Tag Archives: beans

Book Review: Mexican Slow Cooker

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My newest cookbook is the Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider and it is one that should be on your counter, too.  For a bottom line up-front (BLUF) take on the book: I love it, but it is not a book for everyone.  I love the pictures, the obvious thought that went into creating authentic Mexican dishes and the flavors that this food delivers. This is definitely not a “dump and go” slow cooker book and I love that about it. I think there are plenty of those books out there and I’m not yearning for more of those kind of recipes. Having an authentic, inexpensive Mexican meal that I made myself with some prep in the morning and some prep right before dinner makes me feel like I am winning at dinner.

This book is a great option for the “weekend warrior” or home-intermittently-during-the-day type of person. This book has a few recipes that could be last all day in a slow cooker for people that are out of the house all day.  Most recipes are intended to be cooked in four to six hours on the low setting and most do require some prep (fifteen or more minutes). If you have a machine that switches to warm after that amount of time and are gone for several more hours this could be problematic. Although, I think this type of slow cooking is the best type of slow cooking. It allows me to sleep in on a weekend, drink some coffee while I slowly take in the recipe then char some chiles and get the cooker going and I haven’t missed that “golden window” of time where the recipe is a wash if I wait too long. For most of the recipes if you start them by lunch you’ll have an amazing dinner.

These girls love their lentils!

These girls love their lentils!

I love that this book has so many recipes that are freezer friendly.  We love leftovers because it makes a home-cooked meal easy and freezing does the same. I know I will continue to make these recipes and freeze some so that I can have an easy Mexican meal (or at least parts of it) ready quickly.

I wanted to try out a variety of the recipes that are different from things I’ve made at home before. We ended up having to substitute ingredients for several recipes because our grocery store options are limited, but we still loved the recipes. Here is our take on the recipes we tried:

Sopa de frijol (page 13). We shop at a pared down American grocery store so opted for pinto beans and regular oregano. I wanted to make this early in the week so we used store-bought beef broth instead of caldo de res.  This soup requires turning off the cooker and allowing it to settle for fifteen minutes to skim the fat from the top. The impatient part of me after a long day wanted to just eat already but doing this patient resting of the dish to allow easy removal of the fat made for a perfect dish.  This one was definitely spicy and smoky and really felt Mexican.

I love slow cooking overnight and then storing food quickly no safely in a 2" deep covered casserole dish. Makes dinner so easy!

I love slow cooking overnight and then storing food quickly and safely in a 2″ deep covered casserole dish. Makes dinner so easy!

Sopa de lentejas y longaniza (page 25). Our store sells the cured chorizo but not longaniza so we made a substitute.  We are a lentil-obsessed family so I figured this one would be a huge hit.  Four out of five of us loved this one. Hubby found this one underwhelming, but the rest of us loved the hearty, smoky flavor. This one was not spicy at all but had great flavor from the chiles.

Frijoles de olla (page 104).  I used less crushed red pepper than this one called for so that it would be kid-friendly and these are awesome. They came out just the right texture; tender but not mushy. These are great as-is but I can’t wait to try them in the frijoles refritos!

If you are looking for a book to give you authentic Mexican recipes this book definitely delivers. If you are looking for a slow cooker book that has quick prep time, easy to find ingredients and long cook times this book may not be right for you. We are really happy with this book and have already grabbed the ingredients to make costillos, torta de tamal with carne Colorado and burrito Ahogado.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Strange Week Ahead

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I think the kiddos and I will hit up a farmer's market (or several) this week for some locally grown greens and fruit.

I think the kiddos and I will hit up a farmer’s market (or several) this week for some locally grown greens and fruit.

