Posts Tagged "Cook"

Slow Cooker Sundays: Cheesy Sausage & White Bean Chili

Posted on Oct 30, 2011 | 9 comments

Happy Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!  This football season, we have purposely and sincerely dedicated Sundays to slooooow cookin.  This week my crockpot was graced to the brim with Cheesy Sausage and White Bean Chili (adapted from Sandra Lee’s Cheesy Chorizo Chili Recipe).

Isn’t it pretty???


Despite how beautiful the final product might appear, the process of slow cooking usually results in some sort of mess in the kitchen.  Well, actually it’s all cooking.  Me merely stepping a foot into the kitchen should serve as fair warning of impending disasters.  One dish usually results in a few sauce splatters on the wall, some chopped onions on the floor, no less than 7 dirtied utensils, a burner or two accidentally left on, and every inch of counter littered with various cooking debris.  So, I’m not exactly organized in the kitchen… What can I say?  I like to become one with my food Smile

The key to any successful slow cooked meal is a few glasses of wine to pass the time.  You might suggest that I use all that waiting time to clean the mess I’ve created in the kitchen.  To that I say, “I cook, you clean.  So quit your yapping and get to scrubbing.”


To assemble this chili, you’ll first want to brown your sausage in a skillet.  Any turkey or chicken sausage will do—I prefer a spicy variety like Harris Teeter Hot Chicken Sausage or Jennie O’ Hot Turkey Sausage.

Next gather up your ingredients:


Don’t mind the Limited bag in the background… I partook in a bit of retail therapy this weekend.  I scored a few sale items and am feeling MUCH better, thank you.

Toss all your canned goods, spices, and cooked sausage into the crockpot and mix to combine.  Then, let the chili cook for 6 hours on low.  When it’s time to chow, I like to top my chili with a dollop of Trader Joes fat free Greek yogurt, some sliced green onions, and a few corn tortilla chips:


This chili is a beautiful rust orange color, pretty darn thick, and extremely tasty.  Even though this chili doesn’t have the standard tomato sauce chili base, it hit all the right notes on the seasoning scale.  Jarrod and I both gave this chili two thumbs up… We had some for lunch… and then some for dinner… and between the two of us devoured the entire batch in a period of six and half hours.  Don’t judge.


Total cheesy comfort in a bowl.


Cheesy Sausage & White Bean Chili Ingredients List (serves 5)

  • 5 links hot chicken or turkey sausage (such as Harris Teeter brand)
  • 3 15 ounce cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10.75 ounce can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 can mild Rotel Tomatoes
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp burrito seasoning (McCormicks)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Chopped green onions

Stats on one serving:   366 calories, 49g carbs, 7g fat, 35g protein, 14g fiber



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Salted Caramel Brownies

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 | 15 comments

Let me get you a napkin for that bit of drool you’ve got trailing down from your lower lip…


These lovely salted caramel brownies are courtesy of a recipe I tagged a few months back in Cooking Light.  I’ve been dying to make them but I had no good reason to… and honestly I was trying to avoid having an entire batch of delicious brownies sitting on my kitchen counter BEGGING me to eat them.  Seriously. I have control when it comes to a lot of things in life.  Chocolate is not one of those things.

Then Jess posted a call-to-action on her blog Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy to join this little thing called the Blogger Sweet Swap.

Eureka!  This was the perfect excuse to make the brownies!!  Just think of the Sweet Swap as an arranged penpal relationship… with benefits.  Sweet benefits.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Combine the following in a big ole bowl:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Then combine these guys in a little bowl:

  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the wets into the dries and stir to combine the thickest brownie batter you’ve ever laid eyes on.

The recipe calls for baking these guys in a 9 inch square metal pan coated with cooking spray for 19 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  I baked mine in an 8 inch glass dish for 20 minutes, then 5 more minutes, then 5 MORE minutes.. then got impatient and took them out.  Seriously, every time I bake brownies the darn toothpick NEVER comes out clean.  Anyone else have this issue??

After the brownies cool completely, it’s time to make the caramel deliciousness.  Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small pot, then whisk in:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp evaporated fat-free milk

Cook for two minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Spread the yum sauce over the brownies:


Once everything cooled off completely I decided to extract the brownies from the pan….


Oh dear…

It looks like a Brownie Massacre.


Then I cut the hunks o’ brownie into tiny little brownie babies.  Why did I think brownies would be a good idea again??


Next up is the chocolately drizzle. The following go into a microwave safe bowl:

  • 2 tbsp evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring after 20 seconds. I scraped the chocolate into a ziplock baggie, snipped the corner off with scissors, and drizzled it over the brownie squares.



Then I sprinkled the tops with a bit o’ sea salt, picked the prettiest 12 of the bunch, and tucked them neatly into metal tray:


They kind of look like the photo… kind of.


