Roasted Tomato Soup

If you like tomato soup this is the only recipe you will ever need. And if you don’t like tomato soup then I’m not really sure why you’re here. Unless you’re my mom, and you just like to read all of my posts. Wait a minute… YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!

Ok sorry, that’s not the point. The point is that this is a seriously delicious way to enjoy some tomatoes. I found myself with about a ten pound box of tomatoes in my kitchen (Thanks Mom), and decided to finally measure and write down my award-winning tomato soup recipe.

It hasn’t technically won any awards, but I’m pretty positive that it could. On a side note: If any of you use this recipe to win any contests, I’d appreciate a share of your winnings.

Alright, enough with the rambling. LET’S MAKE SOME SOUP!

Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Fresh Tomatoes (This number could vary drastically based on the size of each tomato.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 Onions (diced)
  • 5 heaped teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Base
  • 32oz Stock (one box)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 cups Half and Half (one quart)
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Basil (chopped or torn)
  • Freshly grated Parmesean

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 375 and wash those ripe tomatoes.
Step 2
Ok. So I have no idea exactly how many tomatoes you will need.
Step 3
What I do know is that I crammed a 12 inch by 18 inch rimmed baking pan with a very crowded yet mostly single layer of tomatoes.
Step 4
Keep your little guys whole and chop your big guys into large pieces.
Step 5
Generously olive oil and kosher salt these juicy little bastids. I rubbed 5 tablespoons of olive oil on them and then sprinkled 1 tablespoon of kosher salt over them. (I know this because I measured for all you jokers who insist on exact measurements. You're welcome.)
Step 6
Pop 'em in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes, or until they look like this.
Step 7
While they're roasting, heat a large pot or dutch oven over a medium flame and dice your onions (mine were skeeball sized, so if yours are either ginormous or tiny adjust accordingly.)
Step 8
Saute the onions about 8 to 10 minutes until they are softened and fairly translucent.
Step 9
Add your garlic and cook a couple more minutes to take away its bite.
Step 10
Stir in the tomato paste and Chicken Base. "What the hell is Chicken Base?"
Step 11
Good Question.
Step 12
Chicken Base is basically a jar of highly concentrated chicken stock, that you should be able to find on the soup aisle of your local grocery. If you: can't find it, don't want to buy an extra ingredient, or think the idea of concentrated chicken paste is on the whole creepy; then by all means don't use it. I choose to add a little toward the beginning of most non-vegetarian soups because I find it deepens the flavor. And if I'm really being honest I kind of enjoy sniffing the jar. DON'T JUDGE.
Step 13
Anyway, chicken base or not, now is the time to stir in an entire carton (32 oz) of broth. I used chicken here, but by all means use whatever tickles your boat.
Step 14
Simmer. Like for awhile. Seriously. Walk away, and leave it alone.
Step 15
When you pull the tomatoes out of the oven, allow them to cool a bit before you add them to your simmering soup pot... unless you're a total badass.
Step 16
Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 Tbs sugar, lots of freshly cracked black pepper, and all of the tomatoes with their juices to the soup. And please before anyone gets bent out of shape about the seasonings; this is completely subjective. This is how I like it seasoned. Well not really. I'm serving this to a 7 and 3 year old. If I weren't I'd put WAY more red pepper flakes. Nevertheless, this may not be how you prefer it, so season to your tastes.
Step 17
Simmer again for about 20 minutes.
Step 18
Remove the pot from the heat, and kill all the chunks with an emersion blender.
Step 19
Now for the best part of this super healthy soup. Add an entire quart of half & half. Don't think about it. Just do it.
Step 20
Add 2 Tbs of balsamic vinegar to round out the flavor.
Step 21
Taste and reseason to taste if needed, and serve it up.
Step 22
I like to add lots of torn or chopped fresh basil into each bowl, but there are tons of other great was to garnish this: freshly grated parmesan, more cracked black pepper, another splash of balsamic... the world is your oyster!
Step 23
Oh, and a grilled cheese of course.
Step 24
Boom.
Whole30 Thai Chicken Curry

Whole30 Thai Chicken Curry

Brian and I created this curry while we were on the Whole30, and it has become one of our favorite go-to dinners. Even though we’ve been finished with our strict thirty day diet of “cans” and “cannots” this Thai Chicken Curry with Cauliflower Rice is still appearing on our dinner table almost every week.

