Tag Archives: Sausage

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso #SundaySupper

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Welcome to #SundaySupper, where our wonderful theme this week is… Football Food!!! Very near and dear to my heart – in fact, I happily watched Houston beat OU yesterday, woohoo! (I hate OU. It’s a Texas thing).

Anywho, when I think of football food, a spicy, Tex-Mex-y, cheesy dip is pretty much the ONLY thing that comes to mind. Growing up in Texas, obviously football was huge, there was always a game on every weekend, and to my young, impressionable mind, it was like queso = watching football in the den. Period. So, of course I have to make a queso for today’s Sunday Supper, right?

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

This particular queso is amazing, addictive, awesome, and incredibly spicy as written. You start by roasting jalapenos at a very high oven heat (recipe instructs roasting at 500 F, but if that makes your smoke alarm go off too, you can totally roast them at 450 F with no problems). Then you brown lovely, fatty, flavorful chorizo in a cast-iron skillet, add some onion, then you add the roasted jalapenos, some canned diced tomatoes and melty processed cheese product (no real cheese here, people. It just won’t do.) Once the “cheese” is melted (ha! Sorry!) you dice up an entire fresh jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all, and add it to the queso once you’ve turned off the heat. Yeah, it’s freakin’ spicy! But sooooo delicious. And if you want, you can totally leave off that last step with the fresh chile to tame the spice level. It’ll still be amazing!

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Enjoy this perfect football-watching queso dip! And be sure you check out the rest of my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: slightly adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

6 large jalapenos, divided
1 tbs olive oil
½ lb. fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
¾ cup diced onion
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juices
1 lb. processed cheese product, such as Velveeta
Tortilla chips, for serving

Preheat your oven as high as it will go without angering your smoke detector – up to 500 F but 450 F is fine too.
Halve and seed 5 of the jalapenos. Toss with olive oil in a bowl to coat, then arrange on a small, foil-lined baking sheet, skin-side up. Roast until blistering and getting dark, about 15 minutes. Cool until you can handle them, then thinly slice or chop, discarding the stems. Set aside. Finely mince the remaining raw jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all. Set aside.
In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet* cook the chorizo over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until browned and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juices, and the roasted jalapenos. Then add the Velveeta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir until the “cheese” melts, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the raw jalapeno and stir until mixture is perfectly smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.
*I made this twice, once using a 12” skillet and the other time using a 10” skillet. It really doesn’t matter which one you use. The 12” is easier during the cooking process (more room) but the queso cools much faster this way after you serve it. With the 10” you have to be more careful while you stir during cooking (less space) but it’s better for serving. Your choice.


Main Dishes

Side Dishes


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

This is my first time participating in Brunch Week, so thank you for accepting me into the group! I’m thrilled to be here. We have some lovely sponsors for the week, including the one I’m highlighting today: Cabot Cheese.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

But, and I say this with one hundred percent seriousness, I had already committed to the idea of sharing a version of shrimp and grits even before finding out about Cabot’s participation. I absolutely adore shrimp and grits, in pretty much any form. Except maybe the overcooked shrimp versions. Those we can all do without. Anywho…

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

There are about as many variations on shrimp and grits as there are fiends for the dish, and while I have zero complaints about a well-executed stripped down version, for Brunch Week I decided it had to be a bit more complex and special. This particular recipe features spicy Andouille sausage mingling with the shrimp which forms a bit of a saucy topping for the firmer-yet-luscious grits, and then it’s drizzled with an even spicier yet creamy actual sauce on top.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

This was so delicious, so special and completely perfect to kick start Brunch Week. Stay tuned, there is much excitement to come! Enjoy!

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

Source: slightly adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp and Grits by Nathalie Dupree


1/3 cup green vinegar-based hot sauce, such as green Tabasco
¼ cup dry white wine
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs white wine vinegar
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Drizzle of olive oil, plus more as needed
8 oz. raw Andouille sausage, casings removed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup minced onion, such as Vidalia
4 tsp chopped garlic
30 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

5 cups water
3 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
8 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups coarse grits, not instant
8 oz. sharp white Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Start with the CREAM SAUCE: combine the green hot sauce, wine, shallot, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium-sized saucepan. Boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream. Set aside.

