Lip Smacking Ribs in 1 hour! Say what?!

David has been loving his grill that he got back on Mother’s Day weekend and has been getting good use out of it too.

This weekend we went and did some food shopping at Aldi’s. If you have one nearby I suggest giving it a try. It is after all owned by the brother of the owner of Trader Joe’s. Yep the stores are brothers. They don’t have the exact same products, but the variety of items in Aldi’s is pretty extensive and they also have their own Gluten Free line of food called LiveGFree. Inexpensive, and quite good for 90% of the products. I personally don’t like the frozen pancakes, or the hot pocket knock offs. Let me also say, I was never a fan of the real hot pockets either so maybe that’s why.

While in Aldi, after hitting up Petco for some new food for Lilo & Stitch, we were searching for the rack of ribs we picked up a few weeks ago. One of the downfalls of Aldi is that some of their items are “Seasonal” and often aren’t there every trip.

I’m not normally a huge rib fan. I do enjoy them once in a while, but now that David has perfected a lip smacking rack of ribs (in no time I might add) they have become a more frequent request around the house. Even from, J his oldest son. Sadly, there were no ribs. Not the kind he wanted to buy anyway. So we settled on a rack of baby back ribs instead.

Oh my goodness, let me just tell you. The most juicy, tender, fall of the bone ribs I’ve ever eaten. Even compared to some smokehouse restaurants I’ve eaten at over the years. This was the bombdiggity!

We took the rack and cut it in half. Originally we were going to freeze one half of the ribs since it was just the two of us eating it this time, but decided to cook em up all at once and any leftovers could be frozen.

Time to prepare the rub, and figure out the best method to grill them up. We weren’t sure how we were going to go about seasoning them. Usually we just throw some Sweet Baby Rays Hickory BBQ Sauce on it, but we didn’t want sloppy wet ribs this night. We did want juicy however.

Our Rub: For 4 1/2 lbs of Ribs

  • 1 Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Celery Salt
  • 1 Tbs Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbs Onion Powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set a side until ready to rub it up.

Make sure to remove the silver skin in the back end of the ribs. This will make them more tender and easier to cook.

Next step after getting the rub on is to wrap each half  up in aluminum foil. Then place them in fridge for at least a half hour *you could marinade it longer if you’d like and had the time.

Meanwhile get your gas grill at a temperature of at least 300°-350° Once your grill is maintaining a steady temperature, place your rib packages bone side down and grill for 25 min. Turning once and grill again for 25 min longer with the rib side facing down.

 

Once the 50 minutes are up remove the packages from the heat and carefully open them up. Remove the ribs out of the foil package, and drain off the juices that have collected and set them aside.

Transfer the ribs back to the grill and cook for about 5 minutes each side. Let the ribs rest for about 10 min after checking the temperature ~ it should reach 170°

image

We’ve read a lot of recipes online about direct, indirect, smoking etc as far as grilling goes. All of the processes take a tremendous amount of time and yes they do yield fantastic results. But gotta be honest with you here, doing it this way, in a much shorter amount of time, gives us the best tasting ribs.

image

Yes we might be biased to our recipe, but I guess anyone would if you found something you really liked and it didn’t take a huge amount of time to get a great pay off.

image

All that extra juice we reserved earlier after removing the ribs from the foil pouches wasn’t needed. The ribs were so juicy and falling off the bone we didn’t feel the need for more. You could always add more if you’d like to.

image

But with ribs like these, who really needs more sauce?

image

Above all else, enjoy your lip smacking, fall of the bone in less than 1 hour ribs!!

 

 

Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper & Mozzarella stuffed Chicken Breasts

Yep it’s what’s for dinner. Well left overs for tonight, as I made this delectable dish last night.

image

I’m often getting tired of making the same grilled chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing, for dinner. Let’s face it, after so many times we feel we will cluck like a chicken sooner or later.  So while at the food store last night, I decided to reinvent a dish I made a few months ago after getting a great deal on asparagus. The only problem was, I wasn’t spending $4.99 lb for asparagus, so I improvised.

Dave and I love mushrooms, especially the baby portobello ones. So I bought my ingredients and went to work.

