December 31, 2015

The end of the long year that was 2015

This is a rare non food post on My Shitty Kitchen.  Hope you enjoy.

This year was quite a roller coaster.  While the biggest standout of the year to me was the demise of the relationship with the man I thought I was going to marry and my world being turned upside down as a result thereof, it was actually an awesome year and I learned so much from my big standout event.  
I am so grateful that:

I started Pure Barre

Just waiting on my belated 250 club shirt now!
I lost 11 pounds because of hard work
I started this blog
I made some awesome new dishes.
I went to Puerto Rico

Where's my selfie stick?  Jajaja

December 30, 2015

The post that wasn't supposed to happen (Leftover pork tenderloin tacos and bonus pork and grits)

I made that pork tenderloin on the blog yesterday and had two plans for leftovers.  The first was a riff on shrimp and grits, but making it into pork and grits.  Well guess what?  I lost the pics!  Well, maybe didn't lose as they are still on my camera; I just can't find them on my Macbook and my office computer won't upload them.  I am not good at technology, apparently.  It was a recipe that I made up in my head as I went so I am going to do my best to recreate it after the tacos montage. I also served the pork and grits leftover (without the grits) on Hawaiian sweet rolls with BBQ sauce and cheddar for my niece's baptism and got rave reviews!

As you have seen before, I like to make pizza, egg bakes and tacos out of my leftovers.  This time I had a lot of pork tenderloin left so I decided to go the taco route.  The tenderloin had some great onion flavor to it already so I just needed to add some Mexican flair to it.  I put some of my favorite toppings on it and used a fun method of heating tortillas!  Please enjoy the montage and get two full recipes after the recap!

That leftover pork looks rough!  Here is the yummy cast!

December 29, 2015

Dragon Breath by crock pot (Actual good pork tenderloin in the slow cooker)

I had a pork tenderloin sitting in my freezer getting lonely.  It was a two pack from Costco and I had used the other half to make a delicious dinner for my sister and brother in law.  The week before Christmas turned into a hectic one with work obligations so I decided to throw it in my slow cooker and "cook once" and eat three times.  As I learned the last time I made tenderloin, braising in liquid is the way to go.  I went browsing and pinned this recipe that looked simple, right up my alley flavor wise and a good one to share on the blog that my tens of readers could recreate no matter the level of expertise.

The original recipe called for it to be cooked on low for 4 hours.  Since I don't work from home or go home at lunch and my slow cooker has no timer, I left it on low for 8 hours.  It was just fine and probably led to the tender pull apart texture.  If you like traditional sliced pork tenderloin, I would do just four hours.  I think next time I am going to pour the jus in a saucepan and try and thicken and reduce it a little.  It was a bit thin and I wanted it to be thicker.  I served with roasted Brussels Sprouts and caramelized onions which was best combo of flavors ever!  Check back tomorrow and for what I made with the leftovers!  Full recipe after the montage.

The cast.  I am a mostly all natural kind of girl, but you cannot beat the flavor of that onion soup mix.  Its even better as a dip...Will have to make another iteration of that. 

December 28, 2015

Jingle Bell Lunch! (Delta Gamma gals at Brennan's)

I was a Delta Gamma in college.  I met some great ladies and also got to be in the same sorority as two of my best friends and my sister.  I don't know how I would have survived my time in Austin as well as the first few weeks after my breakup without Delta Gamma alums, they are sisters in the truest sense of the word. One of my DG pals is pregnant and we had her baby shower a few weeks before Christmas.  We concocted a plan there to do a Jingle Bell Lunch!

A jingle bell lunch is just having a fancy lunch at any of the Brennan's family of restaurants during December.  You get a jingle bell to wear and be festive.  Each restaurant has a different color string attached to it, with Brennan's having pink for being known as the "Big Pink" and Commander's Palace having aqua to match it's famous facade.  We all wanted to do commanders, but my hectic morning of work the day we chose and the fact that others had to pick up kids from school made that impossible with their availability.  We decided to do Brennan's.  

Weirdly enough, for growing up in the suburbs with chain loving parents, I feel like I grew up on Brennan's.  The mother of one of my childhood friends was the General Manager of the restaurant when we were growing up.  She would come home with trays of food all the time and we growing children and teenagers happily wolfed it down.  It has recently changed hands and got a new chef, so I was excited to get in and try it! 

