Thursday, July 18, 2019

Farfalle and Summer Vegetables

Normally this time of the year we'd be asshole deep in produce from our garden. However, weeks and weeks of cold rain at the start of the season moved straight into oppressive heat and humidity. All our plants are stunted. Fortunately, there's a farmer's market in town where we can make up the difference. This is one of my favorite summer pasta dishes, especially because it is even good cold. It's quick and easy to make, uses up surplus produce, and can be modified. Add some shrimp or Crabuluxe. Throw in some Spanish chorizo. Add some shredded baked chicken. Add some zing with olives or capers. Maybe some artichoke hearts? The sky's the limit.

Farfalle and Summer Vegetables 

  • 1 box (16 oz.) farfalle or other short pasta
  • 1 pint cherry or roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, but shave a minute off the end. You want the pasta to have a little bite and it's going to cook a bit in the sauce you're about to make.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the garlic from burning.
  3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the zucchini starts to get tender and the tomatoes start to break down.
  4. Turn down the heat and add the cream and cheese. Cook at a simmer for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add the pasta. Toss over low heat for a minute or two to make sure everything is coated. Salt and pepper to taste.
Good times!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Steak Chimichangas

Bit of history: my dad and I used to go to this Mexican restaurant, Las Palmas, where we would always order the same thing. "Number 11 with steak." It was rice and beans, a chili relleno, steak burrito, and steak chimichanga. That steak chimichanga was always what I would save for last. It was absolutely amazing. I decided I was going to try my hand at replicating it. While I didn't exactly nail it, I did make a damn good steak chimichanga that even Deadpool would approve of. They were actually super easy to make and there's room for customization. You could easily switch with chicken, pork, or ground beef. Give it a try. Or don't. More for me. As always, notes are in blue.

Steak Chimichangas (makes 4)

  • 1-1/2 pound top sirloin, cut into cubes (feel free to use stew meat if you want)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup refried beans (we just used canned refried beans from Aldi)
  • 1 can 8oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (again, right from the can)
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • 4 large (10") flour tortillas
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • shredded cheese of your choice (optional)

  1. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the cubed meat, onion and adobo seasoning. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until meat is browned and onions are starting to get soft. Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl, add refried beans, tomato sauce, and chipotle pepper. Mix ingredients until they are all incorporated. 
  3. Take 1/2 of the sauce and add it to the meat. Mix until meat is evenly coated.
  4. In a deep cast iron pan (if you don't have cast iron, find something you can fry in) heat about 2" of vegetable oil. 
  5. Fun part, take 1/4 of the meat mixture and put it in the center of the tortilla.
    Visual aid.
    Roll the tortilla into a burrito shape using your favorite tortilla rolling method. There are tons on the internet. We just picked one that basically had us fold one side over, tuck in the sides, then roll it up. Like I said, hit YouTube, somebody more competent than I can show you how to do it. 
  6. Drop the bad boy into the hot oil. One at a time. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, then flip it over and do another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown all around. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat process 3 more times!
  7. Serve chimichanga on it's own, or top with the reserved sauce and shredded cheese.
    OH MAIS, OUIS. Wait, that's French.

    Good times!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Summer around here means one thing: It's too damned hot to turn on the oven. Seriously. I can have the house at a comfortable 70 degrees, but if I cook anything in the oven, it shoots right up to 75. This is when the slow-cooker gets dragged out. This recipe came together super fast and is extremely good over pasta or rice. In other news, I somehow managed to lose every photo I had of this recipe. I checked every memory card I had. The pictures are totally gone. I don't know, maybe I was drunk and forgot to actually take the pictures. In any case, enjoy this picture of a chicken shrugging in place of the actual dish. As always, notes are in (blue).
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

  • 2-3 (about 1.5 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (feel free to use boneless, skinless thighs if you prefer)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small slice
  • 1 can (8oz) sliced mushrooms, drained (you can certainly use fresh if you prefer)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Put chicken in the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Unceremoniously dump everything else on top of chicken
  3. Cook on LOW for 6 hours
  4. Give everything a good stir before serving.
Good times!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Cheeseburger Mac Casserole

Summer is in full swing and I am still somehow making time to cook! I figure everybody has a recipe like this in their repertoire in one form or another. It's basically Hamburger Helper, but I don't need any help from some freakish sentient glove.
There's a little nightmare fuel for you.
Anyway, this recipe is super easy and is perfect for a quick midweek meal. It makes a lot, but maybe it just felt that way since there's only three of us and The Spud would prefer to live on Cocoa Pebbles cereal and powdered donuts, if that's at all convenient. As always, notes are in blue.

