Eating is reall…

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Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.
Dorothy Draper

I was just asked the recipe for my vegetarian chili…you know, the one where my meat eaters hear the word “vegetarian” and turn up there noses. Until they try it!  If you are a vegetarian, this is a great recipe!  If you are a carnivore, this is a great recipe!!  The portabellas give this chili a meatiness and you don’t even miss the beef.  And that even goes for my fungus hating audience!  A little heat and a nice depth of flavor in this one.  Enjoy!

A slight variation of Emeril’s from the food network:

Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped yellow onion
1 large chopped red bell pepper
2 to 3 cloves minced garlic
2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) – This time of year you can get it in the organic produce
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespooon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Shredded cheddar, garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish

Directions
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce and stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

To serve ladle the chili into the bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with chees and green onions and serve with warmed tortilla chips.

Busy Moms need a plan…

Yes, busy Moms need a plan.  As a single Mom who works two jobs and has three children at home…I definitely need a lot of plans.  First and foremost, I need a menu planned for the week and a grocery list built off of the menu.  My menu is generally compiled with three things in mind; what’s already in my pantry, what’s on sale, and what the kids are begging for as a dinner idea.  Those three things in addition to keeping it quasi healthy and to continue to introduce different vegetables to the kids.  It usually takes me hours to make the list and execute the shopping.  I am hoping by posting my menu ideas here it will help me with my planning down the road and minimize the time commitment for me in the future!!!

This week’s Menu follows…however, as much as I plan, I usually sway off the meal plan one night a week due to varying reasons.  Lets see how I do now that I have put it to print!  (Please note that I do not add a lot of whole grain to my meals as my kids are all grazers and get enough of that with sandwiches and snacks…usually whole grain breads or crackers of some sort. I myself am trying to limit the gluten in my diet just for weight maintenance reasons.)

My Week:

Beef Fajitas with Chipotle Sauce  (for the little guy I will serve the sliced beef with cut up cucumbers and yogurt)

Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Cranberry-sauce

Apple Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Cauliflower

Lightened up Chicken Broccoli Alfredo with a Caesar Salad

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons served with Carrot Sticks

Egg Salad Sandwiches With Melon Wedges

I will add recipes throughout the week for this menu.  Tonight’s meal? The Beef Fajitas.  I had a New York Sirloin in the freezer that was on sale a week or two ago…it was soooo tender!  The kids gobbled this up, although they opted for regular sour cream as opposed to my spicy lightened up version.  I had a mini margarita to accompany my little Mexican dish. Every one was happy!

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Beef Fajitas with Chipotle Sauce

Serves 6

This needs to be started earlier in the day or the night before to properly marinate the beef.

The marinade:

1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients and put into resealable bag. Add beef and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

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The Fajitas:

2-3 lbs beef.  I used NY Sirloin and it was Fab.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

12 flour tortillas

Shredded Cheddar and Chipotle Sauce (recipe follows) for serving

Take the marinated beef out of the fridge and let come to room temperature…about 20-30 minutes. Broil the marinated steak in the oven for about 7 minutes per side or until desired temperature.  Transfer to cutting board and after letting rest for 5 minutes, slice the steak into very thin strips.

While the steak is broiling, heat the olive oil in large saute pan.  Add onions and peppers and stir, coating them with the olive oil.  Add the chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and continue to stir well over medium high heat until onions are nicely browned and peppers are tender (about 10 minutes).

Warm the tortillas per package directions.  Pile the veggies and beef on a platter and let everyone assemble the fajitas with the cheese and chipotle sauce and devour them!!

Chipotle Sauce

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned)

1/2 Cup Light Sour Cream

Take one pepper out of the can and cut into a very small dice.  Add to sour cream and stir well.  Serve and enjoy! (Warning…a bit of heat!!)

Wendy’s California Style Eggs Bennie

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I have been taking a little blog break the last month or two.  I am bouncing in my head how to capture the adventures of the weeks over the holidays…but I am still not sure which angle to take in purging it here.  So, until then I figured sharing a recipe would be a safe way to ease back in to my writing. (Not to mention I have been hounded for this recipe since posting the food porn picture to Facebook!)

It was a snow day and I was home with the kids.  I made their traditional breakfast sandwich.  English muffins, egg, ham and cheese (Zzzzz). Same way I’d been making it for years.  After a few trips to the fridge while assembling breakfast, ingredients kept jumping out at me and I started to get a hankering for something a little more than the boring sandwich my kids were happily gobbling up.  This was going to be my fist attempt at Eggs Benedict. But with a twist.  With all my years cooking I had never even poached an egg!!  Easy peasy. The sauce was more involved than I had expected, but definitely worth it!! I have to say, when ordering it in a restaurant, I NEVER eat more than half and I always take the rest home for the dog.  Not this time…I ate the whole thing!  Then I couldn’t help but take a long winter’s nap!

I will definitely be making this again when I want a treat!  I will work on a lighter version in the near future for those of us who like to watch the calorie intake.  And for those of you who don’t…stick with this!  Yum!

Wendy’s California Style Eggs Bennie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the hollandaise sauce:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (I know…YIKES! Let this be a splurge day!)

6 large egg yolks (Yikes again!)

1/2 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon Cayenne

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the eggs benedict:

2 eggs, poached (recipe and tips following)

2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered

4 slices thin sliced deli honey ham (I used Inspiration wildflower honey ham…delish)

4 avocado slices, 1/4 inch thick

4 tomato slices, 1/4 inch thick

2 slices Provolone, cut in 1/2

For garnish:  Sea salt, scallions, black pepper

Instructions:

For the hollandaise sauce:

1. In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water set on medium heat, whisk the butter and egg yolks together until smooth.

2. Very…very slowly, add the 1/2 cup boiling water to the mixture, whisking constantly.  (You do not want the eggs to cook).

3. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until it is thickened and reads 160 degrees on your instant-read thermometer.  (It took mine about 10 minutes or so).

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

5. Gently whisk in the lemon juice, black pepper, garlic salt, sea salt, cayenne and nutmeg.  Serve warm.

6.  To assemble the Eggs Benedict: Place the 1/2 slice cheese on top of the toasted English muffin.  Warm the ham slices in a fry pan and place one slice on top of the cheese. Top with avocado, then tomato and poached egg.  Lightly (or not !!) drizzle the hollandaise sauce over top.  Garnish with fresh scallions, salt, and pepper, if using.

Tip:

For poaching the eggs add a teaspoon of vinegar to the just boiling water.  I used rice vinegar, but I am told you can use any type.  This helps hold the egg together while cooking. Use the top lid of a mason jar and drop that into the gently boiling water. Carefully crack the egg into a teacup and then hold the cup at the water’s surface and carefully put the egg in the water over the mason jar lid.  The egg should settle right into the lid. Cover the pan and remove from the heat and let sit for four minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the egg and lid out of the water and remove the lid from the egg. A perfectly round and perfectly cooked poached egg! Ta da!!