Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I wish I had more recipes for one skillet meals. With school starting up again, my going back to work after being on maternity leave for over a year, four mouths to feed... I'm starting to stress about weeknight dinners. After being away from my husband and kids all day, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen trying to keep them away from the stove while I try to figure something out for dinner. 

I have a feeling that this meal will make be featured on the menu quite often. I've adapted from The Cooking Photographer to suit our tastes and to up the veggie content. I'm sure the original is awesome, but when pressed for time, I like to use what I have on hand.
Chili Mac
1 ¼ pounds ground beef
1 onion
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 tbsp chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tbsp tex mex seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
8 ounces (2 cups) small pasta
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Sour cream & parsley for garnish (optional)
Using the food processor, chop the onion, the carrots and the celery. Add the veggies and the ground beaf to a large non stick skillet and cook over medium high heat. When the meat is no longer pink, strain off the grease, and add seasonings, garlic and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pasta, and 2 cups water. Stir to combine, cover and keep at a high simmer for about 14 minutes or until juices are absorbed and pasta is tender.
Stir in cheese and season with freshly ground pepper. Taste for salt and add if needed. Garnish with sour cream and parsley if desired.
It's quick and easy, and most importantly, everybody loves it.  

Monday, August 22, 2011


I'm always on the lookout for tasty pork recipes. It's cheap, it's lean (well, it can be) and it's tasty. A little while ago I saw a pin on Pinterest for Root Beer pulled pork, I registered mild interest, then I moved on. A couple of days ago, I remembered the bottle of Root Beer in the basement fridge, added the two pork tenderloins that were in the kitchen fridge, and went looking for that recipe again. I guess there are 3 or 4 recipes floating around, and I decided to go with the tasty kitchen recipe, just because it uses chili sauce, and I thought it would be different than the usual pop + bbq sauce recipe.

Root Beer Pork SandwichRecipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen
2 pork tenderloins
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 large onion, cut into wedges
4 cups Root Beer, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bottled chili sauce
Place onion wedges at the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper. Transfer meat to the cooker. Add 1 cup root beer and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. 
When the meat is ready, take it out of the slow cooker and slice thinly or shred. In a medium saucepan combine the remaining 3 cups of root beer and the chili sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and add the sliced pork. Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until pork is nicely coated and almost all the sauce is reduced.
Serve meat in a crusty bun, or wrap in a flour tortilla. Serve with coleslaw or potato salad.
This was a very tasty use for pork tenderloins. It was fast and easy, required few ingredients, and made a good meal. My husband compared this to spareribs, and loved the taste. Will definitely make again.

Monday, August 15, 2011


We got a perfectly round little green cabbage from the CSA last week. Thankfully, sandwiches were on the menu, and what goes better with a sandwich than coleslaw? Well maybe chips, or fries, but coleslaw is pretty good too.

Now usually I just make a quicky coleslaw out of freshly grated coleslaw mix from farmboy (not the prepackaged regular grocery store kind, it has a weird taste), bottled creamy dessing and celery seeds. But I was craving a non creamy coleslaw.

Found this recipe on Pinterest, and it sounded perfect. Kinda surprised that there was no oil in the recipe, as I though if you weren't having creamy coleslaw, you were having oil and vinegar coleslaw. So no oil, only pantry items, sounds good!
Sweet, Tangy & Crunchy Coleslawrecipe adapted from Patio Daddio BBQ 
1 small green cabbage
3 carrots
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled vinegar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground fresh 
Shred the cabbage and the carrots in a food processor.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the cabbage and carrots and fold to coat it all.
Serve and enjoy!
Although next time I'd reduce the sugar, just a bit, this coleslaw was awesome. It was sweet and tangy, with a touch of lingering heat that I love! Very flavorful and fresh. Might be my new favorite quicky recipe... I mean not much more difficult that pouring on bottled sauce. And I always have all the ingredients on hand. I just wish I new how to keep the coleslaw from turning orange from the carrots. Do you have to shred them seperatly and let them dry a bit before combining with the cabbage? Seems like too much work...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We had this dish the other night at the request of my husband. His mom used to make it for him, and when he saw that we had the same cookbook she has, he requested it. I adapted it to use some of the things I had in the fridge that would have otherwise ended up in the trash. Although it's basically the same base ingredients as my typical pasta sauce, it's very different. It comes together really quickly and since it doesn't simmer for hours, it tastes very light and fresh. A perfect pasta dish for the summer.

Summer Pasta with Tomatoes and Italian Sausage
recipe adapted from Lighthearted Everyday Cooking by Anne Lindsay

1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 lb short pasta
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can (28 oz) chopped tomatoes with their juice
chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the Italian sausage on the BBQ. Slice thinly on an angle. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add the onions, green pepper, mushrooms until the onions are tender. Season with garlic, basil, oregano and black pepper. Add the diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Toss in cooked pasta and sliced sausages. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

A quick meal, that's relatively healthy and delicious!