Salsa Rice

So yesterday's recipe was Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Verde Sauce and I served it with this rice. I figured it would be nice if I actually posted the recipe I was talking about huh? Ya, I am a little slow but I get there.

I came up with this recipe as an answer to "What the heck am I going to serve with the enchiladas?" question. You see, as much as I adore Mexican food and just about everything that goes with it, I do not like Spanish/Mexican rice. Most of the times I have had it it seemed basically rice in tomato paste and a few spices. I am not knocking those of you that enjoy it. It just wasn't doing it for me ya know? I wanted something with a bit more heat and some veggies too. So the little wheels in my head started grinding and I got to work.

Don't let the mention of heat run you off if you don't like things very spicy. Jessi is not a fan of all things spicy like most of us here and she said it had just enough heat to it without making it hot so I was able to walk that fine line and keep everyone happy. YAY me!!!

This was a perfect addition to our Mexican Fiesta.

Food Star Friday - Aussie Pies Made Quick

Boy, when Rachael said made quick she really meant it! These "pies" are super easy and super quick to make. Again, not so many ingredients, so not a lot of slaving away to be done over the meal. I did add some minced garlic to the recipe, as per Jessi's request. I don't think there is much we cook with out onions and garlic in it!

The meat smelled great after cooking with the onions and garlic and then you add the brown sugar, tomato paste mixture and it went from great to YUM. I love it when the food smells so good you want to just eat it out of the pot! I do suggest that when you bake the pastry dough sheets that you do it on parchment paper or a very good nonstick cookie sheet. I had a bit of a "stickage" issue with mine.

I think this would be great if you added some spice to the ketchup on top too. I mean if you don't like things spicy by all means the regular ketchup is great. But for those that like it a bit hot I would add some of your favorite hot sauce to it. I use Frank's Red Hot a lot or Sriracha hot sauce (you can find it in the Asian isle at your market).

Last impressions on the recipe are that it tastes great, it is easy to make, and my kids gave it two thumbs up, oh so did Kevin too! I will say I think this makes a great lunch recipe more so than a dinner one though. But either way, bring your appetite!

Aussie Meat Pies, Made Quick

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted but kept chilled (recommended brand: Pepperidge Farms)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning as in McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • ketchup for garnish 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

Preheat the over to 400

With a sharp knife, cut the thawed but chilled puff pastry sheets into 4 square, 8 squares total, and arrange on cookie sheet. Season the squares with a little salt and pepper. Bake the puff pastry according to the package directions or until golden brown all over, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Let it get really hot so the meat will caramelize when it hits the pan. Add the EVOO, then the butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the beef and really work at breaking it up as it browns-get the bits all nice and tiny. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cook mixture a minute more. In a small bowl combine the Worcestershire sauce with the tomato paste and brown sugar, then whisk in the stock. Whisk the seasoned stock into the pan. Stir into the meat and combine. Season the meat with grill seasoning and reduce the heat to low.

When the pastry squares are ready, assemble the pies. Place a square of pastry in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with one quarter of the meat mixture and another square. Place a large dollop of ketchup in the center of the top pastry and sprinkle the "pies" with chives to garnish, then serve.

serves 4

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Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Verde Sauce

By now you know that I am a Mexican food fanatic. It can be a bit of an obsession really. Since I live in a very small town in Western Washington my choices in restaurants that serve Mexican food are slim to none, especially if you want it to be good Mexican food. When Jessi and I were in Tacoma last year looking for Halloween costumes, we came across a tiny little Mexican market that also served food. We just about got whiplash because I turned the car into the driveway so quickly! We were both so excited to find a new place to try out. Well, it turns out that we shouldn't have been so excited. But Jessi was happy because she was able to get some Mexican soda and candies she hadn't had since we moved from San Diego to Washington.

Due to this lack of satisfaction with the choices I have been faced with, and my continued cravings, I am constantly trying to duplicate the wonderful foods of my past. As I have mentioned in past postings, Kevin doesn't exactly share my enthusiasm for my obsession. He is not a fan of burrito's, carne asada, tacos, etc. However one dish he does like is enchiladas in green sauce (chili verde). So you know I jumped on that right away. I had a way to calm my craving and make a meal that I knew Kevin would enjoy.

