Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jambalaya Made Simple!

When I grocery shop, and I do very often, I'm always looking for something simple that I (us men) can cook.  This week I wanted some good'ol Louisiana cooking, like I used to get when I was stationed at Biloxi back in the 60s.

Suddenly, I spotted this big can of Simple Suppers, made by Margaret Homes, on the shelf.  I grabbed it and read, "Just add meat!"...man, that's for me, I almost said out loud! 

And, it is that simple!  
I cut up the kielbasa I'd been saving, browned it in some olive oil and garlic, and whalah, it was ready for the can of jambalaya!

I almost didn't have time for my Crown libation it was so quick and easy!
We had some leftover cornbread, and together it was delicious!

One some complaint "Margret", it was a touch too salty!  Maybe folks should consider adding a pinch of sugar to cut that down a notch.

Next time... 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Bacon Wrapped, Walnut and Spinach Chicken

I got this recipe from Rachael Ray. You know I have to try it, if it involves BACON

Well, I'm not a chef, or a Rachael Ray, so I gave it my best shot.  She wasn't clear down toward the end of her recipe that the last few ingredients were part of a fancy salad*, so I mistakenly put some vinegar and onion in the stuff mix!

However, I think it turned out well, but I did have to drizzle honey over the top to dampen the vinegar a bit!  However, the rest inside was fine, but I do not like celery cooked or watercress, so I left that out completely.

That all being said, here are the ingredients for my attempt.  I should point out that Rachael's recipe was for 6 chicken breasts, and I only used 3, but I did attempt to put more stuffing inside each of mine.  Use her ingredients if you want to cook 6, or freeze 3 for later.

Ingredients: 
  • 4 ounces walnuts (about 3/4 cup), toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped 
  • 1 brick Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese (8 ounces), softened 
  • 1 box chopped frozen spinach (10 ounces), defrosted and well-drained 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • Salt and pepper (Don't forget this step before stuffing is added to the fillet.  I did and had to salt and pepper midway through the oven cooking.  Not as good as before!)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, breasts butterflied to open them up like a book 
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced smoky bacon or speck  (Thinly sliced may work better than my thick sliced, but I liked it though it didn't brown the way I wanted it.)
  • 1/4 tablespoon olive or canola oil, divided 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1 crisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 


Preparation 
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. 

Combine the walnuts with the soft cheese, spinach, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and divide the cheese mixture among the breasts. 
Close the chicken breasts over the filling. Wrap the chicken with bacon or speck, slightly overlapping the slices. 
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon oil and lightly brown the chicken on all sides. 

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 (This depends on how thin your breasts are.  Watch and adjust.) minutes to cook through. 

*Here is where I messed up!  The following directions are for a salad.  I served mine with potato salad instead. 

While the chicken is in the oven, whisk up the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, honey (I'll put the honey inside next time.) and the remaining olive oil. Combine the apple, celery, onion and greens with dressing and season with salt and pepper. 

Serve the stuffed chicken with the salad (or potato salad) alongside. 

Despite a couple of mistakes, it was delicious!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

White Clam Sauce Over Noodles

I was looking for something quick and easy this afternoon, so I scoured the "lazy Susans" for anything I thought would satisfy my taste buds.  I came upon a can of Progresso White Clam Sauce that quite frankly had been under there for about a year, and I still can't remember why I bought it.  However, now I'm glad I did!

The can shows it served over pasta, so I looked overhead and found half a box of Barilla Plus Rotini noodles and a package of No Yokes noodles.  I added a handful of the No Yokes to the 1/2 box of Rotini and started the water boiling!  I was on my way.

I looked at the photo on the clam sauce can and thought it needed a little something else.  I had a package of "Fajita veggies" in the refrigerator, so I sauteed the onions and peppers while the can of sauce heated in a pan over low heat.  Once the sauce bubbled, I added the veggies and mixed thoroughly.

After the pasta cooked, about 10 minutes, I drained and salted and peppered it.  I then added a portion to two medium sized bowls, poured the hot sauce over the noodles.

I had some cheese and garlic bread left over from a spaghetti supper we had a few nights earlier, so I reheated two slices and added them to the rim of the bowls.

Men, I've been telling you all these years through this blog, that real men can cook, and this meal should be proof enough!  You just have to get in the kitchen and try it.  Besides, if you cook you can have your favorite libation as you work, and your wife is then obligated to clean up!

It took so little to make this and man it was good!

