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Posts Tagged ‘spicy’

apricot brie dip

 

i first had this dip at my friend Rachel‘s house. with the first bit i took of this, i instantly knew what heaven must be like. it’s one of those foods you crave just thinking about it. even people (including men!) who have either never had brie before or don’t typically like brie like this dip. it looks and tastes classy, but is oh-so-simple to make.

(a Pampered Chef recipe)

 

ingredients:

1 brie round (with rind)

½ c. apricot jam

¼ c. pecans, chopped

1-2 jalepeños, seeds and veins removed, and finely diced

 

instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

1)  cut brie in half side to side. place one half on a pizza stone or baking dish, cut side up.

2)  in a small bowl, combine apricot jam and peppers.  spoon half of jam mixture on top of cut side of brie. top with half of the chopped nuts.

3)  top with other half of brie round, cut side up.  top with remaining jam then remaining pecans.

4)  bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.

 

serve with toasted baguette slices, crackers, and/or pita chips.  if you are cooking this on a pizza stone, put the brie in the middle and arrange the baguette slices around the outside of it, then spray with a little bit of olive and bake according to directions.

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turkey is not usually one of my favorite foods (as i like to say, i don’t eat turkey at thanksgiving meals because i want to save my stomach space for the good stuff), but i love having left-over turkey to cook with after thanksgiving. how’s that for a conundrum? there’s not a ton of varietal things I do with turkey other than casseroles and soups — and mind you, i do LOVE soups — but within those two categories, especially soups, i love experimenting. this recipe is no exception. it’s chili-esque because of the legumes, but it’s soupier than i prefer my chili to be, so that’s why i call it a chili soup.

(adapted from Cooking Light)

ingredients:

olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 cups beans (legumes), like white, black, kidney, etc (i use white and black)

½ c. chopped fresh tomatoes

1 ½ T. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne (if cayenne is too spicy for you, substitute with paprika)

4 c. chicken broth (i used homemade turkey broth, complements of thanksgiving)

½ c. red wine

1-2 c. fresh spinach leaves, chopped (i used swiss chard, as that is what i had on hand)

salt & pepper

3 c. chopped or shredded cooked turkey

¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

sour cream, as garnish

 

instructions:

1)  heat olive oil in a large dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. add onions; saute until golden brown. add garlic; saute another minute or two.

2)  add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. stir to combine.

3)  add broth, red wine, spinach leaves, salt, and pepper. bring to a boil; reduce heat. simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.

4)  add turkey. cook for another 5-10 minutes. remove from heat. stir in cilantro, if you are using it.

5)  serve in bowls with a dallop or two of sour cream on top.

 

variations:

because soups are usually quite flexible, experiment with other veggies you have on hand. (although, i personally wouldn’t try potatoes because i feel like that would conflict with the starchiness of the beans.) i had radishes from my csa box that i can’t seem to go through quickly enough, so i chopped up a few of those and threw them in there. corn would be good, and maybe even carrots or bell peppers. i could have gone for it being a bit spicier, so a jalepeno or serrano pepper or could have be added. If adding carrots or peppers, saute with the onions. if adding radishes or corn, add with the tomatoes.

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now, don’t let the title scare you away. i’d thought about naming it “w/ mystery pink sauce” but i figured that would harken back to grammer school days of eating mystery meat from the cafeteria, which isn’t necessary any better than beets. so i just decided to keep it real.

i got this recipe idea from my sister-in-law (who has the same name as me) and her husband. since the four of us share a csa box, they, like us, had beets stored up that they didn’t quite know what to do with. last sunday when we met them at the farmers market to split up the box, there were even more beets that came in it. “have you used your beets yet?” she asked. definitely no. “you should make this yummy pasta we made the other night!”

when i got home, i couldn’t remember how she had said they made it, except that they put sausage in it. so i attempted to make my own. and it was DELISH! i couldn’t taste the beets in even the slightest bit (and neither could hubby, whew!) – -thanks to the spiciness. who would have thought — pasta, beef, and beets???? weird! the best part about this:  i used only 1 pot to make it all. i love when that happens! (so does hubby, since he’s the official dish washer.)

i didn’t have sausage, so i spiced up some ground beef with ingredients i thought would be sausage-esque. and, like my other recipes, i threw in random veggies from my csa box that i needed to get rid of in a sneaky way. feel free to omit those if you don’t have them on hand, or to substitute them with other veggies to your liking.

