Mexican Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Mac

Here’s one more chili recipe for the season, this time inspired by flavors of Mexico and just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. After slow cooking for hours, and filling the house with an amazing aroma, this chili is infused with smoky Mexican spices and the deep, slow roasted caramel malt notes from the beer.  The addition of the sweet potatoes adds a healthy dose of vitamins B and C, plus their inherent sweetness balances the heat from the poblano peppers.

The chili itself is very hearty and filling; however, if you have a noodle-head at home as I do, the addition of the pasta works great here.  Either way of serving, it’s sure to be a family favorite.

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Thai-Style Mussels and Prawns in Coconut Broth

I had a lot of fun creating this recipe because I had never cooked with fresh coconut before but had always wanted to.  I had no idea what to expect as far as the availability of fresh coconuts in St. Louis, so, fortunately, my local grocer sells whole coconuts which have been previously scored.  After only a few firm taps with a hammer on the score lines, the shells broke open, and the room was filled with the wonderful aroma of fresh coconut.  When I saw the gorgeous interior of the shells, I knew that was going to be the vessel for serving.

The flavors in this dish are classic Thai with an intricate blend of texture, color, strong aromatic components, delicate seafood, and a spicy edge at the finish.

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Fettuccine Aglio e Olio

This recipe is my daughter’s second favorite pasta dish.  In Italian, it’s called Fettuccine Aglio e Olio.  In the United States, we call it Olive Oil and Garlic Fettuccine It’s a simple yet very flavorful traditional dish comprised of garlic two ways; herb infused olive oil, fresh herbs, and tender cooked pasta.  And if you have your prep done ahead of time, you can easily have this dish on the table in less than 30 minutes.

There is a fair amount of spice here between the Serrano pepper and the red chile flakes so scale up or down according to taste.

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Vegetarian Malaysian Laksa

I made this dish right after the holidays to help make up for some of those less than healthy meal choices we ate between Thanksgiving and New Years.  This is an immensely flavorful vegetarian dish guaranteed to restore your body’s antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

If you haven’t had Malaysian food before, prepare your taste-buds for a treat.  Authentic characteristic in traditional Malay cuisine is first and foremost the generous use of spices closely followed by coconut milk which gives Malay dishes their rich, creamy flavor.

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Steamed Flounder in Parchment with Vodka Martini Relish

To answer the obvious question, yes, I like to play with my food.  I especially enjoy putting my own twist on recipes like turning a dirty vodka martini into a vodka martini relish.  It has the wonderfully boozy, briny, olive flavors you expect, along with some added sweetness from the red onion and piquillo peppers.

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Vegetarian Meatballs with Fresh Herbed Tomato Sauce

It seems strange to call these meatballs, meatballs considering there isn’t any meat in them, however every other word I tried to come up with to describe them just didn’t sound right.  So we’re going with meatballs!  Whatever you want to call them, they were fantastic!  The creamy lentils were the perfect binder to hold the ingredients together, and the earthy, deep roasted flavor from the vegetables, paired with the bright acidity from the pesto and herbed spicy tomato sauce were a match made in vegetarian heaven.

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Pepper Shrimp with Pad Thai Salad

Shrimp is one of my favorite seafood proteins. It has a sweet, unique flavor, a gorgeous color when cooked, and is the most versatile seafood ingredient available.

For this recipe, I kept the flavors on the shrimp simple with a touch of salt, and garlic powder, plus a bit more black pepper to pull in the spicy flavors from the pad thai dressing. So what you taste is a perfect ratio of sweet, spicy, crunchy and salty.

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Tuscan Grilled Halibut with Arugula on Toasted Ciabatta

Sandwiches are insanely versatile and are a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  For me, a sandwich is first and foremost about the bread, especially ciabatta.  It has a wonderfully soft chewy center and crunchy outer crust that can hold up to anything you serve it with.  The next qualifier would be the ingredients to put in between the bread, and they have to have lots of flavor and texture.  Let’s be honest and admit deli lunchmeat just doesn’t do it.

This hearty sandwich is an ideal choice for your next winery picnic.  Pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy the delicious flavors of the fresh, delicate, grilled fish, the deep richness of the sun-dried tomatoes, the briny capers, and the bright hits from the fresh basil, parsley, and arugula.

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Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry in Spicy Peanut Sauce over Glass Noodles

I love this recipe – in fact, I’ve made it three times since I first created it because my husband, daughter and I all decided it was our new favorite. The aromas from the spicy peanut sauce and the vibrant colors from the vegetables immediately tell your taste-buds to get ready for that first flavorful bite!

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Ginger Glazed Pork Ribs with Apples, Cabbage & Noodles

I consider myself very fortunate to have had a Hungarian grandfather and a German grandmother. Not because their genes contributed to my curvaceous European figure, but because of the wonderful recipes their families brought with them to this country.

And even though the sticky, sweet, falling apart tender pork ribs were a big success the night I made this meal, it was the apples, cabbage, and noodles that really hit home. The very first bite took me back in time to weekend family dinners, raucous conversation, and rich, flavorful food.

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