I think next time I will kick it up a notch by sprinkling in some crushed red pepper flakes, but it was tasty as it was!
Not the best shot, but trust me...good!
Oh yes, I almost forgot the dessert!  We warmed up two "Brownie Pillow Cookies" I had bought at the Fresh Market in Farragut, TN.  Wow, they are so soft, gooey, and sweet!  I ate them so fast that I forgot how good they were with milk!  Too late...all gone!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER - 2013

My guest chef today is Kaitlyn, my granddaughter!  She is now 21 and beginning her own life away at school, but still comes to her "Granny's" house to spend the night.  The best part, besides sleeping with Granny and talking the night away, is that she is beginning to cook for us!
Christmas Day Dinner is a tradition at our house; a time when our daughter, son-in-law, my mom, and, of course, Katie Bug come to celebrate another year as a family.  It's an intimate time for just the immediate family, but often we share it with one of Kaitlyn's friends.  This year it was Mercedes, a high school friend.

The following recipes with the exception of the cornbread, she said, came from a search on Pinterest
She started a crock-pot pork-chop dish around noon and cooked it on low until meal time around 6PM.  It was simple enough, and best yet, she never had to touch it again until the meal was served.

Here is all she had to do:

Ingredients
  • Pork chops (she used 8 boneless pork-chops 1/2" thick)
  • 1 Ranch Seasoning Dry Mix Packet
  • 1 can Cream of Cream of Chicken Soup (plus 2 cans of water or milk)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot and mix well.
  2. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
Around 4PM she began her side dishes consisting of macaroni, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (giving us a choice, but most, like me ate both kinds), mixed vegetables, and cornbread.
The macaroni dish was prepared normally, drained, Velveeta, colby-jack, and some shredded mild cheddar cheese and milk was added, and then poured into a baking dish.  She then added Panko bread crumbs and baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375.
She baked 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and put them into a baking dish.  To the potatoes she added a can of pumpkin, butter, brown sugar, salt, chopped pecans, cinnamon, and half and half and mixed thoroughly.  She baked it for about 30 minutes at 350.

The mashed potatoes were prepared normally, except for the addition of garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.
Katie then patiently chopped up fresh zucchini, yellow squash, orange bell pepper, and salad size tomatoes.  She placed the veggies into a baking dish and poured vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil over the pieces, salted and peppered them, and baked for 45 minutes at 350 covered.
Next, she turned up the oven to 450.  In a 4-cup glass measuring bowl, she added 2 cups of cornmeal, milk to make a batter, an egg, 1 heaping tablespoon of sugar, and 2 heaping tablespoons of flour in a large measuring bowl and mixed.  She put a large cast iron skillet with about a 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in it into the oven.  When the skillet was hot, she poured in the cornmeal mixture.  The mixture should start to rise around the edges immediately.  Put back in the oven for 25 minutes.
Katie (R) and Mercedes (L) relax after Christmas dinner.  

All this, including a glass of Barefoot wine, (and a bowl of "store bought" slaw) was placed on our Christmas table and we dove in with both hands!  It was quite a change from the norm, and everyone seemed to enjoy it...most of all the family time.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year folks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MAKE FRENCH TOAST FAST!

I was walking through the store last week, looking for something different for breakfast, when I spotted the Pepperidge Farm - Swirl Breads.  Then I remembered the  French-toast my mom used to make me.

The wheels turned some more and I thought, "Why go to all that mixing trouble, just dunk some of this "Brown Sugar and Cinnamon" swirl-bread!"


So I got a package and the next morning I just broke an egg into a bowl, added about 3 tablespoons of milk, whipped it a few times and plopped a couple of "swirl-bread slices, and cooked it in a med-hot frying pan coated with melted butter!

Man!  With a side of ham and a cup of hot coffee, it was the quickest and best breakfast I'd had in months!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

MUSHY'S QUICK OMELET RECIPE

This Sunday morning my wife wanted an omelet and that sounded good to me!

I heated the oven and popped in some canned biscuits, Pillsbury, of course, and started the coffee!

I then prepped the omelet.
I chopped up some onion, and put it into a hot pan of butter, along with some chopped jalapeno from a jar, and about half a small can of chopped mushrooms.  I sauteed until the onions were translucent, and removed them from the heat.
In a bowl, I put three jumbo eggs, some sea salt, some pepper, and some Tennessee Sunshine hot sauce.  I mixed up the eggs, then plopped in a small handful of shredded mild cheese, and the sauteed ingredients, and mixed everything thoroughly, ensuring everything was coated with the egg. 

