Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

The other day I was surprised when one of my friends said she had recently been anxious.

It’s not that I have the exclusive rights to anxiety.  Trust me, I don’t want them.  It’s that she always seemed rather unflappable.

It made me realize that we all have anxiety about some things.  They might all be different but one of the universal truths of human existence is that we are all scared of something.  It might make our hearts race or keep us up at night or ruin our appetites.  Like the things that cause our anxiety our reaction to it is equally as unique to us.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

It provided me comfort, not because I want everyone to be anxious, even if misery does love company sometimes, but because it was reassuring that I am not alone.  In this way I am not special.  She could understand part, even a small part, of how I feel a lot of the time.

While it may seem like we are all so different, there are a few things here and there that connect us.  Fear.  Joy.  Laughter.  We all have our ups and downs, even if some of us hide the downs better than others.  No one is immune.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

When I need comfort, I turn to this Brisket Sweet Potato Chili.  It is healthy, gluten free, and Whole30 approved, and supremely comforting with a warm spice that hits you just enough in the back of the throat.

The Whole30 made me fall madly in love with sweet potatoes and they add a creamy richness here with some vegetable help from kale, fennel, onion, peppers, and carrots.

Take comfort in the fact that we are not alone and this chili is here to save the day.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil
3 pounds brisket, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
2 2 inch pieces brisket fat
2 large onions, diced, divided
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 small or 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
32 ounces Whole30 approved stock (I used Imagine Organic low sodium)
16 ounces water
1 bulb fennel, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bunch kale, stems removed

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil. Add the brisket, fat, jalapeno and poblano peppers, and 1 onion. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, and pepper flakes. Flip meat and cook for about 3 minutes more until browned.
  2. Add stock and water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Place a lid on the pot and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed.
  3. Add the remaining onion, fennel, potatoes, and carrots and cook for an additional hour with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the lid and taste for seasoning. Add more spice, pepper, or some salt as suits your taste. Add the kale. Cook for an additional 20 minutes with the lid off to allow the liquid to reduce. Serve immediately. Chili may also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until piping hot.

Notes

Cooking time is not all active - just occasional stirring.

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Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

There would be hurricane force winds, they said.

And sporadic power outages, they said.

Despite one local station’s promo that declares how accurate their meteorologist was, no one saw this coming.

The high wind warning began at 10 am Wednesday and our power couldn’t even hold out until then.  At about 9:40, the lights fought and flickered and then turned off.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

I finished breakfast, trying to play it cool with restoration estimates at noon, but as time wore on and the estimates switched to 4 pm, I began to panic.  I kind of became unhinged.

Losing power is a big deal for me.  There’s tons of food in my refrigerator and freezer that I don’t want to have to throw away.  It was getting cold in the house despite the fact that it was 55 and sunny.  Prospects for warmth didn’t look good either with terribly cold temperatures the rest of the week.  And let’s face it, I am a TV addict.

Mom and I turned on our trusty battery powered radio to learn that a record breaking wind gust of 68 miles per hour was recorded at our local airport and by the end of the day this had become the largest power outage the area has ever seen with just about one million people out.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

In the middle of the day we did get a call from an automated energy company lady reassuring us there was “good news.”  A crew had been dispatched to our outage and it would be restored by 11:30 pm THE NEXT DAY.

Apparently I sounded like a dying animal, worried I’d have to go to a hotel, which is about the last thing I wanted to do, but it did come right before freezing to death.  We would have to act fast, by nightfall, there were no hotel rooms in the area.  None.

Four pm came and went as we headed for round three of Monopoly Empire, a surprisingly fast and relatively boring version of the classic.  I picked up a coloring book I’ve been meaning to use for a year and Mom called Dad, in the light and heat of work.

Then it happened.  I saw the light.  Well, the lights.  They came on.  And I cried happy tears for the second time in my life.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Being one of the first outages benefitted us greatly with the energy company reporting thousands of downed wires, we would have otherwise been out for a long time.  They hope to have 90% of customers restored by Sunday night.  At least I found the silver lining in this wild week.

Comcast was out for an additional 18 or so hours, and that didn’t make me too happy.  But we are all back up and running and I hope everyone else in the area is soon as well xoxo

After the drama, I needed a quick and easy, healthy, restoring, satisfying meal.  So I made Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad.  Kale is my comfort food – it always makes me feel good!

