Philly Cheese Quesadilla

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Like a lot of people I love a really good Philly Cheese-steak sandwich and have a favorite place to get one. I also like to cook and come up with new recipes and share those with people.  So this weekend I was looking though the fridge to see what I had and my “mad scientist” brain kicked into effect. I wanted a cheese-steak but didn’t want all of the bread. I started pulling stuff out of the fridge and setting in on the counter to see what I could come up with and so the Philly cheese-steak quesadilla was born. Here is what I did.

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Ingredients

1 lb 93% fat free ground beef
4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 chopped jalapeno
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4oz of fat free shredded cheddar
1 pack of small flour tortillas

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Cooking

Start browning the ground beef over medium high heat and when it gets mostly brown (not quite all of the way) add in the onions and peppers and continue to cook until the beef gets brown and the onions and peppers soften up. Now reduce the heat to low add in the seasonings (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and stir together and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Once that is done remove the mixture from the pan and put it into a bowl. Now add both cheeses and stir together into a thick paste.

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Take one of the tortillas and spread the paste out on top covering it in a nice even layer to about a 1/4″ from the ends. Then place another tortilla on top.
You will want to have a pan heated to medium high heat ready to cook these. You can use the same one you cooked the meat in or a different one, its up to you. Place the quesadilla in the pan and let it brown (about 30 to 40 seconds. Press it with a spatula to get a nice even browning. Now carefully flip it over and do the other side. You will notice that the mixture inside will start to ooze slightly. This is a good and yummy thing. Once that other side has browned remove it from the pan and place on a plate and cut in half. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to feed everyone, or at least until you run out of tortillas.

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All that is left now is to sit back and enjoy. This is a relatively low fat enjoyable little meal. I hope you all like it.

Thanks for reading
JMW

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Grilling It Up 3 Ways

In an effort to keep on the healthier side of things I decided to do some grilling over this past weekend. When I grill I tend to go a little overboard and make enough food to last the week and still have enough to spread the love at work. Needless to say I am popular around grilling season. Well since I am cooking healthier now that means smaller portions and not as many leftovers. This time around I decided to do three different smaller items to give a little variety throughout the week and not a bunch of one thing left over.

I did Raspberry beef skirt steak, Lemon Cilantro Catfish and Greek grilled chicken.

These are all pretty simple but I will walk you through each one to make sure you can recreate them all easily.

 

Lets start with the Raspberry Skirt Steak.

Ingredients

1 small skirt steak (about 2 lbs)

1 bottle of raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

salt

black pepper

Put the steak in a large Ziploc bag or bowl with a lid and cover it in raspberry vinaigrette dressing and let marinate for 3 to 4 hrs.

Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. It is important to get your meat dry before adding it to the grill. This helps with cooking and not sticking.

You want to have the grill heated on medium high heat. Just before adding the meat to the grill give it a couple of good shakes of salt and pepper on each side. Place the steak on the grill and leave it alone for 4 minutes. After that turn it over and let it cook for another 3 to 4 minutes depending on how well you like it to be done. And that is all there is to making a nice raspberry skirt steak. This is great served in a nice garden salad or even as fajitas. It’s really up to you.

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Next we have the Lemon Cilantro Catfish

Ingredients

Two catfish filets

Lemon juice (2 cups)

Fresh garlic (chopped 2 tablespoons)

Cilantro (chopped 1 tablespoon)

Chili Powder (half a cup)

Salt

Black Pepper

 

Mix all of the ingredients except the catfish in a large Ziploc bag or medium sized bowl with a lid and then place the catfish in making sure it is covered. Let that marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove catfish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Again, It is important to get your meat dry before adding it to the grill. This helps with cooking and not sticking.

You want to have the grill heated on medium high heat. Just before adding the meat to the grill give it a couple of good shakes of salt and pepper on each side. Place the catfish on the grill and leave it alone for about 4 to 5 minutes. Now with fish it is best to not try and turn it over. Just let it cook on one side. If you try and flip it you will most likely end up with pieces breaking off and falling through the grates. Also with fish I like to close the lid and let it heat up in the grill to make sure it gets done. A good way to tell if it is done is to work your spatula a little ways between the separation in the filets and check and make sure it has turned white all the way through.

That is all there is to that one. This too is a very versatile meat that can be added to lots of different meals. You can ever have it for breakfast with a scrambled egg and a little Tabasco. Yes you read that right. Its wonderful.

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Last but not least we have the Greek Grilled Chicken

Ingredients

2 or three boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 bottle of Greek vinaigrette salad dressing

Fresh oregano (1 tablespoon finely chopped)

Salt

Black pepper

Greek seasoning

You will also need aluminum foil.

