Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast with Dirty Rice

Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast with Dirty Rice

Hey everyone! So I decided to try something new a few weekends ago when we had a couple of friends over for dinner, drinks, and card games (Cards Against Humanity, Uno, and The Oregon Trail card game). I looked up chicken recipes and came across this online. I don’t remember exactly where I got the recipe, but I thought I’d re-post it so that everyone could enjoy it like we did! And like I said before, I’m not above using rice from a box or using frozen veggies or canned food. The key is getting the most flavor that you can out of EVERYTHING you cook. Enjoy!

Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast

4 chicken breasts, butterflied

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

Fresh mushrooms, sliced (about a cup)

shredded pepper jack cheese

Irish butter

Cajun seasoning (Louisiana Cajun seasoning is what I used)

Olive oil

Toothpicks

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Put some olive oil in a pan on medium-high. Sauté the green and red peppers, onion, and mushrooms in the olive oil until cooked through and the onions are slightly transparent.
  3. Butterfly the chicken and place a pinch of shredded pepper jack cheese on one side of the chicken. Add a spoonful of the bell pepper, onion, and mushroom mixture. Top with another pinch of pepper jack cheese.img_20161008_183911653_burst000_cover
  4. Fold the chicken breast over and secure by putting toothpicks at an angle around the chicken where the edges of the butterflied chicken meet.img_20161008_184526969img_20161008_184016840
  5. Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish and season with Cajun seasoning. Once the chicken breasts are covered, top each one with a knob of Irish butter.
  6. Bake the chicken breasts for between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on your oven.
  7. Serve with Zatarain’s Dirty Rice (yes, from a box) and top the chicken with the leftover peppers, onions, and mushrooms if you would like.img_20161008_193213435

Sláinte!

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The Correct Way to Make a Reuben

So recently I went to a New York-style deli that is known for serving great food. The Reuben I ordered was good, but it wasn’t the best I had ever eaten. I knew it wouldn’t be and let me tell you why: I watched them take the premium Boar’s Head corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese and MICROWAVE it!! Blasphemy!!

So…to make a great Reuben sandwich, you’ll need:

1/4 lb. Corned Beef

1/4 lb. Sauerkraut

2 slices of Swiss cheese

Thousand Island dressing

Irish butter

Rye bread

A skillet

A metal mixing bowl

1/4 cup of water

Place the corned beef in the skillet on medium heat and start to warm it up. Put the sauerkraut on top of the beef (drain the kraut first), and as it starts to simmer, pour the water in the pan around the beef and turn the metal mixing bowl upside down over the beef and kraut so that it steams. After about 10 seconds, remove the bowl and put the cheese over the beef and kraut and replace the bowl over the top for about another 10 seconds. When you remove the bowl, the cheese should be nice and melted over the beef and kraut. Use a spatula to scoop up the sandwich contents and place it on a slice of rye bread that has been spread with Thousand Island dressing. Please the other slice of rye (again spread with dressing) on top to make the sandwich and wipe out the skillet with a couple of paper towels. Melt a knob of Irish butter and grill the sandwich in the skillet on both sides as you would grill a grilled cheese sandwich. Set the sandwich on a cutting board after grilled to golden brown on both sides and slice in half. Enjoy!

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Sláinte!

Quick and Delicious French Toast

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So I figured I’d try my hand at making french toast and the best way to do this is to just dive in and try it. You’ll need:

4 pieces of bread (thicker, if you’d like)

2 Eggs (I use brown eggs)

Heavy cream (or milk)

Vanilla extract

White granulated sugar

Ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg

Irish butter

Place a pan on the stove and heat on medium heat. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and pour in a bit of cream (maybe 1/4 cup), 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp sugar,  1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Beat well until blended. Place a knob of Irish butter into the preheated pan and melt. Dip the slices of bread into the mixture so that all sides are coated. Place the bread, 2 slices at a time, into the buttered pan and cook until brown on both sides such that the bread isn’t soft and flimsy anymore.

Serve on a plate with pancake syrup or pure maple syrup and dust with confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. If you use maple syrup like I do, go EASY on the confectioner’s sugar as maple syrup is very sweet.

The whole process takes maybe 10-15 minutes.

Sláinte!

Irish Pork Chops with Champ Potatoes

Irish Pork Chops with Champ Potatoes

Ok, now just so you know…being Irish and caring a LOT about how well my food is presented and tastes while trying to make sure that it’s done correctly…this is one of my FAVORITE dishes (to eat and to cook). Make these for your next gathering or family meal and you’ll be sure to impress.

