Food, recipe

Asian Five Spice

Sometimes I get really annoyed by how expensive spice mixes can be. They are definitely convenient but marked up. So I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own for some of the easier ones. A very easy one to start with is Asian Five Spice. Easy because the clue is in the name. It only has five ingredients.

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Another nice thing about making your own spice mix is that you can get the balance you like. We prefer spicy food so I use an equal ratio of szechwan peppercorns in my mix. Although a lot of places will recommend less peppercorns. Use what makes your taste buds happy.

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I have a coffee grinder that I reserve just for blitzing my spice mixes. I did the cinnamon and whole star anise first because they are the biggest, and hardest to crush up. Then added in the rest. It’s a lot easier to get all of your spice powder out with a small brush so if you are heading down the make your own spice blend road I suggest getting one.

 

Storing is easy. Use any airtight container you have at hand, this could mean a mason jar or rubber maid container, or even a zip-lock bag. I used up the last of my star anise for this so I didn’t make a very large batch. If you don’t have whole star anise feel free to substitute in the seeds (as I clearly did). Use about a 1/4 tea spoon for every pod you are replacing. But as long as you have the proportions right you can make as much or as little as you want.

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 stick cinnamon
  2. 3-4 star anise pods
  3. 1/2 tsp of cloves
  4. 1 tsp of szechwan peppercorns
  5. 1 tsp of fennel seeds

Recipe:

  1. Blend all ingredients into a fine powder in a coffee grinder or blender.
  2. Store in an airtight container. Lasts for up to a year.
  3. Use in any asian inspired dish, best with Chinese cuisine.
Food, recipe

Turkey Salad Wrap

I had to make a quick lunch the other day and luckily I had a small turkey breast in the fridge which I decided to dice up and make into a salad. This time of year it’s easy to find these hunks of ham and turkey. I suggest grabbing them and freezing them for use later on in the year.

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Cube the meat and add in some mayo. I know that in some places salad doesn’t mayo. Those places aren’t the south. That being said you don’t need a ton of mayo, just enough to light coat the meat.

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Next it’s time to add any mix-ins you want. I used a trip of bell peppers, some chopped chives and parsley, a little stone ground mustard (Lloyd’s favorite), and pepper. I don’t typically add extra salt as deli meat is usually salted well enough.

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Give it a good mix until everything is well coated. See, you don’t need a ton of mayo.

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Next it’s time to assemble. A little lettuce, a little shredded cheese and you are ready to go!

Roll it up and serve! Any extra salad can be kept in the fridge for about 3-4 days. You could also make these ahead of time and eat them for a few days. If you spread the salad greens evenly across the wrap it will stop them from going soggy from the mayo.

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 small package of spiral cut ham or deli trukey
  2. 3 small bell peppers (red, yellow and orange) or one large one
  3. 1 Tbsp chives
  4. 1 Tbsp parsley
  5. 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  6. Pepper to taste
  7. Wraps
  8. Salad greens
  9. Shredded cheese

Recipe:

  1. Cube your meat
  2. Add in your mayo, bell peppers, chives, parsley, mustard, pepper
  3. Stir well to coat everything evenly
  4. Place salad greens, cheese and turkey salad on wrap and roll up
Food, recipe

Garlic and Pancetta Pasta

Recently I went to the Virginia Wine Expo and while slightly tipsy I bought an I See Spain grater bowl. It is an absolute dream and I made this pasta to showcase it’s greatness!

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Those raised ridges on the bottom are very sharp and actually grate garlic and other roots, hard cheese and chocolate in seconds. With this dish I used garlic. Add in a little olive oil to the bottom of your dish to help with grating.

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The two cloves only took me a few minutes. In fact the pancetta that I had in the pan had barely started cooking before I was done. Which brings me to the pancetta step. You want this to cook up nice and crispy so do it at a low heat stirring frequently so that nothing burns.

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Cook your pasta in boiling water while the pancetta is cooking. The pasta I used called for boiling for about 5-7 minutes but because I was going to finish it off in the pan I only boiled it for about four minutes. And then added it when the pancetta looked like this.

