Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chicken and Bacon Nacho Mac and Cheese

I was in the mood for a big plate of Nachos for today's football game(GO SEAHAWKS!) but I didn't have chips and didn't want to make corn tortillas so I decided to make it  mac and cheese nachos.

8 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
5-6 slices bacon, cooked and sliced small

16 oz pasta, cooked al dente


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour OR 3 TB corn or potato starch
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup beer
1 recipe or commercial packet taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese(cheddar, pepper jack, mexican blend, any kind or mix you like)
1-4 oz can diced green chilies
(If I had it I would have added 1/2 cup chopped red bell too)


1 cup tomato salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Melt butter in a deep sauce pan, add flour and whisk smooth. IF using starch whisk it directly into the cold milk.
Add milk to the butter and add beer, stir until smooth and thickened.

Add taco seasoning and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Add green chilies and cooked chicken and bacon. (and red peppers if you like!)

Stir well then add to cooked pasta, toss to coat well.

Pour into a large casserole dish.

Cover with foil and bake at 350  for 30 minutes

Mix salsa with sour cream, uncover the macaroni and spread salsa mix evenly over the pasta.... sprinkle with green onions and more cheese if desired.

Bake 15 minutes more until hot and bubbly.

Individuals can add more hot pepper or other nacho toppings as desired(my husband suggested olives)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mexican Cream of Tomato Soup

I wanted something to pair with my Mexican Chicken Waffle Sandwiches....what goes better with a good sandwich than tomato soup? So I took that and ran with it!

2 cups peeled diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB special dark baking cocoa
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk or heavy cream (heavy cream is much better but milk is fine to make it lower fat)

Combine all ingredients except baking soda and milk in a saucepan, set over medium heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes, onion and bell peppers are tender.

Run an immersion blender through it to a puree.

Add in  baking soda then pour in  milk or heavy cream.

 Stir well and serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Mexican Chicken Waffle Sandwiches

I really like the savory waffle recipe I used in my Waffle French Dips. I decided to adapt it for a Mexican flavor. I served it with Mexican Cream of Tomato Soup.

1 cup water
1/2 cup polenta(coarse cornmeal works fine too) 
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter 
1 cup milk 
1 egg

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch 
3 TB tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

OR sub the above 4 ingredients with 1 cup all purpose flour 

1 tsp baking powder 
1 TB dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup roasted, peeled and diced and Anaheim Peppers
 OR 4 oz can diced green chilies

In a pot heat water to boiling, add polenta and stir vigorously until thick.
Add, garlic and butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add milk. 
Set aside 

In another bowl combine the flour mixtures and seasonings. 
Add egg to milk and beat well then carefully mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold in peppers.

Cook according to your waffle maker instructions.

1 lb boneless chicken (breasts or thighs are great!)
3 TB olive oil
1 TB chili powder
1/2 TB oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375
In a roasting pan place oil , then add chicken and turn to coat. Sprinkle on the seasonings and toss together well.

Roast for 25-35 minutes(depending on thickness of the pieces) until an internal temp of 165 is reached.

Remove from oven and allow to cool until easy to handle.....shred well and set aside

Remaining ingredients:
Cheese(I used pepper-jack)
Re-fried Beans(homemade or canned)
Sour Cream
(any taco topping would work)

Spread a decent amount of refried beans on one waffle.

Add chicken and cheese, place under a broiler and broil until heated through and cheese is melted.

Dress with remaining ingredients as desired.

(toast the top waffle in the toast while you are waiting or stick them in the hot oven to heat, just watch they don't burn)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake with Creamy Pomegranate Topping

No words.... just 

No progress picture because I had TONS of other cooking and baking going for Turkey Day.

1 1/2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
3 TB brown sugar
5 TB  melted butter

24 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree(approx 1-15 oz can)
1/4 cup bourbon
1 TB vanilla extract
1 TB cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
6 eggs

1 cup sour cream
2 TB sugar
2 TB bourbon
1/2 TB cornstarch
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 325

Combine gingersnap crumbs with hazelnuts( I do this all in a food processor, it makes it easier in my opinion) and sugar. Slowly add melted butter and pulse until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Press firmly into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Set a deep pan of water in the oven on a lower rack to begin steam build up.

Filling (again I do this in a food processor, but you can use a mixer or by hand if you must)

Beat the cream cheese with sugars until very creamy. Add in pumpkin puree, bourbon, vanilla, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Beat until well combined and not lumpy.

1 at a time beat in the eggs beating each until just combined. Don't over beat after adding eggs!

Pour into cooled crust.

Place pan on rack above the pan of water. Bake for 60 minutes( plus or minus) until puffy and just set in the middle.

Remove from oven and with a thin knife carefully slice around the edges(to prevent cracking)

Combine sour cream, sugar, bourbon, cornstarch and pomegranate seeds. Mix well.
Spread over the cake and return to oven for 10-15 minutes until topping is bubbly and lightly browning.

Remove from cake, chill completely in the fridge before removing spring form.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Greek Chicken Enchiladas

My 7 year old suggested Lemon Chicken Enchiladas. I was looking around for some ideas and I decided to keep with the lemon-y suggestion and take it a bit further with a Greek Flair. I  got a red hot deal on chicken legs so I wanted to start with those. You could use breast or any pieces you like.

16 oz plain Greek yogurt*
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 TB parsley, chopped (fresh is best, but dried is fine too)

Combine all ingredients and allow to mingle for at least 2 hours.

