Thursday, August 28, 2008

Green Chile Season!

I know I've been terrible this summer about blogging. But don't think that means I haven't been in the kitchen - it just means I've been too busy to actually post about it. I do actually have several recipes that I've photographed (badly, of course) and just haven't had time to write them out. So I promise to catch up with that soon.

In the meantime, August has become a favorite time of year for me in Texas. I know that sounds crazy since August in Texas means hella hot but it also means green chile shipments come in from Hatch, NM to Central Market. And for several glorious weeks I can walk through my favorite grocery store and see all these Texans enjoying my favorite New Mexican food.

It also means that I have to stock up my freezer with all the green chile I can fit in there since this is the only time in the year that I can get the non-canned stuff. That's one thing I do miss about NM (besides my friends...and...the mountains...and...the cool thunderstorms...and...and...) - you can buy green chile in the freezer section any time of year and it doesn't taste like crap (like the canned stuff does that they have here in Texas).

So last weekend I dragged Chris to CM Westgate to get our green chile during the Hatch Chile Festival. I remember when I used to do PR for CM and I would call the stuff "green chile" and my boss would correct me and say "No, Katy, It's HATCH green chile." To this former New Mexican - green chile is green chile. .Whether it comes from Hatch or Deming or wherever! But to CM it is a brand I guess.

Anyway, Chris only let me buy 3 bags but that's because I have some left over from my trip to Albuquerque in June. I hope this amount lasts me until next August - or Joni's going to have to mail me some more. :) He also let me buy some green chile cornbread that was AWESOME - might have to come up with a recipe for that. Wish I could have gotten the green chile brownies though - those are always a favorite of mine (made with Austin Slow Burn's green chile jam - yum!).

So, I look forward to sharing some of my favorite green chile recipes with you soon!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf (aka Chris' favorite meal - EVER!)

One thing I learned about my husband early on is he loves meatloaf! He would it for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday if I let him. So I am always trying to find different ways to make meatloaf. Another food my husband loves is cheese burgers. So you can imagine my excitement when a few years ago I saw Paula Deen make a bacon cheeseburger meatloaf! And it was right before his I surprised him and made it for his birthday. Ever since then it has been his "go to" meal when I ask him if he wants anything special for dinner.

Anyway, this week has been rough for us. Chris had to have hernia surgery on Thursday. He knew he'd be in recovery for a few days at the hospital (where I sit now...) so I told him I'd make him his favorite meal before the surgery - anything he wanted. Of course he picked bacon cheeseburger meatloaf. I didn't have time to take photos (it's been a crazy week) and instead of waiting until the next time I make it I thought I'd share it now (can you tell I'm bored at the hospital???) using Paula Deen's photo.

I've of course adapted because like I've said before - I feel guilty making Paula Deen recipes full force will all that fat. The cool thing about this recipe is that even though it looks scary and fattening - there are so many ways to cut back the fat. Here is the original recipe if you're feeling adventurous.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Servings: 4
WW Points: 9ish

1 lb ground beef (I use 95% fat free)
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use turkey bacon or if I am feeling naughty I use the ready-to-use microwave bacon)
8 oz reduced fat shredded cheese
1/2 cup of egg substitute (equivalent of 2 eggs)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
Handful of French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and next 8 ingredients, mixing well.

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup mixture.

Shape meat mixture into a loaf and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 40 minutes. Top with French fried onions; bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.

I serve this with mashed potatoes and a crisp salad then wait for my husband to tell me how he worships the ground on walk on for making this. That's when I put on my best smile and say "Can I have a back rub????"

Note: Paula Deen says you can put this in a loaf pan if you want but I highly discourage it. I did that the first time and it was so greasy because of the cheddar cheese. So it's best to use some sort of rack where the oil/grease can stay away from the loaf.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cowboy Spaghetti

I recently realized I have many obsessions - gum, chewing ice, the nest, the knot, reading the news, gum, diet dr pepper, grammar, my cats (especially Greta), parking my car in the same spot at work every day, 9:27, Food Network Channel, get the idea. So who really needs another obsession? Well, me apparently!

I heard about this new obsession from another obession - the nest. It's a web site/blog called The Pioneer Woman. PW is a woman in Oklahoma that gave up her "high heels for tractor wheels" when she married a rancher. I think one reason I love her so much is because I can somewhat relate - being a city girl that married into a farming family. Another reason is that she has a food section and I love looking at new recipes (add that to the obsession list too...).

I've cooked several of her recipes already (of course adapting using quick cooking methods - who has time to make their own chicken stock???) and this is my favorite so far. She calls it chicken spaghetti but for some reason I keep calling it cowboy spaghetti (maybe its all the cowboys on the ranch she talks about). So cowboy spaghetti it will be!

Click here to see the original recipe.

Here is my version...

Cowboy Spaghetti

1 lb of chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
10 oz of spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 onion
1 green pepper
4 oz of pimentos
1-2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of cheese


Preheat oven to 375. Season and cook chicken (I use an electric skill and season with italian seasoning). Add in onion, green pepper and mushrooms and cook through. Meanwhile, break spaghetti in thirds or half (PW says to do thirds but I get lazy sometimes...) and cook according to directions. Once chicken mixture is cooked, add pimentos and cans of mushroom soup. Stir together. Add enough chicken stock to thin out sauce to your desired consistency (I'd say I use about a cup). Add cooked spaghetti to mixture and some of the cheese. Mix together and dump into a prepared (that means spray with pam!) baking dish. Top with remainder of cheese. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (until cheese is melted and bubbly).

