Tag Archives: cast iron

Seared Filet with Roasted Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Ravioli

My husband and I do not get a lot of “date nights” as we have two young boys, rarely a babysitter and he has the craziest schedule working for the railroad.  No set schedule actually.  All that combined leads me to craving fancy-dressed, wine-filled nights out even more!  That being said, I knew I could do it!  Not the literally leaving my house to enjoy a quiet kid free atmosphere, but create that upscale dining experience here at home!

I already knew I could make a fantastic steak, so I wanted to try my hand at homemade pasta.  Like REAL homemade pasta, no attachment to my Kitchen-Aide or anything.  So out came my flour coated rolling pin and I finally attacked the somewhat scary mound of welled flour and eggs.  You know what?  It wasn’t that hard.   I’ve been scared all these years for nothing!  Now, if I’m making a crockpot meal asking for the filled pasta, then frozen is fine, but for this meal all the slight extra work was sooooo worth it!!

So please, next time you can’t get away, or maybe your budget is a bit tight, please give this a whirl!

The Starting Lineup

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Filling

  • 1 small butternut squash
    2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    5-6 sage leaves, minced

Protein (optional)

  • (2-4) Filet mignon or Ribeye Steaks
  • Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • 2 vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened

 

ravioli6.JPG

 

ravioi1.JPG

Roasted butternut squash and blue cheese filling!

 

ravioli4

To begin…..

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Next, (this is a great tip!) prick your butternut squash with a fork all over.  Cut off the ends of the squash and place on a plate in your microwave for 4 minutes (if you don’t, this vegetable is extremely hard to cut).  Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin and then cut in half length-wise.  Discard of the seeds and then cut into rough cubes.  Place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes until fork tender.

Meanwhile…..

Mound the flour on a clean work surface and make a well with a fork in the center, creating almost a “volcano” in appearance.  In the well, crack the eggs and add in the salt and oil.  Using your fork, slightly beat together while gathering a bit of flour at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Using your hands, start needing the dough until it forms a perfectly smooth ball with a shiny appearance (10 minutes).  Add more flour if it seems sticky or a tbsp. at a time of water if it feels too dry.  Wrap your dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now that your butternut squash is roasted, transfer to a large bowl along with the blue cheese crumbles and the salt & pepper.  Mash together with a fork to your desired consistency. Cover and set aside.

With your dough ball, unwrap pasta and cut into four sections. You will work with one section at a time. Wrap the remaining three up in plastic in the mean time. Flour your work surface liberally. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the middle and rolling out. Try to get the thinnest and longest piece of dough you can. Keep rotating and turning the dough to prevent sticking. Once your dough is rolled very thin, place a small amounts of the filling {about a teaspoon} onto the dough about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Fold the top of the dough over the filling. Press the top piece of dough over and around the filling to remove any air bubbles. Now using either a ravioli stamp, pastry cutter or a pizza cutter, cut into perfect squares {you will need to crimp the edges with a fork if using a pizza cutter}. Place on a floured tray and cover with a tea towel as you make these. Form any leftover dough into a ball and place in the plastic wrap to rest. Continue this pattern until all the raviolis are filled and cut out.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis (4-5 at a time) and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain.  Once finished add to a warm sauté pan of melted butter, oil and sage that is slightly crisped.  Toss gently to coat.

Now you can eat these delish ravioli’s as is or pair with a great steak!  If you choose the steak route, here is my favorite way..

Set the steak out of the fridge to come to room temp for 20-30 minutes {I did so while I’m preparing the ravioli’s} and heat oven to 400 degrees, rub the steak all over with oil and coat in freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.  Heat your cast iron pan on med-high heat till about smoking.  Add in the butter and then the steaks, let cook (do NOT move) for 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet with the seared steaks to the oven and let cook for 5 minutes (for medium-rare).  Remove the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  {Here is where I cooked and sautéed the ravioli’s.}  ***Make sure you have a well ventilated kitchen as cast irons smoke something crazy.  You can absolutely grill your meat too if preferred.

So, whether you decide to make this a vegetarian inspired meal or are a true carnivore like myself, you will not be disappointed!  Serve with a great red and you have a true 5-star restaurant meal!  Enjoy!!

ravioli5

 

King Ranch Mac n’ Cheese

King Ranch Casserole is as Texas comfort food as chicken fried steak and gravy.  The difference is, if you’ve never been to this giant state, you may of never heard of it.  Legend has it that the name comes from the “King Ranch”, one of the largest ranches in the United States…now no one knows the truth and every family and restaurant recipe varies, but they’re generally all made with the same few ingredients: chicken, diced tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and a creamy soup.  

