Friday, February 12, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 11 of 29

Nothing beats a blustery winter day like a piping hot bowl of soup.  This soup was good, a bit starchy for me, but it was tasty in a pinch.  It's kind of like a trashcan soup, where you take a bunch of stuff you have laying around your fridge, dump it in the crock pot, heat it all up, and call it a day.  Easy breezy. The only thing that may have made this better was maybe putting it in a bread bowl?  I don't know.  I just feel a little empty when I haven't chewed something with a meal.  Like, I could never just exist on a smoothie.  I need to masticate.  

Let me know your thoughts if you try it.  

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained of fat
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
bacon, crumbled optional
Notes / Directions
Place ground beef, tomatoes, potatoes, carrot, bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic in your slow cooker and pour chicken stock over the top.

Season with chili powder, salt and pepper, then stir everything together. Cover slow cooker, turn on HIGH and cook for 3-4 hours, or until vegetables are softened.

Stir flour into heavy cream until no chunks remain, then pour mixture, along with cheddar cheese, into slow cooker.

Stir to combine, then cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes, then ladle into soup bowls, top with cheese and crumbled bacon, if using, and serve hot!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chicken and Dumplings - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 10 of 29

Tonight's dinner was the easiest so far. 5 ingredients, and bamn! Easy cheaters chicken and dumplings.  Now, the recipe (below) says to cook on high for 5-6hours.  I cooked on low for 7.  After 7 hours, Bruce turned him to warm.  Through the magic of the Internet, I turned him back on to high as I was leaving the office so he'd be hot when I got home to drop in my "dumplings" to cook them.

The only thing I've found I need to work on through the this experiment is my sides.  I clearly need more color in my meals.  Otherwise, it was all worth every bite.  The best part was having plenty of leftovers for lunch!

Let me know what you think if you try it.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
2 tablespoons butter 
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup 
1 onion, finely diced 
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces 

Notes / Directions
1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.

2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

French Dip Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 9 of 29

I made this a few weeks ago, so it was NOT a *new* recipe for Bruce to try, but still.  When I made it a few weeks ago, Jed wasn't a fan.  He was just sort of  'meh' about it.  He said last night's batch was much mo better though.  Honestly, I did nothing differently in the prep,  I served this with a side of wedge potato fries. I think maybe it just grew on him?  In any case, it's a keeper.  If you try it, let me know what you think.  

In other news, as you know, I've outsourced my shopping to Instacart to save me some time and sanity.  I use an iPad app called MealBoard for all my meal/menu planning.  The thing I really dig about the app is that once you have all your recipes set up, when you drag them to where you want them in your meal plan, you simply sync your meal plan with your shopping list and it automatically drags all your ingredients into your shopping list.  Then you can quickly go through and swipe off the items you already have on-hand (like spices, for example), and then be off to do your shopping with everything you need for the specified time period.  In my case, I just take that list and dump it into Instacart and my "shopping" is done.  

I started noticing yesterday that I was out of essential ingredients for some of my meals this week.  At first I thought that maybe Instacart just forgot to bring them, but after comparing my shopping list to what I was missing, it was most definitely user error on my part.  I've had to make two extra trips to the grocery store this week, and I noticed this morning that when I was getting tonight's meal put in Bruce that I was missing about half of the things I I need to go back to the store tonight.  I ended up switching out tonight's "bacon cheeseburger soup" for Friday night's dinner, because I had all the ingredients I needed for tonight.  I don't know how I managed to leave all these things off my shopping list, but this having someone else do my shopping thing for me is brand spanking new, and hopefully the learning curve is not very curvy.  

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

Makes: 1 serving

3 lb lean beef round roast, trimmed1 tbsp minced garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme 1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 to 3 (14.5 oz) cans Swanson's low-sodium beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
Sargento Reduced Fat Provolone or Mozzarella Slices
whole wheat baguette or rolls, cut into 2 oz pieces

Notes / Directions

In a small bowl mix garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture onto all sides of the roast, then place in the slow cooker.

Pour the broth into the side of the roast until it just cover the meat. If the broth doesn't cover the roast you can add water and top with onions. Add the Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns and bay leaf to the broth. Cover and cook on low until the meat flakes apart easily with a fork, about 9 to 12 hours, depending on the size of your roast.

