Philly Cheese Quesadilla

photo 5

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.

photo 1

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

photo 2

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.

photo 3
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.

photo 4

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

Advertisements

Poppers that Pop

If you are just in the mood for a bite sized treat or making something for the big game jalapeno poppers are sure to please. These little spicy bites of heaven have been passed around parties for as long as I can remember and since there never seem to be any leftover the next day I will go out on a limb and say that people must really like them. I know I do. I have tried many different varieties over the years and everyone seems to have their own special way of doing them. Some swear by the type of bacon you need or the size of the jalapeno and even the brand of cream cheese for the perfect flavor. For some its a science and for others its just something you throw together to please the party goers. Either way they always seem to turn out great. For this recipe I have taken a couple of elements from several different poppers that I have tried and come up with what I will now call my “go to popper”.

photo 2

What you need. (This is for a small batch to serve 3 to 4 people)

12 large raw jalapenos (whole)

1 8oz container of Philadelphia fat free cream cheese

1 lb hickory smoked bacon

1 lb maple breakfast sausage

at least 24 toothpicks

Prep and cooking.

photo 1

First get the sausage started cooking in a pan on the stove over medium heat. You want to get it nice and brown and crunchy for texture.

Now while the sausage is cooking, cut the stem end off of the peppers and then cut them in half long ways so it looks like you have a fleet of little green boats. Be sure to remove all of the seeds and white membrane inside.

The sausage should now be done and ready to drain any fat off of. Just line a bowl with paper towels and poor the sausage in. The paper towels will absorb most of the fat. Now gently pull the paper towels out from under the sausage and out of the bowl. You will leave a little fat in there but it will be fine because you have gotten most of it out. Now mix in the cream cheese with the sausage until you get a nicely mixed paste.

Now for the fun part.

With a spoon go ahead and start filling each jalapeno half to the top. You don’t want it to overflow that much but make sure it is full.

Once you have all of the halves full open the bacon and cut the entire slab in half. Half a slice of bacon is perfect to wrap around the center of the jalapeno. You will hold the bacon in place by sliding a toothpick through from one side to the other.

Now it is time to cook them. You can do this a couple of different ways. My preferred method is on the grill. Turn it on medium high heat and let the grill heat up. If you have a top rack I like to sit them up there for a few minutes with the grill closed but it is not needed. Place the poppers on the grill and cook until the bacon looks done. You don’t want to get it too crisp but you do want it to be thoroughly cooked. You will most likely get a few black ends but don’t worry, they taste better that way.

You may want to keep a spray bottle of water on hand while cooking these. The bacon is going to drip and it will cause flare ups when the grease catches on fire.

That is how you make poppers that pop. They turned out great and that is why these will now be my “go to poppers”. If you are feeling a little adventurous try sprinkling just a little garlic powder on top before sticking them on the grill.

photo 3

I hope that you all enjoy these.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Taco Lasagna

Yes you read that right, I said Taco Lasagna. I enjoy trying to come up with new ways to present different dishes. This time I thought it would be good to make something with that Tex Mex flavor but be presented in an all in one meal like lasagna, so I combined the ingredients for tacos and came up with a fun way to put it together to mimic the looks of lasagna. Here is what you need.

download

Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef

18 small corn tortillas

4 fresh jalapenos (seeded and diced)

1 medium white onion (diced)

1 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

8 ounces of sharp shredded cheddar

10 ounces of part skim queso fresco (crumbled into small pieces)

1 can of low fat refried beans

8 ounces of sour cream (I used low fat)

1/2 cup Fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

1/2 cup Green onion (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of chili powder

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Prep and cooking

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapeno until the onion starts to turn clear. Then add the garlic and ground beef. Once the beef is browned add in the can of Rotel and the spices and stir together. Now add the can of refried beans and stir all together. This will make a nice thick mixture that you will use as filling for the lasagna. Set that aside and get ready to start assembling.

Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. In a large (5 quart) baking dish thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a non stick cooking spray. Now lay out 6 corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Spread out a layer of the meat mixture about 1/2 inch thick on top of the tortillas (you will use about half of the meat) Now add a thin coating of sour cream and then cover that with about half of the queso fresco.  Add another layer of six tortillas and repeat the layering process. After the second layer is done add the last six tortillas and then cover with any left over queso and sour cream. For the final step you will want to cover the top with the shredded cheddar and then add the diced onion and cilantro to finish it off.

Stick this in a preheated to 350 degree oven uncovered for about an hour (or until the cheese on top starts to brown slightly. All that is left to do is let t cool a bit and then cut it into nice square servings just like lasagna. It is great by itself or covered with a little salsa.

