Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chicken Sausage Chili

I got this idea from my friend David, who does a similar recipe except with only pork sausage, onions and tomato sauce. However, I wanted something a little more filling so I made what turned into quite a tasty chili. Nevertheless, the inspiration was there!

1 package or chicken sausage, casings taken off and cut into 1 inch pieces (real sausage from the poultry counter at grocery store)
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste (I used two big squeezes of my tomato paste in a tube)
1 14 oz can of black beans
Half a small white onion, diced
2 small green bell peppers cut into half inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 bay leaf
Enough water to cover everything plus have some room in slow cooker, mine took about 2 and half to 3 cups of water.
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend and crackers to accompany chili

What I did:
I took all the ingredients as described above and put them in my slow cooker before I left for work.
I let it cook on low for seven hours, and when I got home my house smelt so good!
I had put too much water in the slow cooker and wanted the chili a little thicker, so I squeezed in some more tomato paste, stirred the chili, took out the bay leaf, and then turned the slow cooker on high with the lid off. I let it cook for 1 and half more hours and it was perfect.
Next time I will not add as much water, however it always seems to be the other way around…me almost scorching the food because too little water. At least this time I had enough.

I hope everyone tries this recipe, it really turned out good; and the friend didn’t complain either, lol.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

I had made a broccoli cheese mixture to go on top of some baked potatoes earlier in the week. I saved the almost broccoli-cheese soup mixture because I knew it would make a great casserole later in the week. This is the casserole that I came up with.

Broccoli-cheese mixture:
1 small onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 table spoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 box of frozen chopped broccoli
2 1/2 to 3 cubs of milk (I used skim, but whatever you have)
3 big hand fulls of shredded Mexican cheese mixture
1 cub shredded Parmesan cheese

Breaded Chicken:
3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
about 2 1/2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of oil, enough to lightly cover pan and sear the chicken

What I did:
I started the broccoli mixture by melting the butter in some olive oil. I then grated in about half the small onion into the bubbling butter and oil (this smells awesome by the way!).
After that cooked for about 2 to 3 minutes, I sprinkled in the flour and stirred together. I let that cook until it formed a nice light rue, and the white flour was not visible, about 2 minutes.
Then I added the milk and broccoli and let cook, stirring with a whisk to break up any lumps, for about 10 minutes.
The mixture starts to get up to a boil, and then I add the cheese and start to make figure 8 motions to mix the cheese into the now thickening mixture. I also add salt and pepper to taste.
I let this cook for about 10 more minutes to get everything really nice, hot and fully thickened. Last thing I shredded some Parmesan cheese on top and mixed that in as well. (Like I've said before, everything tastes better with Parmesan cheese!)

So that is the broccoli mixture, now for the chicken.

First I washed the chicken breasts and then dredged them lightly in flour. Then I dunked them in a mixture of 2 eggs mixed with a little water, making sure to shake off the extra egg. Then I dredged them in Italian bread crumbs.

I took the lightly breaded chicken and laid them in a pre-heated skillet with olive oil to about medium to medium high heat. I cooked until a nice golden brown on either side, then placed all three chicken breasts in a deep pie plate. Then I poured the broccoli mixture over top of the chicken and stuck the dish in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.

I cooked the chicken for about half an hour or until a meat thermometer read 160 (must get chicken to this temperature for it to be safe to eat).
Right before it was done, I sprinkled on a mixture of Italian bread crumbs and melted butter that I brought together with a fork. This makes a nice crunchy topping. I sprinkled this on top of the casserole along with some shredded cheese and stuck back in the oven until golden brown and delicious.

I hope you try this really easy recipe; it really tasted comforting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lobster and Shrimp Bisque

I bought a lobster tail at Publix because they were on sale. I wanted to make sure I cooked it before it went bad, and this is what I ended up with.
I searched different recipes for a lobster bisque and then looked at what was in my fridge. I didn't have celery like most seafood bisques start with, so I used carrot instead. I didn't have old bay or Creole seasoning, so I used a combination of my favorite spices that I thought would work: salt, pepper, bay leaf, paprika, thyme, Cayenne pepper, and fresh parsley.
So here is the recipe that I came up with.

1 small onion, minced
1 large elephant garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cup carrot minced (I used carrot strips you get for salad and whizzed in the food processor)
4 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cub all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cubs milk
3 lobster tails, steamed and meat cut into pieces (I only had one tail this time around)
1/2 pound of shrimp, steamed and meat cut into pieces
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish, and to make the flavors pop
Also, Parmesan cheese for topping (everything tastes better with a little cheese)

What I did:

Start by steaming the shrimp and lobster tail until pink and done. Before close lid on steamer make sure to salt and pepper them, and squeeze some lemon juice on top; I also threw the half lemon wedge into the boiling water of my steamer to infuse some more lemon flavor. I used frozen shrimp; you can take them right out of the bag and steam them.
Once steamed just cut the seafood into chunks and set aside.

Start a large pot on stove over medium heat. Melt the butter. Add the garlic, onion, and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the flour and cook for 2 more minutes. This will make the rue that will thicken the bisque.
Add the chicken stock and bay leaf and whisk everything together to get the lumps out and let cook for 10 minutes. The bisque will thicken considerably; should coat the spoon after cooking.

Then add the seafood, milk, and all the seasonings. Let cook for another 10 minutes.
If soup starts to boil some after you add the milk and other ingredients just turn down the heat and get to a nice simmer; don't want to kill the bisque.