Me and the girls! 
I  wanted Holidays in the Quarter, but you could only get the drinks up to the day you were there. 

December 23, 2015

When life hands you the wrong noodles (Impromptu weeknight lasagna made with leftover meatloaf)

So I am a serious plan ahead kind of girl if you didn't know or can't tell.  I found a recipe for some low carb slow cooker meatloaf and had a plan.  I wanted to make it and recreate it into two other meals.  My plan was the patty melt you will see eventually and these lasagne roll ups.  I went to make them and realized I bought no cook lasagne noodles accidentally.  There was no way I could boil them to make them soft so I needed to improvise.  Luckily, we had been practicing for Hogs for the Cause recently and I had some leftover ricotta in my fridge.  I also had a bunch of herbs I could chop up.  What resulted was the fastest lassagne you will ever see made.  It literally took all of a half hour. If you ever have leftover ground meat of some sort, this is your jam.  I have half the pack of noodles left and may have to cook up buffalo chicken lasagne with it for old times sake!  Full recipe after the montage!

The cast.  I wish I would have left out the rosemary it was hella strong.  

December 22, 2015

Ways to tell you aren't qualified to marry a Jewish guy (Rugelach fail and brown butter thumbprints plus a cookie swap recap ad French Chocolate bark )

Holy cow, it is three recipes in one!  We have an office cookie swap every year and this year I got to be in charge of it since our usual Cookie Czar is on maternity leave.  I always try to do something ambitious for these things and I always forget the lesson that I am a cook, not a baker,  Baking is science, cooking is creative.  I am more creative than scientific which is a bit weird since I am also a type A lawyer.  Anyway, I got my daily email from the Kitchn a few weeks ago and they had a recipe for Rugelach.  Growing up a sheltered New Orleans Irish Catholic girl I had never had such a thing but it looked scrumptious.  Well as you can tell below, it was a fail.  I talked to my pal Jen who actually went to culinary school and actually knows how to bake and knows Rugelach and she suspected my problem was cold butter.  It should have been room temp.  I will recreate these next year with that change.  

I went on to make brown butter thumbprints because 1. I had all the ingredients 2. I know how to make sugar cookies and have before 3. They jumped out at me in Food Network Magazine 4. Who doesn't love brown butter?  They were very good, but not as good as the cookie swap winner Monica's French Chocolate Bark.  Holy cow it was delightful!

You will get the Rugelash, thumbprints and bark recipes below.  But in the meantime, please enjoy the montage of fail and fun!

I decided to fill mine with Apricots, blueberry jam and walnuts.  Only because they were in my pantry.  I like to use up what I have!

December 21, 2015

Checks all the boxes (low carb meatloaf in slow cooker)

I have been trying to add some more things to the blog.  I want to add slow cooker meals for all my momma readers that have so much going on that the set it and forget it method is a necessity.  I also want to do cook once and eat three times meals for all of us who aren't that way and have happy hours to attend.  This recipe is the best of both worlds!  It is relatively easy to prep, cooks in a slow cooker and can be re-purposed very easily!  And it is low carb, hides veggies and tastes great to boot! If only I could find a man that checked all the boxes like this recipe I'd be set! 

Meatloaf gets a bad rap and I just don't know why, I really love it!  Hiding zucchini in here is great too.  You could see it in the finished product, but I wasn't trying to hide it.  If you are feeding picky kids you may want to be a bit more methodical when you form your loaf.

This tasted a bit sweet to me despite using reduced sugar ketchup.  There was lots of balsamic flavor as well as oregano.  I may cut those down next time, although I might have used less meat than the recipe called for, I didn't weigh the meat and I forgot how much had been in the original pack when I made meatballs.  Still this was delicious!  The only part that was a bit of a pain was shredding and draining the zucchini, but mostly because I was afraid of injuring myself or oversalting!  There's only a tiny portion shown because I had an impromptu event to go to and I just wanted a taste!  Full recipe after the montage! Linking up with Meal Plan Monday over at Southern Plate and others!

The cast of characters.  I was trying to get the last of the natural sunlight.
Hard to do when you live in a raised basement!

December 20, 2015

Recapping the weekend and looking ahead to the week of Christmas 2015!

What a fun weekend.  I love my city so much and this time of year really reinforces it!  Friday was "drunk lawyer day." Some of my lovely lady friends and I all met at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel for some cocktails to catch up with all the husbands in our group who had been drinking all day.  It was so good to hang with them!

