Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yummy Recipe Wednesday! (Paul Prudhomme's Cajun Meatloaf)

Hello again everyone. Welcome to another Yummy Recipe Wednesday. Well, the warm weather here in the Midwest didn’t last as long as we would have liked so it’s back to cold weather comfort food here on the blog…for now. Meatloaf has always been a fall/winter comfort food for me but today’s meatloaf recipe isn’t just your average everyday meatloaf. Unlike your normal, sometimes bland, meatloaf this Cajun meatloaf is loaded with flavors and spice. The recipe for this amazing meatloaf comes from Paul Prudhomme who is an American celebrity chef that has been credited with popularizing Cajun cuisine. My uncle made this meatloaf many times years ago when he was still with us and it was always a huge success. I personally think this is the best meatloaf in the world and that sentiment has been shared by lots of others who have made or tried this meatloaf. Next time you get the urge to have meatloaf for dinner I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. Drop me a line in the comments below letting me know what you think when you do try it for yourself.

Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meatloaf

  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne (Ground Red Pepper)
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Celery
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Green Onion
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup Catsup
  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb Ground Pork
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Very Fine Dry Breadcrumb

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat
3. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and seasoning mix; saute until the mixture starts sticking excessively, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well.
4. Stir in the milk and catsup; continue cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove the bay leaves and take the pan off the heat, allowing the mixture to cool to room temperature.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Place ground beef and pork in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
8. Add the eggs, cooked vegetable mixture (cooled), and the bread crumbs; mix by hand until thoroughly combined.
9. In the center of the pan, shape the mixture into a loaf that is about 1 1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide, and 12 inches long.
10. Bake uncovered in the 350 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes, then increase the heat to 400 degrees and continue to cook until done, about 35 minutes longer.
11. Serve immediately as is or with Cajun hot sauce.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gluten Free Friday! (GF Shrimp Scampi)

Hello again food fanatics! The end of the week is finally here and that also means it’s time for another Gluten Free Friday recipe. Today I bring you one of my favorite shrimp dishes, Shrimp Scampi. Most shrimp scampi dishes are naturally gluten free but occasionally you’ll find one where the shrimp is dusted in flour or the sauce has flour in it as a thickener. The recipe I bring you today doesn’t include any flour or other glutenous ingredients so you can feel safe making this one. Now, I don’t get to eat shrimp as much as I’d like to due to the somewhat expensive price of shrimp as well as the fact that my wife doesn’t like shrimp so it’s hard to make shrimp dishes at home. I have, however, had a lot of shrimp scampi at various restaurants and I have to say that I would choose this dish over any restaurant scampi anytime. The sauce in this dish is just simply amazing. You definitely need to serve bread along with this so you have something to soak up all of the extra sauce. I think the best thing about this recipe, besides how delicious it is, is that it’s so easy to make. You can easily rock this dish out in less than 30 minutes and most of that time is actually spent shelling and deveining the shrimp. Give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments below how it matches up against some of the shrimp scampi you’ve had in the past.

GF Shrimp Scampi

  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 lb Shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, for garnish

1. In a large skillet cook the garlic in the oil, over medium heat, slowly to infuse the oil with the garlic being careful not to burn the garlic.
2. Add the red pepper flakes to the garlic and oil and stir to combine.
3. Raise the heat to medium high and add the shrimp with a little salt; cook until shrimp is almost done.
4. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol is burned off, about 1 minute.
5. Add the lemon juice and butter to finish the dish.
6. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yummy Recipe Wednesday! (Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa)

Welcome everyone to another Yummy Recipe Wednesday. Today I bring you a delicious spicy fish taco recipe. Fish tacos always remind me of the summer time and with warmer weather creeping into the Midwest, at least for this week, I felt this recipe was appropriate. Personally, I love Tilapia in fish tacos because of its mild flavor. The spiciness of the fish in these tacos is great and really works well with sweetness of the jicama. If you’ve never used jicama (the J is pronounced with an H sound), also known as a Mexican potato and available at every Wal-Mart I’ve ever been to, it has a slightly sweet flavor and the crunchy texture of an uncooked potato. Jicama, however, is meant to be eaten raw and not cooked. I’m not even sure what cooked jicama would taste like or if it would even be any good. I also recommend grilling the corn and bell pepper for this recipe in a little oil for a little charred flavor. Additionally, make sure to use 2 corn tortillas for each taco. If you only use one tortilla it will fall apart and all the filling will fall out on your plate and that’s no good. One last thing, instead of using Sour Cream as a topping on these tacos, you could instead use Fish Taco White Sauce which is amazing. Click HERE for a recipe here on my blog to make an excellent Fish Taco White Sauce. Give these tacos a try and let me know in the comments below what you thought. Be sure to come back Friday for another Gluten Free Friday recipe and don’t forget to follow @RecipeBlogger on Twitter if you’re not already.

