Monday, August 14, 2017

New features!




I've been making a few subtle changes to my blog lately that I wanted to point out to people!

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1) I've added a new tab at the top of the page for freezer meal workshops.  A few months ago a couple friends and I started a group in Los Alamos where people pay to come and cook for 2 hours a month and leave with a weeks worth of dinners! In doing that I've really started to collect and adjust recipes to make them work for the freezer and wanted to share!  I'm still working on getting pictures attached to all of them and making them just perfect but in the meantime you can at least see the recipes and get your freeze on!  If you're local you can also get more information about attending freezer meal workshops in the future.  Just click on the tab that says freezer meal workshops and recipes! Happy Cooking!


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2) In the past I've periodically written essays and other non-recipe/homemaking type posts on neighborjulia. I've recently made a new goal to write something meaningful every day but I also realize I have a lot of readers from my local community using neighborjulia recipes that may not want to know everything there is to know about me!

For these reasons I've decided to take all those types of posts off this blog and move them to a new one! However, I couldn't move the comments so feel free to read through them and comment again! I will be posting political essays, book reviews, religious conversations, poetry, weightloss/fitness tracking and more on my new blog: Semi-Deep Thoughts by Neighborjulia. So if you're interested in any of that you can check them out there and if you're just in it for the food you can stick with neighborjulia and not have to hear all my ramblings ;) A link to my semi-deep thoughts blog can be found on the sidebar also! Happy reading!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Salisbury Steaks with Homemade Brown Gravy


This is a meal we had a lot growing up.  I loved it as a kid and now I love it as an adult because my kids will eat it too!  It's quick and hearty and I usually have most of the ingredients on hand.  We always called them juicy hamburgers growing up but I've since learned they are also called Salisbury steaks. You can call them whichever you prefer- I suppose more people will know what you're talking about if you call them the latter though. ;) Give them a try!

Salisbury Steaks (makes 8)
2.5 lbs. ground beef
2 T. Worcestshire sauce
2 tsp. seasoned salt
pepper to taste
1 recipe brown gravy (below)
parsley (for garnish)

Combine ground beef with 2 T. worcestshire, seasoned salt and pepper.  Form into 8 patties and place inside a large skillet.  Cook beef until no longer pink but still tender.  While patties are cooking begin making gravy. When patties are done cooking, pour gravy over patties and continue to cook until gravy is thickened.

Brown Gravy
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 cups beef broth or stock
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 T. Worcesteshire

To make gravy- In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add flour and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter/flour mixture is golden brown. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant. Whisk in remaining ingredients until well combined.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally (making sure to scrape bottoms and sides of pan). If adding to cooked salisbury steaks go ahead and pour gravy over top of them now, otherwise leave gravy in saucepan. Whether in the skillet or saucepan- Simmer for 15 min, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Thai Peanut Pasta



This was a delicious pinterest find! Plus I bought already prepped veggies in the produce section which made this meal super quick to pull together! My kiddos loved it and so did Alex and I.  I may have tricked them into trying it by telling them there was a secret ingredient (peanut butter) and whoever figured out what it was could have a popsicle for dessert.  I might have to start doing that with more dinners because they all cleaned their plates! I like to believe that also had something to do with the food being good ;)  Anyway, give it a try!

Thai Peanut Pasta
3 chicken breasts (grilled and thinly sliced)
1 lb. thin spaghetti
1/4 cup sesame oil (divided)
1 cup shredded carrots (I bought a bag of already shredded carrots)
2 cups shredded cabbage (I bought a bag of cole slaw mix)
1/2 bunch green onions (chopped)
3 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
3 T. rice vinegar
2 T. siracha
fresh cilantro (optional)
chopped peanuts  (optional)

Grill chicken until cooked through.  Remove from heat and let set for 5 min. before slicing thinly.

Meanwhile, in a large pot bring water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (you don't want it mushy!). Drain pasta, toss with sesame oil, and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the bottom of the pot and saute green onion, carrots and cabbage until slightly softened (it doesn't take long). Then add chicken, garlic and ginger and continue cooking for 1 min.

Add remaining sauce ingredients to pot and stir to combine. Place noodles back in the pot and toss all ingredients together.

Top with fresh cilantro and/or chopped peanuts if desired. Enjoy!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Caprese Salad


I love summer! I love that you can just chop up fresh ingredients and call it a meal. Have this salad with some grilled chicken and maybe some watermelon and you're good to go. You'll look super fancy and you'll still have time to read a book or something after you make dinner!

It's so fast to make and you can change it to fit your tastes/needs.  You can make your own balsamic drizzle like I have below or make this recipe even easier by buying some pre-made at the store. I've found it in the oils and vinegars section.  You can marinate the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar for an extra punch or add a little ground pepper at the end.  Enjoy!

