Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Your Mouth

I am so excited.

I'm so excited because I have a great appetizer recipe to share with you just in time for Thanksgiving and holiday parties.

We had a party last Saturday and these were a huge hit.

I should have made more because they were gone in approximately 5 minutes.

So now I'm sharing the recipe with you in hopes that you will go forth and make them at your next gathering.

Please enjoy.

Three Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Here's what you need:
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 5 Slices of Prosciutto
  • 1 Teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 8 oz. of Cream Cheese
  • Dash of Oregano
  • ¾ Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 16 Large JalapeƱo Peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Dash of Smoked Paprika

Grab a frying pan. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to it and put it over medium-low heat.

Dice the shallot into very small pieces.

Throw them into the pan.

Put the garlic clove into the garlic press and squish it into the pan. (If you don't have a garlic press you can dice the clove into a very fine dice but I was feeling lazy and I have a garlic press.)

Give it stir and let it cook ever so slightly. Make sure your heat is really low here because garlic burns really quickly and once is burnt, there is no going back.

Chop the prosciutto into bite sized bits.

And throw them into the pan with the shallot and garlic.

Let the prosciutto crisp up a bit. Then add a splash of worcestershire sauce. Mmm, I love me some worcestershire sauce. It adds a little sumthin', sumthin' to all kinds of dishes. It's that subtle background flavor that makes people say "hmm, what's in here?". But in a good way.

Now turn off the heat and add the cream cheese.

Break up the cream cheese and mix everything up.

Keep on stirring until the cheese is melted and the mixture is combined.

Now add a dash of oregano.

And some freshly cracked pepper. No need for salt here thanks to the prosciutto and all the cheese.

Speaking of cheese...

Add about a half cup of the shredded cheddar into the cream cheese mixture.

Mix everything together until well blended.

And the filling is complete. Set the pan aside and allow it to cool while you prepare the peppers.

Grab a baking sheet and cover it with tin foil.


Because you're lazy and don't like to scrub burnt cheese off of a sheet pan.

Oh, wait that is me.

But I'm sure you don't want to scrub burnt cheese off of your sheet pan either so just cover it with foil, okay?

Okay good.

At this point you'll want to preheat your oven to 300℉.

Now, since we don't want to singe our eyeballs later tonight after we've forgotten that we touched a whole bunch of hot peppers and accidentally rub our sleepy eyes, let's wear gloves.


Grab a pepper and a paring knife and cut off the stem end of the pepper.

Slice it down the middle.

Gently run the tip of the knife under any seeds and ribs. Unless of course you are making these peppers for someone like my husband who likes a whole lot of heat.

Why do you think he married me?

Ha! You knew I'd take it there, didn't you?


Take out as much of the ribs and seeds as you'd like. The ribs and seeds are where the heat lives so adjust accordingly.

I took out all of the seeds and most of the ribs but not all because we like a little spice around here.

Don't look for a deeper meaning in that please.

Once you've got all the peppers prepared to your liking, grab your filling and two spoons.

Use the spoons to fill the peppers.

Until they're all filled.

The concept is simple enough, it just takes a bit of patients and finesse. Persevere though, it's worth it!

Now grab a zip top bag and add the remaining cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Zip it up and give it a good shake to mix it up.

Now sprinkle the cheesy breadcrumbs all over the tops of the peppers.

Ohhh man, these are starting to look good.

One last thing before we get these babies in the oven.

Give the peppers a good sprinkling of smoked paprika.

If you don't have smoked paprika you can use regular but then you should go to the store and buy some because it tastes really flipping good.

Pop these beauties into the oven and bake them for 30 minutes.

Sounds like a lot, I know.

But you will thank me, I promise.

Roasting the peppers gives them an amazing depth of flavor and makes them nice and soft.

If you make these be prepared for the instant popularity that comes with them.

Clear your calendar for all the party invitations because everyone will want these peppers again and again.

Oh and it might be a good idea to have a glass of milk ready because some of these suckers were HOT!

Here's to your next celebration.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still Cookin'

Somehow 16 days have passed since my last post. For shame!

Fret not though for I have not been idle! I've been cooking, cleaning, baking, redecorating and taking pictures along the way and hopefully I can get them up soon.

You see, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! That's right, it's less than two weeks away already and this year my husband and I will be hosting in our home.

I'm thrilled. I really am. But being a perfectionist means that there is a lot of self-imposed stress about to come my way.

More on that later, but for now let's make a little Thanksgiving pre-gamer shall we?

How about some Turkey and Black Bean Chili?

Yeah? Okay. Let's do it!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • Hot Peppers (optional, as many as you can handle)
  • 15 oz. Can of Black Beans,drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. Can of Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons of Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
  • A Dash or 2 of Cayenne
  • 28 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 14-21oz. of Water
  • 1 Pound of Lean Ground Turkey
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Masa (corn) Flour

Start by placing a large, heavy pot on the stove. Turn the heat on medium-high and add a couple of tablespoons of liquid gold (olive oil) into the pan.

Now start chopping. Chop the garlic...

And carrots.

And because onions make my eyes weep uncontrollably and it's never a pretty sight, I save them for last and chop them really fast only after the pan is good and hot and ready to dump them in as soon as they're done!

Whew. Made it. Hurry! Dump all the veg into the pot and stir it around a bit.

Let this cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften. You're not looking for color though so if you need to, turn your heat down a bit here.

Now. Verrry, very carefully chop up the hot peppers (if you're using them). I happened to have these three laying around so that is what I used. Usually I manage to chop hot peppers without touching them but if you can't do that, please do yourself and your sensitive parts a favor and wear gloves! No body wants to singe their eyeballs three hours later when you've forgotten that you chopped peppers and wipe your face. Trust me on this one.

Throw them into the pot and give it another stir. Cook for a few more minutes until onions are translucent and peppers are softened.

Look at those beautiful colors!

Now add the tomato paste. Stir it around and let it cook for a minute so that the "canned" flavor has a chance to cook out.

Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne.

Give it another stir and give the spices a few seconds to toast up a bit.

Dump in the diced tomatoes.

And the cleaned beans.

Now fill the tomato can about ¾ full with water and add it to the pot.

Give everything a good stir and let it come to a boil.

And now it's turkey time. Of course you could use ground beef here but in the spirit of being slightly more healthy in preparation for the enormous amount of calories we are all about to consume over the coming holidays, I chose lean turkey. Do whatever makes you happy.

Break the ground turkey up with your hands and add it to the boiling pot, bit by bit.

Give the chili another healthy stir and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Let it come up to a boil again and turn the heat back to a slow simmer.

Plop a lid on the pot and let it simmer away for a good 20 minutes or so or until the turkey is fully cooked.

Once the turkey is fully cooked and your stomach is audibly growling because it smells so dang good in here, grab a measuring cup.

Fill it with a cup of water.

Add the masa flour.

And give it a stir.

Now dump this mixture into your pot o' chili.

No I haven't lost my mind, just trust me. This will thicken your chili and make it velvety and delicious.

Just do it!

Let it cook for another 10 minutes or so and then prepare yourself.

Prepare yourself for some delicious grub!

And now because we live in the land of plenty.

And I am oh-so-thankful for that.

I decided to top the once healthful chili with crushed tortillas, sour cream, diced avocado and a sprinkling of cheese.

You can, of course, top your chili with all of this, none of this or whatever ingredients you decide but either way, you should definitely make this chili as soon as possible......or maybe with leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving bird? Hmmmmm.

Enjoy, folks!