Hot Giardiniera Pepper Roast

chicago roast 1- close upRump roast was one of my favorite dishes Grandma made when I was growing up. As a result, it’s still on my list of favorites as an adult: any kind of roast, short ribs, or fallin’ apart goodness and I’m drooling.

I typically make a “Mississippi Roast” made with a stick of butter, Au Jus, a Ranch flavor packet and banana peppers. While DELICIOUS, I wanted to make something a little different time- without the butter. And I have to say- I am loving how this spicier version turned out!

The most important ingredient (besides the chuck roast here) will be the Hot Giardiniera Peppers, by Devanco Foods. While they don’t have an online store up yet to order the product,  these were purchased at Goose the Market,  in Indianapolis. Apparently these little suckers are pretty hard to find. So- if you can’t find them I recommend finding something also labeled “Hot Giardiniera peppers”.  I really think the juice and oils from the peppers helped to add that extra pop to the flavor profile! They continue to add spice over time as the roast is in the fridge. I made this roast on Monday, and by Wednesday the heat had increased significantly!

chicago roast 4- verticalThe roast in these photos are served over my favorite mashed potatoes- you can find the recipe here, on my post for Turkey Portobello Meatballs. I mean really, these taters are good by themselves,  or used as a base for almost ANYTHING!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Chuck roast
  • 1 packet McCormick Grill Mates, Zesty Herb
  • 1 packet Au Jus Gravy seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz, or half a jar of Devanco’s Hot Giardiniera Peppers. (Also use the juice/oil!)
  • 2 Tbsp Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard

chicago roast 3- close up

I use my GoWise USA Pressure Cooker instead of a slow cooker/Croc-pot. Let me just say, I love this pressure cooker! While I mainly use it for meats, I have also used it for rice (which turns out perfectly!) crab legs and veggies. This is a great kitchen toy!  I run the meat setting at 45 minutes for 4 times for a roast. If you are using a slow cooker or crock pot I would recommend 5-7 hours on low heat or until the roast starts to flake apart easily when a fork is inserted.

chicago roast 5- vertical

This is such an easy dish to make- if you do any sort of food prep for the week- I highly recommend this! It stores well in the fridge as well as the freezer and  you can serve it over potatoes , pasta, on a sandwich or even over a mixed green salad.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! I’ll definitely be making this version again soon!

cheers. Kelli

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake with Bacon Sprinkles and Nutterbutter Crust

PBJ pinterest collageA few weeks ago I got it into my head that I wanted to make a peanut butter and jelly cheesecake. I think I must have seen one on FoodGawker and kept fantasizing about it. So, as the weeks progressed and my day dreams were all about this fantasmical treat- I began to think: what can I do to jazz this up? Well, the first piece of flare was obvious to me- a Nutter Butter crust. I don’t typically like packaged cookies- but you give me a bag of Nutter Butter’s and I’ll go to town. My second bit of pizazz, bacon, was a bit of an afterthought- but  lesbihonest: bacon is more of a seasoning and it pairs well with anything. I make PB &J and bacon sandwiches, why wouldn’t bacon delight the taste buds on this dessert, too? I took half of this cheesecake to work last night and had lots of compliments. That being said, I will write the recipe as I will try it next time. Just a few small tweaks. For example, I’d add more jelly next time, and maybe more bacon too- because  you can’t have too much of a good thing- especially if it’s bacon. Always add more bacon.BPJ cheesecake slice 7, close upTo get started you’ll need:

  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil
  • a  10.5″ springform pan- (These are mainly used for cheesecakes. I have a set of three different sizes and you can get a set at almost any retailer: Norpor Nonstick Springform Pans- Amazon, $18.91)
  • Non-stick cooking spray.
  • a baking dish or lipped-cookie sheet

Now, lets set your pan up.

  1. Start by making the latch is closed securely on your spring form pan, and that the bottom is fits in nice and snug.
  2. Spray entire pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Cut out a circle of parchment paper for the bottom of the pan, and a strip deep enough to cover the sides of the pan, and long enough to cover the entire circumference of the pan walls. The parchment paper should stick to the cooking spray.
  4. Take your aluminum foil and DOUBLE wrap the bottom of the spring form pan. These pans leak  often and it sucks when you have cake leak down into the bottom of your oven (been there and done that) .
  5. Place the double wrapped springform pan in the baking dish/pan and pour water into the pan until it’s about 1/2″ up the sides of the springform. This helps ensure that the cake cooks evenly throughout, which is often a problem with cheesecakes.
BPJ cheesecake 8
Add a little romance with some bubbles. These are my favorite flutes and my favorite Champagne (Perrier Jouet). Not only are the bottles beautiful and hand painted, so are the flutes! ❤

Crust Ingredients:

This will be the most simple part of the cake.

