Friday, March 27, 2015

Venison Chili

TGIF! TGIF!! Do ya feel me?? It's been one of those loooong, crazy weeks and I am so glad it's Friday!! This weekend, like most, I have some fun things going on, including a fun ranch/horse riding outing with my Little tomorrow. We are both looking forward to that, and the weather is going to be absolutely amazing for it. I don't think I've been on a horse since I was about 4 so...that should be interesting. Contrary to what many believe, most Texans do not ride horses every day. Or to school.

But, if I were one of the cowboy types, living and working on the range, I'd sure like some of this venison chili. By the fire. Under starry, country sky. Just sayin'.

Venison Chili Bowl

I've been working on perfecting my beef chili recipe for a couple of years, but this recipe...doesn't need any more perfecting. It has a great blend of seasonings, two kinds of beans, and the jalapenos really add a good flavor and kick of heat. Operation chili perfection: complete. And while the original recipe says to cook for 3 hours, I only cooked about an hour and a half. J was hungry, what can I say? And it was still perfectly delicious. So...cook longer if you have the time, but it's not required to achieve a great flavor. 

Venison Chili

I originally planned to make 1/2 a batch because it makes so much and I didn't want any to go to waste, but we ate every last bite of it. It was good, yo. 

Venison Chili
As seen on Solid Gold Eats

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp diced jalapenos
  • 2 lbs ground venison 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 32-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack)
  • Chopped green onions and cilantro


Preparation
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the jalapenos and garlic and cook for about two minutes, until fragrant.
  2. And the venison, salt, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Stir and cook until the meat is browned. 
  3. Add & stir in the crushed tomatoes, undrained cans of beans, and beef broth. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least an hour, up to 3 hours. The longer you are able to cook it, the better it will taste. Serve with cheese, chopped green onions, and cilantro.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Southwest Turkey and Spaghetti Squash Casserole

You guys. I'm wearing capris today. Like, I woke up and didn't have to put jeans and long sleeves on because...spring!! I know I'm probably just a leetle bit too excited, but I seriously love the warmer weather and want to do a happy dance every day when it's time to pick out what to wear.  I know I should relish in the mildly warm temps while I can, because it's Texas and it'll be 90+ before we know it. Not that I complain about that, but high 70s-mid-80s is mighty nice. And, I like to take advantage while it's still kosher to use the oven to make casserole dishes like this one.

Southwest Turkey Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Healthy, cheesy (ok, that part isn't as healthy) deliciousness baked up in a casserole dish. And hello...spaghetti squash. What more does there even need to be said?? I will say that the roasted poblanos really gave this dish a fantastic flavor. Everything together was delish, but the poblanos definitely shone through. 

Southwest Spaghetti Squash Turkey Casserole

Before it gets too hot and you are swearing off using the oven, make this dish. It takes some time and several pots, pans, and bowls, but it is totally worth it. Totally.

Southwest Turkey and Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Adapted from Annie's Eats

Ingredients
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cumin, divided
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided

Preparation
  1. To roast the peppers, preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Cut the peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. Place the peppers, cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until skin is blister, then flip and repeat on the other side. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and let sit 10-15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and discard. I usually find that running them under cold water helps it separate more easily. Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 400˚ F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Drizzle the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the spaghetti squash halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down and cook for about 40-45 minutes, or until you can easily "shred" the squash with a fork. Leave oven on at same temperature. 
  3. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool enough for you to handle. Use a fork to shred the squash out onto a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels so that the liquid can drain off some. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high hea. Add the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of cumin. Cook, stirring and breaking it up, for 4-6 minutes, or until cooked through. 
  5. While the turkey is cooking, combine the butter, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and oregano in a small bowl. 
  6. In another, large mixing bowl, combine the chopped poblanos, spaghetti squash, black beans, butter mixture, Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined. 
  7. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, in an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese and bake about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve hot and enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pork Tenderloin with Dijon-Chive Sauce

Helloooooo! (In my best Mrs. Doubtfire voice)

I know many of you are on spring break vacations (or staycations) right now, and hopefully the weather is being kind to you wherever you are. It's been a bit rainy this week here in the ATX, but overall warm and pretty delightful. I'm mind-boggled that there is snow forecast for people up north tomorrow. Doesn't Mother Nature know that tomorrow is the first "official" day of spring??

