Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mt. Vesuvius Nachos and Friday Potluck!

Holy cow! How is it October already?? Time is flying away. Why is it that when you can't wait for something to happen, time passes by the second and when you have so much to do before a certain date, time passes in leaps and bounds... and weeks?

Happy Friday Potluck!

Blog land is filled with great fall foods and crafts and I'm really enjoying reading about everyone's adventures! I can't wait to head into the mountains to see the aspen leaves changing color.

However, because I'm not aware of any great recipes using changing leaves, I'm bringing some amazing nachos to the potluck this week. Not particularly inspired, but they are oh so good.

Check out the elevation on these - near volcanic proportions.
I brought these Mt. Vesuvius Nachos to a friend's house this past week. They invited us for wings, and we wanted to bring something. I was planning to make queso, but then felt bad because I've been making and writing about all these great foods, and couldn't do just queso.

K piped up "Let's do nachos!"

And commenced cooking a pound of ground beef.

Mount Vesuvius was born. 
I recommend using a dish significantly larger than a 9" casserole. I'm just saying.

1 bag of chips
1 pound ground beef
1 can black beans, no salt added
3 cups shredded cheese
3 jalapenos diced
2 jalapenos sliced in disks
3 green onions, diced
1.5 cups salsa, mine or yours
1 packet taco seasoning
1.5 cups cubed velveeta
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown the meat, adding in the 3 diced jalapenos, the green onions, taco seasoning and half the can of beans.

Meanwhile, melt the velveeta in a small saucepan, adding a teaspoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Once mostly melted, add in 1/2 cup salsa.

Layer chips in your dish and spoon on some of the meat mixture and top with queso and some shredded cheese. Continue layering until you run out of meat (this could be a LOT of layers depending on dish size). 

Good thing it's a Potluck!!

Here are the instructions for joining the party:

1. Enter your post using the link to enter here below. This post must be published on your blog before you join the potluck.

2. Link back to this blog, EKat's Kitchen using the button on the right of the page or a link, and visit your fellow potluckers' pages and leave them a comment.

3. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my potluck party.

Party on!

Also, in addition to my Friday Potluck, this week I'm linking to these parties:


Get Healthy Cheap

Monday, September 27, 2010

Confessions of a Magazine Junkie

Now that we know where we'll be living now, I feel like everything has been thrown into motion with house hunting trips, farewell parties, scheduling the movers, pre-packing a few things to get them out of the house - even though the movers will re-pack them. Why? It sounds so futile, but it helps to get us organized for the move so we can maybe get some of those neglected  hard-to-reach corners of the house clean.

It was after packing my third box of books, not even making a dent in the overall quantity or even getting to the cookbooks, that I rediscovered my pile of magazines. I wish I'd taken a photo of the stack. I found back issues of Taste of Home, Rachael Ray, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, Clean Eating, and several other titles, including Conde Nast Traveler.

Hi, I'm Erin, and I'm a magazine-aholic.

It was with great sorrow last night that I set to going through the collection looking for "keepers". "Keepers" to me mean anything that makes a room beautiful, anything that looks like it will taste amazing, or great flavor combinations. I tried really hard to limit this round of "keepers" to recipes, and then reorganized my cookbook binder. Plus, I kept a few whole magazines -- when faced with Clean Eating, how can you toss any of them? (By toss, I mean recycle. Don't worry!) It's just not right.

It was a bittersweet feeling of accomplishment.

Tonight: scaring up boxes to pack more books. I read A LOT!

What are some of your moving/packing tips and favorite stories?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Portobella Black Bean "Salad" Sandwiches

Several years ago I saw a recipe somewhere for Bean and Portabella burgers. I couldn't find the recipe again, but knew that I wanted to make some today. I love mushrooms and I love black beans. Though what I ended up with wasn't burgers, I got some delicious sandwiches. Here is the recipe I created:

Portabella-Bean "Salad" Sandwiches
1 can black beans (no salt added), drained
2 large portabella caps, diced and separated
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 large green onions (or 3-4 smaller), diced
2 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 cup flour
6 kaiser rolls
olive oil
white cheddar slices

Basil Dijon Curried Mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3-4 leaves basil (I used some that I dried this summer)
2 tsp curry powder

(Printable Recipe)

First, brush olive oil onto the split kaiser rolls and grill until toasted. Set aside.