I love my friends! And I love the Roosevelt!

December 17, 2015

German Night at My Shitty Kitchen! (sausage potato and cabbage spicystirfy)

I have told you before about the Homesick Texan blog.  I am not one, but I have really been wanting to get back to Austin lately.  I became the person I am today during my time there and I need a little revisit! The visit is not in the cards just yet due to scheduling conflicts, but why not visit that blog and make one of my tried and true faves that is on my Pinned it and Liked it Board?!

I made this 29 weeks ago according to my Instagram, inspired by ingredients in a Hollygrove Market Box.  That was at the time the ex and I were skating on super duper thin ice before the official break up.  The only time we would talk at all well is when I would make some dinner that he liked and let him talk the whole time we ate.  This one was a winner. As Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”  That held true until we had our final supper at Shaya.  At least we went out with a bang!

This time I used red potatoes instead of baking potatoes.  I left out the caraway seed as I didn't have any and I left out the mustard for serving although I wanted it after the fact.  This is super easy, cheap and relatively healthy.  I made it more healthy by using lower fat and sodium  Pork Sausage from Richard's.  It only has 90 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving and still tastes amazing!  I used some jalapenos leftover from a Hollygrove box that I sliced and soaked in the jar from some previous store bough jalapenos. This is a tad spicy so if you aren't a spice person, leave out the cayenne and cut the seeds out the jalapenos.

Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!  Full recipe after the montage.

The simple cast of characters.  My famous jar of bacon grease is under the red pepper. 

December 16, 2015

The perfect pairing in many ways (brisket cabbage soup)

I love food.  I love beards.  I love the blog The Food in My Beard.  I love brisket.  I love cabbage. How could I not love Brisket and Cabbage Soup?  After thanksgiving gluttony this sounded like a perfect transition meal, low carb and comforting.  It felt a bit silly to make this is 80 degree weather but it is tasty at any time in any temperature!  I overcooked my brisket due to an impromptu glass of wine after a mani pedi, but with cooking brisket, more is more.  

I was kind of taken aback at the thought of putting potato flakes in the soup.  It sounded weird so I didn't get them.  I had a change of heart when I was at my parents' house the weekend I made this.  I thought for sure that Mimi, lover of squeeze butter, premade pancakes and already peeled garlic would have such a thing in her pantry.  Alas, none were to be found.  I could not fathom running to the corner market just for potato flakes, so I boiled 4 new potatoes to death and added those broken up.  It did not achieve the desired effect.  If you are making this, I would suggest putting the flakes in it.  I'll even leave them in the ingredient list for you!  Full recipe after the montage.

The ingredients. That is coriander in the jar that I purchased at the greatest place on earth Central Market.  Meaning it probably needs to be thrown out, I haven't lived near a CM in over 2 years!

December 15, 2015

Mockmole and Mississippi (Broccoli cheese stuffed chicken with gravy over loaded cauliflower)

After I made the yummy pork dish for my sister and brother in law a few weeks ago, my sister's best friend called me and asked me if she could book me for a My Shitty Kitchen on the road post.  I figured why the heck not, I love hanging out with my sister from another mister and she has the cutest kids (after my own nieces and nephew of course!)  So we decided on a menu and I trekked out to Kenna brah to visit The Crawleys, including the adorable twins.  Their momma kept telling them to show Aunt Missy (insert something cute here).  By the end of the evening, they were calling me Mississippi!  Their dad is from the state so I guess how they knew how to say that word at 2 and a half!

Their daddy was heading out to play pool and was having a snack of guacamole since he was going to miss dinner.  One of the twins asked what he was eating, and when he responded guacamole, she exclaimed, "I want some mockmole!"  So that is how this post came to be titled "Mockmole and Mississippi"

Mockmole, Mississippi and Luke having grilled cheese

December 14, 2015

My favorite flavor craving strikes again! (buffalo chicken with avocado apple queso fresco radish relish)

Not like I have to remind you, but I LOVE buffalo sauce and things flavored by it.  I am just a few steps away from creating a buffalo Pinterest board and I follow a board called Buffalo Chicken.  I was playing on my Pinterest recently and noticed that I had not been to one of my favorite food blogs in awhile, Elly Says Opa!  She has a weekly rotating menu she keeps on the right hand side of her blog (I need to learn how to do that!) and I noticed one day she was planning to have Breaded Buffalo Chicken with Avocado-Goat Cheese-Jicama Relish.  I mean.  Holy heck that sounded amazing!   And I had some leftover queso fresco from the last time I made an Avocado Relish that would be a perfect sub for the goat cheese.  

