Ham and Split Pea Soup

Before I get too far into this post let’s take a pause and acknowledge that food like split pea soup sounds pretty unappetizing and something of the nightmares of small children – or in my case, a hesitation to try it until in my thirties.  But really – give it a try!  Set your prejudice for split peas aside for an afternoon and open your heart.  You won’t regret it.

Split Pea Soup with spoon

The inspiration for this soup comes from my dad.  Probably once a week I find myself on the phone with him swapping recipe and meal ideas, and recently admitted that for the better part of a decade I had been throwing away the ham bone after I served a ham for dinner – my dad was appalled!  He convinced me to try making a soup out of the ham bone, just once, to see how good it was.  And he wasn’t wrong!  Next time you make a ham, save that bone and all the meat on it.  If you don’t feel like making ham soup right away, the bone freezes and defrosts really well for later use. 

This recipe is a play off the America’s Test Kitchen version – here’s a quick run down of the recipe, as it’s a little lengthy and you’ll need a few hours to prepare from start to finish.

  • Ham bone is boiled in 16 cups of water, then bone is removed and meat is shredded off the bone (see the photo below)
  • Split peas are added to the stock and simmered until soft but not mushy
  • While the bone is simmering, vegetables are sautéed to be added later to the soup
  • Diced potatoes are added near the end, with the sautéed vegetables and shredded ham, and simmered just until soft

Shredded Ham

Shredded ham off the bone, after simmering in water to make stock for the soup

Split Pea Soup

This little treat is amazing served immediately, reheated the next day or even frozen and then defrosted at a later date.  Give it a try!  Hopefully this makes a split pea soup convert of you, like it did for me and encourages you to save that ham bone to make soup.

Ham & Split Pea Soup
Serves 8
This split pea soup with ham is a warm and hearty meal and is great reheated the next day.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 ham bone (2-3 lbs)
  2. 16 cups water
  3. 4 bay leaves
  4. 1 tsp thyme (dried)
  5. 1 lb split peas (dried)
  6. 3 T olive oil
  7. 2 white onions, diced
  8. 3 carrots, diced
  9. 3 celery ribs, diced
  10. 1 T butter
  11. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  12. 1/4 tsp white sugar
  13. 6 small new potatoes, medium diced
Instructions
  1. Place the ham bone in a large stock pot and add the water and bay leaves. Cover and heat over medium-high, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2.5 hours until the meat falls off the bone.
  2. Remove ham bone and meat from the stock; add the thyme leaves and split peas, stir, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Let the ham meat cool, and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Throw the bone away.
  4. While the ham is simmering, heat a large fry pan over high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until the vegetables begin to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sugar, garlic and butter, stirring to combine. Continue to cook for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are deep brown, stirring every 5 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the heat and set aside.
  5. Once the split peas are cooked, add the sauteed vegetables, potatoes and ham to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Season with ground black pepper and serve.
Notes
  1. This soup is delicious made ahead and served the next day.
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Many years ago I picked up a magazine in the checkout line of the grocery store that has served as the inspiration for many good recipes over the last decade.  The magazine was geared towards “lighter fare” so I’ve tended to add back the fat to many of the original recipes, adding my own spin and more flavor.  This baked ziti is a perfect example of that and has become my favorite pasta recipe and is perfect to serve a big group – even 10 or 12 people.  It’s a delicious blend of tender pasta, spicy italian sausage, a simple homemade tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella, all baked together and topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.  

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This dish is ideal to serve at night when the temperature starts to dip and you’re looking for something to warm you up, or for a Sunday football game with friends, or to deliver to a friend in need of a meal.  It’s easy to prepare in advance and bake right before serving, and the leftovers are just as good reheated the next day.

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Baked Ziti with Sausage
Serves 10
This baked pasta dish with tomatoes, sausage and cheese is perfect to serve a crowd and can be prepared in advanced, then baked just before serving.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound pasta in corkscrew shape
  2. 1 pound mild italian sausage
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
  6. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  7. 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  8. 1/4 fresh basil leaves
  9. 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  10. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a large pot of water, season with water and add the pasta, cooking to the package instructions. Remove from the stove, drain, rinse and return to the large pot. Set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the sausage, breaking into small pieces.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the sausage, and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes and paste to the sausage, stirring to combine.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cover, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring 1-2 times.
  7. After 10 minutes, remove the cover from the sauce and combine with the pasta in the original large pot, stirring carefully.
  8. Prepare a large glass 9x11 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.
  9. Add half the pasta to the pan, then top with the mozzarella cheese, then top with the remaining pasta.
  10. Bake the pasta for 30 minutes until heated through.
  11. Rough chop the basil. Serve the pasta in a large bowl, and top with chopped basil leaves and parmesan cheese.
Notes
  1. This delicious dish is easy to prepare gluten free by substituting gluten free pasta and ensuring the sausage you use is labeled as gluten free.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Lowcountry Boil

