Thursday, October 31, 2013

Smothered Creole Slow Cooker Pork Chops


Cajun Week Day 4!


It's day 4 of Cajun Week with Peter from Feed Your Soul Too and I. I wanted to let you guys in on a secret. I rarely if ever use my slow cooker. O.K. I do use it on the Holiday's to keep my collard green warm, but other than that...it sits in slow cooker jail most of the year.

Until today...my friend Ashley at Center Cut Cook made the prettiest slow cooker pork chops I've ever seen.

That was all the convincing I needed, to take her recipe and "creolize" it people! 


I started off my making up a spice rub. Then I lightly floured the pork chops, and don't forget to season that flour.

Next, I browned the pork chops in olive oil for about 2-3 minutes per side.


Finally, I transferred the pork chop to the slow cooker and sauteed onions and peppers and poured that over the pork chops.

After 7-8 hours on low, it was time to make that gravy people!


I strained the broth from the slow cooker, then I added it to a saucepan, make a cornstarch slurry and drizzle that in the pan while whisking, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.


Pour the gravy back over the pork chops, garnish with green onions, because I like them...and serve over hot rice, potatoes, or even pasta.


Look what Peter at Feed Your Soul Too created today, Cajun Macaroni and Cheese! This is the perfect accompaniment to my Smothered Creole Slow Cooker Pork Chops...YUM!!!

Smothered Creole Slow Cooker Pork Chops
adapted from Center Cut Cook
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

8 pork chops
1 large onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon creole seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons Italian parsley
3 stalks green onions
1 cup flour
extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Mix all spices and brown sugar together and set aside. Add flour to a medium bowl, seasoning with 1/2 tablespoon of seasoning blend.

Rinse pork chops and pat dry. Coat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with 2 tablespoons of seasoning blend, rubbing into both sides of pork.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, toss pork chops lightly in flour mixture, add to oil and brown about 2-3 minutes per side in batches, repeat until all the pork is complete. Transfer pork to slow cooker.

Add onion, and bell pepper to pan, cook for about 5 minutes, add garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of seasoning blend, and cook 1 minute more.

Add chicken broth and vinegar to pan, scrap up brown bits on the bottom of pan. Transfer to slow cooker and pour over the pork chops.

Add bay leaves to slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours are until pork is fork tender.

Remove broth from slow cooker, strain into a sauce pan, make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water, stir well, drizzle into sauce pan and whisk well.

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, taste, add about a teaspoon of seasoning blend if needed. Stir in fresh parsley.

Pour gravy back over pork chops, garnish with green onions and serve over hot rice, potatoes, or pasta.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Google Nexus 7



image provided by staples

Today is another beautiful, albeit a very chilly day in the desert...it was 45 degrees earlier today...and yes people, it had me confused...lol. What I am not confused about is the Google Nexus 7 gift that the wonderful people at Staples sent me to try out.


First, I will not tell a lie...I am addicted to technology, just as much as I am addicted to cheese!


I look for a few things in my gadgets...they must be easy to use, have a clear screen with high resolution, ability to re-size my images on the screen, battery life, and GB.

 
I told you I was a technology addict. The Google Nexus 7 has all this and more.


Look how clear the screen is and I love the fact that you can minimize or increase the photo size easily. 


This is a food bloggers dream, no more carrying my laptop downstairs to cook. I just bring my Google Nexus 7 and I have everything I need at my fingertips... and look at all the goodies that are programmed into the Google Nexus 7.
  • 1.2MP front facing camera and 5MP rear camera shoots great looking photos and videos
  • Built in 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0
  • Pre-loaded with Google Search by Voice 2.1, Gmail, Contact Sync, Calendar Sync, Talk, Maps, Street View, News & Weather, YouTube, Movie Studio, Android Market
  • Built-in microphone
  • Includes 1 SlimPort and 1 headphone jack (No Mic-in)
  • Build-in-stereo speakers (high quality speaker x2)

And you gotta love the simple how to, Google Chrome tutorial.

 
I even use it to read some of my favorite food blogs. This is my friend Ashley at Center Cut Cook, she's creating great food, don't forget to stop and check her out on your new Google Nexus 7.


Don't wait, this is the perfect Christmas gift...to purchase...for yourself...and it's so EASY to use...!

