Cincinnati Chili

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Spaghetti topped with chili and cheeseSo, our friend Matt is from Cincinnati.  Or used to live there.  Or likes the city.  I don’t know, it’s very convoluted.  He went to high school here over ten years ago, so…..he’s kind of from here.

Don’t tell him that though.

Anyway, Matt is one of Jay’s bffs from way back, and I actually met him before Jay.  So, he’s my friend too, not just “one of Jay’s friends.”

It’s important to me that you know that, so it doesn’t appear that my only friends came from my fiancee.

I have issues.

ANYWAY, Matt is a foodie like us, which is nice for me because it means sometimes we can talk about things that aren’t sports. Apparently some time back he made Cincinnati chili for Jay, and I haven’t heard the end of it – I’ve never eaten the stuff except for what is depicted in this recipe, but Jay requested that we make it on a Sunday when we decided that drinking all day was the ticket to happiness.

That happened last Sunday!  I got lots of info from Matt and the interwebz about what Cincinnati chili entails, and here’s my best go at it.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s chili made with Greek-ish seasonings served over pasta.  It’s weird, in the BEST way.

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From the Vault – Mexican Skillet

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I love Mexican food.

You know this.

I make it all sorts of ways.  All kinds of days.

OMG make it stop.  The point is, I like Mexican food a LOT, and, thankfully, so does Jay.

One way I love to incorporate these flavors is into a Mexican Skillet, like I did here awhile ago.  You just saute any veggies you like over really high heat with cumin, salt, and chili powder.  Then you do the same with some sliced meat, if you’re into that kind of thing.  Then you broil the whole thing covered with cheese until it’s bubbly.  I serve it with rice, tortillas, sour cream, salsa, and a totally random combination of toppings, depending on what I have on hand.

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Caesar Stuffed Zucchini

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Plated Crispy ZucchiniWell.  We ate like crap this weekend.

I loved it, Jay feels bad about it.

Whatever.

To offset the memory of all the meat/beer/cheese consumed over the past three days, though, allow me to share with you this fun recipe.

It’s stuffed zucchini.  With barley or any kind of grain that you like.  Then, it’s got some Caesar-salad-esque components.  Panko topping instead of croutons.  Raw garlic in the filling.  Parmesan on top.  ANCHOVIES, for heaven’s sake.

It’s vegetarian if you skip the anchovies (but really, don’t), has lots of cheese, and tons of veggies.

Also.  It’s crazy easy and delicious.

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Sushi Bowls with Spicy Crab

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Sushi SaladOh sweet glory it’s finally Friday.

I thought yesterday was Friday.  I thought that because I dreamed it was and sometimes dreams come true?  Not really.  Also, when I was kind of half awake and it was almost time to get up I heard a truck outside because my neighbors are expanding their house and large trucks are involved.  Also though, my trash gets picked up on Friday mornings and I could have SWORN that the truck was the garbage truck and I freaked out because I forgot to take the trash to the road.

But it wasn’t Friday. So the trash was fine and I was let down.

But TODAY is Friday!  I’m psyched because I have a blog date tonight with our friends from Struggling Home Brewer.  I made dinner and I’m taking it over and it’s, like, totally delicious.  See Instagram for evidence of said dinner, and I’ll tell you all about it next week.  Promise.

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Avocado Roasted Garlic Pizza with Arugula

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Bubbly cooked cheeseOh MAN.  I’ve been dying to tell you about this.

You know how sometimes you have a lot of avocados in your fridge and guacamole or sliced avocado on top of random Mexican food just isn’t doing it for you?

I mean, you could totally put this crab salad into a cute little avocado boat, but even THAT isn’t what you’re wanting.

That happened to me.  I had an avocado, and I didn’t know what to do with it.  So, I mashed it with some roasted garlic and spread it on pizza.  Then I cooked it with arugula, mozzarella, tomatoes, and almonds.

IT WAS AMAZING.