The radishes and cilantro did double duty making spring rolls for Sweet Swine O Mine practice.  The cherry tomatoes were leftover from my chopped chef salad I made with my Thanksgiving leftovers. I searched a few stores fruitlessly for jicama (I should have gone to Whole Foods but I always overbuy there) so I subbed a Granny Smith apple for it.  Perfect swap!  I also used all my breadcrumbs making boudin balls and haven't replenished them so I left them out.  It was totally delicious without them and it saved me a few carbs and calories!

This meal was so delicious,  I had one perfect bite of the chicken left when I hit my fullness limit and saved it so I could have it again the next day!  Also the leftover relish was delicious for a snack with pita chips!  Please try this recipe, either Elly's original or my tweaked version.  You will not regret it! And let me know how you like it! Linking up with Meal Plan Monday!

This is going to be so easy and delicious I can just feel it!

December 13, 2015

Weekend recap and looking ahead (December 15-21)

Where has the time gone?!?  Christmas is imminent! I had a fun girls evening Friday and family time with my extended Ohio family the rest of the weekend. What a whirlwind!

Friday we went across the lake to Covington to have our ladies Christmas party at my friend Kelly's house.  Her beautiful house was featured on a Christmas Home Tour . We combined our two Holiday traditions, playing the dirty santa gift exchange game and watching White Christmas. We also had drinks at the Southern Hotel and dinner at the wonderful Ox Lot 9.

The wonderful spread at Kelly's beautiful home. 

December 10, 2015

Greens Eggs and Ham (Breakfast for dinner egg bake)

I always try to look for recipes based on things I already have.  I had eggs in the fridge that were about to go bad and I wanted to use them.  I had leftover ham, cheese and cream from Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup and made a big mess of greens the night before I made this with some chicken to take the night off from meal planning and blogging.  I went on a Pinterest search and found this recipe that was perfect and  so customizable to my needs!  

I remember when I lived in the dorm during my freshman mistake year at University of Southern Mississippi (I smartly left and went to LSU as soon as I could!) every other Thursday was breakfast for dinner. I always had it as it was consistently delicious (unlike other things in the cafeteria). Pancakes, waffles, grits, bacon, sausage, hash browns you name it!  Things look a lot healthier there now! It wasn't nearly as healthy or yummy as this recipe, maybe that is why I gained the freshman 15... 

This is a quick and easy way to feed one person or a whole family on the cheap!  It's a fancy version of breakfast for dinner. I know a lot of people do that often. When you do, what do you make? Full recipe after the montage.
The cast, ham, greens, eggs, cream, tomato, artichokes, parsley and cheese.  You can sub any other veggies or herbs that tickle your fancy!

December 9, 2015

Bringing Back a tradition (#7 pizza, add green pepper from the littledeli)

When I lived in Austin I travelled a lot for work.  There were some weeks I didn't even spend one day at the office.  It was a bit exhausting being in the car so much or flying all the time.  By the time Friday came along all I wanted to do was drink wine and veg out.  My friday tradition back then was to order a pizza from the Little Deli in my neighborhood.  I digress, but my neighborhood was so cute in Austin.  The Little Deli was located in a central neighborhood strip mall (not really a strip mall but I can't think of another way to describe it) that had a pharmacy, an independent grocery and other little necessities.  It was walking distance and so convenient, nestled in the neighborhood of post World War II homes that were largely still intact.  (Architecture is becoming my second love because of my job!)

A fun Friday night in 2012 with a #7 (add bell pepper), red wine and the Hunger games!

December 8, 2015

When you don't read the book club book, you have to make up for it(salted caramel sour cream cake)

I am in not one but two book clubs. I was always an avid reader my whole life, but two big books a month that I don't get to choose is kind of hard to keep up with nowadays. Especially since I work full time, have a blog, go to Pure Barre 6 days a week and have a very active social life. This month the book clubs had two books that felt similar, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I decided to stick with the first book and slog through that one and skip Life after Life. It was kind of boring in the first few chapters to me. 

