Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Waffles

For real…THIS IS GOOOODD!  When you’re at a loss for what to do on the next after-holiday-morning, have very little desire to cook again and have 2 pounds of stuffing or dressing leftover…I ask you to please give this a try!  It’s so easy and yummy that it’s become a tradition in our home and we’ll often make it more than once!

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable to most palates.  Now of course I’m using my cornbread stuffing here, but that goes with sweet OR heat!  So slather on the syrup or the hot sauce..it’s a win-win!!

The Starting Lineup

Optional

  • Syrup (for sweet lovers)
  • Hot Sauce (for savory lovers)
  • Cranberry sauce & turkey (for the purists)  

As stated above, this easy-peasy breakfast or brunch recipe has become a tradition in our home after a prior busy holiday day!  Like, it’s really, REALLY good!!!

Heat your waffle iron to about mid-temp and place a few spoonfuls of your stuffing/dressing onto each waffle inlay.  Close and allow to do its magic! 

 While the ‘stuffing waffles’ are cooking, cook the eggs to your taste.  *We prefer ours over-hard, but to each their own!  I imagine a runny yolk would be good over this if desired, even scrambled!  …while also crisping up your bacon side!

Once the waffles have crisped up, layer your eggs on top with the garnish of your choice!  We often like a bit of sliced green onions and Louisiana style hot sauce!  Mmmm….when’s brunch again?? 

 


Scratch Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

The great debate: Stuffing vs Dressing.  Yes, I know what the difference is between the two, stuffing goes INSIDE the bird, while dressing is cooked OUTSIDE the bird.  However, growing up in my household, no matter which way we cooked it, we called it stuffing.  So you’re just going to have to deal with the title 😉

The flavors in this holiday side dish are just fabulous!  There is a sweet heat in the cornbread and a savoriness with the sausage and classic thyme & sage spices!  Plus, my favorite thing, is how there is still texture to the dish…I loathe mushy, pasty stuffing.  This definitely isn’t one of them!

*Make how you please, but I like to prepare the cornbread and dry it out at LEAST a day before I finish it.  This is a busy enough time of year, help yourself out a little! 🙂

*Also, this is a southern style cornbread, meaning NO sugar.  If you prefer yours sweet like a true Yankee 😉 feel free to add in a Tbsp or two..but when made into a stuffing it really isn’t needed.  Personally.

The Starting Lineup
Jalapeno Cornbread

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt & sugar, each
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup corn kernals, roasted (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded & minced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced  

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 recipe of Jalapeno Cornbread, cubed & dried
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3 celery, chopped fine
  • 1 pckg sliced mushrooms
  • 5 tsp butter
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 cup half-in-half
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth (low sodium)
  • 4 large eggs
  • A pinch each (salt, pepper & cayenne pepper)  

Starting with the cornbread…

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

In either a skillet or under the broiler, cook the corn till it starts to take on a little color (mere minutes).  Set aside. 

   In a bowl, whisk the milk, oil, honey and eggs till combined. 

 In a another large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Next add the milk mixture into the dry mixture and whisk till smooth. 

     Finally fold in the corn, jalapeños and green onions into the mix and pour the batter into your greased baking dish. 


 
 Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (about 60 minutes in my oven…everyone’s oven is different).  Cool in pan for 2-3 hours to set. 

 *Onced cooked and set, cut the cornbread with a serrated knife into 1″ cubes.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the cubed cornbread onto two baking sheets (spread out evenly) and put into oven.  Rotate the filled baking sheets every 20 mintutes or so until the cornbread has dried out (crouton like), at least an hour. 

   

Good morning (since you’re likely finishing this the next day)!!  We’ll start this preperation by cooking the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once browned and crumbled, set aside on a paper towel lined plate. 

In that same skillet, add in 2 Tbsps of the butter, the chopped celery, onion and mushrooms and cook down for about 3 minutes.  To that, add in the thyme, sage and minced garlic.  Cook for 30-60 seconds and then add the sausage back in along with the chicken stock and remove from heat, allowing to cool. 

   While the pan is cooling, whisk together the eggs, half-in-half, salt, pepper & cayenne till combined.  Then SLOWLY add in the chicken stock mix to the eggs while constantly whisking.  *If that stock is still too hot and you combine it with the eggs too fast, you’ll basically end up with scrambled eggs.  No good.  So please do it slowly while constantly whisking.  Temper the eggs. 🙂 

     Now set the oven to 375 degrees.  

Here is where you gently fold in the cubed & dried cornbread into the wet mixture.  Once all saturated let sit for roughly 15-20 minutes to REALLY let the bread soak up the liquid. 

   Transfer to your 9×13 baking dish and drizzle the remaining 3 TBSP butter overtop the dish.

Bake your glorious scratch-made stuffing uncovered for 40 minutes till the top is a golden brown and then let rest for 20.  Enjoy your hard work! 