I saved this one for last because it is a little more involved to make.

Put the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or medium sized bowl and cover with the Greek dressing and add in the oregano making sure to shake it up a little and get it all covered. Let that marinate for 3 to 4 hrs.

After it is done marinading you will want to place the chicken on aluminum foil and wrap completely. You DO NOT pat this one dry. Once you have wrapped in a cocoon of foil you are ready to put it on the grill. You will want to place it on the grill and close the lid. Let it cook for about 15 minutes and then turn the packet over. I like to do this so that it does not burn on one side. Let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. At this point it is basically boiling in its own juices and becoming very tender. Now you will want to use your tongs and open the top of the foil and take each piece of chicken and place directly on the grill for a minute or two on each side just to get some good color and grill marks on it. While it is getting that nice color to it give it a few shakes of the Greek seasoning, salt and pepper.

Side note: Put a handful of cherry tomatoes in another cocoon of aluminum foil with a little garlic, feta cheese and some extra dressing and stick them on the back of the grill and just let them cook while the chicken is cooking. This will make a nice roasted tomato sauce to pour over the chicken when you serve it.

Once that is done you can cut it into strips and serve on a plate with the tomatoes I mentioned above or put it in a salad. This is probably one of the best chicken recipes I have come up with and one I know I will be revisiting in the future.

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There you have it folks. 3 Relatively easy and versatile recipes to cook on the grill. They all came out wonderful and I am sure you will enjoy them.

Thanks for reading.

JMW

 

 

One Pot Rosemary Chicken Dinner

In this day and age people seem to have less time to do things than ever, which makes simple one pot meals that can be set to cook with minimal involvement so that other things can be done at the same time have become a growing trend. While I like cooking and prepping and all of that there are times when I have a busy weekend doing things around the house and would like to be able to put together a simple yet delicious meal and still have time to do all of the little necessary things in life. The recipe I have come up with this week is just that, simple and delicious. I wanted to do something hearty yet somewhat healthy but also easy to put together and have lots of veggies to make a nice rounded meal. So with that in mind I came up with a one pot rosemary chicken meal.

Here is what you need.

1 large oven safe pot with a lid.

Ingredients:

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 medium sized sweet onion quartered (Vidalia if you can find them)

4 medium sized red potatoes quartered

2 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup of trimmed fresh green beans

about 2 tables spoons of chopped fresh rosemary

course sea salt (1 tablespoon)

ground black pepper (2 table spoons

3 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic

Chicken broth/stock (32 oz container should be enough)

Non stick cooking spray

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Cooking

Go ahead and pre heat your oven to 375.

For this one it is all about layering. First coat the pot with non stick cooking spray and then put the 4 chicken breasts in the bottom. Now add the potatoes, then the carrots, then the onion, then the garlic and lastly the green beans. Now you want to sprinkle about half of the salt and black pepper evenly across the top and then top it off with the rosemary.

Once you have everything in the pot go ahead and add some chicken stock until it fills about 3 quarters of the pot. Then put the lid on and place in the preheated oven. You will let this cook for roughly 5 hrs.

After 5 hrs take the pot out of the oven and with a long handled spoon give it a good stir. You will see that the chicken is nice a tender is breaking apart easily. Once it is good and stirred up go ahead and add the rest of the salt and pepper and add another half cup of chicken stock. Then put it back in the oven, uncovered this time and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. This will get a little bit of crunch added to the top for texture.

After 15 to 2o minutes pull it out of the oven and give it one more stir and place the lid back on the pot until you are ready to serve.

This is a nice meal that is sure to please the entire family while giving you time to work on other projects around the house. So serve it up, sit back and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

Something Lite

I know I know… It has been a while since I have posted anything and I apologize for that. With a steady stream of family and friends coming in and out of town it has been hard to find time for everything these last few weeks, but the dust is starting to settle and I am back with a new recipe. This time I have gone with something a little on the lite side simply because I have eaten more than my share of bad food while guests were in town. I decided this go round to make a simple chicken pasta. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless chicken breast (two pounded flat)

Angel Hair pasta (1/2 of a regular sized box)

fresh chopped garlic (1/4 cup)

Olive Oil (1/2 cup)

Grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)

Ground black pepper

Course Sea Salt

Red pepper flakes

Prep and cooking

Put each breast in a Ziploc bag and flatten with a meat mallet until they are both about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. Now heat a pan and pour in half of the olive oil. Cook both breasts until they start to brown on either side (season with salt and pepper). Make sure they are cooked all the way through then set to the side.

