Eat – Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

It’s Monday – and I don’t know about you, but I just kind of can’t even today with the whole “get it together” thing.

Andplusalso – The Hub is hard core lo-carb in preparation for our upcoming family pictures (whatever makes YOU feel like the fox I already know you are, honey,) but I am all “gimme all the junk food, yo,” lately, (my dress for the pics is VERY forgiving.  YAY.!)  Oh, and don’t forget that 4 year old… probably a good idea to feed that picky little dude too, eh?

Alright fine then – I will!

Behold – Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole!!

Easy, cheesy, spicy, please-y (it’s a word…  YUH HUH IT IS!)

To make it, season 1 lb of ground beef (I used turkey, because that is what we had today,) by mixing in 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 a yellow onion diced.  Brown and drain the meat.  Then add the following:

-4 ounces of shredded cheese (I used a mix of hot pepper and sharp cheddar)

-1/2 green bell pepper diced

-4 pieces of crumbled bacon (or if you have some baco-bit situations in your pantry use those, any bacon port in the storm, people)

-Diced pickled jalapenos to taste (I like some heat, so I go with a big pile and dice them up good so they are in every bite)

Mix all of that in to the browned meat and then spread into a big casserole pan, or into individual serving ramekins like I did here. (Jr’s version has a few ingredients left out and it gets put into a kid-proof container because he is kind of a sudden, unpredictable, occasional bowl flinger.  Sigh.)  Top with a bit more of the cheese (or a lot, because Monday.)
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Cover and refrigerate, or pop right into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until everything looks gooey and bubbly.

Eat as is, or top with your favorite burger toppings.

There now.  Isn’t that better?  (Yes.)

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Drink – Honey Peach Old Fashioned

We LOVE a good Old Fashioned around our house.

(We love one even more when we’ve been obstaining from delicious things like simple syrup, BTW, but I digress.)

The other thing we love, as all good Coloradans do, is peach season.  PALISADE peach season, to be specific. (Shout out to our western slope orchards, WOOP WOOP, we love ya!)

Front rangers adore Palisade peaches so much, that the town next door to ours actually trucks in a bajillion (math is hard) from the other side of the continental divide and throws a giant peachy blow out once a year – the Lafayette Peach Festival is this weekend, BTW, for the local folks.

So. Much. Fun.

BUT KERI – “I don’t live in Colorado/like festivals/want to leave my house EVER/etc,” you say?

Then take that hand holding a juicy peach, and that hand holding a bourbon bottle (you know that is what you are holding,) and put them together, my friend, for a drink you can sip right on through the dog days of summer.

Let’s make one, k?

WHAT YOU NEED:

(makes 1 drink)
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3 oz bourbon (here The Hub has deviated from my usual Bulleit. I object, but, Four Roses is nice too.)

1 Tablespoon Honey (Bjorns the Bjomb if you are local, BTW.)

1/2 a fresh peach

dash Angostura bitters
WHAT YOU DO:

Make a simple syurp with the honey, by adding a tablespoon of it to a tablespoon of water and heating to boiling (I totally microwave it because Klassy) and set aside to let cool a bit.

Meanwhile, peel and  chop 1/4 of the peach and muddle it – my motto is “muddle in metal” (whoa… say that 3 times fast.  then do it AFTER one or two of these drinks. FUN.)  So I have this in a half a shaker even though  I do NOT shake this drink. Here is before and after muddling:
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Next add a dash of the (blurry!?) bitters (a little goes a long way here, people):
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Then add in the symple syurp:
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Now fill an old fashioned glass (also called a low ball, but that seems mean,) with ice, and add the contents of your muddling vessel.

Add the 3 oz of bourbon and give the whole thing a good stir:
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Garnish with the rest of the peach, move immediately to an outdoor space in the shade, and drink up, buttercup.
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How’s life now?  Just peachy.

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Be- Sooo… where you at?

