July 22, 2014

Chipotle-Mango Guac

by Shannon

Today is my birthday. (Sound the alarms, ring the bells, cue the horns!)

Instead of making myself a cake or cookies like my sweet tooth usually urges me to, I’m making guacamole. Okay, I know it’s not even close to a birthday cake but when it’s your birthday, you can have whatever you want. Having a birthday on a Tuesday is pretty ho-hum so you have to make do and find the little joys.  Like a blue sky, an engaging book, driving with the windows down, a good night’s sleep, central air conditioning, and a satisfying snack like this Chipotle-Mango Guac.

Avocados are mashed with lime juice before being mixed with fresh mango, spicy chipotle in adobo, and cilantro. The combination of the sweet mango with the smokiness of the chipotle work so well with the creamy avocado. This is one guacamole that I could easily sit and eat entirely at one sitting if I’m not careful. This is such a simple and amazing snack that can be made in no time. And the good thing about guacamole? It’s thick enough to hold a lit candle for a birthday wish if necessary.

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In bowl, mash avocados with lime juice. Stir in mango, onion, chipotle and cilantro; season.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

July 17, 2014

Pear, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Pizza

by Shannon

Pizza, pizza, pizza. We get pizza every Friday in our office and most Fridays, I skip it and grab take out from the vendor on the corner. For someone who loves pizza, sometimes I can’t bring myself to eat plain old cheese pizza. It’s my favorite but some days, I just can’t do it. I loved the idea of this different no-tomato style pizza, Pear, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Focaccia-Style Pizza. Okay, I admit my pizza dough isn’t “focaccia-style” because I take short cuts when it comes to pizza dough. Yes, I know I can make it myself and yes, I know it will probably taste better. But let’s face it, when I want pizza, I’m not waiting hours for dough to rise. Get in my belly!

Cooked bacon (in typical fashion, I used turkey bacon), red onions and blue cheese are layers over creamy ricotta mixed with a little nutmeg for extra flavor. After baking in the oven, the pizza is topped with thin Bosc pear slices and vibrant arugula. There are so many layers of flavor in the pie. For someone who never used to eat blue cheese, I found myself enjoying the bites with blue cheese the best (I used Gorgonzola) and wished I had used more. Not feeling pears during the summer? Juicy peaches would be a great substitute. If you are having a lazy weekend day and want to make your own dough, go for it. Please let me know what I’m missing out on.

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Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon. Return pan to medium heat. Add onion to drippings; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

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Combine ricotta and nutmeg in a small bowl. Spread ricotta mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top evenly with bacon, onion mixture, and blue cheese. Brush edges of dough with remaining 1 teaspoon oil.

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Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Top pizza evenly with arugula and pear; sprinkle with pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

July 7, 2014

Sloppy Turkey and Chili Joes

by Shannon

I had a nice long 4-day weekend this weekend and I didn’t do much but read, relax and sleep. No, I wasn’t at the beach, or the lake, or the park, or the pool. I was home. I found myself going to Target two or three times just because I was bored and wanted someone to talk to. See, here in the Philadelphia area, people disappear in the summer. People either have a shore house or know someone who does. Or people go on their summer vacation, something I’ve been used to since growing up in Illinois (my birthday is in July and friends were always on vacation). Going into the weekend, I took a deep breath and resigned myself to the fact that I’d be riding solo all weekend. My only plans were to read and eat a turkey burger. Done and done. But once that was accomplished, I got bored again. So I started cooking these Sloppy Turkey and Chili Joes.

Ground turkey is cooked with onion and poblano pepper (one of my faves) until meat is browned and veggies are softened. Next, canned tomato sauce, a little brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and garlic powder are added and brought to a simmer. This is such a quick and simple sloppy joe recipe that I honestly think this is my new go-to. It doesn’t require a slow-cooker or an electric skillet (what my mom used make her sloppy joes in) or a bunch of ingredients. The poblano pepper gives it a subtle bit of heat without it being too much (you can use green pepper here if you prefer) and the brown sugar gives it a mild sweetness that I like from my sloppy joes. These are messy, just the way you want them to be, so keep a lot of napkins on hand. I liked this so much that I might make another batch and eat it on some baby spinach or roasted veggies. It’s just as good when eaten with a fork.

If you like this, also check out Sweet Chili Rolls.

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In a large nonstick skillet cook ground turkey, onion, and poblano pepper until turkey is no longer pink, stirring to break up turkey as it cooks.

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Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and garlic powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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Place bun bottoms on serving plates; add cheese slices. Top each with turkey mixture. If desired, top with basil leaves. Add bun tops.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Monterey Jack cheese

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine

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