I took a little help from premade salsa on this one. I do want to create my own chili verde but there were no tomatillos in the store so I went for the next best thing. I will tell you that the best brand of salsa verde I have found is Herdez.

If you can't find this one there are other very good ones out there. I just have a little love affair with this brand.

With traditional enchiladas you use corn tortillas and have to run them through hot oil to make them soft enough to roll without cracking. I have always done them this way (was taught by my son's babysitter who was from Mexico) but hated that it added so much fat to the dish. Imagine my happiness when I found corn and wheat combo tortillas. They were bigger than a regular corn tortilla and soft like a flour tortilla, but still had that corn flavor I love. If you can't find these combo tortillas I would just use the soft taco size flour tortillas to save the hassle and calories of the whole oil routine.

I used 10 x 13 pans and that worked out to make 8 enchiladas. I also made a pan of plain cheese enchiladas for my Dad and Jessi. 

After you cut the chicken breasts into strips, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with the seasoning mixture.

Once the chicken bakes for 15 minutes and cools, shred it with two forks.

Saute your onions, garlic, and jalapeno over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the peppers ae soft, about 5 minutes.

Mix the shredded chicken, sour cream, cheese, left over spice mixture, and onion mixture together in a medium bowl.

Spoon 1/8th of the mixture into a tortilla and roll it up, placing it in a 10 x 13 pan. Top enchiladas with the salsa verde and sprinkle with left over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Verde Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
8 small flour tortillas (corn blend if you can find them)
1 jar salsa verde

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Place chicken strips on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the chili powder mixture, reserving any unused mixture. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile in a medium skillet over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, jalapenos, and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Shred the cooled chicken strips with two forks and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the onion mixture, sour cream, 2 cups of cheese, and the remaining spice mixture. Stir to combine well.

Spoon 1/8th of the mixture into a tortilla and roll it up. Place the enchilada in a 10 x 13 pan and continue with the remaining 7 tortillas. Pour the salsa verde over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with Salsa Rice. 

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Ciabatta Cheese Steaks with the Works

Yes folks it is time for another Rachael Ray Wednesday! YAY!!!

The other day while I was getting some work done, I had Food Network playing in the background as usual. My son Seth came downstairs and sat next to me so we could chat a bit. It seemed like both of us at the same time looked up at the TV and saw the recipe that Rachael was making. Our mouths both began to drool. He looked at me and before he even got the words out of his mouth I said, "I have GOT to make that"!

It was the show entitled "Sofa Night" and Rachael was making the yummiest looking sandwich I think I have ever seen her make! I immediately grabbed a piece of paper and began writing down the ingredients so I could go to the store. Both of us were so excited. Yes I have created Jr Foodies folks, my kids get just as excited about food as I do I think. My daughter is taking the culinary program at her school. Isn't she adorable in her chef jacket?

Last night was the night planned for these amazing sandwiches. We were all so excited, I mean if you watch the show these sandwiches are seriously just mouth watering to watch be made. All day yesterday Seth would say, "When are you cooking dinner Mom?" and I would tell him the same thing every time he asked. SO you know as soon as I started cooking he was standing over my shoulder smelling and tasting. All I kept hearing was...

Seth - OMG Mom that smells so good
Seth - WOW those peppers are awesome
Seth - Ummm when is dinner going to be done?
Me - UGH get out of my kitchen!

The recipe calls for 2 loaves of ciabatta bread and 4 6 to 8 ounce steaks but I will tell you that I only used one 12 inch loaf and 1pound of steak and it was plenty for 3 people. I have no idea how 4 people would have eaten twice as much! These are very filling. The meat was tender, the cheese sauce was ooooooooh so creamy, and the peppers and onions were the perfect topper to make this seriously the BEST sandwich I have ever eaten. It is kind of a riff on a Philly Cheese Steak but with an Italian flair.

Since we like things spicy here, the next time I make these I am going to add more of the hot pepper rings and juice and probably some crushed red pepper flakes too. The provolone cheese is nice and salty so I think it would hold up well to some extra heat.

