Family picnic

Our socially distant outdoor family dinner on Sunday included a mix of old favorites and new experiments.

Appetizers

A few years ago I saw a recipe for a Mexican style shrimp cocktail. I tweaked and made my own variation which I wrote down on a piece of paper. While I can visualize the paper, I could not locate it. I tried to recreate from memory. I think it’s pretty adaptable to what you have on hand. Everyone seemed to like it.

Mexican shrimp cocktail

  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 8 – 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise.
  • 1 bottle Clamato
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 2 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 minced shallot

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 – 4 hours. Serve in small bowls or glasses with spoons.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Entree

Keith wanted to try a new grilled chicken recipe and also offered up burgers. The chicken was amazing!

Slaw

  • 1 cup chopped scallions (white and green)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
  • 4 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 package slaw mix
  • 1 package purple slaw mix
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 tsp poppy seeds

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender. Toss with slaw mix and onion. Add in poppy seedss and refrigerate until ready to serve chicken.

Chicken

  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1 TB ground coriander
  • 1 TB ground ginger
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 TB Koser salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 2 whole boneless, skin-on chicken breasts (if you don’t want to bone the chicken breasts, ask your butcher to do it for you)
  • canola oil

Combine all spices. Brush chicken with canola oil and season with spice blend. (Save the rest for another time.) Cook on hot grill about 5 minutes skin-side down to sear. Cook on grill mat on reduced heat until done. (Our chicken breasts were big so it cooked for another 18 minutes.) Bring inside and pour sauce over breasts (see below). Let rest for 10 minutes.

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sides

Deviled eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1.4 tsp dry mustard (more if you want them spicier)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 TB mayonnaise

Place eggs in a pot just big enough to hold them and add water to cover.  Bring to a rapid boil, turn off heat and cover for 17 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cold water and ice cubes to stop cooking.  Chill eggs in refrigerator.  Peel eggs and cut in half.  Put yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika and mayonnaise.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Fill egg whites with filling and top with additional paprika.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Potato Salad

There are lots of recipes for potato salad and I like most of them but once I discovered this one, it is my default.

  • Red potatoes, 3 pounds
  • scallions, 1 bunch thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper

Boil potatoes until tender.  Let cool until you can handle and then chop potatoes.  Combine mayonnaise and lemon juice (adjust to your taste) and toss over potatoes.  Add sliced scallions and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dessert

Congo Squares

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Melt butter over low heat.  Remove butter from heat and stir in brown sugar.  Beat eggs into butter, sugar mixture one at a time.  Stir in flour mixture and then chocolate chips.  Bake in a 9 x 13 pan for 25 – 30 minutes.   Let cool and cut into squares.

It’s all about the apps!

Tonight is the Super Bowl.  Sadly, the Ravens are not in the big game so for those of us in Baltimore, it isn’t quite as thrilling.  It’s still fun to enjoy some good food and watch the game (and the commercials).  We debated about what to have.  Keith makes an excellent (in fact, an award-winning) chili.  We love the cream of Maryland crab soup and jambalaya.  The challenge is that we love guacamole and nachos and by the time you eat that, you aren’t really up for eating a lot of chili.  So we decided to focus on appetizers and serve cauliflower soup along with them.  So here is our Super Bowl menu.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Nachos

  • chips
  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • pickled jalapenos

Spread chips on a baking sheet and top with cheese.  (If someone in your house isn’t wild about super spicy, be kind and don’t top all of the chips with pickled jalapenos!)  Heat until cheese is melted and serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Roasted shrimp cocktail

If you have always steamed your shrimp, consider switching to roasting.  If you’re like me, you won’t turn back.  Simply peel and devein shrimp and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 for about 10 minutes (that is for extra large shrimp, if using smaller shrimp they will take less time.)  Serve with cocktail sauce.

Cauliflower soup

  • 4 TB butter
  • 4 leeks, well cleaned and white and light green parts chopped
  • 2 heads cauliflower, trimmed to florets (Last time I used purple cauliflower but the soup ended up being sort of gray.  If the Ravens were playing I would have used purple but today, I opted for orange.)
  • 8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 – 3 oz Prosciutto thinly sliced

Melt butter in a heavy pot and saute leeks stirring until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add cauliflower, chicken stock and pepper.   Bring to a boil, stirring and then lower heat and cover pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Vegetables should be tender.

Puree in batches in a blender or food processor and then return to pan.   Stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.

