Friday, July 18, 2014

Taco Pie

I used to make a version of this dish YEARS ago when I was a broke-ass college student. I had actually forgotten all about taco pie until I randomly decided to eat both leftover taco salad and scrambled eggs for lunch (no, I am not pregnant). I remembered taco pie, and decided that I needed to make some ASAP!

Taco Pie is basically a taco, without the shell. Baked in a pie pan with a egg/cheese mixture, the seasoned beef stays at the bottom, while a sort of quiche/custard thing bakes on the top. It holds together extremely well, and is super-hearty and filling, without a bunch of starches. Plus, it's easy and pretty cheap to prepare!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Oven-Baked Pork Chops

Last weekend, we decided to take a little trip to Birmingham's Pepper Place Farmer's Market (I wore my favorite Birmingham shirt for the occasion). Some of the spoils included some locally-made grain-free dog biscuits, grits & cornmeal from McEwan and Sons and some gorgeous pattypan squash and zephyr squash from Mt. Laurel farm, but I was most excited to pick up some beautiful, all-natural/non-GMO thick-cut pork chops from hogs raised at Mountain Song Farm in Mentone, AL. 

Good pork is hard to come by; nowadays, the wonderful pork-y flavor has been bred and sanitized out of pigs, which is why a lot of people find that pork tastes plain or bland. Good pork tastes amazing all on its own, and should be cooked simply to emphasize the flavor. 

Usually, when I get high-quality pork chops, I do a simple pan-fry. For these, I opted to bake these in the oven, with only mild seasonings. Along with some roasted squash, zucchini and some fresh chanterelles sauteed in butter, this meal was simple yet incredibly elegant. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Butter-Poached Shrimp

Here in Alabama, we love our Gulf Shrimp - I mean, who DOESN'T recite the Bubba Shrimp bit from "Forrest Gump" whenever shrimp are mentioned? I like mine fried, pickled, spicy, or just boiled with a bit of Old Bay

However, every so often, I like to go all out and poach my shrimp in butter. This is a technique frequently used with cooking lobster, and it works just as beautifully for shrimp. The meat stays tender and moist, not rubbery at all, and takes on an amazing flavor that you can't just get with plain old steamed shrimp. The only key is to keep an eye on your temperature, but otherwise, this couldn't get any easier!

Feel free to serve these shrimp with a bit of the cooking butter for dipping, or even a cocktail sauce or spicy sweet chili mayo. These shrimp are especially great served on their own atop a plate of grits. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sausage, Egg & Cheese "Muffins" (Gluten-free, Low-Carb/Keto-Friendly)

Ok, so maybe these aren't TECHNICALLY muffins. More like little mini frittatas, or little crustless quiches. BUT, I made them in a muffin pan, so, to me, they're muffins, even if they don't have any flour (unlike these, which ARE muffins). Luckily, the lack of ANY type of flour makes these perfect for anyone who has gluten-free or ketogenic dietary needs - each muffin is only 150 calories, with 0g net carbs and 10g of protein!

However, regardless of dietary needs, these muffins are delicious, easy to prepare, and a great way to make breakfast ahead of time and have a 'grab and go' option in the morning. Plus, who doesn't love sausage, egg and cheese?

If these are too plain for you, feel free to add other ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, or even cooked pepper. If you don't like sausage, simply use cooked and crumbled bacon instead. To reheat, simply microwave for about 30-60 seconds (depending on the microwave) until hot. These can be kept refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for longer storage.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Easy Oven-Baked Salmon

Y'all. Y'ALL. From now on, this is my go-to salmon recipe. No more pan-searing, grilling or heavy seasoning. This couldn't possibly be any easier or more foolproof, and it tastes absolutely AMAZING.

Salmon is one of my favorite fish EVER. I like it broiled, grilled or as sashimi. I rarely cook it at home since I've had several FAILs before, and I've stunk up the kitchen more than a few times as well. This changed everything, though. In under 20 minutes, with minimal work, I had an incredible meal on the table! 

I know some of you are going to see mayonnaise in the ingredients and immediately be disgusted. Trust me - it's amazing. It keeps the fish nice and moist (dry salmon is GROSS) while imparting a really subtle tangy flavor as well. It's a perfect compliment to offset the slightly strong flavor that salmon can sometimes have. Give it a try, and I think you'll be REALLY pleasantly surprised!

Smothered Cabbage & Andouille

Smothered Cabbage & Andouille is a classic South Louisiana dish, traditionally eaten on New Year's Day (like how we eat ham, collard greens and black-eyed peas here) to bring financial prosperity in the new year. It's about as far away from the start or end of 2014 as is possible, but luckily this is a really easy and delicious dish to prepare ANY time of year.

Similar to my Kielbasa & Cabbage, this dish instead uses andouille, a Cajun/Creole pork sausage that is FULL of incredible flavor. The Cajun 'trinity' of onion, celery and pepper makes an appearance, cooked in bacon fat for extra pork flavor, and crisp cabbage adds texture and bite.