Monday, January 6, 2014

crock pot grinders

So for those of you who don't know what a grinder is... be prepared to be amazed! A grinder is basically a warm hoagie, and they're usually filled with Italian meats and cheeses. This version is made in the crock pot so it's even easier than a regular grinder!
Start with bread. Nothing super fancy- this is just a crusty sourdough loaf.
Here's where you start the sandwich assembly. To slice the bread, make even slices throughout the entire loaf without slicing all the way through. Remember, you need an odd number of slices to make an even number of sandwiches.
Start layering your meats and cheeses! On the bottom is the provolone cheese, then salami and finally some tavern ham. Top the whole thing off with some pickled banana peppers.
Stuff those little meat and cheese packages between the slices, leaving two parts of bread between each meat package. Remember, we'll be slicing this all up later to make the actual sandwiches.
On the bottom of your crock pot, place either mini pie pans or some wadded up aluminum foil to keep the sandwich off the bottom. Then add about a 1/4 cup of water.
Now here are your options! Either place the crock pot on warm for 6 hours or low for 4 hours. Either way, the sandwiches will be warm and delicious and not burnt or gummy at all!
Remove the aluminum foil package and let sit for a minute to cool. Slice the sandwiches up and serve with mayonnaise, or oil, or whatever you'd like! You'll love this.
Crock Pot Grinders
From Big Red Kitchen!
1 round loaf crusty bread
8 slices provolone cheese
8 slices tavern ham
8 slices hard salami
Pickled banana pepper rings
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup water

Slice bread 7 times without cutting all the way through. Lay out the meat filling by layering provolone cheese, ham and salami. Top with banana pepper rings, salt and pepper. Stuff the meat and cheese between the slices of bread to make 4 sandwiches. Wrap bread completely with aluminum foil. Place a wad of aluminum foil on the bottom of the crock pot and pour in the water. Place wrapped sandwiches on top of the wad of aluminum and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours, or warm for 6 hours. Remove from crock pot and let rest for a minute. Slice sandwiches completely through and serve with mayonnaise or oil. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

creamy cajun chicken pasta

Yee gawds, this was good! I actually have a few homicidal thoughts when I realized that Ed had eaten all the leftovers. ALL the leftovers. Not a speck left for me. How rude, right? Well, guess I'd better make some more!
This recipe starts out with some delicious and kicky spices for the chicken. Cajun spices, of course. This is Cajun Chicken Pasta, after all. My Cajun seasoning is a combination of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and ground thyme. Then I just add a bit of salt and this will go into a pot!
First, I boiled the pasta in this big stock pot. Then, I drained the pasta and started to cook the chicken in the same pot. That chicken is going to be cooked in olive oil and butter. Just because of... you know... the flavor. Plus the chicken will get some good color and that butter and olive oil sauce will become the basis of the creamy sauce. Once the chicken is cooked, pull it all out and add in the next ingredients.
This is onion, garlic and orange bell pepper. I like to make thin slices of these because it almost mimics the pasta. But you can dice it if you want.
Now for some sun dried tomato. This will add some sweetness and tartness all at the same time. I do dice the sun dried tomato.
Now the chicken goes back in, as well as the cream and the cheese. Now there's only one thing left to add!
And that, of course, is the pasta! Can't be Pasta without noodles! This is some linguine, but you can use regular spaghetti and fettuccine if you'd like. That's up to you. Just mix it all up, add some green onions and extra cheese and you have yourself a regular winner of a dinner! Just guard the leftovers.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Adapted from!
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 lb linguine, cooked to package directions
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasonings- homemade or store bought
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup sun dried tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large stock pot, prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain, set aside and keep warm. In the same stock pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, season chicken with Cajun seasoning and drop into hot oil and butter. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, set aside and keep warm. Add in sliced bell pepper, sliced onion and minced garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add in sun dried tomato and cook and additional minute. Add in chicken, heavy creamy and parmesan cheese. Cook for 3 minutes to thicken, then add in pasta. Toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and additional cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, December 30, 2013

crispy potato rounds

These little beauties are like a cross between oven roasted potatoes and a potato chip. These toe the line between crispy perfection and soft loveliness. They're pretty much awesome.
 A step that you don't get to see, but is going on right now, is a pan in the oven. This is pretty important. A pan in a preheating oven to drop the potatoes on later. Now, you gotta start off with some thin sliced potatoes. These are just regular old white potatoes. Nothing fancy.
Place those potatoes slices in some cold, cold water and bring the whole pot up to a boil together. Along with some salt. Once the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart, drain.
Here's where all the good stuff comes from. Drizzle in some olive oil, sprinkle in some salt, and really get into those potatoes with a spatula. Really, move them around and stir them up until you have a pasty substance on the outside. You want that.
It's hard to see the paste, but it's there. I promise.
A little extra oil goes a long way, especially on a hot pan.
Onto the pan goes the potatoes, and into the oven goes the pan. For about, 20 minutes. These will get tossed half way through, then another 10 minutes in the oven.
Yum yum! I like the extra crispy bits, I don't know about you. These are yummy. Very yummy.
Crispy Potato Rounds
Thanks for the great recipe, Tracey's Culinary Adventures!
2 1/2 lb white potatoes, cleaned and sliced to 1/4 inch rounds
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a clean and dry baking pan in the oven on the bottom rack. Place sliced potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a cool and cook for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are soft but not crumbling. Drain and add to a large bowl. Drizzle in 3 Tablespoons of oil and salt. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes to form a pasty exterior. Remove baking pan from oven and drizzle remaining olive oil onto pan. Shake potatoes onto hot pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Toss potatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

raspberry crumble bars

My favorite part of any muffin, or strudel, or pie is always the crumbly topping. Always. Crust is always my favorite. So when I saw this recipe, I thought... oh! It's basically like a dream come true. All the yumminess of a pie, but extra crust. Who could ask for anything more?
So just like any other crust, this starts with flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. That's it!
To make the crumb nice and tasty and perfect, you'll want to cut in a stick of COLD butter and one egg.
You can use a fork, your fingers, a pastry cutter... anything you've got to cut the butter into the flour. You don't need a fine crumble, just enough to make sure most of the flour is incorporated.
You'll want to pour half the crumble into your greased pan and press it around with your fingers in one even layer.
Yes. Just like that. Now it's time to make the fruit spread.
To make my life immensely easier, I use raspberry jam. I always seem to have jams and jellies in my cabinet that I rarely use, so this was a great opportunity to use some up.
To make the fruit easier to spread, I warmed it in a small saucepan with some cornstarch, lime juice, lime zest and the tiniest bit of salt.
Once the jam is nice and loosey-goosey and will spread around the pan easier, pour it all over the crumble.
You'll just want to wiggle a large spoon back and forth to spread the jam- if you try to push it around, it'll bring up some of the crumble.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top of the jam and pop into the oven. This will cook for about 35-40 minutes.
Ooh, la la! Here's a big tip! LET THIS COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE CUTTING. You will have a big mess of jam on your hands. And on your counter. And on your floor. And everywhere else. I just pop mine into the fridge for a few hours and then... voila! What a yummy breakfast!
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Adapted from the good people at Smitten Kitchen!
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold salted butter, cubed
1 egg
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
Juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop in egg and cubed butter, then using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in butter until coarse crumbles form. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray, and pour in 1/2 of the crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. In a small saucepan, warm together the jam, lime juice and zest and the pinch of salt. Once the jam is warmed, pour the jam over the crumble and push around with a spoon until it goes almost to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the crumble over the jam and place in oven. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until crumble is browned and jam is bubbly. Let cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

pizza dogs

I got the inspiration for this dish from a pizza place here in Savannah. They do this thing with a 1/4 lb beef hot dog where they wrap it in dough and put cheese on top. They give you mustard to dip it in and they're pretty awesome. But, I thought to myself "Why don't they just put pepperoni in there?" This is almost like a hot dog stromboli. Ed suggested that I do a whole section on just food that I wrap up in bread. I'm okay with that.
This is what I use to make my Pizza Dogs. Nathan's Dinner Beef Franks are all beef and no mystery meat, either. I could only eat 1/2 of these rolls, which means that 4 of these franks go a long way.
I want to make sure my franks are completely warmed through before I even pop them in the oven. Nothing would make these more terrible than a cold hot dog in the middle of some warm cheese and dough. I don't want them browned- just warmed and not much more.
We are going to use a whole pound of pizza dough. You can make your own- you can cheat like I do and buy fresh raw dough from a local bakery or pizza shop. I cheat a lot when it comes to dough. That one pound needs to be split into 4 parts.
Each one of those little sections is going to be stretched into a semi-rectangular shape.
Here's the pizza part- sliced mozzarella and sliced deli pepperoni. You can use small pepperoni, but the deli pepperoni fits so much easier.
And now it's frank time! I put my hot dog on one side of the rectangle and then roll it up. It seems easier that way.
Perfect. It doesn't look like much, but it packs a whollop of flavor!
Each one of these is getting a little brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of kosher salt before being popped into a preheated oven until the crust is nice and browned and perfect.
That's what I'm talkin' about! Now all that you need is a knife, a fork and some marinara!
Pizza Dogs
1 14 oz. package Nathan's Dinner Franks, or other large beef hot dogs
1 lb raw fresh pizza dough, split into 4 equal parts
1/4 lb sliced deli pepperoni
4 slices sliced deli mozzarella
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Marinara, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm dinner franks for 3-5 minutes without browning. Stretch each section of dough into a rectangle approximately the length of the franks and about 3 times the width. Layer slices of deli mozzarella and pepperoni onto the fresh dough, then top with the warmed frank. Roll each piece of dough around the frank and lay seam side down onto a greased baking pan. Repeat until all franks are gone. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until dough is browned and golden. Serve with warm marinara and enjoy!