Quickie: Southern Catfish Burritos

With Dre getting done work at late, I have to think of quick, easy dinners for us. Last week, I whipped up what I call “Southern Burritos.” I seasoned Catfish Fillets with Minced Garlic, Tony Chachere’s seasoning, Sriracha, & Olive Oil and pan-fried them in bacon fat.

Burritos aren’t complete without rice & beans, so Dre made some Rice-a-Roni (read: quick) with sauteed Red Peppers & Onion to jazz it up a bit. Glory Foods Seasoned Blackeyed Peas are a favorite go-to side dish and were a perfect addition. After adding the Catfish, Rice, & Beans to a Whole Wheat Tortilla, we topped them off with Romaine & Sour Cream for delicious Southern Catfish Burritos!

Southern Catfish Burrito

Advertisements

To Taste: Homemade Apple Butter

In a gluttonous haze, we forgot to buy a jar of Apple Butter on our trip to the Amish Country. It’s apple season, so it seemed reasonable enough to channel my PA Dutch roots and make a batch of my own. I bought a variety of apples and was amazed by my fully intact thumbs after peeling them with a paring knife. Quite proud of myself, actually!

Golden Delicious

I referenced one of my favorite recipe sites, 101cookbooks, as I appreciate their dedication to an honest approach to cooking. After boiling the apple down in apple cider and a whirl in my Grandma’s 1970s era Cuisinart, I had fresh applesauce. Once chilled, each bite tasted as crisp as all the apple pieces I sampled along the way! I returned the majority of the applesauce to the pan with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, & the remaining liquid. After 2.5 hours of reducing, stirring, & a delicious scent, I had a worthy batch of Apple Butter for Dre & Lexi to enjoy! I’m actually not a fan, but sharing such a warm, delicious treat with the people I love makes it all worth it.

PA Dutch Apple Butter on an Eggo

PA Dutch Apple Butter
adapted from 101cookbooks – Apple Butter with Carolina B.

  • Apples – cored, peeled, & cubed – I used (1) lg Empire, (3) med Macintosh, & (3) med Golden Delicious
  • Apple Cider – about (2-3) quarts – enough to cover the apples in a large saucepan
  • Sugar – roughly (1) cup – probably good with brown sugar, too
  • Lemon Juice – from a 1/2 lemon
  • Cinnamon – a few dashes to taste
  • Nutmeg – a few dashes to taste, though I hate to admit I didn’t use fresh ground
  1. Simmer apple cubes with enough cider to cover in a large saucepan. Skim layer of foam as cider reduces.
  2. Once tender, transfer apple to blender or Cuisinart with a slotted spoon and puree to desired texture. Spice now or leave plain for applesauce.
  3. Return applesauce to saucepan and simmer on med-low for say… 1.5-2.5 hours, stirring regularly.
  4. Once thickened to a rich brown color, spread on an English Muffin and enjoy!

Leftover Lightning! Hot Pockets!

Sarah was kind enough to leave behind some Pizza Dough for us to experiment with after our “Build Your Own Pizza Night”, describing it as the “weird batch”. Dre & I decided to give its “weirdness” a whirl with some Sunday night stromboli & calzone.

Sarahs Weird Delicious Dough!

Sarah's "Weird" Delicious Dough!

I fulfilled my new addiction to the sweetness of Roasted Tomatoes by popping a batch in the oven while I began filling the dough. I opted for leftover Roasted Yellow Peppers & Zucchini from our “Build Your Own Pizza Night” with Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, Mozzarella, Asiago, Tomato Sauce, & Fresh Basil. Per my lactose intolerant boyfriend’s nonsensical request, I filled his with “just cheese” including Mozzarella, Asiago, & Ricotta with a swipe of Tomato Sauce, a layer of Roasted Tomatoes, chopped Fresh Basil, & extra Minced Garlic. They weren’t too pretty going into oven once folded and likewise once they were baked, but they were delicious! The “weird” dough created a flaky crust a la a homemade Hot Pocket, versus a traditional stromboli/calzone crust. Yum!

My Veggie Hot Pocket

My Roasted Veggie "Hot Pocket"

Dres Cheesey Tomato Hot Pocket

Dre's Cheesy Tomato "Hot Pocket"

Family-Style: Build Your Own Pizza

Last season of Top Chef, we started a tradition of “Family Dinners” at my house to watch each week’s episode along with a home-cooked meal! Tom, Dre, & Lex were the regulars at last season’s dinners, but couldn’t be happier to add Sarah to this year’s season. She brought along her homemade pizza dough for the return of Top Chef AND the return of “Build Your Own Pizza Night,” my favorite dinner theme!

The original plan was to do grilled pizzas, but after a summer of cooking and roasting Grape Tomatoes (via The Bitten Word’s amazing recipe) & Yellow Bell Peppers for pizza toppings, my grill ran out of gas. At least we always have the oven for back-up. I also prepared sauteed Zucchini, Chicken Andouille Sausage, Crab Meat, & Creole Shrimp, along with shredded Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Asiago, & Ricotta Cheeses, as topping options. Can’t forget some tomato sauce, as well! We all got to loading our shells with Dre opting for a Crab White Pizza & Tom piling on just about everying!

We were 3 episodes behind with all of our busy schedules, so we got together on a Thursday night to cook & recap via the DVR while the pizzas baked to perfection…

Dres Crab White Pizza - Pre-Baked

Dre's Crab White Pizza - Pre-Baked

My Pizza w/ the works

My Pizza w/ the works

Build Your Own Pizza Night

Homemade Pizza Dough a la Sarah

Roasted Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Peppers, & Zucchini

Chicken Andoille Sausage

Crab Meat

Creole Shrimp

Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Asiago, & Ricotta

Fresh Basil & Lemon-Thyme

To Taste: Chicken under a Bri… Something Heavy

My boyfriend has come to love food porn as much as I do, so when he sent me Pinch My Salt‘s step by step photo blog of Grilled Chicken Under a Brick, I couldn’t wait to get my spatchcock & grill on! Dre & I were both working late on a Friday night, and seeing that I already learned my lesson in grilling in the dark, I decided to at least get my meal prepped that night for a yummy pre-work lunch the next day.

