Merry Christmas to me!

Merry Christmas to me!

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas from Dave and my boys!** Whoo!

**No, I don’t mind getting kitchen appliances as gifts. I find a lot of joy in the kitchen and the geeky side of me loves checking out the latest in “kitchen tech.”

Believe it or not, through all my cooking adventures, I never delved too much into pressure cooking. I remember my parents’ pressure cooker, it was the kind with the little weight that sat on top: when the pressure was just right, the little weight would rock back and forth singing an undulating whistle of steam. I don’t remember the specific recipes they’d cook, I think it was vegetable soup and maybe chili.

It was years before I’d really delve into how a pressure cooker works and why it could be one of the most useful things in a busy family’s kitchen. More »

22. September 2016 · Comments Off on Blue Apron: No, They Didn’t Pay Me to Say What I’ve Been Saying · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
This was my family's favorite Blue Apron meal so far.

This was my family’s favorite Blue Apron meal so far. The chicken was flavorful, the potatoes were delicious, and that’s a homemade honey-mustard dipping sauce!

I know you’ve been seeing the numerous Instagram posts about our family’s Blue Apron meals. Unlike many of the other reviews out there, Blue Apron did not send me a bunch of free meals in return for the publicity.

However, I did take advantage of a promotion they often offer to new customers: your first four meals are delivered for the price of one.

I’ve been getting their meal boxes periodically for 2 months now and I wanted to summarize my thoughts on the program. This is a data dump of the features our family likes, as well as the things our family doesn’t like. I’ll try to organize the thoughts so it can be useful to someone. More »

The bacon was meant to make it appealing to my sons. It seemed to work!

The bacon was meant to make it appealing to my sons. It seemed to work!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It was just another day here: the boys had school, and Dave and I went to work as usual. Last weekend I made a corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner (complete with homemade sourdough bread, for another post) because today I needed the Crock Pot for a potluck luncheon.

We decided to have our traditional corned beef on Sunday, and tonight I made bangers and mash. Which actually works out pretty well for a weeknight dinner.

Today I want to share with you the delicious roasted cabbage recipe. This was something I “threw together”, using the 1/2 head of cabbage left from Sunday’s dinner, along with some saved bacon fat, Himalayan salt, fresh ground pepper, and strips of bacon.

I had a basic idea of how to roast cabbage. Hot oven, wedges of cabbage, drizzled with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 30 minutes and you’re done. You can do something similar with cauliflower and broccoli (or other cole crops). Let me walk you through it.

But I had this jar of bacon fat…which I keep on hand for sautéing greens or stir frying. There’s usually salt in the fat that keeps me from having to add extra salt.

So here’s what I did. First heated my oven to 450F.

Then I sliced my cabbage into wedges. The half-head of cabbage — leftover from Sunday’s boiled dinner — yielded six somewhat-thin wedges. Let’s call them 30 degree wedges. I broke out my jar of bacon fat and started “buttering” the cabbage with it. Actually, I had to let the jar of fat sit out for about an hour, this gave it a peanut-butter-like consistency.

No formal measurements with the application, but I wanted to be generous so it would trickle down through the wedges while it baked.

Looks like I'm buttering the slices of cabbage, doesn't it? But that's bacon fat I'm smearing across it...

Looks like I’m buttering the slices of cabbage, doesn’t it? But that’s bacon fat I’m smearing across it…

Next, I salted and peppered the cabbage. I didn’t need a lot of salt, but I was quite generous with the pepper.

Oops, I didn’t take any pictures of the salting/peppering operation.

I then broke out a package of bacon and simply cut off 2-3″ of the package:

Just take some kitchen shears and lob off some bacon!

Just take some kitchen shears and lob off some bacon!

I lay that bacon on top of the cabbage wedges.

Bacon-ey...I mean...cabbage-y goodness!

Bacon-ey…I mean…cabbage-y goodness!

And into the oven it goes! 450F for 30 minutes.

And it comes out looking like this:

IMG_1022

Okay, maybe this turned more into a bacon dish?

Nonetheless, when served up with the bangers and mash, it was a big hit! Even with both sons, which is a miracle in our house! I think I could have used a little more salt, believe it or not. The bacon fat apparently wasn’t quite as salty as I had assumed it would be.

It looks like the cabbage dish stole the dinner show!

It looks like the cabbage dish stole the dinner show! Do you like my Shamrock-colored Fiestaware plate? I have two each of several colors, and this is one of the colors. Perfect for today.

Here’s the recipe for you:

Roasted Cabbage with Bacon (Roasted Bacon with Cabbage?)

– Head of green cabbage
– Bacon grease, preferably at room temperature
– Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
– 4 strips of bacon, cut into 3″ strips

Preheat oven to 450F. Slice cabbage into wedges. For a full head of cabbage, try cutting it into 12 wedges. Lay wedges on a greased baking sheet.

