Saturday, June 29, 2013

jalapeno popper chicken

This tasted JUST like a jalapeno popper, stuffed inside of chicken and it was AWESOME! Even Ed went on and on about how much he liked it. Not too spicy and the right mix of cheddar and cream cheese... ah! We're ready to eat this again.
I made my own taco seasoning for this, and it was surprisingly easy. I'm not sure why I didn't try it before. It's definitely cheaper than dishing out the $1.50 every time I need the taco mix.
Panko! Use panko breadcrumbs, they really do add a bit more crunch and extra toothiness to the dish, something you wouldn't get with regular breadcrumbs. It makes it feel a little more like a "fried" jalapeno popper.
Confession! I didn't use jalapenos. I have wax peppers and poblano peppers in my garden right now and I wanted to use the first ones that have become ready for harvest! I'll tell yah, it didn't affect the flavor whatsover... still tasted like a popper.
This combines both kinds of poppers with the cheese- both cream cheese and cheddar cheese. It makes it creamy and delicious and sharp at the same time. I also used a food chopper to get my peppers nice and minced finely. Mostly because I'm lazy.
Mush, mush, mush and mush and this is what you'll come up with. You'll definitely do yourself a favor if you have your cream cheese at room temperature.
Normally, I like to use the thin sliced chicken breast. In this case, you'll want the big, thick, boneless skinless chicken breast because you'll be stuffing them. It makes for a big meal. I only ate about 1/3 of mine and then Ed had it for lunch the next day. Ed of course was able to eat his entire portion. Men.
Using a small, very sharp knife, make an incision about 1/2 inch from the top of the chicken breast and slice all the way down. You're making a pocket in the chicken, so you won't want to cut all the way through, and you'll want to leave a little edge on either side of the incision. A little chicken barrier, if you will. Season with salt and pepper on the inside.
Then stuff it! Portion 1/2 of the mixture to go inside of each chicken breast. You can fasten them with a toothpick, but I found that unnecessary.
Egg wash on both sides to help the panko stick.
Panko these bad boys on both sides and pop into the oven.
25-30 minutes later, this is what pops out! Don't worry about any cheese that may have oozed out the sides- those parts of the cheese are just a little crispy and more delicious!
Jalapeno Popper Chicken
Shoutout to Elly Says Sopa for this one!
2 chicken breast
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed and minced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg for wash. In a separate shallow bowl, combine all seasonings and panko breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, cream together minced jalapeno peppers, cheddar and cream cheeses until combined. Prepare chicken for stuffing by slicing a small incision in lengthwise along the breast, almost butterflying to create a pocket. Stuff each breast with 1/2 the cheese mixtures. Dredge each breast through egg wash and then coat thoroughly with seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Place onto a greased baking pan. Cook in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 degrees and flesh is no longer pink. Enjoy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

crock pot beef stew

I love the crock pot. It's so good and amazing and simple and perfect. It's so convenient to come home to a cooked meal. The only downside? Actually having to clean the crock pot out later.
Liberally season the chunks with salt and pepper to start. Always key.
The only real cooking that you need to do in this recipe is when you cook the beef. Well, you don't really cook the beef, but you want to get a sear on a few sides of the tips to give the stew some extra depth of flavor. The flour helps to thicken the sauce later, too.
Crustification. After I've cooked all the beef chunks, I then pour the beef stock into the stock pot so that I can get all those little bits from off the bottom of the pot into the crock.
Beef stew is great because it's easy to alter. These are my favorite- onion, potatoes, celery, carrots and green beans. But, you can use turnips, peas, etc.
The beef is on the bottom.
Add your seasonings and stir it up! Add your broth and then prepare to slow cook.
6-8 hours later, this is what you'll have. Savory, yummy... ah! Here's an addition step that I find very necessary. Spoon out about 1/2 cup of the broth and transfer to a small bowl.
Mix the broth with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to make a thick slurry. Pour this back into the crock pot, stir, and cook for another 30 minutes.
This just makes the broth more thick and rich and smooth and yummy :)
Crock Pot Beef Stew
2 lb stewing beef, in cubes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions, cut into chunks
4 carrots, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Handful of green bean, cut into chunks
3 ribs celery, cut into chunks
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, including juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups beef stock
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

In a large stock pot or pan, heat olive oil. Liberally season beef chunks with salt and pepper and dredge through flour. Sear floured beef chunks in olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to crock pot. Pour beef stock into the pan to dredge up the bits left over from cooking the beef chunks. Add chopped onion, carrots, green beans, potatoes and celery to the crock pot along with the diced tomatoes, garlic, bay, Italian seasonings, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and beef stock. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. After 6-8 hour, remove about a 1/2 cup broth from the crock pot and transfer to  a small bowl. Combine transferred broth with cornstarch to make a slurry. Transfer back into the crock pot, stir to combine and cook for an additional 30 minutes to thicken broth. Remove bay leaves and serve hot. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

warm summer salad

I could eat salads for a lot of meals, but Ed isn't always pleased with ruffage for dinner. So, I usually have to add some kind of meat or tasty addition to keep him interested and not heading for the snack container as soon as he's finished eating. There's no greater tragedy for a cook to see someone head straight for the potato chips when they're done eating the meal you've made!
I made the salad dressing for this, and it's a warm dressing. Kind of like hot bacon dressing, but no bacon. Or sugar. This is much more savory.
It does make your house smell like a gigantic pickle jar when you pour in the vinegar. That's for sure.
The recipe I was following suggested hard beef salami, so that's what I went with. I'm glad I did, this isn't a meat we have very often and Ed was glad to see it.
Don't be alarmed. We like our salami a little dark around the edges. You can cook yours considerably less than this. You can also cook it on the stove top if you would like- it doesn't have to go in the oven.
You'll be seeing me use these little yellow tomatoes for a few recipes. Believe it or not, the local grocer didn't have red cherry tomatoes, just yellow. I'm okay with that.

When you pour in your dressing, it'll make the lettuce wilt just a tiny bit, but that's okay! That's kind of what you want anyway. Top with the salami and you're all good! You could always make the dressing cold, or cool it down, but having the warm dressing was something new and we liked it :)
Warm Summer Salad
Saw this little diddy in a Southern Living Magazine!
1/4 lb beef hard salami slices, cut into strips
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 package spring mix lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake salami in the oven for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly crisp and hot. On the stove top, heat olive oil over medium and saute onions and garlic until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes. Add in vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Place lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes into a large bowl and drizzle with oil and vinegar mixture. Toss to combine. Top with crispy salami and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

berry blend frosty paws

Another frosty paws recipe!! This one combines the usual suspects of peanut butter and banana, but adds in blueberry yogurt and chopped strawberries. They smell amazing- almost good enough to want a little taste.
Some people think that strawberries are bad for dogs. I'm not sure how these little berries have gotten a bad rap, though! They are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iodine, folic acid, omega-3 fats, vitamins C, K, B1 and B6! Just don't feed too many it's mostly the amount of sugar in these things that you want to steer clear from. But the amount of sugar in these little guys is fine- plus it's a treat! All natural sugars.
Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to mush this stuff all up. Such a strange color. Kind of a greyish purpley pink. Weird.
Same deal with the other frosty paws. Spoon a small amount into each cube and tap onto the counter to remove any air bubbles. Make sure there is a clear division between each cube. Freeze for several hours until set up.
Here they are. The pups see that bright blue color of the cube trays and they get sooooo excited! Your pups will too!
Berry Blend Frosty Paws
2 bananas
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 pint strawberries, sliced
24 ounces fat free blueberry yogurt

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Puree with a hand mixer until the banana and strawberries are in fine chunks. Spoon the puree into ice cube trays until just full. Tap trays on the counter to remove any air bubbles and to smooth out the surface. Put trays into the ice box and freeze for several hours or until completely set. Keep frozen until time to enjoy!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

cajun chicken wings

This one is kind of boring. Sorry. Just another wing flavor that I've added into the mix. This one is a dry rub wing variety with a cajun flair!
Deep fry the wings until crispy and delish.
While the wings are doing their thing, mix together the seasonings. Paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano... that's it!
Drain those bad boys on a paper towel and then toss into the seasonings. Serve 'em up hot!
 Cajun Chicken Wings
2 lbs chicken wings
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 Tablespoon oregano, dried
1/2 Tablespoon thyme, dried
1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat oil over medium heat on the stove for 10 minutes. Fry wings in preheated oil for 12-15 minutes or until internal temperature of wings is 165 degrees and the juices run clear. While wings are cooking, mix together all the dried spices and seasonings until well combined. Drain cooked wings on a paper towel and toss, while still hot, into the spice mix. Serve with ranch or blue cheese and enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

baked sloppy joes

Cheap, easy. Bingo, bango. This is quick and simple meal that you'll have lots of leftovers for! I actually saw someone cooking this meal in a Publix here in Savannah, and thought it was a great little trick.
Ground turkey looks terrible. There's nothing you can do. It's a salmonly pink color when it's raw and it's grey when it's cooked. But it's yummy!
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and salt. That's it!
Baking dish? Check!
Cheesy top? Check!
Biscuits? Check!
375 degrees for 20-25 minutes? Check! Devour? Check!
Baked Sloppy Joes
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup cheese (cheddar or mozzarella or jack), shredded
1 can refrigerator biscuits
1 1/2 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On the stove top, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook ground turkey on stove top, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no longer pink. Drain any residual fat from the ground turkey and combine meat with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, pasta sauce and barbecue sauce. Transfer into a baking dish. Top meat mixture is shredded cheese and the refrigerator biscuits. Cook in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, watching to make sure biscuits don't burn. Serve hot and enjoy!