Fatty Bear’s Delights

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Not Your Ordinary Burger January 30, 2010

Filed under: Main Course,sandwiches — fattybear @ 6:59 pm
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So I think it is fairly obvious I’m not the best of bloggers. I have issues with keeping a schedule, but never fear I am still here and still cooking.

So having ground chicken left over from the stuffed peppers I had to do some quick thinking of how to use it up so it didn’t go to waste. Cooking for a small crowd, meaning 1 or 2, is difficult when it seems like everything you buy comes in bulk portions. So you find yourself a) using it all at once and ending up with bazillion of leftovers or b) you end up finding that meat,produce, fruit item you meant to put to good use in another recipe transforming into a UFO in your fridge.

To help resolve my issue of eating leftovers for eternity and UFOs I have come up with a means to spread it out over time by making foods that can be frozen. Frozen meals are genius. (Tips for freezing food: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets/Focus_On_Freezing/index.asp, http://busycooks.about.com/od/freezingfood/Freezing_and_Refrigerating_Food.htm). It allows you to have the homecook yumminess without the hardwork, which is really nice after a long day at work. Back to the food now…

I had leftover ground chicken. I also had a taco flavor craving, but I didn’t actually want tacos, if that makes any sense…. So to satisfy this craving I decided to make an inside-out taco chicken burger. And to make it extra special I decided to make my own taco seasoning. So brace yourself for taco chicken burger awesomeness and bask in the happiness of knowing you can make bazillions of these burgers, freeze them, and enjoy them in less than 10 minutes whenever another craving strikes. Enjoy!

Inside-Out Taco Chicken Burger

I'm a taco...sorta

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb Ground chicken, depending on burger size should make about 3-4

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1-2 tablespoons DIY taco seasoning, recipe follows.

wrap or bun

fixings of your choice:

lettuce

salsa

avacado

sour cream

tomatoes

DIRECTIONS:

TACO SEASONING: I kind of just chucked all these ingredients in in proportions I thought was right based on how spicy, garlicky, oniony I wanted it, but for people who need a bit more structure here is a good guide from All Recipes Site. This is another great thing to make in bulk and save for whenever you want that taco flavor…

Chili pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, white pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and pepper flakes. ( I like pepper in lots of forms ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Put ground chicken meat in a bowl. Mix with taco seasoning. Divide the ground meat into portions of 3 or 4 depending on desired burger size. Measure out your cheese now so you don’t contaminate it with chicken hands by reaching into the bag.

To make burger divide each of your portions in half. Pat one half into a flat disk, it doesn’t have to be too thick because remember this is only half of the burger. Pat the other half into a round disk about the same size as the first. Sprinkle one half with about 1/8 cup cheese. Cover with other disk half and seal. Another method I have seen is taking your whole portion patting it flat, fill with fillings, roll into ball, and pat into disk shape again. Do whatever makes your cooking heart happy. *You might be able to put your salsa in there as well. I haven’t tried this yet. I imagine it will freeze alright…

Burgers are ready to be cooked or frozen! If you freeze them I recommend plastic wrap first and then foil. When you go to cook them later no need to defrost just cook straight from frozen. Just make sure not matter when you eat them the temperature gets to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally.

 

Sunday Sweet #3 January 24, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast — fattybear @ 5:19 pm
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As I have previously expressed I love pancakes. Luckily for me I have a friend who is awesome at making pancakes, let’s call him Sir Awesome. Sir Awesome is always coming up with new pancakes to feed me and challenge me with picking a new favorite. Typically, I pick the pancake currently in front of me. I don’t know what I would do if we had a pancake extravaganza.

His latest inspiration for pancakes came from Giada De Laurentiis’ Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with a HONEY SYRUP! You have not had syrup of yumminess until you’ve had this stuff. I kept asking for more and more to be spooned on my pancakes.

The one thing about Sir Awesome’s pancakes is that he is always tweaking them with secret ingredients. That being said when I wrote up this recipe I tried thinking WWSAD; the one thing I know for certain he would tell you all is do not limit yourself to blueberries any berry/chocolate will taste delicious in your pancake, GO WILD!

BLUEBERRY RICOTTA PANCAKES

You won't go back to regular pancakes...

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp orange extract (my addition)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pancake and waffle mix (recommended: Krusteaz)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition)
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries

DIRECTIONS

Stir 1/3 cup of water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and orange extract. Set aside and keep the honey syrup warm.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the remaining 1 2/3 cups* of water and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the pancake mix and cinnamon and stir just until moistened but still lumpy. Stir in the ricotta into the pancake mixture, then stir gently to incorporate the ricotta but maintain a lumpy batter. Fold in the blueberries.