This will be an interesting week.   Family and friends are heading back to their homes so it will just be us for most of the week.  We ended up with a ton of leftovers from the weekend (woohoooooooo!) and I had already started to prep a meal for Sunday evening so we’ll have to have that in the beginning of the week.  Made for a very inexpensive grocery shopping trip.  As Heather of RHONY would say, “Holla!” 🙂

Monday: Leftovers.  Kiddos had Dewey’s pizza leftovers since they had Shish Wraps leftovers for lunch and hubs and I had Shish Wraps leftovers.  I am going to mourn the loss of Shish Wraps.  Maybe Simon will let us franchise a Shish Wraps in Germany.  A girl can dream, right?  Luckily I do have a great tabbouleh recipe…the quinoa tabbouleh on my Favorite Healthy Recipes Pinterest page is the perfect balance of veggies to grains to lemony goodness.

Dark and stormy will have to be added to the menu this week.  We need to use up our ginger beer.  Aww, shucks.

Dark and stormy will have to be added to the menu this week. We need to use up our ginger beer. Aww, shucks.

Tuesday: Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad.  I already prepped the chicken and just need to prep the rest of the ingredients.  I think I’ll get this ready early in the day so I can have it for lunch and the rest of the fam can have it for dinner since Chloe and I are headed to P.F. Chang’s for a hot date with local dietitians. 

Wednesday: Leftovers.  I am praying we have enough leftovers otherwise we’ll have Ree Drummond’s pantry pasta.  I think she is my Woman Crush Wednesday this week.  What is not to love?  She is a city girl that is doin’ her thing in the middle of nowhere, making money, having a successful home and making delicious food. This is exactly what I aspire to do now that we are moving away from my dream job…maybe not quite the middle of nowhere.  Maybe more the middle of Miami or the outskirts of Washington, DC, but still.  Love and respect and admire her like woah.

Red beans and rice is one of my absolute favorite meals.  One of the many recipes hubs wooed me with.  Such a hunk!

Red beans and rice is one of my absolute favorite meals. One of the many recipes hubs wooed me with. Such a hunk!

Thursday:  Red beans and rice. Have I ever mentioned that I love beans and sausage and rice?  And that this is likely a meal we’ll have two times a week when Ryan is a teenager? That boy can EAT!  Luckily he would survive well in a developing nation due to his love of beans and rice.  He could subsist on rice, luckily.   I am skeptical of Paleo diets simply for their exclusion of beans.  Can you really have a healthy diet without beans?  I’m still trying to figure that out.  What do you think?  I just don’t know how to live without them!

Friday: Wingin’ it!  Chloe and I will be heading back from our road trip to drop the car off and send it on its way to Germany and hubs will have the kids to himself after our AMAZING friends watch them for the day.  He should totally bring dinner to them and some of his home brews, right? 

Saturday: Chorizo burgers with sweet corn guacamole.  Only Rachael Ray could come up with such a divine sounding burger.  This sounds like the perfect recipe for us to use up the rest of the chorizo in our freezer AND having some AMAZING Ohio sweet corn.  Ohio may not have great drivers (my Dad is still talking about the not yielding), but they sure do know how to grow some amazing vegetables.  The closer we get to CSA season the sadder I get.  I just keep reminding myself that I will be able to walk to a bakery from my future house.  Hope I can get some veggies straight from a farmer’s hands in Germany, too.

Gotta make another batch of these oatmeal bars this week to thank the kiddos teachers for being so wonderful.  Can't believe they are done with school!  This move is really happening!

Gotta make another batch of these oatmeal bars this week to thank the kiddos teachers for being so wonderful. Can’t believe they are done with school! This move is really happening!

What is your favorite Spring or Summer produce?  Strawberries? Rhubarb? Asparagus?  Peas?  Sweet corn?  I can’t decide!  Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great week!

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Countdown is on!

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Yummy bean taco soup with homemade bread and salad.  So tasty and comforting.  Thanks, Bakers!

Yummy bean taco soup with homemade bread and salad. So tasty and comforting. Thanks, Bakers!

