Friday, February 7, 2014

Temporary break in posting.

If you visit He's The Cook very often, you have probably noticed that it has been a while since my last post.  That is because, if you have read my bio on my home page, I recently found out that my Non Hodgkins Lymphoma has returned and I have been busy gearing up for my battle with cancer.  I beat it before and I plan to do the same thing again, but it may be a while before I resume posting here on a regular basis.

In the meantime, enjoy the recipes you will find on He's The Cook.

Jim

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baked chicken with peppers and onions

This recipe is easy to fix, tastes great, is very heart healthy, is relatively inexpensive, and is easy to clean up after.  What more could you ask for in one dish.  We often have this with another vegetable served on the side, or with some type of rice or quinoa.  In case the thought had not already passed through your mind, if you slice the chicken into thin strips, after coming out of the oven, you have the basic fixin's for chicken fajitas.  So there is another way to go with this.



Ingredients:
Serves 4 

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium to large onions, sliced medium thick
3 bell peppers, red, yellow and green for added color, sliced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper


Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Heat the oil in a medium pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, and add the onions and peppers, with a little slat to season.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until soft and tender.

3.  In a 9" x 13" glass baking dish, coated with cooking spray, place about 1/3 of the onions and peppers in the bottom of the baking dish.  Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Top evenly with the remaining vegetables.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is done.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Easy chicken and stuffing bake.

Who doesn't like baked chicken and stuffing?  This ultimate comfort food is older than grandma herself.  And this recipe could not be easier.  It takes very little time to put together, requires only 30 minutes cooking time, and only involves one dish so clean up is a snap too.  This will be a satisfying dish for the whole family and will very likely become a favorite week night meal.  It can be served alone or over a bed of rice or noodles, or with a side of vegetables.  Lots of options with this one.



Ingredients:
Makes 6 servings

1 pkg. stove top stuffing mix
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup or Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Fix stuffing mix according to package directions, but do not cook.

3.  Place chicken breasts side by side in a shallow baking dish and cover with the stuffing mix.

4.  Mix the soup, milk and parsley together and pour evenly over the chicken and stuffing. Cover.
5.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until done.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shrimp and grits.

Several years ago I had Shrimp and Grits at a restaurant in Charleston, and I immediately fell in love.  It is a great old Southern classic that is said to have originated in the low-country of South Carolina.  Since then I have tried several different recipes, and after a few changes here and there, this is my version.  It really isn't that difficult to prepare and if you have never tried this dish, you are in for a real treat, even if you don't live in the south.

My daughter was recently on a weekend get together with some old college chums and wanted to fix this for them, so she asked if I had the recipe here on my blog.  I was surprised to find that I had neglected to add it, so without further adieu I give to you Shrimp and Grits.



Ingredients:
Makes 4 servings

4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 tbsp butter
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened
6 slices bacon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 or 5 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions:

1.  Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan or pot.  Add the salt, pepper and grits and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Note: be sure to read the cooking directions on the grits package because some take longer cooking time.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese, stirring until melted and blended.

2.  While the grits are cooking, rinse the shrimp and pat dry.  Set aside.

3.  Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp and then drain well.  Set aside.

4.  In the bacon grease add the shrimp and cook until they begin to turn pink.  Be careful not to over cook the shrimp as they will get tough easily.  Crumble the bacon and add to the shrimp, along with the lemon juice, parsley, scallions and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes.

5.  Spoon the grits into a serving bowl or onto a plate.  Top with shrimp mixture, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rice & bean enchiladas with salsa verde sauce

Inexpensive, easy, filling and very tasty.  What more could you ask for, all in one dish.  When I came across this recipe I began playing with the ingredients until I found a combination that was pleasing to us.  You can experiment with different beans, with or without the chilis, add some shredded chicken or some ground beef, etc., etc.  Don't be afraid to try some new things - you might like the result.  The original recipe only called for one can of beans, but that seemed too skimpy.  It didn't include the chilis, so I added them to get some heat.  Keep playing with the individual ingredients and before long the family will love the end result.