Now grab your fork and chow down on this yumminess. Best part? This makes a lot so you have leftovers. In fact, I'm off to go heat up a bowl of leftover cowboy spaghetti for dinner tonight!

P.S. - sorry about the date stamp in the photos - I don't know how it got turned on and didn't realize it until I'd already stuffed my face with this fabulous meal.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pistachio Pork Chops

Meet my new love.

I recently fell in love with (and maybe slightly obsessed with...) - goat cheese! I'd had it before, but for some reason it recently just stuck with me and I started buying it a lot more and now I'm hooked. Chavrie is the yummiest - goat's milk cheese - it's a little lighter and more of a spread than regular goat cheese. It is great in recipes or just on its own (with crackers, english muffins, anything in my pantry...). But I love all the different varieties of goat cheese they have in the grocery store these days.

Last weekend I was watching my favorite weekend morning TV - Food Network in the Kitchen - and Robin Miller was showing yet another way to dress up chicken. I took her concept and adapted it for what I had in the kitchen and came up with this:

Pistachio Pork Chops
5 WW points for a 3 oz pork chop

4 boneless pork chops (or chicken)
1 tbsp of honey mustard (I didn't have this so I mixed equal parts dijon and honey)
4 tbsp of goat cheese
1/4 cup of crushed nuts (I used pistachio but think any nut would be good - especially pecan or macadamia)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Spread mustard on each chop then goat cheese on each chop. Press nuts into cheese so it sets in - cover cheese as much as possible. Place on baking sheet and cook in oven for about 10 minutes until it is no longer pink inside (the chops cook fast because they arent very thick and are boneless - chicken will take a little longer).

NOTE: I'm not a huge fan of mustard so I think next time I won't use as much because I felt like it overpowered the cheese. But it was very yummy and I can't wait to try this again with different mixtures of goat cheese and nuts.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hey Cupcake!

Over the years my husband has learned that I love little surprises. His usual surprises include flowers - which I adore! But this week he got me an extra special surprise - Hey Cupcake!

If you aren't from Austin or you haven't heard about this place, Hey Cupcake is a cupcake stand on S. Congress here in Austin. A cupcake stand! What an ingenious idea - why didn't I think of it??? And to make it is in an Airstream trailer!

I've been dying to go to Hey Cupcake since the radio started talking about it months ago. And one time a few months ago I actually got Chris down there - and I kid you not - the people right in front of us got the last of the cupcakes! NOOOOOOO. I was heart broken. No really - even Amy's Ice Cream wasn't able to make me happy!

So I was so happy this week when I finally got to stuff a Hey Cupcake in my mouth. And boy did I! Chris decided that we needed 2 of each kind!!!! Apparently he forgot we're on diets.....

So was it worth the wait? OH HELL YEAH! Their cream cheese frosting is awesome and I loved the carrot cake the best (of the ones that I've tried). It is definitely my new guilty pleasure food.

And now since you can't taste how fabulous these babies can at least indulge in the yumminess of the photos (sorry I'm not a better photographer...).

I've got to go...the Chocolate with Strawberry frosting is calling my name....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Herb Cheese Shells

My best friend Lydia introduced me to the yumminess known as cheese shells about 4 years ago. The best part is that it is a WW recipe - and probably my favorite WW recipe. I love making them during Lent because it is meatless and quick for a Friday night. I've heard from others that they also freeze well and taste even better later. I plan on making some and freezing for my brother and sister-in-law since they don't have much time to cook these days dealing with the my handsome 2 month-old nephew Gavin. :) So it is also a great dish to make and give to others as a "thank you," "get well," "congrats" or "I'm sorry."

Herb Cheese Shells
4 shells is 7 WW points
16 shells uncooked jumbo shells
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp milk (I use fat free half and half)
1 large egg, beaten (I use 1/4 cup of edd substitute)
Spaghetti sauce (see recipe below)
Cook the shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse briefly under cold running water to stop the cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, milk, egg and Italian seasoning. Stuff 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each shell and set in the baking dish. Pour warm spaghetti sauce over the shells and spread evenly. If you'd like, add some cheese to the top. Cover with foil and bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Spaghetti Sauce

I always make my own spaghetti sauce. Ever since my friend Lydia showed me the light back in college - I've shunned jarred sauce (yuck!). Making your own sauce is so easy and quick - and used in soooo many different recipes.

Since I use it in so many recipes, I feel like I have to put it in the blog. The problem is that I just sorta throw stuff together so its hard for me to know real measurements. These are just loose measurements - feel free to play with it yourself. But I feel like the vinegar and the brown sugar take it to a whole new level of yumminess. It doesn't need much - just a little!

Spaghetti Sauce

15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup of onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Italian seasonings to taste (or mix of oregano and basil)
1 tsbp of olive oil

Cook onions and garlic with olive oil in medium sauce pan. Once softened, deglaze pan with vinegar. Then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer. If you need more sauce, add some chicken stock. If your sauce is too thin, add some tomato paste (this adds great taste too!).