I Have Snipped Your Wingspan, My Precious, Captive Swan

The recipe I’ll be sharing today is definitely not a healthy one.  It’s also not a very photogenic meal.  But it’s good.  Really good.

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As I said, this isn’t exactly the prettiest meal I’ve ever made.  Personal photo.

The first time I ever had hash was at Bonnaroo last summer.  Corned beef hash always sounded really gross to me, but it was surprisingly good (and great camping food!).  I never made it at home, but I would sometimes find myself craving it.  (Hey, sometimes you just have random cravings.)

I really wanted to experiment a little, though.  I started searching for hash recipes online, and came across a Tex-Mex version.  It sounded delicious, but I wanted to experiment even more … And this was the result.

Chorizo Green Chile Hash

Recipe taken from The Way The Cookie Crumbles (www.crumblycookie.net)

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 5 Yukon gold potatoes, diced into cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

1.) Combine the cubed potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir, then return to the microwave for another minute.  Repeat these steps until the potatoes are completely softened.  (I had to do this several times.)

2.) Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add the chorizo, and cook until it’s completely browned, breaking it up as it cooks.

3.) After the chorizo is completely cooked through, drain as much grease as possible.  (If you’ve never cooked with chorizo, it’s a very greasy sausage … So be prepared to drain!)

4.) Add the diced onion and remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt to the drained meat, and cook for approximately 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

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It should look something like this at this point.  Personal photo.

5.) Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the potatoes and black pepper.  Stir once to combine, then let cook for 2 minutes without stirring.

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Yum, potatoes!  Personal photo.

6.) Add both cans of green chilies and red bell pepper, stirring to combine.  Allow the mixture to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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It definitely looks more colorful after this step.  Personal photo.

7.) Using the back of a spoon, create 4 wells in the hash.  Crack an egg into each well.  (You can make more if you want, as long as space in your pan allows.  We wanted 2 eggs each, so that’s why we made 4.)

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As you can see, the wells don’t have to be incredibly deep.  You can probably also see that one of my egg yolks got a little damaged when I added it to the skillet.  Personal photo.

8.) Turn the heat down to medium, and cover the skillet.  Allow the hash to cook, without stirring, until the white of the eggs sets (about 6 minutes).

9.) Enjoy!  This was an incredibly filing meal, so I didn’t make any side dishes.  It made enough for leftovers, though, and we were able to reheat it in a large skillet and recreate the eggs in a well method.  It tasted just as good the second time around!

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In Upper Atmosphere My Head Comes Loose, And In The Free Fall I Can Feel The Blues

Eric and I really love Indian food.  We have a couple of Indian restaurants we prefer when we’re planning to go out for a nicer, more expensive meal, as well as a couple that are easier on the wallet and can just as easily satisfy our cravings.

Once in a great while, though, we attempt to make Indian food at home.  I won’t pretend that it’s authentic, because it’s not.  Despite this fact, though, our homemade Indian food at least always tastes good … So that’s something.  And it’s nice to know that we can make something with similar flavors at home.

This week I’ll be sharing the recipe I mentioned in my last Tell All Thursday post.  It turned out really well, and was surprisingly simple.  (It probably helped that we had a specific spice mixture available for this one, though.  We were given a set of Indian spice mixes as one of our wedding gifts, and this was one of them.)

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I sometimes wish I could somehow post smells and not just pictures of the food we make.  This smelled amazing, and tasted great … But I don’t think the picture accurately portrays how good it actually was.  Personal photo.

Rogan Josh

Recipe taken from www.penzeys.com.

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb lamb stew meat
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 tbsp Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning* (I used 3 tbsp and it made the dish pretty spicy, so I’d suggest using less if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Fage Total Greek yogurt.)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 cups steamed basmati rice

Instructions:

1.) Melt butter in a large skillet.

2.) Add the lamb to the butter, cooking until browned.

3.) After browning, remove the lamb to a plate.  (Eric sliced the meat up even more at this point for more chunks throughout the dish, but this is optional.)

4.) Add the chopped onion to the skillet, browning over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.  (I kept the juices from the meat/butter to cook this in, and I highly recommend doing this.)

5.) Turn the heat down to low and add the Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning and sea salt, stirring for 1 minute.

6.) Add the lamb back to the skillet.

7.) Slowly add the water and plain yogurt, stirring to blend well.

8.) Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour to allow the flavors to mix.

9.) In the last 15 minutes of cook time, add the frozen peas and turn the heat up to medium low.

10.) Serve warm over steamed basmati rice.

