Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf!

Believe it or not, I’ve gotten to the point in my culinary education where I have “go to” dinners that I make on a regular basis without messing them up.  Sometimes – when I’m feeling sassy – I take a look at the ingredients I have in the pantry and try an “experimental” version of those go to meals.  (Mr. Dish has learned to love experiments.)

Well, tonight’s experiment was so good that I must share it.  It’s a kicked up version of my usual meatloaf recipe.  I present to you my very own…

“Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf”

IMG_2350It may be my new favorite meatloaf.  I’ve made turkey meatloaf before and I wasn’t a big fan.  Too dry, too bland.  But not this time.  Chipotle peppers AND chili powder brighten it right up, and generous helpings of ketchup and mustard helped to keep it moist.  (Note:  When I put this one in the oven, it seemed too wet to me.  Normally I would add more breadcrumbs, but I didn’t.  It came out perfect.)  Bonus:  ground turkey makes it WAY healthier than ground beef!

Try it for yourself!

Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
3/4 c. bread crumbs
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a can), chopped, with seeds
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup (approx)
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard (approx)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and shape into a loaf.  Bake on a baking sheet with a wire rack for 90 mins.  Slice and enjoy!

 

Papa Dish’s Salsa!

Labor Day has (sadly) come and gone. While we are still enjoying summer-like weather, those light-hearted dog-days are definitely over. Mr. Dish and I marked the occasion (and the passing of an obscenely long week) with a margarita night over the weekend.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time drinking a margarita without chips and salsa. So I whipped up a batch of my dad’s homemade salsa recipe. If I can do it, so can you! It’s delightfully fresh and flavorful – and you can make it as spicy as you want!

ImagePapa Dish’s Salsa

1 cup jalapenos, finely chopped with ribs and seeds removed (or leave some seeds in, if you’re daring!)

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Image

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until you reach your desired texture and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight). Yields enough to go through several bags of tortilla chips!

ImageEnjoy!

The Great Pasta Caper

Last weekend, I learned that Mr. Dish’s aversion to capers began when his uncle made him try one by itself, straight out of the jar when he was little.  He was scarred for life.

Well, I love capers and the salty tang they add to a dish, so I had to at least try to make something that incorporated capers in a tasty way.

Behold – Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss:

 

This simple and lemony recipe from Rachael Ray was the perfect way to re-introduce capers because all of the other ingredients were familiar.  I also love cooking with wine because it gives me an excuse to open a bottle.  (“Well, since it’s already open…”)  Since Mr. Dish did not pick out every single caper, I say it was a rousing success!  You can find the recipe here!

Happy Friday!

“Eat Your Brussels Sprouts!”

I can hear Papa Dish shouting at me now.  Brussels sprouts are his favorite vegetable.  Sadly they are one of the few veggies I have never liked.

I like cabbage! Why can’t I like baby cabbages??

Last week I saw a brussels sprouts recipe that looked too good not to try.   It was a Freshly Pressed blog entry by Lattes and Leggings, as a matter of fact.  Since the sprouts rarely look appetizing to me, I knew I had to make it: Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lemon.

Lemon, pistachios, garlic, shallot.

I’ve never liked the texture of whole brussels sprouts, so when this recipe told me to trim the ends and quarter them, I thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”  Papa Dish had always eaten them whole, and so it never occurred to me to do anything else to them!

Chopped.

Sauteing the sprouts in EVOO for a few minutes gave them the perfect texture.  Not too soggy, not too firm.

The pistachios added a nice crunch and the lemon juice brightened up the whole dish.  (I used one lemon and the taste wasn’t that noticeable.  If you’re a lemon fan, I would add more!)

The final dish is delectable.  I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but… I couldn’t get enough brussels sprouts!

From Brussels, with love.

I will most definitely make this one again.  A big thanks to Jen from Lattes and Leggings for this recipe!  It has definitely changed my sprouts sentiment!

Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lemon

From Lattes and Leggings

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
juice of 1 small lemon

Directions
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the brussels sprouts, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pistachios and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes until the brussels sprouts soften. Add the lemon juice and stir. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Broad Street Blueberry Muffins

Mr. Dish and I are hosting a post-race brunch next weekend for our family and fellow racers after Broad Street.  I know when I finish a tough race, I want to do three things immediately:

  1. Take my shoes and socks off
  2. Lay down
  3. Eat a large quantity of food

Our brunch will hopefully allow us to do all three of these things in the comforts of home, while re-capping the morning.  I don’t know about you, but I always find myself day dreaming of carbs as the miles tick by, so in addition to the usual eggs/bacon/coffee, I decided I would bake homemade muffins as an extra reward.

