Game-Day Mexican Cornbread Skillet Pie…

The weather is (slowly) changing from boiling hot to cool and crisp, every Saturday from here until Thanksgiving will be taken up with us either road-tripping to College Station, Tx or glued to the T.V., there’s an obscenely large, menacing maroon and white flag flying proudly in our front yard, and my husband has turned from being a mature, respectable man into a squealing 8 year-old child. This can only mean one thing: it’s Aggie football season, indeed. Yes, friends, my husband and I are Aggies. Big ones. My hubby went to school there and even though I didn’t (there’s no music program to speak of, hardly), I come from a family of proud Aggies. Therefore, every September, we get serious about Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football.

This is our “Aggie shelf” in the living room- these were my granddad’s belongings from his days at A&M – yearbooks, (very old) stuffed animals and lots, lots more. We’re so proud to display his things in our home; Joel, especially.

Football food is SO good (which, by the way, if you love it as much as I do, check out my “Football Food” tag! Lots of game-day goodies in there!). There’s nothing better than having some friends over to watch the game and eat good food – like this pie! It’s an old family favorite that gets made a lot around football season. I love the layer of spicy beef and cheddar cheese- it has SO much flavor! The good news is, this keeps really well in the fridge- just pop the leftovers back in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes and it’s just as moist and flavorful as it was the first day- maybe even better!

Game-Day Mexican Cornbread Skillet Pie

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 can cream style corn
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 small can green chiles

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first 8 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a medium pan, saute the onions, garlic and peppers over medium-high heat until soft. Add in the ground beef and cook through. Drain off grease and stir in the tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Remove from heat.
Grease a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet) and sprinkle the bottom with a little cornmeal. Spread half of the cornbread mixture, followed by the beef mixture. Top with the cheddar cheese, then spread the remaining cornbread mixture over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy in front of the T.V. while cheering for your favorite football team! Serves 4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original (though technically I guess I can’t take credit since my mom has been making it for years!)

Gig ‘Em and God Bless! ;)

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Texas Trash…

Doesn’t that title just draw you right in? ;) Ok, ok – it might not sound too appealing to you, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one, ok? Should you ever find yourself with leftover BBQ – you’re going to want to try this…..trust me.

In my home town, there’s a restaurant that serves something called “Texas Trash”; it’s essentially a taco salad of sorts, but with BBQ instead (and lots of other yummy things!). It’s so good, most of the time I don’t even wait until I have leftover BBQ to use up – I’ll just run by a good BBQ joint and pick up some brisket, beans and sauce just for the sole purpose of making Texas Trash! Start with a bed of Fritos, top it off with some chopped brisket, a little BBQ sauce, pinto beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, black olives (yes, black olives!), jalapeno peppers (lots of ‘em), lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of ranch dressing and you’ve got yourself one tasty pile of food! I swear, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! This is seriously one of my favorite things to eat! Tired of the same old chef salads and taco salads, but still don’t want to cook?? Make this! I *promise* it’s delicious!!

Texas Trash
(there are no measurements because you just pile it on your plate according to how much you feel like eating!)

Fritos
Chopped BBQ brisket (if you’re using leftover, make sure to heat it first)
pinto beans
BBQ sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
black olives
pickled jalapenos
ranch dressing
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
lettuce, chopped

Place the Fritos on a plate and top with remaining ingredients (however much you want!). Enjoy! (Wasn’t that simple?!)


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BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos…

My mom made these for our 4th of July party. They’re insanely good. So good I was lying in bed around midnight that night wishing I had another one. I’m not sure what else to say here- those are the cold hard facts. Make these. Make them soon.

BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos

20 fresh jalapenos, cut in half and seeded
2 blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, cut into thirds
BBQ sauce
toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Spread some of the cheese mixture in each jalapeno half. Wrap each piece with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Brush with BBQ sauce, and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bacon is nicely browned.

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I realize that lately, I’ve made quite a few recipes that I claim to be “the best ever”. I guess I’ve just been really lucky with my choice of recipes here lately…what can I say? Apparently I have great taste! ;-) And here’s another one to add to that “Best Ever” category; the Homesick Texan’s Salsa Verde Sour Cream Enchiladas…these are pure gold, my friends. Pure. Gold. I have to be honest, when it comes to sour cream enchiladas, I’m not a big fan. They just always seem really bland to me, and I almost never order them at restaurants. But when I spotted these on The Novice Chef, something about them was just reaching out to me…“make me, Amy; make me!”. Thank the good Lord I did; after just one bite, hubby and I both deemed these the BEST enchiladas we’ve EVER had. That’s a pretty serious statement, y’all. Tex-Mex isn’t something we take lightly down here…it’s serious stuff. But these are seriously good enchiladas. I will most assuredly be making these over, and over, and over again.