It took a couple of pinches of salt to get the blandness out, and once I added the thyme into the mix this soup tasted really good. I wish I had bought more lobster tails to put into the soup. I would definitely recommend 3 lobster tails, because they shrink when steamed.

Once the soup is done I chopped some fresh parsley and added to the bisque. I ladled some in my bowl and topped with a little shredded Parmesan cheese. I also had a sweet biscuit left over from when my grandma came down from Kentucky last week; she made her famous biscuits for breakfast that Sunday and it was fantastic. The sweet biscuit with the hot seafood bisque was really good together.

All in all, this nights supper wasn't too bad; and note to self: buy a better camera so you can see the food the way I see it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RedNeck Wedding Cake

These are pictures of a cake my Grandma from Kentucky decorated. Someone requested a redneck wedding cake with a fishing scene on top.
This is what she ended up with; it is so great!
I can't wait to see what my Grandma decorates next!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Grill Out

This memorial day my family and I grilled everything you can imagine. The main dishes were jumbo shrimp with a jalapeno-toasted garlic vinaigrette and skirt steak kabobs with red chili paste and Teriyaki glaze. For the side dishes we had a mixed grill of vegetables, including: zucchini, yellow squash, Brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, scallions, and portabella mushrooms.

The grilled shrimp with vinaigrette idea came from a Bobby Flay recipe from Bobby used prawns and habanero's, but we used jumbo shrimp and jalapenos.

Here is the recipe for the shrimp vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus 1/2 cup
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons honey.

What to do:
Pour the tablespoon of oil into a skillet over medium high heat and saute the whole garlic cloves until golden brown on all sides. Then add the browned garlic and all other ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

We greased up the shrimp with olive oil and topped with salt and pepper, lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley. We grilled the shrimp until tender and juicy. Top the shrimp with the vinaigrette and get ready for a tasty extravaganza.

For the beef:
Skirt steak
chili paste
Teriyaki sauce
Worcestershire sauce
grill seasoning

What to do:
Marinate the skirt steak rubbed in chili paste, Worcestershire sauce, and grill seasoning for at least 30 minutes. After marinating, cut into strips. Fold each strip over to conserve some of the marinade inside the fold, and then skewer with a wooden kabob soaked for at least 30 minutes in water.

Grill the meat kabobs until fully cooked and then sprinkle teriyaki sauce on top.

For the mixed veggi-grill:

List of veggi's:

zucchini, sliced into wedges
yellow squash, sliced into wedges
Brussel sprouts, cut into halves
romaine lettuce, whole leaves
scallions, and
portabella mushrooms, sliced

What to do:

Spread out all veggi's except the mushrooms onto a sheet pan and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper (it really makes a difference). Add the zest of a lemon onto all of the veggies followed by the juice of the lemon. Finally sprinkle on some chopped parsley.

For the mushrooms coat with extra virgin olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh chopped parsley.

After everything is seasoned throw all the veggies except the lettuce on the grill. Make sure to get char marks on all the veggies as this adds tremendous flavor! I don't think I could eat Brussel sprouts any other way. After the veggies you can wilt the lettuce on the grill.I hope you try this mixed grill feast!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Ribollita is an Italian soup that my mom and I saw Ina cooking on Food Network. It looked so good that we had to try it.
I will type the recipe up, embellishing on some of the things that we changed. We made a double batch, but I will type the single batch recipe.

1/2 pound dried white beans, we used Great Northerns
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil (the recipe calls for this, but my mom found Grape seed oil, which is suppose to have huge health benefits. We used that.)
1/4 pound large diced pancetta or smoked bacon (we used turkey bacon, I do not eat pork)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (we used a lot of fresh ground pepper, and we also added a teaspoon of hot chili paste for a kick!)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (yes, we added these too)
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups sourdough bread, cubed, crusts removed (save those crusts though!)
1/2 cub freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (we enjoy Yoder's shredded aged Parmesan cheese if you can find it; tastes really good)

What to do:
Soak the beans over night, then the next day drain and place in 8 cups of water; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set beans aside to cool; do not get rid of the cooking liquid.
An alternative way to cook the beans is in a crock-pot. Place soaked beans in crock-pot full of water, turn on high and let cook for 6 hours.
Sometimes my family eats just the beans as a supper; add chopped onions, salt, and pepper to the beans and cook. Along side some homemade southern cornbread and some scallions in a glass of water, yum yum !
Ok, now on to the Ribollita; the beans are sitting to the side...
Heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta, or turkey bacon in our case, and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups of total liquid. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning.
It was at this point we added a teaspoon of hot chili paste for a kick, and lots more cracked pepper. We also took the left over bread crust, drizzled with grape seed oil, salt and pepper and toasted in the oven until they became crunchy.
We topped our soup with these 'crunchies' and lots of Parmesan cheese.
This soup was so full of flavor, we will definitely do a repeat.

Valentine's Day Gifts

Just wanted to blog what my Dad got me for Valentine's day, 2009.

I do not drink so he bought me a bottle of my favorite sparkling grape juice and a box of Lindor chocolate truffles.

He bought my Mom a bouquet of flowers, of which Mom plucked one off for me and placed in a little decorative boot.
This is ironic because my family nickname has boots as one of the key words.
All-in-all, I thought it was sweet of my Dad on Valentine's Day.