Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chili Con Queso with Taco Meat

Simple recipe that the kids love. (The kids are 20 years old now, but they still love it.)   Great for the Superbowl or any game day or a Mexican fiesta.  This recipe is easy to double or triple.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 1 pack of Taco Seasoning or ¼ C.
  • ½ C. water
  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 can of Mexican Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
Directions:
  1. In a skillet on medium heat, brown the ground meat then drain
  2. Add the browned ground meat back to the skillet with the taco seasoning and ½ C. of water
  3. Allow the taco meat to simmer for 15 minutes on low heat until the sauce is fully incorporated into the meat
  4. While the meat is simmering, add the cheese and the Rotel to a microwave safe dish and heat for 5 minutes, stirring every minute
  5. When the cheese is all melted, add the meat to the mixture
  6. Stir well and serve in a small crock pot
Tips and Tricks:
  • I serve this with Tostitos or Fritos Scoops.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guacamole

Chunky, spicy, and full of flavor.  This is a recipe that my godchild Harrison shared with me, combined with some Alton Brown and Barefoot Contessa ingredients and tips.  Great with tortilla chips or as a side with your favorite Mexican dish.
Ingredients:
  • 4 Hass avocados
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ C. of finely chopped red onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • ¼ C. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and cut into small pieces
 Directions:
  1. Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the avocado with a spoon
  2. Place the avocado in a large bowl and add the lemon juice
  3. Toss with a large spoon
  4. Add the salt, cayenne, red onion, garlic, and cilantro
  5. Use a knife to cut through the avocado forming large chunks
  6. Next add the tomatoes and stir all ingredients together until the consistency you like
  7. Can be served immediately or can be refrigerated for serving later
 Tips and Tricks:
  • I serve this with salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips.
  • The lemon is what keeps the avocado from turning brown.  Some people use lime juice instead, but limes can have a bit of a metallic taste sometimes.
  • Some people are not cilantro fans.  I LOVE cilantro and I think it brightens this guacamole, but it is good without the cilantro.  It is great WITH it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Taco Soup

This is so easy, but so tasty.  It is a Paula Deen recipe that I made my own.  It is a wonderful meal to come home to on a cold night.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 C. onions, finely chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Mexican Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • 1 can of sliced black olives
  • 1 pack of taco seasoning
  • 1 pack of Ranch seasoning
  • 2 C. of beef stock
Directions:
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown ground chuck and then drain.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté onions until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add all the cans of vegetables, including the water in the cans and the ground chuck.
  4. Stir well and add the taco and Ranch seasoning, and then the beef stock.
  5. Cook for 1 hour on medium-low heat.
  6. Serve hot.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Don’t have beef stock?  Just use 2 C. of boiling water and dissolve 2 beef bouillon cubes in the water.
  • After the ground meat is browned and the onions are sautéed, you can add everything to a slow cooker and cook this on a low setting for about 6 hours instead of cooking on the stove.
  • Tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, or sliced jalapeños can all be used when serving this soup.  Add what you like.
  • This freezes great!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes are so yummy.  Everyone who has them loves them.  This is how my Mom makes them and so it's how I make them.  
Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs. of Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 C. half and half
  • ½ T. kosher salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
 Directions:
  1. Peel and cut potatoes into fourths and boil for 20 minutes or until tender on a rolling boil
  2. Drain potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the butter and mix until butter is melted
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the potatoes
  5. Using a mixer, slowly add the half and half and whip the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy
  6. Serve immediately
 Tips and Tricks:
  • If you can’t get Yukon Gold potatoes, get red.  Do not use russet potatoes.
  • If you can’t serve the potatoes immediately, place the bowl with the mashed potatoes over a boiling pot of water.  The steam from the water will keep the bowl warm and thereby keep the potatoes warm as well, without continuing to cook them.  I use a stainless steel bowl for this project and it works great.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bruschetta

This is a recipe that I got from my friend Jeannien's mom, JoAnn.  It is the perfect hors-d'oeuvres.  Try it for your next get together and watch them disappear.
Ingredients:
  • 1 can of pitted black olives, chopped
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • ½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 C. of freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the bread and cheese, and mix well
  3. Cut the baguette into ½ inch slices and toast in oven until slightly brown
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool
  5. Set oven to broil setting
  6. Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper and line with baguette slices
  7. Spoon the ingredients over the baguette slices and top with a sprinkle of cheese
  8. Broil the bruschetta until cheese melts and slightly browns
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot!
 Tips and Tricks:
  • If your baguette gets too hard, quickly run the bread under running water.  The bread will soften slightly.
  • When cutting the Roma tomatoes, squeeze each slightly and run your finger along the vein to remove the seeds.  If there are hard white pieces in the tomato, cut those out as well.
  • I make the mixture ahead of time and refrigerate until I am ready to assemble and serve.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Egg Drop Soup with Chicken

