Saturday, July 29, 2017

Barley, Black Bean, and Corn Burritos

It's been a while since I've made these but they're really good, freeze well, and it makes a lot of burritos. Plus they're easy since the filling is cooked in the crockpot. I need to make some soon so I can take them to work for lunch.

Barley, Black Bean, and Corn Burritos
makes 18 burritos

15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 c barley, uncooked (not the quick cooking type)
2 c chicken broth
3/4 c frozen corn
1/4 c green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
18 small flour tortillas
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
for serving - salsa and sour cream

Place first 11 ingredients in crockpot, stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in cilantro.

If serving right away heat the tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/3 cup of the barley mixture down the center of each tortilla, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cheese, and roll up. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

If making to freeze, spoon 1/3 cup of the barley mixture down the center of each tortilla, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cheese, and roll up. Roll the burrito in wax paper and place in a zip lock freezer bag. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes depending on your microwave or in the oven at 350* for 20 minutes or until hot. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Instantpot Beef and Broccoli

Last week I told Jen, my cousin's wife, that I was about to give up on my instantpot. It's great for hard boiled eggs, the corn came out good, rice has done well, but some other things it's really not worked well for me - beans were totally a mixed bag, chicken didn't work well. I made one other recipe that worked fine but we just didn't like it. She insisted that I had to try this one before I give up. Honestly? I'm still not sold on it. Ok, the dish was really good but the work to get it there? I don't think it really saved me any time; I could have cooked it up in my wok in just about the same time or less. I'm still on the fence, sorry, Jen!

I'll still post the recipe here so I can find it again because it was good.

Beef and Broccoli
serves 6

1 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, well trimmed and sliced into thin strips
salt & pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c beef broth
1/2 c soy sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb broccoli florets
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp cornstarch
toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Season beef with salt and pepper. Put olive oil in the cooking pot and select sauté. When oil begins to sizzle, brown meat in batches until all the meat is browned - do not crowd the meat. Transfer meat to a plate when browned.

When all the meat is browned add chopped onion to the pot. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to the pot Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add browned beef and any accumulated juices. Select High Pressure and set timer for 12 minutes.

Place broccoli in microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 c water. Microwave 3-4 minutes until broccoli is tender.

When beep sounds turn the instantpot off and use quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid.

In a small bowl/cup combine cornstarch and water, stirring until smooth. Add to pot and stir well to combine. Select sauté and stir until sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Add steamed broccoli and stir to combine.

Serve hot over cooked rice and garnish with sesame seeds.

Notes: You can use flank steak, skirt steak, or London boil instead of chuck roast. Freeze the meat for about 15 minutes to make slicing thinly easier.

Nan's Chocolate Mousse

This is such an easy and delicious dessert. It can be a bit on the sweet side so don't make it into two portions, not matter how much you want to! Just a little is enough. It's a great dessert for that romantic dinner you're planning.

Nan's Chocolate Mousse
serves 4

1 6-oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier, etc (optional)
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar

Dump all the dry ingredients and the egg into a blender. Heat milk to scalding*. Add milk to blender; whir for about 1 minute. Pour into custard cups, fancy drink glasses, etc. and chill until set. A shaved curl of orange peel or a small dollop of whipped cream is a nice garnish.

*I zapped mine in the microwave for 2 minutes, makes it plenty hot.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

It's been over the top hot here. Like crazy hot and humid, not wanting to cook anything hot. But eating still has to happen. I was mulling over what to make, what I had in the fridge, what was easy that didn't require the oven or grill and these quesadillas were born. They were really good!

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

sliced mushrooms
minced garlic
olive oil
baby spinach
sliced or chopped cooked chicken
shredded mozzarella cheese
tortillas

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the mushrooms. Sauté for a couple of minutes then add the garlic and a sprinkle of salt, sauté for another minute or two and add a couple of handfuls of spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts.

Layer a tortilla, some cheese, cover with some of the spinach mixture, add some chicken, then more cheese and a top tortilla. Cook on a griddle until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are nicely browned.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Black Bean Shrimp and Rice

I had a night last week when I was the only one home for dinner and this recipe had just come across my path. Figured it was good for a night alone although Sarah would have liked it as well. It does make four servings, which was perfect last week - dinner one night, lunch a couple of other days.

Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Shrimp and Rice
serves 4

Shrimp
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Rice
2 c chicken broth
1 c uncooked Jasmine rice
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
garnish - extra lime juice and cilantro

Heat a large skillet until hot on medium heat; add olive oil. When it's hot add the shrimp and garlic to the skillet, making sure it isn't crowded; sprinkle salt and red pepper over shrimp. Cook shrimp, stirring once or twice, on medium heat about 3-4 minutes total until pink in color. Remove shrimp from the skillet to a plate.

To the same skillet add chicken broth, rice, and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked through. You might need to add 1/2 c water if the rice is not completely cooked when all the broth is absorbed. Mix in the lime juice, black beans, and cilantro into the cooked rice.

Add extra lime juice, about 1 tablespoon, and extra chopped cilantro to the plate with the shrimp; mix to coat the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the skillet with rice and gently reheat.

from Julia's Album

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Day in the Kitchen

It feels like I spent the day in the kitchen (and no photos to show for it!). I didn't but it sure feels that way. I made banana muffins this morning to use up some going brown bananas. They were really good this morning, not sure what I did different.

Tonight was making food for tomorrow. I will be away tomorrow but the girls and some friends from camp are here and will need lunch after church, before they head back to camp. I made one of Whitney's favorite dishes, Sesame Ginger Chicken Pasta. One thing we decided about this is that the ginger isn't a strong enough flavor so this time instead of using ground ginger I used fresh ginger (although I'm thinking maybe I should have used a bit more than I did). So that's made and in the fridge. I left them simple directions - give it a toss, add the sesame seeds, and if they want cook up some broccoli and toss it in. This is a dish that is good hot or cold so it works well making it ahead.

The other thing I made tonight was pumpkin scones. Yes, it's that time of year. The girls are working at camp and Whitney doesn't generally eat breakfast, although she's getting better about it especially at camp. But she doesn't really like camp's breakfasts and she usually has to eat on the go. I've been making her chocolate chip scones but she's still got a couple from last week and I have some in the freezer so she's good this week. Sarah wanted pumpkin so those are in the oven right now. Yep, late night baking.

Now that I'm working part time and it's usually just Bob and I here for dinner I need to look over my pinterest boards and find quick, easy things to make for dinner. Leftovers will be good for lunches so that won't be an issue cooking for two.

And now my house smells deliciously like fall!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Instant Pot, Again

My love-hate relationship with my instant pot continues. I decided to make chicken quesadillas for dinner last night and my cousin's wife posted a while back about cooking chicken in the instant pot then using her Kitchen Aid to shred it. I figured it would be easy-peasy. Not so much. The instructions she linked to said they cooked 6 pounds of chicken for 12 minutes on high pressure. I had five chicken breasts, probably about 4.5 pounds, and cooked them for 12 minutes. Two were cooked perfectly, the other three weren't cooked all the way through. I shredded (with a knife) the two I needed for dinner and put the others in the microwave to finish cooking. Not really saving myself much time there. When the others were done I shredded them and packed them to freeze for another couple of meals later.

Impressions this time? The chicken that cooked was nice and juicy but the fact that I had to finish them in the microwave was a disappointment. The adventures will continue and hopefully I'll find something besides hard boiled eggs that comes out perfect.