11.) Enjoy!  Since I was sick when we made this, we didn’t go all out for side dishes.  The rice, meat, and vegetables in this dish were filling enough, though.  In the future, I’ll probably make a side of naan (not homemade, though, because I’m still a little intimidated by homemade breads) and/or lentils (which is typically a staple for us when having curries or other similar types of meals).

*Note: If you don’t have a Penzeys Spices nearby (or don’t want to order a bunch of seasonings online), the website states that the Rogan Josh seasoning is hand-mixed from paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Korintje cassia cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and saffron.

I Wanted Freedom, Bound And Restricted … I Tried To Give You Up, But I’m Addicted

The meal I’ll be sharing with you today is in no way healthy.  But it’s a comforting, delicious, easy casserole that’s perfect for a busy weeknight.

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Casseroles never photograph well, but at least it tasted great!  Personal photo.

I made this casserole for the first time over 3 years ago.  I was living in Omaha, but Eric and I were still in separate apartments.  At the time, I wanted to make something quick that would provide some leftovers, so I searched for a classic staple (a casserole, of course).

I’ve mentioned before that Cassie Craves is one of my favorite food blogs.  Her recipes tend to be relatively simple and great for busy nights.  She also makes a lot of comfort food (including pasta, which is my ultimate comfort food!).  Casseroles definitely fall under the “comfort food” category as well, and there are a bunch of really great ones to choose from on her site (like today’s recipe, for example!).  I haven’t tried all of them, but there are definitely several I’m planning to make in the near future.

Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole

Recipe taken from cassiecraves.blogspot.com.

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 12 frozen breaded chicken breast tenders (You could use more or less, but I found that 12 tenders fit perfectly in the 9×13 inch pan I used to bake the casserole.)
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot, and I definitely recommend it!)
  • 6 cups frozen shredded hash brown Potatoes O’Brien (The last time I made this, I made it with the diced Potatoes O’Brien.  Both options are good, this just happened to be what Eric picked up at the store.)
  • 1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing (I used Hidden Valley light ranch.  That’s the only brand of light ranch dressing Eric and I will eat!)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 10 oz. can cream of celery soup
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine (I used low fat margarine.)
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped

Instructions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.

3.) In a large bowl, mix together Potatoes O’Brien, dressing, half of the cheddar cheese, and cream of celery soup.  After this is mixed thoroughly, pour evenly into the pan.

4.) Pour the measured hot sauce into a small bowl.  Dip each chicken tender on both sides in the hot sauce, then place on top of the potato mixture in the pan.  Pour any remaining hot sauce over the casserole.

5.) In a second small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter or margarine in the microwave.

6.) Add the Panko breadcrumbs to the melted butter, and sprinkle across the top of the casserole.

7.) Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top of the casserole.

8.) Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

9.) Uncover, and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  (I baked mine for an additional 23 minutes.)

10.) Sprinkle the green onions across the top of the casserole after removing it from the oven.

11.) Enjoy!  I paired this with a simple side salad, and it made a very filling, comforting meal.  Eric loved this casserole as well, and even with all the hot sauce, it wasn’t overly spicy.  (Feel free to adjust the amount of hot sauce if you want a more mild flavor, though.)

I’m Watching Through My Own Light As It Tints The Shade Of You

I’m not sure if I’ve discussed our grocery shopping habits in this blog before, so if I have, sorry … I’m going to do it again.  (There’s a point to this, I promise.)

About once a month, we make a big grocery shopping trip.  Or, to be more accurate, Eric makes a big grocery shopping trip.  Since I tend to cook most of the meals, I spend time researching recipes I’d like to try, make a list, and then Eric buys all of the ingredients.  This works well for us … He often has days off during the week (whereas I work Monday through Friday), so he’s able to hit the stores when they’re less crowded.  He also doesn’t really mind grocery shopping, which is awesome because I hate it.  (Though, to be fair, I probably hate it because it’s so damn crowded on the weekends and in the evenings after work.)  We each go to the store periodically to pick up essentials (like fruit, milk, etc.), but the big grocery trip usually only happens once a month.

When I’m making my list, I usually ask Eric if there’s anything specific he wants me to make in the next few weeks.  The last time I asked, he said he was really craving a white chili.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect chili recipe.  I posted a pretty good recipe a few weeks ago (that can be found here: I’ve Been Making Money Off My Indifference), but it still wasn’t the one.

To be honest, the recipe I’m about to share with you isn’t the one either.  It was good, but it definitely could use some tweaking.  I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do to change it in the future, but it was good enough to share (and to make again in order to try to make it even better).

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As you can see from my picture, it’s great with a sprinkle of Colby Jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top!  Personal photo.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Recipe taken from allshecooks.com.

