Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bake

On April 13, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_4697

Casseroles are a great way to make being a vegetarian more flavorful and interesting. Granted, I’m not a vegetarian.  However, we try to eat vegetarian or vegan for most of our dinners at home, doing about four or five a week without any meat.  What I like about casseroles is that they create flavor meals that feel more like meals and less like a side dish.  Plus baking something is usually easy and since there is no meat in the dish, the cooking time is pretty fast too.

IMG_4690

A few weeks ago I made a recipe I found that uses rice and a kale black bean soup from Pacific Foods. My post isn’t sponsored like the blogger who did the recipe for the brand’s website, but that’s fine. I really didn’t mind spending $3 for the soup and trying it out.  The recipe seemed foolproof and the cost to make this dish is pretty low, if you care about that.

What I enjoyed about this dish is the crunchiness rice gets when you bake it. Baked rice dishes enhance the texture of the rice and the soup added to the recipe gives the rice even more flavor.

IMG_4698

If you are looking for an easy, after work vegetarian meal you should give this one a try.  I’m sure I’ll make it again soon.

Full Recipe: [Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bake]

Tagged with:
 

Chicken Curry with Sweet Potato and Chickpeas

On May 8, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_2639

I haven’t been writing much lately because I have been busy with a new job I started almost three weeks ago. The new job is a bit longer of a commute which led me to look for some slow cooker (crockpot) recipes since I get home a little later than I used to and well I’m still the personal home chef.

One find, I already had on my Pinterest board (you can follow me on Pinterest here), was a chicken curry dish that looked pretty amazing and simple. I really liked the use of sweet potato in this particular recipe.  You can of course substitute carrots, if you don’t have any sweet potatoes around.

IMG_2628

I prepared the dish before leaving this morning and when I walked through the door when I came home tonight, it smelled amazing!  Plus everything was pretty much ready to go after I quickly steamed some rice.

The dish turned out great and it is a bit spicy with the 2 tablespoons of curry powder the recipe calls for. You can add or increase. If you want something a little more mild with a hint of heat, go with 1 tablespoon.  Really hot, I’d use 3 tablespoons.

IMG_2614

Have some fun experimenting with this dish. You really can’t mess it up. I’m sure it would be great with lamb instead of chicken.  You could also use cauliflower or potatoes too.  It’s full-proof, so enjoy and play around with this recipe.  I’m sure I will as I continue to bring out my slower cooker more often now that I’m arriving a bit later.

Enjoy!

Full Recipe: [Slow Cooker Chicken Curry]

Tagged with:
 

Bean Succotash

On October 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_0981

 

One of my favorite food shows of recent is PBS’ The Mind of a Chef.  Season Two is now on Netflix and I am working my way through the season which features Southern Chef Sean Brock. It’s been a great second season especially after an amazing Season One staring David Chang.

The first episode shows Brock and another chef making a variation on succotash that uses boiled peanuts and ends with a lemon ricotta the mixture is pilled on top of.  It looked amazing and I figured I’d do a version of it after I found some fresh lima beans at the South Pasadena Farmers Market last week. I had also picked up some bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes and a hatch chili pepper.

IMG_0975

Whole Foods also had some fried shelled peanuts I used instead of boiled.  Overall, I liked how the dish turned out and would definitely make it again.  I even had leftovers and brought just the bean mixture, without the ricotta, to the beach and had it with some crackers for lunch.

IMG_0972

Bean Succotash
Serves 4

2 cups fresh lima beans
1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shelled peanuts, fried or boiled
1 hatch chili or poblano, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
8 oz. fresh lemon ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the hatch chili, tomatoes and bell pepper along with the olive oil into the oven at 400 degrees and roast for 45 minutes turning occasionally to get char marks around the pepper and chili.  Remove and let cool.

Cook the fresh lima beans in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Remove and place into a mixing bowl to cool.  Shell the peanuts and drain the white beans. Add the beans to the bowl and add the peanuts, except 1 tablespoon.  Crush the tablespoon of peanuts and add to the bowl.

Dice the roasted tomatoes, bell pepper and chili and add to the mixing bowl.  Add the peanut oil and toss in the bowl to mix adding some salt and pepper to taste.

Plate the dish by spooning out a circle of ricotta cheese and spoon on the bean and vegetable mixture.

NOTE: If not using lemon ricotta, just squeeze the juice of one lemon and mix with the ricotta before platting. You must use fresh ricotta, not the container stuff that has no flavor.

