Blacked Cajun Chicken with Wild Rice & Asparagus

On September 29, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This weekend’s #SundaySupper challenge is making a dish limited to 5 ingredients.  Being a fan of food author Michael Pollan I am very familiar with the 5 ingredient mantra.  See Pollan did a book called In Defense of Food that looked to provide some guidance for today’s conscience eater.  With so many foods, especially processed foods, having more ingredients than the Space Shuttle has parts, Pollan added a Rule that said to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients as a way to avoid all the chemicals, added sugars, etc that affect our food choices more often than not.

Funny thing is Pollan backed off the 5 ingredient rule after he found Big Food pushing processed foods they made with 5 ingredients or less as healthy choices, even if they were not.  The best example of retarding this rule is Haagen Daz Five ice cream which repackaged their product as “Five” even though they didn’t change the anything and used it as a way to position their product against other ice cream as a smarter food choice.

Another great example is a TV commercial for Tostidos tortilla chips touting it as better chip decision over Pringels even though both chips are high-fat, high-calorie choices.  The ad confuses the issue and Pollan himself backed off the 5 Ingredient rule since the marketers found a way to pervert it.

So Pollan created a replacement rule, Don’t Eat What You See on TV:

The good news is no matter how many ingredients you use at home you can choose items that are healthy and considerate for your family.  Simply use real foods, not processed, and you’ll be fine no matter if there are 5 or 20 ingredients in your recipe.

If you want simple though here is a whole meal that requires only 5 ingredients

 

Blackened Cajun Chicken with Wild Rice & Asparagus
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons Cajun spice blend
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups wild rice
1 bunch asparagus

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Coat the chicken breasts in a bowl with the Cajun spice blend.  Heat a saute pan over medium high heat using 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the chicken breasts letting them “blacken” in the pan for about 5 minutes on each side.  Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven…

Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and add 1 cup of wild rice once the water is boiling.  After adding the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer and heat uncovered for 15 minutes. It’s done when the water is all evaporated.

Heat some water in a small pan and add the asparagus once boiling and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and toss the cooked asparagus with 1 tablespoon of butter.

Remove the chicken from the oven and plate with the rice and asparagus.

 


For more 5 ingredient recipes from other #SundaySupper bloggers:

If you would like to CHAT with us personally….Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite 5 Ingredient Recipes! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your easy go to recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!

Breakfast, Starters, Butters and Jams:

Main Dishes:

Desserts:

Beverages:

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Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce

On September 23, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
67

This week’s #SundaySupper is all about apples as we celebrate the beginning of Fall with an Autumn Apple Party. Immersing ourselves into the apple theme we decided to spend Saturday at a couple apple orchards near San Bernadino about a hour and 20 minutes east of Pasadena.  Our first stop was Snow-Line Orchard where the boys watched donuts being made and tried about 15 different types of apples at the sampling table.

We stopped there to do u-pick raspberries since they didn’t do u-pick apples.  Sadly, by 1pm they had ran out of raspberries to pick so we enjoyed some donuts and drove down the road to Riley’s Los Rios Ranch. Riley’s was a lot of fun. The boys loved roaming around the rows of apple trees finding all kinds of varieties to pick.  We mostly ended up with some beautiful red delicious and granny smiths.

We brought home 5 pounds of apples, a pint of apple cider, and homemade caramel dip. Yes it’s a good weekend.

After a fun afternoon of apple picking, it was time to start cooking. I stopped by a store for some Calvados (Apple Brandy) and picked up an organic pork tenderloin at the market. I had some collard greens, sweet potato, and bunch of freshly picked apples to begin the night’s feast.

I paired this dish with a couple sides.  The first was some sauted collard greens.  Just chop some greens and slice half of an onion into thin half-moon.  Add some olive oil to a saute pan cooking the onions for a couple minutes then adding the greens and cooking them down for about 5-8 minutes. Toss a few times during cooking to mix the onions and greens together. You’re done.

For the second side, I chopped up two sweet potatoes and one apple into small cubes.  Tossed them with a handful of raisins, olive oil and salt and pepper .  Bake this in an oven proof casserole dish at 450 degrees for 30 minutes while you make the main the course.

 

Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ “steaks”
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in medium heat pan. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes.  While cooking pound the pork tenderloin “steaks” using a meat tenderizer, salt and pepper the pork and add to the pan.

Cook about 3 minutes on each side where the sides of the pork brown just a bit.  Don’t crowd the pan and set aside some of the tenderloin in a bowl.

With some pork tenderloins in the pan, add the apple brandy to the pan and if you feel daring ignite the brandy with a match after it heats in the pan for a second.  The flames will surge so be careful. Let it cook for a moment with the flames then carefully cover the pan to put out the flames. Cook the brandy on medium-high heat letting it reduce by half.

Once the brandy is reduced by half add the heavy cream and cut up apples.  Let this cook stirring together bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Serve the pork with the sauce and sides.


