Friday, November 29, 2019

Venezuelan Panqueque Extreme Pantry Meal

The last week of this month found me making some pretty wild extreme pantry meals. This one, however, was the most successful and real keeper for the books.  I had two eggs, Pan (a corn based meal flour used to make Venezuelan Arepas) a package of ground beef, corn and a little bit of cheese remaining.  My freezer and frig, after this meal, was empty!!!  Lesson learned:  keep your pantry stocked for emergencies. 😆 

I decided to make pancakes, panqueque in Spanish, rather than arepas. I added 2.5 cups Pan flour to a large bowl, followed by a teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of my Mexican spice blend and two eggs.  I combined all the ingredients (it needed some water, as well) to make a thick batter.  I heated a skillet over medium-high heat with vegetable oil.  When the oil began to ripple, I added some of the batter, about the size of a pancake. I let it sit for four minutes before turning over for four more minutes.  It becomes golden with a bit of burned spots and it is aromatic.  

Afterward, I browned the ground beef in a skillet, added a tablespoon of tomato paste, three tablespoons water, a can of drained corn kernels, and two tablespoons of my Mexican spice blend.  This became the topping for the panqueques. I topped with the last little bit of quesadilla cheese I had left.  

I added some cilantro left from my garden and some chile strips.  

I am totally surprised about how well this turned out.  The crunchy, hot, flavorful texture of the panqueque, the crunch of the corn and the Mexican flavors were quite delicious.  This was just what I needed on that last week.  I hope you will make this and add your favorite toppings and love it!

As always, Thank You for your visit, your time and consideration!  

Now, go Cook something for someone you Love!

In-House Cook

Sauceless Pasta with Linguicia

Sauceless Pasta with Linguicia

A friend of mine in England asked me to make a vegan version of this dish.  This dish, a favorite of mine, can be made into a vegan version at any time. Simply leave out meat.  Add cannelloni beans (white beans) for protein, if desired. I love pasta and I love sausage, and Linquicia was calling out to me.  I am so mad though, because I do not know what button on my computer to push so I can make the special c, like one does for acai.  Urg.  Anyone?  Help?

Despite my obvious trouble with technology, this is a winner date night meal, a wedding rehearsal dinner or for the picky eaters. It is simple and delightful, with amazing textures, colors and flavors in every bite. Let's get to it, shall we? 

one box thin spaghetti
one pint mixed baby tomato medly, halved
6-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
6 thin scallions with brilliant greens, sliced
2 links Portuguese Linguicia, sliced into discs
1 rounded tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 stick butter
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)
10 sprigs fresh lemony thyme
6 cloves garlic diced

Slice the linguicia into discs and saute in one tablespoon evoo over medium-high heat in high-sided sauce pan. Save the renderings. 

Bring four quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Place a colander in the sink.  Have a mug or measuring cup to save about a cup of the pasta water for the final stage. At this point, have all of the ingredients ready to go.  The rest goes very quickly!

Liberally salt the pasta water once it boils.  It is the only time you have to season the pasta. 

Pour the fresh ingredients and the linguicia into the pot with the butter and evoo. 

Save one cup of salty starchy pasta water and set aside a moment.  Add the tomatoes and all of the other ingredients to the pot along with the three tablespoons evoo and the butter over medium high heat.  When the butter melts and begins to foam, pour the hot pasta in. Using tongs, quickly and thoroughly toss the pasta with the rest of the fresh ingredients.  Make sure the pasta is coated with the herb infused butter and evoo.  Very important!  

Plate as you wish.  I plated family style. 

I forgot to take photos after I'd shaved parmigiano-reggiano over it.  The cheese added a delicious bite to it. 

 Happy Thanksgiving to you All, should you celebrate. If not, that is perfectly acceptable.  What a great alternative meal to turkey, right?  I want to Thank You for your time and consideration, and stick with me for an extreme pantry meal next! 

