Baked Beans, Southern Style

Truth be told, baked beans out of a can, such as Bush’s Baked Beans are really quite good. One of my favorite meals is a couple of hot dogs, cut up and heated in a skillet, and then a can of Bush’s baked beans thrown on top and mixed together. Comfort food at it’s finest.

But of course, there is always the element of personal satisfaction of making something from scratch, that rivals or beats your perceived gold standard. These beans are one of those dishes. Incredibly easy to make, and pretty much fool-proof. It takes some time, but after the initial couple of stages, all the time is the beans sitting, simmering in the oven. If you are on a gluten free diet, these beans are perfect for you.

This recipe is from Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. As with most of her recipes, it feeds a small circus troupe. If I am making this for just my family, I half the recipe and make it in a 8×8″ glass dish. If having company over, I leave it as is and use a 9×13″. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!

IMG_2032

Southern Style Baked Beans

Serves up to 18

8 slices bacon, halved

1 medium onion, cut into small dice

1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice

3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar

2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients). Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Come find me on Facebook here.

Advertisements

Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

Have you ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking, seldom branching out from what you know and like best? A few weeks before Easter I started planning our Easter dinner, and couldn’t get the old staples out of my head. Those staples are great for a number of reasons, but I wanted at least one new dish to be new.

Along comes a friend who recommends Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice. First, I did a double take sure that I heard wrong. But lo and behold, I had not. Not having the confidence of a seasoned cook yet, there was no way I was serving that for Easter without trying it first. With two weeks to spare, I had plenty of time. Halfway there, I convinced my wife we needed to try it, no matter how out in left field it sounded. We did, and I baked a couple of simple chicken breasts to go along with it. For me, I turned it into a sort of rice bowl with the chicken cut-up on top, see below.

FullSizeRender

It was REALLY, REALLY good. And as odd as the combination sounded, it really came together so nicely, balancing itself out perfectly. So, it was made again for Easter and all our guests really enjoyed it, albeit everyone had to ask what it was when they peered into the bowl. Ha! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. One of our eaters is on a gluten free diet, which this dish is perfect for.

This is the Easter version. I was running around like a madman trying to bring everything together, that I am surprised I even got a picture of it at all. Sorry it’s not pretty!

IMG_2031

Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 ½ – 2 Jalapeno pepper, veins and seeds removed, and diced

½ small red onion, diced

3/4 teaspoon fennel or anise

2 TBSP EVOO

1 glove, garlic

1 cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups hot water (more if needed)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Core granny smith apple, leaving skin on, and slice them;  Saute apples, pepper, onion all in evoo and add anise or fennel seed. Add jasmine rice and continue to saute on med low heat till rice is lightly toasted. Add hot water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat to low, tightly cover with seran wrap and lid and continue to cook on low for another 30-45 minutes. You may to add some water over rice at the end, depending on how tender and sticky you want the rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Two things are amazing with this recipe. First, you will never have believed that you could make pork tenderloin cutlets as tender as these turn out. Second, you will swear there is no way they are gluten free. We have made these numerous times now, and they always turn out fantastic. I am not trying to figure out what other dishes I can make using this cooking technique. Next up, I believe I am going to do chicken cutlets. If you have a small family like mine, one pork tenderloin will provide for two iterations of this recipe. When I get it home from the store, I cut the tenderloin in two, then freeze half to make on another occasion.

If you do not have a Trader Joe’s close by and your grocery store doesn’t carry GF all-purpose flour, there are recipes online for how to make your own. I believe they are usually a mixture to include Rice Flour, tapioca flour, etc. On the GF breadcrumbs, I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed until fine in a food processor. I have used this alternative on these cutlets, chicken parmesan, and many other breaded dishes and I cannot tell the difference between this, and panko or other breadcrumbs.

Enjoy!

IMG_2009

Normally I serve these cutlets with mashed potatoes. Woops, must have forgotten the vegetable by accident! 🙂

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven.

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven, with water in the bottom.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

Baking complete, ready to eat!

Baking complete, ready to eat!

IMG_2006

GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Ingredients

2-3lb pork tenderloin

1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup GF Breadcrumbs (I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed in a food processor)

3 large eggs plus 3 tsp water

1/3 cup avocado or canola oil, divided into Tbl increments

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 2″ rounds. Places each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound until they are thin cutlets (less than 1/4” thick).

Set up your station with 3 separate pie pans. In the first pie pan place the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and gently mix. In the middle pie pan add the eggs and water whisking to combine. In the last pie pan place the bread crumbs.

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbl of oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, dredge a cutlet in flour coating all sides. Next dip it in the egg flipping to get all sides wet. Gently lift up letting the excess egg drip off. Place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs and coat all sides. At this point you can coat a few and cook all at once being sure you do not crowd the pan.

Gently place the cutlets in the hot oil cooking each side about 3-4 minutes or until each side is golden brown. Continue coating and cooking in batches until they are all pan-seared. You will need to add more oil as you cook.

Either in a large roasting pan (that has a lid) with a rack in the bottom or a large dutch oven that has a lid (if you can fit a rack in it great, if not it’s OK) take about 2-4’ of aluminum foil and crumble it up like a snake. You want to rest this on top of the rack or the bottom of the dutch oven. The goal here is to have the food be elevated at least 1” above the bottom of the pan.

Place about 1/2-1 cup of water at the bottom of the pan. The foil or rack can sit it but the water cannot go over top of the foil or touch the cutlets. Take the pan-seared cutlets and place them on top of the foil. It’s okay to stack them if you made a lot. You just don’t want them to touch the water.

Cover the roaster or pan very tightly with foil and the lid. You want to steam these now. This is the trick to get them ridiculously tender. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently remove.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

Come follow me on Facebook here.

