With Joel away visiting a dear friend of ours in San Francisco over the weekend, Bear and I, eager for company, fled to my parent’s house. It was so nice to be back home for a few days in the house I grew up in. Bear particularly enjoyed chasing Dexter, my parent’s dog, as well as the extra attention that comes with having two grandparents around for a weekend. On Saturday we checked out Pinwheel Play, an indoor play area in Chanhassen. If you have kids, and you’re in the area, it’s a nice option when the weather is all but cooperative.
Grandma’s Chicken Barley Soup (recipe from Outta Here @ Food.com)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched for a chicken barley soup recipe and given up because I couldn’t find one that looked flavorful enough. I stumbled upon this recipe out of the blue a few weeks ago and knew I had to try it ASAP. Especially after I spotted Worcestershire sauce in the list of ingredients! I completely spaced at the grocery store and forgot to pick up the mushrooms, but we didn’t miss them. This was the perfect soul-warming dinner after a cool trip to the pumpkin patch at Waldoch Farm.
Sides (not pictured): Sliced cheddar cheese and red pepper strips
Classic Italian-American Stuffed Shells With Ricotta and Spinach (recipe from Daniel Gritzer @ Serious Eats)
This is your basic no-frills stuffed shells recipe for those nights when you just want a large comforting pan of something cheesy. I used jarred pasta sauce to cut a few corners. As with all stuffed shells recipes I’ve tried, most of the flavor in this dish comes courtesy of the minced garlic. Don’t skimp!
Sides: Steamed aspagagus
Mexican-Style Pulled Pork Tacos (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen One-Pan Dinners Special Issue)
1 (15- ounce can) can tomato sauce
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (3-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a 5 1/2 – to 7- quart slow cooker.
- Slice the pork butt crosswise into 4 equal pieces and season each piece with salt and pepper.
- Place the pork in the slow cooker and gently press it down into the sauce.
- Cover and cook the pork until it shreds easily. America’s Test Kitchen recommends 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours on high.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. Discard any fat.
- Skim the fat from the surface of the remaining sauce in the slow cooker and transfer the sauce to a blender. Process the sauce until smooth and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. America’s Test Kitchen also says to adjust the consistency of the sauce with hot water if it seems too thick.
- Pour two cups of the sauce over the shredded pork and mix to combine.
- Serve the pork with warm tortillas and desired toppings.
This recipe for pork tacos turned out pretty good. The pork was sweeter than I had anticipated but it was well complimented by the corn tortillas and my favorite recipe for guacamole (see below). The guacamole is a little untraditional but it’s so good!
Best Guacamole (recipe from PHLOX @ allrecipes)
Sides: Corn and steamed broccoli with butter and salt
Night Off. Leftovers to the rescue!
Crispy Orange Ground Beef and Veggies (recipe from Kelli Foster @ The Kitchn)
This recipe for orange beef doesn’t look like much. Please disregard the smear on the plate. Yet, we really enjoyed it! It was quick to throw together and the orange peel made it taste light and fresh. Even Bear, who does not particularly like ground meat, gobbled it up with gusto. We ate ours over long grain white rice.
Sides: Steamed snap peas and summer squash with butter and salt
(Oct 15th, 2017 – Oct 21st, 2017)