Now, go hug your loved ones and Cook something for someone you love, like this pasta dish!

In-House Cook

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hearty Potato, Sausage, Eggs and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

Hearty Potato, Sausage, Eggs and Cheese Skillet Casserole

I have never met a person who does not like breakfast for dinner.  I made this dish for dinner, but you can make it any time.  It is an "any time" dish.  Great for pot-lucks! My recipe feeds four good eaters or six average eaters.  Let's get to it, shall we?

This is a very straight-forward recipe.  Not really any anecdotal story to go with this one.  My grandma P would make casseroles like this made of "scraps" of meat, potatoes and vegetables, and used block cheddar so she'd cut that into cubes and place it on her creation in her cast iron skillet. 

one bag of cubed potatoes, Potatoes O'Brien or hash browns
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
fresh thyme and oregano sprigs
one large link smoked sausage, sliced
two links andouille sausage, sliced
8 eggs
2 cups cheese, your favorite
3 tablespoons evoo + 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.

Simply slice the sausage, saute in a high-sided skillet with the evoo over medium-high heat.  Get some color on the slices and remove after eight minutes. 

Strain the renderings of the sausages and add the four tablespoons to a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the two fats.  Crank the heat up to high and add the potatoes.  Allow the potatoes to just sit there for three or so minutes before turning them or stirring. You want a nice caramel color on the potatoes.  Follow the directions on the package of of potatoes you use. 

When half way done, add the sausages to the large skillet. Stir to incorporate.  Smooth out the potatoes and sausages.  Crack the eggs and add one egg (whites and yolks) to several places on top of the mix.  If you have small eggs, you may want to use ten eggs. 

Add the skillet to the oven.  Remember, if you are using a skillet, use either cast iron or an oven safe skillet.  

Bake for twenty minutes.  Add the two cups of cheese after twenty minutes and bake twenty more, covered or not.  Remove and allow to rest so that the cheese oozes into those empty flavor pockets.  Afterward, add the fresh thyme and oregano for color and flavor.  

This dish does not plate well.  It is not a pretty plated casserole.  Sorry.  

I like to add hot sauce to my bowl, the best way to plate this monster.  What's your favorite hot sauce?  I love both Tapatio and Cholula (not and advertisement).  

Well, that's that.  Told ya it was not a brain killer. 

I love that you have taken the time to visit my humble little site, and I am totally grateful.  

Now, Go Cook For Someone You Love!

In-House Cook

1.  GusGus and me!
2. ChuChi and her momma Butter.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Steak on a Cloud

Steak on a Cloud

This post is a last minute decision.  My product is not the prettiest, but it sprouted from a breakfast idea and I went through with it with dinner in mind and prepared a delicious, albeit, rustic looking finger food meal.  More like hand food because they turned out larger than I'd realized they would.  I am throwing this one out to you because you all can make it better and please, please, drop me a line here, or on my blog's facebook page (In-House Cook) to let me know how you made it your own and better. 

This is all I did.....

carne asada steaks
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
whole seed mustard 
aged balsamic vinegar

aluminum foil or parchment paper
non-stick cooking spray
flour to dust pastry marble
two crescent dough sheet rolls

I placed a gallon sized zip lock bag in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, I combined and whisked all of the ingredients together.  I poured half of it into the bag and then placed the thing carne asada steaks in the bag.  I poured the remaining marinade over the meat, sealed the bag and smushed it several times (yes, I said smushed) to coat all of the steaks. I placed the bag in the refrigerator as I was not going to start dinner for another hour or more. 

When I got back to it, I removed the zip lock bag and allowed it to come to room temperature. 

I set the oven to 350-degrees.

I rolled out two crescent roll dough sheets after using flour to dust my pastry marble. I used a knife to cut them into squares and place one layer onto another.  I wanted the "clouds" to look fluffy. I placed them on non-stick sprayed foil.  I baked the "clouds" 13 minutes at 350-degrees. 
Afterward, I spread a little goat cheese onto the cloud.