Now make the SHRIMP: heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and crumble it with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook, stirring frequently, until no traces of pink remain. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until veggies are tender. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay seasoning. Saute, stirring, until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be aware of how much salt your Cajun and Old Bay seasonings may already have. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now make the GRITS: bring the water, milk, cream and butter to a simmer in a medium-to-large stockpot. Gradually whisk in the grits. Stir frequently, until the grits are soft and thickened. This will take at least 15 minutes, and up to 1 hour depending on what brand of grits you are using. When the grits are ready, turn the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese until it melts. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary.

To serve, rewarm the cream sauce and shrimp. Spoon the grits into bowls and top with the shrimp and andouille sauce. Now top with the hot pepper cream sauce and serve immediately.

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Check out my fellow #BrunchWeek bloggers! Some very tasty recipes here!

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Spanish-Style Chicken, Morcilla, and Sherry One-Pot

Spanish-Style Chicken, Morcilla, and Sherry One-Pot

So of course you all know that I used to be a horrifically picky eater as a child, and that only began to change about ten years ago. Not only did I expand my horizons to embrace formerly icky mainstream ingredients like say, broccoli, or cabbage, I’ve also become quite an adventurous eater as well. I’ve tried, and liked, some weird stuff over the past decade – veal brains, grasshoppers, duck tongue, kangaroo meat, shrimp heads, Rocky Mountain oysters (Google it if you think it’s seafood)…

Spanish-style Chicken, Morcilla, and Sherry One Pot

And yet, there are still lines I have trouble crossing. Like raw oysters. If you cook or fry the oyster, fine, I’ll eat it. But raw oysters are essentially loogies of the sea, and I just can’t do it. Blood sausage, politely known as morcilla, is another one I have real trouble with. I first tasted it about eighteen months ago, when Matt and I vacationed for a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One night we dressed up to the nines and dined at an authentic Argentine steakhouse, where our appetizers were Provoleta (best thing ever) and a link of blood sausage. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “blood sausage” is not a euphemism. It’s exactly what you think it is.

Spanish-Style Chicken, Morcilla, and Sherry One Pot

I gave it the ol’ college try, but it just weirded me out so much. Gave me the willies, even though it really doesn’t taste bad at all. It was purely a mental thing. So imagine my surprise when we move from Queens to Hoboken, NJ, only to find that our local Shop Rite, of all grocery stores, regularly stocks morcilla. I promised Matt, who doesn’t share my squeamishness on this issue, that I’d cook it eventually. Nine months after we settled in, I delivered.

Spanish Style Chicken, Morcilla and Sherry One Pot

This chicken dish is quite lovely, rich and light at the same time, creamy and flavorful; I’m happy to report that Matt loved it! And I happily ate the chicken and did eat a few bites of the sausage. I tried, people, I tried. If you are like me and just can’t do it, I’d sub in some Spanish chorizo. Enjoy!

Spanish-Style Chicken, Morcilla, and Sherry One Pot

Source: A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry

1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
8 slices of morcilla (blood sausage), or Spanish chorizo
½ large onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
¾ cup dry sherry, plus more if needed
3 ½ tbs heavy cream
1 tbs toasted pine nuts
1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet that can hold the chicken and sausage pieces in a snug, even layer. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and brown in the skillet on both sides for color. Don’t cook it through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the sausage pieces to the pan and cook in the chicken drippings lightly on both sides, then remove it and set it aside with the chicken. Discard all but 1 tbs fat in the pan, if necessary, but don’t dislodge any brown bits stuck on the bottom.
Add the onion to the pan and brown it lightly. Lower the heat if it’s browning too fast. You don’t need it to soften. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to get those flavorful browned bits off and into the sauce. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan in a snug, even layer and place the skillet into the oven. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a chicken thigh registers 165 F.
There should still be sherry left in the pan mixing with the juices, but if not, add up to 4 tbs more and stir it into the juices. Put the skillet over medium heat and pour in the cream. Heat until it bubbles, then shut off the heat, scatter in the pine nuts and parsley, and serve immediately.
Serves 2.

