Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Pesto and Tomatoes

The picky kid was hungry and her usual go to is Mac and Cheese. For someone that hates cheese this was always a surprising choice. She would eat it every day if she could. So when she asked for me to make a Pasta Primavera I was fine with that idea. Except for the fact I had no more fresh vegetables. None. Nothing I could throw in except for some left over little tomatoes. The whole wheat spaghetti worked well with this. And there we had a perfect lunch. Pasta. Tomatoes. Pesto. A little cheese for me, none for Picky. And garlic. Garlic overload. I had already chopped up all the garlic and mixed it in the oil when I decided to throw in some pesto. An abundance of garlic. Just don't stand to close. We are pretty garlicky at this point. But boy was that good.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Pesto and Fresh Tomatoes

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti or any pasta, cooked until al dente (about 7-8 minutes) save about 1/8 cup of the pasta cooking water
2 pints grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or any small tomato, sliced in half. Or 3 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup pesto (homemade or jarred)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, pesto, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let it marinate at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Add the hot cooked spaghetti to the tomato mixture, pour in a little of the pasta cooking water and toss well. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle a bit more oil, if you like, and serve.

For more mosaics, stop by the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Korean Steak Taco's

When I saw these steak taco's over at Pam's For the Love of Cooking I knew exactly what we were having for dinner. And I completely agree with her that it was difficult to stop at just two. But I did. And that didn't stop me from going out and getting another flank steak and we'll have them again this weekend! They were so good. I should have had three.

I added broccoli slaw instead of lettuce because we like the broccoli slaw. I omitted cilantro because of the picky ones who still insist it takes like a Dove bar and I don't mean Dove chocolate. I use parsley instead. And red onions along with the green onions. I like red onions with steak. Served with roasted snap peas and some brown rice.

Korean Steak Taco's
Source: For the Love of Cooking adapted from a recipe in Gourmet

1 lb of flank steak, cut against the grain into bite sized pieces or sliced thin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Salad Dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 1/2 cups of broccoli slaw
1 cup of napa cabbage, chopped finely
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup shredded carrots

small whole wheat flour tortillas
Sriracha sauce
avocado, diced
2 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts
lime wedges

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, water, vinegar, garlic, and sugar together in a large zip lock bag. Slice the flank steak, against the grain, into small bite size pieces or very thin slices. Place the meat into the marinade and refrigerator for 2-24 hours.

Combine the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl to make the salad dressing. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan or a skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the pan. Once the pan is hot, add the flank steak, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often until the meat is cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Remove from the grill pan and set aside.

Toss the broccoli slaw and Napa cabbage together with the red onion and shredded carrots. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of salad dressing on the salad and toss to coat evenly. Add more dressing if needed.

Wrap the flour tortillas in a damp towel and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften them up. Place some of the slaw in the tortilla and top with steak. Add avocado if you like. Top with some Sriracha sauce and a squeeze of lime. Serve.

 Beth at Beth Fish Reads for her fun Weekend Cooking Party. Every weekend. It's open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share! Go on over and see some fun posts.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

What to do with leftover roast chicken?

Make soup! 

Specifically you should make this soup, Black Bean and Ancho Chile Soup with Roasted Chicken, Cilantro, and Lime. From the book Bird in the Oven by Mindy Fox. It has become one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Can't rave enough about it, we've loved every recipe I've tried from this book. I got pretty ambitious with this one, ambitious for me anyway. Made the stock from scratch from a roasted chicken the night before. Usually I'd use a boxed stock and save homemade strictly for matzoh ball soup. And usually from raw pullets. I never thought to use the carcass from the roast chicken before, it made a great stock. I got almost a quart from one roast chicken. And the leftover meat wasn't all mushed up from being boiled for hours. This was excellent.

I left out the cilantro completely, my kids think it tastes like soap. What do they know? They never had their mouths washed with soap. But I did once when I was small. So who knows, I just may be used to that taste. I pretty quickly learned never to repeat things my older brother said to say to mom! We laugh about that now but it was hard to explain to her at the time that it's his fault with my mouth full of bubbles :)  What we put our poor mother through back in those days!

Since it was somewhat spur of the moment, the black bean soup part, I used canned beans. The chicken stock was planned, I decided last minute that I would turn into the black bean soup, so I had to use what was on hand, and I had ancho chili powder instead of whole dried chilies. Didn't matter, the soup was outstanding. I wouldn't change a thing the next time I make it. The chicken stock was perfect, great flavor and it cooled to be like jiggly jello, just like the golden goodness my grandma used to make. The roasting gave it a deep delicious flavor. I'll never throw away the roast chicken bones again!

