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Monday, January 31, 2011

Chorizo Chipotle Chili

Last year, before the Super Bowl, I posted my recipe for chili.  It's a recipe I've used for years.  I seriously, never made chili a different way....until now:  Enter the Chorizo Chipotle Chili!!!  (YAY!!!!)

I think chili is a good addition to any party (as are nachos), but for some reason, football and chili just fit so well together!  And this is just the type of chili you want to be serving at your Super Bowl party! It's full of flavor, it's spicy, it's warm and it's comforting....It's probably the best bowl of chili I've had in a long time.  And I'm extra excited because I didn't use my secret ingredient mix this time!  No premixed spices.... double yay!!!

I understand that most of you have your favorite chili recipe, and like me, don't detour from it....but this is worth it, believe me.  VERY worth it.  Beware, it is a bit can always add less chipotle or leave the adobo sauce out all together.  I must give big props to Des at Life's Ambrosia, though, because her Buffalo Chipotle Chili was the inspiration behind this bowl of heaven!  And an inspiration it was...thanks Des!

I love scooping chili up with Frito's!!!

Chorizo Chipotle Chili
Inspired by Life's Ambrosia
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 lbs Mexican Chorizo
1 garlic clover, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup beer (I used Bud Light)
10oz can Rotel, drained
8oz chili beans in sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons tomato sauce
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and reduce heat to medium low.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Stir and let cook for about 8-10 minutes or until softened and just starting to brown.  Add the chorizo and let cook about 5-8 minutes or until the chorizo is cooked through.  Turn heat up to medium high and add all the remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Taste and season if necessary.  Let simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Tomato Walnut Tilapia

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Fire Day Friday!!!

It's that time again!!  Time for me to step away from Jenn's Food Journey and head on over to my secondary home, Our Krazy Kitchen, where I'm co-hosting FDF with Chris from Nibble Me This!

Come check out what I'm posting today....don't be afraid to say hello while you are are not going to want to miss this one:

You know you want to come and go....go now... hurry!!!

(P.S..while you are there, enter for your chance to a win a CSN gift card)

One Year Ago:  Walnut Crusted Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Sauce

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grilled Nachos

Here's another great idea for your Super Bowl party....than again, this is a great idea for any party...heck, forget the party, this is a good idea for anytime!!  Now, I'm sure everyone has their own special nacho recipe....but this is mine.  GRILLED NACHOS!!  I know you are not surprised by this :)  Don't worry, you don't HAVE to grill these, you can easily put them in the oven, but hey, I like my grill, it was in the 70's here...I HAD to grill!!  I also had to use the rest of that cheddar cheese soup I used in the Cheesy Rice there, excuse enough, right?  The one real thing lacking on olives, I forgot to pick up some black olives.  Oh, well, even as simple as these were, they were fantastic!  I tried to put more jalapenos on them to detour Chris from eating them, but he just picked them off and continued to eat....dang it...foiled again!!  My suggestion, make a lot, these will disappear fast!

Grilled Nachos
Printable Recipe 
1/4 lb Mexican pork chorizo
1 jalapeno, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup (or more if you have it) cheddar cheese condensed soup
1 Tablespoon milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded habanero cheddar cheese (or regular cheddar)
Tortilla chips (I used enough to cover a 10 x 14-inch grill tray)
Sour cream and guacamole (optional)

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.  Line a 10 x 14-inch grill tray with aluminum foil.  Cover with one layer of tortilla chips.

In a small microwaveable bowl, add the cheddar cheese soup and the milk.  Heat until warm and pourable.  Cover and set aside.

Place a small amount of oil in a small cast iron skillet.  Add the chorizo and cook directly over the fire for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cooked through.  Remove chorizo from skillet and let drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.  To the same skillet, add the jalapeno and let cook for about 2-3 minutes, or just until softened, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese over the tortilla chips, the pour the cheddar cheese over it all.  Sprinkle with the cooked chorizo, than the diced tomato, than the jalapenos.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Place tray on grill grates and turn off the fire directly under it.  If you are using a charcoal grill, move the charcoal to one side of the grill. Cover the lid and let grill about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Top with sour cream and guacamole if desired.  Enjoy!