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Next I added in the pasta and some diced cherry tomatoes.

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And some parmesan cheese. Because cheese is life.

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A healthy splash of your pasta water deglazes the pan and finishes cooking this pasta.

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Once the excess moisture as cooked off transfer it into the grater bowl and stir around so that the garlic and oil coats everything.

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I also sprinkled in some fresh chopped basil  for color and flavor.

Ingredients (feeds 4)

  1. 1 package of pancetta
  2. 2-3 cloves of garlic
  3. Olive oil
  4. 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  5. 2 cups uncooked pasta
  6. 5-6 chopped basil leaves

Recipe:

  1. Grate garlic and add to olive oil at bottom of serving bowl. Or use an I See Spain grater bowl if you have one.
  2. Boil pasta per the directions on the packet. Shave of 2-3 minutes so that you can finish cooking it your pancetta.
  3. Add pancetta to a warm pan and cook on low heat until crispy and cooked through.
  4. Add your pasta into the pancetta pan.
  5. Toss in cherry tomatoes and parmesan.
  6. Use about a half cup of the pasta water to deglaze and finish cooking your pasta
  7. Transfer into serving and bowl and toss well to coat with garlic and olive oil.
  8. Sprinkle on some chopped basil.
Food, recipe

Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeños Wrapped in Bacon

I was tooling around Trader Joe’s when I saw these frozen tiger shrimp and inspiration struck! I had some fancy Woodbury Farms bacon at home as well as some jalapeños. I was going to take that shrimp and make something delicious!

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So, I knew from personal experience that these Jalapeños are super spicy so I wanted to neutralize some of the spice.

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I do this with a mix of vinegar and water and letting them soak. I’ve read that you can use lemon-lime soda (like Sprite) but have never tried that. To get started you need to halve and remove the pith from your peppers.

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Removing the pith is much easier if you use a spoon. It’s dull it hurts more to quote Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. All joking aside the pith is where the spice hides so remove it.

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Next place them in a bowl and let them soak for about an hour in a 1:3 vinegar to water mix. The longer they soak the less spicy they will become.

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Don’t worry about getting all the seeds off before you soaking. They will rinse off easily at the end.

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Take advantage of that soaking time by letting your cream cheese soften, your bacon come to room temperature and your shrimp defrost. Once your cream cheese is soft you can go ahead and make your filling mix.

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I used chopped parsley, fine diced shallot and red bell pepper as well as some minced garlic, salt and pepper.

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I gave it a really good stir and then once everything was at room temp I got myself all set up to prep my peppers.

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I arranged my peppers so they were reasonably back together, or at least so that the sizes matched up and filled them with the cream cheese.

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Next I sandwiched a shrimp that best matched the jalapeño in size and shape in between the two halves. It was so cute all snuggled up in there.

Next it’s time to wrap your bacon around your peppers. In retrospect I would have used toothpicks to hold this all together. Live and learn.

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Put in a cold oven and set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. They will cook in about 30-40 minutes. Just remember that the cheese inside will be like molten lava so wait a few minutes before you chomp down.

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Ingredients (makes 6):

  1. 6 large jalapeños
  2. 6 tiger shrimp
  3. 6 slices of thick cut bacon

Filling ingredients:

  1. 4 oz of cream cheese
  2. 1 Tbsp of fine diced shallots
  3. 1 Tbsp of fine diced bell pepper
  4. 1 Tbsp fine chopped parlsey
  5. 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  6. 1 Tsp salt
  7. 1 Tsp pepper

Recipe:

  1. Prep your jalapeños by slicing in half and removing pith. Soak in a 1:3 mix of vinegar to water and leave for 1-2 hours.
  2. Mix your filling.
  3. Stuff each half with cream cheese.
  4. Place shrimp inside of two halves of jalapeño.
  5. Place in cold oven and set to 400. Start checking after twenty minutes. Usually takes 30-40 minutes to cook but you don’t want to let them burn.
Food, recipe

Savory Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

We are absolutely a savory over sweet breakfast family in the Gallinaik house. You may have read my post on Savory Brunch Oatmeal which is perfect for one or two people. But if you have to feed a crowd than it’s time to bust out that crockpot!

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This is so amazingly easy. I poured in oats, unsalted chicken stock and some butternut squash to give it some extra texture/flavor. Next I added in some leftover seasonings I had lying around the kitchen. I tossed in some italian seasoning as well as the usual salt, pepper and garlic.

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I shaved up the last of the gruyere cheese I had and added in some smoked sun dried tomatoes for color and flavor.

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All that was left to cover and let cook on low for five hours. My crockpot automatically switches to warm so we were all set for delicious aromas come the next morning. This is what I came down to, the butternut squash was fully cooked but not very well incorporated.

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After some brisk stirring I got it all smoothed out. It took a little elbow grease and I scraped down the slightly charred sides and stirred that in as well. I did add in some extra unsalted chicken stock to help loosen things up.

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We had a special treat for topping this time around. Lloyd’s best friend and best man, Steve, makes his own honey and sugar smoked bacon so he fried some up for us. As well as some home made sausage and fresh chicken eggs. In fact his family have a little farm where these amazing things are for sale. Check out Woodbury Farms if you ever get a chance.

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We laid out the breakfast meat next to the crockpot and let people help themselves. It was a great way to serve a large group breakfast with very little effort.

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All in all it was a yummy and simple way to break our fast. It’s very easy to make this sweet if that’s what you prefer. Sub the squash for apples/pears. And the spices I used for cinnamon and sugar. I would switch out the cheese for a little maple syrup as well. And definitely avoid the chicken stock, water and milk will do you just fine. Enjoy! And as usual, please tell me how you would make this your way!

Ingredients (serves 8):

  1. 2. cups of rolled oats
  2. 1 box of unsalted or low sodium chicken stock
  3. 2 cups of cubed butternut squash
  4. 8 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  5. 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  6. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  7. Eggs and breakfast meats as wanted

Recipe:

  1. Add all ingredients to a crockpot and give it a good stir. Don’t be afraid to taste for salt. Crockpots are notorious for producing under salted meals so don’t be worried if it tastes a little salty.
  2. Set on low and let cook for five hours. If your crockpot switches to warm that’s great. Otherwise plan to get up 20 minutes early to turn it back on ad let it heat up before serving.
  3. Serve with eggs, breakfast meats. Feel free to top with chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado or anything else for garnish.

 

Food, recipe

Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma Wrap

fullsizeoutput_5995.jpegSometimes you have the time to make a complicated meal, like my Herbs de Provence Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Ratatouille but sometimes you want something quick and easy. When I want to get dinner ready quickly Trader Joe’s is usually my go to spot. It’s the closest grocery store to my house and I know where everything is. I can pick up a package of meat, some veggies and a carb and have dinner ready to go within thirty minutes of getting home. This week I found a new meat! Shawarma Chicken Thighs!

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I sometimes crave Indian food but don’t have the time or energy to fix it. So when I saw this packet I was immediately excited. I’ve used these pre-marinaded packets from Trader Joe’s before and they are endlessly versatile. But I knew exactly what I wanted to make with these so I did a quick lap through the store and picked up some sauces and a packet of garlic naan and sped home.

 

The Zhoug sauce is very similar to an Indian green chutney with garlic, mint, chillies and coriander. And the Tzatziki is like Indian raita, minus the cumin and add in some dill. So not identical flavors but comparable in a pinch. And of course I had to have garlic naan. I know they sell regular naan at Trader Joe’s but I just don’t understand why anyone would want the plain stuff when there is garlic to be had.

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I cooked the chicken in a non-stick pan, using low sodium chicken stock to deglaze, took it out of the pan and let it rest before cutting it into strips.

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While the chicken was cooking I threw my naan in the oven to defrost 350 fahrenheit on a baking tray for about 5-6 minutes. And chopped up some leafy greens and cherry tomatoes I had in the fridge.

