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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clam Chowdah!

I have Heather to thank for this. Little did she know that at the exact time I was fantasizing about some good clam chowder, she was cooking some up over in her tasty kitchen and let the Facebook world know. Thankfully she shared her recipe, and it's a great one. I made a few small tweaks to lighten it a bit, although I don't think it's light enough for Cooking Light standards. It's super yum, though. It had the husband drooling.

4 slices bacon, chopped
3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
1 jar of clam juice
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
palmful of chopped parsley
1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter
up to 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart milk (I used whole)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
couple dashes of hot sauce


In a large skillet, fry up the chopped bacon until crispy. Transfer to a bowl and drain some of the grease out of the skillet. Leave a bit in there and add a tablespoon or two of butter. Once melted, saute all the vegetables for a few minutes until fragrant.
Drain juice from clams over the vegetables. Add the bottle of clam juice to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender. Toss in the parsley.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan (or crockpot), melt the remaining butter (about 1/4 stick) over medium heat (high if using crockpot). Whisk in flour, spoon by spoon, until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in milk slowly and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.
Stir in clams and reserved bacon just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maple BBQ Sloppy Joes

My dinner table has been an all out war zone the past several weeks. My children have been on a hunger strike and it's driven me insane! One is having "issues' with his orthodontic appliances in his mouth (expander/braces) as well as reflux, the other is being a copycat. There's been a lot of gagging, spitting, and refusal to eat. There's been bargaining, tears, anger, and kids sent to bed without dinner. It's hard for a mama who loves to cook and finds it therapeutic. Anyhow, we're seeing some progress and slowly starting to eat again around here. One meal that has passed the test is one I stumbled upon while flipping through the channels one afternoon. Rachel Ray was doing a fresh take on sloppy joes and I knew I had to try it. Her recipe is great as is. Since my youngest thinks he doesn't like onions or peppers, I just buzzed them up in the food processor before tossing them into the meat and they went totally unnoticed. In fact, he said to me, "Mom, last time you made these you put vegetables in it and I didn't like it but this time you didn't put them in and I love it." Sure thing, buddy...just keep on thinking that. Now I'm wondering what else I can sneak in there. Chopped spinach? Sweet potatoes?
Anyhow, here's her recipe. They're great on buttered buns, but I ate mine atop mixed greens since I'm trying to be "good." Today I ate the leftovers for lunch scooped up with some pita chips. And yes, I used ground turkey breast.

Sloppy Maple-BBQ Turkey Joes

1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey or ground lean turkey breast
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, scant plamful
Salt and pepper
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup dark amber pure maple syrup
About 3 tablespoons soy sauce
About 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
About 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 soft burger rolls, split
Shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
Chopped scallions, for topping
Chopped pickles, for topping
Yields: Makes 8 Sloppy Sammies


In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add turkey and seasoning with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until browned, then stir in the bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. In a bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and mustard. If the sauce gets too tight, loosen it up with a splash of water or chicken stock. Pour the sauce over the meat and simmer over medium-low heat for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Serve the sloppy turkey on rolls with toppings.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


As I type, I'm eating an experiment. Twice this week I've heard about soaking oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator (not cooking) so it's ready to go in the morning. It's more of museli style than hot, cooked oats. We all know the benefits of steel cut oats, but who has 40 minutes in the morning to make it? Breakfast has got to be quick and easy for me. I searched around online late last night and decided to try this:

1 part steel cut oats
2 parts milk (I used skim)
mix in a dollop of honey, cinnamon, and any other spices
let soak overnight in the fridge

So, after my early morning workout, I got the oats out, microwaved them for about a minute so they wouldn't be freezing cold and topped with a handful of fresh blueberries.
The verdict? Honestly, not too bad. The consistency is very liquid and the oats are quite chewy, but I like them that way.That's whats so good about steel cut oats, right? If you like grape nuts, you'd probably like this, although it's not nearly as crunchy as grape nuts. This is a very do-able way to get in some oats and fresh fruit in the morning.

I also saw a recipe from the Today Show that I'll try out. It uses rolled oats instead of steel cut. Here is is:

Overnight muesli

Mark Bittman
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (like sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, etc.)
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, optional
1/3 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
Dash salt
3 cups yogurt, plus more for garnish
Combine the oats, nuts and seeds, coconut if you’re using it, raisins, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the 3 cups yogurt, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Serve garnished with additional yogurt.
Time: 10 minutes, plus time to chill