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asparagus to die for

This recipe is one I found on Pinterest and nipped, tucked and tweaked to make this killer vegetable side dish.

Pancetta-Citrus Asparagus with Dill

I hadn’t planned to post it until the end of the week, but a couple of you asked for it ASAP, so here it is.

pancetta

The 4-ounce package of diced pancetta is from Trader Joe’s and makes this dish a snap.

leeks

When you’re in the produce department looking at leeks, always pick out the leeks with the most white. The dark green goes in the trash. White and light green = Good. Dark green = Waste.

Also, always wash your leeks after you’ve sliced or diced them. To do so, fill a bowl with cold water, drop the leeks in and swish around. Then use your hands to lift the leeks out of the water, transferring to a dish or plate. Next, pour out the dirty water and do it all over again. Pour out that water and if it’s clear, your leeks are ready to use. If that water is still sandy and dirty, do it again and again as needed. It’s important to not pour the leeks into a strainer. Doing so will leave the dirt you removed from the leeks all over them again.

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February 3, 2016   1 Comment

buffalo chicken soup

buffalo chicken noodle soup

Here is the last of the week’s worth of slow cooker recipes. This was the perfect thing to get me back into a blogging routine and a great way to feed visiting family while we were on the run.

buffalo chicken soup

We are finishing as we began, with a yummy soup. I’m pretty proud of myself for limiting the soup recipes to only half of those put forward.

To recap – A week’s worth of slow cooker recipes:

Wild Rice and Shredded Chicken Soup

Balsamic-Dijon Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Great Northern Beans

Lemony Turkey Meatball and Orzo Soup

Ropa Vieja

Mississippi Pot Roast

And here is today’s….

 

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February 2, 2016   1 Comment

Mississippi Roast

My dear friend and colleague, Kim Howard, sent me this recipe from the NY Times for my week’s worth of slow cooker recipes. I was very grateful for the recipe since it was for a pot roast. I had a serious need for a new pot roast recipe because my dad loves pot roast and had already requested it for our Sunday supper.

mississippi roast and asparagus'

My “go-to” slow cooker roast recipe for my dad is This One, I was beyond excited to try something new. A huge plus was that it is by far simpler and even tastier than the old standby.

I minimally changed the original recipe, but the change I made was a major healthy change. How I did that was to remove a majority of the fat after cooking.

Kim, I thank you!

My dad thanks you.

Basically, we all (Dad, Dave, Connor, my visiting brother-in-law, Roger, and I) thank you for the great recipe! xoxo

By the way, the recipe for the lovely asparagus you see on the plate above, will be posted later this week. It is A. MAZ. ING!

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February 1, 2016   2 Comments

old clothes in the slow cooker

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja translates to old clothes.

sliced peppers, onions jalapeno

Not the most appetizing image, but it’s in reference to the torn or shredded beef and the slices of onion and peppers, so no worries about it all being too literal.

homegrown

After I made this pot of deliciousness, to my taste, it wasn’t spicy enough. I don’t know if it was because my homegrown jalapeños weren’t hot enough of if I should just up the number of jalapeños, so I did up it from 2 to 3. If that still doesn’t do the trick, you can always serve with some hot salsa, such as Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Salsa. Or add a jar of it to the slow-cooker from the start, your choice.

One more choice to make is the color of your bell peppers. I like to use red, yellow and orange for the color variety and the sweetness. But if green bell peppers are more economical or if red bells are on special, do what works for you.

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January 30, 2016   No Comments

slow cooker pasta and turkey meatball soup

I’m doing my best to not just make all of the “week’s worth” of slow-cooker recipes into soup recipes. But it’s hard! I love soup!!! Especially this one. It is so lite, so lemony, so satisfying, so M-mmmm good!

mmm good

My brother-in-law, Roger, is visiting for the week. He, Dave and Connor devoured it. Which is a good thing I suppose, since I’m running out of room in the fridge. The thing is bulging at the seams with the ingredients for the upcoming recipes and with all the leftover baby back ribs and beans from the other night.

sleepy dog beer flightConnor had the day off work, so Roger, Con and I went to a couple breweries yesterday afternoon and tasted some beer flights. Our favorite stop was the Sleepy Dog Brewery which has a Groupon promo going on right now. If you go, you have to try the Wet Snout Milk Stout, it is out of this world good! I found out they have it on tap at Hopdoddy right now too. Guess where else we’ll be taking Roger before he heads back to the Illinois snow?! Ah, snow, this soup would be the perfect remedy for a snowy day, pretty great for a sunny day too!IMG_2032

Lemony Turkey Meatball and Orzo Soup

1 large egg
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon zest, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo pasta
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

turkey lemon orzo

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the ground turkey, Panko, salt, dried rosemary and the lemon zest (set aside the lemon juice) and mix to combine well.brown meatballsHeat oil in a large non-stick skillet, when oil is hot, use a 1- tablespoon scoop (or two spoons to make meatballs that are 1-tablespoon in size – but the scooper is The Best!) to make the meatballs and drop into the skillet as you scoop them out. Do not overcrowd the pan. Use a spatula to turn the meatballs and brown on all sides.

transfer to pot

As the meatballs brown, transfer to a slow cooker and continue making meatballs and transferring as they are browned until all the turkey mixture is used. You should end up with about 30 to 32 meatballs.

saute onion and carrot

Sauté the onion and carrots in the same skillet, just long enough to bring up the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet, for a minute or two. Scrape into the slow cooker with the meatballs. Add the garlic and broth and cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

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January 29, 2016   2 Comments

slow cooker baby back ribs

Today we are kicking off a week’s worth of slow cooker recipes. For this first one, I used a huge package of baby back pork ribs from Costco. It weighs between 8 and 9 pounds and I found that that was a bit too much to fit in my slow cooker.

IMG_2001

As you can see, I cut the slabs in half and one of the halves didn’t fit in.

IMG_2004

I could have wrapped it up and put it in the freezer, but instead I cooked it in some beer, then grilled it and slathered with ready-made BBQ sauce and gave it to Connor for lunch when he stopped by. Perfect!

IMG_1996

Also I tell you to use diced tomatoes, for the ease of it. But if all you have are whole tomatoes (like I did) you can easily cut them right in the can by using your kitchen shears. Easy Peasy!

IMG_1990

To begin with, all you need are these few ingredients.

IMG_1995

Oh, and the can of tomatoes too. I almost forgot! (plus the garlic isn’t pictured, what the heck?!?)

These ribs and scrumptious beans make for a hearty bone-warming winter supper.

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January 28, 2016   1 Comment

table side entertainment

My sweet friend, loyal blog follower and neighbor, Kelly, sent me the most adorable video. Now I must share it with you.

I also want to announce that tomorrow’s blog post will kick off a week’s worth of slow cooker recipes. Actually, Sunday’s soup recipe started the ball rolling but tomorrow it becomes official.  Until then, turn on the volume and Enjoy!

The French restaurant, Le Petit Chef, came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their orders. The magic happens with the help of  projectors on the ceiling.

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January 27, 2016   1 Comment

soup for the WIN

beredseered

I have complete faith that my Arizona Cardinals will win the George Halas Trophy in the NFC Championship Game game today – along with their ticket to Super Bowl 50!

Just like I have faith that this soup can help cure, or at least bring relief to, the flu.  The flu is traveling like wildfire and now Dave has it.  I made this soup for him last night and he’s on the mend today, in time for the big game.

fitz

I found the a version of the recipe when a friend posted it on Facebook. It sounded like the perfect remedy, especially after giving it a few healthier tweaks. Now it’s ready to share with you.  Round up the ingredients, pop it all in a slow-cooker and it’ll be ready for kickoff at 4:40 PM!

It is soul soothing and absolutely fabulous, just like the Cards! #riseupredsea #birdgang

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January 24, 2016   3 Comments

Crudités Soup

crudite 1

I serve crudités at every gathering I host. It’s the guaranteed way to have something for everyone.  All vegetarians, vegans, guests with allergies and dieters are happy, and quite honestly relieved, when they see a big old tray of fresh veggies on a platter.

If you have leftover vegetables at the end of party, obviously, it’s easy to just snack on them throughout the week. But another way to use them up is to turn them into soup.

Go Cards

That is exactly what I did after Marissa & Jeff hosted a “Go Cardinals” party at the Cards vs. Packers game last month.

Arizona Cardinals playoffs

The same two teams will face off at University of Phoenix Stadium this Saturday. Look for me in the stands!

az cards

I’ll be a few row up, around the 40-yard line. On the Arizona side – of course!

crudite3

Over the years, I’ve shown you nearly a dozen ways to serve crudités.

crudite2

You can use any and all leftover vegetables for this soup.

crudite4

Chopped onion is the only additional vegetable needed.

crudite5

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January 12, 2016   2 Comments

harder than I thought

Getting back into the swing of it, blogging-wise, has been harder than I ever imagined it would be. Since I missed it so much, I thought I’d fall right back into the rhythm. Um, not so much!

I want to blame it on the holidays. Thanksgiving, out-of-town family, Christmas, even more family from out-of-town, New Year’s, and more family have made it hard to want to sit down at the computer and “work.” But that’s really not it. I blogged religiously for more than 5 years, through every major holiday and life event, so I can not claim that the season is the issue.

I’m just out of the habit, and until I get back on track, posts will be spotty. I’m now prepared for that reality and I hope that you’ll stick with me through this transition.

mjc

Marissa & Jeff drove back to Austin on Saturday. They had flown in two weeks ago but drove back so they could take all their wedding and wedding shower gifts. They made it back in record time, arriving home, safe and sound, by mid-morning on Sunday.

tamales enchilad style

On Friday night, for their last dinner at home, I made a pan of super-easy and super-yummy tamale enchiladas. So yummy, in fact, that I couldn’t get a photo of the pan before they were all but gone!

tamales

I bought the tamales from a young woman who was selling them at Connor’s apartment building. She had two adorable little ones in-tow, so how could I say no?  I bought a dozen green chile-chicken tamales and a dozen red chile-pork tamales. I should say, that’s what I thought I bought, she accidentally gave me only six green chile (1 bag) and a dozen and a half (3 bags) of red chile.

tamale night

A few nights before, we enjoyed 6 of the green and 6 of the red, served in the traditional style. That was nice, but to my taste, tamales are a bit dry. So serving the remaining dozen red chile tamales enchilada-style was way more fun!

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January 4, 2016   4 Comments