  • 8 Tbsp or 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1- 1 lb bag of Nutter Butters, pulsed in a food processor until it’s crumb fine

Pour melted butter into the food processor over crumbs. Process until crumbly and well mixed. Pour into spring form pan and spread evenly. Pack down with something a flat bottom- I used a bowl. Pack until there are no loose crumbs.

Also added edible heart glitter. I feel like I should bulk up and put it in a shaker next to my salt and pepper.
Also added edible heart glitter. I feel like I should bulk up and put it in a shaker next to my salt and pepper.

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 –  room temp 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 c creamy peanut butter ( I don’t really recommend using natural peanut butter for this cake because of the texture difference)
  • 1 c cool whip
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 jar of jelly for bottom of cake (I used raspberry)
  • 4 Tbsp jelly for the top of the cake (I used grape)
  • 4 slices of crispy bacon, chopped up
  1. In a small sauce pan, dump your first jar of jelly. Heat over medium heat with a whisk until it becomes liquid. Pour onto crust and spread evenly. Chill for 20 minutes before pouring your cheesecake batter over it.
  2. Using an electric mixer (or your Kitchen-Aid) cream together cream cheese, peanut butter, sour cream, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add eggs one at a time.
  4. Now fold in your Cool Whip slowly. Do not BEAT it in. It will get runny.
  5. Pour cheesecake mix over cooled jelly and crust. Spread it evenly.
  6. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool completely and then put in the fridge to chill overnight.
  7. Next day: Heat your 4 Tbsp jelly in small sauce pan until just liquid again. Pour into pastry bag or plastic bag. Let this cool sufficiently- you do not want to pour boiling hot jelly over your nice chilled cake. I put my jelly bag in the freezer for about ten minutes. (“Why even let it get that hot if you’re just going to chill it?” you might ask. The answer is, that to get the jelly liquid enough to squirt it through the pastry bag, it must be heated. If it’s not heated enough, it will be lumpy.)
  8. Once jelly is cooled sufficiently (NOT ROOM TEMP- Still warm just not boiling anymore!), cut the tip of your pastry bag and decorate cake however you want. I did mine a little sloppily, but hey- eeeessss ok.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and edible heart glitter if you’re a diva.

BPJ cheesecake slice 3If you don’t like PB &J’s, bacon, cheesecake or Nutter Butters, then sadly this recipe isn’t for you. (And you’re most likely a very boring person with terrible taste). Welp, that leaves more for the rest of us.  I hope y’all enjoy!

Cheers! Kelli

Guilt-Free Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken

pinterest chicken collage

This dish is low calorie, high protein and GUILT-FREE! Yep, I said it- go on and have seconds.

I’m excited the boyfriend has hopped on the healthy train (at least for today) and I wanted to make something high in protein and relatively lean for dinner and voila: this dish was created! Although I REALLY wanted to add cheese, I decided to leave it out and the dish was still plenty flavorful. (Plus I made a PB and J cheesecake tonight and plan on having a sliver tomorrow, so there’s my cheese). Everything in moderation. . .

I’ve had some people asking me if I food prep- the answer is yes, but not in the traditional way- meaning packing up plain BORING chicken with broccoli and rice for every meal for 7 days a week. That’s not my style. (Food snob). I felt compelled to mention this because for most of my recipes, I make an abundance of food (especially if it’s something healthy-like turkey meatballs! Great after workout protein snack!). I like to eat it for several meals, and even freeze the dish for a ready, homemade dish a few weeks later too. Coming later this week will come a post for those of you curious about my “food prepping” in a blog titled “Food Prepping for the Non-Food Prepper”. Thus- I made extra chicken tonight so I have a healthy post-work out meal tomorrow! No fuss and minimal clean-up.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and start cookin!

