Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet Dinner


This dish was inspired by a recipe that I found online quite awhile ago and ended up deviating from and subsequently forgetting the original inspiration. But that is the nature of Chefing Around and part of my cooking philosophy. To take inspiration from dishes that I read about or try and then create my own version. It might be healthier, made with improved technique, or just spiced up a little but sometimes I just take an idea and run with it and that is what ended up happening with this Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet recipe.



I have made this dish countless times now and what I have ended up with is a simple, healthy, easy and delicious four serving dinner all cooked in one skillet. Since this dish is made completely from scratch, there is some prep involved but eating vegetables is always worth the work! Don't worry, it really isn't a lot, it's just sweet potatoes, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.




Heather and I like to do this prep work together and that speeds up the whole process greatly. I'm so glad that I taught her how to prep so she can help me. It has since become a regular, almost weekly, routine for us to prep large amounts of vegetables together on the weekend to speed up the work week meals. We also do things like hard-boil eggs for later use and sometimes simple prep ahead meals and I often make dinner for that night or do most of the prep for it at the same time.



I also experimented with many different spice combinations even with the same vegetables and most of them were amazing but the one I ended up with is healthy and really pulls the dish together. It is simple, only Turmeric, Sage, Paprika, Salt and Pepper.



Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet Dinner


Serves 4

Ingredients



1 lb Ground Turkey
1/2 Onion diced
1 Bell Pepper diced
2-3 Sweet Potatoes diced(depends on size)
1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sage dried
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or other oil such as avocado
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
White Whine, for deglazing


Directions

Heat oil over medium heat in your skillet. Add sweet potatoes and cook until starting to brown. Then add onion and bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent. Remove the skillet from heat and move the vegetables to a bowl temporarily. 

Now add your ground turkey to the skillet and cook until done. Drain and then add vegetables back to the skillet along with the garlic and spices. Turn heat up to medium-high and stir until spices are evenly distributed. Add a small amount of white whine to the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze. 

Then top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and move skillet to oven to broil for a couple minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

We served ours topped with sliced avocado this time and it was delicious. Always feel free to chef around and modify this to use whatever produce you happen to have on hand. Enjoy!






Thursday, February 16, 2017

5 Great Veggie Sides

One of the goals of this blog is to encourage people to eat more vegetables and, well, to eat healthier in general, so today I've gathered together a collection of recipes that showcase vegetables. I hope this helps you find new ways to prepare vegetables you love or possibly even introduces you to new ingredients that you enjoy.

I subscribe to a weekly organic produce delivery service local in the Seattle area and I am always receiving new and interesting things that I get to cook with and will be passing on the recipes and ideas that I come up with. So this is just a start! Check back often or subscribe if you want more great ideas!


#1 Honey-Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is from one of my earlier posts and has become a favorite at home. We love these Brussels Sprouts and they are packed full of nutrients. These are great with a nice thick cut of meat!

Click here for the recipe for these Honey-Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts.




#2 Roasted Parmesan Carrots

This is a great recipe and will make carrots the star of your dinner. Roasting brings out a lot of flavor in any vegetable and these carrots are no exception. This recipe is simple and will go with pretty much anything.

Click here for the recipe for these Roasted Parmesan Carrots from I Heart Naptime.


#3 Oven Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut squash (really, any squash) is so delicious that it barely needs any attention at all to be amazing and a simple roast is my favorite way to eat this nutritious vegetable. The simplicity of this recipe lets you experience all the flavor of the squash while taking up very little of your time or effort. I highly recommend giving this a try if you have never had butternut squash before!

Click here for the recipe for this Oven Roasted Butternut Squash from The Healthy Foodie.






#4 Parmesan Zucchini and Corn


This great recipe combines two vegetables into one great dish. It's quick and easy and delicious, perfect for a side dish and will go with whatever else you are cooking for dinner.

Click here for the recipe for this Parmesan Zucchini and Corn from Damn Delicious.



