Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Oreo Cheesecake - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 17 of 29 BONUS

I really believe anything can be made in and by Bruce.  I love this man.  Er, ummm, machine.

Couple notes, the recipe doesn't tell you, but put a layer of paper towels down under the lid.  It'll trap the condensation and keep it from dripping back down on your cheesecake.  I put this in an 8" round cake pan and it was absolutely the perfect size.  It fit nicely in my large oval crockpot, and held all the ingredients. I actually had prepared two cake pans to make two because I thought it would be too much for the small cake pan, but it ended up all fitting in nicely.  2 to 2 hours and 15 minutes on high seems to be the magic number.  This was a tasty treat for the fam and the work wife.

Crockpot Cheesecake with Oreo Cookie Crust

3- 8 oz packages cream cheese softened 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 eggs 
5 tbsp butter (melted) 
2 cups Oreo cookies crushed 
Crisco, coconut oil, or nonstick spray 

Notes / Directions
1. Prepare bowl/pie plate by greasing liberally with Crisco, coconut oil, or nonstick spray.

2. Crush oreos in blender or food processor.

3. Combine melted butter and cookies together til well mixed.

4. Press cookie crumbs into the bottom of greased bowl.

5. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand or hand mixer until smooth, creamy, and fluffy.

6. Add eggs one at a time to mix well.

7. Spread filling over crust.

8. Place container in slow cooker, add water carefully up to ½” under the rim of bowl.

9. Replace lid.

10. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until top is firm, and toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

11. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

12. Place in refrigerator to set for an hour or more.

OMFG Barbacoa Tacos - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 17 of 29

I don't think I've ever been phatter, phuller, or happier than I am at this very second.  I want to take my clothes off and roll around naked in this meal.  There may never be a reason to leave the house again.   The only disappointment in this meal is my (Mexican) children complaining about the spiciness.  My abuela is rolling over in her grave at the humiliation of these whimps.

Do NOT change anything about this recipe, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  

Barbacoa-Style Beef Tacos

- 3-4 lb Beef Chuck Roast 
1 can Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, Chopped 
5 Cloves Garlic, Chopped 
1 tbsp Ground Cumin 
3 tsp Oregano 
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves 
1/2 Cup Beef Broth 
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar 
1/4 Cup (fresh) Lime Juice 
3 Bay Leaves 
Flour/Corn Tortillas 
Sour Cream 
Black beans 

Notes / Directions
For Serving: (optional)
- Flour/Corn Tortillas
- Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Salsa
- Guacamole
- Rice
- Black Beans

Cut the Roast into approximately six to eight large chunks. Season well with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a large skillet and sear the beef chunks (in batches if necessary) on all sides until browned. Transfer seared meat to slow cooker. 

In a medium bowl combine chopped chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, beef broth, vinegar, lime juice, and additional salt and pepper (to taste). Mix well, then pour over beef in the slow cooker and add bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until meat shreds easily. 

Remove bay leaves. Remove and shred beef. Return beef to slow cooker to marinate at least 10 more minutes, or until ready to serve. Great on nachos, tacos, and burritos!

Sweet and Sour Chicken - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 16 of 29

Every once in a while I'll make something so good I want to slap my momma.  Every once in a while I'll cook something that Adrian will eat without acting like I'm pouring battery acid in his eyes.  This dish was both of those things.  Adrian declared it "one of my best"...and that, folks, is all you need to know.  For a kid who can't stand anything, this was his everything.  

It's not a traditional sweet and sour chicken like you would find in a Chinese restaurant, in that the chicken is not breaded and fried.  Otherwise, all the flavors are there without the odd colored red syrupy sauce.  It certainly had the flavor of a traditional sweet and sour sauce, just not the bright red unnatural color.  The ONLY thing I would have changed about this was maybe not put the carrots in at the beginning and letting them cook all day.  They came out a nice lovely soft, but I think I would have preferred a little more crunch to my carrot.  As a bonus, I used up the remaining egg rolls that we hand rolled a couple weeks ago.  They were amazing.  

Let me know if you try it, folks.  

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Makes: 8 servings

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice
1 cup baby-cut carrots, cut in half
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Hot cooked rice or chow mein noodles, if desired

Notes / Directions
1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Place pineapple chunks in small bowl; cover and refrigerate.