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

  • 1 cup Corn
  • 1/2 cup Diced Red Onion
  • 1 cup Peeled, Chopped Jicama
  • 1/2 cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 6 (4 oz) Tilapia Fillets
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 12 Corn Tortillas, warmed

1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama, red bell pepper, and cilantro; stir in lime juice and zest.
3. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt.
4. Brush each tilapia fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices.
5. Arrange fillets on grill grate and cook for 3 minutes per side.
6. For each fiery fish taco, top two corn tortillas with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa; serve hot.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yummy Recipe Wednesday! (Cheesy Bacon & Tomato Cups)

Welcome food lovers to another Yummy Recipe Wednesday. Today I bring you a delicious appetizer that’s sure to please friends and family. For me these are like a deluxe version of Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits. Plus they’re super easy to make so you can’t go wrong. Make sure your biscuit dough is cold for easier separation and these are definitely best served still hot. There’s really not much else to say about these, they pretty much speak for themselves. Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Cheesy Bacon & Tomato Cups

  • 8 slices Bacon
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 3 oz Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 (16 oz) can Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C); lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until evenly brown; drain on paper towel and crumble into a medium mixing bowl.
3. Saute onions in the leftover bacon grease until soft and translucent; add onions to the bowl of bacon.
4. To the bacon and onions, add the chopped tomato, Swiss cheese, basil, and enough mayonnaise to moisten and hold together the mixture.
5. Separate biscuits into halves horizontally and place each half into prepared mini muffin pan; fill each biscuit half with the bacon mixture.
6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes; serve hot.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Gluten Free Friday! (Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf)

Hello again everyone and welcome to another edition of Gluten Free Friday. I hope everyone had a great week and is ready to get their weekend started. Today I bring you a delicious gluten free turkey meatloaf that’s loaded with flavor and is still low fat and low calories. Turkey always has a tendency to be a bit bland unless seasoned like crazy, in my opinion, but the quinoa and hot sauce as well as the sweet sauce on top of this meatloaf really adds a lot of flavor. I definitely recommend free-forming this into a loaf on a baking sheet rather than using a loaf pan, since it’s made with turkey, otherwise it’ll come out mushy. You can, however, fill a muffin tin with the mixture and make little muffin shaped individual meatloaves which are great for taking leftovers to work. Personally, I like to take leftover slices of meatloaf and make a meatloaf sandwich but you can do it however you like. If you do use the muffin tin I would recommend checking them after about 30 minutes because they shouldn’t take as long to finish. Give this healthy gluten free meatloaf recipe a try; I’m sure you’ll really love it. As always, feel free to leave comments below letting me know what you think.

Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf

  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1 large Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 1 1/4 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Water

1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
5. In a large bowl mix the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper until well combined; the mixture will be very moist.
6. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet.
7. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, and 1 teaspoon water; rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
8. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center and reads at least 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, about 50 minutes.
9. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yummy Recipe Wednesday! (Fried Mac N Cheese Balls)

Hello again friends and food lovers. Welcome to another Yummy Recipe Wednesday. Today I bring you a delicious fried treat. If you’ve never had Fried Mac N Cheese Balls, homemade or store bought, you’re really missing out on something special. For me, I first discovered these at a gas station hot deli of all places. Of course the ones they have there are triangular shaped bites that are clearly a factory made froze product, but delicious none the less. After discovering these I went on a mission to find a recipe that I could use to make them myself and the recipe below is the result of that search. These are obviously so much more delicious than the gas station variety that I used to eat. I know glancing at the ingredients/steps below must make it look like these are hard to make but they’re really quite easy. Give them a try and let me know in the comments below if you thought they were as delicious as I do. Also be sure to check back on Friday for another Gluten Free Friday recipe and if you haven’t do so yet please complete the poll at the top of the sidebar to let me know what you think about the new background.

Fried Mac N Cheese Balls

  • 1 (7.25 oz) pkg Macaroni and Cheese Mix
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Pimento Cheese Spread
  • 1 cup Shredded Italian Cheese Blend
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp White Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Milk
  • 4 cups Peanut Oil, as needed for frying

1. Fill a pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
2. Stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is al dente, about 7 minutes, then drain.
3. Stir in the 2 tablespoons butter, the 1/4 cup milk, and the cheese packet from the package.
4. While the macaroni is still hot, stir in the Cheddar cheese, pimento cheese spread, and Italian cheese blend, and continue to stir until melted.
5. Place the macaroni and cheese mixture in a container and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Remove the macaroni mixture from the refrigerator and, using a cookie scoop, scoop into balls; place the macaroni balls onto the prepared baking sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours.
8. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
9. Whisk together the bread crumbs, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne in a shallow dish; set aside.
10. Beat the eggs with the 3 tablespoons milk in a separate small bowl.
11. Remove the macaroni balls from the freezer and coat then in the egg wash then dredge them in the breading.
12. Fry the macaroni balls in small batches until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes; drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate and serve hot.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Minor Design Change

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Today I decided to make some minor design changes to the blog.  The most noticeable of these changes, of course, is the background.  I liked the old background but felt it was time for a change and this new background also matches the blog's Twitter page background.  I also removed the background transparency of the posts themselves.  The new background is a bit "busier" than the old one and I felt that being able to see the background behind the text was a bit distracting when trying to read a post/recipe.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the changes.  I put up a poll at the top of the side bar to the right to voice your opinion about the changes.  The poll will be up until the end of this month (February) and it would be appreciated if I could get some feedback.  If you have any thoughts or some input that you can't relay via the poll, please feel free to comment on this post.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for another Yummy Recipe Wednesday recipe post.