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Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

18 Mar
Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

This is a very quick and easy dinner to throw together, especially if you have your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce stashed in the freezer (nevermindthefacthatIjustgotlaidoffanddon’tneedtimesavingrecipesrightnow). And if you make the ricotta in the morning (or even use store-bought) then you are way ahead of the game! And pssst, did you know making your own ricotta is super easy? I sure didn’t!

Prior to my life-changing event on Friday, I was always looking for dinner shortcuts. When I saw my friend Debbie’s post for Baked Pasta with Meatballs and Spinach, I knew it was something I totally wanted to make, but didn’t have the time to bother with making meatballs. So I did the next best thing and used the meatball ingredients as the base for the pasta. In hindsight, if I had made this in my large cast-iron skillet, I could have just popped it straight from the stove top into the oven! (I didn’t have the foresight, but I’m going to remember this for sure next time.)

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from The Mountain Kitchen

2 cups dried pasta (I used Mostaccioli)
8 ounces ground hot Italian sausage
6 ounces baby spinach
Ground pepper, to taste (some red chile flakes would be great too)
4 cups homemade spaghetti sauce, or your favorite jarred
1 cup shredded mozzarella (not bagged variety)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large skillet (cast iron if you have one!) until cooked through. Drain any grease, if necessary. Leaving the sausage in the pan, add 1/4 cup water and the spinach, stirring until wilted. Season with ground pepper, to taste.

Sausage and Spinach

Sausage and Spinach

Add the spaghetti sauce to the skillet, combine, and bring to a simmer.

Sauce Mixture

Sauce Mixture

Pour into a large casserole dish (or leave in in the skillet if using cast-iron), then stir in the cooked pasta, half the mozzarella and half the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and place dollops of the remaining ricotta over top.

Casserole Ready to Bake

Casserole Ready to Bake

Place in oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and cook until golden brown on top, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Serve immediately. WOW, so much flavor for so few ingredients!

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

BONUS! Here’s Debbie’s recipe for Homemade Ricotta:

Homemade Ricotta

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Add 2 layers of cheesecloth (I used meshed cotton veggie bags) over a sieve or strainer on top of a bowl. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overboil! Turn off heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the mixture over the cheesecloth and allow it to drain for about 25 minutes. Then place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Store unused cheese in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Salami over Pasta

11 Mar
Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Calabrese Salami Over Pasta

Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Calabrese Salami Over Pasta

Call me crazy for making this, but it turned out so awesome (to me) that I ate it for lunch THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. Never mind the opinions of the household members.

I had some lingering Calabrese salami and frozen artichokes hanging out in the usual places, and decided to throw caution to the wind and make something up. As it turns out, mixing chicken and salami is not so uncommon (it’s a New Orlean’s dish). Neither is mixing artichokes and salami (pizza, anyone?). Why not marry them all into one dish?? And then serve it over pasta?

This is a delight for the taste buds and even guest-worthy, if you have friends who aren’t intimidated by the bold and adventurous. 🙂

Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Salami over Pasta

1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts or thighs (mine were boneless/skinless breasts)
Salt and black pepper for seasoning chicken, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 cup sliced fennel bulb
5 ounces frozen artichokes (that’s 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup large-diced salami (I used Calabrese, also TJ’s)
1 large stalk fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leafed parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 small lemon, plus lemon slices from the other half
Cooked pasta of choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut chicken into large sections, if large. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Over medium-high heat, add the oil and sear the chicken until browned on all sides, a few minutes a side. The chicken will cook more later, so remove and place in a 2-quart casserole dish with a cover.

Veggies and Salami

Veggies and Salami

Add the sliced onion and fennel to the hot skillet for about 5 minutes, stirring until starting to soften and brown, then add the salami and sage. Cook until the salami begins to crisp up a bit. Add the garlic, artichoke hearts, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes.

Beautiful Base for Sauce

Beautiful Base for Sauce

Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bits off the bottom. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Then add the flour, again stirring to incorporate. Now pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Last, squeeze in the juice of the half lemon.

Sauce Mixture for Chicken

Sauce Mixture for Chicken

Pour the mixture over the chicken in the casserole dish, arrange sliced lemons over top, cover with foil, then with the lid.

Cooked Chicken in Veggie Salami Sauce

Cooked Chicken in Veggie Salami Sauce

Place in heated oven and roast for about 40 to 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions.

Uncover and sprinkle with fresh parsley, for garnish. Serve over cooked pasta of choice (I used angel hair) with plenty of sauce and vegetables. For the leftovers, I found shredded Mozzarella cheese to be a fantastic addition!

Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Calabrese Salami

Braised Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Calabrese Salami

 

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Download and Print this Recipe

 

Carne Asada Street Tacos: Sous Vide or Grilled

5 Mar
Carne Asada Street Tacos

Carne Asada Street Tacos

I had a gorgeous hunk of flank steak in our freezer from our quarter cow we bought last year, and carne asada street tacos were calling my name! Typically skirt steak is used for these tacos, but I figured the leaner flank steak would work just as well provided it was marinated in a citrusy sauce for a spell.  I decided to cook this via the sous-vide method, but grilling the steak would work just as great.

Total thumbs up all the way around for the tacos! We had plenty of leftovers for another dinner even with my daughter eating three of them in one sitting. I made some fresh pico de gallo to serve these with along with the avocado, but you can use any condiments of choice for these tasty tacos.

Carne Asada Ingredients

Many of the delicious Carne Asada ingredients

Carne Asada Street Tacos: Sous Vide or Grilled
Adapted from Serious Eats

3 whole dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 whole dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 whole chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce
3/4 cup fresh juice from 2 to 3 oranges (I used Cara Cara)
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Sea salt, to taste
1.5 to 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Warm corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, diced onion, additional fresh cilantro (or Pico de Gallo), and avocado, for serving

Place dried ancho and guajillo chilies in a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes until soft and pliable. Drain water, then transfer chiles to a food processor or blender.

Toasting the Cumin and Coriander

Toasting the Cumin and Coriander

Toast the ground cumin and coriander in a hot dry skillet until fragrant and add to the chiles. (You could toast the seeds and grind yourself, but I’m not that fancy.)

Ready to Process the Marinade

Ready to Process the Marinade

Add the rest of the ingredients except steak and condiments. Blend until a smooth sauce has formed. Transfer half of the sauce to a gallon-sized zip-top bag and refrigerate or freeze the other half in a sealed container for future use.

BONUS! Here’s my quick recipe for homemade Pico de Gallo. Double or triple as needed:

Pico de Gallo

1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 jalapeño or serrano chile, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and let marinate for an hour or so. That’s it!

For cooking via sous-vide method:

Add steak to the marinade in the bag, squishing around to coat.

Steak in Marinade

Steak in Marinade

Vacuum-seal the bag using the water immersion method. Set temperature on the sous vide to 131 F, then place the bag in the pot and cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation. Cook for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, preheat a cast-iron pan on high. Remove the bag from the sous-vide pot, then remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off excess. Discard marinade. Char the steak in the hot pan for a minute or two on each side until well-browned. Transfer to a cutting board and slice thinly against the grain.

Serve immediately with warmed tortillas and garnishes.

Sliced Carne Asada Flank Steak

Sliced Carne Asada Flank Steak

For cooking on a grill:

Add steak to the marinade in the bag, squishing around to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill on one side to the highest temperature. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Remove steak from marinade and wipe off excess. Place directly over the hot side of the grill. If using a gas grill, cover; if using a charcoal grill, leave open. Cook, turning occasionally, until steak is well charred on outside and center registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

Serve immediately warmed tortillas and garnishes.

 

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Homemade Tomato Soup (with Grilled Cheese, of Course!)

11 Feb
Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade tomato soup for years, especially since we grow and can our own tomatoes. When my friend Suzanne over at Pug in the Kitchen posted this recipe, I knew it was time. Besides, I had a can of San Marzano tomatoes that had been in my pantry over a year, and what about those 20 pints of canned jars of tomatoes I forgot about in the garage? How did I forget about canning those from the fall? I grabbed a few for my pantry lest I forget again.

This soup comes together quite easily after some initial prep. And if you are wondering how long it takes for tomatoes to caramelize in a hot oven, it takes 18 minutes according to the smoke alarm that went off during my 20-minute timer. I suggest using a vent fan during this process. 😉

My husband was amazed at the taste of this soup. According to him, it did not taste like tomato soup from a can. Errrmmm… We’ll leave it at that. Oh, and don’t forget to cook up some ooey-gooey grilled cheese sammies for dunking! We used sourdough bread and a combination of Monterrey jack, sharp yellow cheddar, and pepper jack that was leftover from Super Bowl. This makes about 3 to 4 dinner-size servings.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tomato Soup at A Pug in the Kitchen

1 28-ounce can San Marzano or good quality tomatoes, liquid reserved
1 pint homemade canned tomatoes (about 1 large cup fresh), liquid reserved
Ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
Olive oil, for tomatoes and vegetables
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
Small piece of Parmesan rind
3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Additional basil, chiffoned for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all the drained tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season to taste with ground black pepper and sea salt. Roast until caramelized or until your smoke alarm goes off (18 to 20 minutes).

