Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheese Grits


Because I oversee the sunday school for the children at church (aka P. Prez) when the phone rings Sunday morning I usually cringe because I fear it is one of my primary teachers calling me to tell me they won't be there, and I will have to scramble to come up with a solution. Often though, I am wrong and it is someone calling me with a cooking question. When I take the call, I myself am usually putting my own Sunday dinner in the oven. So am so happy it's a cooking question and not a primary emergency! This Sunday, I was making a new recipe, cheese grits, that I got from my friend Dierdra. She is a very cautious and thoughtful person, the kind of person that ALWAYS writes a thank you note (I am the person who NEVER writes a thank you note). She is very sweet and mild mannered, but in moments (like bunko moments) goes wild and I have seen her fight like a pit bull for her children, she is great. She is also really fun to tease. So just as I was making the recipe she shared with me , the phone rang. It's Dierdra. Of course, as the polite person she is, she has to go into the, "so sorry to bother you" stuff. No bother, what is up? She was making my baked chicken and wanted to know if she could transfer the chicken into the crock pot after she had browned it in the oven.
"Ya, you can, but why not just cook it in the the oven?"
A hesitation.
"Oh Deirdre! You don't like to leave the house when the oven is on? You mean to tell me you have never left the house with the oven on?"
I continued to ridicule her, then I assured her that I leave to oven on EVERY Sunday when I'm at church. It was time for her to take a walk on the "wild side."
When I saw her at church, with a smile on her face, knowing I would be so proud, she told me that she was cooking the chicken in the oven. To which I said,
"Wait, you don't have a gas oven do you?"
The blood drained from her face . . .
I was just lucky she really did have a gas oven, or I wouldn't be able to tease her!
"Just kidding!! you'll be fine! Don't worry!!" She laughed, but in the back of her mind I could see she was imagining her house engulfed in flames.
Anyway, so this is Deirdre's Baked Cheese Grits recipe. What's great about this recipe, with addition of eggs, it kind of makes it like a soufflé. Really great.

1 c quick cooking cheese grits (cooked according to directions)
big handful of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 t granulated garlic (approx. according to taste)
1 stick butter
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c milk

Once grits are cooked, add cheese, garlic and butter. Give them a taste test. Let them cool. Once cooled, combine eggs and milk and add to the grits. Pour into a 2 quart buttered casserole dish. Optionally, sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered at 375 F for 1 hour. Top should be brown, and should look puffed up. Serves 8.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shrimp Jambalaya with Chicken Sausage


So I am a newly minted member of a cooking club. This is a SERIOUS club, I mean it has a list of rules and everything. Which makes nervous because I have never been one to follow the rules, let alone read a list of rules. (speaking of, I better go read the rules!) What is great about the group, I don't even really know these people, but they are all major FOODIES. So last week we had our second get together which was southern cooking. I really didn't have any southern cooking recipes, so I asked the host to assign me something, and I would create a recipe. She gave me Jambalaya. This is something that I had never eaten, nor cooked. So I read a bunch of recipes and watched a few youtube videos and off I went to create a really great recipe. The meal was SOOO good, and I will be using some of the other recipes very soon . . . . . I just cut and pasted the recipe the way I brought it to the club meeting.

Shrimp Jambalaya w/ chicken sausage

Original recipe by Natalie Fairbourne


1 lb chicken sausage; sliced

1 med onion diced

1 small green pepper; diced

1 lb small shrimp (cooked or non)

1 small red pepper; diced

3 celery stocks; diced

1½ c long grain rice

1 lb small shrimp (cooked or raw)

28 oz can diced tomatoes

4-5 cloves garlic; minced

2 t salt

1 t pepper

2 t smoked paprika

¼ t cayenne pepper

2 c water

Heat oil in large skillet or pot that has a lid. If using raw sausage, begin by browning the sausage, add veggies and garlic and sauté till fragrant and soft. If using cooked sausage, add now and brown a little. Next add dry rice and toast the rice briefly. Add tomatoes seasonings and water. Heat to a simmer and cover with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes till rice is tender. Stirring occasionally. If using raw shrimp, add 5 minutes before rice is done. If using cooked, add just long enough to heat throughout before serving.

I used raw sausage and didn't slice it until it was cooked ( I fished it out of the jambalaya at the end and sliced it). As far as sausage goes, you could use any kind you want, just don't use an Italian, I think the fennel would throw off the flavors. I got my sausage at the Sunflower Market in Orem, they have an awesome selection of house made chicken sausages.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The recipe that shames me: Beef Stroganoff aka "slop"


I have been doing this blog for over a year, and I have never blogged about this dish. We eat this dish at least twice a month, and I have never blogged about it. It is my children's FAVORITE dinner, and I have never blogged about it. I often pre cook it and take it on family vacations because it is such a crowd pleaser, but I have never blogged about it. It is easily the quickest, yummiest way to to use leftover roast beef from sunday dinner, but I have never blogged about it. Why you ask? See the can? It shames me. Mormons all over the country have cases of these cans in their basement, and I am no different. To make matters worse, not only does the recipe call for "cream of mushroom soup" but a package of "lipton onion soup" a double wamie of bad Mormon cooking. Sure, I could make a great Beef Stroganoff from scratch with fresh mushrooms and onions, cream etc . . . but sometimes you just have to have a dish in your recipe box that is easy, no frills, no thinking, just feed your family and be done with it. That is what this recipe is the definition of "semi homemade" Now the only time I make this dinner is when I plenty of left over roast beef from sunday dinner. I ALWAYS cook more roasts then I will need for two reasons, 1) you never know who is showing up for dinner. 2) leftover roast beef is gold because it can be used for so many easy quick meals for the rest of the week. Beef stroganoff is one of those meals. So I am only describing how to make it in this context, you've got to have leftover roast beef and gravy, about the equivalent to about 2 lbs of meat.

Ingredient list

Leftover roast beef with gravy (about 2 lbs)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg lipton onion soup
1 t dill
1 1/2 c sour cream
a little water if needed

Add everything but the sour cream into a sauce pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add sour cream. Serve over cooked rice.

The sad part is, its the dish I am the most ashamed of, and it is easily my family's favorite meal. I weep . . . . . Don't get me wrong, I like it too, but mama likes to show off her skills!!