Of course, I’ve never baked muffins from scratch before, so I needed to do a test run.

I used this recipe for blueberry muffins… it seemed pretty straight forward.  But when I was done mixing the batter… it was way too thick.  It was more like cookie dough.  Now I haven’t made muffins in a while, but I knew this wasn’t right.  I double and triple checked my measurements… either I made a mistake I didn’t find or this recipe is whack.

So, with the help of Mr. Dish and the Betty Crocker cookbook he had laying around, I did what I hate to do most in cooking… improvise.  We found another recipe that was similar to mine, but called for way more milk.  So I just started slowly pouring and stirring until we got a texture that we liked better.

Fingers crossed...

I added the crumb topping, and while they looked right, I was still dubious, and puzzled by the recipe mishap.

Oven ready...

I was very relieved to see them emerge from the oven looking like this:

Behold! They look like blueberry muffins!

Of course, they still had to pass the taste test…

And they did, with flying colors.

Beautiful blueberry deliciousness!

I think next weekend I will just use Betty Crocker’s muffin recipe, since it’s the one that saved me from muffin disaster this time.  So I took one more step in overcoming my fear of kitchen improvisation… and of muffin baking!  I’ll be dreaming of these babies as I crank out my 10 miles next weekend!

Saturday Night Scampi

Since we knew Easter Sunday would be jam-action-packed, Mr. Dish and I decided to lay low on Saturday, which included staying in for dinner.  After our six mile run, we decided to brain-storm dinner ideas… since discussing food when you’re starving and sweaty always results in practical and healthy decisions.

Apparently months ago, I made a dinner involving shrimp and olive oil and pasta that Mr. Dish loved.  (“You know, that thing you made that one time…”)

Pretty much the easiest protein to cook ever.

I guess that one got deleted from the memory file because I had no idea what he was talking about!  But though a little research (read: Googling) I found a simple recipe.

First, I needed a margarita.  This has nothing to do with the scampi recipe… I just wanted one.  Mr.  Dish was more than happy to oblige.  We quickly realized – much to my dismay – that we do not own margarita glasses.  (REGISTRY ALERT! How did we not figure this out before??)  So we had our margaritas in these:

Always classy...

The recipe I used for our shrimp scampi had another fun ingredient, in addition to the butter and olive oil…

Hasn't that Loon seen those new scary anti-smoking PSA's???

The addition of the wine makes it more “saucy” and flavorful!  We really liked this recipe a lot… the only change I made was when I “accidentally” added too much red pepper… oops.

What can I say, I like it spicy!

I guess we’ve been into Italiano lately, what with my awesome lasagna last weekend.  But since we ran six miles that day… the LONGEST Mr. Dish has EVER run, I felt he needed a carbo-reward, in the form of angel hair pasta.

Delicioso!

We topped off our night in with an early visit from the Easter Bunny… who happened to bake a little Easter treat for our baskets.

M&M Sugar Cookies!

I (…I mean the Easter Bunny!) got the recipe from an adorable blog called Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I just used “Bunny Mix” M&M’s instead of the mini M&M’s.  Just because I can, I’ll torture you with a picture of this…

If that doesn't make your mouth water, I don't know what does.

Oh I yearn for the days of a higher metabolism when my girlfriends and I would whip up a bowl of dough and just eat it my the spoonful.  But the baked cookies aren’t so bad, either!

I hope you had a blessed, happy, candy-filled Easter like we did!

The Highs and Lows of Dish’s Oven

After last week’s New Orleans overload, I am still doing laundry and am just now feeling rested and getting back into my workout groove.  So this past weekend, Mr. Dish and I were perfectly content to sleep in and be completely unproductive.  It was glorious.

I did, however, want to get back on my one-new-recipe-a-week band wagon, so I decided on a basic, straightforward dish that I’ve NEVER attempted before: Lasagna.  I can hear the Italians out there snickering at me right now and I don’t want to hear it!  The big noodles intimidate me, OK?  Which is why I chose a recipe that called for this:

Idiot-proof pasta. Just what I need!

