Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Poblano Cream Sauce)

It's time once again for Free Recipe Wednesday!  Where has the week gone?  More importantly, is anyone else as excited as I am about the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend?

Today's free recipe is Poblano Cream Sauce and let me just say you're in for a treat with this one.  I found this recipe online as a sauce to be used on burritos or enchiladas but after making it I discovered it has way more uses. It is a delicious sauce that is good on just about everything.  I personally use this sauce as a base for my Parmesan Chicken Pizza instead of regular pizza sauce and it's amazing.  I've also had it poured over grilled chicken as well as put it on a regular meat and cheese sandwich.  It adds a wonderful new dimension of flavor to any dish!  Give it a try, it's a fantastic sauce!

Poblano Cream Sauce
  • 6 Poblano Chiles
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 3/4 cup Butter
  • 1/2 pkg (8 oz) Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Place chiles on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and broil 3 inches from heat 8-10 minutes on each side until charred. Place chiles in a heavy-duty zip-lock plastic bag, seal, and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skins. Peel and seed chiles.

Combine chiles and broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; stir in chile mixture. Add cream cheese and cheddar cheese, stirring constantly.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until cheese is fully melted.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hog and Sauce BBQ!

Today's post is a review of a little BBQ joint that's fairly new.  This place, Hog and Sauce BBQ, is about as small as the come.  It's a long narrow building with a drive-thru window on both sides.  (At one point it was a drive-thru espresso shop that I unfortunately never got to try.)  At the back of the building is a fenced in area where they keep the smoker, which is always billowing wonderful smokey smells into the air.  This place has been there for the better part of a year - on East Sunshine next to a Kum N Go for those who live in Springfield - and two nights ago was my first time trying them despite the fact that I can see the place from the upstairs window of my townhouse. It was actually the fact that Burger King next door, which I had planned on having for dinner, has closed up for good that forced me to try Hog and Sauce BBQ and I'm glad I did. What I ended up ordering was the Jumbo Pulled Pork "Sandwich" and the potato salad.  I'll get into why the word sandwich is in quotes in a minute but first let me talk about the potato salad.

Click image to enlarge!

What you see above is hands down the best potato salad I've ever eaten.  I usually prefer mayo based potato salad as opposed to mustard based so I asked the guy working the window which one theirs is to which he replied that they use both in theirs and that I'll really like it.  What he didn't tell me, which was a fantastic surprise, is that they also put small bits of smoked meat in their potato salad.  Without being too cheesy here let me just say .... OMG! When I took the lid off the container I could immediately smell a slight aroma of smokiness and knew I was going to like this potato salad. The combination of the mayo and mustard was just right and not too tangy.  That combo along with the pickles, potatoes, seasoning and smoked meat was just out of this world.  I actually finished the potato salad before I even unwrapped the "sandwich" and I think I could have just gotten a bigger container of the potato salad and had that by itself for dinner. 

Click image to enlarge!

Now, what you see above is the Jumbo Pulled Pork "Sandwich".  As you might have guessed from the picture, I've been using quotes around the word sandwich because it's not really a sandwich but more like a burrito.  On their menu Hog and Sauce BBQ mentions they are the "home of the pita-que" and that is why their "sandwich" is served like this.  At first glance you might think this looks like a wheat tortilla they're using but it's actually a tiny bit thicker, though not as thick as actual pita bread, and tastes just like pita bread. It's interesting and although I really enjoyed the overall "sandwich", I think I would have preferred it on a regular bun or kaiser roll. The pulled pork itself was excellent.  Unlike the dry pulled pork, which has to be doused with loads of BBQ sauce just to get it down, that you get from other BBQ joints, the pulled pork here was juicy as well as tender and perfectly smoked. While the "sandwich" did have BBQ sauce on it, it was not overpowering and you could still enjoy the wonderful flavor of the meat itself while getting the perfect amount of the nice sweet mild flavored sauce to go with it.

Overall I was really pleased with what I got from Hog and Sauce BBQ and will definitely go back.  In addition to the pulled pork they also have smoked beef (which I'm assuming is brisket), smoked chicken, and Nathan's hot dogs as well as your typical baked beans and a small kids menu.  Fridays and Saturdays they do ribs which I'm really looking forward to trying next. There's plenty of choices to please anyone who enjoys a good smoked BBQ lunch or dinner. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Double Free Recipe Wednesday! (Fire-Roasted Tomato & Bacon Dip and Toffee Pecan Chex Mix)

If you're a follower of my blog you know that I post a new free recipe every Wednesday.  As you might have noticed, I didn't post a free recipe last Wednesday.  It was a busy week so I didn't really have time to post a new recipe.  I was planning to go ahead and post it on Thursday but then blogger had issues and no one could post anything.  With that all being said, today is officially Double Free Recipe Wednesday!  2 for 1, what a deal!

Recipe #1
The first recipe I have for you today is my Fire-Roasted Tomato & Bacon Dip.  This is actually my own recipe.  Most creamy dips have some sort of Mayo and/or Sour Cream base so I went with both and then I experimented with other ingredients and seasonings to get to this.  The only problem I have currently is that it is a little on the thin side but after sitting in the fridge overnight it does thicken up a little bit.  I'm working on a fix right now to make the dip a little thicker.  If you have any ideas, please feel free to post feedback. The dip is delicious none the less so give it a try and let me know what you think. Recipe #2 follows after this one.

