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Homemade Taco Seasoning

Adjust the cumin to increase the heat. We’ve only used this on chicken, so I’m not sure how well it works on beef. Let me know!

TACO SEASONING

Makes enough for over 6 lbs of meat.

Ingredients:

  • 6 T (3/8 c) Chili Powder
  • 4 T (1/4 c) Garlic Powder
  • 6 T (3/8 c) Dried Minced Onion
  • 4 T (1/4 c) Oregano
  • 2 T (1/8 c) Paprika
  • 16 T (1 c) Cumin
  • 12 T (3/4 c) Salt
  • 6 T (3/8 c) Black Pepper
  • 6 T (3/8 c) Onion Powder

Directions:

In the crockpot, use 3/8 c of mix and 1/2 c of water for every lb of meat you’re cooking. See the Chicken Taco post for more information. You made need to adjust the amount of water if cooking on the stove.

Store your leftover seasoning in an airtight jar. I use an old plastic peanut butter jar with proportions for different amounts of meat written on it.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken

Since I promised to repost it for folks, here’s my customized recipe for garlic parmesan chicken that I typed up a while ago. It involves a small amount of ‘winging it’, as does most of my cooking; whenever I try to quantify things exactly, it never turns out quite as good.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1 stick unsalted butter
1 clove garlic
1tsp (kosher) salt (we use kosher salt almost exclusively these days, its much better than
table salt and we highly recommend it for most applications)
1/8th tsp freshly ground black pepper – vary to taste
1tsp Italian seasoning (we often just substituted oregano or other bits of seasoning to
taste, you want something a bit green mixed in for appearance as well as taste)
1tsp garlic salt (we sometimes add some garlic-pepper as well, being garlic fans, or just
extra garlic powder)
1/3 to 1/2cup shredded parmesan cheese – you can use grated, but it won’ t be quite the
same
1 cups (Panko) bread crumbs – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panko can get them from
amazon.com and other places, becoming more common in stores now, as well.

Preheat oven to 450deg F.

Chop the chicken into whatever sized chunks you desire; smaller chunks will require
doubling the breadcrumbs and seasonings due to the increased surface area to coat. We
tend to have just enough for 1lb of chicken rather than 2lb when we do ours, we like the
small pieces because the breading is excellent.

Melt the butter, and mince the garlic clove into the melted butter and stir well. If you
don’ t have fresh garlic, dried minced garlic works, a couple teaspoons or so.

Mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and other seasonings together in another bowl. Take the
chicken pieces, dunk them in the butter-garlic mix, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture to
coat well. Place in a 13×9 Pyrex baking dish (or whatever equivalent you have around),
and cover the bottom then start filling in the gaps to have a uniform thickness for safer
cooking.

When done, I take whatever bit of butter is left and mix it in with the remaining
breadcrumbs, then sprinkle it all over top of the baking dish to cook. It helps create an
even crisper coating on the top pieces of chicken. Bake for 15-20minutes at 450deg F, be
sure to check doneness on a large piece when done. Should have a lightly browned look
across the top.

Serve as fingerfood (hot or cold) or as part of a larger meal, I think it goes great with
pasta and various red sauces. Hope you enjoy! I couldn’t find the original website we
got the recipe from, and we’ve varied it up somewhat (mainly in using smaller chicken
pieces and more garlic).

Recipe: Creamy Chicken & Potatoes over Rice

A simple yet amazingly good recipe.

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Cooking: Chicken Tacos

Every Saturday, I cook taco meat. It’s quick, can be used for a couple of meals, and is one thing that the boy will eat regularly.

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The Post-Thanksgiving Blues

Currently trying to wrangle some sort of order into our overstuffed house. The newest additions from Black Friday shopping didn’t help, although the fact that they were almost exclusively desired kitchen items makes pog happy. Added to our arsenal are now 2 cooling racks, a 7qt crockpot to add to our collection of a 3.5qt and a 1qt (we use them weekly and the larger one will hopefully allow us to try cooking a whole chicken…), a new cutting board to compliment our joint christmas gift, some Christmas gifts for people, and some essentials for pog and I.

Looking back, seems crazy that I started shopping at midnight for that haul. I might take next year off. XD

This week’s food experiment: Roasted Turkey!

