Tasty Stack of Taco Goodness

Like most humans with a pulse, we love Mexican food. This is a favorite recipe of ours which we just rediscovered. It’s a nice alternative to fast food, especially when you save some leftovers for those evenings where your brain and stomach are just going

GIMME

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DEM

cat medium

 

TACOS.

Cat zoom

 

So here you go.

Taco Bake

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Tortillas (we used whole wheat, medium sized)
  • Ground turkey (1 lb.)
  • Frozen corn (we used about half a bag total, maybe call it 1 CUP if you want to be exact)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • All-purpose Flour (1 Tablespoon)
  • Water (3/4 cup)
  • Chili powder (1 Tablespoon)
  • Cumin (a dash)
  • Garlic powder (again, a dash. But a bigger dash. Because garlic is awesome.)
  • Salsa (1/2 cup)
  • Refried beans (1 can)
  • About half a block of cheddar cheese

 

HERE IS HOW YOU MAKE IT:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Chop up the onion and bell pepper. Toss them in a big skillet with the turkey and cook until the meat is browned.IMG_1321
  2. Add the Tablespoon of flour, 3/4 cup of water, 1 Tablespoon of chili powder, dash of cumin, and bigger dash of garlic powder. Stir it all around until everything is pretty well mixed.IMG_1322
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of salsa and the can of beans. Lay two tortillas down in an oiled 9 x 11″ baking dish, and layer with half the meat/veggie mixture, 1/2 the bean/salsa mixture, and half of the corn. Repeat the layers with another pair of tortillas in between, and finish with another pair of them on top.IMG_1323
  4. Shred about half a block of the cheddar on top of the whole thing, and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.IMG_1325
  5. EAT IT WITH YOUR FACE

 

P.S. We bought this adorable bear dude because he’s adorable. #sorrynotsorryIMG_1317

-l&j

Remember that one time we forgot to blog for almost a year?

So, it turns out that grad school, part-time employment and composition for J and full-time employment, tutoring, and applying for grad school for myself means that we forget to blog. Oops. So, rather than say “let’s make a goal to blog once a week” as a New Year’s Resolution, let’s start now!

This week is a big week full of concerts, work, and cleaning the house for weekend guests. Sundays have traditionally been cooking days for me, where I try and get lunches prepared for the week (portioned out for J and I to reheat at work/grad school), as well as make ahead breakfasts and maybe even dinner for Sunday night. Today is no different. Today I spent time making a “lasagna” soup. It includes sweet sausage, tomatoes, bow tie pasta, and heaps of ricotta and parmesan at the end. It transports well in lunches, warms you up in the cool of early December, and is souper delicious. Yep, I went there.

We made this soup back in 2012, but never posted the full recipe for it. I also changed the recipe a bit because the first time I made it we made buckets full since I wasn’t paying too close attention to how much we were putting in the pot… so here it goes:

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. pasta (I like to use bowtie pasta because they are cute)
  • olive oil (I never measure this…not gonna lie)
  • about a pound of sweet Italian sausage ( I usually buy bulk, but I accidentally bought links, so I had to take the casings off. Ew.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • some oregano (again, I never measure)
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 big spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Salz und Pfeffer
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella (divided into 1 cup amounts)
  • dried basil
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta (indulge a little)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parm
  • frozen peas (optional)

What to do:

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, as it may cook a little more once it hits the soup and you don’t want mush. While this is cooking, brown the sausage in a big soup pot.

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2. Once the sausage is browned, add the onions, garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a couple of minutes until onions are soft. Stir  in tomato paste and combine everything together.

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3. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes. I like to use a whisk to stir this in to make sure all of the tomato paste gets evenly distributed- no one wants chunks of tomato paste in their soup.

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4. Add a little s and p, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to simmer without lid for about 30 minutes (stir every once and a while to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom).

5. While the soup is simmering, I like to mix together the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, the Parm, salt and pepper, and a little more basil.

6. Right at the end I like to put in some frozen peas for a little veg, but it is up to you. I also add the other cup of mozzarella directly to the soup at this point.

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  1. To serve (or in our case, to prep for lunches), I put a scoop of pasta (you decide how much), a ladle or two of the soup, and a healthy dollop of the ricotta stuff.

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*Note: You can also make this in the crockpot, as we have done as well. All you do is brown the sausage, dump everything else into the crockpot (cheese stuff not included) and cook on high for 2-3 hours. The pasta I usually put in after an hour, and the peas typically go in with about 30 minutes to go).

 

 

I hope you enjoy this reconstructed lasagna soup as much as we do- I probably make it a couple of times each winter.

Enjoy!

-L (and Bingley who stayed nearby throughout the cooking process)

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French Onion Soup and attempting to get back into this whole blogging thing…

So…we have a good reason for not blogging in a while- I have been busy turning our blog into a cookbook! We are only distributing free copies to friends and family, but it has been pretty cool. It originally was a present for J for Christmas, but now family members are requesting copies of their own- yay!

So, in order to make a second volume, we should probably get back in the swing of things. First step, French Onion Soup.

Now, I have never made French Onion Soup, so I was a little leery about making it. However, it turned out to be quite tasty.

Photo on 12-30-14 at 1.21 PM

You’ll need:

*5 onions (I used regular ol’ yellow onions)- thinly sliced
*s & p
*4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
*beef broth (1/2 cup)
*chicken stock (7 cups)
*1 tsp. sugar
*1 tsp salt
*2 tbsp. butter
*2 tbsp. olive oil
*red wine (1/2 cup- I used my favorite merlot)
*2 tbsp. flour

Directions:
1. Melt butter into oil in stock pot- toss onions in and cook on low (uncovered) for about 15 minutes. I stirred them for the first few minutes to make sure all the onions were coated, and then I stirred once every 4 3 minutes or so (I was actively cleaning the house at the time, so I would make the bed, go stir the onions, fold up blankets, go stir the onions, put away clothes, go stir the onions, etc.)

2. Turn heat up to medium, toss in the 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of sugar and garlic, and stir again. This time, put the lid on it and let it go for about 30 minutes (mine was done at 25, but my stove runs really hot). Again, I did the chore, stir, chore, stir, chore, stir, etc. method. Every time you go back to the pot the onions should get more golden brown and delicious.

3. Skip this step if you can- I couldn’t: Turn off smoke alarm because you let the pot get too hot while you are trying to rescue your cat who has burrowed herself inside your couch upon discovery of all of the milk rings she has hidden under the couch for the last six months.

4. Rescue the pot by adding flour for a roux, then pouring in the wine, beef broth, and chicken stock.

5. Bring to a boil, skim the milk fat from the butter off of the top, and then drop the heat to a simmer, covering and cooking for 40 minutes…while this is cooking…

**I now made the cheese crouton-y bits.
I took a small baguette and cut it in half. I cut the half into four chunks, rubbed 1/2 a garlic clove on the chunks and put a slice of havarti on top. I also took the other half of the baguette, split it in half, and placed a piece of American cheese on half. Put all of the cheese covered bread under the broiler for a couple of minutes until bubbly and slightly golden. I also made some tuna salad.

6. Serve soup in bowl with a cheesy crouton-y bit. I also filled the other half of the baguette (with cheese melted on one side) with tuna salad for a nice tuna melt. A pretty good lunch!

Happy (almost) new year! We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for the coming year in food!

-L (and Bingley who is now safely out from under the couch).

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UH. MUH. GUH. YOU GUYS.

This… is maybe… the best… chicken thing… I… have ever… had.

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HERE IS HOW YOU MAKE IT

 

Chicken Pesto Tomato Thing

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 or 5 thinly sliced chicken cutlets (I didn’t know how “cutlets” differed from “all of the other kinds of pieces of chicken”, and am still not entirely convinced. It all looks LITERALLY THE SAME TO ME in the grocery store.)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 ounces of goat cheese (usually 1 tube)
  • 2 separate handfuls of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of basil pesto
  • a li’l splash of half and half (opt.)
  • Healthy dose of olive oil
  • S und P

 

DO THIS STUFF:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken, and place on a rimmed baking sheet (or else the olive oil goes everwhichaway)
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the pesto, goat cheese, and 1 handful of parmesan cheese. (If it seems kind of dry, you can add a splash of half and half to it.)
  4. Spread that mixed-up goodness on each of the chicken cutlets.
  5. Slice the tomatoes, and put two slices on top of each piece of chicken (as pictured)
  6. Drizzle everything with olive oil, and sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top of each piece.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