Guilt-free Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast. (or each breast about 3/4 lb)
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs. Dash “Sweet Onion and Herb” seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs. dash “Rotisserie Chicken” seasoning (NOTE: substitute gluten free seasoning of your choice to make this gluten-free. DUH.)
  • 1/4 c. chopped mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1  1/2 c. chopped spinach

Let’s start by taking your chicken breasts, and placing them into a gallon size zip-loc bag along with the Mrs. Dash seasoning, a little salt and pepper, and a teensy dollop of olive oil. Shake that shit up.

chicken-pre tenderized

Now, double bag it ( #sorryimnotsorry)- a plastic grocery bag is fine and you’ll want to grab your meat mallet (  again. . . and I just like saying that). Make sure when pounding the chicken out, you have a nice solid cutting board underneath. (You don’t want to damage your counter tops! I know this sounds like common sense, but some people need that extra bit of guidance-like I would when trying to change the oil in my own car.)

Now pound out your chicken as thin as you can get it, without completely pulverizing it. See the photo below. The breast on the left has been pounded out too thin and is starting to fall apart. The breast on the right is perfect.

chicken-how to NOT tenderize

No we’re going to make the stuffing  Toss all other ingredients (olives, sun dried tomatoes, capers, garlic  and mushrooms) in a skillet with a nip of EVOO, sans spinach- you’ll add that last.  Saute all ingredients for about 2 minutes and add the spinach. Stir until spinach is just wilted and take off heat.

chicken-mediterranean stuffing
Doesn’t look like a cup and a half of spinach right? Feel free to add more if you need some more green in your life!

Spoon the stuffing over your flattened chicky-boobs now and roll them up. I secured them with toothpicks, as you can see, but if you’re fancy they have little meat sticks or whatever they’re called if you feel the need to spend some extra money.

chicken-rolled up
The baby chicken on the left is for my baby dog. She’s not spoiled or anything.

Now let’s throw another squirt of EVOO in the same skillet (no need to wash) and brown the chicken. I always like to brown my meat dishes before they go in the oven, if for nothing else, for PRETTY! um, duh. After slightly browned, place into shallow glass baking dish.

Brown chicken, brown brown. . . (sing it. You're welcome.)
Brown chicken, brown brown. . . (sing it. You’re welcome.)

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Once done, let cool and slice. Serve over your choice of grain, (I chose Couscous because it’s light and just as high in protein as quinoa or wheat berries.)

chicken-finished 4 The Couscous pictured is tri-color Couscous made with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. I followed the directions on the package and added sauteed spinach, cherry tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper.

chicken-finished 1 This (and most of my recipes can also be made to be gluten free). None of the ingredients listed have gluten in them to my knowledge- with the exception of Mrs. Dash which could be substituted out for a gluten-free seasoning of your choice! If you’re feeling a little frisky, add some cheese to the stuffing- I would go with feta, goats or shaved parm. However, I’m feeling really good about my meal choice tonight- like I said, no guilt! I hope all you health nuts, or those of you that are giving it some effort enjoy it too

Dip up buttercups!
Dip up buttercups!

Turkey Portobello Meatballs with Sundried Tomato Vodka Sauce

From L to R: meatballs on carrot noodles, yellow squash noodles, zucchini noodles, and garlic mashed potatoes.
From L to R: meatballs on carrot noodles, yellow squash noodles, zucchini noodles, and garlic mashed potatoes.

Let me start this post of by saying I’m going to overload you with recipes: 1. Creamy Dreamy Mashed Potatoes 2. Lean turkey Portobello meatballs and 3. Sun dried Tomato Vodka Sauce. I can’t share one without the other. .eh?

Exploring my freezer last night and decided it was time to bust out the rest of the ground turkey. We recently ate a new restaurant in town, Mimi Blue, a restaurant specializing in meatballs, which somewhat inspired tonight’s meal. I was originally just going to make a turkey burger for my post-workout meal, but it was so late in the afternoon that I decided to go ahead and make a full dinner. These meatballs took a little while to make, especially since I browned them in the skillet before baking them. However, they fed four people with plenty left over for high protein snacks for the week and even a few to freeze. (The batch made approximately 27 meatballs).

I decided to put the meatballs over veggie spaghetti to cut down on the carbs of the meal. . . but went ahead and made some garlic mashed potate-ahs for the boyfriend. I mean, you can’t expect the guy to eat low-fat meatballs with whole, good-for you veggies and that’s it, right? I topped these meatballs with an ultra tangy sun-dried tomato and vodka sauce, but you could of course use pre-made sauce or jarred sauce. Below I’ve listed the recipe for the meatballs, my AMAZING creamy mashed po-tates and the sun-dried tomato vodka sauce.