Ok,I have a confession.
I haven’t been forthcoming about what is coming out of my kitchen on months, because it’s been straight up boring less than exciting.
Both The Hub and myself were experiencing serious T.P.D. (Tight Pants Denial- as in “did we shrink every pair of pants we own? The dryer is CLEARLY on the fritz!)
Um no.  Too much snacky, not enough runny, yo.
So there’s been a lot of this type of situation:

chicken and zoodles

Oh hayyyy, grilled chicken with zoodles and spinach… aren’t you, um, practical.

 

Annnnd some of this:

eggs

Hmmm. More eggs and radishes for breakfast? Um. Ok.

And cocktail hour has looked mostly like this:

sipping on a vodka soda

Vodka soda with a twist- you actually are quite refreshing on a summer day.

So, not-so-much to report that might be you know, actually interesting, I guess.

BUT two things:
Number A: I miss sharing my kitchen creations. I miss it enough to risk being boring, even!  (Dr Sissy and I think it is funny as hell when people say “Number A,” and I am missing her, so there you have that.)

Andplusalso, Letter 2: (lolz,) I realized I actually DO have some pretty delicious things that have come out of the kitch, and I always photograph everything like I am going to post it, so why not!?

So stay tuned…
Keri’s back baby- and it’s about to get Tasty up in here.
(Plus seriously,  it’s not ALL vodka sodas and zoodles all the time,  I mean come on!  It’s still KERI we are talking about here!!)

me and my cookie

Is that a GIANT cookie, late night snacking Keri? (Yes. Yes it is. Hashtag no regrets.)

 

Tomorrow = A boozy perfect way to use to use Peaches in season right now.

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Don’t read my blog….

No Really.

Don’t read my blog. Read my amazing friend (and fellow dweller of the same suburb) Shannon’s blog.

She is a writer of truly clear and gifted voice, and we are all so grateful and honored to have her here continuing her battle right now.

http://www.sunshine-and-shadows.com/

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Eat – Klassy Crisp Chicken and Parmesan Artichoke Hearts

Ahh, pork rinds.

Yeah, no, wait, WHAT!?

Seriously though – I don’t particularly care for pork rinds, just as a “sit down and plow through a bag” kind of snack.  I will leave that for bare-foot-at-the-gas-station Britney Spears, circa de 2004. BUT – there is a time and a place for everything, and for pork rinds that place is in the coating for crispy baked chicken.

Yep.  It’s the stuff low-carb dreams are made of (if you are into that sort of thing.)

It also happens to just be damn tasty.

Follow me here… I won’t do you wrong.  (On this particular night we had Parmesan Artichoke hearts as a side dish, so those are in the pics too.)

WHAT YOU NEED:

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2 small or 1 large B/S Chicken Breast  (not pictured here, because airhead Keri left them out,) cut into chunks (I go for chunks that will yield about 2 or 3 bites each.)

1/2 bag Pork Rinds

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – the Klassy kind in the shake-y thing (plus more if you would like to par-take in the Artichoke Hearts with us.)

WHAT YOU DO:

Either remove half of your bag of pork rinds into a zip-top baggie, or, if you are down to your last half (what up, Brit Brit,) then you can just leave them in the original bag and fold the top down so none of your pork dust (yep, said it,) escapes – using your hands crush and smash those pork rinds until there are no chunks you can feel and it has the consistency of bread crumbs:

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Coat your chicken pieces in the mayo:

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Add the garlic powder and shaker parm to the bag of pork rind dust (man, this is a high falootin’ recipe, isn’t it? Hold the top closed, and shake to mix the dry coating ingredients.

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Toss your chicken chunks into the bag:

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Close the bag well, and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE to coat those chunks.

Say it with me “It’s Shake and Bake, and ah ha-alped!!” (If you are way too young to get this reference, then do it in front of your parents – it will get a good laugh.)