Since I was going to bring nothing to the table in the form of discussion, I decided to bring dessert. I wanted something gooey and good. I perused my Dessert Board on Pinterest and saw this one that I must have pinned while I was suffering from PMS! Good gravy that sounded delicious! I am not usually one to use cake mix and canned icing, but a girl has got to do what a girl has to do. This was so delicious, and then I refrigerated it and brought it to work the next day. It was even better! You have to make this sometime, it is easy and yummy. I wish I would have gotten a pic of an individual piece to share how good it looked!  Full recipe after the montage. Linking up with Meal plan Monday!

December 7, 2015

Tequila makes everything taste better (cucumber strawberry margaritas)

I promised you Strawberry Cucumber Margaritas yesterday and here I am delivering.  If you know me, you know I am not a huge fan of cukes. (neither is my dad, so I blame it on him)  The have been really growing on me lately.  Usually not by themselves, but paired with a creole tomato and italian dressing or strawberry and tequila, they aren't so bad!

I had leftover strawberry and cucumber from spring roll making and as you know I cannot let anything go to waste!  My pal Jambalaya Girl had us over for game night and the bonfire Saturday night and I decided to bring these margaritas to make us feel more normal watching a bonfire in semi summer weather.  They were a hit.  And made playing Heads Up even more fun!  I wanted a recipe that was simple and natural and would use up what I had.  I found the perfect recipe in Rick Bayless' Farmer's Market Margarita.  I changed it up a little as usual, but followed it pretty closely.  Next time I want to make a spicy one or perhaps copy the Pineapple Cilantro one they have at El Gato Negro. Well let's give it a whirl, full recipe after the montage!

December 6, 2015

Recapping the weekend and looking ahead (Dec. 7-13)

What a great weekend! Friday was a lipstick event at my friend Katie's Makeup studio. No pics as I was using my hands to shop, try lipstick and drink wine! And you know my photography skills aren't the best, but I'm starting to blame that on my camera!

Saturday after Pure Barre and some cleaning, Ginger and I went out to enjoy the beautiful weather at Little Flea Nola to visit our friend Maureen that we affectionately call "Pottery Bern"

December 3, 2015

The third time is the charm! (Sauteed Chicken Thighs with Pan Sauce and Pear, Cilantro, and Bell Pepper Salsa aka "hurt hand chicken" with balsamic potatoes)

About two and a half years ago I had just moved back to New Orleans and was so excited to get my first Hollygrove Market box in, well, two and a half years. It contained pears, cilantro and jalapeno. I went on a google rabbit hole and came up with this interesting recipe. I made it immediately. I cut my finger pretty bad while making it but wrapped it up and went on cooking it. It was so delicious, but a few hours later I removed my bandage and realized I was still bleeding like a banshee. I had to call my sweet surgeon friend, M'liss and she came over and put in stitches.

The first time I made this in 2013. At least we know my photography skills have gotten better?
This recipe later went on to be called "Hurt Hand Chicken" I made it another time last year and sure enough cut my hand again. Luckily this time the third time was the charm and I made the whole thing without injuring myself!

December 2, 2015

Simple easy crockpot, or when you want google to find you (honey sauced chicken)

I pinned this recipe from Cooking up North awhile ago.  I am trying to get some more slow cooker meals on the blog to make it more useful to my tens of fans and to make dish duty a little better.  I decided to make this as I have made the recipe a few times.  I first made it back in my Texas days with my fancier crock pot. I remember liking it better then but that might be because I was having carbs and rice a lot more in those days. I served this over rice and it was too much rice.  I doubled the sauce like I usually have before.  I think next time I will not double the soy sauce, it was a bit thin and tasted a lot like that.

This is a super easy slow cooker meal that I think kids would like, but not sure since I have not tried it out on my borrowed kiddos.  If you try this out let me know if the kiddos like it!  Also as a note, I was a bad blogger and didn't read my own comments!  I liked it so much the last few times because I used bone in chicken!  That certainly makes a difference!  I added some broccoli for texture and health benefits.  Full recipe after the montage.

The ingredients.  I left out the broccoli and rice.

December 1, 2015

When you are sick there is only one cure. (homemade chicken noodle soup)

I have really bad allergies.  It is the mark of being a Quigley.  I get sick in the fall and spring every year without fail.  I get a sinus infection and alienate everyone with my post nasal drip and all it's fun side effects.  When I lived in Austin it was worse because they had new and exciting things to be allergic to, especially cedar.  The two cedar seasons I spent there were hellish.  One time I could not breathe out of my nose or mouth fully for three days.  I needed to sleep that final night so I took Benadryl with some wine and I told my best friend to call an ambulance to my house if she didn't hear from me by 9 am the next morning.  Luckily, as you can tell, I survived and am living to tell about it.

