Tag Archives: garlic

Surprise Baby Shower for Megan (Creamy Chicken Enchiladas)

I have a tiny confession to make today… I used to be a baby shower hater. Sure, if one of my friends was having a baby, I would go to the shower, but it was not exciting to me. I would stress over what gift to buy because all things baby were a mystery to me. And, even when the baby arrived, I would still be a bit tentative.  What if they wanted me to actually hold the baby. I will probably drop the newborn and it will break and no one will like me ever again.

Then I had Madison.  I am convinced that having a baby makes you a baby person.  Now I hear that someone is expecting, and I get excited for them.  My mind starts spinning with all sorts of fun baby gift ideas. I reminisce about bringing tiny baby Maddie home from the hospital and remember the early days when she was all bundled up in a little swaddling blanket just calmly sleeping in my arms.

I even get excited to visit and meet the new baby. No longer do I worry about holding the baby. I am more than happy to snuggle a little one! And, of course, no visit is complete without food.  Sure, I loved all of the cute little outfits that we got when Maddie came home, but food was really the best gift of all.  We had great friends and family bring us meals, send snacks (which, is a fabulous idea if you can’t be there in person… much appreciated!), and even come and cook for us. It was a huge help. Taking care of a little one is hard. They are adorable, so it’s a fun kind of hard. But, it’s still hard. So, not having to worry about dinner is a relief, even for someone who loves to be in the kitchen!

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, my dear friend Megan from Stetted is expecting a sweet little boy in a few short weeks.  I met Megan a two years ago at the Big Summer Potluck after we had crossed paths online quite a bit over the years. Last summer she was even kind enough to hang out with me while I was pregnant and cranky. I’m thankful that our blogs brought us together, and I hope to hang out with her again soon (and, of course, snuggle with her new little baby!).Continue Reading

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Don’t you love that moment when your spouse (or kids, friends, you get the idea) eats a dish containing a food that they supposedly “don’t like” and have a food epiphany? As soon as someone tells me that they don’t care for a particular food, I consider it my personal mission to create a dish using that food that will change his/her mind.

My husband used to think he didn’t like tomatillo salsa. He was wrong.

The thing about traditional (uncooked) tomatillo salsas is that it can be rather watery and lackluster when it comes to the flavor… If you like tomatillo salsa, that’s great. I actually like it. And, I often get my own little cup of it when we are chowing down on chips and salsa.  But, I do understand why my hubby never really cared for it.Continue Reading

Sausage Ragù

Perhaps this blog post should be titled “The Best Sauce Ever”…  However, that’s a fairly subjective claim to make.  If you ask my husband, though, he’ll tell you this is not only the best sauce ever, but that it is the best thing I have ever made.

So, while this rich meat sauce is certainly not the most photogenic food in the world (especially since I was taking photos well after the sun had gone down), I just had to share the recipe with you! I’ve been meaning to share this one for a while, actually. I first discovered this sauce last January.  My hubby bought me Anne Burrell’s book Cook Like a Rockstar for Christmas, and her sausage ragù was one of the first things I made.  We were having my family over for a birthday dinner, and I planned to make lasagna. I wanted a rich, meaty sauce to take the lasagna up a notch, and the recipe was just what I was looking for.

I’ve made the sauce a few times since then (not as many as I’d like, though, since I couldn’t eat tomatoes during most of my pregnancy), and it continues to be a favorite at my house. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make a slightly bigger batch since the sauce is always such a big hit.  It takes quite a while (4+ hours!), so it’s one of those recipes where it pays to make a big batch.

I’m pretty sure you won’t need much help figuring out how to use the sauce.  It’s perfect on its own, so all you really need to do is add some cooked pasta.  Of course, I frequently use it in lasagna.  The sauce is so rich that you don’t really need much else… Just layer the noodles with ricotta cheese, a blend of mozzarella and provolone, and sauce. I’ve also made pizza with leftover sauce, too. It was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.  Since the recipe makes a big batch, you’ll likely have plenty of leftovers.  I highly recommend freezing individual portions of the sauce (I usually freeze it in 2 cup containers) so that you have it on hand.  I’m not big on leftovers, but this is one of the few things that I get excited to pull out of the freezer and heat up for dinner!

Sausage Ragù
Makes about 10 – 12 cups
(Adapted from Cook Like a Rockstar)

  • 4 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
  • 2 large onions, cut in a large dice
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cored and cut into a large dice
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 18 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) bottle of red wine
    (Pick one that you like to drink… I used a merlot)
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Begin by pulsing the vegetables (celery, onion, fennel, and garlic) in the food processor until finely chopped. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to work in batches.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the vegetable mixture, and cook until the vegetables are tender and start to brown. Stir every few minutes to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and let new brown bits develop again. Continue to cook until the mixture is well browned, up to 30 minutes.

Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to mix into the vegetables.  Cook for just a minute or two.  Then, add the bottle of wine and scrape up any remaining bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the wine has reduced by about half, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to break it cooks. Continue to cook until the sausage is completely browned, scraping the pot occasionally.  The sausage will take about 10 minutes to cook.

Once the sausage is cooked, add the herbs to the pot and then add enough water to cover the sausage mixture by about 1/2 inch. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pot once again.  Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for a minute, then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer the sauce for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has cooked and thickened up, taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

Please Note – The links to Cook Like a Rockstar provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  If you purchase this cookbook (or another item) after  clicking on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!

Lamb Burgers

Before Miss Madison was born, I had an idea in my head of what life would be like post-baby… She would be napping a lot, so I’d have no problem preparing three meals a day and keeping the house clean.  I would have no need for battery-powered baby toys to keep her occupied, since I’d be playing with her whenever she’s awake.  And, of course, we’d all be nicely dressed each day and have no problem getting out the door for appointments and other fun family activities.

Those of you who have kids are probably laughing at me right now.

It turns out I underestimated how much of my time and attention would be necessary to keep our little bundle of joy, well, joyful.  She’s a very sweet little baby, and I am loving all of the time that I get to spend with her.  But, you can forget about the three meals a day, clean house, and nice clothes.

Writing blog posts and developing new recipes hasn’t exactly been as easy as I had imagined, either. If I have any intention of preparing something more complicated than a peanut butter sandwich, I have to plan in advance so that I can get some of the prep work done ahead of time while Madison is napping or hanging out with her daddy.

That’s what happened with these burgers.  I was at the local farmers’ market (during a short nap while daddy was at home) and I decided to try some of the ground lamb from my go-to meat stand.  I’m not a huge fan of lamb, probably because I’ve had some poorly prepared dishes in the past.  But, I have loved all of the other meats I’ve gotten from the stand, so I decided to give it a try.  Plus, even though we’ve been eating simple meals, I’ve been trying to incorporate new flavors to keep things interesting. In my head, I was already thinking of burgers with feta cheese, garlic, oregano, and cumin.  I just had to work out the schedule.

I planned to make the burgers on Monday… That meant that I needed to make sure that everything was prepped ahead of time. The feta cheese and other key ingredients that I didn’t already have on hand were added to the grocery list on Friday.  The lamb was thawed in the refrigerator on Saturday night so that I could prep the burgers on Sunday afternoon.  I knew the hubby would be watching football and wouldn’t mind some snuggle time while I was in the kitchen. I also baked the burger rolls on Sunday afternoon.  So, come Monday, all I had to do was actually cook the burgers and prepare a few toppings.

So, to make a long story short, the burgers were well worth all of the effort and planning. They were flavorful and juicy, and both my hubby and I loved them. If you like lamb, you’ll love these. And, if you aren’t sure that you like lamb, I’d still give them a try. Just be sure to find a local market or farm that has good quality meats.  Good ingredients always make a recipe better! And, even though you may not have to prepare everything the day before, I’d recommend mixing up the burgers in advance to let the flavors mix and mingle.Continue Reading

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Two of the most popular recipes I have ever posted are my Shredded Beef Tacos and my Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Beef. Are you noticing a theme? They are similar recipes, and I have to admit that they are some of my favorites, too. They are easy to prepare, and the results are simply fabulous. It’s amazing what slow cooking will do for a not-too-expensive cut of beef. The meat just melts in your mouth.

The original Shredded Beef Tacos (which, even though they are from October of 2009 are still very popular every month!) were inspired by the barbacoa at Chipotle, a favorite of mine.  But, since pregnancy has kind of ruined my love of spicy food (I am hoping it returns shortly after the little one arrives!), I have since become a fan of the less spicy carnitas when the hubby and I go to Chipotle. We won’t discuss how frequently we have made trips to Chipotle in the last nine months.

So, I have started picking up pork roasts whenever I can at the local farmers market.  I am able to get great quality meat (hormone-free, all natural, local, you get the picture…) from a sweet couple who I chat with each week. I like that I am able to support a local farm and also get great quality meat (which cannot be found at local supermarkets around here).

I also like that I can make my own homemade carnitas without having to take a trip to Chipotle. Much like the Chipotle version, I have been making my carnitas without much heat. But, that doesn’t mean the dish is lacking in flavor. I make sure that the shredded pork is well seasoned. Since the spices aren’t overpowering, it lends itself well to lots of toppings and condiments. If you aren’t in the mood for heat (like me!), you can top it with lots of veggies, guacamole, and cheese.  Or, if you want to spice things up a bit, you can add some hot salsa or chipotle hot sauce, which is my hubby’s new obsession. Regardless of what toppings you like, I think this recipe is a crowd pleaser. Once you discover how easy it is to prepare,  I think you’ll find that it’s a cook pleaser, too.Continue Reading