Now here’s my tweak on it, instead of the normal layering of torn corn tortillas (lasagna style), I amped up the comfort level and made it into a ooey, gooey mac n’ cheese!!  Sooooo good and still Texas approved!

*A rotisserie chicken from your local grocer would work great for this as well.

**You can use a casserole dish to bake if you do not have an oven proof pan.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb chicken, cooked and chopped (2-3 cups)
  • 8oz macaroni noodles
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis (I like spicy)
  • 8oz block velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 8oz container sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if cooking your own chicken)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho/new mexico chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded 

Garnish

  • Tortilla chips (I fried up my own, but I’m crazy like that)
  • Cilantro, fresh   

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you’re cooking your own chicken (not a store bought rotisserie), heat a 10″ oven proof pan to medium heat and add in the olive oil.  Once hot, add in the chicken and cook through.  *Since I made my own, I seasoned with a bit of cumin, salt & pepper.  

 Meanwhile, in a large stockpot of salted boiling water, cook your noodles.  Boil for about 2 minutes less than package directions, strain and set aside.  Also, prep the vegetables! 

  

After the chicken is cooked through, set aside.  Once cooled you can chop up into 1″ pieces.

In that same pan that you cooked the chicken in, melt the 2 Tbsp’s of butter and add in the onion, garlic & bell pepper and saute for a few minutes. 

 Next add in the can of diced green-chili tomatoes and cubed Velveeta cheese.  Stir till creamy.  

 Now whisk in the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chili powder, cumin.  Add in the chopped, cooked chicken.  

 Finally, carefully fold in the cooked pasta noodles and then top with the shredded cheese.  

   Move to the preheated oven and let bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbly.  *If you do not have an oven safe pan, here is where you can pour into a casserole dish, top with cheese and then bake.  **Make sure to place a foil lined baking-sheet on the bottom rack to catch any oozey cheese!

Remove and top with the cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.  

  

  

  

 

Loaded Pulled Pork Fries w/ Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

So after eating a few healthy meals, I remembered that you only live once and I wanted to dig into some southern comfort food.  I couldn’t decide what exactly, so I just mashed a few of my favorite recipes together and came up with this delight!  Man…come football season, these are going to be on my game day menu for sure!!

A couple of things that are awesome about this recipe is A.  It’s actually easy!  You basically put all the ingredients into two different vessels and walk away for HOURS!  Assemble once finished and done!  B.  Any leftovers can be used for other meals!!  Pulled pork? Sandwiches, wraps, etc.  Cheese sauce? A fantastic chip, cracker or veggie dip, pour on the sandwiches, quesadillas, etc.  Man the ideas are coming to me now!

So please do your family a favor and try this out ASAP!

*You can also cook the pork in a crockpot as well..if possible, still sear the meat and then place in your slow-cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

The Starting Lineup

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

  • 8oz block cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 4oz can green chilis, with juice
  • 4oz jar Pimiento’s, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced (I keep the seeds in)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper

Braised Pulled Pork

  • 3 lb pork butt/pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
  • 16oz beer
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Your favorite bbq sauce (I use Franklin Barbecue ‘Texas Style’) 
  • French fries (homemade or store bought)

Garnish

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Red onion, chopped
  • Jalapenos, slices
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Bbq sauce drizzle 

    Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

    Braised Pulled Pork

Let’s begin! 

In your non-stick sprayed crockpot, simply add in all of the Spicy Pimiento Cheese sauce ingredients: cream cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/2 evap milk, green chilis, pimientos, jalapeño, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Place the cover on and set to low for 2-3 hours.  Stir a couple times while melting and add the remaining milk half-way through to slightly thin.  Done!  Easy, right?  *This is soooo good, I had at least a couple spoonfuls 😬👍 

   On to the pork!!  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all of the spices together while heating the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot to med-high. *Reserve 1 Tbsp of the spice blend, set aside. 

Evenly coat your pork with this spice blend and sear all sides of the roast to create a nice crust on the outside.  *Typically takes 10-15 minutes. 

    

Follow the searing by tossing in the cut onions and pouring in the beer. *If you’re over 21, take a swig!  

Now simply cover the pork with the lid and place into your preheated oven for about 3 hours. *If you’ll be away longer, you can drop the temp down to 275 and give yourself another couple of hours.

As your house is smelling magnificent, wipe the cheese sauce you’ve been sneaking from your chin, and start to chop and dice your garnishes. 

