Friday, January 23, 2015

Non-alcoholic Drink/Food Pairings

I thought YummyMonsonFoodies would appreciate this PODCAST.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mom's Ribs Recipe

I use this recipe all the time so I thought I'd post it in case others wanted it. And this way I don't have to search through my email every time I make ribs. I reorganized it a little from its original form. You know how mom's recipes are.

Ribs - thawed
Bbq rub - I love Alan's stuff.
Bbq sauce - non-high fructose corn syrup based.
Tin foil

Preheat oven to 275. Take a jelly roll pan and cover it with two long strips of tin foil so that they hang enough over the sides that you can close them up into a package when the ribs are inside.

Open the rib package and pat the meat dry. Sprinkle the rub GENEROUSLY all over the meat, until completely coated. Do not skimp on the rub!

Smother the ribs thickly in your bbg sauce of choice. Be generous with the sauce, too!

Close the tinfoil over the top, wrapping them tightly.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours per pound of ribs.

After they're done, heat up your grill and grill them until smokey and browned. You can also do this step in your oven on broil. I do it all the time and it tastes just the same. Serve with extra sauce.

Tender, sticky, fall off the bone, juicy, flavorful ribs for all!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Warm Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Bulgar Salad

Matt made this the other night and it is so delicious! It's a warm salad, so I think it's great for a vegetarian winter dinner.


2 cups of uncooked bulgar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the squash
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 TB real maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the Kale
8 cups chopped kale, stems removed
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 TB apple cider vinegar
1 TB maple syrup
1 TB orange juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup EVOO

Preheat oven to 400. Place squash on a jelly roll pan and drizzle with EVOO, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Toss and roast for 15-20 min.
Cook bulgar according to package instructions, adding 1/2 tsp of salt to boiling water. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tsp EVOO over medium heat, then add kale. Cook and stir until wilted. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper. Cook 1 additional minute.
Make the dressing: whisk together the apple cider vinegar , maple syrup, orange juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in EVOO until incorporated.
In a large bowl combine bulgar, kale, squash, cranberries, and walnut. Stir in dressing and serve warm

We ate it with parmesan garlic bread, but it would be great too with some kind of soup maybe, or as a side to a meat dish.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shredded Pork Ramen Eggdrop Soup w/Curry Roasted Acorn Squash

Oh. My. Gosh. I literally think this might be the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. I know I tend to overuse hyperbole, but seriously, I'm not exaggerating on this one. Just so I'm not plagiarizing, the original recipe is FROM HERE. I modified it very slightly.

The  recipe is a little intimidating, for me it was anyway, but SO worth it. Some of the ingredients may have to be bought from an Asian market or international foods store. There were a couple that weren't in the Asian section of our grocery store.


2 pounds of pork roast
4 cups (1 whole carton) of low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 TB fish sauce
2 TB thai red curry paste
1 TB minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chili paste (I used chili ginger sauce)
The juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp star anise
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TB sesame oil
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
4 packages of ramen noodles, packets thrown out
2 eggs, soft boiled or whisked (I did whisked)
Chopped carrots, cilantro, green onions and jalapenos (if you want) for topping

1 medium acorn squash, peeled and cubed
2 TB coconut oil, melted
1 TB curry powder
1 TB white miso paste
1 TB brown sugar
cracked pepper to taste

Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, thai red curry paste, ginger, chili paste, lime juice, spices and brown sugar in the crock pot and stir. Add the pork to the pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

40 minutes before your pork is done cooking, preheat the oven to 400 and mix the melted coconut oil, curry powder, miso paste, brown sugar and cracked pepper in a bowl. Place cubed squash on a cookie sheet and toss with this mixture until evenly coated. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice so they're evenly browned.

Meanwhile, remove the pork from the crockpot, add the mushrooms back in and turn it up to high. At this point, I added the whisked eggs to the crockpot to make it a sort of egg drop. You can add the egg soft boiled at the end if you want your soup to look like the picture. Shred the pork in a separate bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in 2 TB of sesame oil, then coat the pan with pork, spaced evenly but not crowded. Sprinkle this with brown sugar and then pour 2 TB of soy sauce and 2 TB of rice vinegar over the top. Allow the pork to caramelize for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place that batch of pork on a separate plate, keep warm. Repeat this step until all the remaining pork is caramelized.

Add the ramen noodles to the crockpot to cook for 5 minutes. Once the noodles are cooked through, stir in half of the pork. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with extra pork, squash, egg (if you prefer them soft boiled) carrots, green onions, cilantro and jalapeno. (If you want. I skipped out on the jalapenos.)

I promise you, it was To. Die. For.


This slow cooker chicken enchilada soup recipe only takes about 10 minutes of prep time, and it is oh-so-delicious and comforting. I make this recipe A LOT! I always make the homemade enchilada sauce from this website too since a lot of enchilada sauces have junk in them.  If you have a store bought kind you like, feel free to use it instead. I have included the sauce recipe too in case you want to try it.
Recipe from


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 1/4 cup (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce*, homemade or store-bought
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn**, drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips


Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
Serve warm, with optional garnishes.


This homemade red enchilada sauce is WAY better than anything you can buy in the can, and quick and easy to make as well!


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder (*not cayenne! also, see note below if you do not like heat*)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock


Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano). Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.
Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

knock off Portillo's Chop Salad

I found this recipe last year and really like it. I have adapted the recipe to be closer to the real thing.  I went to Portillos since then and I have to say the dressing still isn't quite right. Let me know what you guys do and maybe we can figure out the dressing together!

  • 4 cups cooked Ditalini pasta
  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (about 1 cup)
  • (optional) 2 cups cooked and diced chicken
  • Sweet Italian Dressing:
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled

  1. Cook Ditalini pasta according to package instructions. Make sure you salt the pasta water while cooking to give it some flavor. Drain and cool. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Let bacon cool, then crumble it.
  3. Combine romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, tomatoes and green onions in large salad bowl.
  4. Add cooled pasta, bacon and gorgonzola cheese to salad. Add chicken if desired.
  5. Add dressing to taste right before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.
  6. For the Dressing: Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  7. This recipe doesn't include chicken so I just marinate two breasts in olive oil, lawny's and pepper and then grill them until done.  Then chop and toss in salad

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Here is another weeknight meal that we love!  This is also taken from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Seriously, check out her blog!
  • 1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature (I always use brown)
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like shredded pork or beef)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I use a combination of Monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • 6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  1. Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: I like to dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it makes the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm.

Chicken Souvlaki Pitas

This is one of our family favorite weeknight meals.  They are really easy to make ahead and then just chop up the toppings right before serving.  This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe which is a food blog I love!
    For the tzatziki sauce:
  • 16 oz. plain yogurt (not fat free unless it is Oikos or Fage or another Greek-type yogurt)
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded (I used 1/2 of an English cucumber)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • For the chicken:
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • To assemble:
  • Soft wrap bread (or pita bread)
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • diced cucumbers
  • sliced kalamata olives
  • feta cheese
  1. Greek yogurt, like Oikos or Fage. I love Greek God's.
  2. Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until you're ready to cook the chicken.
  4. Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I sauted them in a hot skillet.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Heat pitas. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes, sliced red onions, chopped cucumbers, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. Serve immediately.