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Kale & Quinoa salad

Loosely based on a recipe by Andrew Zimmern that I tweaked to increase the protein, reduce the calories, and make more sesame-y.

1 bag Trader Joe's prepared kale.
3 tbsp lemon juice
kosher salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp brown or red miso
1 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
2-3 cups prepared quinoa

1. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the lemon juice and a generous pinch or two of salt. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the sesame seeds, miso and sugar. Gradually whisk in the oils. Add this mixture to the kale and toss well. Add quinoa and toss again. Serve.

Chili con Carne

Pot o' chili


2-2.5 pounds ground or cubed beef and/or pork
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
9 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle amber beer
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 cups beef or chicken bouillon, plus more if needed
Up to 3 tbsp masa if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of dried kidney, navy, and/or black beans

1. Prepare beans according to package directions. I usually add dried arbol chilis and some bouillon to the water to add some flavor.

2. In a large pot, brown the meat and remove to a plate or bowl. Do this in batches if needed - you don't want to crowd the pan. You want it nicely browned for better flavor.

3. Saute the onions, bell peppers, and garlic a few minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste and spices & cook until the tomato paste darkens a bit. Add the beer to deglaze, then the plum tomatoes, beef broth, and cocoa powder. Mix well.

4. Add the meat, veggies, and beans. Cook everything together for at least an hour, preferably two or three. If it's too thick add more bouillon; if it's too thin add some masa. Serve with cheese and cornbread.

More deliciousness...Collapse )

Easy Cornbread

Skillet cornbread

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Good Sesame Cookies

From Peg Bracken's "I Didn't Come Here to Argue", makes about 4 1/2 dozen.

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
sesame seeds

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then slowly stir the dry mix in to the wet ingredients.  Chill for an hour or so.

Roll dough into little balls, about the size of a large cherry, then shake in a bag with sesame seeds.  Put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Michael Symon's Bacon Noodle Surprise

Saw this on The Chew and had to make it.  Yum!  I use half a cabbage instead of a whole one - seems better proportioned that way.

1 Package Pasta (any flat noodle should be fine)
1 Head of Cabbage (thinly sliced)
1/4 Bunch Parsley
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 Package Bacon cut into 1" pieces
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 tablespoon Butter
Onion (chopped)
Salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions.

In a large pot add olive oil and bacon and cook bacon until well done.  

In a large saute pan add butter, cabbage and onion. Cook until tender. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer cabbage and onions to pot with bacon. Add parsley.   

Add cooked pasta to cabbage pot. Add sour cream and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Clam chowder

Chowder in a bread bowl


4-6 slices bacon,l cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
1 cup cream
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2- to 3/4- inch cubes
Salt and pepper/grains of paradise


In a large heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Pour off all bacon fat except 2 tablespoons. Add the butter, onions and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Cook the flour a couple of minutes. Add the stock, the juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

Chicken pot pie casserole

Adapted from Alton Brown's recipe. We get about 8-9 servings out of it.



2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs and/or breast, skin and bone removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 ounces mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
4-5 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or grains of paradise
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 ounces butter
3 ounces flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups 2 percent milk, room temperature
8 ounces frozen green peas, thawed (you can double this or add 8 oz of any veggie you want)
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
1 teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon

Pastry Crust:

1 package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

Egg Wash:

1 large egg beaten
1 tablespoon water


Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

For the filling: Place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and set over high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken, season with 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside but not dry, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside in a medium bowl.

Decrease the heat to medium and heat the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil in the skillet until it shimmers. Add the onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, black pepper, dried thyme, and dried tarragon, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and melt. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring continually. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the peas, thyme, tarragon, and reserved chicken. Cover and set aside.

For the egg wash: Combine the beaten egg and water in a small dish and set aside.

To build the pie: Put the warm filling into a 13-inch rectangular oven safe dish.

Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Unfold, smooth out flat, and place over the dish, overlapping a bit in the middle and tacking down along the edges. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to 400 degrees F and bake until the crust is puffed and golden brown and the filling is bubbly, another 20 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving.


from "Great Taste No Pain!" by Sherry Brescia

5-6 large beets, shredded
1 large chopped onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups shredded cabbage
6-8 cups veggie broth
1 bay leaf
pinch thyme
salt & pepper to taste
sour cream

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat and saute onion 5 minutes. Add celery & carrots and saute 5 more minutes. Add bell pepper and saute a few more minutes. Add beets, broth, and herbs. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer 15 more minutes or until veggies are tender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl.

Pasta e Fagioli

from "Great Taste No Pain!" by Sherry Brescia

3 x 15oz cans cannelini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 diced carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 minced cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
6 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups cooked small pasta such as elbows, shells, or bowties
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Mash or puree one of the cans of beans. Set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot and saute onuion approx 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, and basil and cook another 8-10 minutes. Add broth, mashed/pureed beans, whole beans, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add pasta and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with more cheese if desired.