Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Poblano Chili 3 Ways - Way 3: Chili Stroganoff

This was really good. While not my FAVORITE of the 3 dishes, it was a strong contender and a great choice to help use up sour cream.

Chili Stroganoff
8 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked chili (from Smoky Beef and Poblano Chili
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped green onions
How to Make It
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add thyme, paprika, cinnamon, and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chili; cook 5 minutes or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Combine sour cream and milk in a bowl; stir into chili mixture. Stir in salt.
Divide pasta evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with chili mixture. Sprinkle with green onions.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Poblano Chili 3 Ways - Way 2: Chili Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits

yes yes yes yes yes yes yes....
Why are you not making this yet?

Chili Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (11-oz.) pkg. diced peeled butternut squash
5 cups cooked chili (from Smoky Beef and Poblano Chili), divided
5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp.), divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, grated
3 ounces grated cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 475°F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add salt and butternut squash; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine 1 cup chili and 3 tablespoons flour in a bowl; add to pan. Add remaining 4 cups chili to pan; bring to a simmer. Spoon chili mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine remaining 1 cup flour, cornmeal, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut butter and cheese into flour mixture using a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk just until combined. Drop flour mixture evenly over chili to form 24 biscuits (about 2 teaspoons each). Bake at 475°F for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poblano Chili 3 Ways - Way 1: Chili

This one was perfect. I thought 3 Poblano chilis would be too much so I only used 2. TOTALLY could have done 3. Follow the recipe and you will be golden!

Photo is not by me again. I failed to take a photo when I made this. Forgive me.

Smoky Beef and Poblano Chili
Cooking spray
2 1/2 pounds 93% lean ground beef, divided
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 large)
3 cups seeded, chopped poblano peppers (about 3)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 (12-oz.) bottle Mexican lager
4 cups unsalted beef stock, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
1 cup diced ripe avocado
2 tablespoons sliced red Fresno chile (optional)
Cilantro sprigs

How to Make It
Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 1/4 pounds beef to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Place cooked beef in a bowl. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining 1 1/4 pounds beef.
Add onion, poblano pepper, and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return beef to pan. Stir in chili powder, chipotle chile powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups beef stock to pan; bring to a boil.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup beef stock and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in oregano, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Reserve 7 cups chili for Chili Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits and Chili Stroganoff.
Divide remaining 6 cups chili among 4 bowls; top evenly with diced avocado, sliced fresh chiles, if desired, and cilantro sprigs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mushroom Thyme Pot Pies

Now, to be clear, these were SUPER YUMMY...but...

They were just too much dang work. Even when I wasn't a mom, these would have been too much work in my opinion. I will use the dough in the future for a different pot pie, but I will not be putting in 3 days worth of work for something like this again.
Please note the Picture is not mine. This is the photo from Bon Appetit Magazine that made me want to make them.

Mushroom Thyme Pot Pies

Makes 8 Servings


2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, beaten to blend

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Mushroom Gravy

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 pound crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered

½ cup dry sherry

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


½ fennel bulb, chopped (I used a bit of fennel seed with celery instead)

1 cup red pearl onions, peeled (I just used diced white)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving

8 ounces oyster or maitake mushrooms (I just used crimini)

All-purpose flour (for surface)

1 large egg

Flaky sea salt

Special Equipment

Eight 6-oz. ramekins



Dough – I made this on Monday before I made this dish on Wednesday

Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl. Work in butter with your fingers until only pea-size pieces remain. Combine egg, vinegar, and ⅓ cup ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over flour mixture; quickly work in with your fingers until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a work surface and press together, working just enough to form a smooth ball with no dry spots. Wrap in plastic and chill until very cold, at least 2 hours.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Mushroom Gravy – I made this on Sunday before I made this dish on Wednesday

Heat oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 10–12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until color darkens and paste completely coats onion, about 1 minute. Add button mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and any liquid has evaporated, 12–15 minutes. Add sherry and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add broth and porcini mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half (about 2½ cups), about 1 hour. Strain mushroom broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing down on solids; discard solids.

Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, until flour begins to smell nutty, about 4 minutes. Whisking vigorously to prevent lumps, add mushroom broth and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Do Ahead: Gravy can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Assembly - I assembled them on Tuesday before baking them on Wednesday

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°. Combine fennel, onions, 1 Tbsp. butter, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; season with kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until fennel and onions are crisp-tender, 5–8 minutes. Uncover; cook until liquid evaporates, 15–18 minutes. Let cool.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium. Cook thyme sprigs and mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and tender, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; pluck out thyme.

Divide fennel mixture and mushrooms among ramekins. Spoon gravy over top. Divide dough in half. Working with one at a time, roll out to ¼" thick. Cut out 2 rounds about ½" wider than the diameter of ramekins. Gather up scraps, reroll, and cut out 2 more rounds (for 8 total).