It really hit us this week that we are moving…and soon!  The kiddos and I will be heading to stay with my ‘rents at the end of the house so that we can have all of our stuff picked up by movers and put our house on the market.  Need to use up more of those pantry staples!   We ended up not making it to the grocery store until the end of the week so had to subsist on what we had until then.  Here’s how it went:

Sunday:  Crispy chicken with chermoula and escarole.  Hubby bubby made extra chermoula to use as a marinade for the chicken and it really gave the chicken great flavor.  Our escarole had frozen in the freezer so we ended up using baby kale instead and it was great.  We ended up eating all of it…no leftovers from this one.

Monday:  Friends of ours brought us bean taco soup, salad and homemade bread.  Everything was so good!  We are a bean loving family so this one was a huge hit.  We are definitely going to have to get the recipes!  I love homemade bread but never make it…this one might inspire me to start, though.

Butter chicken, chickpeas and spinach with indian sauce, onion naan and garlic pickle.  Love our pantry staples!

Butter chicken, chickpeas and spinach with indian sauce, onion naan and garlic pickle. Love our pantry staples!

Tuesday:  Spanish stewed chicken thighs with crusty bread.  Indian chicken with chickpeas and rice.  I hadn’t made it to the grocery store yet so we had the Indian chicken today instead.  We had some onion naan in the freezer and garlic pickle in the pantry so we had quite a spread.  The garlic pickle we had at Disney wasn’t spicy at all so I didn’t taste test this one before putting it on everyone’s plate.  Oopsie!  It was quite spicy (perfect for me and hubs!) and the kiddos each accidentally took a bite.  Eek!  They just drank lots of water and ate lots of rice and chicken after that,

Wednesday: Leftovers.  With less than a month before the kiddos and I head out of town so we can put the house on the market I’ve got to get all of my favorite local foods in while I have a chance.  Today it was Shish Wraps!  Love that place!  We are going to miss Simon and Shish Wraps a ton!

Shish Wraps!  Oh, how I will miss the yummy kafta wrap, baba ganoush, shish fries and more!

Shish Wraps! Oh, how I will miss the yummy kafta wrap, baba ganoush, shish fries and more!

Thursday:  Red beans and rice…pantry staple!  We still hadn’t made it to the store yet…who knew moving overseas would require so much coordination?!  We always have the ingredients for this on-hand so this was super easy.  Always one of my favorites!  The only downside is that the kids are big enough to eat quite a bit and I have a big appetite from breastfeeding so we didn’t have any leftovers.  Boo!

Friday:  Clam shack-style broiled fish with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que copycat coleslaw and rice.  The fish had great flavor and really went well with the Dino slaw.  Hannah helped hubby bubby prep the slaw and Ryan was their “taste tester” for the slaw dressing.  They both wanted to scoop their own slaw.  Made a little bit of a mess but they ate a ton of it!  Who doesn’t love the Dino slaw?!

Clamshack style fish with slaw and rice.  Food styling by Hannah...not bad for a four year old!

Clamshack style fish with slaw and rice. Food styling by Hannah…not bad for a four year old!

Have you had to tackle a big move that required cleaning out all of your pantry and freezer staples?  Do you have any tips for using things up?  Thanks for stopping by and staying a while!

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Best chicken EVER!

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Love this slow cooker!  Gotta ship this one ahead so it is there when we arrive in Germany!

Love this slow cooker! Gotta ship this one ahead so it is there when we arrive in Germany!

This week we had the best chicken EVER! And then some underwhelming recipes. Ahh, well. You win some, ya lose some. Better luck next week I guess. Maybe we should just have the honey-ginger chicken every week?! 🙂

Saturday: Honey-ginger chicken with lime and quinoa and arugula. Oh. My. Goodness! Shut the front door! This was the best meal we’ve had in a very long time. So good that we were still talking about it the next morning after we woke up: “all those layers of flavor.” “I know! And that skin; so crispy and flavorful!” I totally ate the chicken skin and I’m a dietitian. That says something. This was a meal that when you speak of it afterwards it feels like dirty talk. That good. The recipes are on my Pinterest page. You MUST try them!