Ciabatta Cheese Steaks with the Works

4 flat iron steaks 6 to 8 ounces each
EVOO for coating plus 2 tablespoons
Grill seasoning
3 cubanelle peppers (Italian frying peppers) seeded and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion thinly sliced
1/4 hot pepper rings (sometimes called banana pepper rings), drained, NOT pepperoncini, sliced yellow or red hot peppers in a jar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg, freshly grated
2 cups grated provolone cheese
2 loaves ciabatta bread, 12 inches long

Leave the steaks on the counter, to take the chill off, while the grill or grill pan heats up to medium-high heat. Coat the steaks with EVOO and grill seasoning.

Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubanelle peppers, onions, and garlic and cook until very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add a splash of the hot pepper juice and the hot pepper rings, remove from heat.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees F

While the peppers cook put the steaks on the grill or grill pan, and cook for 10 minutes for rare, 2 minutes longer for each level of desired doneness, turning once about midway through cook time. Meanwhile heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Thicken the sauce for a couple of minutes and then reduce the heat to low.

WHen the steaks are cooked to desired doneness, remove to a cutting board and let rest there for 5 minutes. Thinly slice on an angle against the grain. While the meat rests place the bread in the oven to warm and stir the cheese into the sauce.

To serve split the bread lengthwise and spread the steak slices evenly across the bottom of the bread. Top the steak with the sauce and peppers and onions. Cover with bread tops and cut into 4 equal slices.

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Better than Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Who needs to make a trip to Cinnabon to pick up cinnamon rolls? Just whip up a batch of these and you will be your family's breakfast hero!

Spinach & Artichoke Salad

For the last weekend of summer I really wanted to pull out all the stops and celebrate the wonderful weather we had finally been having in Western Washington. I planned grilling burgers and corn and chicken. I wanted to  make some quick cool salads to beat the heat and accompany the grilled food.

My absolute favorite salad green is baby spinach! It could be the only green I ever eat again and I would be happy. Not that I wouldn't miss the others, it is just my favorite. Yikes now I am afraid to open my vegetable drawer in my kitchen. I may have offended a few things that are currently residing there.

Anyway, I jumped online and started searching for a new recipe to showcase my lovely greens. I found this one by Rachael Ray (I know shocker right? Bobbi is doing Rachael Ray??). It has another of my favorite ingredients, artichokes. I prefer my artichokes fresh steamed, but I do love canned artichoke hearts on pizza so I figured "Let's give it a try".

My decision was a good one. Kevin and I ate this salad up like it was candy! The kids...uuhhh not so much. But we already knew that would be the outcome. I tease them about someday having an adult pallet and appreciating something other than McDonald's and frozen burritos. Actually I can't complain that much. They have come a longggggggggg way in the last few years.

Spinach & Artichoke Salad

  • 3/4 pound, 4 to 5 cups, baby spinach, packed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

Combine spinach and artichokes. Place garlic, lemon zest and juice in small dish and add vinegar. Let it stand 5 minutes then whisk in extra-virgin olive oil. Pour oil and vinegar dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to your taste. Top the salad with cheese then serve.

Braunschweiger & Cheese Spread

Ok so I know there probably a lot of people that are thinking "braunschweiger? eewwwww" right? I think braunschweiger is like the black jelly beans. Either you love it or HATE it. But if you have any questions in your mind, give this spread a try.

This is a recipe that my Mom always made for parties. It is super easy. I mean 3 ingredients really. My Mom used to chill it after it was all combined and then roll it in a ball and cover it with dried parsley. That part I wasn't so happy with, so I didn't include that step. But it might be good rolled in fresh chopped parsley (I didn't think about that until we had already dived in).

I like this as a munchie food for football games. A few crackers and away you go.

Braunschweiger & Cheese Spread

8 ounces braunschweiger room 
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 red onion, finely chopped

In a medium bowl combine braunschweiger, cream cheese, and onion. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for a hour before serving. 

Spread on crackers. 

Pickled Beet Salad with Walnuts and Feta

I made this salad last week, but with Kevin's son Dylan visiting from Job Corps and Jessi being on leave as well, I had a FULL house. Sadly my posting duties suffered.

Kevin wasn't feeling well on Wednesday and of course the mother in me came out full force. I mean I had a full house of kids so I just kind of lumped him into the group. I was asking all the "Mom" questions.....What did you eat today?.....Did you drink enough water.......Are you running a temperature, let me feel your forehead. He quietly put up with all of my poking and prodding and then turned to me straight faced and said very matter of factly, "I think it is because I need RED MEAT!". I laughed, but realized I have been cooking a lot of chicken, I mean a LOT of chicken. Like I have said in the past, I could eat chicken and fish and leave red meat pretty much on the road side holding a side that says "Homeless, need a job".

