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Dinner, Turkey

Turkey Taco Skillet

6 January, 2018

My wife and I love Mexican food.  It’s comforting and delicious and perfect for cold winter nights like we’re having now.  This staple meal has quickly become one of my favorites, not only because it’s so easy to prepare, but because it’s so delicious!

What you need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbl chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can refried beans or black beans
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup salsa, your choice
  • 1 tbl lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a large skillet, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add spices and 3/4 cup water and bell peppers, cover and let simmer until liquid reduces and peppers become soft. Stir in the salsa, beans, cilantro and lime juice and cook until heated through.

Sprinkle with cheese and cover until the cheese melts, then serve with additional cilantro for a garnish.  Enjoy!

 

Baking, Breakfast

Cranberry Orange Muffins

27 December, 2017

cranberry muffins

Happy Holidays!! I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating!  My wife and I went up to Michigan to see her family for Christmas and it was so nice to relax up north.  And I got to bake for FUN! This used to be such a rare occasion for me, but in the new year I’m going to make it a priority.  Christmas always makes me crave all things cranberry and orange, and we were hosting Christmas a big brunch for our family and friends, so I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins, and they were a hit!  Hope you enjoy!

Makes 12

What you need:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 egg

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbl grated orange peel

Raw sugar for muffin tops

Pre-heat your oven to 400.

In this recipe we’ll use using the muffin mixing method, which I learned from my friend Baker Bettie.  Basically, it means that you mix all your dry ingredients in one bowl, your wet ingredients in another, and you stir them together to JUST combine (don’t over mix) and you’ll get a light fluffy muffin.

So, combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the cranberries.

In a small bowl, mix the egg, orange juice, grated peel and oil.

Stir wet and dry ingredients together until they’re just combined.

Using a large ice-cream scoop with release, spoon into a lined muffin tin.  Sprinkle raw sugar on the top of muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top.

Enjoy!

Dinner

Turkey Fried Rice

22 December, 2017

Christmas is just a little under a week away! Can you believe it? My in-laws love to go out to Chinese on Christmas Eve, which is one of my new favorite traditions since getting married.  I LOVE Chinese food, and have always wanted to recreate those delicious dishes they make in the restaurant.  Recently I put a healthier twist on one of my favorites, pork fried rice, with turkey! It’s lower in fat, and just as much flavor.

What you need:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups steamed rice
  • 2/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tbl hoisin sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

In a large skillet, add sesame oil and olive oil and cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add garlic, ginger, salt, soy sauce, hoisin, and 3/4 cup water and bell pepper, cover and let simmer until liquid reduces and peppers become soft. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add egg to hot pan and cook eggs until slightly wet.  Add turkey mixture back into the pan.

Toss in rice and using a spatula to break up the egg into smaller pieces, for 1 minute. Lastly, add spring onions and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until well combined and rice is heated through.

fried rice

Garnish with sliced scallions and sriracha if desired.  Enjoy!

fried rice

 

Soup

White Chicken Chili

19 December, 2017

There’s nothing like a big bowl of chili on cold winter nights in Chicago.  I’ve eaten red chili for years, and never tried making white chili until last year.  Not only was it so easy to make, the taste blew me away.  You can use leftover rotisserie chicken (I get a big rotisserie chicken from Costco and just shred it) and throw in the rest of the ingredients, and you’re done! How easy is that?!?  Perfect for weeknight meals at home.

Serves 6-8

What you need:

2 pounds diced cooked chicken, about 3 cups (white or dark)
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (two) 15.5-ounce cans white or Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken stock
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
4-ounce can of diced green chilies

Garnish:
sour cream
shredded cheese of your choice
chopped scallions
chopped cilantro
white chili, chili
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over med-high heat, saute onions until slightly browned; add salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne, oregano, and cumin. Continue to cook for a few minutes to until you really start to smell the flavor of the herbs. Add chicken stock, chicken, beans, and green chilies to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, heavy cream, and parsley. Garnish and serve.

Sandwiches

BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

8 December, 2017
Game day snacks are so much fun to make.  They’re just a couple bites, so you can save room for the whole spread! These little pulled pork sliders are the perfect combo of sweet and spicy with a little crunch.  They’re sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next get-together!

