Spittin’getti Casserole

IMG_8555Comfort food time is rolling around and you shouldn’t be caught short. This recipe is sure to please everyone. Mild enough for kids and sophisticated enough to please the adult palate as well.

It makes enough for an army, and warms up pretty well too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb. ground round, browned
  • 2/3 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage or other sausage, browned.
  • 1 c diced onions
  • 1 c diced mushrooms
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 1 c parmesan cheese
  • enough slices of pepperoni to cover the top
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the beef and sausage together, remove to another dish.
  2. Cook the onions in the fat from the meet until translucent, then add the mushrooms and saute until limp cooked.
  3. Heat salted water in a separate pot and cook up the pasta, drain well.
  4. Add the meat back in with the onion mixture and mix.
  5. Add the sauce and the pasta to the meat mixture and stir until mixed.
  6. Spread half of the mixture into an casserole pan.
  7. Top with half the cheeses.
  8. Add the rest of the meat mixture to the top, cover with the balance of the cheeses and then the pepperoni..
  9. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbly.
  10. Serve with bread and a crisp salad.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: You can use other cheeses if you wish. Use any type of mushroom you desire.

Advertisements

Grilled Green Chile Chicken

greenchilechickenHere in the Southwest, we tend to use chiles of one sort or another in just about everything. And like most people in America at least, we struggle to find new ways to use chicken, our pretty much favorite meat.

Chicken and chiles are a natural pairing, and this is just another nice way to make a okay dinner just a bit brighter and livelier.

You can of course dial the heat up or down as you desire.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 2 whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce (more To Taste)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 6 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 6 whole Hatch, Anaheim, Or Poblano Chiles
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack Cheese, Cut Into Slices Or Grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the marinade: combine the olive oil, lime juice and 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe, garlic, cumin and salt and pepper in a blender and whirr up  until smooth.
  2. Place the marinade in a large plastic bag and add the breasts. Massage to make sure all are covered well, and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
  3. Grill your chiles until outside is blackened, remove the skin, open by slicing off the stem end, removing the seeds and membranes (most at least–this is where the heat is) and reserve, one for each breast filet.
  4. Grill the chicken until done, placing one chile on the top of each breast once turned. When both sides are done, add a couple of slices of cheese of your choice. Monterey is fine, but also consider pepper jack, or any other Mexican slicing cheese that melts well. Cover with a pan after shutting down the grill or moving to another location just until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with anything that you wish.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can serve with salsa or pico de gallo, beans and rice, or tortillas warmed and make tacos. Or you may any sides at all that you wish, such as potatoes and other veggies roasted or grilled.

SOURCE: Pioneer Woman

 

Best Damn Chicken Sandwich in Town

new_mexico_chicken_sandwich-thumb-646x430-137627Get ready for this, because it is utterly amazingly good.

We were eating a few weeks ago at a fairly high-end restaurant for lunch and I ordered a chicken sandwich. While the taste was fine, the meat was dry and too thick, and I realized I could do better.

And after looking at a few recipes, I developed my own version with the stuff I like, and it was, grand, if I do say so for myself.

So follow the rules, and I tell ya, you will not be disappointed.

Seriously, follow the rules, no exceptions (except for the sauce, which is a more personal taste and if you don’t like jalapeños, well you are a sad case, but leave ’em out, and the cilantro too, but gosh that makes you a total wimp.).

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 strips of bacon, cut in half and fried crisp
  • lettuce, crunchy iceberg is best
  • thinly sliced red onions (very thin)
  • panko crumbs
  • barbecue sauce or your favorite brand or recipe
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 buns (your favorite type)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Butterfly each breast half and then slice in half giving you 4 pieces.
  2. Prepare a bowl with warm water and about 1/2 c salt. Stir until salt has dissolved, and then place the fillets in the brine. Refrigerate for all long as 12 hours, but preferably around 4-6.
  3. When ready, dry off the fillets.
  4. Heat a fry pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Paint one side of a fillet with barbecue sauce, press that side into a dish of panko crumbs (you can use others but I like the added crunch from these). Paint the other side and flip over and press more panko crumbs on the other side. Slide carefully into the hot pan. Do this with remaining fillets and brown the chicken on both sides.
  6. Remove to a rack and place in a preheated oven of 400° for about 20 minutes to finish cooking.
  7. When ready to finish dish, place a slice of provolone on each and shut off oven and let the cheese just melt.
  8. Meanwhile, combine the mayo, cilantro, jalapeño and pepper in a bowl and whisk until mixed.
  9. Place buns, cut side down in the fry pan and just brown a bit.
  10. Then assemble the sandwich and serve immediately.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: You could easily grill the chicken if you wish, and leave off the panko too with just the barbecue sauce. The point of the barbecue sauce however is to give a subtle sweet twang so don’t drown it in sauce. If you wish, you could make the sauce with mayo and some avocado and whirr it up in the blender. You could also caramelize the onions.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Dry-Brined and Grilled Turkey

Final Grilled_Turkey_PicSince we still have Christmas and New Years, there is still time to make this incredibly great turkey. It’s an easy method, easiest I’ve used anyway, and we were delighted with a super moist perfectly done bird.

So plan just a bit ahead and this beauty can be yours.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 turkey (ours was nearly 12 lbs which is about the best size)
  • 4-6 tbsp of kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • bunch of varied fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start with a fresh turkey if possible, otherwise thaw completely 3-4 days before cooking day. Remove giblets and use in whatever manner you normally do.
  2. Slide your fingers and hand under the breast skin from both sides until you have loosened it all, and then push down around the thighs and legs loosening it as well.
  3. Take about 1 tablespoon of salt in hand and reach into the right breast and work the salt around. Then do the left side, and then using a bit less for each leg and thigh area. Put about a tablespoon in the cavity. Then salt the entire outside using a tablespoon or two.
  4. Once done, place in a cooking bag of turkey size, secure the opening well, and place in the. You want to “brine” this for 3 days. Each day, turn it over, from breast to back. (You can use 2 days or even one if you must be it is best if you can do this for the entire three days)
  5. At the end of the third day (evening before the cooking), remove from the bag, dry as much as you can and place on a regular roasting rack over a baking dish. Doesn’t matter which side is up. Place in the fridge again, uncovered and leave until about an hour or so before you are going to start grilling. The drying process will make the skin nice and crispy.
  6. Remove from fridge an hour or so before grilling. Pour olive oil over the back and using your hands, massage the entire back of bird, making sure it’s nicely oiled. Turn over and do the same to the breast and legs. Tuck the wings under the bird with breast up.
  7. Fill the cavity with fresh herbs. You can also add onions if you wish.
  8. Heat up the grill.
  9. If using charcoal, line the sides of the grill leaving a big space in which you would place an aluminum roasting pan. You will put the bird over the pan with the charcoal piled on either side. Cover with the grill. Grill, turning the breast down about half way until temperature registers 165° in the thickest part of the leg.
  10. If using a gas grill (which we did), heat up the right and left jets but leave the middle one off. This is where you would place the turkey. Place turkey in the middle, and close the top. Continue on high for an hour. Turn the bird, go another hour. Ours was done in 2 hours perfectly.
  11. Remove from heat, tented with aluminum foil and leave for at least 30 minutes, or until you are ready to eat. It’s easier to carve when it’s cooled.

SERVES: 10

NOTES: I vastly prefer the gas grill since you don’t have to worry about the mess of trying to add briquets and the temperature remains even throughout the cooking time. Also when you are done, you can shut the grill down, and just leave the bird in for its resting time.

SOURCE: Adapted from about 4 recipes and my own preferences.

Bring It On Burrito Pie!

tortialla pieThere are a million of these recipes, and so don’t hold me to anything seriously authentic, except for the ingredients. I have adapted this one from one from All Recipes, but I adapted it so much, it’s really my own.

It’s just a really nice, filling, and satisfying meal all around.

It rewarms very well, and actually would freeze well too.

You can vary it as you wish to, but I’m giving you the basics.

As always, you can make this simpler by using a lot of prepackaged stuff, or make it much better and full of love with a bit more time and attention.

It serves well with some nice Spanish rice and the usual chopped lettuce and tomato side.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, microplaned
  • 1 4 oz can of black olives, drained and sliced if whole
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 ancho, Anaheim, Hatch, or other similar chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped.
  • 1 c of diced tomato, seeded
  • 1 1/2 c salsa (make pico de gallo and whirr up in a blender or food processor until it’s fairly smooth. (can substitute jarred salsa)
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained, rinsed, and then mashed with a potato masher until lumpy but broken down.
  • 8 or so flour tortillas ( depending on their size and the size of your baking dish)
  • 1 c corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 10-12 oz of cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese of your choice.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the meat, onion and garlic until the meat is done. Break up the meat so that it is loose.
  2. Add the olives, roasted chiles, tomato, salsa, and beans, and mix together. Add the corn.
  3. Add the spices and herbs.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, just to work the flavors together.
  5. Oil the baking dish (9 x 13 is good, but deeper pans are suggested–a large springform pan is excellent but cover the bottom with foil in to keep it from leaking and place on a rimmed baking sheet)
  6. Layer a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Cover with a layer of the tortillas.
  8. Then a layer of the meat, and cover with cheese.
  9. Another layer of tortillas, meat and cheese,
  10. A third of you have room.
  11. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

SERVES: 6 easily

NOTES: Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, and or green chile salsa.

Poulet Provencal

poulet_provencal_02Okay, I’m being a snob. It’s like a braised chicken in tomatoes and olives.

It’s a French dish.

It’s awfully good.

It’s easy to make.

Need I go on?

Did I say it was good?

One of the things I’m discovering as I try to give proper credit for dishes I didn’t create or tweak so viciously that I bear the blame for the results, is that there is a whole lot of creative stealing on the web. I found this exact recipe on two sites, one claiming it got it from Gourmet. In any case, I got this one from Epicurious under “braised chicken with Tomatoes and Olives”. I didn’t change much except use canned whole tomatoes instead of fresh, and I couldn’t find any brine-cured black olives so I used regular ones.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  15 oz can of whole tomatoes, juice and all, squash up the tomatoes with your hands. Or get 3-4 medium tomatoes and cut into about 8 wedges each.
  • 1 lg onion, also cut in wedges, leaving the root end to hold the wedge together
  • 1/2 c of olives of whatever type you prefer. Brine-cured if possible. Even green olives work with this
  • 4 lg garlic cloves, sliced thinly + 1 tsp minced
  • 3 tbsp good quality olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence (or your own blend of rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (I omit this because I don’t like fennel)
  • 1 whole chicken
  • parsley chopped for garnish–about 1/2 c.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Place tomatoes, onions, olives, garlic, 2 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of the herb mixture, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a bowl and mix gently. Pour into a shallow baking dish. The dish should be large enough that there is still room to place the chicken in the middle.
  3. Stir together the minced garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, plus the remaining herb mixture with 1 tbsp oil.
  4. Pat dry your bird and then get the seasoning on the bird, inside and out.  Place the bird in the baking dish with the veggies.
  5. Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, reads 170°. (about 1 1/4 hrs)
  6. Let rest for 15 minutes. Serve the veggies and juices on the side.

Serves: 4-5

NOTES: This is great with mashed or roasted potatoes. But noodles or rice would also work. As to the chicken. You may wish to brine it, though braising helps it remain succulently moist. I do recommend that you let the bird sit in the fridge uncovered for at least 8 hours or over night (up to 24 is fine), to dry out. This lets the skin get really nice and crispy. But I don’t always do that and it will turn out just fine if you don’t.

The Ever Pretentious Beef Bourguignon

beef bourg plated 3This is French beef stew.

But it would be a mistake to say it’s just a beef stew.

It’s the beef stew upon which all beef stews are judged.

Yes, it is actually that good.

It appears very complicated but it’s not really and since I have no clue as to what a lardon of bacon is, I just changed that little bit because I thought it seemed rather pretentious to simmer  bacon. Call me American.

Anyway, I finally made this after long wanting to, and I am so very glad I did. We simply loved it. The richness is beyond compare.

Don’t skip on the pearl onions. They are special to this dish. Adapted from the famous recipe of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and further adapted from Food.com‘s Chef Kate.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean stewing meat, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 onion, sliced into half slices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 btl of a full-bodied red wine, Merlot, Burgundy, Chianti, etc)
  • 2-3 c beef stock (I used a good quality boxed unsalted but you are free to make your own if you are THAT anal)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 -4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 sprig of thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 bay leaf

For the braised pearl onions

  • 18-24 pearl onions, peeled (place in boiling water and blanch. The cut off the growing end and slit down the side. The peels will slide off easily. Otherwise you are in for a long day in the kitchen peeling little tiny onions)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c beef stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of parsley

For the Mushrooms

  • 1 lb of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Saute the bacon until done, but before it turns crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, and pour off all but a couple of tbsp of the fat.
  2. Dry off the pieces of meat. This is quite important as it allows for a better sear and ultimately a deeper flavor. Take the time and pat them dry. Sear them on all sides a few at a time until well browned. Remove to the baconolive.
  3. Adding additional olive oil if needed, add the carrot and the sliced onion, sauteing until softened. Drain off any remaining oil, and return the bacon and meat to the pot. (You will want to be using an oven proof large casserole)
  4. Shake the flour over the meat along with salt and pepper.
  5. Place in a preheated 450° oven for 4 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Stir contents and bake in oven for 4 more minutes.
  7. Remove to the stove top. Meanwhile lower oven to 325°.
  8. Add the wine and enough of the stock to barely cover the meat.
  9. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
  10. Cover with foil and then the lid, and put in the oven. Check after 30 minutes. You want it barely simmering.
  11. Cover again and cook for 4 hours. I recommend you check at 3 and add liquid if it starts to be dry. You don’t want all the liquid to steam out, which is why a good seal on the cover helps.
  12. When the meat breaks apart easily with a fork, it’s done.
  13. Sometime during the 3-4 hours, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
  14. Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet and saute the onions, shaking from time to time until they are nicely browned.  (I omitted the use of the stock) Add the herbs and salt and pepper and continue cooking until tender. I think 30 minutes is plenty. I cook them slow after they are browned.
  15. You can use the same pan. Remove the onions to a dish and add the butter and oil, heating until foaming and then throw in the mushrooms, tossing for about 5 minutes. Add the onions back, cover and leave until ready to finish the dish.
  16. I left all the carrots and sliced onions in the meat mix. You can strain off the sauce and let it fat rise and skim it off, but I didn’t have much so I didn’t do that. The sauce should be fairly thick, enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mine was perfect as it was. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot and stir gently to coat everything.
  17. Reheat gently if you need to for a few minutes.
  18. Serve over noodles or potatoes.

Serves: 6

Note: This is worthy of a dinner party. Trust me.