Fire-Roasted Tomato & Bacon Dip
  • 1 cup Mayo
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 2-3 thin green onions, chopped
  • 1 pkg (2.5-3oz) Real Bacon Pieces
  • 1 can diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, well drained and chopped
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
Combine Mayo, Sour Cream, Green Onions, Paprika, and Garlic Powder in a bowl and mix together.  Add drained and chopped Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Real Bacon pieces. Mix everything thoroughly and refrigerate several hours or overnight for best flavor. Dip will thicken a little when refrigerated.

TIP: The dip is on the thin side to begin with so drain the tomatoes real well and then after you chop them add them back to the strainer and drain them again.

Recipe #2
Today's second recipe is Toffee Pecan Chex Mix. This is a fairly simple recipe and is a delicious snack. It's great for family get-togethers, work parties, or just as a snack at home. You can really use just about any kind of nut in this recipe but I find that pecans give it the best flavor. Give it a try and as always let me know what you think. 

Toffee Pecan Chex Mix
  • 6 Cups Chex Mix (2 Cups each kind)
  • 2 Cups Pecans
  • 3/4 Cup Melted Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

Combine Chex Mix and Pecans thoroughly in a large bowl. Place the Melted Butter and Brown Sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and quickly stir mixture into the bowl with the Chex and Pecans. Spread the contents of the bowl onto a cookie sheet and bake at 360 degrees for 8 minutes stirring half way through to prevent sticking. Timing depends on the oven so you may have to bake longer than 8 minutes, just taste them each time you stir so you don’t accidentally burn them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Knorr Spinach Dip)

Once again it's Wednesday so it's time for Free Recipe Wednesday.  Where has the week gone?  More importantly, what happened to the weekend?  I feel like I missed it. Today's free recipe is Knorr Spinach Dip and it can actually be found on the back of the package of Knorr brand Vegetable Soup Mix, which just so happens to be an ingredient needed to make this dip.  I've been making this spinach dip for nearly 10 years and it's absolutely delicious, not to mention easy to make.  It's a cold spinach dip and is excellent served with corn tortilla chips or even that Hawaiian sweet bread you can get in the Wal-Mart deli area.  Give this dip a try, take it to a family get-together or to the office, I guarantee it'll be a hit.

Knorr Spinach Dip
  • 1 10oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 cup (8oz) mayonnaise
  • 2 cups (16oz) sour cream
  • 1 16oz can of water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
Mix everything together (best if refrigerated overnight for flavors to blend)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thai Xpress

Today's blog is a review of a couple items I had at Thai Xpress (here in Springfield, MO) the other day.  I've eaten at Thai Xpress many times and although I'm not a huge fan of Thai food, I've been impressed with everything I've eaten there.  This restaurant is a small place but it has been featured in our local newspaper and gets rave reviews all over the internet. The cuisine is a nice mix of Thai and Chinese food but there is definitely an emphasis on the Thai food on the menu.  Today's review is a combination of both types with the first item being the Combo (Shrimp/Crab) Fried Rice and the second item being Thai Sweet Iced Tea.

Click to Enlarge

Let me start out by saying that the Combo (Shrimp/Crab) Fried Rice, seen above, was much better than I could have ever expected.  I love seafood but I rarely get it in fried rice.  It could be that I've just grown up eating chicken or beef fried rice so that's what I always get.  No matter the reason, I got it this time and was happy I did.  The shrimp were nice and big as were the chunks of crab meat.  I felt the amount they put in the fried rice was very proportionate and I was able to get a little seafood with each bite.  Towards the end of eating the dish I initially was disappointed because I still had a little rice left and no seafood but as I continued eating the rice I found little hidden morsels of crab meat mixed in which was very satisfying.  Overall, I thought the dish was very tasty and well priced.  Definitely worth trying and I will certainly order this again.

Click To Enlarge

What you see above is Thai Sweet Iced Tea.  It's orange in color, which is interesting when you first order one of these, but it is oh so delicious.  First thing to know is that Thai tea is different than the traditional tea made here in the US.  They have their own special tea plants in Thailand which is where they get this special brew.  It has a very good, strong tea flavor.  The key to a Thai Iced Tea though, and the reason the tea is orange in color, is the addition of half and half or any other type of creamer to the tea.  This combination of the unique, very sweet, Thai tea and cream makes for a drink that is out of this world.  I have to order one of these every time I go and I recommend it to everyone I talk to when the conversation of Thai food comes up. If you ever find yourself at a Thai restaurant and see Thai Sweet Tea on the menu, give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Overall, Thai Xpress is an amazing place to eat. Other dishes I've tried there include the Curry as well as the Peanut Chicken which is amazing.  Other popular, recommended dishes, that I will try someday include the Boom Chicken, Jerry Chicken, and the Royal Chicken.  If you live in Springfield or ever travel here you definitely need to check this place out.