Southwestern Nachos Potato Skins

We came across a 2010 issue of Food Network magazine where they made a themed potato skin for every team in the NFL and their toppings for the Arizona Cardinals themed potato skins was just too scrumptious to pass up without trying !

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes (we used 5*)
  • Melted butter
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • Salsa (mommy used Pace Picante medium chunky salsa, I used La Victoria Thick’N Chunky Salsa Verde Medium that was pureed**)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • Chopped scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional) (we used Kraft Mexican Four Cheese)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Stick the potatoes in the oven, directly onto the oven rack and let them cook for one hour or until the potatoes are tender. Pull them out and let them cool (we let them cool for 15 minutes and found they were still hot so we cut them in half lengthwise and found that after an additional 15 minutes, they cooled down enough). Set the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Once the potatoes are cool, cut each potato into 4 pieces lengthwise and scoop out enough flesh until it’s only a ¼-inch thick shell. Take melted butter and brush both sides*** of the potato skin with it, seasoning the skins afterwards with salt and pepper. Stick the potato skins back in the oven, skin-side up, until the skin feels crisp, around 15 minutes or so should do the trick. If you want cheesy skins, flip the potato skins over, sprinkle the cheese over them and stick them back in the oven**** for an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients into the potato skins and enjoy !

*Some of our potato skins fell apart so it really is a good idea to bake an extra potato just in case something goes wrong with one of the other potatoes.

**The picante salsa is red so it really pops better against the other toppings. Mommy like the flavor of the picante salsa with the other toppings and I enjoyed the salsa verde more even though it didn’t stand out color wise since it’s green.

***We brushed both sides of the potato with the butter when we stuck it in the oven and it dripped down to the bottom of the oven and created so much smoke ! We had to turn on the fan over the oven and lower the window so the smoke could go somewhere. It really freaked our cat Ghost out (he even hissed at the stove at one point) so we turned the heat off after 5 minutes and just left them in there for the remaining 10 minutes.

****After the butter fiasco, we decided to take a baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil. We put the potato skins on the lined baking sheet, skin-side up, and spread the cheese over them afterwards. We put the baking sheet in the oven for the 5 minutes (oven still turned off but had plenty of residual heat) and it came out with the cheese melted and no mess to clean up like we would have, had we put the skins directly on the oven rack.

This is such a great game day snack even with the problems we ran into ! The skins might have been crispier had we left the oven on but otherwise it was still delicious. You can pick it up with your hands to eat and the skin’s firm enough that the toppings don’t go spilling everywhere. You get some heat and acidity from the salsa and pickled jalapeño slices, a freshness to the dish from the scallions and cilantro, the sour cream adds a tanginess as well as tempers the heat from the salsa and jalapeño slices, and it’s nice having that cheese flavor come through as well in the dish.  You can really change up the flavor of this simply by changing the salsa ! If we make this again in the future, we’ll probably skip spreading the melted butter over the flesh side of the potato skin.

We weren’t paid in any way to mention Food Network, La Victoria, Pace salsa or Kraft.

Take care everybody !

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Seared Baby Bok Choy with Tofu and Shiitakes

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. extra-firm tofu (we used 14 oz.)
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. minced jarred pickled jalapeño slices
  • 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil (we used toasted sesame oil)
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • ½ lb. baby bok choy (about 2), split in half lengthwise (make sure you clean the bok choy ‘cause dirt can build up between the folds of the bok choy)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.) (because ginger can vary in size, it’s best to go by the 2 tablespoons rather than the length of the ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about 1 Tbsp.) (cloves vary in size so we sliced up enough garlic to equal a tablespoon)
  • 3 ½ ounces fresh shiitakes, stemmed

Directions

  1. Drain the tofu (we also pressed ours so that we could get as much water out as possible) and afterwards cut the tofu into ¾-inch-thick slices. Now cut those slices crosswise into ½-inch-wide sticks (you should end up with fat, rectangular sticks). Rest the tofu on paper towels and leave them off to the side for now. Take a small bowl out and add the broth, jalapeño, sesame oil, and sugar to it, stirring to combine.
  2. Take a 12-inch skillet out and pour 1 ½ tablespoons of the canola oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, place the bok choy in the skillet, cut side down. Take half of the salt and sprinkle it over the bok choy and oil. Let the bok choy cook without moving it until it’s browned, which takes 2 minutes. Flip the bok choy over and continue to cook it for another 2 minutes or until the stems start to soften and wilt, tossing the bok choy every now and then. Put the bok choy on a plate for the time being.
  3. Pour what’s left of the canola oil into the skillet and toss the ginger in, stirring continuously until it looks golden, which could take around a minute (maybe less). Toss the garlic in and let it sizzle for 10 seconds* (the original recipe doesn’t say to do this but trust us, you need to take the garlic and ginger out before moving on to the next part**) Toss the tofu and shiitake into the skillet, followed by the remaining salt and cook, stirring now and then until the mushrooms are browned and softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the bok choy, garlic, ginger, and the broth mixture to the skillet, tossing to coat everything in the broth mixture and continue to cook until the bok choy is tender (takes about 2 minutes). Eat right away.