In a hot skillet coated with some vegetable oil, I poured in the mixture.  I had a rubber scrapper and plastic spatula ready for duty.  With the rubber scrapper, I ran it around the edges as it began to cook to keep it from sticking, and when it was almost cooked from the bottom up, I gently used the spatula to flip the half cooked mixture into a half-moon position.  Sometimes you have to hold the position for the omelet with the spatula.
I gave it a few more minutes of cooking time on medium heat, and cut the half-moon in half.  I could then easily flip each half over for further cooking.  Sometimes it don't flip beautifully, as the photo shows, but it all taste the same!
I served half the omelet, a biscuit, and teaspoon of Muscadine jelly to my wife, who had poured the coffee and placed it by our chairs in the living room.  We were now ready to watch CBS's Sunday Morning show, a tradition of ours since we were married 33 years ago!

Note: For those of you that have never tried jalapenos with coffee, it's wonderful!  It's a new taste that's addictive.  It's the same taste you get eating leftover pizza that has jalapenos, with scrambled eggs.  A great wake-up call!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

LESS GREASY STEAK AND GRAVY

Since the F4/F5 fusion/compression surgery, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking.  As a matter of fact, neither of us have been doing a lot lately, except trying to get better.  My wife has had some health issues, and is about to have a heart procedure that should bring her back to "life", so things have been slow lately.

I've messed around with salads again, as you can see above, and that usually makes us happy around "supper" time.  The theme goes along with my trying to walk a little each day on the treadmill, but I seemed to be slowly regaining some of the weight I lost after a previous surgery.

It was only lettuce (just simple Iceberg), tomato, onion, cheese, boiled egg, raisins, some chuck chicken breast, and a little jalapeƱo (seeded) on the side for kick!  It sure did hit the spot, even though the preparation was a involved, but when you've felt like doing nothing for so long, it was a real accomplishment for me.

However, what we really like is some good ol' Southern home cooking like the plate my wife made a few nights ago.  

She first boiled some potato hunks in water until a fork easily penetrates the heart of the potato.  She sat that aside to cool and began preparing the protein.

She then browned some tenderized beef round steak in a hot skillet.  Wanting to make the dish less greasy she put flour and water, some salt and pepper into a glass baking dish and stirred the mixture before finally plopping in the browned steak.  As the meat continued to cook covered, over the next 30 minutes, in the 350 degree oven, she would infrequently stir the flour into what little grease flowed from the meat.

Normally, the steak, the grease, and the browned pieces in the bottom of the skillet is all poured into making the gravy, but not doing this did make the meal less greasy without losing any of the taste.

While the steak was in the oven she whipped up the potatoes, adding salt, pepper, a little sour cream, and some milk.  She don't like chunky mashed potatoes like I do, so the mixer runs a long time, whipping them up into a fluffy mush.  A little butter is added at the end for additional taste.
We had a can of Le Sueur® Very Young Small Early Peas, and some left over coleslaw, so the rest of the meal was handy.  Oh yeah, we also had a package of King's Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls, left over from a family gathering, so my supper was great!

Now, I don't know about you, but I like my peas plopped on top of my "mashed tatters", as shown.   Sometimes, when I'm not watching my waistline, I put a dollop of Miracle Whip into my tatters!  I learned that from my favorite uncle.  It's good!  Never heard of mayo/salad dressing in potato salad?  Try it...you'll like it!

So, the week hasn't been too bad after all.  I've had good company, good sightseeing, and good food, so life is getting back to normal 'round here!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

MUSHY IS HAVING A SALE!

As most of you know, I have been maintaining a large number of photographic art pieces online since October of 2011.  I greatly enjoy photography, and often surprise myself! 

I am currently offering a 25% discount on all my photographic art “mark ups” through July 31, 2013. 

Click on this link, http://paul-mashburn.artistwebsites.com/, or click below, peruse my galleries for the perfect art for your home or office, and enter the Discount Code: DMKPMV at check out!

I hope you fine something you like!

Mushy

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hamburger Steak Supreme

Yeah, I know this is "Mushy's" cooking blog, but it should be known that my wife (Judy) is also a cook, and I'll admit, a much better cook than me.

It's pretty basic, but tonight's supper is just evidence that she feeds me pretty well.  It was just your basic "hamburger steak" with all her special trimmings, but it was wonderful, as the posted photo shows.
She is a southern cook, raised up knowing her way around the kitchen, studying under her mother's watchful eye.  All our meals are pretty much southern born, nothing fancy, but believe me, there is nothing better in 80% of the restaurants in the country.

She smothered the steak in sauteed onions and red peppers, topped the sweet potato with butter and brown sugar, and sauteed green beans on the side.

If you look at the plate, you can see why I was stuffed; that was a lot of food!  That was also great food!  

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