Whisk egg, a pinch of kosher salt, and 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; place over ramekins, brushed side down. Press firmly around sides to adhere. Brush tops of dough with egg wash; sprinkle with thyme leaves and sea salt. Set pot pies on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crusts are golden brown and domed, 25–35 minutes.

Do Ahead: Pot pies (without brushing outside of pastry and topping) can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover pot pies and extra egg wash separately and chill.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

An Updated Reading List in Preparation for my 34 by 34 List

A few years ago, I called upon my audience to help me come up with the "MUST be read in your Lifetime" Book List. I have recently updated that list to reflect what I have read thus far in my 32+ years. What else needs to be on this list in your opinion? I am not talking about books on the Best Sellers List or anything, I mean books that have impacted your life and that are works of art. Let me know what else I need to read.
For my 4 classics for the 34th year of my life, I am planning on ready Walden, Dracula, Fahrenheit 451, and Watership Down.

Little Cat's Little List of Books
The Adventures of Augie March
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Age of Innocence
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
American Gods
Are you There God? It’s Me Margaret
The Art of War
As I Lay Dying
Atlas Shrugged
The Awakening

The Bell Jar
The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov
The Blind Assassin
The Book Thief
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Brave New World
Brideshead Revisited
The Bridge of San Juis Rey
Bridget Jones Diary
A Brief History of Time
The Brothers Karamazou

The Call of the Wild
Canterbury Tales
Catch 22
The Catcher in the Rye
Charlotte's Web
The Color Purple
Common Sense
The Confessions of Nat Turner
The Constitution of the USA
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment

Dangerous Liaison
David Copperfield
The Divine Comedy
Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Doctor Zhivago
Don Quixote
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Ender's Game
Everything is Illuminated

Fahrenheit 451
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Fountainhead
Franny and Zooey

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Giver (the subsequent sequels)
The Glass Castle
Gone with the Wind
Grapes of Wrath
Great Expectations
The Great Gatsby
Gulliver’s Travels

The Handmaid’s Tale
Harry Potter Series
Heart of Darkness
His Dark Materials Trilogy
The Historian
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I, Robot
The Iliad
The Interpretation of Dream by Freud
The Invisible Man

Jane Eyre
Janet Evanovich Mysteries
The Joy Luck Club
The Jungle

The Killer Angels
Kite Runner

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
The Last of the Mohicans
Le Morte d’Arthur
Legends of the Fall
Les Miserable
Life of Pi
The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe
Little Women
Look Homeward, Angel
Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Madame Bovary
Mein Kampf
The Metamorphosis
Moby Dick
Mrs Dalloway
The Murder on the Orient Express
Naked Lunch
Never Let Me Go
The Odyssey
Oedipus Rex
Of Mice and Men
The Old Man and The Sea
On the Road
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Hundred Years of Silence
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
Paradise Lost 
Peter Pan
The Picture of Dorian Grey
The Poisonwood Bible
The Portrait of the Lady
The Postman Always Rings Twice
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The Princess Bride
The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Tent
Robinson Crusoe
Saint Joan
The Scarlet Letter
Sirens of Titan
Six Characters in Search of an Author
Sophie’s Choice
Stranger in a Strange Land
Starship Troopers
The Sun Also Rises
A Tale of Two Cities
Things Fall Apart
The Three Musketeers
The Time Machine
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Tom Jones
Treasure Island
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Vanity Fair
Wuthering Heights
Watership Down
War of the Worlds
War and Peace
Waiting for Godot
The Wanderer’s Necklace
The Wind and the Willows
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Series

Collected Works of Austen Collect Works of Chekhov
Collected Works of Ibsen
Collected Works of Moliere
Collected Works and Sonnets of Shakespeare
Collect Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Pioneer Woman: PB&J Struesel Muffins

As you might have gathered with the choice of recipes I decide to try, I really like The Pioneer Woman. I think that she is an intelligent, talented woman and I enjoy her blog posts.

This one was a simple recipe, and while it was very rich, I will make it again in the future. I think though that only one half an English Muffin is needed per adult, unless they have a very sweet tooth.

1/2 stick Cold Salted Butter
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Oats (Quick Or Old-fashioned)
Dash Of Salt
4 whole Whole Wheat English Muffins
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Jelly Or Jam Of Your Choice
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, use a pastry cutter to cut together the butter, flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt until the mixture is slightly crumbly. Sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of water if it seems too dry.
Split the muffins and spread on a thin layer of peanut butter, followed by jelly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the 8 muffins and pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn up the heat to 350 and bake for another couple of minutes or until slightly golden on top.