Sunday: Butcher shop chicken with potatoes and romaine salad. This chicken was a really good, mild-flavored chicken. It was no honey-ginger chicken with lime, but still good. Both kids ate a ton of chicken. Let the clucking commence.

Looked so pretty...looks were somewhat deceiving.

Looked so pretty…looks were somewhat deceiving.

Monday: Steamed sausage, sauerkraut and pierogis in the slow cooker. This was divine as usual! Ryan licked all of the potatoes out of the pierogis before eating the dough…such a two year old! This meal made me even more excited for our big move to Germany. Sausage and sauerkraut here I come!

Tuesday: Tuscan-style garlic-herb pork chops with salad and beans.  The pork chops were just okay and the bean salad was pretty bland. Even with a bunch of things that usually add flavor (all those herbs! Lemon zest! Capers!) it just all tasted very one note to me and hubby bubby. Hannah loved the beans. She scooped herself two giant spoonfuls after she ate her first portion. Girl sure does love her beans!

Wednesday: Leftovers. The good wife that I am I let hubby bubby have the honey-ginger chicken and I ate the pierogis and sausage. More chicken for the kiddos. Still so many pork chops left. Rut roh.

Hubby bubby's heavenly pasta.  I'm still swooning!

Hubby bubby’s heavenly pasta. I’m still swooning!

Thursday: Indian butter chicken with basmati rice and Indian-style chickpeasHubby bubby whipped together pasta with sausage and fire roasted tomatoes. It was delish and used up stuff from the fridge, freezer and pantry! My very own Tom Colicchio (sans baldness)…or maybe Bobby Flay. Swoon!

Friday: Giada DeLaurentiis’ Pirate pasta. I hate to write this because I have a total girl crush on Giada, but we didn’t love this one. I usually love pasta with olives and capers…puttanesca is one of my favorites! I think the tuna threw it off for me and the briny flavors made hubby not love it. The kiddos ate it just like normal, though.

Saturday: Dare I say we had to eat leftovers? Cringe. The only leftovers we had left at this point were about 8 pork chops (how many people did I think we were feeding?!) and the pirate pasta. None of it was bad, just still not very exciting the second time around.

Arrgh, mateys!  At least with a name like Pirate Pasta our little Neverland Pirates gobbled this one up.

Arrgh, mateys! At least with a name like Pirate Pasta our little Neverland Pirates gobbled this one up.

What are some recipes that make you feel like you’re “talking dirty” when you describe them? Did you have one this week? Hope your week was awesome! Thanks for reading!

 

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Our new normal

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Happy kiddos!

Happy kiddos!

We are starting to adjust to our new party of five.  Hubby bubby is really back to work, Papa and Gigi have been gone for almost a week and the kiddos and I had our first full day alone together on Thursday…and we survived!  I was super proud of myself for showering before noon three times this week.  With daylight savings just happening recently I like to pretend that it was really eleven in the morning…a huge success with a newborn!  So far we have managed to stay pretty close to our meal plan.  I know that won’t last for long. 🙂

Sunday: Pasta with sausage, basil and mustard and salad.  Going from two kiddos to three kiddos hasn’t been too crazy yet.  We have moved from a “man-on-man” to a “zone” defense.  This means we also are having to tag on and off in the kitchen at times.  I started the sausage browning, boiled the pasta and prepped the rest of the pasta ingredients and then Chloe was hungry.  Tag, you’re it Hubby bubby!  He swooped in and finished the pasta and made a salad with “chetons”.  What are chetons exactly?  Only the best croutons in the world!  When we were stationed in Washington, D.C., hubby bubby acquired the nickname Chet and he loves to make homemade croutons so they have now been dubbed chetons.  Yum!

Pasta with sausage, mustard and basil and yummy salad with Chetons.

Pasta with sausage, mustard and basil and yummy salad with Chetons.

Monday: French Market Soup in the slow cooker.  This is one of our staple recipes since I LOVE bean soup and it passes for a stew so it counts as a meal to hubby bubby.  The last few times we have used ham hocks they have been all bone and connective tissue.  What gives?  They used to be so meaty!  Anyone else have this trouble?  We are planning to buy some hocks and some diced ham for the next time we have this since it is much better with yummy ham chunks in it.

Tuesday: Happy St. Patty’s Day!  Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage and double chocolate Guinness smoked porter cookies.  We tried this corned beef recipe for the first time last year and it is a keeper!  The addition of leeks and rutabaga make me swoon.  I love how creamy the rutabaga is and the leeks turn silky and delicious.  This one is finished with a horseradish sauce.  Pretty sure that is not traditional at all…but so yummy!  The kiddos and I made some chocolate cookies using a smoked porter hubby had brewed.  These were so sinful and so worth every bite!  I think I ate five cookies before I put them in a Tupperware container.  They were super soft and the chocolate chips stayed gooey.  There wasn’t a strong beer flavor, more just a whisper of it which was perfect.

Italian chicken for St. Joseph's feast day.

Italian chicken for St. Joseph’s feast day.

Wednesday: Leftovers.  Didn’t need to make dinner!  Hallelujah!

Thursday: Italian chicken with salad.  I decided since it was the feast day of St. Joseph that we needed to have something Italian.  I had planned on doing something with an Italian spin in the slow cooker and this was the result.  I just thawed some chicken breasts, cut them into chunks and added them to the slow cooker with a sliced onion, a packet of Italian dressing mix and a jar of marinara sauce.  The kiddos gobbled it up, which was great because hubby and I thought it was just okay. Not one I’ll whip together again, but at least it was something.

Friday: Grilled shrimp burrito bowls.  Another Friday during Lent and this time we went Tex-Mex.  We all love grilled onions and hubby bubby is now over thinking the grill pan makes food “taste funny”.  I love our grill pan…even though it was the first way I started a fire in our kitchen a few years ago (leave a comment below if you want the full story 🙂 ).   I managed to make this one while hubby bubby corralled the kiddos.  We all loved this one and will definitely make it again.  Quick, easy and delicious?   I’ll take it!

Grilled shrimp burrito bowl.  Visit my Pinterest page to find the recipe!

Grilled shrimp burrito bowl. Visit my Pinterest page to find the recipe!

Saturday: Tonight we’re having honey-ginger chicken with lime and quinoa with arugula.  I’m pretty sure Ryan won’t try the arugula, but everything else should be crowd pleasers.

I love my Le Creuset grill pan!  I couldn’t live without it.  Do you have one?  If not, I highly recommend it!

Grilling onions and scallions on our Le Creuset grill pan.

Grilling onions and scallions on our Le Creuset grill pan.

How did your week go?  What helps you adjust when life gives you a “new normal”?  Hope you had a great week.  Thanks for reading!


 

 

 

 

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Happy birthday to me!

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This week was my birthday so I got to pick my birthday meal and cake.  The pumpkin cake was the big winner so we had that and it was so yummy!  Papa arrives late this week and we are all so excited to see him.

Arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette. Check it out at www.thegourmetrd.com!

Arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette. Check it out at www.thegourmetrd.com!

Sunday:  My birthday!  We had red-wine spaghetti and meatballs with arugula salad with pomegranate vinaigrette (check out www.thegourmetrd.com for the recipe!).  These were the best meatballs I have ever had.  The combination of ricotta and couscous in the meatball really made them tender and gave great flavor.  I think this will be my birthday meal every year for the rest of my life.  The salad was amazing!  Ryan was trying to scoop the salad up with his hands he liked it so much!

Monday: Leftovers.  A little earlier in the week than we usually have them but needed to make some room in the fridge.  We were all happy to have some more meatballs and cake, of course, mmmMMMmmm.