ALSO IF YOU WANT YOU CAN MAKE THESE POTATOES WITH IT

You can bake these at the same time as the chicken if you heat the baking sheet in the oven first.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • About a pound of fingerling potatoes (which sounded kind of creepy to me, though L assures me they’re not)
  • Half a teaspoonish of minced garlic
  • Couple shakes each of thyme, rosemary, and sage (or 2 to 3 sprigs of them if you want to be super fancy. With sprigs.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Yet more olive oil

WHAT TO DO:

  • Preheat the oven to 500°F and place the baking sheet inside to heat it.
  • Put the potatoes in a biggish bowl with the herbs and spices, and splorp some olive oil on it.
  • Roll it all around with a big spoon.
  • Remove the baking sheet and drizzle it with olive oil, and dump the potatoes on it and spread them out a little bit.
  • Turn down the heat to 425° and roast for 20 minutes.
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How to chop up a watermelon without mangling it too badly

What with it being summer and all, here’s a good skill to have when you buy a watermelon for a recipe/garden party and then stare at it, noticing that it seems a lot bigger now than when you put it in the cart at the grocery store.

YOU WILL NEED:

Big watermelon

Big watermelon

Big knife

Big knife

Big buncha paper towels

Big buncha paper towels. You’ll also want to have a pretty large bowl handy for serving/refrigerating.

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO:

Hack it into 2 halves.

Hack it into 2 halves.

Turn the halves over, flat-side-down, and start peeling away the pithy green/white parts.

Turn the halves over, flat-side-down, and start peeling away the pithy green/white parts.

It doesn't have to be perfect.

Don’t worry if your slices seem thick- there’s almost 2 inches of the inedible stuff before you get to the tasty red part.

Continue until it looks like something out of Super Mario.

Continue until the watermelon looks like something out of Super Mario, and is wearing a stylish green hat.

Turn it sideways, and slice away the rest of the greeny-whitey bits.

Turn it sideways, and slice away the rest of the greeny-whitey bits.

Almost there!

Almost there!

NOW WE GET TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN YAAAAAAAAY.

NOW WE GET TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. YAAAAAAAAY.

This is the point where I just wanted to pick it up and eat it. It's also where things start to get a bit messy...

This is the point where I just wanted to pick it up and eat it. It’s also where things start to get a bit messy…

Chop it up into slices, about 1 to 2 inches thick.

Chop it up into slices, about 1 to 2 inches thick.

Chop the flat slices into little spears...

Chop the flat slices into little spears…

...and then cubes!

…and then cubes! This is where the paper towels come in handy. Be extra careful while cutting, since the board/counter can get slippery from all the juices.

This takes a bit of time, and seems endless. Pictured here is ONE FOURTH of the watermelon (and this is not a small cutting board)!

This takes a bit of time, and seems endless. Pictured here is ONE FOURTH of the watermelon (and this is not a small cutting board)!

Woohoo! Ready for summertime tastiness.

Woohoo! Ready for summertime tastiness.

-j

 

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Haute-meal

Hi all- 2 posts in 2 days! L was making a fancy breakfast today, so I decided to blog it. I have never said the sentence “Can I stage your breakfast for a quick shoot?” before, but there’s a first time for everything.

Fancy Herb-y Scrambled Eggs

SO FANCY

SO FANCY

2 eggs, parsley, cipotle chili powder, and a sploosh of milk. Whisk it up!

2 eggs, parsley, chipotle chili powder, and a sploosh of milk. Whisk it up!

Pour mixture into a small frying pan, and flop it around while it cooks.

Pour mixture into a small frying pan, and flop it around while it cooks.

 Toast!

Toast!

Oatmeal with freshly picked blueberries

Oatmeal with freshly picked blueberries

 

 

-j

 

 

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NY

Hi all-

We went to the finger lakes in New York to visit some family, and took a day trip to a beautiful gorge nearby.

Yes please.

Yes please.

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J found some fossils.

We made a tasty dinner one night of roasted pork loin and vegetable tian- we’ve actually been meaning to post this recipe for a while. L likes to make it frequently, and it’s so easy! It makes a nice side dish, but we’ve had it as the main dish before, too.

