlwind. It’s easy to say, “Oh things have been crazy!” And that’s definitely true. But the flip side is I haven’t been as intentional about blogging and writing as I should be. It’s what I love to do and when I don’t do it I feel like something is missing. But even though I love it, it takes time and brain power and discipline. And lately I’ve been putting that time and brain power and discipline into other things. And I’ve felt drained. I haven’t had the time (or made the time) to be creative in the kitchen, to work on my writing, to read, to do many other things that make my soul so happy. So needless to say, I’m happy to be blogging today. I’m hoping this will be the start of more regular blogging once again. (more…)
This casserole is dangerous. Because once you make, unless you have super human self control, you won’t be able to stop eating it.
It’s an old family recipe. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I think it was my great Aunt Esther’s recipe. My grandma and mom both make it frequently, and recently, I’ve started making it too. I have to admit, I’d kind of forgotten about it but, the other day, my mom invited me over for dinner with some friends of ours and she made this casserole. I couldn’t stop eating it! It had been years since I’d had it last but, that night, I was reminded of its deliciousness. So, last week when I was thinking of what to make as a last minute meal for some friends of ours last week, this casserole came to mind. It’s a great recipe to fall back on when you don’t know what else to make because it’s always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like it. Even the kiddos like this one. (more…)
This is the easiest lunch ever. Good store bought pierogis, or homemade if you have the time, a little bit of bacon, one leek, and some parmesan cheese and black pepper, and you have yourself a delicious and EASY lunch or dinner. I like the Delicious Fresh Pierogi brand, particularly the potato mushroom variety, but use whatever pierogis you can find. And, like I said, even better if you have homemade ones. I happened to be making this lunch on the go, as I so often am, so store-bought it was.
What’s not to love about this? Dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese, or whatever you like (there are so many different pierogi varieties), sautéed with bacon and leeks? I mean, come on. It can’t be bad. Well, maybe for your waistline, but your tastebuds will be happy, I promise. (more…)
Sometimes, after a long day at work, when I’m watching TV (most likely Food Network or The Real Housewives of somewhere), I like to pick a cookbook off my bookshelf and just flip through it. I do this, one, because I find it immensely relaxing, and, two, because it often inspires me to come up with new recipes of my own.
A few nights ago, I was looking through Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Make it Ahead. All of her recipes look absolutely mouth watering, but I found I kept flipping back to one in particular, her Moroccan lamb tagine. This recipe stuck out to me because I love Moroccan food and tagines (although I don’t actually have a tagine), and also because it looked simple to make. As I thought about it more, I wondered if I could make it even simpler by making a slow cooker version. Ina’s Moroccan lamb tagine is definitely a party dish. It’s a show stopper, and although the recipe is easy enough to follow, it takes a bit of time to assemble and 3 hours to cook in the oven. It happened to be the middle of the week, I hadn’t planned on having company over, and I didn’t want to wait 3 hours after work for dinner to be ready. So, I brainstormed a bit and came up with my own slow cooker version of her recipe. I swapped out a few ingredients and traded lamb shanks for beef stew meat, but it still resembles her recipe and it definitely is reminiscent of those famous Moroccan tagines I love so much. Think of it as the weeknight version of Moroccan lamb tagine. It’s just as delicious, just a little less fancy. (more…)
I know I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again, I love my slow cooker. I broke mine out this week, after neglecting it for several months, to make spicy slow cooker pulled pork with salsa verde. I was watching an old episode of Mexican Made Easy, and Marcela Valladolid was making cochinita pibil, a slow roasted pork dish that combines onions, citrus flavors, achiote paste and pork shoulder. She made it in the slow cooker and it looked absolutely delicious when it was finished. It inspired me to make my own version of slow cooked pulled pork.
Cooking confession: Sometimes, giant cuts of meat are intimidating to me. But I promise you, this is so easy and delicious and it makes a ton. We had pulled pork tacos the first night and bbq pork sandwiches the second night and I still have enough for a 3rd meal. Not sure what I’ll do with the leftovers yet. Maybe some tostados or nachos. Anyway, don’t let the big cut of pork shoulder intimidate you. By the way, a pork “butt” is actually the same thing as a pork shoulder. Another cooking confession: For years I did not know this. I’m still not sure why they call a shoulder a butt, but whatever, it’s the same thing. A nice, fatty piece of pork that is perfect for slow cooking and pulled pork dishes.