Boil the pasta until it is to your liking. I prefer mine to be a little al dente but I know some people like it a little softer. Drain the pasta (but do not rinse it) and pour it in to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Now that the chicken should be cool enough to handle you will want to cut it into small cubes and add it to the bowl with the pasta.

Add the garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and mix it together.

Now to season it. You want to add 1 teaspoon of course sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and mix it all together.

That is all there is to it folks. A simple and relatively quick dish to make that tastes great.

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This is a good dish that can be served room temperature or warmed up. While it is a lite dish it is also filling and wont leave you wanting something else an hour later. This is also one of those dishes that can be made over the weekend and stored to heat up throughout the week to save on time. I hope that you all enjoy this as much as I did and I will try and keep the breaks between posts smaller next time. Enjoy!!!

Thanks for reading

JMW

JMW’s Snack cups

Snack Cups

I hope that you are all ready because after a long pause I am back with more yummy goodness.

Today we will talk about JMW’s snack cups.

Now I can hear you all scratching your heads and saying “what are snack cups”? Well I will tell you, like I said above they are yummy goodness of pretty much anything you can think of baked inside of a flaky biscuit cup. For this round I made two different batches, BBQ and Taco. These snack cups are simple to make and can be made in large batches for a group or to be frozen and served later on. Both kids and adults can enjoy these.

First you need to decide on what flavor you have the taste for. I will start off with the BBQ ones that I made since they are my favorites.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup BBQ sauce (I use my home made sauce but just regular old Kraft BBQ sauce will work just fine).

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the brown sugar, and then add the BBQ sauce. Now stir it all together and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the BBQ mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with cheddar cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

The procedure for the Taco is pretty much the same thing with a few modifications.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef (or ½ lb ground beef, ½ lb Mexican chorizo)

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

2 roma tomatoes (diced into small cubes)

2 tbsp garlic powder

4 tbsp chili powder (regular chili powder is fine)

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded colby or Mexican blend cheese.

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Now I use 3 different chili powders for mine, but any regular chili powder will work fine.  You may also need to add just a little water to keep it from drying out. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the taco mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with shredded cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

See I told you it was pretty simple and the results are amazing. These are a fun to make and versatile snack that everyone will love. You can even try it with pizza topping and sauce and cover it with mozzarella cheese if you like. Comment if you come up with any out there combo that sounds good.

As always.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Red Wine Braised Beef

I ran across a good deal on flank steak at my local grocery store the other day and since I haven’t done anything with that type of meat in a while I picked some up. Now the thing is, I did not want to prepare it my usual way which is to season it, grill it and then thinly slice it for fajitas, I wanted to do something different. So I started looking around the internet for recipes that sounded good to me like I do every now and again. I actually came across several that sounded really good and decided to take a couple of ideas from each and then add a little of my own special touch to come up with a recipe of my own. Once prepared  the beef is good on its own or as a filler for a killer sandwich, which is what I did.

What you need:

Flank steak (2 to 2 ½ lbs cut into 2 even pieces).

Olive oil

Fresh Garlic (3 or 4 cloves)

2 medium red onions (halved and sliced)

1 bottle red wine.

Oven safe skillet

sea salt

black pepper

Prep

In a large oven safe skillet add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium high heat until it can move around and cover the bottom of the pan. Then take both pieces of flank steak and brown them on either side, adding salt and pepper to both sides as you turn them. Do not worry about cooking all the way through at this time. Once they are browned on either side remove from skillet and add in onions and garlic. Saute the onions and garlic until they start to turn clear. Now add the steak back in the pan on top of the veggies and pour in enough red wine to cover about ¾ of the way. Place the pan in the over (preheated to 350). Let it cook uncovered for about and hour. When you start to notice that the wine is almost gone remove the pan flip the steaks and add more wine (cover about ¾ of the way again). Now put the pan back in the oven for around another hour. When the wine has almost cooked away (leaving just a little) remove from the oven and let it cool. Once it has cooled enough to handle you will want to shred the beef and then stir it and the onions all together in the pan.

Now for the sandwich part if you would like to recreate what I did.

You will need:

Bohio rolls (or small sandwich rolls)

Blue cheese crumbles

Cut the bohio rolls in half long ways. Scoop on a nice helping of the beef on to the bottom half of the roll and then cover it with the blue cheese crumbles. Place the top on to make a sandwich and wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Place it in the oven (preheated to 450) and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove and take out of the foil.

And for the final step…Enjoy.

 

Thanks for reading

JMW