This salad is full of nutritious green ingredients for a heathy St. Patrick’s Day.  The kale drinks up the light vinaigrette, the onion provides crunch, the pear adds sweetness and a burst of juice, and the cucumber is supremely refreshing.  The Brussels sprouts are added to the salad while warm so they soak up some of the dressing and wilt the kale ever so slightly.

Gluten free, healthy, vegan, and Whole30 approved, I could happily eat this by itself, but I paired it with some Tonnino Tuna which I am currently obsessed with.  Here’s to salads, St. Patrick’s Day, and having the lights on.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
2 cups kale leaves, roughly torn
½ large white onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together lemon juice, oil, pepper, and salt. Add kale, onion, cucumber, and pear. Stir until well coated.
  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, place the Brussels sprouts. Add about ¼ cup water to the bowl and microwave on high about 3 ½ minutes, until tender.
  3. Half the large Brussels sprouts, leave the small ones whole and add to the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting.

Best Breakfasts

Must Make Main Dishes

Scrumptious Salads

Stunning Sides

Dreamy Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

I have these distinct memories that come to me now and then.  They are nothing remarkable, not life changing events, but there they are like they happened yesterday, my very own movie playing on the screen in my brain.

One of these memories that has been on my mind recently is of Christmas break my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I can’t be sure which.  My dad was working the afternoon shift, so it was just Mom and me at home each evening.

Wild Rice Soup

This particular week, relieved to not have to go to school (I hated school if you don’t know that about me), I remember being happy.  And even happier to be watching the premiere of a new show NBC had probably been promoting forever: Deal or No Deal.

That’s right, the memory that has been on my mind and bringing me an unreasonable amount of joy is primarily about a TV show.

If you’ve never seen Deal or No Deal you are probably even more confused.  Yes, it was a game show, but like most game shows it wasn’t just about the game.  Though it really was fun to play along, choosing one of the briefcases that could contain a million dollars.

Wild Rice Soup

It was about the people playing.  Their stories.  Their friends and families.  Cheering them on.  Wishing the best for them even though we didn’t know them and likely would never hear about them again.

And the memory is about more than wasting my break watching TV and being crazy excited about it.  It’s about spending that time with Mom, relaxing, having fun during a time in which that was incredibly difficult for me.  It was one of those moments it felt like the whole world stopped and we were all watching this new game show.

Sometimes I miss days like that.

Wild Rice Soup

And that’s when I make soup.  I love homemade soup so much, and it’s really not that difficult to make.  I had a bag of wild rice in my pantry just begging to be used and so I turned it into a healthy, gluten free, vegan if you use vegetable stock, vegetable filled soup because that’s what we do with things that need to be used up.

While the vegetables are interchangeable, mushrooms add a great meatiness, carrots a slight sweetness, and fennel and onions provide that flavor base.  Kale is always my go to green for soups since it holds up to cooking, and even freezing and reheating.  Oh, and the addition of fresh dill is such a pop of flavor and a sign that spring is on its way.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, broken into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup wild rice
32 ounces low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
16 ounces water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
½ bunch fresh dill, stems removed

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil followed by the carrots, onion, fennel, and mushrooms. Add the coriander and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown.
  2. Add the wild rice and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover. Cook according to package instructions on the rice. Mine took about 40 minutes to become tender and plump.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, add salt and kale. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. Serve immediately with dill. Soup may also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.
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Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops #SundaySupper

 

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

I mentioned briefly the other day that I am doing a Whole30.  I am a little more than a week in now and loving it.  You are probably wondering why I chose to embark on this adventure.  It is really to reset my mind, body, and spirit.  You can probably tell by some of my posts that I am a bit down, and while what I eat doesn’t seem to have a correlation to getting an agent, you never know.

I hadn’t been feeling my best physically or mentally, and while I do not expect this to cure me, a pledge to only eat real food for a month can’t be a bad thing.

I eat this way a lot of the time.  I’ve had to adjust breakfast since oatmeal, muffins, and such are out of the question.  Lunch and dinner haven’t changed much and dessert is gone except for a few raisins, which are surprisingly tasty when you want something sweet.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

I’ll admit to a couple cheats.  I am a big believer in supplements, including Airborne.  I know, it’s probably junk that doesn’t work, but it makes me feel better just knowing I am taking it.  I’m not giving it up or my Omega-3 or biotin, which contain sugar and soy respectively.  I didn’t want to skip the Whole30 just because I wouldn’t give these things up, and I didn’t want to give them up to abide strictly and then worry.  Life is about compromise, people.

