Grilled Steak & Hummus Mashed Potatoes

Not only have I been blogging every day this week, but today is a two-fer! You can get your grilling on tonight with this Weight Watchers grilled steak and Hummus Mashed Potatoes from Gimme Some Oven.

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I had recently stocked up on some steaks on sale (most of my stories start like that, I’ve realized), because I’m a good wife and I know my husband loves steak…so what do I do? Create a WW recipe out of it. 😉 However, this marinade was just delightful! The steak was so tasty and flavourful and great to grill on a spring or summer day (or fall or winter…).

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The mashed potatoes were good too, but I added in more hummus than the recipe called for, and neither of us could taste it at all. They were good, just not good as advertised, if that makes sense. I used different potatoes (I can’t remember what kind though), so maybe the hummus just got lost in the potato flavour. In any case, it was still a successful dinner all around, and hopefully will be for you as well!

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Grilled Steak

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2tbsp chili sauce, or ketchup
-1tbsp packed brown sugar, dark-variety
-1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-2tsp mustard, course-grain recommended
1tsp ginger root, fresh, minced (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
-2 steaks

Directions:
-Preheat grill to high.
-In a small bowl, combine chili sauce (or ketchup), sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and ginger, and brush the sauce all over steak. Grill, flipping once, brushing steak with any leftover sauce while steak cooks, about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness.
-Remove steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Hummus Mashed Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1-ishlbs Yukon gold potatoes
-1-2tbsp butter
-1-2cu favorite hummus, homemade or store-bought
-1/8tsp salt (or more to taste)
-1/8tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
-optional garnish: chopped fresh Italian parsley, lemon wedges, extra drizzle of olive oil

Directions:
-Peel the potatoes if you would like, and cut them into large chunks, roughly the same size. Immediately add to a large stockpot and fill with water until the potatoes are covered, then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork-tender. Remove from heat and drain the water.
-Return the pot to the burner and use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until smooth. Then turn off heat, and add in butter, hummus, salt and pepper, and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Then top with garnishes if desired.

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Homemade Zuppa Toscana

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I really do love the Olive Garden. My husband and I usually only go there when we get a gift card, or if we are randomly craving soup, salad, and breadsticks. Speaking of the breadsticks, we have debated several times which is better, OG breadsticks or Red Lobster biscuits (which, we also only go to Red Lobster when we get a gift card, which seems to be often…). Mmm. Totally craving all of that right now.
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Also speaking of soup at the Olive Garden, while I love most of them, zuppa toscana is just my FAVOURITE. I mean, how could it not be? It is fully of amazingness – ground sausage, not too overly cooked kale, potato, cream…oh so heavenly. I also have been discovering several knockoff (aka homemade) zuppa toscana recipes, which I just love! This sausage, potato, and kale soup from The Pioneer Woman is no different – and who doesn’t adore the pioneer woman? 😉

Does it still count as a different recipe, if each version is basically the same, just tweaked very slightly to that particular chef or blogger’s taste? I think so. Yes. Because I would like to keep making it all the time! 😉
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I made a few minor changes, but basically to suit my own needs – I used regular ground pork sausage (it was leftover from my brother’s pig – mmmm homegrown pork) and russet potatoes (as they were given to me by my M-i-L and I needed to use them up). I also altered the milk, cream, and half’n’half ratio, as I didn’t have the appropriate amounts of them all (I think I mixed heavy cream with the half’n’half, and used nonfat milk). Also, I used only one head of kale, since I actually reduced the liquid ingredients a little (it calls for 12 servings). I will post the instructions as originally written, and feel free to alter to your own needs! =)

The best part of making so much amazing soup? LEFTOVERS!!!
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Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (aka Homemade Zuppa Toscana)

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-2 bunches kale, cut into bite-size pieces
-12 small red potatoes, sliced thin
-1 onion, chopped
-1.5lbs Italian sausage
-1/2tsp red pepper flakes
-2cu low sodium chicken broth
-2cu whole milk
-4cu half-and-half
-splash of heavy cream
-fresh or dried oregano
-black pepper, to taste

Directions:
-Rise and chop the kale, then set aside.
-In a medium pot. boil sliced potatoes until tender, then drain and set aside.
-In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage, drain the fat, stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Simmer for 30 minutes.
-Taste the soup and adjust the flavouring as needed. Then add the potatoes, a splash of heavy cream for richness, and stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes, then serve.