Pumpkin layer cake with some Halloween sprinkles (thanks, Gigi and Hannah!).

Pumpkin layer cake with some Halloween sprinkles (thanks, Gigi and Hannah!).

Tuesday: Marinated flank steak with bleu cheese sauce and salad.  The flank steak was pounded thin so it was super tender.  We all liked this one.  Ryan ate almost all of the blue cheese sauce himself.  He had a little bit of steak with his sauce. 🙂

Wednesday: One-hour Spanish chickpea soup.  Hubby bubby made this in the pressure cooker and it disappeared very quickly.  Ryan didn’t want the greens, but ate three bowls of the beans.  Hannah ate three bowls of the soup.  Such a happy mama that they love their beans like I do!  I am so impressed with how quickly the pressure cooker can cook dried beans. Truly amazing!

Thursday: Tonight we’re having the Asian pork wraps.  They are actually in the slow cooker now…finally remembered to thaw the pork! 🙂  This has an Asian slaw to go with it so they are almost like Asian tacos.

Friday:  Jerk rubbed catfish with slaw and rice for another Friday during Lent.  I’m hoping our jerk spice isn’t too spicy for the kiddos or Papa.  Hannah can probably handle more spice than Papa if we’re being honest.  Hopefully we’ll remember to cook a piece or two of fish without it just in case.

Ryan is super excited for Papa to arrive on Friday!

Ryan is super excited for Papa to arrive on Friday!

Saturday: Salsa verde pork with rice and salad.  Since our pork loin was ginormous we are using the rest of it for a southwest style pork.  This one is super easy…a good way to round out the week!

What are you up to this week?  How does your family do with spicy food?  Hope you have a great week.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lots of Leftovers

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Skillet chicken and noodles.

Skillet chicken and noodles.

We had some hits and misses this week. We ended up having a lot of leftovers going into the week so had an extra day of leftovers. The good news is this will decrease our grocery bill for next week! Here is how our week went:

Sunday: Sloppy tacos with all of the fixings.  Everyone really liked these!  I will be adding this one to my Pinterest page.  We tried these fiesta flat thingys and the kids liked that they could eat them without everything falling out.  

Monday: Skillet chicken and noodles with salad.  This was just okay. It was easy to make and tasted alright, just nothing special so we won’t be having this one again.

Tuesday: Slow cooker Brazilian black bean stew.  Leftovers.

Wednesday: Leftovers. Again! Luckily we really liked a lot of the food that we had around for leftovers so it worked out well having leftovers twice this week.

Brazilian black bean stew with rice.

Brazilian black bean stew with rice.

Thursday: Sloppy lasagna joes with salad.  Slow cooker Brazilian black bean stew. Ryan tore this one up. It had all of his favorite things: rice, beans and ham. Hubby bubby and I thought it was just okay. Definitely not as good as some of our other beany soups so we are firing this recipe.

Friday: Thai shrimp cakes with Thai-style celery saladOur amazing babysitter texted me early in the week letting me know she would be available. One more date night before baby arrives! Kiddos and the sitter had a pizza party.  Rocco (our German Shepherd) snagged the last piece of pizza off the counter.  This is definitely NOT on his special diet.  I would be mad at him but the poor guy has had an upset tummy ever since.

Cajun bean soup from the pressure cooker.

Cajun bean soup from the pressure cooker.

Saturday: Crispy chicken with shallots and lemony bean salad.  Hubby wasn’t feelin’ this but was in the mood to cook so he made Cajun bean soup in the pressure cooker.  Thank goodness we have a well-stocked pantry!

Went out for sushi for lunch on Saturday.  Ryan sure does love his sushi, miso soup and edamame!

Went out for sushi for lunch on Saturday. Ryan sure does love his sushi, miso soup and edamame!

How did your week go? What do you do with the recipes that don’t turn out well? Do you give them another shot with tweaks or toss them out forever? Hope you had a great week!  Thanks for reading!

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Warming Up Winter

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This week the weather will hover around freezing so we are making some recipes to warm up our winter.  We shifted some of our meals from last week to this week so menu planning was super easy this time around.  Hopefully hubby bubby won’t have to cook as much this week!  Here’s what we’ll be having:

Sunday: Sloppy tacos with all of the fixings.  After browning the taco meat bakes in the oven to form a crust…seems interesting!

Monday: Skillet chicken and noodles with salad.  It feels wrong to eat salad on cold winter days so I am going to try to start growing my own lettuce in an old coffee mug (check my Pinterest page if you want to see what directions I’ll be following).  We always make salad dressings from scratch since it is super easy and then we can tweak them to be just how we want them to taste.

Tuesday: Slow cooker Brazilian black bean stew.  With many OB visits in the afternoons these days I am trying to plan our menus to have things that are more slow cooker or prep ahead on Tuesdays.

Wednesday: Leftovers.

Thursday: Sloppy lasagna joes with salad.  This one is a Rachael Ray recipe.  I LOVE sloppy joes and hubby bubby is not a fan of the Manwich variety so when I have an inkling for sloppy joes we usually use one of Rachael Ray’s riffs on sloppy joes.

Friday: Thai shrimp cakes with Thai-style celery salad.  Luckily the shrimp are frozen so this was an easy one to push back a week.  We’ll use the cilantro we already had for this when we have our tacos and then will get some more so that we have fresh herbs for this, too.

Saturday: Crispy chicken with shallots and lemony bean salad.  Did I mention that I have a love affair with beans?  Our kids bring lunch to preschool and pre-K and one of Ryan’s teachers joked that at Thanksgiving we were probably going to have beans instead of turkey.  🙂

What will you be having this week?  Are you so over winter and hearty food?  Will you be growing your own food this year?  Hopefully our seed starting will go well over the next few weeks.  I hope you have a great week!  Thanks for reading!

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Restaurant Week and Runny Noses

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This week was Winter Restaurant week where we live which meant we could go out to eat and support a good cause.  Yes!!!!

Pulled pork sliders with mustard barbecue sauce and cowboy beans.

Pulled pork sliders with mustard barbecue sauce and cowboy beans.

Sunday: South Carolina pulled pork and baked beans.  Hubby bubby was an angel and made dinner tonight!  It was delicious!  Everyone loved it.  I tried to eat a few beans off of Ryan’s plate and he freaked.  That kid sure does love his beans!  The mustard barbecue sauce was the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess.  Next time we will double the sauce so we can have extra and put it on everything throughout the week. 

Monday: Mini meatball and broken spaghetti tomato soupIt’s restaurant week!  We love to go out once with the kiddos and once without.  This week we had some illness spread through our house so we were only able to make it out once.  Today we went to Salar, a Peruvian inspired place.  Hubby bubby and I both got the chicken chicharrones, beef tenderloin skewers with bacon roasted tomatoes and tres leches cake for dessert.  The kiddos had a baby kale salad with roasted butternut squash and pomegranates, fish stuffed with cheese and crème caramel for dessert. 

Beef skewers and bacon roasted tomatoes from Salar.

Beef skewers and bacon roasted tomatoes from Salar.

Hannah loved her baby kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate and mushroom-bacon dressing.

Hannah loved her baby kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate and mushroom-bacon dressing at Salar on Monday.

Tuesday: Chicken with orange and olives.  Mini meatball and broken spaghetti tomato soup.  Hubby bubby prepped this on Monday so pulling it together was a breeze.  We are always very careful about food safety when prepping food ahead of when we’ll be eating it (more on that soon!). Everyone loved it!

Wednesday: Leftovers.  Thank goodness since I was under the weather and Hannah was headed that way.