I was provided with a Google Nexus 7 to use and review. All opinions are 100% my own.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Southern Teacake Bars Dipped in Milk Chocolate with Pecans


Cajun Week Day 3!


Hey everyone, guess what, it's Days 3 of Cajun Week, and Peter from Feed Your Soul Too, and I are just getting warmed up!

In honor of the last day to enter the Sucre Macaron Giveaway (entry below), I decided to create something sweet today! I am taking my Southern Tea Cakes to a whole new level people! Yes...and it includes the use of Chocolate and Pecans...it's a southern thang!


I am not sure if I informed you when I made my Lemon Glazed Teacakes a while back, how my teacakes came to be...well it all started with my mother!

We had a teacake-off, and I won...yes, she can bake pretty much any and everything...but she couldn't understand why my teacakes were perfect...my words...not hers...lol.

The secret people...yes it's a secret...use two kinds of sugar...and chill the dough...overnight if you have time.

Then allow the dough to sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes before you roll it out...Oh...and the use of a biscuit cutter for that perfect look!

 
This time you want need a biscuit cutter, because we're turning our Teacakes into yummy bars.  That's it...now get to baking people.


They turned out perfect...


All that's missing is a glass of sweet southern tea, or in my case a large glass of ice cold organic milk.


Look at this beautiful Cajun Gumbo Pot Pie that Peter at Feed Your Soul Too Created.

Southern Teacake Bars Dipped in Milk Chocolate with Pecans

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes plus chilling time
Servings: 8-12 bars

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, unsalted, room temperature
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus extra to roll out dough
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups chocolate chips, melted
2 cups pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.

In an electric mixer beat butter for about 3-5 minutes are until nice and creamy. Add sugar and beat for 3 minutes more. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between each addition.

Add vanilla and almond and beat for 20 more seconds. Add flour mixture in 4 batches and beat for about 20 seconds after each addition. Scape the sides of the bowl and make sure flour is mixed well. Transfer mixture to saran wrap.

Place in refrigerator for about 1-2 hours are overnight if desired. Allow to sit out for about 20 minutes to make dough more pliable.

Place dough into a greased 13X9 inch pan, pressing with the tips of your fingers to spread out evenly. 

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until nice and golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stir every 20 seconds, this should take less than a minute. 

Transfer to cooling rack and allow teacakes to cool completely about 30 minutes before glazing.

Melt chocolate in a microwave proof bowl, stirring every 20 seconds until completely melted. 

Remove teacakes from pan, place on a cookie sheet, spread hot chocolate over the top and immediately top with chopped pecans. Allow to set up completely before cutting.

For the perfect cut, use a serrated knife, cut off rough edges and save those for a snack. Wipe knife clean after each cut and cut into bars.






Monday, October 28, 2013

Smothered Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage and Okra


Cajun Week Day 2!


Hey everyone, guess what, it's Days 2 of Cajun Week, and Peter from Feed Your Soul Too and I are just getting warmed up!

I decided to create some real southern comfort food today with my Smothered Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage and Okra. This is the perfect dish to warm the soul.  

Also make sure you don't forget it's still time to enter the Sucre Macaron (entry below) Giveaway!



Although this dish may appear to have a lot of steps...each one has it's place for creating a flavorlicous finish.

I started off by sauteing my okra and vegetables, adding a little vinegar to the okra. My mother says it takes away any bitterness and makes the okra tender.

Next I browned my seasoned chicken drummettes, and then I browned my smoked sausage.


All of these ingredients are than added to a big pot and covered in chicken broth and hot tomato sauce. Add the bay leaves, don't forget to remove before serving. Allow the mixture to cook about 20-30 minutes before adding your shrimp.

Add more broth if needed to thin sauce. Sometimes when my mother makes this dish, she adds a little gumbo roux for color...or a flour/water slurry to thicken the gravy...



After about 1 hour of cooking time and a big pot of hot rice, it's time to eat! This dish is perfect with hot, buttered, cornbread.


Look what Peter at Feed Your Soul Too created for Day 2 of Cajun Week.This Creole Chili looks beyond delicious!

