Brussels Sprouts + Beans

Tonight while the other half is out enjoying his monthly “Man Club” where they do manly things (actually they play video games and eat tacos – I’m not sure if this is exactly “manly” but I will let them believe that) I decided to make myself a good fish dinner.   I don’t get to eat my beloved fish too often as Matthew dislikes it and usually we are cooking for 2, so when the chance comes up to eat alone I will usually spoil myself with either salmon or sushi.  Tonight it was salmon – but what for a side? This delicious Brussels Sprouts and beans dish!  This would be a great side dish with any type of meat or fish.  It would be great on pasta too!  Actually it would be great as a main dish with some crusty bread.  What I’m trying to say is it’s really good and if you love Brussels Sprouts you will be very happy.  I love them!

The below ingredients are for 3-4 side dish servings.  I kept a good bit to snack on for lunch the next few days.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Brussels Sprouts (cut them in half)
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans (drained)
1/2 tablespoon butter
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle

Directions:
In a large pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat up to medium-high heat.  Add your Brussels Sprouts and sauté until they are browned on both sides.   Remove the Sprouts and put on a plate.
Add the other 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the now empty pan, add garlic.  Stir until garlic is browned.
Put the Brussels Sprouts back in the pan and then add the chicken broth.  Toss the Sprouts to get them fully coated in the broth.  Let them cook in the broth for about 5 minutes.
Add the cannellini beans and butter.  Stir until all the butter has melted.
Remove off the stove, and add the Parmesan cheese on top and stir.
Enjoy!

Prepping:
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Browning:
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Setting the Sprouts aside to brown the garlic:
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Mixing everything together:
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Beautiful, isn’t it?
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Served with some salmon and ginger ale:WP_20130124_027

Have a nice dinner!

Mexican Velveeta Cauliflower

Look, I love Velveeta.  I’m not even trying to hide it.  I would walk down the street with the Velveeta block in my hand nibbling on it if society would not frown upon that.  Instead, I will sit at my desk and eat it.  I love everything about it.   I love it cubed.   I love Velveeta macaroni and cheese (it’s the best). If you don’t like Velveeta I’m not sure if we can really be friends (just kidding, sort of).  I also love cauliflower, it’s yummy and good for you!  I bought some cauliflower a few days ago and planned to make cauliflower soup but today I was craving cauliflower and cheese, so that’s what I made for dinner. I know cauliflower is good for you, but this recipe probably wouldn’t be considered healthy so just a warning.   This was a big hit, as soon as Matthew tasted it he said “Write this recipe down!”.  Calm down man.
I love this recipe on a cold night, or just a “cheer me up” meal. It’s very delicious and quick to make.  It also only needs a few ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 block of Velveeta (16 oz)
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can of diced green chiles

Directions:
Steam your cauliflower for a few minutes until it’s tender but still has a crunch.
Cube your Velveeta.  Take one cube and just eat it.
Put Velveeta, diced tomatoes, chiles in a small pot over medium low heat.
Keep stirring until it’s melted completely.
Pour over steamed cauliflower.
Enjoy!

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Full walk through behind the cut.

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Simple Meatball Subs

We’ve had meatball subs twice this week.  Once I was down with the flu (still trying to get 100% back) and could not smell or taste anything.  As I sat there nibbling on my sandwich Matthew kept “ooohing” and “ahhhing” declaring this was so delicious.  I glared at him, wanting to cry.  “But I can’t taste anything”.  Then he laughed evilly.  What a mean boy.
So yesterday because he wanted them again and I wanted to taste them, it was declared that Friday night was going to be meatball night.  I know, we live life on the wild side.
There’s 2 ways to go with this, yes you can make your own meatballs,  I’m going to do this soon and make kale turkey meatballs which would probably be pretty delicious.  Or you can be lazy like we were and just buy them from the store because they are only $4 and they are already made for you.
Then you will need:
steak rolls (grab them fresh from near the deli, they are 25 cents a piece here)
tomato sauce (did you freeze some from your garden? that’s what we’re using)
few cut up pieces of mozzarella

From here it’s simple.
If you need to defrost your tomato sauce because you are using a frozen one, then do this step first.
Then add the sauce to a skillet. Set it to a medium/high heat.
Add your meatballs to the sauce, and basically let them soak in the sauce for 10-20 minutes.
The sauce should be simmering throughout, the meatballs should be living in this sauce and soaking up all the flavor.
When the meatballs are almost ready, throw your rolls in the oven to get them crispy.
Cut up some slices of cheese.
Then just make your sub!

