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Recipes

Blueberry Pecan Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

These Blueberry Pecan Pancakes are the BEST pancakes I have ever had.  We first had these at a cooking class we attended while in Houston last year (called The Urban Chef).  We had an awesome chef that day teaching us how to make these along with some other great brunch food. We had a blast and, of course, loved eating all the delicious food our class made. We’ve made these pancakes several times since then and I personally crave these pretty often.  I even brought some to work one time for my fellow nurses and they loved them too (even the guy who doesn’t like pancakes loved them!!).  Toasting the pecans before using them makes a huge difference in the overall taste, so it’s worth the extra step. We also try to make our own blueberry compote (syrup) when we can and ladle it over them (recipe below). You can just add more blueberries and pecans on top drizzled with whatever syrup you like (as pictured above).  You will see that we like to add the blueberries and toasted pecans on top of the pancake when poured onto the griddle, but you can also mix it in the batter before cooking, if you prefer.  You can use fresh, dried or frozen blueberries for this.  Hope you enjoy!!

Blueberry Pecan Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Compote

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • Blueberry Compote:
  • 1 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (can also use honey), and add more or less to your taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

1

Toast the pecans by heating in a shallow pan over med-low heat for 3-5 min until you can smell their nutty aroma. (Be careful not to burn them, shaking the pan often to keep them moving some). Set aside.

2

To make the blueberry compote: add the blueberries to small saucepan along with the maple syrup, lemon zest and juice. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 8-10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

3

For the pancakes: Start with the dry mix by combining in a large bowl both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk together.

4

For the wet, combine the eggs, egg whites, buttermilk and oil. Whisk until combine.

5

Dump the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with whisk just until combined (don’t over mix!)

6

Heat griddle to 325 degrees and add about 1 Tbsp of canola oil (it’s hot enough when a drop of water sizzles)

7

Use 1/4 cup measure to poor pancakes onto hot griddle. Place as many blueberries and pecans on top as desired.

8

When edges appear dry and are golden brown on the bottom, carefully flip each pancake. When the center of the pancake is soft and spongy to the touch, they’re ready! (Only turn them once! Over flipping them will make them tough).

Notes

If you prefer to add the blueberries and pecans into the batter, add them to the dry mix and stir to combine before adding the wet (this will keep the berries from sinking). Not everyone in this house likes the blueberries and/or nuts, so we add to them as we make them. (You can also add chocolate chips instead of berries! That would be delicious as well!)

Recipes

Pasta Carbonara

This Pasta Carbonara is probably one of my FAVORITE comfort foods IN THE WORLD! It is so easy and quick to make, I cannot believe it took me so many years to discover it!! There are many varieties of this dish out there, but this one (to me) is the best.  This is a great dinner to quickly whip up on any busy family weeknight, or a great romantic dinner you and your loved one can enjoy making and tasting together.  Many of my friends think we keep a fancy and expensive pantry to keep up with some of these dishes we put out there.  I do admit, we sometimes have to travel a little farther, or order online, to get some of the ingredients we need for our recipes.  However, THIS recipe’s ingredients can be found just about anywhere, in any small town (like ours!).  In fact, I made this last night even though we were short a few of our usual ingredients (here I used pics from last night’s results, along with another time when I did have all the ingredients).  So last night we were able to substitute the Parmesan cheese with Cojita cheese (a crumbly, mexican version of parmesan that is just as salty and yummy!), then just left off the parsley (since we didn’t have any inside, or outside, the house right now).   This dish usually calls for pancetta, but we cannot get that around here, or likely any smalltown, USA, lol. So, we just use good old fashion BACON.  How can anyone not like BACON?!?! I mean, c’mon….it’s PASTA and BACON! Together! What more shall I say?? Other than it never disappoints the palate nor the tummy! Enjoy!

Pasta Carbonara

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. dried spaghetti (we use whole wheat pasta to make ourselves feel better about it, it's all about balance, right?)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Ounces bacon, sliced into strips or cubed
  • 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy like us!)
  • 2 Large eggs, whisked
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano (or just Parmesan freshly grated, or pre-grated, if that's all you can find)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Handful of fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

Instructions

1

Timing is important with this dish, so cook the sauce while the pasta boils. The pasta must be hot so the raw eggs will cook when mixed in at the end.