2. Place carrots, onion, garlic and ginger root in 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Top with chicken. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar and reserved pineapple juice; pour over chicken.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink.

4. During last 30 minutes, add pineapple and bell peppers. Increase to high heat setting. Mix cornstarch and water; stir into chicken mixture during last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beef Teryaki - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 15 of 29

Today was an exhausting holiday.  I did a ton of cooking in the morning, literally about six hours, of prepping breakfasts and lunches for the week, as well as making dinner for tonight.  Tonight's dinner, however, couldn't have been simpler or more tasty.  It's always a good sign when Nathan asks for seconds before everyone else has even started.

Other than mixing the sauce for this recipe, there was really no work.  This was one of those dump, stir, and cook meals.  Adding the bag of thawed frozen veg at the end for the final step really couldn't have been simpler.  Let me know if you try it.

Slow-Cooker Teriyaki Beef and Vegetables

Makes: 6 servings

1 1/2 lb beef round steak, trimmed of fat, cut into thin bite-size strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry or apple juice
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup water
1 bag (1 lb) frozen broccoli, carrots & cauliflower, thawed*
1 1/2 cups uncooked regular long-grain white rice
3 cups water

Notes / Directions

1. In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix steak and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch until evenly coated. Gently stir in soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger and garlic. Top with water chestnuts.

2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting about 6 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, in small bowl, blend 1/4 cup water and remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Stir into beef mixture. Stir in thawed vegetables.

4. Increase heat setting to High; cover and cook 25 to 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, cook rice in 3 cups water as directed on package. Serve beef mixture over rice.

Meat Loaf and Mashed Taters - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 14 of 29

I was not to be swayed by Valentine's day to not cook in my crock pot.  Not even with the tempting offer of Steak and Hashbrowns at Waffle House (by reservation). 

First off, in the morning, we hosted a breakfast party for approximately 30 of our friends and neighbors to cheer on the Austin Marathoners.  I prepped most of the food in house, on the stove, but busted out every single one of my five crock pots to keep everything warm outside as we cheered.  I really really really wish I had gotten a picture of everyone working together in harmony.  

After getting everyone cleaned up an put away, I put Bruce and Barbara to work making Valentines dinner.  Bruce readied the meat loaf while Babs prepared the mashed potatoes.  

The meatloaf was the best.  I can't think of a single bad thing to say about the meatloaf.  It turned out really well.  Note the foil lining the crock pot with the meat loaf on top.  This is ESSENTIAL, so that you can lift the meat loaf out when it's done cooking.  

The potatoes were awful.  I don't know what happened to them.  Perhaps they weren't cooked well enough?  I've always been really hit or miss with potatoes in a crock pot and not sure what I'm doing wrong with them.  I tried to mash these with a standard hand masher when they were "done" (according to the recipe instructions), but they were still hardish.  I then put them in my Kitchenaide mixer to try and "mash" them, and potatoes kept flying out everywhere.  It was a real mess.  I need to work on these a bit more.  I'll try it again before I give up on them completely.  

If you try either of these, let me know your thoughts.

Classic Slow-Cooker Meatloaf

Makes: 6 servings

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup

Notes / Directions
1. Line 4 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except ketchup. Shape mixture into loaf, and place in center of slow cooker. Spread ketchup over top.

3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. Remove meatloaf from slow cooker to serving platter. Cut into pieces to serve.

 Easy Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Makes: 14 servings
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs 30 mins

3 lb small red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chives-and-onion cream cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

Notes / Directions
1. Halve or quarter potatoes as necessary to make similar-sized pieces. Place in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic, oil, salt and water; mix well to coat all potato pieces.

2. Cover; cook on High setting 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.

3. With fork or potato masher, mash potatoes and garlic. Stir in cream cheese until well blended. Stir in enough milk for soft serving consistency. Serve immediately, or cover and hold in slow cooker on Low setting up to 2 hours.

4. Halve or quarter potatoes as necessary to make similar-sized pieces. Place in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add garlic, oil, salt and water; mix well to coat all potato pieces.

5. Cover; cook on High setting 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.

6. With fork or potato masher, mash potatoes and garlic. Stir in cream cheese until well blended. Stir in enough milk for soft serving consistency. Serve immediately, or cover and hold in slow cooker on Low setting up to 2 hours.

