Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nasty Lasty Chicken Fingers

You know what these are. If you have ever moved and think you have packed everything and you go into the bathroom, open a drawer only to realize there is still more...these my friends are the nasty lasties. These are all of the things you want to walk away and forget about. The same phrase can also apply to the bottom of the bag of chips that are all crushed up. Don't act like you don't get annoyed. You always wonder, do I tip up the entire bag and pray they all gracefully make it into my mouth or do I just pitch the bag and move on with life? Well, when life hands you the nasty lasty chips, make potato chip chicken strips. Oh my! Your chicken tender world is about to be rocked so get ready to get your hands dirty and enjoy the nasty lasties!

3 Large chicken breast  cut into strips (this recipe fed 2 adults and 2 kids with a couple left over so adjust as needed- we got 12 strips total)By the way, I prefer to cut my own tenderloins from a breast, the meat is better and you don't get any gross fatty weird pieces)
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne or dash of Tabasco sauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 c crushed potato chips
1/3c honey
Kosher or sea salt

Set up a dredging station. In one bowl mix flour, spices and Tabasco. In second bowl, whisk eggs and water. In third bowl place potato chips. Be prepared to get your fingers messy.

In third bowl place potato chips. Be prepared to get your fingers messy.
Line a cookie sheet with foil (you don't have to but it makes clean up so much easier). Place a cooling wrack on the foil and spray with non-stick spray.(If you don't have a cooling wrack, it is not the end of the world but it allows for the chips to get crunchy on all sides while cooking)
Take chicken tenders one at a time and dip in flour, then in eggs, then in potato chips and place on cooling wrack on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all tenders are done.
The babies have been baptized in flour and are ready for their egg and nasty lasty bath.
Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes or until tenders are firm and crust is a light golden brown. Once they are out of the oven, do a heavy drizzle of honey across the tenders and a fairy dusting of kosher or sea salt.  And seriously, try not to eat the entire tray.
Enjoy Y'all!

Hunk of Burning Love

Yes, this post will have nothing to do with food (well, maybe) but it will explain why I have been away. My youngest muffin, Finley Knox celebrated his first birthday this past week. Because he quickly morphed from a small peanut into a big boy naturally I decided to go with a "Big Boy" theme for his party, as in the old school Shoney's restaurant. We had patty melts, french fries and cupcakes in diner flavors such as chocolate malt, banana split, caramel cream soda and my fav, the Elvis (banana cake, chocolate buttercream and a heavy drizzle of peanut butter, oh yeah) It was super fun. I am sharing with you a few of my favorite picts. Finley Muffin has stepped into the cupcake world and welcomed it with open arms. Enjoy!

Birthday Cake

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shake and Bake - Red Dirt Spice Mix

One of the things that has always puzzled me is that there is not a good spice blend for southwest style cooking. I mean, we have Cajun, bbq blends of all kinds, old bay, pretty much you name it and there is a spice blend. I finally decided to put together the typical spices that I use when making southwestern food and share with my cooking class and it was a hit. I will be famous for this blend one day, mark my word! :) But, I love you all so much I have decided to share it with you. Lucky dogs! This spice blend is great with beans, any kind of meat, sprinkled in a quesadilla, over popcorn, everything really. It is a great marinate, just rub this into the meat, squeeze a lime and a few drizzles of olive oil and let that all sit and soak up the love.

Red Dirt Spice Mix
1 palm full (approx 1 Tablespoon) Coriander
1 palm full (approx 1 Tablespoon) Cumin
1 palm full (approx 1 Tablespoon) Chili Powder
1/2 palm full garlic salt
1 heavy pinch Cayenne
Just mix this and put it in a small container, like a baby food jar and use as needed. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hot Pannini, Hot Pannini

I'm not gonna lie, the picture is terrible and doesn't do it justice. On that note, if any of you have a good camera you aren't using, feel free and pass along if you would like me to take better quality photos :) I don't know why but when it comes to dinner time I feel that we need a meat and three sides, that is the southern girl in me coming out. I know that breakfast for dinner is fun but I normally have a true dinner. But tonight I decided to spice things up a bit and made some Cuban sandwiches and they were good! These would really be great for a group as you can make them ahead and keep them warm in the oven. This was enough for two large sandwiches and one small so you can adjust as needed. Enjoy!

2-3 thinly sliced pork medalions per sandwhich (we had 6)
1/2 cup Alegro marinade
Juice of one lemon
Marinade the pork in this for at least 30 minutes then dump all into a pan and simmer for 25-30 minutes until pork becomes tender.

 For each sandwich you will need
2 Slices Sourdough bread (I love publix bread and slice it myself)
Spicy mustard spread on one side of bread
Mayo (I like Dukes!) spread on other side of bread
6-8 thin pickle slices
3 slices deli ham (I like Sweet Slice Ham by Boar's Head)
2 Cheese Slices (Swiss, Munster, Havarti)
2-3 Pork Medalions already cooked

Assemble sandwich. In heavy duty pan melt a bit of butter and get the pan pretty hot. Place sandwhich in hot butter and set a heavy pan on the top of your sandwich to help it cook evenly (Like a panini press, but I don't have one!) Cook 3-4 minutes on each side Slice in half and serve with plain potato chips.

