Wednesday, April 20, 2011


SB came back from his business trip today. Normally, I would plan a dinner, go to the store, and execute my plan accordingly. Well, this time around things didn't work out quite the same. I didn't get the chance to go to the grocery store because he had the car. When we were living in NYC that wouldn't be a big deal because I could walk to Whole Foods down the street from us. There of course I could get great quality produce, meat or anything my little foodie-heart desired. Now that we live in Chicago it's a little different. The grocery stores that I prefer are just a little too far to walk to. Of course I can't let a little hurdle hold me back from cooking my man a nice meal. Therefore, I'm left with no other choice to make do with what I already have. Make-whatever-you-have-in-the-fridge/freezer-dinner are sometimes my favorite! It's a way to be creative and come up with new delicious dinners that maybe you would have normally not thought of. Well, sometimes they can also be disastrous. But let's not talk about those right now :)

Upon examining my kitchen I find:

In the fridge:
Orange bell pepper
Jalapeno peppers
Worcestershire sauce

In the freezer:
Beef Chuck meat

In the cabinetry:
Brown rice
Beef bouillon
Veggie bouillon
1/3 of a btl of red wine

After assessing my options I decide on the following menu:

Slow cooked Chuck meat in my crock pot with 1 onion (quartered), 4 whole cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeno (halfed and seeded), 3-4 tbl spoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup red wine, 2 beef bouillons (because I don't have beef stock), and about 1/3 of a gallon of water. Pinch of salt and pepper. I throw it all in there and let it cook on low for 6 hours.

I am so happy with the way this came out. I don't think this could have been better if I had planned the meal. Normally when I do meat in the slow cooker I put cans of diced tomatoes in it. This time around, because I simply didn't have any, I didn't and the flavors were amazing! It was a much cleaner, crispier flavor. The tomatoes normally make the sauce a little thicker. In this case it was more like a really tasty, clear broth. I really enjoyed the change of texture in the sauce. And of course the beef was awesome! I love it when it's fork tender and it just comes apart. This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper!!

Flavored brown rice. I diced half an onion and sauteed it in a little olive oil and 1 tbl spoon of butter with 2 cloves of mined garlic, 1/2 of a diced orange bell pepper, 1 diced jalapeno pepper (seeded) and 1 veggie bouillon. When the onions were translucent I added 1 1/2 cups of brown rice. Sauteed everything together for a minute and then added 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and then cover and let simmer until the rice is cooked all the way through.

I really love the way this brown rice came out. It's definitely got plenty of flavor. Some people love brown rice. I actually think that plain brown rice has tons of texture and I love the way it tastes. But SB hasn't been a huge fan of the whole grain family in the past. In my quest to keep our diets fairly healthy, I try to keep things interesting for SB. I think this also is a great way to introduce your kids to brown rice, because it's just not as boring. I could eat bowls of this, just like that.

Oven roasted asparagus. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Wash, trim and dry the asparagus. Place on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in oven (middle rack) for 15 minutes. Turn them after 8 min.

This is my absolute favorite way to make asparagus. First of all it super easy to make and second, it is soooo delish! The ends get really crispy and taste like they are fried. They also get beautifully caramelized on the outside. Lip-smackingly good! SB's mom always asks me what I put on them, I always tell her it's just olive oil, salt and pepper. She swears I'm keeping a secret from her and omitting some sort of essential ingredient. Then she proceeds to accuse me of lacing it with crack. Haha! I'm telling you - it's that good. You MUST make it!

Happy eating!!


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