Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms

I promised food, and thankfully it rained again today.  I will admit I’m not really missing the little tree removal.  😛

Yesterday, I spent the entire day down at the courthouse, watching something akin to a bad reality show, with no hair pulling or name calling.  😦  It did, however, give me a renewed appreciation for my literate friends, who understand difficult words like “waive” and “deferred”.  In their defense, all of the defendants did seem to understand the word “jail”.

But onward to the food.  These are absolutely the best stuffed mushrooms I have evah made/eaten/salivated over!

The ingredeint list is actually pretty short.  I forgot to put the cream cheese in the picture.  😦

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs with 1-2 tbsp butter, until the bread crumbs are just moistened.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Carefully break the stems off 12-18 largish mushrooms.  I used Baby Bellas, as I think they have a better taste than white.  Set the stems aside as you’ll need them for the stuffing.  Place the caps on a baking sheet, lined to make your life easier!  😀

Fry 3-5 strips of bacon until crisp.  Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces first.  I used Mrs. Wright’s Peppered Bacon, 5 strips, as we LOVE bacon.

When the bacon pieces are crispy, remove them to a paper towel to drain.

Dice the mushroom stems,  3 whole jalapenos (you can use less, but it’s really not that spicy!), 1/2 cup yellow onion, 2 cloves garlic, and saute in the bacon grease.  Depending on how much grease there is, you might want to pour some out.  I ended up pouring about 2/3 of the grease out, and there was plenty left to give the veggies a great bacon-y flavor.

Saute until the veggies and stems are softened, about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

While the veggies are softening, in a medium bowl, mix 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese with 2-3 oz. cream cheese.  Use a fork and blend well.

Add the sauteed veggies and the bacon.  Crunch up the bacon if there are any largish pieces.

Mix the stuffing well.

Now, stuff as much of the filling into the de-stemmed mushroom caps as possible.  Heap it on!

Using your hands (because, really, it’s the only way), pat a pinch of the buttered breadcrumbs on the top of the stuffed mushrooms.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the topping is golden brown.  Thank you panko and butter!

Eat.  Quickly if you want any!  😛  The entire batch disappeared in less than 15 minutes.  Then Hubby and Rat Boy plaintively asked if that was all!

They have no idea.

I made them again the next day.  I am a sucker for compliments.  🙂

Lamb, Balsamic & Sundried Tomato Meat Loaf

Yes, I said lamb.  And loaf.  In the same sentence.  Generally speaking, I try to disassociate myself from any meat entitled “loaf”.

It’s a personal thing.  Like refusing to eat in the cafeteria in high school because I couldn’t identify the meat at first glance.  Actually, you couldn’t generally identify it even after a close and detailed investigation!

This, however, is a loaf worth eating.  It is heavenly, and easy, and lamby.  Did I mention I just love lamb?   😀

This is not your mamma’s meatloaf!  Although I’m sure your Mom’s meatloaf is totally awesome, this one has LAMB!!!

Obviously, you’ll need some ground lamb.  🙂  I had a 1 pound package, but it would have been even better if I’d used 2 pounds.  More lamb to love!  😛

You’ll need 1 lemon for zesting, 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 4 garlic cloves  thinly sliced, 2 large shallots, finely chopped, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes chopped, and 1 tbsp fresh rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray a large loaf pan (9 x 3 1/2) with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vinegar.

Add the oats.

Then the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest.

Last, add the ground lamb.

Here is where you’ll want to put the camera down, as it is rather difficult to mix this all together using only one hand.

But I tried.

The hand is a little scary.

Dive in with both hands and mix until incorporated.

Transfer to the prepared loaf pan, and press into a loafy shape.

Bake 40 – 45 minutes.

For enhanced enjoyment, top with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.  Rat Boy doesn’t care much for balsamic vinegar.  Something about carrots and a horrid wonderful balsamic honey glaze I forced him to eat  made when he was about 7.  So I left it off.  🙂

More on the sour cream mashed potatoes tomorrow.  They are divine!

I think I might have died and gone to heaven.  Except the dishes are still dirty and the trash needs to go out.  Think I’ll just concentrate on eating for now!

Chicken Verde Enchiladas

I try to avoid going to the market on weekends.  Yes, it’s crowded, and slower than weekdays, but what really gets me is the food tasting. I taste things I wouldn’t normally make, and it’s good.  Then I get a ginormous jar of whatever product it was I just tasted, go home, and make meal X for the family.  Invariably it receives mixed reviews at home.  Sigh.