I wanted to try making an egg drop soup, but I wanted it to have some substance.  I researched several recipes and this is a culmination of many of them.  It came out great!  (Kuddos, to the chef.  I know, I'm patting myself on the back.)
Ingredients:
  • 1 C. finely chopped green onions
  • 8 shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 C. chicken stock
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • 2 t. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. white pepper
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ C. cornstarch
  • 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 6 eggs, scrambled
Directions:
  1. Bring the chicken stock to a low boil in a Dutch oven and simmer
  2. While stock is simmering, cut the green onions and mushrooms then add them to pot with the soy sauce
  3. Allow the stock to simmer with the onions and mushroom for about 20 minutes
  4. Toss the chicken in a small bowl with the sesame oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and about 2 T. of the cornstarch
  5. Add the coated chicken to the pot
  6. Stir well and allow to simmer about 2 minutes
  7. Add about ½ C. of water to the remaining cornstarch and stir until smooth
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir while the soup thickens, about 2 minutes
  9. Slowly add the scrambled eggs while stirring the soup back and forth, ribbons of the eggs will form
  10. Serve piping hot
Tips and Tricks:
  • Making your own chicken stock for this recipe is cheaper and tastes better.  Follow my link to find out how I make mine.
  • If you can't find shitake mushrooms, use cremini, which are the baby portobellos.
  • When serving, grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.  Yum!
  • This soup freezes great!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gloria's Potato Salad

This is the recipe for my Mom's potato salad.  It is a combination of the German potato salad she grew up eating and the mayo based potato salad that my Dad preferred.  
 Ingredients:
  • 5 lb. bag of red potatoes
  • ½ lb. bacon
  • ½ T. kosher salt
  • ½ T. Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
  • ½ C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. sandwich spread
  • 2 T. yellow mustard
Directions:
  1. Cook bacon until crisp and reserve drippings
  2. Boil potatoes for 20 minutes on a rolling boil
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, boil the eggs
  4. Drain potatoes, peel skin off, and cut into bite-size pieces
  5. Place in a large mixing bowl
  6. Cut eggs into eighths and add to the mixing bowl
  7. Crumble bacon and add to the mixing bowl
  8. Sprinkle salt and Tony’s on the eggs and potatoes
  9. In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, sandwich spread, mustard, and the bacon drippings
  10. Combine the wet ingredients with the eggs and potatoes
  11. Serve room temperature or refrigerate
Tips and Tricks:
  • Boiling eggs that peel easy is tricky.  Click on the link in the ingredients list for MY tricks.
  • Do not use russet potatoes for a potato salad.  You need the texture of red potatoes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

When it gets cold, this is the dish I want to fill my belly. My Mom told me I couldn't make a good chicken and sausage gumbo, without the bones, but the key is a good chicken stock.  I make my own. 
Ingredients:
  • 2 C. of chopped onions
  • 1 C. of chopped bell pepper
  • 1 C. of chopped celery
  • 6 cloves of mined garlic
  • 1 bunch of green onions finely chopped
  • ½ C. of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 lbs of smoked sausage cut into semi circles
  • 1 (32oz.) bag of frozen okra
  • 2 cans of Rotel
  • 4 C. of water
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. of salt
  • ½ T. of black pepper
  • 1 T. of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then dust with flour
  2. In cast iron pot, brown chicken in ½ cup of veggie oil
  3. Remove Chicken and let rest
  4. Add other ½ cup of oil, and make roux with oil and flour over medium high heat until the color of dark peanut butter
  5. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and cook until limp
  6. Add garlic for 1 minute
  7. Add okra and cook for 30 min
  8. Add Rotel then transfer to a gumbo pot
  9. Add chicken stock, water, sausage, salt, pepper, Creole Seasoning, and cayenne
  10. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 ½ hours
  11. While gumbo is cooking cut chicken into 1inch chunks
  12. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken
  13. Cook for ½ hour
  14. Add green onions and parsley and cook for 10 minutes
  15. Serve with rice
Tips and Tricks:
  • If you don’t have a cast iron pot you can make a roux in a heavy bottomed pot instead. The trick is to stir constantly. You can NOT multi-task during this step. This is where the base of flavor for your gumbo comes. Be careful to cook the roux at least 10 minutes, because you are browning the chicken first, the roux starts darker than normal.
  • I use Bryan Cajun Smoke Sausage in my gumbos. It has a soft casing that absorbs some of the gumbo. Yum!
  • Making your own chicken stock for this recipe is cheaper and tastes better.  Follow my link to find out how I make mine. 
  • This gumbo always tastes better the next day, so make some room in your refrigerator. The flavors get to “marry” (as 9th ward Gloria says) as they sit over night.