 

Now all that was left to do was assemble and enjoy! I would point out that virtually and combination of chicken, sauce, vegetable carb could be used to make this more to your taste. The Joe makes a delicious pesto chicken, for instance, which could be paired with tomatoes, greens, mozzarella on focaccia bread and drizzled with a good balsamic reduction.

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I should also mention that I loved this chicken so much I went back for a second packet later in the week and made salads with them instead of wraps because carbs are evil. I used the same base of greens and cherry tomatoes and the two sauces I mentioned above.

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I also added in some petite diced yellow bell peppers and half a shallot for color, flavor and texture.

 

See it is endlessly customizable! I’d love to hear how you you made this idea your own with this chicken or any other! New ideas are always welcome!

Ingredients (makes 4):

  1. 1 packet of Shawarma chicken thighs
  2. 1 container Zhoug sauce
  3. 1 container Tzatziki sauce
  4. 1 packet garlic Naan
  5. Cherry tomatoes
  6. Fresh greens
  7. Unsalted chicken stock

Recipe:

  1. Heat a non-stick or cast-iron pan to medium hat, gently drizzle with olive oil and place meat in pan. Leave it alone until you can see that meat has started to shrink. Deglaze with a little chicken stock. Flip and continue to cook. Keep covered for a portion of the time to lock in moisture. Depending on your pan, thickness of the meat and heat of your stove total pan time could take from 20-35 minutes.
  2. Chop your cherry tomatoes and salad
  3. Take your chicken out of the pan and allow it to rest
  4. Heat your naan in the oven according to package instructions
  5. Chop your chicken into thin strips
  6. Assemble by putting salad on your naan, placing the chicken on the salad bed and drizzling on dollops of your Zhoug sauce and Tzatziki. Sprinkle on some tomatoes. You could also add some onions or coriander to give it a little extra Indian oomph.
Food, recipe

Herbs de Provence Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Ratatouille

Sometimes you want a meal that isn’t too heavy but is still delicious. Bonus points if it’s actually fairly simple. The most complicated portion of this meal is the Ratatouille. But you can make it ahead and freeze or refrigerate until you want to use it. I made this for a large group dinner so the portions are a bit big. Feel free to scale it back to something more manageable if need be.

As usual we will start with a brief vegetable photoshoot.

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But seriously the first step is always your mise en place. Cube your zucchini, squash and eggplant and sprinkle with salt. This is going to help pull the moisture out so that your veggies retain their firmness and don’t get soggy and gross when you start cooking.

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After about twenty minutes pat the cubed veggies dry on some paper towels. During those twenty you can chop of your tomatoes, onion and oregano and heat up your dutch oven.

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Next up is lightly pan frying all your veggies, just one more step to prevent everything from becoming one gloopy mess. Plus they look so glossy and delicious once they are ready.

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Now you have a pan whose bottom is covered in chunks of burned vegetables, time to deglaze! For some reason I find this very soothing. I also use the deglazing time to cook my onions down.

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Next step is adding in some freshly chopped tomatoes and oregano.

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Use a can of tomato paste to add in a richer taste and once everything is cooked add your cubed veggies back into the pan.

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Cover with low sodium chicken stock and let simmer until all the flavors have married make sure that you adjust for salt and pepper early on. You can see the difference in the two photos. The second picture how much richer and thicker the tomato sauce has become.

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Once your ratatouille is cooked you can bag it up and freeze it for later.Which is what I did. I also went ahead and marinaded my chicken and prepped my vegetables for roasting. Step one is finding a Herbs de Provence mix you really love. My go to is this one from Trader Joe’s. It also comes with the super cute spoon.

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Cube some chicken breasts and cover in spices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

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Next step is your vegetables. I cut up green beans, radishes, mushrooms and I threw in some whole yellow cherry tomatoes. Because I was using these later in the week I wrapped the mushrooms before bagging them.

