03 March 2015

Dishes with Dee: Venison Chili

Oh my gosh, Spring is so close I can almost feel it. 

I mean, am I the only one that is obsessively checking their weather app every few hours? I'm staring at the ten day forecast like it is going to magically transform before my eyes and be 70 degrees with sunshine and birds chirping.

I even have a playlist of happy songs called "68 and sunny". I NEED Spring. But, we've made it this far, we can make it a few more weeks.

In the meantime, since there is a winter weather alert due to freezing rain, doesn't everyone want to curl up with a nice hot bowl of chili?

I've posted about a super easy slow cooker chili here.
And everyone remembers this post with some different chili options.

Chili is such a great cold weather comfort food, and if you want to eat organic, free range meat, you can't get more organic than actual wild game.

So here's what ya need:
1 lb ground venison
3 cloves of garlic- mined
1 yellow onion- chopped
1 orange bell pepper- seeded and chopped
1 poblano pepper- seeded and chopped
1 28 oz. can of fire roasted dices tomatoes
4-5 roasted red peppers- drained, dried and chopped
1 can of pinto beans- drained and rinsed
1 can of white beans- drained and rinsed
2 c. beef stock
1/2 c. red wine

And here's what ya do:
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat about a teaspoon of oil (venison isn't as greasy as beef, since it is much leaner). Add the venison and cook until is begins to brown through out. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. If grease is excessive, drain some out, but you want the bottom of the pan coated for cooking the rest of the ingredients.

2. Add the garlic and onion to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and scrape up any of the brown bits left behind from the meat. This gives awesome flavor. Then, add the orange and poblano peppers and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the undrained can of tomatoes, and the roasted red peppers, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Add the venison, both kinds of beans, beef stock and wine. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and lightly boil until liquid is reduced by about half. Turn heat down to about medium, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

4. Serve with plenty of shredded cheese and freshly diced onions (if you so desire).

I'm very excited to include brand new printable recipes! Thanks to a reader suggestion, you'll now be able to print a convenient, half page recipe each time I write a Dishes with Dee post. If there are any past recipes you'd like me to do, comment below or on my Facebook Page and I'll make them!

Venison Chili Recipe

26 February 2015

On natural beauty

Let's take a minute to talk about beauty.
This Buzzfeed article came across my feed recently, and honestly it had me pretty angry. 

"Just really, really good make up" the tagline reads. As I was scrolling through the pictures I felt myself feeling more and more annoyed. Most of these women are so much more beautiful without all that makeup on their faces!

Without spending too much time up on my soap box, this article just feeds into the already impossible pressure young girls and women feel to be a certain kind of "beautiful" in today's society. When you do a getty search for natural makeup you end up with this. RIDICULOUS. 

There was once a time in college when I spent hours contouring, shading and reapplying eye liner until it looked just perfect. I would watch makeup tutorials for hours and then inevitably end up feeling defeated because I didn't look like the woman in the video. Now, however, I find as I'm getting older, I really prefer a much more natural look. Among other reasons, I think minimal makeup actually makes you look younger than a full face. The dewy look of a tinted moisturizer, natural blush and subtle liner is just so understated and sophisticated. 

Don't get me wrong, makeup is fun. I love a good lipstick or a smoky eye for a date night or special event, but I believe day to day should be more effortless. I think it is important for women to remember that what makes them different is what makes them beautiful. Whenever I'm feeling down about my looks, I like to tell myself "You were born with a beautiful face" (Try it! It really works!)

Here are some women that are doing natural beauty just perfectly:

Q: Who is your beauty inspiration?
A: All of the cliche classics: Audrey, Grace Kelly, Liz Taylor. They make it effortless.
Q: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
A: 20 minutes. Ensemble selection is another 10.

Q: What feature do you love most about yourself?
A: In that picture? My hair!! All gone now :(
Q: What is your most essential beauty product?
A: Good shampoo and conditioner- PUREOLOGY!!

Q: Who is your beauty inspiration?
A: I don't really have one. I just think about color and aesthetics. It takes me usually 10 minutes to get ready.
Q: What feature do you love most about yourself?
A: I would say my ability to create.

Q:What is your most essential beauty product?
A: Deodorant- LAVANILA.
Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?
A: I feel most beautiful when I'm in nature. (All the nature emojis)

Q: Who is your beauty inspiration?
A: I honestly do not have a particular beauty inspiration. I am inspired by those who have a natural look and do not wear a lot of makeup. I am inspired by those who promote healthiness.
Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?
A: Right after I work out.

Q: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
A: Uh, like 20 minutes...probably.
Q: What feature do you love most about yourself?
A: My sense of humor...or do you mean physical?

Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?
A: I would say during a workout. I love working out and helping my body. And of course on a Saturday night, all dolled up! :)
Q: What is your most essential beauty product?
A: FC5 daily moisturizer, spf 15 and Chapstick.

What do you guys think? Do you prefer a more made up look or something minimal? Do you have a daily routine? No makeup at all? One product you can't live without?

My aunts and mother:
Left to right: Madeline, Barbara, Michelle, Nancy (my mom).

25 February 2015

Dishes with Dee: Pasta with Peas, Roasted Garlic, and Prosciutto

I have a thing for pasta.
Traditional flour pasta, gluten free, whole wheat. Egg noodles, rice noodles, orzo.
Boil it, bake it, toss it. Cover it with butter, cheese, chili. Whatever.
Give me all of it.

I used rice noodles to make this spicy twist on pho here
I used a bunch of leftover ingredients to come up with this earthy creation here.
This fried, cheesy app is always a hit.

There is just something about pasta that is cozy and comforting.

I am especially a fan when the recipe is super simple. I love when a recipe only needs a half a dozen ingredients and still comes out to be a balanced, well rounded dish. Add in the fact that you only get a cutting board, one pot and a strainer dirty and this is the perfect weeknight comfort meal.

Pasta with Peas, Roasted Garlic, and Prosciutto 

Here's what ya need:
1 lb pasta- choose a wider noodle- I used linguine
2 c. frozen peas
1/4 lb prosciutto- about 6 slices- cut into 1 inch strips
1 head of garlic
3 tbsp butter
1/2 c. pecorino cheese- shredded

And here's what ya do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil. Place on oven rack and cook for 35 minutes. Remove and let stand about ten minutes.
2. Unwrap garlic and carefully peel out the garlic cloves. You'll want to start from the outer layers and work your way in. Set aside.
3. In a large pot, bring salted water with a tbsp of oil to a boil and cook pasta to al dente- (about 2 minutes less than the package directions).
4. When the pasta has about 4 minutes left, add the peas directly to the water with the pasta in it. Once cooked, drain, and rinse the pasta and peas.
5.Return the large pot to the stove and add butter. When butter is melted, add garlic and prosciutto and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add pasta and peas and toss to coat in butter and incorporate garlic and prosciutto. Stir in pecorino.
6. Plate and top with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper and additional cheese if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Note: You may have noticed that other than in the pasta water, I used no salt for this recipe. Trust me! Skip the salt. Both pecorino and prosciutto are super salty, so you won't need it. :) 

21 February 2015


I have this memory from when I was little...

My dad was leaving to go on a business trip. It was really really early in the morning, maybe 4:30 or 5:00. I woke up because I could hear him in the kitchen.

When I came down stairs, he was making over easy eggs with garlic salt and pepper on toast.
Now every time I make eggs that way, I feel a wave of nostalgia for my dad.
Isn't it funny how certain foods bring back memories?

What foods remind you of things from the past?

Have a great weekend! 

19 February 2015


                    Gelato and Jane.

              How are you staying cozy

The Cook's Critique featuring: A Plated update

I posted here about my trial with Plated, the home delivery food service that gives you all the ingredients and the recipes for seasonal, fresh, delicious meals.

The food was always great. I loved the ease of it, and enjoyed that I was cooking with things I wouldn't ordinarily use. (Read: quail and quince).

I loved getting these deliveries, but when you're required to buy a minimum of 2 servings of each plate, it just wasn't cost effective for me. I couldn't use everything in a timely manner, and I was finding that I was starting to waste the food.

Why you gotta call attention to the fact that I'm single, Plated?

I ended up cancelling because it just didn't make sense for me. Plated needs to offer an option for us single folks.

Here are some of the dishes I loved though:

I'm still on the hunt for a home delivery service for dinner though.

Do you have a home delivery service you love?

16 February 2015

Dishes with Dee: Open-faced Poached Egg Sandwiches

Isn't there something absolutely amazing about sweatpants?

More specifically, isn't there something absolutely amazing about eating brunch in your sweatpants?

It is like, the ultimate level of comfort. Which is why I absolutely love making brunch at home on the weekends.

My favorite thing to make is an open-faced sandwich. I posted about a salmon and egg sandwich here, and an Italian breakfast sandwich here.

Obviously, I have a thing for runny egg yolk. What better was to experience that than with poached eggs? There is something implicitly fancy about a poached egg that brings at-home brunch up a notch.

Don't be scared!

Poached eggs are surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Full disclosure: I had to throw one egg out and bother this guy at work on a Saturday morning for his advice. He sent me this great article.

Here is what I gathered:
1. The vinegar is key. So many articles (including this one) mention that people often leave out the vinegar because they don't like the flavor it adds to the eggs. I completely disagree. You can't taste the vinegar and it really does make a difference in keeping the egg white together. Don't skip it.

2. The water should be bubbling. I love the tip on bringing the water up to a boil and then backing the heat off. It works! I also think it should be noted, that while it is true you don't want a furious boil, you do want it to really be rolling along. If the water is just hot, and barely bubbling, your egg just sits there rather than gently bopping along in the water, which helps keep the egg white around the yolk.

Those two key points make all the difference when it comes to poached eggs. I'd also be interested to try variant #3 on using cling film- what a creative solution!

Now that you are a poached egg master, you can make fancy brunch in your sweats:

Open-faced Poached Egg Sandwiches:

Here's what ya need:
1 whole wheat english muffin
2 eggs
4 slices of bacon

And here's what ya do:
1. Cook bacon.
2. Toast English muffin
3. Poach eggs: Heat about 3 inches of water in a large, shallow pan until boiling. Back the heat to about medium-high and add 2 tsp of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Use a mild vinegar such as plain white vinegar or rice vinegar. Crack your eggs into separate mugs and slowly lower the mug to the water, just below water level and slide the egg into the pan. If necessary, swirl the egg white around the yolk using a wooden spoon. Allow the eggs to cook at a gentle boil for about 3-3 1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer, scoop eggs from water one by one and carefully place on a paper towel to drain off the water.
4. Assemble the sandwich: English muffin, spinach, tomatoes, bacon, then egg.

Serve with a side of fruit, or if you're like me, leftover smashed potatoes and asparagus. #weekend.

Also, what I'm working on: An update on Plated.