***To Bake:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Follow all other directs but cook on stove top in non-stick skillet.  Build as instructed.  Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.***

One Year Ago:  Smothered Pork Chops with Thyme

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheesy Rice Casserole

Normally, I will not use condensed soups...I just don't, they aren't the healthiest thing for you, I can't even pronounce some of the ingredients listed, and honestly, I'd just rather spend time making homemade soups.  BUT the other day when I was scrounging around in the pantry, I noticed way, way in the back corner, a can of cheddar cheese condensed soup.  Now I don't ever actually remember buying that...but I'm pretty sure Chris wouldn't have done it on his own, so I grabbed it and thought about putting it to good use before it went bad.

We eat a lot of rice, I'm pretty sure I have mentioned that fact before.  It's usually very simple, and that's been ok...until recently...recently, I just wanted something different.  Than the idea hit me:  Why not blend my want for something different with my need to use this soup???  And a star was born!  (If you really are against condensed soups, you can always make your own cheese sauce)

Seriously, this was DELICIOUS!  I probably could have used more of the soup, but I was trying to keep the rice from becoming too mushy.  Feel free to add more if you want...but tomorrow I'll show you what to do with the other half...if you are interested that is :)

Cheesy Rice Casserole
Printable Recipe 
2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped (optional - I was going to use one but it had gone bad)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 Tablespoons condensed cheddar cheese soup
3 Tablespoons milk
hot sauce
shredded cheddar cheese (I used about 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a small baking dish with non stick cooking spray; set aside.  In a small bowl, add the soup, milk, and hot sauce, salt, and pepper all to taste.  (I had originally added fresh rosemary...about 1 was good, but it was really overpowering, so I'm keeping that out...but feel free to add it if you want, like I said, it was good with it!)

In a small skillet, over medium heat, add the oil until hot.  Add the red pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Remove from heat.

Place the rice in a large bowl and add the cooked veggies.  Pour the cheese mixture over and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared baking dish and top with shredded cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is melted.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Firecracker Tilapia with Lemon Aioli

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rotini with Cherry Tomatoes and Tuna

I made something similar to this a while back...but this was enough of a change where I thought, what the heck, hardly anyone has seen that old recipe anyway... :)

The nice thing about this sort of had that feeling of summertime to it.  We, fortunately, have been experiencing wonderful weather lately.  Last week our highs were in the upper 70's!!  Considering other people were still in single digit weather, I considered myself very lucky.  With the warm weather came a craving for something light and fresh.  And this little dish was the perfect fix for that craving!

Rotini with Cherry Tomatoes and Tuna
Printable Recipe 
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (I may have actually used about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons, plus 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into bite size pieces or strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups dried whole grain rotini pasta
1 can of tuna in water, drained

In a bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, thyme, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and parsley.  Toss to combine; set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain; reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the pepper over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini and saute another 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add the drained tuna.  Toss in the drained pasta, the tomato mixture and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Toss to combine.  If the pasta is too dry, add more oil or the reserved pasta water.  Top with parmesan cheese if desired and enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Super Bowl Count Down Take Two...More Appetizers

Monday, January 24, 2011

White Chocolate & Strawberry Muffins

A few weeks back, I won yet another awesome giveaway prize!  This time, I won Silicone Moulds from Chef Dennis over at More Than a Mount Full.  I was super excited cause I LOVE all my other silicone products.  They are SO wonderful to have in the kitchen... talk about easy clean up.  And you never have to worry about your cakes/muffins/whatever sticking to these...they pop out as if they too want to be congratulated on a job well done!!  So thank you to Chef Dennis and also to Sarah-Jane!!  I am super excited about using this's a kitchen must have!!