Musical Fruit - Navy Beans

It is rather humorous that I am posting about beans twice within one week. Anyone that knows my family knows that they are not adventurous eaters, especially my husband. When I make beans I usually enjoy them...alone. No one else will even try them. My youngest muffin has even learned to say "ah oh" when he drops them one by one on the floor. Nice. But, with the cooler weather coming in I couldn't help myself but make some yummy navy beans. Typically navy beans are served in the form of soup, which you could alter this recipe a bit to do, but I decided to just go with a yummy side. And, just because I like you so much I will also include my recipe for cinnamon apples, don't mention it. In the picture you will notice it was a yummy southern meal of sharp cheddar bread, slow simmered ham, cinnamon apples and navy beans. Yum. A meal I will happily enjoy alone anytime!

Navy Beans (can easily be doubled)
1/2 bag of dry navy beans
4 cups water
Soak the above for 3-4 hours, overnight if possible.
Discard water then pout in 4 fresh cups of water
1 ham bone (for this, I like to buy the big ham steak. I cut away the bone which leaves me with three good size ham servings, enough for our family)
1/2 onion chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp better then bullion(chicken, ham, veggie, whatever you have)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 heavy pinch cayenne
2 tbsp olive oil
Let the above gently simmer for 3.5 hours on med low heat until beans become tender.
Makes 4 side servings

Cinnamon Apples- 4 side servings
4 large apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 c apple cider (I always have this on hand in the fall/winter months)
3 tbsp butter
pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
heavy pinch of nutmeg
heavy pinch of ground ginger
Let this gently simmer on med/low heat for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. We love this with ham and hashbrown casserole...or navy beans :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Last Supper - Chicken Enchiladas

One of the questions I was asked when applying for the FN show was what are my three favorite meals to make and one of the items on my list was my sour cream chicken enchiladas. I LOVE THEM! Oh, they make me so happy! I like to eat leftovers for breakfast the next day, they are THAT good. Oh my. If I had to pick the last meal that I could eat I would have to say this. They are the perfect blend of creamy, cheesy, spicy love that you can get in one pan. So alas, I will share this with you. If anyone needs me to come and do a taste testing to see if your flavors balance out alright let me know and I will be there. Your life will never be the same after you make these, I promise.

6 Chicken thighs- bone in, skin on (I promise, they give the best flavor and are cheap!) FYI each chicken thigh should yield enough chicken filling for 2-3 enchiladas
1 onion thinly sliced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 tsp better then bullion (can substitute 2 cup chicken stock in place of this and water, I never have that on hand!)
2 cups water
Place chicken heavy duty pan with tight fitting lid. Place chicken in pan and throw in remaining ingredients an let simmer, covered, for 25=30 minutes. Remove chicken from pan (DO NOT GET RID OF BROTH!), shred and place in a separate bowl.

3 Cups sour cream
2 cans WHOLE green chilies (open, thinly slice and chop yourself. Don't be lazy, just do it. pre-chopped chilies have parts of stem and nasty in it so buy them whole!!)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
heavy sprinkle of salt and pepper
1/2 c strained broth from cooked chicken
Combine all in separate bowl and set aside

3 cups pepper jack cheese shredded (or you can do a combo of white cheddar and pepper jack)- set aside 1/2 c for top
12-14 small flour tortillas

In the bottom of an 11x13 spread 3/4 c of sour cream mixture and be prepared to get dirty! In your left hand place one open tortilla and with your right hand sprinkle in some shredded chicken (about 1/ 4 c) and a big heavy pinch of cheese (about 2-3 Tbsp) Roll up tightly and place stem side down in pan on top of sour cream mixture. Repeat with remaining tortillas until you run out of goods. Once they are all lined up like a pretty chorus line slather the sour cream sauce on top and sprinkle on remaining cheese (you can always shred more if you are running low, cheese never hurt anything!) Place in 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted and it is lightly browned on top. Try to let it cool before digging in. This pairs great with my black bean mixture. Heaven. It's Heaven!

Hey Dumplin - Chicken and Dumplins

Last week was the first time the temperature felt remotely cool all summer. Last summer I was way pregnant and the we had a mild summer but this summer is a different story! For those of you that know me you know that I am so hot natured. If I could afford to I would set my thermostat at 60 and call it a day! But luckily we are getting closer to fall and some cool weather. Thank goodness! So, I decided to put on a big pot of chicken and dumplins to celebrate the weather. I grew up in a house that didn't have traditional dumplins because 1)my dad hate them and 2) we lived in Texas so in place of dumplins my mom would throw in thinly sliced tortillas at the last minute to puff up and serve as the dumplins. But, me being a new found southern girl, I LOVE dumplins!!! This makes enough for about 4-6 large bowls. This is the perfect ending to a long cool day!