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and cook until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more until fragrant. Add the roasted tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice (About 2 cups, add water if you don’t have that much. My canned tomatoes had a lot of of liquid.) Also add the bay leaf and cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Remove the bay leaf, then add the chopped basil. Taste for seasoning.

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Pour into a large blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender if you have one. I need one!) Return soup to the pot, then add the butter and cream and stir until incorporated. Keep warm while you griddle up some grilled cheese. Ladle into bowls, top with additional basil, and serve immediately with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Meals from Raiding the Freezer

28 Jan
"And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?"

“And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?”

I’ve been on a self-imposed cooking haitus this week. I decided to scour the freezer for all the leftovers we had stockpiled in there from our snowbound two months, and discovered I had NO LESS than 8 meals in the freezer I decided we should heat up and eat before they were freezer burnt and long forgotten.

I made a list on our fridge white board we usually use for our shopping list, and have been gradually eating them and wiping them off. I can’t help but make meals for 4 to 6 or 8 people (some kind of hangup from growing up in a family of 8), and with my daughter gone most of the time, we simply can’t eat the same meal more than two nights in a row (or sometimes every other night). Many of these just needed a side salad, bread, or veggies/potatoes.

I have compiled for you my freezer list meals, along with links to the recipes for them. (Or similar recipes or part of one, and some are adaptations of prior recipes I’ve posted.) I’ll get back to more recipes and cooking soon! Enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

This freezes really well! Just as good, if not better later with loads more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

Beef Stroganoff

A classic with a healthy twist. No canned soups! The version in our freezer was a wonderful meal made with shredded cooked beef that my husband made instead of ground beef, but similar concept.

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Another Italian-based soup recipe that freezes well and gets the same raves as the day you made it!

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Cabbage and Chicken Soup

I made this same type of soup, but used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. Try it, you’ll like it!

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Turkey and Turkey Gravy

Traditional roasted turkey leftover from New Year’s dinner, with gravy made from the turkey carcass stock. Here I give you the recipe for the stock.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

White Chicken Chili

One of our favorite winter comfort foods. I know it’s many of my friend’s favorite too! I used white beans instead of black beans for the leftovers in the freezer but I’ve posted both versions before, but this one has the printable PDF.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Sous Vide Meatloaf with Bacon

I made this with a several pieces of ground up uncooked bacon in it and cooked via the sous vide method. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! I am linking up to Conor Bofin’s recipe, as his inspired me to make my mom’s meatloaf with bacon and sous vide method. I did not write my own post about it.

Mom's Meatloaf

Mom’s Meatloaf

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Well I know I just posted this, but it IS in the freezer and we need to finish it. Just two small lunch-sized servings left. 🙂

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

21 Jan
Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

We survived the Snowmaggedon/Snowcapolypse where I live, where over 60 inches of snow has dumped on us in the past month and a half, an event that hasn’t happened here since 1901 according to records.

Snowmaggedon

Snowmaggedon ~ A friend joked this looked like a bunch of pregnant woman got snowed on while sitting around our firepit. Those were empty chairs before the snow.

We had a near tragedy, where a school’s gym roof collapsed entirely, but overnight when thank goodness nobody occupied it. In the morning it is usually teeming with kids waiting for the school bell to ring. It wasn’t discovered until all the kids had boarded buses for school, so all parents were notified to pick up their children immediately at all schools in town. Schools were closed for 8 days after that until all snow was removed from 38 school roofs (9 million square feet) and structures inspected and deemed safe. Whew! Dodged the bullet on that one!

Snow or no snow, we certainly had to eat during this event, and here is one of the recipes I came up with during our snowbound days with what I had on hand. This is a thumbs-up recipe from the hubby, yay! My only regret is not making more sauce, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below for that. I served this over cooked rice. Nummy and warming!

Spicy Chicken Florentine

For the casserole:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
16-ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 cup dry good-quality sherry (or chicken broth)
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup grated block cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated block Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the chicken breast thin, and season with the pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash.

Fileted and Seasoned Chicken

Fileted and Seasoned Chicken

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and half the garlic and sear the chicken filets on each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

Browned Chicken

Browned Chicken

Add the drained tomatoes to the skillet along with rest of the garlic and simmer for a few minutes. Pour the tomatoes and garlic in the bottom of an oil-sprayed two-quart casserole.

