Roasted Sweet Potato Tasso Bisque

IMG_7835 (2)

I love Cajun and Creole food. I went to New Orleans for the second time and this time I had the opportunity to take my first cooking class. I took a hands-on class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and it was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about the cuisine of NOLA and meeting my 9 new friends. Chef Matt was an amazing teacher with a great personality. My favorite dish that we made was the bisque; so spicy, creamy and delicious. We used an immersion blender to puree. If you don’t have one of those you could use a food processor or blender in its place.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup tasso (if your grocer doesn’t carry this you can use bacon or prosciutto in its place)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS Joe’s Stuff seasoning (I have the link to order down below, but you can use a combination of salt, garlic salt, paprika and onion powder in its place)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook sweet potato for 45 minutes or until tender, remove from oven and let cool (poke holes in the potato prior to cooking and beware that it will leak all over your oven, so place it on a pan).

In a heavy bottom pot, heat butter and brown tasso on all sides at medium-high. Remove half from pot and set aside for garnish.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic; saute until soft. De-glaze with stock, scraping the bits of the bottom of the pot. Add Joe’s stuff or your own seasonings and allow to simmer.

After sweet potato has cooled, split it in half and scoop flesh out with a spoon. Add potato to simmering liquid. Using the immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot until smooth.

Add heavy cream and return to pot to simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Garnish with tasso and green onions.

Here is where you can purchase the special creole seasoning:

http://store.nosoc.com/joes-stuff-4-5-oz/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase and Sophia’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese

 

IMG_7345 (1)

My son and his girlfriend are an adorable couple. She has quickly become a part of our family and I love her like she is one of my own. The positive effects she has had on my son are innumerable and it has been a delight to see the conscientious and considerate young man he has become while in a couple. One of the positive effects has been their love of cooking. My daughter and I came home tired and hungry from a day of traveling home from Canada a few weeks back and we opened the fridge and found this delicious baked mac n’ cheese inside; comfort food was just what we needed. They found this recipe on the website http://www.momontimeout.com and made a couple alterations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded (they used cheddar in place of Gruyere)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large 3-4 quart baking dish. Combine shredded cheese in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta 1 minute to al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl. Drizzle pasta with olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven or stock pot. Whisk in flour and continue  whisking for 1 minute until bubbly and golden. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk until bubbles form on the surface and then an additional 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick. Add 2 more cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick.

Stir in cooled pasta and fully coat with cheese sauce. Pour half of the pasta into baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and then add the remaining pasta on top.

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

 

 

This tasty mushroom recipe is from the first diet plan that ever worked for me. It doesn’t taste like diet food because yummy melted cheese! Found in Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on Fabulous Food cookbook, they are cheesy and tasty with no rice or bread. They are easy to make and can be served as an appetizer if you are entertaining.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS chopped thyme, parsley or tarragon (she uses fresh lemon thyme in the book but I have trouble finding that)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Carefully pull stems off the mushrooms, finely chop stems. Select the 12 largest caps and set aside for filling. Finely chop the remaining mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add shallots and saute until golden brown. Add chopped mushrooms and herb and saute until brown and crispy. Add wine and cook off the alcohol for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and preheat broiler.

Place the mushroom mixture in a mixing bowl with 1/2 the cheese, stir until well combined. Lightly rub the caps with oil and place on cookie sheet. Fill each cap and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Broil for 5 minutes. Cheese should be bubbly and the caps a little brown.

 

 

 

Three Bean Salad

 

 

I realize summer is over. However, I am still going to share this recipe I found over the summer because I want it in my archives for easy access. Also, you might like it as well. Super easy to make and great for leftovers. I found it on one of my favorite recipe websites. http://www.simplyrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz  red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine (3/4 cup), soaked in water to take away the sting, discard water before adding
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine (1 cup)
  • 1 cup loosely packed, fresh. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix all the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat. Chill for several hours.

 

 

Twice Baked Potatoes

 

This is a modified recipe from Horne of the Moon Cookbook, a vegetarian restaurant in Vermont. It is simple, but not as simple as a baked potato. Well worth the extra effort. I am not listing the amount of each ingredient because it varies depending on how many potatoes you cook. Just keep tasting the mix.

Ingredients:

  • Large russet potatoes (however many you care to serve).
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork (1-1 1/4 hours). Cut the top of each potato so that the inside can be easily scooped out. Scoop out insides and place in a bowl. Mash with butter, lower over temp to 400, add sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Fill the potato shells and sprinkle each with paprika. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.

 

Chow Mein (Panda Express Copycat)

I know, I know, when you think of Panda Express you don’t think of yummy; or maybe you do?  My daughter brought this recipe home from her cooking class at school and I have made it several times. It is a simple and delicious version of chow mien.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS brown sugar, packed
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 package refrigerated Yakisoba noodles, seasoning packets discarded
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery. sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups (heaping) shredded cabbage

Directions:

Combine soy, garlic, sugar and pepper in a bowl, set aside. Pierce noodles (all 3) and microwave for 1 minute. Loosen noodles and rinse in colander; place aside. Heat oil in wok or skillet. Add onion and celery until wilted (3-4 min) then add cabbage until soft and heated (2-3 min). Add noodles and soy mixture until all is well heated and mixed. Enjoy!

Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted caramelized cauliflower makes a great side dish. This recipe, found in the February 2013 issue of Bon Appetit magazine is delicious and simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 sliced medium onion
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions;
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets. Toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with onion, thyme, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, toss to combine, roast another 10-12 minutes.