Low Country Foil Bake

Hi everyone!

There are many times when I struggle with what to cook next but I know can always count on other bloggers to help me out in the food department.  I always get a good dose of inspiration to help me on my way.  This week I was reading a blog by Hey Miss Lisp and she had a recipe called Cajun Shrimp Foil Bake.  It looked great.  What I liked most about her recipe was her substitutions, which were great.  Of course with my husband being from New Orleans, I was not allowed to substitute.  He is very traditional and “protective” of the recipes he’s grown up with.  Anyway, I was inspired to do an entire week dedicated to Foil Bakes. Yay!!!

Today I made a Low Country Foil Bake.  I have made this recipe so many ways, even in a pressure cooker – which came out amazing by the way.  This was the first time I made it in foil.  My favorite part about low country boils “or bakes,” is the sausage.  My husband introduced me to andouille when we first meet and I have been hooked ever since.  In case you have never heard of it, it is a coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine and seasonings. The pork used is mostly from a smoked Boston shoulder roast.  It is an amazing sausage and a must-have for this recipe.  It is, however, not easy to find.  My local grocery store just started carrying it regularly.

We are a family of four so I made four individual packets, each made to order.  In the end, this meal came out great.  I just used salt and pepper to season the kids foil bake.  This recipe was fast, easy and pleasing all at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium size shrimp, peeled
  • 2 ears of corn, cut in 4 pieces each
  • 4 red potatoes, cubed
  • 14 oz andouille sausage
  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a bowl, combine the butter, olive oil and cajun seasoning.  When thoroughly combined, add the shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes and mix until everything is coated with the butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture.
3.  Lay out (4) 16-inch long pieces of foil and divide the low country ingredients evenly in the center of the foil.  Wrap the foil tightly so there are no holes.  If you have to, add another piece of foil on top to ensure the moisture remains in the packet.
4.  Place the foil packets on a foil lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
5.  Open the packets and drench with lemon juice.
Watch this quick video!

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 3: Italian Sausage Dinners

Today I am sharing last weeks meal plan if anyone is interested. I have three great dinner ideas! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is Italian Sausage.  I made the following:

Italian Sausage and Feta Calzone

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

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Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Hi everyone, I am back with my final Italian sausage recipe for the week.  I recently went to Olive Garden for a work luncheon and I ordered the soup/salad/bread sticks…my usual at Olive Garden.  Well it was quite busy on this particular day and they literally ran out of food.  They were rationing out the parmesan cheese.  Anyway, when my soup arrived, it was “soupy.”  I love a hearty soup so I was a bit disappointed at how barren my bowl was.  I vowed to make a hearty soup when I got home.  Originally I wanted to mimic Olive Garden’s Soup but when I got home, I realized I did not have any chicken broth.  So, instead, I made a beef broth based soup which turned out just as good.

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This recipe ended up being great.  It was quick and easy for a weeknight meal.  I wasn’t sure if the kids were going to eat it but they did.  My oldest did a visual inspection for beans.  When she didn’t see any, she decided it was safe to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 9 ounce refrigerated tortellini
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large zucchini

Directions:

  1. In a skillet set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, heat up the butter. Add onion, garlic and zucchini and cook until tender. Add flour and stir.  Gradually add broth and stir.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the Italian sausage, tortellini, and spinach. Let simmer for 10 minutes to thicken up and for the tortellini to cook.  Garnish with cheese.

Watch this quick video for more!

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 2: Chicken Dinners

 

Today I am sharing last weeks meal plan if anyone is interested. I have three great dinner ideas! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is chicken.  I made the following:

Slow Cooker Chicken and Avocado Soup

Chicken Corn Chowder with Corn Bread Waffles

Pineapple Chicken and Rice

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

 

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

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Chicken Corn Chowder with Corn Bread Waffles

Hi everyone!  Tonight I am making another crock pot master piece.  If you are wondering why I am using my crock pot so much, it’s because my stove is broken.  It just went out, not sure why, but it happens.  I should get another one this week, so until then, I am having fun with some of my lesser used kitchen gadgets.  I decided to do a chowder because I used to make this for office potlucks.  I would cook off the chicken and dump everything in the crockpot and let it cook until the potluck started.  And to top it off, I would make some honey cornbread in the oven to go with it.  It was always a hit.

This time with no stove, I had to get creative with my cornbread.  I decided to make it in a waffle maker.  I thought it be a fun twist.  The kids were bummed, however, when they found out they were having corn bread with dinner instead of waffles.  They ate it any way.

