Category Archives: Food @ Home

Comfort Classic

Fall. The leaves begin to turn, there is a crispness in the air and almost an immediately my body begins craving “comfort food” {though my hips are never pleased}. With temperatures dipping into the 60s and 70s as of late, my cravings have been in the soup genre. I am a sucker for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; though I have never perfected my soup… until now.

Follow along, I promise you won’t regret it!

Here’s what you need:

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3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 – 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 – 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp of sea salt {to taste}
1 tsp of sugar {could go lighter on the sugar}
1 tbsp. garlic powder {to taste}
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper {I ended up adding more to taste}
1/2 cup of heavy cream {I think you could sub with half and half}
6 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned
Parmesan cheese shavings

This is how you do it:

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute – keep a close eye as you don’t want to burn the garlic. Next, add the crushed tomatoes then the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan; gently breaking them up. After tomatoes have been added, be sure to stir in the juice/sauce from the whole tomatoes, as well. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for at least 10 minutes. At this point, I used an immersion blender to puree—if you wanted smooth and don’t have the immersion blender, you could purchase all crushed tomatoes–if you like chunky, no need for alteration or blender. To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.

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Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a toasty grilled cheese sandwich!

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Cheers!

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Summer in the City Salad

I am pretty serious denial about the fact the fall is just around the corner. So it should come as no surprise that I am finding every way to savor what is left. Last week I went the food route by combining some of my favorite summer veggies into an oh-so-decadent summer salad with inspiration from the City Sage.

I started by cutting up some of my faves; 2 fresh ears of corn, small red onion, english cucumber, and some grape tomatoes and tossed them in a bowl and set aside.

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Then I pulled out my 2 cup food processor {no need for the big guy} and made an amazing Jalapeno Basil Shallot Dressing.

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Once prepared, I scooped a hearty helping of veggies onto a bed of cottage cheese, drizzled with the dressing and had myself a nice, healthy and satisfying lunch. The following day I did the same but added avocados, and that turned it up a notch. You won’t regret making this salad!

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Ingredients:
Basil Shallot Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 jalapeno, de-seeded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp clover honey
1 tsp Koop’s horseradish mustard
1/2 large shallot
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Veggie Salad
2 ears corn, kernels cut off cob
1 cucumber, thinly sliced and then halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped

Cheers!!

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Twisted eggs and toast

To be quite honest, I really love brunch but have never been much of a breakfast{time} person. Until I realized I could combine a few of my favorite things for a decadent yet super easy breakfast that keeps me satisfied through lunch. Those few favorite things you might ask:

– Avocado
– Egg
English Muffin Toasting Bread
Huy Fong Sriracha

The process is super simple and the outcome amazing! I simply toasted the english muffin bread and smeared it with freshly chopped avocado. While I was toasting the bread, I quickly poached and egg and when perfectly runny plopped it on the avocado and drizzeld with Huy Fong Sriracha.

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In full transparency, while I made two of these bad boys, I was only able to each one. It is so decadent that there was no way I could have had the other. So I suggest starting with one and if your tummy allows go for the second!

Cheers!

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Boom, Chicka…

Here in Minneapolis, there are some great local food businesses and one of my personal favorites is Angie’s Popcorn. My first experience with Angie’s was the oh-so-delectable kettle corn at a Minnesota Twins game. While this may be where Angie’s started to get some traction, they certainly have grown since!

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Angie’s now has an amazing line called Boom Chicka Pop. which has only increased my love of popcorn! I can’t help myself the flavors range from traditional Kettle Corn to Carmel and Cheddar mix. BUT I recently discovered my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE-ANGIE’S-FLAVOR: SWEET & SPICY. I am typically a sweet and salty girl but I do love my spicy foods. So I thought, “What the heck? Let’s give it a whirl”! And boy-oh-boy am I done for!

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The combination of “garlic, cayenne, cumin and paprika for a zippy, yet slightly sweet, fiesta kind of snack”. Did I mention that is also a HEALTHY snack!? Only 70 calories per cup! I am seriously in love; head over sweet and spicy heels in love! I can’t even tell you how many bags I have purchased since my first time but addiction is the only appropriate word to use here.

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If you haven’t tried any of Angie’s popcorn yet #1 you are crazy #2 stop what you are doing, grab your keys and head to Target to pick up a few bags for yourself and maybe a couple for your friends {you won’t want to share}!!

Cheers!

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Garlic and Rosemary Piggy

Work-wise, last week was a long one. So when Friday hit, I was less than thrilled with the idea of cooking but absolutely dreaded the idea of leaving my condo and entering the cold night in search of food. Plus, I had everything I needed at home sans motivation.

After some major vegging out on the couch I mustered enough energy to whip up a pork tenderloin and some quick mashed potatoes and salad. Pork tenderloins are so easy, just season and pop in the oven. But I find myself often doing the same prep each time. To switch it up, I looked around for ideas that other people were using and then jumbled a few together and came up with this bad boy.

Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Pork Tenderloin– here’s what you’ll need:
– 2.5-3lb pork tenderloin
– 6 cloves of garlic
– 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
– 2 tablespoons onion powder
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. In a food processor or blender combine the garlic, dried rosemary, onion powder, olive oil, and s&p. This will look pretty green and smell wonderful.

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To prep the meat, pierce the meat with a knife then pour the garlic and rosemary paste over the tenderloin, working to cover the enter loin.

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Place the tenderloin in a baking pan and pop it in the oven– basting throughout the cooking process with liquids from the pan. Cook time will be about 1 hour– use a meat thermometor to ensure that the pork cooks to an internal temp of 145 degrees.

Once cooked, remove the tenderloin from the oven and place on a serving platter. In the baking pan, add 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and stir to loosen the bits on the bottom of the pan– put in a gravy boat for drizzling!

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The paste keeps the meat nice and moist throughout the cooking process and the seasonings created a nice savory flavor. Full transparency, I used white wine rather than chicken or veggie broth as indicated above– too sweet for my liking, that is why I suggested the broth instead. Also, think next time I will “marinate” the meat in the paste for a few hours before cooking! With these few tweaks, I think I will love this dish even more! Hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

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Whisked away to Talenti Heaven…

With the recent frigid temps here in the midwest, one might think that the cravings for ice cream would subside until at least May. But, that is not the case. Recently, temps hit the negatives and for some reason my stomach was aching for a sweet cool treat.

Now typically, I am a Mint Chocolate chip kind of gal but on this trip to Lund’s a bright orange Talenti sorbetto caught my eye.

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I love sorbet and was hopeful that the Alphonso Mango would hit the spot! Upon first bite, I would have never expected bright orange frozenness to be so delicious. It seriously tasted just like fresh mangoes; fresh, fresh, fresh. How could this be? Well the ingredients are pretty straight-forward; mango, water, sugar, dextrose and lemon. As you can see, this is not only dairy-free but is also, kosher, gluten free, fat-free, vegetarian, vegan and HFCS-free i.e. pretty much covers all the bases.

While I went the fruity route my boyfriend went the opposite and had the Caramel Cookie Crunch. It was the perfect balance of cookie and caramel, making it absolute, melt-in-your-mouth perfection; would be so good with coffee!

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Full transparency, we ate right from the little pints and swapped back and forth. This is the perfect snack to have the fridge to fulfill might late night cravings and curb any guilt I may have had. Next trip, I am trying the Roman Raspberry. I might be the newest Talenti cult member!

Cheers!

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Sloppy Mo’s

As with most people around this time of year, I resolved to make healthier choices. I have been fairly diligent about it but when my boyfriend requested Sloppy Mo’s (aka sloppy joe’s) and tater tots for dinner, I couldn’t deny his request. What I could do was limit my tot consumption, add a real veggie side, and avoid the canned sauce and make my own. So I did just that!

The steps are pretty straight forward… I started by browning two pounds of lean ground beef with a 1/2 cup of chopped onion and a 1/2 cup of chopped green pepper.

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Meanwhile in a small bowl, I whisked together, 1 1/2 cups of Heinz Ketchup, 2 teaspoons French’s Dijon Mustard with Chardonnay, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

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Once the meat has browned and the veggies are tender, drain the meat and return to the pan. Fold in the sauce mixture and allow to simmer on low for about 30 minutes. If you like your Sloppy Mo’s saucy- pop a lid on the skillet. Like ’em thick and sticky? Leave the lid off… either way, stir occassionally. Plate and enjoy!!

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Seriously, so much better than the canned sauce and pretty much nothing beats Ore Ida’s crispy tots. Enjoy!

Cheers!

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Rub ’em down

After soaking in the California sun over the holidays, there is nothing like returning to your own bed, and your own kitchen (though I wish I could have brought the weather back to MN)! In attempts to start the year of on a healthy-ish note, one of the first meals on my list was dry-rubbed pork ribs. The reason I love this so much has to do with the simplicity of the ingredients and the little work needed in order to prepare a delicious, hearty yet healthy meal.

Here’s the run down:
– 2-3 lbs of pork ribs (though I am sure you could use any meat of your choice)
– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 4 teaspoons paprika
– 2 teaspoon dry oregano
– 2 teaspoons brown sugar
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Steak Rub
– 30-ish grinds of fresh black pepper
– 4-6 tablespoons olive oil

I started by preheating the oven to 300 degrees and then set out to make the perfect dry rub. In a small bowl I combined cayenne pepper, ground cumin, paprika, dry oregano, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and McCormick Grill Mates Steak Rub. Once combined, set aside.

I unwrapped the pork ribs and flipped them over with the meat side facing down. It is clear that there is a thin membrane on the back of the ribs, and this must be removed. While it often takes a little fingernail to get is started, this go round I used a sharp knife to lift the end of the membrane, then grabbed tightly with my fingers and removed it in one steady motion. Don’t rush and it should come off in one big piece– discard. I promise you won’t need this!

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The next step was to lightly coat the ribs in olive oil– I know many people use veggie oil but I opted for the healthier route, totally up to you! Once evenly coated, I used my hands to sprinkle and rub the seasoning into the meat; both the fleshy side and the rib side. I did use all seasoning to coat the entire rack. I dropped those ribs on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking liner and popped those babies in the oven for 2.5 hours and boy was the aroma in my condo wonderful!

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Once I pulled them from the oven, I let the ribs “settle” on the cutting board for about 10 minutes.
1. Because they will continue cooking
2. To save my fingers for horrendous burns

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After they cooled slightly, I grabbed a big butcher knife and stood the ribs on their side, so as to easily visualize the bones and evenly cut between each rib. Depending the size of the rack, you may need a partner to help hold one end while you are cutting the other. Once cut, time to eat!I sided mine with a diced avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper and his with some homemade cheesey rice.

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These turned out nice a moist but with a bit more kick than I had anticipated, while I loved them, if you are spice-sensitive, I would suggest cutting back on the cayenne. I plan to cut back slightly on the cayenne and incorporate both garlic and onion powder in my next attempt!

Cheers to a new year and to getting on track! Swimsuit season… I can see you in the distance!!!

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Sammy with a kick!

I was recently inspired by 300 Sandwiches and set out to make what I hoped would be my favorite sandwich. Growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of sandwiches as my mom was not a fan. I am a firm believer that any sandwich grilled proves to be some of the best comfort food. So I tried to incorporate a few of my favorites into this little guy and make up for lost-sandwich time!

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What is it you ask? A hot grilled turkey sandwich on wheat–with a kick! I simply butter the bread as you would with a regular grilled cheese; the key, butter on the inside and outside of the bread. I then spread chopped garlic over the butter layered the smoked turkey, added hot banana peppers and topped with white horseradish cheddar cheese to hold those little suckers in place.

While I used pretty simple and straight forward ingredients, the smell while cooking was insane. The melding of the smokey with the heat of the horseradish and banana peppers was just perfect. And I always say add garlic to anything to put it over the top; and it did just that. This sandwich was divine! I would recommend pairing this with a savory and smooth soup if you are looking for a side but for me the sanwich stood on its own. Enjoy!

Cheers!

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Warming the soul… Minnesota style

A few weeks back I wanted to surprise my team with lunch to honor all of the hard work they have been doing. In a somewhat sly fashion, I determined that the only soup that all of my team members enjoy is Chicken Wild Rice. Of course, this is one that I have never made before but thought is appropriate for the chilly weather we have been experiencing.

With that in mind I dove into a million recipes on the internet, and drew from the front-runners to make up this batch.

Here’s what you need:
– 2 rotisserie chickens (I used Target’s Savory seasoned)
– 12-16 cups of water
– 5 large carrots; peeled, trimmed and cut into bite size chunks
– 3 stalks of celery; trimmed and cut into bite size chunks
– 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
– 3 bay leaves
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 whole yellow onion; chopped
– 1 cup uncooked wild rice
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup greek yogurt
– 4 tablespoons cornstarch
– 4 teaspoons thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less for taste)
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (more or less for taste)
Note: This was enough for 5 people at work and leftovers at home– easy to 1/2 the recipe

Prep chicken by pulling the meat from the carcass; put the bones, skine and meat and any juices from the container into a pot. Cut all of the meat and set aside for later use.

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Add water, celery, carrots, peppercorns and bay leaves to the pot. Bring the contents to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and allow the broth to simmer for at least one hour.

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After an hour has passed, pour the broth through a strainer and into a large pot. Discard all the remnants.

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Add melted butter into the now empty pot and add chopped onion. Allow this to cook until the onion is tender but not to the point of browning.

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Then add the broth and wild rice. Bring the pot to a simmer and cover. Allowing the broth to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.

In a separate bowl, whisky heavy cream, greek yogurt and cornstarch. Ensure that the three ingredients mix into a smooth consistency. Slowly incorporate the mixture to the larger pot. Stir the soup until it thickens and return the contents to a simmer.

Next up, add the thyme, salt, pepper and chicken. Ensure that the chicken is heated through and serve with a loaf of crusty bread (yes, that’s a technical term).

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Cheers!

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