Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and other things

I get a little lax with my blogging during the holidays.  As soon as this week is over, I'll be back to cooking and blogging again.  I hope you will bear with me as I take a short break, but the holidays are always a little downer for me.  I believe Christmas is about family.  When you have no family to share it with, it can be the saddest time of the year.  Fortunately for me, I have good friends that try to fill that void for me as my children are traveling this year to visit other relatives. 

Also, while I believe the reason for the season is to celebrate Jesus' birth, I wish we could all celebrate His birth every day of the year, not just on the 25th of December. 

I hope all of you out there in blogland had a wonderful day yesterday filled with many blessings.  And I hope the New Year brings you good health, happiness, and fortune!  Thank you all for your continued support of my tiny blog.  Hugs to you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CEiMB - Beef Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing

Hostess for the week - Peggy of!  That would be me of course.

It is always a treat to get to host one of the food groups.  It is not an easy task.   Not for me at least.  I analyze it to death.  How easy will it be to make on a work night?  How accessible are the ingredients to the majority?  How good will it taste?  I figured we would all be turkeed out (is turkeed a word) after Thanksgiving and might like a welcome change of just a good, taco salad. 

I got some vine ripened tomatoes at the store.  However, they were not as firm as I would have liked. 

They did not dice easily.

The only change I made to the recipe was I used bottled lime juice instead of fresh.
The finished product:
My rating.  We thought this was good, but nothing spectacular.  Easy to make, easy on the budget, and tasty.  Definitely worth trying.  Thank you all for cooking with me this week!!  Thank you Ellie for great, healthy recipes!

Now all of you get out there and get that shopping done!  I mean it.  Finish up.  Christmas is NEXT week!!!!!  Hope you are all having a fun holiday so far.

The recipe:
For the Meat:

3/4 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 cup water

For the dressing:
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup grated Cheddar
2 ounces baked corn tortilla chips (about 32 chips)

To prepare the meat, heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat up with the spoon. Add the garlic and beans and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the chili powder, cayenne and water and stir until well combined and some but not all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Meat mixture may be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To make the tomato dressing, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes (with their juices), oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Dressing may be prepared up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Place 2 cups of lettuce on each plate or in a lunch container. Top each serving with 1 cup of the beef mixture then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cheese. If making to-go, pack 3/4 cup of the tomato mixture in a separate sealable container and put about 8 chips in a separate bag. Right before eating, pour a portion of the tomato mixture with the liquid on top of each salad, and crush tortilla chips on top.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CEiMB - Spinach Tortellini Soup

Hostess for this week:  Bri of Yoshimi vs. motherhood at

Well Thanksgiving is over and what a fabulous week it was!  As most of you already know, I got to multi-task and celebrate my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all in one week.  It was almost too much fun for one body to handle.  Wanted to share this photo with my beautiful flowers that a friend of mine sent me for my birthday.  My son also sent me some lovely autumn flowers.  I cooked a lot during those three days.  I had both my handsome sons home for a day and a half.  We made the most of our time together.  We had a great bowl of chili while we watched the Iron Bowl, then later we had our Thanksgiving feast of turkey, dressing, green beans, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes and corn casserole, with pecan pie and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.  The next morning we had Ellie's Blueberry Almond French Toast and it was a big hit with everyone.  My beautiful new granddaughter was here too and just a bundle of love.  Also, we enjoyed meeting my younger son's new girlfriend Serena.  They live in Orlando and my other son lives in Dallas.  It is always great to see them when they can visit.

Now it is December and that means decorating the house for Christmas.  I have the tree up so that is a big start, right?

On to the soup.  That is why you are here.  This was a spinach tortellini soup that contained some celery, carrots, and onions.  It really was just a good vegetable soup with a tomato base.  I think I went a bit overboard with the red pepper flakes though because we found it to be quite spicey.  I also think it would have been good to add some chicken to it, but I made it like Ellie's recipe this time.  Love tortellini.  I just used regular ones, however, instead of the spinach ones.  It was a quick and easy soup to make on a weeknight and tonight was about as cold a night as we have had here in Alabama so it was the perfect night to enjoy a good, hot soup!  We served it with a hunk of french bread.

For the recipe, you can find it at Bri's blogsite or you can get Ellie Krieger's So Easy cookbook.  Come join us at Craving Ellie.  It is a great group of cooks.