Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jam Stuffed Biscuits

Normally I try to avoid buying processed foods and stick with foods that I can easily pronounce all of the ingredients, but I'm a sucker for a few things that I will buy on occasion. Like Grands biscuits. I can't help it, they're so flaky and delicious. My grocery store recently had them on sale for super cheap, so I bought quite a few. Well, I think I bought three. But that seemed like quite a few. I didn't really know what I was going to do with all of them, so I looked on the Pillsbury website for ideas. I saw this recipe and thought my kids would love it and it would be a quick breakfast. I love quick breakfasts...I'm not not a morning person, but I definitely prefer things to be easy in the morning so we can get out the door and take Boy #1 to school.

Jam Stuffed Biscuits

1 can (16.3 oz) can Pillsbury® Grands!® Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
1/2 cup jam or preserves of your choice
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Gently separate each biscuit halfway into 2 layers. Spoon 1 tablespoon jam into center of each biscuit. Pinch edges to seal.

Dip each biscuit into melted butter; dip each in sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown around edges.


These were a huge hit at my house. My kids loved them and so did the husband. I used homemade peach jam inside this biscuits, and it was super tasty. I'd definitely make these again. They were even easy for a school morning!

Green Chile Pork Stew

There's quite a back story on this recipe. Well, maybe not. That makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it actually is. When Boy #1 was six months old I joined a local chapter of MOMS Club. I'm sure I've talked about it before. It was a huge lifesaver for me for many reasons. I was definitely a workaholic before he was born and then quit to be a stay at home mom when my maternity leave was done. We had moved to a different part of Phoenix when I was pregnant, so all of my friends with kids lived at least 30 minutes away, and everyone else I knew worked. It was a rough transition A friend on the east coast suggested I look into finding a MOMS Club chapter near me to meet other mamas. So I did. And I found one. There were several other women with babies around Boy #1's age, plus a lot of moms with older kids who gave great advice and knew exactly what I was going through. I had a lot of my identity in my career and what I had done, so it was a HUGE change to not have that define me anymore.

This is a lot more deep than I intended to get...sorry about that. The whole point was that one of the monthly activities was a cooking club, where the coordinator would pick a theme and everyone would bring a dish that fit the theme. There was a sandwich one, one to bring something with apples, cookies, and a soup one. I know there were more, but those are the ones that stick out. My friend Aimee brought a delicious green chile pork stew to the soup cooking club, and I've thought about it ever since then. Keep in mind the boy was maybe seven or eight months old at this point, and he'll be seven this coming February. I'm not lying when I say I've thought about it for years. I don't know why I never made it. Then recently I found pork stew meat on sale for super cheap...and of course I couldn't find the recipe. So I posted on her Facebook wall. Our mutual friend Mary saw it and found the recipe and sent it to me (God bless her!). I happened to have some roasted Hatch chilies in my freezer that I wanted to be using, so obviously all signs pointed towards me making this stew.

Wow, that was a really long explanation for a pretty simple soup recipe!

Green Chile Pork Stew
Source: Adapted from my friend Aimee

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound pork loin -- cut into 1/2-inch chunks and remove all visible fat
3 small garlic cloves -- finely minced
1 red onion -- finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons flour -- preferably masa flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
28 oz. New Mexican chiles -- roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper -- optional and preferably fresh
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2-3/4 cup chicken broth
2 large fresh tomatoes -- pureed (or peeled and chopped)

In dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute pork until all pink is gone (about 5 minutes). Move meat aside and add garlic and onion. As soon as garlic sizzles, stir together with pork.

In a small bowl, make thickener by adding water to flour and cornstarch. (Add another tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water if you prefer a thicker sauce, but wait until later in the cooking to decide if the texture is what you want, or you may accidentally make it too thick.) Add mixture to dutch oven.

Add chiles, spices, chicken broth to pot. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and add tomatoes. (puree the tomatoes if you like a very smooth sauce; peel and chop 'em if you like more texture). Simmer on very low heat, covered, for at least 1 hour.

(Makes 4 good-sized servings) Freezes very well.


The original recipe called for using the crockpot, but I think I ran out of time to do it...or figured if I was already dirtying pans, why dirty the crockpot too. The husband and I thought this was fantastic. I didn't bother having my kids try it because it was really spicy, and I knew they wouldn't like it. This was really easy to throw together, especially since I had pork stew meat, so I didn't even have to cut up the meat. I would definitely make this again for the husband and me to eat!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shrimp and Grits

We have been having a ton of tasty new dishes lately, but I just haven't had a chance to sit down and post about them! Everyone else in my house is sleeping, so I'm trying to get some cleaning and blogging done while I have some alone time! This is actually the most recent thing we've had, and I'll admit I feel a little guilty not posting something older, but this was so incredibly good I didn't want to wait.

A few years ago we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC with my mom and aunt. Boy #2 was only an itty bitty baby! While we were there we drove down to see Fort Sumter and Charleston for a day. The husband is a good ol' Southern boy and loved seeing such an integral site in the "war of northern aggression." We found a place for dinner before heading back to Myrtle Beach, and the husband had shrimp and grits. They were AMAZING. I came home wanting to make some, saved a recipe on and then proceeded to never, ever make it. Now fast forward to a week or so ago, and I was flipping through Cooking Light from a couple months ago and saw a recipe for crawfish and grits. Crawfish are hard to come by here in the desert, but I knew that shrimp was on sale, so I figured I could switch it up a bit. Grits proved slightly easier to find than crawfish, but it was still not an easy search. Or rather, non-instant grits proved difficult to find, but as everyone knows (or everyone who's seen "My Cousin Vinny") no self-respecting southerner (or self-respecting wife of a southerner) would ever make instant grits. So if you want non-instant grits, head to Trader Joe's, not Safeway. FYI. ;)

Shrimp and Grits
Adapted from Saucy Crawfish With Whole Corn Grits from Cooking Light, August 2012

3 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup uncooked regular grits
2 ounces reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons light sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped andouille sausage or kielbasa (about 1.5 ounces)
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons tomato paste
12 ounces shrimp
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided

1. To prepare grits, combine 1/2 cup milk, corn, and chipotle chile in a blender; process until the corn is coarsely chopped.

2. Combine remaining 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Gradually add grits, stirring with a whisk. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 11 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Add corn mixture; cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add cheese and 3 tablespoons sour cream, stirring until cheese melts. Keep warm.

3. To prepare shrimp, place flour in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove flour from pan; set aside. Wipe pan clean.

4. Return pan to medium heat. Add oil and sausage to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add reserved flour, tomato paste, and shrimp; cook until shrimp are pink, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 cup milk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chives over shrimp mixture. Stir 3 tablespoons chives into grits; serve with shrimp mixture.


Since I was a grits cooking novice, the husband stepped in and helped me out a bit with them. He used to be a master grill operator at the Waffle House, so he knows a thing or two or twenty about cooking grits. I should add that I didn't really follow the grit cooking directions above. I did at first, but after 11 minutes my grits hadn't thickened at all, so I turned the heat back up and kept the cover off my pot. That worked much better, and the husband said he didn't know why you'd cover it and turn the heat down in the first place.

This was simply amazing and delicious and fantastic and tasty. I went a little overboard plating grits, but it worked out. They were so tasty with the added kick of the chipotle pepper in there and the fresh corn and creamy from the cheese and sour cream. The little chunks of andouille sausage mixed in with the shrimp was fantastic too. If you're not a fan of spicy, this dish probably isn't for you, but we loved it. I probably wouldn't serve this to my kiddos because they'd complain about too many aspects of it, but it's definitely something I'd make for the husband and me again!!