Saturday, February 25, 2012

This week in meals - branching out

I haven't done much cooking at home the last two weeks, so when I planned the week's menu, I added quite a few new recipes. This is the week for them. My boss is gone at work, so I'll be able to leave a little early, which should help with getting dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. So, here's what's on the menu:

Monday: Slow cooker chicken burritos, red rice, guacamole salsa
Tuesday: Baked mac-n-cheese, broccoli, salad
Wednesday: Coconut curry chicken soup, fruit
Thursday: Cheeseburger frittata, salad, fruit

Mmm, I'm ready to eat. What are you making this week?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Book club is one of the highlights of each month for me. Not only does it connect with my love for reading, but food plays a large role in our meetings as well. The host chooses food to serve that somehow relates to the book, and it's always fun to see what she comes up with.

This month, we read "Unbroken", an amazing story that I highly recommend. And, we also invited our husbands to read the book as well and to join us for book club. Because our group was going to be larger than usual, we all contributed to the food for the evening. What I chose was only loosely connected to the book, in that chocolate played an important role.

Regardless, these chocolate cookies were good. Really good. I found the recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything blog. Check her out. She's got lots of good recipes on there. And then, make these cookies.

Double Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla1
1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls (I made my cookies a little smaller than this). Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Cookies will still be soft but will set up after cooling. Place cookies on cookie rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Dad's Chili

Phil loves to tell the story of when we were first married (or maybe when we were dating) and he went along with me to my parents. My dad made this chili and we all took a zantac, or something similar, before dinner. And, of course, offered one to Phil. He seriously wondered what he was getting into. Who in the world takes medicine before the eat (other than for medical reasons)?

Since then, my dad has tamed the chili down a bit and we no longer medicate before eating. It's still spicy, but not nearly like it was. It's one of my favorite things to eat. Of course, you need to be able to find Snap-E-Tom (spicy tomato juice) in order to make it. I'm not sure it would work with anything else. (I have never successfully located it in Wichita, but my brother finds it in Kansas City, no problem.)

By the way, this is a Texas-style chili, no beans, just steak and sauce. We eat it over rice, topped with sour cream, with flour tortillas on the side. Yum. Oh, and it's delicious leftover. And (one more thing), last week, we topped it with diced avocado. Wow.

Dad's Chili
1 1/2 lb. beef sirloin, cut into small cubes
2 TB oil
2 cans Snap-E Tom (about 20 oz), tomato & chile cocktail (what it says on the can)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 T. chili powder (more chili powder will make it spicier)
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
3 cans Rotel tomatoes (if you want to make it super spicy, use 1 can of HOT Rotel)
Sour cream

Brown meat in oil (I usually do 2 batches) in a large stockpot/dutch oven. Stir in everything but the Rotel tomatoes (and sour cream, tortillas, rice). Simmer 45 minutes with the lid on. Add tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes (or more if you have it...45 or so) until juice is thickened. Serve over rice (or chips). Top with sour cream.

If I were going to have secret recipes, this would definitely be one. So, enjoy. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dining in DFW

This past weekend a dear friend and I made a quick trip to Dallas for some shopping and eating. It was so much fun.

The first night we ate at Mi Cocina at The Shops at Legacy. It was delicious Mexican food. We both had yummy steak tacos with fresh guacamole. I wish I would have taken a picture. Suffice it to say, our plates were clean. (Take note: tacos for dinner).

The next day, we hit Crate & Barrel, one of my favorite places, I mean stores, on earth.

For lunch, I had scoped out a fairly new restaurant called The Velvet Taco. When we drove by it, it looked a little sketchy from the outside. Fortunately, getting back on the highway involved driving by it again. The place was full! So, in we went.
We visited with a couple in line that sang its praises and had some great recommendations (who knew that egg tacos were such a hit?). Then, another girl came in and we asked her what she liked. She said, "Last night, I had ______". And she was back for lunch. I was sold.

These tacos were amazing. Here are the descriptions of my three tacos from the menu:

The #2 -Rotisserie chicken, white queso, roasted corn pico, cilantro, smoked poblano salsa, corn tortilla
The #8 - Roast pulled pork, house shred, thai basil, grilled pineapple-habanero salsa (oh my word), spiked bbq sauce, corn tortilla
And the #19 - Chorizo sausage, egg, pepper jack cheese, refried beans, mexican oregano, serrano-ranchero salsa, corn tortilla.

My friend Les had one with grilled flank steak and another with grilled adobo shrimp. People, we ate well.

The best part was the corn tortillas. They were incredibly fresh and delicious. Next time, you are in the area, go to The Velvet Taco.

(Note: tacos again, this time for lunch)

Next stop, was Ikea...or as my friend refers to it Mommy Disneyland. It's a good thing we didn't bring anyone else along. The vehicle was quite full when we left (which could have been more due to poor packing than the actual amount of stuff we purchased).

That night, even though we weren't hungry, we stopped at In-N-Out. Les went to school in California, so she was already well acquainted with the famous chain, but this was my first time.

My burger was indeed delicious (I feel like I keep using that word) and so were the fries. However, they probably would have tasted that much better if I would have been a little more hungry. Next time, I'm going to In-n-Out on an empty stomach.

Finally, on our way home on Sunday, we stopped at Taco Cabanas for breakfast. I didn't even know this chain existed, but I sure wish Wichita would get one. Fabulous breakfast tacos. Yes, we ate tacos each day and once for each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, I would do it again.

What lesson can you learn from this post? If you're going to travel with me, we're going to eat tacos good.

(Updated to add: I completely forgot to mention our stop at Chick-fil-a on the way to Dallas. The highlight - a cookies and cream milkshake. March can not come quickly enough here in ICT).