Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pot Roast

This pot roast was an issue from the get-go.  For starters, how can one expect the Italian girl from NY to know what pot roast is?  I picked up pork shoulder the first time around.  That wasn't right.  In my defense, it said pork roast.  I was making a roast, wasn't I?  On my second trip to the grocery store to rectify the situation, I had to text Meredith a million times to verify that I got the right meat. 

I have no idea what it's supposed to taste like.  I have no idea how to make it.  Hell, I don't even know what pot roast is.  The good news is that it's really easy to make.  The recipe I used, I found here.

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast

In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

See, it doesn't say "beef" or "pork".  Anyway, moving right along . . .
I added carrots and celery to the bottom of the slow cooker.  When there were 90 minutes left, I sliced some mushrooms and added them to the slow cooker, too.
I would definitely make pot roast again.  Next time, I'll just make less of it.

Pot roast might be my favorite meal ever. It’s a commonly requested birthday dinner. So the idea of not knowing what it is was just so bizarre to me that we HAD to make it. Laura HAD to know why I love/make/eat it so much. That being said, I tried to do a couple things differently than my old standard. This time, I actually seared the meat first and after taking it out of the pan added roughly chopped onions, baby carrots and garlic and roasted the veggies in the oven for about 20 minutes. Everything then went into the crock pot with beef broth, onion soup mix, salt, pepper, etc. A couple of hours later I dropped a handful of mushrooms in for the duration of the cooking. I don’t think I noticed much difference in that extra effort. I made green bean casserole and these weird potato pancakes on the side. And I blame the photo quality this week on the mimosas ;)

 And Laura? Don’t make less next time... just give what you don’t want to me, ok?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Honey Grilled Shrimp

Honey Grilled Shrimp


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons Italian-style salad dressing
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, mix together garlic powder, black pepper, 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, wine, and salad dressing; add shrimp, and toss to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat grill for high heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.

In a small bowl, stir together honey, melted butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Set aside for basting.

Lightly oil grill grate. Grill shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Baste occasionally with the honey-butter sauce while grilling.


I've made this recipe before and I loved it. I didn't baste, though. I put the honey into the marinade instead. Also, I fake grilled. Yeah, I said it - FAKE GRILLED. I let George Foreman grill for me and he did a GREAT job. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes on top. It was a nice kick to counteract the sweetness of the honey.

As a side I made Pineapple Salsa and it was really yummy. I approve of both recipes. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to get one of those brownies that I made today. No, I didn't bake them from scratch. Hey, there are some things better left to the professionals. Baking is one of them!


I was a little overzealous on this dinner plan! My “sides” for the shrimp were a New York strip, Crispy Smashed Potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. As a result, I ended up slightly overcooking the shrimp, BUT the meal was delicious in any case.

To be honest, the marinade is almost identical to what I usually do for skewered shrimp. I added a little cayenne (next time I’ll add more), substituted olive oil for the Italian salad dressing and put some honey in with the marinade itself. I like using honey in grilled things – it does this kind of crusty, sticky glaze thing that is just heavenly. And yes - I “real” grilled of course.

The potatoes had some issues. They tasted good, but I couldn’t quite get the smashed part right. I think if I use smaller potatoes and cook them a little longer it might work out better. I’m not sure what the fix is, but rest assured I’ll keep trying.

The roasted Brussels sprouts really were the star of the show for me. I tossed raw sprouts with sliced shallots, garlic, bacon, olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted in a 450˚ oven for 25 minutes. I deglazed the roasting pan with a splash of white wine before serving. And as the star I believe they deserve a pic of their own!

Cheesy Tortilla Lasagna

1 cup (3 medium) chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup julienne-cut zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (10oz.) can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
1 (8oz.) container southwest-flavor sour cream dip*
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, halved
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded colby-jack cheese
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

*can be made by mixing 1 cup sour cream with 1 tbsp. taco seasoning

Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini, onions and beans; mix well. Reserve 1/3 cup enchilada sauce; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine remaining enchilada sauce and sour cream dip; blend well.

