Zippy Apple Kielbasa Bites

I follow a nifty facebook page called “Welcome to My Kitchen,” which shares all sorts of interesting recipes, such as this one.

Kinda surprisingly, I did not change the recipe too, too much, aside from adding my standard Sherry Peppers Sauce; tho’ next time I make this, and there will most certainly be a next time, I will double the crushed red pepper amount. This batch had a touch of heat, my most of my peeps expect a good bit more heat from a savory coming out of my kitchen.

INGREDIENTS
•24 oz kilebasa
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 cup applesauce
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Prep could not be simpler; cut the kielbasa into one inch or so slices, then stir together with the remaining ingredients in your slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for six hours, or on high for three hours, giving it all a stir every now and then.

Serve.

Note: these were wicked tasty right out o’ the cooker, but even a bit better reheated the next day. Just a thought.

 

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Grilled Teriyaki Skewers

Today’s post isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a method.

A wicked tasty method, but, simply a method, still.

I did next to nothing. My husband came across a skewer special while we were at Whole Foods and, the price was good, and I recalled them being “ok” the last time we had them, so, I went in search of something for a quick marinade, since it was already mid-afternoon and these were for tonight.

Hmmm.

This Coconut Aminos® teriyaki looked interesting – and one look at the ingredients revealed an organic, simple blend of ingredients – all for (eek!) 7.99 per ten ounce bottle.

Still and all, I was intrigued, so picked up one bottle to go with the skewers and home we went.

I removed the skewers from their tray and added them to a gallon sized zipper bag, then emptied the whole bottle in on top; flipping the bag a couple of times to get all of the skewers in contact with the sauce.

Note: the skewers themselves are just about too long to go in the zipper bag without puncturing it, so, proceed with caution and, of course, arrange the bag on a rimmed plate or platter for to catch any drippages.

Stash in the fridge for a couple of hours, flipping the bag when you think to.

Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature while you (my husband) preheat and prep the grill.

Allow your husband to manage the grilling bit, then remove from the heat and allow to rest on a platter for five minutes or so before serving.

This was SO much better than the last time we tried these skewers (plain)! The teriyaki is just how we like it, and it added a great flavor to the  meat and veggies and we thoroughly enjoyed it with glasses of one of our new fave $5 (!) rosé wines.

This Target brand wine is every bit as good as some we’ve had costing two, three, even four times as much; so, check it out!

Note: my posts are not sponsored in any way, shape, or form, the nice folk at Target and Coconut Secret have done nothing but sold me products that we totally enjoy.

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Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast

Everyone seems to be doing “Christmas in July” sales and the such, so why not add to the celebration by enjoying a turkey dinner?

It’s not just for fall and winter anymore!

What is kinda cool is; this turkey dinner is made from just the breast, so not too much fuss and really, very little muss – so, bonus!

My market only had ‘roast in bag’ pre-seasoned breasts on hand, so I skipped additional salt and pepper; and I already

had a can of plain cranberry sauce in the pantry, so I also made a few other changes to the original recipe, from this fun little book I picked up on clearance somewhere. Still and all, a very nice recipe, and a a fine summer’s dinner with a couple of salads on the side.

INGREDIENTS
Turkey Breast:
•1 turkey breast (about 5 lb)
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•Celery
•Carrots

Sauce:
•1 can cranberry sauce
•1/2 cup Mandarin orange slices
•2 tbsp honey
•2 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•1 tsp sage
•1/4 tsp allspice

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat oven to 350º.

Apply cooking spray to a foil lined roasting pan and scatter celery and carrots over the bottom.

Place the turkey breast on top of the celery and carrots and season with the salt and peppers.

Note: my turkey breast was pre-seasoned, so I skipped the salt and peppers.

Cover and roast for about two hours total.

While the turkey breast is roasting, combine the sauce ingredients together in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

After the turkey breast has baked for 90 minutes, remove the cover and generously glaze with the sauce. Bake for another 30 minutes, until the internal temperature has reached 165º.

While the turkey is glazed and finishing in the oven, heat any remaining sauce on the stove top to serve with the turkey breast.

When the turkey is ready, remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes before slicing and serving.

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Garlic Roasted Cocktail Shrimp

Earlier in the week, I shared my new fave Cocktail Sauce recipe.

Now, let’s toss together a most excellent batch of shrimp to enjoy with that tasty, zippy sauce. And, the best part? While, sure you can serve these fine shrimp warm out of the oven, they are better well chilled so, for entertaining, you do all the prep well before hand and, when company arrives, just pull the shrimp and the cocktail sauce out of the fridge, arrange in nice serving bowls, crack open some wine, and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
•1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
•4 to 6 cloves of garlic
•1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp celery salt

Note: if using frozen shrimp, thaw them according to package instructions before seasoning and roasting.

Heat your oven to 450º, line a rimmed baking pan with foil, and apply cooking spray.

Add the oil to the garlic and seasonings in a food processor or blender and pulse until the garlic is nicely chopped. Scrape down the sides and transfer to a gallon sized zipper bag.

Add the shrimp, close the bag, and toss to coat well.

Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on the baking pan and bake for three minutes.

Turn the shrimp over and return to the oven for another two to four minutes, until they are nicely pink.

Allow to cool, then transfer to a clean zipper bag or other container and stash in the fridge to chill until it’s time to serve.

Pretty terrific shrimp!

 

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A Better Cocktail Sauce

I have long loved my kinda homemade cocktail sauce. Sure, I start out with jarred chili sauce, and ketchup, and horseradish, and stuff; but, when combined correctly, the whole is so much more than just the sum of its parts.

I have always been careful to select chili sauce with no corn sweeteners, prepared horseradish from a local source, good lemon juice (and lots of it!), my fave Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, and, of course a very good, well balanced ketchup.

Except, now

I’ve gone and found something a bit better.

78 Red Spicy Ketchup is imported from Poland by a Chicago company and, while I love spicy and I love this ketchup; it is just a touch too zippy for me to use as is on burgers – so for that, we use the also most excellent 78 Red regular ketchup.

However…

Take that spicy ketchup and combine it with Homade Chili Sauce, Italian lemon juice, good local horseradish, and all the rest, and now we are talking cocktail sauce!

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup spicy ketchup
•1/2 cup chili sauce
•1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
•2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•1/4 cup horseradish
•2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until nicely blended.

Give it a taste. Nice kick, no?

Transfer to a lidded jar and stash in the fridge for a few hours to chill and allow the flavors to really blend.

Enjoy as you will, with shrimp, or…

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Let’s ALL Firecracker!

Just in time for your summer holiday weekend – Firecracker Sauce!

It is most excellent on pork or shrimp or fish tacos – but try it on burgers in place of plain old mayonnaise – you may never go back.

Good thing it is wicked simple to toss together and has only three (main) ingredients – ermmm… unless, like me, you tend to like to make your very own take on  Cocktail Sauce because it is so much better than the stuff the market offers.

INGREDIENTS
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp Cocktail Sauce

Stir the ingredients together in a large bowl until nicely blended, then stash in a covered jar in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend before using.

Note: Double, triple, or whatever this recipe, it really is that good – but this amount will get you through at least one meal, and it takes no time to whip up – so, judge your crowd, and your need, and make as needed.

We have totes loved this over carnitas tacos, and Bang Bang Shrimp Street Tacos, burgers, and sammiches.

A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and all very, very tasty!

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Coconut Chicken Soup

Summer has finally arrived in these parts – meaning that it is hot. It is sticky. The air feels as though it is weighing down on you when you step outside.

So, it is the perfect time to make a nice, hot chicken soup!

But, wait! This is not just your nana’s chicken soup; this pot o’ poultry goodness is loaded with coconut, and basil, and lemongrass, and garlic, and ginger, and hot sauce, and so many other good things…

It is actually kinda refreshing on a warm summer’s evening; served over yellow rice and topped with chopped scallions and, most importantly, sweet Thai chili sauce to complement the heat of the soup.

Now… I started with marinated, then grilled barbecued chicken thighs, but you could use most any cooked chicken you like, just remove the skin and bones, then chop it into easy to manage soup spoon sized pieces.

Oh… did I mention that this is a slow cooker recipe? So, no steaming pot to stand over, and the rice was a Zatarain’s mix I tossed in the rice cooker, so, too, easy peasey.

To add to the summer dinner easy – I used these seasoning pastes available in the produce section of most markets. No fuss. No muss. And tons of flavor.

Note: this is not a sponsored posts; I use this stuff because I like it; but you do what you want.

INGREDIENTS
Soup:
•1 can coconut milk
•1-3/4 cup chicken stock
•2 tbsp Key Lime juice
•2 tbsp basil paste
•1 tbsp lemongrass paste
•1 tbsp garlic paste
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1-1/2 tsp fish sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp ground ginger
•1 tsp Sambal Oelek (look in the Asian foods and sauces and seasonings section of your local market)
•5 cooked chicken thighs, skinned, boned and chopped

Serve With:
•Yellow rice
•Sliced scallions
•Sweet chili sauce

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Combine the soup ingredients together in your slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for a couple of hours until heated through, or, if you have more time, do it on low and leave it for the day.

Note 1: I did not add any salt, because the fish sauce added plenty of additional seasoning for the soup.

