Tag Archives: cayenne

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

4 Mar
Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

I’d be lying if I didn’t say the past two weeks have been a bit of a challenge. It all started out with me taking a spill while ice skating with my daughter. I truly thought I just jammed my shoulder, but an x-ray two days later confirmed a break. Broke the neck of the humerus clean through, I did. The next day, my husband went in for hernia surgery (a double!) then a week after that Mohs surgery to remove cancer from his nose. Thank God for generous friends to donate their time (and cooking!) while we got back on our feet, so to speak.

I’m just in a sling (no surgery required) but I’m basically one-armed (again). Once I felt stable enough to heft out the crock pot with one hand, I was able to throw this meal together. Many thanks to my friend Mollie at The Frugal Hausfrau for the inspiration! Since I have no ability to chop anything fresh, much of this came from cans or frozen bags, but feel free to substitute with fresh. The Trader Joe’s potatoes were seasoned with oregano and thyme, so if you add fresh potatoes, add in about a 1/2 teaspoon of each of those with them.

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

1 pound boneless skinless chicken (breast or thighs)
1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes with liquid
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup frozen lima beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen roasted potatoes with bell pepper and onion (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 or 4 shakes Tobasco sauce
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons spicy barbecue sauce (I used Stubb’s Spicy)

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 to 6, depending on your cooker. When done, shred chicken with a fork in the pot, then serve.

p.s. This is my third fracture of the body in as many years. My friends are recommending a body bubble wrap. 😉

p.s.s. We are headed to Austin and thereabouts for a 10-day vacation for a visit with family and friends, and heading smack dab into South by Southwest (SXSW), the county’s largest film and music festival. What better way to spend time while recuperating?

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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Wildcard Contest Winner ~ Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

4 Feb
Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

What better way to lead into the Mardis Gras celebrations than with a surprise Wildcard Contest Winner Cajun recipe over at Food52 website??? I’ve never been a finalist and contest winner with prizes, but at least with a Wildcard Win you get braggin’ rights, yes? I actually got awarded this three days ago, but have been so busy only just found out today. YAY! (With a wildcard win you get a nice note from the editors of the website on the recipe why they picked it.) 🙂

Linky to the recipe here ———–>  Cajun Roasted Chickpeas

We’ll see you again this weekend with a new recipe!

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

30 Jan
BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

I rarely try to do copycat recipes as they never come up to snuff to what you expect, but this one scored in my house. Now, probably 99.9999% of my readers don’t even live in my small town nor either close to it, so we’ll just leave it at that I was able to surpass the taste of this amazing shrimp appetizer dish at a local trendy restaurant.

It probably doesn’t even taste the same, since I never bought their expensive $16 bottle of the sauce to compare it to. (Who buys a $16 bottle of BBQ sauce, what??) All I know is that it exceeded our expectations of how it would turn out. I’m in LOVE! My husband swooned! (OK he didn’t literally, but he loved it too so I had to say it.)

I tried searching for the copycat recipe from our local restaurant (Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails), but all it ever came up with was a copycat recipe for Zydeco 5, which is apparently in the Midwest or thereabouts. So, I googled for New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. Whoa! Too much information. However, what I gleaned from it all is that there were two camps in how to prepare it. Either marinating for a long time then oven cooking, or cooking quickly in a cast-iron skillet. I chose the former after my research.

I printed out several of the recipes that went in both camps, then combined all the ingredients into one full recipe. I got a little confuzzled at one point when I scratched out on one and then switched to the other then went back to the other. OY!

Instead of making grits or polenta cakes from scratch (for time reasons), I went with an organic refrigerated garlic and basil polenta tube from a local grocery. Trader Joe’s sells a similar tube of this product.

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

Note: I’ve offered to bring this to Super Bowl next week as an appetizer, and THEN make it again a few weeks later as the main course for a dinner party. Am I nuts??? LOL. But will be glad to do it.

Second note: I have a high heat/spice tolerance, so adjust seasoning amounts as needed.

This recipe serves two people, adjust amounts if serving more. On to the recipe!

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili sauce (found in the ketchup aisle)
3 tablespoons Worcesterhire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (I used Stubb’s)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun (Creole) seasoning
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried spicy oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Generous amounts of ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Prepared refrigerated polenta
1 tablespoon butter
Chopped parsley and green onion, for garnish

Preparing the BBQ Sauce

Preparing the BBQ Sauce

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add all the ingredients through to the ground pepper. You may want to add the spicy spices a little at a time until the spice level suits your tastes.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until it’s reduced just a tad. Add the shrimp to a casserole dish, then pour the sauce over it, stirring around to coat. Spread the shrimp around so they’re in a single layer.