Ingredients:

Kerrigold Irish Butter (unsalted)

4 pork chops (or bacon chops if you’re lucky enough to be near an Irish butcher)

2 cooking apples – peeled and diced (I use Fuji apples, but if you like more tartness, you can try Granny Smith)

3 cloves of fresh garlic – minced

2/3 cup hard cider (I love using Magner’s Irish Dry Cider if I can find it, but any will do)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp whole grain mustard (I use Lakeshore Whole Grain Mustard with Irish Whiskey)

1 1/2 tsp sugar

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Tarragon

Salt and Pepper

Russet potatoes – peeled and cubed

Heavy Cream or milk (the heavy cream will be a little more rich)

Scallions (green onions) – finely chopped

For the Chops:

  1. In a cast iron skillet, melt a pat of the butter once the skillet is hot (on about 6 or 7 for an electric stove top). Clean and dry the chops with paper towels then season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Brown the chops in the butter until almost done; still a little pink in the middle. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Leave the pork drippings, or fond, in the pan and melt another pat of butter. Put the diced apples in the melted butter and cook until the apples release their juices and the juice starts to brown.
  3. Put in the minced garlic and sugar and cook for about 60 seconds until the garlic is aromatic.
  4. Stir in the hard cider, apple cider vinegar, mustard, thyme, tarragon, and salt and pepper. Let this boil for a few minutes until it thickens up into a saucy consistency. Stir occasionally.
  5. Put the chops back into the sauce to finish cooking. This allows the chops to take on more of the flavor and warms them back up at the same time. Cover the chops with the sauce and apples to get the most flavor into your chops.

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For the Champ Potatoes:

  1. Put your milk or cream into a pot with the finely chopped scallions. Bring to a boil, slowly, and then turn down the heat to simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit while the potatoes cook.
  2. Fill a pot with salted water and put the cubed potatoes in and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they can be pricked through with a fork to show that they are soft.
  3. Mash the potatoes and stir in the warm milk/cream and scallion mixture. Stir in butter and salt/pepper to taste and serve with a pat of butter on top. Garnish with some of the green scallions.

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Sláinte!

A Few Meals to Catch Up

Hi everyone. It seems like I’ve done a few of these “sorry I’ve been a slack-ass” posts lately, doesn’t it? So, to catch up since I’ve been lazy about posting anything, here are a few of the meals I’ve done lately.

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

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So my wife and I decided to try to start eating healthier and being more active and although spaghetti isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, changing the BIGGEST no-no, the pasta, definitely doesn’t do anything but help one’s cause. So here, I made a homemade Italian-style meat sauce and served it in spaghetti squash halves.

So, first thing’s first. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, drizzle the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put them cut-side-down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and use a fork to shred the insides of the squash, simply pulling the fork down the center and it will come out in strands like spaghetti noodles. Scoop some of the “noodles” out and either discard or save for something else and fill with whatever sauce you’d like. Top with shredded cheese and bake until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

To make my sauce, I diced a red onion and minced 3 cloves of fresh garlic and sauteed them in a pot with hot olive oil for about 60 seconds. Once they were a bit softer and aromatic, I put in a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes with basil and olive oil, 1 lb of ground beef, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley. I stirred the mixture well and let the sauce simmer for about 2-3 hours. This was the final result:

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Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Steak with Grilled Yellow Squash and Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

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To marinate the tuna steak, put the following into a gallon-size Ziploc bag: 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper, fresh or dried thyme. Mix the marinade well and put the tuna steaks in the bag, pushing out all of the air and zipping it closed and covering the tuna steaks completely with the marinade. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and grill for about 2 minutes per side, leaving the center rare (as tuna is supposed to be served).

For the salad, just dice half an onion, 2 tomatoes, and 1 cucumber. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, Italian dressing (creamy if you have it), salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme.

For the squash, simply slice the squash however you’d like so that it’s easy to grill, put in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

 

Blue Apron: Thai Chili Chicken with Tinkerbell Peppers Over Rice

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This meal was delicious. Blue Apron provided just the right amount of spice for someone like my wife who doesn’t like lots of heat, while delivering tons of Thai-inspired flavor. This was one of my absolute favorite meals that I’ve gotten from Blue Apron.

 

Blue Apron: Empanadas and Mexican Crema with Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

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I had never tasted real Mexican empanadas before this dish; the only ones I’d had were the apple ones from Taco Bell haha! So, I was pleasantly surprised when these were filled with ground beef, Mexican spices, tomato paste, fresh diced tomatoes, and scallions all cooked together. The pastry dough was so flaky and delicious when they came out of the oven and the crema cut the spice of the empanada with its dairy and lime flavors. This dish also ranks high on my list of favorite Blue Apron meals.

 

Well, thank you for coming back to read, all! I know I’ve been sporadic with these postings and for that I apologize. I hope I don’t make you think that I’m just not that into this blog because that’s really not the case. I just need to make sure that I make time for it because I really do enjoy writing these posts for you all to read and I hope that I’ve been able to bring some of you some joy in new recipes and delicious food from my table to yours. Until next time…

 

Sláinte!

Alton Brown’s Cheerwine Sangria

Alton Brown’s Cheerwine Sangria

Hey everyone! I’ve been getting slack about posting here, haven’t I? Not much excuse…just enjoying the summer and haven’t blogged much, but I will rebound! Anyway, my wife and I had the pleasure of having a dear friend, at this point, she’s family (Love you Amy!) come to visit us on her excited adventure across the country for the summer.