 

 

Vegetable Tian

(Sideways-stacked baked veggies)

100_1209YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 potatoes (Regular Big Lumpy Brown-Type. That’s their actual name. Really.)
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • S&P
  • basil (dried)
  • a good handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

STUFF TO DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Slice all the veggies into 1/4 inch (-ish) slices.
  3. Sploosh some olive oil (or butter/cooking spray) 9×9′ baking dish.
  4. Arrange the sliced veggies into fancy-looking rows. We always have a few veggie slices left over, and just cram them into the sides. (It’s a classic French technique, called Crammez les vegetables dans le sides of le baking dish. Really.)
  5. Drizzle olive oil on top of veggies, and top with salt, pepper and basil.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Uncover, top with cheese, and bake for another 20 minutes.
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Fancy.

Not only has the song of this same name been stuck in our heads all summer (causing hours of singing the song around the apartment), but it is how I feel about tonight’s dinner. Although J wasn’t here to enjoy it with me (he gets the leftovers tomorrow), I felt very fancy cooking and eating this delicious concoction.

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Fancy Food for this Most Regular of Tuesdays? Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken over Lemon Arugula Risotto.

Fancy.

 

You’ll Need:

For Lemon Risotto:

*1 cup of arborio rice

*1/2 cup dry white wine

*zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

*handful of arugula (didn’t measure, just threw it in)

*salt to taste

*2 cups  chicken stock

*2 cups water

*1 onion, finely diced

*2 cloves garlic, finely minced

*olive oil

For Chicken:

*2 lbs chicken (this ended up being about 3 chicken breasts, as I used a little under 2 lbs.)

*1/3 cup strawberry jam

*1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

*1/2 cup water

*2 scallions, finely chopped

*poultry seasoning

*handful of fresh basil (I used 5 or 6 leaves from my delicious Greek basil plant), julienned

*salt and pepper

*olive oil

 

Directions:

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning on both sides. Heat oil in large skillet, and drop chicken in when ready. Cook 5 minutes per side, browning the chicken on both sides.

2. Whisk strawberry jam, basil, balsamic, and water; pour over chicken and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, just to thicken the glaze. Flip chicken to make sure both sides get glaze.

3. Add scallions in at last minute. You can slice the chicken before serving or serve whole (I left mine whole).

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PAUSE.

Now, I attempted to make these two items at once. I started with the chicken because risotto needs your attention. I repeat,RISOTTO NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION. Look away and it can scorch. And that would make sad risotto.

Back to Cooking!

4. Heat chicken stock and water in a saucepan. In a large pot, saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Once softened, toss in rice and lemon zest, toasting the rice and letting it absorb the fat in the olive oil.

5. Pour in the lemon juice and wine and let the liquid evaporate. Once evaporated, add one ladle of cooking liquid until the risotto is cooked and smooth. As already stated, keep stirring and pay attention. Also, if you don’t use all of the cooking liquid, that is fine- cook it until it is done! You don’t want to turn your risotto into soup- too far! Season if necessary (depends on how salty your chicken stock is).

6. Once cooked, add arugula and stir until wilted. Serve right away!

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*Sorry for the poor picture quality. The pot was very steamy!

I hope you enjoy your fancy meal when you make this too.

-L (&J and Bingley).

 

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Brunch Brulée

I know it looks like a burny, crispety-crunchety accident, but this Berry Chocolate Oatmeal Brulée is SO TASTY.

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100_1175We love this recipe, especially because it’s so simple and tastes AMAZING.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 fairly big ramekins (Single-serving baking dishes, about 1 cup each), OR a 1-quart baking dish. Note that whatever you use should be broiler-friendly.
  • 2 cups of instant oats
  • a li’l butter (to grease the dish[es]- you can also use the sprayable oil stuff)
  • 1 cup of frozen berries (we used a mix of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

WHAT TO DO

  1. Grease the dish(es) with butter.
  2. Cook the oatmeal on the stove, according to the directions.
  3. Dump in the berries and chocolate chips.
  4. Stir it around on low heat, until the berries soften and the chocolate chips have melted.
  5. Plop all that goodness in the baking dish(es), and top it with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Place in the broiler for about 4 minutes, just until the topping gets dark and crackly.

TASTY BRUNCH TIME WOOOOOOOOO

 

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Ants.

You know what stinks? Ant invasions.

 

You know what is worse? Ant invasions at midnight.

 

Also, our parsley plant died. Again.

 

But our other herbs are doing marvelously.