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You want your meatballs to soak up all the sauce, so just let them sit in the sauce, toss them around in it.  They should be very moist and full of flavor when they are done.
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Throw your steak rolls in your toaster oven.. you want them just slightly brown.
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Steak rolls are great because you can dig out a little pocket and stuff the meatballs and sauce in them.
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Then add some cheese.  Oh boy, you are going to be delighted!

Dairy Free Chocolate Fudge

No seriously, the title is true.  I made dairy free chocolate fudge and it was amazing. It changed my life, it will change yours.  I originally made it because I always felt bad for a friend who couldn’t eat any of the desserts I made because he has a no dairy rule.  So I set out on a mission to make a non dairy dessert – what would it be – cake? brownies? cupcakes?  Then I came across fudge.   Could it be done?  I was a skeptic, I kept imagining the first bite of the fudge and me breaking down into tears with a “chocolate” stained apron on, shaking my head at the effort. But there was no sadness, only happiness.  Everyone who has tried this fudge (I made lots of people) told me they can’t tell it’s non dairy.  I can’t either.  Try it!  Even if you like dairy, this would probably be a healthier option than using milk/cream/butter.

Check after the cut for full recipe and instructions.

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Snowmen Corn Muffins

I bought a silicone snowmen muffin mold last winter and never used it.  Today when cleaning out my crafts cabinet, I found it.  Immediately, I needed to make something! It’s December already! It’s December 3rd!  It’s chilly.  I want something sweet, but I don’t want to eat cookies right now.  Well actually I do want to eat cookies right now but I am saving that sweet tooth for mid/end of month.  I’m trying real hard, but man there is delicious sweets on every corner bakery.  I see you snowman cupcake winking at me, hey red and green glittery cinnabun smiling at me, oh hello gingerbread dancing at me! I love you all,  but I wanted muffins tonight.  Corn muffins! So let’s make some…
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Full ingredients/instructions behind the cut.

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos + Goodbye iPhone, Hello Lumia!

I’m not sure if you can tell by the picture size and overall quality, but I got a new phone.  It’s beautiful and is hands down the best camera in a phone I’ve ever seen.  The ability to shoot with practically no light, but magically doesn’t appear it was ever shot that way, always amazes me.   With that, I had to give up my iPhone.. and all the pretty apps that came with it!  But that’s ok, Windows Phone marketplace has equally great apps, including a allrecipes app that defeats the iphone version.  So while spinning the dinner wheel on my phone a few days ago looking for slow cooker recipes I came across cilantro lime chicken taco recipe that I had to try.  Off to the store I went with my phone and checked off each ingredient.  Then off I walked home.. straight to our crockpot!

I followed the recipe almost exactly, but a few things:
This is going to make ALOT.  You could feed 8 people burritos pretty easily.
This is REALLY GOOD.  You might only be able to feed 4 people because everyone needs seconds..
I cooked it on low for 6 hours.
With 30 minutes left, I took the chicken breasts out from the crockpot, put on a cutting board, shred up, then I put it back in the crockpot to mix in with the juices. This guarantees all your chicken will be moist and full of flavor, and not just the outside of the chicken.
Full recipe here.
This was my first full meal I made with my new phone/camera, and I tried to take pictures of everything in the worst light possible, we’re talking about a kitchen with no light on at all at times.  Pretty impressive camera, if you’re thinking about making the change.. check out the Lumia 920.  Not a sponsored post, just loving mine!
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Simple ingredients.  Don’t you love the smell of cilantro?
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This is 3 pounds of boneless chicken breasts. 
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I practically shot these pictures in the dark. 
Now let them cook for 5 hours, 30 minutes on low…
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Take the chicken out, shred it up.
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Mix it around with the sauce.. make sure everything is wet.  Cook for 30 minutes more.
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Oh sweet mother.. look at that.  Just look at it!
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I like to put some homemade pico on top…..
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Then roll it up.. serve with some refried (black!) beans and chips on the side.  Enjoy!