This one was a winner, however.  I did tweak the recipe on the jar a bit.  Who can possibly argue with more cheese?  Unless maybe you’re lactose intolerant.  But then you can use soy cheese or any of the other non-cheese cheeses that are commonly available these days!

You’ll need to boil a chicken.  I used a whole chicken, because skinless breasts just don’t have that much flavour, and they’re rather expensive in comparison.  AND…you get more chicken, so you can make more than one dish from the same chicken.

When the chicken is fully cooked, set it in a bowl to drain.  Strain the liquid in the pan, reduce it, and you have some delicious non-salty chicken broth.  Save this, and we’ll make some delicious chicken vegetable soup!

Two notes on the chicken:

1) Do make sure to remove the giblets before boiling!

2) De-bone carefully.  You don’t want anyone to choke or lose a tooth later!

Shred 2 to 3 cups of chicken.

Add 2-3 cups shredded cheese.  I used a cheddar Habanero variety, but it really wasn’t very spicy.  Also add 1 cup sour cream, and 1 cup pico de gallo.

Stir together, and then add 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

Try not to be like me and pour the black bean juice all over the counter.  Some days I just can’t hold onto things.  This morning, I poured half my cup of coffee on the counter in the same spot.  There is a land shark living there.  That MUST be it.

After the filling is combined…gently as to not squish the beans, pour in about half the jar of Cookwell & Company Green Chile Stew, until the filling is quite moist.

Microwave the corn tortillas until they are pliable, then spoon about 3 teaspoons of the filling into the tortilla, roll, and place into your baking dish of choice, seam side down.  The recipe says to use a 9 x 13.  I chose to use non-stick so I wouldn’t have to grease it.  I made enough filling with this recipe to make 2 pans!  That was about 24 enchiladas!

Cover then with some of the remaining Chile Stew mixture, then liberally apply shredded cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes.

Garnish with some salsa and more shredded cheese.  We are not big fans of Spanish rice, so I just threw together some pilaf from frozen peas and corn with Jasmine rice.  It was all quite nomable!  🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week before Christmas!

Parmesan Chicken

It’s still cold outside.  Well, if you consider 50-something cold…  I’m a Gulf Coast dweller.  Stop judging me!  🙂

Rat Boy is always asking me to make this for him, and it’s so easy, I probably should more often.  But then he’d just be tired of it, and it wouldn’t be a treat then.

So, I had this chicken.  And I was wondering what I’d cook today.  So I decided to make Rat Boy happy.  🙂

Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this.  It keeps really well, and is good cold on a sandwich, or even by itself, so make plenty!

Butter a baking sheet (with sides) well.  Really well, as the butter will kind of fry the chicken to heavenly.

Slice teh breasts in half crosswise to make them thinner.

This is so much easier and less messy than pounding them thin.  🙂

You’ll need 2 small bowls, one for breadcrumbs (I used panko and they were awesome) mixed with Parmesan cheese…

and one for a beaten egg.  Using a shallow, wide bowl for the breadcrumbs works the best.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg.

Then into the breadcrumb/cheese mix.  You can press it on to get a nice thick layer.

Your fingers will be goopy, but it’s really worth it!

Lay the chicken in the melted butter on the baking sheet.

Pat any remaining crumb mix onto the bald spots, then bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken pieces over, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the pieces are nicely golden brown and crunchy.

If your oven is a hundred years old like mine, you’ll need to rearrange the pieces so they are evenly cooked!

Then enjoy the crunchy deliciousness.  🙂

Oh, and don’t forget the wine.  You deserve it!

Please ignore all that stuff in the background.  I was washing up while the chicken was baking.  Now, I can enjoy the wine!

Spicy Chicken Pasta

Guess today is an unintentional 2-for, as I posted the Christmas Cake last night around 10, and it was already today on server time.  I am now convinced the server must be out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere, since I am so far behind server time!

It’s still cold.  Amazing in Texas to have the same kind of temperatures for 4 or 5 days, but the sun is back, so doubtless it will warm up soon.

Meanwhile, a bit of spice was in order to keep us warm, at least on the inside.  😛

Let’s hear it for the comfort food!

Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thin, about 1 inch pieces, and brown with garlic, onion and celery.  Brown in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.  I used the Dutch oven, as I was planning to finish this off in the oven.

Wow!  Did I actually just say planning?  That’s a word that doesn’t see much use at our house!  😛

The cast of players tonight, include squash (of course), tomato, and chicken.

Thinly slice the chicken, and brown in olive oil with diced garlic, onion, and celery.  I used 3 cippolini onions I happened to have on hand for a sweeter flavor, but really couldn’t tell the difference when everything is smothered in tomato!