Salsa Verde Sour Cream Enchiladas
-seen on The Novice Chef, originally from the Homesick Texan

4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I cooked mine in the crackpot for about 5 hours)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 Jalapeno, seeded, minced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream (I used reduced-fat and it was still insanely good)
16 oz jar Medium Salsa Verde
1 & 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
12 flour tortillas, small fajita size
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
1/2 medium onion, diced

Preheat the oven to 350. Melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute onions and Jalapenos until soft and then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and let cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth until smooth and let cook until bubbly. Stir in the sour cream, salsa, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cilantro until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.

Spray/grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken and cheese to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.

Yields: 12-15 enchiladas

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Baked Chicken Empanadas…

I know, I know – more Mexican food. But hey, we can’t get enough of the stuff, ok? Back when we had my family over for the Super Bowl, my Nana brought these chicken empanadas and MAN, where they good! Not too spicy, full of flavor, and the best part – they’re baked instead of fried so you can feel better about eating a lot! ;-) Luckily, I had made some homemade guacamole – they were perfect together! We all loved these- they got gobbled up pretty fast! Luckily, I managed to save a couple for my lunch the next day, and the good news is, these re-heat perfectly. I’ll definitely be making these again! SO glad Nana decided to bring these over! Give ‘em a try – they’ll be perfect for your next “Mexican Feast”!

Chicken Empanadas
-Paula Deen

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
Water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwiches…

Sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches are something I’d never eaten before. Mainly because I grew up hating peppers and onions, and only recently overcame my hatred. These sandwiches just seem like something that wouldn’t be very tasty, yet everytime I see someone make them on TV or see someone blog them, they look SO good. I decided to put my fears aside and give these sandwiches a try once and for all. And boy, am I glad I did – they were great!! The peppers and onions are really sweet and soft, and the smokey, spicy sausage really balances it all out perfectly. And they’re cooked with beer, which my hubby really likes! These would be great for a whole number of occasions: weekend, tailgating, Olympic-watching, backyard barbeque….or even just a plain ‘ol weeknight!

Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwiches
-adapted from the Neelys

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into quarters then lengthwise (I used turkey sausage)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beer
1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
4 fresh hoagie rolls

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from skillet and reserve.
Add onions and peppers to the skillet and saute until tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, beer, and barbeque sauce. Cook for a few minutes, then add the sausages back to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick, about 10 minutes.
Slice the bread open, put on sheet tray, and toast in the oven while the sausage is simmering. Remove the bread from the oven and fill with the sausages and peppers.

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Quickie Post: A-1 Potatoes…

Pretty much everyone in my family or close circle of friends is well aware of my undying love for A-1 Sauce. I could eat it on just about anything…seriously. Growing up, anytime my dad would grill steaks, I would literally pour almost half a bottle of it all over my plate (including my baked potato) – over the years he learned not to be offended at me drowning his steaks in A-1; it’s not personal – it’s just what I do. :-) To this day, my favorite thing to eat A-1 on is my baked potato – I don’t eat one without it. Which is how I arrived at these. I was making sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches (coming soon) and wanted to make my yummy Southwestern Potatoes for a side dish, only I discovered I had no barbeque sauce. I noticed a bottle of A-1 in the fridge and thought about how much I love A-1 on my baked potatoes…so why not try it on these? Bullseye! These were SO good (even though, judging by the picture, they don’t look so appetizing…). We both gobbled these up in no time; and I can definitely say, I’ll be making these again soon.

A-1 Potatoes

2 unpeeled large potatoes, scrubbed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup A-1 Sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 sour cream, optional (for dipping)

Line a large baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Toss the potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a big ziploc bag to coat the potatoes. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Brush with A-1 Sauce, then top with the shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. Top with sour cream, if desired.

*You want to go easy on the salt, since the A-1 already has so much salt in it.

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Hubby’s Salsa and My Guacamole…

We have “Mexican Night” at our house quite frequently. Pretty much anytime I see a commercial for a Mexican restaurant, or if someone is making Mexican food on the Food Network, or maybe the wind blows a certain way…I announce we’ll be having Mexican food for dinner. This happens A LOT. And my hubby loves it; simply because he gets a chance to make his (of course, I offer advice from time to time) homemade salsa. We’ve gotten to the point where we wouldn’t dare eat salsa out of a jar because we’re so spoiled to the homemade stuff. And with it being so darn simple to throw together, that’s an ok thing! We like to change it up a lot, but for the most part, it pretty much stays the same. Addictive, not-too-spicy and it gets better the longer it sits….perfect salsa!

Joel’s Salsa

1 can diced tomatoes
1 Jalapeno or Serrano chile, seeded and roughly chopped
1 handful chopped cilantro (however much you prefer- we like lots!)
juice of 1 or 2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
half an onion, roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
salt to taste (start with a teaspoon and go from there)
Tony Chacherie’s Cajun Seasoning, to taste (just a little)
1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is well mixed. Taste for seasoning and add extra seasoning or lime juice as needed. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours; overnight is best.

*This tastes fantastic with a couple of Chipotle Chilis in Adobo thrown in instead of the fresh Jalapeno – it adds a great smokey flavor!


