Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gripe of the Day: Stomach Viruses

It started with my daughter. Soon after we put her to bed on Wednesday night, she began throwing up. She continued being sick just about every 90 minutes until about 4am. I did four loads of laundry that night and got about 2 hours of sleep. My husband stayed home with her the next day while I went to work (and barely made it through the day, even with 5 large cups of coffee). That night I started barfing, my husband took care of the baby, who was also barfing, and we all were exhausted and miserable. Finally, on Friday morning, my husband succumbed to this virus also and now we're ALL sick.

On the bright side, I might lose a couple of pounds from not eating.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shrimp Tomato Stew

I just made this up and it's delish!

1/2 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 med. zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 pint button mushrooms, chopped
pinch saffron threads
1 bay leaf
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, more to taste
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 cup hearty red wine, such as tempranillo
16 oz. frozen peeled & deveined shrimp
2 cups pasta, rice or noodles

Saute the onion and garlic in 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil. When translucent (about 5 minutes), add mushrooms. Cook down until completely soft. Add zucchini and bell pepper. Saute another 5 minutes. Add dry spices and stir thoroughly. Add wine, stir, and add tomatoes. Let simmer at least 15 minutes.

Prepare pasta (or whichever starch you prefer) according to package directions. While this is cooking, get out the shrimp and run warm water over to separate them and to remove excess ice/frost.

8 minutes prior to serving, toss the shrimp into the stew, and stir occasionally. Make sure all shrimp are soft and pink before serving! Finish with a drizzle more olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and stir to blend in.

Ladle stew over pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan shavings. Serve with more of the wine you cooked in the stew. Yum!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Best Vegetarian Chili Ever

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 each: red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
3/4 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato paste
1 carton mushrooms, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 medium yellow squash, diced
10 baby carrots, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1-1/2 cups sweet corn
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
crushed red pepper
2 cans beans (I like one each of black and kidney), drained
heaping tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, mashed to a paste, more if you like it very spicy
salt and black pepper
pinch sugar

Heat oil in a large stockpot. Saute garlic and onions until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook down. Add chopped tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, carrots and broccoli. Saute about 10 minutes, then season with Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour in one can of crushed tomatoes, and cook until hot. Then add the corn, tomato paste, and the other can of crushed tomatoes. Heat through, then add drained beans and chipotle paste. When everything is hot and bubbling, add cumin and chili powder. Finally, let simmer about 10 - 15 minutes to let flavors meld. Taste one more time and season again with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Serve with rice, tortilla chips, or a dollop of sour cream.

Chili Cheese Dip

This is soooo bad for you, but so yummy. Chili recipe is up next.

2 pkgs cream cheese
16 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend
3 cups chili

Preheat oven to 375. In a casserole pan, spread the cream cheese across the bottom until it's about one inch thick. Then spoon over the chili. Top with shredded cheese and bake 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.