Ingredients
Serves 4

1 cup brown rice (long grain white rice can be substituted)
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) chili beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilis
1 3/4 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
4 scallions, sliced
6 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 cups salsa verde (buy your favorite jarred variety)
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 large tortillas
Sour cream for topping if desired.

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Add the rice, water and salt to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the water is absorbed (Cooking time can vary depending on the type of rice.  So go buy the instructions on the rice package.)

3.  When rice is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the beans, chilis, 1 1/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, scallions, cream cheese, and stir to combine.

4.  In a food processor, blend the salsa verde, milk and 1/2 cup cilantro until smooth.

5.  Place one tortilla on a plate and add about 3 tbsp. of the rice filling (don't be stingy).  Roll up tightly and place seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  When you have filled the dish with all the tortillas, if you have any filling left, put it in the dish down the sides, and use it as extra when serving the enchiladas.

6.  Pour the salsa verde sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining Monterrey Jack cheese.  Bake until bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes.

7.  When the enchiladas are done, top with the remaining cilantro and sour cream, and serve.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shepherd's pie

Shepherd's pie, aka cottage pie, is a traditional dish on St. Patty's day, but I say if it is good and you like it, any day can be St. Patrick's day.  In early cook books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.  But this recipe uses ground beef, although lamb is also a common meat, and it would be a good use for some left over pot roast or roast beef.


You can follow the recipe as written, but I will add a few comments or thoughts for your consideration.  I indicated in my profile that my grandmother never owned a measuring cup, but just added some of this and a pinch of that.  I have some of her in my genetic makeup.  This recipe assumes you know how to make mashed potatoes, and just as something a little different I used garlic mashed potatoes (regular mashed potatoes with 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves added).  The recipe I used originally called for 2 cups of peas and carrots, but I opened a one pound bag of frozen peas and carrots.  I started wondering how many cups there are in one pound of frozen peas and carrots.  Answer, 2 1/2 cups.  Don't know about you but I hate little bags or boxes with a half cup of this or a little of that, so if it's close I just add it.  When I made the mashed potatoes, I didn't peel the potatoes.  Not only is it easier but also it's more nutritious.  They are your potatoes so do with them as you will.  Finally, it calls for chicken or beef broth, but of course I didn't have either one.  So I used vegetable broth.  Maybe you would be able to tell the difference, but I couldn't.  I don't know that grandma would mind either way.


Ingredients:
Serves 5 or 6

4 cups mashed potatoes
1lb ground beef
1/3 cup onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 can (14.5oz) chicken or beef broth
1 pound package of frozen peas and carrots
salt & pepper
Garlic powder (optional)


Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef and then drain off any juices. Return the beef to the pot, add the onions and garlic, and continue cooking until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth. Cook while stirring for 5-6 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Turn the heat off and stir in frozen vegetables and salt and pepper, to taste.




4. Pour the beef mixture into a large, oven-proof baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder on top of the mashed potatoes.



5.  Put the bowl in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. 


6.  Serve

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spanish rice

This is one of those dishes that I never seem to make very often, but when I do I then wonder why I don't make it more often.  It is easy to make, tastes great, is an economical meal and is just as good the day after.  And I know that there are at least 1 million ways to make Spanish Rice, but here is my version.  I hope you enjoy it.



Ingredients:

2 cups rice (I prefer brown rice or brown basmati, but any rice works)
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1+ pounds ground beef
2 medium green peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp. oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 can (15 1/2 oz) tomato soup
4 cups stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small can green chilis (optional)


Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Fix rice, including the salt in the water, per package instructions.

3.  While rice is cooking brown the ground beef in a large pot or dutch oven and drain.  Set beef aside.

4.  Add the peppers, onions and oil to the pot or dutch oven and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until tender.  Return the beef to the pan and then add all the rest of the ingredients through the chilis, and stir to combine.  Cook for about 10 minutes.

5.  Add the rice to the meat mixture and stir to combine.

6.  Spray a large oven proof bowl with cooking spray and the add the rice and meat mixture.

7.  Bake for 1 hour and then serve.