Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Christmas, Classic, Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Cooking for Two, Dinner, Family Friendly, Healthy, Holiday, Homemade, Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Pantry Staples, Potatoes, Quick cooking, Turkey, Veggies, Winter

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Merry Christmas readers!

I don’t know about you but I’m pooped!  Every year I tell myself that I’m going to simplify the holidays but then somehow one party turns into three, the number of presents to wrap keeps growing, I’ll bake just one more batch of cookies, the holidays in non-profit world keep getting busier (not that I’m complaining about all the people we’re helping!), traveling gets more hectic.  And then all of a sudden it’s over and I realize I didn’t stop and remember the reason I feel compelled to do all that to start with.

I’m challenging myself over the next couple days before Christmas to slow down, enjoy time with family, remember to take a little “me” time and don’t forget to breathe.  One way I’ll do that is to relax and enjoy some of the little traditions we do this week.

One of my absolute favorite things to do during the holidays is curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa (and homemade marshmallows), a fuzzy blanket, and my husband and watch classic Christmas movies and cartoons.  Each time I settle down to watch Charlie Brown, White Christmas or Claymation Christmas I feel a calm settle on me.  I get super sappy and nostalgic when I watch those things.  I remember the childlike wonder and amazement of the Christmas season and at least for a few minutes all is right in the world.

My very favorite Christmas cartoon is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Not only do I love everything Dr. Seuss, I love the reminder that Christmas isn’t about things and being busy, it’s about the quality time we spend with family and friends celebrating the season.

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Let’s all take our queue from Mr. Grinch and Whoville and remember…

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.


Hash is a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies that are hanging in the fridge around the holidays.  I love to make hash and every time I do I can’t help but think of the Grinch slinking through Cindy Lou’s house stealing everything including the Who hash!

This hash combines sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and homemade turkey chorizo for a filling breakfast fit for a Christmas morning full of opening presents!!

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 Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos’ feast, he took the Who pudding, he took the roast beast. He cleaned out that ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash.

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The Grinch’s Who Hash

Olive oil
Garlic
1 cup red onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 cups sweet potato, pre-cooked (this is a great way to use leftover roasted potatoes)
2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced thin
Homemade chorizo (recipe below)
Fried eggs
To finish: salsa, cilantro, cotija cheese (all optional)

Turkey Chorizo
1 lb. ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Splash of apple cider vinegar

To make chorizo: Mix all spices and apple cider vinegar together to make a paste.  Mix it with the turkey until thoroughly combined.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add a big glug of olive oil and let heat. Add chorizo and cook 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan.

Heat a little more olive oil in the hot pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add onion, bell pepper and poblanos and cook until slightly charred around the edges. Add sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and cook another 5 minutes or so until all the veggies are cooked through and a little crispy around the edges. Add the chorizo back to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: top the hash with two eggs any way you like them. I prefer over easy with all their yolky goodness. Top with a little of your favorite salsa, cilantro and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. Yum!

Source: Ruth’s Table

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch / You’re the king of sinful sots / Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots / Mr. Gri-inch! / You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

I bet if the Grinch started his day with this hash he wouldn’t have been so Grinchy!  🙂

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Posted in Baked, Casserole, Chicken, Classic, Comfort Food, Dinner, Family Friendly, Leftovers, Make Ahead, Mushrooms, One Pot Meals, Pantry Staples, Potluck, Winter

Comfort Food – Chicken Elegant

Some days just call for comfort food.  Especially cold, rainy Sundays that start at 5:30am with a busted water heater that leaked down through the floor into the neighbors apartment.  That’s not the way you make friends!!

Don’t mind me.  I’ll just be over here with this pan of deliciousness and a fork.

This was one of the very first recipes I remember making entirely by myself as a kid.  It’s super simple to put together, especially if you have leftover chicken just hanging out in the fridge.  The only thing you have to be careful about is taking the hot pan in and out of the oven.  This recipe has been a part of our regular repertoire for years!  It’s simple, inexpensive, and quick to get to the table.  It’s great recipe to make with your kids or let them take the reigns while you sit back and relax!

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It’s not really a looker but it is so tasty!

Chicken Elegant

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 8 oz. container sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 10 oz. can of mushrooms
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup chicken broth
1 8 oz. package of herb stuffing

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix chicken, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, mushrooms, butter, and chicken broth together with herb stuffing. Bake in a 9×13 pan for 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Randy Travis’ Favorite Recipes, 1989.

You’ll notice my source is a cookbook written by Randy Travis.  I was a huge fan of his when I was little (who am I kidding I still love me some Randy) and picked up this gem at his museum in Nashville back in the 90s.  My mom recently uncovered it in a box of my stuff I’d left at their house after college.  It’s a great little piece of nostalgia for me and there are actually some great, simple recipes in there that I had completely forgotten about but will probably find their way back into the rotation.