New Food Loves

In love with 2 new supermarket finds..
Cilantro Green Olive Salsa – a new salsa idea which is so yummy.  Bonus, put it in the refrigerator, it’s even more amazing chilled. Ingredients: Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Water, Onion, Manzanillo Olives (Olives, Water, Salt, Lactic Acid), Cilantro, Serrano Chiles, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sugar, Red Bell Pepper. All natural. No Preservatives. Product is 100% gluten-free.
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Peanut Butter & Co Smooth Operator Peanut Butter – I will never buy JIF again.  Decided to try it and am glad I did, this is as creamy as it gets.  If you’re feeling down, skip the bread and just take a big spoonful out of the jar – it’s that good.  They also have cinnamon raisin swirl, white chocolate, dark chocolate, maple….. must try them all!  Peanut butter is kosher, gluten-free and vegan.
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Tabatchnick Cabbage Soup = NOM

I found these soups made by Tabatchnick in the frozen food department a few days ago. Wikipedia tells me the  brand Tabatchnick has been around since 1905 but they are new to me.  The soup was on sale so I thought let’s try them because I LOVE SOUP.  I got a cabbage soup and a chicken broth with noodles and dumplings.  I can’t speak for the chicken noodle one yet as I haven’t tried it but I had the cabbage soup and I’m in love!  I was surprised when I opened it up and actually found 2 pouches of cabbage soup, each only 90 calories, so you get 2 servings of soup!   I admit it doesn’t look exactly like the front of the box (what does?), but it’s really delicious and much thicker than I thought it would be.  If you love cabbage soup, try it!
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Here it is.
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When you open it up, you will find a big slab of frozen soup.  It doesn’t exactly fit into a small bowl, so I microwave it for 30 seconds and then crush it a bit so it all does fit into a bowl.  Then it gets microwaved for another 3 minutes, 30 seconds.
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It comes out thick.  I also should note it has a strong good smell to it.  While in the microwave Matthew called to me “What are you cooking that smells so good”.  Microwavable frozen soup!
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Lots of cabbage.. highly recommended, try it!
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And just to show you here’s the chicken noodle one.  The brand sells lots of other kinds which I’m going to check out soon.

Half Sour Pickles

I was trying to find a recipe to match the pickles I get here in NYC.  You can get them at the deli or shops that specialize in pickles, like my neighborhood store Clinton Hill Pickles.  If you stop into a place like this you’ll just see a close to empty shop besides the barrels of sour and half sour pickles.  Then you’ll come home and eat all of them because you can’t control yourself and they’re that amazing.  That’s what I wanted.  FINALLY! I did it! I found a half sour pickle recipe to use our cucumbers in. If you recall I have been experimenting with multiple pickle recipes, but nothing really tasted like my beloved sours. Then I tried this.. and my life changed forever.

Random Notes:
There is no vinegar in this pickle recipe.  The smell of vinegar grosses me out so this was a priority when doing this recipe.  You really don’t need it, I promise!
A friend tried these last night and he exclaimed “they taste like $10 store pickles!”.  I never bought pickles for $10, but if I did, I would hope they would be amazing.  These are, so don’t worry.
Please make these. 

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They are a bit sour.. just warning you.  I warned Bofinkles but she didn’t believe me.
too sour

Ingredients:
3-4 whole size cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
fresh dill
3 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic (minced)
slightly less than 1/3 cup sea salt
8 cups water
additional whole coriander seeds and peppercorns to add on top

Directions:
Wash your cucumbers.
Cut your cucumbers if you are using whole ones.  I like to cut them in half and then cut them into quarters.
Dissolve your sea salt in water.  I would suggest using 1/4 to 1/3 cup of salt depending on how salty you want them and if their flesh will be open to the water (like these ones are).
Grind up all the dry ingredients (coriander, mustard, peppercorns). If you don’t have a mortar/pestle, throw it in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
Put the cucumbers in a jar that you’ll be storing them in. 
Put the minced garlic in the jar, then ground up spices, then pour the salt water mixture on top. If you have any water left, disregard it.
Add a little bit of fresh dill in there, I add several pieces.
Add in your additional coriander seeds and peppercorns.  Just a few does the job.
Add in your bay leaves.
Make sure your cucumbers are completely covered in water and seal up the jar.
Put in the refrigerator.
Don’t open until at least 1 week.  I find they are the best after a few weeks.
Enjoy!