Smothered Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage and Okra

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken drummettes
1 lb. okra, fresh
1 lb. andouille sausage, smoked
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 cups chicken broth
6 ounces hot tomato sauce
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 Roma tomato, seeded, diced
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 bay leaves
extra virgin olive oil
hot rice

For a Thickener:

1 cup water
2 tablespoons flour

Directions:

Mix seasoning blend together and set aside.

Season chicken with 2 tablespoons of seasoning blend, mix well and set aside.

Season shrimp with 1 tablespoon of seasoning blend, mix well and set aside. 

In a large pan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, tomato, onion, and diced okra. Season with 1 tablespoon of seasoning blend, saute for about five minutes, add vinegar and cook 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add chicken and brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add sausage to pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned.

Add veggie mixture, chicken, and sausage back to the pan. Cover with chicken broth and hot tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour/water slurry if needed or a tablespoon of gumbo roux, mix well. Add shrimp and cook 15 minutes more. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy!





Sunday, October 27, 2013

Creole Patty Melt with Caramelized Peppers, Onions, Bacon and Homemade Thousand Island Sauce


Cajun Week Day 1 !


We're back people! Peter, from Feed Your Soul Too and I are creating our second installment of Cajun Week!

I decided to start Day 1 of Cajun Week with one of my favorite comfort foods, Creole Patty Melts! On Don't forget, I am still running the Sucre Macaron (entry below) Giveaway!


Believe me when I tell you about all the goodies going on in this sandwich.  I took ground turkey, use ground beef if you like, preferably ground chuck people, then I made up a spice blend...yes...I love my meat spicy!


Next, I fried up lots of bacon! Hey...don't throw that bacon grease away!


I caramelized some peppers and onions, in bacon grease...yes...in bacon grease people! 


Did I mention, you must cook the hamburgers in bacon grease also...shh...don't tell...lol


Now that we got that out the way...it's time to assemble these babies and cook them in a little butter...hey people, it's toast...it needs butter...and lots of cheese!


I know...you're speechless...me too...but that's because my mouth is full of this patty melt! Oh...don't forget to serve extra sauce for dipping...


Don't forget to check out this Creole Barbeque Sauce my friend Peter at Feed Your Soul Too has created for Day 1 of Cajun Week!

Creole Patty Melt with Caramelized Peppers, Onions, Bacon and Homemade Thousand Island Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. turkey, ground
8 slices bacon, thick cut
8 slices bread, Texas toast size
8 slices cheddar cheese
8 slices provolone cheese
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda
extra virgin olive oil
butter

For the Thousand Island Sauce:

1 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise
2 tablespoon sambal
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon relish
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning

Directions:

To prepare dressing, place all ingredients in a bowl, mix well, refrigerate until ready to use.

Mix seasoning blend together, reserve 1 tablespoon for veggies and set aside.

Add ground turkey to a bowl. Mix baking soda and water, pour on top of ground turkey. Add seasonings to ground turkey. Mix well and form into four patties and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan over medium heat, slice bacon and half, add to pan and cook until crispy. Drain bacon, reserve bacon grease.

Add half of bacon grease to another pan and set aside.

Add onions, bell peppers to current pan, over medium heat, season, saute for about 10 minutes, until onions are caramelized and peppers softened. 

In other pan, heat over medium heat, add patties, cook about 7-9 minutes per side.

To assemble sandwich, baste each slice of bread with Thousand Island Sauce, top with 2 pieces of each cheese, top one side of bread with veggies, the other side with bacon, place patty on top.

In a skillet add a couple of tablespoons of butter over medium heat, add patty melt, toast about 2-3 minutes per side.

Repeat, serve with extra Thousand Island Sauce for dipping!





Saturday, October 26, 2013

Contessa's Grilled Spring Chicken with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and a Sucre Giveaway!




It's Day 4 of the Sucre (entry below) Macaron Giveaway! I am so excited to share with you this recipe. I've been making this for years, every since I ate this meal at Outback Steakhouse.


Their recipe is good...but mine is better...yes, I said it, I think my chicken has more flava...lol.

You start by making up a marinade with honey and mustard. Then you marinate the chicken in the marinade for at least 4 hours, I marinated my chicken overnight.

Next, you light up the grill and grill the chicken for about 12 minutes per side.


While the chicken is grilling, the recipe gets even easier, fry lots of bacon! Oh...don't forget to save the bacon grease!


