Portuguese Paella

I know I’ve mentioned a few times in the last three years of writing this blog that I google my blog when I want to make one of my recipes. While this is not how I started out saving recipes, it really is faster than looking through the hundreds of printed pieces of papers or trying to decipher my terrible handwriting. Even though I do try to keep the papers organized, it truly is organized chaos.

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My daughter said Anne Burrell would be proud of my Misen en Place!!!


Last week New Orleans celebrated Fat Tuesday aka Mardi Gras – here in NH it was going to be just another day or so I thought! We had dinner with some friends who had a master plan to throw a Fat Tuesday party right here in the North. Well of course we are always up for a party – even on a school night.
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It’s funny how plans can change super quickly. We held ours on Monday night, it was supposed to be at our friends house but was changed last minute to mine and the number of people kept growing. In the end it all worked out beautifully. Fun was had by all, the food was excellent and the wine was flowing the only thing we didn’t have was mardi gras beads.
img_5783.jpgThe initial menu was a case of oysters and my daughter was going to Beignets – I contributed by making a Paella; it is a Portuguese Paella and I really love making and eating it. So back to my initial statement I googled me for the recipe and it didnt pull up, how could I have not shared this with you yet? I hope you enjoy it!
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Portuguese Paella
Ingredients

8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and Freshly cracked black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 link Portuguese chourico, sliced into rounds
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 cups arborio rice
2 plum tomatoes diced
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound large, peeled and deveined shrimp
Bunch of asparagus, cut diagonally
½ cup frozen peas, thawed

Pre-heat oven to 400’ F

Season chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary
Heat oil in a large oven proof pan over medium heat
Add chicken and cook on each side until lightly browned
Remove chicken from the pan
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Add Chourico, brown on each side, add onion and the pepper cook stirring constantly for about 5-7 minutes. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron and garlic. Cook for a minute or so; return the chicken to the pan add broth, season with salt and pepper. Cover pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Stir in shrimp, asparagus and peas. Replace cover and make for an additional 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.

Approx Macros = 1.5 cups per serving
336 Calories – 5g Fat – 47g Carbs – 23g Protein

Chocolate stout chili

Just the name of the recipe intrigued me.  I have never cooked with chocolate; baked, eaten and eaten even more chocolate but never cooked with it. And to be perfectly honest I still really haven’t.
IMG_5711I didn’t want to run out to the store so I used a beer we had in the fridge that I thought most identified with what they were looking for in the recipe I was trying. This recipe also piqued my interest because I have never made a chili without beans. When I mentioned this to the fam they were all curious as well.
IMG_5713The taste of this chili is deep with flavors and to be perfectly honest a little too spicy for my taste buds but I loved how it went together and the flavors were excellent so I will be making this again, just going to lay off a little on the chipotle in adobo sauce. That little tiny can packs a wallop of heat let me tell you.
IMG_5701I’ll give you the recipe how I made it and you decide how hot you want it!

Ingredients

1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds beef chuck cut into ½ inch pieces
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 chipotle plus 2 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon coffee extract – I just used coffee
Olive Oil as needed
1 large yellow onion diced
1 ½ tablespoon garlic chopped or minced
12 ounce chocolate stout

Directions
In a large bowl combined the cumin, salt, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon.
Add the beef and coat the meat with the spice mixture. Let the meat sit out for about 30 minutes.
IMG_5706In your blender combine the tomatoes, paste, chipotle in adobo, sugar, coffee and a teaspoon of salt. Puree scraping down the sides as needed.
In a dutch oven or heavy-duty oit heat the oil; once hot add the beef in batches. Brown the beef on all sides transfer the meat to a bowl or plate and continue the process until all the beef is browned.
IMG_5716Lower the heat to medium and add the onion cooking till soft and translucent scraping up any browned bits left in the pot. Add the garlic stirring for about 30 seconds and then add the beef to the pot. Stir in the blender mixture along with the beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer with the cover slightly ajar for about 3 hours.

You can eat it right away or wait a day or two for the flavors to get even better.
Enjoy with grated cheese, sour cream, not hot enough add some pickled jalapenos.


Another wonderful recipe from Fine Cooking

Marinated tomato whipped feta crostini

So how do you Super Bowl?
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This year we will be chilling at home even though we don’t have plans to have anyone over I will still be making a few super bowl staples like wings, guacamole and chili. I have also been craving 7 layer dip so I made sure to have those ingredients on hand. While not everything has to be heavy and well filling I also made some marinated tomatoes with some whipped feta that you smear on a crostini. Sounds like we will be enjoying some leftovers this week.
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I find it pretty funny that being from New England of course there are a ridiculous amount of Patriot fans around and then there are people who become fans of whoever is playing against the Patriots. Not sure why there are so many haters out there but I sure do enjoy watching the entire game halftime show, commercials and all and even more so when we are in it. Go Pats!

