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Entries in food (91)

Friday
Sep142012

Best-Kept Secret: Poblano Pepper Grill in St. Charles

This is the first installment in a new feature called "Best-Kept Secret" that will profile businesses, resources and sites that are hidden gems in the Fox Valley. If you have a suggestion for a place we should feature, please write to editor(at)gowestyoungmom.com.

I first heard of the Poblano Pepper Grill back in May, when I wrote a list tied to Cinco de Mayo entitled "Five Great ... Places for Tacos in the Western Suburbs." Two readers wrote in to comment that my list was missing a great spot for authentic Mexican food called Poblano Pepper Grill on the east side of St. Charles. Both mentioned that in addition to the food being amazing, the owners were wonderful, too.

Poblano Pepper Grill is located on the east side of St. Charles, in a shopping complex just off Main Street.Well, I know I have smart readers and we love Mexican food, and so my daughter and I went to check it out this summer for lunch. I was very impresed with my Asada tacos that day and the friendly attitude of the staff. So last month, I returned with my husband, daughter and in-laws so we could try out more dishes. 

My verdict? I'm still dreaming of the Sopa Azteca, a tortilla soup served with cheese and chile pasilla strips and topped with sour cream. Poblano Pepper Grill has definitely become one of our favorite restaurants in the area. Both times I got to visit with the owners -- even met their new grandchild! -- and the story of the family behind it is nearly as good as the food. 

Poblano Pepper Grill, which opened in February, is owned by Ruben and Lizette Alonso, who live in the Aurora area. They met more than 30 years ago in school in Mexico City and got married a year later. They say that even though they came from different backgrounds, both had grown up in homes where their moms prepared delicious home-cooked meals using traditional Mexican recipes.

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Thursday
Aug092012

Cool Meals for Hot Nights: Crockpot Chili

The latest recipe in our “Cool Meals for Hot Nights” series is for Crockpot Chili. It comes from Kim Tracy Prince, the editor and founder of Agoura Hills Mom, a blog about one family's discoveries and adventures in a suburban-style town just northwest of Los Angeles. 

I know, you were expecting something like a cold salad or a grilled meat entree for hot nights, but honestly, sometimes you want something HOT on a hot night.  Chili is crowd-pleasing and delicious, and you can vary it by serving over rice, hot dogs, burgers, or with different topping.  My favorite way to eat this chili recipe is to top it with chopped fresh cilantro and shredded cheddar, with a nice cold light beer to go with it.

This recipe is SO EASY to make, and so tasty to eat, that you will not believe it.  It's perfect to cook up overnight when you know you'll be gone all day at the beach or other summer outing, and you won't want to deal with putting dinner together when you get home.

Crockpot Chili

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 14 oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 x 28 oz cans tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Brown ground beef and drain, place into crockpot.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook on high 4-5 hours.
  • BAM!  Depending on how big your family is, one pot of this chili can last you several days.

Notes:  I found the original recipe on the internet many years ago, and I have adapted it a lot to suit my family's taste.  You should definitely add more chili powder if you like it super spicy!

Wednesday
Aug012012

Cool Meals for Hot Nights: Shallot Crusted Steak

The latest in our "Cool Meals for Hot Nights" series comes from Caroline Lewin Barrett. She's an occasional contributor to albanykid.com. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her ever-hungry three children and very grateful husband.

There are some nights so hot that it causes us to move slowly. Hot nights where my dog Agnes won’t come out from the cool shady spot under the deck, even if she hears food fall from the table. It will be that hot.

A couple of shallots are a focus of the latest recipe in the "Cool Meals for Hot Nights" series. Photo by Daveybot on Flickr.There was a evening recently, where it wasn’t particularly hot outside, but it was hot in my kitchen. Sticky. I stood in front of the refrigerator, door open, staring at the uncooked food, willing it to be put together and on the table. No, I wouldn’t be turning on the stove. We’d be dining on the tasty flank steak I purchased, plus tons of the fresh veggies hanging around from the farmers market. With that decided, I pulled the cold bottle of Pinot Grigio from the shelf, poured a glass and put the bottle back. All while standing with the refrigerator door open. Yes, it’s what we all tell our children not to do. But it just felt so good and cool in my stuffy kitchen.

Once it was decided what we’d eat for dinner, the rest was easy. I pulled a shallot out and sent Elliot out to pick herbs from the garden. That’s been my #1 little boy job since he was 3. At 8, he still happily goes out, kid scissors in hand, to cut rosemary, tarragon or chives.

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Wednesday
Jul252012

Cool Meals for Hot Nights: Farm-to-Table Frittata

The latest recipe in our “Cool Meals for Hot Nights” series is for a Farm to Table Frittata and Baked Apple dessert. It comes from Colleen, the owner/publisher of SaratogaMama.com, an online resource for families in Saratoga County, New York (just outside Albany). If you have friends or family around upstate New York, please let them know about SaratogaMama!

For my recipe, I opted for a Farm-to-Table dinner, meaning all the fresh ingredients were purchased that day at our farmers market. In the pouring rain, my partner in crime Christine and I braved the market to collect our bounty.

The beauty of shopping at a farmers’ market is that your meal can be altered based on what fresh ingredients are available that day. We went in with a plan in mind, but due to the rain, and there not being bread at the market, we were forced to deviate; and forced to use the oven versus our intended heat source, the grill.

Armed with fresh eggs, sausage, broccoli, garlic and herb goat cheese, apples, salad greens and radishes, we embarked on our meal!

Photo courtesy of SaratogaMama.com

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Wednesday
Jul182012

Cool Meals for Hot Nights: Tuna and Shells

The latest recipe in our “Cool Meals for Hot Nights” series is for Tuna and Shells. It comes from Annie, the creator and writer of {kidlist} activities for little kids, a resource for families in the near west suburbs of Chicago. If you have friends or family in LaGrange, Hinsdale, Western Springs or any other suburb in that general area, please let them know about {kidlist}

Recipe: Tuna and Shells

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups medium shell pasta (8 oz.)
  • 1 (7 oz.) can of tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1/2 cup celery (about 2 stalks), minced
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

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