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Once I was ready to roast my veggies I spread them out in a pan and chopped an onion up. I didn’t bag the onion with my other chopped veg because onions will pull the moisture out over everything and make them soggy. I coated everything in salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil before popping them in the oven.

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I popped both pans in the oven and roasted them at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

I then put out all three dishes and let my friends plate their own meals and had a nice hunk of gruyere off to the side so people could shave on as much as they liked. I made it snow!

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Ratatouille (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium eggplants
  2. 2 yellow squash
  3. 2 zucchini
  4. Handful of cherry tomatoes
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 1 bunch of oregano
  7. 1 box low sodium Chicken Stock
  8. 1 can of tomato paste
  9. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Recipe:

  1. Cube your zucchini, squash and eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20 minutes
  2. Dice onions, chop tomatoes and oregano
  3. Pat zucchini, squash and eggplant dry. Fry in a little olive oil in small batches. Do not worry if pan becomes covered in brown bits of burnt vegetable. This will add to the heartiness of your gravy.
  4. Sautee onions and use chicken stock to deglaze your pan of all the lovely flavor left over from frying your veggies.
  5. Add in cherry tomatoes and oregano and cook down.
  6. Add your tomato paste and cook using small splashes of chicken stock to ensure that nothing sticks
  7. Add in your reserved zucchini, squash and eggplant
  8. Cover with chicken stock and adjust salt/pepper/garlic to taste
  9. Serve or freeze/refrigerate until ready to use. When reheating just place in a heavy bottomed pan and use some low sodium chicken stock to prevent sticking, if needed or if it becomes too thick. Remember to check seasoning before serving!

Herbs de Provence Chicken (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 3 lbs chicken breasts
  2. 3-4 heaping Tbsp Herbs de Provence seasoning
  3. 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  4. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Cube chicken
  2. Toss in rest of ingredients
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to use or move straight to step 4
  4. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until fully cooked.

Roasted Vegetables (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium carrots
  2. 8 oz mushrooms
  3. 8 oz green beans
  4. 8 oz radishes
  5. 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  6. 1 medium sized onion
  7. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  8. Olive oil

Recipe:

  1. Chop your carrots into sticks.
  2. Snap ends off green beans and chop in half
  3. Wash cherry tomatoes
  4. Wipe down mushrooms
  5. Chop radishes in half
  6. If bagging and using later than wrap your mushrooms in a paper towel to stop them from getting slimy.
  7. Chop onion and add to mix
  8. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well to make sure everything is evenly coated.
  9. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes

 

Food, recipe

Crockpot French Onion Soup

I find that my crockpot is endlessly versatile. Recently I’ve been using it make large batches of caramelized onions and from there it isn’t much of  stretch to turn your vat of caramelized onions into a delicious French Onion Soup. As long as you are okay with the delicious smell of cooking onions wafting through your house for a day or two. Step one is to acquire onions, arrange them artfully and photograph them.

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Once the photo session is over it’s time to get slicing. This is easily the most time consuming step in the process. But it can also be a nice cathartic release if onions make you cry. When I slice eight onions I indulge in a nice cry and end up feeling much better when the task is done.

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I start the crockpot heating while I slice and put in a knob of butter and a slug of olive oil. You don’t need a ton, just enough to make sure things don’t stick as you are getting the ball rolling.

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Once you cram all the onions you sliced into your crockpot it’s time to sit back and relax. I started the crock pot a few hours before bed time, gave them a couple of stirs, covered my crockpot and hit the sack. When I woke up I had the bottom left waiting for me. A couple of hours later my onions were oh so ready.

Once I had the onions were I wanted them I scooped some out into an ice cube tray to freeze and use later.

After I had the amount of onions I want left in my crockpot it was time for phase two. Add some fresh thyme leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, and unsalted beef stock, worcestershire sauce. And the most important thing to add is quality brandy instead of some grocery store sherry.

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Because I was taking this to a weekend getaway with a group of friends I packed it up into a zip lock bag and then warmed it up when it was time to serve.