Sweet Potato Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Skillet Bake #SundaySupper

Sweet Potato and Sausage Gravy Skillet Bake

Welcome to another Sunday Supper, our theme this week being Root Vegetables! Carrots, beets, potatoes, etc… I chose sweet potatoes mainly because I’ve been dying to share this amazing recipe with you, and this provided the perfect opportunity!

Sweet Potato and Sausage Gravy Skillet Bake

It took me a few tries to get just right, but here it is in all its salty, meaty, creamy, flaky biscuit glory. Basically, this recipe involves three steps. First, you make a sweet potato biscuit dough; you stamp out small biscuits and bake them off. Secondly, you make a rich, creamy breakfast sausage gravy in a cast-iron skillet. Then, for the best part of this whole shenanigan – you place the sweet potato biscuit scraps atop the sausage gravy and bake the whole thing off until the gravy is bubbly and the biscuit dough has risen and cooked through.

sweet potato biscuits

It’s so amazing!! Such a fun, unique twist on the usual biscuits and gravy routine. This would make hosting a large brunch easy, too – it could feed plenty, and would likely intrigue everyone with its whimsy. Of course this would work beautifully with traditional buttermilk biscuits too, but that wouldn’t have qualified for Root Vegetables Sunday Supper. 🙂

sweet potato and sausage gravy skillet bake

Enjoy! And do not forget to check out all the root vegetable recipes the Sunday Supper group is bringing today!

Sweet Potato and Sausage Gravy Skillet Bake

Sources: biscuits slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree; sausage gravy and skillet bake adapted from Home by Bryan Voltaggio


2 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 to 1 ¼ cup cooked pureed sweet potatoes
1 to 4 tbs whole milk, if needed

1 lb. breakfast sausage, removed from casings if necessary
1 tbs unsalted butter, if necessary
3 tbs all-purpose flour
4 cups half-and-half
1 tsp malt vinegar, optional
1-2 tsp minced fresh sage

First you make the BISCUITS: preheat your oven to 450 F. Use a pastry blender or 2 forks to work the flour into the dough until the mixture looks like crumbled feta cheese. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and add the sweet potato puree. Using a rubber spatula, make wide sweeping stirring motions to swiftly incorporate the sweet potato into the dough. Sweet potato puree adds lots of moisture, so you may not need the milk, but add it 1 tbs at a time if your dough is too dry.
Knead for no more than 1 minute to get the dough to come together. Turn it out onto a floured cutting board and pat it out to about ¾” thick. Using a 1 ½” biscuit cutter, stamp out about 9 biscuits, making sure you leave adequate dough on the sides and between the biscuits. Transfer the biscuits themselves to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Move the scraps to the refrigerator while you make the gravy.
For the SAUSAGE GRAVY: Lower the oven temperature to 425 F. Set a 12” cast iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until it has browned and no traces of pink remain. Remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Leave as much fat in the skillet as possible.
You want about 3-4 tbs fat in the skillet. If your sausage provides that, great. If not, add the butter to the skillet.
Lower the heat to medium, then whisk in the flour and stir about 1 minute. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking out lumps constantly. Once all the dairy is added, add back in the sausage and malt vinegar if using. Let the mixture come up to a bubble and thicken to gravy consistency. Raise the heat to medium-high if necessary. Stir in the sage, then shut off the heat.
Carefully transfer the biscuit scraps to the top of the gravy in the skillet. Try to leave the scraps in one piece. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuit dough is cooked through and golden on top. Let cool for a couple minutes, then scoop into bowls, serving the sweet potato biscuits on the side.






Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Pork and Sausage Meatballs in Porcini-Tomato Sauce

Pork and Sausage Meatballs in Porcini-Tomato Sauce

“Is it legal for meatballs to taste this good?” – Matt

Let’s hope, because these meatballs may just be the meatballs that will ruin all the other meatballs for you. I don’t know how the crack culinary geniuses at Fine Cooking Magazine came up with this one, I’m seriously living in complete awe of their recipe development prowess, but I’m forever grateful that they did.

Pork and Sausage Meatballs in Porcini-Tomato Sauce

And I’m forever thrilled to share it with you. This one is definitely going in my repertoire with the “Best Ever…” label firmly attached, something I’ll be pulling out to impress company. The slow cooker does most of the work, and you don’t even have to broil or brown the meatballs first (I told you they were geniuses!!).

Pork and Sausage Meatballs in Porcini-Tomato Sauce

Dried herbs, usually a foodier-than-thou no-no, are much of what takes the flavor of both the meatballs and the sauce just soaring. This is one instance where I’m thinking fresh actually isn’t better. The dried herbs really stand out in the long cooking time. Also, porcini mushrooms – ‘nuff said there! Soaking the breadcrumbs in sweet vermouth really makes a difference too – don’t skip that step. Genius.

Pork and Sausage Meatballs in Porcini-Tomato Sauce

I really can’t overstate how much we enjoyed these. I made them twice in one week – the first time because I hadn’t planned on blogging them, then a second time a few days later because I realized what a grave and unpardonable sin it would have been not to. I hope you all enjoy them as much as we did!

Source: Fine Cooking Magazine, Feb/Mar 2015


1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup sweet vermouth
1 ¼ lb. ground pork
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large egg
6 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 (15 oz.) can crushed or diced tomatoes, with their juices
¼ cup tomato paste
½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Make the MEATBALLS: mix the breadcrumbs and vermouth in a large bowl and set aside for 20 minutes.
Add the pork and sausage to the mixture, breaking the sausage up with your fingers as you go. Add the egg, cheese, sage, oregano, salt, and nutmeg. Mix until just combined. Form into 12 meatballs.
To make the SAUCE, mix the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, dried porcini, oregano, thyme, fennel, pepper flakes, and salt in a 5-6 quart slow cooker until the tomato paste dissolves.
Nestle the meatballs into the sauce. It’s fine if they don’t all fit in a single layer. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Once done, the meatballs can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 2 hours. When you’re ready to serve, gently break the meatballs apart if necessary, and gently turn them all in the sauce. Serve in bowls with plenty of sauce, and with extra Parmesan for garnish, if desired.

Emeril’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo #SundaySupper

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Big Game Day Party Recipes! Thanks to trademark infringement laws, we cannot specifically tell you which football game we speak of, but I’ll give you a hint: it will air February 7th, and it features the Carolina Panthers playing (and hopefully beating) the Denver Broncos. And we all know food is very important for this particular game, so today we’re here to give you tons of ideas for what to serve or bring to your party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I read once that while the rest of the US serves chili on this particular once-a-year Sunday evening, the fine people of New Orleans serve gumbo instead. I purposefully did not do any further research to confirm the veracity of this claim, because eating gumbo while watching the culmination of the NFL season sounded absolutely fantastic to me. If I’m wrong, I don’t want to know.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I decided that a heartier gumbo with chicken and sausage, rather than seafood, fit the occasion a little better. I went looking for a perfect recipe and chose Emeril’s. To say it did not disappoint would be a gross understatement. This is some of the best gumbo I’ve EVER tasted.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

So, the bad news about this recipe is that it’s quite involved and takes forever to make. But, the good news is that it tastes far better the day after you make it. This one is perfect to make the day before, put it up overnight, and then when your guests are arriving, you just heat it up and steam some rice. This is actually an ideal thing to serve if you want to enjoy your own party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I can’t recommend it highly enough, for this particular occasion of which we vaguely speak, or for a wonderful weekend project. It’s so awesome. Go Panthers!!! And be sure to check out the wonderful game day treats from the rest of the Sunday Supper crew!

Source: Essential Emeril by Emeril Lagasse


Stock and Chicken:
1 (4-5 lb.) chicken, cut into parts if desired
2 quarts store-bought chicken stock
2 quarts water
2 medium onions, quartered
2 carrots, rough chopped
2 ribs celery, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 fresh parsley stems
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 medium onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 tbs minced garlic
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste if desired
1 ½ lbs. andouille sausage, cut into 1/3-inch thick rounds
1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cooked white rice, for serving
Louisiana hot sauce, for serving

First you will need to make the stock and cook the chicken (which happens simultaneously). Place the chicken (or chicken parts) in a large stockpot and cover it with the stock and water. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour. At this point, the chicken should easily pull away from the bones.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard the vegetables. Pull the chicken meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Shred and reserve the meat. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the stock has cooled, start the rest of the gumbo. First you need to make the roux. Place a Dutch oven on the stovetop but don’t turn on the heat yet. Add the canola oil and flour to the pot and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Turn the heat on medium-high, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the roux bubbles and starts to turn color, lower the heat to medium or medium-low. You’ll keep the heat between medium and medium-low the rest of the time you’re making the roux. Keep stirring continuously, adjusting the heat as necessary. If the roux is doing absolutely nothing color-wise, turn it up to medium, and if it’s bubbling or threatening to scorch, turn it down to medium-low. Do not burn the roux – that’s why you never move the heat higher than medium, ever. Keep stirring until the roux is the color of dark peanut butter, or light milk chocolate. This will take about an hour.
Once the roux is ready, turn or keep the heat to medium and immediately add the onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, cayenne, and sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved cooled broth to the mixture (if you have a touch of grit you can leave off the last cup of broth with no problems). Also add the salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer, skimming off any excess foam or fat that comes to the top, until the sauce is flavorful and thickened to your desired consistency, about 2 hours.
Now add the chicken, most of the sliced scallions (save enough for garnish), and parsley. Stir it in and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Don’t stir much here or the chicken may fall apart on you. Adjust the thickness if necessary, by adding water or more broth. Taste and adjust the cayenne and salt if necessary.
Serve the gumbo in bowls topped with a good scoop of white rice and garnish with the reserved scallions. Pass the Louisiana hot sauce at the table.

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Pork and Whiskey Chili

Pork and Whiskey Chili

I’ve done quite a bit of cooking since 2016 began, with well, mixed results. I’ve learned valuable lessons though, like if you’re going to put baby back ribs in the slow cooker, the membrane MUST stay attached; otherwise they completely fall apart on you. I’ve also learned that kumquats have a very mild flavor when slow roasted, and probably weren’t worth the trouble as they only lent a slight citrusy background note that likely could have been achieved with some basic orange zest. (I might try that pork dish again with that change, because it was otherwise quite tasty.) Anyways.

Pork and Whiskey Chili

This chili was, thankfully, superb. Despite my pickiness about chili texture, I do enjoy shaking up the flavors from time to time. Sure, I’ll always be loyal to a Texas bowl o’ red, but I don’t feel guilty for occasionally stepping out on it. Pork in chili is delicious. It just is.

Pork and Whiskey Chili

This chili features pork in three ways, with bacon, Italian sausage, and ground pork shoulder. Despite the Italian sausage, this chili’s flavor profile is definitely Tex-Mex. The Italian-ness of the sausage doesn’t distract, it just provides an interesting note to wake up your tastes buds a little. Seeing as we just sat through a blizzard, I’m wishing the leftovers weren’t already gone… Enjoy!

Pork and Whiskey Chili

Source: adapted a little bit from The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh

1 tbs unsalted butter
3 thick-cut strips bacon, chopped
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casings
1 lb. ground pork
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 cups water
1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup whiskey or bourbon
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika
1-2 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbs masa harina
Garnishes of your choice (sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, pickled jalapenos, chopped onion…)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisped and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the sausage to the bacon drippings by pinching off little free-form meatballs. This will give your chili some texture later. Stir the sausage chunks until browned all over, then move all the sausage to one side of the pot. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or potato masher, until no traces of pink remain. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the water, tomatoes, whiskey, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well to mix and increase the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili at least 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching. Adjust the heat up or down as necessary to keep a simmer going.
Add the masa harina and stir to thicken. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Once the chili is to your desired thickness, serve with the garnishes of your choice.