You have to commit to prepping  a ton of veggies, but once everything is ready to cook the whole dish comes together like a snap. I always start by washing and chopping all the veggies. By the time I cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, I’m already halfway done with dinner!

Curries are like most stews, meaning that once you get the technique down you can play around with any number of ingredient combos and still get tasty results. I usually add some form of meat (chicken and shrimp being our favorites), but you could skip the meat and maybe add some nice mushrooms to turn this into a delicious and hearty vegetarian meal. There are also lots of veggies that we’ve used in the past like green beans or zucchini that didn’t make the cut this time, just because we had so much in the fridge.

This would be AMAZING over rice or even rice noodles! But since we’re both still on the weight loss train we always serve it up with Cauliflower Rice. I have really been surprised by how many delicious recipes fit into the Whole30 plan, and it’s been super easy to keep the low-carb low-dairy thing going with recipes like these on my Whole30 Pinterest board.

Whole30 Thai Chicken Curry Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2lb Boneless Skinless Chicken (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 2 Large Bell Peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 head Broccoli (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1-2 cup Snow Peas (trimmed)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Ginger (minced)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Small Carrots (peeled and shredded)
  • 3 tablespoons Cilantro (freshly minced + more for garnish)
  • Juice from 1 large Lime
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Red Curry Paste
  • 2-2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • Coconut Oil (about 2 1/2 Tbs total)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Directions

Step 1
This is a meal that comes together fairly quickly... after chopping a million things. I always start this recipe by prepping all of the veggies first.
Step 2
Get everybody washed, chopped, and ready to go.
Step 3
Always prep all of your veggies first, and then dirty up your cutting board with the raw chicken. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
Step 4
Now that everything is good to go, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large skillet/wok/dutch oven on medium high heat.
Step 5
Brown the chicken pieces in two or three shifts and remove from pan. You may need to add a little extra coconut oil in between shifts.
Step 6
Once all of the chicken has been browned and removed from the pan add another tablespoon of coconut oil.
Step 7
Add the onions, peppers, garlic, ginger, and carrots. Stir and cook around 5 minutes.
Step 8
Add the broccoli, chicken, coconut milk, broth, and curry paste, and stir until everything (especially that clump of paste) is thoroughly incorporated.
Step 9
The amount of curry paste that you add here should be based on personal preference. Keep in mind that this is spicy and there's no taking it back once it's in there. Here's the heaping tablespoon that I used.
Step 10
Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer around 15 minutes.
Step 11
Squeeze in the lime juice and add the snow peas. Simmer another 5 minutes.
Step 12
Stir in cilantro, and pull your yummy curry off the heat.
Step 13
Serve with lime wedges, extra cilantro, cauliflower rice, and a clear conscience!
Whole30 Thai Chicken Curry
Step 14
If you enjoy spicy, healthy comfort food, you'll love this dish... even if you're not rocking the Whole30!
Sriracha Bacon BLT

Sriracha Bacon BLT

I just have to say that again: Sriracha Bacon BLT!!

As my loyal followers will know, my latest recipe was Sriracha Bacon. This is, in it’s own right, a triumph. But you don’t just create Sriracha Bacon and then walk away.

Oh no.

You create Sriracha Bacon and then you spend your days (and sometimes nights) imagining new and exciting ways to eat it every day. This bacon has really taken over our conversations around here. What have we thought up so far? Let’s see: in pancakes for a sweet and spicy breakfast, on pizza (of course), crumbled over ice cream, the star of the ultimate egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, and perhaps the most simple idea… the ultimate BLT.

Srirachia Bacon BLT

 

I won’t insult you with an ingredient list for a BLT, but I will show you the photo documentation of the sandwiches that rocked our Sunday last week. By the way, I wholeheartedly encourage you to shout out your Sriracha Bacon ideas in the comments. I can almost guarantee that we will try it, and probably write about it.

Sriracha BLT supplies

As you can see, we opted for a hearty multi-seed bread (lightly toasted), some butter lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, Sriracha Bacon of course, and an extra squirt of Sriracha in our mayo.

Were they sticky and sloppy? You betcha.

Would I want it any other way? Hell no!

The sandwich up top was Brian’s. As you can, he chose to pair his BLT with an extra slice of bacon. Whereas I opted to pair mine with a beer.

Sriracha Bacon BLT

Honestly, I’m sure you could serve up a side of whoop-ass with this and still walk away smiling.