Ingredients:

  •  1 lb of thin sliced skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of baby portobello mushrooms washed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup of diced roasted red peppers
  • 8 oz of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375° and set aside a 9 x 13 inch baking pan for use. Prep your mushrooms by washing, drying, and slicing into bite sized pieces. Place in a skillet over low heat and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.

image

Remove mushrooms from skillet and place in a bowl. Mix in the roasted red peppers to the mushrooms and set aside. On a cutting board clean up your chicken cutlets removing any excess fat. Once chicken is trimmed up, lay pieces flat and pat dry with a paper towel. Layer cutlets with sliced mozzarella, then top with mushroom and roasted red pepper mixture.

Roll each chicken cutlet up, securing with toothpicks, and place in ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

image

Bake for 30 min at 375° or until chicken is cooked to temperature and cheese is slightly browned.

image

Remember we didn’t grease the pan, nor add any juice, but look at the amount of juice that came out of these cutlets. I skimmed some of the fat (which was almost none to be honest) in a gravy seperater cup and reserved the juice on the side.

image

This was by far, the most tender, juicy and delicious chicken cutlets I’ve had in, well I don’t know how long. Surprisingly enough there are a few left over for tonight and we will be having it again.

Dinner is served, all because I took a few extra minutes in the produce aisle. I hope if you try this dish you enjoy it as much as we did, and please let me know how you liked it.

Enjoy !

#AtoZChallenge Y is for Yummy Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce

One of my favorite dishes to make recently is a version of Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce. Of course I took a traditional recipe using flour tortillas and AP flour and used Gluten Free substitutions. So for this recipe we are using Corn Tortillas and cornstarch. Where indicated you can use flour tortillas and all purpose flour. Totally up to you but let me tell you, David had never had an enchilada before this one, and he fell in love with it. After having this version, and trying a “real one” he only wants it this way.

Here’s a little YUM for today’s letter Y!

Ingredients For Enchiladas 

  • 10 or 12 pack of Mission brand Super Soft Extra Thin Style or Restaurant Style, Yellow or White Corn Tortillas.
  • 2 C shredded cooked chicken (I use Rotisserie Chicken from the store)
  • 2 C Sargentto brand 4 cheese Mexican style shredded cheese (Measure 1 C of cheese for mixing in with the chicken and set aside)
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 C of chicken broth
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 3 Tbs Pace Medium Chunky Salsa
  • 1 Tsp of black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

In a skillet warm 7-8 corn tortillas until each one is soft and pliable, place on a dish and cover until ready to stuff with chicken mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine shredded chicken, and 1 cup of shredded cheese, spoon mixture into each of the warmed tortilla shells and roll up. Place seam side down in pan until all of your shells are filled.

image

In the same skillet you warmed the tortillas up in, melt the butter and add cornstarch and coook for at least 2 minutes. Add in the chicken broth while whisking until smooth and no lumps. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and bubbles slightly. Stir in green chilies, salsa and then sour cream. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens again but do not let it come to a boil.

image

Pour cheese mixture over enchiladas and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Once removed, let cool for a few minutes before serving with your favorite guacamole. For us that would be a homemade version that David has become a pro at. Honestly I enjoy his version the best. Funny thing is before we started dating he didn’t really eat much as far as Latin inspired food was concerned, unless you talk about a trip to Taco Bell :0) Now he loves eating it and more importantly he loves cooking it and he’s really good at it too. It’s so much fun cooking together even when he smears avocado on my nose lol.

imageIngredients for Guacamole

  • 1 Avocado
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbs chopped onion
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

 

Slice your avocado in half around the rim of the seed, remove the seed and scoop out the meat into a dish of choice.

Chop onion, grate garlic, juice lemon and set aside. Using the back of a fork mash the avocado leaving it a little chunky (or mash away depending how you like the texture) Add in the onion, garlic, garlic powder, lemon juice, Adobo, pepper and salt to taste. Mixing the least amount as possible. Refrigerate for a few minutes until ready to eat. Serve along side your favorite dish or eat it right out of the container for no reason at all except that Guacamole is delish!!.

 

image

I hope you get to try out our version of Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce. It’s a fan favorite around our place, and I hope one day it will be for you as well!!

#AtoZChallenge E is for Eggs

img_1210This is by far one of my favorite sayings:

If you can’t decide how you like your eggs, what else will you settle for in life?

Oh I like my eggs a particular way for sure. I want that deliciously runny yolk, over medium by preference, but heaven forbid that white is raw or runny…well it’s going back to the kitchen, ASAP.

I don’t take kindly to poorly cooked eggs lol. So when I decided to try the whole : Egg in Avocado trend, it was safe to say I wasn’t blown over with my attempts. I still enjoyed it, but I really wanted that runny yolk.