*I found the batter turned out really thin. I would recommend less water or more pancake mix. Best to add pancake mix first and gradually add water until batter seems correct consistency.

Heat a griddle over medium heat. Butter the griddle. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the honey syrup.

 

Fill Me Up Good January 23, 2010

Filed under: Main Course,Sauces — fattybear @ 1:15 pm
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Ordinarily, I’m cooking for one, but since my brother started working local to me I now have a guaranteed dinner companion/food guinea pig once a week to share all these new recipes I plan on trying this coming year. Huzzah! Also, he provides me with a good excuse to go to my favorite ice cream shop once a week, Max’s Ice Cream, Glover Park, Washington DC, a must visit if you are in DC. Message to Max: Come back from vacation!!!! I don’t care if it is 20 degrees outside! I want ice cream!!

So originally I picked this recipe out of the February Woman’s Day Magazine because it was a slow cooker recipe. I love my slow cooker and I will spare you for now my lengthy rambling about why I love it and save that for a time when I actually use my slow cooker, because I didn’t use it this time. Say what?! I know, I know who picks a slower cooker recipe for that purpose and then coverts it back? Well, me. A slow cooker recipe requires that you actually have the ingredients the morning/afternoon before the evening you want to eat the meal and the place where grocery shopping fit in that day’s agenda did not allow for it. So I went ahead and did what I usually do and made tweaks, such as DIY Tomato Sauce. If you want the original recipe click the link above.

PS: I’m all about having pictures of the food I make and sadly I somehow missed taking a picture of my peppers. So that is the picture from Woman’s Day Magazine, if only my photography was half what theirs was maybe people would be even more tempted to try my food ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fill Me Up Good Peppers

Clearly the beauty of this shot indicates I did not take it ๐Ÿ˜‰

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bell peppers

2/3 lbs ground chicken

1 small zucchini, diced

1/3 cup quinoa, cooked according to package

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup raisins

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

about 2ย  1/2 cups basic tomato sauce (recipe below ๐Ÿ™‚ ), or 1 jar marinara sauce

1 tbsp basalmic vinegar

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking pan with foil (this just makes for easy clean up you don’t really need to do this). I recommend you start the quinoa now as well. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of peppers; seed them and reserve tops.

2) In a bowl mix tomato sauce, balsalmic vinegar, cumin and cinnamon.

3) In a skillet add ground chicken, zucchini, and onion. Season with a bit of pepper and salt. Cook chicken through. Add raisins. Mix with prepared tomato sauce, reserve some of the sauce to put on top of the stuffing.

4) Scoop into pepper shells. Cover with the reserved sauce. Cover pan with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

And that is it! So instead of 5-6 hours it only takes 1 1/2 hours, granted a little bit more effort needs to be made by you the cook. I served this with a salad and egg noodles and it was delicious! Enjoy!

Okay, so this basic tomato sauce makes more than you really need for the recipe, but you can always freeze what you don’t use or save it for a bit for when you are making spaghetti or pizza later in the week ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the taste of homemade sauce because it changes every time you make it and everything just tastes richer and fresh. So if you have the time and inspiration make your own sauce, it’s totally worth it. Enjoy!

BASIC TOMATO SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, shredded

3 cloves garlic

1 can whole tomatoes, undrained

1 6oz can tomato paste

dried basil

dried oregano

dried parsley

dried thyme

dried rosemary

crushed red pepper

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper
Over medium heat cook onion and carrots in oil until soft. I put a lid on and let it sit for like 15 minutes. Add garlic cook for about 30 seconds.ย  Add can of tomatoes, do not drain.ย  Stir in whole can of tomato paste. Shake on seasonings to your desired taste, just toss in the bay leaf (This is where the uniqueness of your sauce comes in so have a blast trying different herbs and seasonings.) Give it a good stir.

Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. break up the whole tomatoes into chunks with fork, potato masher, pastry blender, crushing object of choice. If you want a smoother sauce put in a blender or food processor and give it a few pulses until desired texture. If the sauce is too thick you can add a bit of milk or water to thin it out, but make sure not to add too much or it will take away from the delicious flavors you seasoned with. Another options is putting less tomato paste in. I like a thick, chunky, hearty sauce ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Going on a Nut hunt… January 20, 2010

So this post isn’t really much of a recipe, more like a lesson on saving money! Which next to eating is one of my favorite activities especially when I am saving money grocery shopping. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person that collects the free club cards almost everywhere I go. It’s like collecting beanie babies or pogs (0kay…I know these are dated examples, but I’m out of touch of what people collect these days.)

Anyways on this food mission I was curious to see if making your own trail mix at home really saves you money. Because when you are standing in the aisle looking at individual prices of cashews ($4.99), dried pineapple ($4.69), sunflower seeds ($1.99), dried cherries ($3.69), pepitas ($4.39), almond slivers ($3.49), and milk chocolate chips ($2.39) you don’t really feel like you are saving money especially when you ring it all up and start shelling out $26.00 for nuts, seeds and dried fruit. There you are spending $26.00 because you want trail mix and you think back to the already made trail mix for $2.69 and momentarily think what am I doing with all this stuff! Well I’ve got good news for you… according to my calculations you are saving money! Anywhere from 35-45%! Now that is bargain shopping!

So here you have it, the break down of how much each ingredient in my trail mix costs. (Cost is per 1/2 cup). To make this trail mix just mix a half cup of each of the ingredients listed below in a large bowl and place in snack bags as 1/3 cup servings. You can decide how salty you want it based on your selection of nuts and seeds. Most of them you can get unsalted or salted. I find having one salty is just the right amount of salt.

Sunflower seeds: $0.27

Cashews: $0.67

almond slivers: $1.16 ( you can save more money if you use whole almonds, $0.60)

pepitas: $0.60

dried cherries: $0.67

dried pineapple: $0.78

milk chocolate chips: $0.60

GRAND TOTAL: $5.01–> approximately 9ย  1/3 cups servings at $0.56/serving

Now I know you are thinking back… ummmm didn’t that pre-made mix you told us about earlier only cost $2.69. Yesssss, BUT! You only get about 3ย ย  1/3 cup servings bringing your cost to $0.89/serving.

And if you are a bulk online shopper, such as at Amazon buying 12 bags of that 6oz planters trail mix, you are still saving money making your own.

$24.04–>$0.67/ a third cup serving.

Okay, so perhaps you don’t care about saving money, but here’s the other great thing about making your own trail mix…you can put whatever you want in it! No having to buy 3 different trail mixes to fulfill your mango, cherry, banana chip, raisin, almond, cashew, peanut, walnut, date, sunflower, pumpkin seed fix.

I hope this post has inspired you to go out, save money, and get creative with your trial mix combination. The sky is the limit! Enjoy!

Money Saving Trail Mix!

PsssT.. Just wanted to share a link to another really good nut recipe from my foodie crush Alton Brown, without further ado GINGER ALMONDS. I took one commentator’s recommendation and substituted the arbol chili for 1 1/2 tsp chili powder. I also did 2 tablespoons soy sauce to make it vegetarian since I couldn’t find the vegetarian friendly Worcestershire sauce. Great for a mid-day/post-run snack. Enjoy!

 

Sunday Sweet January 17, 2010

Filed under: Dips and Condiments,Sweets — fattybear @ 5:52 pm
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So my inspiration for this Sunday Sweet comes from one of my favorite comics, Sheldon by Dave Kellett (Click on the comic below and you can go to the site and become a big fan too!). I feel as if Arthur, the duck character, is my foodie soul mate and when I read this comic I instantly had an urge to get into the kitchen and make my version of his MEGA BUTTER!!! So here is the comic of inspiration and my version of ARTHUR’s MEGA BUTTER. Get ready to be blown away by sheer awesomeness!!

And as an added bonus I’ve even thrown in an almost vegan Mega Butter Oatmeal cookie of MEGA proportions as well. This is a modified recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan with a Vengeance. I definitely recommend you check it out even if you aren’t a vegan.

So Mega, So Awesome!

MEGA BUTTER, MEGA AWESOME!

Watch out Jelly you are about to be dominated!

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup peanuts, roasted and unsalted (or salted if you like a saltier peanut butter)

1/3 cup almonds

1/3 cup cashews

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

canola oil/peanut oil, enough to get correct peanut butter consistency

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread nuts in a cake pan. Roast nuts in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll start smelling the roasty nut goodness as the are getting good and yummy. Take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour cooled nuts into a food processor or blender. Before adding the flavorings give the nuts a good blending. Give the pulsed nuts a stir and add the honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Turn on the blender and gradually add the oil. Do this very slowly, it takes a bit for the oil to really incorporate so be patient!! Drizzle the oil!! This takes about 5 minutes.

Forget the bread and jelly, just get a spoon and dig in! Enjoy!

MEGA BUTTER AND OATMEAL COOKIES

COOKIE FACE!!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups quick oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup homemade mega butter, (or you can go out and purchase a peanut butter of choice but that just isn’t as fun, now is it??)

1 1/2 cup brown sugar*

1/2 cup granulated sugar*

1/2 cup milk ( this is where you can make it vegan and use soy milk)

2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease your cookie sheet.

