Crocking Away…Tasty Turkey Chili

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Hello all! I am Katrina, and have been writing since I was 17, and have been interested in food since I was 15, and got my first “real” job, working in a bakery down the block from my high school. I however, like to cook and eat healthy 24/7. Yes, I will grab a slice of pizza every now and then, but why bother, when I can make my own on whole wheat dough, with low-fat cheese, low-sodium sauce, and turkey pepperoni? You catch my drift…I love food, and love to cook and bake…healthy…at home.

I am in love. With my crock pot. Not what you thought I was going to say, right? Well it’s true. I discovered this hidden gem in my kitchen cabinet not too long ago, and have been whipping up tasty turkey chili for my whole family ever since.

The machine literally is fool-proof. You prepare a meal in the morning, toss it in the slow cooker (crock pot, as I grew up calling it), and let it simmer all day until you get home from work. Because let’s be honest: who wants to cook chili after working an 8 hour day?

And that is just what I did today. I had to be at work at 9:30 so I got up a little after 7:30AM and sauteed my turkey chop meat in 2 TBS of olive oil on the stove. I broke it up with a fork, and then poured in a little bit of cumin and S+P to my liking. When that was almost all cooked, I transferred it over to the slow cooker, which I had plugged in and set to “Low for 8 Hours.”

I went back to my stove and poured another TBS of olive oil, and chopped up two small cloves of garlic, one small onion, and one green pepper and tossed those into the pan on the stove. Then I added in a can of cannelloni beans, a can of low-sodium diced tomatoes, and one can of low-sodium chicken broth. I let these ingredients simmer in the pan for about 5 minutes, before transferring it over to the crock pot.

Once I poured in the remaining ingredients, I mixed them together with the turkey chop meat. Then….that’s it! I put the lid on, and left for work, and left my trusted Hamilton Beach crock pot do the rest of the work. Now some people, (like my cousin) are convinced leaving a crock pot on all day while you go to work, is a sure way to start a fire. And yes, I was worried about this too at first. But then you realize, it will be fine. It is meant to be fine. And just for safe measure, I always clear the space around it, so it is the only appliance plugged into the wall at that particular unit, and I make sure no other appliance is rubbing up against it…give the crock some space 😉

And viola! You come home to a nice meal, that only took you 25 minutes of your morning to prepare. So dust off your cookbook, and invest in a crock pot. I guarantee soups and chili will never taste the same!

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Pappardelle Pasta with Lamb Ragu {Perfect for Valentine’s Day Dinner!}

Hey readers! I’m Elizabeth, your new culinary contributor. I’m a Hamilton College and French Culinary Institute graduate, and a longtime NJ resident. Even with my highbrow culinary education, I still enjoy a bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a slice of Funfetti cake as much as the next food lover (my French chefs would cringe!). You’ll find me sampling and creating all kinds of food from all types of cuisines; cooking, baking, cocktail shaking – the works. I also write healthy living recipes for insurance companies; so I’ve got lots of gluten-free, dairy-free, and veggie-laden recipes in my repertoire. I love traveling, spicy food, farmer’s markets, champagne, and throwing dinner parties for friends and family.

This Valentine’s Day, why not forgo the expensive pre-fix menu and overcrowded restaurant in favor of a delicious dinner at home. This pappardelle pasta with lamb ragu comes together quickly and makes your kitchen smell delicious. Its light on your wallet but still packs big gourmet flavors to celebrate the night. Serve with a green salad and red wine, and you’ll be sure to please!

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb (you can use ground beef in a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in puree
  • 3/4 pound pappardelle (get fresh pasta if you can)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

  1. In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, the oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and the onion and cook over medium heat, five minutes or until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for a minute more.
  2. Next, add the lamb, parsley, fennel, cinnamon, rosemary and thyme. Cook for five minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their puree, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover your pan partially and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes. If your ragu gets over-reduced, add a splash of chicken stock to thin it out again. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, per package directions. Save 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the butter and toss over low heat. Thin the ragu with a splash of the pasta water if needed. Serve the pasta and ragu in bowls, topped with a scoop of the ricotta and a sprinkling of the chopped mint.

As a bonus- toast the night with a festive fizzy cocktail. Pick budget friendly Prosecco over pricey champagne, and mix it with 1-tablespoon pomegranate juice per glass. Serve in champagne flutes with a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!

#SCBD Quick & Easy Breakfast Burrito Recipe!

Ever since 2013 began my latest breakfast obsession has been breakfast burritos. They are great to eat for breakfast or brunch and can make a breakfast lover out of anyone. Breakfast has always been a meal I eat daily because I know I work better with a little or in this case a lot in my stomach. Also, if you are on the run this a great portable breakfast that will make your stomach and taste buds a bit happier. There are a few different techniques to making them, in fact the first time I made them was with my boyfriend and our friend’s New Year’s Day but here is my most effective recipe.

breakfast burrito

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 large eggs (depends on how many you plan on serving)
  • Salsa of choice
  • A pack of flour tortillas
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, for taste
  • Bag of shredded cheese (I prefer the Mexican Blend)

Instructions:

  1. If you plan on including bacon in your burrito prepare that first in a frying pan to your liking and put pieces on a plate with a paper towel so they aren’t as greasy.
  2. If you don’t plan on using bacon start by cracking eggs in a mixing bowl. Note: I use 2 eggs per burrito per person so if you are making for more than two people you may  need to use between 6-8 eggs but its up to you.
  3. Get out frying pan and spray with butter or olive oil spray, let it heat up for a minute or two.
  4. Whip eggs in mixing bowls, add salt & pepper and about a tablespoon or two of salsa.
  5. Pour egg mix into frying pan and scramble eggs to your liking.
  6. Once eggs are scrambled put them into a separate bowl.
  7. Spray pan with oil or butter spray again and heat tortillas over low heat to your liking.
  8. Put more salsa (if you want) and shredded cheese into separate bowls.
  9. Take your tortilla top with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa and cheese to your liking.
  10. Fold into a burrito and enjoy!

new years breakfast burritos

Next time you don’t know what to eat for breakfast or brunch think outside the box and try this breakfast burrito recipe, it’s delicious!