Also the program restricts certain foods even if they fit into the edible categories.  For example, potatoes are allowed, but potato chips are not.  Look, a potato is a potato, and I can eat just one.  Also, since I don’t eat chicken, eventually I just need a source of food.  I’m following the ingredient restrictions carefully, but an approved food is an approved food.  Period.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

While I do think I have a little more energy than normal and have been feeling pretty good, I really love the ways the Whole30 has pushed me culinarily.  I am eating more of the foods I crave but typically shy away from for fear they are unhealthy or will weigh me down, when it reality it is other foods that are doing this.

Beef, pork, sweet potatoes, potatoes are filling my diet in satisfying ways that really keep cravings at bay, though I would happily take a scoop of ice cream or a slice of pie right now.  Protein, fruits, and vegetables are really rather delightful and I appreciate that now more than ever.

These Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops are one of my favorite dinners I’ve made.  One, yes, they are easy.  Everything goes on a giant sheet pan and into the oven.  Those are the dinners of my dreams.  Two, this is healthy, gluten free, and crazy flavorful.  Three, the pork is tender and succulent, even if you overcook it a little.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

Feel free two swap out the vegetables for ones you love and have on hand, but the mushrooms really are a star here.  They create a savory umami bomb of a broth that keeps the pork moist and is great drizzled over the finished dish.

The Whole30 is one challenge I know I can conquer!

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients

3 1 inch thick bone in pork chops
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
18 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
½ pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the pork chops, onion, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and use your hands to ensure everything is coated.
  2. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pork chops are cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve immediately.
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Don’t forget to check out this week’s Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Shelby from Grumpy’s Honeybunch for hosting!

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

And More Pork Chops

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie + Blogiversary

Can you believe I started this blog five years ago?  I know I can’t.

It’s easy to look at all the things that haven’t changed in those five years.  Hi gross Michigan winters.  I feel like I’ve have 2,000 likes on Facebook for most of those years.  I get job intermittently and my traffic is steady.  I’m still the frustrated writer spending all my time with Mom and Dad.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie + Blogiversary

But when I really look beyond, I see the changes.  The progress.  I create more of my own recipes and like to think my photographs are better even if they aren’t going to make the cover of Bon Appetit anytime soon.

I have become more adventurous and flexible, trying new restaurants, going to concerts, sporting events, and more.  I drop everything on particularly nice days and go out because it’s not like things are getting better chaining myself to the computer when the sun is shining and it’s a perfect 75 out.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

I have accepted myself more and become comfortable in my own skin.  No one is going to stand up for me, to fight for me, except me, so I had to take a crash course in Laura and I like to think I at least got a B+.

Because I never know when I will get that one yes (that’s all it takes), or what will cause it, and I’m more than ready for it, I wanted and needed a reset for myself.  So I am doing a Whole30.  I’m not quite a week in and it has been great, even fun and exciting.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

The thing that I have loved most about the Whole30 is that while it took away a lot of foods, it gave me freedom to eat others.  I typically shy away from potatoes and sweet potatoes thinking they are heavy, but when I take out all the junk, I have found them to be a tasty, satisfying food that feels a little decadent.

I really can’t begin to tell you how good this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is.  It’s one of my favorite meals I have made in a long time, was a hit with everyone, and reheated amazingly well.  The base is ground beef and vegetables.  I used carrots, onion, and fennel, but feel free to swap them out for vegetables you love and have on hand.  Don’t buy beef that is too lean – the fat is where all the flavor and unctuousness comes from.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

The top is sweet potatoes – pure and simple.  They don’t need much except a little salt and pepper.  When roasted for a long time they become soft and a little syrupy.  Major yum!

Here’s to the next five years and beyond!

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie + Blogiversary

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

3 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef, aim for an 80/20 blend
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb of fennel, diced
6 medium carrots, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Poke sweet potatoes with a fork or knife several times and place on aluminum foil. Bake for about 1 ½ hours.
  2. When the potatoes have about half an hour left, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and ground beef. Sauté the beef until it is fully cooked. Transfer the beef to a bowl, leaving the fat in the skillet and add the onion, fennel, and carrots. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef back to the vegetables. Season with 1 teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Scoop the flesh out of the potatoes and into a bowl. Season with the remaining salt and pepper and mash with a fork or potato masher until mostly smooth. A few lumps are fine – this is a rustic dish.
  5. Spread the potatoes over the beef and vegetable mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes until very hot. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat covered in the oven for about 20 minutes or in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes.
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Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

The only thing that makes winter bearable are all the award shows that are on.  The Golden Globes, People’s Choice, and Screen Actors Guild shows are all past us, but we still have the Grammys and Oscars to look forward to!