Okay, I’ll stop talking about Sriracha Bacon… for now.

[insert evil laugh here]

Sriracha Bacon

Sriracha Bacon is the way of the future.

I realize that it’s not exactly front page news that Sriracha is the best hot sauce in the universe. The whole world knows that at this point. But what you might not realize is that Sriracha Bacon is the best bacon in the universe. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but this truly is genius!

The idea for Sriracha Bacon occurred to me a couple weeks ago when Brian and I were having yet another conversation about how awesome Sriracha is, and trying to think of what to put it on next. It hit us at almost exactly the same time that it’s nuts, with as much as we use it, that I hadn’t added any Sriracha recipes to Craving Cobbler yet. This, of course, kicked off a whole new conversation. Well shouting match would probably be a more accurate description. Not the angry kind, just us shouting out recipe ideas at each other as fast and loud as our little Sriracha loving brains would allow.

Sriracha Bacon from cravingcobbler.com

The bacon idea was one that I shouted out I think, and it just seemed so simple. We both stopped shouting. Could something that seemed so simple and obvious once said out loud be as good as it sounds like it would be? It couldn’t. It’s just to easy.

Well I’m here to spread the word dear friends. It IS that easy! The only problem with this recipe is the fact that I haven’t already been making it for years.

Make this now or regret it later.

Sriracha Bacon Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10oz thick sliced bacon (about 8 slices)
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add the sriracha, honey, and sugar to a bowl.
Step 2
Give it a good whisking, and then set up your bacon assembly line. This should include: your sweetened sriracha sauce, your bacon, and an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking pan topped with an oven-safe cooling rack.
Step 3
Give each slice of bacon a thorough dipping/coating of the spicy sauce only on one side. Lay the strips sauce side up on the cooling rack, being mindful not to overlap the slices.
Step 4
Pop them in the oven for around 40 minutes. I know it seems like a long time, but because of the Sriracha and sugars we have the oven at a lower temperature. Plus you really need to use some thick ass bacon here... Save the thin stuff for wrapping around tater tots or something. To keep your sweet and spicy strips of awesome from scorching in areas, you really want to roast these babies lower and slower.
Step 5
There's really nothing left to say except, "Pass the bacon!"

Sriracha Bacon

Bacon Pasta

Creamy Bacon Pasta…

what else can I really say?

So basically this is my take on Pasta Carbonara. But people get so bent out of shape over what defines “carbonara” that I opted not to call it that. Peas – no peas, onions – no onions… honestly I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Delicious pasta is never a bad idea.

Whether you opt for a pea filled variety, or an authentic classic

It’s all tasty.

Bacon Pasta Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10oz thick cut bacon (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
  • 1 cup onion (small diced)
  • 1 16 ounce box of pasta
  • 1/3 cup pasta water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup grated asiago
  • 1 1/2 heaped teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Step 1
Start water in a large pot or saucepan over high heat to bring to a boil.
Step 2
While waiting for the water to boil (don't watch the pot!) dump all of the bacon pieces into a skillet set over medium heat.
Step 3
Yes this is a lot of bacon... it is Bacon Pasta after all.
Step 4
It will take around 8 to 10 minutes for the bacon bits to get golden and crisp. Toss them occasionally, but keep busy by adding some stuff to a bowl.

Crack all 4 eggs into the bowl, and add the asiago, black pepper, and salt.
Step 5
This looks awesome already. Awesome... not healthy.

Give it a vigorous whisking.
Step 6
Talk about a creamy tease!

I know it's exciting, but don't forget about your bacon bits. They should be about perfect by now.
Step 7
Get 'em out of the pan and into a bowl.
Step 8
You don't have to use a spork, but I highly recommend it.

Pour out all of the bacon grease except about 2 Tbs. There's no need to measure exactly, because I can't imagine doing that without obtaining a grease burn... and it's just not worth it. I pour my bacon grease into a jar to be used later, but store or trash yours however you like.

Dump the diced onion into the grease, and return to slightly above medium heat.
Step 9
Saute the onions around 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.
Step 10
Add the frozen peas into the boiling pasta about 2 minutes before the desired doneness of the pasta.
Step 11
Before draining the pasta/peas mixture, make sure to scoop out around 1/3 cup of the pasta water. You'll use this to temper the egg mixture.

