BAKED FRENCH ONION RICE

BAKED FRENCH ONION RICE
1 cup long grained rice
10.5 ounce can French onion soup
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup butter, sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms cleaned and diced
1 shallot, minced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add shallots, sauteing 2 minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add mushrooms, cooking 5 minutes more until beginning to caramelize.
  • Add rice, stirring to coat.
  • In a bowl whisk together the beef broth and french onion soup.
  • Stir in the rice mixture.
  • Spread rice mixture into prepared casserole.
  • Dot with butter slices.
  • Cover.
  • Bake 50 minutes.

CHEESY ARTICHOKE CHICKEN

CHEESY ARTICHOKE CHICKEN
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/4 inch thickness
1/2 cup chopped and drained marinated artichoke hearts

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Stir together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, two thirds of the artichoke pieces and half of the tarragon, thyme and parsley.
  • Melt butter and stir together with the crushed crackers and half of the remaining thyme, tarragon and parsley. Set aside.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Sprinkle half of the cracker crumb mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on top of the crackers crumbs.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture on top of the chicken breasts.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cracker crumbs over the cheese mixture.
  • Loosely tent with foil and bake 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until chicken is cooked through.
  • Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle remaining chopped herbs and serve immediately.

RED RICE & BEANS

You know how red beans and rice is a big thing in the south? Yeah, well I HATE red beans so we’re having red rice and beans 😀

RED RICE & BEANS – serves 6 adapted from Jamie Oliver
2 carrots, peeled and FINELY diced
2 LARGE shallots, FINELY diced
2 red + 2 yellow + 2 orange mini peppers (capsicums), de-seeded and FINELY diced
Avocado oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
28 ounce can QUALITY crushed tomatoes
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 1/4 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
14 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated or quartered small balls (optional)
5 LARGE basil leaves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add carrots, shallots, garlic and peppers, stirring until softened and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool.
  • Add the tomatoes into a saute’ pan over medium heat.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Whisk in bone broth and basil.
  • Add rice and bring to a quick boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in beans during last 5 minutes.
  • Top with minced basil leaves and mozzarella.

5 CHEESE PASTA

5 CHEESE PASTA adapted from Red Drummond serves 8

1 pound fusilli or similar type pasta
6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH thyme
1 large shallot, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup W
hite Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
FRESH ground black pepper
1 cup mozzarella balls, halved
3 green onions, sliced thin

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the fusilli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain and set aside.
  • Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove to a paper towel-lined plate and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the skillet.
  • Add the thyme, shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the cream and heat until bubbly, 30 seconds.
  • Gradually add the Fontina, cheddar, Romano and Gruyère in handfuls, letting each combine with the cream before adding the next.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss everything together, thinning with the reserved pasta water if needed.
  • Divide the pasta into lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray individual gratin dishes or 1 baking dish.
  • Place casserole on a baking sheet.
  • Divide the mozzarella pearls over the top of the pasta.
  • Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to broil.
  • Broil 3-4 minutes on the center rack until the mozzarella pearls are brown and the pasta is bubbling.
  • Remove and garnish with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions.

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING Serves 4

4 LARGE tomatoes
2 cups minced broccoli florets
¼ cup FINELY shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons FINELY minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH basil
Juice from 1 LARGE lemon

FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut tomatoes in half crosswise.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out pulp.
  • Chop tomato pulp, place in medium bowl and add broccoli, cheeses, garlic, onion, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt then evenly fill with stuffing mixture.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and heated through.

NOTES & HINTS:

  • Tomatoes can be assembled a day ahead, covered and stored on a baking sheet in refrigerator.
  • A grapefruit spoon with serrated edges works well for cleaning out the tomatoes from their pulp.

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS 4-6 servings

This is a super simple weeknight meal – it can even be prepared in advance and be all the better for it as the flavors meld to make deep and rich sauce!

So why are they called “PORCUPINE”? As the meatballs bake in the incredible sauce and the rice bakes it plumps up and starts sticking out the sides just like porcupine quills. 😀

1 pound QUALITY 80/20 ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons avocado oil
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
1/4 cup jalapeno ketchup

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Use your hands to mix together the ground beef, egg, onion, rice, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Roll the meat mixture into 24 golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Heat the avocado oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
    Once shimmering, add the meatballs and cooking 1-2 minutes  on each side until lightly browned all over.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Whisk together the tomato puree, ketchup, remaining Italian seasoning, remaining garlic, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir into pan, simmering until the  sauce is WELL combined and meatballs are WELL coated.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake 45-60 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink, the rice is tender and poking out and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  • Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve.

HAMBURGER HASH

Toss out the hamburger helper and make this instead. Another tasty one pot meal full of flavor and texture that’s quick and easy for classic comfort food weeknight family meal. The beauty of this recipe is that it is super easy to adjust the servings. I’m making most recipes for 2 these days, but just double or triple up and feed 4-6 in a jif.