This lasagna recipe from The Food Network’s Down Home with the Neely’s seemed to be one that I couldn’t mess up.  Prepping the meat sauce and ricotta cheese mixture took a little time, but it wasn’t hard.  Because I was using oven-ready pasta, I didn’t have to worry about over or under cooking the noodles.  It came together quite nicely, in two very cheesy layers:

I used 2% cheese! Shhh, don't tell Mr. Dish! He didn't notice!

About 35 minutes later, I had a gooey, heavenly-smelling lasagna.  Home-made!

Oh, you bet we went back for seconds.

One modification I would make to this recipe for next time… the instructions say to overlap the noodles, whereas the box instructed me NOT to let the noodles touch.  I stuck to my guns and followed Mama Neely’s instructions.  The noodles were a little tough where they overlapped.  Not to the point of being inedible by any means, but I will not overlap them next time I make this.

Other than that, this lasagna was AWESOME!  Mr. Dish (a self-proclaimed picky eater) has been eating lots of leftovers.  We added no seasonings or toppings to the lasagna after baking, and we were ready to lick our plates.  I can’t wait to re-heat some for dinner tonight!

OK, I know.  It’s lasagna.  It’s easy.  But I still get a thrill out of trying something new and wind up with a new delicious option to add to the recipe file.  Even if it’s something this simple that I’m just now brave enough to try.

So my super-duper-awesome lasagna was my oven “high.”  My oven “low” came the very next morning, when I made a tray of brownies to take into work.  Nothing fancy.  BROWNIES.  From a BOX.  Spread in a 13×9 pan, bake 22 minutes… raw in the middle.  Of course by the time I realize this I have a plate full of brownie mush (which would have been excellent if I were getting ready to serve ice cream sundaes) and 30 minutes before I need to be at work.  I don’t know if it’s my oven, or me… but every time I make brownies, I get too-done edges and raw middles.  No happy medium.  I would have taken a picture of the mess, but it didn’t occur to me to do so as I was violently throwing the mush in the trash.  So if anyone has any brownie baking tips, please pass them along.

At least I have my lasagna…

Mama’s Lasagna

from The Neely’s

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for pan
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (8-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded mozzarella
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Cheddar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and saute meat, onion, and garlic until meat is browned, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Drain pan of fat and add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, then mix in cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and seasoning salt.

Spread a little of the meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay half the noodles in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping by 1/2-inch. Spread half the egg and cottage cheese mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle half the mozzarella and Cheddar evenly over the cottage cheese mixture. Pour half the meat sauce on top. Repeat layering in same order. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan on top. Bake in center of oven 30 to 35 minutes until sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I love a man who cooks me pork.

Because I was going away for the weekend, I decided that I would take a week off from my “one new recipe every week” resolution.  I didn’t feel guilty about it, either, since I had doubled up with dinner and dessert the week before.   Well, we got home from our excursion earlier than I anticipated, and Mr. Dish – God love him – offered to make dinner.  (Have I mentioned how lucky I am lately?)

He made one of his old stand-by recipes because he had most of the fixin’s already.  (This may be one of those recipes everyone knows about and I don’t because I live under a culinary rock.  So excuse me if you don’t find this one isn’t as wondrous as I found it.)  I’m not sure exactly what he called it, so I will name it…

Mr. Dish’s Orange-tastic Pork Chops

I never think to make pork chops, probably because I never really love them when I make them.  These, however, we flavorful and juicy!  Besides the pork chops, you need TWO (count ‘em, two) ingredients:

Not two things I would usually combine. But with the magic of pork, they are harmonious.

All you do is brown the pork chops in a pan…

Combine a packet of onion soup mix with two cups OJ, and pour over chops…

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  And presto!

I heart pork.

Just a hint of orange flavor and oh-so simple.  Pair with a glass of white and some pierogies and you’re in business.

Obviously here in the Dish household we’re not going for gourmet.  At least not yet.  I also have a few easy, stand-by meals that aren’t that exciting… until I’m starving, already in my pajamas and totally opposed to leaving the house.  Then those recipes become the best thing EVER.  Here’s another one of those I can add to the arsenal.  I’m also a firm believer in the theory that anything tastes better when someone else cooks it for me.

So thank you, Sweetness, for cooking me dinner.  And for doing the dishes :)

Mageirocophobia: The Fear of Cooking

So I didn’t make a resolution on New Year’s Day exactly, but as the year progressed, I found myself falling into a pattern.  Since it seems to be a healthy and productive pattern, I decided I would try to continue it for the entire year:

I will try at least one new recipe every week.

The horror!

It can be an entree or dessert… breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t have to be complicated.  (I prefer the recipes to be as simple as possible, really.  I’d rather not have to Google too many cooking terms.)

I wouldn’t call myself a bad cook.  I’m just terrified of trying something new and having it turn out wrong.  All that effort and all that wasted food!  It was becoming an issue.  I was raised by two parents who are great cooks and who have tried to share many recipes with me.  I shied away from making them for myself, however, for fear of making an inadequate dish.

After a weekend of cooking-anxiety-related stress, I Googled “fear of cooking.”  (I admit, I felt a little silly as I was doing this.)  But then the results came up: Mageiracophobia!  (Don’t ask me how to say it.)  The fear of cooking!  This is a real thing, and enough people have felt the same way as I have that they gave the phobia a name.  (OK, there’s also a name for the fear of garlic.  “Alliumphobia.”  I thought that was just called “being a vampire.”)

I am not alone!  I found this article by Dr. Susan Albers.  Here’s an excerpt:

“I’ve heard the theory that if you can read a recipe, you can cook.  So, why is it that so many very intelligent men and women get overwhelmed, throw their hands up in the air and deem themselves incapable in the kitchen?  There are many things that stand in the way.  In part, it may be perfectionism.  What if this dish doesn’t come out just right? It’s very difficult for many of us to not be good at something on the first try.  Not to mention that all change is difficult.  Trying something new, in general, can cause anxiety.”

Now, I’m not going to go look for a therapist or meds or anything… but I do feel a sense of relief knowing that I’m not the only one who starts sweating when a recipe tells me to “blanch” something.  I think my resolution is a good first step.  I’d love to eventually take some basic cooking classes.  Knowledge is power, right?

Here’s my most recent dinner concoction: Cilantro Lime Chicken

The crock pot: God's gift to mageirocophobes

If you read my Irish Potato post, this is another Shell recipe, which can be found… here!  (I couldn’t find the tropical seasoning, so after Mr. Dish talked me down off a ledge in the Hispanic foods aisle I decided to use a packet of Lowry’s Southwest chicken seasoning.)

It was delicious!  Falls apart with the poke of a fork.  We made chicken tacos out of it and loved every tangy, zesty bite.

So they say acceptance is the first step to recovery.  I don’t know what step #2 is, but I hope it’s a delicious and anxiety-free one.

Cake Identity Crisis

I’m in awe of people who are kitchen savvy… who can experiment and invent their own recipes.  Some of my friends never cease to amaze me with what they come up with.  I’m not one of those people, at least not yet.  But in exploring the vast blogosphere, I’ve had the pleasure of reading many blogs that offer up delicious and many times easy new recipes.

I had been looking for something easy to bake for visitors. Impressive enough that I went through the effort of baking, but still quick and easy.  I don’t know who came up with this, (I’m sure it’s been around for like 10 years and I’ve just been living under a culinary rock) but apparently you can make cookies using cake mix.  No flour/sugar/salt/baking whatever measuring.  Open box, dump in bowl, boom.  Genius.

I found this recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cake Cookies on the lovely blog,  Peanut Butter Fingers.  You start with this:

OOOH double boxtops! Saving those puppies!

Basically you’re reducing the eggs and oil and omitting the water.  The dough is very stiff… so strange to have a cookie dough-like consistency from cake mix!  The batter tastes like a fudgy brownie!  (Unless you’re grossed out by eating raw batter, in which case… I didn’t taste it.)

A fun little roll in confectioner’s sugar and into the oven!

Cake (cookie?) dough (batter?)

Easy, quick, and chocolaty… now that’s my kind of cookie!  (NOTE: This recipe made a little more than two dozen for me, and I think I made then smaller than the original baker did.  So if you’re looking to make a nice, hefty cookie, prepare for one to one and a half dozen per batch.)

Yum!

There are lots of other possibilities using differnt flavors of cake mix.

If you want to try this one (which I HIGHLY recommend!) here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Crinkle Cake Mix Cookies
from Peanut Butter Fingers

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined.
  3. Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl.
  4. Roll cookie dough into balls and roll around in bowl of powdered sugar until they are coated in a thin layer of the sugar.
  5. Place dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  6. Cool and enjoy.

(Makes 1.5-2 dozen cookies)