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Tomorrow is Monday, I need all the comfort I can get right now, ha!  And I have leftovers for lunch!

Posted in Christmas, Classic, Comfort Food, Cranberry, Dessert, Fall, Family Friendly, Family Recipe, Holiday, Make Ahead, Potluck, Thanksgiving, Vintage, Winter

Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving?!  How did that get here so fast?!

I wouldn’t normally post another recipe this close to the last one but I wanted to make sure you all had it before Turkey Day!

I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to write this post when I started.  As some of you know, we lost my Grandma back in August and it’s been an emotional road since then. This Thanksgiving seems especially hard because this time last year is when she got sick and she never bounced back.  It’s a really bittersweet week for me and I’m getting ready to celebrate my favorite holiday.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a time when I’ve been as nostalgic about recipes as I have been the last few months.  Everything seems to be reminding me of my Grandma this fall just like all the fresh veggies and gardens remind me of my Pappa in the summer.  A few weeks ago I found myself crying over melted marshmallows while I was making Rice Krispie treats.  My Grandma used to start making sheet pans of treats a month before Halloween and freeze them in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

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Today I started my prep for Thanksgiving dinner and I told myself I was going to be strong.  I got out my recipe card for Cranberry Salad that my Grandma had lovingly typed up for me soon after I got married (she typed everything!) and gathered all my things to start cooking.  Surely I’ll be able to get through one recipe without tears, right?!  Wrong.  As I started prepping the cranberries I had to fight back the water works.  Cranberries make me cry, okay?!

I did stop myself and think about the first time I remember making this with my Grandma though.  Now my Grandma wasn’t a huge fan of cranberries (I’ll save that story for later) but every Thanksgiving and Christmas this recipe made it to the table.  When I was little I remember her getting out the cast iron meat grinder to grind everything up and then she’d let me help put everything together.  One time, when I was really little, I remember asking her what cranberries tasted like.  I loved her cranberry salad but had never tried a cranberry on its own.  Wow was I in for a surprise!  I still remember her laughing at me as I puckered up and made a funny face!

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Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

2 boxes strawberry Jello
1 pound cranberries
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 apple, cored, peeled and seeded
2-2 ½ cups sugar (I only do 2 because I like it more tart)
Nuts (optional, I usually leave them out but pecans or walnuts would be preferable here)
Cool Whip, for serving

Grind cranberries, orange, and apple in a food processor. Add sugar and let sit until juice starts to release from fruit. Drain the liquid into another bowl. Use the liquid as a part of the cold water when making the jello. Continue making jello according to package instructions. Add ground ingredients. Put mixture in a 9×13 pan. Top with nuts if using. Refrigerate until set. Serve topped with Cool Whip.

Source: My Grandma’s recipe book

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This Cranberry Salad is one of our family’s staples during the holidays and I didn’t think it would be right to leave it off the table this year.

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My mom recently gave me my Grandma’s recipe book which will forever be one of my most cherished treasures (and seeing her handwriting brings on the tears again!).  I can’t wait to share some of these family recipes!
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Me and my Grandma in the kitchen
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Thanksgiving feast with cranberry salad right in the middle!
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My Grandma had a sassy side!
Posted in Baked, Casserole, Cinco de Mayo, Comfort Food, Family Friendly, Leftovers, Make Ahead, Mexican, Pantry Staples, Party Worthy, Pork, Slow Cooker

It’s Been a While…Enchiladas Verde

Whoa y’all.  I have been a major slacker!  Well at least with the blog.  The last few months have been a whirlwind of work, family, being out of town, sheesh I don’t know where the last 3 months have gone.  And how is this week Thanksgiving already?!

Well, I’m back on the wagon!  Bring on the recipes!  I’m really excited to share a new vision I have for the blog with you over the coming months.  In the meantime, I’ve been making some delicious things but not blog worthy really (but follow me on Instagram to keep up with the day to day https://www.instagram.com/amandarichard421/).

BUT…

Echiladas verde.  Guys, I hit this one out of the park on the first try!  Usually it takes a few times to get it just right but this time, wow!  My hubby even high-fived me!  🙂

I basically took my Mojo Pork recipe, wrapped it up in a corn tortilla and smothered it in green chile sauce and cheese and voila, dinner!  And check out the bonus recipe for Mexican Rice at the bottom, yum!

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Enchilada Verde

 

Enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
Pork
Verde sauce
Shredded cheese
To garnish: cilantro, sour cream, extra verde sauce

 

Mojo Pork:
1-2 pound pork roast or boneless pork ribs
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper

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Enchilada Verde Sauce:

Olive oil
1 pound tomatillos, quartered
2 poblanos, cut in half and seeds removed
1 serrano, cut in half and seeds removed
3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon honey
Salt & pepper

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For the pork: Put all of the ingredients for the pork in the bowl of a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork for enchiladas.

