Friday, July 31, 2015


So I have never met a jalapeno popper I haven't liked.  When I saw this recipe, I decided we must have it.  Also I have 2 jalapenos growing in my garden (we're up to a grand total of 4 since I planted in April and it is now the end of July).

We were going to make the crust, but I had to go to the grocery store for something else, and D hadn't left work, so I just grabbed a Boboli.

D commented it used a lot of cream cheese.  That was ok.  This "shit on bread"  (what I call pizza without red sauce) was awesome.  We'll definitely have again.


Photo by ALB

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Adapted from Damn Delicious

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 jalapeños, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1/4 cup semolina or yellow cornmeal (didn't use)
1 ball pizza dough, homemade or store-bought (used a original Boboli)
6 ounces cream cheese, softened (used reduced- fat)
1 1/2 cups grated jalapeño monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with olive oil.

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a small bowl, combine the jalapeños and shallot with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil.

Working on a surface that has been sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal, roll out the pizza dough into a 10-inch-diameter round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or pizza pan.

Spread the cream cheese evenly over the top, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with jalapeño monterey jack, jalapeños, shallots and bacon.

Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top (if using a Boboli, check on the bag how long to cook one).

Cut the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.

Orecchiette with Peas, Shrimp, and Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Considering I hate peas, I'm not sure how I came across this recipe and marked it to have.  But I did.  I asked D to replace the Peas with Broccoli, which he did.

I think it was easy to make. It tasted good.  The only issue was that we had was we were both still hungry after we ate it.  But overall we both would have again.  It was better cold than at room temperature.

Orecchiette with Peas, Shrimp, and Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

This herby pasta salad is perfect for a picnic or potluck gathering; double the recipe to serve a crowd. Medium shell-shaped pasta will also work in place of orecchiette.

Photo by ALB

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
Total time: 30 Minutes
Recipe Time
Hands-on: 30 Minutes
Total: 30 Minutes

8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
1 cup shelled green peas (about 1 pound unshelled green peas) or frozen green peas (used Broccoli)
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add peas and shrimp during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

2. Combine pasta mixture and radishes in a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Pour over pasta mixture, tossing to coat. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 340; Fat: 3.4 g; Sat fat: 0.4 g; Mono fat: 0.3 g; Poly fat: 1.5 g; Protein: 22.2 g; Carbohydrate: 54.7 g; Fiber: 4.7 g; Cholesterol: 86 mg; Iron: 4.1 mg; Sodium: 585 mg; Calcium: 84 mg

Cooking Light, JUNE 2011

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aaron Franklin's Pinto Beans

So I got this recipe from Homesick Texan's site. She mentioned peppery in her intro, but I kind of missed that part. I was too focused on beans and brisket. Also my friend Todd had gotten Aaron Franklin's Cookbook, so I figured if a personal friend and a blogger both got this book, and pretty much everyone says Aaron Franklin is the best BBQer of all time, well I should make these beans.

And I had every intention too. Then I had that Orange Creamsicle drink and a few beers and using sharp objects isn't a smart idea when I'm sober, so D prepped this on Saturday night.

We had planned on going to 3-4 different Barbecue Restaurants for lunch Sunday but Biscuits and Gravy were had (yes, I made biscuits), and then a nap was required, and so we settled on the quickest one, as D still had to make Carne Guisada.

So we ended up getting 1/2 pound of brisket at Grand Champion Barbecue (their pulled pork and brisket sandwiches were good, as well).

Anyway, back to the beans...D chopped up the meat, and there was a little over a cup, but he dumped it all into the beans.  And we waited for the Carne Guisada.

So the beans were spicy.  Immediately I thought because of the chili powder, but D said the pepper.  I thought about it and agreed.  So next time we make it we will back off on the pepper to 1/2 TBSP.

But the first 3 bites, before the heat started building were awesome!

Aaron Franklin's Pinto Beans

From Homesick Texan

Photo by ALB

1 pound dried pinto beans
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt*
1 tablespoon black pepper (next time, cutting back to 1/2 TBSP)
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped smoked brisket

Rinse the pinto beans and remove any rocks. Place the beans, onion, chili powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin in a large pot. Cover with 2 inches of water, stir until the spices are well distributed, and then soak the beans uncovered for 8 hours. Alternatively, you can bring the pot to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let them quick soak for 1 hour.

To cook the beans, add the brisket to the pot. (Do not drain the soaking liquid.) You want there to be at least an inch and a half of water above the beans, so add more water to the pot if needed. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down the heat down to low, cover the pot, and then gently simmer for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the cover and then continue to cook the beans until they’re tender, which will depend on the age of the beans. This can happen anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours.

If you want to make these in the slow cooker, after soaking, cook them covered on low for 6 hours, then remove the lid and continue to cook on low for 2 more hours.

Yield: 6 to 12 servings

If you're not using kosher salt but table salt or sea salt instead, reduce the amount of salt to 1 tablespoon, otherwise the beans may be too salty.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings: 8; Amount per Serving
Calories: 235; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 756 mg; Potassium: 111 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 37 g; Dietary Fiber: 10 g; Sugars: 2 g;  Protein: 18 g

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

This one...I'm not sure about.  I love chicken thighs, and I love cilantro.  But this was on the dry side.  And I don't mean the chicken was dry.  That part was actually really good.  It was the chutney.  It didn't really seem to fit.  I can't explain it.  It wasn't a horrible dish, and if I had to eat it again, I wouldn't be upset about it.  I just can't put my finger on it.