Note 2: As you are cooking the soup, and taking a taste, you might start to freak out about the soup being a touch too spicy. Fret ye not! Serving the soup over rice, and offering folk sweet chili sauce to stir in will please the palates of many of the most spicy averse diners you may have at your table. Not all… my dad would’ve hated this soup, but, one cannot please everyone at all times, and; this particular soup more than pleases me, so…

there.

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Three Bean Pasta Salad

We all know that summer gatherings are, more than likely, gonna feature a salad of some kind or another.

Potato. Bean. Pasta.

Hmmm… but, how about a bean and pasta salad? And one without any mayo, so, easy to transport for outdoor festivities, yet still wicked tasty, wicked refreshing, and just a bit different from your more run of the mill expected pasta and/or bean salads. Go ahead, make this and be a star.

Note: the original recipe for this salad comes from the nice folk at Southern Living; but I switched out the beans called for, doubled the dressing amount, and added blanched asparagus and roasted bacon because, well, why wouldn’t I?

Ermmm, I also added one of our new fave salad ingredients: Peruvian “Sweety Drop” peppers – a bit pricey, but available at Amazon. Feel free to skip these, but they are kinda cunning and tasty, so…

INGREDIENTS
Salad:
•1 bag small whole green beans, thawed
•1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
Sweety Drop Peruvian Peppers
•8 oz small shell pasta,
cooked, drained, and rinsed
•Blanched asparagus, sliced

Dressing:
•2 small shallots, minced
•6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
•4 tbsp lemon juice
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard
•1 tbsp honey
•3/4 cup olive oil
•3/4 cup canola oil
•2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 tsp dried chives

Note: you wanna know why I doubled the amount of dressing called for? It is really basic pasta salad 101 – always make extra dressing and use half to toss just the pasta; stashing it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to allow the pasta to soak up the dressing (and flavor!) before completing your salad.

So! Cook, drain, and rinse your pasta according to package instructions.

Combine the dressing ingredients in an immersion blender beaker, or a blender jar, and pulse until emulsified.

Stir half of your dressing into the cooked, drained, and rinsed pasta in a container, cover, and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours or (always more better) overnight.

Transfer the remaining dressing to another container and chill until needed.

When ready to make the salad – first: notice how much of that dressing the pasta has absorbed? Yeh – and all that flavor, too.

Now, in a bowl larger than you think you’re gonna need (see yesterday’s post); combine the pasta with the remaining salad ingredients, add the remaining dressing, and toss mix well.

Yeppers – this is one fine bean salad – and a far leap (in a good way) from what most folk would be expecting.

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Consider Your Salad Bowl(s)

As Julia Child once said: “Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”

The same could be said for your salad bowl.

Consider the two bowls shown.

The blue swirl glass bowl is perfectly sized for a nice salad for three or four people; the glass adding an extra “chill” to the contents as they rest in the fridge waiting to be served.

But…

How, exactly, do you plan to toss the salad without making a mess?

Enter the large wooden bowl the glass bowl was shown resting in.

This is where you can toss and mix and, if you like, add your dressing with abandon – and it will all stay in the bowl (yay!).

So, sure, keep your smaller bowls, they are perfect for stashing in the fridge and giving your salad that extra bit of cold; but then remember to bring out teh big stuff for tossing and serving.

It makes for a great presentation, and, in the words of Dorothy Draper: “Salad is never more appetizing than when served in a large wooden bowl.”

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Blanched Asparagus

I cannot tell you how many times each week I find myself blanching a big batch of asparagus for use in salads and what have you. Especially now that my local markets seem to have them hovering at a bit under $2 per pound.

And, just consider these beautiful bright green stalks of goodness.

I mean, what is not to love?

Good thing it is also wicked simple to make.

Special thanks to chef Alex Guarnaschelli for sharing this method – you almost can’t call it a recipe.

INGREDIENTS
•Fresh asparagus
•1 tbsp Kosher salt
•1 tbsp sugar
•Water
•Ice cubes

First things first, wash your asparagus, cut off an inch or so of the woody ends, and let them soak in a large, shallow bowl for 20 or 30 minutes.

While the asparagus is soaking, bring a large pan of water to a boil, then stir in the salt and the sugar.

Add the asparagus to the boiling salted (and sugared) water and cook (I like to cover the pan) and cook for two to three minutes, depending on how thick the asparagus is, until they are bright green and crispity tender.

Remove immediately from the hot water and plunge the asparagus into a large bowl of ice water – this will stop them from cooking any more and the shock will help to lock in that lovely green color.

Drain the asparagus and dry completely before stashing in a zipper bag in the fridge until needed.

If you’re like me, you’ll be needing it a heckuva lot.

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