When the weather is hot and humid and I can’t dream of heating up my cool, air-conditioned home with heat from the stove or oven I’ll make just about anything that involves outdoor cooking.  Once the appeal of grilled meat and veggies from the grill wears off it forces me to be more creative about preparing outdoor meals and one of our favorite meal discoveries in the last few years is now an all-time favorite – Low Country Boil!  This meal has a few names depending on the part of the country you live in (one less appealing option: Frogmore Stew) but the components are pretty much the same – fresh shrimp, corn on the cob, kielbasa sausage, small red potatoes and an onion, and Hot Sauce and Old Bay Seasoning for flavor.  That’s it!  

Low Country Boil 4

All the ingredients are boiled in hot water (on our outdoor stove) and served on the picnic table over newspaper, no silverware required.  Or you can class things up a bit and use plates and forks… whatever floats your boat.  Great served with crusty french bread and a glass of rose.

Low Country Boil 3

 

 

Low Country Boil 1 

Lowcountry Boil
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6-8 cups of cold water
  2. 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  3. 5-10 dashes hot sauce (like Frank's Red Hot)
  4. 2 lbs small red potatoes
  5. 1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  6. 6 cobs of corn, shucked and broken into half
  7. 1 lb kielbasa sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces
  8. 1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and with shells on
Instructions
  1. Place the water, hot sauce and Old Bay seasoning in a large pot.
  2. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the potatoes and cook for 10-15 until soft enough to pierce with a fork.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add the onion, corn and sausage, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the water to a boil, add the shrimp and stir, then turn off the heat. The shrimp will cook quickly given the high temperature of the water.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit until the shrimp turn pink.
  7. Remove all ingredients from the pot and thoroughly drain.
  8. Serve immediately with french bread.
Notes
  1. This meal is naturally gluten free as long as you use a gluten-free kielbasa sausage - this is easier said than done so read your labels carefully!
Adapted from Men's Journal
Adapted from Men's Journal
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

King Ranch Casserole

Hold on to your britches, Minnesotans, I’m about to introduce you to a new casserole, ahem, hot dish.  Forgive me for assuming you’ve never heard of this concoction but I had my socks knocked off when I learned about the immense popularity of this casserole as I consider myself pretty well-versed in the subject given my Midwestern upbringing.  I saw this dish on an episode of “Diners Drive-ins and Dives” and took to the internet to find out what it entailed, and it was the equivalent of discovering tator tot hot dish for the first time, with hundreds of recipes, variations and photos at the ready.

Let’s start with the name – King Ranch – a quick Google search will teach you that the source of this casserole’s name is unclear and unlikely named after the ranch that bears this name, mostly because it’s a cattle ranch and this dish is made with chicken.  I heard an interpretation that this casserole was made to serve the ranch hands working long days at King Ranch, but the owners deny that’s the case.  Whatever the reason for the name, it’s memorable.

So, what the heck is this dish?  First, it hails from Texas so it’s going to hit you with Mexican flavors and some heat.  That includes corn tortillas, chills, Rotel and chili powder.  Second, it’s a casserole/hot dish so it’s going to gooey and hearty and calorie-laden so just sit back and enjoy and pretend calories don’t exist.  This hot dish involves layering corn tortillas with chicken, cheese and a spicy white sauce, then baking for an hour.  Simple enough if you have a little time on your hands and don’t mind chopping vegetables (this meal includes an onion, green pepper, mushrooms, garlic and optional chilis) as well as the meat from a roasting chicken.

With no further ado – here it is folks – King Ranch Casserole!  It’s not the prettiest in presentation but my, is it delicious. 

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King Ranch Casserole
Serves 8
This casserole includes layers of corn tortillas, chicken, cheese and a spicy white sauce, baked together until heated through.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1 white onion, diced
  3. 1 green pepper, diced
  4. 8 oz mushrooms, sliced and rough chopped
  5. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  6. 1 tsp kosher salt
  7. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  8. 3/4 tsp chili powder
  9. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  10. 3 cups chicken stock
  11. 1/2 cup whole milk or cream
  12. 10 oz can of Rotel
  13. 2-3 roasted green chilis, finely diced (optional)
  14. 18 tortillas
  15. 2 cups colby-jack cheese, shredded
  16. 1 whole roasted chicken, meat shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onion, green pepper and mushrooms and cook until softened and translucent but not yet browned.
  3. Add the garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder, stirring to combine, and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the cornstarch and stir until absorbed and no longer white.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the pan, 1 cup at a time, stirring to combine. The sauce will be thick.
  7. Add the milk, Rotel and chills, stirring to combine.
  8. Spray a 9x11 baking pan with Pam, then layer with 6 tortillas (there will be overlap).
  9. Cover the layer of tortillas with 1/3 of the sauce, then 1/2 of the chicken and 1/3 the cheese.
  10. Cover this layer with 6 more tortillas, 1/3 of the sauce, the remaining 1/2 of the chicken and 1/3 of the cheese.
  11. Cover this with a final layer of 6 tortillas and spread the remaining 1/3 of the sauce over the tortillas to prevent them from drying out. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cheese over the top.
  12. Bake for 1 hour until bubbling and heated through.
  13. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. I save time by buying a rotisserie chicken from the store already cooked so all I need to do is remove and shred the meat.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Fish Tacos with Coleslaw

Hello there!  In the summer months when the sun is out, the temperature is up and the days are long, I love to keep the cooking outside on the grill and minimize the time and heat in the kitchen.  One of our new favorite recipes this summer has been fish tacos, made on a weekly rotation, which you can prepare a few ways.  The idea came from my dad and the abundance of sun fish he has been catching and sharing with us… he bought a great new tool from Weber just for the job and it makes grilling fish really easy.  And for those of us unwilling to commit to another kitchen tool, there’s a simple method available as well – a sheet of tin foil!

Here’s a couple prep photos to help you get the idea – using either method, coat the fish with oil, salt and pepper, and cook 3-4 minutes per side on the grill at about 400 degrees.  The idea with the tin foil is to lay it directly on the grill and use it as a means of cooking the fish without them falling through the grates or burning.  We mostly use sun fish or tilapia for fish tacos since the filets are thin and cook quickly, and flake easily once cooked through.


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The finished product is a delicious and light fish that flakes easily.  

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These grilled fish are so delicious served as-is or on corn tortillas as a taco, topped with coleslaw.  The coleslaw recipe is a cinch to make and is best prepared just before serving as the longer you let it sit once prepared the more liquid will be drawn out of the coleslaw and things will get a little watery.

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Do you know how I can prove these fish tacos are really delicious?  I don’t have any photos of the finished product, just the fish and coleslaw separately.  And I’ve made this 4 times in the last month.  By the time it came to preparing the taco it went straight into my mouth and I entirely forgot to take a picture of it assembled so please forgive me and use your imagination here!

 

Fish Tacos with Coleslaw
Grill the fish and serve on corn tortillas topped with fresh coleslaw.
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Ingredients
  1. FISH
  2. 1 pound white fish, deboned and filleted, such as sun fish or tilapia
  3. Vegetable or olive oil
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. COLESLAW
  6. 1 bag shredded coleslaw
  7. 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 2 Tbsp honey
  9. Juice of half a lime
  10. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  11. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  12. Corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. Prepare the fish by assembling in single layer in a grilling basket or on a large piece of tin foil.
  2. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on the grill at 400 degrees, flipping the fish after 3-4 minutes once the edges begin to brown and it is losing its transparency.
  4. Once the fish is cooked, remove from the grill and place all filets on a large cutting board. Shred the fish using two forks.
  5. Heat corn tortillas in the microwave until warm.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, oil, honey, lime juice, pepper and salt, tossing until evenly coated.
  7. Serve fish on a corn tortilla topped with coleslaw.
Notes
  1. This recipe is naturally gluten free if you use corn tortillas labeled as such.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Roast Turkey Breast on the Grill

Do you ever have a hankering for something that’s entirely out of season?  I feel that way about Thanksgiving turkey throughout the year and have finally found a solution that doesn’t require hours of cooking, carving and clean up… a turkey breast roasted on the grill!  It’s perfect for summer months when you want to keep the oven off, and this meat can be served in so many ways – as the main course, in sandwiches, topping a salad or used in a pasta dish.  

