Enchilada Sauce

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small or ½ large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

½ can chipotles in adobo (see note below)

1 28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted if you can find

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsps cumin

2 tsps oregano

1 tbsp brown sugar

Salt 

Heat a skillet over medium with a small amount of oil coating the bottom.  Add the peppers and onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and cook until all are softened, another 1-3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, remaining 2 tsps of cumin, as well as the oregano and brown sugar. Mix and cook this together for a minute and then add on the can of tomatoes and ½ the can of chipotles, including the sauce.  If you like less heat, pour more sauce but fewer peppers. Cook this all for 5-10 minutes. Puree until smooth with either an immersion blender (my preference) or in a blender, batching as necessary.

Peanut Sauce

½ cup peanut butter

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili sauce or sriracha (optional)

Water as necessary

Method:

Mix all ingredients.  Add water by tbsps to thin.

Cheese Sauce

4 tbs butter

¼ cup flour

3.5 c milk, warmed

1 lb cheese of choice (cheddar, swiss, gouda, smoked, pepper jack, etc), or a mix, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two so your cheese sauce doesn’t taste like flour.  Add about half of the milk and whisk until smooth and then do the same with the other half. Cook this over medium until it thickens up. Mix in the grated cheese a couple of handfuls at a time.  When it is all incorporated, taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Chermoula Sauce

3 oz fresh parsley

3 oz fresh cilantro

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

½ tsp paprika

½ cup olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt

Pepper

Method:

Place the parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, paprika, olive oil, and lemon into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth(ish) then season to taste with salt.

Super Food Your Super Bowl

Super Food Your Super Bowl

Hey, hey, hey, today’s the big game! Are you watching? Hosting? Is your team playing? Our team got knocked out, so we are not as invested, but we will likely watch some anyway, if only for the commercials. And…it’s a good excuse to hang around with good eats!

If you were with me last Sunday, you read about how I am taking Sundays to talk about Super foods. To review, a super food is one that packs a serious nutritional punch into the calories it carries. Walnuts? Super food. Brownies? Not so much (guessing you knew that already). However – I am all about enjoying the foods you love, so to get more out of a favorite that might be nutritionally lacking, you just have to super food it. It’s really that simple. So, what are some ways to do this on Super Bowl Sunday? Read on!

Who is doing nachos? It is probably the one dish that will show up on every Super Bowl Party spread out there. Cheesy, gooey, crunchy, spicy – what’s not to love? Want to love it more, though? Knowing you are adding some good for your body will do that. I love to make these veggie laden nachos. Trust me, they are just as delicious as traditional!

Turkey and Veggie Nachos

Fries are great snacking party finger food. Salty, hearty, yum. If you make them with sweet potatoes, though, you have boosted your vitamin A, a great anti-oxidant. Leave the skin on and you get a good dose of fiber!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Are you planning on serving pizza at your gathering? One of my favorite things to eat, and it can so easily be super food-ed. Do you know watercress is considered a super food? I long relegated it in my mind as an after thought, something only for dainty tea sandwiches. However, it is a knock out source of vitamins a and c, as well as folate, magnesium, and potassium. Watercress, as well as other fresh veggies, turns this pizza from just a delicious treat into a nutritious treat.

Spring Fling Pizza

I hope this helps you give your party chow a good nutritional boost! Enjoy your gathering, and Go (your) Team!

For the Kitchen Junkie In Your Life: A Gift Guide

For the Kitchen Junkie In Your Life: A Gift Guide

As much as gift giving is a joyful endeavor, it can at times be full of stress, uncertainty and “oh, geez, what the heck do I get for this one?!?” I love to think about what I can give to someone that will make their day a little brighter or easier or blingy-er (?). I especially like it if they enjoy their time in the kitchen, since that is my wheelhouse. Do you have a kitchen happy person on your list? Or someone who wants to be happier in the kitchen? I got you. Read on. (Yes, some of these are affiliate links, so if you click and decide to buy, I get a litte cha-ching. Listen, my list is full of people, too. Not all are, however, but all are items I genuinely recommend, coin to me or not)

Small (but mighty!) Potatoes (for small change):

While I am in the kitchen cooking, I end up washing my hands a lot. If I am using sub-par soap it really does a number on my skin. I love Brianna’s beautiful, gentle soap. Add the soap dish to round out this simple but high impact gift. I prefer the unscented bars but she has many lovely options from which to choose.

A real essential in my kitchen is a good rolling pin. I like the size and shape of a tapered french pin – good for control. Here is the pin I use at least weekly.

And, of course, you’ve got to keep things neat. For that, I love these aprons, and these towels.

Can’t forget a couple of work horse cookbooks, like The Joy of Cooking, and a master work from the ultimate master, Julia Child.

Go Big or Go Hungry (bigger investment):

If you are looking to give a bigger gift, maybe a small appliance or dishware, read on.

I cannot live without my immersion blender. It makes pureeing soups and sauces a total breeze. I kinda hate the put-it-in-batches-through-the-blender method, so being able to plop the sick blender right into the pot is a joy. Easier clean up, too! This one is a good choice.

Another piece of equipment I cherish is my rice cooker. Cooking rice seems like the most simple thing in the world but it can be surprisingly challenging. Soggy, crunchy, soggy and crunchy – too easy for these to be the outcomes. Not so with a rice cooker, when you get a perfect outcome every time. I also love that I can set it and forget it so I can have my full attention on the rest of the meal.

An anti fatigue mat may not seem glamorous and gift-y, but if you have someone on your list who is in the kitchen for extended amounts of time, I promise you he or she or they will appreciate it. I like this one because it comes in different colors and designs.

I LOVE these dishes. Monsters, aliens, pirates, disasters. On fancy dishes. What’s not to like? At a glance, the dishes look like your regular, run of the mill, dainty dishes. Upon closer inspection, though…whoa! Calamityware is your own little private joke at the dinner table.

Oh, and don’t forget, a gift of a meal plan subscription is a brilliant idea.

Gifts That Do Good:

What goes up, must come down, and what goes in, must, uh, come out. That is why I include Who Gives A Crap in this list. They are my favorite toilet paper delivery company because 1) look at the name and 2) they donate 50% of their profits to installing toilets to areas around the world where they are lacking. And they are fun, and funny. That’s a bunch of wins all around.

If you want to give a donation in your gift receiver’s name, please consider Arlington Eats. They are a brilliant, lovingly run group who feeds kids and families in the community who experience food insecurity.

Don’t Forget the Kids!:

Getting kids into the kitchen and cooking is no better gift. It is time spent together and essential skills learned. These are some great choices for the junior chef in your life.

I have cooked with each one of my 5 kids and, though I loved every time, I did not love searching for an appropriate booster and dragging chairs throughout the house. This helper stool wasn’t so much of a thing then, but I wish it had been.

Of course, they will feel super fly with their very own set of kitchen tools.

They can put them to good use when they explore the recipes in this cookbook just for them. Or this one.

Last, But Not Least:

I have to include this beauty, and this one, just for me.

Alright, why are you still here reading – you’ve got shopping to do! Happy Merry!

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