05 December 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

Y'all, I know what you're thinking: just another cookie recipe. But these are the BEST gingerbread cookies evvvaaaaah. I would eat them for dinner if I didn't have a child to feed and a husband who wouldn't really appreciate eating cookies as a meal. #ughgrownups

They are perfect for decorating because they are not very sweet themselves, so you won't feel sick from sugar overload. But I also like them without decoration, because they can stand on their own little delicious feet. Until I eat those feet off.

I'm your worst nightmare, Gingy.


3 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

9 Tablespoons melted butter (that's 1 stick and 1 T)
2/3 C brown sugar
3/4 C molasses
1 egg

Mix all those dry ingredients together in a bowl (not your big bowl, some other random bowl). Enjoy the smell of Christmas and set aside.

Melt the butter (just do it ok), add it to your big bowl, then add brown sugar and molasses. Beat those together, then add your egg. Make sure they are thoroughly creamed together.

Add your dry ingredients in 2 parts; mix until combined (but no more than that; you don't want to overbeat your dough). Divide into two parts, pinch off a bite to eat, then wrap each part in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably all day or overnight).

After that you can shape your dough in whatever way you'd like. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

"Tico" Tacos

We eat the heck out of some tacos in this family. Mostly bc Ezra will actually eat them, usually without even complaining that he "doesn't like this dinner." They also make a pound of ground beef stretch over at least one round of leftovers.

A word of caution on crunchy taco shells: some of them are GROSS. And pretty much all of them are gross if you don't recrisp them in the oven before eating. We have a toaster oven that we love at least as much as a pet (sorry, Django) and use all the time every day. What I'm saying is, the next toaster that gives out on you, buy a toaster oven. It's what you need if you live where it's miserably hot for half the year. Ours is even mounted under the cabinet, so the countertop is free for storing Stephen's many coffee things  being covered in sugar, coffee grounds and toast crumbs  more food prep.

Not my best friend, but close.
1/2 - 1 tablespoon oil
1 lb ground beef
1 baking potato
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 an onion
1 lime
1 can of unsalted black beans
taco shells (get Taco Bell brand shells if they sell them at your grocery store. They are the legit best.)
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack

I love this dinner because all the prep work I have to do is making sure the beef is at least mostly thawed, chopping a bit of onion, and small-dicing a potato. So I do it during Ezra's nap. If you want to use fresh garlic, mince however much you'd like. I suggest 2 cloves.

About an hour before you eat, heat your oil on at least medium heat and add potatoes. Don't stir them too often, every 5 minutes max. Let them cook until they are almost done (which will take a while, 20-30 mins). Transfer to your toaster oven and bake them at 350 until I say so.

Now you'll brown your beef. Put it in that same pan you had the potatoes in, get it browning, and add the onion & your spices. Some of you may be used to "eyeballing it" on the spices when you season ground beef, and your eyes may bug out when you use this much spice. But if you eyeball it based on what you'd usually use for just a pound of ground beef, your tacos will be super bland, bc you're sticking a whole can of black beans and a whole potato in it. Be brave! Be bold! Push past the fear of over-seasoning!

Use the time the meat takes to open and drain those beans, and rinsing some cilantro. You can either pick off the leaves & just add them for garnish, or you can chop the leaves and stems and add them to your meat riiiight before serving.

Once the meat is cooked, drain the grease if you need to, then add the beans and turn the heat to low. Get those heated and juice your lime over those beautiful taco guts you're making.

Take the potatoes out and start toasting your taco shells. A WORD OF CAUTION: in a toaster oven, taco shells go from this:

to this:

in about 10 actual seconds. So KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SHELLS. Also maybe buy extras if you have kids because they are so good at being crazy right when you should be trying not to burn your taco shells. #stopthrowingthings

Add the potatoes to your meat & fill up those beautiful, not-burned shells, and sprinkle some cheese on top. You could also add lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, but I think those are for people who don't care enough about meat.

02 December 2014

Baked Potato Soup

I love when it gets cold enough for me to make this. I also love that it makes a ton of soup; I make it on our last day off before the week, and we eat on it for a few days. There is naaaathing healthy about it, but it's delicious and it's not like I'm making it every other week oh except I definitely just did.

