Mmm… best hot dog fixings…ever!

LOL!  Well, maybe not ever.  Pretty good for just a ‘goofing off in the kitchen” item this afternoon.  I had a few hot dogs open that needed to be cooked and started out thinking “beenie-weenies” –things improved from there.

Slice the dogs and dice some onions, jalapenos, and bell peppers and brown them, then add a can of tomatoes with green chilies, a can of rinsed black beans, and a generous sprinkle of ancho pepper powder.  Fry flour tacos in hot oil, fold and drain on paper towels.  Fill the shells with the meat and bean mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese, then toast them under a broiler until the cheese melts.  I garnished them with fresh peppers and a dollop of sour cream dip.  I had taken 3 pictures of the tacos and was sitting here at the computer looking at them, trying to decide which one should go to my Flickr page when Mrs J made the call.   Do you like one of these better than the others?  Are your tastes similar to Mrs J’s?  No fair peeking!

Beer Chili

I’ve used beer in recipes before but I don’t remember using any in chili before today.  A quick search turned up plenty of evidence of prior art so there won’t be any recipe patents applied for today, alas.  Aside from the bottle of stout in it there isn’t much to say about this recipe:  1 lb of ground beef, 1/2 lb of my homemade chorizo, 1 can of tomato bits with green chilies, 1 can of chili beans, a diced onion, 5 minced cloves of garlic, a fair amount of chili powder, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and the bottle of beer.Cook the onion in a bit of oil, add the garlic and the meat and brown everything well.  Remove the fat and then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.  Serve with your favorite garnishes.Mrs J and I agree on the cheddar cheese, she takes a pass on the peppers and prefers the nacho chips crumbled and stirred in.  I like to scoop the chili with the chips like it is a big bowl of dip.  This batch of nacho chips are just a bit too thin for that, they break too easily.  Nice flavor, though.  I just wish I hadn’t purchased the jumbo case lot of them.  LOL



Not to mention the fresh patio jalapenos and cherry tomatoes in the scrambled eggs.  This was just marvelous for breakfast today.  I’ve mentioned the tostadas before, they weren’t crisped up in hot oil in a pan, I brushed on oil and sprinkled the pepper mix on them and then popped them into my toaster oven and gave them enough time to brown a bit, but they still retain some pliability.  Zip zop with a pizza cutter and you have instant wedges.

Thursday Night Menu: Countdown to Spring Edition

Star Trek Enterprise from 2010 - Can't wait to see what Irises my friend has in her garden this year.

It’s that time of year when we are getting our gardens ready for the spring planting. The garden shops beckon, the seed catalogs tantalize and black dirt looks inviting. JeffW is taking stock of his root cellar to see what he needs to plant this year, I’m hoping for a better crop of tomatoes and my garden buddy is readying her beds for a dazzling floral display again this year. I saw my first crocus yesterday. Spring is less than 72 hours away, what plans do you have for your garden this year and are you as excited as I am to get back into the garden?

It looks like the weather will be warm and sunny all weekend for many of us. I can’t imagine anyone will want to spend too much time in the kitchen, so I pulled out a kid friendly menu that is quick and easy. The Enchilada Pie recipe is from one of my brothers, it’s very tasty and the kids love it, which is always a plus. All the flavor of enchiladas without all the work. I love black beans and the Black Bean Confetti adds a bit of color and a variety of flavors to make it a tasty side – and I have no idea why I insist on calling it confetti, except it looks festive when it’s all together. A raw vegetable tray with some favorite dressings rounds things out. And we end the meal with Banana Sundaes. These are based on great sundaes I used to get as a kid at a restaurant near our house on Cape Cod. I’m pretty sure they made their own ice cream. I figured if I was going to do a kid’s menu, might as well go all out and relive a little of my childhood, too.

