Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Debbie's Chili Verde

     Chili Verde can be such an intense project! I remember when I made it a few years ago, and I went ALL OUT, I tried to find the most authentic recipe I could! I bought the tomatillos and roasted, peeled, and sliced every single one of those sticky monsters. I dredged the meat, seared it, and cooked it all good! It took forever to do, which normally I don't really care about, except for the fact that for some reason I decided to it would be no problem at all to start this great endeavor late at night. I don't know what I was thinking... clearly, it was a sign that I was still in college, cause it's only been a few years, and I already have a hard time staying up past 10pm.

     Now, I have some good friends that make some great Chili Verde, course they always used to prepare it at home and then bring it over, so I never actually got to see them prepare it. It took a LOT of begging and pleading to get the list of spices that they use in their Chili Verde in order to make mine... but finally Mike caved!

     Well, now I have the pleasure of enjoying lunch with my boss some days, and that sometimes includes eating the scrumptious food his wife makes. A few weeks ago, Grant had an appointment Thursday night, and I had a lot of work to get done, so I decided to stay at work late. At 7 my boss and his wife were ready to eat and forced to me eat with them... which wasn't really that hard to do, anyone who offers me food is not going to be denied! And what a feast she made, salad, chicken fajitas with all the toppings, AND chili verde! It was all so good, I asked for the recipe, and I could NOT believe my ears as I heard that this chili verde only had 4 ingredients! I made it last weekend to see if I could achieve the tastiness she had. Of course I spruced things up a bit by adding some extra ingredients, but with only 4 ingredients, it was still outstanding for an easy chili verde! So, without further ado, I will share this recipe with you!

-4 thick lean Pork Tenderloins (the ones I used were very thin, and didn't make enough)
-1 28oz can Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (the yellow can)
-1 tbsp crushed Garlic
-1 tsp Cumin

*1/2 c. Chicken Broth (optional, I was afraid I wouldn't have enough sauce, but I had A LOT, so this step is unnecessary)
*1 tsp powdered Coriander (which is Chinese parsley, or Cilantro, it has a different taste from the seed, with a citrus note. This is currently my favorite seasoning to use!)
*Salt and pepper (Alert: do NOT make the mistake I did by adding salt. While I only added 1 tsp, it was WAY too much. Pork is already salty, I don't know what I was thinking)
*Dash of Paprika and Cayenne

While Debbie used tortillas, I prefer my Chili Verde with white rice. I made extra when I made the Island Teriyaki Chicken Stir-fry, so I just heated that up.

The best part about this recipe: Crock Pot!

My Crock Pot is a scorcher... even on low. So while Debbie had her pork tenderloin cooking all day on low, I cooked mine for 4 hours on low instead.

     Pour the enchilada sauce, garlic, and desired seasonings in the Crock Pot. I probably wouldn't use the Chicken Broth again, simply b/c I had enough sauce and didn't to add extra liquid, but if you want. Mix the sauce together and add the tenderloins. Set your Crock for low for 8 hours, depending upon the heat of your pot.
     The pork was very tender, so use a large serving spoon to transfer the chops  from the Crock to a large bowl and shred the pork. (I retardedly used tongs and just smooshed the pork up before I could get it to the bowl). I used a serving fork to just smoosh the pork and it shredded perfectly. Add the desired amount of sauce to the bowl and mix together. Pour over rice, done!

So easy! So good! And for a dish with barely any ingredients and barely any time invested, it still manages to taste like Chili Verde.

Verdict: 4/5

Grant said it was too salty... which I agree. Do NOT add salt to this dish. I barely added any, and it was too late. Let people add salt on their own. Grant and I both like salt a lot, and it was overwhelming. The vegetables I cooked with this dish were super good. I forgot to start them when I was ready to serve the dish, so I quickly sliced the zucchini very thinly, and added them to a hot skillet with a tbsp of olive oil. I added an 8oz container of sliced mushrooms. I added a dash of Lemon Pepper, Garlic Powder, and salt and put the lid on to help them cook fast. I don't like my veggies to be mushy, so they were done cooking in about 10 minutes and dinner was served!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Island Teriyaki Chicken Stir-fry

     This recipe is super easy and takes barely any time. The reason this recipe took barely any time was because I used bottled sauce and I had a bag of stir-fry veggies in the freezer that I had been wanting to try out, so I didn't have to do any prep work of chopping up vegetables. But, sometimes, that's okay.

-1 large chicken breast
-2-3 tbsp Soy Sauce
-1 tbsp Sriracha Chile sauce
-Cooking oil
-1 tbsp crushed garlic
-1 tsp crushed ginger
-1 diced scallion/green onion (optional)
-2 cups frozen stir-fry veggies (or fresh) The bag I got from Costco included green beans, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, shitakii mushrooms, onions, peppers, baby corns, and water chestnuts.
-1/2 cup Island Teriyaki sauce (there are many brands, I used Kona Coast)

Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
Place chicken in a bowl and mix with Soy Sauce and Sriracha Chile sauce.
Marinate the chicken for 15-30 minutes.

Get the rice started now so it will be done when you finish the chicken.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add a few tbsp oil.
Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions to skillet and stir for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken to the skillet and sprinkle with salt.
Let chicken cook for 3-5 minutes without touching.
Flip chicken and cook for another few minutes.
Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.
Add more oil if there isn't any left in the skillet, and add the desired amount of vegetables.
Cover (this will allow the veggies to steam and cook quicker).
Allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes or until cooked through.
Add the Island Teriyaki Sauce and Chicken back to skillet.
Cook for a few more minutes so flavors can blend.
Serve over a bed of white rice.

Meg 3.5 Grant 4.5

     I thought this dish was okay, but the Island Teriyaki sauce was just not all I was hoping it to be. Grant said it was really good! When I make it again, I will probably add cornstarch to the sauce in a separate bowl before I add it to the vegetables to thicken the sauce. The chicken was really good. The little bit of Sriracha chili sauce added the perfect kick. Plus, I cooked it. I liked the vegetables; however, frozen green beans never turn out that well; gotta go fresh. Next time, I'll probably take out the green beans.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chili to Calm the Spirit

     Grant asked for some chili this week, so I found a new recipe to try out: Dragon's Breath Chili from the Food Network. I was initially intrigued by the recipe because it calls for three different types of meat.

Dragon's Breath Chili

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease, or canola oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 head garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 pound boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 pounds ground beef, coarse grind (I used 1 lb, b/c I didn't have room)
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 12 ounces lager beer
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans pinto beans, with juice
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans kidney beans, with juice
  • Saltine crackers, for garnish
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar

     There is probably a better way to do this, but to prepare the peppers, I put them on my small grill pan since I don't have a grill, and I grilled them for approximately 10 minutes (turn them over and allow each side to begin to blister). I didn't have a paper bag to put the peppers into so I just put them into a bowl and covered it to allow them to steam so the skin would separate. After 5 minutes or so, I peeled the skin off and chopped them up. I left the seeds in because we like it hot, and it wasn't really hot at all.

     In large stock pot over high heat, add butter and bacon grease (I just used canola oil). Add bell pepper, jalapeno, chiles and onion and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute longer. Add chuck and brown. Add ground beef and sausage to brown and stir gently, trying not to break up the ground beef too much. Cook until meat is nicely browned and cooked through, about 7 to10 minutes. Add in granulated onions, granulated garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add in tomato sauce and paste and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in beer and chicken stock. Add beans, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.
     Garnish with green onions and shredded Cheddar. (I also added sour cream!)

     I did things a little different b/c I wasn't sure if I was able to fit everything into my pot. I browned everything up and put it in my crock pot to let it heat through. I accidentally added a little too much of the booze, so I added it back into my pot to cook off some of the boozy flavor.

     I also didn't add 1 can of kidney beans, 1 cup of tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup chicken broth, simply b/c I didn't have the space in my pot.

Verdict: 4/5
     I thought this was super good. I wish I had had a big enough pot to put the rest of the beans, tomato sauce, and broth in. But, even without it, it was still really tasty. Once the boozy flavor cooked off, it was much better. I really liked the 3 different meats in it, it made for a very layered, rich texture and flavor. It wasn't as spicy as I had hoped, even though I added the seeds of both jalapenos. Next time, I might need to add an extra. For intense flavor, I always add more seasoning than it calls for. Again, I'm a big proponent of seasoning the meat and letting it cook for a while before I add the liquids; so instead of just 1 minute, I cook it closer to 5 minutes to really crisp up the ground meat and let the flavors absorb! And then, I added more seasoning once I added the liquids.
The recipe called for serving the chili over french fries, which sounded outstanding, (another idea was macaroni) but I thought that might be a little much taking into account my previous post. My plan was to split a baked potato and serve the chili over that, but I forgot to get one at the store. Instead, we ate the chili alone, but the flavor stood out on it's own and did great.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mid Year Resolutions

     So , I think that Grant and I are finally starting to get into the health groove again. We are ready to lose some weight. We've always been ready, but this time, I have extra motivation that is pushing me.... you'll find out about that later.

     A few weeks ago, my back pain came back and I went to a chiropractor. I was disgusted as he sat there and looked me over and asked me about my eating and exercise habits... especially since I know better and I've worked really hard in the past to lose the weight before. Things have just gotten out of hand. So, here and there, I've started to make little changes... fighting the urge to get that beloved breakfast burger at Carl's Jr on Monday mornings and have yogurt and granola instead, and eat more fruit for example.

     Talking with my chiropractor at our weekly meetings, which is heavenly b/c he has this massive back massager thing he uses for a super long time and I wish it could go on forever, has sort of gotten my head back in the game slowly but surely.

     My problem with losing the weight again is that I LOVE food. I LOVE FOOD! It's amazing, everything about all foods... I just think about it all the time. My family has experienced my love of food as I daydream about it around them... they get a good laugh out of it, but I am serious in my daydreaming. Food is so wonderful! And because of this love for food, I have a hard time telling myself that I have to stop eating it to lose weight. So I tell myself that I will just have to have a balanced diet, in which I don't completely exclude those delicious yummies from my diet. However, I forget how often I let myself indulge in the yummies... and end up indulging quite often.

     This made me realize that I need to go back to writing everything I eat down. Some are skeptical of this actually working, and I understand, it might not work for everyone, even my Chiropractor was skeptical of it actually helping. But for me, it really helped. The main reason it helped was that we had to show our journals to the others in our Weight Loss class, and that was motivation enough. There was no way I was going to be the one to show up with cookies and sweets all over my journal. But even after the class ended... I continued to write in my journal what I ate at every meal, and it helped me keep myself accountable.

     So, today, after I made a big breakfast full of protein for the hike that Grant and I are going to attempt this afternoon, I pulled out my old journal and wrote down everything I ate this week. My last entry was May 1st, 2009, so I'm picking up exactly where I left off last year. Then I looked through everything I ate during that time... interesting. When I stopped writing, things started getting out of hand.

     I know this entry isn't a recipe with pictures, but it is about food.
     I've been encouraged by many lately to get back into my recipe blogging, and hopefully I'll be more motivated to do it from now on. This might just turn into my journey as I'm trying to lose weight while I battle my internal desire to still enjoy the wonderful foods of this world to create a balanced lifestyle.

     I love food too much to deprive myself of delicious cheesecake, double bacon cheeseburgers, chips and salsa, or sausage.