Philly Steak Chowder

Sorry I’m a bit late posting this; things have been kind of rough around here lately!

Anyway, I saw a recipe online for this soup, and it sounded pretty good. I didn’t have the ingredients it called for, so I made my own version! The one that inspired me was served in a bread bowl, and I think that’s the only way this could be improved. So tasty and perfect for a cold winter’s day!

Philly Steak Chowder

  • 1 box steakumms
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, thinly  sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 1t black pepper
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1T olive oil
  • 2T flour
  • 2c cold milk

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Sautee the peppers and onions until soft but not translucent. Add the steakumms a few slices at a time, cooking thoroughly. Sprinkly the flour over the onion/pepper/beef mixture, and stir until you cannot see the flour. Immediately add the cold milk, stirring quickly. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

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Easy Peasy Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

I won’t lie, I hate chicken. But every once in awhile I get a craving for chicken salad, and I inevitably make too much. Then I give it away to my neighbors! This recipe is similar to the one I made when I was a chef at the local grocery chain. It’s quick, simple, and makes A LOT.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

  • 3 whole chicken breasts, boneless
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T garlic powder
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  • 2c water
  • 1/2-1c sour cream
  • 1/2-1c mayo
  • 3T lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt to taste

Cook the chicken + water, cumin, garlic, and cayenne on high in your slow cooker for 4 hours or until internal temp of meat reaches 165F at the fattest part of the breast. Remove from slow cooker, shred while still hot. Cool to 40F within two hours. Once cooled, combine sour cream, mayo, chicken, and lemon pepper seasoning. Start with 1/2 c each sour cream/mayo, add more as needed to desired consistency. I like my salad a little drier because I put it on toast or on a bed of lettuce. Some folks like to dip crackers in it or put it on a wrap, and creamier chicken salad is better for those meals. Plus the chicken will absorb some overnight, and it’s better to have dry chicken salad and add more mayo than to have chicken mayo soup! Salt to taste and enjoy!

Rockin’ Crock Ribs

I LOVE ribs. I could eat them every day if it wasn’t so expensive! A full rack lasts 3-4 meals for me, but at $13/rack, it’s a lot. And, if JI and/or Squeaks ever decide they want to eat ribs, it’ll be even more. So instead, ribs are a once a month treat. Usually I only make them during the summer, so I can put them on the grill. I was so hungry for ribs the other day that I decided to try something new, and damn, it worked perfectly. I’m pretty proud of myself!

wpid-collage_20151023132541256_20151023132654153.jpgStep one: Put the ribs in the crock pot. I had to fold mine in half.

Step two: Season liberally with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes.

Step three: Pour in two cans of cranberry pop – I used Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist!

Step four: Cook on low for 6 hours.

Step five: Transfer to sheet pan, carefully. They *may* fall apart.

Step six: Baste with BBQ sauce of your choice – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s!

Step seven: Cook at 400F for one hour. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Step eight: ENJOY!

Easy Weeknight Pasta Meal

I had an abundance of fresh produce that was about to turn, so I decided to use it all up in one meal. I went with pasta, as it lends itself to many different flavors and textures, and is very simple to make.

wpid-collage_20150923183418149.jpgFirst, I cooked the pasta and set it aside. I used radiatori so that the ridges on the noodles would catch all the tasty goodness of the vegetables. Next, I chopped up tomatoes, red peppers, and banana peppers, and then I added a heaping spoonful of minced garlic. I tossed those into the pot I used for boiling the pasta, added a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and sauteed until the tomatoes were just starting to break down. At this point I added some sliced black olives and a green onion. I didn’t want those to get cooked too much, which is why I added them near the end. Finally I put the pasta back into the pot and stirred everything together for a few minutes, until the pasta was heated through. I served it with a huge hunk of crusty garlic bread and a sprinkling of parmesan. Even JI, Mr. Picky, enjoyed the meal!

You can add chicken to the dish if you’re into that kind of thing, or you can eliminate the cheese if you want to make it vegan. There are tons of options for this dish!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

A couple years ago, my mom gave me this really strange and complicated recipe for jalapeno popper dip. She picked it up while on vacation somewhere, and thought I would like it. Well it hung on my fridge for awhile, in fact it’s still there, until last week when I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, though the recipe was clearly written, the steps were complicated and there was a high probability for failure. Anything that involves cooking mayo is a potentially disastrous endeavor! So I created my own using similar ingredients, and it came out perfectly!