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Ingredients:

  1. 8 largish onions
  2. 1-2 Tbsp of butter
  3. 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil
  4. 2-3 Tbsp of thyme leaves
  5. 2 boxes of unsalted beef stock
  6. Hefty splash of Brandy
  7. 2-3 Tbsp of minced garlic
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Add butter and olive oil into crockpot
  2. Thinly slice onions and place in crockpot. Cram them in if they don’t fit. They will shrink.
  3. Leave crockpot on low for approximately 12 hours. Stir every few hours.
  4. Take out any excess caramelized onions and freeze or refrigerate.
  5. Add in thyme leaves, unsalted beef stock, brandy, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  6. Let simmer for another couple of hours until the flavors marry. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  7. Freeze or refrigerate once cool if eating later.
  8. If serving shred some fresh gruyere on top. Bake if you want or just let it melt into the soup on it’s own. Make sure there is some crusty bread for dipping!
Food, recipe

Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

I had to feed a troupe of hungry adults breakfast before we headed out to Gettysburg National Park. But I didn’t want to have to get up and cook so I made these make ahead breakfast sandwiches and they were a huge hit. Claire helped me with the heating and serving of these little bits of yum. And also served as sandwich model!

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I used frozen whole grain waffles as my base and piled on eggs, pimento cheese and chicken sausage  from there. But honestly you could use any combination of meat/cheese/egg. And could even substitute waffles for english muffins, crumpets or any carb your heart desires.

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The only thing that is remotely time consuming is making the individual eggs. But I have a little trick up my sleeve that makes it slightly less onerous. I microwave my eggs in a wide based soup cup. Put a splash of olive oil in the cup, crack your egg in, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and microwave. Depending on how done you want your eggs your time will range form 30 seconds to a full minute. I did these for about 45 seconds each.

 

I had to make 8 sandwiches but my cutting board isn’t big enough for all the so I did them in two batches. I then bagged them up and put them in the freezer until it was time to take them up to our Gettysburg AirBnB.

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We popped them in the oven heated to 375 degrees for about twenty minutes and they were ready to go. I also put out some fancy mustards and mayos so that people could jazz up their sandwiches.

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As you can see freezing and reheating didn’t harm that at all. And the time in the oven got the pimento cheese all lovely and melty while the waffles crisped up. This would be an excellent thing to make on a Sunday and pull out of the freezer/fridge on a weekday morning and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven before work.

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Let me know in the comments what you would put on your sandwich! I love hearing new ideas!

Ingredients, serves 8:

  1. 2 packages of frozen whole grain waffles
  2. 1 package of chicken sausage with four sausages
  3. 8 eggs
  4. 1 tub pimento cheese

Recipe:

  1. Pull waffles out of freezer, do not defrost or warm up.
  2. Apply thin layer of pimento cheese to two waffles
  3. Cut sausage in half length wise and then again crosswise to leave you with four pieces.
  4. Place two pieces of sausage on top of one waffle
  5. Cook individual eggs in mug for 45 seconds after seasoning with salt and pepper
  6. Place egg on top of other waffle
  7. Close sandwich and put in paper bag and freeze or refrigerate.
  8. Once ready to eat place on microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 minute if from fridge and three minutes if from freezer
  9. If baking place in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes if from fridge and 40 minutes if frozen
Food, recipe

Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

We are meat and potatoes people through and through. Lloyd comes from Irish stock and likes nothing more than a simple and hearty meal. My Indian taste buds want something with a little extra oomph of spice. And my common sense tells me that eating red meat and white potatoes isn’t the healthiest option. So I’ve tweaked the traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe to something that meets everyone’s needs. Also, I made this Shepherd’s pie ahead of time, froze it, and then assembled it at an AirBnB where we were staying with a group of friends. So, if you are looking for a good “cook and take” recipe this is an excellent option.

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You can’t smell the goodness or hear the delightful bubbling emanating from this pan.