*Note: I usually use 2 jars as I don’t have one big one to fit all these in.  If you do this, make sure to separate everything evenly – the salt water, the herbs, garlic, etc when pouring it in*

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Fresh & Creamy Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce is so creamy, but there’s no milk or cream in it! How is that possible? Magic I tell you!  So with this recipe you will receive 2 things: one delicious creamy tomato sauce, one delicious smelling kitchen.  It’s like Christmas with all the presents you’ll receive!

Look at this sauce!  Besides the roasting time, this is quick to make.
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Ingredients:
4 cups of tomatoes (grape, cherry, roma – any is fine!)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons olive oil + olive oil to drizzle over
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread tomatoes in a pan.  Sprinkle with your onion powder.  Drizzle with some olive oil.
Bake for 35 minutes, your tomatoes should be wrinkly.
Let cool for a few minutes, then put tomatoes in food processor.
Add olive oil, fresh basil, garlic powder and salt + pepper to taste in food processor.
Blend to smooth and creamy.
Use it right away, or throw it in the fridge to use tomorrow, or freeze it for next month.
Just be sure to throw it over some pasta and enjoy!

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Full step by step pictures behind the cut.

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Glazed Meatloaf

Last night we had meatloaf for dinner with steamed vegetables (broccoli and carrots).  It was a super dinner. 
Meatloaf is pretty quick to make, the majority of the time is spent in the oven.
The recipe I used comes from here but I made some tweaks so see below.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1.75-2 pounds ground beef
3 slices of whole wheat bread, break it up into pieces
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg
1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled up
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and dry mustard in small bowl.
3. Combine ground beef, bread, onion powder, egg, beef bouillon, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the  ketchup mixture in a large bowl.  Mix it up well. 
4. Form your beef mixture into a loaf and stick it in a loaf pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour.  After that, take out and pour the fat out. 
6. Glaze the top of your loaf with the left over ketchup mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes more.
7. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pancakes

I have been telling myself for the past few weeks I was going to make pumpkin pancakes but haven’t.  So while Matthew and his friends ate some takeout pizza, I was busy in the kitchen making pumpkin pancakes from a pumpkin we grew!  These are DELICIOUS, I’m not sure I can go back to regular pancakes.  I like my pancakes with syrup on top, no butter.  Put whatever you want on yours, just try these!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (want to make your own?)

Directions:
In large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
In smaller bowl mix pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
At this time if you think the batter is too runny, add a little bit more flour until thicker.
Spray a pan with cooking spray. 
Heat a pan to 6/7 heat (medium/high heat).
Make pancakes whatever size you want, I usually go with 1/3 cup of batter per pancake.
Cook pancakes until light brown, flip, do the other side.
ENJOY!
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MMM, add some syrup. Drown them  if you want.
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Cut them up…
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Demolish them.  Weren’t they good?
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Pickle Obsession Update

I ate all the pickles that I posted about last week, they were more bread and butter style which is ok even though I’m more of a sour girl.  Even though they only soaked for 2 days they were still full of flavor.  Overall they were ok, but they didn’t shatter my world into pure bliss, so I set out to try more recipes.
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I decided to try “lazy pickles” which is basically using the brine leftover from store bought pickles and soaking your own cucumbers in them.  I soaked these for a few days and they were pretty good (better than the ones above).  I find each day later I open up to eat one, the better it tastes.
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Lastly, I am currently soaking a bunch of cucumbers in a half sour recipe, which I’m hoping will change my life.  These guys have been soaking since Sunday and I will test them this weekend.  This recipe didn’t call for white vinegar like the majority do, but instead a salt water mixture with plenty of spices (including coriander and mustard seeds).  I  made 2 batches because we had many cucumbers… PLEASE BE DELICIOUS. I will report back soon about them.
Half Sour Pickles