Cook the mushrooms and onions in the bacon grease. Yes...we want to make sure we don't skimp on flava.


After the chicken is grilled, I topped it with the veggies, bacon, and lots of cheese. Stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese. I served it with mashed potatoes.


Thought you might like a close-up, let's eat!

Contessa's Grilled Spring Chicken with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes plus marinating time
Servings: 6


Ingredients:

6 chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 pack of bacon, thick cut
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups red onions, sliced
2 teaspoons of creole seasoning
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 cup jack cheese, grated
1 cup sharp cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil

For the Marinade:

3/4 cups Dijon Mustard
3/4 cups honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon creole seasonings
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:

Add all marinade ingredients in a blender, blend well, reserve 1/2 cup for basting the chicken.

Mix chicken seasoning blend together, reserve 1 teaspoon for veggies. Rinse chicken, pat dry, score the top chicken slightly so marinade can penetrate the chicken breast. Pour a little olive oil over each side of the chicken breast.

Season chicken with the seasoning blend, rub in well. Pour marinade over the chicken and rub in well. Cover, refrigerate and marinate at least 4 hours, turning halfway through marinating time.

Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Grill chicken 10-15 minutes per side are until chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

While chicken is grilling, slice bacon in half. Add to a skillet over medium heat, cook until bacon is crispy. Drain bacon on napkins, reserve bacon grease.

Preheat oven to broil.

Add onions and mushroom to bacon grease over medium heat, season, cook around 8 minutes are until onions are slightly caramelized.

Remove chicken from grill, top with veggies, bacon, and cheese. Broil for about 3 minutes are until cheese melts. Serve with potatoes, enjoy!







Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sausage Biscuit Souffle with Creamy Gravy and Sucre Macaron Giveaway!



It's day 2 of the Sucre Macaron Giveaway (entry below) and because we have a giveaway I wanted to cook something extra special...My Sausage Biscuit Souffle with Creamy Gravy is pure goodness!


I think I am getting a tad bit addicted to making casseroles...it's just something about all those goodies in one dish that makes me happy!

I started off my casserole with some perfectly flaky, Pillsbury biscuits, lots of tasty Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage and you know I can't cook without my happy eggs!


I browned the sausage in a little olive oil, then I added a diced red onion, a little garlic and a sprinkling of seasonings.


I then mixed my happy eggs, with heavy cream, whole milk, and plenty of spices.


Spray a casserole dish, cut the biscuits in half, place on bottom of dish, cover with sausage mixture, top with lots of cheese and pour egg/milk mixture over the cheese.


Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, check after 30 minutes. Allow souffle to rest 10 minutes while you make the creamy gravy.


My souffle is piping hot and smothered in creamy gravy. It's time to eat people, and don't forget to save room for dessert and enter the Sucre Macaron giveaway below!
 

Sausage Biscuit Souffle with Creamy Gravy

1 lb. Johnsonville Sausage links
1 can Pillsbury Grand Biscuits
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup jack cheese, grated
1 cup sharp cheese, grated
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon creole seasonings
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Italian Parsley to garnish

For the Sausage Gravy:

pan drippings from sausage
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of cayenne
hot sauce
Italian parsley


Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix seasoning blend together and set aside.

Cut sausage links into 3 pieces. In a medium skillet add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add sausage to pan, cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, add onion, 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend and cook 5 minutes more. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Slice biscuits in half, place biscuits tightly into a greased casserole dish around 9 inches. Top biscuits with sausage/onion mixture, reserve some of the onions in the pan to make the gravy with, about 1 tablespoon. Top the sausage with all the cheese.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining seasoning blend, hot sauce, milk and heavy cream. Pour over the sausage/cheese mixture. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest about 10 minutes before serving with the hot gravy.

To prepare the gravy, heat pan drippings over medium heat, whisk in the flour, add the seasonings and cook, whisking for about 1 minute, whisk in the hot sauce, milk and cream, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.







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I must confess I love great food. I decided to create The Creole Contessa blog after cooking and eating a great meal with my family Big Goo the hubby of almost twenty years and my lil’ Contessa Summer aka “Baby Girl." I told Big Goo and Baby Girl, it is just not fair to not share these great recipes with the world; and the Creole Contessa blog was born.

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