Caprese Salad
16 oz. fresh mozzarella (I get mine at the Murray cheese counter in Smith's)
4 larger roma tomatoes (you want them to be firm)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (more if you like!)
balsamic drizzle (recipe below or buy a pre-made drizzle)
salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Drizzle:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T. corn starch

Combine all drizzle ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to med low and allow to thicken.  When sauce is reduced to desired thickness remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, slice mozzarella and roma tomatoes into 1/4 in. thick slices and arrange on plate alternating between cheese and tomato.  Sprinkle chopped basil on top.  Drizzle cooled balsamic glaze over salad.  Top with salt and pepper if desired.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Mexican Street Corn


So I've never actually had Mexican street corn before but it's all over pinterest these day and so I decided to give it a whirl.  I've seen tons of different recipes for mexican street corn salad, steak, kabobs, etc. etc. etc.  So I decided to just try a straight up corn on the cob recipe and boy did it pay off. Not only is it delicious it looks fantastic in pictures! No wonder the internet is obsessed.  It's a food bloggers favorite kind of recipe!

For as much as it was all over the internet, no two recipes were alike so I just borrowed what I like from each of them and made my own up. I liked that a lot of the spice comes from topping it with chile powder at the end so my kids were able to adjust the heat to their own preferences.  And it was a nice change from just drowning the corn in butter.  Test it out for yourself!

Mexican Street Corn
8 whole cobs of corn (husk and silk removed)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo (I used bestfoods olive oil mayo)
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1 tsp. chili powder (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice from 1/2 a lime

After removing husks from corn, place corn on a preheated grill and cook for about 8 min. over medium heat.  Then flip and cook another 9 minutes or until corn is soft but not dried out.  It's okay if some of the corn chars up a bit. 

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

When corn is done- remove from grill and brush each piece all over with sour cream/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with extra cotija cheese and chili powder.  Eat warm!



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Salmon Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Yogurt Sauce


I love cooking in the summer! You can pretty much just buy meat, veggies and fruit and you've got yourself a summer meal!  Plus I love that my husband likes to grill so I get to cook with him for a few months each year.  This was our first week in a while where I didn't have a million things going on at night so I finally planned out a whole weeks menu and have stuck to it (for the most part- nobody's perfect!).  We started off with some salmon tacos.  My girls and I love salmon but the boys are not that big of fans.  The taco is the only way my husband will eat salmon on account of it has so many others toppings he can drown out the salmon taste.  I love to pile it high in salmon and garnish it with the other toppings. So whether you love salmon or loathe it this recipe might by for you!


Salmon Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce

Salmon:
2 lbs. salmon
2 T. chile powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 lime- slice in 1/4 in. slices

Toppings:
1 cup shredded cabbage (I used cole slaw mix-no sauce)
Sliced avocado
Fresh pico de gallo (or for a delicious sweet twist use a mango peach salsa!)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
15-20 corn tortillas
1 recipe cilantro lime yogurt sauce (below)

Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 avocado
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 T. minced garlic
Juice from 1/2 lime

Instructions:
For salmon- place skin side down on a large sheet of heavy duty foil.  Combine spices and rub on top of salmon evenly.  Place lime slices down the top of the salmon.  Wrap foil up and over any thinner parts of the salmon.  Place on preheated grill and cook over medium heat for about 45 min.  Open foil about 15 minutes before you are ready to remove it from the grill.  Salmon is done when pink and flaky.

While salmon is cooking prepare your other toppings including the cilantro yogurt sauce. For the sauce combine all sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

To assemble taco- place salmon on a corn tortilla and top with yogurt sauce and whichever toppings you prefer.  Enjoy!






Friday, March 10, 2017

Homemade Peanut Butter Bars


Well, this is my last queued post for the week so I thought I'd end on a sweet note! My ten year old actually found this recipe for us!  She was having a daddy daughter activity at church and they were supposed to bring a treat their dad loved.  For my husband that is Reeses peanut butter cups! So my daughter decided to try her hand at making homemade cups and ended up with a hit! With a little more effort you can make these look like actual cups but they are just as tasty in bar form. Give them a try!

Homemade Peanut Butter Bars
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (finely ground)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl place graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, melted butter and one cup of the peanut butter.  Mix well.  Press peanut butter mixture into bottom of a well greased 9x13 pan.  In a medium microwave safe bowl combine the remaining 4 T. of peanut butter with the chocolate chips.  Melt in microwave for about 1.5 minutes (stirring every 30 seconds).  Carefully spread chocolate mixture on top of peanut butter mixture.  Place tray in refrigerator and allow to cool for 1 hour. 

At this point cut the bars evenly into snack sized squares (this prevents the chocolate from breaking off when you cut them later).  Continue to refrigerate for another 1-2 hours or until set. Re-cut bars and serve!