Poblano Peppers stuffed with Shrimp, Mango and Roma Tomatoes (Poblanos Rellenos Camarón)

This is good.  So, so, so good.  It’s Mexican-y, seafood-y, a little spicy and a teensy bit sweet.  And the vinaigrette that is drizzled on top of the peppers..OH  MY…I had to dunk several naked shrimp in the vinaigrette while I was making this because I couldn’t get enough of it. I even thought about tipping the bowl up one time to get a good swig of it.  

Ok – so I know it’s fall but in my heart it’s eternally summer – and anyway, mangos are nice and ripe and available almost year ’round.  Did you know that?  I didn’t until the nice little Publix produce man told me today.  He also told me I look like Erica Kane.  (??) 

Every element to this is very important – the blending of the flavors is what’s so great about it.  First, make the vinaigrette.  And please disregard all that you see in the background of this picture.  Me and Photoshop had an argument today and I let it win. 

Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 handful (about 1/4 cup or so) roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 chipotle cube (Knorr) – I just recently found these at my local Wal-Mart in the International section.  If you can’t find these, use 2 tsp of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which you can find on the aisle where the typical mexican fare is…As a matter of fact those are awesome and if you like spicy/mexican type food you will have endless options in using them.  Try it the next time you make tacos – throw one or two in the taco meat or chicken (depending on how hot you like it), or in your soup or chili.

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the vinegar and orange juice in a small sauce pan; bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to about med-low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let it cool off the burner for about 20 minutes.  Add the mayo, whisk until dissolved, and then add the remaining ingredients.  Set aside. 

For the Poblanos:

1 pound fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 Poblano peppers

1 mango, click here for fantastic instructions on how to cut a mango

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 shallots, diced

1/2 lime, juiced

1 tsp chopped cilantro

1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

Preheat oven to 400, and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. 

Combine the mango, shallots, cilantro, tomatoes and lime in a small mixing bowl; set aside.

Wash and slice the peppers down the center, halving them longways and remove all seeds.  Place the pepper halves on the sheet, along with the shrimp; all spread out and not touching. 

In the microwave melt the butter and Old Bay. 

Coat the shrimp with the melted butter using a pastry brush, then in the oven it goes.   (This is the point where I threw  my bacon in the microwave.)

Save these little shrimpy shells!  

Did you know that you could throw them in a little freezer bag and later you can boil them and make seafood broth – OR you could go ahead and make seafood broth, pour it into those old-fashioned ice trays and have them on hand in the freezer to use for sauces, soups, etc. 

Check on the shrimp after about 5-8 minutes.  You might need to remove them from the pan before the peppers are done; if so just set them aside. 

Combine the shrimp with the mango/tomato/shallot mixture. 

The peppers should be done after about 15 minutes – they should have just slight brown edges.  Stuff the peppers with the shrimp mixture and pop back in the oven for about 3-5 minutes; remove.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the peppers and top with the bacon crumbles.

~Enjoy~

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Chipotle Chicken Chili With Baby Corn Cakes and Lime Cream

I’m so excited! I found something new today that I didn’t even know existed! It’s these little things….

Who knew?   And look how cute.

Just little bitty tiny squares of hot yumminess.  Precious.  My husband hates hot – but ssshhh don’t tell him this….there’s one in his dinner tonight. 

This recipe is a little bit of a spin on white chili with your typical accompaniments.

The Chili: 

1 pound chicken, cooked and chopped or shredded

2 cans white beans (I used one can of white beans and one can Great Northern)

1 onion, chopped  (If you would like a wonderful step-by-step of how to chop an onion go here. )

1 4 oz can chopped green chiles

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp cumin

1 crumbled Knorr chipotle cube (I actually  used about 3/4 of one to make sure it wasn’t too spicy, and it definitely wasn’t)

Approximately 2 1/2-3 cups chicken broth

1 can petite-diced tomatoes

1 Block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded.  (You can throw some in the chili while it’s simmering just for fun; but save most of it for topping it off later.)

Olive oil

Over medium-high heat, coat the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil.  When the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onions.  Saute for a few minutes until a little transluscent; add the garlic and saute till fragrant.  Add chicken and the rest of the ingredients; bring to a boil and then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

For the Lime Cream:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 lime, juiced

Combine the two about an hour before serving; chill.

For the Baby Cakes (Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food):

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

11 oz can shoepeg corn

1/3 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  This is my baby girl who’s 11 going on 20.  Isn’t she the cutest?

……then pose with it.  Again, cute, right?

 Now use a cupcake pan or a square bar pan (like I did), evenly distribute 12 baby cakes.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden around the edges and the knife test is clean. 

Now…..

In a serving bowl layer a little Baby Cake……

Spoon on some chili…

Then some cheese….

Finally…the lime cream

As Martha would say, “It’s a Good Thing”.