 Now that everything is ready to go, remove the pork from the oven and begin pulling it, literally.  Shred with two forks (careful, it’s hot!!) and toss in your desired amount of bbq sauce.  *Here is where your oven is now free and you can bake your french fries if not using a deep fryer.

Assembly time!  Once your fries have finished cooking, sprinkle them with a bit of that reserved spice blend and then top with a good amount of the warm pulled pork and a drizzle of bbq sauce.  Now ladle the Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce overtop and garnish with all your favorites!  Dig in and enjoy!  *I hope you bought a six-pack of beer, because it goes great with this!! 

Hard Cider Pork Chops

Here’s a real hearty, German, bring-me-back-to-the-Midwest sort of meal!  It’ll fill your family’s bellies and also be on the table in 30 minutes!!

Kids also enjoy this meal with the sweet apples, potatoes and mildness of the pork…now for the adults, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of hard cider to go with and enjoy!

*GlutenFreeMeal (though MANY are, just double check the apple cider/Hard cider)

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork chops (4 at about 1″ thick)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 cup hard cider (or regular non-alcoholic)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

Side

  • Potatoes, (fried or baked)  

Begin this simple Midwest influenced dinner by seasoning both sides of the pork chops with the sage, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.  Set the pork aside and slice up the onion and apples. 

   Heat a large pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil and butter.  Sear each side of the pork chop for 3-4 minutes (a nice brown color) and set aside again.

In that same pan, add in the sliced apples and onion and saute for 6 minutes (till onions start to soften and turn translucent); add in the hard cider and the apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. 

   Return the seared pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve along with potatoes with the juices from the apples and onions drizzled overtop, enjoy! 

 
Potatoes

Feel free to make your spuds as you wish or maybe change it up everytime you prepare these chops, but here’s how I did ours.

First put the potatoes into a large stockpot of salted water till just covered.  Bring to a gentle boil and the cover pot with lid.  Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.  Till JUST soft when you stick a fork in them, not falling apart.

Drain and remove from pot and when just cool enough to handle, dice up into cubes and season with kosher salt & pepper.  *sometime I’ll sprinkle on seasoned salt or smoked paprika, etc.

Heat up a cast-iron pan to medium heat and then add 1-2 tbsp (canola) oil.  Add in cubed potatoes and allow to cook, not stirring to often, to create a nice “char” on them.  Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Bacon Greens

For whatever reason, greens have been a love of mine since a youngster AND a top pregnancy craving with my first child.  I couldn’t always make this exact recipe in a pinch when my hormones requested, so I’d often buy the most “quality” can, pry open and pour Tabasco sauce straight into it.  All I needed was a fork!  Well..my fingers would have sufficed, but that’s just uncivilized.. 😉

Now THIS recipe is light years better than ANY canned greens.  I know that sounds obvious, but I just can’t believe I force fed myself that stuff now.  I was a junkie!..

My recipe has a subtle sweetness from the brown sugar but a bit of heat with the hot sauce and chili flake…it’s divine!  Can you say “divine” regarding a greens side dish???  It’s true whatever the answer!

*I prefer a thicker Franks style vs a Tabasco style hot sauce in the cooking process.  There is already enough of a vinegar taste with the apple cider vinegar.  However, you can use Tabasco as a garnish if you’d like…just trust me here.

*For even more flavor, you can still add in a Tbsp of chicken bouillon even if you use the broth. 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 large bunches greens from produce section (I used both collard and turnip)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (to taste) hot sauce (I used Franks style flavor)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or water with 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon)
  • Pinch of red chili flake
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste  

To start this southern side dish staple, begin by rinsing the greens under water.  Make sure to rub any dirt off the leaves and then remove each side of the leaf from its ‘rib’ and give another rinse in the colander. 

Pat the leaves dry and then roll a bunch together (kind of ‘cigar’ like) and give a rough 1″ section chop to it.  You can also tear the leaves if you’d prefer and set aside.  You can now dice up the onion and mince that garlic!

 Next, dice the bacon into bite size pieces while heating up a large pot (I prefer my enameled cast-iron dutch oven) with a Tbsp of oil.  Add the bacon to the oil and cook until just browned on the edges.  *TIP:  You do not want your bacon crispy in this dish and it will continue to cook later in the recipe. 
 In that same pot with the warm bacon & fat, add in the onions and cook till just translucent on medium heat (about 5 minutes). 