2

Add the dry pasta to pot of boiling water that has been salted generously (I do 1-2 palm fulls of kosher salt) and cook according to package directions.

3

Heat large pan over medium heat, add olive oil and bacon. Cook until bacon is crispy and the fat is rendered.

4

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and cheese together in a bowl; set aside for later.

5

When the bacon is done, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then stir continuously 2-3 minutes (keep it moving so you don't burn the garlic!)

6

Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta directly from the pot into the large pan and toss the pasta well with tongs to coat the strands with the bacon fat. (you can also drain the pasta, but be sure it stays hot and reserve 1-2 cups of the pasta water to use later)

7

Take the pan off the heat (so as not to make scrambled eggs!) then add the egg/cheese mixture, quickly tossing it all together until the sauce has coated the pasta.

8

Thin the sauce by adding pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency (I usually end up adding 1 - 1 1/2 cups, but I like it creamy!)

9

Season with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.

10

Sprinkle the top with parsley and more grated cheese, if desired.

Recipes

Boudain Kolaches (Klobasnek)

These Boudain (that’s the Cajun version of boudin!) rolls are a HUGE hit at our house.  These hearty rolls of scrumptiousness are very easy to make for breakfast, snack or whenever! They usually don’t last very long around here.  The times I have made some for a work potluck, they are pretty much gone in 60 seconds.  We prefer them spicy, but if you prefer it mild, just go with plain boudain.  Here in the south, we call these Kolaches (although the correct name for this is Klobasnek – pastry with savory meat inside, we find it much easier to say ko-lach’-ees!) Plus, this was their name when we first discovered them around here in a local donut shop.  Now we found a way to make them at home anytime we crave them.  Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Boudain Kolaches (klobasnek)

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg (12 oz) Zummo's Jalapeno Boudain (this is our favorite, but any boudin will work)
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) Crescent Dough Sheet
  • 1 Lg egg
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley (optional)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2

Cook the Boudain according to package directions. (We cook our links in shallow pan with 1" water until internal temp is 160 degrees--casing may burst and it is OK!)

3

Transfer the Boudain to a bowl and remove casings. Set aside to cool, about 10-15 min.

4

Roll out crescent dough sheet and cut into 6 even squares (or can make smaller squares if you want them more bite-sized)

5

With spoon or ice cream scoop, place Boudain mix onto squares, then fold corners towards the middle and gently pinch together until seams are closed and roll is formed.

6

Place seam-side down onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

7

Whisk egg and water together and brush on top and sides of rolls. Sprinkle with parsely (if using)

8

Bake 13-15 min, or until golden brown.

9

Transfer to serving platter and enjoy!

Notes

You can use crescent roll dough as well. With the pre-cut dough, you can mold each triangle around the boudin for snack-size option, or press the pre-cut seams together and make your own cuts!

Recipes

Jeff’s Cajun Chili and Jalapeno Cornbread

This spicy chili is the PERFECT rainy day meal (it has been raining and cold for 2 days here so this hit the SPOT!), and is super easy to make.  We like just about everything spicy, but this recipe is versatile and easily adjustable to whatever heat level you like.  You can seed the jalapeno and serrano peppers (or omit them altogether), and opt for the regular diced tomatoes, kidney beans and chili powder.   To plate, we placed our cornbread right in the middle of the bowl, then ladled the yumminess all over it.  We then garnished it with sour cream, which helps cool down the heat as well, and the green onions give it a bite of freshness that makes it all come together.   This recipe makes a big batch, so this meal is perfect for leftovers (and I feel it gets even better over night!) I used some of the leftovers to make a brunch the next morning, adding an egg and a squeeze of lime on top to freshen it up perfectly.  Add a side of pan-fried potatoes and you have Brunch! Enjoy!