Using a butter knife, spread a generous layer of bacon fat across each wedge. I used about 1 tablespoon of fat per wedge.

Salt and pepper the wedges, then lay 2-3 strips of bacon across each wedge.

Bake at 450F for 30 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

We haven't even had it for dinner yet but it smells so good, I have to write down this recipe!

We haven’t even had it for dinner yet but it smells so good, I have to write down this recipe!

A bit unorthodox for me, but I have some green chile stew simmering on the stove. It’s a new recipe. The house smells SO GOOD, and the tastes I’ve had are SO GOOD, I need to write down this recipe now before I forget.

Not only does it mean I get to share it with you, but I can also stash this URL in my “Favorite Recipes” folder on my Chrome Bookmarks.

Since we moved to Colorado, we’ve been greeted with green chile of all kinds. Most will have heard of the famous “Hatch” chile, which can be only called that if grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. There are festivals celebrating this fruit*, and numerous roadside stands appear throughout Colorado Springs selling freshly roasted Hatch chiles.

I found this in my grocery store’s frozen food section. It’s available nationwide, go to http://www.selectnewmexico.com/ to see if it’s available near you.

*Indeed, chile peppers are fruit.

I was grocery shopping today and I happened across this 1.5 lb. bag of frozen green chiles. When I was looking at the product, debating whether to buy it or not, I saw a recipe for green chile stew with pork on the back of the package.

I only needed some pork to complete the ingredients list on the back, so I picked up some stew meat and went home to try it out.

This is a very easy, very basic recipe, without the cream-base that many others have. This also seems close to the world-famous Denver Post green chile recipe, which I’ve also tried.

Here’s my version of the recipe, adapted from the one on the back of the package of Select New Mexico 24 oz. of green chile peppers (which I can’t find online to save my life!).

New Mexico Green Chile Stew

Feeds 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 1-2 lbs. lean pork cut into 1/2″ cubes (I used pork stew meat, which is readily available in southern Colorado)
  • 24 oz. of chopped green chile (such as 1 package of Select New Mexico green chile, but you could use canned chiles also)
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped (I used 1/2 a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles, but if you like Ro-Tel, use the whole can)
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch, arrowroot flour, or wheat flour mixed into a 1/3 c. of water — this is called a slurry
  • 4 c. chicken broth or stock (which I made with Das Dutchman Essenhaus Chicken Base, but I could also use homemade)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • Dried Mexican oregano to taste
  • Shredded cheese and/or sour cream for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium-sized pot or Dutch oven. Saute the garlic for about one minute, then add the cubed pork. Brown the pork thoroughly. Add the chile, tomato, cornstarch slurry, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer for 45-60 minutes. Season. Garnish.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite green chile recipe? Share it here! We’re still looking…

No, not pretty, but so tasty!

No, not pretty, but so tasty!

My husband and I made a radical change to our diets this new year. We are attempting a Gluten-Free lifestyle. We aren’t allergic to gluten, but we are trying to see if some lingering ailments subside: joint discomfort, congestion, and (for Dave) IT band problems. I’ve not had arthritis in my hands or knees for the past week (a problem I’ve had in cold climates for many years) so I think we might be on to something. More »

Not the prettiest dinner, but my boys devour it! This is two-way Cincinnati chili.

Not the prettiest dinner, but my boys devour it! This is three-way Cincinnati chili.

(The recipe is in a link below, I did not re-print the recipe, since it isn’t mine).

Do you have a bunch of family members visiting for the holidays? If so, may I present an easy way to feed the masses before you have to ratchet things up for the big Christmas dinner?

Dave and I have accumulated favorite recipes from all of the great places we’ve been stationed. We make chicken etouffee from our time in Louisiana, kalbi ribs from our time in Korea, and Carolina-style pork BBQ sandwiches from our time in North Carolina. This is our “souvenir” recipe from our short tour in western Ohio.

Unlike southwestern chili that’s spicier and chunkier, Cincinnati chili is more basic on the ingredients, very smooth-consistency, and has a distinctive cinnamon-ey flavor. The cool thing about this recipe is that you can buy the spices for the first time you make this, and you’ll have enough on hand to make this dish over and over again. Everything else is easily obtained: the meat, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce.

Another unique thing about Cincinnati chili is the way it’s served. You have the following options:

  • Bowl: just the chili in a bowl
  • Two-way: chili served on a bed of spaghetti
  • Three-way: like two-way, but topped with cheese
  • Four-way: like three-way, but also topped with diced onions
  • Five-way, like four-way, but also topped with beans

Oyster crackers, garlic, and hot sauce are also popular toppings. There are “chili parlors” located throughout southwestern Ohio, and Dave and I had the chance to try out two popular ones: Skyline and Gold Star**. Like a Philadelphian who will have allegiances to Geno’s or Pat’s cheesesteaks, most Cincinnati natives will declare an allegiance to their favorite chili parlor.