Marinated tomato whipped feta crostini

6 ounces crumbled feta
2 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
2/3 cup olive oil – divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-3 different type/color pints of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half or quartered)
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons pine nuts
French baguette (sliced and baked till lightly browned)

Add feta and cream cheese in bowl of a food processor, pulse until they are mixed. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.
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Combine shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl, set aside for 5 minutes.  Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasoning.

To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of toast with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Top with pine nuts and extra basil.

Cod, sausage and fennel cioppino

I am on another trek to try to empty out the fridge and freezer since I can’t fit another thing in any of them (I have another one in the garage) yet I still seem to go to the store and buy more food to make some recipe I just saw. I think I have a problem.
IMG_5744.JPGThis recipe I happen to have had everything on hand. Well mostly everything; I had made clam chowder last weekend so I picked up a few extra clam broth bottles so I had it on hand but I did have to buy the fennel bulb. I tend to always have some flash frozen fish in the freezer, it makes for a very quick meal during the week. I truly wish we had a fresh fish market close by but I have never had a bad flash frozen fish so I can’t complain.
IMG_5734.JPGIf you were wondering what Cioppino means you were not alone, I had to google it so I’ll save you the trouble.  Define cioppino: a stew of fish and shellfish cooked usually with tomatoes, wine, spices, and herbs. They are saying it came from San Francisco and is an Italian-American dish. It doesn’t matter to me who or where I just would like to thank them. The broth is so deep with flavor that I will most definitely be making this again soon!
IMG_5740Cod, sausage and fennel cioppino

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed – your choice sweet or hot, chicken, turkey or pork I used sweet pork
1 medium onion diced
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and cored, sliced thinly – I chopped mine
½ cup dry red wine
3 cups bottled clam juice
1 cup marinara sauce – jarred or homemade
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb skinless cod cut into 1 inch chunks

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage breaking it up, add the onion and fennel, cook until the veggies start to brown and the sausage is cooked through.
IMG_5735.JPGAdd the wine and simmer while scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine by half. Add the clam juice, marinara and pepper flakes, bring to a simmer reduce the heat to low and cover, simmer until the veggies are tender about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the fish into the stew, cover and simmer gently without stirring until the fish is flaky and is just opaque. Takes about 5 minutes.
IMG_5736.JPGI made my broth the day before and reheated it and then added my fish.  


Another wonderful recipe from Fine Cooking

pork medallions in whisky-marmalade sauce

I even love how it sounds – whisky-marmalade sauce / say it with me.
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I have to confess that I am actually kind of a train wreck in the kitchen at times. I tend to use ALL or at least close to all of my utensils, bowls, measuring cups, pots and pans. It is truly ridiculous. I like to; or actually have to  work in a clean kitchen so I will clean up before I start and when I am done making whatever it is I am making for the day it looks like a war zone. Flour on the floor, dishes exploding from the sink, every tasting spoon used up. This is probably why I always told my kids “it doesn’t matter how messy you make the kitchen but make sure to clean it up after”
IMG_5724My favorite kitchen mess up moment was cracking an egg for my poached egg breakfast when the egg left the shell and landed between the counter and stove top. You know the space that is most impossible to clean; the whites were seeping down the cracks and the yolk sitting all pretty by itself. Eyes wide, mouth open and not a clue what to do I just had to laugh.  Lets just say that was fun to clean and no I did not get the yolk out of its predicament whole.
IMG_5719One of my favorite magazines is Fine Cooking – I was reading and marking pages of recipes I want/need to try last weekend. For Sunday dinner I was making one of them and sharing a bottle of wine (actually she brought a box) with my daughter. Kitchen was looking crazy with ingredients everywhere, sink full, magazine propped open on the counter alongside my glass of wine when I have no idea how I did it but glass broken and wine spilled IN magazine I’m still baffled.     

Pork Medallions with Whisky-Marmalade sauce
apparently I forgot to take a picture of the end result – sorry about that; they looked beautiful and tasted great.

¼ cup orange marmalade
¼ cup fresh orange juice
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 ¼ lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 inch-thick medallions
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs shallots – finely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbs scotch whiskey
¼ tsp cornstarch

In a small bowl combine the first four ingredients and set aside.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Generously season the medallions with salt and pepper.  Cook medallions about 5 minutes on each side, you want them golden brown and barely cooked through.  Remove pork to a plate.

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Add butter, shallot, red pepper to pan until the shallots are tender. Add the whisky and cook, stirring until it’s almost evaporated.  Stir in the marmalade sauce and bring to a boil.

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Take the ¼ tsp cornstarch and add a Tbs of water in a small bowl stir till combined. Add this to the marmalade sauce and simmer until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.
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Add the pork and the collected juices back to the pan just to reheat the pork. Serve the sauce drizzled over the pork medallions.

Recipe – Fine Cooking 

Healthier Blooming Onion – Air Fry

So something pretty exciting for little ole me happened this week. I was enjoying my morning cup of tea; yeah sorry not a coffee drinker; and I was playing either Sudoku or Words with friends on my phone and it flashed a tweet “Congrats your blog has been selected as one the Top 100 Home Cooking Blogs on the web by Feedspot Blog” me not being super savvy with social media I was initially confused, then suspect than thrilled and honored.

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Confused to how me just being me and sharing a little about what I have been making could get acknowledged. Suspect, just because I am wary of anything that could potentially be a scam, you know the one you won a free trip around the world, just give me you CC for the deport taxes or something like that. And then thrilled that my daughter confirmed that yeah this was VERY cool!  So thank you for stopping by and supporting me and this blog. I really enjoy writing it for all who don’t mind me sharing a little of me.
IMG_5668So who else got an air fryer for Christmas? I have mentioned trying to be a little healthier but also finding the balance with healthy that tastes good and it helps a lot if it is something that we would normally want to eat. There is still a ton I need to learn about air frying but I at least have it in the house now, so let the games begin.
IMG_5684.JPGI have only made a few things so far, Chicken Tenders, simply salted, peppered and then some seasoned breadcrumbs. And then I tried turkey cutlets seasoned with some Jamaican spice rub that I brought back from vacation. Both were successful! But then I thought blooming onion. A healthier blooming onion why not? Healthier by air frying, using egg substitute and a little less flour than the recipes I found online. 

Ingredients

1 Large white onion
2 tablespoons nonfat Milk
½ cup egg substitute
3/4 cup Panko
1 1/2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
3 teaspoons Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 cup Flour

Instructions – Onion should soak for at least 2 hours or overnight

Mix breadcrumbs with olive oil, cajun seasoning, garlic powder and paprika. In a separate dish, mix salt & pepper into the flour. In a bowl, mix milk with egg.
IMG_5678cut off the pointy top (the non hairy end – those who have taken one of my cooking classes knows this) Place cut side down onto a cutting board. Starting 1/2 inch from the root, cut downward, all the way to the cutting board. Repeat to make 4 evenly spaced cuts around the onion. Continue slicing between each section until you have made 12 to 16 cuts total.
IMG_5670IMG_5671Place sliced onion in ice water for at least 2 hours / overnight. Remove from water, pat dry.
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Beat eggs with milk. Open onion to expose petals. Place onion on a tray or in a bowl. Sprinkle onion generously with flour mixture. Make sure to get in between all the petals, turn upside down to remove the excess.
IMG_5681Spoon or ladle, the egg mixture into every crevice. Turn over to make sure excess egg drips off.
IMG_5682Sprinkle onion very generously with bread crumb mixture. Press into place.
IMG_5683Preheat the air fryer to 360F. Then place the onion in the basket cover with a tinfoil tent and cook for 10 minutes.

When timer is done, check crispness of the onion. Cook 5-10 more minutes to desired crispness. Cut out the middle core with a sharp knife so you can add a bowl of dipping sauce. I used ranch dressing for this one.
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What would I do differently next time – I would make 16 slices, I would like a smaller bite. I am going to try doing a tempura batter next time, just to see the difference.

Macros = 4 servings per onion without the dressing
187 Calories – 6g Fat – 26g Carbs – 7g Protein

Buffalo Chicken Boats

I wish you all a very happy healthy new year! Even though I do not make verbal resolutions; I do hope that I try harder to get in shape. Ya I know that doesn’t really scream diet and exercise but I do THINK about it so that’s something right?

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They are so cute!

OK so we spent New Years weekend in Quebec City with a bunch of friends and froze our asses off. Not literally but 11 degrees Fahrenheit below zero is just plain crazy to hang around outside. And that is without the wind which was whipping. We had a great time and the city is beautiful; I would like to go back; when it warms up about 60 degrees.

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Thought I would share how cold it was, and this was during the day


IMG_5652With the fridge and pantry being filled with holiday food from last month and us being away I haven’t been grocery shopping in a few weeks. We were invited over to some friends for dinner and I was to bring an appetizer. Not having time to run to a store, I needed to come up with something with what I had on hand. I was also thinking it should be something a little on the healthy side since its a new year and I was THINKING about being healthier.
IMG_5646I thawed a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chopped, seasoned, cooked and shredded them. I had a few sticks of celery and a little bleu cheese and voila appetizer.
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Ingredients
1 cup boneless skinless chicken breasts – shredded
Salt
Pepper
Adobo seasoning
¼ cup franks hot sauce
2 Tbs mayo
3-4 celery sticks
Chives

Directions
Season, chop and cook the chicken pieces, once cooled shred the chicken. Mix together the hot sauce and mayo and cover the shredded chicken.  Wash and remove the strings from your celery. I use a potato peeler to remove the strings on my celery. Slice into bite size pieces fill each piece with the buffalo chicken. Drizzle a little bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Dice up a few chives and sprinkle over the boats.
IMG_5656If you are already healthy wink wink than instead of the celery they would taste great as nachos or in a quesadilla – just saying