 

What you need:
5-6 pound pork shoulder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbl minced garlic
20 oz coca-cola
1 cup water
Maker’s Mark BBQ sauce
Red Cabbage, chopped
Buns, sliced in half
Cilantro to garnish
Place the pork in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne over top.  Pour the soda and water over the pork until it’s almost completely covered.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, turning once, until it easily shreds with a fork.  Remove from the slow cooker and stir in Maker’s Mark BBQ as desired.

To assemble the sliders, I used small buns.  I put a small amount of pork, topped with the cabbage and additional cilantro to garnish.
Enjoy!
Breakfast, Post Slider

Caramelized Banana Steel Cut Oats

7 December, 2017

I’ve been making steel cut oatmeal for breakfast for my clients for a few years now.  Steel cut oats are an excellent source of protein, vitamin B, calcium, soluble and insoluble fiber. Because of the way they are processed, steel cut oats are better for you than the traditional rolled oats. Steel cut oats are dense and chewy as a result of being passed through sharp, steel blades that cut them into thin slices that helps retain more fiber and protein.  Because of this it takes longer to digest, making us feel fuller for a longer period of time.  Whole grains have been known to reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure and help prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes. One of the most significant health benefits of Steel-cut oats is that they help eliminate fat and cholesterol from the body.

My favorite way to eat them is to infuse the water you cook the oats in with cinnamon (just add a couple sprinkles to the water before you add the oats). In this recipe, I added some caramelized bananas, some Chixi Chickpea Butter (which tastes just like peanut butter!) for some extra protein and some chocolate chunks for a little sweetness.  This little delicious bowl is perfect for cold winter mornings.

Serves 4:

What you need:

  • 1 cup quick cook steel cut oats
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 banana, sliced
  • 3 tbl butter
  • 3 tbl brown sugar
  • chopped chocolate
  • 1 tbl Chixi Chickpea Butter

Instructions

  1. Bring water and cinnamon to a boil in a deep sauce pan, add steel cut oats and cook covered for 5 minutes on low.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add butter and bananas and sauté until slightly softened.
  3. Add brown sugar and nutmeg to the banana pan.
  4. Remove oats from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve topped sautéed bananas, chopped chocolate and Chixi Chickpea Butter

Enjoy!

Dinner

Smoked Salmon Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce

26 November, 2017

 

Starting year 35 off with a huge bang.  Are you ready for this?!?  ……

 

I’ve gone full time with my business!  I’m not sure if you were even aware I had a day job, but after some serious thinking and a “business brunch” with the boss (aka my wife), I’ve decided to take the leap.  Holy crap.  I can hardly believe it.  It’s so scary and so exciting all at the same time, and I can’t thank all of my loyal followers and readers for all of your support through the last six years.  I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.  To celebrate, I popped some bubbly (duh) and made this insane smoked salmon pasta dish to pair it with.  Holy yum.  So much goodness in here.

Serves 2

What you need:

1/8 cup capers

Olive oil for frying

8 oz linguine or spaghetti

1 tbl butter

3 tbl olive oil

1 small shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup of dry white wine

1/4 cup cream

1 tbl lemon juice

1 tbl lemon zest

Red onion, sliced thinly

Fresh dill

4 oz smoked salmon, torn into pieces

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes

To make the crispy capers, heat a pan with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil is hot,

toss in your capers and for 2 to 3 minutes, until they split and are crispy.

Boil a large pot of salted water on the stove for pasta.  Cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente.  Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water for later.

While the water is boiling, in a large sauté pan, heat 1 tbl butter and 2 tbl olive oil and add the shallot and garlic.  Cook for a 2 minutes, making sure not to burn.  Add white wine, lemon juice and zest.  Add cream and red pepper flakes and let simmer until it’s reduced, about 8 minutes.  Add pasta and toss to coat.  Add the pasta water to the pan to create a thin sauce to coat all the noodles.  Turn off the heat and toss in smoked salmon.  Garnish with crispy capers, sliced red onion and dill.

Pair with Taittinger Cuvee Prestige Rose for the perfect meal.  The bright acidity of the Rose will cuts through the rich, oily layers of the fish allowing unique preparation styles, spices, and seasonings to shine through the palate structure.

