Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

In honor of Mardi Gras, I thought I would post one of my favorite cajun-creole recipes! Luckily for me, we have a great little restaurant, called Yats, nearby. And even luckier, the owner gave the recipe for his famous Chili Cheese Etouffee to a local fundraising cookbook.

Yat's Chili Cheese Etouffee

1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped green onions, plus more to garnish
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1 cup diced onions
2 tsp. minced onion
1 cup Rotel Original diced tomatoes or petite dice tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups shredded aged cheddar
8 oz. half-and-half or heavy cream
1 tsp. chili powder
Pinch ground coriander
Pinch groun cumin
Pinch ground cloves
Dash Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tobasco sauce
1 pound cooked crawfish, shrimp, or chicken
Cooked white rice, to serve
Dry sherry, to garnish

1. Make a roux by heating the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and then blending in the flour, consistently stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the roux is a golden color.
2. Add the green onions, celery, bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes and cook until the onions have browned.
3. Add the thyme, tomato paste, basil and peppers (black, white, cayenne).
4. Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture becomes thick.
5. Add the cheese, half-and-half, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cloves, Lea and Peririns and Tabasco and stir until the cheese and half-and-half are blended in well.
6. Gently stir in the crawfish, shrimp, and/or chicken and serve over fluffy white rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and drizzle with dry sherry.

Source: Joe Vuskovich, owner of Yats

Monday, February 23, 2009

Super Easy, Quick & Cheesy!

I was first introduced to this easy recipe by my friend Ali, back in the olden days of our downtown apartment living. This is a quick and easy weeknight meal!

Quick & Easy Quesadillas

6 Flour Tortillas
1 can diced tomatoes w/ chilies
Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
1 lb cooked and diced chicken

Place cooked chicken in a large skillet and add can of tomatoes. Cook over medium high heat until the liquid has evaporated. Place tortilla in an oiled griddle over medium high heat and top with a thin layer of cheese, then cover half with a layer of the chicken & tomato mixture. Fold in half and cook on both sides for a minute or so until tortilla is crisp and cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Livin' the Dream

Ok, not really...but things could always be worse. My boyfriend, Scott, bought a bicycle shop last week, so this past weekend I spent about 20 hours painting and cleaning. I was so sore last night I didn't know if I'd be able to get out of bed today...but I made it! I really need to go to the grocery, but since I'm still very tired, I thought I'd see what I could make with ingredients I already had...and it turned into a comfy pasta bake. (I've been lowing carbs, so I used Dreamfields pasta, which I give 2 thumbs up!)

Lower Carb Pasta Bake

1 box Dreamfields spaghetti (13.25 oz)
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
26 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
4 oz. cream cheese
12 oz. shredded Italian cheese blend (I like Trader Joe's)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cook pasta as directed on the box. Meanwhile, brown the turkey and onions. Add the seasonings, garlic, and cream cheese and mix well until cheese has melted. Next add the spaghetti sauce and simmer until pasta is finished cooking. Drain pasta and add to sauce mixture, mix to combine.

Pour pasta mixture into a prepared 9x13 pan and top with shredded cheese. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Ol' Switcheroo!

Wow. I love lasagna as much as Garfield, but I try not to eat a lot of pasta. I'd always heard you could substitute zucchini slices for lasagna noodles, but was a bit skeptical. Not anymore! I may never make "normal" lasagna again! This is awesome. Feel free to use any lasagna recipe you like, and just substitute the pasta with zucchini.

Zucchini Lasagna

2 1/2 cups zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 3 medium)
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, cut up
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook zucchini until tender, drain and set aside. Fry meat and onions until meat is brown and onions are tender; drain fat. Add next 8 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 10 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups. In small bowl slightly beat egg. Add cottage cheese, and half of shredded cheese. In (2-qt.) baking pan arrange half of the meat mixture. Top with half of the zucchini and all the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining meat and zucchini. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Source: adapted from Allrecipes.com