The Grammys are actually this weekend. I never miss the show and have so many fond memories of the great performances.  It’s like watching the best concert of the year right from my home.  And with James Cordon hosting this year, I know it’s going to be better than ever.  I mean have you guys seen Carpool Karaoke?  OMG!  It’s the best.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

I have my favorites – Adele! Mike Posner! Lucas Graham! – that I will be cheering for all night long.  Luckily I have this handy ballot from SkinnyPop so I can keep track of all the awards I get right and many I will no doubt get wrong too.  Save the ballot and print it to play along while you watch the Grammys.

SkinnyPop Grammys Printable

I am not a huge snack person, but when I watch award shows and am in amped up party mode, seriously, award shows do something crazy to me, I enjoy a couple healthy snacks that I can feel good about eating and won’t leave me feeling stuffed and unable to sleep later.  I leave that to the songs stuck in my head.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Snacks that are easy to prepare are paramount too.  I put together a vibrant spread full of colors and flavors that tons of nutrition.  I always have tons of fruit on hand, so it plays a prime role in my spread along with SkinnyPop Naturally Sweet popcorn which is always in my pantry, some crunchy walnuts and chewy, tart dried cherries.  Dried fruit is so underrated.

Of course you can mix up your snack platter with whatever fruit, nuts, and dried fruit you have on hand.  Whatever you choose, get excited for the Grammys with this fun ballot and your tasty, healthy snacks!

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps #SundaySupper

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps - healthy and gluten free

I have devoured movies over the holidays.  With all the TV shows on hiatus after their fall or winter finales (what is that about by the way???), there was nothing on TV.

While maybe I should have filled that time doing more productive things, I watched movies.  Lots of them.  Sure I read more than normal, played some games on my phone to keep the brain in tip top shape, and wrote.  Lots and lots of writing.  But I’m finding myself more movie obsessed than ever.

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

I have always loved movies from the VHS tapes I reportedly watched over and over again as a kid to the movies that now seemingly appear magically on the TV after pressing a few buttons.

We have all the movie channels, use OnDemand so frequently it’s scary, and have Netflix and Amazon Video ready and waiting at all times.  With Oscar season ramping up, I’m waiting for the movies to slowly pop up, begging me to watch them.

The problem is we watch a lot of bad movies.  More than we should.  More than should be made.  When I’m struggling to get anyone to give a damn about my scripts, it’s frustrating to find tons of crappy movies.  We try to watch clips, which sometimes are so laughably bad we stop, promising to never watch that movie.  Others lure us in just enough and then demonstrate that the best scenes were in said clip.

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

During this TV show hiatus, I was on the hunt for great or at least good movies to watch.  Oscar winners and nominees.  Blockbusters that topped the box office.  Little indies that might have not hit my radar.

And we watched pretty many good movies.  There were some odd ones (I’m looking at you Mulholland Drive) and some that could have been better (hi Sully) but some were downright good movies that I would watch again (hey Pete’s Dragon and Southpaw).

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

I’m about out of ideas now.  So before we get to the recipe, I want to know: what are your favorite movies?  My remote is ready and waiting!

Now, onto these Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps.  This is how I eat most nights.  Lots of vegetables and lean protein, maybe some fruit thrown in for balance and a bit of oil and vinegar.  It’s healthy and gluten free and flavorful and satisfying.

Lettuce wraps have become one of my go to meals because they are so versatile.  The lettuce is a must, but from there I add whatever fruits and vegetables sound good and I have on hand.  The protein is also super flexible; I’ve used everything from ground beef to salmon to steak to eggs.

Life is better with great movies and lettuce wraps!

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
3 clementines, segmented
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil followed by the meat. Cook, stirring frequently, until fully cooked and browned.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add to the meat and stir to combine. Cook about 2 more minutes until incorporated.
  3. Combine the remaining oil and pepper with the vinegar in a small bowl for a dipping sauce.
  4. Serve immediately with lettuce, onion, fennel, celery, and clementines.
  5. Leftover beef may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute until hot.
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Thanks to Sarah from Chef Next Door for hosting this week’s event!  Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

APPETIZERS, SOUPS, AND SALADS

LEAN GROUND BEEF RECIPES

MAINS

SANDWICHES AND WRAPS

STEAKS

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Hearty Healthy Beef Stew + Giveaway!