 

Jeff's Cajun Chili with Jalapeno Cornbread

Print Recipe
Serves: 8-12 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Canola oil, divided
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 slices
  • 1 lb ea. ground chicken and turkey
  • 2 tsp Hot Mexican chili powder, divided
  • 2 cans (10 oz ea.) Hot Diced tomatoes with habaneros, undrained
  • 1 can (28 oz) Crushed red tomatoes
  • 2 cans (16 oz ea.) Kidney Chili Beans in Hot Chili sauce, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) Tomato sauce
  • 1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Large white onion, diced
  • 3 Jalapenos, sliced (seed or not to seed is up to you)
  • 3 Serrano peppers, sliced
  • 5 Garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Garnish: Sour cream, sliced Green onions
  • Cornbread:
  • Canola Oil (enough to coat bottom and sides of 10 in. cast iron skillet)
  • 2 c. All purpose flour
  • 2 c. Yellow corn meal
  • 1 1/2 c. Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 c. Milk (2% or whole)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. Jarred sliced jalapenos, chopped

Instructions

1

For the Chili:

2

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all the meat together along with 1 tsp of the Hot Mexican Chili powder, cooking until meat is browned and no longer pink.

3

2. While the meat is cooking, in a large stockpot combine all the canned ingredients and heat over medium heat.

4

3. Add the cooked meat to the stockpot.

5

4. In the same skillet, add the other tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat. Add onions, all the peppers, and the remaining spices and salt to the skillet. Cook and stir frequently for about 5-7 min, or until mixture is softened and onions are translucent.

6

5. Add garlic to the vegetable mixture, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

7

6. Add vegetable mixture to the stockpot and stir. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8

While chili is simmering, prepare cornbread.

9

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, placing cast iron skillet with oil in oven while it heats up

10

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

11

3. Add eggs and milk to dry mix, whisk just until combined.

12

4. Add jalapenos and stir to mix.

13

5. Immediately pour mixture into hot skillet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done in the center.

Notes

We added a picture of what we did with some of the leftovers...heated up the chili with cornbread and added a fried egg on top (because everything is better with an egg!). Also added rustic fried potatoes on the side and garnished it all with sour cream, chopped green onions and a squeeze of lime.

Recipes

Garlic Parmesan Buffalo Spicy Wings

Garlic Parmesan Spicy Buffalo Wings

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken wings/drumsticks
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce (your favorite brand) (optional!)

Instructions

1

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

2

Line baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick spray.

3

In large bowl, toss the the wings/drumsticks with salt, pepper, cumin and Italian seasoning

4

Place chicken onto lined baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.

5

Meanwhile, combine the garlic, parsley, cheese and olive oil in large bowl. Set aside.

6

Then, crank oven up to 425 degrees, bake chicken another 15 minutes.

7

Toss chicken with Parmesan mixture to evenly coat.

8

Throw in the Buffalo sauce and toss to coat.

Recipes

Chicken Marsala over Whole Wheat Pasta

 

Chicken Marsala

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces proscitto, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 3 tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Calabrian Chili peppers (from the jar)
  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup dry Marsala wine (get the good stuff! The REAL stuff! Not just the cooking wine!)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf) (optional, it's for serving presentation!)

Instructions

1

Cut chicken breasts lengthwise, (knife parallel with the cutting board), in half (2 breasts make 4 breasts)

2

Place each breast in plastic bag (or cover with plastic wrap) and pound with flat side of meat mallet until thin.

3

Heat oil over medium heat until smoky.

4

Combine the flour, salt and pepper for dredging

5

Dredge both sides of chicken in seasoned flour and place into hot oil, frying each side about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.

6

Lower heat, add the sliced prosciutto, saute for 1-2 minutes until starting to crisp. (may need to add more EVOO if too dry at this point)

7

Next, add sliced mushrooms, stirring and cooking 4-5 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown, and their moisture has evaporated.

8

Add chili peppers, minced shallots and garlic to the mushrooms, cooking and stirring another 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.

9

Add salt and pepper to taste.

10

Add the chicken stock, Marsala, heavy cream and thyme, scraping bits from bottom of pan.

11

Gently boil, uncovered, until reduced by half (10-15 minutes).

12

Add chicken back to the pan (along with the savory juices from their pan). Reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken has warmed through and sauce thickens a little bit more (2-3 minutes). Transfer to serving platter alone, or over whole wheat spaghetti. Sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley.

