Friday, October 19, 2018

Green Chile Ham Hush Puppies with Chipotle Honey Mustard

I really think you're going to love my Southwest twist on a Southern favorite! Who doesn't love hush puppies?! Crispy fried on the outside, fluffy cornbread on the inside loaded with chunks of ham and green chiles. The only thing that could make that situation better is the Chipotle Honey Mustard sauce they're dunked in
Look at how golden and delicious! I bet you can't eat just one.

Green Chile Ham Hush Puppies with Chipotle Honey Mustard 

6 cups vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons pureed chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons sliced green onion
½ cup chopped canned green chiles
In an electric fryer or large high sided skillet fitted with a candy thermometer, bring the oil up to 375 degrees over medium high heat.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the yellow mustard, honey, mayonnaise and pureed chipotles. Place in the fridge to chill.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, garlic salt and baking soda. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Add the sliced green onion, diced ham, chopped green chiles and the flour mixture and stir until just combined. 

Once the oil is hot, using a small cookie scoop carefully drop balls of batter into the oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet and allow to drain. Serve immediately with the chilled dip.

Makes 28 hush puppies
#fricks #smokedmeats #itsfrickingood

Little's Lunches

Hey there and Happy Friday!! This week has been super rainy and freezing cold, so I'm looking forward to relaxing, reading and staying warm with this nugget while she snores on my lap. Beignet hates the rain, so I'm sure she won't willingly go outside the entire weekend. 
I hope these lunchbox ideas make next week easier for you! Some things I've noticed through the years of packing school lunches: dips make a difference! BBQ sauce, ranch, honey mustard, my kids love 'em all and are definitely more willing to eat new foods when they come with a dip. Also, cutting something in a new way can also make them seem more appealing. Carrot coins are just baby carrots cut into rounds, cucumbers cut into long sticks are easier to dip and look different than the typical circles - mix it up and I bet your kids will love it! 
 Monday: deli ham slices, cucumber sticks, wheat thin crackers, ranch, shredded carrots, dried cranberries, mango chunks
 Tuesday: deli ham and cream cheese tortilla roll up, raisins, coleslaw, moon cheese, kiwi
Wednesday: beef jerkey, applesauce, roasted broccoli, carrot coins, pasta salad, blackberries
Thursday: sliced apple gouda chicken sausages, pretzels, barbecue sauce, roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes, blackberries, yogurt tube
Friday: orange wedges, fig bar, pepperoni and meunster cheese squares, green bell pepper cubes, black olives and cherry tomatoes, pretzels

Friday, October 12, 2018

Little's Lunches

Whenever I had posted Little's Lunches in the past, it was on a Monday to have fresh ideas of what to pack in lunchboxes throughout the week. This past weekend though, we were crazy busy, the kids had off of school for Columbus Day on Monday and then my daughter was home sick on Tuesday. Typical busy family life situation, right? Which is exactly why planning lunchboxes can be so difficult I'm going to start posting lunchbox ideas on Friday so that by the time Monday rolls around, there's already a set of menus to pull from! Hope this helps!! 
 Monday: Harissa Honey Grilled Ham Skewers, Hawaiian Bread Roll, green beans, moon cheese, kiwi and pineapple
Tuesday: Bow Tie Pasta Salad, moon cheese, delic sliced ham, blackberries
Wednesday: cucumber sticks, breadstick, salami, Baybybel Gouda, pineapple, ranch dip
Thursday: salad, ranch, Babybel Gouda cheese, wheat thins, kiwi
Friday: Chicken Spinach Sausage slices, wheat thins, BBQ sauce, cucumber and orange bell pepper slices, pineapple, strawberries

Monday, October 1, 2018

Crock Pot Turkey Carnitas Burrito Bowls with Cilantro Lime Zoodles

My son's first pick at any fair or carnival or Thanksgiving has been, and will always be the humongous roasted turkey legs. I don't know whether it's the caveman feeling of walking around with that thing in his hand or the crazy cost that you're typically charged for one when at a festival, but he truly loves them. I don't know why it never occurred to me to buy them and make them at home, and now that I have, I can tell you it was WAY easier than I ever expected. Something seemed familiar in my mind as we were chowing down on them - something about the crispy outer edges and the tender fall off the bone meat in the middle.....
Carnitas! Of course! It reminded me of one of our favorite Mexican dishes and I knew turkey carnitas needed to happen soon. 
I'm taking part in Frick's Quality Meats Recipe Challenge and when they sent me their gorgeous Smoked Turkey Drums I was so excited to turn them into this fully loaded carnitas bowl. Instead of Cilantro Lime Rice, like the typical taco joints are serving, I used zucchini noodles. So bonus points for being gluten free, right?

Crock Pot Turkey Carnitas Burrito Bowls with Cilantro Lime Zoodles

Crock Pot Turkey Carnitas
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic
1 cup pineapple orange juice
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
½ cup water

Cilantro Lime Zucchini Noodles
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
9 cups spiralized zucchini noodles
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ Tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

3/4 cup pico de gallo
1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco
¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
1/3 cup julienned radish
1 large lime, cut into wedges
Place the onion, garlic, pineapple orange juice, oregano, cumin, water and Smoked Turkey Drumsticks in a slow cooker on low heat for 6 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily falls of the bone.

Once the drumsticks are ready, set broiler to high heat. Remove the turkey from the crockpot and shred the meat, discarding any bone or skin. Place on a large cookie sheet and broil, just until the edges are crispy, about 2-3 minutes watching closely to prevent burning.

Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Cook the zucchini noodles for 3-5 minutes, or until just tender. Add the salt, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Divide the noodles into 6 serving bowls. Top each bowl with turkey carnitas, pico de gallo, crumbled queso fresco, pickled jalapenos, radishes and lime wedges.

Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

#fricks #smokedmeats #itsfrickingood

Friday, September 28, 2018

Harissa Honey Grilled Ham Skewers

Look at those layers y'all!
These Harissa Honey Grilled Ham Skewers are a little spicy, a little sweet and take less than 10 minutes to cook! The prep is equally as simple, and easy enough for kids help with. Thanks to Frick’s Quality Meats Sliced Applewood Quarter Ham being pre-sliced and fully cooked, most of the work was already done for me.
 A few weeks back, when I was in St Louis, I tried harissa for the first time at a fabulous cafe for breakfast and I immediately fell in love with it. I knew the smoky and spicy flavors of the exotic hot sauce would pair perfectly in something sweet like a glaze, and after a short time on the grill the flavors get even better. If you can't find harissa in your local grocery store, order it on Amazon. Mine was less than five dollars and so very worth it!
Harissa Honey Grilled Ham Skewers
1/3 cup apricot preserves
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons harissa
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow or orange bell pepper
1 red onion
Heat a grill or large grill pan to high heat.

Whisk together the apricot preserves, honey and harissa in a small bowl and set aside.

Cut the Frick’sQuality Meats Sliced Applewood Quarter Ham, bell peppers and red onion into 1 ½ inch squares. Thread the cubes evenly onto 6 large skewers.

Once the grill is hot, grill the skewers for 3 minutes. Flip the skewers and brush with half of the glaze. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Flip the skewers again and brush with the remaining glaze. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
The skewers are all prepped and ready to go. You can totally make the skewers and the glaze well in advance if needed and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you're feeding a crowd.
Let's talk skewers and assembly: if you're using metal skewers you're good to go. If you have bamboo skewers, you will want to soak them in water for 20-30 minutes before putting your ham and veggies on them. This will prevent them burning or causing any flare ups.
You (or your kids) can put the veggies and ham on in any pattern you'd like but I really loved keeping at least 3 cubes of Frick’s Quality Meats Sliced Applewood Quarter Ham right next to each other on the skewers. That way the glaze that got in the middle of the slices and stayed juicy, while the outer edges got nicely charred and thickened. Totally a personal preference, but that was my favorite part of these!

You can find all of Frick's Quality Meats here, on Facebook and on Instagram. Be sure to follow them for tips and recipe ideas!
#fricks #smokedmeats #itsfrickingood

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Quick and Easy Thai Coconut Clams

Just look at that bowl y'all!
These Quick and Easy Thai Coconut Clams are insanely delicious and so very easy to throw together! I really can't decide which is better; briny clams cooked in flavorful coconut milk or the pieces of bread drenched in the creamy coconut mushroom sauce! 
Quick and Easy Thai Coconut Clams
4 Tablespoons butter
1 shallot, diced
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup vegetable broth
1 (12 ounce) jar Coconut Thai BLENDABELLA
½ teaspoon salt
3 pounds clams, rinsed and scrubbed
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 large lime, cut into wedges
1 baguette, warmed
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium low heat. Sauté the shallot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, Coconut Thai BLENDABELLA and salt and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Add the clams, cover with a tight lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until all the clams have opened. Discard any clams that do not open.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with the lime wedges and warm bread for dipping.
Serves 2.
I think this is a fabulous appetizer as is, but feel free to stretch it and serve it as a main dish by pouring the whole mixture over some boiled fettuccine noodles!
Here's a lovely before and after....above was my plated dish, and below is my children inhaling it all and fighting over the last of it. My husband didn't even get any because they ate it so fast! And, of course, Beignet was sniffing the floor all around their feet praying for some bread to fall.
If you can't find BLENDABELLA in your local grocery store, you can purchase it online HERE
Be sure to follow them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest too for recipe ideas!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thai Coconut Shrimp Ceviche

