Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Crock Pot Tamale Pie 2 I must have bookmarked this recipe MONTHS ago, and I finally remembered to buy all the necessary ingredients at the grocery store. How fabulous does it sound to have a tamale pie in your mouth that no less comes from a ...dare I say it...crockpot?! I rarely find anything that tastes bad from a crock pot/slow cooker, so why not?!

Beantown Baker was fabulous enough to have tried Stephanie O'dea's recipe, and you can find BB's recipe and take here. Note, per Stephanie, this vegetarian meal can easily be made into a meal with meat if you so desire (aka my sous chef's desire).


Cornbread topping
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder


1 can drained and rinsed black beans
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can drained corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the filling ingredients--cheese, too!-- and stir well to distribute the spices. You will not be able to stir this again, so please check to see that the spices aren't in a clump anywhere.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. When finished, pour evenly over the filling, spreading with a spatula if needed.

Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours or on high for 2-4. (Krista Kooks was able to have this cooked on High in about 2-3 hours)

CrockPot Tamale Pie

I really think adding a small can of green chilies would be great for this recipe. Additionally, the sous chef and I felt that the topping was a little bland. Perhaps some added sugar and slight tweaking of the topping would be better. All in all, this was a good dinner, but it’s not overrated in our household. It’s impressive enough to me though that there’s hardly any fuss, and you can just come home and serve this up :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cajun Chicken Alfredo and 100th Post!

I can't believe it's true, but this is really my 100th post! I'm extremely excited to share this delicious recipe that the sous chef and I shared with friends who both raved about this pasta. I think all of us went back fro seconds...I think. Oh wait...did I say four of us shared this recipe?! I meant 4 and one on the way!

Nope, it's not me. Our guests are expecting :) Anyway, this recipe continues in my Guy Fieri recipe week.


4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup blackening spice (recommended: Paul Prudhomme's Chicken)

(Krista Kooks made her own blackening spice)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup sliced scallions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Dredge the chicken breasts in the blackening spice and place in a cast iron skillet over very high heat. Blacken both sides of the chicken and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Slice in strips on the bias and set aside.

In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and lightly caramelize. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken slices. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the heavy cream, increase the heat to a simmer, and reduce the cream sauce by half.

When the cream sauce is to desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and pasta.

Nest the pasta on large rimmed plates, pour sauce over pasta, and garnish with scallions and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
As I've mentioned in previous recipes that require a spice mix, I really think you should just make your own. If you bought a blackening spice, there's always that chance that you'd use the spice for the one recipe and forget about it. Plus, with this recipe, so much of the spice is needed that you'd probably have to buy more than one container depending on it's size. Thus, just do a google search for a blackening spice that you like, and make one cup of that to work for this recipe.

Each of the four of us were RAVING about this recipe, and my sous chef is dying for me to make it again. I hope the pictures do it justice because it's delicious!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

Mmmmm, orange chicken at home. Chinese takeout at home! If you haven't visited Stephanie O'dea's slow-cooking blog, you might want to take a browse through. She made a goal to cook via a slow-cooker for one year. She did it and was so successful that she made a cookbook out of it!

This orange chicken is one of her recipes, but I actually found it via Sweet Tea in Texas.


1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
olive oil, for browning the chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt (If you are using iodized salt, I'd suggest using 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (little-to-no pulp. The pulp can taste a bit bitter when cooked)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup


Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour, we won’t need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you’d like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

Here are the suggestions that I would have:

If you like ORANGE chicken to taste like orange, then don't do a thing. This is the perfect recipe for you. I've read comments on several different blogs, and those who love orange flavor for their orange chicken love the taste of this recipe.

If you are expecting your orange chicken to taste more like Panda Express or perhaps your favorite Chinese restaurant, then there needs to be some changes made to this recipe. This recipe needs 6 ounces of orange concentrate, but perhaps 4 ounces of orange concentrate and 2 ounces of soy sauce might get you closer to the Panda Express type taste. I also think adding 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger might be a nice addition as well.

I think You're Gonna Bake it After All had a great perspective on this recipe.

Additionally, I used a larger Crock Pot, and this really only took about an hour and half to cook. This isn't a recipe I'd prepare before work; just wait and do it as soon as you get home.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roasted Corn Quesadillas

I think it will become quite evident that I went on a Guy Fieri kick for about a week. I don't care though because everything of his that I made was FAB-U-LOUS! These Roasted Corn Quesadillas were so much better than any chicken and cheese or beef and cheese quesadillas for sure. Not to mention, they are vegetarian for anyone that is interested (unless eating beans goes against that....I can't remember)!

There's so many positive things...errr, this recipe! They all combine together to make one filling and satisfying meal :) I love that kernel corn is part of these quesadillas as well as black beans.


