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!


November 22, 2015

Giving up on football and prepping for the week (Nov. 23-29)

Happy Sunday!  I don't mean the title that much.  I am a Louisiana football girl for life but this season has retaught me to not let my Tigers and Saints performance affect my happiness and mood.  Luckily the Saints were off this week and my fantasy team is cruising to a victory.

Friday I went to my high school Chapelle and had cocktails in the courtyard.  So glad I got to see my three best pals and all the other girls from my class and other classes who make me smile.  We had quite the time and there were lots of splits done by all the Pure Barre girls.  It really works! 

Me and my girls looking unlike we've been out of high school 18 years! Where does the time go?!
Saturday was nothing but football and a failure recipe that will still make it to the blog. The Tigers really stunk it up, but that and the rainy weather combined to make me very productive at home. Sunday was cousin funday as my cousin was in visiting from California!  I made a hella delicious brunch recipe that will appear in a recap post.  It was so cold outside but that and the love between us all warmed us up on the inside!

This week on the blog you will be treated to my momma's red beans, some smothered okra and other comforting deliciousness to get your tummy stretched out for Thanksgiving.  I am making homemade chicken noodle soup as we speak while making a crock pot recipe for lunch.  I'll also be making an old favorite this week that cost me the tip of my finger the first time I made it.  I will be making sweet potatoes for Turkey Day as well, I will post that soon but not before Thursday so you'll have to bookmark it for next year!

Happy Sunday y'all!  Full post tomorrow!


November 19, 2015

Chopped Brunch Challenge! (avocado toast with cheesy spinach, poached egg and balsamic tomato garnish)

We decided to be fancy ladies a few weeks ago on the second day of Voodoo Fest and have brunch. Since we spent an arm and a leg on Uber and overpriced beer the first day, my favorite vegetarian and Law Student, Adrienn, and I decided to make it on our own! (Little did we know the third day would be unexpectedly cancelled and we would save money!) She volunteered to pick up the cheap champagne and OJ and I would make the fancy meal out of my pantry.  I decided to make it chopped challenge style and only use what I had on hand since there was really no time to shop.

The fact that I was making it for a veg head made me immediately gravitate towards eggs.  I am actually a pretty good egg poacher so I decided to go that route.  I had some avocado and tomato leftover from a taco craving I had the Thursday before, some bread and gruyere from the French Onion chicken and the rest of the stuff was stuff I always have on hand, vinegar, spinach, balsamic vinegar, eggs and garlic salt. I unfortunately have no pics of the egg poaching but I promise it is not that hard. Seriously.  Behold, the fanciest Chopped Challenge yet!

I told you what was here already.  Not a bad ingredient in the bunch.  Looks like it will be amazing!

November 18, 2015

Vegan one pot wonder (zucchini and chickpea tagine)

I made some preserved lemons recently and was trying to find more ways to use them. I had some fancy spices in my pantry as well as a can of chickpeas that were intended to make a recipe I found in my Smitten Kitchen cookbook that my sweet friend Delaney in Texas gave me as a birthday present. That recipe never came to fruition but I will have to make it one day! I was trying to eat healthy as I have been cheating on my little to no carb lifestyle quite a bit. Why not go vegan! Enter this recipe for a veggie tagine. 

I doctored this a bit since I didn't have all the spices, feel free to follow the original or substitute your own choice of spices, and if you do please let me know how it turns out! The flavor of this is so good! You almost forget there is no meat! 

The cast.  That is a frozen tablespoon of tomato paste on the bottom left.  I told you I keep weird stuff in my freezer!
Saute carrots and onions.  I deviated from original recipe as usual.
Spice mix, smells so good!
Add garlic, zucchini, chickpeas and spices
Add water and tomato paste and simmer until tender and delicious!
Serve with parsley to freshen it up.  So meatless, so delicious!

Zucchini and chickpea tagine: (Adapted from Herbivoracious)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, cut into half moons
half an onion chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh mint
1 teaspoon ras el hanout *
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (can substitute cayenne or chili flakes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Place the oil in your largest skillet or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and the carrots for a few minutes until onions are no longer translucent.  Add the zucchini and cook until it is tender. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Add 1/2 cup water and mix thoroughly. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
*I couldn't find ras el hanout, so I substituted:
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cayene
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Happy Cooking!


November 17, 2015

Low carb pizza in a slow cooker, what's not to love?

Since my friend Stephanie gave me a slow cooker, I have been looking for more ways to use it.  I had some mozzarella cheese burning a hole in my fridge and a lot of pizza toppings on hand.  I have pizza dough in my freezer from Trader Joe's, but with last week being carb cheat week, I needed to get back on the wagon.  In my search for slow cooker recipes I came across one for crustless pizza in the slow cooker!  Sounded too good to be true.  Turned out it kind of was since it looked nothing like pizza, but it tasted amazing! It came out more like a soup.  Full recipe and a note after the montage.

The sure to be delicious cast of characters.  That's mozzarella cheese, not butter.
Layer your pepperoni on the bottom
Remember how I said I was going to stop photographing sauteed onions and garlic?  I did it, these were sauteed before being added.
Add half of your sauce and spread around.
Add a layer of spinach
Add your other toppings
Add a layer of cheese
And then start over but this time I used ham
Ready to set it and forget it!
Four hours later. it looks like cheesy yummy soup!

I cannot tell you how delicious it was despite the fail!

Low carb slow cooker pizza (adapted from Your Lighter Side)

1-15 ounce jar pizza sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 cups fresh spinach
16 slices pepperoni (I used half pepperoni and half ham)

Toppings (Substitute these or add your faves)
I used:
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

I sauteed my onions and garlic first because I don't like them raw.  In a slow cooker, make a bottom layer of pepperoni, drop some onions and garlic on top and place half of sauce on top. Place half of fresh spinach on top of sauce mixture. Place 1/2 desired toppings on top. Place half of mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layers ending with mozzarella. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Let cool slightly and cut into 8 slices. Refrigerate remaining.

I varied greatly from the original pinned recipe so that is probably why it looked more like a soup than a quiche.  Click through to see how she made it, she also has nutritional information.

Happy Cooking!