When ready to serve, cut Prosciutto into strips.  Saute in about 2 tsp of olive oil in a nonstick pan until crisp.  Serve soup with a few pieces of the crispy Prosciutto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese in each soup bowl and ladle hot soup over top.

The soup is currently bubbling on the stove, I’ll make the guacamole in a little bit and roast the shrimp shortly before game time.  I pulled some brownies from the freezer and I can relax and see how I do in the football pool!  Enjoy rooting for your team!

Super Bowl Sunday

For us tonight’s game will be largely about the food and the commercials.  I’d prefer to see the Falcons win but I don’t desperately care and my Super Bowl pool is a pretty low stakes one.  We are having chili and I am making guacamole.  We’re having Keith’s beef chili but here are a few options (along with the guacamole recipe).

Beef and Sausage Chili (courtesy of Keith – adapted from The Silver Palate)

This is the chili that converted me (I was not a fan of chili prior to tasting this one.)  It makes enough to serve 15 – 20 people so you’ll need a good sized stockpot (we use a 12 qt pot).

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz cumin
  • 2 oz chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 TB dried basil
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 3 lbs canned  plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 TB lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz) of pitted black olives, drained

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and cook over low heat, until tender (about 10 minutes).

Add sausage meet, ground beef and sirloin cubes and cook over medium high heat until meat is well browned.  Drain as much fat as possible.

Reduce heat to low and add all ingredients except olives.  Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add olives and heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions and jalapeno peppers (for those who like it spicy) and cornbread.

Turkey Chili (courtesy of Gill)

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • chili seasoning to taste

Brown onions and garlic in oil.  Add turkey and cook (do not drain).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

Chicken Chipotle chili

  • 3 TB canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained of about 1/2 of liquid
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans black beans

Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan and brown chicken cubes (about 5 minutes.)  Remove chicken and drain on paper towels.  Pour off fat leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan.  Add onions and brown about 4 – 5 minutes.  Return chicken to pan.

Stir together flour, chili powder, cumin and salt and sprinkle over onions and chicken.  Stir and cook about 1 minute.  Add stock, tomatoes and chipotles and simmer covered about 30 minutes.  Add black beans and cook another 10 minutes.

Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

White Chicken Chili  (courtesy of Julie)

  • 2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 -2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 oz can chopped green chili
  • 1 poblano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 4 cups poached boneless, skinless chicken, cubed

In a large pan combine  the beans with the chicken broth.  In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent.  Add chilis and seasonings and mix thoroughly.  Add onion-chili mixture to the beans.  Add the chicken cubes and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through.  Add more chicken broth if needed.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions or salsa.

Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup small red beans
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large can of plum tomatoes (including juice)
  • 2 – 3 cups of water

Pour all ingredients into a pot and simmer over low heat for several hours.  Serve.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Cinco de Mayo

Mexican isn’t my favorite cuisine but there are a few dishes that I make in this category that we both love.  We haven’t had chicken fajitas in a while and I love the fact that the marinade was made last night so the chicken could sit in it overnight and the leftover chicken will be delicious on Caesar Salad on Thursday.  It looked like rain was imminent so I cooked the vegetables inside.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Fajitas

  • bone in chicken breasts (we feel that they stay juicier when grilled)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill for 5 minutes with the skin side down over direct heat and then 15 minutes other side over indirect.  Bring inside and cover with aluminum foil for a few minutes and they will be perfect.
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle pepper
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add canola oil and when oil is hot add vegetables and spices.  Cook, stirring regularly while the chicken cooks.  Don’t they look pretty?

Fajita veggies

Fajita veggies

  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe previously blogged)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)
Here are a few other Mexican options that are good for Cinqo de Mayo or any other time:

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Chicken Quesadillas

  • bone in chicken breasts, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 375 for about 40 -45 minutes.  Cooled and meat chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (I keep a jar of these in the fridge)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 TB red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • spinach
  • tomato, chopped
  • 6 ” tortillas
  • cheese (I’ve found a four cheese Mexican blend that is awesome)

In a heavy sauce pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add pepper, garlic and onion and saute until soft, 2- 4 minutes.  Add spinach and tomatoes and cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken meat and cook until chicken is warm, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and combine with cheese in a glass bowl.  Spread filling over tortillas and top with another tortilla.  Brush with olive oil and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until browned and hot.  Top with sour cream, salsa and avocado and enjoy.