Now.....If only I had not over baked these wonderful little muffins....if only I could go back in time and tell over doubting self to do as the recipe says....don't listen to anything this time:  TAKE THE MUFFINS OUT AFTER 20 MINUTES - NOT A MINUTE LONGER!!!  If only I could do that, I could be going on and on about how heavenly these muffins where, instead of telling you what a disappointment they were :(  I might claim to be a sauce girl, I might claim to be kick ass griller (I don't even know if that's an actual word, I just love that title!!), but I will never say that I am anything near a baker.  But I keep trying, so that's what counts the most!!  Don't get me wrong, these muffins weren't inedible....oh, no, we at them....they were just over baked and a little dry.....otherwise, the flavors were wonderful!

Two things...First, I cut the original recipe ingredient amounts in half and did not fill the moulds as full as I should have.  These muffins should have risen over the top a bit to give a look like Starbucks Crown Top Muffins.  Second, I decided to put the batter directly into the moulds... I wanted to show just how wonderful a product this is.  Seriously....this is what the moulds looked like after I took the muffins out.... I did not clean or wipe these down at all:

Amazing!!  If for no other reason, considering buy some silicone moulds just to give you more ease in the kitchen....less clean up equals happy cook!!!

***The opinions stated on this site regarding the silicone moulds are just that...the opinions of Jenn's Food Journey.  In no way was I compensated for this review***

White Chocolate & Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from
- makes 6-8 muffins -
Printable Recipe 
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped or 6 oz white chocolate chips (I used another 2oz of white chocolate chips to scatter on the tops of the muffins)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
3/8 cup (6 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
3/8 cup (6 Tablespoons) granulated milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 teaspoons strawberry preserves

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Add 2 oz of white chocolate and all the butter to the top of a double broiler set over simmering water.  Stir constantly until half of the chocolate and butter is melted.  Remove the top of the double broiler; continue stirring, away from the heat, until the mixture is smooth.  Cool for 10 minutes.  (You can also do this in a microwave safe dish, on LOW power, stopping to stir every 10 seconds, until half the chocolate and butter are melted-stir until smooth, let cool 10 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer) fitted with a paddle attachment, add the egg and the sugar and mix on medium until thick and pale yellow (about 2 minutes).  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.  Add the milk and the vanilla, beat until fully incorporated.  Add the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides at least once.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in 4 ounces of white chocolate.

Fill silicone moulds or muffin tins (spray with non stick spray or line with muffin can do that with the silicone moulds too) 3/4 full.  Top each one with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry preserves.  Using a toothpick, swirl the preserves into the batter.  Top with additional chocolate if desired.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean; rotating the tins half way through baking time.  Set pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Saucey Winnings....

Last week I told you of the exciting news that I received 2nd runner up prizes in the Women of the Grill Contest.....well.... here is the prize:
Will you look at all those tasty sauces - Honey Habanero ... Apple Chipotle ... Original BBQ ... All Purpose Sauce ... Seasoning Salt ... and the pièce de résistance: The Original Country Bob's Cookbook!!!

I can't wait to start using these products...and believe me, I'll be using them right away!  The question is...which one first and on what type of meat???  AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!  So many choices!!!!

But wait.....there's more:

How cool are those, huh?  It's a PigTail Food Flipper!!!  It turns, flips, moves, and carries food fast!!  No more having meat slip through the tongs... YIPPY!!  You know I will be using this immediately too!

I wanted to make sure that I gave a very big thank you to Dave of and Ken and Patti of Date Night Doins BBQ for Two for all that you did regarding this really fun contest!  I highly recommend checking out both their sites...who knows, someone might even show up on a guest post sometime :)  AND, if you are a woman and you grill...check out the 2nd Annual Women of the Grill Contest.....if you can handle the competition that is!!

So thank you once again to Dave, Ken & Patti, and Country Bob's for the really awesome winning prizes!  I can't wait to start creating with it all!!

One Year Ago:  Chicken & Basil Stir Fry

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sriracha Chicken Wings

With Super Bowl Sunday just a few weeks away, I thought it would be good to showcase a recipe that would be a wonderful addition to your Super Bowl party menu!  Now I have made Grilled Sriracha Glazed Chicken before....inspired by one of my all time favorite chefs, Michael Symon...but I figured I didn't have a lot of followers back then and maybe some of you had missed it.  So, why not revisit the recipe and adjust it using chicken wings instead of chicken breasts??  I considered smoking the wings again (like the Smoked Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wings), but then remembered that most of you do not have smokers, so I thought a method using the oven and the grill would be the most user friendly way of making these.