Baked Potato Soup

It is definitely that wintery, blustery season of hot cocoa, fuzzy socks or slippers, steaming mugs of soup, and…well, I could just go on and on! It is also the season of decorated trees! As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I got our tree over the weekend and it’s mostly all decorated (“mostly” because my husband hasn’t added his tinsel yet, though he insisted we have it). I love coming home to the smell of a fresh (albeit dead) tree in my living room. I love it even more when I come home after my husband, cuz then the lights are already on. =)

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But let’s go back to the topic of steaming mugs of soup. I love soup. Soup is amazing. I found this loaded baked potato soup from How Sweet It Is, and it is AMAZING. I used to make a lot of recipes from this blogger, however her recipes (especially the more recent ones), can be pretty complex, with tons of ingredients, and, well, I just don’t have time for that. But this…was heavenly. Seriously. I can’t remember what kind of potatoes I used – I think it was my reds that I had to get used up, and what better way to do that, than with potato soup?

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I’ve made potato soup before (or at least soup including potatoes), but I think this was the first time I baked the potatoes first. So yummy! Also, I severely increased the amount of liquid ingredients – as the original blogger stated that it served 6, but according to her amounts, it would barely serve 3 or 4! I basically doubled most of the liquid ingredients and it was MUCH better (we like leftovers in this house!).

The only thing I was worried about was flavour! The original ingredients don’t include much in the way of flavouring. However, I baked the potatoes with a dash of garlic salt, which I think helped A LOT. Also, I have been using the chicken bouillon cubes (instead of traditional broth) lately, which I think packs more flavour than the regular broth. Because of those additions/changes, it was so good!! One more thing is that I did not use smoked cheddar. I didn’t want to trouble myself with that, so I just got regular sharp cheddar. Yum.image

Baked Potato Soup

serves 5-6

Ingredients:
-6-8 yukon gold potatoes, baked with skin on and chopped (you can use any kind of potato – and I recommend using a dash of garlic salt or another spice while baking)
-2tbsp butter
-2tbsp flour
-1-2cu heavy cream
-2cu (or more) skim milk
-1/2-1cu chicken broth
-1cu grated smoked cheddar cheese
-2+ green onions, chopped
-4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

Directions:
-Heat a large pot on medium heat.
-Once hot, add butter and flour, and whisk into a roux. Then add heavy cream, potatoes and skim milk, continuously stirring until thickened.
-Stir in cheese, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
-Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
-Depending on desired consistency, add chicken stock, then stir in 2 slices of crumbled bacon and green onions. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve and garnish with remaining bacon

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Beef Stew

Happy December 1st!  It has been so cold all weekend and today is no different – a whopping 25 degrees outside!  I know some of you on the east coast or in the midwest may be laughing at me right now…I remember living in and travelling through the “Tri-Ota” region (MN, ND, and SD), this would be a heat wave.  In any case, cold is cold, amiright?
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Because of this, it is the PERFECT time to make beef stew!  What is better than coming home to a delicious-smelling house and then pouring a bowl of delicious-tasting stew?  This slow cooker apple cider beef stew recipe from Baked By Rachel packs quite a punch.  I actually made it a little while ago, on Halloween, for dinner for my husband, my mom, and my in-laws.  Everyone loved it, it served the 5 of us, plus about 2 containers of leftovers!
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Now, this recipe definitely has a “holiday twist” to it, and it’s not the apple cider.  In fact, I couldn’t even taste the apple cider, to be honest.  But the cinnamon was verrrrry prevalent, which was fine for all of us, except my mother (who tends to make “comments” on most dishes I make, haha).  My mother taste-tested the stew before we ate, and she informed me that she does not like cinnamon, unless it’s on things like oatmeal, but should not be in a stew.  Thanks mom. 😉  Because of that, I upped some of the other ingredients and added a bit more salt and pepper, and then let the flavour blend in the crock for another 20 or so minutes.  By the time we sat down to eat, the cinnamon flavour died down quite a bit.