First up, you’re going to need a whole bone-in turkey breast.  By the name of this, it sounds like a singular breast but it’s actually two, and includes the ribs which leads to really moist meat in the cooking process.  Essentially, the butcher has removed the wings and thighs and left the rest of the bird intact.  I can find these at my grocery store in the frozen turkey section.  

Second, you’ll also need a rotisserie kit for your grill in order to cook the bird.  I love the Weber rotisserie grill kit which includes a spit and two prongs, as well as motor.  Here’s a photo of it in action.  Notice that I’ve removed the middle three grates in the grill to allow the bird to turn on the rotisserie – it’s a big one!

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After you have seasoned and roasted the bird on the grill, it needs to rest before carving which is incredibly easy given it’s only the breasts.  Here’s the finished product!  The skin is crispy and delicious, the meat is moist and warm.  So easy, so good.  It’s like Thanksgiving in the summer, less the cold weather and three hours of oven cooking. 

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Roast Turkey Breast on the Grill
This roast turkey breast is a delicious and easy way to roast a bird without using your oven!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 frozen whole bone-in turkey breast, thawed
  2. 1 tsp kosher salt
  3. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  4. 1 tsp dried thyme
  5. 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Heat the gas grill to 375-400 degrees, and place the rotisserie motor in its setting on the grill.
  2. Place the thawed turkey on a large plate. Trim any excess skin or parts that may hang loose when turning on the rotisserie to prevent burning.
  3. In a small bowl, combine all spices and rub all over the surface of the bird, both over and under the skin.
  4. Skewer the bird with the rotisserie spit, including both prongs.
  5. Place the bird on the spit on the grill, and close the cover. Cook for 90-120 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, keeping the grill temperature at 375-400 degrees.
  6. Remove from the grill and let the bird rest at least 10 minutes.
  7. Carve the bird and serve the breast meat in large slices.
Notes
  1. This turkey breast is great served as the main dish, on a salad, or in sandwich! Also, it is naturally gluten free, as long as your turkey breast is labeled appropriately.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Shrimp Paella

It’s hard for me to believe, but it’s been over a decade since I was in high school… in my mind, I think it was maybe four years ago?  Anyhoo, back when I graduated high school I studied abroad in Spain for a month with a number of classmates and spent a week living with a wonderful family who helped introduce me to a number of unique cultural events and tastes, paella being at the top of the list.  The family picked me up from a hotel where I had arrived on a bus with my classmates and we headed directly to the beach for a meal of sangria and paella, the first time I had ever had either.  The version of paella we ordered was far more exotic than the recipe I’m going to share below, but they share common a common thread… rice, saffron and seafood.  I opt for shrimp in this recipe but the Spanish version I tried included shrimp cooked with their heads still on, and lots of baby octopus!  Delicious, but a bit of a shock to a Minnesotan teenager who hadn’t seen much of either delicacy before.

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If you try making this recipe feel free to experiment with the meat you add to the dish, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure you use Basmati rice – this dish can be made with Jasmine or long-grain rice but the texture of Basmati is really important for the authenticity of the meal.  
  2. When adding liquor to the dish at the very end, you can use either white wine (like I did) or the traditional Pernod, which is an anise-flavored liquor (read: black licorice).  This really is a key ingredient but I find that Pernod is foolishly expensive and I hate the taste of black licorice, so authentic or not, I’m using white wine instead.
  3. Make sure you use chicken stock, and not broth.  Stock is much deeper in color and has a great deal more flavor.
  4. Saffron is spendy but worth it – it has a very light, fragrant flavor that can’t be replicated.
  5. Feel free to substitute cooked lobster or crab, or raw scallops, for the raw shrimp, but make sure to keep the kielbasa no matter what.  The spices in the sausage impart some really great flavor to the meal.

Serve this paella with slices of baguette and a glass of white wine.  

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Shrimp Paella
Serves 8
This Spanish paella is a delicious dish of rice, sausage and seafood cooked in chicken stock and saffron.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  3. 2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  4. 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
  5. 2 cups white basmati rice
  6. 5 cups chicken stock
  7. 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  10. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  11. 1/3 cup white wine (recommended: Sauvignon Blanc)
  12. 1 pound raw shrimp
  13. 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
  14. 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven.
  3. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes.
  5. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer.
  6. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  7. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the oven to bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes longer, until the rice is fully cooked.
  8. Transfer the paella back to the stove top, remove the lid and add the white wine, folding the paella gently to incorporate.
  9. Cook the paella over medium heat for 1 minute, until the wine is absorbed by the rice.
  10. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently to incorporate.
  11. Cover the paella again and allow it to steam while sitting on the stovetop for 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  12. Serve hot with slices of baguette and a glass of white wine.
Adapted from Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa at Home"
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Sloppy Joes

Growing up in Northfield and attending St. Dominic Catholic School for first through eighth grades was a huge part of my life and as I recall it, awfully fun.  There was only one classroom for each grade of students with no more than 30 kids, and most of us started together in first grade then moved up through each classroom together.  One of my favorite parts of going to school at St. D’s was lunch (no surprise, huh – have I mentioned I was a chubby kid?)  It was a chance to get hang out in the cafeteria with all the other students in the other grades, screw around, talk smart (as my dad would say), trade lunch items, pony up extra coin for chocolate milk in place of boring 1% (on Wednesdays only) and to eat some awfully darn good food.  I’ve always felt blessed – in a 1st world sort of way – that my childhood school served great food. I’m unable to empathize with sitcoms and cartoons that mock the lunch ladies and their mystery meat and overcooked canned vegetable side dishes.

Anyhoo.

I imagine that the great food served at St. D’s made making dinner at home difficult for my mom at times – “I don’t like dinner, it’s not like the food at school”…nonsense along those lines. (Mom – feel free to comment on this annoyance)  Whatever the reason, she eventually asked the lunch ladies for the recipe to our favorite sloppy joes and they were happy to share… a recipe that fed 250 people.  I forget how the story goes… either my mom asked the lunch ladies to divide the recipe to feed a smaller crowd or if she did it by herself, but what it resulted in was the best sloppy joe I’ve ever had, but some strange ingredient amounts on the recipe card. For instance – 1 1/2 lbs of beef (my store only sells by the pound), 1 1/2 cans of chicken gumbo (Do I throw the other half or save it for something else), and so the recipe goes.

At some point I got tired of the less traditional ingredient amounts resulting from taking 1/30th of each ingredient in the original recipe and decided to apply some personal judgment as well as a heavy amount of heat by plussing up the chili powder and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to find my personal bliss in this meal.  The recipe you’ll see below is the result of that trial and error.  Many thanks to Mom and the St. D’s lunch ladies for the original gem!

 

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Sloppy Joes
Serves 8
This sloppy joe recipe is like none other - it uses chicken gumbo soup as the base and a variety of seasonings to add texture and heat to the meat. This recipe is sure to remind you of home!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 lb ground turkey (7% fat)
  2. 2 cans Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup
  3. 1 onion, diced, split in half
  4. 1/2 cup ketchup
  5. 3 T. mustard
  6. 1 T. brown sugar
  7. 2 tsp. chili powder
  8. 10 dashes Frank's Red Hot sauce
  9. 1/8 tsp celery salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a large 9x11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat, add turkey, break it up with a large spoon and let it start to brown.
  4. Dice onion, placing half in the frying pan with the turkey and the other pan in the baking dish.
  5. To the baking dish add all remaining ingredients to the 1/2 raw onion - 2 cans of soup, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, Frank's Red hot and celery salt. Stir to combine.
  6. Let the turkey and onion brown and cook through; add to the baking dish.
  7. Stir the turkey, onion and sauce to fully combine.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, stirring twice, after both 20 and 40 minutes.
  9. Serve over large hamburger buns.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd and kept warm in a crockpot.
  2. This recipe traditionally calls for ground beef instead of ground turkey - using turkey results in less fat but results in nearly the same flavor as the beef version thanks to all the other added ingredients.
Adapted from Mom & St. Dominic Lunch Ladies
Adapted from Mom & St. Dominic Lunch Ladies
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Chicken Fajitas

Let the Mexican meal posts continue… next up, we have Chicken Fajitas.  Yep, more Mexican food.  Shocker, right? (see my post on Guacamole for details on my personal cooking problem)

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When I was a kid I remember my mom making Chicken Fajitas for the family, all six of us, and loving that there were so many toppings to add to the meal – sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cheese – for some reason all the toppings made a delicious dinner especially fun.  

I’ll pause here to let you finish that thought about “What a little weirdo”, but such is the mind of a person who likes food. (at least that’s what I tell myself)

In any case, I’ve made my mom’s version of this meal for many years – slices of chicken fried with onions and peppers, served on warm tortillas.  But when Miss Adrienne arrived back in 2012 and many a friend came by with dinner and a hug, Michelle, a friend from work, delivered chicken fajitas and changed my perception of what this meal could be.  From that point on I was never really satisfied with the family recipe I grew up eating – while it had the basics spot on, it lacked the depth of flavor and heat from the meal Michelle shared with us.  

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So logically, I called Michelle to ask for the recipe, right?  Nope.  In hindsight it would have made a lot of sense to just call and to ask her how she made them – but instead, I took the much more difficult path and started a recipe search online and in cookbooks, finally discovering what was missing was a marinade for both the vegetables and meat.  This was just what the doctor ordered – a sauce of garlic, chili powder, cumin, lemon juice and worcestershire sauce – it keeps the chicken moist and adds some really awesome Mexican flavors to the meal.  

Sorry mom – I love you and your cooking, but I couldn’t resist making this one my own.  XO

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Chicken Fajitas
Serves 6
Chicken, peppers and onion marinaded in a slightly spicy fajita sauce, served over warm tortillas.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  2. 1 green pepper, sliced into thin strips
  3. 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
  4. 1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
  5. 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  6. 1 tsp chili powder
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin
  8. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  9. 2T worcestershire sauce
  10. 1/4 cup olive oil
  11. 1 tsp salt
  12. 1/2 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice veggies, place in a bowl.
  2. Slice chicken, place in a separate bowl.
  3. Mix all other ingredients, whisking until combined. Pour half over the veggies and half over the chicken. Stir to combine, refrigerate at least 30-60 minutes to marinade.
  4. Heat a large fry pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour in veggies and sauce and sauté until beginning to soften and brown. Remove to a plate.
  5. Return the same fry pan to the stove and reheat over medium to medium-high heat. Pour in chicken and sauce and sauté until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Return the veggies to the pan with the chicken to heat through.
  7. Serve on warm corn tortillas.
Notes
  1. Serve on corn tortillas with toppings like diced tomato, lettuce, green onion, cilantro, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Chicken Marsala

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Chicken Marsala is an Italian dinner entree made with chicken, mushrooms, shallots and wine.  While it takes a little while to prep the ingredients and cook the chicken, mushrooms and sauce, the effort is well worth it.

I don’t remember ever eating Chicken Marsala growing up and was exposed to it only a few years ago when a friend gave us a meal from one of those joints that preps all your dinner ingredients for you into packages for you to cook at home.  This gave me a pretty good idea of the basics on how to prepare this dish – coating and sautéing the chicken in seasoned flour, sautéing the mushrooms in butter and wine, and thickening the sauce with the flour that coated chicken – and after a few rounds of experimentation and some recipe research, the recipe below is now a go-to weeknight meal for us, and reheats really well for lunch the next day (if you’re into that sort of thing).

We love to eat this chicken meal on top of warm mashed potatoes – whether you choose to make those from scratch or buy a package of them prepared, potatoes add an extra element of flavor and help fill you up.

 

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Chicken Marsala
Serves 4
Chicken Marsala is a delicious meal of chicken, mushrooms and wine sauce, and can be served over mashed potatoes or with a side of vegetables.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
  2. 1 package (8oz) button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  3. 1/4 cup gluten free Bisquik OR flour
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp dried oregano flakes
  7. 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  8. 2 Tbsp butter
  9. 1 shallot, finely minced
  10. 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  11. 1/2 cup dry white wine OR Marsala wine
  12. 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Mix Bisquik, salt, pepper and oregano in a large bowl.
  2. Clean and quarter mushrooms, setting aside in a small bowl.
  3. Finely mince both shallot and garlic, combining and setting aside in a small bowl.
  4. Dice chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, place in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix to coat.
  5. Heat a large pan over medium heat, coating with 2 Tbsp olive oil.
  6. Remove chicken from the bowl covered in flour and seasoning and place in the hot oiled pan.
  7. Sauté chicken until lightly browned, and remove from pan to a large dinner plate.
  8. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil into pan with 2 Tbsp butter and heat through.
  9. Add mushrooms and cook 3-5 minutes until beginning to soften and brown.
  10. Add garlic and shallot, stirring to combine with the mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes.
  11. Pour the wine into the pan and stir to loosen the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan, bringing to a simmer.
  12. Pour the stock into the pan, stirring to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  13. Once the liquid in the pan is heated through and starting to simmer, return the chicken to the pan, stirring to coat all pieces of chicken with the sauce, and cook for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through.
  14. Serve with mashed potatoes or a side of vegetables.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/