My first big accomplishment with these wings.... I cut them myself!! WOOHOO!!!  I actually bought a package of full chicken wings and was going to just make them that way, than I thought...I could totally cut these and get the actual drummette AND wing combo that you find at most restaurants.  I have always been hesitant when it comes to cutting up chicken, but for silly this time I just did it.  Granted it took a while, and my hands started to hurt after a while...but boy was it so worth it.  We had the perfect chicken wing was way satisfying to finally do the deed too!!  I think the chicken might have even tasted better, but that's just me :)  Oh, and I saved the wing tips and froze them - I'll used them at some point to make chicken stock!!

ANYWAY...This is a very simple recipe that yields some pretty spicy little wings.  Plus, because I bake and grill these, they are a ton healthier than the wings you would get if you went to the local sports bar!  You can easily use any of your favorite sauces for this...if the Sriracha is a bit too hot for you, that is!!  Serve a little Ranch along side these for those that need to tame the heat down a bit...(scratch the healthy part if you do that though!!)

I baked these first for about 18 minutes and than I finished them off on the grill (I wanted to do the entire thing on the grill, but was worried that I didn't have enough propane).  If you didn't want to use the grill you could cook them in the oven for about 20 minutes and than turn on the broiler for about 5-8 minutes or until the skin starts to crisp up.  Either way, you'll want to make up a batch or two of these bad boys....they will be a party favorite!

Sriracha Chicken Wings
Printable Recipe
20 wing and/or drummettes
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (if that's too spicy, use 1/2 tsp cayenne and 1 tsp pepper)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Srircha Hot Chili Sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon honey

Put the wings into a large bowl and season with the garlic powder, salt, and cayenne.  Toss; making sure that all the pieces are seasoned.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but I recommend 2 hours.

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, Sriracha, lime juice, and honey.  Pour 3 tablespoons over the chicken wings; tossing to coat.  Cover and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the chicken on a wire rack that has been placed in a cookie sheet (you can put it directly on the cookie sheet too, I just think they cook more evenly raised up on the rack).  Bake for 18 minutes, rotating sheet half way through.

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.  Remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Put chicken back in large bowl, pour the remaining Sriracha sauce over the chicken and toss to coat.  When grill is ready, place the wings directly over the fire and grill for another 10 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove from grill and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.......Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Lemon Tuna Pasta with Basil & Zucchini

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Nut Topped Fish Recipe

I know you may be sick of fish recipes.  I know you may be done with fish topped with nut recipes.  I know you may even be giggling right now about how many fish tilapia recipes I actually post!!  I know all of this, yet I still felt compelled to post this recipe!  I believe the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get different results???  Something like that... ANYWAY...I couldn't help myself.  I had almonds, I saw a recipe for almond topped fish, I got an idea.....

This is simple, reasonably healthy, and pretty darn delicious - Enough said!

Almond Tilapia
Printable Recipe 
4 tilapia fillets
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over all the pieces.  Season with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, almonds, olive oil, pepper, garlic salt and Herbes de Provence.  Top each pieces of fish with mixture.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and the topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Pan Seared Tilapia with White Bar-B-Q Sauce

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baked Penne and Chorizo

One of the things I used to order whenever I went to any Italian restaurant was Baked Ziti.  A simple dish, yet always delicious, and always the same no matter where you went.  Those were my younger years.  Now I love to order dishes like Chicken Piccata, Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, and Calamari Fra Diavlo, but that does not stop me from still craving the more simple dishes.  And a craving was what I had...but I did not have any ground beef or ziti in the house, so it was time to improvise!  I still had 1/2 pound of the chorizo left over from my Chorizo and Rice Casserole....and I always have penne on why not make a baked penne...?????  With chorizo!!  And that's exactly what I did.  It turned out to be just what I wanted.  I did worry that the chorizo and the pasta sauce would not blend well together, but I was worried for nothing...the flavors of the Mexican spices in the chorizo actually complimented the pasta sauce really well.  I added the red pepper because it's what I had in the fridge.  You can leave it out.. or better yet, caramelize some onions and add that to the dish would be fantastic!  Whatever you do, just try too will quickly become a fan!

Baked Penne with Chorizo
Printable Recipe 
2 cups whole grain penne (I actually used just a bit over 2 cups)
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
1 red pepper, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 - 1 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
mozzarella cheese (I used just under 1/2 cup, but you might want to use more)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, cook the chorizo about 3 minutes; breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  Add the red pepper and cook another 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in the sauce (I used just under 1 cup of sauce), stirring to combine.  Stir in the cream cheese until it's fully incorporated.  Season with parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in the pasta and toss to coat.

Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.  Serve with warm crusty bread.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Bourbon Chicken

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Italian Chicken Bundles

Here's something most of you might not know about me:  I used to be a personal chef.  I actually had my own business called "In Your Kitchen".  I would go to people's houses and cook meals that could be frozen and than later reheated and enjoyed.  I spent about 8 hours at their house cooking, but when I was gone, their was no sign I was there except 2 weeks worth of dinners in their freezers.  Those dinners were left with instructions on how to properly thaw and reheat each meal.  Yep, that's very own personal chef business.  Why am I not still doing it?  Well, at the time I was living by myself, working a full time job, and trying to cram in as many clients as I could on a weekend so that I could still pay all my bills....and well, I'll be honest...I started to hate it.  I was spending my entire time off cooking for other people and it became a job.  I was making no time for myself and I started to not look forward to cooking.  I knew I didn't want to continue if it was something I was going to hate.  So, I stepped back, re-evaluated things, and decided that I needed to put the personal chef business on hold until a time came where it could be my only job.  As time has gone by, I have considered starting it up again, but now I believe that I need more schooling to be the actual personal chef I really, truly, know I can be.  Maybe some day that time will come, but for now, I am happy just having a large collection of recipes from the United States Personal Chef Institute at my fingertips!

This recipe is one that comes from that collection.  I have a few favorites, of course, and this would be one of them.  I just like the convenience of being able to freeze them.  I like that they are in little pouches of crispy goodness.  I like that they are versatile; you can truly put whatever ingredients you want in there.  And of course, I like that it really takes no time at all to make.  Oh, and let's not forget the taste.  I LOVE the taste.  It's just a good mix of creamy cheeses, flavorful chicken, and a crispy outside texture.

P.S....check out the one year ago link at the end of this post...some good ideas for this years Super Bowl party!!
Italian Chicken Bundles
Adapted from the United States Personal Chef Institute
Printable Recipe 
1 1/2 cups chicken (cut into small bit sizes pieces)
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese (you could use grated)
3 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
10 egg roll wrappers
Tomato Sauce (homemade or store bought)
additional parmesan or mozzarella cheese for topping if desired

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.  In a non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  To the skillet, add the parmesan, mozzarella, cream cheese, oregano, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a 12 cup muffin tin, brush half of the melted butter into 10 of the 12 cups.  Carefully press one egg roll wrapper into a muffin cup and fill with the chicken mixture.  Close the wrapper over the filling and brush with some of the remaining melted butter.  Continue until all 10 muffin tins are completed.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on the top.  Carefully remove from the muffin tin; top with warmed sauce and cheese if desired.  Enjoy!

***If you aren't going to eat all 10 bundles, you can freeze them to enjoy at another time.  Once baked, allow to cool completely.  Wrap separately in aluminum foil then place in a large freezer ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.  When ready to use again, thaw in the refrigerator the night before the day of consumption.  Unwrap from aluminum foil and place on microwave safe plate.  Heat for 2-3 minutes and than topped with heated sauce and cheese.***

One Year Ago:  Super Bowl Count Down...Take One:  Appetizers

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chorizo and Rice Casserole

I love chorizo.  I may have mentioned this little fact before.  In case I haven't, let me reiterate...I LOVE chorizo!  When I saw a posting for Chorizo and Rice Dressing on Nibble Me This, I got an idea.  Oh, yes, that would be a fine dressing or stuffing, but I'm not in the mood to stuff what's a girl to do?  Well, this girl just adapted it into a casserole and/or lovely side dish.  It was spicy, it was light, it was perfect!  Now, don't get too hung up on the ingredients...if you don't want to use a jalapeno, leave it out.  If you want it to be even spicier, add a Serrano pepper.  My point is (and I've forgotten to remind you all of this lately) create what works best for your tastes!  Build the dish to your's your canvas remember??  Now paint away!!

Chorizo and Rice Casserole
Adapted from Chris at Nibble Me This
Printable Recipe 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
1 red bell pepper, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and Pepper
1/2 lb Mexican Chorizo (the bulk stuff, not the already cooked ground beef looking)
3 cups cooked rice
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a non stick skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add the jalapeno and red pepper and let cook about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Now add the chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with rice.  Stir in sour cream.  Pour into prepared pan and place in oven.  Let cook 10 minutes...just until everything is nice and warm! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

If you gave Chris the option of Biscuits and Gravy or Country Fried Steak and Eggs for breakfast, he'd probably ask why he couldn't have both! :)

I don't make breakfast very often.  If I do, it's always on the weekends.  Chris is no fun to ask what he wants for breakfast anymore because he always wants the same thing...biscuits and gravy!! Now, don't get me wrong, I like biscuits and gravy, but I'm an egg girl... a fried egg girl if you want to know the truth... a fried egg on a toasted English muffin with melted cheese and bacon girl if you want know the WHOLE truth.  But when Chris actually makes a request of what he would like me to make, I jump on it.  Chris is wonderful in the sense that he always trusts that I will come up with a great meal plan for the week...he very rarely even asks what we are having for dinner...but it's frustrating when I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas and I ask him for suggestions and he just sort of shrugs his shoulders :)  My point being: when the man makes a request, who am I to deny him??

This is a simple recipe that most people probably throw their own twist on...but today, I'm just posting simple.  So simple, I didn't even make fresh biscuits...that's right.. Pillsbury worked just fine for us.  Feel free to make your own, they definitely make a difference and would have made our awesome breakfast even better, BUT laziness was in charge... I mean, come on, it was the weekend!!  And, if you aren't a fan of sausage, you can easily substitute bacon...mmmmmmmm...bacon AND sausage gravy!!!!

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Printable Recipe 
6-8oz breakfast sausage (I say 6-8 because you might want more sausage, you might want less)
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup milk (you might need a little more)
salt and pepper
6-8 warm biscuits (homemade or store bought)

In a cast iron skillet (you can use any skillet if you want, but cast iron works the best, I think), over medium heat, cook the sausage; breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  When the sausage is cooked (about 5 minutes or so) remove from skillet with slotted spoon; let drain on paper towel lined plate.  Do not drain the oil.  You should have at least 1 tablespoon of oil left, if not add some butter so that it equals a tablespoon.

Add the flour to the oil and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Let simmer until sauce starts to thicken.  Add the sausage back into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Let simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until the sausage is heated through.  Pour the gravy over the biscuits....Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A New Adventure...Come Join Me

Hey everyone!  Happy Friday!! I have some really exciting news....starting today, I will be co-hosting Fire Day Friday's over at Our Krazy Kitchen with Chris from Nibble Me This.  Every other Friday I will post a recipe fit for fire....or at least fit for Friday!!

Today I'll be posting a recipe for Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue come on over and check out my post...while you are there, check out some of the other tasty recipes on the site.  There are a ton of fantastic bloggers that contribute to it and, who knows, maybe you'll find your next favorite recipe there!!

And don't worry if you can't grill due to the weather or don't even own a grill, you know my recipes can always be adapted to work in your oven, so stop by and say hello!!

Here's a peak at what you'll be missing if you don't stop by:

One Year Ago:  Bacon-Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Herb Crusted Tilapia

Did you think that because I said I was running out of ideas for tilapia last week that it would be a while before you saw another fish post? Well have no fear, I am back with a tasty number.  I saw this over on Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner and immediately knew I had to try it!  This was fantastic!  I did change things just a bit, though.  I added chopped unsalted peanuts to the topping.  I had some that did not get used when I made my Grandma's Cherry Mash last month, so I figured, why not?  It's only going to add to the dish, that's for sure.  And did it... wonderfully, I might add.  So thanks Pam for the tasty new way to eat tilapia...this will definitely be working it's way on to our "favorites list"!

Herb Crusted Tilapia
Adapted from Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner
Printable Recipe 
4-6 tilapia fillets
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup crushed or chopped unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with non stick cooking spray.  Rinse the tilapia, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon, horseradish, onion powder, parsley, and thyme.  Spread the mixture evenly over the fillets.  Scatter the bread crumb/nut mixture evenly over each fillet.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with fork and topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Balsamic, Dijon & Garlic Chicken

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spicy Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli

I think I may have said this before, but I really do not like watching the Neeley's on the Food Network.  They are just a bit much for me....what, with their kissing and baby talk.. ugh, it becomes excruciating to watch!!  BUT...I will admit, any recipe that I have tried of theirs has turned out to be really good.  And this little number is no exception!

Most of you who have been reading my blog for a while now, know that Friday nights at our house are either "date night" or "fend for yourself night".  This past Friday was fend for yourself night and I was craving crab cakes!  I knew this was a dish that Chris would not be fond of, so it was the obvious choice to make.  I made these crab cakes a few years back, before Chris and I moved in together, so I knew exactly which recipe I was going to adapt for my dinner.  I had to adapt the amount of ingredients for myself as this recipe called for 1 pound of crab meat and I was only working with about 2oz!  Despite my worries of cutting the ingredients, these turned out to be absolutely wonderful.  The crispy outside, the nice wonderfully, creamy soft inside.  Oh, and the lemon aioli....well, of course you know it was my favorite part of the entire meal!!

Spicy Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli
Adapted from The Neelys, Food Network
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon shallots, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 small egg yolk
hot sauce, to taste
2 oz (1 can) crab meat
1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
For the lemon aioli -
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

In a small skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter than add the shallot.  Let cook 3-4 minutes or until they become translucent; stirring occasionally. (You may need to adjust the heat so that you do not burn them)  Add the bell pepper and cook another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute; stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a bowl, add the mayo, Dijon, lemon juice, cayenne, and parsley.  Add the cooled, cooked vegetables, the 1 tablespoon panko, egg yolk, and hot sauce.  Fold in the crab meat.  Place the remaining panko on a plate.  Using about 2 tablespoons of the crab mixture, make patties about 3/4-inches thick.  Dip the cakes into the panko and then move to a plate and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the lemon ailoi.  Cover and set aside.

In a skillet, over medium high heat, add the oil until shimmering.  Carefully place the cakes in the oil and fry about 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Carefully flip and cook another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel quickly.  Serve with lemon aioli and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Chicken Soup

I've had my eye on making a roasted garlic soup for a while now.  I think the one thing that held me back was the fact that it would be really, really, really, REALLY garlicky....  Well, it was garlicky... I mean, come on, it's roasted GARLIC soup.  But it wasn't over powering garlic, which is what I was worried about.  It was just this perfect, almost sweet, flavored garlic was wonderful!!

This would be a great soup for you if you are feeling under the weather.  Not only is it warm and comforting, but garlic is known for it's numerous health benefits.  In 2007, BBC even reported that Alium Sativum (garlic) may have beneficial properties such as preventing and fighting the common cold.  So, see....good for the body and soul!!!  I highly recommend trying this soup, you will not be disappointed.  And, in case you were wondering, this soup would be perfectly fine without the chicken, I only added it because it was a request from Chris :)

Roasted Garlic and Chicken Soup
Inspired and adapted from Life's Ambrosia and Nibble Me This
Printable Recipe 
2 bulbs of garlic (tops cut off - skin left on)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large chicken breast or 6 chicken tenders, cooked and diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle each bulb of garlic (tops cut off) with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoons pepper.  Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  When cooled, squeeze each clove from the skin into a small bowl and mash up with a fork.  It will make almost a paste; set aside.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, add the butter and diced onion.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are just starting to turn golden.  Add the flour and cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in the chicken stock.  Add the diced potatoes, 1/2 to 3/4 of the mashed up garlic, and the thyme.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.  You can also add the rest of the garlic at this time (I did not add anymore than 3/4 of it, as I thought it had plenty of garlic flavor at that point).