Get with the program Missy...it's time for sunshine, warmth, shorts, and flip flops!! Can I get a witness? 

But while we wait for Mama Nature to get it together, I'll share this amazing recipe with you.

Pork Tenderloin with Dijon-Chive Sauce

I have made this dish numerous times over the last year and every. single. time. failed to get a picture. Of course that just gave me a "reason" to make it again. 

And make it again I did. Over and over. It's become one of those go-to recipes, if I want to make pork tenderloin, but can't find a new recipe I want to try. And, it's quick, so there's that added plus. 

I love, love, love the sauce for this. I've always said that it's the sauce that makes a dish. One that has sauce, anyway. J and I rarely eat anything that doesn't have some sort of sauce to pour over the top, dip in, etc. It just makes things...better. Not that you can't have a meal without sauce that is divine, but sauce kicks things up a notch. And this one definitely does that. The Dijon is good and tangy, and the Greek yogurt gives a creamy texture that helps to balance it out. 

All-in-all this is one of my favorite pork dishes, and once you try it, it will be one of yours too!!

Pork Tenderloin with Dijon-Chive Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch medallions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives


Preparation
  1. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. 
  2. Season pork medallions with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  3. Add pork to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits. Add the broth and bring to a steady simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and whisk in the yogurt and Dijon mustard until smooth and creamy.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in chives.
  8. Serve pork medallions with plenty of sauce and grain of choice!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sweet Musings



Hello there, friends!! Yes, I know it's Monday, but it's probably Spring Break for a lot of you (lucky ducks!) and the weather this weekend was pretty fabulous, so that puts me in a pretty good mood. It seems that spring is finally here. Buh-bye winter!

This weekend was pretty eventful for me, with lots of wedding-related activities. On Saturday my Little and I went to go get my wedding dress fitted for alterations. Putting the dress on again and seeing the vision of how it will look on our wedding day was so exciting. And having my Little there with me made it all the better. She seemed to really enjoy being a part of the process and getting to see me in my dress.

Sunday, J and I went to have our engagement photos taken. We met the photographer at a popular lakeside restaurant that overlooks Lake Travis, and took a slew of pictures. It was my first real experience with professional pics and I had a lot of fun. J was a trooper with all the posing and moving to different locations, etc. I think he secretly enjoyed it, too. I  can't wait to see the proofs and choose our photos!! He showed us the shots from the camera view screen and some of them are pretty awesome.


Loving a woman is for Men; Where I come from, you don't get one if you're a boy.


After the photo sesh, we drove to a nearby park for an afternoon hike at J's suggestion. We talk about going hiking often, but it doesn't fit into our schedules as much as we would like, so this worked out perfectly! We had a lot of fun and some good laughs, which really...is what it's all about. Quality time spent together is so important, and with busy schedules that sometimes are opposite of each other, we really have to make the most of the time we do have together.


More suits, #menstyle, style and fashion for men @ http://www.zeusfactor.com

I kinda like waterfalls...can ya tell??





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Moroccan Chicken with Garlic Sauce

How is it Thursday already?? This week seems to have flown by, but I'm thankful for that. I hope it continues like this for the next 11 weeks.  And, I have to say that I'm also thankful for DST (Daylight Savings Time) even though I seem to be in the minority of those who like it. I mean, I don't understand what's not to like about extra daylight?? Yes, it's darker in the morning but I'd much rather have the light in the evenings, personally. All I'm doing in the morning is getting ready to come to work. It's the evenings when I need light for pictures or doing things outside at home.

Speaking of pictures...

Moroccan Chicken with Garlic Sauce

These pictures have been sitting in my draft folder for over a week now, just waaaaiting for me to share them with you. So today, after dragging my feet (fingers?) for a week, here they are!! Along with the recipe, of course. Who just wants to see pictures of delicious food and not have the information they need to make it?!? That would just be silly. And cruel. I would never do that to you!

Moroccan Chicken with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

If you've never had Moroccan-spiced food before, then you definitely need to. And this chicken is a great place to start. You get the smoky flavor of paprika and cumin, with that hint of spice from the red pepper flakes. Then top it with a creamy garlic sauce. What's not to love??

And if you plop all that on top of some creamy Parmesan orzo...all the better!

No matter what you choose to serve it with, just be sure to serve it soon!

Moroccan Chicken with Garlic Sauce
Slightly adapted from Perry's Plate

Ingredients

For the chicken
  • 2 lbs chicken pieces (I used b/s chicken breasts, but you could use drumsticks, thighs, etc.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil 
  • 1 tsp salt

For the garlic sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and add all the chicken ingredients (garlic-salt.) Stir or toss to evenly coat the chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook, rotating every so often, until cooked through. The time will vary depending on which chicken pieces you use (boneless or bone-in) but will range from about 10-20 minutes. The lesser time being for boneless cuts. Juices should run clear and flesh should be firm to the touch.
  3. To prepare the garlic sauce, combine the garlic, salt, and yogurt in a small bowl.
  4. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, until well-combined. (If it separates before you are ready to serve, just whisk it again.)
  5. Serve chicken with garlic sauce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Panko Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon

I did a little poll yesterday on the Facebook page, asking what recipe you all would like to see today given a few choices. And this, my friends, was the chosen "one." And I can't say that I blame you one. little. bit. Because...salmon! I mean, c'mon...what (fish-eating) person wouldn't choose this one?? Not that the other options (which are coming soon) aren't great as well, but...salmon. Panko. Honey mustard. Yep, yep, and yep!

Panko Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon

Oh, and lemon zest. Can't forget that little tasty tidbit! As always, salmon is one of the quickest meat proteins to prepare. This takes a whoppin' 15 minutes start-to-finish. I'm guessing the side dishes will take longer than that. AmIright

It's Wednesday...middle of the week...you're probably exhausted already and praying Friday will be here soon. Give yourself a break and make this for dinner tonight. You'll be out of the kitchen and relaxing on the couch with your comfy slippers in no time!! 

Did I mention it's delicious?? Crispy panko, tangy honey mustard sauce, and a little zip of lemon zest. Mmm, mmm good!!

Panko Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon
As seen on Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, honey and garlic. In a shallow dish combine the Panko, parsley and lemon zest. Drizzle olive oil over mixture then stir to evenly coat.
  3. Brush the top of each piece of salmon with the honey mustard mixture, season with salt and pepper, then flip over and transfer to bread crumb mixture, seasoned side facing down. If your salmon is skinless, repeat this process on the other side. If the skin is still on, the place in your prepared dish, skin side down.
  4. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes, or until salmon has cooked through, and Panko is slightly browned. Serve warm with lemon wedges, if desired.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sweet Musings




Yesterday J and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary.

Our last un-married anniversary.

Our last March 1st anniversary.

It's kind of weird to think of it that way, and perhaps I shouldn't think of it as a "last" anything. I mean, I'm not sad about it or anything, because what will replace that is something even more amazing than the last two years have already been. Next year we will celebrate our 3rd year together, but our 1st year as Mr. & Mrs.

I heard a story on the radio this morning about a couple who are 94 and 96 years old, who have been married for 75 years. 75 years y'all...that's unheard of these days. And while J & I would have to live to be well over 100 to accomplish that feat, I think it's amazing that there are people in the world who still value the sanctity of marriage and who stick it out to the end, just as they vowed to do. And by golly, we'll make it to whatever amount of years the good Lord gives us on this Earth, whether that's 50 or 80 more years. And we'll cherish every moment together, and celebrate every year just as we did the very first one.

It's taken me a lifetime, and more heartache than I care to remember to find him, but let me tell you...I'd do it all a hundred times over if that's what it took to get me where I am now...to get me to J.
I know with everything in me that this is where I'm meant to be, who I'm meant to spend my life with and have a family with. The love I have for him is more than anything I've felt previously.

In 3 months and 4 days my life will change.

My anniversary date will change.

My last name will change.

But my mind will never change.

My heart will never change.

Because this man, this life, this marriage are exactly what was planned for and meant for me. No doubt there will be troubles. Not every day will be perfect or full of mushy-gushy love. But no matter what troubles we face, our love and our faith will pull us through. Because that's the way it's meant to be. That's what we'll vow; what we'll promise to each other in front of  God, our friends, and our family. And that's exactly what we'll spend the rest of our lives making good on.


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