Step 12
I didn't get a shot of tempering aka slowly raising the temperature of the egg sauce mixture because one hand was pouring a gentle stream of boiling water, and the other hand was whisking the sauce. I'm not trying to show off, but still.

Drain the pasta and peas. Dump back into the pan. Add back in the bacon and onions. Then pour over the creamy egg sauce.
Step 13
Don't worry the hot pasta and pasta water cooks the eggs. Give it all a toss, and prepare to swoon.
Step 14
Top with extra asiago, because, at this point, who's keeping score?
Step 15
This is super duper awesome, and you need to try it.

Crockpot Beef Teriyaki Noodles

Crockpot beef teriyaki noodles has quickly become one of our favorite dinners of all time!

Perfectly sweet teriyaki sauce infuses into beef stew and carrot chunks. Then it gets thickened up to coat noodles. Any kind of noodle would work here obviously, but we love to use lo mein or egg noodles. It’s a simple matter of mixing a sauce, and turning on the crockpot. The hardest thing about this recipe is smelling it cook while you wait.

I’d say the best part of this meal is how insanely easy it is to make, but really it’s the flavor. This is absolutely delicious!

Please try it on a busy day, and let me know what you think!

Crockpot Beef Teriyaki Noodles Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2lb beef stew meat
  • thick carrot slices or chunks
  • 12 to 16oz lo mein noodles (or your favorite noodles)

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 heaped teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 splashes of sesame oil

Directions

Step 1
In a large measuring cup pour in the first four liquid ingredients of the teriyaki marinade.

By doing this, you skip making an extra mixing bowl dirty. Just make sure you start with the liquids to ensure that you can measure them accurately.
Step 2
You'll end up with 1 1/2 cups of liquid.

Once that's done, dump the last of the marinade components.

Give it a good stir with one of your measuring spoons (once again to save on dishes), and move on with your carrots.
Step 3
I love the little circles of sesame oil that settle on top for some reason.

The number of carrots really depends on their size along with how much meat you end up using. These were some pretty small ones. Here are ten that I've got peeled and ready to chop.

Step 4
Slice them on a bias into large chunks. Small pieces would get lost or too saturated with sauce in a crockpot, so when in doubt go bigger here.
Step 5
Fill the bottom of your crockpot with a layer of carrot chunks.
Step 6
Next comes the layer of beef chunks.
Step 7
Now top it all off with another layer of carrots.
Step 8
I didn't have quite enough for this, so I ended up chopping up an 11th carrot. It's not an exact science, but I'm a bit too neurotic to look at sparse carrot coverage.

Anyhow, on to the hard part... pour the marinade over the whole shebang.
Step 9
Here's a look before cooking on high for four hours.
Step 10
And here's a look four hours later.
Step 11
Yum!

Strain out every last bite of beef and carrots into a bowl.
Step 12
I like to shred the chunks of beef slightly.
Step 13
The dish would still be yummy with larger pieces, but I've done it both ways and prefer smaller pieces that are kind of all over the place.

Now for what really sends this dish over the top!

Pour all of the meat juice and marinade out of the crockpot and into a skillet.
Step 14
Kick up the heat to high, and boil away for about ten minutes.

Every now and then give it a stir/scrape with a spatula. But basically it can just go on it's own until it looks thickened and the bubbles completely cover the surface area and are really big and fat like this.
Step 15
Now it's just a matter of adding in the beef and carrots.
Step 16
And toss in some cooked noodles.
Step 17
Toss it all around, and dinner is done!
Step 18
Ok, so it might not be pretty...
Step 19
but it's one of the most delicious dinners you'll ever have!!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Did someone say they wanted a cream sauce, hold the cheese?

One of our favorite ways to work veggies into a sauce is to incorporate a butternut squash puree. Unfortunately peeling, seeding, cubing, roasting, and then pureeing a butternut squash is its’ own labor of love. Did I say labor of love? Because I’m pretty sure I meant time consuming pain in the ass. Either way, using canned squash takes this meal out of the “only on the weekend” category and right into the “perfect for a weeknight supper” category. It’s extremely fast to throw together. It’s just a matter of dicing and stirring, and the sauce is done in less than 30 minutes. I still love using fresh butternut squash, but during the week there’s no need to roast and puree. Save a ton of time by using the canned version.

Our four year old ate a bowlful of tortellini drenched in this velvety yellow sauce and just assumed it was mac and cheese. Needless to say we did not shatter that illusion. If he’s happily eating onion, bell pepper, and squash, we figure why rock the boat?