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts, and that was plenty of meat.)
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jarred, pre-minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 15 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sour cream (I highly recommend garnishing your chili with extra sour cream!)
  • Colby Jack or Pepper Jack cheese for garnishing (I highly recommend this as well!)

Instructions:

1.) Layer the uncooked chicken, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, Great Northern beans, diced green chilies, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and chicken broth in a crockpot.

2.) Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

3.) When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the crockpot and place it on a plate.  Shred the chicken thoroughly with two forks and return it to the crockpot.

4.) At the end of the cook time, stir in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream until warmed through.

5.) Enjoy!  As I mentioned in my picture caption, this tastes great with a little cheese and sour cream on top (and some extra cilantro, which I didn’t mention in the caption but is obviously there).  I didn’t make any rice to go with it this time (I know I’ve mentioned before that I love rice with chili), so maybe that’s part of the reason I felt this recipe was lacking something.  I didn’t make any side dishes because I was feeling kind of lazy the day I made this, but I think something simple like chips and salsa and/or guacamole would taste great with this chili.

Everything That Blows Away Soon Is Gonna Come Back Home

Eric and I like to at least make an effort to eat healthy meals.  That obviously doesn’t always happen (just look at last week’s Tasty Tuesday post if you want an example!), but we try to keep the incredibly high calorie meals to a minimum if at all possible.

One of our favorite healthier meals is anything with fish.  Since becoming Costco members, we’ve been buying fish more frequently since we can get quite a bit of it for a reasonable price.  I know some people will turn up their noses at this, but we like to portion it out and freeze it in several Ziploc freezer bags.  It honestly has never affected the flavor of the fish, and it saves us time and money (something I’m definitely a fan of!).

Anyway, this week I’ll be sharing one of the healthier fish recipes I’ve tried recently.  This dish is incredibly simple, but completely packed with flavor.  When I first read over the recipe, it sounded pretty good … But I just wasn’t sure if it would be great.  After making it, though, I can honestly say that it was delicious!  This will definitely be showing up on the menu again!

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My fish was so moist that it was literally falling apart, but I managed to still get a decent picture.  Personal photo.

Dijon-Crusted Tilapia

Recipe taken from www.tasteofhome.com.

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 3 to 4 tilapia fillets (I used 3 because I’d portioned out that amount in each freezer bag.  Our fillets were pretty large, though, so we each had one and then split the third.  That was plenty of food for the two of us!)
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine (I used low fat margarine.)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.) In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, half of the Parmesan cheese, the juice of 1 lemon, and the Dijon mustard.

3.) Place the tilapia fillets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over both sides of the fish.

4.) In a second small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter or margarine in the microwave.

5.) Add the Panko breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese to the melted butter, and sprinkle over one side of the fish fillets.

6.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  I baked the fish for the maximum time of 20 minutes, which resulted in extremely moist fish that fell apart easily.  It also helped brown the coating a bit more, which is something I typically prefer.

7.) Enjoy!  We made easy sides for this meal (Steamfresh mixed vegetables and broccoli cheese Rice-a-Roni), making this an overall quick and delicious dinner that’s perfect for a busy weeknight.

Now There Are Thoughts Like These That Keep Me On My Feet

I usually don’t share recipes right after I’ve made them.  I typically have a bunch of recipes I want to try, make them, photograph them (though sadly not as beautifully as the really great food bloggers), and then write about them as I feel like it.

However, I tried a recipe on Saturday that I really wanted to share.  I knew going in that I’d be adapting it quite a bit, but, at the risk of sounding a little arrogant, I took a good idea and made it great.  (See?  No way around that … I sound like a douche.)

I was really proud of this one, though, because I made homemade alfredo sauce for the first time.  This is probably actually kind of shocking if you’ve read any of my previous Tasty Tuesday posts.  I mean, I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog how much I love pasta.  If you haven’t read any of those posts, here’s the basic idea: I love pasta so much because it’s incredibly versatile.  And because you can do so much with it, I could quite literally eat it every day for at least a month or two and never get sick of it.  I love it that much.

I’ve made some other types of homemade (or, in some cases, semi-homemade) sauces, but I’ve never tried to make an alfredo sauce.  I don’t know why, really.  It never seemed particularly difficult or time consuming.  I guess it’s just always easier to pour it out of a jar?  (No shame in that, I guess.  Well … Maybe a little.)