If you’re among picky eaters, this may not be the recipe for you (or just use less cinnamon), but if you love traditional favourites, food adventures, and cinnamon, then I highly recommend you make this dish ASAP!  Especially while the weather is chilly!
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Slow Cooker Apple Cider Beef Stew

serves 6-8

Ingredients:
-2lbs beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
-1cu yellow onion, chopped
-1cu carrots, chopped
-3/4cu celery, chopped
-3cu russet potatoes (I used red potatoes), cubed
-1tsp ground black pepper
-1/2tsp dried thyme
-1/2tsp cinnamon
-1/2tsp cumin
-3cu beef broth
-3/4cu apple cider
-1/4cu flour

Directions:
-Add vegetables and then the meat to the slow cooker.
-Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, cinnamon, and cumin.
-Add the beef broth and apple cider and gently stir, making sure that all of the potatoes are covered by liquid (I think I had to add a bit more liquid at this point)
-Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
-In the last few minutes, remove 1cu of liquid, whisk flour (a spoonful at a time up to 1/4cu), then return it to the crock and stir to combine (this will help to thicken the stew). –Let it continue to cook for a few more minutes before serving.

If you enjoy more traditional beef stews, then you should definitely check out these recipes!:

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew

Bistro Beef Stew (best stew ever)

Cedar-Plank Salmon with Citrus Glaze & Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

It’s two-fer Tuesday!!  I seem to have a knack for just sitting on recipes for sooooo long.  I should definitely apologize, especially because this cedar-plank salmon with citrus glaze by Feeling Foodish is pretty much AMAZING.  The rosemary roasted new red potatoes by In Sock Monkey Slippers were tasty too!  This recipe dates back to the summer, when I got a huge amount of salmon from Costco for a great deal, along with a pack of cedar planks.  I have officially used all of the salmon – but still have several planks left!  I was told that they are great to use with chicken too, so I may try that!
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Because I made this so long ago (grumble grumble), I don’t remember exactly how long I marinaded the fish, but I feel like it was much longer than one hour.  It may have been overnight.  As you’re probably already well-aware, if you’ve been reading this blog for even a day, I am a huge advocate for marinading AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.  Though I must admit, I had never marinaded fish before.  But seriously – amazing.  This, in fact, may be my favourite salmon recipe thus far.
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My mom came over for dinner with my husband and I on the night that I made this.  Everyone at the table was a happy camper!  Pairing the citrusy goodness with the bite of salmon was such a great idea.  And again, the marinade!  So good.  I can hardly describe it.
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For the potatoes, the rosemary came from a few sprigs I clipped from my mom’s garden – I seriously loooove the idea of going out into the garden to clip ingredients for dinner!  I have been doing that a lot lately with green onion, since we have a TON growing on our back porch.  I’m not a total homesteader like some of my friends, or my brother and his wife, but I’m slowly getting into it a little.
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Cedar-Plank Salmon with Citrus Glaze

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
For the marinade
-1 orange
-1 lemon
-1 lime
-1tbsp honey
-2tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1tbsp soy sauce
-1tsp ground coriander
-1/4cu butter
-3 cloves garlic, smashed
For the fish
-1/3cu fresh cilantro
-2tsp ground cumin
-2tsp paprika
-3/4tsp fresh ground black pepper
-2tsp salt
1 salmon filet, 2 pounds (I think I only used one pound or less)
untreated cedar plank, enough to accommodate the fish