Spoon 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce mixture in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Arrange 8 tortilla pieces over sauce, overlapping as necessary. Spoon half of the vegetable-bean mixture over tortillas, sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the cheese. Spoon half of the remaining sauce mixture over cheese. Repeat layers, reserving 2/3 cup cheese for top. Top with reserved 1/3 cup enchilada sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Uncover; sprinkle with reserved 2/3 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Let's see . . . I suppose I should start with the question on every Italian's mind: What the heck is a tortilla lasagna? It's a Mexican casserole. (Yeah, that answer didn't help me either.) Anyway, instinctively, I wanted to replace the tortillas with lasagna noodles. I would have too, if I could have found oven ready whole wheat noodles. Someone get on that, okay? The changes I did make were easy. I marinated chicken in a southwest marinade, then cooked and shredded it. I added yellow sweet peppers just because I had them and jalapenos because that sounded delicious. Had I remembered that I wanted to add corn, I would have done that too. Hey, leave me alone . . . I was out of my element here. I didn't have a southwest flavor dip so I used my Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party dip mix.

I made jalapeno corn bread in my bread maker as a side. If it was an Italian lasagna, I would have wanted bread so this made perfect sense to me.

The finished product was delish! I'm glad Meredith convinced me to make it. (Shh, don't tell her but I was totally on the fence with this one.) I would totally make this again. It will freeze well so I can freeze individual lunch size portions. I love that.

The only problem with the pictures of this lasagna is that you don't get a feel for how much stuff is in it. It looks prettier in person. If I was recommending other changes, I'd nix the zucchini and add corn instead. I think the chicken and jalapenos are a must. Then, with the extras (there will be extras) make a pretty plate and give some to your mom. At least, that's what I did. I should be on Top Chef when they deconstruct dishes. I could deconstruct Mexican casserole!

To be fair, I've made this recipe several times. I've made it by the letter with no changes; I've added ground beef; I've swapped veggies; I pretty much do what I like and have on hand. This time I added corn, fresh jalapeños, a red pepper. I also marinated chicken breasts in Badia's Mojo, grilled, then shredded and sauteed them in taco seasoning with a half an onion. For cheese, I did the Mexican shredded mix and some pepper jack. On the side I had some quick nachos and a Mexican side salad. Yum!

Once I'd made all my additions, I had enough stuffing for TWO 9x13s. It's a good thing I love this stuff. I'll eat it all week and freeze an entire casserole for another time.

Fit to Be Thai’d - Spicy Thai Slow Cooker Chicken


6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts -- or a combination!)
1/3 cup reduced fat peanut butter
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup Sambal Oelek ground chili paste
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Place chicken (trimmed of visible fat) into slow cooker. Mix together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, sweet chili sauce and sambal oelek. Pour over chicken. Cook on Low 8 hours or on High 4 hours. Serve 1 piece of chicken and sauce with chopped peanuts and cilantro as garnish.

Number of Servings: 6
We Found the Recipe Here


Umami! Yeah I have no idea if this was umami or not but I loved it. I ate it for a week straight and would eat it right now if I still had some left (I do have some left. It’s just in the freezer). I used the combination of boneless, skinless breasts and thighs, didn’t measure any of my ingredients and went for the red curry paste instead of the Sambal Oelek because that’s all I found. I also threw a couple dried red chiles into the pot on a whim. I ate mine with brown rice, sauteed broccoli and carrots and topped with green onions. I found the dish to have a slow, not so in your face heat that the peanut butter may have cooled. In any case, the PB added a creaminess and extra element of flavor (maybe umami?). I think this will end up being a go-to meal for me, especially since I don’t think that it necessarily NEEDS the crock pot. Thumbs up!

Ok, here's what I changed. I used more reduced fat peanut butter than what the recipe said. (I have an unnatural obsession with peanut butter, but that's an entirely different blog.) I used ground, rather than fresh, ginger. I couldn't find chili paste so I used an entire bottle of red curry paste because, well because it seemed like a good idea. Finally, I used the whole bottle of chili sauce.

This was really flavorful. It was aromatic. It tasted like some sort of Thai / Indian fusion dish. It was spicy, but not hot. It was . . . umami? Okay, not umami. I guess I'm trying to say that the dish had heat but not in that hot, red pepper kind of way. My suggestion would be to either make less of it or serve it to people. It's a really tasty dish but not something that I wanted to eat for a whole week straight. I guess I could have frozen it, but there's no room in my freezer anymore. (Again, an entirely different blog topic.)

The bottom line: Very appetizing. The dish reminded me of take out. It had that kind of feel to it. I ate it as a wrap and with rice on the side. Either way, it was enjoyable. So go ahead, try it.