So to get started I did a little mise en place and chopped up my onions, carrots, mushrooms, rosemary and thyme. If you’ve read my Chicken Pot Pie recipe you will see a lot of similarities in the strategy and flavors. Once you know the basic patterns of cooking it’s easy to extrapolate those ideas to other recipes. But, I digress. First step is always sweating your onions.

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I used my dutch oven for this recipe because the thick walls retains a constant heat better and is more forgiving if you forget to stir. Once your onions are well and sweated meaning they have gotten that glistening look to them but they aren’t burnt or starting to turn brown it’s time to add your carrots.

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Your carrots will start to cook, you know they are ready when the sharp edges begin to blunt and they get a shiny appearance to them. Now it’s time to add in your meat and herbs. Also you should be seasoning at every step. I always use salt, pepper and garlic powder. Also keep some low sodium chicken stock handy. This is excellent to splash in and deglaze when things get a little sticky.

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Once your meat is cooked down add in a hefty scoop of flour. This is totally optional if you are going the gluten free route feel free to skip this step. The flour is just used to thicken the gravy. You can always substitute arrowroot powder at the end. Also add in your peas and mushrooms once the meat is cooked.

Add in a heavy, heavy splash of chicken stock and turn your heat down and let it simmer while you fix your sweet potatoes. Peel and boil like another potato once they are soft enough to smash easily with the back of a fork transfer the potatoes into a mixing bowl and add in some stone ground mustard, parmesan cheese, heavy cream, salt, pepper and garlic. Reserve some of that lovely, starchy water from the sweet potatoes to help fluff up your mash and then get to mixing! I use a kitchen aid. I’m lazy.

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You want your mash a little extra runny because that way they don’t dry out when you bake it.

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At this point you have a two options. Go ahead and assemble or bag it up, freeze and save it for later. And a secret third option; freeze half, cook the other half. I went the freezing route because we weren’t going to eat our pie for another few days.

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Assembling is as easy as reheating the meat in a crockpot or on the stove and placing the bag of sweet potatoes into a bowl of warm water. I layered the meat onto the bottom of an aluminum pan that I brought with me and cut a hole in a corner of the sweet potato bag and squeezed it on. I decorated the top with some fancy fork work and add a layer of  fresh shaved gruyere because cheese is the best. Then it’s time to bake. The boys were so excited!

Quick tip on leftovers. I just bagged the whole thing and froze it. When we get home I’ll unfreeze it and probably bake it into a quiche.

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Filling Ingredients:

  1. 3 lbs of ground turkey
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 1 large carrot
  4. 1 bag of frozen peas
  5. 8 oz container of baby bella mushrooms
  6. 2-3 Tbsp of chopped rosemary  and thyme
  7. 1 can of tomato paste
  8. 3 Tbsp flour
  9. 1 box of low sodium chicken stock
  10. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Topping Ingredients:

  1. 4 medium sweet potatoes
  2. 2 Tbsp of heavy cream
  3. 4 oz parmesan cheese
  4. 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  5. Salt, pepper and garlic powder taste

Recipe:

  1. Chop your onions, carrots, mushrooms, rosemary and thyme while your pan heats with a glut of olive oil in it.
  2. Add your onions and let them sweat, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  3. Add you carrots and let them get sweaty, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Use stock to deglaze as needed.
  4. Add in the meat and let it cook down until it crumbles, season with salt pepper and garlic powder
  5. Once the meat is mostly cooked add in the dried herbs
  6. Once everything is soft and crumbly add in your flour and mix it around until everything is coated.
  7. Pour in whatever is left in your chicken stock container and add in your tomato paste.
  8. This is also the time to add in your peas and mushrooms.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  10. Peel and chop sweet potatoes and add to pot of well salted water.
  11. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork soft.
  12. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until soft. Use potato water to get the consistency you require.
  13. Freeze or assemble.
  14. Layer casserole dish or baking pan with fulling mixture. Pipe or spoon on the sweet potatoes. Smooth with a spatula. Decorate with a fork if you want and top with cheese if you want.
  15. Bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes until crust is golden and bubbling.