I like to bake my chicken in a super hot oven because I am REALLY impatient and don’t want to wait to eat – this works well as long as you DON’T forget it, because it will dry out fast!  I cook this on a wire rack (for extra crispiness at 450 for 18 minutes.)  Here it is in the oven:

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For the artichokes, I arrange them on a baking sheet and pull them open a bit, and sprinkle parmesan on each one, then put them in the oven to bake with the chicken:

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Crispy, flavorful, juicy chicken and creamy, cheesy, artichoke hearts.

Nothing wrong with that, people.  (Even if I do hide my pork rinds behind things in the pantry so someone doesn’t stumble upon on them and make assumptions I am not prepared to live with.)

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Eat- Braised Short Ribs

So this is the part where I confess that I made this dish almost completely to show The Hub what short ribs are supposed to be like.
In short, he had a kinda crappy example of them during a meal out recently.  (The restaurant shall remain nameless, as we actually love it and I am going to chalk it up to an off night.)
Short ribs should be tender and juicy and the meat should just fall/pull apart and off the bone.
(No knife required! ! Come on!)

So what’s the secret? Braising and low, slow, all day cooking.

They are meaty, and rich, an amazing cold weather comfort food.
(And honestly, they are pretty easy to do, if you have a few minutes to get everything going in the a.m.)

WHAT YOU NEED:
8-10 bone in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or high smoke point oil of your choice)
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1-2 cups beef stock
1-2 bay leaves
Optional dash liquid smoke

WHAT YOU DO:
Heat a dutch oven with 2 tbls of oil in it (or deep skillet if you plan to transfer to a slow cooker for the day,) until you can hover your hand just over the bottom surface of the pan and feel the heat coming off of it- the oil may JUST start to smoke or pop a bit.
Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper, and add to the pan:

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Brown well on all sides (turn on your fan – this gets smoky, but that color = flavor, people.)
Remove the short ribs, adjust the heat to medium, and add shallot and garlic (you can chop or slice yours if you would like- The Hub likes the flavor, but not the texture, so I leave mine large to avoid serving it to him,) and the tomato paste and allow everything to cook just a couple of minutes while moving everything around:

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Bump the heat back up to high, add the wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape and release the bits from the bottom of the pan (“deglaze the pan”)

Add the meat back to the pot/ or transfer everything to your slowcooker:

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Add beef stock to almost cover the ribs, toss in a couple bay leaves (and a dash of liquid smoke if you want,) cover, turn heat down LOWWWWW:

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I actually cooked mine for 5 hours and then turned off the heat and let them sit on the hot burner WITHOUT removing the lid AT ALL for another hour.
Mmmmm:

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Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or (my favorite) creamy polenta with some fresh parmesan stirred in:

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Enjoy. And leave your knives in the drawer, people.

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Drink – Big Girl Egg Cream

In high school I was one of those kids that spent too much time at the coffee house. (Not the S-Bux for goodness sakes… anyway, there were only 2 of those within driving distance by the time I graduated, just FYI so we can all marvel at my ancient-ness.)
We had a few we liked, but the king daddy coffee house around these parts back then was Paris on the Platte.
And that, my friends, is where Keri’s love of the Egg Cream began.  They made a fabulous version of this soda fountain fave and I ordered it often.
I still get a hankering every-so-often,  so I make ’em myself.   Only I make ’em better.  Because booze.

Fun facts, “soda jerk” is not an insult,  just a term that is even older than me…
So let’s make this soda, jerks. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

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1 Tablespoon Chocolate Syurp
1 Shot Kahlua
Milk/Half and half/Cream
Seltzer water

WHAT YOU DO:
Add Kahlua and Chocolate Syurp to chilled tall glass (Like my classy Pints In The Park glass here )

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Fill 1/4 – 1/3 of glass with milk (whole milk or even half and half or cream all work well… alas we have none of those now.)

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(I like to mix these together before continuing,  but they will probably end up blended either way.)
Pour seltzer water to top of glass and stir to blend.

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Belly up to the (soda) bar and enjoy.

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