Serves 2

*You have to keep such a close eye on the garlic, it may be burnt by the 10 second mark so just pull the skillet off the heat as soon as the garlic looks golden.

**We tried to make this dish following the original instructions and the garlic and ginger were both burnt (the garlic more so). Scooping the ginger and garlic out after the garlic looks golden allows it to simply get warmed up and maybe get cooked just a tiny bit more before it’s ready to be served. The only tiny downside to this is that the ginger can be a little bit chewy but we’d rather have chewy ginger compared to burnt ginger.

This was a fantastic vegan-like dish ! The chicken broth is the only thing keeping it from truly being a vegan dish. The bok choy may look soft but it has a pleasant crunch to it when you take a bite. All the main components really pick up the flavor of the broth mixture and the dish has a nice spiciness to it !

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

Lite (or maybe not so lite) Cheese Vegetable Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. reduced calorie margarine or margarine (we went with regular margarine)
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced onions (we used yellow onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (we sliced ours)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Cream Style Golden Sweet Corn
  • 1 (8.5 oz.) Green Giant Sweet Peas, drained (we could only find cans that were bigger than 8.5 oz. but we still used the whole can of peas)
  • 2 ½ cups skim milk (we used whole milk)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 10 oz. (2 cups) cubed light pasteurized processed cheese (Velveeta light) (we used regular Velveeta)

Directions

  1. Take a Dutch oven or large saucepan out and add the margarine to it, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the margarine’s melted, add in the cabbage, onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring constantly for 8 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables feel crisp-tender. After those 8-10 minutes have passed, add in the corn, peas, milk, pepper, and thyme, stirring to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the cheese, stirring constantly until all of it has completely melted. Make sure the soup’s heat through, turning the heat down if necessary so that the soup gets heated through but DOES NOT BOIL in the process. Add salt to taste (we didn’t think that it needed any) and serve immediately.

Recipe source unknown.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Green Giant or Velveeta.

Take care everybody !

Shepherd’s Pie

This is a great way to use up leftover Beef Stew !

Ingredients

  • At least 4 cups of leftover Beef Stew.
  • Enough mashed potatoes from your favorite recipe to cover the stew (use as much of the mashed potatoes as you’d like) (we used an entire recipe of Skin-On Mashed Red Potatoes).

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Take an oven-proof skillet or baking dish out (we used a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish) and spread the stew out in it.
  3. Spoon the mashed potatoes out across the surface of the stew, spreading them out to make sure the surface is covered with the potatoes.
  4. Put the dish in the oven and let it bake until the top of the potatoes look nice and golden brown*.

*We cooked it until the potatoes were golden brown and stiff, about 35 minutes. The stew was also bubbling around the edges.

There’s a lot of different textures in this from the beef stew, the crusty surface of the mashed potatoes and the soft mashed potatoes below the surface. The mashed potatoes also soak up the beef stew liquid which came out tasting delicious !

This was a recipe we got from a Ree Drummond cookbook.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Ree Drummond.

Take care everybody !

Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can or bottle of beer (we used 1 bottle of Corona)
  • 4 cups beef broth (we used Swanson reduced-sodium beef broth)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (we used smoked paprika)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 new potatoes, quartered (we used 5 red potatoes)
  • 4 carrots, roughly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Take a large pot or Dutch oven out and add the butter and olive oil to it, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the butter’s melted and the oil’s hot, add in the meat* to get a quick browning on all sides (original recipe says this should take roughly 5 minutes to achieve).
  2. Take the meat out and leave it on a plate off to the side for now.
  3. Toss the onion into the pot, turning the heat to low afterwards.
  4. Constantly stir the onion until it gets softened, approximately 3 minutes.
  5. Toss the garlic in, continuing to stir for another minute.
  6. Add in the following ingredients to the pot, stirring to combine: beer, broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper.
  7. Add the meat back into the pot, putting a lid on the pot afterwards. Let the stew simmer over low heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the meat gets really tender. We didn’t need to but if you think the liquid’s getting too low in the pot, then add 1 to 2 cups of hot water in when you need to.
  8. Take the lid off and stir in the potatoes and carrots, putting the lid back on afterwards. Continue to let the stew simmer for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  9. If you think your stew liquid is too thin then take a cup of the liquid out and mix the flour into it.
  10. Pour the flour mixture into the pot and let the stew simmer for 10 minutes or until the stew gets thick (ours never got thick for some reason but it was still enjoyable).
  11. Serve the stew with some crusty bread to soak up the stew liquid with.

*We thought that there was too much meat to get properly seared in our size of pot all at one time so we split the meat into two batches for them to get seared.

We got this recipe from a Ree Drummond cookbook.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Corona, Swanson, or Ree Drummond.

Take care everybody !

Horseradish Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ tsp. salt plus salt for seasoning (we used ¼ tsp. of kosher salt and used table salt for seasoning)
  • Pepper for seasoning (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 onions, minced (we used yellow onion)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 (8-oz.) jars prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 ½ pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, cut into ½-inch pieces (the recipe doesn’t say to, but we removed the gills before cutting up the caps*)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley (we used Italian parsley)

Directions

  1. Adjust your oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees afterwards.
  2. Pat the cubed beef dry with paper towels and season it afterwards with the salt and pepper. Take a large Dutch oven out and pour one tablespoon of the oil into it, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot enough that it’s just starting to smoke, add half of the meat into the Dutch oven, cooking it long enough for it to be well browned on all sides, turning when needed (the original recipe suggests this should take 8 minutes to achieve). Take the meat out of the Dutch oven and place it in a bowl. Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and repeat the process with an additional tablespoon of oil and the remaining half of beef.
  3. Now that all the beef is resting in the bowl, pour another tablespoon of oil into the Dutch oven and set the heat to medium. Once the oil’s shimmering, toss in the onions and the ¼ tsp. of salt, stirring occasionally (we had to stir constantly) for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions have softened. Add the flour in, stirring constantly for one minute. Slowly whisk in both broths, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Mix in the horseradish and dill seed.
  4. Return the beef and any juice that accumulated in the bowl to the Dutch oven. Bring the dish to a simmer, put a lid on it, and stick it in the oven to cook for 50 minutes. Take the lid off the Dutch oven to mix in the potatoes and carrots, putting the lid back on afterwards and letting the dish cook for 1- 11/2 hours longer in the oven or until the meat is tender.
  5. Closer to the end of the cooking time, take a large nonstick skillet out and pour 1 ½ teaspoons of oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s shimmering, toss half of the mushrooms in and let them cook, stirring now and then, until they have released their juices and have browned around the edges (original recipe says this should take 7 to 10 minutes). Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and place them in a bowl. Pour another 1 ½ teaspoons of oil into the skillet and repeat the cooking process with the remaining mushrooms.
  6. Stir the parsley into the stew and season with additional salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Serve the stew and sprinkle the mushrooms over the individual portions.

We love this hearty stew. Horseradish still has a little bit of bite to it but the cooking time really mellows the flavor out. There’s also some sweetness to the dish from the carrots and onions and possibly the horseradish as well. We tried a piece of the beef after it was done being browned since it looked cooked enough and the meat was still kind of firm at that point but after all the time spent in the oven, that meat just fell apart in your mouth as soon as you bit into it. The mushrooms are small by the time they get done cooking but they still add a different texture to the dish when you have them in a bite. Don’t know if the parsley added flavor but it was nice to have that bright pop of green in the dish.

*We found that the easiest way to remove gills is to use a spoon as shown here:

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp (we used a 20 oz. bag of extra-large shrimp)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • Cooked rice
  • Lime wedges

Directions

  1. Take a pot out and pour the oil into it, setting the heat to medium. Once the oil’s hot, add in the bell pepper, shallot and curry paste, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Now mix in the shrimp, coconut milk, spinach and fish sauce, continuing to stir frequently for 5 minutes. Serve the shrimp mixture with the rice and lime wedges.

We think this is a tasty dish that only gets better if you squeeze a couple of lime wedges over your own individual portion !

We found this recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Rachael Ray magazine.

Take care everybody !