February 9, 2016

Mexican Sloppy Joes with Queso

Superbowl party perfection!  Try these Sloppy "Joses" at your next gathering... feeds a crowd, and not very expensive.  Enjoy!

What You'll Need:
  • 4 tablespoons oil (your choice), divided
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 5 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • Salt and pepper, extra spices from the cabinet
  • 1/4 cup pimentos, diced
  • 14 ounce can red kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 pound beer brats, casings removed
  • 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 ounce can diced green chiles, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pound white American cheese, cubed
  • 24 slider rolls

1.  Set yourself up with two skillets on the stove, and divide the oil between the two.  Heat oil over medium heat.  In one skillet, add onion and mushrooms.  Add salt and pepper and sweat until soft.  Add pimentos, kidney beans, and garlic.  Simmer until incorporated.  In the second pan, brown the chorizo and brats, breaking up the meat as you go.  When the meat has browned, combine everything together in one large pot.

2.  To the pot, add crushed tomatoes and half the green chiles, and stir through.  Season thoroughly with some of your favorite spices: cumin, taco seasoning, onion powder, chili powder, etc.  (I also used "Mexican Seasoning" from a wonderful McCormick Spice basket I received as a wedding gift from a WONDERFUL friend!).  Cover and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes.

3.  In one of the skillets you previously used, heat the rest of the green chiles.  Add two cups of milk, and bring to a simmer.  Add American cheese, a little at a time, and stir continually to incorporate.  Let bubble until slightly thickened.  Build your slider: first the meat mixture, and then a few spoonfuls of queso on a slider roll.  ENJOY!

January 27, 2016

Vegetable Biscuit and Egg Casserole

My very good friend, and my lead chef at work and I got snowed in at our work, at Garrison Forest School, over the past weekend.  We got to work on Friday morning, and didn't get to leave until Monday evening.  We made ourselves a nice little "bedroom" by hanging tablecloths from the ceiling in an alcove that had some futons in it.  We used pillows from the training room, and linens for our sheets.  We weren't in our own beds, we were away from our husbands, but it truly wasn't as bad as it sounds.  (Ask me that five days ago, and I would have been saying something a little different, though!)  Hey, at least we were together... ;-)  We got to feed our little community, grow a little closer to our students and faculty, and learn a little more about the endurance we truly didn't think we had!

Anywho - I made this casserole for Monday morning brunch and everyone really seemed to like it.  It tastes like a biscuit breakfast sandwich that you eat with a knife and fork!  It's a quick and very simple recipe that you can make on any weekend morning, whether or not you have three feet of snow on the ground!

What You'll Need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 5-oz. bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Salt and pepper (and any other spices you like to season with)
  • 1 can biscuits, Pilsbury Original or Flaky Layers
  • 8-oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 carton liquid egg, or 1 dozen eggs, beaten

1.  Start by heating olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute peppers and onion until soft.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Add tomatoes last.  Salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

2.  Grease a baking dish very, VERY liberally.  Open the biscuits and cover the bottom of your dish, stretching the biscuit dough if needed.  Toss the cooled vegetable mixture with the eggs and half the cheese.  Pour egg mixture over biscuits.

3.  Cover with foil and bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, and cover the top of the casserole with the remaining shredded cheese.  Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the cheese has melted on top and the eggs have set.  Enjoy!

January 16, 2016

Southwestern Three-Bean Salad

Here's a new recipe I made for a school function that is made for a crowd.  I would say this sweet, salty, and spicy bean salad could feed 20-30 people, so make sure to use it for your next party.  Even though it has a lot of ingredients, it's a pretty simple salad that does not require much work, except maybe some slicing and dicing.  While a very light and tangy salad, with all the beans, it should keep you full for a while!

What You'll Need:
  • 2 pounds corn (+ olive oil, paprika, salt, steak seasoning, and garlic powder)
  • 12 cups chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 cups black-eyed-peas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups green chiles, diced
  • 12 ounces roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 ounces chives, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 ounces cilantro
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
1.  Toss corn with 1/2 cup olive oil, paprika, salt, Montreal steak seasoning, and garlic powder.  Roast in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, until slightly roasted.

2.  In a large lexan container or mixing bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.  In a small whisking bowl, mix remaining ingredients to make a dressing.  When corn cools, mix everything together.  Garnish with extra chives and cilantro.

January 5, 2016

Tomato and Portobello Panzanella

What You'll Need:
  • 6 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1/4 cup + 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 dozen Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 loaf crusty bread, cubed and toasted

1.  In a bowl, mix sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup oil, balsamic, dried basil, garlic powder, red onion, and salt and pepper.  Toss well to coat mushrooms evenly.  Spread on well-greased baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until mushrooms are soft.

2.  In a different bowl, mix remaining 1 cup olive oil, brown sugar, white balsamic, dijon mustard, shallots, garlic, and basil.  Whisk vigorously to emulsify into a DELICIOUS dressing.

3.  Toss Roma tomatoes, spinach leaves, roasted portobellos, and dressing until incorporated.  Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.  At the last minute, toss in crusty bread to keep it as crunchy as possible before serving.  Garnish with torn fresh basil leaves.

December 16, 2015

Italian Stuffed Chicken with Lemon Crumb Topping

For my recent wedding, I was looking for wooden slabs for the middle of each table.  To my surprise, wood slabs are A LOT more expensive than I thought - if you're looking for anything over 6" diameter, they can be at least $10 each!  Using my trusty Facebook page, I was able to find a friend who was actually slicing real wood slabs from a tree for a different wedding, and he said he'd cut some for me too.  All that was required from me was a delicious meal.  When I started thinking about different dishes I could make, I experimented with this one, and it came out great!  The sopressata and cheese are both salty, the arugula adds an element of spice, and the lemon crumb topping rounds this dish out with a touch of sweetness and crunch.   Perfect for a night with some creamy mashed potatoes and a light salad.  Enjoy!

What You'll Need:
  • 4 chicken breasts, about 1/2 pound each
  • 12 slices sopressata, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound sharp provolone cheese, cut in 2-ounce logs
  • Handful of arugula
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

1.  Using a very sharp paring knife, carefully insert the knife in the top part of the breast, not to go through the bottom, to make a deep pocket.  Using your fingers, spread the pocket to make stuffing it easy.

2.   Lay three slices of sopressata on your work space in vertical line.  Lay cheese at the bottom, then a few sprigs of arugula on top, as the photo shows.  Roll sopressata around cheese to make a log to stuff into the chicken.  Repeat three more times to make one for each chicken breast.  Stuff into the pockets you made in your chicken, as far down as you can. 

3.  Season breasts liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Using kitchen twine or toothpicks, secure the ends of the breasts closed, and brush with olive oil.  Lay on a greased baking sheet and bake on 375 degrees for 30 minutes, until there is about 5 minutes left of cook time.

4.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until panko is coated with butter, and everything is incorporated.  When the chicken has been in for 30 minutes, remove and cover with panko crumble.  Return to the oven, and broil for a remaining 5 minutes, until crumble becomes golden brown.  Remove from oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes.  Slice chicken and enjoy!