 

Real-Deal Green Bean Casserole (no cans)

You may be thinking..why go through all the effort when the Campbell’s soup Green Bean Casserole recipe has been around for decades??  Well, because THIS is the best, that’s why!  I luckily stumbled upon this goodie years back and just tweaked a couple of things to suit my family.  There’s no going back to the dark side now!  ..Well, maybe occasionally, it does remind me of good memories growing up 🙂  Anyway…  Now besides what you may be thinking is a lot of work, this can all be done in an hour and it’s ALL fresh!!  You actually KNOW what your family is consuming.  That’s kind of awesome.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 4+ slices bacon (grease reserved after fying)
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 heaping tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided (1:1)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsely, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper 

    Yes…there should also be the thyme, bacon and milk pictured…but lets just hope you’re reading the ingredient list 😉

      

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon strips till desired doneness and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Then add the extra virgin olive oil straight into the excess bacon grease and heat till almost smoking. 

 To the hot grease/oil, add in the sliced shallots (about 1/4 cup at a time, it took about 3 batches) and fry until they turn a nice golden brown and and crisp up.  Once done transfer to another paper towel lined plate and set aside. 

  *Meanwhile, you can either steam the green beans on the stove top OR take an easier way out and add them to a large microwave safe bowl with about 2 Tbsp of water.  Cover the bowl with a plate or saran wrap and microwave on high in 2-minute increments until that perfect soft but slightly crisp texture is achieved!  Make sense?  Soft and crisp?  Yes, it’s a thing! 😉
Now that the shallots are done frying up, dispose of the excess grease/oil EXCEPT for roughly 2 Tbsp’s worth.   You will now add all of the mushrooms to the grease over a medium-high heat.  Stirring occasionally, the mushrooms will start to ‘sweat’ and release their moisture.  Keep cooking until all of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Finally you will add in the minced garlic and thyme leaves.  Cook for 30-60 seconds and transfer the mushroom mix to a bowl, set aside. 

   While the mushrooms are cooking down, whisk together the flour and milk in a bowl until the flour is dissolved. 

Now add this right to the same skillet (you’ve been cooking everything in/mushrooms just removed from) while constantly whisking and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat to medium-low, whisking occasionally, and in about 10 minutes it will reduce down and thicken up nicely.  *should ‘coat’ the back of a spoon.  Remove the skillet from heat. 

  

See how it’s starting to ‘coat’ the whisk and reduce down?

Ok, here is the real easy part!  Now is when you can fold in the mushroom mix, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese, the cooked and chopped bacon, parsely, nutmeg, salt & pepper and the GREEN BEANS to that milk/flour rue you just made.  Resist the urge to spoon in mouth…though I’m 100% guilty! 

     Pour this holiday staple side dish straight into the non-stick coated casserole dish and top with the remaining 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese and the fried shallots you made earlier.  Pop into the preheated oven and bake (uncovered) for 20-30 minutes! 

Enjoy and Happy Eating!! xo


Creole Gulf Shrimp

What do you make when you have an extra bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer and a few pantry staples?  Well let me happily tell you, because this creole seafood dish is a winner!  Another plus of this meal is that it’s ready in mere minutes and you can have a gourmet dinner for your family without even leaving your home!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lb large/extra large shrimp, peeled & deveined 
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted & softened
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cajun/creole seasoning
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce 
  • Pinch each of ground pepper & kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Garnish

  • Rice
  • Parsley
  • Lemon wedges
  • Crusty Bread (for dipping)  

Start this fun and delicious meal by peeling the shell off of the shrimp *I personally like to leave the tail on, looks ‘pretty’, but up to you. 

 In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, cajun seasoning and the salt & pepper.  Add the shrimp to the seasoning blend and toss to coat. 

   In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil to medium-high heat.  Add the seasoned shrimp to the hot oil and cook till pink *about 2 minutes.  Remove the shrimp to a plate and set aside. 

   In that same sauté pan, add in the diced onion along the white wine, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and tabasco sauce and cook till the onions are translucent. 

   Follow that with the softened butter and stir till combined.  

 

 Finally, add the shrimp back to pan and coat in the sauce. This creamy cajun inspired sauce would be good on a shoe…but luckily I had a baguette ready to go! Tear off a nice hunk and sop up that garlicky, buttery flavor! 

  

Before baking, I brushed a bit of melted butter overtop and sprinkled with some creole seasoning!

 
I like to serve ours spooned over rice with a bit of extra sauce to dip that warm baguette into!  Enjoy this cajun delight! 
 

Margarita Chicken Fajitas

I’m pretty sure that when one has fajitas, it is also the norm to be sipping on a margarita.  Now…how about we combine the two?  Which is really no problemo here in my casa!

The flavors and ingredients of your traditional margarita are the exact components that make a chicken flavorful and tender.  Everything about this is right!  Now add a warm flour tortilla, large dollop of sour cream, salsa and grilled veggies…oh my my my… 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs chicken breasts (cut into strips) or chicken tenders
  • 1/2 quality margarita mix (NOT lime green 😉
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 tsp margarita (kosher) salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 limes, juice and rinds
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp evoo (I used a hatch green chili infused oil..but regular is fine! 😉

Garnish

  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa/Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo   

    Sipping on this delight is an essential part of making Margarita Chicken Fajitas!