So Molly @ Hungry Hungry Runner, I PROMISE these were edible and pretty and neatly packed when I shipped them.  Whatever happens after this point is on the hands of the USPS.


I bet you’re wondering what I did with all those leftover brownies, huh?  All I can say is these brownies are seriously delicious.  More like fudge than brownies (probably due to my  aforementioned brownie baking incompetencies).  ABSOLUTELY delicious and seriously sweet.  I stuck a few in the freezer for this weekend too :)

Ingredients List (makes ~20 brownies)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp evaporated fat-free milk, divided
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt

Curious to see how they arrived??? Check out Molly’s post for her recap!

Curious to see what sweets I got?


Then click here for the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe!!


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So simple, so tasty.

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 | 5 comments

For as much as I like to go out to eat, and boy do I like to go out to eat, I too enjoy having a simple tasty meal at home. Tonight’s dinner was just that.  So simple, so tasty.  Since I talked myself out of running this morning (I guess I learned nothing from yesterday’s post), I wanted a quick and light dinner so that I could spend some quality time with my tenner shoes this evening.

After a quick fridge inventory, I decided a turkey wrap was the feature entre of the evening.  1 whole wheat Flat-out wrap, 4 ounces of Boars Head Turkey Breast, 2 tbsp Trader Joes creamy original hummus (MY FAV!!!!), some tomatoes, onions, and cucumber:


P.S. cucumbers are my new favorite vehicles for loading up with hummus.  So friggin good… why did I not discover this combo sooner?!

I also had some lazy-gal’s cucumber salad on the side:


Since I go out to eat quite a bit on the weekends, during the week I shoot to eat as healthy as I can.  The key for me is that “healthy” still has to equal tasty.  If it ain’t tasty, I ain’t eatin!


It’s a wrap:  324 calories, 30g carbs, 9g fat, 39g protein, 13g fiber

As I sat on my balcony devouring this delicious dinner, I started thinking about how varied my meals are throughout any given week.  Tonight I was feasting on a simple wrap—and Saturday night I feasted on French cuisine.  Is it just me, or is it kind of crazy how much food there is to taste and experience in the world?  It just kind of astounds me!  I have problems.  I know.

Speaking of that French Cuisine, Saturday night after Jamie, Vanessa, and I saw Harry Potter, we took a stroll over to Café Monte to get our grub on.  I wonder how you say “grub” in French…?  Grubeaux?


We had a bit of time to spare before our reservation, so we used a bit of it to oogle over the dessert case.


And then their expansive breakfast menu (must come back for breakfast soon).


Then headed to the bar for some cocktails because that’s what any self respecting lady does on Ladies Night Out.


Hello orange dress Smile

The restaurant was really cute inside and reminded me of some of the places I visited during the week I spent in Paris in college.


Speaking of that week, the one main thing I remember about Paris was how rude the people were and how much I hated the food.  The only French word I’d learned was “poulet” (translates to chicken).  So at every restaurant I visited I‘d scan the menu for poulet, then use the point and repeat technique to order my meals.  Poulet.  Poooooolettttttttt (insert rapid menu tapping here).  No wonder the people hated me Winking smile

Luckily, the folks at Café Monte were very hospitable and also very knowledgeable about the menu items.  Plus the menu was in English, so I didn’t have to search too hard to find the chicken dishes SmileDSCF7414

Since I had a Living Social deal for the restaurant (Boo.Ya.), we decided to get crazy and order the cheese fondue for our appetizer:


Give me a loaf of bread, and I’m a very happy lady.  Give me a loaf of bread AND a tub full of melty cheese and I may kiss you and beg to be your sugar mama.  Do not be alarmed.

For our dinners, I went with the Chicken (poulet!  pouuuletttttttt!) and Wild Mushroom crepes, Vanessa got some crazy looking fish dish (the Trout Amandine), and Jamie got the Lobster and Crab risotto:


I think we were all pretty happy with our meals.  My crepes were really tasty, and I especially enjoyed the juiciness of the pulled chicken breast against the creamy madeira sauce.  If the dish would of included sundried tomatoes it would have been a show stopper.  That’s probably not very “french” though, huh?

After dinner, we decided it would only be proper to cap our night off with coffee and dessert.  After nixing the desserts each of us weren’t feeling, we were left with the winner.

Carrot cake:


I’m not sure what carrot cake has to do with French Cuisine, but it was pretty darn delicious.  Especially with the coffee!

Cafe Monte French Bistro & Bakery on Urbanspoon

On a side note, I really enjoyed the Harry Potter movie!  There were some parts that were a bit cheesy and child like–but I had to keep reminding myself that these were SUPPOSED to be kids.  Even though Harry had a 5 o’clock shadow and six pack abs and Ron and Hermione we making out every time they had five seconds to get a quick grope in these were the KIDS I’d been following for the past 10+ years… they’d just grown up a bit.  *Sigh* … haven’t we all?


