Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup

Oh my, with the sour cream all swirled in, this was beyond yummy.
 Baseball season is upon us. Heaven help me. Which means, traditional dinner-time has gone out the window. After a nail-biting TWO HOUR game of little league bball (yes, that was indeed sarcasm) it's all about the crock pot. Once again, I turn to my favorite slow-cooker blog for help. And I found this recipe and had some chorizo sausage I needed to use.

What you need:

7 cups chicken broth
7 ounces chorizo sausage, sliced (pork, beef, turkey, veggie; your choice)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (or a handful of baby carrots)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 tablespoons sour cream (optional for serving)
salt (optional to taste)

How you make it:

Put the broth and chorizo in the crock pot. Add in the carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, curry powder and red pepper flakes. (If you're worried about spice/heat, omit the red pepper flakes and just have them at the table for those to add to their individual servings.) Also, don't worry about how you chop the veggies since it's all going to be blended in the end.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Use an immersible hand-held stick blender to blend completely. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

I kinda think some sliced avocado would be nice to add in with the sour cream for serving as well. I think I'll do that next time. Also, I didn't add salt to it before cooking because I wasn't sure how salty the sausage would already be. I felt it needed some salt in the end, so we just added what we needed to our servings.

Now, if we can just hold it together through the end of this month, baseball season will be over and we can move on with our lives...and back to normal dinner time together at the table.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grocery List for Last Week's Menu

Shopping List for Menu:

1 beef roast, 2-4 pounds, depending # of people
cooked ham, enough for 1-2 C. diced
salmon fillets, 1-2 pounds
8-10 chicken legs
bacon, 2 slices, or bacon bits
uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, 1 ½ - 2 pounds

3½ cups dried green split peas
potatoes, 4
broccoli, 1-2 crowns
onion, 4
celery, 6-8
carrots, enough for 1 C.
lime, 1-2
lemon, 2
shallot, 1
garlic, 6 cloves, might as well get a whole bulb

fresh chives or 2 tsp. dried chives
marjoram, dried crushed
ginger root, large piece (or jarred crushed is fine)
bay leaves, 3
cayenne pepper

butter, 2 T.
soy sauce (La Choy or other wheat-free kind if avoiding gluten)
white vinegar
balsamic vinegar

red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
olive oil
tomato sauce
flour (gluten-free flour used here)
beef bouillon, optional
maple syrup


Sunday Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Confession: Didn't make it on a Sunday. I believe it was Thursday. It was cold and dreary, and it just felt like a comfort food kinda day. I love the perfectly seared edges and the fall-apart-goodness. It never turns out dry or bland. It may just be the kids' favorite too. And that's always a good thing. Zero complaining is refreshing, n'est pas?

What you need:

1 beef roast, this one was 2.5 pounds (top or bottom round, chuck, whatever)
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 C. flour (gluten-free flour used here)
1 T. beef bouillon, optional

How you make it:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously salt and pepper roast. Heat 3 T. oil in roaster over medium high heat on a stovetop. Carefully add roast and brown on both sides (3-5 minutes each side). Remove from burner.

Arrange carrots and potatoes around roast. Lay onion rings over the top of the roast. Add enough water to almost cover the veggies. Cover with lid of roasting pan or with tin foil, tightly.

Roast in oven for 2-3 hours. I aim for at least 2.5 hours. (The longer cooking time will make it more tender. And know your oven. Oven temps are not always accurate. If your roast cooks too quickly or is overcooked, your oven may be too hot. Next time try lowering the temp setting by 25 degrees.)

Remove meat and veggies to heat-proof dish, cover with foil or lid and keep warm in 250 degree oven, while making gravy with the remaining juice.

GRAVY: In small bowl, whisk together 1 C. water and 1/4 C. flour. Pour into meat juice and whisk together, season with salt and pepper. The beef bouillon can be added to deepen the color and flavor of the gravy. (I don't always add that, as I like it more thin/clear, as pictured. So, I also maybe use only 1/8 C. flour instead of 1/4 C. But it's however you like it.) Cook quickly over medium high heat, until gravy bubbles and thickens.

Feel free to enjoy on a weekday, like I did too! Oh, it makes the house smell so yummy. And pot roast, as you can see, is totally not difficult or complicated at all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Marinatin' Some Shrimp

Feeling like some shrimp? We were, so we ate some! It happened to be our last baby's 1st birthday, and he was only into the side dishes, which was great! More shrimp for the rest of us! (Aren't there some rules about how young you can serve shellfish to kids, anyway? I dunno, but either way, he didn't get any. Too bad. But he stuffed his face with carrot cake later. And the pictures for that are pretty much the cutest thing on the planet.) Wow, what a side-track.

Yes, I didn't notice till I got done marinating these that I had pulled out and used the frozen cooked shrimp instead of the frozen uncooked. So, it still worked. Basically just warmed them up on the broiler rather than actually cooking them. Still delish!

What you need:

1 ½ - 2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ C. tomato sauce
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/3 C. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. basil, dried/crushed or 2 T. fresh chopped
½ - 1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

How you make it:

Wisk together all the ingredients except for the shrimp in a bowl. Add in the shrimp and stir to coat. Cover and marinate in frig for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stirring once.
Thread shrimp onto skewers. Discard marinade. Grill or broil for 2-3 minutes per side. (Make sure you brush your grill plates or broiler pan before with a little oil so they don't stick.)

You can see in the picture, our side dishes this time, in case you were interested, were baked potatoes and tomato avocado salad.

Voila. Bon appetit! (For some reason, my 4 year-old has taken to busting out this french phrase right after the blessing on the food and before we eat. I think it has something to do with an episode of Blue's Clues.)