Saturday, October 29, 2011

Menu 35: Chicken Enchiladas

We celebrated the October birthdays of Andy’s mom, our niece Savannah’s, and yours truly with a family dinner. For the occasion, we had Chicken Enchiladas With Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Citrus Black Beans, and yellow rice. Mimi made brownies and the most delicious apple cake. A good time was had by all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sausage-and-White Bean Soup

A friend brought a soup like this to eat after church on Sunday, and it was delicious! As I made my grocery list for the week, it kept coming to mind, so I knew we had to try it. This is my version of what I remember my friend’s tasting like. Andy and his dad really liked it. It’s relatively healthy, except for the sausage, but you could substitute turkey sausage. Cannellini beans are a favorite ingredient right now because of their creaminess. Enjoy!

Sausage-and-White Bean Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
Olive oil
1 bacon slice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 package smoked sausage, sliced (I used Conecuh brand.)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-oz.) bag baby spinach

1. Sauté onions and next 2 ingredients in hot oil with bacon for 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in garlic and sausage, and cook 10 more minutes or until sausage browns. Stir in salt and pepper and next 3 ingredients; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, beans, and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 more minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Menu 34: Black Bean-and-Beef Chili

Because it feels like fall outside, I decided chili was in order for dinner. The inspiration for the recipe came from on-hand ingredients—several cans of black beans in the pantry and a flank steak in the freezer. To make it more kid-friendly (e.g. hide the good-for-you veggies), I pureed the onion, celery, and carrots before sautéing them with the meat. This is certainly an untraditional recipe, but the combination worked well. We had jalapeño corn muffins on the side. Enjoy!

Black Bean-and-Beef Chili
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
4 carrots, cut into chunks
Salt and black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lb. flank steak, cut into chunks
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (28-oz.) can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cup beef broth

1. Puree onion and next 2 ingredients in food processor. Cook in hot oil 5 minutes. Add in garlic and steak; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until steak is browned. Stir in chili powder and next 2 ingredients, and cook 1 more minute. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and broth; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 more minutes. Season to taste.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes

For a quick dessert, I combined my favorite chocolate cupcake batter with cream cheese frosting—delicious! Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup in the can is getting hard to find. Your best bet is Piggly-Wiggly or another small-town store. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 (16-oz.) can chocolate syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in chocolate syrup and vanilla. Gradually add in flour, beating just until blended. Pour muffin cups lined with paper muffin cups.
2. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or just until set. Let cool 5 minutes; remove cupcakes from pan. Spread with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar

1. Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer until fluffy. Gradually add in extracts and powdered sugar, beating until spreading consistency.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu 33: Chicken, Potatoes, and Broccoli Salad

Oven-fried chicken is so simple to pull together, so I serve it often on busy nights. Chicken tenders are just the right portion size and there are usually some in the freezer. Tonight, I made this recipe but omitted the pecans—it’s tasty either way. On the side, we had mashed potatoes and Broccoli Salad. I love the salad’s combination of sweet and salty and smoky and vinegar-y. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad
4 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 to 4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar

1. Combine broccoli and next 4 ingredients. Stir together mayonnaise and next 2 ingredients; toss with broccoli mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.