Marinating the Shrimp

Marinating the Shrimp

Cover and place in refrigerator for up to 4 hours or overnight.

About a half hour before you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When preheated, place shrimp dish uncovered in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the polenta into 1/2-inch or so cakes (I wasn’t very precise in that case). Add butter to a skillet over medium-high heat, then fry the polenta cakes on each side until slightly browned.

Fried Polenta Cakes

Fried Polenta Cakes

Place two polenta cakes in a bowl, then add desired amount of shrimp over the cakes, pouring generous amounts of the BBQ sauce over it. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and green onion. Serve with a crusty bread, for sopping up all the sauce. Try not to fight over who gets to mop up the last of the sauce out of the casserole dish.

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

21 Feb
Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada1

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

I don’t have any prep photos of this recipe, because I was almost certain we would be ordering pizza after we tasted this. I couldn’t be MORE WRONG! It was simply amazing!! I was so astounded that I did snap a shot of my bowl of it (sans the flour tortilla for dipping, because I was still so non-plussed how great this tasted.) Then for grins I took a shot of my hubby’s interpretation of how this should be eaten.

I was going through the freezer and found a half a tube of Mexican ground chorizo sausage and decided to do something with it.  I also had two gallon bags of frozen tomatoes from our last harvest and I had to use at least SOME of them soon. I had made brined pork chops the night before, which were a total failure, I tell you. Hardly anyone touched the pork, so you won’t get any info on that except for my brining shot of it, sigh. I will not make THAT recipe again. Kitchn website, you failed me this time…

Brining Pork

Here I am brining pork, all fanchy schmancy. Little did I know….

I threw caution to the wind, and stuck the frozen chorizo, peeled frozen tomatoes, and almost a pound of the failed pork (cut up) into the crock pot, thinking if I just cook the hell out of something it might be decent. In went some chicken broth, potatoes, onions, spices and such. Just whatever sounded good. Then covered it up and cooked it all day long, hoping it wouldn’t be a last-minute pizza night.

I almost feel like I painted a masterpiece with this. Almost. This was INCREDIBLY delicious! My daughter and I couldn’t stop warming up more tortillas to slop up every last morsel of goodness. We also stirred in some cheddar cheese into the bowls, for garnish. My husband, on the other hand, made rolled up cheese quesadillas/burrito type things, stuck some of the mixture inside, and then slathered them over with more stew and mounds of sour cream. Mounds, I tell you. A little odd, but I let him do it. It’s his mouth.

Rolled Quesadillas with Chorizo Stew

Rolled Quesadillas with Chorizo Stew ~ or something like that. I really don’t know what to call this.

You may adapt however you like, because it’s not like I followed any semblance of a recipe to start with. (p.s. it is the ground chorizo that makes this recipe and sets it apart from my other Carne Guisada recipe, so at least don’t skip that ingredient!)

Hints: Whenever a recipe calls for a small amount of tomato paste or chipotle chiles, I freeze the rest (labeled) for later use. Just nuke for a tad and take what you need and refreeze. Yes, I got mine out of the freezer for this.

Now on to the (sort of) recipe!

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

1 pound of pork, cooked or uncooked, cut into small pieces
7 ounces ground Mexican pork chorizo, uncooked
2 cups diced tomatoes, frozen, from a can, fresh, whatever
1 medium potato, any kind, unpeeled, washed and diced
1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium, or water
1/2 cup chopped onion, any kind (I used red)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon of sauce from a can of Adobo Chipotle peppers
Juice from 1/2 small lime (maybe a couple of teaspoons?)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder (or any other kind)
Large pinch of cumin powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish if you want)
Warmed flour tortilla, for slopping up
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Mounds of sour cream, for garnish (or not)

Prep your pork and veggies and such, throw them all in a crock pot, give it a good stir to mix, and cook on low about 8 to 10 hours or high on 4 to 6 hours. Give it another good stir at the end. That’s it! Serve with garnishes. Easy, huh?

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

15 Jan
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

I’ve mentioned numerous times in my posts about my husband’s spaghetti sauce. While it’s not completely made from scratch, he adds just the right amount of spiciness, meats, and veggies to make this taste “just like homemade.” One of the tricks is to use a quality jarred marinara sauce (and lots of garlic and pepper!) Another special ingredient is Hot and Spicy Italian Sausage. Our local grocery store mixes this up themselves. But if that is not available in your area, you can mix cayenne pepper into ground Italian sausage to your liking. Sometimes he adds a yellow or red pepper to the sauce, but we didn’t have one for this go-round.