Next, combine the basil leaves, curry powder, mayo and mustard into a food processor and run until well mixed. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, mix the beans, one portabella cap, the vinegar, 1 tbsp garlic powder and one green onion. This creates your paste.

 Pour the paste into the bowl and add the second portabella cap the second green onion and the rest of the garlic powder. Mix. Add flour to thicken (you may need more).

I fear I didn't drain my beans well enough, because instead of nice patties for burgers (as I intended), I got a delicious gooey mixture, with a consistency not unlike chicken salad.

As K watched me struggle to achieve the right consistency, he said, "You know, you could add some hamburger."

"These are bean and mushroom burgers, K, they're vegetarian."

"Oh, right."

Photo Op

Instead of adding K's suggestion of hamburger, I added more flour. I then pattied and placed on a plate for the photo op. Then, certain that they wouldn't grill quite right, I placed on tin foil. Important - grease your tin foil (I didn't).

He watched, amused, as I valiantly toiled away making gooey patties. "You know, a little meat might make that stick together better. It sticks to itself really well."


"Oh right, vegetarian. Got it."

So he trundled the tin foil tray of patties out to the grill. A few minutes later: "Honey, I need some more tin foil, they're sticking to the bottom."

This should have been my first clue that they would also stick to the top. But no.

Though I had hoped that, in cooking, the patties would thicken up nicely, this was not to be.

We removed the now hot mixture from the tin foil, then spread on the kaiser buns, along with the mayo mix, and served with white cheddar and lettuce.


I built the sandwiches and we sat down to eat. As we ate, we discussed ways to make these more burger-like.

"Maybe more flour."
"Maybe more mushroom."
"Maybe pan frying them."
"Maybe breading and then pan frying."

Then, K pipes up, "How about adding some sausage?"

I just laughed. It was all I could really do. You know your husband comes from meat-eating farmers when..."

At least he agreed that they were absolutely delicious.

I'm linking this post to



El Paso & Baked Butternut Squash

So much has been going on in my life lately. Some of you may know that we've been in limbo for about 6 months as to where we will be living by the end of the year. We just learned this week for sure where that will be. We are moving to El Paso, TX. (You know the song -- "Out here in the West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl." -- until this week that was about ALL I knew about El Paso.)

Though this wouldn't have been my first choice, I've spoken with a few people this week who live there and love it... and I am getting really excited. That and it's nice to just KNOW what's happening. That said it's hard to consider starting over; I've met great people here in Colorado, like my job, and like my routine (is liking my routine a sign that I'm growing up? gasp!!). 

As a result of knowing that we were leaving soon, the Army has given my husband lots of time off. I am still working, and will do so right up until I leave. K will go down about a week before I do. The end result is that K has had lots of down time and more than he can fill doing school work and planning his brewery (still a dream, if it materializes, you will be among the first to know.)

He's been cooking a lot lately. Granted, I'm convinced that one day I'll come home and he'll have turned into a giant bowl of mac and cheese and Lucy the Wonderdog will be completely confused running around him barking. But he's also been doing a lot of real cooking. It's so wonderful to come home some nights, sit down for a few minutes to decompress, and have dinner set down right in front of me. I found a good one!

Wednesday this week, he made a delicious butternut squash -- the first squash I've had in years. He was very careful to take pictures and was all set for me to add it to the blog.

"Are you going to post it now?"

"I'll post it after Friday, Hon."

"But here's the camera with pictures."

"I just posted my Friday potluck."

"But it's only Wednesday."

"I know." big sigh. Then I turned around three times and curled up in a ball. 

Wait no, that was Lucy. I simply went to bed, worn out and with a satisfied tummy.

The butternut squash was great the first night, and I took it for lunch each of the next two days, and it aged well, getting progressively better each day.

K gave me the site where he found his recipe.  But then he told me that it wasn't really how he made the squash. And proceeded to tell me all the differences.

I opened one eye and my computer and pasted the recipe into a new blog post for safe keeping. And there it has remained until this beautiful Saturday, when Lucy woke me up with a lick to the elbow and a tail wag letting me know "It. Is. Time. To. Go. Out. NOW." 

"And by the way, It's MORNING!!! YAY!" wag, wag, wag. whine. bounce!