An hour before the meat is done, prepare the onions and peppers. In a large nonstick skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook until golden, stirring often, reducing heat as needed if the onions are burning or browning too quickly, about 30 to 35 minutes. Add 1 tbsp to the pan if it becomes too dry. The onions should turn golden and the flavor should be sweet. Transfer to a serving bowl, then add the peppers to the skillet and cook stirring often until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board and shred with a fork or slice with a knife. Strain the broth through a fine sieve then place in a gravy separator to remove any fat. Pour 1/4 cup broth into each small ramekin.

Preheat the oven to broil. Split the bread open and top with 2 ounces of beef. Top with onions, peppers and cheese and broil until the cheese melts. Place on a plate with broth for dipping.

Nutrition based on: 2 oz whole wheat baguette, 2 oz cooked beef round, 1/4 cup beef broth, 1 slice cheese, onions & peppers.

Monday, February 8, 2016

OMFG Chicken with stuffing and "gravy" - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 8 of 29

I'm just going to start by saying if my mom had been here I would have slapped her, punched her in the throat, and then eaten hers too.  And before all of you rush out to warn her of my violent tendencies, I've already shared that very thought with her.

This dinner was the shit.  It was so good that Nathan had thirds, and then cried when there was none left.  I realize that's not saying much, cuz the kid likes to eat.  After this was done I made a quick batch of garlic mashed potatoes to serve with it.  Next time I'll add some broccoli, or other green veg, to balance out the color scheme.  But HOLY SHIT BUCKETS, THIS IS GOING IN A HEAVY ROTATION.

One note, where it calls for "stuffing mix" you literally pour it over dry.  Don't make the stuffing mix according to package directions.  As it is, this produces a very moist "institutional dressing and gravy" type mix when it's done.  If you make the dressing in advance it'll be waaaay too damp.  If you make it, let me know in advance and you can borrow my punching bag (sorry mommy), and definitely let me know if you enjoyed it.

Crock Pot Chicken, Gravy and Stuffing


Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs

4 skinless chicken breasts, boneless 
1 cup chicken broth 
4 -6 slices swiss cheese 
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup 
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup 
1/4 cup milk 
2 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing 
1/2 cup butter, Melted 

Notes / Directions
1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour Chicken broth over breasts.

2. Put one slice of Swiss cheese on each breast. Combine both cans of soup and milk.

3. Cover chicken breasts with soup mixture. Sprinkle stuffing mix over all.

4. Drizzle melted butter on top.

5. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.

Thai Red Curry Beef - #29daysseducedbybruce WITH BONUS APPETEASER RECIPES - day 7 of 29

To celebrate Super Bowl Sunday and my lord and savior, Lady Gaga, we made traditional football foods for dinner and snacks through the Sportsball Game.  Appetizers made, courtesy of the oven, were a spicy corn cheese dip and a heart healthy spinach artichoke dip. I found the recipes for both of these on FaceBook in one of those cutesy little "Look, you can make an entire delicious meal in under 17 seconds" videos...

Jalapeño Corn DIp
Serves 4-6

1½ cups whole kernel canned corn, drained
¾ cup sour cream
⅓ cup chopped jalapeños
1 cup grated Parmesan
Chips, for dipping

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. In a baking dish, combine the corn, sour cream, jalapeños, and Parmesan, mixing until combined. 
3. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve with chips!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Serves 6-8

16 ounces cream cheese
1 (10-ounce box) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 baguette, toasted and sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. In a baking dish, combine the cream cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella, mixing until combined.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, until top is golden brown. Serve with toasted baguette slices!

Now, four of us gave these delicious dips the good ol' College try.  We just couldn't finish it.  After all, there was still dinner and chocolate chip M&M cookies to get to.  Bruce made a delicious Thai Red Curry Beef dish for dinner.  I didn't even pretend to try to get the boys interested in it after having put in, not only the Red Curry Paste, but TWO WHOLE UNSEEDED Jalepenos!  This was MOST DEFINITELY a "daddy dinner", no kids allowed.  Fear not, child advocates, we also made them pizza pockets and buttered noodles.  So it's not like they starved.  We even gave them (each) one cookie for not making us watch the Sportsball with them.  If you try it, let me know what you thought.

