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Chorizo and Eggplant Skillet Pie

It's like Frito Pie - Chorizo and eggplant topped off with chips and cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

This dish was inspired by an eggplant casserole that my mother used to make when I was a kid.  The recipe, in “A Cook’s Tour of Shreveport (1973)” cookbook, is a simple side dish calling for eggplant, onion, bell pepper and olives, sauteed, then topped with bread crumbs and cheese. I loved this dish, but like many of us, I just can’t leave well enough alone. I have been playing around with this recipe over the years making it more than the original.  This Chorizo and Eggplant Skillet Pie is the result.

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Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas @MJ's Kitchen | mjskitchen.com

 

We all have the need for a variety of quick & easy (Q&E) meals to fall back on for those nights when we just don’t have the time or the energy to put together an elaborate or time-consuming meal.  However, because we still want to eat good food that tastes like we did put a lot of effort into it, our quick & easy meals need to be delicious.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite meals and meal ideas that I’ve been using for many years. They all take less than 45 minutes from start to finish and most take less than 30 minutes. I’ve also included links to some Q&E meals that I have on my list to try. I hope you find a few that you too, can use to make your life a little easier.

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Black Bean Tamales with Spicy Mango Sauce

Black Bean Chipotle Tamales with spicy mango sauce #vegan| mjskitchen.com

 

It’s time for another tamale recipe!  I don’t know about you, but I love making tamales. Some people enjoy spending a couple of hours making a cake, but me, I’d rather spend it making tamales.  These Black Bean Chipotle Tamales were made with black beans, a little onion, sweet pepper, and a chipotle seasoned masa.  For this batch, I used canola oil, but I’ve also used melted butter. I quit using lard in my tamales years ago.

If you’ve seen my other tamales recipes you know that I prefer to mix the filling in with the masa rather than apply them separately.  It makes the assembly process much easier and faster. It only takes about an hour to make the filling and the masa, and to assemble the tamales.  Once that’s done, you just place the tamales in a steamer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, and go relax, read a book, have a beer.

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Fajita Style Bean Burritos with Red Chile

A vegetarian burrito with pinto beans and seared peppers and onions, smothered in New Mexico red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

 

Back in a 2013 post I mentioned there were two dishes that Bobby brought into our kitchen from his college days that have remained dinner staples for over 40 years.  One was a green bean and potato dish and the other was the pinto bean burrito.  Of course both have been enhanced over the years, but they still remain two of our favorite comfort foods.  Bean burritos during our college days were canned pinto beans rolled in a flour tortilla with cheese, sour cream and Rotel green chile tomatoes. Once we moved to New Mexico, the salsa was replaced with a smothering of red chile, the canned beans with pressure cooked dried beans, and the toppings…well that changes on and off because of all of the possibilities.  However, one topping that we repeatedly choose is quick seared onion and sweet peppers.  We call these burritos our Fajita Style Bean Burritos.

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Red Beans and Rice with Tasso

A hearty bowl of Red Beans and Rice with Tasso, a spicy Cajun pork | mjskitchen.com

A few weeks ago when we were in Louisiana, we dropped by Bergeron Boudin & Cajun Meats on our way out of Shreveport and picked up some cajun meats to bring back home.  We filled our ice chest with boudin, andouille and tasso, some of which we shared with our New Mexico family and friends. We’ve been using the rest to make some of our favorite Louisiana dishes.  Last weekend Bobby planned to make a pot of red beans and rice with some of the tasso and andouille; however, once he cooked down the beans with the tasso he found that no andouille was needed.  The tasso added both the spicy and the meaty components to the beans while delivering a different, but just as delicious flavor as we get when he uses andouille.  The recipe below is Bobby’s Red Beans and Rice with Tasso.  It is pretty much the same recipe he uses for his regular red beans and rice, so I’ve indicated the differences in my Kitchen Notes. And yes, red beans and rice is Bobby’s dish because he makes it SO GOOD!

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Braised Orange Ginger Chicken

Chicken braised in orange juice with ginger and other spices | mjskitchen.com

 

How many ways can one cook chicken?  Well, just out of curiosity I Googled “chicken recipes” and got 12,400,000 results! That’s a lot of chicken goodness!  In my personal recipe book, I have over 100 chicken recipes that I’ve created, adapted or revised over the years.  This Braised Orange Ginger Chicken is one of those recipes and one of our favorites. It’s easy to make, full of flavor and has an awesome sauce!  To make sure all of that awesome sauce gets fully appreciated, serve this dish with a side of rice, polenta, couscous or other grain.  A side of bourbon carrots makes a complementary side as well.

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A Tantalizing Collection of Soups and Stews

A Tantalizing Collection of Soups and Stews | mjskitchen.com

When the cold weather just doesn’t want to go away, there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of soup or stew.  Below is a collection of recipes that will not only warm you up, but make you feel good inside and out.  And no matter what your diet – vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or carnivore – you’ll find several soups to keep you warm, healthy and happy. Continue Reading →

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Carne Adovada Enchiladas

Red chile enchiladas made with leftover carne adovada or pulled pork | mjskitchen.com

 

Oh…what to do with leftover carne adovada or pulled pork. In this kitchen, it’s normally used to make a batch of enchiladas.  It doesn’t take but about 1 cup of tender braised pork to make enough enchiladas for two people. If you have more than that, then make a larger batch and serve the whole family or family and friends.

Like with any batch of enchiladas, you can keep is simple by just using the meat, tortillas and the desired amount of chile or enchilada sauce, or, you can add other ingredients to create a complete, one dish meal. And that’s what I’ve done with these carne adovada enchiladas. Fresh spinach and onion are added to each layer along with a little sour cream,  and, even though I don’t show it in the pictures, a fried egg is placed on top along with a little more red chile.  Normally, our enchiladas are smothered in red chile, but because the carne adovada was already very spicy, I held back.

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Sweet Pepper Stew (aka Peperonata)

A peperonata stew with sweet peppers, tomatoes, capers | mjskitchen.com

 

Sweet Pepper Stew is a version of the Italian dish – Peperonata – that is normally made in the fall when there is an abundance of different colored sweet peppers. However, several years ago Bobby made this lovely dish for me for Valentine’s Day and it’s been our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner every since.

Buying organic fresh sweet peppers this time a year is not cheap, but this dish is well worth the price. To the peppers we add frozen tomatoes and basil from our summer garden, along with a few capers.  After resting in the refrigerator overnight, this sweet pepper stew becomes quite “juicy” from the tomatoes and flavorful from the melding of all of the wonderful ingredients.  You can eat it by itself, or serve it with a nice baguette or homemade bread.  It’s also quite good over creamy polenta.  Finish your meal off with a Coffee Scented Chocolate Pot for a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day home dining experience.

What is your traditional Valentine’s Day meal?

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