Tomatoes and Garlic

Tomatoes and Garlic

To the skillet, add the spinach and the rest of the butter plus a large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until butter is melted and spinach is heated through and incorporated. Layer on top of the tomatoes.

Spinach and Tomatoes

Spinach and Tomatoes

Next layer the chicken on top of the spinach.

Chicken Layer

Chicken Layer

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, mustard powder, and white pepper, whisking until a paste forms. Pour in the milk and sherry or chicken broth, whisking constantly. Simmer over gentle heat while stirring until the sauce is to desired consistency. Pour the sauce evenly over the casserole.

Casserole Ready to Bake

Casserole Ready to Bake

Sprinkle the grated cheeses over the dish, then top with the Panko breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes, until casserole is heated through and top is browned and crispy. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

24 vs. 48 Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

14 Jan
24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

I’ve been slowly learning the best methods and temperatures to cook meat via the sous vide method. For those of you not familiar with this, I’ll give you a cheat link over to Wikipidia: Sous Vide Cooking.

So about three weeks ago I decided to cook a piece of chuck roast for 48 hours at 149 F, but about halfway through the cooking time my foodie friend and sous vide guru Stefan gave me the sage advice that I would achieve the results my hubby desired in said chunk of meat by cooking it only 24 hours at a higher temperature. Horrors, what was I to do? So I threw caution to the wind and bumped it up to 165 F for the last 24 hours. It came out out fall apart tender and my husband said it was the best chuck roast he had ever tasted.

I had only used half of the chuck roast, so two weeks later I decided to try only 24 hours at 165 F for the second half. It was very tender, but both of us thought the first one had the perfect texture. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely delicious, the first one was just amazingly absolutely delicious. Was this a controlled experiment? Heck no. I had too many differences with what I did. Was the first chuck roast the better half of the roast? (It was a 6-pound roast initially.) The first one I only seasoned it then seared in a hot cast iron skillet. For the second one I seasoned it then dusted it heavily with flour before searing, as I wanted a thicker gravy than the first one. Did the flour have anything to do with the texture of the meat? I have no idea. But I did get a thicker gravy!

Anyhoot, since I bothered to take the pictures, I’ll go ahead and step you through the process I did for the second roast. Who knows? Maybe it will prompt you to pick up a sous vide circulator and try it out!

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast with Gravy

1 3-pound chuck roast
Seasoning spice mix of choice
Ground black pepper and salt
Flour
1 tablespoon high heat oil, such as grapeseed oil
1/2 cup homemade beef stock

First, fill a large pot with water, insert the sous vide circulator, and set the heat at 165 degrees F.

Seasoned Beef

Seasoned Beef

Season the beef liberally with a spice seasoning mix of choice. I used Santorini Sunset seasoning (available from Kouzouna’s Kitchen). Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, and lightly salt if your seasoning mix does not contain salt. Pat the roast all around with flour until it is thoroughly coated.

Coated with Flour

Coated with Flour

Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat and add the tablespoon of oil. Sear the roast on all sides until it is browned and crusty.

Seared Chuck Roast

Seared Chuck Roast

Place the roast in a gallon zip-top freezer bag, then remove all the air by zipping it almost shut and slowly immersing it into the pot of water until all the air is sucked out of the bag, then finish sealing the bag.

Ready to Cook for 24 Hours

Ready to Cook for 24 Hours

Cover the pot with cling-wrap to prevent evaporation. Now go find something to do for the next 24 hours, like eat your dinner, watch a movie, sleep, get up and do laundry, or whatever you find yourself doing for the next day.

Cooked Roast and Juices

Cooked Roast and Juices

About 20 minutes before you want to eat the roast, turn off the sous vide, remove the bag from the pot, and remove the roast from the bag, saving the juices in the bag. Set the roast aside on a plate and cover with foil while you make the gravy.

Showing off my Poppa's Hook

Showing off my Poppa’s Hook ~ I love my meat hook!

Pour the juices from the bag into a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the 1/2 cup beef stock to it. Bring the sauce up to a simmer, and whisk constantly while keeping a simmer until the gravy has reduced and thickened.

Making the Gravy

Making the Gravy

To finish the gravy, add a half tablespoon of very cold butter and stir it in until just melted. Strain the gravy through a sieve (I also line it with mesh or cheesecloth) into a serving bowl.

Smooth Beef Gravy

Smooth Beef Gravy

Serve the fall-apart tender meat with the gravy and sides of vegetables. We had rosemary buttered baby potatoes with green beans.

