Archive | November, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa

29 Nov

No Soup for You!

Just kidding, friends. I am no soup Nazi. I am a believer in sharing recipes that are souper. Soup for everyone!

Summer has ended and the best parts of Autumn are behind us. Now Wisconsin is in this weird purgatory season filled with cold days and freezing nights, and neither leaves nor snow are on the ground. To keep my blues in check until snow hits the ground, I like to dedicate many suppers to soup. I have been waiting months to finally try this soup and The Roasted Red Pepper Soup was well worth the wait. A few tricks I learned while tackling this recipe will make my next cooking session much more time friendly and hopefully a lot less messy. Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa. Whole Living.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa. Courtesy of Whole Living

Serves 4-6


Roasted Red Pepper Soup

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 red belled peppers; roasted, peeled and quartered. [I made this soup twice. Guilty. The first time with solely red peppers and the second with mixed peppers (green, red, yellow, and orange) and it was fuggin’ delicious. Yep. I’m bringing “fuggin'” back, ya’ll. This was a bit spicier than the red pepper soup. Mama likey.]
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • coarse salt

Quinoa Salsa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (Cooks just like rice: 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. Boil water, add quinoa, turn heat to low ((or remove from heat)), keep covered until quinoa splits open and absorbs water)
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges, for serving


Roasted red peppers. There are two ways to do this. I’ll list both ways!

Roasting a red pepper with gas stove

First way: Using a gas stove

  1. Char peppers over flame of a gas stove, turning until blackened and blistering.
  2. Transfer to bowl, cover with a plate and let stand until cool
  3. Scrape off skins with paring knife and clean with paper towel,
  4. Remove stems ribs and seeds.

I personally don’t like this. I bet it would be a convenient way if I were to use a gas grill. Roasting peppers individually on the stove was not appealing to my time crunch, therefore I scoured the internet for a more productive way to achieve roasted peppers. I came across a helpful video and the directions are below.

Roasted red peppers using the oven

Second way: Using the oven/broiler

  1. Preheat oven to 500º
  2. Cut red peppers into halves, discarding seeds and ribs
  3. Coat red peppers lightly with canola oil/cooking spray and place onto a cookie sheet
  4. When the oven is ready, place peppers into oven for 30-45 minutes. I blasted the broiler for the last 10 minutes to get the skins nice and bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and cover the top of the cookie sheet with an additional cookie sheet. This allows steam to loosen the skins.
  6. Once peppers are at room temperature, remove skins with a paring knife.
  7. Cut skinless peppers into quarters or slices.

Sure, the oven way takes a bit more time, but I can do other things while those suckers are cooking. Productive time trumps wasted time, friends. And I count hovering over a stove turning peppers as wasted time. Ok. Next step!


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes
  3. Add roasted red peppers and chicken stock
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly, then pureé in a blender/processor until smooth
  6. Season with salt

Quinoa Salsa.

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, red onion, avocado, and cilantro
  2. Season with salt

To serve, lade soup into bowls, top with quinoa salsa, and squeeze with lime.

Nutrition Facts.165 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol. 17 g carbs. 78 mg sodium, 5 g protein. 5 g fiber

The local grocery store I go to had buckets of red peppers for $2, so I (of course) bought a bucket that contained 16 red bell peppers. ha. I tripled this batch of soup because 1. red peppers get pricey and 2. roasting and peeling takes a lot of time. I am glad I did because I have a large container of soup in the freezer just waiting to cure my pre-winter blues at my discretion. Roasted red pepper soup. So. Freaking. Good.



Happy Monday.

26 Nov

It is Monday. It is the Monday after Thanksgiving. I am battling a rather nasty cold that I feel I got while being at home for five days (worth it, I love being at home). I am on a lot of drugs so I can attempt to feel like a million bucks today. They appear to be working. This afternoon, I had an old bitty stop in to visit with me.

“Hi, there dear. How are you? How was your weekend?” – G

“Hey there, G. I’m fine. My weekend was great.  Just got in yesterday.”  – Me

{Insert several seconds of awkward staring at one another}

“You look different.” – G

“Yea?” – Me

“Yea. It looks like you just had sex over the weekend.” – G

“Uhhhh…” – Me (I had gotten my hair done over the weekend so I was not expecting to hear that…)

“Your skin is very clear and smooth. Your eyes are glossy and you seem more “mellow” than usual.” – G

“…Or it could be that I have a cold and am on a lot of drugs at the moment.” – Me

“Oh.Well there you go. You now have a “back-up” to look the way you do right now if you don’t get sex over the weekend.” – G


Game over. I’m done for the day.



Sh*t my residents say….