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce… the time is now!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 bell pepper (small diced)
  • 1 small to medium onion (small diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can butternut squash puree (15 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary (plus more to finish bowls)
  • 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • cheese tortellini or pasta of your choice

Directions

Step 1
Melt 1Tbs of butter and 1Tbs olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Dump in the diced onion and bell pepper, along with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.
Step 2
Saute about 5 minutes or until softened.
Step 3
Now comes the real time saver in the form of canned butternut squash.
Step 4
Don't be scared. It's good; I promise.

Anyone who's ever thought about adding butternut squash to a weeknight meal then reconsidered because it's a royal pain in the ass and takes too long should seriously try this.

Anyway, scrape all the yummy squash out of the can and onto your onions and peppers. Sprinkle on the rosemary,
Step 5
and mix everything together to make an onion studded paste.
Step 6
Pour in the broth and pasta water, and carefully stir to incorporate them into the sauce. Or if you're me, stir vigorously until some slops out of the pan, and THEN stir it carefully.
Step 7
Reduce the sauce slightly at a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream depending on your taste.
Step 8
We went heavier and added 1/2 c heavy cream. You could definitely go lighter and only add a splash.

If you only add a touch, I'd do it off the heat and add the vinegar at the same time. However, if you add a full 1/2 c like we did, I'd keep the sauce over medium low heat for a few more minutes to let it reduce just a touch more.

Once the sauce looks deliciously smooth and creamy, add a splash of your favorite vinegar to finish it off.
Step 9
Brian always goes balsamic when given the choice, so we opted for one of our favorites... Benissimo Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar.

A touch of vinegar adds just enough acidity to help develop all of the flavors in the sauce.

I think any number of vinegars would work great here. Red wine, champagne, sherry, or apple cider vinegars are all fine choices.
Step 10
In less than half an hour, you've got a satisfyingly creamy pasta sauce that's healthier AND tastier than boxed mac and cheese!

Scalloped Potatoes with Kielbasa

Scalloped potatoes with kielbasa is my version of creamy scalloped potatoes – just kicked up a notch with meat… sweet smokey meat.

This recipe for scalloped potatoes is absolutely delicious on its own, but every now and then I like to add in the sausage. It transforms them from a hearty side dish into a main course. Wyatt loves kielbasa. Of course he’d probably say no if you were to ask him. We’ve always referred to it as “hotdog” to help him be a bit more openminded. He’s prone to claiming that he doesn’t like something before he’s even tried it. It drives me nuts! I’d heard that the “I don’t like that” food days were coming… but it’s so sad to see them here already. It’s especially sad and frustrating when you’ve spent time and money preparing a meal you know your kid would love… if they’d just pop it into their stubborn little mouth! Besides, what’s not to like about potatoes, cheese, and smoked sausage?

If you have an answer for that, I don’t want to hear it.

Anyway, rest assured that this is a dish that should please everyone at your table… even your pickiest of four year olds!

Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8oz cheddar cheese
  • 12oz polish kielbasa
  • 6 small-medium sized potatoes

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and peel your potatoes.
Step 2
I made this up and it had been a long time since I'd made these. So I had no idea how many potatoes I would need to fill my dish with deliciously starchy layers. I ended up with about three extra potatoes worth of slices.

As you can see, this is by no means an exact science. But my (now experienced) guess would be about 6 small to medium sized potatoes.

I split each one in half lengthwise; then sliced the halves into thin slices.
Step 3
Speaking of inexact sciences, the success of this dish does not depend on using exactly 12 ounces of sausage. You just need the smoked polish kielbasa of your choice.

Here's what I was working with:
Step 4
Feel free to use as much or little of this to bulk up your potatoes. These things seem to last forever, so if you hold some back it'd definitely be tasty on a rainy day.
Step 5
My family never shies away from extra sausage (or "hotdog" for Wyatt) so I chopped up the whole kielbasa.
Step 6
Heat up a skillet to medium high heat, and toss in the whole bunch.
Step 7
Toss around for a few minutes to give them some nice color like this, and then pull off the heat.
Step 8
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and get ready to make the creamy sauce that really makes these potatoes "scalloped".

Heat the 2Tbs of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Step 9
Add in the flour once the butter has melted and is just beginning to bubble.
Step 10
Whisk the flour into the hot butter. It will become a thick bubbly paste.