Now for my personal favorite – the Guacamole! I could seriously sit down and eat an entire bowl of this stuff all by myself…heck, sometimes I do! There’s just something about the creamy, chunky, salty, tanginess that gets me super excited…this girl loves her guac, ok? To be perfectly honest, most of the time, I make my guacamole by throwing in a few spoonfuls of jarred Chipotle salsa, lime juice and garlic salt (don’t judge me, you guacamole snobs!) and it’s perfectly, wonderfully delicious. This time, however, hubby and I wanted to make the real deal. Fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, lime juice…the whole works. There’s a restaurant we go to with my parents a lot that makes excellent homemade guacamole and this really reminded me of it. It was gooooood.

Amy’s Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, grated (I don’t want to bite into a big chunk of garlic or onion…I grate it on my microplane!)
1/4 an onion, grated
juice of 1-2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
handful of cilantro, finely chopped
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; slightly mash the avocado to make it creamier. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Serve immediately.
*A drop or two of olive oil will make it extra-creamy!

With all this salsa and guacamole around, make sure you’ve got plenty of chips! The super-thin kind are our absolute favorites!

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Some Super Bowl Favorites…

Super Bowl season is seriously one of my favorite times of year. Around New Year’s Eve I start craving football food- buffalo wings, dips, fried stuff, etc. I thought it might be helpful to some of you who might be preparing for a Super Bowl party if I posted a few of my favorite snack-type foods. Give you some ideas, maybe.

Starting with my favorite: I love buffalo sauce – I would seriously eat just about anything dipped in buffalo sauce! So naturally, my all-time favorite Super Bowl food is “Crack Dip” (click for recipe). Yeah, it’s fattening; it’s tacky; and let’s be honest- it sounds kinda gross; but you can’t argue with the fact that it’s down-right delicious. And yes, there are a few “snoots” out there who have a real problem with this recipe; to them, I say….bite me. Please. And thank you.

Number 2, my Chicken Enchilada Dip (click for recipe), which can also be rolled into tortillas and sliced, which make excellent finger foods for football parties! I make this stuff, ALL the time and we never get tired of it. It’s totally addicting!

Number 3, the best darn chili (click for recipe) I ever ate. Sure, it takes a lot of preparation, but if you have a big strong man handy to dice up your meat for you, the hard part’s over! And trust me, it’s worth every bit of the hard work – you won’t be sorry!

Number 4, Chewy Chex Mix (click for recipe). This makes a GINORMOUS batch, so it’s perfect for large crowds. Plus, it’s really hard to stop eating the stuff…so it’s good to have lots. It’s chewy, salty, not too sweet, and like I mentioned before- completely addictive!

Number 5: You’ll definitely need sweets at your Super Bowl party. Personally, I think cookies are the way to go – they’re portable, easy to eat, and really, who doesn’t love a cookie?? Really. My favorites – my winning Toasted Oatmeal Cookies, really, really good M&M Cookies, or everybody’s personal favorite, the BFCCCC’s (that’s Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies -click for recipe and scroll down a ways). I love a good, chewy chocolate chip cookie and these really fit the bill. Everyone absolutely loves them.

So there you have it; my personal favorite football-approved recipes. Nothing fancy or difficult; just really simple, really good recipes that I guarantee everyone will really love. Everybody ENJOY your Super Bowl festivities!! Go Saints! ;-)


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Best. Chili. Ever.

I’ve found my purpose. No really; now I see why the Good Lord put me on this earth…to make this chili. For everyone. I can’t believe I’ve only ever made chili with ground beef and a spice packet…that’s no way to live. Now that I’ve tasted real chili, there’s no way I’m going back. Ever.

chili1

You’ve heard me talk about my Uncle Steve many times – well here’s another tribute to his culinary genius. He gave me his chili recipe…no, let me rephrase that- he gave me the chili recipe; because as far as I’m concerned, this is the only one I’ll ever need. Of course I won’t post it exactly how he gave it to me (I can’t just go ’round giving away a man’s chili recipe, now can I?) – I made a few changes, since I didn’t have 8 hours to spend on it. But lemme tell ya – it’s thick, it’s meaty, it’s spicy, it’s bold, it’s…..beautiful. Hubby and I were in hog heaven after one bite. I can safely say, this chili is henceforth…THE chili.

Chili

2 lb. Chuck roast (or any cut you have on hand), cut into small cubes
1 lb. Flank steak, cut into cubes
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 chipotle chilis in Adobo (you can find these in the Latin section of your grocery store), seeded
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 quart beef broth
1 bottle beer (I used Sam Adams)
salt to taste
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes (Uncle Steve doesn’t believe in tomato in his chili, but I like it!)

Place beef in a large dutch oven with the beef broth (if the broth doesn’t cover the beef, add some water), cover and boil for 30-45 minutes or until the beef is tender. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the onion, garlic and chipotle peppers. Add to beef along with spices and salt. If there is too much liquid, simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced down a bit. Alternatively you can add a little flour or masa to thicken. Add beer and tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours stirring occasionally.

chili2

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