Using a submersible hand blender, blend up the soup until just about all the potatoes are blended down.  (I left some of them in chunks just for the texture.)  This will help thicken up the soup.  Add the cooked, diced chicken, cream, and rosemary.  Turn down to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with homemade croutons or warm crusty bread.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Triple Chocolate Mayan Brownies

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Great Spam Experiment

So I told you that my cousin Johanna requested a few things when we met for brunch in November.  The first one being Chicken Braciole with Alfredo Sauce.  The second one being this...the great Spam experiment!

Yes, that's right folks......we are talking Spam today....   Hey... Wait!  Where do you think you are going?  Seriously, get back here right now and finish reading this post.  I don't care what your feelings on Spam are.. this is a damn good experiment!!  LOL

Ok, now that I have your attention again....let's talk Spam.  When I was a kid, my grandma Marge would always make us Spam sandwiches, or just plan pan fried Spam.  I remember loving it as a kid.  As I got older, the only time I ever tried it was while on a backpacking trip...I ate it because it was there and I was STARVING!!  But I was in my early 20's when that last happened (I learned to bring better food with us, believe me!!) and, well...that's been quite a few years, so I will admit that I was a bit worried about trying this out.   I'm glad I did though, not only did it reminded of some great childhood memories, but I really did an actual experiment in my kitchen!! YAY!!!  (By the way, for anyone that looks down on me for posting a recipe that includes Spam... all I have to say is this:  Can the whole state of Hawaii really be wrong?  They serve Spam everywhere.. even at Burger King!)

The first test was the old school way.  The way my grandma made it for us...or at least the way I remember her making it for us....straight up pan fried.  I'm not even going to give you a recipe for it because all I did was throw it directly into a non-stick skillet and fried them for about 3-4 minutes on each side:
What did we think?  Well, honestly, it was ok, just a bit salty....and this is a fact that I remembered and was not surprised about at all.  I don't mind the salty pork flavor, so it really wasn't too bad at all.

With my second test, I decided that I would boil the meat first to get some of the saltiness out of it (I got that little tip from Stephen over at The Obsessive Chef, check out what he did with Spam!!).  It worked like a charm!  If I was going to do this again, that would be the only way I would eat the Spam...boiled first, than fried!  Johanna had suggested doing a panko coating and than frying the Spam... and I thought, heck, if I'm gonna do that, why not make it sort of like Spam Parmigiana?  And Viola!
I will admit, I thought it was actually pretty good.  I would even make this again...truth be told, I'd even serve it to guests at a dinner party!

Conclusion:  I recommend trying Spam again if it's been awhile.  But, what I also recommend is boiling the Spam first.  It makes all the difference in the world.  Well, that's if you are afraid of the salty flavor...if you like a little salty pork (which I do) than just throw it right in the pan.  If you try the parmigiana, though, definitely take the few minutes to boil the meat, you will not be sorry.

Spam Parmigiana
Inspired by Johanna W.
Printable Recipe 
4-6 slices of Spam (you can cut them however thick or thin you want them)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon plain or seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning (you can just use basil if you don't have this)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons of your favorite pasta sauce (you can use more if you want)
shredded mozzarella cheese (you be the judge on how much goes on top of each piece)

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Drop the pieces of Spam into the water, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the meat sit in the water for another 3-5 minutes.

In a shallow dish, mix together panko, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning.  Remove the meat from the water and put it directly into the panko mixture.  Coat each piece with the mixture, pressing into the meat.

Preheat the broiler of the oven.  In a skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Carefully place the Spam pieces in the oil and quickly fry (about 2 minutes on each side).  Remove from skillet and place on a wire rack inside a baking sheet.  Top with sauce and cheese and place under the broiler.  Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Chicken Fried Steak