Keep cooking and whisking for at least 30 seconds up to a minute. If you begin to add the milk/broth mixture too soon, it'll taste like raw flour... yuck.
Step 11
Be ready with your liquids.

I measure the milk and broth in the same measuring cup, and then I'm ready to slowly add the whole mix.
Step 12
Slowly pour in some of the liquid and whisk.

It will become a thick paste yet again.
Step 13
Continue adding and whisking until you're left with what appears to be a saucepan full of milk.
Step 14
Whisk regularly for about 15 minutes or until thickened.

I know this seems like it takes forever, but that's just the nature of cream sauces.

Add in the spices and you're ready to layer up this bad boy!
Step 15
Butter the baking dish of your choice.

I'm sorry I don't know the exact size of this one. I've had it for years, and it's the one I seem to use for almost everything.
Step 16
Ladle about half of the cream sauce into the the dish, and spread it around to cover the bottom.
Step 17
Shingle on potato slices into a complete layer next.
Step 18
Sprinkle over about half of your browned kielbasa.
Step 19
Now for about one cup of shredded cheddar.
Step 20
Repeat one more of each layer: cream sauce, potatoes, kielbasa, and cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Step 21
Yum, yum, yum!
Step 22
It's insanely good!

Beer Braised Short Ribs

This is comfort food at its finest!

Short ribs are one of those magical meats that you just really can’t overcook. The longer they braise, the more deliciously tender and moist they become. Braise is kind of a fancy way of saying that you’re gonna stew something. The hardest thing about braising is to plan ahead enough to allow yourself plenty of time for it to go in the oven. Kinda like planning a crockpot meal… as long as you start early enough in the day, you’re golden!

All kinds of liquids are great for braises: wine, beer, any kind of broth, colas, or even water. Here I pair dark beer with chicken broth for delightful results! The addition of onions, garlic, carrots, and thyme round out the flavors, and turn it into a whole meal in one pot!

Join me in welcoming in the cooler weather with these delicious Beer Braised Short Ribs!

Beer Braised Short Ribs Recipe

Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 6 big meaty beef short ribs (this is probably around 3 pounds)
  • 1 really large onion (diced)
  • 1 one pound bag of baby carrots (cut in half)
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 11.2 ounce bottles of dark beer (like Guinness)
  • 2 cups broth

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, pull out a large dutch oven, and position an oven rack so that your pot will be in the center of the oven once its lid is on.

This is definitely an occasion to pull out the big guns.
Step 2
We received this 8 quart Caphalon dutch oven as a wedding present, and it's probably the nicest thing in our house.

I love it! Thank you again Miss Joyce!

The veggie prep is pretty simple for this dish. First, the entire onion gets diced.

Just so you know, when I say very large onion this is what I mean...
Step 3
Not to get weird... but we're talking fill your whole hand, feed a family for a week, use it as a weapon in the zombie apocalypse onion.

Second, the baby carrots get chopped in half.
Step 4
And third, the thyme sprigs (about 6 or 7 nice leafy ones) get tied together with kitchen twine.
Step 5
Now that the veggies are prepped (not a very veg-friendly meal I know), move on to the ribs!



Step 6
As you can see, no two short ribs are alike. I always check out both meaty sides of the rib, because it's not uncommon to have a nice meaty side paired with a fatty or small side.

If you shop somewhere that prepackages its' meat, then you're kinda stuck looking at whatever is face up. If you shop somewhere with a full service case, try asking to see the other side of the ribs (without being a pain)... or you could always tell your butcher that you're hoping for some nice meaty ones and trust their judgement! I love it when customers actually trust/listen to me btw!

Anyway, generously season the three sides of the ribs where you see meat and fat instead of bone with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Step 7
Scoop a heaping tablespoon or so of all purpose flour,
Step 8
and sprinkle it over your ribs.
Step 9
Rub the flour on the same three sides, so that you're left with a nice light coating.
Step 10
Heat 2Tbs. of olive oil in your dutch oven over just above medium heat.

When it's hot, add three of the short ribs... meaty side down.
Step 11
You want to brown the three seasoned sides about 1-2 minutes each. When the ribs have a nice developed color, pull them to a plate. Add another 2Tbs of oil, and brown the last three ribs.

Browning in two batches will help avoid steaming due to overcrowding, and will actually brown the ribs faster than trying to do it all at once.
Step 12
Add the last three browned ribs to the plate, and add another 2Tbs oil and 2Tbs butter to the hot pan.