I found this recipe while looking for creative ways to use up 4 oz. of leftover cream cheese.  I’ll admit that the idea of putting cream cheese in alfredo sauce seemed a little … Gross.  I’m not one of those people who loves cream cheese in everything, and to me, alfredo sauce should basically be butter and cheese (and possibly some heavy cream and garlic).  Sure, there are tons of variations, but I would never think of adding cream cheese to the mix.

I’m so glad I didn’t just skip past this recipe, though.  I decided to at least use the basics of the original recipe and make a ton of changes.  And it was amazing.  If I were to do anything differently, I might add just a little less garlic.  But otherwise?  So good.  I will definitely be making this again, and I will also be playing with the basic alfredo sauce recipe in the future to create more interesting variations.

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I had to quickly snap this one because I really just wanted to devour the food on my plate.  It smelled so delicious, and tasted even better!  Personal photo.

Zucchini Alfredo Sauce with Fettuccine 

Recipe taken from www.allrecipes.com.

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced (I used the food processor for both the zucchini and white onion.  Well, to be more accurate, Eric did.  He loves playing with that thing.)
  • 4 cloves garlic (or the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine.)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 box fettuccine noodles

Instructions:

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2.) Melt the margarine or butter in a medium skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

3.) Add the diced zucchini and onion to the skillet, and sauté with the butter and garlic for approximately 10 minutes, or until some of the moisture has evaporated.  (I found that even after 10 minutes there was still a considerable amount of moisture, so I strained the contents of the skillet in a colander to avoid adding too much water to the sauce.  I highly recommend this step if it looks at all watery to you!)

4.) Pour the heavy whipping cream into a second large skillet, then add the cream cheese.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until cream cheese has melted.

5.) Add the Parmesan cheese to the cream/cream cheese mixture.  Stir until mixed well and melted.

6.) Mix in the strained zucchini, onion, and garlic, stirring until well blended.

7.) Season the sauce with basil, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and garlic salt.

8.) Pour in the white cooking wine.  Stir until mixed well.

9.) Allow the sauce to warm on the lowest heat setting while adding the fettuccine noodles to the pot of boiling water.  Cook according to package directions until al dente.

10.) Pour the sauce over the drained noodles, tossing several times until noodles are completely coated.

11.) Enjoy!  We paired this meal with a simple green salad and wine.  I highly recommend my favorite white wine (Reisling), as it seemed to compliment the flavors in this dish quite well.

I’ve Been Making Money Off My Indifference

One of my favorite things about fall and winter is the frequent appearance of chili on the menu.  During college football season, Eric and I often head over to his parents’ house to watch the Nebraska game (okay, he watches and I just enjoy the company and food).  And most of the time we have big bowls of chili during halftime.

Eric’s mom makes great chili.  We usually bring some home for leftovers, and I’m always sad when the last bit is gone.

I, on the other hand, have been hunting for the perfect chili recipe for years.  Don’t get me wrong … I love trying new types of chili.  But I’d really like to find a chili recipe that Eric and I love.  A go-to chili recipe that’s delicious and thick and spicy and comforting.  And while I’m still searching for that perfect chili recipe, this one could be in the running (with some more tweaking). 

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I couldn’t get a decent picture of the chili, so this has to do.  Although it doesn’t look overly appetizing, I can promise that it tasted pretty damn good.  Personal photo.

Meaty Thick Man Chili

Recipe taken from http://www.allrecipes.com.

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 3 to 3.5 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 30 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic if you’re pressed for time)
  • 3 tsp chili powder (I tried to use quite a bit to get a nice spicy flavor, but I think it could actually use even more next time.  I’d recommend playing around with the amount and adjusting it to your preferred level of heat.)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup water (I might add more water next time, though.  I love really thick chili, but the leftovers were almost more sauce-like than soup-like.)

Instructions:

1.) Layer the uncooked turkey*, tomato sauce, kidney beans, Great Northern beans, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and water in a crockpot.

2.) Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally to break up the meat.

3.) Enjoy!  (No, seriously … That’s all you have to do.)  I always like to eat my chili over a bowl of rice (as you may be able to see in the picture I posted), so I made some white basmati rice to go along with this meal.  We had some shredded sharp cheddar cheese available as a topping, and I’m sure sour cream would be great as well.  Eric also made the lemon poppyseed muffins you see in the picture.  Yum!

*Note:  I didn’t brown the turkey before putting it into the crockpot because it was a busy Saturday and I really just wanted to dump everything in and (mostly) forget about it.  It was fine that way, but I may brown it in some olive oil next time in order to add some more flavor.  It also might allow me to break up the pieces of meat a little more.  I had some huge chunks of meat (as you may have noticed in the picture), which was fine for the most part … I’d just prefer a more even distribution of meat throughout.