Be still my heart.
Listen, you can make this with another kind of potato, but you shouldn't make it with anything other than Yukon golds. It's just a fact, and I'm the one with the recipe. They're not expensive.

a whole bag of Yukon gold potatoes (5#)
~48 oz reduced sodium chicken broth (a little more also works well)
a package of bacon (I prefer center cut -- less fat)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion
1/4-1/2 t black pepper
1/4-1/2 t red pepper/cayenne pepper
1-2 C frozen corn
2 C heavy cream
shredded cheddar (for garnish)

Get out your big pot and pour the chicken broth in it. Start the heat on medium. If you like skin on your potatoes, congratulations, you're a grown up! If you're like me, peel the potatoes and cut them into what-will-be large bites. Dump them in the broth.

Mince the garlic and small dice the onion and add them to the broth. Also add the black pepper and the red pepper. Be adventurous! We use the half teaspoon of both and it's not too hot for me. Stephen adds more black pepper to his bc his love affair with black pepper predates our relationship.

As that's heating up, start cooking your bacon. I like my bacon very well done, but it's going in the pot, so you don't need to be too picky.

Once the broth starts to boil, turn the heat down to where it simmers, and keep it covered. When your bacon's done, crumble it and throw it in the pot.

Hey, beautiful.

When you're about 15 minutes away from when you want to eat, turn the heat up just a bit and add the corn. Let the soup come back up to a boil, then add the cream. Let the soup heat up again, then you're ready to go. Garnish with cheddar. You can also garnish this with extra green onions you may have in your fridge that will totally wilt soon if you don't use them.

You could also get sassy with some sour cream, but we're more traditional than that.

01 December 2014

Beef & Snap Pea Stir Fry

Significantly adapted from this recipe.

I made this last week, and it was so yummy, I really wanted to eat it again. Right away. I was so sad there wasn't more, but I was glad bc there wasn't room in my tummy for more, but I probably would have tried anyway.

I have 3 different stir fry recipes I go to often. This one is super perfect for when your grocery store has a good sale on steak. I used NY strip for this last one, and it was incredible. HEB has a great deal on strips every so often, and I always stock up. bc I love steak like so much.

Marry me. Except not on a wooden cutting board ew.

1 nice-sized steak, sliced thin
~1 lb of sugar snap peas (they're the puffy kind; the flat ones are snow peas)
1 Tablespoon oil of your choosing (but sesame is de bessst)
a thumb of fresh ginger
2 large or 3 small cloves of garlic
a few scallions/chives/green onions
1 C beef broth
1/2 C soy sauce
1-2 Tablespoon cornstarch
red pepper flakes to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)
rice (or ramen noodles)
wonton strips

The great thing about this recipe is it stretches one good-sized steak into enough for our family (Ezra is required to eat 3 pieces of meat, so if your kids actually eat meat, you may want to go for two steaks). When I get home from with my like 8 or 9 steaks, I set aside one or two, slice them really thin, and stick them in their own little baggies. You can also freeze the sugar snap peas, but they keep for a while in the fridge too (I've often made them go a week or longer. It probably makes them a little sad, but I'm not a kind mistress to my food).

First thing to do is prep your ginger and garlic. Fresh ginger is not always necessary, but it is here. And it's cheap; don't be scared of it! Try to get some that's young-looking - the skin will look kind of translucent. Much easier to cut. Mince those together and smell. Yum.

Now you should start your rice, or make your ramen. If you're using ramen, don't use the flavor packets, but you could cook it in some extra beef broth. Now is also the time to blanch your snap peas. Heat up plenty of water in a pot; while that's going, get another bowl of nice cold water (the idea behind the cold water is to stop the cooking process quickly so the peas don't overcook). Once the water is boiling, toss the snappies in there and let em boil for two minutes, then drain them and plunk em in the cold water. You can leave them there for now.

Start heating your oil on maybe medium? Medium-high? We have demon burners, so mine's at like a 4, but it's hot enough to make the garlic and ginger sizzle and get fragrant in 20 or 30 seconds. Once it's smelling so yummy, give it a stir and add the beef. The beef should start cooking quickly, so stir it when it starts browning.

While that's cooking, whisk together broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Once the steak is just cooked, add the red pepper flakes, then the snap peas, then the broth concoction. Give it a good stir. Once the broth starts to boil, turn off the heat and add the scallions. You're done!

Yay so yummy! I serve it on a bed of rice with wonton strips on top. You can find these at HEB on the salad aisle by the croutons. They are stoooooopid yummy. srsly. I use them to bribe my kid to eat his meat.

Marry me also. #bigamist
Okay that's all.