Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

Smokin’ Scovilles Turkey Chili

Last night I made a batch of turkey chili. Most of the time when I make chili I just loosely follow a guideline recipe until it tastes right to me. But last night I found a recipe that I had printed long ago that I had never tried. It has many additional ingredients in comparison to how my chili’s usually are made. I still didn’t follow this one exactly but stuck pretty close. I left out the Habanero pepper hoping to cool it down a little bit so Trey would eat it, however it still turned out pretty spicy, which was fine by me. Trey didn’t care for it. I also used black beans instead of kidney, as that was what I had on hand. And I used some home-brew rather than the cheap beer the recipe called for.

The results were delicious! It was quite possibly the best chili I’ve tasted. Without knowing that there was hot chocolate mix in the chili, my wife picked up on the subtle sweetness. But as I said earlier, there is quite a bit of spice in it even without the Habanero. I’d love to try a batch with Habanero in it, but next time I may even dial down the amount of crushed red pepper to see if Trey will give it a try. Either way, this will not be the last time I make this chili. Everyone should give it a try.

Latest Recipe Finds

Finding new recipes is really easy with the internet, but I still like sharing some of the really good ones that I find. My latest finds are a spicy roasted broccolini quinoa salad and cowboy mashed potatoes. The broccolini quinoa salad was sent to me by my friend Aaron after he read my last entry on broccolini. After preparing his recipes (full directions at the bottom of the post) I have to admit that his is much better than my last attempt. I especially like that goat cheese addition to the quinoa.

I discovered the recipe for cowboy mashed potatoes after realizing that I had some unused red potatoes along with some Yukon gold too. This recipe combines both potato varieties with some other vegetables to make a rather unique dish. I wouldn’t say that I liked them better than the garlic mashed potatoes that I usually prepare, but they were still good.

Dinner Plate

Spicy Roasted Broccolini Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 bunch broccolini, stalks trimmed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1–2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Cut the broccolini into bite-sized pieces, about 1 1/2 inches.

3. Place broccolini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze the lemon over the raw broccolini and season with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes. Toss to make sure each piece is coated.

4. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes in the pre-heated oven, until stalks are tender and the heads of the broccolini are just lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

5. In a medium-sized pot, combine the quinoa and vegetable stock. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

6. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, fluff with a fork, and toss in the roasted broccolini, crumbled goat cheese and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Crimini Mushroom Sauté

I haven’t always liked mushrooms, so I’m somewhat new to cooking with them. I realized I had some leftover cremini mushrooms last night, and with little else to go with them, I found a fairly basic recipe for them (minus the port).

Start Of Cooking

Since we didn’t have any port lying around, and I didn’t want to open any bottles of dry red wine, I just used a little pinot grigio that was already opened. The results were pretty tasty! Though I would like to try this again with a wine of the red variety.

Finished Product

Grilled Pizza At Home

I got a new grill from my family for Christmas and I’ve just started using it frequently. My brother and his girlfriend got me some grilling accessories for my birthday, including a pizza grilling kit. Friday evening was the perfect night for grilling in the backyard. So I heated up the grill to 400 degrees with my new pizza stone already in place. I then prepared a homemade pizza using this wonderful homemade sauce that I’ve been using for years. I topped the pizza with mushroom, green pepper, and onion. It cooked for about 20 minutes and the results were delicious!

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

I  have finally found a recipe for roasted asparagus that is on par with the recipes I have for grilled asparagus. This recipe combines the fairly standard garlic and olive oil with the less common Parmesan cheese and lemon. The recipe actually denotes the latter as both optional ingredients, but I would not skip them. I used the juice of half of a lemon and just guessed on the amount of fresh grated Parmesan to use. The results were excellent!

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Sauteed Broccolini

You may recall my post about collard greens, well another vegetable that is new to me is broccolini (or broccolette). We’ve had a couple of deliveries of this vegetable that is similar to broccoli, but with longer and thinner stalks. The first time I prepared it I just roasted it in the oven with some potatoes and garlic, but it didn’t cook well enough for my liking. This past week I dug up a recipe where the broccolini is blanched and then sautéed with butter, garlic, and lemon. The results were much better!

Ready To Eat

Kickin’ Collard Greens

In our last produce delivery from Green B.E.A.N was a bundle of collard greens. I can’t recall ever eating collards before, let alone preparing them, so I went searching for a recipe that could be a good introduction to these leafy greens. I found this recipe for kickin’ collard greens and loved that bacon was included. Even though I’m sure it would have been even better with regular pork bacon, I prepared the dish with peppered turkey bacon instead to please my wife.

Adding Collard Greens

Other than the bacon substitution, I followed the recipe really closely. The result was pretty good, much better than I was expecting actually. The red pepper flakes definitely gave the dish a spicy kick. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite dish, but it definitely was a great first attempt with collard greens. My wife seemed to love it, so perhaps I will give other recipes with collard greens a try. Anyone have any favorites?

Finished Product

Simple Chicken Taco Dip

My mom has an outline from a friend to create a delicious chicken taco dip. I took the outline she had and prepared this dish for a party we attended on Saturday.

  • can white chicken (could probably substitute shredded chicken breasts)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16 ounce jar of salsa (I used Jack’s Special salsa from Garden Fresh Gourmet, my latest obsession)

To prepare the dip, simply mix all ingredients in a bowl and then fill your favorite baking pan with the mix. Heat in the oven at 350 degrees for about a half hour. Serve with tortilla chips. My mom also puts a can of slices black olives on top of her dip before baking, but I skipped that step. The results were delicious and I think this can safely be added as a staple for parties to go along with buffalo chicken dip, skyline dip, etc.

Penne with Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

I’ve been making vodka sauce from various recipes for years, but I think I may have found a new favorite. I followed this recipe almost exactly, except I added a small yellow onion, used 1 full cup heavy whipping cream, left out the parsley, and used a little more meat than called for. I didn’t see any sweet Italian sausage in the case at the grocery, but they did have some mild Italian sausage that I bought instead. I think the two links I bought weighed more than 7 ounces total. I doubt it really matters much though.

This sauce was delicious! I don’t recall using any meet in my vodka sauces before, but now it may be hard to make one without the Italian sausage. This one in particular added a little more heat to the sauce, which I really liked. I prepared this for Kim and my parents and they all really enjoyed it. I probably could have added some fresh Parmesan cheese on top for even more taste. I will likely try that the next time I make this, which I hope is soon.

Dream Dinners

Last night I headed back to Dream Dinners for the second time.  Kim and I first visited before Trey was born so that we could stock up on easy to prepare meals that we could make once he was here.  This plan worked perfectly!  At the start of the week we take a few of the already prepared meals out of the freezer and then use them throughout the week.  This allows Kim to very easily prepare a delicious meal while staying home with our son.  She will be the first to admit that she can easily ruin a freezer to oven meal, but so far these recipes have been so easy to execute.

As an added bonus, everything that we’ve had has tasted wonderful, easily on par with restaurant foods and home cooking.  And since you actually put the meals together in the store, you know exactly what is going into them.  Mostly it is frozen meats as well as frozen or dried fruits and vegetables, along with spices and other condiments.  The quality of all the food products appears to be very good as well.  I would prefer to have some organic options, but they haven’t quite reached that level yet.  However their chicken meat is all antibiotic and hormone free!  I would highly recommend them to anyone who struggles preparing tasty, timely, and healthy meals at home.