Chicken Chilaquiles

Chicken Chilaquiles! Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, as I have not the faintest idea! For someone who never had even a bite of Mexican food growing up, I sure have not come to love it! Love it in as it is on the menu at least 2-3 times a week, in some form or fashion. The latest attempt was not only the first time making this dish, it was a first time eating this dish. I had come to notice it more and more on Tex-Mex restaurant menu’s, and while I never ordered it, it definitely intrigued me. And I honestly, the only reason I didn’t order it was it looked so simple, I couldn’t justify spending money to have someone else make it for me.

At the end of the day, it was as easy as it looked, and just as tasty. If you have someone on a gluten free diet in your house, this dish is perfect for you. Many restaurants serve this as a brunch item, but I really cant picture this, especially paired with eggs. We enjoy this at dinner. My wife tops her plate of chilaquiles with sour cream and cut-up avocado.  Enjoy!

IMG_1972

Chicken Chilaquiles

Ingredients

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chilies in adobo, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded (option: switch half of cheddar with Monterey Jack)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large food processor or blender, add in tomatoes, jalapenos, chilies, broth, and salt. Pulse until it is smooth. Set-aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces and stir in evenly.

Using a 9×13” casserole dish, layer tortilla chips in the bottom until they are even, and fill up approximately half of the dish. Pour sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce. Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 5-8 minutes.

Come find me on Facebook here.

Italian Sausage Bake

Like many others, I am always in search for easy and delicious one pot meals. Unfortunately I have found they are few and far between. This is a great one for a weekend, or if you have an opportunity during the week to assemble and bake a couple of hours before dinner. Sausage and potatoes gives you your main course and side dish with some great flavoring from the peppers and onions. We generally will make a side salad to go with this as well. If you have someone in your house on a gluten free diet, this dish is perfect for you!

IMG_1910

Fixing to cover and head into the oven.

A couple of notes for you. Do not cut up the potatoes too small or they won’t hold up well after two hours. I try to stay between 1.5 – 2 inch pieces. Also, the first couple of times I made this I added the tomatoes at the beginning, as the source recipe called for. They definitely don’t hold up for that long. They still had flavor, but they were too mushy for my taste. So I add them at the 90 minute mark when I remove the foil. They hold up much better that way. We also use sweet Italian Sausage instead of spicy as that is just our preference. And if we ever have leftovers with this one, which is rare, I turn it into a sausage and potato hash with eggs for lunch the next day. Yum!!!

Enjoy!

IMG_1914

Ready to eat!!

Italian Sausage Bake

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes, red and/or yellow variety

1 pound honey gold potatoes, cut in to 2″ pieces

2 large bell peppers, chopped length-wise 1-inch

1 large red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

6 links Italian sausage, sweet or spicy

5 sprigs dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large baking dish, toss potatoes, bell peppers, and red onion with one tablespoon olive oil and chopped garlic. Mix well until incorporated and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the sausage links on top of the vegetables. Place sprigs of thyme throughout the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove foil from baking dish, add the tomatoes, mix vegetables around, and bake for an additional 30 minutes (flipping sausages halfway) until the sausage is golden brown.

Come find me on Facebook here.

Recipe slightly adapted from Katie’s Cucina.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

A quick little healthy meal or snack for you when you are craving pizza. My wife requested these a couple of weeks ago, and she was very happy with how they turned out. Full disclosure on my part, yup, I will take regular pizza over these any day. But if you are looking for that healthier and or gluten free alternative, give these a shot.

The best thing about these is you really don’t even need a recipe. After you crisp them up a little, top with whatever floats your boat that day. We had mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and jarred pizza sauce on hand, so that is what I used. I used one zucchini on this batch as it was only my wife eating them that night. This picture was half of what it made.

IMG_1881 (2)

Ingredients:

1-2 zucchini, sliced in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices

Salt and pepper

pizza sauce

mozzarella cheese, shredded

pepperoni, diced

Directions:

Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Sprinkle both sides of the zucchini slices lightly with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, flip, and repeat on the underside. Remove from the over, and layer, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni pieces on each slice of zucchini. Place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is starting to melt.

Adapted from DamnDelicious

Classic Beef Chili

With this cold weather blanketing the country, and the Superbowl less than a week away, I thought it was a great time to post about the best chili I have ever eaten. I found this recipe about 2 months ago and have made it quite a few times since, altering a thing here or there, but mostly keeping it intact.

Of course, like many of my favorites it came from ATK. When the weather really took a turn for the worse this year the first thing my wife asked me to cook was chili. She had a hankering for it, and the canned stuff was no longer acceptable (nor should it ever have been!!). So I scoured the Net, and found quite a few recipes that looked like they would be winners, but at the end of the day, I came back to the trusted folks in VT.

The ingredients as shown makes a large pot of chili, so if I am making it for us and guests, I do it as written. If it is just for our family, I half it and still have some leftovers for lunch the next day. It reheats very well, and almost tastes better the second day. And of course since we live in TX, mine gets turned into a Frito Pie. Simply, a Frito chip base, followed by chili, followed by shredded cheddar cheese. She eats hers over rice, then topped with cheese. Can’t go wrong with either, or with just a big old bowl of chili by itself. If you have someone in your house with a gluten allergy, this beef chili is perfect for you!

IMG_1827

Almost done simmering.

IMG_1829

My Frito Pie version.

Classic Beef Chili

Ingredients

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon dried cumin

2 teaspoons dried coriander

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds, 85% lean ground beef

2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-oz) can tomato puree

Water, as needed

Directions

Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in half of beef. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to simmer gently until beef is tender and sauce is dark, rich, and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes longer. If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; add water as needed when reheating to adjust consistency.)

Come find me on Facebook here.