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  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • diced pickled jalapenos to taste     (I used about 1/4 cup), drained
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Combine cream cheese, mayo, and diced jalapenos. Microwave for ONE minute. Stir well.

Combine bread crumbs and panko, cover the cream cheese mixture completely. Microwave 2-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with a michelada and heavy duty tortilla chips for dipping!

The Holy Trinity (Not a Catholicism Post!)

If you’re a “foodie”, someone who enjoys The Food Network, or just a person who loves to cook, you’ve probably heard the term “mirepoix” thrown around a lot. Mirepoix refers to the “Holy Trinity” of a basic recipe or soup/stew/stock base – a ratio of onions, carrots, and celery. Charles-Pierre-Gaston-François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix, Marshall of France and Ambassador of Louis XV, was a member of a house that was founded in Languedoc as Lords of Mirepoix, Ariège. The chef de cuisine of the duke (unnamed) established the basis for his culinary masterpieces, and named it “Mirepoix” in honor of his employer. Mirepoix is also referred to as “aromatics” because of the delicious odors given off when they are sautéed.

The ratio is 2:1:1 – 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, and 1 part celery. This can be seen as 2 ounces: 1 ounce: 1 ounce, or it can be broken into “parts” which refers to “equal parts” or “equal measurements” to make up 100%. This would mean that 2:1:1 would be 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

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Now that we’ve gotten past the complicated math, let’s break it down into something super easy – real life. Generally the most fundamental and easiest way to make a mirepoix is to use one medium size white onion, two to three regular size carrots, and three to four regular stalks of celery. Vegetables don’t vary too much in size so it’s simple to use these common sense measurements if you don’t have time to weigh or scale out your vegetables.

To create your mirepoix, first decided how much you need. For example, if you are making a gallon of stew, you will need the measurements listed above. Use your judgment and preferences to determine how much of the mixture you will need. We can never get enough veggies into our diets! Don’t forget that the mirepoix does not have to remain in the soup/sauce – sometimes simply sautéing your mirepoix with salt/pepper/garlic/spices is enough to add flavor and afterward the solids can be strained out for a smooth soup or sauce.

Directions:

You will need the following:

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled
  • 2-3 regular size carrots, peeled
  • 3-4 regular size celery stalks, stringed (stringing refers to “peeling” the stalk to remove the sinewy strings that are tough and tend to get stuck in one’s teeth)
  • 1-2 ounces butter/margarine

Rough chop onion/carrot/celery – make sure all pieces are approximately the same size to ensure even cooking. Melt the butter/margarine and add the carrots first since they are the densest of the three vegetables. Cook the carrots for a short time, and then add the onions and celery. Sauté the vegetable mixture until the onions and celery are translucent (clear) – DO NOT BROWN!

This combination of cooked vegetables will be the essential base for all your recipes. If you do a lot of cooking, you can easily chop up the veggies at the start of your week and use as needed, as long as you keep them under refrigeration. Remember that no food should be stored longer than 5 days!

Homemade Gyros

I love Greek food. All of it. I have often wondered if I could somehow get one of those vertical rotisseries and giant hunks of lamb for my house. I love it!

A friend of mine brought some Greek dip to a party we had recently. It reminded me of Tzatsiki sauce, so I used the leftovers to make gyros. So, without further ado…

Homemade Gyros (serves one)

  • 4 slices Steak’umms
  • 2 soft taco size tortillas or 2 small pitas
  • Lettuce/tomato
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Greek dip/sauce (see below)

Place your frozen Steak’umms in a hot non-stick pan.

Sprinkle with oregano, dill, garlic, and salt.

Shred the meat using a non-metal spatula.

Flip, continue cooking until completely done.

Spread the Greek dip/sauce on your tortillas

Top with meat, lettuce, and tomato.

Roll up and Enjoy!

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Greek dip/sauce

  • 2 boxes cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cucumber finely diced
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • Salt to taste
  • Milk

Combine all ingredients except milk.

Add milk to make the dip the thickness that you want. For the gyros, I had it at a yoghurt consistency.