For more Sunday Supper Autumn Apple recipes checkout the following:

Soups, Salads, Starters and Breads

Main Meals

Sides

Desserts

Beverages

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Street Tacos al Pastor for #SundaySupper

On September 16, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
71

September 16th is Día de Independencia in Mexico (Mexico’s Independence Day) and to celebrate the group of bloggers from #SundaySupper decided to feature Mexican dishes.  As someone who has another blog entirely dedicated to my favorite Mexican food — Tacos — I was excited to try making something I have always wanted to attempt.

Tacos al Pastor is my go to taco when I am out doing taco reviews on GasStationTacos.com.  It’s my test to see if the taqueria is sub par, average or amazing. If you have never enjoyed an al pastor taco, you are in for a treat provided you find a place (or recipe) that is at least average and hopefully amazing.

I’ve had amazing a few times.  The most memorable is from this gas station in Dallas, Texas:

They make it on a vertical spit something most home cooks don’t own, myself included. Sadly this recipe isn’t a match for some of the amazing pastor tacos in my history, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading or ignore this recipe.  It just means the recipe here is above average and is a solid choice for homemade al pastor.  Granted I’ll probably try some other things next time, like increasing or modifying the chiles used as I prefer a bit more spice.

My wife really liked this recipe and thought the tacos were really good. Note this was her first time having al pastor tacos, because she will not eat at the gas stations or taco trucks I like to frequent.  Her loss.

So here is my virgin attempt at al pastor.

You will need to find a Mexican market as you’ll need a coupe things you probably won’t find at the typical grocery store.  Achiote paste and dried guajillos chiles are two things I had to find after striking out here in LA at Whole Foods.

Tacos al Pastor
Serves 4

16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
2 lbs pork butt, trimmed of some of the outer fat and cut into 1″ “steaks”
1/2 pineapple
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
4 limes, cut into quarters
salt

Anchiote Marinade
2 oranges, juice only
1/2 cup anchiote paste
10 dry guajillos chiles
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade by soaking the dried gualjillos chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes.  Add the softened chiles to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.  Pour the marinade over the pork butt, cut into 1″ thick “steaks” and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Heat your grill and add the pork.  Cook the pork for about 20 minutes turning halfway through and pounding the pork with some grill tongs. You want to soften the pork and thin it while it is cooking.  For the last 5 minutes of grilling add some rounds of pineapple.

While waiting for everything to grill, soften the tortillas by heating some oil in a saute pan on the stove.  Quickly add the tortillas for just a second on each side and place on papper towel patting them to remove any excess oil.

Remove the pork and pineapple.  Chop the pork and cut the pineapple into small pieces mixing all of it together.  In a separate bowl mix the red onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime and salt.

Prepare 3 to 4 tacos per plate and place some pork and pineapple mixture onto each tortilla and top with the onion and cilantro mixture.

Serve with some hot sauce and fresh limes.


For more ways to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day checkout the other #SundaySupper recipes this week:

Join us around the family table this week for our #SundaySupper Mexican Fiesta – it’s a party that you won’t want to miss. We hope to inspire you with these mouthwatering recipes from our talented contributors. We will be sharing them all day long and would love for you to share your favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes during our #SundaySupper live chat at 7pm (Eastern).

Sopas (Soups), Ensaladas (Salads), and Entremeses (Starters)

La Comida (the food)

Postres (desserts)

Bebidas (beverages)

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite recipes for a Mexican Fiesta! All you have to do is follow the#SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your Mexican Fiesta recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers! And feel free to leave links to your favorite Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipes in the comment section of this post – I’d love to see them!

Sundaysupper-clear

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#SundaySupper Louisiana Sloppy Joe’s

On September 9, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
62

It’s officially football season with the start of the NFL this past week and college football last weekend.  Whether you are hosting a tailgate, barbecue or just hanging out at home with family watching the game, food is an important part of football season.

One of my favorites is sloppy joe’s. However, I’m not a fan of the traditional ketchup and water flavored sloppy joe’s served by most places and found in just about every 1970’s cookbook. I prefer a bit more flavor and use tomato paste and dijon mustard along with with several spices.

For the meat, I went with J&J Grassfed beef that is sold here in California. They have a vendor at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market I frequent most weeks.  The rest of the vegetables also came from the same Farmers’ Market.

Louisiana Sloppy Joe’sServes 4

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups water
6 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the ground beef, onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Add everything else besides the water and bay leaf. Stir and cook together for about 2 minutes.  Add the water combining everything and then bringing to a gentle boil. Finally add the bay leaf then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve with hamburger buns, potato chips and some fruit.

Enjoy the game!

For more #SundaySupper Recipes this football season:

The Football Tailgating Menu Lineup

Pre Game Warm-ups:

On the Sidelines:

Main Events:

Overtime:

From the Cooler:

Wine Pairings by Wine Everyday

Please be sure you join us on Twitter all day for this special football season Sunday Supper Event. We’ll be chatting it up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll share our Football Tailgating Menu!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat!

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Cajun Turkey Pot Pie

On September 8, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Pie + Meat = Winning.

Adding some Cajun spices to a turkey pot pie definitely caught my attention when searching for things to make this week.  This recipe is quite simple, so simple I finally overcame my fear of making homemade pie crust.