Smells good, but I need a roasting pan with a rack. *ponders how to get a hot 15lb bird out of a deep roasting dish*

Pan-seared steak plus sauce

This recipe is mostly derived from Alton Brown and Good Eats. Primarily the “Steak your Claim”, “Tender is the Loin”, and “Hitting The Sauce” episodes.

I picked up some cheap red-tag steaks at Food Lion on Monday. Red tags simply mean the sell-by date is a day or two off, and the steak is going to get binned shortly if you don’t buy at the reduced price. Sometimes red-tags are horrid looking pieces of meat, already turning an unappealing brown in the packaging. Sometimes there’s nothing visibly awkward at all. These steaks were nothing amazing, just some square cut (in the cross section, 1″ to a side) strips of low grade beef. I tend to grab decent steaks like that to be frozen and later cooked in some kind of gravy in the crockpot, as 8 hours of slow stewing in a delicious brown gravy will make even the worst cuts of meat appetizingly tender.

Monday, however, I wanted to try searing the outside of the steaks prior to putting them in the crockpot. Searing, as examined on Good Eats, merely adds flavor. It does not increase moisture retention as some older cookbooks proclaim (in fact the extra cellular damage to the meat increases moisture loss during further cooking). But, seeing as Meabh wasn’t feeling that well, and feeling slightly adventurous, I decided to try going a step further and finishing the steaks myself. Hit the jump to see how I cooked them, and the pan sauce I made afterwards to accompany them.

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Creamed Corn Recipe

This recipe is derived from what my grandmother (from my mom’s side of the family, aka Mommom) taught me about creamed corn. The credit primarily goes to her, with side credits to Alton Brown of Good Eats (where I’m positive I picked up the bowl-in-a-bowl idea for easier milking, and of course for getting me hooked on kosher salt) and my wife Meabh for her aid in taste-testing and critiques as I figured out proportions.

If a recipe of mine isn’t just pulled from the internet or from Good Eats, there’s a nearly 100% chance that its origins lie in either my mother’s or her mother’s influences on me.  I’m always striving to just come close to the culinary masterpieces I grew up enjoying. Unfortunately I often fail at writing down what they tell me, so I wing it and it never quite matches what I expect.

You could almost call this a fried corn, rather than creamed corn. Creamed corn has a lot of negative connotations for many people I’ve spoken to about it, and I attribute this to lunch-ladies and the horrid abomination Del Monte and others can and call ‘creamed corn.’ Trust me when I say I wouldn’t touch that stuff, and you shouldn’t either, with this recipe available to you. Hit the jump to see what I’m talking about.

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Pogle’s Favorite Garlic Spaghetti Sauce…now with meat!

One of pog’s favorite stories is about home ec and the rather strong spaghetti sauce he made. The boy simply loves garlic. I started making homemade spaghetti sauce not long after we were married and it is still his favorite thing for me to make him. As for me, as picky as he is I’ll jump at any chance to get some veggies down his gullet. Thankfully I love garlic too.

The materials aren’t expensive and you can season it however you prefer. If you end up making this regularly like us, a trip to Sam’s Club might end up looking something like this:

samsclub.jpg

I just had to show off our other finds too. ;) Mason jar for scale (recycled from purchased sauce and used for storing homemade sauce in the refrigerator).

Here’s my newest recipe for Pogle’s Favorite Garlic Spaghetti Sauce with Meat:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 28-oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 6-oz cans of tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion, ground
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Garni (a garlic seasoning mix; eliminate or replace with more of the above)

Directions

  1. Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned; drain off or absorb fat (I use paper towels for this).
  2. In a large crockpot, combine cooked ground beef, tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, and seasonings. Mix well and cook on low for about 4 hours.
  3. Be tortured by the smell until it is done.
  4. After 4 hours, turn off the crock pot. I recommend that you make some spaghetti or breadsticks to eat with the fresh sauce. Nomnomnom. Leave remaining sauce in the crockpot to cool.
  5. When the crockpot is cool enough to work with, you can either put the entire thing in the fridge (I only do this overnight or so; do place a potholder down, just in case!) or get out a couple of mason jars to fill up. The acidity levels of tomato-based sauces will keep this sauce good for a very long time in the fridge.
  6. Be sure to use some bread to clean the inside of the crockpot. Why let it go to waste?! Nomnomnom.

sauce.jpg

This recipe is guaranteed to give you garlic breath, so make sure you share with those closest to you to inoculate them to the smell.

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