 

For the verde sauce: Roast tomatillos, poblanos, serrano, and garlic cloves in a 500° oven until peppers are charred. Put the peppers in a plastic bag and seal. Let cool and then remove skin from the peppers. Blend the tomatillos, peppers, garlic, cilantro and salt & pepper until smooth. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add ¾ of pureed tomatillo mixture, chicken stock, and honey and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Reserve remaining raw sauce for serving.

 

For enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350°. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a shallow skillet, fry corn tortillas for about 30 seconds or until pliable. Drain on paper towels. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan with a thin layer of verde sauce. Fill each tortilla with pork and roll, tucking them snuggly in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover with a little more sauce and shredded cheese. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.

 

Serve with remaining raw sauce and sour cream.

 

Source: Ruth’s Table

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BONUS RECIPE!!!

Mexican Rice

 

Olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
1 can Rotel tomatoes plus enough water to make 2 cups
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt & pepper

 

In a large, deep pan with a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add rice and cook until toasted (1-2 minutes). Add tomatoes, water, garlic, cumin and smoked paprika, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 23 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Turn off heat, remove lid and fluff. You may have some crispy bits but that makes it even better!!

Posted in Comfort Food, Date Night, Dinner, Family Friendly, Lunch, Make Ahead, Pork, Sandwiches, Slow Cooker, Summer, Vacation Food

Key West State of Mind -Cuban Sandwiches

I have a confession to make.  Some days I just want to run away and be a starving artist in some place beautiful and inspiring.

This feeling usually hits me about mid-week when I’m bogged down with work and life and Friday is just out of reach.  I especially feel this way when it’s the middle of May and dreary and chilly (less than 60 degrees, in May, in the South, what?! Remind me that I was complaining about this when it’s sweltering in August).

On days like today I dream of warm places, filled with culture, interesting people, and of course great food.

Five years ago we visited Key West for the wedding of some very dear friends and absolutely fell in love with the laid back atmosphere.  I often dream of warm, lazy days sitting on the porch, drinking, rum, and reading Hemingway with my pet cat.

Speaking of Hemingway, I’ve become slightly (okay maybe not so slightly) obsessed with him and his time in Key West since we visited there.  After visiting his home and his stomping grounds I am completely fascinated with that time and way of island life.

My husband and I often talk about the day when we win the lottery and run away to Key West.  We have a dream of opening a restaurant, cocktail lounge, and cigar bar combo that has just the right amount of class but still that not a care in the world vibe that would be the place that discerning “tourists” and locals would call home (or home away from home).  This all means a lot of rum, international flavors, and all things Cuban of course.

A girl can dream, right?!

So when I’m missing Key West, I make myself a good Cuban Sandwich, shake up a classic daiquiri, and get lost in the world of The Old Man and the Sea.  Maybe one day we’ll call that world home. 🙂

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Cuban Sandwiches
(makes 4-6 sandwiches)

 

Mojo Pork:
1-2 pound pork roast or boneless pork ribs
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper

 

Cuban rolls
½ pound deli ham
Mojo Pork
Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard
Bread & butter pickles (I prefer homemade but your favorite store bought is great too!)
Butter

 

For the pork: Put all of the ingredients for the pork in the bowl of a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the pork for sandwiches. (Any leftover pork you have is great served over rice, with black beans, and some fried plantains!)

 

To assemble sandwiches:

Butter the outside of the Cuban rolls. Spread mustard on each half. Top one half with swiss cheese, a couple slices of ham, a good amount of pork (not too much or everything will fall out when you press it), and pickles. Top with the other half of the roll.

Press sandwiches on a panini press (or in a cast iron skillet topped with another heavy skillet) for 3-4 minutes until toasty and the cheese is melty.

 

Source: Ruth’s Table

 

Posted in Asian flare, Baked, Baking, Cheese, Chicken, Comfort Food, Cooking for Two, Curry, Date Night, Dinner, Family Friendly, Pantry Staples, Pizza, Quick cooking, Restuarant Knock-off, Summer

It’s Not Delivery – Curry Chicken Pizza

Ugh, Monday.  And tax day.  That’s should be against the law or something.  That’s a lot of “ugh” to handle at the beginning of the week!  And I don’t know about y’all but taxes were brutal this year!  Oh the joys of self-employment. 🙂

Making it through this day, or any rough day, calls for pizza.  Pizza is comfort.  Pizza is joy.  Pizza is one of my favorite ways to mash up some of my favorite flavors and create something new and exciting.