I hope you like this one. It is a fun way to put a twist on something the whole family should enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Brunswick Stew

Today we are going to talk about an old southern classic and family favorite of mine, Brunswick stew.  This is a nice hearty BBQ style stew that packs a lot of flavor into each bite. If you search for Brunswick stew online you are going to find many different recipes and and ways to prepare this stew and you will see that many of them are completely different in their approach to doing it. There are so many variations in fact that its hard to imagine most of them tasting how this stew should taste which is why I set out to see if I could do it justice. When I was coming up with this recipe taste was first and foremost on my mind. Brunswick stew has a unique flavor that has a hint of BBQ, a little smokiness, a little sweet taste and a great black pepper flavor. Traditionally this stew is mostly made with left over BBQ bits. If you have left over pork, brisket, chicken etc, they all get shredded up and tossed into a pot with a bunch of veggies and cooked into a stew. This is what gives this stew its unique BBQ taste. Surprisingly I did not have any left overs this time so I went in a little bit different direction but it still came out pretty amazing.

download

Here is what you need.

Crock Pot

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1 large sweet onion (Vidalia if you can find them) (diced)

2 Jalapenos (chopped with seeds)

1 small bag frozen Lima beans

1 small bag frozen corn

3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes (diced)

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons of liquid smoke

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons of chili sauce (sriracha sauce)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 table spoons black pepper

1 cup sweet BBQ sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Rays)

Prep and cooking

Boil your chicken breasts in a pot of water until the are cooked through then set aside to cool a bit. Do not pour out the water as you will be using this as stock for your stew.

In your crock pot add the crushed tomatoes,onion, potatoes, jalapeno, corn and Lima beans. Now pour enough chicken stock over it to come to the top of the veggies (don’t completely cover them, this is stew not soup).

Now break apart the chicken, shredding it in to small pieces and add to the pot.

Now add everything else and stir it all together.

Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high heat for about 5 hrs, then reduce to low and cook for another 2 hrs. If you are around you may want to give it a stir about half way through but if not its not a big deal.

I really hope that you all enjoy this stew. It is something that I grew up with and is an old southern tradition that just tastes great. Its unique flavor is something that you don’t taste every day. So scoop out a nice bowl full and grab a roll or piece of bread and enjoy a new experience. You wont be disappointed.

Thanks for Reading

JMW

Mojo Roasted Pork

Or Cuban roasted pork. Either way it is delicious.

If you have read my previous blog posts you will probably know that one of the things I miss about living in FL is the Cuban food. I showed you all a while back how to make a classic Cuban sandwich and now I will show you how to do Mojo roasted pork. This is a pretty simple recipe but takes awhile to cook. So prepare yourself. You will need to marinade it over night and then set aside about 5 to 6 hrs to cook it the next day because this is a slow roasted pork. Now don’t let the time scare you off, it is well worth it when it is done.

photo

Here is what you will need to make this. As a little extra I will tell you how to make a quick and easy side dish of black beans to go with it too.

Ingredients

Pork Shoulder (I used boneless) About 4 lbs give or take

Orange Juice (no pulp, about a cup)

Lime juice (1/4 cup)

Dried oregano (2 tablespoons)

Ground Black Pepper (1 tablespoon)

Ground Cumin (1 tablespoon)

Smoked Paprika (1 teaspoon)

Minced or freshly chopped garlic (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon course ground salt

2 diced Jalapenos (for the beans)

1 medium white onion thinly sliced (for a more authentic taste use red onion, I just happen to prefer white)

1/2 cup of diced onion (for the beans)

1 can black beans ( I used Bushes black beans)

Marinade

Mix orange juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt and half of the garlic together in a bowl.

Take the pork shoulder (trimmed of excess fat) and place it in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in and close the bag. You may want to double bag to prevent leaking. Make sure it is mixed all around and has touched all of the pork. Place in the fridge over night.

Cooking the pork

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees

Take the marinated pork and place it in an oven safe pot with a lid that covers it entirely. You can pour in a little of the marinade with it if you like. Then discard the rest. Now add the sliced onion to the pot and put the lid on it.

Put the pork in the oven and roast it for 5 to 6 hours. About half way through you will want to turn the shoulder over in the pot and mix the onion around a little. If this is a fatty pork shoulder you will also want to drain any extra fat from the pot leaving about half an inch in the bottom. Put the lid back on and put it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.

That is it for the pork. You will know it is done when you can stick a wooden spoon or spatula in and it falls apart when you try to move it.

Now as an extra little perk here is how to make a great side to compliment this roasted pork.

Black Beans

Open 1 can of Bushes black beans and pour them in a small pot. Now add the diced onion, jalapeno and the rest of the garlic and cook on medium high heat until the onion starts to soften up. Once it is heated all the way through your beans are ready.

