Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Triple Take

When I was a kid, I used to go visit my grandparents in the summer.  I have lots of memories, but one of the most distinct is the impression I got that old people eat dinner early.  My Granny and Papa ate dinner at (I kid you not) 4 PM, every night.  4 PM! 
Well, the Hudson household just got a whole lot older.  At least for the next couple of months.  On Monday nights I have Baking School and I have to be there at 5 sharp.  I don't want Drew to go hungry, so I started cooking dinner at a little after 3 PM.  I think my lunch had just been digested when I started making dinner.  It is too much!  But it is worth it for the valuable instruction I am receiving the rest of the evening!

So what was cooking in my kitchen at 3:30 PM Monday afternoon?  Triple Decker Tortilla Bake.  It is yet another recipe from the CookMag Ultimate Mexican (a must own around these parts).   This is a very simple throw it together kind of meal perfect for those nights when you don't have a lot of time.  Here's the basic concept:

Salsa (I used Fresh and Easy, New Mexico)
Corn Tortilla
Mashed Pinto Beans
Corn Tortilla
Mashed Pinto Bean
Corn Tortilla

Throw this in the oven at 450 F and bake for about 12 minutes, covered with foil.  Take the foil off and add some more cheese.  Melt the cheese in the oven for a few more minutes. Top with avocado and cilantro (you could probably also do sour cream, but I wouldn't).

There it is.  Simple?  Yes.  Tasty?  Yes.  Sounds good to me!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I've Got Mail

Going to the mailbox can be an adventure around here.  In a Forrest Gump kind of way, you never know what you're gonna get.  Here's what came today:

It got me intrigued (it took a few minutes to get it open).  I guessed it was coffee.  Drew guessed it was tea.  We agreed that it was something "green." 

I opened it and...

Thanks Vocalpoint!  I can't wait to try these!  I already enjoy Crystal Light, so these should be great!

Menu Plan Monday: Week of June 28-July 4

This is the second week of the All You Grocery Challenge and I am working hard to keep the budget under $50.00.  Last week's grand total spent on groceries was $40.27, but we were gone for much of the week.  Here's hoping we are going to make it this week.   Here is the plan*:

Monday: Breakfast: yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Leftovers (pizza for me, chili for Drew)
Dinner: Triple Decker Tortilla Bake

Tuesday:  Breakfast:  Bagels and fruit
Lunch: Mexican Tuna Salad
Dinner:  Grilled Chicken w/ Baja Black Beans and Rice (carry over recipe from last week)

Wednesday:  Breakfast: English muffins and fruit
Lunch:  Pesto & Prosciutto Poached Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: Black-eyed Pea Cakes w/ Collard Greens

Thursday:  Yogurt and Fruit
Lunch: Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil Panini
Dinner:  Black Pepper Shrimp

Friday: Bagels and Fruit
Lunch: Lobster Ravioli w/Pesto
Dinner:  Going to local baseball team game!

Saturday: Oatmeal and Fruit
Lunch: TBD - hoping for chipotle!
Dinner:  Sausage & Pepper Calzones

Sunday:  Smoothies
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Celebrate the 4th of July at the Parents' house

 *The best laid plans, and all that junk...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Texas Red

Since Drew and I are true Texans, we understand one thing about chili: there are no beans in Texas Chili.  Anything with beans in it that others would call chili is actually soup. 
But with that knowledge bred in to us from an early age, one would think the recipe for the perfect Texas Red would be taught to Texan children along with the ABC's.  This, sadly, is not the case.  The reason: like the perfect Texas Brisket, and bull riding, chili is a competition.  It is the kind of dish that every man has a recipe for and no one will tell.  Or they will "tell" you, but they leave out that one special thing that makes all the difference. 
So, we have had some trouble getting a Texas Red to please the palate and have the right texture.  Our last adventure in the kitchen ended with some amazing taco meat (I am not kidding).  Tonight, we have almost gotten there. 
We have tasted the promised land and it tastes oh so good.  I just need to get the texture just right.  So, like most Texans, I will be tweaking my recipe for the next 10 years.  I think if I haven't conquered chili by the time I get to 40, I should just give it up as a lost cause, and eat somebody else's.

So what is the recipe you ask.  Well, I am going to give it to you like any self-respecting Texan would: vague.  Here's what you do:

Chop an onion.  Cube some sirloin meat (about a pound).  Mince 2 cloves of garlic. 
Warm up your pan (I used an enameled cast iron dutch oven - small) with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.  Add these ingredients.  Let those work together until the meat is seared on all sides. 
Add 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and a few good shakes of hot sauce.  Stir well to coat.
Add 1 small can of tomato sauce (let that work for a minute).  Add a couple cups of beef broth (you could also use a good beer, but I wouldn't).  Stir well, cover, and let simmer for a good long while. 

You can top your chili any way you like, but I like mine like the song says: "Lots of cheese and onions."  Enjoy.  Let me know if you try it and if you like it.  Oh, and I guess you will just have to trust me that I wasn't leaving out the good part.