Tagged with:
 

 

IMG_4651

Summertime grilling is one of my favorite times of the season.  When we used to live in Michigan, it felt extra special after long periods of bad weather.  Though I was one of the crazy people who would clear a path in the snow to the grill, dust off the layer of snow and fire it up in 20-degree evenings.

Now that we are in the land of no seasons – only summer – grilling outside in the summer sun feels just like any other day of the year. Trust me, I’m not complaining. Perhaps just bragging a bit.

For those still in places with seasons, a summer day grilling is a day filled with joy. Grilling is so easy. Heat. Place some food on it. Close the lid. Open a beer. Drink beer. Flip the food. Repeat. Serve.

Life is good with a grill.

Life is also really good if you get a chance to try jamón ibérico de bellota. It’s a Spanish version of Prosciutto that has the most amazing flavor, as it should. This delicacy ran $149/lb at my local market. I should note you don’t need this. A good imported prosciutto works just fine for this recipe.

The only reason I ended up buying a couple slices of jamón ibérico de bellota (2 thin slices came to $7) was due to a conversation with the deli guy.  He ask which Prosciutto do you want? I looked at a couple as he rattled off several common types and then added or you can go with the $149/lb one. What makes this particular meat special is that it comes from free-range pigs that roam the oak forest border of Spain and Portugal eating a diet of acorns then the meat is cured for 3 years.

Still $149 a pound?! Well I only need 2 thins slices so I said let’s do that. That sounds insane. He laughed and cut me a thin slice to try it first.  Bonus! Free crazy expensive jamón ibérico de bellota!

It was great like when you drink a high-quality pinot noir.  Sure the $20 bottle is great, but a $60 bottle shows off by being brilliant from the first sip to the end.  That’s kind of what this “prosciutto” reminded me of. It was brilliant from the first to last bite.

I doubt I’ll buy it regularly, but I might again for a pasta dish that uses a little to make the dish extra special.

The best moment with the jamón ibérico de bellota is when my wife tried it and said, “it tastes like bacon. I like it.”

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 paper-thin slices Prosciutto
4 slices Fontina cheese
1 medium sized tomato
Salt and pepper to taste

Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting each one almost in half. Fold the chicken breast out covering with cellophane and pound with a meat mallet to make flat.  Salt and pepper the chicken and then add a slice of Fontina cheese and thinly sliced tomato.  Fold over and secure with toothpicks.

IMG_4613

Place each wrapped breast on the grill and cook for about 8 minutes per side to get a nice brown sear.  Remove from grill and then wrap each breast with two slices of prosciutto. Return to grill and heat for about 2 minutes then turn over to cook the other side another 2 minutes to make the prosciutto crispy being careful not to burn.

IMG_4622

Remove from heat and serve with your favorite sides.


For more recipes, the #SundaySupper crew has everything you’ll need to throw a delicious summer barbecue party this season. Join us this Sunday, June 30th, to celebrate summer.

SSbadge-150x150

Hot Off the Grill:

On the Side:

Sweet Tooth:

In the Cooler:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, June 30th to celebrate Summer. We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

#SundaySupper Spooky Kid Pizzas

On October 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
52

So when I originally imagined doing some Halloween inspired pizzas for our twin boys Oscar & Theo I was thinking something a bit more spooky than a pumpkin.  Of course, the spooky factor kind of suffered since my “spider legs” were to be built form slices of green peppers. Sadly I failed to double-check we still had a bell pepper in the fridge.  We did not when it came time to make this week’s Sunday Supper.

Instead of spooky, we have a bit more of a ridiculous look. Fortunately, the boys didn’t mind and loved their jack o’ lantern pizzas. I just simply took some slices of carrot and triangle cut a tomato slice for eyes and noses.

 

Tomato Pizza Sauce

28 oz. can crushed plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (avoid canned)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small or 1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried 1/4 tsp. each: salt, black pepper, sugar, dried oregano,
red pepper flakes

Mix together. Sometimes I sauté the garlic and onions in a little olive oil first. It depends upon what else I’m putting on the pizza. I sauté them if the toppings are more mild, and I don’t if the toppings are more aggressive. Basically, whatever you like.

 

Pizza Dough
(makes 2 — 12” rounds)

2 packets “rapid-rise” active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar 6 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a bowl, proof the yeast by mixing yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand until it becomes foamy. This will take about 5 minutes.

In a mixer or large food processor, mix the flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and combine. Add olive oil and combine until the moisture is well-mixed into the flour. Add as much additional warm water to produce a dough which is smooth and not sticky. When dough is smooth and can be formed into a ball, it has been sufficiently kneaded.

Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl; turn to coat all over with oil; cover with a towel, or plastic-wrap, and set in a warm place. Allow it to double in size, which will take about 10-15 minutes, or 1 hour with regular yeast.

When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 450.

Punch dough down; cut into halves; form each half into a ball; roll-out each ball into about a 12” round. Oil pizza pans lightly, and place dough onto pans. Push the dough up slightly around edges to make a border to hold the fillings.

Top pizzas with desired fillings, and moisten top by drizzling on some olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and fillings are slightly bubbling.

Spooky Kid Pizzas

Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
Pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: Tomato triangles and carrot sticks for the mouth and teeth

Assemble pizzas with a layer of sauce and plenty of shredded mozzarella.  Then make your “spooky” or Halloween inspired masterpiece using toppings.

Heat in a toaster oven or oven at 400 degrees cooking for 15 minutes.

_______________

For more Halloween cooking ideas checkout this week’s #SundaySupper recipes

Bewitching Brews

Ghoulish Gruel: 

Haunted Snacks: 

Spooky Sweets: 

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, this Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper.  We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about all things Halloween.  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat.

Tagged with:
 

Cajun Turkey Pot Pie

On September 8, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

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

Tagged with:
 

Chickpea Biryani

On April 21, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

I love Biryani. Usually I’ll order it with chicken, but it makes a decent vegetarian option for a Meatless Monday.

 

This simple recipe is worth trying. My only change is use 1 serrano pepper instead of two.  We found the two peppers too spicy.  Adjust to your preference.

Full Recipe: Chickpea Biryani

Tagged with:
 

Indian Butter Chicken

On February 20, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

For all the hate directed at Netflix last year, I still love them.  The fact that I can stream so many shows and movies is great and it’s still at an affordable price provided you use the service.  I do.

I was watching some old Gordon Ramsey shows with one episode that featured him traveling through India seeking out authentic Indian food.  Since I lack his production budget and time, I decided Google was good enough for my need.  That’s when I ran across the aptly named “Mr Singh Brings You Authentic Indian Recipes” website.

I found a simple butter chicken recipe to try out.  Like Ramsey’s show it focused on recipes that did not use cream and lots of butter like Americanized Indian restaurants do.

The recipe isn’t as rich in flavor as the Americanized Indian butter chicken, but it has its own distinctive benefits including a deeper flavor that showcase the spices more than the cream and butter.

This is a good recipe. However, I feel I can still find something better.

Click here for the full recipe: Butter Chicken.

Tagged with:
 

Chicken with Sauteed Leeks, Apples and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

On February 10, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

I finally did some catching up on my Pinterest to-do list.  This recipe I found on the site a couple weeks ago. It’s quite simple and only takes about 20 minutes with prep and time cooking.  The addition of a light white wine and lemon sauce really brings everything to life.

The meal tastes like fall. With Dallas weather similar to Michigan fall weather, it feels like a cool day in October in Detroit.

Full recipe: Chicken with Sauteed Leeks, Apples and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tagged with:
 

Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup

On January 23, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

I confess. I’ve been on a bit of a meat kick lately.  Take for instance last night when I had a perfectly good sounding vegan soup I planned to make.  Looking at the recipe on the Farmersgirl Kitchen blog, the recipe screamed for some italian crumbled sausage.

If you wish to make this recipe as a vegan meal, please visit the Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup recipe here.

For the more carnivores minded, here is that recipe done with some sausage.  The flavors from the original recipe really compliment the sausage nicely and I developed a few modifications to help the recipe if using meat.

For the paprikas, try an Indian market.  If you do not have the two mentioned below, 1 1/2 teaspoon of store bought paprika is fine.

Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup
Serves 6

1/2 lb crumbled Italian sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, washed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
14 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Form small bite-size chunks of sausage and place in the pan, careful not to crowd the pan.  Cook the sausage for about 5-8 minutes until they start to brown and turn over to brown each piece careful not to overcook.  Remove the sausage and set aside on a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and rosemary. Saute for a few minutes to soften then add the chickpeas, paprikas, tomato puree and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a good 3 minutes to let flavors combine. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the dutch oven and place, in batches, into a blender. Leave some of the soup including some chickpeas and tomatoes in the dutch oven.  With the rest pulse two times for a rough blend and then return all of it to the pan. The trick here is to add some thickness, but keep some of the chickpeas and tomatoes together so everything is not blended into a puree.

Now add the sausage and heat to boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

Tagged with: