Monday, January 24, 2011

Cucumber Salad

Ok, this might not be everyone's favorite dish but I just love it! My Grandma Rosie made this delicious cucumber salad which her family just loved. Her kids, and grandkids still crave it every now and then. I think some people have the exact "Rosie" recipe but I didn't get the recipe just the way she made it. So here is what I came up with. When I was in AZ for a visit, Marta and I made it for my dad Tim. He loves this and she wanted to make sure she had a good recipe to make for him. This is what I could come up with. Give it a try, I hope you like it like us Kindt's do.

Cucumber Salad:
4 english cucumbers, split length wise and seeded
1/2c. hellman's light mayo
1/2c. light sour cream
1/4c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1T. salt
1tsp. pepper
1/4c. fresh chopped dill (this is key! If you only have dried that's ok, but fresh is ideal)

*I used light sour cream and mayo to try and be a little figure friendly. But if you want to go all out, be my guest!

*Peel the cucumbers, then split them length wise and scoop out the seeds. Slice them as thinly as you can. Toss in a bowl. In a small bowl mix the the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and dill. Combine well and taste. Add more salt or pepper or whatever you think it may need. Toss the sauce with the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple hours or till chilled. This is great serving on a nice summer day when you are having a BBQ but if you're a Kindt you probably love this any time! Give it a try.
*Side note: As you let it chill, the cucumbers release water, but that's normal. With the seeds gone it wont be too watery. The sauce in the end is supposed to be a little thin.

BBQ Beef Short Ribs

If you are craving some BBQ I have a great recipe for you! Beef short ribs are easy to make, tasty, and family friendly. I love this recipe and have made it several times for my family. Hopefully you will try it too and enjoy.

Beef Short Ribs:
2 lbs of boneless beef short ribs
1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce...I highly recommend Brothers BBQ, which can only be found in Denver, CO but totally worth it. You can order it online. Or if you prefer the easy way, you can go to the grocery store and try the brands Sweet Baby Rays, or Famous Dave's.
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
8oz. water
1 yellow onion diced
1 carrot diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1T. good extra virgin olive oil

*Start by taking the meat out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Then pat the meat with a paper towel, this will allow the meat to sear really well. In a dutch oven pour oil in and heat over med-high. Season the meat with the salt, pepper and chili powder. Sear the meat on both sides till nicely browned. Then take out and put on a plate. Toss in the onions and carrot and saute for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue sauteing for 2 minutes more. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to bring up the bits from the bottom.
*Add the meat and juices to the pan and then pour the BBQ sauce, tomato sauce and water on top. Swirl around to incorporate. Turn the heat down to low, so it's just barely a simmer. Cover and let cook for 3-4 hours, or until fork tender.
*I love serving this dish with red mashed potatoes, or with fluffy white rice. Also if you can get your kids to choke down some veggies, I love to serve fresh steamed green beans or green peas. Hope you enjoy this as much as our family does!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


So I was thinking, in case anyone actually tries my recipes and doesn't really care for them, I thought I would list some cookbooks that I have found of great use.

I love any and all of the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) cookbooks. She uses simple recipes but uses great quality ingredients and it's usually pretty easy to make any recipe of hers. Also, she has a new cookbook that just came out called Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is that? I am going out tomorrow morning to buy it and hopefully soon will try her recipes and post about it. As you can probably tell, she is my favorite chef. I also love using the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. They have basic recipes for classic dishes, and usually a good variety to choose from.

The other thing that can be useful is a collective cookbook. Whether it's a collection of recipes from friends, family, co-workers, church friends, it is usually a great go to source.

So let me know if this helps. Happy Cooking!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

I made this classic french dish in a french cooking class and I have also made it for a cooking night with friends, and for family. It has always been a hit. It's so tasty and comforting with out feeling so heavy. I hope you try this out on your family. It is really just beef stew that has a little more flavor than the one you probably grew up with. I loved the version I tried in the cooking class and the version that Ina Garten has. She is just pure genius when it comes to cooking. Anyway, I think I have added my own twists to this yummy dish and I hope you'll enjoy.

Beef Stew (jazzed up):
1 tablespoon good olive oil
4slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes, or you could use filet mignon. It tastes wonderful!
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2c. good dry red wine such as Pinot Noir
4c. good beef stock (preferably unsalted)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
2T. heavy cream

*Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Then add the diced bacon. Cook and then remove. Remove the fat except 2 tablespoons. Then before adding the beef, you want to pat the beef dry with a paper towel. This will allow for good searing. Also, make sure the beef is in single layers. You may need to sear the meat in several batches, but it's totally worth it. Then remove the meat on put on a plate. Add in the onion, carrot, and garlic and saute over medium-low heat till caramelized, or for 3-5 minutes. Throw in a tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper. Then add in the bay leaves.
*Add the red wine to the pot and deglaze the pan stirring up the bits from the bottom for about 1-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the beef, thyme, and tomato paste back to the pan, then pour in the beef stock till it covers the meat.
*Bring pot to simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or till meat is tender. Then combine the butter and flour into a paste and wisk that into the pot. Bring to a slight boil until stew is thickened. Add in the pearl onions and heat for 5 minutes or so. Stir in the cream at the last minute and then serve in a bread bowl or with french bread.
*I hope you enjoy this dish!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie, slimmed down

This one's for you Carrie!
I love using the website for great recipes. But sometimes I can't find exactly what I am looking for but it will give me enough to inspire me to come up with a recipe of my own. So for a lower calorie version of chicken pot pie, it gave a couple ideas, but here is what I came up with. I have made this before, but due to the request for the recipe I recently changed the recipe a bit.

Slimmed Chicken Pot Pie: serves 4-6
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4c. low sodium chicken stock (stock NOT broth, stock has much more flavor)
2T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2c. diced celery
1/2c. sliced carrots
1/2c. diced onion
1tsp. minced garlic
1 idaho potato cubed
1/2c. frozen peas
1/2c. frozen green beans
1T. fresh parsley
2tsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
1/4c. flour
1/4c. milk (whole, 1%, 2%, doesn't matter)
1T. salt
2tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 refrigerated pastry pie crust (pillsbury has a good brand)
1egg beaten with a splash of milk
salt and pepper

Bring the stock up to boil in a medium sauce pan and then add the chicken. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. Then reserve the stock and dice up the chicken. Put chicken aside and stock in a separate bowl. In the medium sauce pan now add the olive oil and add celery, carrot, onion, potato and bay leaf. Saute on medium heat for about 8 minutes or till just tender. Now add in the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the frozen peas and green beans. Then add the flour and cook for 1 minute more. Toss in the herbs and also remove the bay leaf. Add the rest of the stock and milk in and mix together. Stir in the salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a deep pan (oval, round, square, or rectangle...doesn't matter). Then top with the refrigerated pie crust. Stretch to fit the pan you're using. Then brush the egg wash over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This will give the pie a beautiful sheen. Bake according to the box that the pie crust came from (try 450 for 11-13 min.). Enjoy with some simple fresh organic salad greens tossed in a light vinaigrette or just as is.

By using a stock base rather than cream or milk, it cuts many calories. Also using only a crust for the top and not for top and bottom, that too saves calories. Also adding in a touch of milk will trick your mind into thinking it's creamy without the guilt. I have made this before but change up the veggies. If your kids are picky eaters use what they will like. Some kids only will go for carrots and peas, but I think this recipe is a good way to trick them into eating more veggies. Although, kids are super sneaky and they usually will find whatever healthy thing you've put in. Luckily for me both of my kids love green beans, peas and the rest they will usually go along with.
Happy cooking to you all!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Healthy Lunches for the Family

Part of changing my eating habits is changing my families eating habits. So for my husband Dave I like to have several good options for him to choose from before he goes to school. It can range from trail mix and a granola bar with an apple to Dave's favorite go to choice, a turkey sandwich.
Peppered Turkey sandwich:
(from the deli counter) Jennie-O peppered turkey breast thinly sliced
1Tbsp. whipped fat free cream cheese, or cheese of your preference (1 slice)
red leaf lettuce
2 slices of all natural whole grain bread
Now, this is usually where it stops for Dave, but if you add more veggies it doesn't add hardly any calories, but fills you up more and gives great vitamins.

So, in the past here is what I have tried:
thinly sliced green bell peppers
pickles (sweet or dill)
cucumbers sliced
roasted red bell peppers
sliced red onion
tomato (roma, or on the vine)
So gather your ingredients and build your creation. Now either sit down, and enjoy it right then, or take it one step further and place on a grill pan to toast the bread and melt the cheese. Delicious! It's easy, pretty inexpensive, family friendly, and very tasty. It sure beats a lean cuisine meal.