HAMBURGER HASH – serves 2 adapted from SpaceShips and Laser Beams
Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 35 mins

1 SMALL russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1 small turnip or rutabaga, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
2 teaspoons avocado oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Garden Gourmet Italian seasoning (or 2 teaspoons dried)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup beef broth

1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Boil potatoes 3-5 minutes until tender, BUT NOT too soft.
  • Drain and set potatoes aside.
  • In a large nonstick or greased skillet, over high heat, cook ground beef until browned. Drain off fat. Set cooked beef aside.
  • 
Using the same skillet over medium heat avocado oil.
  • Add onion, potatoes, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat potatoes and onions in seasoning, cooking 10-15 minutes and stirring often until potatoes and onions have started to brown and crisp.
  • Fold ground beef back to the skillet, stirring well to mix.
  • Add broth and simmer until broth is mostly absorbed.
  • Add cheese, stirring until well mixed and melted.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot. 


NOTES

  • ALWAYS start your potatoes in cold water. Adding them directly to boiling water will immediately cook the outsides while the insides will take longer. Use a fork to gently pierce the potatoes while they are boiling. When the fork will pierce the potato easily but not break it apart, your potatoes are ready.
  • If using dried herbs, use a mortar and pestle or rub them between your clean dry palms to break them up and revive their flavor essence before adding them to your recipe.

TEX MEX CHICKEN POT PIES for 2

TEX MEX CHICKEN POT PIES yields 2-3 individual pot pies

ACTIVE PREP TIME 1 hourish
CHILL TIME 20-30 minutes
TOTAL TIME
2 hourish

2 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon Frank’s original Red Hot Sauce
1 can ROTEL original tomatoes, drained WELL
1 can white shoe peg corn, drained WELL
3 large green onions, diced 
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour, plus more for dusting 
1 cup homemade chicken broth 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 batch of your favorite pie crust – one recipe follows
All purpose flour, for dusting
1 LARGE egg, beaten 
1/4 cup grated cheese, Mexican blend or pepper jack cheese 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Lightly spray 2-3 individual cast iron or heavy ceramic baking dishes. I also often use my pampered chef 1 1/2 quart cast iron baker to make a single pot pie for 2.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions, corn and tomatoes.
  • Season with a pinch of FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, cooking 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir 1-2 minutes until the flour has coated the vegetables.
  • Add chicken broth, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the cream, cilantro and hot sauce.
  • Allow sauce to come to the boil and thicken 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add the chicken and stir to combine.
  • Add half the cheese stirring to combine.
  • Portion into baking dishes.
  • Roll out the Pie Crust on a lightly-floured surface.
  • Carefully lay the crusts over each baking dish, pressing gently into the sides to seal.
  • Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Cut 2 to 3 small slits in the top and bake until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool slightly 10 minutes before serving.

PERFECT PIE CRUST – makes one full batch of dough, but you’ll only need a third to one half of it for this recipe.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cut into small pieces 
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces 
1 LARGE egg 
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar 
5 tablespoons COLD Vodka or cold water, or more as needed 

  • Combine the flour, salt, butter and shortening in a large bowl.
  • Using a pastry cutter, gradually work it all together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Beat the egg with a fork and add it to the mixture along with the vinegar.
  • Add the cold water.
  • Stir it all together until it comes together, adding another tablespoon or two of water if it needs the moisture.
  • Form the mixture into 2 balls and wrap them in individual plastic bags.

NOTE:

  • I use vodka because it tends to make a flakier crust as it evaporates during the baking process.
  • If using immediately, chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling out. If freezing, remove them from the freezer 30 minutes before you are ready to use them.

YUCATAN CITRUS CHICKEN

This was originally a recipe from Hello Fresh that I have adjusted and adapted to our liking.

In my opinion tangy citrus is probably the most key ingredient in the Yucatan’s vibrant cuisine. Lemon and orange juices are often used to marinate pork, chicken and even beef as well as also used as pickling liquid for a tangy onion garnishes. When paired with zesty spices it adds a savory note to the tang as it tenderizes the meat and creates mouth watering results.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

  • In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, paprika, chili powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture reaches a drizzling consistency.
  • Set aside until needed.

QUICKLED ONIONS
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sugar

  • In a small microwave safe bowl toss the onion slices, lemon juice, sugar and pinch of salt together.
  • Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute until onions are softened.
  • Set aside until needed.
  • Drain before serving.

TEX MEX RICE
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup Jasmine Rice
1 cup water
LARGE pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon butter

  • In a small pan combine rice, water, spices, and a large pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15-18 minutes until rice is tender.
  • Keep covered off heat until ready to serve.