Chipotle shrimp and black bean quesadilla

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1  – 2 tsp pureed chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if you are making for the first time, start with 1 tsp until you see how much heat you like)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 6″ flour tortillas (or 2 larger ones and then cut the whole thing in half)
  • 1 additional TB of olive oil
  • sour cream (I use reduced fat)
  • salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, butter, garlic and pureed chipotle.  Stir to combine for 1 minute.  Add shrimp and cook until just done.  Pour in beans and combine.  Remove from heat to a bowl and stir in cheese so it partially melts.

Divide filling between tortillas.  Top each with another tortilla and brush with olive oil.  Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes until top is golden brown and crispy.  Top with a dollop each of sour cream, salsa and chopped avocado (or guacamole).

Seviche

  • 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

Optional:

  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Super bowl eating – part 2 (really part 1)

I should have posted this first since it is the appetizer but in addition to the chili, our Super Bowl menu requires my brother-in-law’s amazing guacamole.  My husband said “That’s a lot of avocados”, but I bet it will all be eaten!

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding if it doesn’t taste quite right.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Super Bowl

It is Super Bowl Sunday but here in Baltimore, that is not as big a deal as this time last year when the Ravens were playing for the title.  This year it is much less interesting to many of us.  So we will focus on the food and the commercials and probably switch over to Downton Abbey at 9:00.  The menu has to be chili so as I have done traditionally, I give you 4 chili variations with assists from my husband and friends.  We will start with my brother-in-law’s outstanding guacamole and end with homemade brownies (the leftovers will be frozen for our ski trip.)  Christie is bringing a salad so we have something green in addition to the guacamole.  🙂  Enjoy the game.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Beef and Sausage Chili (courtesy of Keith – adapted from The Silver Palate)

This is the chili that converted me (I was not a fan of chili prior to tasting this one.)  It makes enough to serve 15 – 20 people so you’ll need a good sized stockpot (we use a 12 qt pot).

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 to 3 15 oz cans tomato sauce, as needed
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz cumin
  • 2 oz chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 TB dried basil
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 3 lbs canned  plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 TB lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz) of pitted black olives, drained and chopped

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and cook over low heat, until tender (about 10 minutes).

Add sausage meet, ground beef and sirloin cubes and cook over medium high heat until meat is well browned.  Drain as much fat as possible.

Reduce heat to low and add all ingredients except olives.  Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add olives and heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions and jalapeno peppers (for those who like it spicy) and cornbread.

Turkey Chili (courtesy of Gill)

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • chili seasoning to taste

Brown onions and garlic in oil.  Add turkey and cook (do not drain).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

White Chicken Chili  (courtesy of Julie)

  • 2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 -2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 oz can chopped green chili
  • 1 poblano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 4 cups poached boneless, skinless chicken, cubed

In a large pan combine  the beans with the chicken broth.  In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent.  Add chilis and seasonings and mix thoroughly.  Add onion-chili mixture to the beans.  Add the chicken cubes and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through.  Add more chicken broth if needed.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions or salsa.

Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup small red beans
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large can of plum tomatoes (including juice)
  • 2 – 3 cups of water

Pour all ingredients into a pot and simmer over low heat for several hours.  Serve.

Brownies

  • 2 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt chocolate, butter and sugar over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in flour, eggs and vanilla.  Transfer to a  baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in pan for at least an hour before cutting.

New neighbor party

Last year we were lucky enough to get two nice new families as neighbors.  That has provided Samantha with hours of fun playing with four adorable little boys.  Sometimes it is tough being the only girl so we are thrilled that we have two more nice new families who have moved into the neighborhood and each of them has a little girl (in addition to two more little boys.)  At least that will reduce the testosterone a little bit!

We wanted to welcome our neighbors with a party so tonight we have a mix of old and new neighbors (20 adults and 12 children) coming for dinner.  Annie is bringing an appetizer, April and Marcie both offered a dessert so we are supplying Fajitas and the fixings.  Here are the recipes:

Chicken Fajitas

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (we are doing both chicken and beef so I bought 4 1/2 pounds of chicken and tripled the ingredients below)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill until done 10 – 15 minutes.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak (I bought 3 flank steaks and tripled the ingredients below)
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
Fajita vegetables
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • vegetable oil
Whisk together first 5 ingredients.  Toss with sliced vegetables and refrigerate until ready to cook.  Cook in a large saute pan (since we’re increasing quantities we used the big wok) until soft and caramelized.
Fajita Accessories
  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe below)
  • Quesa Fresco
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Spanish Rice

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • pinch saffron

Heat oil.  Stir in onion and garlic and wilt.  Add rice and cook uncovered over medium heat until rice is translucent.  Add seasonings and broth.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes covered.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Can be made ahead.