 

ingredients:

whole wheat spaghetti noodles (i believe i used ¼ – 1/3 box)

approx. 1/3 lb. ground beef **

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalepeno, diced** (with or without the seeds, your choice — remember, the seeds make it hotter!)

chili powder**

cayenne powder**

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 small radishes, scrubbed clean and shredded

3 small fresh beets, peeled and shredded

a few leaves of swiss chard, chopped (my sister-in-law used the green tops from the beets)

shredded parmesan, for topping

 

**substitute these ingredients for sausage

 

instructions:

1)  cook spaghetti according to directions on package. drain, reserving about 1 cup pasta water; set aside both water and pasta.

2)  in the same pot you used to cook the pasta in, set to med-high heat, add ground beef and onions. cook until beef is browned. add next 7 ingredients (jalepeno through chard) and reserved pasta water. cook about 10 minutes.

3)  return spaghetti to pot. stir to combine.

4)  serve garnished with shredded parmesan on top.

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this would otherwise be known as albondigas soup, BUT it is in no way authentic or traditional, only inspired by. so rather than have to deal with random people stumbling upon my blog and spouting out a rash of criticism, i decided to name it something different.  🙂

 

ingredients, for soup:

olive oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 serrano peppers, chopped (if you don’t like heat, cut back to 1 pepper)

2 medium-large tomatoes

6 c. water

1 c. corn kernels, fresh or frozen

3 cups pre-cooked beans (black, pink, or kidney)

1 T. chili powder

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. cumin

salt & pepper, to taste

2 T. sugar (white or brown, your choice)

ingredients, for meatballs:

1/4 lb. ground beef

1 egg, beaten

1/2 c. plain bread crumbs

1 tsp. each of cumin, chili powder, and paprika

1 jalepeno, chopped (optional)

 

 

instructions:

1) in dutch oven pot over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, onions, and pepper. cook until tender. 

2) add tomatoes, water, corn, and beans to pot. bring to a boil.

3) add chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar. return to boil; turn down to a simmer.

4) in medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for meatballs. using your hands, mix completely by squishing it all between your fingers, kinda of like when you used to play with play-doh as a kid (only this will taste much better, i promise…just don’t eat it raw!).

5) make little meatballs out of the mixture, about 1-inch in diameter. drop each meatball into the simmering soup. once all meatballs are in pot, return to boil. Again, turn down to simmer; cover. simmer for about 45 minutes.

 

i also like to add a dollop of sour cream (do-dollop-a-daisy) and avocado slices.

mmm-mmm good!

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i would love to have the time and patience to make authentic enchiladas. and those of you who have might be saying right now, “you should! it’s not that hard.” and every time i watch them being made on video or look at photos of them being made, i think, “hey, they don’t look that hard to make. i can do that.” and one day, i’m sure i will. but for now, if i’m going to spend my time doing tedious cooking, i’m going to spend it on making homemade ingredients — like enchilada sauce. i confess that in this recipe enchilada sauce is the one non-pure ingredient. but i am currently working on perfecting a homemade recipe for this; once i do, i promise i will post it. so until then, please forgive me as i don’t mean to be “misleading” in my purity stance. 🙂

 

ingredients:

1/2 lb. ground beef (for a vegetarian and/or healthier version, substitute for black beans)

1 medium onion, chopped

3 serrano peppers, diced

1 jalepeno pepper, de-seeded and diced

3 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. water

8 corn tortillas, torn into smaller pieces

1 1/2 – 2 c. enchilada sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)

1 c. shredded cheddar (extra sharp is my fav)

1/4 c. chopped green onions

 

instructions:

1) dice serranos and jalepenos. ok, so this shouldn’t be a part of the instructions because i listed it on the ingredient list, but i had pictures of it already so i decided to put it in here.

note about peppers:  did you know that the heat packed in peppers is found in the seeds? so if you don’t like spicy food or are sensitive to it, you can remove the seeds so that you may still enjoy the flavor without the pain. serranos tend to be a smallish pepper, therefore can be a bit tedious to remove the seeds. so what i do with serranos is cut back on the quantity and keep the seeds in. but that’s just me.

 

i just love serranos. they are so pretty.

warning: after handling peppers, please be careful not to touch any part of your face — even if you’ve washed your hands a few times. i know from experience. perhaps i shall post that story on here one day. until then, take it from me: it will make the sensitive skin on your face burn for hours afterwards, such that only peanut butter or butter on the burn will alleviate it. yes, i will write about it one day. 

 

2) brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat. add onions and peppers.

 

3) add chili powder and paprika.

 

4) add water.

look: this photo snapped so quickly that it hasn’t even hit the pan yet, like it’s suspended in air!

anyways, after you’ve added the water, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

 

5) while meat is simmering, let’s get to some chopping and shredding.

let’s take those pretty green onions and chop them up. these came in my csa box this week. if i didn’t have them in the frig, i probably wouldn’t go out and buy them just for this recipe cuz that’s just how i am. but you can do whatever you want.