YUCATAN CITRUS CHICKEN
1 LARGE lemon, zested and juiced
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
1 Poblano pepper, halved, cored and thinly sliced into strips
¼ cup ROUGHLY chopped cilantro
3/4 pound chicken strips, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 tablespoons Tex-Mex Paste (2 “cubes” from recipe below)
1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl whisk together Tex-Mex paste, mandarin juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder.
  • Toss chicken in bowl with mixture.
  • Chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
  • Heat a drizzle of avocado oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add poblano and season with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add another drizzle of oil and remaining onion; season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring, until veggies are tender, 4-6 minutes.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in the same pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, 4-6 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with FRESH ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Stir in cooked veggies, then remove pan from heat.

ASSEMBLY

  • Fluff rice with a fork.
  • Stir in butter and season to taste with salt.
  • Divide rice between bowls and top with chicken and veggies, crema, and as much pickled onion as you like.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Serve with lemon or lime slices.

TEX MEX PASTE
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
4-5 teaspoons QUALITY cocoa
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons sea salt
3 teaspoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, mashed
2-3 ounces pureed Chipotle chilis
1 FULL bulb roasted garlic
3-4 teaspoons tomato paste
14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 white onion, FINELY diced

  • Puree diced onion and minced garlic in food processor.
  • Add chipotle chilis, roasted garlic and fire roasted tomatoes blending until smooth.
  • Add  vinegar and remaining ingredients blending until well mixed.
  • Portion into an ice cube tray or herb keeper for freezing to use at a later date.

BAYOU BLEND CASSEROLE – previously known as BLEND IN THE BAYOU and once known as SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE

I’m trying to clean up some old recipe posts. This was originally posted on March 24, 2010 and again on November 4, 2010. I then posted it for the Magazine Monday meme on March 24, 2011. I’m now changing it to a current date so I can update it. It was originally done tutorial style, but I was never happy with the pictures so am updating it a bit.

Magazine Mondays was hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice.  She HAD a great blog with some great recipes, but has since deleted it I guess. I really intended to stick with this recipe as it was originally written, really I did! But, as I read it more closely I felt some changes coming on. You know that feeling you get when you realize hubby won’t like ingredient 5 or your son would hate ingredient x, etc… The more I messed with the recipe the further it got from what they intended.

So here is their recipe as written:

BLEND IN THE BAYOU
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 – 6 ounce cans crab meat, drained and flaked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
4 1/2 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in remaining butter until tender.
  • Stir in the shrimp, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, garlic salt, pepper sauce, cayenne and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Combine crackers crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.

and here is the new recipe as made and enjoyed and savored as the plates were licked clean!

SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE inspired by Taste of Home’s Blend in the Bayou
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large bunch green onions, chopped

4 large mushrooms, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, cleaned of ribs and seeds, diced

1 – 8 ounce package crab meat, chopped & flaked
2 – 6 ounce cans white albacore tuna, drained and flaked
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 + teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
1/2 sleeve crushed butter-flavored crackers (I used Keebler herb and butter)
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese, soup and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until tender.
  • Stir in the tuna, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, salt, pepper sauce, chili powder and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle crackers over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more.

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD yield 8 servings

Simple ingredients make an elegant looking side dish for any picnic or BBQ. This is the perfect pasta salad for a quick bite or pick me up!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup micro greens of choice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
FRESH salt and pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the pesto and vinegar.
  • Toss pasta with pesto mix.

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes tossing to combine well.
  • Fold in micro greens, diced red pepper and Parmesan cheese. 
  • 
Chill in fridge until ready to eat.


NOTE: This makes a full meal just by adding some chopped salami, pepperoni or rotisserie chicken pieces.

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN adapted from TARA TEASPOON

Yukon Gold potatoes plus a couple sweet potatoes mixed with QUALITY FLAVORFUL  cheese, and lots of FRESH herbs come together to make a show stopping delicious side dish perfect for the holidays – any holiday, or Sunday family gathering meal!

SERVES 8-10      PREP TIME 20 mins     BAKE TIME 50-60 minutes

2 small sweet potatoes
8 small Yukon gold potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon FRESH dried parsley
1 teaspoon FRESH thyme
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sage
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary
8 ounces (2 cups grated) QUALITY Gruyère OR Fontina cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut potatoes into VERY thin slices.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, cheese, and onion, until everything is evenly mixed. Be careful not to break the thin potato slices.
  • Working with a small handful of potatoes at a time, gently line up coated slices in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish.
  • Whisk together the milk and broth. Pour over and around potatoes.
  • Cover pan with foil and seal around edges.
  • Bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil. Continue to bake 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender and golden. Test the potatoes with a thin knife to see if they are tender throughout.
  • Cool slightly, but serve hot.