Split Pea Soup - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 12 of 29

Our house is a house divided when it comes to soup.  I was raised on soup, all kinds of soup, and love almost every type of soup you can throw at me.  Jed's love of soup is limited to, basically, chili.  And he loathes Split Pea Soup...which is why I made a big ol' batch of it, knowing there'd be extra for me. 

Walt has been experimenting with his own crock pot lately and has, in the last month, told me twice that he's made some banging Split Pea Soup.  I had a left over ham bone from New Year's Eve in the freezer, just waiting for an opportunity to make some soup.  So I modified Walt's recipe a bit to make dinner on Saturday.  

Nathan loved it.  Downed his first bowl and asked for a second.  Jed was shit talking it before he even tried it.  But I made some toasted sour dough bread to go with it and he sopped that shit up like it was a Baylor girl trying her first fried pickle with a cup of Ranch.  For as much as he "hates split pea soup" he swore it was the sour dough toast that made it so delicious.  

Thank you for the inspiration, Walt.  I did make a couple of minor alterations to your recipe, but most of it stayed the same.  If y'all try it, let me know your thoughts.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
7 hrs

7 cups water
1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and sorted (2 1/4 Cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (1 Cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1 Cup Cubed Potato
1 Bay leaf
1 ham bone or 2 lbs ham shanks or 2 lbs smoked pork hocks

Notes / Directions

1. Mix all ingredients except ham in 5 qt slow cooker, then add ham.

2. Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hrs or on high heat 6 to 7 hours until peas are tender Remove ham from cooker; place on cutting board.

3. Pull meat from bones, using 2 forks; discard bones and skin.

4. Stir ham into soup.

5. Stir well before serving.

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.

Phorever Phreddy

In my absence, I let myself go and reeled myself back in.  I've always been one extreme or the other, I suppose. In my teens and 20'si was very active. 30's, not so much. In my late 30's I set goals for myself, and the very second I accomplished them, I abandoned everything.

During the summer of 2014, my boss asked that I go to Manhattan to meet with a client. Since I've always been a "jeans and t-shirt" guy at the office, it didn't occur to me to try on my fancy clothes before I left. The morning of my meeting I put on my fancy pants. They were a little more than snug. They were downright vulgar. I put my shoes on and say down to tie them and split those mother fuckers right down the seam of my ass. Humiliated, I had to run out at 8 in the morning to find new pants. I was horrified to learn I was (then) in a 38. I vowed to do something about it the second I got home.

My adult bestie, Walt, has always inspired me with his own physical transformation. Having lost the equivalent of the Brady Bunch (the children, not the parents), I followed some of what he had done. if I'm being honest, I didn't do anything he had done, except for getting a FitBit to actually track my activity to see how lazy I had really become. The nice thing about the device, and being competitive, and having competitive friends, is that it kicked my butt into gear.

The first step in setting up the FitBit was to see how much damage I had done. I stepped on the scale at 245#. The next step was to set my daily (10k steps) and long term (140#) goals. I'm *sort of* kidding about the long-term goal. The next step was to annihilate Walt in the leader boards.  I still haven't done that, and doubt I ever will.  But, it's not stopping me from trying.  

I picked the absolute BEST time to start riding my bike to work. July, in Central Texas, when it's 90 at 5 am and sweltering in the evenings. My almost daily 22 mile round trip commute through the "gently rolling hills" (bullshit, there's nothing gentle about it) of Westlake had a nearly instantaneous loss of both Olsen twins. As the weight started to come off, I started looking like I had the ill-defined body of a 14 year old boy.  The next thing I did was contact a personal trainer to help me with some poor body image trouble spots.  I had to wonder though, were the trouble spots real, or only in my mind.  There's a lot of psychological damage that's done when you look like The Penguin.  

Last March, the day after Spring Break, I started working with my trainer twice a week.  I was AWFUL at every.single.exercise he gave me.  Like, seriously, awful.  Within months I had built up strength, stamina, yadda yadda.  My only regret about the experience is that I never took "before" measurements (or photos).  Through the year I noticed my clothes were fitting better and getting smaller.  I realize some of the shorts I wear now appear to be to small for some 4 year old's out there...but I don't care.  My work wife told me the other day that I looked "bootylicious", and I'm going to take it.  