#5 Roasted Potatoes

This recipe is from one of my earlier posts and is just a basic tutorial on how to roast potatoes to make a delicious side. One of my personal favorites, this goes well with anything and is great paired with my Mushroom Gravy

Click here for the recipe for these Roasted Potatoes.





Monday, February 13, 2017

Homemade Taco Seasoning


You know how everyone seems to think they make the best tacos ever? I know I have run into quite a few people who swear they make the best taco meat you'll ever eat and then I go over to their house to eat and find out that they use premixed, store bought taco seasoning. Of course, I am always polite and often enjoy the food but it is disappointing when I know what those mixes are full of (Sugar, salt and preservatives). All things that I try to avoid as much as possible or at the very least control the amounts that I am consuming. This is why I started making all of my own spice mixes, sauces, and salad dressings from scratch. That way I know exactly what ingredients are in the food I am eating and exactly what quantities I am consuming. Also, everything tastes better when you make it yourself!


Another thing to look out for when shopping for spices is something called Chili Powder. This spice will appear to be just a simple ground chili powder but most often is not. What is labeled as Chili Powder in the store usually contains a mix of garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder and who knows what else. Since our goal is to make a pure spice mix of our own with a small number of ingredients and no additives this defeats our purpose and I would recommend staying away from it. Instead, go for pure ground chili powders and check the ingredients before you buy to make sure it isn't some sort of blend. Common pure chili powders are ancho, chipotle, cayenne, paprika, and chile molida (ground new mexico chili).

So, today I am going to pass on my simple homemade taco seasoning recipe to you all to encourage everyone to stay away from premixed seasonings and start mixing your own spices for healthier, tastier, and more authentic tacos. I am sure that once you try making your own mix and experience the flavor of fresh, quality spices you won't want to go back to the store bought kind. This recipe is for a bulk batch of seasoning that you can keep and use whenever you want. This way you don't have to spend time mixing your spices every time you want tacos and you still keep some of the convenience of having a ready to use spice mix.






Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients: 

4 Tbs Ancho Chile Powder 
2 Tbs Chile Molida (Ground New Mexico Chili) 
3 Tbs Garlic Powder 
3 Tbs Onion minced dried 
5 Tbs Oregano dried 
5 tsp Cumin ground 
3 Tbs Sea Salt 
5 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked


Prep Time: 5 mins
Servings: 5 servings


Directions

Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake to combine. Use 2-3 tablespoons of the mix per pound of ground meat depending on preference. You can also use this mix for other Mexican dishes such as rice or enchilada sauce or whatever else you want!










Thursday, February 9, 2017

Monster Cookies

Cookies are definitely one of my favorite things to bake but since I try to eat healthy they don't always fit into my diet. These monster cookies are my attempt at creating a "healthy" cookie and are packed with protein. So I don't feel quite as bad about gobbling them all up.


Monster cookies are becoming more common and can vary quite a bit from recipe to recipe but I created mine with the intent of creating a cookie that is both nutritious and delicious. This wasn't exactly easy and I've made a few variations but I eventually came up with a great base cookie that you can add your nuts/seeds/fruit/etc to.


Monster Cookies



Ingredients

1 cup Butter
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 ea Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Add-ins: Chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereal, chocolate chips etc everything is delicious in these and you can use whatever you have on hand which is helpful because I know my selection of nuts and seeds is always changing. For this bake I added: Raisin Bran and Frosted Mini Wheats (chopped), chopped almonds and peanuts, and flax seeds



Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Then add eggs and vanilla and stir. Next add flour, salt, baking powder and whatever you are adding to your base and stir until fully combined. Place rounded balls one inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.










Monday, February 6, 2017

A Month of Meatless Mondays

A Month of Meatless Mondays


Neither Heather or I are vegetarians but we do like to eat a lot of vegetables and often eat vegetarian dinners and one of our traditions is to do Meatless Monday. So, for the first Monday of February I am posting a month's worth of meatless dinner ideas to help inspire everyone to eat more vegetables. I know I used to equate vegetarian food with being bland or boring but that doesn't have to be the case and these delicious recipes prove that!


