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My sweet husband gave me a waffle maker for Christmas (possibly after a few months of me whining about how much I wanted one). He was convinced that I wouldn’t use it very much, and he had a point. Waffle makers are often limited to breakfast.

Until now.

I present you with chili con carne over cornmeal waffles. I used Elise’s chili con carne recipe (delicious of course) and Paula Deen’s cornmeal waffle recipe. I wouldn’t mind doing more research on cornmeal waffles to find something better, but the combination was delicious. Hearty and spicy – the perfect winter dinner. We topped them with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Now I just need to find the perfect breakfast waffle…

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Homemade Gnocchi

I’m not the “make your own pasta” type. I love fresh pasta. I think the taste of fresh pasta is leagues better than the various dried shapes you get in the store. That being said, I’m afraid of making fresh pasta. It seems like such a chore and so many things could go wrong.

After reading Heidi’s post on How to Make Gnocchi Like an Italian Grandmother, I decided to take the plunge.

I followed the recipe except for two places: I baked the potatoes and I didn’t make the fork grooves (because I’m laaazy). I read that baking the potato could make the gnocchi lighter and fluffier, and they certainly turned out that way. Depending on your belief on how gnocchi should be, I would bake the potatoes for really fluffy gnocchi and I would boil them for a firmer gnocchi. Personally, I liked how light the gnocchi were. There was no carb coma when I cleaned my plate. A good thing.

It was a super easy pasta recipe, and I would definitely make it again. As for the phenomenal, three ingredient sauce you see draped over the gnocchi, that deserves its own post.

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Chicken livers - yum!

After having chicken livers at a tapas restaurant a few weeks ago, I decided to make some at home. Chicken livers are super cheap – slightly less than a pound only costs about $2.00. I used a simple recipe from The Joy of Cooking – a great book for old favorites like liver and onions.

Put the livers in a colander and rinse them, then cut the connective tissue of the lobes. Heat about 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and let it brown slightly.  Add the livers (first seasoning them with salt and pepper) and cook them on high heat, about 1-2 minutes per side. When they are done (you should see a bit of pink still) take them out of the pan and put them on a plate.

Next, add 1/2 cup of chopped onions to the pan(you can also use shallots).  At this point, add additional butter if needed. Cook the onions until they start getting a bit brown on the edges and then add 1/2 cup of white wine. Cook that until it’s reduced by half than add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cook that down until it becomes thick and syrupy. Then add about a tablespoon of chopped italian parsely and a few drops of plum cider vinegar. Then pop the livers back into the pan to heat them up a bit.

The liver and onions can be eaten alone, or served over rice or pasta. I liked the idea of them over raviolis, and I think the flavors of the goat cheese and liver worked well together (if you like strong flavors of course).

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Crock-Pot Beef Stew

As the beginning of November has begun with storms, I though it would be nice to bring out the crock-pot and make some stew. I followed a fairly simple recipe from the crock-pot website.

I added about a pound and a half of stew meat to the crock pot. Over the beef, I sprinkled 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and stirred to coat the pieces of meat. I then added half a chopped onion, a few chopped carrots, some diced potatoes (purple, red, and gold), 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth, 1 teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1 bay leaf. I mixed everything together and set the crock-pot on high for 6 hours.

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Beef Stroganoff

Most Sundays, Cauli and I go over to his mom’s house for dinner. It’s a long-standing tradition with their family and one I’m happy to be a part of. Last night, we invited his mom over to our new condo for dinner. I wanted to cook something classic and easy, as I often bog myself down in newer, more complicated recipes.

 

I found the recipe for beef stroganoff at the always good Simply Recipes. The meal cooked up in less than 30 minutes, due to some minimal prep work (slicing the beef and shallots prior to cooking). I served it over some penne pasta (which was all we had on hand, though egg noodles and rice would have worked as well) with a simple romaine salad on the side. I followed the recipe exactly as it was written; however, check out the comments on the Simply Recipes site for variations.

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Judith Jones Redux

Sorry for the bad picture.

Sorry for the bad picture.

It’s been quite a while since I last posted. Seems we got busy all of a sudden and then we wound up moving. Needless to say I stopped cooking for awhile. As a result, Cauliflower and I have been living off of take out, delivery, and fast food. I hang my whisk in shame.

But we’re now all moved in, and I’m happy to say that I’ve begun cooking in our new kitchen on our new induction range. Tonight’s dinner was basically a tuna casserole, based on my previous posting of Judith Jones’ macaroni and cheese. I made the same bechemel sauce, boiled some macaroni, and added two cans of tuna and some frozen spinach (thawed). The result was good, though it was hard to taste the cheese over the flavor of the tuna. Next time I would use just one can of tuna.

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This dinner was created on the fly, which says a lot about how I’m growing more comfortable with cooking. I’m someone who needs to think recipes over for a few hours, if not days, and it’s nice to know that I can throw something together when an original plan doesn’t work.

I decided to make mushy peas again and toss them with some leftover fettuccine alfredo from dinner this weekend at my mother-in-law’s. As I was making the peas, I discovered the fettuccine was gone, so I settled on a casserole.

The outcome was good, though it’s a bit of a weird recipe: whole wheat flour for the white sauce (ran out of all purpose white) and half and half (no milk), goat cheese from Harley Farms (a great farm we visited this last weekend where we got to pet the goats), and my favorite crackers crushed for the topping. This really is nothing more than my previous posted mac and cheese recipe with a few additions. This would have been great with some chopped chives mixed in and some chive blossoms as a garnish.

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