Pets & Grilling (read title carefully)

Thankfully there’s an & sign in my title. Also it helps that I put pets first and then grilling second. The other way around could have cause quite some confusion!

It has been a pet filled weekend (to say the least!). My cousin brought her Siberian kitty over for a cat playdate! Can we all just be in awe at this amazing cat for a few moments? Silence please…

TobyIt’s so fllluuufffyyyy!!! Meet Toby!

I am also dog/cat sitting my friend’s pets while she’s on vacation. She has 2 cats and a Chi-weenie-pom named Tito. My house has 3 cats and a dog right now!!! I cannot be more excited! Though I love kitties, Tito has won over my heart. He follows me everywhere, sleeps with me in bed, and I wake up to his kisses the past few mornings. Chubs has befriended him, finally (took about a day to get adjusted since Tito barks at doorbells and when the cats get on the furniture). 

Pets

Look at my bed – it’s a dream come true! My husband, a dog, and Chubalee. Can it be any better? Chubs sleeps by my pillow, while Tito starts at the foot of the bed and slowly inches his way upwards throughout the night. He’s usually at my face in the morning. MG likes to sleep in the middle of the bed. I have a sliver of room on the bed… We definitely need to upgrade from a Queen to a King if we get a dog.

The second pic is blurry but doesn’t mean it’s not cute! I can’t get over it!!! Watching these two and cuddling with them in bed – it’s the highlight of my weekend.

This next part of my blog post is a definite runner up as highlight of my weekend. MG finally put together his grill that he got for his birthday. T’was a warm evening, so we fired up the grill! We held a little mini grill party for our friends to toast the premier of Game of Thrones.

Grill
Oooo fire… shiny…

Boys
Grilling on our balcony!

VeggiesYummy veggies! Kabocha squash is killer to cut… any tricks of the trade? 

Grilling
First course ^^^

Pork
Grilled pork chops, corn, and kabocha squash

Raw
The beef kabobs!

Kebob

Kebobs
Enough to have dinner for the next two days – yay, no cooking!

Food
^^^ I love this image. It’s perfect

Oh yes, we grilled dino kale. If you’re wondering, it has a grill taste, but I still prefer baking my kale. Worth a try though if you love kale chips! Now for dessert:

Pineapple
Grilled pineapple, because yum!

What kinds of things do you grill? Any recommendations for my next go-around?

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Leftover Enchilada Casserole

It’s almost time for the weekend!

This week has been dragging along… The week started with a 5 mile run and 2 hot yoga classes, so I was proud of what I accomplished. Then MG and I got into a huge fight, he flew to Chicago for work, and I just ate a lot of carbs to make me feel better. And then surprise! MG sent a delivery of flowers while he was on his work trip. I’m spoiled by him, I really am. I’ll make him a scrumptious dinner tomorrow night, and we’re probably going somewhere fun this weekend.

Flowers

I have another delicious recipe for you today! It’s one of those recipes that are my clean-out-the-fridge dinners. I’ll whip up this enchilada casserole after we have “taco night” and an abundance of leftovers. During make your own taco night, there’s usually no more meat left, but lots of beans, tortillas, and a package of shredded cheese. Is that the same with you?

When my friend wouldn’t take the leftovers, I challenged myself to use the ingredients so it wouldn’t go to waste. With some enchilada sauce, ground beef, garlic, and onions, I created my leftover enchilada casserole. 

Title

Leftover Enchilada Casserole
servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 6-8 medium tortillas, cut into stripes
  • 1.5 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1-2 cups of sour cream
  • 2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar and Monterrey Jack)
  • Salt for tasting

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cut the tortillas in a half and into strips. Drizzle olive oil on a skillet over medium heat, and cook a few of the tortilla strips until crisp on each side and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. You may need to do cook the tortilla strips in batches until all remaining tortillas are cooked.
3. In a large pan, add olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Then add the ground beef and stir fry for 8-10 minutes. Drain the stir fry to remove drippings.
4. Now take a 9×13 casserole dish, and spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Then add slices of crispy tortilla as the second layer, slightly overlapping. Layer on ground beef/garlic/onion mixture evenly, then another layer of enchilada sauce. Spread on sour cream and sprinkle cheese.
5. Repeat layers! Layer on the rest of the ingredients to your desire but end with cheese. Mine goes something like this: enchilada sauce, tortillas, beef, sauce, cheese & cream, tortillas, beef, beans, sauce, cheese & cream, sauce, beef, tortillas, cheese.
6. Bake in the oven until cheese has melted (about 20 minutes).