Step 13
Once it's brown and bubbly, add the diced onion. Toss around and cook for about a minute or so.
Step 14
Toss in the chopped carrots, along with 1tsp kosher salt and a few more cracks of black pepper.

Step 15
Give it all a good toss, and cook around 3 minutes.
Step 16
Add a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, and cook for another minute or so.
Step 17
Using a slotted spoon, scoop all of the veg out of the dutch oven.
Step 18
I put the browned ribs and barely cooked veggies onto the same big platter to await their bath.
Step 19
It looks like dinner already! Albeit a chewy crunchy dinner... but still.

Anyway, now is not the time to get distracted. Remember you've still got a hot pan on the stove!

I didn't go nuts trying to get every last bit of onion out of the pan, so this is what I was left with.
Step 20
It's time for some braising liquid!

Here are my liquids of choice.
Step 21
Ok, so maybe not. If I'd had beef broth instead of chicken, I would have totally used that. But hey, any tasty liquid would work here, so use what you've got.

Pour in both bottles of beer along with 2c. of broth.
Step 22
Turn the heat all the way up, and keep it at a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes. This will reduce the liquid just a touch.
Step 23
Cut the heat off, and get ready to add all of the tasty bits back into the pot.

First, add in 1tsp. of kosher salt, and a few more cracks of pepper.
Step 24
Then nestle all of the ribs (meaty side down) into the liquid, along with the bunch of thyme.
Step 25
Next, transfer all of the onions and carrots into the pot. Make sure to scrape all of the residual juices in as well.
Step 26
Spread around the veggies evenly.
Step 27
Almost completely cover the dutch oven with the lid, and place in the center of your preheated oven.
Step 28
See how the lid isn't completely on?

Close the oven, and forget about it!

This is what you'll see 3 hours later...
Step 29
Yum!

It'd probably be delicious now... but I like to braise it a bit longer with the lid off. Place the whole heavy pot back into the oven, and cook for one more hour.

Now this is what I call yummy...
Step 30
These would be great with all kinds of sides.

I served mine very simply atop a pile of mashed potatoes.
Step 31
Mashed potatoes, carrots, onions, and of course deliciously moist short ribs... I can't think of many things that sound as warm and comforting as that!
Kale Pesto Meatball Sub

Kale Pesto Meatball Sub Recipe

I have a serious issue with wasting food. If there is a scrap or two on Wyatt or Kerry’s plate, then I will shove it in my mouth no matter how full I am. So, when it comes to leftovers I tend to always find a way to craft them into a new meal. Though the rest of the family may not always agree with my concoctions, in this instance everyone loved the Kale Pesto Meatball Subs!

Earlier in the week Kerry came up with a delicious and healthy kale pesto. It was amazing on pasta, and there was a full jar of it left over. I took the pesto, and reworked it into delicious chicken meatballs, along with using it as a condiment on the buns. Once Wyatt got past that fact that his meatballs were green and not brown, he gobbled them up.

One other idea I had for the pesto was tossing some steamed broccoli in it… but that didn’t seem to warrant a full post. If you’ve tried some different ideas with your leftover pesto please let us know!

Kale Pesto Meatball Sub Recipe

Serves 4
Allergy Tree Nuts
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1lb Ground Meat (I used chicken)
  • 8 heaped tablespoons Kale Pesto (Some for the meatballs / Some for the bread)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Bread Crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/4 cup Peorino Romano
  • 4 Sub Rolls
  • 4 medium slices Provolone

Directions

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Add Salt & 4 Heaping Tsp. of the Pesto to the Ground Chicken. Mix it together until combined by hand. (Don't over mix, it will make the meatballs tough)
Step 2
Add the Pecorino and mix by hand.
Step 3
Place some parchment on a baking sheet and roll out some golf ball sized meatballs.
Bake for 20 minutes. (Time may vary depending on your oven)
Step 4
While the meatballs are cooking slice into your sub rolls.
Spread the remaining Pesto in the rolls.
Step 5
Once the meatballs are cooked add them to the rolls. Ours were extra long, so we only got 3 subs out of them... I also crammed more meatballs into it than I should have.
Step 6
Top each one with a slice of provolone and broil until the cheese starts to bubble or the bread starts to char.

Kale Pesto Meatball Sub
Step 7
Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!