The 400° for 20 min recipe I found online, really didn’t work for me.  But it did taste decent enough that I tried it again. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo as I cut into the creamy goodness. I didn’t expect warm avocados to taste good, but the combination with the runny yolk, melted cheese, and pepperoni really meshed well together. Yes I put pepperoni on my eggs.

See right there ⇑ that’s two eggs over medium, with pepperoni and mozzarella . Look at that yolk, not too much, not too little, just right!

Eggs no matter what way you like your eggs, enjoy them!

Monday Musings. Damn Good Chowder and Eggcelent Breakfast for the WIN!

Another whirlwind weekend has come to an end, and well it was an interesting one, as they all are 🙂

Dave had his boys this weekend and we spent some time relaxing watching Food Network and even went to see Kung Fu Panda 3. I have to say, I never watched the previous 2, but this one was adorably cute and funny. I won’t spoil it for anyone who may want to watch it, but I will say it was a good movie for kids and adults. A few tears, and lot’s of laughs. Definitely a winner.

Breakfast with the boys is a bit of a struggle. They are extremely picky eaters, and usually just want frozen mini waffles and pancakes for EVERY MEAL, or a frozen Banquet meal of mac & cheese or chicken fingers. Not. Gonna. Fly. Nutritional value is absent and it’s all empty calories because within an hour they’re hungry again because the carbohydrate rush has just crashed. Getting protein in their diet is one of the hardest things we seem to find. So little victories of eggs, ham, and even gasp…hot dogs is a win in our books. I will gladly make you mashed potatoes or mac and cheese to go with your ham but you need to eat your ham. I will gladly give you mini pancakes if you eat one egg first, and I will make that egg any way you like.

Speaking of eggs, last week when the boys stopped over during the blizzard, I asked about food preferences again. Eggs was one of them. “Have you guys ever heard of Eggs in a hole?” a resounding NO echoed in the house. Onto my phone to pull up a visual, and I happened upon The Pioneer Woman ~ Ree Drummonds recipe and showed them a photo. “looks cool, I like runny eggs” N says. “Ok, when you guys are over next weekend, we’ll make you egg in a hole” J is steadfast and likes his scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon so he’ll stick with that he says. Ok fine with me.

Saturday morning I set out to make breakfast, it’s like a restaurant up in Dave’s house some days I swear. I’m a short order cook lol. I don’t mind, as long as they eat it. I make J’s scrambled eggs, and set out to make, N the egg in a hole. Bring it to the table and he’s disappointed that the yolk isn’t runny enough. Daddy eats it and back to the stove I go. Should I have made him eat it anyway? Maybe, maybe not, it comes down to the fact I want him to eat something other than just pancakes and waffles. So I’ll try it again with hopes for a runnier yolk.

Jackpot! As I hear the sounds from the kitchen table.

imageJ~ I’ve never heard you make sounds like that when you eat, N.
N~ Oh my goodness, these are amazing. Pau-la-la, why does this taste so good?
Me~ It’s because I made it, I say with a laugh and smile
J~ Well she’s right. She’s like a mom and loves us like one so she knows how to make really good stuff. It’s like mom can microwave my waffles for 45 seconds and they’re the best. When I do the same thing they taste rubbery. It’s a mom thing.
N~ I don’t know what it is, but this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten. If you make eggs like this I would eat them every day. They are amazing, they taste so good and the yolk is mmmmmm…

As his words trail off, with bites of eggy goodness filling his 10 year old mouth.

Yes a success it certainly was.

As was Saturday nights dinner, and Sunday’s lunch leftovers lol. Dave proclaimed from tasting a hearty spoon of New England Clam Chowder “Whoa, that’s damn good chowder. We outdid ourselves. That’s the best I’ve ever had” And I would admit, we made one damn good pot of New England Clam Chowder. Better than I’ve ever had before. Neither of us ever made it before, until we began our experiment. While the boys sat playing a game on their laptops, we were busy in the kitchen cooking up some dinner. They however didn’t eat what we were eating, but they did have ham and homemade mashed potatoes.