Rich Roasted Chicken Stock

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup

Black Bean and Ancho Chile Soup with Roasted Chicken, Chorizo and Lime

Black Bean and Ancho Chile Soup with Roasted Chicken, Chorizo and Lime  
Original Source: From the book Bird in the Oven by Mindy Fox

3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed well
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 whole white or yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon guajillo chile powder, or use any chiles you like
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups roast chicken, shredded
4 ounces fully cooked chorizo, sliced into coins (I used Aidells chorizo, 2 links)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
2 limes, sliced in wedges
2 ripe avocado's, pitted and cubed
scallions, chopped
sour cream
diced tomatoes or salsa

In a heavy soup pot, combine half of the chorizo, 2 cans of the beans, chile powders, onion, garlic, oregano, chicken stock and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about an hour.

Remove from heat and very carefully, using an immersion blender, whiz the soup to a puree. You can use a blender but it's very hot, so be very careful.  Return the soup to the heat and add the last can of beans and the shredded chicken, simmer on medium-low for another 15-20 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering, cook the remaining chorizo in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil over medium-high heat until they start to get a little browned. Remove and save for garnish.

Ladle soup in bowls, squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with chorizo, diced avocado, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, scallions, or whatever garnishes you like.

Rich Roast Chicken Stock
Original Source: From the book Bird in the Oven by Mindy Fox
1 roast chicken carcass, plus the neck, leftover meat saved separately
1 onion, with skin, quartered
2 shallots, with skin, cut in half
5 garlic cloves, with peel, smashed
3 carrots, washed and peeled, cut lengthwise in half
2 parsnips, washed and peeled, cut lengthwise in half
1 small turnip, washed, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, plus tops, washed and cut lengthwise in half
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
handful of fresh parsley, dill or any other fresh herbs you like 
salt, to taste

Add all of the ingredients to a large stockpot and add cold water to cover by several inches. Over medium-high heat bring the water to just a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-6 hours, uncovered for a very rich broth. Simmer for 2-3 hours for a lighter broth. Taste for seasoning, salt to taste.

Remove from heat, strain the soup into a container, discard the solids and let the stock cool. Refrigerate and skim fat from the cooled stock. You can freeze the stock.

 Beth at Beth Fish Reads for her fun Weekend Cooking Party. Every weekend. It's open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share! Go on over and see some fun posts.

Souper Sundays (soups, salads and sandwiches) @ Kahakai Kitchen

with the



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kale Chips

So these are definitely not going to replace potato chips, peanuts or pretzels on my snack list but they make an interesting addition. Addicting in a way. First taste was very strong greens but then it sort of grew on me. A friend of mine had raved about kale chips and she said I should try making kale chips in my quest for healthier eating. So I thought I'd give them a try. Took a whole ten minutes. Add any spices you like. I used salt, cayenne and garlic. Nice kick. But there is a fine line between crisp "chips" and burned. My track record is burned but I caught these in time. Exactly 11 minutes for mine at 350 degrees F, they were fine. My son prefers the Roasted Seaweed Snacks from Trader Joe's. I liked the kale. They sort of grew on me.

Handle carefully or you'll have flakes everywhere. Found that out quickly. And just don't sneeze near all those flakes!

Interesting could go either way, these were very good interesting. I wonder how it would work with spinach. I'll try that next. And cut them in smaller pieces. Live and learn.

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale, washed and dried really well
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper. to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
or any other flavors you like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Chop the kale in large bite size pieces (like the size of a potato chip) and toss well with the oil salt, pepper and whatever spices you choose. 

On a single baking sheet, lined with parchment or Silpat, arrange the kale in one layer then bake for about 10-12 minutes. The edges should be browned and the kale will be crisp. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cincinnati Four Way Chili

We finally tried Cincinnati Chili the other night. Four way. Spaghetti, Chili, Cheese and Onions. I forgot to get the oyster crackers. I saw it on Food Jaunts, it looked so good and that was that, I had to make it. It's nothing like the chili I normally make, which is more like Texas Chili but I do use beans. Miss Picky likes them and when it comes to food if she's asking for something good for you, I'm throwing it in there. So much for authentic. Those real Texans who say beans don't belong in chili never had to feed my picky teenager. And I finally found something that went really well with whole wheat spaghetti. The chili. I needed to use up that last box. Whole wheat spaghetti just didn't go over well with marinara at my house. But it's perfect with Cincinnati 4-way Chili. Just perfect.

and leftovers are even better!

Cincinnati Style Chili

2 lbs ground extra lean ground beef (at least 95% lean)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cups water
2 cups beef stock
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 bay leaf (fish it out before serving)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 dashes Tabasco or similar sauce
2 teaspoons paprika

shredded cheddar cheese
chopped onions
red kidney beans
oyster crackers
spaghetti, cooked according to package directions (I used whole wheat and it was good with the chili!)

Bring the water and beef stock to a boil and add the ground beef. Stir until the beef is separated. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 to 3 hours or until thickened.

Serve over the spaghetti and top with cheese, kidney beans, onions and oyster crackers.

 Beth at Beth Fish Reads for her fun Weekend Cooking Party. Every weekend. It's open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share! Go on over and see some fun posts.

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