Cut

Torillas

Ingredients

Layers

Baked

Done

One great thing about this casserole is that you can make this recipe and freeze it so that the leftovers do not go bad. Once prepared, wrap it up in aluminum foil and stick it into the freezer. The night before you want to make the casserole, put it in the fridge to defrost, and simply bake before you eat it. Baking time may be a bit longer so that all layers are thoroughly heated (approximately 30-40 minutes). 

Another awesome thing, use whatever ingredients you like – beans, lettuce, tomatoes, whatever you’ve got! Like I said, use your leftovers and clean out your fridge.

Such a great way to finish up leftovers, and also a great dinner idea if you have friends/neighbors/family members come over on a whim. Who says you can’t serve a guest leftovers!

What are some of your favorite clean-out-the-fridge/leftover meals?

Have a great weekend!
Jay
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Pro-tip: I always keep ground beef and chicken breast in the freezer. These are very versatile ingredients with lots of dinner options. Just throw them into the freezer, defrost day-of, and use it for dinner!

  

April Showers Bring Soup!

Happy April! Did anyone have any good April Fool’s Day jokes played on them? Share!

I woke up and told MG I had a stomach ache and couldn’t go to a lunch date with him. He was worried until I shouted “April Fool’s!” Then he told me there are 31 days in March so unbeknownst to me, it wasn’t 4/1. There goes my joke. And yes, that’s as creative as I can get for these kinds of things!

On another note, what’s going on with these rainstorms in the Bay Area? I’m happy that it’s raining since we didn’t have a winter, but winter in April? That’s cray! It’s gotten chilly outside so soup is a must to warm bellies!

I’ve noticed that my cooking style is simple. I like to use things that you would purchase regularly and things that you would find in your fridge. Once in a while a recipe will call for a specific herb or ingredient where you need to go to the store, but I hate when I don’t even know what the ingredient looks like or tastes like! Here’s a recipe where you’ll recognize all the ingredients, yay!

Also, it’s worth mentioning that I used chicken for this recipe to make the soup heartier. This can be a vegetarian dish by simply eliminating the chicken!

Yum

Red Curry Noodle Soup
4 servings, cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (if vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 8 ounces of your favorite noodles (rice or wonton noodles are a great choice)
  • Handful of bok choy and napa cabbage (honestly, any of your favorite veggies will work here)
  • Fresh cilantro, green scallions, red pepper flakes to garnish (all optional)
  • Salt for tasting

Directions:

1. If you’re using wonton noodles (which I did), boil water and cook the noodles in the separate pot. Then drain and set aside. I cook this in a separate pot because the flour thickens the liquid.
2. Combine garlic cloves, ginger, curry paste, and coconut oil in a blender and make a paste (I have a Magic Bullet).
3. In a large pot, heat the paste on medium-high heat, frying the paste for 2 minutes. Add the vegetables, chopped onion, and a pinch of salt, and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and chicken broth to the pot, and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. Once the soup has come to a boil, add in the cooked/shredded chicken and the noodles. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Serve and garnish with cilantro and sliced green scallions. If you want heat, sprinkle red pepper flakes.

Paste
Making the curry paste

Vegetables
My veggies – onion, bok choy, napa cabbage

Red Curry Paste

Bowl

Done

Want some spice?

Hot

Yum, yum, yum! Nothing beats a hearty, hot bowl of noodle soup on chilly day. I kept the noodles and vegetables in line with the Asian theme, but feel free to use your favorite vegetables.

If you have leftovers, even better! The soup is extremely flavorful the next day. Store the noodles in a separate container so that it doesn’t absorb all the liquids.

Is this something you can make? What are some other red curry recipes you love?

Happy feasting!
Jay
—–
Adapted from this original recipe