May the 5th

Doesn’t have quite the ring as May the Fourth Be With You, but it is still a very fun day in our house.  I ended up with the weekend off…..I KNOW…how is that possible in May?  I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, I thoroughly enjoyed having two whole days off, IN A ROW.  It is like a miracle.  Anyway, May 5th was Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby.  What’s a girl to do, that is too very food heavy holidays in our house and I couldn’t decide….so I took inspiration from both

beef chimi

For dinner, I made shredded beef chimi’s with a southwestern style coleslaw and rice.  The coleslaw is super simple.  I grabbed a bag of pre shredded coleslaw mix and made a vinaigrette with minced garlic, half of a jalapeno, minced, cilantro, lime juice, white wine vinegar, a drizzle of honey, and a bit of olive oil.  Toss it all together with the cabbage and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.   Once the coleslaw was done, I turned my attention to making a batch of pickled red onions, when we were ready for dinner, I added a handful to the slaw.  The rest of the onions I have been using in my salads and in sandwiches this week.  DELICIOUS!

For the meat, I start with 2 lbs of beef cubes in a sauce pan.  I add a couple of cloves of garlic, sliced, and a ton of spices: cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, Arizona Dreaming, chili powder, cayenne, smoked cumin, and ground chipotle.  I added the other half of the jalapeno from the coleslaw, only because I had it and didn’t want it to go to waste.   Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for three hours, until tender.  Bring the pan back up to a boil to reduce the liquid until almost dry.  Shredded beef using two forks.

I put a handful of beef on the bottom third of a tortilla, roll it up and fry it.  Once they are golden  brown, I transfer to a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack and place them in the oven at 300 degrees to keep them warm while I finish frying the rest.

All I had left to do was make a batch of Goya Mexican Rice and dinner was served!

derby pie

We finished dinner just before the start of the Kentucky Derby.   I sat on the couch, watching the race with a glass of bourbon and a slice of Chocolate Bourbon Pie, AKA Kentucky Derby Pie.   I’ve made many versions of this pie over the years.  I saw this one and was intrigued by the addition of cornmeal to the batter.   I used walnuts, because I had them on hand, I used yellow cornmeal, again, because I had it in my pantry, and finally, I used half white corn syrup and half treacle – because I had an open container that needed to be used up! This pie is awesome, chocolate, bourbon, nuts….oh my!  Don’t wait until the next Kentucky Derby to make this!  It was a fun day with some incredible food – can you ask for a better way to spend the first Saturday in May?  I can’t think of one.

Beef….

Is what I did for Thanksgiving!  This year it was just the hubby and I for dinner.  Our niece has a big family Thanksgiving meal at her house on the Saturday after Turkey Day so I knew we would be having turkey.  It gave me a chance to change things up a bit.

t-day-menu

Between my work schedule and the husbands travel schedule, I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen as I like.  I find it very therapeutic, so I took the opportunity to spend the entire day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.   We started with bacon and homemade buttermilk waffles.

Because honestly, a day that starts with bacon is ALWAYS a good day in my book!  For lunch, I made a pot of pasta fagioli soup and paired it with a good old grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

soup-and-sammie

Late afternoon, I put out a plate of cheese and crostini, I found a really awesomely sharp cheddar and a creamy brie.  It was a perfect little bit to get us through the second football game of the day.

Finally, it was time for dinner.  Our first course was homemade pumpkin ravioli.  I made the filling in the morning and just before dinner, I made the dough.  I picked up a ravioli maker from Williams Sonoma and it made my life so much easier.  That and the pasta rolling attachment for my kitchen aid meant I went from a ball of dough to actual ravioli in under twenty minutes!

I made a very simple cream sauce, butter, cream and Parmesan cheese for the ravioli, they were amazing.  I can’t wait to make them again!

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin steaks and asparagus, and I made twice baked potatoes. I even made homemade bread using my sour dough starter, I am telling you, I was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG, and I loved it!

It is always good to end the day on a sweet note, neither the hubby or I are big fans of pie, so I made a caramel apple cheesecake instead.  It was AWESOME!

 

It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day, which I think we both needed and for which I was truly grateful.

Zucchini Bread

I had so much zucchini from the garden last year that I ended up shredding a ton and freezing it.   This past school year has just been so insanely crazy, that I haven’t gotten around to using the frozen zucchini like I thought I would.  In an effort to clear out the freezer before the summer garden season gets under way, I pulled out a bag and made a batch of zucchini bread.

zucchini bread

I used my Mom’s recipe, which is hands down my favorite.  It is the favorite of the girls who live next door as well.  I gave them one of the loaves to take home, the other one they devoured at my house.  I only had one slice left of our loaf!  That is totally fine with me, I am trying to stay away from sugar, so I saved the last piece for the hubby to have with his morning coffee.  I only have a few more bags of zucchini to get through and the freezer will be all cleaned out and ready for this year’s crop!

It is official

I finally found the one thing that will stop me from grilling…..temperatures below 5 degrees.  This week started out unbearably cold, which is bad, but the wind, the wind was brutal.   I was originally going to grill some bone in lamb chops or veal chops for Valentines Day, but I quickly changed my mind after being blasted by the wind when I went to the grocery store.

I settled on a good old fashioned comfort meal instead, one that had lots of red and one heck of a lot of cheese!  Lasagna!  Might not be the most romantic dinner in the world, but it was warm, it was comforting, and it was exactly what I needed after being sick for the last four days.

finished lasagna

I knew I was going to need something chocolate to finish out my dinner.  I found a recipe for chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, I mean come on, the recipe called for unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and bittersweet chocolate. Whoo HOOOOO!

choc cookies

Hopefully you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day, mine involved chocolate so you know I was happy!

Football Tailgating is Back in Season!

The hubby went to the Penn State Game last weekend (thank goodness he skipped the Temple game……) and of course, I had to make them road cookies for the ride home.   Since I had to work that day, I took the easy way out and made blondies.   He was going with a new group of guys that I am not as familiar with, so I kept it simple, I only used a hint of cinnamon in the bars and topped them with dark chocolate chips.

blondies

Since it was an early game, I also packed them breakfast for their first tailgate meal.  I whisked up a bunch of eggs and sent them with some cheese, bagels, and bacon.  The hubby made breakfast sandwiches out of them for everyone.   After the game, they like to eat a little something before heading home, so I sent them with burgers, cheese, and chips.   Easy enough that even my husband can’t screw it up.    Thank goodness Penn State won, I am sure they would have preferred a little less rain in the forecast, but has the hubby will tell you, any day spent watching football is a good day.   I was very happy to come home after a long day at work and read while listening to the rain hit the roof.  We both had great afternoons, just in very different ways!