 One of my favorite things about traveling is the food I get to experience along the way. I get so much inspiration from restaurants, menus and regional dishes I try, and many times, that inspiration is what leads me to the next meal I cook for my family. Last week, when I was visiting St Louis,  I just wanted a few appetizers for dinner since our lunch was so filling. That led us to a Peruvian restaurant around the corner from our hotel where my husband had ceviche as his meal. While the experience was great, the dish left me wanting more and when I got home and started thinking of new entries I could create for the BLENDABELLA Blogger Challenge, I immediately knew what to make!
My Thai Coconut Shrimp Ceviche is packed with flavor thanks to Coconut Thai BLENDABELLA and with only a few ingredients and minimal prep, this delicious dish comes together in minutes. And I know that ceviche can alarm people sometimes due to the traditional raw shrimp being cooked in lime juice recipe, but this one starts with pre-cooked tiny shrimp so there's no worries when it comes to food safety for your guests or family!
Luckily, my family will try almost anything I cook, but even I was surprised when the whole bowl was finished in one day! My son snacked on it while doing homework and even packed a container of it for his lunch today. I'm pretty sure he's the only 6th grader today with ceviche in his lunchbox.

Thai Coconut Shrimp Ceviche
1 pound cooked salad shrimp
1 cup sliced canned hearts of palm
¾ cup full fat coconut milk
2 green onions, sliced
1 Tablespoon lime juice
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Gently stir together the shrimp, hearts of palm, coconut milk, Coconut Thai BLENDABELLA, green onions, lime juice and half of the cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve immediately.
This dish can be served on its own as an appetizer or scooped as a dip with Tortilla Chips, Lettuce Cups or Crackers.
#BLENDABELLA #coconutThai
If you can't find BLENDABELLA in your local grocery store, you can purchase it online HERE
Be sure to follow them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest too for recipe ideas!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Lunchbox Ideas to Get You Through the Week

Who else is already feeling burnt out on Lunchbox ideas?
It can be so easy to get overwhelmed with the chore of figuring out what to send your kids that is allergy free, healthy and kid approved. Nothing is more annoying than packing a lunchbox and then  seeing it come home barely touched at the end of the day. This will inevitably lead to a kid that just wants a snack all afternoon right up to dinner because they're starving. Super fun scenario, am I right? I'm currently working on a downloadable PDF print out to share of ideas that will serve as an easy reference and go-to when you need inspiration, but in the meantime, here's a peek of what I've been sending my kids this past week:
 Monday: watermelon, cucumber, carrot coins, ranch, baby tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, mini naan bread, turkey, I let the kids pick one small piece of candy as a treat
 Tuesday: leftover boiled shrimp, ranch, a cutie orange, honey wheat pretzel rods, cucumber, baby tomatoes, black olives, black grapes
 Wednesday: Pepperoni and Meunster cheese squares, ranch, yellow bell pepper slices, honey wheat pretzel rods, strawberries, dried cranberries and edemame
 Thursday: Pepperoni and Cheese, edemame, a cutie orange, strawberries, dried cranberries, yellow bell peppers and mini yellow tomatoes
Friday: Pepperoni and Cheese (this is clearly a hit with my daughter right now), salad, Ranch, dried cranberries, strawberries, veggie straws

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Weekend in St Louis, MO

Happy Friday! I am so excited to share with you the rest of our foodie trip we took to St Louis last week. I showed you all the highlights from our Weber Grill Academy & Nature Sweet Tomatoes day before and now I'm spilling the beans on all the things we ate and saw in the meantime.
Day 1:
It probably comes as no surprise that one of the first things I do when planning a trip is figure out where I want to eat, and then I plan everything else around that. Before leaving I asked a few friends and weren't given very many recommendations and a lot of the suggestions I did get were chains which I try my hardest to stay away from.
Maybe it's because I had very little expectations or maybe I just was lucky enough to love my picks, but I truly was blown away by the food scene in St Louis!
The awesome girls at Nature Sweet Tomatoes booked us a gorgeous room at Magnolia Hotel. The rooms are beautiful and the lobby is a stunner for sure. The weather didn't cooperate all weekend so I wasn't able to get a good shot of the entrance, but it's located downtown and super close to the convention center, Busch Stadium and the Arch.

We took the early flight out (hello, 3:30 am alarm) and landed by 7:30. We hopped in our rental car and drove straight to Egg. It is the cutest little cafe and we actually ended up chatting with the owners for a while which was awesome! I loved hearing their stories, how they moved to America from Tunisia, how they shop the local farmer's market for the restaurant and how the coffee is a special blend roasted just for them by the guy 2 booths over. After saying how much I loved the harrisa, which is house-made, they even brought me a container of it to take home- how cool is that?!
I tried the Hot Espresso Martini and the Corn Bread Benedict with Sautéed Spinach & Avocado and Louis got the special omelet of the day which he dug into before I could even get a picture of it. Service can be a little slow, but the friendliness of the owners and the food made up for it and then some.
 After breakfast we headed over to Budweiser for the Bud Light Brewery Tour
I don't ever drink beer, but I knew Louis would enjoy the tour and I was excited to see the Clydesdales. The tour far exceeded my expectations, I learned a lot and I could not get over how clean and pretty it is there. The tour is 75 minutes long where you visit the Clydesdale Paddock and Stables, the Beechwood Aging Cellar, historic Brewhouse and the BEVO Packaging Facility. If you do decide to take the tours, bring a light jacket or sweatshirt with you. A few of the rooms were freezing and I wish I had brought one with me
Those horses are HUGE and I swear that their stables are cleaner than my house. I can't really tell you anything about this part of the tour because I wasn't listening at all to the guide. I was too busy watching my new friend Lloyd and wondering how I could sneak him home with me.
After the tour we made our way to the hotel to check in. Since our breakfast was huge and our early morning flight had us exhausted we decided to have an early dinner at Sidney Street Cafe. If you can only eat one meal in St Louis please let it be here. We ended up doing the chef's tasting menu with wine pairing and it was absolutely stellar!
The wine pairings were perfect and each dish was prettier than the next. The bread basket was savory beignets!! I told our waitress that my dog's name is Beignet and she packed up a box of them for me to bring home. 
Just some of the highlights from the tasting:
Confit of Octopus with sunchoke puree and sea urchin bisque 
(we fought over the last bite of that one)
Sweetbread Tostadas with white bean escabeche and pickled jalepeno
Roasted Scallops, Ragout of summer beans, creamed corn, nduja and bone marrow jus
Halibut, Parmesan gnocchi, marinated tomatoes, grilled zucchini, and a horseradish cream

Day 2:
Saturday was our Weber Grill Academy experience. Knowing how much food I was in store for, I just wanted a cup of coffee so we stopped at a little cafe called Coma right across the street from where we were going. I got a cortado and Louis got a gorgeous fruit smoothie bowl that he had already eaten half of before I could get a pic
After the buffet we ate at Weber, all I wanted was a nap!
Around 8pm I wanted a snack. I found an awesome Peruvian restaurant a few blocks away from the hotel called Mango that now holds the title of the best sangria I've ever had. It was absolutely delicious with a hint of cinnamon that I will need to figure out how to make soon!
Instead of the chips and salsa I'm so used to in Texas, they start you off with plantain chips and a bright cilantro dip/sauce that I ended up putting on everything.
Louis had the Ceviche de Pescado (Traditional Peruvian dish of today’s fish cold-cured in freshly squeezed citrus juices with Peruvian peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro) and I got the Causa de Salmon (Aji amarillo infused potato cake chilled & layered with salmon salad, sliced egg & guacamole finished with red pepper aioli). To be honest, I think both of the dishes were just ok and really needed more seasoning but the Sangria and cool vibe made it a place I'd definitely give another shot if given the chance.

Day 3:
We took our time getting ready in the morning and checking out so by the time we got to brunch it was around 10. The Shack was PACKED! The wait was about an hour, but when 2 seats opened up at the bar we just seated ourselves. The waitresses were really sweet and ended up giving us samples of some of their Boozy Shakes. These things were flying out of the bar and now I know why! We tried the "I Do What I Want" which was coco puffs, yogurt, bailey’s & frangelica and the "Captain Crunch" which is rumchata, captain morgan, yogurt & crushed cap’n crunch
I got the Gringo Killer Skillet- 2 eggs over medium on a bed of hashbrowns topped with chorizo, onion, bell peppers, green chili salsa & SHACK cheese and Louis got the Downstream is too Mainstream Omelet  - a 3 egg omelet with avocado, smoked salmon & feta cheese. Both were excellent and the service was great too!
After our humongous meal we went and visited friends of ours that we hadn't seen in years. The drive there was beautiful and it was so good to catch up after all this time!
Our time was almost up, but I couldn't leave St Louis without trying some barbecue so we headed to Sugarfire Smokehouse
We had the Smoked Fried Artichoke Hearts, The Meat Daddy Platter (Smoked Turkey, Ribs, Smoked Sausage, Brisket and Pulled Pork), Coleslaw, Fries and about 32,987 sauces! 
I really loved the Coffee and White Sauces!
I truly don't think we could have fit any more food into one weekend and I loved every minute of it. Even if my clothes were a tad tighter on the way home!

Green Chile Ham Hush Puppies with Chipotle Honey Mustard

I really think you're going to love my Southwest twist on a Southern favorite! Who doesn't love hush puppies?! Crispy fried on t...