This March will be one-year that I've started working out with Shawn.  What started off as twice a week sobbing in his gym by myself has morphed into Jed started working out with me.  Shawn has been coming to our house twice a week now, instead, and showing us things we can do utilizing items/equipment we already have around the house for strength/endurance training.  Instead of only exercising twice a week, I get some type of exercise 7-days a week, with strength/weights thrown in *at least* 4 days a week, sometimes more if the days fall on days that Shawn comes by to yell at us.  

Bodies that are in motion stay in motion.  I think I've *got this* now.  While I appreciate the accountability aspect of having someone hold me feet to the fire, I feel like I'm ready to walk.  I won't be one of those people who says, "This is what you need to do...", these have been my own lessons.  But I will say that whatever your psychological barriers to physical change are, just let them go.  I thought, and sometimes still feel, I was "too old" or "too fat" to change.  And maybe I am, both.  But I really just don't care anymore.  I'm tired of living with complacency.  When it's time to change, it's time to change.  

Enchilada Soup - #29daysseducedbybruce - day 4 of 29

Several years ago we were visiting my sister when she lived in Virginia.  One of the nights we were there she made "taco soup" for us.  It was interesting, seeing a Yankee's perspective on "Chicken Tortilla Soup".  I don't deny there was a simplicity in her recipe that made it quick and easy.  I was a *tiny* eeked out by the addition of a block of Velveeta at the end of her process.  Again, I don't deny it was tasty...just a little off having lived in Northern Mexico for the last 27 years.  We used a modified version of her recipe since that visit, always omitting the Velveeta because, well, I just can't.  It's not natural.  Any "cheese" that you can store on a non-refrigerated shelf for a decade and it not die is not natural and doesn't belong in Mexican cuisine.  

I came across the recipe for this Enchilada Soup on Betty Crocker DOT COM.  It was SOOOOO tasty.  I much prefer the cooking process of the chicken in this recipe than using the canned chicken in the Sister's recipe.  Again, for simplicity and speed, her recipe was tasty.  There was just something more "fresh" about this one from last night.  And, it made lots of leftovers for lunch.  The avacado listed at the end in "suggested servings" shouldn't be suggested, IT IS REQUIRED.  It completely made the dish.  Also, splurge for a bag of tortilla chips.  Having that extra "crunch" made it feel like a real meal.  If you make it, let me know your thoughts.  

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Makes: 6 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2, 8 oz skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
fat free sour cream

Notes / Directions

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.

To the crockpot, add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt and cumin to taste. Serve in bowls and top with fat free sour cream, cheese, scallions and cilantro. You can also top with avocado or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Chicken a la Criolla - #29daysseducedbybruce - Day 2 of 29

I'm not sure what a "Criolla" is supposed to mean in this context.  According to Uncle Google, it can mean a name of several grape varieties found in Argentina...there are no grapes in this recipe; it can mean a South American version of Salsa composed of sliced onions cilantro, pickled beats, boiled potatoes, avocado, chili peppers, and tomatoes...there were no beats, potatoes, or avocado; or it could simply mean "local cuisine".

In any case, Day 2 of 29 was Chicken a la Criolla.  Again, the family ate it up.  It was tasty.  Jed and I had the same reaction, "it was good, but not something I would immediately think of when you ask me what I want for dinner."  I, honestly, found it to be a bit bland, but remember I have an addiction to salt, so my taste buds may be a bit skewed.  It was super simple to throw together, and anything the kids like is a win.  I would only give this 3.5 out of 5 stars though.  If you happen to make it, let me know your thoughts.

Crock Pot Chicken a la Criolla

Makes: 5 servings


10 skinless boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bell pepper, chopped or sliced
4 plum tomatoes 
2 tbsp alcaparrado or pitted spanish olives 
8 oz can tomato sauce 
1/4 tsp oregano 
1/4 tsp cumin 
salt to taste 
1 bay leaf 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Notes / Directions

Place chicken, onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes in the crock pot. Season with salt, cumin and oregano. Mix well so everything is seasoned.

Add tomato sauce, alcaparrado (or olives) along with 1 tbsp of the brine, 1/2 cup water, bay leaf and cilantro. Mix well and set crock pot to HIGH 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. When done, taste for salt and seasoning and adjust spices as needed. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro and serve over rice.
*Serve over 3/4 cup white or brown cooked rice for a satisfying 9 points plus meal.