Let’s start with my veggie noodles. Ultra simple, but there is a bit of a learning curve with this Veggetti contraption. Looks simple, makes you feel like an idiot.  It works, but I feel like there’s some trick to it that I don’t know about? Maybe it just takes a little practice, but these 3 “noodle nests” in the photo took me about 30 minutes. Next time I might just eat the meatballs plain. That’s how impatient I am. If anyone has any good tips on how to better use the Veggetti, please share! If you’re interested in buying one, you can get one by clicking the following link (Veggetti on Amazon, $12.98).    I’d be willing to try another brand if anyone has suggestions or tips!

Behold the Veggetti:

The veggies pictured here are the "core" of the veggies that come through the middle of the hourglass after the vegetable itself is "spiraled" or shredded, in my case. (It's all in the wrist- bada bing bada boom).
The veggies pictured here are the “core” of the veggies that come through the middle of the hourglass after the vegetable itself is “spiraled”- or shredded, in my case. (It’s all in the wrist- bada bing bada boom).

I might want to add, while I’m pretty active in the gym, I don’t recommend doing wrist curls the same day as using your Veggetti. (Wait, who even does wrist curls?!?)

Veggie Noodle Nests

Spiral or shred your desired veggies. Make your veggie nests. I used one small squash, or one small zucchini for each noodle nest.  I found that the squash and zucchini spiraled much easier than the carrot, which I gave up on after the first noodle nest.

turkey meatballs- veggie noodles

Lay out on a pan lined with aluminum foil, and lightly spray with cooking spray, I used olive oil. Season with desired spices, (I used garlic salt, pepper and Italian seasoning) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. I suppose you could eat the carrots raw, or use them for a “carrot salad”, but I wanted to cook the squash and zucchini just enough cook out a tiny bit of the moisture and cook it just a bit- I like my veggies aldente!

Next, we’re gonna move on the the po-tates.

Sorry I'm not sorry. . .
Sorry I’m not sorry. . .

We all have a favorite mashed potato recipe, no? Growing up it was my favorite side dish at Grandma’s and it’s stuck with me. (If you don’t like mashed potatoes, we can’t even be friends.) So, while I’ve never really used a recipe for mashed potatoes, I always ended up making them the same, so tonight I wrote down my go-to recipe for a NO FAIL mashed po-tate. It wont disappoint-I promise. Here it is:

turkey meatballs- mash close up

Creamy Dreamy Mashed Po-tates

  • 2.5 lbs of boiled Red Potatoes, leave the skins on and cube ’em
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 HEAPING tablespoons of minced garlic
  • Lotsa salt ‘n  peppa

Directions: Plop all ingredients into your kitchen aid mixer and turn it out. Wait 3 minutes. Lick the spoon.  YOU DONE- BOOM!

It’s time for the MEAT-AH BOLLS!

turkey meatballs- all 4, vertical

Ingredients:

  • 30 oz lean, ground turkey (1 1/2 packages)
  • 4 oz baby Portobellos, diced (1/2 package)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 c minced cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 HEAPING Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Worcester
  • 1  1/2 c bread crumbs OR Bob’s Redmill Textured Vegetable Protein (Link takes you to Amazon, but I got mine at Meijer). (ground fine in a food processor) if you wanna beast up and eat these meatball as a post workout! (I like to just add a little mustard and that’s it!) For today’s recipe, I used half bread crumbs and half TVP- no one could tell the difference and I didn’t tell them!)

Mix all ingredients.  Use a large ice cream scoop to scoop up the mixture- and divide each scoop into two portions. Roll into balls. Place in a hot skilled to brown with a teensy bit of EVOO. Do this with all meatballs, and once browned place on a foil lined pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

turkey meatballs- yellow squash close up

Now to top your balls with the Sun dried tomato and vodka sauce:

This sauce is super tangy so if you want to tone it down, add some heavy cream)

  • 2 oz, or about 1/2 a package sun dried tomatoes. Today I used “Bella Sun Luci”  brand from Mooney Farms, 3/$5 at Meijer.
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp vodka, plus 1 extra shot to drink right now. Hell- you’ve worked hard making this meal, you deserve it!
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (I know, I know. . .I use a lot, so what?)

Saute them sun dried tomaters in the butter. Add garlic and vodka. Let it cook down just a bit. Add lemon and water. Let simmer. Blend in food processor and serve over yer balls.

turkey meatballs- sauce close up

As I mentioned earlier, this recipe makes about 27-30 balls depending on how big the cup of your hands is. (My friend Amanda would appreciate all my ball talk.) I packed my Papa lunch for tomorrow and even snuck the pooch one when they were hot out to oven. No complaints here- let me know what ya’ll think!

outie 5000. Kels.