I had the initial sore throat recently and knew what was heading my way.  I started on the D, the C and the H2O.  I also decided I needed some chicken noodle soup.  The canned stuff just wouldn't cut it of course!  I was out of chicken stock so it was time to make some anyway for a recipe I had planned for the week.  Usually I would get a whole chicken and boil that to make stock and have the chicken, but I cheated and got a rotisserie chicken so the broth would have more flavor.  I pulled all the meat off and then made broth like I usually do.  I actually had everything else on hand, it ended up being perfect.  My only issue with it was that it wasn't salty enough so I had to salt each serving. Make sure you check your seasoning before serving, especially if you make your own stock.  Full recipe after the montage.

Like this isn't going to be good.  My mom always just served us Campbell's.  Those chicken chunks always freaked me out.  This is going to be so much better!

November 30, 2015

Being a Quigley is a pretty awesome thing! (brunchiladas plus cute overload)

I come from a large and loud Irish Catholic family. My dad is one of 5, and they all went and had a mess of kids too. I love all my cousins and cherish my memories of growing up so close with them. They all (except for me) went on and had a mess of kids too and now all of them are growing up like us! It is the cutest thing when they all get together. My cousin Casey (who, if you remember, requested the breadcrumbs) came in town for a long weekend and we planned to have a boozy girls brunch. Plans changed as usual when you make them far in advance and we decided to hang out at home with our own food and booze so the kids could play. Since I am the family food blogger, I was to make the main dish.

Last time we got together for brunch I made a yummy quiche. I thought about doing that again but I wanted to try something new. I clicked over to my breakfast board on Pinterest and found this pin that I tagged for my chiorizo loving friend Becca. Why not be fancy and have Brunchiladas!

I went to my new and not better Rouses for all the ingredients. While I was looking for the chorizo and grossing out at how much fat was in it, I noticed one lone package of Patton's hot sausage. I immediately thought that would be a good substitute for the chorizo even though it was probably just as fattening. I love a local product and it was right up my alley. Also I did not like the chipotle enchilada sauce in the original recipe so I made my favorite traditional enchilada sauce from Gimme Some Oven. Full recipe after the montage.

This is going to be so good!!!!

November 29, 2015

Recapping the weekend and looking ahead (Nov. 30-Dec. 5)

Hello and salutations!  I cannot believe it is December already this week and I am wearing shorts as I type this! It was a nice long weekend filled with food, family, football, cleaning, pampering and little to no shopping!  I was going to do a separate post on all my leftover creations, but we were big eaters this year and I only left with some ham. I, of course, repurposed. I made three yummy lunches!

Ham, muenster, spicy mustard and green apple grilled cheese 
(Yes there's a little German heritage in my family!)

November 26, 2015

That Dip is Awesome (onion bacon cream cheese hot dip plus the best dip ever!)

I am a proud Delta Gamma.  I serve on the Alumni Board, am also an advisor to our local chapter, and write all the "recs" for the New Orleans girls going to LSU (and for some reason, Alabama, gross!)  We had a pumpkin carving party with our local collegians just before Halloween and we alums were asked to bring a dish and a pumpkin since the girls would probably bring neither.  I decided to make a hot dip as I did one last year and the girls went nuts for it!  I had some things lying around, bacon, a Lipton soup packet, cheese, cream cheese and green onion.  I had to purchase the sour cream, tomato and fritos, but that was a small sacrifice to watch the girls bite into and be so thankful and tell me how good it was!  I made this up, but it is based on several recipes from several other other blogs, mostly Plain Chicken.  Figured this would be a good post for today since there is so much football and shopping this weekend and people need snacks! Full recipe after the montage! And a bonus recipe follows!

The cast.  Like this won't be good, right?!

November 25, 2015

A fancy adult meal after kid bedtime (Pork Tenderloin with fancy pan sauce and mashed cauliflower)

I was on a Pinterest rabbit hole one day and I stumbled across this beautiful blog.  I played around on it and ending up pinning this recipe for a later date.  I had some leftover heavy cream from grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I was going to use that for some Hogs for the Cause practice cooking, but I was talked out of that for a Saints watch party. The party was worth it but the watching was not!  As you know I have a hard time letting things go to waste, and I remembered that pin.  It is quite a big meal for me to have myself.  Why not do a My Shitty Kitchen on the road post!  I had a seminar early in the burbs right near my middle sister's house so I decided to cook dinner and make a sleepover out of it.  Waking up to see my nieces' smiling faces was the best!  And I got bonus time with the other sister and her kiddos!                         

I decided to serve this with mashed cauliflower.  Plain old cauliflower is kind of bland so I decided to fancy it up.  I added butter, sour cream, chives and cheddar to make it take like loaded mashed potatoes.  My sister also had a few Brussels Sprouts in her fridge and I decided to frizzle them and place them on top for some crunch and decoration.  I kind of overcooked the meat because my brother in law's BBQ thermometer is stuck on Celsius and I didn't notice until the end.  It still was totally delicious, I think stovetop cooking with liquid is the best way to keep a pork tenderloin from getting dry!  Here you go, full recipe after the montage.  It is as delicious as it looks!

The cast.  That is a very expensive bottle of white wine I had in my fridge.  White wine is my crazy lady inducing drink so I tend to just cook with it rather than embarrass myself while drinking it!
Smash the garlic and chop the herbs.  Smashing garlic is an excellent stress reliever!
Saute for a few minutes and get it fragrant.
Apparently there were two in the pack!  Slap them in there!
I tried to get a really good sear but it's a bit crowded in the pan!
Remove the pork when browned on both sides and add wine to cook out the alcohol.
Put them back in there, salt and pepper and check on it often, adding water when it looks like your liquid needs a boost.
Stir up the brown bits when you add water and you end up making a rich cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, chop up your cauliflower.
Boil it in water (I used the rest of the chicken stock and water) to cover until soft.
Add the soft cauliflower to your Ninja/blender/food processor and give it a whirl or two.
Add a pat of butter and some sour cream and mix until creamy.
Add some chives and cheese (and bacon if you have it, I didn't) and mix it up.
Not shown, this mixed up.
Take out your pork to rest and add chicken broth and mustard.  Mix well and remove from heat.
Add your cream and stir well to make a decadent sauce
It may look dry but it didn't taste that way.
Plate and enjoy!

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and slice in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 lb. center pork loin (or two 1 lb. pork tenderloins)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine (plus a bit more to deglaze pan)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, rosemary and sage, stirring, for about one minute. Add the pork loin to the pan, carefully placing it on top of the herbs. Saute the pork for about 5 minutes on each side, then remove it to a plate. Add the wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook until the smell of the alcohol has disappeared, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Lower the heat under the pan to low-medium heat. Return the pork to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour (probably less if you're using pork tenderloins), flipping the pork and scraping the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it, making sure there continues to be some liquid in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of warm water if and when necessary.

When the pork is cooked through (if you want to test with a thermometer, it should be about 150° internal temperature) remove pork to a plate to rest. Meanwhile, increase the heat under the liquid in the pan to medium. If your pan has little liquid, deglaze with a splash of white wine. Stir well to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until the alcohol smell disappears (about 1-2 minutes). Add the chicken stock. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool in the pot for 20 minutes.

When the sauce has cooled, add the cream and put the pan back on the stove. Taste sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.  Slice the pork and place in the sauce.  Serve over mashed cauliflower or potatoes.

Happy Cooking! 


November 24, 2015

Memories of Law School (Smothered Okra)

I love getting the box from Hollygrove Market, but sometimes it is way too much food for one person! In a recent box there was a bunch of yummy stuff including okra. I decided to blanch and freeze the okra for a later date. The date came when I got three packs of pickle meat and was craving comfort food with the change in weather. What a perfect thing to make, smothered okra! I have never made it before but love to eat it.  In Law School we used to walk to the Silver Moon Cafe for some soul food in between classes.  It ain't there no more, but I can remember it like yesterday.  A menu of smothered meats or okra, tea in an Igloo cooler and mismatched tablecloths.  The amount of meals I ate there definitely explains why I slept through so many classes in Law School and gained a bit of weight!

I was looking all over the internet for a good smothered okra recipe and was amazed at the variety of them. Of course a rabbit hole ensued! I pinned a recipe that looked pretty good and was Louisiana style but just looked at the ingredients hard and neglected to really look at the method, which was a bit much for a school night. However I successfully shortened the cooking time and still got to eat at a reasonable hour. I think what helped me decrease the cooking was the fact that the okra was precooked. Keep that in mind if you try to recreate this. I brought the leftovers to the work besties and they loved it and wanted more! Full recipe after the montage!

