Food

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Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

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Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil

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White Bean Chili

Courtesy of Southern Living Cookbook and my cousin-in-law Stefanie

  • 1 lb dried Great Northern beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups chopped chicken breasts
  • 3 cups (12 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Sort and rinse beans; place in a large Dutch ove. Cover with water, 2 inches above beans; let soak overnight; Drain; set beans aside.

(The recipe calls for both chicken broth and chopped chicken (see below). Obviously, while you are soaking the beans the night before, you can cook down some chicken breasts and have both key ingredients. Refrigerate the broth over night and skim the fat in the morning. )

Saute onion in hot oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat until tender. Add green chiles, garlic, cumin and oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beans are tender; stirring occasionally.

Add chicken, 1 cup cheese, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in cilantro if desired.

To serve, ladle chili into individual soup bowls. Top each serving with remaining 2 cups cheese. Yield: 13 cups.

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Shrimp ‘n Grits

Spicy Shrimp ‘n Grits

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb peeled raw shrimp
  • ½ large bell pepper – chopped
  • ½ large onion – chopped
  • ½ lb Andouille sausage or other spicy sausage
  • ½ stick butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • ½ – ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 box of instant or quick cook grits (prepare according to directions on the box)

Saute together the onion, green pepper and Andouille sausage.

Add ½ stick butter and melt.

Add 3 heaping Tablespoons of flour and mix well. Cook slowly for 5-10 minutes until it becomes a light roux.

Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste. (About ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper)

Add 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and one teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning

Whisk in 1 cup of chicken broth until smooth

Add ½ cup (or more if needed) of half and half.

Add 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste. (Stir)

Add 1 lb peeled shrimp.

Cook for several minutes until the shrimp is pink and “done.”

Serve the shrimp-gravy mix over the grits.

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Smokey Corn Chowder

Smokey Corn Chowder (from “Real Simple” magazine)

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Cream of Artichoke Soup (my own adaptation)

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Six Pack Chili

Six Pack Chili

Ham and Navy Bean Soup

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bag of dried navy beans — cleaned and rinsed
  • A ham bone with chunks of meat still attached or some cut up left over ham, about two cups.
  • A “ton” of chopped onion and celery. Easily two large onions and 4-5 celery stocks.
  • A bay leaf.
  • Salt and pepper.  (Go easy on the salt to start. Ham is naturally salty. You can always add more if it’s not salty enough.)
  • A small can of tomato paste or tomato sauce.

This is a project that is best started the day before.

1. ) You have to soften the beans. There are two ways to do that. The first is to soak them in a bowl over night. Of course if you are planning to eat in a couple of hours that might be difficult. The other is to put them in boiling water and simmer them for about 10 minutes and then let them sit for an hour. In either case, you should drain the beans through a colander before cooking. Do NOT cook them in their soaking water.  The major issue with beans is the gaseous by-product that comes several hours after eating. Draining them before cooking with reduce that significantly.

2.) I also usually simmer the ham bone in several quarts of water for about an hour the day before and leave the pot to cool in the refrigerator over night. This allows much of the fat (and a ham bone DOES have fat) to congeal on the surface. You can easily remove it with a spatula before you begin adding the remaining ingredients.

3.) Once your beans are soft and your ham is ready, add the beans, onions, celery and bay leaf all into a pot. You should have so much onion and celery that it should look like they are the dominant ingredients. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow it to cook for at least two hours, maybe more. The more you cook it, the more everything will meld together, which is what you want.

Note: Keep a close eye when it starts to thicken that you don’t allow it to scorch on the bottom. Stir frequently and adjust your heat as needed.

4.) Before you are done, you need to improve the look of the soup. Cooked with the ingredients above, it will look like dishwater, very unappetizing. The finishing step for this soup is to take a spoonful of tomato paste or a dollop of tomato sauce and stir it into the soup. Use enough that it will turn the soup brown-orange, but not so much that it gets red and too tomato-y tasting. Add a little and see how it looks and tastes.

Note: When simmering, keep an eye on the level of your liquid. You don’t want it to cook down to the point it is just a bean dish. Add more water as needed.

You can serve “as is” or add a little grated cheddar cheese to it.

Steak Pot Pie

Steak Pot Pie — Click on the photo for the recipe.

Hot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup with onions and sour cream

Spaghetti

spaghetti 1

Western Sandwiches

The "Western Sandwiches" are a little messy.

The “Western Sandwiches” are a little messy.

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