                                                                                                       

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Butternut Squash and Sausage over Barley with Gorgonzola Sauce

When I was at the farmer’s market yesterday I knew I wanted to make something with butternut squash, but couldn’t decide what to make.  After looking through my cookbooks and online, I decided to look through the pantry and use my culinary instincts (sometimes I have them!).  This actually came out very well and all of the components balanced each other.  Turned out to be a great fall dish ~

For the Squash ‘n Sausage:

1 butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 package turkey smoked sausage, sliced

1 cup barley

1/2 cup water

For the sauce:

2 oz gorgonzola

1/2 tsp sage

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup cream

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp flour

Preheat oven to 400.  Place squash and sausage on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes until slightly brown and the squash is tender enough that you can pierce it with a fork with no reisistance.

In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup water and salt, bring to a boil.   Add the barley and lower heat to low.  Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the barley is tender but still has a slight (slight as in tiny) crunch.

While all of this is cooking, let’s start the cheese sauce…..

Bring the butter, sage, flour, garlic and milk to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Add the cheese and bring to a slow boil,  then whisk until thickened, about a minute or two. 

Spoon the roasted squash and sausage over a plate of barley, then drizzle the cheese sauce on top.  Keep in mind that gorgonzola is a very strong cheese and you won’t need a lot – don’t go crazy with it! 

Happy Fall 🙂

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Cooking With My Kids

It’s burger night!  I let my 14 year old take the chef hat; he picked the ingredients, spices, etc.  He loves to be in the kitchen; takes after me 😉  

What fun.  I love it when my kids help me cook- I love the fact that they get the experience and we get to spend time together all at the same time.  Tonight we made some yummy burgers that had a tiny bit of heat with all the flavor (’cause we removed all those mean seeds), and also had the bite of jack cheese.   

Stuffed Jalapeno-Jack Burgers

1 pound ground sirloin

Hamburger buns of your choosing – tonight we used Kaiser rolls

2 good squeezes of Heinz 57

1/2 block Monterey Jack cheese

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine

1 egg

spray for grill

Butter

Salt & Pepper

Garlic Salt

Combine the sirloin, Heinz 57, egg, salt and pepper; form into thin patties.  On one patty layer a handful of diced jalapenos, then a handful of jack cheese.  Stack another sirloin burger and press all the sides in to form one patty.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients. 

I love this picture....a little man after my own heart.

Heat grill to medium; add burgers.  Grill for about 6-7 minutes, and then turn.  Grill burgers according to preference.

Slather butter on both sides of 4 buns and sprinkle with garlic salt (or if you made big fat burgers 3) – add to grill and check after about 2-3 minutes.  Remove when butter side is slightly golden.

Serve burgers on buttered buns.

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Filled Phyllo with Caramelized Onions and Peppers with Apricot Dipping Sauce

This is only my second time using phyllo sheets; the first being a disaster.  I wanted to try it again.  Using phyllo sheets takes patience and time….unfortunately I don’t have much patience.   The sheets cannot sit out long or they will dry out unless they are covered with a damp towel. Either way, get all of your ingredients completely ready before you start messing with the phyllo. These are teeny tiny and delicate  and need to be pampered.  I decided I wanted to do something savory with the phyllo……..but what to do……….so many options.  Here is what I came up with on this go around……next time maybe I will try something more substantial.

About 15-20 sheets of Phyllo

1 onion, sliced thin

1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

Brie – use your judgment.. in my opinion I didn’t add enough; you’ll see pics below

Butter

Olive Oil

1 tsp sugar

Apricot Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp apricot preserves

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously drizzle olive oil into a large saute pan.  Heat pan to medium and when oil is shimmering; add onions and peppers.  Wait a minute or two and stir.  Let onions and peppers saute about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If you see them start to really brown, turn the heat down a little (that’s what mine did because they were spiteful little onions).  All appliances are different; I find mine cooks and bakes much faster than most.  After about 8-10 minutes add the sugar and stir.  Continue to cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.  Set aside.  

Melt the butter in a small bowl and prepare your work space – you will need a clean area to lay out the phyllo, the onion mixture and brie, and the butter with a pastry brush.  Lay out half of the phyllo; cover the rest with plastic wrap or damp towel.  I cut this into rectangular strips with a pizza cutter; you could use kitchen scissors also.  Place one rectangle on a buttered or sprayed baking sheet.  In the center of one rectangle, carefully layer the onions, peppers, and dot with the brie. 

With a pastry brush outline the dough with butter or water.  Now carefully pick up another rectangle and place it on top.  Press down on the edges to form a seal, and then lightly brush butter over the entire top, down to the edges.   Repeat the same steps with the rest of your phyllo.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. 

While the phyllo pockets are baking, combine mustard and apricot preserves in a small bowl………..once the pockets are done baking and cool enough to eat……….

Enjoy~

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