Sunday, November 5, 2017

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

Image result for pot roast

I was craving pot roast, but was kind of sick of the same old recipe, so I decided to try this one. Holy Moly. It was SO good!!! It was really different, but so, so yummy. I think this will be my new go-to!

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy
by Mel's Kitchen Café

Ingredients:

Roast:

  • 3 to 5 pound chuck roast, trimmed of extra fat
  • Coarse, kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 large yellow onions, sliced in thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 to 7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces

Gravy:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups juices/drippings from roast

Directions:

  1. Season the roast on all sides with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the roast, and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  3. Place the onions in the bottom of a 7-or 8-quart slow cooker, toss the smashed garlic on top, and transfer the roast to sit on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce, scraping up the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, thyme, salt and pepper (use less salt and pepper if you used regular beef broth and not low-sodium). Add the bay leaf.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast. All slow cooker sizes are different but it helps if the meat is mostly covered with liquid (or at least the liquid comes up nearly to the top of the meat).
  6. Nestle the carrots around the roast.
  7. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until the meat is very tender.
  8. Transfer the meat, carrots, and onions to a platter and tent with foil.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and pour the drippings/juice from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup (or into a fat separator if you want to pour off excess fat).
  10. For the gravy, melt the butter in a medium pot until sizzling. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds or so. Whisking vigorously and constantly (no lumps in our gravy!), gradually add 3 to 4 cups of the pot roast juices, until the desired consistency of gravy is reached.
  11. Continue stirring quickly while the gravy comes to a simmer. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  12. Serve immediately with the pot roast and vegetables (and mashed potatoes, of course!).





Sunday, October 29, 2017

Slow Cooker Taco Chicken

This was AMAZING. It was better than any taco chicken I've ever made. It's going to be my new go-to. YUMMERIFIC!

Super easy Slow Cooker Tacos from Our Best Bites

Slow Cooker Taco ChickenRecipe adapted by Our Best Bites
Ingredients:
2-2 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I used Olive Garden)
1 packet Ranch dressing
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
6-8 cloves smashed garlic (don’t worry about actually chopping it…unless you want to…)
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce to taste (optional)
Instructions:
Place all the ingredients except for the lime, salt, and Tabasco sauce in your slow cooker and cook for 5-6 hours on LOW or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. When done, shred the chicken with two forks and sprinkle with lime juice. Taste and season with salt and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (it’s smokey and a little milder than the original Tabasco Sauce, so it’s perfect here) to taste. Serves 8-10.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Wow, this was SO good. I seriously ate for 3 days straight. And it makes a ton. Next time I might halve it.


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Note: This recipe makes a very large batch of chili (about 4 quarts).  It freezes beautifully, so I like to make the recipe and then freeze half for another night.  You can certainly halve the recipe as well, which I recommend if you have a small slow cooker.
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced (any color)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapenos, minced (take seeds out unless you like heat)
20 ounces ground turkey breast
8 ounces mushrooms, minced (about 2 heaping cups)
2 teaspoons cumin
2  teaspoons kosher salt
½  teaspoons pepper
1  teaspoon oregano
1  teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2  teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes*
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (not drained)
2 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
32 ounces beef broth (one box/carton)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (make sure you’re not using pumpkin pie filling 🙂
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
*”Sweet potatoes” and “yams” are often sold interchangeably depending on what part of the country you live in.  Just buy whichever one is orange 🙂
optional: sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro or green onion, and fresh lime juice for serving
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until veggies are tender and fragrant.  Add to slow cooker.
In same skillet, heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil.  Add turkey and mushrooms and stir to combine.  Sprinkle in cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika.  (note: the meat will taste very seasoned when done.  Keep in mind these seasonings are not to flavor just the meat, they will season the entire pot of chili, so they are intentionally strong!)  Add turkey mixture to slow cooker.
Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker and stir til combine.  Place lid on pot and cook for  4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low.   Slow-cookers vary greatly in temperature and cooking times, but really, the important thing to note is if the sweet potatoes are tender.
When done, turn off heat and let chili sit with lid off for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Season with additional salt to taste before serving.  If desired, serve with sour cream, sliced avocados, and a small squirt of fresh lime juice, and any other toppings desired.
Yields: About 4 quarts (16 cups)

Creamy Cajun Pasta

I made this a few nights ago and it was a big hit. And I loved that it was relatively healthy. I subbed the sausage for chicken and only added one pepper. Also, I blended the canned tomatoes up a little but (not pureed) so it would be more palatable for my picky family.