4 large chicken thighs- bone in skin on (I promise, this is the best!)
6 cups chicken stock
1 large onion chopped
3 large carrots chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (freshly ground makes ALL of the difference!)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 stick butter

In a large stock pot add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on med heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and place skin side down to sear 5-6 minutes then turn and sear on back side 5-6 minutes. Once chicken has seared, add all remaining ingredients and let simmer 45 minutes on med/low heat. After 45 minutes remove chicken, shred off of the bone and throw back in the pot.

1 1/2 c flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
heavy pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/3 c milk

In separate bowl whisk together first 6 ingredients to blend. Add milk stirring as you pour until. Drop small teaspoons of dumpling batter (they really puff up!) in boiling and lightly stir as to not break up the dumplin. Let this mixture cook for 15 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, I like a LOT of black pepper so add salt and pepper as needed. Spoon up and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Bones about it - Saucy Spare Ribs

So, for years I have been wandering past the Boneless Countrystyle Beef Spare Ribs trying not to make eye contact with them for fear they would know that I would have no idea what to do when then when I got home. I mean, boneless ribs? I am a Texas girl. We like our meat, especially bbq ribs. I don't mind bones and getting sauced up to my elbows, that is part of the art of eating good food, right? Well, times are tight and while shopping the other day I decided to quickly throw in some country style ribs in my basket and flee before I changed my mind.
When I got home I pondered on what the heck to do when them. And then it came to me. And now life will never be the same. My first love will always be the real rib, but the boneless have now earned a place near and dear to my heart.

Saucy Spare Ribs
1 1/2 lb boneless countrystyle beef spare ribs
1 12oz can beer
1 1/2 cup chicken or beef stock
1 cup onion chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
heavy sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2

Place all ingredients except 1/2 and 1/2 in large heavy duty skillet or dutch oven with lid and let it come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil turn temp down to med-low and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 5-10 minutes before serving shred the meat with a fork and add in 1/2 and 1/2.
Serve over rice

Frijoles Negros - Black Beans

Oh black beans, let me count the ways I love you!
One of my favorite recipes that I shared with my cooking class is "Slow Cooked" Instant Black Beans. These beans taste like they have been simmering away all day when in reality I opened up a couple of cans, added some magic and ta-da!!

2 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 can mild Rotel drained
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves smashed
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar

Combine all in sauce pan and simmer 20 minutes. *Leftovers are good in quesadillas, on nachos, tostadas, etc.

Whoop Whoop - Red Velvet Whoppie Pies

Yesterday was a crazy day! Let me back track a bit. I few months ago I was asked to teach a cooking class for a fundraiser at church. I did it. I loved every minute of it. I can't wait to do it again! Before I taught that class I would have never been brave enough to do what I am about to tell you I did. The class was so fun for me and so soul satisfying for me that it made me realize that I have to continue to do what I love so that I can be with my babies because I know that is how I will continue to be blessed. I love feeding others. Whether it is a fancy shmancy cake or eggs and bacon I love feeding others. It makes me happy. It is what I was born to do.
So last week I noticed on craigslist that The Next Food Network Star was coming to Nashville and holding a casting call and I knew I had to be there, so I went. My dear friends at CMT have been telling me for about five years that I needed to try out and I always laughed about it. But, I finally decided to put on my big girl pants and go for it. It was the longest four hour wait! I was with them only three minutes. Three minutes?! Are you kidding me?!?! You can't even really notice what all someone is wearing in three minutes much less get a feeling of someones soul and passion. But, I did it. I am glad I did it. I will probably never hear another word about it but I did it.
So, I decided to reward myself last night with some Red Velvet Whoopie pies. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Whoopies
1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/3 C. oil
Combine all in a bowl. Drop by spoonfuls(hopefully you have one of those handy cookie scoops that make cookie making a breeze. If not, shame on you! Go get one at Michael's for 2.99) and lightly press down so they are flat circles. You should get 24-26. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until tops are cracked and cookie is set. It will still feel soft and that is what you want. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz. Cream Cheese at room temp
4 Tbp room temp butter
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract (I get mind in a big bottle from Mexico, don't be jealous!)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
In bowl of a standing mixer (or if you don't have one you can do this by hand) beat cream cheese and butter until combined. Add in Vanilla and add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it becomes thick. Scoop this mixture into a large ziplock bag and squeeze to one corner. Cut the corner of the ziplock bag and you have a piping bag! Pipe a big glob of cream cheese filling onto half of the cookies and place remaining cookies on top of glob and lightly press down.
Sit down and enjoy!

Which course is this?

I have many dreams, I just have not figured out how to make them reality. Maybe you are the same. Life has been full and fun and not at all what I expected. I remember walking across the stage at graduation and knowing that I had the whole world at my fingertips and I knew exactly where I wanted to jump in and begin. Then I got my first job, then met my husband...and now two kids later I know that there is so much more I want to do but I don't know how to get past all of the realities of everyday life. And so I go to my kitchen and cook. And Cook. And Cook.
And this my friends, is where the Yellow Rose Cafe begins. Welcome y'all!