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Posole

1 Jan
Quick and Easy Posole

Quick and Easy Posole

Happy New Year my friends! I thought about freshening up my good ol’ black-eye pea recipe for today, but instead decided to give you a quick and easy posole recipe that can make good use of any leftover meat you may have hanging around from the holidays. This includes pork, chicken, turkey, or beef!

I delivered this meal to a friend as a pre-packaged “make it yourself meal” when she said she wished she had some easy dinners to cook for her family. All the ingredients were packaged up in a box along with pre-printed step-by-step instructions. She said it was a huge hit with her family so I thought I’d better try it out myself. (Yes, I sent her a blind, untested recipe.)

This posole is huge on flavor and does not even skimp in the filling factor. Plus it’s very versatile, too! Thumbs up all the way around!

Posole Ingredients

Posole Ingredients

Quick and Easy Posole

2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
Posole Seasoning Mix (divided, recipe below)
3 ounces tomato paste
1 cup water
4 cups chicken stock (can also use turkey, pork, or beef)
4-ounce can chopped green chiles
15.5-ounce can hominy (gold or white, drained)
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (can also use turkey, pork, or beef)
1 fresh lime
Fresh cilantro
Crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, Mexican sour cream, for garnish (any or all optional)

Posole Seasoning Mix
Hint: Make a double or triple batch to store for future use!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon New Mexico Red Chile powder (or sub with regular chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Finely dice the onion, then add it to a soup pot or Dutch oven along with the oil. Sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until tender and transparent. Add the flour and a tablespoon of the seasoning mix and continue to sauté for two minutes more.

Posole Soup Base

Posole Soup Base

Add 1 cup water, tomato paste, and the rest of the seasoning mix to the pot. Whisk the ingredients together until the tomato paste is dissolved. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, at which point it will thicken.

Big Ladle of Posole

Big Ladle of Posole

Finally, add the stock, shredded meat, diced chiles, and hominy. Stir to combine and then heat through for about 10 minutes.

Cut the lime into wedges and roughly chop the cilantro. Top each bowl with chopped cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips and cheese and a wedge of lime to squeeze over top.

Quick and Easy Posole

Quick and Easy Posole

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

24 Dec
Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

‘Tis the season to be jolly! I scored big on some extra-large chicken wings in the half-price bin, and set out on a mission to find a method to cook them that did not involve Frank’s or BBQ sauce. Much to my delight, I stumbled upon a recipe made by a fellow foodie blogger I follow! Lea Ann over at Cooking on the Ranch shared her recipe for this earlier in the year, which was adapted from Saveur magazine. The back story behind this chicken is a delight to read, so click on over if you are so inclined —> Delores’s Broken-Hearted Chicken.

This chicken and sauce is no-lie finger-licking good! The hubs and I devoured this along with some rice pilaf and baby brussels sprouts, and sopped up the juices with some crusty garlic bread. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of year, and a delightful Festivus for the rest of us!

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry
Adapted from Saveur

2 pounds extra-large chicken wings, or small chicken cut into pieces
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup flour put in bowl or on plate
2 slices thick-cut bacon, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
1⁄2 cup dry sherry
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4″ cubes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, optional, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour; set aside. Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Browning the Chicken Wings

Browning the Chicken Wings

Add oil to skillet with the bacon grease, and working in 2 batches, add chicken, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Cooking the Garlic

Cooking the Garlic

Add garlic to the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn! Add stock and sherry, deglazing the pan with a wooden spoon to scrape up the crispy bits. Place chicken skin-side down in a roasting pan and pour the skillet juices over the chicken.

Roasted Chicken Ready to Finish Off

Roasted Chicken Ready to Finish Off

Place chicken in oven, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip chicken with tongs to skin-side up, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and dot with butter. Baste the chicken a couple of times until cooked through and skin is crispy, about 20 more minutes. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the delicious juices.

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

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Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

10 Dec
Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

This soup has keeper written all over it! (Plus my hubby told me so.) I made this soup a couple of weeks ago, and the only photo I took while making it was from my iPhone, so sorry for the lack of prep photos. But who needs them when this is so quick and easy to make? You can easily have this on the table in less than 30 minutes. This soup is full of flavor, and hearty and filling enough to satisfy even the hungriest of eaters.

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package smoked sausage, cut into slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
4 cups turkey or chicken stock
1 9-ounce package fresh cheese tortellini
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the smoked sausage and onion until sausages have slightly browned and onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic in the last minute.

Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, turkey or chicken stock, tortellini, and pepper and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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