Mix all your dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, and salt) in a medium bowl. In your mixing bowl mix all the wet and sugar ingredients (brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, oil, peanut butter, and vanilla). Mix them until well combined, it will look creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. It will be a thick dough and safely edible!!! (For those of you who have scruples with eating cookie dough made with egg vegan recipes are great because they have no eggs! So dig in and eat a cookie or two worth of dough before you bake ๐Ÿ˜‰ or if you have more self control than others you could wait for the finished product )

To make cookies pack a 1/3 cup measuring cup full of cookies dough (I gave my measuring cup a lil’ spritz of cooking spray first so the dough would easily pop out). Roll the dough into a ball and then flatten on your cookie sheet to about 1/2 in thickness. You can use a large cup or pie pan with a greased bottom to flatten them, but I found even with the grease I had problems with it sticking to the bottom of the cup/pan. Place about 1 in apart so they don’t bake into each other. You will probably get about 5 cookies per a sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes; you want the edges browned and the centered a bit puffed. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes so they will harden.

You will get about 12 cookies. If you are in the sharing mood with a large crowd you can make the cookies the standard size and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Don’t forget to leave lots of room for dessert! Enjoy!

*I like to thank my foodie crush Alton Brown for this sugar tip…when you have a recipe that calls for both brown sugar and granulated sugar you can exchange for more of one sugar. Why would you do this??? Well a sugar with more brown sugar tends to be a softer cookies, while a cookie with more granulated sugar is crisper! Just make sure you have the same amount of sugar in the end. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar ( 2 cups sugar total), you could make a softer cookie by using 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and only a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (as you can see still only 2 cups sugar total). Give it a try with your chocolate chips cookies next time!

 

It’s a protein! January 16, 2010

Filed under: Main Course,side dish — fattybear @ 10:16 pm
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So as promised I have the complimentary salad to the yummy guacamole sandwich. Now I know some people think that quinoa is a carbohydrate because it is so often used to substitute rice or couscous or pasta, you get the picture. Anywho…the amazing thing about quinoa is it’s a complete protein!!! So instead of having rice with your Mexican every time why not try out this great variation.

FIESTA QUINOA!!

It's a party in your mouth!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeรฑo pepper, finely chopped

1 cup frozen corn, cooked

1 tomato, chopped

1 can black beans, drained

Dressing

3 limes, juice and zest

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Mix lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the chopped vegetables, corn, black beans, and quinoa to the bowl with the dressing. Stir together. Eat immediately or let the flavors settle into the quinoa.

It’s that simple! I find this salad works great as a meal with tortilla chips to scoop or you can wrap it up in a burrito with some lettuce and cheese, remember it’s a protein so you are getting a very filling meal! Enjoy!

 

The Good Fat Melt January 13, 2010

Filed under: sandwiches — fattybear @ 7:54 pm
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What’s green and yummy and super fatty, but still good for you??? AVOCADO!!! Avocado’s are so awesome they have their own website….Avocado Awesomeness, (I created that name, it’s not reaaallly called that).

I know I’ve given you all a recipe for guacamole before, but I’ve decided to give it a different use than a simple dip. I’ve made it into a super fabulous open face sandwich. I think this guacamole is so yummy you really don’t need much additives to make this sandwich delicious. I will confess the one problem with this meal is not much on the protein front, but never fear I have a solution for this problem coming up in my next post, keep a look out for it.

Guacamole Melt

Melt in your mouth goodness

INGREDIENTS:

2 avocado

juice and zest of one lime

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tomato

1/2 of red pepper

a few splashes of hot sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

Bread of choice

shredded cheddar cheese to sprinkle

How you make it

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut your bread so you have a good surface to spread on.

Next, Chop up all your mix-ins, onion, pepper, jalapeno pepper, and tomato, set aside in a small bowl.

Cut open your avocado andย  scoop out the insides into a medium bowl. Mash up with a fork, your hands, a potato masher, whatever is good at smashing really. Immediately zest your lime over the bowl and then cut the lime open and squeeze it out over the avocado. This stop it from turning that gross brown color. Stir in the mix-ins you chopped earlier. Season with your hot sauce, salt and pepper and you are good to fill your belly.

Now you can immediately spread your guacamole on to your bread, sprinkle with cheese and pop it into the oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty, about 10 minutes, OR you can let the flavors mingle, set it in the fridge for a bit and then make your sandwich.

Obviously if there are leftovers I’m sure you will know how to handle them (HINT: Tortilla chips). So hunker down and enjoy this tasty sandwich. Enjoy!