Then add in the garlic, brown sugar, Franks hot sauce, red chili flake, salt & pepper and cook for 1 minute while stirring.  Next, pour in the 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and simmer until reduced by half. 

   Finally add the chicken broth (or water with bouillon) to the mix along with the cut up greens.  Give a good toss in the hot flavorful liquid.  They’ll start wilting quick! 

 Bring the pot to a low simmer, cover this savory side dish with a lid and walk away (stirring occasionally) until supper time!!  Serve with extra vinegar or hot sauce if desired, enjoy! 

 

Buttermilk Chicken Fried Steak

Yes m’am!  This IS one of the mainstays in Southern cooking.  It’s tender, crunchy and flavorful, all in a cut of inexpensive ‘steak’.  Excellent!

Now my seasoning here isnt ‘exact’ like I usually write out.  That is because real fried chicken flavor should be your own thing.  Go ahead and dress this your own, but keep in mind that a HEAVY dose of each spice does wonders.. Yum!!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 cuts of tenderized cube steak
  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 qt Buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Cajun Creole seasoning
  • Cayenne Pepper 
  • Season salt
  • Kosher salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Vege or Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup lard *you can just use 1/2 cup of available oil instead  Place your tenderized, cube steaks into a shallow dish and coat each side with a heavy dose of Cajun seasoning.  Pour in 1 cup of buttermilk and allow to marinate for 2 hours-plus in your refrigerator.   

After your preferred marinating time is up, place the buttermilk marinated dish on the counter to allow the steak to get to temp, while getting your fryin’ oil and seasonings ready!!

In a large, heavy-duty pan (Lodge cast iron for me), get your oil/lard heated to medium temperature.

Meanwhile, lay out three separate dishes. 1. Egg mixture 2. Flour mixture 3. A clean dish ;).

  • Whisk your 2 egg dish with 1 cup of buttermilk.
  • Combine your flour with equal amounts of pepper, cayenne and seasoned salt.  Add a dash of Kosher salt.
  • The extra dish is clean (for now) for your egg/flour dredged cutlets.

Each cubed steak will be coated in the egg mix, then flour,…egg again,…flour again and laid into the clean dish until ready to fry.  With this, your CFS will have a great, flavorful coating!

      

Once all are dipped, dredged and done again, add one by one to the heated oil.  Cook each side for about 3 minutes (until browned) and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

 When all your Chicken Fried Steaks have finished frying, drain the cutlets and excess oil onto a paper towel lined plate.  Tranfer to oven to keep warm.

Add your CFS, with a large side of gravy, potatoes and crisp veggies to your ‘platter’ and enjoy!!! *we like ours served with homemade gravy, potatoes and a side veggie! :))).

Southern comfort at its best!!

.

Texas Tamale Pie

This is good…real good!  Homemade cornbread, meat, cheese and spice!  What’s not to like?  If you’re real crafty, it can all be made in one pan..but I used two and was just fine.

I also used canned enchilada sauce.  In my home that’s almost sacrilegious, but with the homemade cornbread and other goodies no one can tell..Promise!  Your secret’s safe with me!

The Starting Lineup

Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cornbread

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup flour 
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp vege oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag/can corn (14oz roughly, I use frozen, thawed OR not)
  • 1 can green Chilis, 4.5oz

Finishings

  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I prefer Jack variety, melts great)
  • 1 1/3 cups enchilada sauce

Toppings

  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Jalapeños 
  • Salsa
  • Limes 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grease (oil, butter or crisco) a baking dish of your choice or a large cast iron skillet, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine your cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.  Mix well.

 Slowly whisk in your vegetable oil till small clumps appear.

 Now whisk in the milk and egg.  Once combined, gently fold in your green Chilis and corn. 

Pour your green-chili cornbread mixture into your greased pan.

 Make sure it’s about even throughout pan and put into your oven for 20-25 mintutes (toothpick comes out clean).

While your cornbread is baking, start cooking your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in your seasonings to the meat and simmer.  Once cooked through, drain and set aside. 

   When ready, remove your cornbread from the oven.  Drop your oven temp down to 350 degrees and allow your cornbread to cool for 5 minutes. 

 Prick your cornbread with either a toothpick or fork all over (have you ever made poke-cake?  Same idea).  Pour your enchilada sauce right over the entire cornbread.  Layer your drained ground beef and then the cheese over the top of your cornbread/sauce.  

   Cover your pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

 Remove foil and allow to bake for 10 more minutes.

Once bubbly and hot, take out of oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, left over enchilada sauce, etc. 

  

%d bloggers like this: