Tag Archives: delicious

Five Spice Creamy Chipotle Chicken

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We´ve all heard of chipotle-mayo, haven´t we?  BUT have you ever thought about chipotle-mustard?  Ahaaa!  I got to thinking about how good this combination would be, and concocted up this chicken that turned out beautifully.

Okay, so by now you might have noticed I´m a big fan of chipotle peppers.  I use them in a lot of my cooking.  I just love their rich, smoky, almost sweet flavor.  Go with me, here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup adobo sauce
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers, chopped, de-seeded
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Once you´ve cubed your chicken, put it in a bowl along with the salt, garlic powder, adobo sauce, chopped chipotle peppers, cayenne, paprika and mustard.  Mix it all together with a spoon, or your hands.  Yes, it´s a little messy, but it smells wonderful.
  2. Melt butter in an open skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Put saucy chicken in the skillet and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  4. Add half and half, milk and cream cheese one at a time, stirring well.
  5. Once your sauce looks homogeneous, turn heat down to low.
  6. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

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I serve this one over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.  Enjoy!

Chilaquiles

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Chilaquiles are a common and delicious Mexican dish. There are several things I need to tell you.

  1. How to pronounce chilaquiles. It’s easy. Ready? CHEE-LAH-KEE-LES. See? You did it!
  2. This is a breakfast food. And you say, “but it’s not eggs and cereal and pancakes!” And I say, “doesn’t matter. Where I come from, this is breakfast.”  Okay, okay, in my house we eat it for dinner, but traditionally, it´s a breakfast food.
  3. Chilaquiles should NEVER EVER ever ever ever be a casserole. Never ever. It’s not a “Mexican lasagna.” Something like that might be tasty, but it is not chilaquiles and it is definitely not authentic.

So what are Chilaquiles? I think it’s fair to compare it to spaghetti and meatballs in that it’s carbs, meat, red sauce, cheese. Except it’s tortillas, chicken, red sauce, cheese. …And sour cream and avocado.
Mmmm it’s delicious okay?! Let’s leave it at that until you try it. In fact, it’s so delicious that we served this at our wedding.*

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tortillas (I prefer flour but you can use corn if you´re more of a traditionalist.)
  • 1 cup shredded chicken breast (I often cheat and start with a rotisserie chicken.)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 tsp Tony’s
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup cheese (you really want queso fresco but a mild feta will do. I used mozzarella because that’s all I had.)
  • 1/4 cup cream (here you want crema or maybe creme fraiche but I use sour cream and dilute it with a bit of milk.)
  • 1 sliced avocado

TORTILLAS:

  1. Cut tortillas into about one inch squares and toss them into the deep fryer.
  2. Deep fry them for one minute at 350°.
  3. Drain them on paper towels.

CHICKEN:

  1. Shred your chicken. You can grill your own chicken for shredding but I usually cheat and start with a rotisserie chicken.

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SAUCE:

  1. In a wide open skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté garlic.
  2. Add tomato sauce and chunky salsa.
  3. Season with Tony’s, paprika and chili powder.
  4. Stir well and bring to low heat.

ASSEMBLE!

  1. Wait to assemble until you’re ready to serve, because you don’t want your tortillas to get soggy!
  2. Stir the tortillas into your sauce, enough for them to be coated, and then quickly scoop them out onto your plates. (See above.)
  3. Top with chicken and onions.
  4. Drizzle with crema and cheese.
  5. Top with thin avocado slices.
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I couldn´t find any good avocados at the store so we had to make do without :-/

Enjoy!

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*We had a beautiful wedding in Mexico. The mass was at the church I was baptised in, the reception at a beautiful hotel. In Mexico, reception parties last many hours… Ours was maybe eight hours long? This might sound terrible, but it’s not! We had a great time! Cocktails and pictures, then dinner and dancing and cake… And then second dinner and more dancing! What? It’s true. Wedding venues always offer a second meal for 50% of the guests, knowing your guests will be hungry from all that dancing! Michael chose chilaquiles for the second meal just because they’re his favorite dish.

In case you’re curious if our first meal was super Mexican, too, the menu was as follows: Appetizer: Pulled chicken tarragon tostadas; Soup: Lobster bisque; Entree: Angus Skirt Steak with potatoes and Chambray onions; Argentine sausage and mango habanero chimichurri on the side, side dish of herb mushrooms; Dessert: Tequila-drizzled lemon sorbet.  Our wedding cake was Tres Leches (my favorite) and second dinner was Chilaquiles (my husband´s favorite).  Mhmmm  🙂

Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits

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Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits

Yummm!  This is one of my favorite dishes!  And it´s pretty easy, too–yum yum yum.  Before I married Michael, I never ate or cooked with sriracha at all.  I´m kind of a disgrace to my Mexican/New Orleanian family because I don´t really like very spicy food.  Because of this, I had avoided sriracha most of my life.  I had only ever having seen it at pho restaurants, anyway, and I know exactly how I like my pho–no use messing with a good thing.

Well!  As it turns out, sriracha is delicious.  It´s not just generic spicy like Tabasco is, it´s got a wonderful flavor.  It´s peppery and garlicky and vinegary and very rich.  A few months ago there was a rumor that the sriracha factory outside of Los Angeles might shut down.  Apparently the residents in the community were complaining about the fumes, but then the sriracha people reworked their ventilation system, and all was well.  Apparently the factory has even become a bit of a tourist attraction now.  Anyway, during that intermediate period, people were afraid that there would be no more sriracha, and in fact, Walmart ran out of it briefly.  Our household (that is, my husband) was in a panic.  And then one day, I received an email that seemed to be heaven-sent!  World Market had sriracha!  I rushed over there on my lunch break and got several extra large bottles for us to keep.  I also discovered this lovely sriracha mayo they carry.  (This became Michael´s favorite sandwich condiment.)