#1 Meatless Stuffed Peppers


You may recognize these stuffed peppers as they are from one of my earlier posts. These are a delicious and healthy option for dinner that are great paired with potatoes or grains. They're a healthy vegetarian take on a classic dish and proof that rich and savory dinners don't have to include meat.

Click here for the recipe for these Meatless Stuffed Peppers!




#2 Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap


This is a great vegetarian idea from fellow blogger maebells. These Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wraps's are easy and delicious. Hummus is delicious and also full of protein, great for a vegetarian diet.

Click here for the recipe for these Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wraps from maebells.



#3 Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos


Tacos are one of my favorite foods and I usually make mine with meat but black beans and sweet potatoes make a delicious meatless taco. These are delicious and loaded with protein, great for a vegetarian dinner.

Click here for the recipe for these Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos from Gluten Free with L.B.



#4 Sticky Sesame Cauliflower


This Asian inspired recipe rounds out our Month of Meatless Mondays and would be great served with rice or quinoa. This sweet and savory dish will remind you of the breaded chicken variety but is way healthier and vegetarian. A great reminder that you can substitute vegetables in your favorite dishes and still make delicious filling dinners.

Click here for the recipe for Sticky Sesame Cauliflower from Chocolate Covered Katie.






Hopefully these recipes inspire you to eat healthier and maybe change up some of your favorite dishes. Happy Meatless Monday!


Tags: Vegetarian

Friday, February 3, 2017

Marshmallow Fudge Cookies


Hello, world. We are back after a minor set back due to Heather and I both coming down with the Flu but I have a great new recipe for you and lots more to come! 

I love tinkering around in the kitchen and coming up with new cookie recipes and that is how these wonderful Marshmallow Fudge Cookies came to be. They were such a hit that the cookies were gobbled up nearly instantly, so I figured I should share this one with all of you so you can impress your friends with these soft, gooey chocolate cookies.



This Christmas I was fortunate enough to join my girlfriend, Heather, and her family for their annual Christmas baking day and we made all kinds of goodies. From decorated sugar cookies to almond toffee. One of the amazing sweets I learned how to make was marshmallow creme fudge and it was so delicious it inspired me to transform that idea into a cookie and the results were fantastic! I hope you enjoy these as much as my friends and I did!






Marshmallow Fudge Cookies


Ingredients

1 7oz jar Marshmallow Creme
1 cup Butter softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 ea Egg
1/2 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed
2 cups Flour
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Optional: Powdered Sugar to dust them when they are cooled.


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the marshmallow creme, butter and sugar, then add vanilla and egg and stir until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift or mix the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips to wet ingredients and stir. Place rounded balls one inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.


Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving or they may fall apart! They should be fudgy and delicious and will stay that way for several days! If you want to dust them with powdered sugar, be sure to wait until they have cooled a bit or the sugar will melt. Enjoy!






















Saturday, January 28, 2017

Back to Basics: Roasting Potatoes

I want to do a series on basic techniques and recipes to help people eat better and hopefully feel more confident in the kitchen. I have been inspired to start this series by talking with friends and family and finding that while most people know some specific techniques or dishes really well they may not know some other basics that could help add some variety or nutrition to their daily meals. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Meatless Stuffed Peppers


By now, most people have had stuffed bell peppers. It's a classic and I, like a lot of other people, grew up eating it regularly and enjoying it greatly. It would usually be filled with a mixture of ground beef and vegetables similar to a meatloaf and paired with mashed potatoes, another favorite of mine. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Honey-Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

This was literally the first time I tried cooking Brussels sprouts. I have experience cooking a lot of different vegetables, but we just didn't eat Brussels sprouts when I was growing up, so I tend to not eat them much now. However, after eating these I think I'm going to make them more often!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Foil-Wrapped Dinners


This idea came from a combination of sources and influences but has become a staple in our house and one of my personal favorites. I remember eating what my family called "hobo dinners" when I was a kid and we would go camping. We would wrap a mixture of vegetables in foil with ground beef and seasonings and cook it in the campfire until everything inside was nice and caramelized and all the flavors had combined to make something wonderful and delicious.