Turkey and Black Bean Chili

April 2, 2014 – 6:01 pm

This easy, quick, hearty one pot meal hit the spot tonight. I made it extra mild for our guests, but if was just Shaun and I, I would have added a chile in adobo or two and some cayenne pepper. Sorry for the somewhat blurry photo. Our little guy was going for the avocado plate. :-D

Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Serves 4

1 tbsp canola oil
1 20-oz package ground turkey breast
kosher salt and black pepper
2 15-oz cans black beans, undrained (I like Bush’s)
2 15-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (I like Hunt’s)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Avocado slices to top (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Brown well. Add the beans and tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the seasonings and stir again. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve warm with avocado slices.

Guinness Beef Stew

March 15, 2014 – 6:27 pm

Tonight’s dinner was a modification of Brown Eyed Baker’s excellent Guinness beef stew recipe. My version is below. This slow roasted stew made for a great, hearty, one dish meal, worthy of a weekend celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day!

Guinness Beef Stew
Serves 4 generously

Ingredients
1 3-pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, finely grated
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, pressed
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 12-ounce bottle Guinness Draught
4 tsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1½ pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Move an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F for a convection oven).

Season the beef with salt and freshly ground pepper and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the zucchini and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through and starting to brown a bit, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and garlic, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, making sure to completely incorporate with no dry flour left, and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Whisk in the chicken stock, Guinness, brown sugar and thyme, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and return the stew to a simmer.

Move the pot to the oven and roast, uncovered, for 90 minutes (75 minutes in a convection oven), stirring halfway through cooking.

Add the potatoes and carrots, stirring to combine, and continue roasting until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour (45 minutes in a convection oven), stirring halfway through the time. Remove the pot from the oven and let the stew rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

March 3, 2014 – 6:51 pm

It’s way easy and so much cheaper to make your own instant oatmeal packets. These here have 1/2 cup of quick oats, 1 tbsp of sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp of craisins, and 2 loose tbsp of brown sugar. To make one, I dump the mix into a 12 oz cup, pour near boiling water from the office hot water dispenser over the top to cover the oats plus a little bit, stir, and let sit for about 3 minutes. A quick, hearty, easy breakfast!

Pot Roast

February 24, 2014 – 7:45 pm

An update to my pot roast recipe, this adds one small finely grated zucchini and a bit of ketchup to the broth, which adds some great body. Steven got to try a carrot and was quite a fan too. :-)

Pot Roast
(for a 5-6 quart slow cooker)
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 3 lb chuck roast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb whole baby carrots
1 ½ lb waxy potatoes (red potatoes or yukon golds work well)
1 cup water
1 tbsp beef Better Than Bouillon
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small zucchini, finely grated
2 tbsp ketchup

Slice up carrots and potatoes into big chunks and layer in the bottom of the crock pot. Brown the chuck roast in the vegetable oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side – just enough to get a nice color (this step can be skipped if you’re in a hurry). Slide roast in on top of veggies. Mix water and remaining ingredients together. Pour over the roast and veggies. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours. Serve warm.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2014 – 6:30 pm

Our sweet sleepy guy wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day. :D

We had Jaden’s beef and broccoli for dinner tonight. Tasty, easy, and worked for both Valentine’s Day and the tail end of the Chinese New Year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

January 27, 2014 – 8:33 pm

Bad bad blogger Cassie. Here are some pictures to make up for it!

My stocking is bigger than me!

Our usual Christmas Eve dinner of crab and bacon wrapped shrimp

Christmas morning!

Our Christmas dinner: prime rib, brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, and yorkshire pudding

Sweet and sour little smokies for New Year’s Eve

Steven’s first ferry trip on January 2nd

Cheering on our team!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013 – 4:52 pm

From our family to yours, a very happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2013 – 4:32 pm


Mommy’s little pumpkin patch

Pork Chops with Spiked Chunky Applesauce

October 30, 2013 – 6:13 pm

This is another recipe of my mom’s, inspired by several similar ones out there on the web. We had this with some baked yam fries and steamed veggies. Very tasty!

Pork Chops with Spiked Chunky Applesauce

For the apples:
1 tbsp butter
2 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 8 wedges
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Calvados apple brandy
1 tbsp apple cider

For the pork:
1 tbsp butter
4 boneless pork chops, about 1.5 lb
kosher salt and black pepper

For the sauce:
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup Calvados apple brandy
1 tsp thyme leaves

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and melt until it stops foaming. Add the apple slices and sprinkle with sugar. Brown lightly on both sides. Add the brandy and cider and cranberries and turn to coat. Reduce liquid until nearly gone. Remove the mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet and brown pork chops on both sides, about 5 minutes on the first side and another 4-5 minutes on the second side. Remove the pork chops to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the apple cider, chicken broth, and brandy to the skillet and deglaze the pan. Add the thyme and let the liquid reduce by about one third. Add the pork chops back to the skillet and turn to coat in the sauce. Add the apple mixture to the skillet. Let the chops cook for another 5-7 minutes in the sauce, until an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F is reached.

Serve warm.

Baked Asian Turkey Buns

September 5, 2013 – 8:26 pm

These are my mom’s new take on hom bao with a nod to bierocks. They turned out very good!

Baked Asian Turkey Buns
Makes 8 buns

For the filling:
1 tbsp canola oil
20 oz ground turkey breast
6 oz crimini or shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce)
1 tsp sesame oil

For assembly:
8 large frozen white rolls, thawed (we used Rhodes Texas Rolls)

For the dipping sauce:
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp lemon
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and brown the turkey. Add the mushrooms and stir to combine. When the mushrooms are tender, add the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and sesame oil and stir. Turn the heat to low.

Gently stretch or roll out each dough ball into a 5 inch diameter circle. Spoon filling into the center of the dough, then fold the dough up around the filling to form a filled bun and pinch to seal. Place each bun sealed side down on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. While the buns are baking, whisk the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Serve buns hot.