Hearty Healthy Beef Stew

In the winter I kind of hibernate like the chipmunks who inhabit the yard in nicer weather.  If you read my blog regularly you know I hate winter and want to move to California, which is a symbol of so many things just out of reach in my life, but for now, it’s really all about the weather.

See all was fine and well when the last day in November was sixty and sunny, but now we’ve had our first snowfall/storm/blizzard/severe weather alert day/impending doom, and I can’t deal.  Wake me when it’s spring.

The problem with this used to be that leaving the house meant so shopping or new things or worst of all food.  However, this is no longer a problem.  Me indulging my lack of desire to leave the house when the snow won’t stop might be a problem, but ladies and gentlemen, food now arrives on the porch thanks to the nice delivery men and ButcherBox.

ButcherBox

I had heard about ButcherBox and when they offered me a sample box to check out, I jumped at the chance.  If you are unfamiliar with ButcherBox, it is a monthly subscription program that sends meat, beef, chicken, pork, or a combination, to your door.  It arrives frozen on dry ice in a super nice box and cooler.

The beef is grass fed and grass finished, the chicken is organic, and the pork is heritage breed.  The meat is antibiotic and hormone free and never taken from feedlots.  This is awesome because it is super important to eat high quality proteins and know where your food is coming from.

I was a bit nervous the meat would be thawed when it arrived, but my fears were assuaged instantly when I found all the pieces to be individually wrapped and literally hard as a rock.  I requested a beef and pork box because I do not eat chicken.  I found a pound of bacon, four gorgeous bone in pork chops, two pounds of ground beef, sirloin tips, sirloin steaks, and thinly sliced beef.

ButcherBox

I will be honest, I was a bit disappointed to not receive some strips or ribeyes instead of the sirloin, but I was excited to check out the box and push myself to try some new recipes.  I made taco lettuce wraps with some of the ground beef, seared and roasted two of the pork chops and made this crazy good Hearty Healthy Beef Stew.

While the box might be pricey to some at $129, there is a ton of meat there, 8-10 pounds, enough for 15-20 meals.  My freezer is still stocked.  Plus, I spend a lot of money on food typically and this actually is a pretty good deal for my tastes and spending habits.

Hearty Healthy Beef Stew

This may be controversial to some, but I don’t thaw my meat before cooking it.  This, to me, gives the final product a close to fresh flavor.  I do this with steaks, ground beef, fish – all proteins I stash in the freezer.  In fact, most of the time I can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen because of the lack of thawing.  I recommend trying this method.  Cooking clearly takes a bit longer, but with planning, it is doable and worth it.

This stew is one of my new favorite dishes.  I haven’t had beef stew in probably a couple decades.  It was never my favorite, but using high quality ingredients and adding a bit of spice made this a comforting dish that we can all feel good about eating.

I used the sirloin tips and steaks and paired them with mild spices and hearty vegetables for a rich stew, thanks to proper browning, that is craveworthy.  Be sure to check out this stew and ButcherBox.  It is definitely something I will be ordering again in the future.

Hearty Healthy Beef Stew

And the kind people at ButcherBox were kind enough to offer one lucky reader a box of their choice to try! I’m so excited for you!

To enter the giveaway, answer the question: What is your favorite meaty dish?

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This giveaway is open to US residents only.  The giveaway ends Monday, December 20, 2016, at 11:59 ET.  I will choose the winner via random.org.  Good luck!

Hearty Healthy Beef Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds beef (I used frozen sirloin tips and sirloin steaks)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch thick rounds
3 medium or 2 large onions, cut into large dice
1 large fennel bulb, sliced
2 cups kale leaves
Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
4 cups low sodium organic beef stock
2 cups water

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Once the pot is hot, add the oil. Add the beef to the pot. Allow to brown on one side, before flipping and allowing to brown on the other side. Add the red pepper, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, and black pepper.
  2. Once the meat is mostly brown, add 1 bunch of carrots and half of the onion. Sauté the vegetables for a few moments with the meat before adding enough stock to almost, but not quite, cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and place a lid on the pot, leaving it cracked slightly.
  3. Cook for 1 hour, stirring periodically, and adding more liquid if necessary. After the hour, add the remaining carrots and onion, along with the fennel and garlic. Recover and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Pull the large pieces of meat out of the pot and slice them in ¼ to ½ inch thick slices. Return to the pot, add the water and kale and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Stew may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen in airtight containers for up to three months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top until steaming hot.

Notes

I used frozen meat. If you use fresh, the cooking time will be significantly different.

