Saturday, August 29, 2015

K-cup Red Eye Gravy, Ham and Grits

Remember my bright idea to use a second brew from a K-cup to make red-eye gravy? I finally got some ham and gave it a try. While it was delicious I think my first experiment with K-cup Sausage Gravy and Grits was my favorite. The sausage gravy was savory and very rich. The red-eye gravy was lighter and had some sweetness to it. My favorite part was how rich my cup of coffee tasted after having a few bites of my breakfast. This just proves coffee is a huge part of any breakfast. Whether you drink it or eat it; it just makes your morning better. I think I will continue to use K-cups to enrich my recipes. It really adds complexity to gravies or sauces. I hope you will give it a try for yourself. Be sure to come back and let me know how it improved your recipes.



K-cup Red Eye Gravy, Ham and Grits
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 tsp. butter or margarine, divided
1 slice ham
1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 short second brew from K-cup
1/4 cup quick grits
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Splash of heavy cream

Directions

Melt a tsp. of butter in pan over medium heat. Add ham to pan, cook over medium heat until brown on both sides. *CAUTION* The ham will splatter, pop and spit at you. Be careful!

Add chicken bouillon and brown sugar to a coffee cup and brew a second cup of coffee over the top. Use the picture of a tea cup or the smallest cup setting on a Keurig. 

Place grits, 1 cup of water and salt in a 2 cup microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 minute. Stir again and microwave one more minute. 

When ham is browned, add the coffee, sugar and bouillon mixture and simmer until reduced by half. Season with black pepper to taste.

Season grits with remaining butter, cream and additional black pepper (optional), stir to combine. Serve along side of ham and topped with red eye gravy.




Salmon Cream Cheese Relleno Taco

It's that time again! Time for another Relleno Taco creation. When I started thinking about more ideas for a relleno tacos, I had just made the Mesquite Grilled Tacos. So I had fish tacos and pico still on my brain. So the idea of using salmon and a tomato caper salsa seemed logical. I knew salmon, capers and shallots were delicious together with cream cheese. And you know chilies and cream cheese are a perfect match. I could not have been happier with the outcome. This one is perfect for summer! Lots of cool and fresh ingredients. It was so good! Sort of a jalapeno popper, lox bagel and taco all wrapped into one. It had the contrast of hot and cold ingredients. It was salty, briny and a little sweet from the salsa. It was also smoky and spicy from the charred poblano. Then there was the cream cheese; it tamed the spice of the chili and added a creamy component. It had just a little bit of everything going for it. I LOVED IT! It may be in my top three of all relleno tacos. I can't wait to make it for a girl's night. The poblano and cream cheese combination is sparking many more delicious ideas. I hope you will give this one a try. Be sure to come back for more relleno taco creations in the future.


Salmon Cream Cheese Relleno Tacos
Serves 2, Make 4 tacos

Ingredients

6 to 8 oz. salmon filet
Drizzle of olive oil
Herb Medley Rub
2 Poblano peppers
4 flour tortillas
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Tomato Caper Salsa:
1 tomato, diced
1/2 shallot, finely diced
3 tsp. capers
1/2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Directions

Set salmon out on the counter to take the chill off of it. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 

Combine the ingredients for the tomato caper salsa, mix well and set aside.

To grill the poblanos: Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Place poblanos on the grill. Grill for five minutes on each side until skins are charred. Remove poblanos and cover with plastic wrap. When poblanos are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of the poblanos. Cut poblanos in half from stem to tip, remove seeds, stem and veins being careful not to split open the sides of the pepper.

To cook the salmon: Grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil or use a sheet of aluminum foil. Place salmon on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil. Season salmon with Herb Medley Rub. Bake for 6 minutes, remove from oven and flake with a fork.

To warm tortillas: Place a skillet on high heat, when hot warm the tortillas on both sides until warm and blistered. 

To assemble the tacos:  Place a poblano half on each tortilla. Smear a 1 oz. slice of cream cheese on each poblano. Top with a fourth of the flaked salmon, tomato caper salsa and serve.








Friday, August 21, 2015

K-cup Sausage Gravy and Grits

When I first got my Keurig people kept telling me that they would brew two cups of coffee from one K-cup. I tried it and I was less than impressed. The second cup was too weak for my taste. Then this morning it came to me, I wonder if you could use that second brew for red-eye gravy? Well I didn't have ham, but I had turkey breakfast sausage. So the experiment began. I placed two slices of sausage in a pan and using a spoon I crumbled it as it cooked. Then I put some beef bouillon in a coffee cup and brewed a second cup of coffee over the top. I used the picture of a tea cup or the smallest cup setting since I was making one serving. I also put on some grits to cook. When the sausage was browned I added a little butter and flour and cooked stirring often until I could no longer smell the flour. Then I added the coffee and bouillon mixture and simmered until nice and thick. It was well seasoned because of the bouillon and all it needed was black pepper. It made a deliciously rich and dark gravy. It did not taste like coffee, it just had a deep, rich, flavor. It was delicious! I loved it over the grits. Such a warm and savory breakfast courtesy of a K-cup. I can't wait to bring home some ham and try a red-eye gravy. So run, don't walk to your Keurig and use that K-cup from your morning coffee to brew up something tasty for breakfast. You will not be disappointed.


K-cup Sausage Gravy and Grits
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 slices turkey breakfast sausage
1/2 tsp. beef bouillon
1 short second brew from K-cup
1/4 cup quick grits
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tsp. butter or margarine, divided
1 tsp. flour
Black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. heavy cream

Directions

Place sausage in a pan, cook on medium high breaking up with a spoon until crumbled. 

Add beef bouillon to a coffee cup and brew a second cup of coffee over the top. Use the picture of a tea cup or the smallest cup setting on a Keurig. 

Place grits, 1 cup of water and salt in a 2 cup microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 minute. Stir again and microwave one more minute. 

When sausage is browned, add 1 tsp. butter and flour. Cook stirring often until it no longer smells like flour. Add the coffee and bouillon mixture and simmer until thick. Season with black pepper to taste.

Season grits with remaining butter, cream and additional black pepper (optional), stir to combine. Serve topped with sausage gravy.



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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mesquite Grilled Tacos

IT'S TACO TUESDAY! I have to admit I have become a little obsessed with tacos lately. I look at everything and wonder would that make a good taco? I have always loved them but when I found a YouTube channel called Aim'em and Claim'em Smokers doing Taco Tuesdays; I started having them every week. You have to check out James' channel it not only delivers a delicious taco every Tuesday. He is also a very experienced BBQ fanatic. He shares all his tips and techniques for grilling, barbecue and smoking. He has also graciously made his version of two of my tacos on video to share with his subscribers. Go check him out!

Okay now for another delicious taco! This taco gets it inspiration from a meal dear sister had at a local restaurant called The Oyster Bar & GrilleThe restaurant is so good! It is sort of an island or coastal twist on Mexican food. Check them out too! They grille all their delicious food with Mesquite. She had Mesquite grilled tuna and buttered grilled veggies with fresh pico. Now doesn't that sound like it would make a great taco meal? It does, oh boy it does! I used a smoking tray you can buy at the store to get that Mesquite flavor. It is so easy you unwrap it and toss it on the grill. The wood chips inside start to smoke and they impart delicious flavor to whatever you are grilling. I grilled zucchini, squash and a red poblano as a side. I grilled both shrimp and tuna for the tacos. I also made a spiced butter to bathe everything in. Many Mexican restaurants serve a spiced butter with their grilled meats. It was amazing! The Mesquite smoke and the butter has to be my favorite part of this recipe. The veggies and shrimp seemed to absorb the most smoke. The butter is flavored with chicken bouillon, garlic and wine! It was great with everything including the pico. Such a great combo. I can't wait to try these tacos with beef or chicken too. That butter and Mesquite are too good not to give it a try. I will caution, do not marinate the tuna and shrimp for more than the time it takes to heat the grill. The lime juice will start to cook them. Check out the photos below you can see the tuna changing color just after 10 minutes. I hope you will give these tacos a try. I loved telling you about them just as much as eating them.


Mesquite Grilled Tacos
Serves 2

Ingredients

12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tuna filet
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Drizzle of Olive oil
Several dashes of Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Spiced Salt (or salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes)
Mesquite Smoker Tray
2 wooden skewers, soaked
4 small flour tortillas
Spiced Butter (recipe below)

Directions

Place skewers to soak for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat grill on high for 10 minutes. Place smoker tray on grill while pre-heating.

Drizzle shrimp and tuna filet with olive oil, lime juice and maggi seasoning. Turn to coat with marinade. Season both side of tuna and shrimp with spiced salt and set aside. Just before grilling thread shrimp on skewers.

Grill shrimp and tuna for 2 minutes each side for a total of 4 minutes. The tuna will be medium rare, if you prefer it medium or well adjust cooking time. Remove from grill and rest while warming the tortillas. Top or brush with spiced butter.

Place a skillet on high heat, when hot warm the tortillas on both sides until warm and blistered.

To serve place grilled shrimp or tuna in a warm flour tortilla. Top with Pico de Gallo and serve with a ramekin of melted spiced butter.



Do not over marinate the tuna and shrimp!
Ten minutes is just right.








Spiced Butter

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter with canola spread
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (Knorr)
1 clove (1/2 tsp.) garlic, minced
1/16 tsp. black pepper
1/16 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 leaves cilantro, minced
1/4 cup white wine (Chardonnay)

Directions

In a medium sized bowl combine all ingredients except wine, whisk to combine. Slowly incorporate wine whisking until thoroughly combined. Place in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.



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Low Country Grill

I have been wanting to try this foil pack on the grill for a long time. My family and I love low country boils. We have drug out the big pot and made several over the years. The idea of cooking it in foil on the grill seemed so much easier. Mom and I decided to try it this weekend. We went shopping for the ingredients, made the Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie, made Chorizo Tacos for lunch and to end the evening we made this Low Country Grill. It was a full day. The foil packs turned out so delicious! The flavors are intensified cooking them this way, no water to wash a way a drop of that flavor. That being said next time I will add a tablespoon or two of stock, wine, or even beer to each pack. Two of the packs started to caramelize a bit (see last photo). It was not burnt, in fact the caramelized onions were delicious. I just think a little liquid will prevent it from happening. I will experiment a little more on my grill. Every grill is a little different and you have to adjust cooking times and know where the hot spots are. I don't know Mom and Dad's grill that well. So use the recipe as a starting place, adjust to fit your families tastes and your grilling equipment. Just try it! You will not be disappointed. The flavor really gets absorbed by the potatoes and the lemon is delicious on the shrimp. So good and so easy to clean up. You will see!


Low Country Grill
Serves 4

Ingredients

8 small new potatoes, halved
2 onions, cut into 6 wedges
1 lemon, quartered
1 large garlic clove, quartered
2 ears of corn, cut into 4 pieces
2 links of smoked sausage, cut into 4 pieces
32 shrimp (about 1 lb.), deveined
8 small bay leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash, to taste
Stock, water, wine or beer (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat grill to high heat for 15 minutes.

In the center of four pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, layer ingredients. Start with 4 potatoes halves, 3 onions wedges, 1 lemon wedge, a piece of garlic, 2 corn pieces and 2 pieces of sausage. Top each with 8 shrimp, season each with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. Tuck 2 bay leaves in each packet. (Add liquid if using.) Seal foil packet by rolling the sides of foil over the top; then seal and secure the ends. Place on the grill lowering temp to medium. Cook at medium for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to cool a little before opening.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie

This is so funny but the inspiration for this Yogurt Pie came from a girls trip to a burger restaurant. Mom, dear sister and I went to Twisted Root for burgers. The burgers were good, the toppings amazing, but the most memorable thing was the dessert we tried to share. We ordered one piece of Peanut Butter Brownie Pie. It came to the table frozen solid. All we had was plastic utensils to try to eat this thing. We struggled, bending most of the utensils just to saw and chip at the delicious peanut butter ice cream and brownie filling. Then there was the crust, it was a really thick homemade Oreo crust and it was rock hard. I was laughing as I watch my Mom and sister saw and stab at it trying to get a bite. Then it happened! One of them who will remain nameless to protect their reputation, picked it up with their hands and gnawed on it just to get a bite. I really started laughing then. Eventually after lots of laughing, no manners, sawing, bent plastic tools, the pie was gone. It was so good! The pie was really rich and decadent. I bet thawed a little bit, it would have been much easier to eat. 