We shucked 17 chowder clams, with no shucker, don’t even ask but a butter knife and a hammer were used and no one was hurt in the process. If I could have taken a picture I would have. Next time we will use mainly canned clams. Or buy a shucker. Not going to complain, it was an adventure, and cooking together is always an adventure with us. I have to give Dave major credit, he cooked the spicy mussels up all by himself. Not that he can’t. let’s make that clear. But he’s definitely not a “I’ll sit my ass down on the couch watching tv while you slave over a stove” Kinda guy. He likes to get his hands dirty in the kitchen as well as out in the garage. I love it.  I was going to help him I swear, but I was cleaning up some stuff in the kitchen and make sure the kids were eating, so he took to the stove and created some magic.

imageIt was a weekend filled with amazing flavors and fun times. He even tagged along, and drove me back to my town to meet up with one of my girlfriends for a cuppa the good stuff. This is the man that does not drink coffee, and even though we both smelled like coffee after our little visit, he didn’t care. He sat in the comfy chair, and joined in on our conversation every so often. But he was more entertained with the customers and his episodes of Counting Cars on his phone. Thank goodness for WiFi 🙂

It’s sad to see the weekend go, but today’s a new day, and Monday’s are what we make of it. I made it a day to have a Cinnabon Cappuccino and an inside out macaroon! The chocolate is on the inside. Say What?!?! I say Monday, the first of the new month no less, is off to a success. Let’s see what the rest of the week brings. I see some recipes for New England Clam Chowder, and Spicy Mussels on the horizon. 🙂

As I’m reading over this post, it is reminding me of my Weekend Coffee Share Posts I would do months ago. I do miss those “catch up posts” I guess my Monday Musings sort of do that catch up with you all, but I admit, it’s not exactly the same thing. Thinking a reintroduction to the link up is on my agenda in the coming weekend. I do miss it…

Monday Musings, a blizzard and a coffee cake

We survived Blizzard Juno of 2016. He packed a pretty mean punch, but we were prepared with the necessities, and hunkered down for a long winters night. Food~check, Coffee (for me) ~check, Doctor Who marathon ~check, and plenty of snuggle time~ check.

imageI was a little crazy and hit up the supermarket Friday, evening around 5. WORST. TIME. EVER. Especially with an impending storm knocking at our front door. A brand new store in the area, taking over the no longer existing PathMark store. It’s a pretty huge store. But with this storm it seemed as if everyone in town was here. Looking to get last minute items, including myself. I was going to make Manhattan Clam Chowder, Dave’s request. Like I really needed to go to the food store. 30 minutes on line waiting to get to a register. The lines were wrapping around the front of the store, down almost every aisle. I snuck on a 10 items or less line, with my 20 items. The lady in front of me who insisted I follow her, said “Don’t worry, if they complain just split the orders and I’ll say it’s my stuff” That was so nice of her. Luckily the assistance wasn’t needed.

I stayed by Dave’s for the storm, and it was a little odd for me to do that. I’m usually at my house, and during the storms I try to shovel as much as my body will allow me before she protests and starts raising the white flag of surrender. Then I also enlist some help from people who are canvasing the area looking to help people dig themselves out.

I don’t like it when my parents go out to shovel. It’s not that they physically can’t. Ok they really physically can’t, but they are stubborn old goats. I mean that will all due respect and love, they’re just like me, or I’m just like them. I don’t like to ask for help. So leaving them there to fend for themselves, I was concerned. But mom insisted it would be fine. They wouldn’t do anything foolish.

Thankfully they kept up their end of the bargain.

During the storm we kept ourselves occupied. We watched Doctor Who, he actually likes it, but we’re watching backwards. We just finished the 9th series, and now Dave is hooked. So now I have to get him to watch it from the beginning, well the beginning of the new series. And we cooked. Together. I love when he cooks with me. Even those times I say he gets on my nerves when he tries to add extra spices to a dish. But I like how we work well together in the kitchen 99% of the time 😉 Unless I’m under time pressure, or during the holidays when his sister and brother in law were over, I worry about making sure things come out right. The first time. He’s like, it’s family don’t worry. But first impressions are important to me. Although I know it’s not crucial, I just like to do things the best of my ability.

But this weekend it was just the two of us for the most part. We made chili, a pot of sauce, turkey meatballs, and chocolate chip cookies. We didn’t make that Manhattan Clam Chowder, because while at the store I bought the wrong kind of clams. I bought clam sauce, not baby clams. 😦 talk about a disappointment. I also couldn’t figure out if I wanted apple pie, or coffee cake. So I made the best of both ~ an apple cinnamon struesel coffee cake. It’s the bomb diggity. Recipe to follow in the next post.