Happy Eating! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBD Quick & Easy Spinach & Rice Casserole Recipe

This recipe has tons of memories for me, it brings me back about 15 years to be exact. I remember when I was roughly 8 years old and in the kitchen watching my mom cook dinner, we made this.  It’s incredibly delicious, economically friendly, and really easy to make. It’s also perfect for these cold winter days not to mention you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner!

spinach rice cheese casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 oz. box of chopped frozen spinach
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese (your choice, I used what was on hand)
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter flavored spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a pyrex or casserole pan with butter flavored spray and a light layer of shredded cheese on the bottom.
  2. If you haven’t already cook the two cups of white rice. If you already have rice in your refrigerator you can use that and put it in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In the meantime, heat up frozen spinach in the microwave for roughly ten minutes. Drain it so that there is no water in it and put that into a smaller mixing bowl. Add your eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, some shredded cheese, salt and pepper and whip it up in the bowl with the spinach.
  4. Put the spinach and egg mix in the large mixing bowl with the rice. Feel free to add more garlic and onion powder, salt, & pepper, and more shredded cheese if you want for more flavor and binding.
  5. Spread mix onto your pan or pyrex and smooth it out. Top with your cheese of choice so it covers the whole entire mix.
  6. Put it in the oven for about a half hour and the top is brown.
  7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes
  8. Cut into pieces & enjoy!

This is such a great recipe and is super easy especially if you have cooked rice lying around. I’m thinking of even trying it with kale one day instead of spinach. If you make it let me know what you think!

Happy Eating! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBD Black Bean & Cheese Quesadillas Recipe

I find the best recipes ones that use a few, simple ingredients. Growing up I was always a fan of quesadillas and still am to this day. This past week, I realized I had a lot of black beans in my pantry so I figured I should put them to good use.

Here’s my quick & easy recipe for black bean and cheese quesadillas…

black bean and cheese quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • A bag of flour tortillas
  • A can of black beans
  • Bag of shredded cheese of choice preferably Mexican Mix
  • Salsa of choice
  • Oil or butter spray
  • Adobo Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper, as needed

Instructions:

  1. In a separate small pot prepare beans over heat for about 20 minutes. Feel free to put in Adobo seasoning and salt & pepper for more flavor. 
  2. Once beans are done cooking let simmer on low heat.
  3. Take out a frying pan that can fit your flour tortilla on it, spray with oil or butter spray of choice and let it warm up.
  4. Put tortilla on it and let it warm up to your liking for about a minute.
  5. Add beans, salsa, and cheese on to tortilla and let sit for another two minutes.
  6. Once the cheese has melted enough take one side of the tortilla over the other and flip so both sides are heated evenly. If you’d prefer to use two tortillas instead of one put another tortilla over the mix & then flip it.
  7. Keep over heat for another minute or two.
  8. Put it on your plate & enjoy!

This recipe is really easy and if you are not a fan of beans you can always substitute it with your meat of choice. Feel free to top it off with your favorite sour cream and guac if you’d like.

Happy Eating! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBD ‘Spiked’ Adult Chocolate Milk Recipe

Ever have one of those days when you need a nightcap? Bailey’s Irish Cream has to be one of my favorite liquors, it’s flavorful, creamy and can be used in many cocktails & desserts. It can also be used in cocktails like spiked chocolate milk.

Adult Chocolate Milk

Here’s my recipe for simple yet delicious ‘spiked’ adult chocolate milk…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Milk of choice (you may need more or less depending on your glass size)
  • 1 shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Instructions:

  1. In a glass of your choice pour milk, shot of Bailey’s, & chocolate syrup.
  2. If you have a stirrer, stir to your liking if not use a spoon and mix it together so it looks like chocolate milk. Feel free to use or more less chocolate syrup and Bailey’s depending on how strong & chocolate tasting you like it.
  3. Once it’s the way you like it– sip & enjoy!

This recipe is so simple and delicious, perfect for dessert or a nightcap. Next time you think of buying a bottle of Adult Chocolate Milk, think again, the recipe is simple and only requires three ingredients!

Cheers!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBD Grapefruit ‘Beer’mosa Recipe

I’ll admit it ever since I moved closer to New York City I’ve definitely become a “bruncher.” I believe here is no better way to enjoy the weekend then with a mimosa and your favorite brunch or lunch dish. Last night after I bought a six pack of Blue Moon I had this random epiphany to make a Beermosa (a mimosa with beer instead of champagne) this weekend and that I did.

Here’s my recipe inspired by this beermosa recipe from SheKnows.com

grapefruit blue moon beermosa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (more or less) of Grapefruit Juice (or juice of choice)
  • 1/2 cup (more or less) of Blue Moon

Instructions:

  • Pour about 1/2 cup of Grapefruit into glass
  • Pour Blue Moon into glass, let sit
  • Once it fizzes it’s ready
  • Kick back, relax, & enjoy!

I love this take on a the classic mimosa, so if you are in the mood for beer with your brunch and love juice as much as I do, grab a tall glass & make a beermosa!

Cheers! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited