New Favorite

Chicken Tikka Masala…Trader Joe’s Style

Chicken Tikka Masala is made easy using Trader Joe’s delicious Masala sauce.  The first time I made it, I followed the recipe below.  The second time I made the recipe, I used strips of red, yellow and green pepper, carrots and chopped onions.  Both were delicious and easy, peasy.  We were so excited when a Trader Joe’s was built fairly close to my house. There are always new products to try and enjoy!

During the pandemic, I went to Trader Joe’s only a couple of times.  Hat’s off to Trader Joe’s and how they managed shopper entry, masks, and cleanliness.  By far, the best job of any grocery store I ventured into.

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA…TRADER JOE’S STYLE

1 (15-ounce) jar Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 cup sliced baby carrots
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

  • Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Nestle the chicken into the sauce in a single layer. Pour the drained tomatoes evenly over the chicken.
  • Add onions and carrots
  • Pour the remaining sauce on top.
  • Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  (I cooked for 4 hours) 
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice, if desired.

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

Garden · Home · New Favorite

Layered Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors.  Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef.  Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!

Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!

LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE

2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
  • Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
  • Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe from Curiouscuisinere.com

New Favorite

Pork Poblano Stew with Citrus Notes

Fall is in the air and I am ready for soup season! A friend shared the Pork Poblano Stew (with citrus notes) recipe with me and we brainstormed a starch to use in the recipe.  I thought sweet potato would be great either added to the stew (which I did) or served over a baked sweet potato.  The flavors are unique and so delicious.  It is great served with cornbread, crusty bread or, as one daughter suggested, with tortilla chips.

Next week I’ll post a second recipe for a savory Pork Poblano Stew.  Both are delicious!

PORK POBLANO STEW WITH SWEET POTATO

2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder
1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion cut into thin wedges
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional–I added and it was delicious)
14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic, undrained
14.5 ounce can chicken broth (I used a quart of chicken broth)
3 inch stick of cinnamon
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • In a medium bowl, sprinkle chili powder over pork. Toss to combine.
  • In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, about 4 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from saucepan; set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to saucepan. Add poblano pepper, sweet pepper, and onion to saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, tomatoes, broth, and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and add reserved pork and orange juice. Return to a simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in orange peel.
  • To serve, remove stick cinnamon. Ladle into shallow bowls.

Recipe adapted from BHG.com

New Traditions

Hamburger Soup

Hamburger Soup is quick, simple and delicious.  Enough said.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion , diced
2 cloves garlic , minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups beef broth
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (I used carrots, celery, corn & peas)

  • Brown onion, ground beef and garlic until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Add potatoes, broth, tomatoes, tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning and bay leaves. Simmer covered 10 minutes.
  • Stir in vegetables. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Recipe slightly adapted from Spendwithpennies

Family · Garden · Home · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato, Sausage and Pesto Sauce

Fall brings the bounty of tomatoes, basil and much more. Older daughter, Megan, told me about a roasted tomato and pesto sauce she made. I tweaked it a bit to serve my tastes. I love the idea of adding pesto to a rich, red tomato sauce. It was delicious and definitely a new recipe for my collection.

ROASTED TOMATO AND PESTO SAUCE

1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups roasted tomatoes and peppers, cooled and blended (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
Cube of pesto (about 1/3 cup)
26.5 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped or blended
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1 pound cooked pasta (I used bow tie pasta) and 1 cup of pasta water
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  • Core and slice tomatoes. Halve and remove seeds from peppers.
  • Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on a heavy cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper).  Drizzle with Avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Roast at 400 degrees until the edges of the vegetables start to char and are cooked through.
  • Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.
  • Cook and drain the sausage. Drain and set aside.
  • Sauté onions in olive oil and when almost cooked through, add the garlic. Continue to salute until garlic is cooked through.
  • Add roasted tomatoes and peppers, pesto, San Marzano tomatoes, water, basil and sausage.
  • Heat thoroughly.
  • Add 1 cup of pasta water to sauce. Stir.  Add drained, cooked pasta, and stir to mix thoroughly.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Family Favorites · Gluten Free · Health · New Traditions

Sweet Potato Chili (aka Paleo Chili)

When the temperatures drop and the snow flies, my mind races to a great bowl of chili. My oldest daughter, Megan, has been raving about the Paleo Chili, that I will refer to as Sweet Potato Chili. She is on a Whole-30 and Paleo diet, and she referred to this chili in her post on Life Love and Garlic.

I modestly adapted the originally recipe and the result was amazing. I’m not on a Paleo diet, but I LOVE this recipe. I could see this recipe easily adapted to Vegan by browning mushrooms (with a dash of olive oil) instead of beef and substituting vegetable broth for beef broth.

SWEET POTATO CHILI (AKA PALEO CHILI)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon paprika
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

  • Chop onions and bell pepper and place in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat with ground beef. Using a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat, as it browns, into small pieces.
  • Once the meat is browned and the onions are soft, drain fat if needed.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and all spices except hot sauce and lime juice. Stir well.
  • Add peeled and diced sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Optional:  Add hot sauce and lime juice. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Recipe adapted from Sweet Potato Chili from The Lucky Penny Blog

New Favorite

Italian Pie…Buon appetito!

Italian Pie is a family favorite for my good buddy, Jan.  She suggested I give it a whirl. I can certainly see why it’s a favorite.  The crisp crust paired with the hearty meat layer and the yummy cheese layer result in a wonderful, easy meal for your family. Pair with a nice salad, French bread and you’re set!

Next time, I plan to serve it with a side of marina sauce for those that may enjoy a little extra tomato flavor with their pie.  Buon appetito! 

ITALIAN PIE

1 refrigerated pie crust

  • Bake a pie crust (I used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust). Pierce unbaked crust with fork and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.  While the pie crust is baking, brown the meat layer:

Meat Layer

1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper

  • Cook ground chuck, onion, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings until cooked through.  Drain.

Cheese Layer:

1 cup small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
garlic salt & pepper
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Combine all cheese layer ingredients together

Assembly:

  • Pour cooked meat layer into baked crust.
  • Top with cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle top of Italian pie with 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle with dried parsley.
  • Place aluminum foil around the crust edge to protect from over baking.

  • Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Family Favorites

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Pinto Beans and Cornbread was/is a staple in many homes, particular in the southern states. My Mother would occasionally make a pot of beans but it was usually met with disdain by our meat and potatoes Iowa farm family.

When I met my husband, raised in southern Missouri, I quickly learned that Pinto Beans, Cornbread and all of the fixin’s was a much-loved meal. My husband, Karl, usually took charge of this meal but I’ve learned to make it in the crockpot vs. watching it all day on the stove.

Karl and his family serve the pinto beans, cornbread and butter with cooked mustard greens (today it was green beans), corn, fresh sliced tomatoes, and fresh onion.

I prefer a small slice of cornbread with a few beans and a lot of bean stock and vegetables.  My big finish…a larger piece of cornbread drowning in honey.  Oh yeah!

SLOW COOKED PINTO BEANS 

16 ounce package of dried pinto beans
1 ham hock
1/2 large onion, cut into pieces
black pepper to taste
Cover with water (about 1-2″ above the beans)

  • Place all of the above in a large crockpot on low setting.  I typically start the crockpot in the evening and let it cook all night.  In the morning, I add water as needed and cook until ready to serve (lunch or dinner).   You may need to turn the setting to high in the morning if the beans are still very hard.
  • Once cooked, remove the ham hock and cool.  Remove any bits of ham and return to the beans.
Family Favorites · Vegetarian

Vegetable Pizza…cold and scrumptious!

Vegetable Pizza served cold and is a great appetizer and a family favorite.  This recipe made its way to my wooden recipe box many moons ago and has been a favorite of our family for many years.

The recipe is simple and easy to make.  Two tubes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, sour cream, garlic powder, dill, fresh veggies and cheese and you’re prepared.  It’s refreshing in the summer and a side dish to serve with a hearty soup.

Make an hour or two before serving and chill in the refrigerator.

VEGETABLE PIZZA

2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
chopped broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, onion, green pepper (or your choice)
shredded cheddar cheese

  • Spread crescent rolls flat and bake in 9×13″ pan until slightly brown.  Cool.
  • Mix together sour cream, dill weed and garlic powder. Spread on cooled crust.
  • Top with chopped fresh vegetables.
  • Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.  Cut into small squares for serving.

Can half the recipe and bake on round pizza pan.

New Favorite · New Traditions · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Slow Roast Tomatoes…a new discovery!

Where have I been with slow roasting my own tomatoes?   After discovering two over-ripe black krim tomatoes in my garden, I wanted to make use of these as well as a few roma, green zebra and sungold tomatoes.  I found several recipes online but decided to try a combination of recipes.

There is one big problem with this recipe…they are absolutely, overwhelmingly, delicious.  While my plan was to roast them for future use…I devoured several as soon as their cooled to the touch.  Can’t wait to roast more!

SLOW ROASTED TOMATOES

  • Preheat oveN to 225 degrees.
  • Place a sheet of greased wax paper (or parchment paper) on cookie sheet.
  • Slice large tomatoes into thin slices.  Halve roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, lengthwise.  Place tomatoes on the baking sheet.
  • Place 2-3 unpeeled garlic cloves on the sheet with the tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I used sea salt) and pepper.
  • Bake for about 3 hours.  When done, the tomatoes will be shriveled and dry.  I found the romas took longer and left them in the oven almost an hour longer.

You can use immediately or store in the frig with additional olive oil.