Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Break (and beyond) Cook Off

Okay, now, let's talk food.  For the first time since getting married I actually feel like a wife this week.  I mean there have been bits and pieces of feeling "wifey" but this week I've gotten to devote myself a little more to those things which usually get pushed aside so I can do school work. Mostly, I'm getting to make a home made meal each night this week!  This weekend I gathered some recipes and went grocery shopping on Sunday.  I love getting to buy fresh products and ingredients rather than Lean Cuisines and canned soup.  On the line up for the week: 
Monday: Jalapeno Pesto Pasta
Tuesday: Turkey Chili
Wednesday: Bottom Sirloin Roast
Thursday: Crock pot stuffed peppers

Jalapeno Pesto Pasta
I adapted this recipe from a youtube video for a healthier (lower fat/higher protein) pesto recipe.  It can be found here .  The biggest difference between this recipe and typical pesto recipes is this one cuts the amount of olive oil used by more than half and has no parmesan cheese.  Instead, the recipe uses white northern beans. In addition to these ingredients I tossed in two whole jalapenos in the blender.  I also made chicken strips to add to the pasta.  I marinated the chicken in light italian dressing, oregano, and garlic.  After this I dumped the bag into a skillet and cooked the chicken on low heat until done.  After everything was made I added the pesto and the chicken to whole wheat penne pasta. 
Chicken in marinade

Must use fresh basil!

White beans rinsed and drained

Cooking the chicken with a sliced jalapeno

Blended pesto

Sliced tomato 

Chicken done!

Combine the ingredients and enjoy! 
Result:  I really liked this dish and I think Jason also enjoyed it.  It really surprised me how the beans gave the pesto the creaminess you would usually expect from the cheese and extra olive oil.  The dish also worked well as leftovers (I had it for lunch the next day).  Next time I think I'll also add garlic in the blender when I'm making the pesto.  

Turkey Chili
Tuesday I made my first try at making chili.  Jason loves  chili, so I was feeling the pressure to produce.  My family has a recipe that we have labeled "Aunt Kelly's Chili."  It once won first prize in a boy scout chili cook-off.  I had asked my mom for this recipe a few months ago but never got around to giving it a go.  While at Zest Fest we picked up a "chili mix" which came with a little recipe booklet.  I decided to mash up some of these recipes with my family recipe.  Essentially, I used all the spices from Aunt Kelly's Chili and some of the add-ins of the vegetarian chili recipe I got from Zest Fest.  I also decided to switch out ground beef for ground turkey.  
All the ingredients.  Brown ground turkey first. 
Chopped  1 large white onion
Throw all ingredients (except beans) into pot and cover over medium low heat for 35 minutes
Add in the beans and heat for additional 10 minutes.  Serve. 
 Results:  We loved this!  We did end up adding some scorpion sauce to make it a little spicier.  We also had Jalapeno Beer Bread from the Czech Bakery in West, TX on the side.  This was Jason's idea, and it was the perfect addition to the Chili.  Jason will be taking some of the leftovers to work on Wednesday and report back on how it tastes reheated.  

Wednesday: Sirloin Roast 
Okay, I ended up forgetting some important prep parts of this recipe and thus it has been delayed.  I still have a very delicious roast sitting in our freezer that I cannot wait to use!

Thursday: ...
Okay Thursday was supposed to be the stuffed peppers, but then I remembered we were supposed to go to my mom's for dinner.  We ended up having a southwestern dish there as well so it worked out.  

Two weeks later and:
Stuffed Peppers!
I completely forgot to take pictures of making this dish.  Thanks to Jason's foresight he took a picture with his cell phone camera a sent it to me, so I did at least get the above picture.  This was a fairly simple dish.  First, I cut the tops off the bell peppers and pulled out the seeds.  Next in a large mixing bowl I combined ground turkey, brown rice, red onion, oregano, parsley, basil, chili powder, and garlic.  Then I stuffed the peppers!  Next I put them all into the crock pot and poured hot Pace Picante salsa over each of them as well as about 3/4 cup water.  Turn the crock pot on low and let cook until Jason got home.  Sigh.  I love that crock pot  :) 

Result:  Both Jason and I really enjoyed this.  They were probably a little overdone, but still very flavorful.  I think next time I will make one or two vegetarian or seafood stuffed peppers.  The ground turkey was tasty, but I can see myself enjoying something a little lighter.  

Final note,  I started writing my wedding blog post.  It won't be up for a little while as I'm still waiting on pictures, but when it does arrive there will probably be about 10 separate posts for it.  Get excited!  Or nauseated :)  

Until next time
The VrlyFries  


  1. Husband votes for seafood in the peppers. :)

  2. girl, you're da bomb. im going to be a terrible wife. I really hate cooking. but I LOVE baking. boys like sweets, right???

    1. I love sweets! You can come live with me (and Jason)!

  3. I'm marking this as a favorite so I can try these recipes! You are waaaaay better at cooking than me.

    Also, even though I was there, I'm super excited about the wedding post!