I love my dog. She's the greatest. I just don't always share her enthusiasm for morning.

I digress though.

Here is K's version of Baked Butternut Squash with a Twist 
(original recipe here). 

He actually didn't change a whole lot, reducing the amount of butter and salt, and substituting cinnamon for cardamom.

1 large butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
dash of fresh ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons firmly-packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish.
Using a large knife, carefully cut the butternut squash into two halves lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and any fibrous-strings. Wrap the halves in plastic wrap and microwave for approximately 5 minutes. This will partially cook the squash making it easier to peel and quicker to bake.

Peel the skin off both halves of the squash, after allowing it to cool to the touch. Dice the squash into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and melted butter together until the sugar is dissolved; stir in the lemon juice. Mix together with squash pieces then pour into baking dish. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and cinnamon evenly over the squash pieces.

Bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned across the top and the squash pierces easily with a fork.

4 servings. The original recipe from by Cynthia Pineda said serves 4 people. With a husband who is 6'6" and who according to my very unscientific eyeballing method may still be growing, this more realistically makes 4 servings (not serves 4 people). 

I made a Caesar salad to go along with this by tossing shredded romaine and tomato chunks into a bowl, adding fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a handful of fresh-grated parmesan. I didn't get pics of the salad though. Shame on me. Will do a post on my full version of homemade Caesar salad dressing soon (actually my dad's recipe, but I like it a lot!).

I'm linking this post to Show & Tell Saturday (showing off my hubby!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

How do you say "Tasty"?

As I write about food and my meals and my taste buds, I find myself sounding like a broken record.

This sounds TASTY, and that sounds DELICIOUS.

The next thing I see is AMAZING, while another still yet is WONDERFUL!

I find myself doing the same thing when I comment on all of your blogs and posts; and I really am being sincere! I discover so many new flavor and ingredient combinations and find inspiration every day.

I want you to tell me your words for "Tasty".

Click "Enter Here" below and tell me your word, then give yourself a little shout out by linking to your blog. I promise to start using more words for tasty in my writing!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heavenly Guacamole & Friday Potluck Party!

It's that time again! 
Friday Potluck Party!!! 

Grab the code for the Potluck Friday button

Please join the party by entering your favorite post (from your blog) from the past week -- arts & crafts, photography, ideas and, of course, recipes are all welcome. 

I can't wait to see your posts.

Also, at this time, I want to give my new blog friend Michelle @ Fit Foodista a shout out. Over the last few weeks, we've become friends and she's been posting dedicated blog posts to my Friday Potlucks. Please please please be sure to check out her blog (as well as blogs from the other potluckers!)

This week I'm bringing Heavenly Guacamole to the potluck. One of my favorite dishes - very tasty, very easy, and... very tasty. Wait, I already said that. I say that a lot. Tasty. Tasty. Tasty. 

Enough with the broken record. It's a favorite at parties and at home. 

Its also made from all fresh ingredients and is pretty darned good for you with no preservatives. Until you add the chips or the burger -- whatever you plan to eat with it.

I've made this into a small batch, but you can easily make much larger batches.

Heavenly Guacamole
(Printable Recipe)
2 avocados (set pits aside)
1 tomato
1 green onion
3-4 stems cilantro
1/2 jalapeno
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)

Dice all solid ingredients and mash together. Mash less if you want a less chunky guac. I like it chunky because I like to see what I'm eating. Add the lime juice to keep from browning. I like to place the pits in also to keep from browning and to add visual interest.

Eat! Serve with tortilla chips. (Or add to a burger, or many other uses.) If you prefer a little less onion or garlic, feel free to leave either out; on the flip side, if you prefer more, then by all means...!
Now it's time to party! Join the potluck by entering a favorite post from your blog this week.

Instructions for entering are below:

1. Enter your post using the link to enter here below. This post must be published on your blog before you join the potluck.

2. Link back to this blog, EKat's Kitchen using the button on the right of the page or a link.

3. Visit your fellow potluckers' pages and leave them a comment.

4. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my potluck party.

Party on!

Also, in addition to my Friday Potluck, this week I'm linking to these parties:
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
The Grocery Cart Challenge
No Whine Wednesday

Get Healthy Cheap


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