Seriously.  I know it sounds weird, but you REALLY need to trust me on this one.  It’s GREAT, and a super fun way to use avocado in a non-traditional way.  If you’re weirded out by warm avocado don’t be – the color held really well and the taste was the same as cold avocado.  The heat from the oven made it super creamy and it was SO WONDERFUL with the roasted garlic.  I just can’t even. You have to make this ASAP.

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Madras Curry

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Curry with rice and naanWell.

I’m doing something that someone made fun of me once for doing.

I’m showing you how to make curry with a curry blend, instead of making your own.

Whatevs, I’m over it.  Folks are all snobby and all “you’re not really cooking if you’re using a spice blend, curry isn’t a plant, the taste is soooo much more full and rich,” when you use a curry blend like I do here and here.  Snobby, I tell you!  The thing is, though, that this particular curry blend came from India.

Indian people use curry blends, kids.

Now, I know, I know.  Americans buy frozen pizzas when they could totally make their own at home.  I don’t care.  If you want a frozen pizza you should buy and COOK one.  It’s still cooking.

Also, spice blends save time.  They also save money if you don’t cook a lot and don’t necessarily want to buy the 17 separate spices needed to make a nice curry blend.  So, I say go for it.

My father suffered food poisoning on his quest to get me this particular curry blend.  I mean, he was technically on a work trip, but I think that he secretly asked to go to India for “work” so he could get me spices.  In my mind, I’m like, totally his favorite child and he’s JUST SO PROUD of all I’m accomplishing in the kitchen.  Ahem.

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Spicy Crab Salad (like in sushi!)

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Salad with hashiGuysImadeyousalad.

You know how at sushi restaurants sometimes they have Crab Salad rolls but really it’s just fake crab mixed with mayo?

And sometimes there are Spicy Crab rolls that really are just fake crab mixed with mayo and spicy stuff?

Welp, I have a confession.  I love crab salad.  And spicy crab salad.  And when either of those things are made into a sushi roll?  I’m a seriously happy human being.

So, you know sometimes my family makes homemade sushi on weekends.  You can click here if you missed that one.  It’s super fun, light, and delicious, and you can make whatever components of sushi that you really like to customize the meal to your preferences!

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Monday Night Dinner

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Y’all, it’s Monday.

I worked most of the weekend, spent some of it on planes, and spent some of it eating yummy food in places I flew to.

And tonight it’s back to figuring out what to make for dinner, what ingredients are going bad in the fridge, and how the heck I’m going to make it without 26 hours each day, which is what I really need to function.

Please tell me it’s not just me.

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Rice Chopped Salad

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Salad with forkI know.  This sounds weird.  Don’t be afraid.

This is my at-home version of a salad at a local organic place next to my yoga studio. It’s got veggies, various grains and rice, and killer dressing.

It’s fresh, light, and you. will. love. it.  Trust me!  You can make all the components and then mix up whatever combo of veggies and rices you like – it’s great to have around for lunches, snacks, light dinners….whatever!

Basically, you cook a few different kind of grains, then chop up some raw veggies.  Then you make a creamy light cilantro dressing that is SO good.  Then you toss it all together with some nuts and cheese and be grateful that you have access to yummy fresh stuff.

Let’s make it!

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Restaurant Review – The Local Taco Greenville

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GuacamoleYum!

A new restaurant is in town.

It’s a chain, but only kind of.

The Local Taco started alllllll the way in Tennessee (not really), and just opened a location in Greenville!  I’ve been there three times now, and I LIKE IT A LOT.  Also, I ate leftovers from dinner last weekend yesterday for lunch and I LIKED THEM A LOT.

Seriously. This place is great. A manager, Kris, emailed and asked if we’d like to come write a review and duh, we did. I had already been and wanted to take Jay, so we went for an early dinner last week before we went to see my sister sing the national anthem at a hockey game.  Because you care about things like that.

Vegetarian plate

Local Taco is a Mexican-fusian restaurant, if I had to call it anything.  Their menus are different at each of their locations based on local favorites.  They use local ingredients, too, which I love.

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