Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chicken Parm Quesadillas


Fusion cuisine combines contrasting culinary traditions from various regions into a single dish. So, I am completely taking liberties with the term when I combine an Italian American dish, Chicken Parmesan, with a Tex-Mex bastardization of a Mexican dish, cheese quesadilla, to get Chicken Parm Quesadilla. I don’t care if it is middle America, this mess was delicious!

You can make your own chicken tenders, your own marinara sauce and/or your own Italian Seasoning. Or you can do what I did-grab tenders from your grocery store’s deli, pick up a jar of Rao’s and make this delectable dinner with minimal effort.

You can offer your guests extra warm sauce for dipping. If you want to make the dish vegetarian, use frozen eggplant cutlets instead of chicken. I like Dominex for the same reason that I like Rao’s sauce, they both use all natural ingredients. If you use eggplant, follow the package directions for heating in a skillet. Then use my recipe to make Eggplant Parm Quesadillas. Add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
 
Chicken Parm Quesadillas
Serves: 6 quesadillas (6-8 people probably)
Time:  Active time 10 minutes; Cook: 7 Minutes, quesadillas in 20 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a heavy skillet, paper towels, a silicone spatula, tongs, a sheet pan, and a pizza cutter (optional)

Ingredients:

  • Butter (probably around ½ stick which is ¼ cup)
  •  6-8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 ½ pounds prepared chicken tenders
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 6-½ teaspoons Italian seasoning

 1.      Slice the chicken tenders into bite sized pieces. Slice the fresh mozzarella into small chunks. Set aside.
2.      For each quesadilla, melt 2 teaspoons of butter over medium-high. When the butter is melted add a tortilla.
3.      Spread about 2 tablespoons or so of the marinara over the entire tortilla. Place a layer of cheese over the marinara. When the cheese is melty, put pieces of chicken on half the cheese. Sprinkle the entire quesadilla with Italian seasoning. Fold the side with just cheese over the chicken and mash down a little using the spatula If you need to you can use the tongs to push the filling back into the shell while mashing.
4.      You can keep the quesadillas warm on the sheet pan in the oven on the lowest setting while preparing the rest of the meal. Wipe out the pan between quesadillas.
5.      Use the pizza slicer to cut the quesadilla in to thirds. Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Southwest Meatballs


My husband loves all the foods that go into the Southwestern flavor profile: cilantro, Mexican oregano, cumin ground chilis, fresh chilis, onions, garlic, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, lemons, limes and oranges. I often make a dish using a flavor profile rather than an actual recipe. So, it was with these Southwestern Meatballs. I grabbed the Southwestern ingredients I had on hand and went for it! Success!

I did write down every ingredient I used. I timed everything. Then I made them again following my recipe so that you could replicate it.

You can serve the Southwestern Meatballs alone as an appetizer or over rice as a meal. I served them on a toasted baguette with Pepper Jack Cheese, grilled peppers, and pickled jalapeños.
 

Southwest Meatballs

Servings: 25 meatballs
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a knife and chopping board, a mixing bowl, un-powdered latex gloves, a cooking sheet, tongs, foil, a deep skillet
Time:  Active time 10 minutes; Cook: 30 minutes, meatballs 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 packages of taco seasoning mix (or 2 tablespoons of your own)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Cooking spray
    ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖

  1. Line the cooking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Wash and chop the cilantro. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  2. Put on the gloves. Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, milk, herbs and spices in the bowl and mix with your hands. Do not over mix the meat as it makes the meatballs chewy. Shape the mixture into meatballs. I use a ¼ cup measuring cup to ensure that my meatballs are all the same size. Place each meatball onto the foil lined sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. At the 20-minute mark, check the largest meatball to make sure they are cooked through.
  3. Place the salsa, tomato sauce and hot sauce in the skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the meatballs. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Even Dirtier Rice


Dirty Rice is one of my favorite side dishes. You can try that recipe some other time. This recipe is for Even Dirtier Rice. Th addition of shrimp, chicken and sausage makes this an entrée. Also, the technique for cooking rice is different. I think it adds more flavor.

The idea for Even Dirtier Rice blew in on a storm. Really. A hurricane is headed our way. I needed to use up the odds and ends in the fridge before the storm came. I had a chicken breast, 2 sausages and ½ pound of shrimp thawing out. They were going to be three meals for the two of us, but I was worried that we might be without power, so I cooked them all together. How to do that? We ate at an Italian restaurant the night before, so pasta was not a choice. The minute I thought of rice, I thought of Dirty Rice, but with all this extra stuff it is even dirtier.

This is very good if you choose to follow this recipe exactly. However, I always give suggestions for making this you own. You can cut up the holy trinity yourself. It is made up of equal parts of onion, green peppers and celery. Holy trinity creates the base of most Creole/Cajun cooking. I find with just the two of us eating, it is cheaper to buy it already sliced. If you have a large family and will use the extra pepper and celery, then do it yourself. Also, all the people I know who live in Louisiana use Tony Chachere’s Seasoning. Be aware that it is salty, so either get the low sodium or be careful. Know, too, that most andouille sausage is spicy. If you prefer milder dishes, you can substitute a smoked sausage like kielbasa.
 
Even Dirtier Rice
Servings: 4-5 cups of rice, serves 4-6
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a strainer (sieve,) a deep skillet with a lid, a large bowl, a slotted spoon, tongs and a fork
Time:  Active time 20 minutes; Cook: 30 minutes, rice in about 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil for the bottom of the pan
  • ½ pound medium shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
  • ½ pound chicken breast
  • ½ pound andouille sausage
  • 8 ounces holy trinity (can be found, sliced in the produce section)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (I use Better than Bullion)
  • 1¾ cups boiling water
  • Long-grain, white rice
  • 2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Rinse the rice in the sieve until the water runs clear. Roughly chop the chicken and slice the sausage. Set aside.
  2. Cover the bottom of the skillet in oil and heat on medium high. When the oil is shimmery, cook the shrimp until it is just beginning to turn opaque. You will finish cooking in the rice. Remove it to the large bowl. Add the chicken and sausage to the same pan. Remove when the chicken is lightly browned on both sides.
  3. Add the butter to the same skillet, when it has melted, add the veggies, Tony Chachere’s and rice. Stir until the rice begins to toast (about two minutes.) Add the boiling water and chicken base and stir until the base dissolves. Return the meat to the skillet. Bring to a boil.
  4. Turn the rice down to simmer and cover with the lid. Simmer for exactly 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, but do not remove the lid. Allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes. It is still cooking so it is important to leave it alone.
  5. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve warm.