Non the less, I felt guilty neglecting his needs, so off I went to the store to get a steak to calm his inner beast. We have a local meat market and I can tell you that once I found that I will never get steak at a chain grocery store again! Their meat it so much more flavorful it makes me actually want to eat steak (I am more of a filet girl if I eat read meat.....ya I am pricey).

Have I mentioned that Kevin is a "purist" when it comes to a lot of things? His steak is one of those things. Oh I have made chimichurris in the past, and he has eaten them, and LIKED them 
( like this one for instance Rib Eye Steaks with Chimichurri and Chili Pilaf ). But given a choice he will tell you that he prefers a bit of salt and pepper and toss that meat on the grill! So I knew no fancy stuff for this meal, at least NOT for the meat. I began searching my pantry and came upon my jar of pickled beets, yesssssssss. I had mentioned this salad last weekend and then never got around to making it, so this was my perfect opportunity. 

I was so excited to find out Kevin likes beets. My kids turn their noses up at them so I really haven't had beets since I was a kid, you know like 10 years ago or so hehehe. Now that I know he likes them I have visions of roasted beets playing in my head.

Kevin's son Dylan was not so sold on the whole beets thing. He was in the kitchen and I hear a voice..

Dylan - What's in this bowl?
Me - Salad
Dylan - Whats' in the's ummmm PINK
Kevin - JUST EAT IT!
Dylan - WOW this is pretty good

Bless his heart! Ms Picky Pants wouldn't even try it *sigh* I tried to explain that she was in culinary now and needed to broaden her horizons. Her response? That's what a sous chef is for! Oy Vey!!

Good Old Fashioned Deviled Eggs

Now that football season has finally started I am hooked on snacks and appetizers that can be made ahead and nibbled on throughout the game. I am always looking for new exciting recipes to try but you can never go wrong with the old standbys. This last Sunday we decided to go with some of the oldie but goodies. Actually Jessi and I decided on these Saturday night at about 11 PM! We were both craving them!! When you get a craving you gotta run with it right? Well I wasn't about to make them at 11 PM but we did make them first thing in the morning. EVERYBODY was happy we did.

Old Fashioned Deviled Eggs

  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper, for taste
  • Paprika, for garnishing

Halve eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.
Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture using cake decorating tip in a ziplock bag, or a spoon. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sammies with Spicy Coleslaw

I am not a big slow cooker person. I mean I love them and think they are a terrific kitchen tool. I just tend to find recipes that don't fit into the schedule I am keeping. Well, now that I work from home not so much, but before. It would call for the cooker to be switched from low to high 6 hours into the recipe and I would be across town somewhere wishing for a magic wand so I could get it done. I guess it was just my poor choice in recipes too. I do have another slow cooker recipe for Portuguese Stew so I am not by any means "anti-crock pot".

My mother used hers quite a bit. She would take a piece of meat, slather it in Cream of mushroom soup and cooked for hours. Not that it was that bad. The meat was usually a cheaper cut of meat, because we were pretty broke when I was growing up, and the slow cooker was a God send for those types of meat. And my Mom wasn't really a big fan of too many ingredients so the can soup was perfect for her. We usually had rice or noodles as a bed for whatever the crock pot surprise was for the night. I loved it as a kid, I really did. It wasn't until I was older, and went through the weight loss surgery, that I had to rethink the whole canned soup idea. #1 I wanted to control the amount of sodium and fat I was taking in and canned soups are NOTORIOUSLY high in sodium and #2 one of the side effects of my surgery is that my all time favorite canned soup, cream of mushroom, makes me sick as a dog. It was sad to see one of my comfort food removed from my go to feel good list *sigh*. I am trying very hard to come up with a homemade  version of my childhood favorite so hopefully soon I will figure it out!

Oops, I got side tracked again didn't I? Sorry, my whole family suffers from ADD. I used to say "organizing an ADD family is like trying to herd cats on a flat bed truck" ya, it just doesn't happen. But let me try to reel myself back in enough to finish my story and get to the yummy recipes!