1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 cup sour cream
3 ears white corn on the cob
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 cup black beans
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
(Krista Kooks used Red Gold canned tomatoes because they are delicious!)
2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves, divided
6 ounces Jack cheese, shredded
6 ounces Cheddar, shredded
8 medium flour tortillas
(Krista Kooks used H.E.B.'s Homestyle Tortillas per the sous chef's instructions)
5 tablespoons, sliced scallions (Krista Kooks left these out)


Preheat grill to high. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix diced chipotle, lime juice and sour cream, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Over medium flame or on a grill pan, roast corn. Let cool and cut kernels off cob.

In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, jalapenos, red onions, and black beans. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, corn kernels and roasted bell pepper. Stir and saute for 3 minutes and add salt, pepper, cumin and 3 tablespoons of cilantro.

Remove the pan from heat and let rest.

Evenly distribute mixture, the remaining cilantro and cheeses among 4 tortillas. Top with remaining tortillas.

Place tortillas on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes, until cheeses have melted and the quesadillas are warmed through. Cut each into 6 pieces.

Serve with chipotle sour cream garnished with scallions.

I will tag this as an appetizer, lunch or dinner item because you could really use it for any of them :)

Is your mouth watering?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad





I wish I had discovered this before our wedding because I would have asked Behind the Bash to serve it. This fabulous salad recipe tastes so fresh yet has a kick of spice and some crunch from the onions and bell pepper. As my sous chef and I sat down to dinner to eat the Caribbean Chicken with this fab side dish, he laughed at me as I could not stop ohhhhh-ing and awwww-ing about how delicious this was. Unless you are allergic to some part of this recipe, you must make it! Whatever it is you are allergic to, leave it out and make it anyway. I'm serious!


2 teaspoons canola oil (Krista Kooks just used olive oil)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears) (Krista Kooks used frozen corn)
1 large ripe mango (about 1 pound), peeled and diced
1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (Krista Kooks used green bell pepper)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see Ingredient Note), drained and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a large bowl. Stir in mango, beans, onion, bell pepper, lime juice, chipotle, cilantro, cumin and salt.

Ingredient Note: Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapenos with a fiery taste that are canned in adobo sauce. Look for them in the Hispanic section of large supermarkets and in specialty stores.
Are you making this yet? If not, why are you still at the computer?! Get up! Go make this now!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Caribbean Chicken

Mouth. Watering.

This chicken is soooooo delicious! I paired this chicken with a unbelievably delicious salad, which will come next, but this chicken needs it's own post and attention.

Note: This chicken does need to marinate for 4 to 8 hours, but it's very worth the preparation, which is by no means difficult. The recipe instructs you to pour all of the ingredients into a food processor, but, if you know me, you'll know what I used instead.


My Magic Bullet! Man, so so easy!


1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons jalapeno, seeded, diced
2 teaspoons freshly grated or chopped ginger
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts, bone and skin on
Lime wedges


Puree all ingredients except chicken in food processor. Add marinade and chicken to re-sealable plastic bag, mix thoroughly and let marinate, refrigerated, for 4 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat grill to high, remove excess marinade from chicken and place on grill. Grill each side of chicken for 3 to 4 minutes then place on a pan and finish in the oven for 15 minutes.

Squeeze a lime wedge over each piece of chicken and serve.
The sous chef and I definitely enjoyed this chicken all the way through the leftovers :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake

It doesn't happen very often, but I was really craving a cake recently. I wasn't interested in heading to the store for any ingredients. I just wanted a basic cake with some creamy frosting. I was confident I could find something I liked to match those cravings!

I did find a tasty recipe on Dinner & Dessert for this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, and I had everything on hand to make it! From the sound of the ingredients, I knew it would very very rich, and that's exactly what I was looking for.
As mentioned on Dinner & Dessert, there was not enough batter in this recipe to spread across three 9x2 pans, so I decided to just put this in one 8x8 pan.

2 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 ounces creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.
Grease two 9 x 1 1/2 inch pans. Line your bottoms with parchment. Set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Mix together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter for two minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and mix for another minute.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated about 20 seconds. Then add the sour cream, mixing again for 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture. Add the hot water in a slow, steady stream and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the peanut butter chips and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 22 minutes. If you have 4 inch diameter tart pans like I used, it takes the same amount of time to bake the cake, if not a few more minutes. Use a knife to see if it is done.

Frost tops and sides of cake with frosting.

Chocolate Peanut Butter
Frosting Source: adapted from CD Kitchen

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup cocoa
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup peanut butter


Combine butter, milk, and cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth.

My sous chef and I also shared this with a couple of friends, and we all thought it was delicious! Granted, as I mentioned, this is extremely rich, so this cake goes a long way. You don't need a large piece to satisfy your appetite, but it is certainly delicious!


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