Weeks 31 through 39: Crockpot Chili, Ground Venison on Sweet Potato with Roasted Baby Eggplant, Barbacoa, Meatloaf, Cauliflower Risotto, White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pork Stir Fry, Pumpkin Soup, Serloin with Balsamic Reduction, Brown Butter Shrimp and Gouda Grits, Chicken Schnitzel, Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Well I am not going to sugar coat it, finding the time to blog about all of the great recipes I am making has become the bane of my existence. However, I have found great value in the blog when I decide I want to cook something I previously made because I have this log of the recipes I have used. I will continue to say “perhaps I will be better about blogging more consistently next week” but I know that chances are life will happen and I will continue to be “delinquent”.  Over the past few weeks I have been cooking up a storm and really been enjoying trying new recipes.


Crockpot Chili

I did not really follow a recipe for my chili, I basically added a little of this and a little of that, and because I have this, why not throw it in. It turned out amazing. I have never put sweet potatoes in chili before but I highly recommend it as it turned out amazing. In the chili I put the following ingredients into the crockpot and let it cook on low overnight for 9 hours (all of the ingrents were raw except for the ground turkey which I browned ahead of time):

2 handfuls of baby carrots (sliced), 3 stalks celery (sliced), 2 ears of corn, 1  smoked ham steak (diced), 1 lb ground turkey, 1 green pepper (diced), 1 red pepper (diced), 1 large onion (diced), 6 small fingerling sweet potatoes (diced), 1 large can of whole tomatoes, 1 medium can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 2 jalapenos (sliced), 2 bay leaves, chili powder



Ground Venison on Sweet Potato with Roasted Baby Eggplant

While trying to figure out food for the week I saw that ground venison was on sale at the store and decided to give it a try. It tastes very similar to ground beef and I quite enjoyed using it on some chips with cheese to make a nacho. Additionally, as shown below, I also put some on top of a sweet potato with greek yogurt to make a savory sweet baked potato with some siracha. I had received some baby eggplant in the CSA box I received this week and I followed the recipe here except I did not use fresh oregano and I used dried, I used lemon juice instead of fresh lemons, and I did not use the feta cheese. I quite enjoyed the fresh garlic in the eggplant and I would make this recipe again.




Traditional tacos (great cuts of marinated, slow cooked meat) with onions, lime, and cilantro are one of my guilty pleasures. This barbacoa recipe was very easy and it made delicious barbacoa. I enjoyed eating the left overs on top of some spaghetti squash.


Meatloaf and Cauliflower Risotto

Nothing says comfort food like meatloaf. I used 1 lb of ground beef, an egg, a package of onion soup mix, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, some worcestershire sauce, water, and katchup (I eyeballed the measurements and added more things until I felt like it was the right consistency). I baked it in the oven at 350°F for 1 hour.

I also made a cauliflower risotto following this recipe. It actually turned out rather well. The “bullet style blender” we have did not chop the cauliflower like a food processor, so I hand chopped the cauliflower into small pieces. I wouldn’t call this a risotto, but it was a delicious cheesy cauliflower side dish.


White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I am not a baker, but I was in the mood to attempt these cookies. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the baking time. The pans we have were not big enough to fit the silicone mats I purchased so the cookies were not laying flat on the cookie sheets and I had to keep checking / adjusting the cooking time. They turned out really well and I have now purchased larger cookie sheets so I can cook them appropriately.



Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pork Stir Fry

I loosely followed this recipe but adapted it based on the vegetables we had on hand, and the fact that I wanted to use of some pureed pumpkin. I used coconut oil instead of sesame oil, pork chop instead of pork tenderloin, red chilies in adobo sauce instead of fresh, spinach instead of bok choy. I added some pumpkin puree and peanut butter to the mixture near the end of the cooking time. Let me tell you pumpkin in the stir fry = DELICIOUS! just look at the photo below, it tells you all you need to know.



Pumpkin Soup

This recipe came from my gym, it was nice and quick. It was a little on the runny side, next time I might use some cornstarch to thicken it.

Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 teaspoon garlic, minced, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 (15oz) cans pureed pumpkin, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 14oz 2% milk, black pepper

Instructions: 1) Place the coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. 2) Add the pumpkin, broth and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Return the soup to a simmer and add in the milk. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.



Serloin with Balsamic Reduction

This recipe came from Homechef and it was delicious. I really enjoy getting the recipes as I enjoy learning how to balance flavors better.

Ingredients: 2 russet potatoes (peeled and cut  in large chunks), 8 oz Brussels sprouts (bottoms trimmed and halved vertically), 2 flat iron steaks (rinsed, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides), 0.34 fl. oz balsamic vinegar, 2 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream, 0.6 oz. butter, 2 Tbsp. bonewerks classic veal demi-glace, 1 fl. oz. sherry, 1.4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions: 1) bring a medium pot with potatoes and enough lightly salted water to cover the potatoes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes. 2) Cook the Brussels sprouts in a medium pan with 2 tsps oil, cut-side down in the hot pan for 3-4 minutes or until the cut sides are charred and caramelized. Add 2 Tbsp water and season with 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes or until the Brussels are bright green. Add half the balsamic vinegar and toss. Taste and add more vinegar if desired. 3) Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain in a colander and return to the pot. Add the cream, butter, and 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. 4) Cook the steaks in a hot pan with 1 tsp oil. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 145°. Remove from the pan and let the steaks rest for 5 minutes. 5) Prepare the demi-glace in the same pan used to cook the steaks. Combine the demi-glace, sherry, and 1/4 cup  water over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes or until warm throughout. 6) Place a serving of potatoes and Brussels sprouts on a plate. Place a steak against the potatoes and pool the demi-glace in front of the steak. Garnish with parmesan cheese.


Brown Butter Shrimp and Gouda Grits

Another Homechef recipe that turned into a smashing success. The gouda grits were delicious, but next time I will probably add some garlic.

Ingredients: 1 green onion (white parts sliced into 1/2″ pieces, green parts sliced on an angle), 1 lemon (zested, halved, and juiced), 16 shrimp (rinsed, patted dry, and seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper), 1 cup instant grits, 3 oz smoked gouda slices, 1.8 oz butter, 1 tsp grainy mustard, 1.2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions: 1) Whisk the grits into boiling water in a steady stream to avoid clumping. Stir until consistency is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 2 minutes. Tear smoked gouda into large pieces and stir into grits along with 1/3 of the butter. Seasons with salt and pepper and remove from the burner and keep warm. 2) Heat a pan over medium high heat with 1 tsp oil and add the shrimp. Sear on one side for 2 minutes or until browned. Remove shrimp to a plate (they will finish cooking later). 3) Add the remaining butter to the shrimp pan over medium high heat. Allow the butter to melt and then cook for 3 minutes or until the butter begins to smell nutty, and turns golden brown. 4) Stir in the white parts of the green onion, mustard, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until the shrimp is done. 5) Place the grits on a plate and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Add shrimp, spoon the butter sauce over the grits, and garnish with the remaining green onions.



Chicken Schnitzel

I had schnitzel for the first time at a restaurant this month and I loved it. I thought it was super fancy and hard to make and then Homechef had a chicken schnitzel recipe available that week so of course I had to get it! It turns out that schnitzel (or at least Homechef’s version) isn’t fancy or complicated at all. It is basically a thin breaded chicken breast. The recipe turned out well, and we will probably make it again. We might try to make it with pork next time.

Ingredients: 5 fl. oz. liquid egg, 1 lemon, 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2.7 oz flour, 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions: 1) Place the chicken on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with a small pot or pan into an even 1/4″ thickness. Season both sides with 1/4 tsp. each of slat and pepper. Place flower, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip chicken first into flour, shaking off excess, then in egg, and finally press into breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate. 2) Line a plate with paper towel. Place a medium pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until the chicken is golden grown and reaches a medium internal temperature of 165°, 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer to a towel-lined plate. Squeeze a lemon of the breaded chicken.


Pumpkin Protein Pancakes!

I apologize there are no pictures of this because we ate them up too quick. This recipe was very simple and they turned out well. The pancakes worked best if the batter was laid on the griddle thinly and then cooked for a little over 3 minutes per side. This recipe is for one (1) serving of 3 pancakes.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg + 1 egg white, 2 Tbsp tapioca flour, 1 Tbsp gelatin protein powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2.5 tsp cinnamon, 24 chocolate chips

Instructions: 1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT chocolate chips. 2) Pre-heat a frying pan or griddle on medium heat, coat with coconut oil. 3) Pour out 1/3 of mix (slightly less than 1/4 cup) and cook until bubbles start to form (about 2 minutes). 4) Sprinkle 8 chocolate chips on top, and wait another minute 5) Flip and cook on the other side for about 3 more minutes or until cooked through.



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