Salt and pepper to taste while browning.

Thinly slice some peppers.  I matchsticked these, a poblano and 2 jalapenos, just to be different.  🙂

Drop in the peppers when the chicken is almost finished browning, so they get a bit charred, too.

Then add 2 cans of diced tomoatoes.  I’m using the fire roasted with garlic variety.

Stir the whole mess together well, and add a cup or two of broth, veggie or chicken.

Stir together well, and pop the whole thing into the oven at 250F for a couple of hours.  I had planned to add red wine to this, but didn’t.  So I drank it instead!  😛

About 20 minutes before you want to serve, slice some squash, and add it to the sauce, making sure the squash is down in the liquid.  I used yellow squash and zucchini this time.  Stir in some tomato sauce, if you want thicker gravy.

 

Back into the oven for 20 minutes, while you make the pasta, and it’s ready to serve!  2 thumbs up from Rat Boy!  😀

Christmas Cake

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought today I’d better get busy.  I decided that this would be just the thing to share, as I’m sure we are all experiencing the anticipation and excitement of this time of year (along with the stress).

This cake has a bit of a kick, as it has BOOZE in it!  NOT for the faint of heart…

Begin by sampling the Cuervo to check its quality.  Pour 1 ounce, and drink.  You may add salt and lime.

If the BOOZE meets with your approval, beat 1 cup butter until it is light and fluffy.

Add 1 cup sugar, and continue to beat.  Check teh tequila again to make sure it’s still OK.  🙂

While the mixture is creaming, check tequila.

Turn off mixer thingy.  Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl.  Stir well.

Have a bit more BOOZE!  It’s Christmas by golly!

Chuck a cup of dried fruit into the batter.  Whatever kind you like will be just fine!

Pick the friggin’ fruit off the floor.  Mix on the turner, and put the fruit in there.

Sample the Quervo to check for tonisisticity.

Turn the nister on low.  If fruit gets stuck in the beater, just pry it loose using a splatula,

Then, sift 2 cups salt, or something together in a small vole.

Check the Quervo.

Now shift lemon juice and strain nuts.

Add a stable of sugar or whatever you fine.  Greashe the oven at 350-.

Turn the cake tim and flour.  Try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl out the windoer, and finder the Quervo.  Try not to trype over the kat.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Apple Stuffed Squash

Yesterday, I crawled out from under the huge pile of last week’s laundry and realized that I had no leftover turkey!  That just seems so strange.  I should be making turkey jambalaya, turkey soup, or turkey sandwiches this week.

I suppose it’s really good, though.  Usually by the time I’ve used up the left over turkey, I don’t care about seeing, smelling, or tasting another turkey until next Thanksgiving.

Because I ate about 7 different kinds of pie last week, and because I’m going on a bachelorette cruise in February (now only 2 months away!), I’ve decided to try and keep it light…at least during the Thanksgiving recovery period.  Yes, it’s bathing suit panic time, in the middle of winter.  😛

Thus, today for your viewing pleasure…stuffed acorn squash.

I’ve never cooked an acorn squash before, but they looked so pretty at the market I just had to get one.  I think I’m having a squash obsession this year, as I’ve put some kind of squash into every new thing I’ve tried lately.  Except the desert-y stuff.

Acorn squash is actually pretty awesome!  I did have a moment of “how the hell do you cut this thing?” at first, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I did sharpen the knife first, just in case.

Cut the squash in half and de-seed.  I felt like I was playing with tiny pumpkins!

Brush both halves lightly with olive oil, and bake at 350F, cut side down, for 30 minutes.

To make the stuffing, I used barley and brown rice, cooked to package directions…1 cup of each.  Add 1/2 cup cooked lentils, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup diced shallot, a couple of diced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, and 1/2  cup chopped granny smith apple with the peel left on.

Guess I’m inadvertently advertising for smartWater today.  🙂

While the squash is baking, combine the stuffing ingredients in a medium bowl, and toss to combine.

If it’s not moist enough, add a bit more applesauce.  This stuffing recipe will fill 2 or 3 squash.  I only made 1 because I didn’t know if I’d like the acorn squash.  What was leftover will be going in the squash I picked up at the market yesterday, as I really really liked this.  I think the stuffing would be great in a zucchini too.

After 30 minutes, remove the squash from the oven, stuff the halves, and bake another 20-30 minutes. this could be a meal in itself, or could be a groovy side!

It makes a very pretty presentation.  And is ridiculously healthy and yumtastic!  I’m making more tonight.

The grilled cheese was for Rat Boy.  He currently eats like he has 2 hollow legs!

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