 

chop up the green onions and shred the cheese.

i didn’t take a picture of the cheese. i figure you all have seen shredded cheese before. you can also tear your tortillas up right now too. just make sure to divide the eight tortillas into 2 groups of 4 and keep the torn pieces in these 2 separate groups. one layer will go on the bottom and one will go on the top, so i’m sure that helped cleared up the very confusing word problem i just tried to explain. i was never good at word problems; it was all about the algebra.

 

6) now comes the layering. in an 8×8 pan or 2-qt casserole dish, pour a layer of enchilada sauce into the bottom.

 

put the tortilla pieces from 1 group into the pan. using your fingers, swirl them around a bit in the bottom to cover the pieces completely with sauce, like so:

 

now it’s time for the meat. go ahead and pour that bad boy into the pan as the next layer.

 

next, sprinkle the cheese. leave a little bit left to put on the very top of the casserole before we bake it.

 

now the remainder of the tortilla pieces.

this would group 2, for a subtotal of 4 tortillas, for a grand total of 8 corn tortillas. math.

 

now pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas.

 

finally, top it off with the rest of the cheese and the green onions.

Stick it in a 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes.

 

variations:

as i stated above, you can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting the ground beef for black beans.

to add even more health benefits, experiment with different veggies to add to the meat/bean layer: corn kernels, diced fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, summer squash, or maybe even cubed (or mashed) cooked winter squash like butternut or acorn. ooo, butternut squash, yum. i think i just inspired myself to make this butternut squash version. i can taste it in my mouth already.

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chili

i admit it: chili is one of my favorite foods. just the thought of it brings back nostalgic memories of the chili cook-offs my childhood church used to hold every year. so it’s only fitting that this should be my first post.  that and i don’t know a man who doesn’t like chili–and my husband is about as manly as they come (minus that whole classical guitarist thing; but i do believe he balances that out by being a licensed pyrotechnician, right?….RIGHT???). he falls in love with me all over again when he puts one bite of this in his mouth.

 

ingredients:

1 1/2 c. dry beans (+ water for soaking)*

6 c. water

2 c. chopped onion

3 anaheim peppers, seeds and veins removed

1 jalepeno, with seeds (or, if you don’t like much heat, deveined and seeded. but don’t skip the jalepeno; trust me, with the seeds taken out, it’s not hot at all. come on, be daring. you can always drink milk afterwards if it’s too hot)

1/4 lb. ground beef (this can be omitted for a vegetarian option, or subbed for black beans)

pinch or two salt

2 large tomatoes, diced (or 1/2-3/4 c. salsa or enchilada sauce)

2 tsp. salt

2 T. worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

2 T. brown sugar (or 1 T. blackstrap molasses…i heart molasses)

1-2 tsp. honey (if using molasses, omit the honey)

1 T. chili powder

3 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne powder

1/2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. ground mustard

1 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

shredded cheddar & sour cream, for garnish

 

instructions:

1) place dry beans in a medium mixing bowl. fill with water, at least three-times the amount of beans. (i usually fill almost to the brim, just to be on the safe side.) soak overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours. drain. **

2) place beans in a dutch oven, along with water, onions, and pepper. bring to boil, then reduce to simmer & cover.

(you never want to boil beans because apparently it breaks their skins. you also never want to put salt in simmering beans, as that slows the cooking process down. click here for a great website from Whole Foods for more tips on cooking dry beans.) simmer for 2 hours, being careful to not remove the lid from the pot.

3) towards end of simmering, cook ground beef in skillet.

 

sprinkle with pinch or two of salt. once browned, drain.

 

4) add browned beef and remaining ingredients to bean pot.

return to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.

5) to serve, garnish with with sour cream and shredded cheddar. (i find that sour cream is great for cutting down on the spiciness of food.)

 

*1 1/2 cups of dry pink beans = 3 cups soaked pink beans. i’m pretty sure black beans swell the same; pinto beans, in my experience, seem to swell more but i haven’t actually measured it out. so the aforementioned conversion was my experience with pink beans

**i realize that sometimes it’s hard to plan dinner 8 hours (or more) ahead of time. what i like to do when i soak beans is to soak a huge batch at one time, take what i need for the recipe i’m making, then freeze the rest for future. OR you can go one step further and simmer the big batch of beans with onions and peppers, then freeze that. (just make sure to label which batches are soaked and which are simmered! i’ve made the mistake of not labeling, and believe you me, there was a lot of poking that was involved…and poking frozen beans isn’t exactly conclusive.)

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