When there’s chicken of any kind on sale, I impulsively pack my already stuffed freezer with as much as I can. I thawed one of the roasting chickens to make some space for my next grocery trip, watched this very helpful video on butterflying a whole chicken, & got to butchering! Call me sadistic (I’ll spare my veggie friends/readers from seeing the pics), but I really enjoyed the whole hands-on process of removing the spine & breast bone of my chicken so it could lay flat for its visit to the grill.

I picked some Fresh Herbs from my garden, chopped, & combined with Olive Oil & Minced Garlic for a simple chicken rub. I coated both sides of the chicken & marinated in the fridge overnight. I also peeled & cubed a butternut squash; to me, its serves as a starch & veggie side to any meal.

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Grilled Butternut Squash with Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Grilled Butternut Squash w/ Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Saturday morning, we got the grilled warmed to about 350 degrees per the Whole Foods recipe that Pinch My Salt referenced. I seasoned the Butternut Squash with Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil and divided them among 4 foil pouches while the chilled chicken came up to temperature. When it came to grill time, I realized that, uh…  umm… I didn’t have any bricks! So the only troubleshoot I could come up with was a heavy, foil-covered cast iron pan, which proved to be a perfect substitution. The original recipe called for a 3-4lb chicken, but I was working with a 7lb bird, so it took about 20-25 minutes per side. I tossed the squash pouches onto the grill, too, as they were tender after flipping a few times in about 40 minutes. Towards the end of grilling, the drums of the chicken fell off, but it fortunately gave them some extra time to cook when the breast & wings were perfect.

All future birds cooked in my household will surely be spatchcocked & grilled, as this was the juiciest & tastiest one I’ve ever made. Looking forward to a Turkey Under ALOT of Bricks this Thanksgiving!

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled: Chicken Under a “Brick” & Herb Butternut Squash

Butterflied Whole 7lb Chicken – Rubbed & marinated w/ Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Minced Garlic, & EVOO, grilled under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Butternut Squash – Cubed & tossed w/ Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil, grilled in foil packets

To Taste: Grilled Snow Crab Legs

Wasn’t too long ago that I was just sayin’ that you shouldn’t grill in the dark… especially crab legs. So I took another stab at grilled snow crab legs for a Sunday late-lunch/early-dinner with Dre. I decided to get all the sides started before I threw the crabbiness on the grill, so I could give it my undivided attention.

Earlier that week, I bought 2 large bunches of Collard Greens from the Italian Market. It was alot of greens for only $2! I rinsed & chopped them before sauteing in garlic, shallots, EVOO, & butter and simmering in chicken stock. I didn’t have any turkey bacon on hand as a usual ingredient in my greens, so just settled for some Sriracha & Worcestshire to jazz it up. I STILL had Grape Tomatoes from my Spicy Fish Tacos & Avocado-Salad and Sweet Peppers from my Mexi-Risotto, so I tossed them into a Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice Mix.

Dre whipped up a batch of Cornbread using trusty ol’ Jiffy mix. We tossed in some sliced jalapenos & the leftover sweet peppers, and sprinkled with shredded sharp cheddar halfway thru the baking process. With the greens sauteing, rice simmering, & cornbread baking, it was time for crab!

After a few knife pokes, a brush of butter, & 5 minutes on each side, we had ourselves a summer afternoon feast. Oh, and MOJITOS! After some experimenting, Dre mixed up a perfectly refreshing batch using Apple Mint from my garden.

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Grilled Crab Legs, Spanish Rice, Collard Greens, Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread, & an Apple Mint Mojito

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread - Photo: Dre

Grape Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Fresh Collard Greens from the Italian Market

Summer Grilled Crab Feast:

Grilled Snow Crab Legs – Brushed in butter before grilling, dipped in Butter after

Sauteed Collard Greens – Wilted w/ Shallots, Garlic, & Olive Oil, simmered in Chicken Stock w/ S&P, Worcestershire, Dried Herbs, & Sriracha

Spanish Rice – Sauteed Garlic, Sweet Peppers, & Grape Tomatoes added to Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread – Sauteed Sweet Peppers & Jalapeno added to Jiffy mix, topped w/ Shredded Sharp Cheddar

Classic Mojito w/ Apple Mint from my Garden

Leftover Lightning! Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps!

Portioning is definitely not my forte when it comes to cooking… but who can deny leftovers! With my Spicy Fish Taco dinner, I went a bit overboard with the Mexi-Risotto! I also had an avocado, grape tomatoes, romaine, & green onion to use at their peak freshness. I defrosted some U-30 shrimp and made the tastiest Sweet & Spicy Garlic Sauce (recipe via Big Oven) to toss them in! I added some extra water in the end as the result was a bit too sticky for me, but I’ll def be keeping this simple recipe in my back pocket & suggest you do too! Next time I may just make the sauce & pour it over rice (or drink it straight)!

I wasn’t sure about the blend of flavors once I combined all of my lettuce wrap ingredients, but they meshed perfectly!

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps:

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp – U-30 Shrimp tossed in this amazing & easy Big Oven Recipe

Leftover Mexi-Risotto

Tomato-Avocado Salsa – Leftover Avocado, Grape Tomatoes, & Green Onion w/ Lime Juice & S&P – made by Dre

Whole Romaine Leaves