Directions:
For the glaze
-Zest the orange, lemon, and lime.
-Squeeze juices from the orange, lemon, and lime using a juicer if possible (I don’t have one).
-Combine the juice (about 1 cup in all), zest, and remaining glaze ingredients (honey, vinegar, soy sauce, coriander, butter and garlic) in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until it is slightly reduced, about 10 to 15 minutes
-Allow the glaze to cool and then marinate the fish for 1 hour or more.
-In the meantime, soak cedar planks according to package instructions (usually recommended for 1-2hrs).
For the fish
-Preheat grill to medium temperature (about 350 to 450 degrees).
-Remove the fish from the marinade and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and cilantro
-Place cedar planks on top of direct heat and heat until they smoke (about 5 to 10 minutes)
-Flip the plank over, place it over indirect heat, and place the fish on top of cedar plank.
-Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness (you can use Google to determine how long exactly to cook it, according to the specific thickness and amount of fish you have)
-Turn off heat and let the fish rest on the covered grill for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
-4-5 red potatoes (or use new potatoes, as the original recipe specifies)
-1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-1/4tsp salt
-1/4tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425°F.
-Dice the potatoes into desired size and let sit in water until ready to use.
-Combine potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.
-Place in oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting, until the potatoes are fork tender and golden.
-Sprinkle with a pinch or two of flaked sea salt, if desired, and serve.

Chicken and Potato Chowder

A few weeks ago, we had some rainy and dreary weather.  Thick soups and stews are PERFECT for those kinds of days…at least, in my opinion. 

Thankfully, one of those dreary days, I had an abundance of potatoes in the cupboard and chicken in the freezer, which was perfect for this Chicken and Potato Chowder by Damn Delicious.
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Let’s just say…it was delicious.  Seriously.  I added some extra spices, but I don’t remember exactly what, so I’ll just post the recipe as-is from the original blogger.  But it was a great flavour combo and so cheesy, too!  The chicken broth added a ton of flavour (broth really does make my job easy, hehe).  I loved the cheese addition.  But I love cheese, so that’s not really a surprise.  I used a mix of nonfat milk and half’n’half, because we didn’t have enough milk.  But it was a great mix, because it added some extra creaminess without being incredibly fattening (then again, let’s be honest – when you go to hearty soups and stews, you’re usually looking for comfort!).  Also, the original recipe calls for russet potatoes, but I used reds – I’m pretty sure you can just use whatever you have on hand.  I also didn’t add my carrots until toward the end – I like them to be crisp tender, not super mushy.  Finally, I used dried parsley, because I didn’t have any fresh.  Oh well.
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Bookmark this for the next dreary or chilly day – you won’t regret it!
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Chicken and Potato Chowder

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-1/4cu unsalted butter
-1 onion, diced
-3 carrots, peeled and diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-1tsp dried thyme (or more!)
-1/4cu all-purpose flour
-3cu chicken broth
-2 cups milk, or more, as needed
-2 potatoes, cubed
-2cu diced cooked chicken breast
-1.5cu shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-2tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 1tbsp, dried)

Directions:
-Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
-Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Then stir in potatoes.
-Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in chicken and cheese, a handful at a time, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
-If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached (mine wasn’t too thick, but everyone does things a bit differently).
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

Side dish time!  This is a simple four-ingredient roasted potato dish from Laa Loosh that was a great accompaniment to our Aidell’s chicken sausages (LOVE THOSE, in case I haven’t mentioned it before…haha).
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The ranch packet was a bit more expensive than I thought it’d be…I thought packets like that were about 50 cents, however it was about $1.50 (I bought the generic brand from Fred Meyer).  It was not quite as Ranch-y as I would like.  At first, I only sprinkled about half of the packet on the potatoes, since it seemed like so much, and then I added a bit more, and halfway through cooking, I added the rest of the packet. 
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Because of this, I was expecting a Ranch Explosion (great visual, right?), but I did not get that.  Sure, it was seasoned and fairly tasty, but far from the flavour explosion I was expecting.  We still ate them all, though!  Now if only I could finish up the 5lb bag of red potatoes…

Good news: This is actually a WW-ish recipe, and 1/2 cup of potatoes is 2 WW points.  Score!
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Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2-4 red potatoes (depends on size)
-1 packet Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
-Non fat, olive oil cooking spray
-1tsp salt (I just used a quick grind, cuz the dressing mix is pretty salty)

Directions:
-Cut potatoes and let sit in water for at least 10 minutes, then drain.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a large bowl add potatoes and spray lightly with the cooking spray. Then add the Ranch mix and toss well to fully coat each potato.
-Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and spread out potatoes evenly on sheet.
-Bake for about 20-25 minutes, tossing about halfway through, until slightly crisped and fully cooked.