 I am posting this in Meal Plan Monday with Southern Plate and Southern Bite as well!  Link on over!

I ended up only using one onion.  That's the frozen okra in the plastic bag.

November 23, 2015

It's Monday so you know what is for dinner! (Authentic New Orleans Creamy Red Beans and rice)

When you grow up in New Orleans, it's a tradition to have red beans and rice on Mondays. This dates back to the olden days, because wash day was Monday and this is a slow cooking, low maintenance dish that was perfect for the long day of washing, drying and folding. I will always remember as a kid my mom sitting at the kitchen table on a Sunday night with a beer chopping the veggies and meats for red beans so she could get them right on the stove when she got home from work Monday. She tried to make them in the slow cooker as we got older, but it never came out quite right. I have never been able to master red beans in the slow cooker either, the liquid ratio never works out for me.

I haven't made red beans in ages and it was time. I made sure I got Camellia brand beans. I learned when I lived in Texas, the other brands just don't get as creamy. This is just my personal opinion, they did not pay me to say that. Another thing that my mother swears by, and I tend to agree, is that the best pot for red beans is a Magnalite. They don't make them like they used to make them but they are still awesome. My mom still uses the ones she got for her wedding almost 40 years ago and they are a lot thicker and heavier than the one I have that I got last Christmas from the ex's sweet momma. I can tell you after making them in my own Magnalite for the first time as opposed to the ceramic coated dutch oven, she is right! I am also picky about my brand of pickle meat. I only use Savoie's. I used to bring some of that and Camellia beans back to Austin when I would drive home for visits. 

I will try again at a slow cooker version next time. I spied this one on the Camellia site and I think varying the amount of water for how long you do it is the ticket, try it out and let me know how it works if you do! Full recipe after the montage.

I am a blasphemer, I don't use the real Holy Trinity for my red beans.  My mom never put bell pepper in them so neither do I.  And I love bell peppers!
Soak your beans over night.  Or do this if you are in a pinch.
My version of the holy trinity, sub garlic for bell peppers!
After soaking, your beans will look like this. 
That's bacon grease.  I keep it in a Mason Jar in my fridge.  No, I am not married, why do you ask?
There is no garlic in this pan, that goes in raw.
I get some flack for how little sausage I usually put in but I make up for it with more pickle meat.
Add veggies to soaked beans
Cut pickle meat into smallish pieces
Brown your sausage and get all the flavor
Pour that and the chicken stock in the pot.
Brown your pickle meat.  You will probably need to do this in batches.
Pour all the meat in.  Notice not everything is submerged.
Add some water, if you need, to submerge everything.  My old house is on a lean as you can tell.
Chop up these guys and add them after an hour.
I never had proper rice until I got a rice cooker.  And then I went little to no carb
and didn't really need it!
Three hours later, you have this deliciousness. My childhood in a pot!
red beans and rice
Plate it up and garnish with extra chives if you desire
So damn good!  
Mimi's Red Beans and Rice (Makes a ton. Freezes beautifully and reheats even better!)

2 pounds dried red kidney beans (preferably Camellia brand)
1 tbsp. of fat (I use bacon grease)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock (can sub water)
water as needed
2 packs Pickle meat, cut into small pieces
1 pack hot sausage (or mild if you don't like the spice) cut into rounds
1 handful chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp. dried)
6 chopped chives (or 1 teaspoon freeze dried)
salt and pepper
Creole spicy seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's)

Soak your beans in enough water to cover them overnight (around 8 hours) in the pot you plan to cook them in.  Saute celery and onion in 1 tbsp of fat in a cast iron skillet for 7 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Pour over soaked beans.  Cook sausage in same skillet to brown on both sides.  Pour into red bean pot and add chicken broth.  Cooke pickle meat in the sausage grease until meat turns white on all sides.  Add to bean pot.  Add any water as needed to make everything in pot just submerged.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer and cover.  Stir occasionally.  After an hour add chopped herbs.  Cook in total for 3 hours. if too liquidy towards the end, remove the cover and smash some beans on the side of the pot with the back of a spoon.  If not liquidy enough, add water gradually.  Serve over cooked rice and garnish with chopped chives.

Happy Cooking!