14 Nov

“Look, why do we, as a society, hate old people so much?” – Michael Scott
” Because they’re lame.” – Creed Bratton

{So not true…}

I walk in this morning with two of my residents who were also heading to the clubhouse for “bible study” (FYI -They rarely talk about the bible and are more intrigued about talking about things like Viagra (which is $10 a pop at the VA), homosexuality, and one’s color). One of the ladies said something funny so naturally I chuckled. The man bitty in charge of bible study look shocked that I was laughing and muttered to someone why I was so happy today. Of course I heard this (I may have small ears but I try not to miss much) and told him that I was most of the time in a good mood at work. Man bitty gave me a “WTF” look and said that he never sees this “good mood” from me. He then laughed and joked to his pals in bible study saying that I “must have had a great date last night.” Of course I wasn’t going to let him win this little argument we had going on. I corrected myself, explaining that 85% of the time I was in a good mood. He nodded, stating (again) that he rarely sees this. I then politely told him the other 15% of the time when I am “crabby” was when the bible study group and line dancers were here at the clubhouse. His mouth dropped. I smiled sweetly. The two ladies that I walked in began to laugh hysterically.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel that today is going to be a good day.

Liz Lemon Rocks. < – – You should click this. Made my day. Thanks cousin Dave for always doing this.



Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

1 Nov

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

“Oh my Catholic God. This is so good.” Nom, nom, nom. “I lurve leftovers…Hmmm…maybe I should blog about this.”

That was my conversation to myself about 10 minutes ago. I still have the savory taste of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala in my mouth (and the warmth of the spices in my chest) so I deemed this to be the best time to write all about it. Yes, a recipe is involved. And no, I did not make the recipe up myself. Click on the above picture for a link to the blogger who was genius enough to concoct this recipe.

I found this gem on Pinterest, which ultimately led me to the aforementioned blogger. I had this recipe printed (click here for the recipe straight out of my cookbook! —> Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala) for almost 6 months before attempting it. It was partly because I found the recipe when it was nearing Spring, which is when my slow-cooker begins its hibernation. Another reason is because I wanted to wait to cook it for guests who loves Indian food. Hey, I’m all for the encouragement of people’s taste buds to explore new cuisines…I just don’t want them to explore when my ego is on the line. First-time recipes can be tricky. YaknowwhatImean? And then there’s time: the chicken needs to bathe in a marinade overnight. I rarely plan meals ahead of time to marinate something. Anyway, the stars lined up and I told myself, “Self…it’s time to attempt Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.”

Time to shut up, Middlest, and get to the good stuff. Do not be discouraged by the ingredient list. A lot of spices are listed more than once because they’re used at different times during the cooking process. It’s super easy; pinky promise! The recipe below is what I did. My tweaks are highlighted in italics.

This is a 2 step process…just like a folk dance. Let’s dance!

Ingredients for Chicken Tikka.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skin on; bone-in. (I used a whole damn roasting chicken: thighs, wings, breasts & discarded the skin)


  1. Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container.
  2. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Ingredients for Masala.


  • 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes. I used my own canned diced tomatoes. NBD.
  • 1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (Whole Foods has this for $2.99)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer for easy grating)
  • 1 tbsp tikka paste…you could use mild curry paste instead, but then also add about a tbsp of lemon juice. <– I used red curry paste and forgot the lemon juice. Whoops!


    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • Salt
    • 1 cup cream <—nope. I used yogurt.
    • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped. I used about 1-2 cups of this stuff. I love fresh cilantro!


    1. Turn oven to broil.
    2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top.
    3. Take the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade – That’s wasteful…I poured the marinade all over the chicken) and place on the baking rack.
    4. Place under the broiler about 6-10 inches from the heating element and broil on each side about 10 minutes until browned. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through, friends. That’s what the slow-cooker is for.
    5. Meanwhile, in a pan over medium high heat, add about a tsp or two of oil.
      1. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes to soften.
      2. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant.
      3. Place the mixture into your crockpot.
        1. To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander.
        2. Stir together.
        3. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker. (I de-boned the chicken at this time. I never feel like working for my food once it is on my plate)
        4. Stir chicken into the masala (sauce). Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.
        5. Before serving stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt.
        6. Stir in the cream (yogurt) and fresh cilantro.

    6. Serve the chicken tikka masala sauce over rice.

    Meghan’s Rice.

    1. Using a rice maker (Godsent), add 1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water. Turn the rice cooker on. Wow. That was easy.
    2. Once rice cooker turns to “warm” mode, add a tablespoon of olive oil (or thyme-infused olive oil if you’re me) and a half cup of fresh cilantro.

    The only thing I regret is not picking up Naan for this meal. Pretzel bread was used for this recipe (thanks to Whole Foods), which was a nice substitute. The recipe could easily forgo the bread, but I think that scooping up the sauce with a piece of bread is a lot sexier than licking my bowl clean with my tongue.

    And that’s it. The recipe is delicious and a great way to curb your Indian Cuisine cravings until the next time you’re at your favorite Indian restaurant. My Milwaukee fave is: Maharaja on Farwell.

    Happy Eating! Nom, nom, nom…