Anyway, I wanted to post Alton Brown’s recipe for Cheerwine Sangria that he created after having it at a tapas bar in Durham, NC. If you haven’t had Cheerwine…go on Amazon any buy some if you don’t live in North Carolina. If you do live here, what the hell are you doing with your life!? Cheerwine is a cherry soda that is unlike any other. It is not just a cherry soda, it is the nectar of the Gods made right here in NC.

Without further adieu, here is Alton Brown’s recreation of Cheerwine Sangria (it’s delicious):

Ingredients
1 bottle of red wine (any Spanish blend will do but, Rioja is especially appropriate) – [I used garnacha de FUEGO]
4 ounces triple sec
2 ounces brandy
1 teaspoon cherry bitters
4 ounces frozen peaches, chopped
4 ounces frozen mango, chopped
1 small lemon, halved and thinly sliced
1 small lime, halved and thinly sliced
2 (12 ounce) bottles Cheerwine, chilled*

Instructions
Combine the wine, triple sec, brandy, bitters and fruit, and stir to combine.

Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, spoon a bit of the fruit into large wine glasses, top with 4 ounces of the wine mixture then top that with 3 ounces of Cheerwine.

Drink and repeat (responsibly of course, which means hide all the car keys).

NOTE: If you’re not a big fan of red wine like Amy and my wife, you can add a little more Cheerwine to your glass for a bit more sweetness and fizz.

I hope you all enjoy it on your back porch on a hot summer evening as much as I did!

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Battlefield 4 and Cheerwine Sangria after work!

Sláinte!

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee

Hi all. Sorry for the absence, though I’m sure I don’t have enough followers to be missed :p BUT, I am back with a great recipe for my absolute favorite morning ritual: Irish Coffee!! Now, since I’m a responsible adult (lol) and need to be professional for work, I leave the Irish Whiskey out of this one, but on the weekends and for enjoyment, I’m all about the Whiskey in this coffee.

Ok, so first things first. Are you listening? I hope so. Take your drip coffee machine or instant coffee and just put it in your cabinet. You won’t be needing those any more. I’m serious about the instant coffee, but if you want your coffee to taste the best that it can, you should try something other than your traditional coffee drip. I use a French Press and a Mr. Coffee coffee bean grinder for mine and it’s the freshest, best tasting coffee that I’ve ever had.

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Here’s what you need:

Dark roasted coffee (whole bean)

Irish Whiskey

Brown sugar (2 tsp or so)

Heavy cream

Ok so here’s what you do. Buy whatever type of roast and coffee beans, WHOLE BEANS, that you’d like. I prefer something dark roasted, and yes, I know that has less caffeine in it because it’s roasted longer (look it up, it’s true), but because the flavor is a bit deeper and stronger, it goes best with this traditional Irish Coffee. I bought a bag of fresh French Roast dark roasted coffee at my local Lowe’s Foods and ground the beans in a coarse grind for the French Press. Do you see where the filter is in the French Press in the picture? Fill your grounds up to about that point. Then boil your kettle of water.

When your water is done boiling, pour just enough water in the French Press to come to the top of the grounds and let this sit for about 60 seconds. This is called “blooming” the grounds. Now, at this point, assuming you’ve had your coffee before, if it tastes bitter to you, put in a pinch of salt. Yes, you heard be right, salt. The salt brews with the coffee and “sucks out” the bitterness of the coffee without putting a salty taste into the coffee. Try it, you won’t go back to the way you used to drink coffee, I guarantee it.

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Ok, so now it’s been 60 seconds of blooming the grounds, so pour in the rest of your water to about the top of the top handle in the picture above (or the top silver band on the outside of the French Press).

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Put the plunger into the French Press, put the top on, but let the plunger rest on top of everything. DO NOT PUSH THE PLUNGER DOWN YET!! Let the coffee brew for 4 minutes.

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After the coffee has brewed for 4 minutes, slowly push the plunger down to filter the coffee and push the grounds to the bottom of the French Press.

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Now, grab your Irish Coffee glass, put 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in the bottom, 1.5 shots of Irish Whiskey and stir well so that the sugar is dispersed. Now pour your coffee into the glass of Irish Whiskey and brown sugar and stir well, leaving about 1″ at the top of the glass. Now, take your carton of heavy cream and SHAKE THE SHIT OUT OF IT!! This will whip the cream into a light whipped cream consistency. Once you’ve reached the right consistency, pour the cream over the back of a spoon so that it rests on top of the coffee. Your final product should look like a pint of Guinness 🙂 (Disclaimer, I used medium roast coffee in some of these pictures and it wasn’t as good. The instructional pictures were done the right way with dark roast 🙂 )

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I finished mine off with drizzling designs into the cream with homemade Irish Butterscotch sauce.

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Sláinte!