     

In a large ziplock bag (set into a dish in case of ‘spillage’), combine the margarita mix, tequila, salt, cumin, lime juice plus rinds and the quartered jalapeno.  Zip and give a good shake! 

       Next, you’ll add the chicken into the bag of marinade and zip on up!  Place this in the refridgerator for 1-3 hours (turning over to distribute once per hour if possible). 

 Right before you’re ready to take the marinating chicken out of the ‘fridge, feel free to slice up the onion and bell peppers!  *I like all colors of onion & pepper really, so whatever you have on hand works fine!! 

 Heat a large skillet, cast iron or grill to med-high heat.  If using a pan, add about 1 Tbsp oil and heat up till almost smoking or grease your grill so that the chicken does not stick.  

Once hot & ready (and depending on the size of pan/grill), add one-half to all of the chicken and marinated jalapeno.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until a nice brown sear occurs.  Set aside on a plate to redistribute the juices. 

   Now that the chicken is done, add the sliced up fajita veggies to the same pan and sauté till slightly browned but still crisp (a few minutes). 

   Plate the cooked chicken and veggies and serve with warm tortillas, garnishes of your choice and a cold margarita!  Enjoy!

LIPTON Crockpot Pot Roast

I’m thankful.  I’m thankful for this chilly, rainy, drizzly weather that has gotten me in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned pot roast!  Now there are ‘fancier’ recipes out there, ones that braise away in the oven, in their expensive, heavy, ceramic cast-iron pans, deglazed with red wine…but this is not one of those.  It is, however, one that tastes the same and smells up the home the same.  Win!  Plus the soup mix you prepare makes for the fabulous onion’y mushroom gravy!!

Now, there are a few tricks of the trade I like to do if time permits, but if not…it’s still delicious!

*Again, IF time allows, have pan on med-high to high heat and sear each side of the roast for a couple of minutes before placeing into the crockpot.  Even better, scrape up any brown bits and juices and scoop those into the pot as well!
If you have beef broth, use that instead of water.  You also can add a 1/4 of dry red wine to this if available.
Feel free to add the veggies of your choosing, but you can easily ‘fancy them up’!  I.e pearl onions, parsnips, sweet potatoes for a savory & sweet flavor, etc.

Also, NO NEED for salt!  The combination of soup mix and the soup itself works just fine without it.  Promise!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-7lb beef roast
  • 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup (i.e Campbells)
  • 1 packet Liptons Onion soup mix packet
  • 1 cup water (or Beef Broth if handy)
  • Pepper (to taste – or patted on roast if searing)

Garnish

  • Carrots, chopped
  • Onion, quartered
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes, quarterd in pot or make mashed later
  • Parsely 

The EASIEST way to prepare this meal is to coat your crockpot with non-stick and place the cut-up carrots and onions (potatoes as well if not ‘mashing) in the bottom.


 In a small bowl, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, Lipton onion mix and water (broth).  Give a good stir and set aside.

 Next, place the roast (seasoned with pepper to taste) on top of those vegetables.  *Here is where you can give the roast a sear.  Once browned on all sides place onto veggies.  Then lay in the mushrooms (if using) around the roast.  *These are more fragile vegetables to me, and they’d be squished under a heavy roast.

   Now is when you can pour that soup mix over top of the entire roast, cover, set to low for 8 hours (high for 6) and WALK RIGHT AWAY!

 Once the time is up, all you have to do is spoon the tender roast, vegetables and gravy onto a large plate (trust me…you’ll need a big one with as much as you’re about to consume) and serve with the tried & true bread and butter!!  Enjoy and bundle up!

 

Chorizo & Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Just about everyone loves scalloped potatoes, but often times they can be a bit bland.  They could be lacking salt or just using a less flavored cheese, but this is sure to get you on all levels!

After watching one of my favorite shows recently (The Chew), they had a very similar recipe on and I just had to try and tweak it for myself.  Boy am I glad I did!  This hit all the right notes and it wasn’t too spicy AT All..just great, great flavor!  

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced (I use a mandolin..be careful)
  • 12oz chorizo, removed from casing and cooked
  • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided, 1:1
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided 3:1
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tsp Louisiana style hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper & nutmeg      

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 Tbsp of the butter (bottom & sides). *You may not need an entire Tbsp, but better to have easier cleanup than slaving away…

In a skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat until browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the meat to a paper towel lined bowl or plate to drain. 

   Next, in a different saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbsp butter.  Once melted, whisk in the 3 Tbsp of flour, followed by slowly whisking in the half & half until it is no longer lumpy, but smooth. 

 Next add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg & hot sauce while reducing the heat to low.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and the Tbsp of sour cream.  Once combined remove from heat. 

     With the buttered casserole dish ready to go, place 2-3 layers of potato slices down (overlapping just slightly).  Next add 1/2 off the cooked and drained chorizo along with a 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and one-half of the cheese sauce overtop.  Repeat these layers once more, while reserving about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. 

     We’ll now place this casserole into the oven (uncovered) for about 45 minutes.  Once time is done, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese overtop and bake for another 10-15 minutes till bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. 

 I like to serve ours as a side to a whole roasted chicken or ham alongside fresh grilled veggies!  Enjoy!!

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