Blowing off Steam: Cooking and Other Adventures

Join me on my adventures in the kitchen and in life in general! We will laugh, talk about our successes and failures & figure this all out together!

Pigs, Potatoes and Kale??

Sounds like a weird combination, right?  Not when you turn them into sausage, kale and potato soup!  I have pinned various versions of this soup over the last year but for some reason I couldn’t get inspired to make any of them.  Yesterday we went to the farmer’s market and I picked up some fresh kale, fresh hot pork sausage and baby red potatoes and I couldn’t think of anything better to do with them but make soup!  This meant I had to scratch my original menu choice, grilled pork chops, but it seemed a worthy swap with all the fresh ingredients.  You also can’t help but love the antioxidant packed, flu fighting team of kale and homemade chicken stock.

I was unable to find any one recipe that had everything for me so I used ideas from Skinnytaste and Confessions of a Pioneer Woman to make this one:

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Ground Turkey Empanadas!

I have no idea where I found this recipe.  I have changed it slightly over the years but it’s hand written on a piece of note paper, covered with water and grease stains and that’s about as much info as I have.  I have tried to find it on the internet several times and I get close but none that are just like this one.  Hopefully one day I will find it so I can give credit where it’s due!

Filling (makes about 15 empanadas.  FYI the premade dough usually comes 10/pack so you will need 2):

  1. 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  2. 1 small onion, minced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/3 cup dark raisins
  5. 5-8 Roma tomatoes (depending on size), seeded and roughly chopped
  6. 2 serrano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped (you can add these raw at the end if you want to make some heat free for kids)
  7. juice of 2 limes (roughly 4 tbsp)
  8. handful of cilantro, large stems removed
  9. 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  10. 1 tsp pepper
  11. 1 tsp cumin
  12. 1/8 tsp cloves
  13. 1/8 tsp cinnamon

First I want to disclose that these aren’t particularly quick BUT fairly easy and while the crust is not particularly healthy, (I tried to make a healthier one but failed miserably and tossed it) they ARE AWESOME.  They can be made in advance and cooked later.  You can use homemade dough (basically flour, egg, a stick of butter, salt & milk or water) or store bought empanada dics if you live in a town where you are lucky enough to have Latin grocery stores.  If you are really lucky your regular grocery store carries them in the freezer section.  I was very thankful to find ONE Latin grocery store after my failed attempt at healthier dough and drove almost 20 minutes to buy Goya frozen empanada discs so I didn’t have to bail on my entire mission for tonight.  One added bonus is that they also had plantain chips, which I am addicted to so that was FANTASTIC.  The boy child even tried these and liked them!  I know, I was shocked too.  I did have to bribe him with a chocolate chip but whatever.

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Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus

I miss Trader Joe’s.  Potato latkes and hummus were our two favorite things from there but I always ended up walking out with much much more.  Sadly Trader Joe’s has not made it here and for some reason all of the other good brands of hummus are over $4 per container!  Considering the fact that my husband could eat the entire container in one sitting that price just doesn’t do it for me.  I decided to give it a shot and make my own!  Deb from Smitten Kitchen makes everything look easy, even the bean peeling part, which she managed to do in 9 minutes!  It took me 12, but with a little practice I might be able to catch up.  Deb’s version doesn’t have any added spice so I went nuts and added several spicy ingredients to give it more of a bite.

I couldn’t get mine quite as smooth as hers, but I also was dying to try it so I didn’t process it for very long.  I am sure I could tweak it more but I want to share this version with you anyway, because it was awesome and I am very proud of my first attempt at hummus!  Warning: this is very spicy and garlicky so make sure you don’t have plans to be sitting near anyone who isn’t also going to be spicy and garlicky!  My children banned me from kissing them and told me I was “stinky”.  Aren’t they sweet?


Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus

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Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice (The Pioneer Woman)

Good news is that the Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice that all (well 3) of YOU voted for were AWESOME!  I didn’t change anything (ingredient wise) and I would make these again for sure.  Go to the store tomorrow and buy the stuff to make these.  Why? BECAUSE I SAID SO!  If I sound angry it’s because I had a sucky day.  Actually the day was fine, I was the miserable one.  I am not sure if it was the 1/2 hour less of sleep or the fact that I didn’t get my walk/run in yesterday but I was definitely in a needspacenoworIwillhavetobecommitted kind of mood.  I was really excited to beat the poo (trying to keep it clean but we all know what I really want to say so insert proper adult word of choice here) out of my cinnamon bun dough, but discovered mid preparation that I didn’t actually need to knead it at all.  Of course, if I had read the recipe through I would have known that.  I also would have known a bunch of other things that I will discuss with you in the next post because the star of this post is THESE:

The whole meal took all of about 45 minutes and that’s only because we followed the rules and grilled the pineapple.  I even cheated and used par boiled rice cooked in the microwave.  I have a problem with rice.  I can’t cook it.  I don’t like when I can’t cook things so I did what any self respecting mom would do… I gave up and bought the instant kind.  Don’t you judge me. Read more…

Not Your YiaYia’s Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a baked Greek pasta dish that is rich, comforting and full of cheesy goodness.  Unfortunately, most of us can’t/don’t want to eat foods that high in saturated fats on a regular basis.  My dad’s version of this dish is lower in fat than traditional Pastitsio, prepared slightly differently and it’s absolutely delicious!  We love this and the kids love it too!  It’s one of the few one dish meals they will eat so it gets my vote!


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