Thursday, October 14, 2010

...You're So Filthy

Last night's dinner was taken almost directly from The 150 Best American Recipes by Fran McCullough & Molly Stevens. I really can't remember where this cookbook came from, but I've had it for quite some time, and never actually made any of the recipes out of it. It turns out that neither Dave nor I had ever eaten a sloppy joe before, so we really didn't know what to expect. In the end, we liked them quite a bit!

Dave loves Tater Tots, but I never make them, so this was a very rare treat.

The only changes made to the original recipe are:
olive oil instead of vegetable oil

1 lb of ground turkey instead of 1.3 lbs - my grocery store only sells prepackaged ground turkey from brands like Shadybrook Farms and Butterball, which are always exactly 1 lb.

28 oz can of ground tomatoes instead of crushed - Not much of a difference, but there is a difference! Crushed tomatoes are mixed with some amount of tomato paste, so the solids to liquid ratio is different. Somehow, I misread the recipe when I was making my shopping list and thought it said diced tomatoes, which I always have in the pantry. When I noticed my error, I figured it would just make a chunkier joe. As it turns out, I didn't actually have any diced tomatoes anyway! Luckily, I found a large can of ground tomatoes tucked in the back of the cabinet. They were given to me in a very cute gift basket that included pasta makings and a huge stockpot. Um, at my bridal shower in September of 2008...

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Mmmm. Love that smell!
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 lb ground Turkey
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp ground Cumin
1 cup Dry Red Wine
1 28-oz can ground or crushed Tomatoes
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
6 Kaiser or Portuguese Rolls
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or chef's pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and salt and mix well. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Mix in the cumin and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Add the red wine and reduce by 3/4. Pour in the tomatoes, stir well, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, molasses, and vinegar, stir well, and cook for 2 more minutes to blend the flavors. 

To serve, toast the rolls, split them, and top with cheddar cheese. Spoon on the sloppy joe mixture and serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Arriving at the tent city Saturday night, Avon Walk NYC 2009
I <3 nipple rings. Yup, I'm a tattooed, pierced freak. Most of my clothing is black, and some has skulls on it. I listen to music that is more about distortion and screaming than anything else. This is the 3rd year that I'm doing the Avon Walk in NYC, and I've raised over $9,000 combined. Because I love my nipple rings, and I never want to give them up.

Hear Me Squawk

Last night's dinner was super-yummy, and really quick. I had it on the table in 20 minutes or so. For a healthier version, check out the link to make your own taco seasoning. Adding some chopped peppers with the onion would be great, too.

Quick Chicken & Black Bean Tacos
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb Boneless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 can Rotell
1 can black beans
1 packet taco seasoning (we use Old El Paso) or Make Your Own
1/2 cup chicken broth

Serve with:
Tortillas - I had soft taco size flour tortillas, but whatever size you prefer, corn or flour.
Mexican blend shredded cheese
Sour cream

Heat oil in large saute or chef's pan until it shimmers (make sure to swirl oil to coat entire pan). Carefully trim the chicken breasts, place them in the pan, and cover. Cook for four minutes on each side, or until juices run clear (thicker breasts may take longer). Remove to cutting board and allow to cool. Shred with fork.

Add onion to the same pan and cook for four minutes, stirring often. Add Rotell and beans and cook for two more minutes. Add chicken, seasoning, and broth, and stir carefully and thoroughly to mix. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for at least five minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Serve with warm tortillas, sour cream, and cheese, and everyone can make their own tacos! :-) As always, the leftovers are great for lunch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

...With a Little Help From...

How about a nice list of my favorite blogs that I follow? Feel free to comment with yours...

Lots of yummy recipes. All over the map in terms of subject, source, and occasion. Updated often.

Excellent recipes for everyday, and for company. Fabulous pics to go with everything.

Lovely tales of knitting, crafts, food, and family.

A man's mission to give away $10 per day for an entire year.

Making it work on a shoestring budget.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Empire of Dirt

Well, every great meal must have it's opposite, so here is my most recent tale of woe.

Recently, a new friend heard from others that I really enjoy cooking, and asked me to invite her over for a meal. I jumped at the chance, and asked what her favorite meal was, glad to try something new. It turns out that she is a big fan of Shepherd's Pie, so I decided to do a trial run for Dave and I before having a guest eat something I had never tried before. Given the outcome, I'm very glad that I did it this way, instead of just winging it for guests like I usually do.

Since Shepherd's Pie can be rather complicated to put together, I chose to make it on a weeknight when my soccer game would be starting later, around 9pm. I was actually able to find the ground lamb that it called for at my usual grocery store, and was very excited to get started. (Here is the recipe I began with:

First, I peeled and cut up my potatoes, putting them in water to boil. Then I put together the filling, chopping and browning and simmering. Everything smelled wonderful! It turns out that I had forgot to buy corn, but I didn't think we'd miss it. I mashed the potatoes, and they were thicker than I was used to, but tasted great. Finally, after a little more than an hour of prep work, I spread the filling in an 11"x7" Pyrex baking dish, spread the potatoes on top, and placed it on a pan in the oven. For once, I was following the directions in the recipe precisely. With approximately 10 minutes left to bake, I heard an odd noise come from the oven. When I opened the door, I discovered that the baking dish had shattered, filling the bottom of my oven with glass.

Needless to say, I was quite upset. I had wasted an hour and a half of my time, and had no dinner to show for it. To top it off, now I had to wash all of the dishes and pans that I had used! Dave hugged me and sympathized, offering to clean up, but I felt that I had to take care of my own mess. He quietly dried the dishes, while I washed and cried into the sink. Then he picked up some pizza, but I just didn't feel like eating anymore. The pans hadn't cooled off by the time I left for my game, so Dave was nice enough to clean out the oven. I definitely got out some aggression on the soccer field that night!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Am I Still Your Charm...

Today is Dave and my second wedding anniversary. To say the time has flown would be a vast understatement. Dave came up with a fun plan for Saturday to celebrate. We took the train in to New York City and went to the Museum of Natural History, then wandered through Central Park and over to the Met, where we spent hours walking around. Then we hopped the subway back down towards Times Square for a yummy (& cheap-ish) dinner at a cute Italian restaurant. Such a good time. There was skipping.