CAJUN CREOLE CHICKEN, RICE & BEANS

Cajun seasoning adds the unique flavor to this meals and provides you with just enough spiciness and bite to make your taste buds stand up and pay attention.

CAJUN CREOLE CHICKEN THIGHS with SLOW COOKED RICE & BEANS
1 can black beans**, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 medium tomatoes, rustic chopped
1 red pepper, small chopped
1 shallot, halved and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon + 1  teaspoon (divided) SLAP YA MAMA cajun spice
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • In a 6 quart slow cooker combine the beans, rice, tomatoes, red pepper, shallot, garlic, parsley, broth and 1 1/2 teaspoons SLAP YA MAMA seasoning until well combined.
  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the 2 tablespoons SLAP YA MAMA.
  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron).
  • Brown chicken pieces on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Place in slow cooker, skin side up.
  • Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours until chicken is cooked through. Rice will be saucy!

**The original recipe calls for a traditional red bean, but I personally HATE red beans and always substitute black beans.

CHICKEN & CORN ENCHILADAS

This recipe is soooo simple because I use a Costco rotisserie chicken, but the flavor tastes like you spent all day roasting it yourself – NO ONE will ever know the difference!

CHICKEN & CORN ENCHILADAS SUIZA
3 cups shredded chicken pieces (I use Costco rotisserie)
1 large red onion, diced
2 cans Green Giant white shoe peg corn, drained
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped FRESH cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar mix
3 cups chunky salsa
1 large green enchilada sauce
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
corn tortillas (about 16)

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix together the chicken pieces, diced onion, corn kernels, sour cream, cumin and cilantro until well blended.
  • Add half of the cheese.
  • Season with additional FRESH ground salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the salsa and enchilada sauce.
  • Brush each tortilla with some of the sauce mixture and fill with 1/4-1/3 cup of chicken mixture.
  • Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.
  • Repeat until chicken mixture is gone – about 16-18 tortillas.
  • Spoon most of the remaining sauce evenly over top of enchiladas. Save just a lilttle to spoon over again when you remove the foil.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Cover in foil.
  • Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and spoon remaining sauce over top.
  • Bake 5 minutes more to brown cheese.
  • ENJOY!

CHILI SKILLET

This is a perfect fall dish and yes I’m planning ahead for the cooler temperatures up north where we will be in just a couple months. It is also a recipe that makes WONDERFUL leftovers as the flavors meld the longer it sits.

CHILI SKILLET – serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper (optional)*
1 LARGE clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato juice**
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 can Green Giant White shopped corn, drained
1/2 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced olives, optional

  • In a large skillet cook ground beef, onions, peppers (if using) and garlic over medium heat, breaking apart the meat until well crumbled and no longer pink.
  • Drain off ALL fat.
  • Add the tomato juice, water, chicken broth, red pepper flakes (if using), chili powder, oregano, rice, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer 20-25 minutes on low covered until rice is tender.
  • Fold in corn and olives (if using).
  • Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Top with green onions.
  • ENJOY.

NOTES: *I substitute 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
**I often use a small 6 ounce can of V8 juice and add 2 ounces water or chicken broth

CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE

We LOVE Mexican food, so this recipe works well into a Mexican themed week. By making Taco Salad, Chili Skillet, Tacos and this Cornbread Tamale pie all back to back I only have to make the meats and parts once and then assemble as needed.


CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE
Avocado oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained WELL
1-2 large bunches green onions, thinly sliced (save some for garnish)
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 + cup cheddar cheese (use the +portion as garnish)
1 LARGE egg yolk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • In a heavy duty cast iron skillet drizzle avocado oil over hot pan.
  • Add beef and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and completely crumbled. Drain off fat.
  • In a prep bowl add drained beef to drained tomatoes and set aside.
  • Wipe out pan.
  • Add another drizzle of avocado oil when pan is hot again.
  • Add onions and sauce until soft.
  • Add cumin and chile powder and stir to blend.
  • Add beef mixture to pan and stir to coat well. Cook a few minutes until sauce thickens.
  • Add beans and remaining cheese in last and remove from heat.

 

  • While meat is cooking prepare batter.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, milk and egg yolk until well blended.
  • Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder blending well.
  • Fold in half of the cheese.

ASSEMBLY

  • Spread meat mixture evenly in cast iron pan.
  • Gently spread the cornbread mixture over the meat mixture.
  • Put pan in oven and bake 12-14 minutes until cornbread is golden and set.
  • Cool 5 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with cheese and green onions.
  • ENJOY!