*dont have "Greek" yogurt on hand? Strain regular plain yogurt through a coffee filter for several hours until nice and thick. Stir well. It's not exactly the same, but it is a reasonable substitute

5 chicken legs (about 1.5lbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 medium lemon
zest of 1 medium lemon
1 TB dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350
Place legs(I skinned mine, you can leave it on if you like) in a roasting pan or dish, drizzle with olive oil , lemon juice and sprinkle with zest and seasonings.
Bake for 20 minutes, flip chicken and baste well.
Bake an additional 20 minutes until cooked through, min temp of 165

Remove from pan and allow to cool until easy to handle.

Pull all the meat off the bones and shred well.

Remaining ingredients:

1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup sweet onion
1 TB fresh lemon juice
Feta Cheese
banana peppers

12 corn tortillas
oil for frying

Combine shredded chicken with the broccoli florets, onion and lemon juice, add in 1/3-1/2 cup of the yogurt sauce and mix well. Set aside

(Preheat oven to 350 if you made your chicken earlier)

In a deep wide pan heat a few TB of oil. One at a time fry corn tortillas 3-4 seconds per side. Add more oil only as necessary, drain tortillas on paper towels and cover to keep warm.

Take the warm tortillas and add a few TB of filling, a sprinkle of feta and a few banana peppers. Carefully roll up and place seam side down in a greased baking dish.

Repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings.

When you have finished rolling, pour/spread remaining yogurt sauce over the top. Sprinkle generously with more feta. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more.

Allow to set for 10 minutes before digging it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hawaiian Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

I different twist on plain old Ham and Scalloped Potatoes.

20 oz crushed pineapple, drained well(2 cups fresh would be better, I couldnt find a decent one)
1 cup diced ham
4-6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4-6 potatoes,sliced thin(I leave the skin, you can peel if you like)
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped fine
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

3 TB butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour OR 2 TB Potato Starch
2 cups milk
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 TB fresh chives, chopped
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste

In a slow cooker layer potatoes, onion, green pepper, bacon, ham and drained pineapple. Toss gently.

Melt butter in a sauce pan, add garlic and cook until tender and fragrant.

If using flour add it straight to the butter mixture and stir until smooth, then add milk
If using potato starch first whisk it into the cold milk, then add to the garlic mixture
(Corn Starch is an ok substitute for potato starch but it doesnt hold up the thickness quite as well with the lengthy slow cooker cook time)

Cook over medium heat until thickened

Add cheeses and cook , stirring well until they are fully melted. Add Chives, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Mix well

Pour Cheese mixture over the potato mixture. DO NOT STIR.

Cook on low 6-8 hours, high 4-6 until the potatoes are tender. Stir gently.

Scoop into a dish and top with a few fresh chives.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Faux Pho Tacos

I wanted to do tacos but with a not so typical flair. For some reason Vietnamese Pho jumped into my head. I figured I could slow cook the beef with the Pho-type seasonings and shred it up and make Pho Tacos!

1lb beef roast(cut of your choice)
1 cup beef broth(if you can get/make oxtail broth that is a GREAT way to make it even more Pho Authentic)
1 onion, peeled and chopped roughly
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 TB coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1-3 inch stick cinnamon( or 1/2 tsp ground)
5 whole cloves(or 1/2 tsp ground)
3 star anise (1 tsp ground)
2 TB fish sauce*
* soy sauce is an acceptable substitute, but fish sauce if you have it!

Heat broiler to high and on a small sheet char your ginger and onion. It should be nicely toasted.

Combine all the above ingredients in a slow cooker , cook on low 6-8 or high 4-6 until the meat is a minimum of 165.

Remove meat from cooker

Shred well when cool enough to handle.

Strain out the solids from the liquid in the slow cooker....

return shredded meat to the liquid and simmer 30 minutes more.

Scoop meat into taco shells(store bought, or homemade) as desired and top with preferred toppings:

Bean Sprouts
Chile Peppers of choice(thai, jalapenos, serranos....etc)
Sriracha Sauce
Hosin Sauce
Fresh Lime
Green Onions

Friday, November 1, 2013

Polenta and Cheese Waffle French Dips

Savory waffles made into a delicious french dip sandwich....YUM!

I found this recipe and modified it slightly

1 cup water
1/2 cup polenta(coarse cornmeal works fine too)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
3 TB tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

OR sub the above 4 ingredients with 1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

3/4 cup smoked provolone cheese, shredded
3 TB fresh chives

In a pot heat water to boiling, add polenta and stir vigorously until thick. Add butter and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add milk. Set aside

In another bowl combine the flour mixtures and seasonings.

Add egg to milk and beat well then carefully mix the wet ingredients into the dry.

Gently fold in cheese and chives

Cook according to your waffle maker instructions.

Once you have your waffles you can assemble your sandwiches

I made 10 waffles for 5 sandwiches with the above recipe your amounts for roast beef will vary due to personal preference so I didn't bother with measurements

Thin Sliced Roast Beef
Provolone Cheese
Even some Caramelized Onions if you like!!

Place all the ingredients on and heat through. I put mine on the reverse side of my waffle maker and made it like panini.  You can do it in the broiler or however you like
Serve with Au Jus!

You can use a premade Au Jus or if you would like a recipe here is a yummy one:

1 TB butter
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 TB fresh oregano, chopped
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 TB worcestshire sauce
2 TB red wine*
1 TB cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

* you can just set aside 2 TB of the beef broth if you dont want to use wine

In a pan heat butter over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until very soft. Add in the beef broth, Worcestershire and herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and herbs. Mix the red wine(or reserved broth) and cornstarch together , then add to the beef broth mixture. Heat gently and stir to slightly thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.