All that is left to do is put a nice portion of pork on a plate with a big spoonful of black beans on the side and enjoy a home cooked Cuban dinner.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Salmon Patties

Growing up one of my favorite meals that my mother made were her homemade salmon patties. There was just something about them that I couldn’t get enough of. Maybe it was the crunchy outer texture or just the overall flavor. Over the years I have never really attempted to make them myself more than a couple of times and when I did I would try and follow her recipe exactly but they never came out the same. So when I got the craving the other day I made the decision to try and come up with my own version of this classic recipe that I so love. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

Canned Salmon (two 14oz cans)

Corn tortilla chips (Crushed into about 3/4 of a cup of little crumbs)

Jalapeno  (2 seeds removed and finely chopped)

1 medium white onion (finely ch0pped)

red pepper flakes (1 tablespoon)

garlic powder (1 tablespoon)

cajun seasoning (1 tablespoon)

black pepper (1 tablespoon)

salt (1 teaspoon)

2 eggs

olive oil (for cooking)

Mixing the ingredients

First you will want to open both cans of salmon and drain them (leaving a little extra water for mixing) and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together well.

Cooking

This is where it gets a little tricky. Since this is kind of a dry mixture you will need to pat out the patties as you cook them and not before hand. So heat up about a 1/4″ of olive oil to medium high heat in a large pan. Pat out and press firmly together the patties and place them in the hot oil and cook to golden brown on either side.  One large pan should fit about 4 patties with room for turning. Be careful, if you flip too early they may break. This is a little more on the healthy side for this recipe. If you wanted to make them stick together a little more you can add about half a cup of Helmanns mayonnaise. This gives them a little better consistency to work with but also adds the calories so I will leave it up to you.

These are great on their own or served with mashed potatoes and gravy. All and all a nice little treat for any seafood lover out there.
Enjoy

Thanks for reading

JMW

Omelet Making 101

I know many people out there have attempted to make an omelet only to get egg stuck in a pan or burnt on one side or just have it fall apart completely but I am here to tell you that there is hope. It have taken me a while to come up with my technique for omelet making which is surprising because it was actually pretty simple once I figured it out. The most important thing to have to make a successful omelet at home is a small to medium non stick pan with a lid. There are many different types of omelets and many different ingredients to put in an omelet so I will not try and sway anyone one way or the other with what to add because we all like different things. Instead I will just walk you through the process of making an omelet using the ingredients I decided to use on this occasion. I also know that some people like to add the ingredients to the egg mixture and cook it all together. I’m sorry but this is not an omelet to me. This is just scrambled eggs with stuff in it. So I will be showing you how to do what I consider a real omelet.

 

Ingredients

 

1 small bell pepper

1 small white onion

1 roma tomato

2 tablespoons of minced pickled jalapenos

2 ounces goat cheese

salt

black pepper

2 to 3 eggs (depends on how hungry you are)

 

 

Prep. Dice up all the veggies (keeping the tomatoes separate from the onion and bell pepper).

Coat a non stick pan with a non stick spray and heat to medium heat.

Cook Onions and both kinds of peppers until they start to caramelize. You want the onions to turn clear and the edges to start to turn brown. This brings out the flavor in them. Once they start to turn brown add in the tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes. You will see the tomatoes start to soften up and change color. Scoop them all in to a bowl and add the goat cheese. Stir it all together and set aside. Now rinse out the pan, spray with non stick spray and heat on medium heat with the lid on it.

In a mixing bowl beat or whisk the eggs until the yolks and the whites are blended together.

Now add the egg mixture to the heated pan and cover for about 20 seconds. Remove the lid and tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the uncooked egg starts to make a thin coat around the sides of the pan. Add a little salt and black pepper and replace the lid for another minute. Using the lid traps the heat and lets the top of the egg cook along with the bottom so there is no flipping involved. Now remove the lid and the egg should be solid on top and not move when you jiggle the pan. If the eggs still jiggle a bit put the lid back on for a few more seconds until they are ready. Now take your filling and scoop it out into a nice layer on one half of the egg. Using a spatula flip the other half of the egg over on top of the mixture closing your omelet. Replace the lid for another 10 to 15 seconds to let everything heat up.

Now you are ready to plate your omelet. Have a plate standing by and take the pan in one hand and a spatula in the other. Hold the pan over the plate as close you can and tilt it toward the plate. Use the spatula to guide the omelet to the plate and it should slide right out with no trouble. Now you are ready to eat. You can add a little salsa (or hot sauce as it is called here is SA).

You of course can use whatever filler you would like but I do urge you to give mine a try. I hope that this helps at least a few people in your future breakfast endeavors.

 

Thanks for Reading

JMW