Meanwhile, as the clouds were baking, I had removed the thin carne steaks and had gently seared them, two minutes per side, over medium-high heat. That is more than enough to finish them.  I sliced the steaks into thin strips and placed them atop the "clouds" and the almost melting cream cheese. I chiffonade sliced six fresh basil leaves and sprinkled them atop each "Steak on a Cloud".  

Now, please enjoy the photo essay from different angles. 

I'd added a dollop of grain mustard in white wine and aged balsamic drizzle. 

Thanks, as always, for your visit!  I appreciate your support tremendously!

Now, Go Cook Something For Someone You Love!!!

In-House Cook 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hearty Folded Coppa on French Bread Bruchetta

Hearty Folded Coppa on French Bread Bruschetta

I felt the need for a snack, a hearty snack, but one not too overly bad for my son and I yesterday afternoon.  I had just purchased sourdough and french bread, both large baguette-type loaves and decided to use the french bread. The one thing that does not really make this a true bruschetta is the I did not bake or broil the bread.  I wanted it to be soft, so I guess it is more of an hors d'oeuvre than a bruschetta. Who cares though, it's good and so simple you'll be done before you know it. 

Here's what you need:
baguette or loaf
fresh basil leaves
your favorite sliced deli salami
herb spreadable goat cheese
salt for finish
aged balsamic to drizzle
lemon olive oil or zest

Slice the bread of your choice, toast it or not. I did not.  Place a good rounded teaspoon dollop of the goat cheese on the bread and slightly spread it. Fold and add the thinly sliced deli salami to the bread over the cheese.  I make a big deal of saying "folded" because the meat I bought from the deli was twice the size of the bread.  I did not want it to hang over so I folded it, and it looked pretty elegant. Next, add the fresh washed basil leaf to each piece of bread, and drizzle with aged balsamic, which is much thicker than the usual balsamic vinegar. I sprinkled very lightly with finishing salt and dry Italian seasoning. 

You could add small thinly sliced tomatoes and shaved parmigiano, if you wish.  The possibilities are endless! 

Now for the fun part!  The Eating!  

This would be great for a small friendly get-together, at holidays, birthdays, and to take to a pot-luck.  

As always, Thank You for your visit!  

Now, Go Make Something For Someone You Love!!!

In-House Cook

Baked Chicken Tacos

Baked Chicken Tacos

Ever have one of those nights where you want to eat something super delicious but do not want to put on a network tv show production to achieve it? Me neither, not last night, anyway.  I think I have solved the problem.  Want to learn about it?  Well, here we go.....

10 - 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs *
two packets Taco Seasoning*
1/2 12-ounce jar of Chipotle Salsa
non-stick cooking spray
grated cheese
fresh cilantro
street taco tortillas 

First off, let me address the two marked ingredients.  I was cooking for my son and myself, both big eaters, as well as to have leftovers for another day. Six thighs will feed two to four easily.  Next, I used my own Mexican Spice Blend which I have posted in many blogs, but using spice packets is super easy, too, and, they are not expensive.  I will make it a separate, single post some time. 

Back to business......

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

Line a large baking or roasting pan with foil. Spray the foil with the non-stick cooking spray.  Place the chicken, outer thigh meat down first, and generously sprinkle the meat with Taco Seasoning or your own Mexican Spice Blend (or mine! 😀).  Turn the thighs over and repeat.  Be generous!  Use it all up!  Next, drizzle the chipotle salsa over the thighs. Don't be stingy!  Give them a good coating!

This is the chicken finished in the pan, but I wanted to show you what I mean about being generous with the spices and salsa.  You want this crust to form, which is pure, insane, aromatic deliciousness. 

Bakem, uncovered, for one hour fifteen minutes.  Low and slow is best for chicken thighs and it frees you up to relax or get in more chores on a busy weekend.  Very little fuss for you. 


When the chicken is done, let it rest about five minutes. Remove a few thighs and coarsely chop or slice them up.  Serve with your favorite street taco tortillas (my faves are flour, but I do like the corn, as well, so don't @ me! 😂).  


Now for the hard part.  Simply assemble the tacos the way you want to!  I like to add white cheese to the tortilla, top it with chicken, add fresh cilantro and hot sauce.  BaBayuuum!  Done!  Time to eat!

Simple, time-negotiable (meaing you could crank up the heat and finish the chicken earlier, but why mess with perfection?), and wickedly delicious. Add whatever condiments you like! Fresh cabbage, radishes, lime juice....make it your own! 

As always, Muchas Gracias, Thank You your visit!

Now, Go Cook Something For Someone You Love!

In-House Cook

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Stuffed Jumbo Shells in Garlic and Sage Brown Butter

Stuffed Jumbo Shells in Garlic and Sage Brown Butter

There are days when you just want to close your eyes, sit on the couch and veg.  Five o'clock rolls around and you groan, hesitation to get up and start dinner. Then you think about the insanely wonderful aroma of garlic and sage and butter sauteing.  You hop up off the couch and get to the kitchen, organize and start the process of stuffing jumbo pasta shells with sausage and ricotta and mozzarella and herbs.  What better treat for Sunday dinner? Or, any day dinner????  C'mon, y'all, lets get to it. Easy, delicious, and possibly a little messy to eat, as this dish is often served with a marinara or tomato-based pasta sauce, but not always!!!

1 box Jumbo pasta shells
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese + 1/2 cup
3 sage, 3 basil, 3 oregano leaves, diced
3 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped backward
salt and pepper
1 stick unsweetened, unsalted butter
1/2 - 1 pound Italian sausage
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
2 cloves crushed garlic +1
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 bruised sage leaves
2 rounded tablespoons, parmigiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. 

Bruise some sage leaves and crush garlic, and place in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to infuse the oil. 

In a medium bowl, add the sausage, ricotta, salt and pepper, one diced garlic clove, the diced fresh herbs and the mozzarella cheese, and combine them thoroughly.  

Boil four quarts water in a large pot over high heat.  When the water boils, liberally salt the water, as it the what?  Yes, only chance to season the pasta!  You got it!  Boil the shells until just before al dente, just before done. Strain and shake the strainer to release the water retained inside the shells.  You will need to work on the shells while they are a bit hot, so please be careful.  You do not want them to cool quickly and harden; defeats the purpose.  

Using a teaspoon, generously fill each shell with the mixture. 

i used a round glass baking dish but you can use a baking pan or even an oven safe round skillet.  Add the sage and garlic infused evoo to the baking dish you plan to use.  Add the room softened butter and place it into the oven to melt the butter, about six minutes.  Remove the baking dish and use a whisk to combine the butter and evoo.  Remove some of the now herb infused butter and evoo.  Place the shells in the baking dish and drizzle each shell with some of the butter/evoo.  Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes.  

Liberally salt the boiling pasta water. 

Stuff the pasta shells with the sausage, herb and cheese mix. 

The aroma of the garlic and sage infused evoo and butter will be infatuating, and the aroma of the sausage mixing with it will blow your mind.  

The cheese is melty and gooey and the shells start to get golden brown but not hard because of the bubbling (now) brown butter.  After removing the dish from the oven, I garnished with fresh oregano.  

I served myself and my diner, and added a little more parmigiano and garnish and devoured it with some vino and laughs.  How fun!  Great date night or dinner with friends dish. 

As always, my friends, Thank You for your visit to my humble blog.  I always appreciate your time!

Now, Please, Go Cook Something For Someone You Love!

In-House Cook 


Venezuelan Panqueque Extreme Pantry Meal The last week of this month found me making some pretty wild extreme pantry meals. This...