We had with Uncle Ben's Rice because we couldn't remember what vegetable we were supposed to have.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken thigh and about 1 1/2 tablespoons chutney)

Photo by ALB

3 tablespoons grated fresh onion
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
4 (6-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño pepper

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; stir in 2 tablespoons oil and 1 3/4 teaspoons cumin. Add chicken to bag, seal, and massage marinade into chicken. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

3. Remove chicken from bag. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side.

4. Combine cilantro, mint, onions, and jalapeño in a food processor. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth. Serve chicken topped with chutney.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 331; Fat: 24 g; Sat fat: 4.8 g; Mono fat: 11.8 g; Poly fat: 5.5 g; Protein: 24 g; Carbohydrate: 5 g; Fiber: 1 g; Cholesterol: 135 mg; Iron 2 mg Sodium: 332 mg; Calcium: 46 mg

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2014

Carne Guisada

I'm not sure why I haven't blogged about this one before.  I know the first time we had it was after Christmas in 2013, so that is around the time I received Homesick Texan's Cookbook.  And it was comfort food.  And it was good.

So D decided we needed to have it again. It turns out you don't have to wait until the winter.  You can have it when it is 95 degrees out too.

This is more of a weekend meal because of the 5 hour simmer time.   Everything breaks down into a spicy meat paste and it's really just something you should make.  We have it on tortillas with sour cream.

Carne Guisada

Adapted from Homesick Texan
Serves 8-10

Photo by ALB

3-4 pounds of chuck or bottom round beef, cut into 1-inch cubes (used 3 to figure out NI)
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
5 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 serrano peppers, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water
1 12 oz. bottle of dark Mexican beer such as Negro Modelo
1 tablespoon of flour (optional)

In a large pot or a Dutch oven, brown the beef on medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil, may have to do in batches.

Remove beef from pot, add the final 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and cook on medium heat the onions and chiles for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Throw in the browned beef, add the herbs, spices, water, tomatoes and beer and mix everything really well. Turn up the heat to high, bring the stew to a boil and then turn heat down to low and simmer for five hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, some of the meat will have turned to strings thus thickening the gravy.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Servings: 8; Amount Per Serving
Calories: 367; Total Fat: 20 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol 110: mg; Sodium: 259 mg; Potassium: 624 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 8 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 34 g

Orange Creamsicle Cocktails

So awhile back, I came into possession  of Valencia Orange Vodka made by Shady Fruit (meaning the bottle magically appeared on my kitchen counter,  and I didn't ask how it got there).  Now, D and I are big beer drinkers.  However, we don't drink a lot of liquor, and I do my best to skip wine because of that whole "swelled tongue/trouble breathing" thing that has happened all my life, not realizing that was called a food allergy. I thought everybody had those things happen when they drank wine.

Anyway, D and I have been talking about milkshakes, and I remembered I had pinned a Creamsicle Recipe so we could use the orange vodka.

A) For 1 serving, this was almost 1000 calories (so 2000 calories total)
B) I remember why I don't drink was gone in 60 seconds.
C) It was extremely tasty, and I really want another one.
D) We have a lot of vodka, orange juice, ice cream and sherbet left.  This will be happening again.

Orange Creamsicle Cocktails

Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 10 min
Adapted from The Chic Site

Photo by ALB

1 pint orange sherbet, softened
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup orange juice
2 cups ice
4 ounces vodka (whipped cream, cake or regular) (we used Shady Fruit)
lime wedge (didn't use)
orange cocktail salt, kosher salt or sugar for glasses (didn't use)

Run the lime wedge around the edge of two tall glasses or four short glasses. Dip into orange cocktail salt. Set aside. (didn't do)

In a blender, combine the orange sherbet, orange juice, 1 cup ice, and 2 ounces vodka. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses up to half way up. Save the remaining mixture for later. Rinse out the blender. (we combined all ingeredients except the ice, and then added ice until we got the right thickness).

In the blender, combine the vanilla ice cream, 1 cup ice and 2 ounces vodka. Blend until smooth. Pour into the glasses, over the orange layer.

Top off each drink with the reserved orange mixture from earlier. Serve with a straw.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce

This was good.  There wasn't a lot of sauce, but both D and I liked it.  It was simple but tasty.  We had with roasted potatoes.  I'm not sure why they were black, because they they didn't have a burnt flavor, but eh.

I would have again.

Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce

A zesty mustard sauce dresses chicken breasts and sautéed Brussels sprouts. Paired with Rosemary Potatoes, Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce will be one of your go-to meals for busy weeknights.

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken breast half, 2/3 cup brussels sprouts, and 2 tablespoons sauce)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider (used apple juice)
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; add to pan. Cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken; place pan in oven. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup broth and cider; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 4 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in mustard, 1 tablespoon butter, and parsley.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup broth to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Serve sprouts with chicken and sauce.

Nutritional Information 
Calories: 355;  Fat: 14.9 g;  Sat fat: 5.2 g;  Mono fat: 7 g;  Poly fat: 1.5 g;  Protein: 42.8 g;  Carbohydrate: 11.6 g;  Fiber: 3.5 g;  Cholesterol: 114 mg;  Iron: 2.6 mg;  Sodium: 647 mg;  Calcium: 61 mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2011