This idea came from three different areas to meet in the middle and create this wonderful finished meal. At first a friend of mine that goes by Running With the Devil(ed) Eggs on her Facebook page is having a recipe round up during football season. The last recipes we submitted were for appetizers. If you go to her Facebook page you will find them in her Discussions. Some great stuff in there! Anyway, this week was Crock Pot dishes. So that got my wheels turning. Then I watched the Food Network and watched Sunny Anderson, from Cooking for Real, do a slow cooked pork shoulder in the oven. Hhhhmmmm OK we can convert that to the slow cooker. Then for the final thought. I wanted to use my homemade BBQ sauce to add that perfect touch to the meal. I mean I worked hard on coming up with that recipe, I am going to sneak it into everything I can! It is a good thing everybody here likes it or I don't think they would be that happy with me hehehe.

So now I will stop my rambling (again) and give you the recipe. I did photos of the BBQ Pork Sammy and coleslaw separate just so you could see them. But I forgot to take a picture with the coleslaw on the sammy which is YYUUUUMMMMMYYYY! Kevin said it made the whole sandwich. I said "Hey, what about my BBQ sauce" he said "Oh ya, that too babe". LOL at least I know he liked it, and they were just as good the next day and day after that. I just suggest making a double batch of coleslaw so you will have enough to go with all the BBQ pork leftovers. 

Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli

I try to be a good girl but every now and then the little devil pops on my shoulder and whispers in my ear that she wants something rich and creamy and NOT low fat. I am obviously powerless when this happens because I immediately set out to find something to feed her evil craving. My daughter loves angel hair pasta so as soon as I told her I was thinking about doing a pasta with cream sauce she threw her vote in for angel hair. Now I am not a huge angel hair fan. I am more of a linguine girl but being the wonderful mother that I am I obliged her.

For my garlic fans out there, you will love this one. It calls for 6 cloves of garlic YUM! I really think it is darn near impossible for me to make something without garlic. I truly am addicted. Luckily my fellow housemates feel the same way or there would be trouble brewin'.

Mexican Lasagna

This is one of those recipes that I have had pretty much as long as I have been cooking. However, I am embarrassed to tell you how I first made it. If you have read my bio you know I admittedly did NOT cook well at all for many many years. I was the Hamburger Helper Queen! That is how this recipe came to be. My desire to "tweek" Hamburger Helper (hanging head in shame). I used packaged taco seasoning, cheeseburger macaroni Hamburger Helper, cheese, and tortillas and just layer them all up. Talk about carb overload!!! Macaroni AND tortillas? WOW

After I lost all of the weight and was just beginning to actually cook real food, my kids actually requested that old awful Hamburger Helper dish. I wanted to make it for them but NOT the old way so that is when I came up with this. I got rid of the packaged taco seasoning to try to cut down some sodium. Of course dropped the Hamburger Helper with the macaroni, added some veggies and low fat cheese, and felt a bit better about serving this to my family.

What is funny is that Kevin and I have been together for 3 1/2 years now and I had never made this for him before last night. I couldn't believe it. I guess it is just that I have been trying so hard to work on new recipes with lots of "flash" and have left some of my kids comfort food recipes on the back burner so to speak. This recipe is a fun simple meal that my kids will request for birthdays over and over. No steaks, roasts, shrimp on a skewer, fish en papillote for them, they want chili mac or Mexican lasagna!

Rib Eye Steaks with Chimichurri and Chili Pilaf

Boy, when I ran across this recipe I knew immediately I wanted to make it. It called for New York strip steaks so you KNOW if I was cooking for Kevin they HAD to be changed to rib eyes. And they can't be just ANY rib eyes, OH nooooooo. They have to be thick, super marbled, and bone in. Boy he is an expensive pet! Funny, my  Dad used to say that about me.

I love chimichurris. They add so much flavor to a steak and if you aren't a steak purist, like Kevin, that is a welcome change. I like steak, don't get me wrong, but I just don't loooooooove steak.

The Chili Pilaf is such a nice side dish for this recipe too. I guess you can tell I really liked this meal. It was one of those I told myself, Yup I am going to make this again! As Jessi said....that steak was Hella Bomb!!!

Rib Eye Steaks with Chimichurri and Chili Pilaf

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup orzo pasta
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice
1/4 cup pimientos, drained and well chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
7 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
6 sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves stripped
Grated peel of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 rib eye steaks at room temp

Preheat a grill pan or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring until toasted golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, rice, pimientos, chili powder and paprika and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

While pilaf is working, using a food processor, pulse the vinegar, shallot, garlic, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and lemon peel until finely chopped, scrapping down the food processor as needed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Cook on the grill pan turning once, for 8 minutes for rare. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then serve with pilaf and chimichurri.

Red Skin Potato Salad

You can't think about BBQing without thinking of potato salad, well at least I can't. I love potato salad pretty much any way. I love the southern mustard style, German style, just give me a potato and I am pretty much a happy camper.

Through the years in my family there was always the debate about mayo VS vinegar potato salad. Now days we know that mayo salads are not good for picnics and then we all know that mayo contains tons of calories. But that just can't stop me from loving mayo based potato salad. I use low fat or fat free mayo now to try to save some calories, but if we are eating at home and I am making potato salad, out comes the mayo in a heart beat!

I was making some chicken that had a vinegar garlic sauce so I thought that a vinegar based potato salad would go well along side of it. I was sad to think that my beloved mayo would be left waiting in the wings for this recipe but thought it would be best. Then I found this recipe! I was a happy girl all over again. Vinegar AND mayo? Hot dog!! Well hot chicken in this case.....but you know what I mean.

This recipe is adapted from Robert Irvine's recipe from potato salad on one of his Dinner Impossible shows. I liked the idea of it but I just tweaked the ingredients a small bit. It was a huge hit this weekend! We ate it Saturday AND Monday. I love it when the food is so good there are no leftovers! I seriously thought someone was going to lick the bowl clean, that is how much we all loved this recipe!

Red Skin Potato Salad

2 pounds small red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 8 pieces of thick cut, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup low fat or fat free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 6 green onions, chopped in 1/4-inch segments
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Place potatoes in cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to medium, letting them cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. In a skillet, cook bacon on medium heat until crispy. Place bacon on a paper towel and discard the grease. Drain the potatoes, but DO NOT rinse them under cold water. Rather let them cool for about 6 to 8 minutes on a sheet pan. In a small bowl combine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, onion, sugar, and salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and sprinkle bacon and hard boiled eggs over them. Then fold mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes and serve at room temperature.

Food Star Friday - Garlic Vinegar Chicken

I was watching Food Network last week trying to get ideas for Food Star Friday when Guy's Big Bite came on and I decided to give it a watch. I love Guy's energy, but sometimes he can be a little too over the top for me if it has been one of "those" days. You know those days that you  have been dealing with a lot of things all at once. The kids, significant other, DOGS, yes even my fur babies get on my nerves from time to time. So, where was I? Oh yes, Food Network, Guy's Big Bite......gotcha! OK so yes sometimes I can't deal with his energy and volume but even though it had been a stressful day, what he was cooking looked incredible.

I love chicken, to the point that it can drive everyone else I live with crazy. There have been comments about how they think they are going to sprout feathers, or possibly start laying eggs. That's when I know I have to toss some red meat to the restless beasts.

This recipe has TONS of garlic, which is another thing I love. OK so we have chicken thighs, which if you have been with me for awhile you know it is my favorite part of the bird, and 3/4 cups garlic!! WOW this I had to try!

Now it comes time to do the prep and Kevin comes to help me like always.

Kevin - What can I do to help you babe?
Me - Well I have to slice onions and peppers, Oh you could chop the garlic for me.
Kevin - (going to the garlic and onion bowl) OK how many cloves do you need?
Me - Ummmm well I am not sure.
Kevin - What do you mean you aren't sure? What does it say on the recipe?
Me - It says I need 3/4 cups of garlic.
Kevin - HOLY SH*T!!

Ya I don't know that he was as excited about the garlic as I was. But after it was all ready to go anyone that had any reservations about it being chicken AGAIN, or how much  garlic was in it, or the vinegar part ppfffttttttt they love it!!

I will say I changed things a bit here and there but not by much. Mostly it calls for you to reserve the poaching liquid, but not the peppers and onions that were cooked in it. Am I going to waste onions and garlic? HECK NO! I just piled some up on the plate as a bed for the chicken and it was YUMMY! So enough of my yapping......on to the recipe.....