**Funny story about Gold Star chili. I was on a flight layover in Cincinnati in summer 2009. I saw a Gold Star restaurant in the airport and bought three cans of their chili for the family. Then my flight was canceled, I had to exit the airport to a hotel for the night with just my carry-on bag. The following morning, I couldn’t get those cans of chili back across security; they were confiscated.

My parents shared with me their favorite Cincinnati chili recipe, from the pages of Gourmet magazine, and it’s been a favorite in our house for years. It’s supposed to be a replica of Empress Chili, which is allegedly the oldest Cincinnati chili parlor. Most of the time we substitute 3 lbs. of ground turkey for the 4 lbs. of beef, although you’ll have a more authentic flavor with the beef.

Jacob enjoys helping me make this, often taking on the daunting task of sauteeing 4-5 c. of chopped onions and 3-4 lbs. of ground meat.

Try setting up a “chili bar’ for the family, letting everyone serve their own pasta and chili, as well as choosing what toppings to add.

A full recipe of this chili will serve six, and can be easily doubled or tripled for your holiday guests! If you choose to serve it two-, three-, or four-way, you will have even more servings per recipe, since you’re ladling less than a serving onto the bed of pasta.

21. October 2013 · Comments Off on The Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

PeanutButterCookies

 

This past weekend I made peanut butter cookies. In part because I had a jar of peanut butter that needed to be finished off ASAP. It was “natural” peanut butter that had separated during our move to Colorado and didn’t look so hot. I figured mixed into the cookie dough well enough it’d be fine.

The recipe I have for peanut butter cookies is adapted from a basic recipe I saw on the All Recipes website. It’s very basic. However, I added in some techniques that makes them almost melt-in-your-mouth! I was very pleased that this recipe worked at my home’s higher altitude also.

It’s science, my friends! See below in the instructions.

***************************************

Peanut Butter Cookies that Melt in Your Mouth

1 cup unsalted butter (you may use salted, but then you should halve the salt)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, it’s good either way)

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars. DO NOT SKIMP on this step. You want to beat this for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Walk away for a few minutes, catch up on your mail…fold the laundry.

Stop the mixer every once in a while to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

You are incorporating air bubbles into the mixture which helps give the cookie dough a lighter texture when baking.

With the mixer still running, add the eggs, one at a time. Beat mixture until it lightens in color, another 1-2 minutes.

Stop using the mixer now! You will now want a large spoon or spatula to slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll the dough into 1 – 1 1/2″ balls and place at least 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork dusted in flour, make the ubiquitous waffle-like fork-tines pattern on the ball of cookie dough, flattening it just a little.

Bake in a 375F oven for 10 minutes. Do not overcook.

*****************************************

As much as I love the texture of this cookie, I’m still trying to tweak the recipe to bring out more peanut butter flavor. This past weekend’s recipe had dark brown sugar and I think it subdued the peanutty flavor some. Also, this peanut butter was sort of old, dating from this past spring.

I would like to try this recipe with light brown sugar and fresh-made peanut butter. I might be doing that as soon as this weekend, Dave requested peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and I have a bag of Wilbur chocolate chips for him!

What’s your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe! Share it with us!

Presenting, Dave's first-ever BACON EXPLOSION! It was very good, but this log serves 24 people.

Presenting, Dave’s first-ever BACON EXPLOSION! It was very good, but this log serves 24 people.

Dave’s squadron in Florida has an annual tradition: BACONFEST! One day, everyone shares their favorite bacon recipes.

In 2011 Dave made bacon cream cheese roll ups, and I can’t remember what he did in 2012, if he did anything at all.

While it was tempting to make another beer-bacon cheesecake, this year Dave proclaimed, “I’M MAKING A BACON EXPLOSION!”.

More »

25. April 2013 · Comments Off on On My Latest Trip to Super Walmart: Ice Cream News · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
This is really yummy!

This is really yummy!

Tonight I went to the Bellevue, Nebraska Walmart Super Center mainly to pick up some Dorothy Lynch salad dressing for my boys. It’s the only kind Timmy will have on his salads, otherwise he eats his salad “dry”.

I decided to pick up a small container of ice cream for myself while I was there, and I was in search of a pint-sized container, such as Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs.

I found the gelato pictured above, and it’s very yummy! While I have been sitting here watching the NFL Draft enjoying it, I looked at the nutrition information:

  • Serving size: 1/2 cup
  • Number of Servings: 3.5

What?

Then I looked at the size of the container: 14 ounces?

Scammed again! More »

05. April 2013 · Comments Off on Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake | Tide and Thyme · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I’m trying a new tool called “Press This” on my own blog, mainly for some training for GeekMom. I just want to see what Press This will do. Enjoy this recipe in the meantime 🙂

Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake | Tide and Thyme.