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I say frittata, you say… ?

Posted on Jul 24, 2011 | 8 comments

If I ever volunteer to come to your house and make you breakfast, you should consider yourself very lucky.  You should also consider yourself forewarned:


For no dish, no matter how simple, will the kitchen be left unscathed.  What can I say?  I like to become one with my food Winking smile

And yes, that IS a bottle of wine next to the eggs.

I’ve always wanted to make a frittata, and this Sunday morning I was in the mood to get my cook on so I decided to give it a shot.  Once I started googling frittata recipes, I realized I was lacking a major piece of equipment:  a skillet that could go from stove top to oven without causing a fire.  Dangit.  That’s going on the T.J. Maxx list.

Since I had my heart set on eggy bliss, I decided to just use a standard glass pie pan.  Does that mean it’s not a frittata anymore?  Hmmmm what would its proper classification be?  I say frittata, you say….. frrrrreggcasserole?

Something to ponder as the man pours your mimosa.

This frittata consisted of:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Hot Chicken sausages (casings removed, cooked and crumbled)
  • 1 large handful chiffonade spinach
  • S&P, to taste
  • Frank’s Red Hot, to taste (plus more for garnish Winking smile )
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

While I cooked up the sausage, and sautéed the onion, mushroom, and garlic, I got to egg crackalacking.  Once the sausage was cooked and the veggies were soft, I stirred all the goodies into the eggs then poured into a pie pan that I’d coated with cooking spray.

Into the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, and you’ll end up with this beauty:


The frittata set up PERFECTLY.  Perfect temperature, perfect cook time:


I started off with just a slice:


But ended up eating precisely half of the frittata…


Good news is the stats on half the frittata: 318 calories, 11g carbs, 11g fat, 41g protein, 3g fiber

Molto bene Red lips


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Recipe: Jambalaya {bad things happen when I don’t eat}

Posted on Jul 19, 2011 | 7 comments

Somehow in the past few months I seemed to have forgotten my passion for cooking.  Let’s take a moment to ponder how the heck this is even possible.  Somewhere between leaving a job of over four years, attempting to sell a house, subsequently becoming a landlord, selling off and donating an insane amount of my possessions, a crazy condo hunt, leaving my family and home state of 26 years, a HORRIBLE moving experience, starting a new job, and immersing myself in the culinary delights of a new city I forgot how much fun and just how darn rewarding a home cooked meal can be.


Through these past few whirlwind months I’ve been a little *ahem* emotional.  Ok, not just emotional.  Let’s also throw in irrational, brash, and downright scary at times.  This Saturday I actually cried over burnt pizza.  I CRIED, PEOPLE.  And then I sat on the living room floor with my knees clenched up to my chest and just stared off into nothingness as my body seethed in furry searching for some sort of carbohydrate to peak my bottomed out blood sugar.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again:  bad things happen when I don’t eat.

While I was in the midst of nuclear shutdown, the BF came over, sat down beside me, and put his arm around his little sugar feigning zombie.  And we sat.  And then he did what any good man would do:  he didn’t talk, didn’t ask questions, he just got up from the floor sauntered over to the kitchen and made me a snack.

I know, right?

Why can’t I see things so simply?  Is it really just a man thing?  Are women really just crazy complex, overanalyzing, (often) emotional basket cases?  Whatever the case may be (lord knows I don’t have the answers) the BF does a pretty darn good job of reeling me back from Mary’s Land of Anxious Gloom by trying to insert some of the simple things into my life.  Sunday morning he convinced me to simply sit on the porch and drink mimosas, and Sunday night we simply made jambalaya for dinner.


This was simply stick to your ribs delicious, guys.  I’m serious.  It gave the jambalaya we had in New Orleans a run for the money!



Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s Jambalaya.

  • 2 links hot chicken or turkey sausage (cooked and sliced)
  • 1 cup white onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green pepper (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cups uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 3 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked, if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepepr
  • 16oz cooked chicken breast (cubed)
  • 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions (undrained)
  • 4oz shrimp (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (thinly sliced)

Note:  I recommend Uncle Ben’s Fast & Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice and Harris Teeter hot chicken sausage or Jennie-O Turkey Sausage.

Step 1:  Coat a large pot with cooking spray then heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Step 2:  Stir in uncooked rice and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and all the spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

Step 3:  Add chicken and tomatoes, half of the green onions, and shrimp. Stir, then cover and cook 8 minutes or until shrimp are done.

Step 4:  Remove from heat, sprinkle with remaining green onions, and eat your face off.

Stats on 1 serving: 344 calories, 45g carbs, 6g fat, 33g protein, 4g fiber


Looking for a Jambalaya-for-one recipe?  Check out this post.

Looking for a crazy, borderline incoherent, slightly volatile woman?  Catch me on a day when I miss my midmorning snack.


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