This is the email I got from World Market

And so, due to the abundance of this fine sauce in our tiny house, I´ve started becoming creative with its usage.  I remembered seeing this Martha Stewart recipe, and decided to modify it a bit and give those flavors a spin.  I came up with Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits–and it´s become a household favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 6 strips of bacon*
  • pinch of garlic
  • 5 tbsp sriracha
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup cream cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro
  • 2 servings grits
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel your shrimp.  If you´ve got some extra time on your hands, butterfly them.  They look prettier this way.
  2. Cut bacon into little pieces.  I use scissors and cut them into tiny strips, about 1/2 inch long.
  3. Heat skillet over medium high heat, spread bacon pieces evenly on skillet to ensure even cooking.  Cook bacon til pretty crispy, about two minutes per side.
  4. Move bacon to the edge of the skillet, add shrimp.  Let the shrimp soak in the bacon flavor.  They cook pretty quickly, so keep a good eye on them.
  5. After about two minutes of sautéing the shrimp in the bacon grease, use a slotted spoon to get the shrimp and the bacon out of there.  I let it all drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  6. Pour out most of the excess bacon grease, leaving just a little to coat the skillet.
  7. Sautee garlic until fragrant.  Add sriracha and honey and stir.  Add 1/4 cup cream cheese to thicken consistency of sauce.
  8. Add salt, pepper, cilantro to taste.
  9. Lower stove heat to medium.  Add shrimp and bacon back in to sauce, stir to coat.

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ABOUT THE GRITS:

Make them however you like.  I used to use instant grits until Michael found out, now he makes me make real “old-fashioned” grits the slow way, swearing he can taste the difference.  Whatever.  I think they taste the same.  However you make your grits, though, add salt, pepper and butter, for sure–but (this is my super secretI always add a little cream cheese here, too.  It makes them creamier and generally more delicious.  For two servings of grits, I add 1 tbsp of butter and 1/8 cup cream cheese.

Serve saucy shrimp and bacon over grits and enjoy!

I made some GREEN BEANS on the side.  I drain a can of green beans and heat them in a little melted bacon fat.  Add Tony´s and some hummus (I feel like this is another of my super secrets), mix it all around, and flavorful, easy green beans result!

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*About the bacon:  Before I got married, I never really ate bacon, either.  But then Michael talked me into buying some normal bacon, and then our friend from high school started his own gourmet bacon delivery company, and well, I´m hooked.  The real story is that he was a lawyer and hated it, so he quit his job and road-tripped across the country, buying local butchers´ bacon and mailing it to his subscribers.  It´s been great.  He´s on hiatus now, but will be accepting new orders soon–I highly recommend this.

So Much Squash

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So Much Squash

A few weeks ago I discovered Good Eggs. They’re this great company that provides grocery delivery in New Orleans and select other cities, but what’s special about them is that all they sell are locally grown and produced foods. I like to describe it as having the farmers market delivered to my door. Amazing for me because of my unpredictable work hours, which makes it almost impossible to go to a farmers market regularly.

The most interesting thing I’ve tried from Good Eggs is getting a produce bundle. Basically, this means I give them a set fee ($20 or $30) and they deliver me a variety of seasonal fruits and veggies. I don’t have any ability to choose what I want so sometimes I get weird things. Like in my last box I got muscadine grapes. Now I know those are actually super common in Louisiana but I had no idea they could be used for anything other than wine. (But FYI, roast them with a little balsamic vinegar and eat with Gorgonzola, yum).

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Yesterday I received my second produce bundle from Good Eggs and this one was full of goodies from Stoney Point Farm, a family owned farm in Washington Parish. I got some lovely bell peppers, purple hull peas, sweet potatoes, assorted greens, some preserved pears and a shit load of squash. (All for $20! Amazing!)

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a huge fan of squash. I actually didn’t know what varieties I had and I had to do quite a bit of research to find out what to do with all these squash. So after about half an hour of Pinterest research, I found out I’ve got an acorn, a couple butternut, a spaghetti squash and some summer squash. Today I’ll show you how I used the acorn squash.

Considering I had no idea how this dish would turn out, I’m pretty happy with the results. The squash itself was super tender and slightly sweet, which played nicely with the spicy sausage. I definitely think you could use an acorn squash as a mashed potato replacement.

Sausage & Rice Stuffed Squash

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Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/4 lb ground hot sausage
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby portabellas)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut squash in half, remove seeds.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on baking sheet then cover tightly with foil.
  4. Roast in preheated oven until tender, about 35 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, brown sausage. Once browned, drain fat and set aside.
  6. Melt butter and sauté minced shallot until translucent. Then add mushrooms and saute until soft.
  7. Add a cup of cooked rice and browned sausage. Stir and heat through.
  8. Stir in 1/4 cup italian shredded cheese.
  9. Once squash is tender, remove from oven and flip over so the whole you removed seeds from is facing up.
  10. Spoon rice mixture into whole, sprinkle with a little more cheese.
  11. Place back into oven for 5 min, just to melt cheese on top.

Serve with roasted veggies (mine are some of Stoney Point’s sweet potatoes and butternut squash) and a light citrus-dressed salad.