On the board tonight:

  1. Enchilada Pie
  2. Vegetable Tray
  3. Black Bean Confetti
  4. Banana Sundaes

Enchilada Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

skillet & 8×8 glass baking dish, lightly oiled

Add beef and onion to skillet and cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. Add spices and sauces; let simmer while you prep tortillas. Tear tortillas into strips and use some to cover the bottom of a well-oiled casserole dish. Layer a portion of the beef mixture and cheese on top, then repeat (tortillas, beef, cheese) to fill up casserole; finish with layer of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350°

Black Bean Confetti

  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of limejuice

saucepans & large serving bowl or platter

In saucepan, add ingredients (except limejuice) and heat on medium. Toss with limejuice and serve.

Banana Sundaes

  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream (opt, and if you’re going to do it, it’s most fun using the spray can cream)

4 dessert bowls

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Peel and cut bananas in half, then quarter each half, lengthwise. Place four slices around the sides of the bowl, tucking down into the ice cream to help them stand. Pour a generous amount of chocolate on the ice cream and top with walnuts and whip cream.

Shopping List:

  • Vegetable tray fixins
  • Vegetable dips & dressings
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion
  • 20 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ red pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 stalk celery
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Half gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas
  • Favorite chocolate sauce (I prefer Hershey’s but some prefer the thicker hot fudge sauce)
  • 8 oz Walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Whipped cream

Also: salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, limejuice

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes

So far the weather has taken my request seriously and been very sunny and tolerable since I’ve been in the Boston area.  No wet, gloomy New England weather for this girl.  Had enough of that when I lived out here.  Get to drive down toward the Cape to family today, so grateful for the sun and clear roads.

Last night dinner was a cooperative effort.  My friend Butch took on the main course:  breaded pork chops smothered in mushrooms and caramelized onions.  He used crushed french fried onions which I thought was inspired, to bread them.

 I decided what we needed to go with that were some scalloped potatoes.  So I set about finding a recipe and then kicking it up a bit, because, well let’s face it the original was pretty boring.  Here’s what I came up with:

Scalloped Potatoes

  • 3 lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp crushed roasted garlic
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions
  • 8 oz of shredded sharp cheddar

4 qt baking dish, well buttered & saucepan & baking sheet

Simmer milk and butter in the saucepan.  Add potatoes, salt, pepper and garlic.  Cover and let simmer on med-low until potatoes are barely fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Using a ladle, ladle 1/3 of the potato mixture into the baking dish, then layer 1/3 of the onions and 1/3 of the cheese, continue to layer, finishing with cheese and onions on the top.  Bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until top is browned and bubbly. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Burrito? Fajita?–It’s chicken and stuff in a tortilla

I’m never sure what to name these things.  As far as I can tell, either name would work.  I didn’t start out to make these.  I wanted to grill some chicken breasts that I bought several days ago but didn’t freeze right away.  I took my silver hammer and pounded the breasts semi flat, I didn’t spend too much effort on them.  Poured some olive oil into a hot pan to grill them-I was thinking along the lines of grilled chicken salads.  Decided to add some seasoning to them other than salt and pepper, and dragged the fajita seasoning out.  Got me thinking, “hmm…fajita?”  I sliced up some green peppers and some red onion, added some yellow onion, decided to toss in some fresh mushrooms.  Added some ancho sauce, it was a bit dry yet so I splashed in a half cup or so of chicken broth.  Was starting to come together.

I warmed some tortillas directly over the gas burner, let them scorch just a tad, and laid them out on a plate.  Piled a generous heaping of the chicken veggie mix and garnished with green onions, shredded cheddar,  salsa, and a bit of sour cream.  Good stuff!


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Mmm…refried beans

These are always a big hit with Mrs J and are one of my favorite things.  I kept the sausage separate from the beans but there is no reason not to mix them up in the pan.  The beans will take an hour or two, keep adding liquid as needed and mash the beans up some.  I used the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher will work fine as well.

I fired the oven with a baking stone on a rack in the oven center, ran the temp up to just shy of molten lead.  Use a peel and deposit the tortilla with the beans and sausage onto the stone and give it just long enough for the cheeses to melt a bit and for the edges to just start browning.  Any more and the tortilla becomes too brittle to fold.  I used tongs to grab the edge and drag it back onto the peel.  Slide it onto a plate and garnish with your favorite sauces and condiments.


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