Cheeseburger Mac Casserole

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. macaroni
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 can 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can 7 ounces sliced mushrooms, drained (or you can use about a half pound of fresh, whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 can 10.5 ounces cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese (if you don't like pepperjack, cheddar would work great)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gasmark 5)
  2. In a pan heat the oil. Add the ground beef, mushroom, and onion. Cook until meat is browned. Drain any excess oil.
  3. Cook macaroni according to directions. Stop a minute or so early since this is going into the oven eventually and will keep cooking.
  4. In a large bowl or pot, combine the macaroni, meat mixture, garlic powder, Worcestershire, tomatoes, and cheese soup. Mix well to incorporate.
  5. Spread mixture into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Top with shredded cheese.
  6. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and starting to brown in spots.

BONUS: enjoy a video of this exact recipe via the Tubez!

Good times!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp

One of the thing's I've had to learn once I had a child was how to put meals together in a hurry. While I would love frozen pizzas and cold cereal on a regular basis, it is nice to have a meal made from scratch now and then. This particular meal came together because we discovered our Dollar General sells shrimp. Yup. Seriously. So we got some and went to work. Everything else I had on hand in the house. The whole thing came together in about half an hour. The Wife claimed it a winner. I felt it needed more heat and added some extra Sriracha. Either way it's a keeper. As I'll mention below, finding the specific preserves we used may be a challenge unless you make it yourself. Just find a store bought one you like and experiment! As always, notes are in blue.

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp

  • 1 lb. medium frozen cooked peeled shrimp
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pineapple sage preserves (I totally understand many of you won't have this exact thing on hand. Feel free to substitute orange preserves or something like that. Then just add the sage)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 8 ounce can of edamame, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked white rice for serving
  1. Defrost shrimp in a large bowl of water. If the tails are still on, pinch them off (put the tails in a baggie and freeze them to use to make stock for something else)
  2. Heat a large saucepan or wok over medium hot heat. Add oil. 
  3. Add the onions and carrots and sautee for 3-5 minutes
  4. Add the edamame and cook another 2-3 minutes
  5. Add the preserves and mix until preserves are totally broken down into the vegetables. 
  6. Add the milk and sriracha. Mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 7-10 minutes. Do NOT let come to a boil. Stir often.
  8. Add the shrimp stir to coat. Since the shrimp is pre-cooked, you'll only need to leave them in there a minute or two to warm up.
  9. Serve over a bed of rice (though would be good over noodles, too)
Good Times!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Foil Packet Lime Tilapia

Sometimes I get inspired to cook, but not to spend a bunch of time cooking. This leads to interesting choices. This particular choice let me to take an old standard of foil pack fish (basically en papillote) but make my own sauce for it. The end result was good news / bad news. The good news was the recipe worked and was fast, simple, and tasty. The bad news is that it looks like absolute hell. I don't know. Close your eyes when you eat it or something.

Foil Packet Lime Tilapia

  • 3 tilapia filets (about 4-6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ponzu sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 large chive, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound frozen broccoli
  • 3 Key Limes, quartered
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C, Gasmark 5)
  2. In a bowl, combine the sour cream, garlic powder, Ponzu, lime juice, red pepper, and chive. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
  3. Cut 3 sheets of aluminum foil into about 8-10" squares. Lay a piece of tilapia in each square.
  4. Figure out some way to turn the foil into an envelope of some description. You can always watch the video (at the bottom of this post) to see the highly technical method I use.
  5. Divide the broccoli between the 3 packets. Place the packets on a baking sheet.
  6. Pour the sour cream mix evenly into each packet. Seal the packet.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes. 

Good Times!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Crispy Orange Beef and Broccoli

Summer is finally here and that means I actually have some time to devote to my food pages. I decided to start off the season with something that captures summer. It has fruit and heat. It is also my third iteration of this type of recipe. The spicy orange theme of quasi-Chinese food is always a favorite in my house. This particular recipe is a cut down version of my Too Damned Easy Spicy Orange Chicken and Broccoli.  This version is actually a bit simpler.  As always, notes are in blue.

Crispy Orange Beef and Broccoli
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, sliced thin (leave the meat a bit frozen when slicing to make things easier for you)
  •  4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Corn starch
  • 1/2 pound frozen broccoli, thawed (fresh will work, too. You'll just need to chop it up into smaller pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce (use less if you're a big baby, or more if you're a sexual powerhouse, just like me)
  • 4 green onions, sliced diagonally , for garnish
  1. In a large wok (or pan or whatever), heat the oil over medium high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, pour in some corn starch. Dredge the beef in the corn starch so all the pieces are evenly coated.
  3. Once the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the beef until crispy, about 3-5 minutes per batch. Remove each batch to a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  4. When the beef is done, turn down the heat to medium and add the soy sauce. 
  5. When the soy sauce begins to bubble, add the marmalade and Sriracha. Stir constantly until the sauce is completely mixed. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the beef back to the pan and stir to coat.
  7. Add the broccoli and stir to coat. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the broccoli is the consistency you like.
  8. Serve over rice and garnish with the green onion.
Bonus: What booze to have with this
  • The Wife recommends Redd's Cranberry Ale
  • I suggest a Chardonnay in the $3-5 range. 
Good Times!