INGREDIENTS:

Chowder:

1 lb chicken, cubed

1⁄2 onion chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 red potatoes, cubed

2 (15 ounce) can corn (regular and creamed), drained

2 cups chicken broth

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

Cornbread:

3/4 cup milk

1/4 melted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

Place carrots, potatoes, onion and corn in crock pot. Put chicken pieces on top. Add chicken broth. Add salt and pepper.

Turn crock pot to low and cook 4 to 6 hours. During last 10 minutes of cooking add evaporated milk and cheese. Stir.

To make Corn Bread: In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the milk, butter, oil, honey and eggs; stir to combine until moistened. Batter should be the consistency of pancake batter, so you may need to add a little more milk. Heat cooking spray in waffle maker. When hot, scoop a dollop of mixture in the waffle maker and cook cornbread in accordance with waffle maker instructions. When golden brown, remove from the waffle maker and serve with chowder.  Enjoy!

Check out this easy how to video!

Dinner Review: It’s A Southern Thing Kitchen and Bar, Durham, NC

I love cooking and creating fast, kid-friendly meals during the week.  On the weekends, however, I like to eat out and try different things.  I get a lot of inspiration from local restaurants.  I always try to order something new and different but every once in a while I gravitate toward staples.  This particular evening, my family and I ended up at “It’s a Southern Thing” in Durham.  I love eating in Durham because there are so many great restaurants and this was no exception.

menu

There were so many things that stood out on the menu.  I decided to get the Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings, which was a terrific choice.  My husband got the Smoked Pork Chops.  I wasn’t sure how much the kids were going to eat or how big the portions were, so I ordered a kids burger with fries and let the kids split it.  That actually worked out.  The split portions were just enough for two kids.  The kids will probably talk about me later in life for never letting them have their own meals.

For my meal, they did a great job on my chicken and dumplings.  It was very flavorful.  I must say, that they nailed it.  I sampled my husband’s meal and it was very good and nicely presented.

One of my favorite things was the décor.  The sign coming in was a bit cheesy but it added to the charm.  There was also a nice, relaxed vibe.  The place was full of booths, cushions and wood.  We ate in the overflow room which had a lot of space and was kid-friendly. The service was excellent too! We got tons of check-ins, drink refills, and attention.

I’ll definitely be back – so many temping things on the menu to try next time!  This was definitely an interesting take on southern comfort food.  If you are ever in the Triangle, I highly recommend checking this place out.

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 1: Turkey Dinners

 

I am starting a new feature on this blog! Every Thursday or Friday, I will be sharing a Weekly Meal Plan. I will share three dinner ideas for the week! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is turkey.  I made the following:

Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Mozzarella

Pita Nachos with Mango Salsa and Turkey Bean Dip

Pineapple and Turkey Meatballs

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

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Pork Loin Tacos

Ok so I am posting my last leftover recipe for pork loins because (1) I used all my pork loin and (2) my family will disown me. I did have fun re-inventing pork loins for four days. Transforming leftovers is one of my favorite things to do. Depending on what I have in the fridge, tacos are my number one “go-to” dish to flip leftovers. In this case, I had left over pork loin, but I normally use whatever I have. I’ve also done this with leftover chicken and beef.

dinnerstrategies pork loin

I chop up my leftovers into small pieces, season them and sauté them in a skillet along with cooked onions and taco seasoning. I have actually made taco seasoning from scratch – but not this time. Just a couple of simple, fresh, and in some cases canned additions can give pork loins a whole new flavor. Usually the finished product in no way resembles the original dish.

I usually don’t have time, patience or tools to make my own taco shells so I use store bought. I found these amazing store-bought taco shells at a new Sprout Grocery store that opened in my neighborhood.  I will try to use these often because they taste amazing and authentic.

dinnerstratefiestortilla

I just lightly fried them on each side and served the tacos alongside some fresh salsa and corn, cheese, canned pineapples, sour cream and sliced avocado.

I must admit, pork loin is more exciting as tacos. And I can finally use my left over cilantro. My recipe card says 1 cup but I put as much in my food as possible. I am the biggest cilantro fan.

This meal takes about 20 minutes to prepare. I am always short on time, so anything I can do to get food on the table fast is a win-win for me. Try it and let me know how it worked out.

Click the links to see the original  pork loin crock pot meal I made a couple of days ago.  You can probably make some spanish rice to go with it.


taco receipe card


Watch this easy video for more. Happy cooking!

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