Lots of Garlic and Pepper

Add Lots of Garlic and Pepper!

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

3/4 pound Spicy Italian Sausage
3/4 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 jars quality marinara sauce
2 jars homemade canned tomatoes or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 to 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A bunch of ground black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves

Lots of Mushrooms

Add Lots of Mushrooms Too!

Brown the sausage, drain, and set aside. Wipe the skillet, then brown the ground beef with about a quarter of the chopped onions until cooked through. Drain and set aside. In a large pot or deep-sided skillet, pour in the marina sauce and the rest of the ingredients, plus the sausage and ground beef mixture. Stir to combine, then bring up to a simmer. Turn down to low, partially cover the sauce, and simmer for at least a couple of hours.

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and grated Parmesan cheese. (Don’t forget the garlic bread!) Freeze the extra sauce in quart-size zip-top baggies for a quick and easy future meal!

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

25 Sep
Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

My husband made this delightful (and decadent) creamy fish chowder over the weekend from some of the sea bass we caught off the central coast of Oregon a few weeks ago. He accomplished this after helping me can all those tomatoes I wrote about last post. Super Dad!  I played a minor role in the making of this, helping with a few measurements and prepping the potatoes, but I mainly taste-tested it along the way and of course ate a heaping bowl of it for dinner. Now we have several bags of it frozen for future quick and easy meals.

p.s. The tripod holder insert-thingy on the bottom of my camera broke just as I was setting up to take photos. Because I did not have my thinking cap on, I ended up using a flash for some of the shots, instead of rubberbanding it to the tripod or some other method of securing it (DOH!). Time for a new camera? Yes, I think so.

Fish Chowder Ingredients

Fish Chowder Ingredients

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

4 sea bass filets, or other white fish (about 1 pound)
Milk for soaking the fish
6 strips of bacon (optional)
1/3 cup real butter
1 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
8 cups lowfat milk
4 medium potatoes, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
1 cup sweet white corn (fresh or frozen)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Paprika, to taste
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Soak the fish in a bowl of milk mixed half and half with water for at least an hour, or longer in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, cook up a mess of bacon. My husband cooked an entire pound and the leftovers were used for garnish and a BLT for his lunch the next day.  He said he was tempted to use some of the bacon drippings to prepare the roux, but decided his heart would thank him for not doing that. Besides, adding the bacon to the soup gave it plenty of flavor.

Big Pot of Fish Chowder

Big Pot of Fish Chowder

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and cook the onions until just starting to soften. Add the flour, whisking until a paste forms. Very slowly add about half the milk, whisking constantly. Bring up to a simmer until it starts to thicken, then add the rest of the milk, the potatoes, corn, and seasonings. Also add the bacon, which should be chopped at this point.

Bring the soup back up to a low simmer. You need to monitor the heat and stir often, as the milk could scald and stick to the bottom of the pot if you’re not careful.  After about 15 minutes of simmering, cut the fish into bite size pieces and add to the pot, once again bringing up to a simmer until the potatoes and fish are done. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional chopped bacon. I cheated and ate my garnish first instead.

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Creamy Fish Chowder with Corn and Potatoes

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

18 Sep
Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Hey, I finally caught a salmon on my line! (And… he got away, boo hiss.) But it was fun and exciting, nonetheless. So you may have noticed I didn’t do a weekend post, because, well, I was gone fishin’! But the night before we left I made these crazy-good stuffed bell peppers, and I think we’ve found our new-favorite vegetable stuffing. I was perusing through Trader Joe’s last week and noticed this package of Harvest Grains. It sounded so delicious, with couscous, quinoa, orzo pasta, and teeny garbanzo beans. Wow! What a bunch of cool grains and stuff all in one package! And the flavors were just wonderful. So much better than plain old white rice.

Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes

Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains, Red Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes

I decided I would make my roasted bell pepper recipe using this instead of rice, and yowza, what a hit with the family! Seconds for everyone. I thought I had some ground turkey in the freezer, and I was going to be really healthy using that instead of ground beef, but alas, it turned out to be a package of ground pork (plain, not breakfast-type.) Well, what the heck, I used that instead. I also used some of my tomatoes from our hanging tomato plant experiment, which are coming in fast and strong. Now if I can only ward off the frost until I get most of them harvested, as it’s cooling down quick in my neck of the woods. I hope you enjoy this, and if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you can substitute rice, but I would simmer it longer and use more liquid.

Simmering Bell Pepper Stuffing

Simmering Bell Pepper Stuffing

Harvest Grains and Pork Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

2 large red bell peppers (or 3 or 4 if you want all the stuffing inside)
1 pound ground  fresh pork (or turkey or beef)
1/2 cup onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (or rice)
3/4 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes and liquid, or 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cut 1/2 inch tops off of the bell peppers, and dice the tops up except for the stems. Clean and rinse the inside of the peppers and place with small amount of water in covered microwavable dish. Microwave for five minutes and let rest until ready to stuff.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Ready for Oven

Stuffed Bell Pepper Ready for Oven

In a very large frying pan, sauté the ground pork (or turkey or beef) along with chopped pepper tops, onion and garlic until your meat is browned. Drain. Add the rest of ingredients except cheese and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the Harvest Grains are done, about 15 minutes. (Longer if using rice.) Stir in half the cheese.

Stuff the peppers with mixture and place in a lightly oil-sprayed casserole dish, and spoon the extra stuffing around the peppers. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top and bake 5 minutes longer. Dinner is served!

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

9 Mar
Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

I have a confession to make. I have never made stuffed cabbage rolls in my life. For years and years I have drooled over pictures of them, but the long process to stuff the cabbage leaves and braise for several hours always intimidated me. So I did the next best thing. I turned them inside out and made soup instead! While researching what ingredients go into a stuffed cabbage roll dish, I discovered that every Eastern European country has their own version of this dish. Ukranians typically make theirs with pork, sauerkraut and onions, while the Romanians add a generous amount of fresh dill to their sauce. Polish cuisine mixes ground beef or pork with rice, which is the common Americanized version. Hungarians add paprika to theirs, which I did too. Most of the sauces are tomato-based, except for in Sweden where they typically serve it with Lingonberry jam.

Trying to decide what to put in the soup took me several hours of scouring recipes (in which I could have been actually making the traditional dish!), and finally just had to start making it by the seat of my pants otherwise we’d never eat. I wrote a list of most common ingredients, then started adding them one by one, tossing in a bit of this and a pinch of that. I kept a notepad nearby so I could document what actually ended up in the soup, and how much. Another thing I did was try to healthy it up a bit by using ground turkey and brown rice, and used some homemade no-sodium turkey broth.

I always measure my success with a new recipe by how many servings my family goes back for. In this case, hubby went back for thirds and daughter took seconds. That’s success in my book! This makes a nice bit pot of soup, and freezes well. It also tasted even better the next day as leftovers. On day two, I also added a dollop of sour cream to my bowl, which is another garnish that can be added to this dish.  And please don’t get intimidated by the long ingredient list, it comes together fairly quick and easy. You can also make the cooking time much shorter if you use white rice instead of brown. Brown rice takes a long time to cook at high altitude.

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
5 to 6 cups chicken, turkey, or beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy!)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown or white rice, uncooked
2 cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can no-salt tomato sauce
Handful of chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 bag of shredded cabbage (I used the mixed cole slaw with carrots)
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a large soup pot, brown the ground turkey and chopped onions in the olive oil over medium heat until turkey is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook a minute or two more. Drain the grease, if any. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, and add the Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Next add the broth and stir in all the rest of the ingredients except the cabbage or cole slaw and garnishes. Bring up to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until the rice is cooked through. For brown rice, that took about an hour. White rice would probably only take 20 minutes. Once rice is tender, add the bag of shredded cabbage, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves, and garnish with parsley or sour cream. There area some exciting tastes going on in this soup!

Oven-Baked Texas Beef Brisket

17 Jun
Carved Texas Beef Brisket

Carved Texas Beef Brisket

First, I want to wish all the Fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! This will be a quick post because I have a houseful of people coming over for a Fajita Bar to celebrate this special day. I’ve been a cooking fool the past couple of days. Last night we had good old-fashioned oven-baked Texas Beef Brisket. I used Lisa Fain’s recipe from The Homesick Texan cookbook, which is absolutely one of my favorite cookbooks. This came out so delicious and tender…and very spicy! I either ended up with some super hot jalapeños, or I might need to cut down on the cayenne next time. I don’t mind the spicy but my family thought it was a tad too hot for their taste buds. The only adaptation I made to this recipe was to substitute one tablespoon of the salt with one tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Original Blend. I figured the rub had to at least have some salt in it to work.

Texas Beef Brisket Rub

Texas Beef Brisket Rub

Click here for the recipe: Oven-Baked Texas Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket Out of Oven

Beef Brisket Out of Oven

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