MOJO (CUBAN) CHICKEN TOSTADAS

MOJO (CUBAN) CHICKEN TOSTADAS

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 can black beans
1 romaine heart, washed and shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 large orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 small red onion
1 avocado, sliced thin and seasoned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 + 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
corn tortillas, fried crisp

  • Drain and rinse black beans well.
  • Halve the onion and slice one half of it into thin rings. Dice the other half. Keep separate.
  • Mix together the cumin, paprika and oregano. Divide in half.

 

  • In a small bowl add the onion ring slices.
  • Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, sprinkle with salt, toss together and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In another small bowl mix half the seasoning mixture with the other 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the orange juice and half the lime juice.

 

  • Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet heat avocado oil until shimmering over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken breasts and sear on both sides until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to plate and rest.

 

  • Add diced onion pieces and half the garlic to the skillet, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Add black beans, remaining garlic and one half of the spice mixture. Cook 3-5 minutes until soft and heated through.
  • Add half of lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

 

  • Shred chicken and place in a mixing bowl with half the orange juice mixture.
  • Pour the other half of the juice mixture over the shredded lettuce and top with the cilantro. Toss to coat.

 

  • Place a tortilla on a plate.
  • Top with a bit of the pickled onions followed by a handful of the lettuce mixture.
  • Add a spoonful of the beans followed by a spoonful of the shredded chicken and top with avocado slices.
  • ENJOY

PULLED PORK TACOS

Lard is made of animals fats, most commonly rendered hog fat. Crisco and Lard are both shortenings. Lard is shortening. BUT, Crisco is a shortening made from vegetable oils therefore Crisco is NOT lard.

LOL while this sounds confusing, it’s pretty simple really.  For this recipe because I am DESPERATELY trying to clean out the pantry AND the freezer I improvised this time, but did not reflect my changes in my normal recipe (BELOW) which is a recipe I made combining the best ingredients (for us) and cooking procedures (for me) from Guy Fieri’s version with Giada’s version of Pulled pork.

PULLED PORK
3-pound bone in pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
3 pounds refined lard
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons FRESH ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 chipotle in adobo, diced plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
1 cup beer, such as Modelo Especial
Corn tortillas, for serving

GARNISHES
Pico De Gallo, recipe below
Sour cream
Chopped green onions, sliced or diced
Lime wedges, for serving
Radish slices, for serving

  • Remove the pork butt from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Do not remove the bone.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, coriander, salt and oregano.
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast.
  • Bring oil to 250°.
  • Carefully add pork pieces to the hot oil. Keep pork pieces moving so they don’t stick until the are well seared on ALL sides.
  • Remove meat from lard and add onions and garlic, sautéing 2-3 minutes. DO NOT LET GARLIC BURN – IF IT DOES, START OVER!
  • Add pork pieces to roaster.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove onions and garlic, adding it to the meat. Discard oil.
  • Whisk together the beer, chipotle pepper pieces and adobo sauce.
  • Pour beer mixture over pork pieces.
  • Bake 1-1 1/2 hours. The pork should be caramel-colored with an internal temperature of 170 to 180°.
  • Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Shred the meat. Discard the bone and any gristle.
  • Add the shredded meat back to the slow cooker and toss with the onions and cooking juices.
  • Serve with Pico de Gallo, warm tortillas and garnishes.

PICO DE GALLO
4 Roma tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serve.

MEXICAN COBB SALAD with JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING

MEXICAN COBB SALAD
Bed of Lettuce
Grilled chicken breast, chilled and chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 avocado chopped
1/8 cup chopped green chiles
1/4 cup grated jack cheese
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Juice of 1 lime

JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon crushed parsley flakes
2 tablespoons Penzey’s California crushed jalapenos
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • Whisk all together and chill overnight before serving

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CARNE GUISADA STREET TACOS

Guisada is a a TEX MEX style of beef stew that is normally cooked slowly in a brown gravy. It can be eaten as a stew, but we prefer to eat is at street tacos. This is one of the most tender meats for yummy tacos. Using the green chile verde sauce adds a ton of flavor.

CARNE GUISADA STREET TACOS serves 8-10 (my easy version)

Avocado oil
2 pound chuck roast
2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, sliced
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large tomatillo, chopped
1 can green chile verde sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/4 cup Mexican corn flour
1/2 cup water

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Generously season roast with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a 4-quart stock pot over medium temperature.
  • Add roast and sear each side well.
  • Remove roast to a plate.
  • Add poblano pepper, onion, garlic to the stock pot along with the seasonings for a couple minutes.
  • Stir in tomato and tomatillo and sauté an 3 additional minutes.
  • Nestle roast into mixture.
  • Whisk together chile verde sauce, broth and flour until smooth.
  • Pour broth mixture over beef mixture.
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 3 hours undisturbed.
  • Use 2 forks to shred beef into gravy.
  • Make a slurry of the water and corn flour.
  • Add slurry to mixture and simmer on stove top 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Serve with tortillas and your favorite toppings.
  • Enjoy!

TEX-MEX MAC-N-CHEESE

TEX-MEX MAC-N-CHEESE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can shoepeg corn kernels
1 medium Vidalia onion, small dice
3 small sweet red pepper, seeded, small dice
1 can original ROTEL tomatoes with green chiles, drained WELL
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, cold
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound mini rigatoni or pasta of choice, cooked al dente
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
OPTIONAL GARNISHES
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
Minced cilantro leaves
Pickled jalapenos, drained and minced

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Add the butter, corn, onions, red peppers, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauteing until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper and flour, stirring frequently 3 to 4 minutes until roux forms.
  • Pour in the cold milk in a steady stream, stirring vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture starts to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack. Cook until the sauce is smooth and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the scallions, tomatoes, peppers and rigatoni, mixing well to combine.
  • Pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with panko crumbs evenly over the top and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
  • Remove to a cooling rack and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with the Cotija cheese, jalapeno and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

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CHICKEN CHILE CORN CUSTARDS

CHICKEN CHILE CORN CUSTARDS
2 medium fresh poblano or Anaheim chile peppers, roasted
1 small sweet red pepper, roasted
2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups Green Giant white corn niblets, drained
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can green chiles, drained well
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 425˚.
  • Grease 6 six ounce ramekins.
  • Place ramekins in a 13×9 baking dish.
  • In a large bowl combine eggs and cream.
  • Fold in peppers, corn, chicken, cheese, bread crumbs, chives, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture evenly into ramekins.
  • Place baking dish on center rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Add 1 inch of boiling water to the baking dish.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove ramekins from water and serve on plates.

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CHICKEN with CHARRED POBLANO CREAMED CORN & BACON

CHICKEN with CHARRED POBLANO CREAMED CORN & BACON – serves 4
4 chicken legs **
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 slices bacon, diced
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
4 LARGE cloves garlic
1 cup whole milk
4 sprigs FRESH thyme, reserve 1 sprig to chop small
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 Poblano pepper
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup sour cream

  • Broil pepper to blister.
  • Place pepper in a sealed ziploc bag for 5-10 minutes to loosen skin.
  • Remove skin and seeds.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. (Dredge with egg wash and Wonder if using skinless, boneless pieces)
  • Brown chicken pieces until golden and JUST cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to drain off excess fat. Keep warm.
  • Add bacon to pan and cook until crisp.
  • Remove bacon with slotted spoon.
  • Add onion and garlic cooking 2-3 minutes.
  • Add corn.
  • Add milk and 3 of the thyme sprigs and bring to a SLOW boil, immediately reducing to a simmer.
  • Add chicken pieces, cover and simmer 30 minutes if using bone in, 10-15 if using skinless boneless pieces.
  • Add corn and cook another 15-20 minutes until liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Plate creamed corn, and top with chicken.
  • Drizzle with lemon juice and sauce before serving.
  • Garnish with thyme leaves and crisp bacon.

NOTE:** This recipe can be made with boneless skinless thighs for easy eating, BUT having the skin that gets crispy and golden does add a layer of flavor and texture that makes a GREAT presentation. When I use skinless, boneless chicken I dredge the chicken in an egg wash and Wonder flour to give the illusion of a crusty skin.

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TEX MEX BLT’S minus the lettuce

These little delights are perfect finger foods for ANY football party or get together with lots of people. They have just enough kick to spark everyone’s appetite for more.  The shells get crispy and the cheesy filling gets gooey and they are soooooo easy to assemble while looking like you spent hours in the kitchen.

You can also vary the flavors for some extra alternative flavor.  Use your imagination and make up your own combinations.

TEX MEX BLT’s minus the Lettuce 
3-4 packages phyllo pastry cups – thawed
1 pound bacon, cooked well and crumbled into very small pieces (very fine ground beef/shredded beef)
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese  (today I used a Jack and Skellig Sweet Cheddar combo)
1/2 cup medium Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (not Low-fat)
1 can Rotel original, drained REALLY well (when I use shredded beef I trade this for a 4 ounce can of diced jalapenos that I chop very fine)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend the mayonnaise and cheeses together.
  • Fold in the tomatoes and bacon.
  • Scoop evenly into the cups (this will fill about 36).
  • Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until starting to brown and get bubbly.

NOTE:  These shells are pretty small so cut any larger chunks of tomato into smaller pieces to make them easier to fill. I did a couple second run through in my mini food processor.

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