The filling requires cooked Turkey. I prepared the turkey using this recipe: Roast Turkey Breast. It takes about 45 minutes to cook.  It’s best to do this in the morning and then wrapping the cooked turkey breast and putting it in the refrigerator for when you need it later or if you want prepare the filling and refrigerate it that day to use when you get home in the evening.

Prepare your pie crust and then lay it out in the pie pan filling it with the turkey mixture. Add plenty of filling so you have a hearty amount of turkey and vegetables.

Vent the crust with a few slits and cook. Enjoy!

 

For the Recipe: Cajun Turkey Pot Pie

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Barley and Herb-Stuffed Vegetables

On September 5, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Last weekend I spent some time making these creative stuffed zucchinis. The filling is quite simple and reminded me of how much I need to use barley more often in my vegetarian cooking.

The one modification I would make is to use bell peppers instead of the zucchini.  The filling needed something a bit more flavorful than zucchini. Use what is fresh and local, but if you have either option a crunchy colorful bell pepper is a better choice.

For the Recipe: Barley and Herb-Stuffed Vegetables.

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Moving to a new city has its challenges even if it is one you’ve lived in before, though 20 years ago. One challenge is finding where to buy local, grass-fed meat. The La Canada Farmers Market has one of the better reputation ranches at its event every Saturday morning.

Novy Ranch sounded similar to Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch where we used buy our meats when we lived in Dallas. Both are smaller ranches that supply to some decent local restaurants and raise grass-fed Angus cattle.  So I was excited to finally get a chance to try Novy Ranch.

The vendor at the Farmers Market does not sell precut kabob meat; though, he recommended a lean steak that I later cut up into large cubes. The meat was promising. I’m not yet ready to say it is as excellent as Burgundy Pasture Beef, but it is a decent local choice that’s only 10 minutes from our house every Saturday morning.

Mint Marinated Beef Kebabs with Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

2 lbs kabob meat
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed mint, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 onion, large cuts
1 bell pepper, large cuts

Combine the oil, mint, lemon, and garlic in a shallow dish that you can cover to marinate the meat.  Place the meat in and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or throughout the day.

Heat grill to about 300 degrees. Combine the meat cuts alternating pieces of onion and bell pepper on kabob skewers. Place kabobs on grill and cook turning a few times for about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, garlic sauce and even some hummus if you have some around like I did this evening.

Enjoy!

For the Garlic Sauce, I recommend this recipe: Garlic Sauce. However, today I went with an excellent store bought one from Fresh ‘N Nova found at our local Whole Foods.


For more #SundaySupper inspiration checkout the recipes from some great bloggers!

Labor Day Cookout Recipes:

Starters & Snacks

Main Dishes

Salads & Sides

Drinks

Desserts

Wine Pairings

  • Labor Day Cookout Food And Wine Pairings by ENOFYLZ

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite cookout recipes!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat!

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Hatch Chile Bacon Wrapped Poppers

On September 2, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love Hatch Chiles.  Like many, I had no clue what a Hatch Chile was until I moved to Texas, but they are getting more familiar and Melissa’s Produce had a Hatch Chile roasting today at South Pasadena’s Bristol Farms.  Sadly, I missed this roast but did make it to the market and picked up some chiles and some hatch chile cream cheese the market sold too.

Tonight’s University of Michigan vs Alabama game was an appropriate setting for some stuffed poppers.  Sadly, the game was a bust but these chiles turned out fabulous.

Hatch Chile Bacon Wrapped Poppers
Serves 4

4 Large Hatch Chiles, cut in half and seeded
4 oz cream cheese
8 slices of bacon
toothpicks

Turn on the grill or broiler and start putting together the poppers. Fill each Hatch Chile with cream cheese then wrap a bacon slice around it and use a toothpick at each end to hold the bacon to the chile.

Grill for about 10-15 minutes turning every few minutes getting them charred, not burned.

Serve.

 

 

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Weekly Meal Planning

On September 1, 2012, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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What's coming up the week of Sept 1, 2012!

It’s Saturday morning and every Saturday morning has come to involve weekly meal planning.  It takes me probably a good 20 minutes to figure out what I’ll be making for the family in the coming week.

What I need for this week's plan

Sometimes that plan is more reactionary after I have spent the morning at the Farmers’ Market and wonder what to do with what I found, but most of the time I come with a plan before I buy anything at the markets.  This usually involves some time on Pinterest where I save recipes I find online that I plan to make. Checkout my Mostly Vegetarian board for what’s coming up and what I’ve done already.

The plan comes together on my iPad and smartphone (I’m really loving my Samsung Galaxy Exhilerate, best Android phone in my opinion. Small and full of functionality, plus some of the best photos I’ve taken on a camera.) It all begins with filling out  the days of the week and finding a mix of dishes I want to make.  We also decided a couple years ago to do 3-4 vegetarian meals a week to reduce our meat intake.

As I enter the meals, I enter my grocery list into my smartphone so I can have that with me at the markets. The iPad is best for storing the meal plans since I can prop the iPad up and view recipes while making the meals.

So this is what works for me. I’m curious what works for you. Do you have any habits or is your week’s plan made up of whatever you have in the fridge that day?