Thursday: Slow cooker Caribbean chicken.  This was a big hit.  Hubby bubby ate three or four tacos which is always a good sign that he liked it (he can use the calories!).  The kiddos ate lots of chicken and Hannah kept asking for extra lettuce. 

Slow cooker Caribbean chicken with pico de gallo and shredded lettuce in flour tortillas.  Yum!

Slow cooker Caribbean chicken with pico de gallo and shredded lettuce in flour tortillas. Yum!

Friday: Thai shrimp cakes and Thai-style celery salad.  Hannah was home sick today so we are saving the shrimp cakes for next week since she loves them and she was just not up to eating much.  It turned out to be a Chinese take-out kind of day.  We’re using a mulligan.

Saturday: Either crispy chicken with shallots or sloppy tacos. Chicken with orange and olives, roasted sweet potatoes and frozen veggies.  This was awesome (see picture above)!  I loved the sweetness of the orange with the briny flavors of the olives.  Ryan ate tons of sweet potatoes and chicken.  He called them “bubblegum” (his word for delicious) and gave Daddy a big, enthusiastic thumbs up.

How did your week go?  What do you do for meals during times when your house is ransacked with illness?  Hopefully y’all stayed well this week!  Thanks for reading!

 

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Stocking Up: Pantry Style

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With only about six (hopefully at least four!) weeks left until baby #3 arrives it is time for us to start stocking up for our new addition.  We have most things we need for a baby with two other kiddos around, but need to prep the rest of the house for those days when we don’t have the energy to run to the store and just want a quick home-cooked meal.  Here are the things I’ll be grabbing over the next few weeks to stock up our pantry:

  • Dried beans and cans of reduced sodium or no salt added beans.  We try to keep kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, cannellini or navy (something white) and pintos on-hand.
  • Pasta.  We really like the whole grain, whole grain white or pasta with added fiber and protein.  We keep a variety of shapes with favorites being angel hair, linguine, penne, orzo (for soups and sides) and elbows.

    Dried pasta, rices and quinoa.

    Dried pasta, rices and quinoa.

  • Canned tomatoes. For diced tomatoes we opt for the no salt added variety.  We also keep tomato paste, whole peeled tomatoes and crushed tomatoes handy.
  • Rice and grains.  We consume lots of rice.  Even more now that Ryan has stopped sticking it in his ears (we don’t need any more trips to the ENT!).  We use the packages of par-cooked brown rice that are unflavored.  The flavored varieties, while tasty, often have 700+ milligrams of sodium per serving.  I would usually consume more than 1 serving (usually listed as 1/3 cup) so this would mean about 1/3 to 1/2 of my daily intake of sodium from just one small portion of food.  Eek!  We also keep long grain, jasmine and basmati rices.  And no dietitian’s pantry is complete without some quinoa.  Although, quinoa is really tugging at my heart strings these days.  More on this soon.

    Simmer sauces, marinara and salsas.

    Simmer sauces, marinara and salsas.

  • Sauces.  We opt for the reduced sodium options when available.  Our favorites are marinara sauce (we like to fancy this up in a variety of ways), Indian simmer sauces (my favorite are Maya Kaimal brand), a variety of vinegars and Mexican sauces.  There are so many of the Mexican and Tex Mex sauces on the shelves that we have options for the meat seasonings (the Frontera are our favorites) and both mild and spicy salsas.
  • Onions, potatoes and winter squash.  This includes sweet onions and red onions, shallots (which are truly Hannah’s favorite color since they are “pinkish-purplish”), russet potatoes, mini Yukon golds, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
  • Bananas and apples.   We try to keep these along with any seasonal fruit that can stay out in the pantry or on the counter.  My absolute favorite apples are Jazz apples and Empire apples (the New Yorkers will understand).
Think I may have a vinegar addiction!

Think I may have a vinegar addiction!

What do you keep on-hand at all times?  What are your favorite pantry staples?  Thanks for reading!  Come back soon!

 

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