Enjoy!

Cocktails

Chai Spiced White Russians

16 November, 2017

The only good thing about this cold weather is being able to use delicious spices like CHAI.  Oh my goodness have I missed chai everything.  It tastes like Christmas in a glass! I teamed up with Chicago Vodka and 11th Orchard Bitters to make this unbelievably delicious holiday drink.  These are both amazing Chicago companies.  11th Orchard Bitters uses only hand selected, wild foraged Chicago ingredients in their bitters.  They never use any artificial ingredients or preservatives.  I can’t believe I haven’t been drinking this all along!

What you need:

1 oz kahlua

1 oz Chai infused heavy cream(see below for recipe)

1 oz Chicago Vodka

3 dashes of 11th Orchard Seasonal Bitters

 

Add the vodka and Kahlúa to an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.

Top with infused heavy cream and stir.

Add bitters.

Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Enjoy!

 

Chai Infused Cream

  • Combine two to three Chai tea bags with with heavy whipping cream, cover, and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
  • Strain the cream, pressing on the solids to extract as much cream as possible. Discard the solids. Some cream will have been absorbed into the solids; add additional cream if necessary for a recipe. If you are not using the infusion immediately, cover and refrigerate it until needed.

 

Cocktails

Apple Cider Mules

5 November, 2017

Can you believe it’s November all ready?? It feels like just yesterday I was wishing for fall weather, and it feels like the holidays are already creeping up on us.  Instead of panicking, I am putting this nervous energy to good use, and planning my holiday menu!  First on the list?! A fabulous fall cocktail.  Moscow mules have become my go-to drink.  Not only are they so delicious, but they come in the cutest copper mug, and we all know i’m a sucker for something insta-worthy.  I partnered with Chicago Vodka to make this delicious holiday cocktail.  I am all about supporting the local businesses, so when I learned about a local vodka distillery, I knew I had to check it out!  Chicago vodka is 5 times distilled and filtered 9 times through a patent-pending filtration system that allows only 30 liters per hour filtration flow. It takes 5 full days just to filter one batch of 600 bottles. There is no one out there investing this much time to truly perfect their vodka like they are. Their vodka is hand-bottled, hand-corked and handmade with love from start to finish.  It was the perfect choice! You can find Chicago Vodka Chicagoland Marianos and Binnys locations!

First we’ll infuse the cider with cinnamon and spices:

What you need:

  • 1 Gallon of Apple Cider (unsweetened)
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Start by combining cinnamon sticks in a large pot with a gallon of apple cider. Then mix in ground cinnamon & nutmeg and let simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. The longer you let simmer, the more the cinnamon flavors will infuse into the apple cider.  Let cool completely.

For the cocktail:

  • 2 ounces Chicago vodka

  • 2 ounces cinnamon infused apple cider

  • Juice of 1 small lime wedge

  • Good quality ginger beer to top off (about ½ cup or so)

  • Cinnamon to sprinkle

  1. In a copper mug, add the vodka, apple cider and lime juice.
  2. Fill the glass with ice, sprinkle cinnamon over the ice, then top off with ginger beer.
  3. Stir well and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick

Pair with some good friends and a fire for a delicious and toasty evening!

 

Sides

Roasted Garlic Lupini Bean Dip

22 October, 2017

I find myself making Mediterranean food at least once a week these days.  Ever since buying our house last year, we haven’t been able to find a great Mexican restaurant for take out, and Mediterranean food has been our new go to for ordering in.  I wanted to recreate these authentic Mediterranean meals, and a main component of that is hummus! This Lupini bean dip is a slight variation of the traditional hummus, but it’s just as delicious!! Hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Half head of roasted garlic

350 g Brami Garlic and Herb lupini beans

3 tablespoons tahini

Juice of a small lemon

2 tsp lemon zest

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Water, to thin

1 TBL fresh Italian parsley, chopped

To roast the garlic oil, add the cloves and oil to a small baking dish and roast at 390 F˚ until the cloves are soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

To make the hummus, squeeze the meat from half the garlic cloves into a food processor. Add the lupini tahini, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper, parsley, and process to a paste. It will be really thick, so slowly add water to reach the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with additional olive oil and parsley.  Serve with fresh veggies or pita.

Enjoy!