The morning after, Dave plowed us out with the snowblower, and I shoveled some of his driveway and my car out, together we made a pretty good team. However I insist next time there’s a storm like this, we hire someone to plow us out. He wouldn’t let me use the snowblower, I kept joking and saying “I’m strong like bull, girl bull, but still strong” he found the humor in it but still wouldn’t budge. Except to let me take hold of the handles for a few seconds. I didn’t realize how much power those things had. And although they take some of the work off of you, they still take quite a lot of energy from you so you can push through the heavy snow. We are both paying the price this morning. And even yesterday we were feeling the effects of it.

We must have gotten at least 18 inches. Reports are scattered across the island. It seems like the only ones who enjoyed it were the kids, and maybe the kitties. Dave’s eldest son, J had a ball out the back steps into the yard. He made it his own personal snowtubing hill. He was out there for about a half hour just sliding down, wiping out, and walking back up to the porch to do it all over again. His youngest, N said he had plenty of snow time while at his moms earlier in the day. So he stayed inside with us, and we all watch his big brother working up a sweat.

Homemade hot cocoa, and chocolate chip cookies were waiting for everyone when, J finally came in and dried off. We ended the night with some homework, and watching Myth Busters. I really couldn’t have thought of a better way to be snowed in than with my guy, his kids, and the kittens. It really was a great weekend, even with a blizzard!

Gluten free meatloaf, and stuffed sweet baby peppers. It’s what’s for dinner.

 

Or at least it WAS for dinner the other night 🙂

We’ve been cooking a lot more at Dave’s lately, and it’s been fun. A little messy, and a few mishaps, but totally fun. We like to change it up a little bit, well as much as we can, having to stick to gluten free and sometimes nut free because of his youngest son, N.

We’ve often made meatloaf, and Dave loves the way we make it. Usually stuffed with a cheesy center, but this time I went a different direction. I followed a recipe a gluten free friend had shared this time last year. I had made it before, adapting to my personal tastes and it turned out well. So the other night I went a little different as well and Dave proclaimed as we were devouring the meatloaf that “You MUST remember how you made this, the type of cheese you used and everything else. This is the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever eaten and the best you’ve ever made” We also tried a recipe my friend Kathy made on New Years Eve of stuffed sweet baby peppers that she knew I could eat. They were bite-sized little flavor bombs lol so I tried to re-create them. I admit I didn’t like the way they looked while cooking in the oven, but they tasted amazeballs.

So I proceeded to jot down my adjustments to the original recipes, which you can find here and here.

Gluten Free Meatloaf

  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • ½ tsps of salt
  • 1 tsp Goya Adobo
  • ½ tsp freshly ground cracked pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, minced
  • 1 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs
  • A little butter
  • 1 tsp red chile pepper flakes or powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays hickory & brown sugar bbq sauce + 1 tbs for topping.
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire (The Worcestershire may contain gluten… be careful to check and omit if desired)
  • 1 cup shredded Kraft Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cabbot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese

Mix cheeses together and set aside 1/4 of a cup for topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over low/medium heat and saute onion until translucent. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, minus the bbq sauce and cheese that is reserved for topping.
  4. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place on parchment lined baking sheet. (I don’t like using a loaf pan because depending on what grade meat you use, there can be way too much oil).
  5. Place the meatloaf into the preheated oven, and for the last 10 min cover the top of meatloaf with reserved bbq sauce and cheese. Continue cooking until you reach 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer in the deepest interior of the loaf (about 50 min)

Oven times and temperatures can vary so please follow cooking instructions carefully.img_0434

 

 

Stuffed Baby Peppers

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby pepper
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the onion, cheeses, and thawed peas, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon,(chopsticks, or seafood spoon) and fill each pepper with the mixture.
  5. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*Cooking tip: I didn’t have a small dessert spoon on hand only a normal dinnerware teaspoon which I found to be too big for stuffing the small peppers. Using chopsticks, or even a small seafood spoon/fork helped fill the peppers.

I admit, they don’t look all that pretty, but like I said before they sure tasted amazing. The best part was cooking together. We have fun, get on each others nerves, ok he kinda gets on mine sometimes because I’ve never had a boyfriend who wanted to cook together and as much fun as it is because we can do it together it takes some getting used to. BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It’s brought us closer together and if I could impart some relationship wisdom, I suggest cooking with your significant other once in a while. Even if you have specific ways of doing things, you can learn from each other and about each other. Plus who doesn’t like getting messy in the kitchen with your man/woman? 😉