Pork Lover’s Pizza

Pork Lover's Pizza

Well, it happened – I caught my first (and last? Oh please, oh please) cold of the season. Compared to the last two years, this is actually pretty good for me, but damn if it wasn’t incredibly unpleasant for four days. First world problems though. It’s good to be back!

Pork Lover's Pizza

Since I’ve been gone so long, I wanted the first post back to be a knock-out. And really, what is more decadent and pleasing than a meat-lover’s pizza? Childhood favorite of mine, that’s for sure. But when I realized that the only meat on here is pork, I decided to embrace it and call it pork lover’s pizza instead. It’s no less delicious for lacking in beef.

pork lover's pizza

Homemade pizza is always better than commercial big chain take-out, we all know that, and this is no exception to that rule. This pizza is quite fine, the flavors melding together perfectly but each standing on their own, and more importantly, they aren’t muddled together by an overabundance of salt and salt flavorings so prized by the fast food industry. Yes, this is a salty paradise, but in a welcoming way that doesn’t blow out your palate.

Pork Lover's Pizza

I made this one twice, both times on a Friday night after a less-than-thrilling work week for both me and Matt. It was the perfect comfort food answer to cheer bad moods and soothe wracked nerves. Especially if paired with red wine – just sayin’! Enjoy!

Pork Lover's Pizza

{One Year Ago: Banana Split Brownies}
{Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Stuffed French Toast; Lemon Risotto; Chocolate Pistachio Fudge; Classic Caesar Salad}

Source: lightly adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton

1 scant tbs olive oil
1 link uncooked Italian hot or sweet sausage, casings removed
2 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
1/8 lb. thinly sliced guanciale or pancetta
1 round pizza dough, enough for 1 (~ 12-inch) thin crust pizza
4 oz. tomato sauce
6 deli slices low-moisture mozzarella
5 thin deli slices of salami

Preheat your oven to 500 F if using a pizza stone, making sure you place your pizza stone in a cold oven.
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add in the sausage in little clumps, sort of like free-form mini meatballs. Cook for a few minutes, turning the sausage to brown on all sides, until just cooked through. If a few pieces aren’t quite cooked through, don’t worry about it. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the bacon to the same skillet and cook until crisped and browned. Remove with the slotted spoon to the same plate as the sausage.
Pour out any excess fat – you want to keep about a tablespoon in there. Now add the guanciale or pancetta to the skillet and cook until crisped. Remove with the slotted spoon to the same plate.
If you haven’t yet, roll the pizza dough to about 12 inches around (I know some pizza doughs have to be rolled out beforehand and some don’t). If your pizza stone requires parbaking, do so now.
Assemble the pizza for baking (either on a raw or parbaked crust): spread the tomato sauce all around with the back of a spoon, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Now lay the cheese slices all around – some gaps or some overlapping is fine.
Next lay the salami slices over the cheese. Now scatter the sausage, bacon and guanciale evenly over the pizza. Place the pizza in the oven and cook according to your pizza stone’s instructions. While I’m still experimenting with my new pizza stone, what seems to work for thin crust pizzas is 4 minutes parbaking the plain dough (rolled out to about 12 inches), then assembling the pizza and baking another 8 minutes.
When the cheese is melted and browned on the edges and the crust is cooked through, remove the pizza and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

This cold winter is really making an aggressively menacing effort to sabotage my weight loss efforts. I’ve got nine more pounds to go, and those nine pounds may just have to wait until spring. I’m serious. It’s not that I don’t want to lose them, it’s not that I’m not cognizant of my dietary and exercising efforts; it’s more that the cave man part of my brain is taking over and telling me that I need tons of animal fats and carbs to store up energy for this stupid cold weather we’re having. And it’s pretty difficult to talk back to that very strong voice.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

I try, of course. I tell it that I’m living in the 21st century, which means that I have access to all kinds of modern conveniences my cave man ancestors did not: winter coats, hats and gloves and scarves, indoor plumbing, indoor heating, any blanket I want, sweatshirts, long underwear…