On the way out of the restaurant Mom and I discussed how to recreate this pie at home. I was sure it would be pretty easy; peanut butter ice cream, oreo pie crust, brownies, I mean that sounds simple enough. Then I had the idea to try to make it a yogurt pie. I don't think we would save any calories, but maybe a little fat? It would definitely be packed with protein from the Greek yogurt and peanut butter. Well this weekend we gave it a try. It was really easy, more assemble than cooking. It was also just as decadent. The only trick is to mix the peanut butter with one carton of yogurt at a time. You want it to be thoroughly combined and a little fluffy before you fold in the whipped topping. We used store bought brownies cut into bite size pieces and folded them in as well. We were both pleased with the results. I will definitely make it again next time I have a peanut butter and chocolate craving.




P.S. My apologizes for the photography. 
I was at Mom and Dad's and did not have my camera with me.


Peanut Butter Brownie Yogurt Pie
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cartons of light vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
12 oz. carton of light whipped topping (Cool Whip)
4 store bought brownies, cut into pieces
1 prepared Oreo cookie crust

Directions

Place one carton yogurt in a mixing bowl. Fill carton with peanut butter and add to bowl, combine yogurt and peanut butter really well. Add second carton of yogurt mixing well. Add an equal amount of whipped topping (about 1-1/2 cups or half of the carton) gently fold whipped topping into yogurt. Cut 3 brownies into 9 squares each, fold into yogurt mixture. Pour into pie crust and spread evenly. Place pie in the freezer and freeze solid. When frozen, spread the top with the remaining whipped topping, and garnish with additional brownie pieces.


Note: Remove the pie from the freezer when you sit down to dinner. That way it is thawed just a bit and you will not bend any utensils or lose your manners when it is time to serve dessert. LOL!




No plastic utensils were harmed in eating this pie.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Jambalaya Grill Packets

Guess what! I am still cooking with foil. In fact I made these Jambalaya Grill Packets three times before I finally took photos. I made it once just for me in recipe development, then I made it for the family. They all loved it. Then my favorite person in the world was here last weekend and I made it for him. I was busy having fun and did not even think about photos. So tonight I made it one more time so I could get photos to share with you. It is an easy, fresh twist on jambalaya. It has all the flavor of an oven cooked jambalaya, but the veggies are more apparent. And you do not have to heat up the house with the oven. You assemble the packets, place on the grill and come back 20 minutes later. Done! It is really a great summer meal. A super easy way to share a taste of Louisiana with your family and friends. I have made it with both white and brown converted rice; both work well. I think the white rice absorbs a little more liquid then the brown, but both taste great. I will caution you about seasoning. Rotel tomatoes have some heat so if your sausage is spicy go light on the creole seasoning. But if your a heat seeker, add red pepper flakes too. That is what I did tonight and it was deliciously spicy. So good! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends.



Jambalaya Grill Packets
Serves 4
                  
Ingredients

2 cups converted white or brown rice
2 tsp. Chicken Tomato Bouillon
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
12 Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 link of turkey smoked sausage, sliced
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
Black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Creole seasoning, to taste
2 bay leaves, torn in half
Handful of parsley, chopped
2 green onion, sliced

Directions

Pre-heat grill to high heat for 15 minutes.

Drain Rotel tomatoes reserving the liquid in a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water to the tomato liquid to equal 2 cups. Combine rice, bouillon and tomato water in a bowl stir and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Place tomatoes over rice mixture.

Chop garlic, onion, bell pepper, and celery place on top of tomato and rice mixture. Stir to combine and place in the center of a four pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a fourth of the shrimp, sausage and chicken on top of each packet. Season each with salt, pepper and creole seasoning. Tuck half a bay leaf in each packet. Seal foil packet by rolling the sides of foil over the top; then seal and secure the ends. Place on the grill lowering temp to medium. Cook at medium for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to rest five minutes. Serve garnished with parsley and green onions.





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