Recipes

Jalapeño Poppers with Bacon and Marscapone

  1. Jalapeño Poppers with Bacon and Marscapone

    Print Recipe
    Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 6 Jalapeños
    • 6-8 ounces marscapone, room temperature
    • 6-8 ounces shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack/Monterey Blend)
    • 1-2 Tbsp chopped chives
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 6 slices bacon
    • paprika

    Instructions

    1

    Heat oven to 400 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2

    Slice jalapeños lengthwise, then clean out seeds; set aside.

    3

    In mixer, blend the marscapone, blended cheese, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper until mixed well.

    4

    Spoon mixture into jalapeño halves.

    5

    Cut bacon slices in half crosswise and wrap around each pepper, starting and ending on the underside. Secure with toothpicks if preferred.

    6

    Sprinkle with paprika

    7

    Place peppers on prepared baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, or until bacon is golden brown.

 

Recipes

Chanterelle Mushrooms and Pasta

Chanterelle Mushrooms and Pasta

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4-6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, cooked per package directions
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 4 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

1

Cook pasta according to package directions. Don't forget to salt the water before adding the pasta!

2

Heat oil on medium high, then add butter. When butter is melted add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and red pepper flakes. Saute until mushrooms have softened and garlic has started to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and add the salt and pepper to taste. At this point the finishing is completely up to you. You can add the pasta to the bowl, then the mushroom mixture, then top with the parmesan cheese and parsley. OR, you can add the pasta straight from the water into the mushroom mixture, top with the parmesan and cheese and lightly stir together.

Recipes

Grilled Swordfish and Summer Veggies

Grilled Swordfish and Summer Veggies on Grilled Naan Bread

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 45 min prep and cook

Ingredients

  • Kebabs:
  • 1/2 c. olive oil, plus more for grill grate
  • 1 Tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. Swordfish, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 4-6 mini bell peppers (sweet peppers), varying colors
  • 1 med. red onion, cut into 1-in pieces (ends kept on so layers stay together)
  • 1 med. zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or very small heirlooms, whatever small tomato is available for you)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Garlic Aioli:
  • Juice of 1 lemon (be sure to ZEST before juicing!)
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Sherry vinegar (or red balsamic will do too)
  • 1/2 hot sauce
  • 8 pieces pita or naan, toasted on the grill
  • Garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro and parsley
  • Blue Margarita:
  • margarita (or Kosher) salt
  • Lime wedges
  • Ice cubes (for mixing and in glass)
  • 3 ounces (2 shots) agave tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounce (1 shot) blue curacao
  • juice of 1 lime wedge
  • splash of orange juice
  • splash of lemon-lime soda
  • orange slices

Instructions

1

For the Kebabs

2

1. Whisk together olive oil, garlic, ginger, lemon zest and some salt and pepper.

3

2. Place swordfish in a large bowl and the veggies in another large bowl. Evenly divide the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temp for about 30 min up to 1 hour. (The marinade will help break down the fish, so don't go longer than about 1 hr).

4

Meanwhile for the Garlic Aioli

5

3. Whisk together the lemon juice, mayo, cilantro, parsley, garlic, mustard, vinegar and hot sauce in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

6

4. When fish and veggies are ready, pre-heat grill over medium-high heat. (Be sure to soak wooden skewers at least 30 min. before use)

7

5. While grill is heating, thread the swordfish onto six 12-in skewers, then thread the peppers, onions, zucchini and tomatoes onto individual skewers (be sure to keep them separated, as all have different cook times and this will prevent under- or over-cooking any of the vegetables).

8

6. When grill is good and hot, oil the grates and place skewers on grill grates, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Turn and grill until lightly charred and grill marked and the swordfish is cooked through (about 3-5 minutes per side). Slide fish and veggies off skewers onto a large serving plate.

9

7. To serve, spread aioli onto grilled naan or pita bread, add fish and veggies, then drizzle with a little (or a lot) more aioli to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro and parsley. Squeeze a little lemon on top, if desired.

10

For Margarita:

11

1. Rub the rim of glass with lime then dip in salt, then fill with ice.

12

2. In a drink mixer (or any drink container with lid that can be tightly closed), fill with ice 3/4 full, then add the tequila, triple sec, lime juice (squeeze then drop into drink) and orange juice. Shake vigorously for about 20-30 seconds, then strain into salt-rimmed glass.

13

4. Pour in lemon-lime soda and stir.

14

3. Garnish with orange wedge and enjoy!