It doesn’t matter. The inner voice persists, quite loudly sometimes. That’s why I am so thrilled that spaghetti squash is still in season. And that’s why I was even more thrilled to find that Kevin posted this recipe that includes a very hearty, meaty, cheesy lasagna type thing that nestles over spaghetti squash. I feel like Kevin is really looking out for both my inner cave man and my current waistline! Haha!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash is low-carb, of course, but it’s also filling and nutritious. And while not a pasta replacement, it is quite tasty on its own. In this dish we’ll be tossing that cooked spaghetti squash with lots of cheesy goodness: ricotta, Fontina, and some basil for extra flavor. It’s then topped with a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs Italian sausage and tomato sauce ragu, which is then topped with more Fontina and melted under the broiler.

Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

It’s PERFECT for cold winter nights, and it’s also pretty figure-friendly. You could sub in ground turkey for even fewer calories if you wanted, not to mention you could use low-fat ricotta and part-skim low moisture mozzarella for the Fontina.

And most importantly, this is really delicious. How could it not be? There’s just so much flavor here, and it’s so filling and satisfying without much guilt. And not nearly as time-consuming as actual lasagna, so score!! Enjoy this one guys! And try to stay warm!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

{One Year Ago: Margarita Fish Tacos}
{Two Years Ago: Giant Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze}

Source: slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 tbs olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casings
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs basil, chopped, divided
1 cup ricotta
6-8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded, divided

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silpat. Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with 1 tbs olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side up, in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes. You know when it’s done when a sharp paring knife can be inserted into the flesh and removed with no resistance.
Meanwhile, make the ragu. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle in the remaining tbs olive oil. Add the sausage and crumble with a sturdy spoon. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until tender, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, paprika, balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors marry and the tomato sauce thicken. Stir in the basil and turn the heat to very low.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and let cool just slightly. Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl, taking care not to break or crack the spaghetti squash shells. Add the ricotta, remaining tbs basil, and a medium-sized handful of the shredded Fontina. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well, evenly coating the strands of squash with the cheese.
Nestle the cheesy spaghetti squash strands back in the spaghetti squash shells, using a spoon to make an indentation, or a “bowl” in the center of each. Spoon the sausage ragu evenly into the 4 boats, then top each with the remaining shredded Fontina.
Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta #SundaySupper

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Libational Recipes, a fun one indeed. Who doesn’t love cooking with an alcoholic beverage of some sort? I certainly do.

So in choosing which recipe to feature today, I wanted to keep with the December-appropriate theme I’m doing all month long, so today I’m posting a dish appropriate for a small but elegant Christmas dinner gathering, or perhaps a small holiday dinner party. Game hens are so adorable, and I think it looks so lovely and fancy to give everyone their own little baby chicken on their plate.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Then the adorable game hens swim in this velvety, luscious, rich red wine sauce with savory sausage and sweet red grapes for the whole sweet-salty yin-yang thing we all love. All atop a mound of creamy, cheesy polenta. It’s really a beautiful dish. One I hope you all enjoy!

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence

{One Year Ago: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cream Cheese Glaze}


4 (1-1 ½ lb.) Cornish game hens
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Olive oil
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups instant polenta
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Season the outside and cavities of the game hens with salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together, then tie the wings flat against the body. Dot the butter all over the game hens, then carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one breast registers 165 F.
Start the sauce as soon as you get the birds into the oven. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then crumble in the sausage. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Dust the flour over the sausage and stir to combine. Add the wine and stir quickly to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and keep it at a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and velvety. Add in the grapes right before you’re ready to serve. If the grapes make the sauce too thin, boil it on high heat, stirring frequently, for a few minutes to thicken it up.
Make the polenta: bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Sprinkle in the polenta and whisk quickly to combine and make sure there are no lumps. It will thicken up in minutes. As soon as it thickens, turn the heat to low. Add in the cream, butter, cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, cut the strings off the game hens. Mound a few spoonfuls of polenta onto 4 dinner plates. Rest a bird on top of each, then generously spoon the sauce over the birds. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Savory and Sweet Libational Dishes

Libational Desserts

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