I’ll post a review and some pictures tomorrow!

Super Bowl fare

Most years our Super Bowl tradition has been to stay in and enjoy traditional football viewing fare – guacamole and chips, chili with cornbread and all of the fixings, a green salad and something for dessert.  This year we have been invited to a get together and our hosts are basing their menu on the host city of New Orleans.  I volunteered to make something and decided on Shrimp Remoulade (and some of the leftover remoulade sauce will be delicious with our fried oysters on Tuesday.)  Here is the recipe for the shrimp remoulade as well as the guacamole and chili f you want to go that route.

Shrimp Remoulade

  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (both white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup coarse grainy mustard
  • 2 TB horseradish
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TB paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled except for tail and deveined
  • additional olive oil

Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 8 – 10 minutes until pink.  Let cool to room temperature.

Mix celery, scallions, parsley and onions in a food processor.  Add all ingredients except olive oil and process.  Add oil in a slow, steady drizzle with machine running.  Chill until ready to serve.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve with shrimp or other seafood.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Chili

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz cumin
  • 2 oz chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 TB dried basil
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 3 lbs canned  plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 TB lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz) of pitted black olives, drained

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and cook over low heat, until tender (about 10 minutes).

Add sausage meet, ground beef and sirloin cubes and cook over medium high heat until meat is well browned.  Drain as much fat as possible.

Reduce heat to low and add all ingredients except olives.  Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add olives and heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions and jalapeno peppers (for those who like it spicy) and cornbread (the cornbread from Graul’s is outstanding!).

 

Cinco de Mayo (plus one)

We are having an old friend of mine and her family over for dinner tonight.  We decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a day late and go with a Mexican theme.  Here is the menu:

Shrimp Ceviche

Chicken and Steak Fajitas with grilled vegetables, sour cream, salsa and guacamole; Spanish rice and refried beans

Kahlua Brownies

We’ll serve the entree buffet style so everyone will have their choice of chicken or steak, veggies and toppings and sides.  (My husband loves refried beans but I am not a fan.)  Here are the recipes:

Shrimp Ceviche

  •  1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined and chopped into 5 pieces each
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TB minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
Put shrimp in a large bowl with juices and garlic.  Add olive oil, peppers, cilantro and onion and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Add mango and refrigerate.  Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of napkins!

Chicken Fajitas

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person or extra if you want leftovers)
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.  Grill until done 10 – 15 minutes.

Steak Fajitas

  • 1 flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients (except steak) and whisk together.  Pour over steak and marinate (at least 4 hours but up to overnight).
Fajita vegetables
  • 2 red peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 yellow onion, thick slices
  • Pam cooking spray
Spray vegetables with Pam.  Grill in a basket 15 – 10 minutes.
Fajita Accessories
  • Tortilla shells (1 -2 per person depending upon appetite)
  • sour cream (I use lowfat)
  • salsa
  • guacamole (optional – either store bought or see recipe below)
  • refried beans (optional)
Heat tortilla shells.  Distribute chicken, peppers and onions in shells and roll up.  Top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.  Serve with refried beans as a side if desired.  (Also good with rice.)

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Spanish Rice

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • pinch saffron

Heat oil.  Stir in onion and garlic and wilt.  Add rice and cook uncovered over medium heat until rice is translucent.  Add seasonings and broth.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes covered.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add peppers and tomatoes.  Can be made ahead.

Kahlua Brownies

These are the same brownies that I usually make with a little Kahlua added in.

  • 2 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt chocolate, butter and sugar over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Stir in flour, eggs and vanilla.  Transfer to a  baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit in pan for at least an hour before cutting.  Here they are cooling:

Guacamole

I’m always fascinated by the statistics they print each year on how much guacamole will be consumed today and how much of a stadium it would fill up.  This is my brother-in-law’s recipe and although I have rarely met a guacamole I didn’t like, I think his is the best.  Leftovers are great as a sandwich spread, particularly with turkey or as a topper for a monterey jack and tomato omelet or a side with grilled tuna.  Leftovers don’t always happen though.

Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)