I can’t take all the credit for this one though.  We recently went to a pub/sports bar in Clarksville and got super excited about a curry chicken pizza on the menu.  We ordered it with high expectations and ended up pretty disappointed.  It was good but not as good as I knew it could be.  No worries though, I decided to take to the kitchen and put my own stamp on it.  Success on the first try!!

This pizza comes together quickly thanks to a prepared pizza crust.  It is also very budget friendly for me (I need that after tax day!) because all the ingredients for the sauce are some of my pantry staples.  Pizza is very forgiving so take a look at what you have in the cupboard, think about your favorite dishes, and get creative!

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Curry Chicken Pizza

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 cup caramelized onions*
1 small red bell pepper, diced
Mozzarella cheese
1 prepared pizza crust (or homemade if you have the time)
1 5oz. can tomato sauce
Splash of chicken stock (I always have a box of stock open in the fridge, water also works fine)
2 Tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Pinch of sugar
Salt & Pepper
Cilantro

Preheat a pizza stone or cookie sheet in a 400° oven.

In a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce and next 6 ingredients (through S&P). Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is fragrant.

To assemble pizza, spread sauce in a thin layer over prepared dough (use as much or as little as you like, depending on how saucy you like it), add shredded chicken, onions, bell pepper and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until desired browned bubbliness.

Garnish with cilantro, slice and devour!

*For the caramelized onions, slice one small onion thin.  In a pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until fragrant.  Reduce heat to low, add salt & pepper and cook until brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Source: Ruth’s Table

Posted in Chicken, Cooking for Two, Dinner, Family Friendly, Grilling, Healthy, Marinade, Pantry Staples, Quick cooking, Summer, Veggies

Pantry Staples – Greek Marinade

Spring has finally sprung!  The sun is shining.  The birds are singing. My eyes itch and I’m sneezing my head off.  Darn it, I’m still going to enjoy the beautiful weather!

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Now that the weather is nice I start craving all kinds of spring/summer foods.  I want to be grilling, eating veggies, and making all kinds of fresh salads.  BUT I don’t want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen.  Give me quick and easy and I’m a happy camper!

My biggest tip for putting together a quick and easy dinner is to make sure you keep your pantry stocked with a variety of things to throw together a meal quickly and with very little effort.  One of my favorite, go-to pantry marinades is my Greek Marinade.  I use it on chicken, shrimp, veggies, fish.  It is so versatile and easy to put together!  Pair some chicken with a quick side dish of veggie couscous and you’re set.

For marinades I almost never actually measure ingredients.  Once you’ve done it a time or two you’ll get it just the way you like it.  My rule of thumb for a marinade is pretty simple: 2 parts oil, 1 part acid, salt & pepper, herbs and spices of your choice.  The best method though is just to taste it.  You know what you like. Trust your instincts!

Greek Marinade

Olive oil
White balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
Zest and juice of one lemon
Salt & pepper
Greek seasoning blend (the brand I use has onion, garlic, oregano, mint)

Put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up. Marinate your choice of protein or veggies for about 15 minutes.

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Other variations:

Asian-olive oil, a dash of sesame oil, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, Sambal Olek (instead of pepper), soy sauce (instead of salt), garlic, ginger, honey

Southwest-olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic, cilantro, splash of tequila

Greek Grilled Chicken and Veggie Couscous is one of our regular rotation meals.  It’s super simple, comes together in about 25 minutes, and is light and healthy.  You can have dinner on the table with very little fuss, very few dirty dishes, and can be back to enjoying the warm weather and extra hours of sunshine in no time!

Greek Grilled Chicken and Veggie Couscous

For chicken:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
Greek marinade

For couscous:
1 box couscous, cooked according to package directions
Olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 medium zucchini, cut into rounds
Grape tomatoes, halved if they’re really big
Garlic
Salt & pepper

For sauce:
1 cup greek yogurt or mayonnaise
1 cup feta cheese
Juice of a lemon
Parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Put the chicken in the marinade while you’re gathering your other ingredients, about 15 minutes. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and grill 2 minutes per side until you have some nice grill marks. Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking. Remove chicken when done and let rest a minute before serving.

While chicken is in the oven, preheat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and onion, saute until translucent. Add the zucchini and cook for a minute or two until it starts to brown a little. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds until fragrant. Turn heat down to medium and add tomatoes and cook, stirring for another minute or until they start to pop and release a little liquid. Add the couscous, salt and pepper and toss together.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients together and serve with chicken and couscous.

To serve: top the vegetable couscous with a chicken breast (sliced to make the presentation pretty) and a tablespoon of the sauce. Garnish with a little chopped parsley and lemon zest if you want.

Source: Ruth’s Table

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