I cooked the onions and peppers down until they started to become translucent and then popped the chicken in to lightly brown .

IN goes the beer and the chicken stock and away we poach.

After it cooled and I got it all covered in the garlic paste it goes back into the pan you caramelized your garlic in. Does that look good or what?? You just lightly brown it on both sides. Soooo easy.

And WALA some chicken even the people that aren't too thrilled with chicken will love. Give it a try!

Garlic Vinegar Chicken

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, julienned
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, cleaned and julienned
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup minced garlic, divided
  • 8 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, sliced

In large saute pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil, onions, chiles and saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Add chicken thighs and lightly brown. Add 1/4 cup garlic and saute. Deglaze with beer and chicken stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is 3/4 of the way cooked. Remove chicken from saute pan, and let cool, reserve pan and braising broth.

In medium saute pan heat another 2 tablespoons olive oil and lightly caramelize remaining 1/2 cup garlic. When done, remove from heat, and let cool.

In medium mixing bowl, combine, flour, salt and pepper, oregano, paprika, and chili powder. Combine thoroughly, add cooked garlic and mix into a paste.

Take cooled, cooked chicken and press paste on to the chicken. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in garlic pan, and gently place chicken in the pan. Lightly brown chicken on both sides.

Simmer reserved braising broth and add red wine vinegar. When chicken is cooked on both sides, pour vinegar broth over chicken and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve pile some of the onion and peppers mixture on a plate and top with chicken. Spoon some of the sauce over the top and garnish with green onions.


What do you think of this recipe? How do you feel about garlic and chicken?

Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwiches

This week was one of those weeks that I was determined to use items I already had in the house. I told myself I could shop for fresh produce but everything else needed to be out of my freezer, fridge, or pantry. It gives me a challenge and keeps my productive juices flowing. Of course the family wonders sometime what they are going to get. But 9 times out of 10 they like what I present them with so they just need to sshhhhhhh.

I had a package of chicken breasts and the wheels in my head started cranking. One of the first things that came to mind was Chicken Cordon Blue. We all love it here so no worries with that. However, with the heat we have been having I really wanted to keep the cooking to a minimum. So the search began again. What could I do with these two lonely chicken breasts? I started to think maybe just making sandwiches was the way to go and then it hit me. Why not make a Chicken Cordon Blue sandwich? Hhhmmmmm OK so chicken forrest cheese.....check bread bread bread AHA a loaf of ciabatta bread BINGO I had it. I knew what I wanted to make

So the Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich was born. Because the cibatta bread was so thin I decided to do them open faced. I wanted to make a tarragon Dijon mayo to go with them but alas not tarragon in the house so I had to settle for just a Dijon mayo. But they were good with just that. Jessi, Kevin and I devoured them as soon as they were remotely cool enough to be eaten! That is why no picture on a plate. They went from the baking sheet straight into our tummies! Jessi just kept saying OMG Mom these are sooooo good. She is in the culinary program at Job Corps and told me she was going to tell her trade boss that he  needed to make these. I love it when a plan comes together!!

Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwiches

2 good sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 slices of deli style black forest  ham
8 slices of Swiss cheese cut in half (I did them in triangles)
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 loaf ciabatta bread
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut chicken breasts in half (like a book) and then cut the halves in half, giving you 8 chicken tender sized pieces. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Combine the mayo and Dijon mustard together in a small bowl. (this is where I Would have added a tablespoon of chopped tarragon leaves).

Slice the ciabatta bread giving you 8 slices. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Bake the bread slices in the oven just until crispy, approx 5 minutes (times vary). When bread comes out you can rub it with a clove of garlic if you like garlic. Spread a thin layer of the Dijon mayo mixture on the bread.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan and cook the chicken until done, 2 or 3 minutes per side. Place cooked chicken tenders on the bread slices. In the pan that you cooked the chicken heat the ham slices just enough to warm them. Then place them on top of the chicken. Top each sandwich with two of the cheese triangles. Put the sandwiches into the oven and heat them until the cheese melts and the meat is heated through. Sprinkle hot sandwiches with a few chopped thyme leaves (optional). Serve warm and enjoy!