Thai Red Curry Beef

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs 30 mins

2 lb Lean Beef Stew Meat 
1/8 Tsp salt 
2 Cups Onion 
4 GarlicCloves 
3/4 cup Beef Broth 
1 tbsp Brown Sugar 
3 Tablespoons Red Curry Paste 
2 tablespoons fish sauce 
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1 can (13.5 oz coconut milk 
1 Jalepeno, minced 
2 cups Spinach Leaves 
4 cups Jasmine Rice, Cooked and cubed 
1/2 Cup Basil Leaves 

Notes / Directions
1: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain. Place beef in slow cooker; sprinkle with salt.

2: Return pan to medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Spoon onion mixture over beef. Combine beef broth and next 6 ingredients (through Jalepeno); pour over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

3: Stir in spinach. Cover and cook on LOW for 15 minutes or just until spinach wilts. Serve beef mixture over rice; sprinkle with basil leaves.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chicken Vindaloo - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 6 of 29

Today's meal was chicken vindaloo.  One of my favorites at Garaj Mahal. If your kids are weird about flavors, you might want to make them something else on the night that you make this for yourself. Also, it takes a lot of spices to make. I think I used every jar of everything I own while making this, and had to buy some extra stuff. Who knew there were so many spices and cooking?

After today's rather extravagant lunch at The Salt Lick, we are taking a pass on eating dinner tonight. I actually don't think I could eat another bite.  But I did try a spoonful of this, before putting it in the refrigerator. We will definitely eat it for lunch tomorrow. I have to say it's probably one of the spicier things I have ever made it home. My mouth was on fire, and it leaves me excited about tomorrow's lunch. After the flavors of had a chance to soak in a little bit more. I can already tell that this is a lunch that the kids will be eating a grilled cheese sandwich instead. If you have an opportunity to make it, let me know what you think.

Crock Pot Chicken Vindaloo

Makes: 3 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 hrs

3 tablespoons vinegar 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger 
3/4 tablespoon curry powder 
1 tablespoon ground cumin 
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper 
1 tablespoon mustard seeds 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 cup tomato sauce 
1 cinnamon stick 
1 small onion, chopped 
3 skinless chicken breast halves, quartered, boneless 
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 

Notes / Directions
1. Puree first 10 ingredients in a blender.

2. Pour into the crock pot, add tomato sauce, cinnamon stick and onion and mix well.

3. Add chicken and turn to cover.

4. Cook on low for 5 hours.

5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

6. Serve with rice or rolls, enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Carne Guisada - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 5 of 29

Nom nom nom.  I've made my own style of carne guisada for years using the HEB brand carne Guisada jar of spice and slow cooking it on the stove top.  This recipe was much more authentic, IMHO, but Jed said he prefers my other kind mo betray.  He was put off, or confused, by the presence of potatoes.  I thought they added an extra umpf.  This will definitely be staying in the post-challenge rotation.  It calls for a bit of "light beer" In the recipe, I used an El Chingon IPA I had in the fridge.  I know, gasp, no Lone Star.  I'm not perfect.

If you try it out, let me know your thoughts.

Not pictured, flour tortillas.

Crock Pot Carne Guisada (Latin Beef Stew)

Makes: 5 servings

2 tsp olive oil 
1 cup scallions, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 small tomatoes, chopped 
2 tbsp cilantro, minced 
1 1/2 lb choice Top round beef stew, cut into small chunks 
2 tablespoons all purpose flour 
1/3 cup light beer 
1/3 cup water 
1/2 tsp cumin 
1/4 tsp dry adobo seasoning 
1/2 tsp ground achiote (or Badia Sazon, or paprika) 
1 dried bay leaf 
kosher salt to taste 
10 oz baby red potatoes, halved or quartered 
Aji Picante 

Notes / Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, scallions and garlic and sauté about 2 - 3 minutes; add tomatoes, cilantro and a pinch of salt. Cook another 2 minutes, then place in the slow cooker. Wipe the skillet, add remaining oil and increase the heat to medium high. Add the beef and brown on all side, about 4 minutes. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle flour over the meat, cook 1 minute turning often, then add to the slow cooker.

Add beer, water, cumin, adobo, achiote, bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Add potatoes and cover, cook on low heat 6 to 8 hours or until beef is tender and the potatoes are cooked through.