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Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YogurtInspiration #CollectiveBias #HolidayEntertaining

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

When you’re looking at a menu do you ever spot a dish that sounds good and like it should be healthy, but you know it’s not?

It happens to me all the time.  Think about the salads loaded with bacon and cheese and creamy dressing.  The veggie burgers on the biggest bun ever, slathered with sauce and cheese.  The fish tacos, breaded and deep fried on double tortillas.  Spinach artichoke dip with more cheese than vegetables and enough chips to feed a family of four for a week.

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Really though something called spinach artichoke dip should be both delicious and healthy, so I made a version that is just that.

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip doesn’t skip any of the things we all love about that classic restaurant appetizer, but it is also something to feel good about eating and serving your guests this holiday season.  I promise it will be a huge hit and no one will know that it’s healthy.

Shopping at Meijer

One of the secret ingredients is Dannon Oikos 0% Plain Greek Yogurt.  I have eaten more than my fair share of yogurt in my life, but I hadn’t tried plain until now because it sounded so, well, plain.  But I was sooooo wrong.  This yogurt is incredible.  Not only does it add body and creaminess to this dip, but it is great in a variety of ways.  The other night I dolloped some on tacos and could not tell the difference between the Oikos and sour cream.  Except for the fact that I can feel so much better about eating the Oikos with no fat and 22 grams of protein per serving.

I love that is has balanced nutrition and quality ingredients.  Plus it is non-GMO and fuels every day health.  I really can’t imagine not having the plain Oikos in my refrigerator now because it is easy to use in recipes and inspires me to keep trying new recipes.

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

The other heroes in the dip are frozen spinach and artichoke hearts, along with light cream cheese and skim shredded mozzarella.  We’re saving calories at every turn without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.  Plus, you can totally make and bake this dip ahead of time and reheat it for your party.

It is great served with cut up vegetables for dipper plus a few crackers and chips because life is all about balance and a couple chips are totally a worthy indulgence.

Be sure to head to Meijer and pick up some Oikos to make this dip and so much more.

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup Dannon Oikos 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and very well drained
1 9-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, very well drained, and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces light cream cheese
8 ounces shredded skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Carrots, cucumber slices, radishes, cauliflower florets, celery stalks, crackers, and chips for serving.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, cream cheese, all of the mozzarella except ¼ cup, salt and pepper. Be sure to blend this mixture very well.
  2. Place the mixture into one large or two smaller oven safe ramekins. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and steaming hot in the center. Check a couple times in the process to ensure the top is not browning too quickly. If it is, cover loosely with foil.
  3. Serve immediately with the vegetables, crackers, and chips. Dip may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for a couple minutes or a 350 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes.
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Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YogurtInspiration #CollectiveBias

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I used to eat yogurt every morning for breakfast.  And I loved it.  There are so many flavors to choose from and it’s super good for you.  But then I got a little bored.  Luckily, yogurt is still there providing some #BreakfastInspiration, because it is good for so much more than eating as is.

Dannon Oikos is my go-to.  While I love the traditional with all-natural non-GMO ingredients, when shopping at my local Meijer, they were out of the Apple Pie flavor I was searching for, so I picked up Salted Caramel Triple Zero because caramel and apples are a match made in heaven.

Shopping at Meijer

Triple Zero has 0 added sugar, 0 calories, and 0 artificial sweeteners, hence the Triple Zero.  It fuels performance and exercise, but does sacrifice a bit of flavor.  The good news is, in these Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins, you will never, ever know that.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Oikos is totally made for incorporating into recipes.  These are some of the fluffiest, moistest, most flavorful muffins I have ever made.  The tang of the yogurt and the tartness of the applesauce keeps the muffins from being too sweet, while the pecans add crunch and the pieces of apple are little juicy flavor pockets.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I feel so good about eating these muffins because yogurt has the protein, calcium, and vitamin D my body needs.  Plus, I am super excited to try different variations on these muffins by using different fruit, nuts, and yogurt.  You should feel free to experiment too.  Blueberries, walnuts, and vanilla yogurt sounds great.  Or strawberries, almonds, and Banana Cream.  Oikos has tons of flavors to check out.

So the next time you need to revamp breakfast, turn to Oikos and my Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
2 5.3 ounce containers Oikos Triple Zero Salted Caramel
2 cups diced and peeled apple
¾ cup pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, eggs, applesauce, and yogurt. Add flour, cinnamon, ginger, and baking powder and mix until fully combined.
  3. Stir in the apple and pecans until well distributed. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
  4. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool completely. Muffins may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen, wrapped individually in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
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