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Smoked Sausage (chicken) and Peppers
Recipe by Our Best Bites

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound smoked pork sausage, halved and cut into 1/4″ slices (I subbed chicken)
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 colored bell peppers (I used red and yellow), halved and sliced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water (high elevations increase to 1 3/4)
8 ounces pasta (I used trottole)
2 cups 1% milk
3 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions:
Preheat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook 2-3 minutes or until it starts to release oil and is browning. Add the onions and cook until fragrant. Add the garlic and sliced bell peppers and cook until the peppers are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and transfer the sausage and peppers to a large plate. Set aside.
Return the pan to heat and add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then quickly add the pasta, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the liquid is absorbed.
While the pasta is cooking, place the milk, cream cheese, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, and flour in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. When melted, add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Add the mixture from the blender and cook until smooth and thickened to where if the back of a spoon is dipped into the sauce, you can trace your finger down the back of the spoon and that spot will stay clean.
Remove the sauce from heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Stir until melted and smooth.
Add the peppers and sausage to the pasta/tomato mixture and stir to combine. Add the garlic sauce and combine. Season to taste with Cajun seasoning and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chicken Tenders with Green Chili Sauce



My friend recommended the Food Nanny to me and so I checked out her recipe book at my library and this was the first thing I made and it was delicious. So, I may be posting a lot more of her recipes on here if they're all this good!

Chicken Tenders with Green Chili Sauce
adapted from the Food Nanny

Ingredients
  • 8 chicken tenders (I just cut a couple chicken breasts in half and then sliced it 2-3 times to make tenders)
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Rubbed sage (sage rubbed between your fingers to almost powder)
  • Cumin
  • Steak seasoning or another favorite “dry” seasoning (I used seasoned salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1⁄3 cup cream
  • 1 – 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 cup brown or white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice: Bring rice, chicken broth and butter to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer 15-20 min. if it's white rice and 45 min. if it's brown rice. Allow to rest for 5 min. Cooking times may vary.
  2. Prepare the Chicken Tenders: Wipe off the chicken tenders with a wet paper towel. Place the tenders on clean paper towels and sprinkle each one with the following in order given: coarse salt, fresh ground black pepper, rubbed sage, cumin and steak seasoning on both sides.
  3. In a medium fry pan over medium heat add olive oil and butter until it just starts to sizzle.
  4. Place the chicken tenders in the pan and sear about 3 min. per side. Turn the heat down to low.
  5. Add cream. Cook for 1 min. Mix in the diced chilies. Dot little pieces of cream cheese around the chicken and chili sauce. Cover. Continue to cook over low heat for 15 min. I actually simmered mine for about an hour and it just fell apart. So good!
  6. Serve immediately over rice. Serve with: Brown Rice, broccoli, cauliflower, or fresh peas. Other options: quinoa, white rice.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


These cookies are SOOOO good. They are definitely in my top two ever, which is saying something because I make a TON of cookies and have tried every single recipe on this blog (and lots of other recipes too). They are actually America's Test Kitchen, which is also saying something.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups + 2 tablespoons (301 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (198 grams) light or dark brown sugar
½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups (255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Roll a scant ¼ cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2½ inches apart.
  5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to set, yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. These can also be wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months.coo

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Protein Balls




We went on a ladies-only backpacking trip this weekend and it was SO fun. One of my friends made these protein balls. I didn't think much of them because I usually hate this stuff, but these were seriously AMAZING. They were the first snack gone and I've been craving the ever since.


Protein Balls
Recipe from Anne Kimble

Spray measuring cups with coconut oil (or Pam) 
1 cup all natural peanut butter (I use the big tub of Adam's crunchy from Costco)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Combine above ingredients

Then slowly add:
2 1/2 cups brown rice crispies (There are few brands you can find at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup chia seeds (Some people use 1/8 cup, but I love chia!)
2 T hemp hearts (optional)
2 T ground flax seeds (optional)
chocolate protein powder to taste
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life brand)

The mixture will be sticky, but if it seems like it won't hold together, add a few more oats. Put mixture if fridge for 30 min to make it easier to handle. Spray a small cookie scoop and shape into balls. Place flat in gallon ziplocs to freeze (and so you won't each the whole batch the same day!).