I left the laptop home and turned off during my holiday travels and have plugged it back in today with a new goal in sight. Meals by Misty did some SERIOUS cooking over the last 2 months and the buttocks is proof that it all tasted quite nice! I'm pulling out the markers and poster board and am setting some goals. I guess you could say I'm getting an early start on ONE of my New Year's Resolutions: losing 10 pounds!
I'm saying goodbye to the following:
Ok, maybe not goodbye to the wine, but I'm saving this indulgence for the weekend! Oh, one more thing thats gotta go: my love for bacon.
I catered a couples baby shower last week and they wanted Taco Soup...so that is exactly what they got. But it was a "SOUPED" up version of the original "Santa fe" soup we all have come to know and love.
First, brown a pound or two, depending on how much soup you want to make, or how meaty you want it, with a chopped up red onion.
Add a large can of diced tomatoes, undrained.
Drain 1 can of kidney beans, 2 cans of whole kernel corn, and 2 cans of black beans and mix it all together.
Now for the fun part. Welcome to flavor town. I like to add the following:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbl dried oregano
1 tbl chili powder
2 teas salt
1 tbl black pepper
Hot Sauce (you decide how much, don't be scared)
1 ranch dressing packet
Ok, now this is another added extra I decided to whip out of my pocket. I had some sour cream and a brand new box of the smooth, creamy melt with a distinctive taste that has been a classic since 1928:
This was odd for me because I NEVER use velveeeeeta. I thought what they hay, and went with it. I diced up 2 pounds of this creamy delight and melted it in the pot, along with 1 cup of sour cream.
I'm glad I did because it was FAN-Flippin-TASTIC!
**On a side note: I am a huge sucker for different hot sauces and I wanted to fill you in on a new one I found at the farmers market a few months ago. Its called Gator Sauce and its great.
I added about 3/4 a bottle, which sounds like a lot, but it wasn't. This hot sauce isn't as hot as some of the standard hot sauces. Order here: not there, HERE!
One last shot:
He is such a cutie patootie. He showed up at the signing right on time and we only had to wait about 20 minutes to meet him.
I actually was a little star struck, which is very unusual for me. I had all these topics I wanted to ask him but FROZE when it was my turn! To be honest, I don't have a clue what I said. I just smiled. My smile hurt my face. Oh, and it made my cheeks look like a chipmunk. All these Christmas parties I've been catering are getting to me. Getting to my cheeks, both sets!
I'm off on a mini vacay today to the mountains. Stay tuned for some amazing pictures. I might even take some food shots!! That would be a first!
In honor of a few of my ragin Cajun friends and the snow that fell on Alabama last night, I decided to whip up a big pot of Chicken Jambalaya. For all you football fans out there, I have to say, it sure is nice watching Alabama beat Florida (I do love Tebow, but not as much as Julio) all while enjoying some yummy Cajun food!
A shake or two of red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cups celery, finely chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 carton of chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Heat your oil in a large Dutch oven on medium heat and add your sausage. I try and keep it somewhat healthy so I use turkey sausage. The best one I've found is Smithfield's. I can't tell a difference.
After the sausage turns dark in color and begins to crisp, take the sausage out of the Dutch oven and let it hang out on a paper towel. Return the pot to medium high heat and brown your chicken, along with the herbs and salt and pepper. (If you are a fan of Cajun seasoning, go to town here! I like things hot and spicy, so I add a few shakes of my favorite Cajun spice) When your chicken is brown and well seasoned, remove it from the pot and let it rest while we move on to the colorful part of the dish.
Add the vegetables to the pot and let them hang out until they are a nice golden brown color. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves.
Add your chicken and sausage back to the pot and cover it up.
I think the longer it simmers, the better it tastes. Try and let it simmer a good hour, if not longer. Surely you have some errands to run. Oh, I know, go to the gym and get a good workout in. Haha, right??
This is when I like to add my secret weapon.
My in-laws live in Mobile and were sweet enough to get me hooked on this stuff. I think it was all a big plot to get me to make the 4 hour trip to see them more often, but hey, it worked! This is the best hot sauce I've ever tasted and I am a hot sauce connoisseur. Its from my favorite restaurant, Wintzell's. They have the best oysters! You really should check out this sauce: buy it here.
Add in the rice and watch how the pot thickens! (not the plot, the pot)
I am struggling as I try and come up with the adjectives appropriate for these little delights. They are good. No, they are perfect. Easy to make, inexpensive, fun, darn good, fattening as all get out! Meals by Misty has filled more orders in the last month than I thought was possible. I have met so many new clients lately and I'm going to let my math teacher self estimate that over 75% have asked for either Red Velvet Cake Balls or these OreoJoe's. (I just named them that..its sorta catchy don't you agree??)
First, gather up some oreo cookies. The recipe I found from Bakerella here, says to use an entire bag. I used about 3/4's the bag and they turned out HEAVENLY.
Pop them in your food processor and pulse until the cookies turn into a fine powder. Actually, the cookies turn into what appears to be dirt. Tasty dirt that is.
Pour the dirt into a large bowl and plop in a package of room temperature cream cheese.
Use your hands and mix the oreo's with the cream cheese. Once combined, roll out quarter sized balls and place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
Ok, this next step is CRUCIAL. Once you have rolled out these booootyfull balls, you MUST pop them into the fridge for a couple hours, if not longer. The longer the better. You chill these so that they will stay true to size and shape even after rolling them in chocolate.
I had a tough time finding the right chocolate for drowning these Oreo balls in. I tried Bakers, it was too thick. I tried Quickcandy, HAHA! I hate that stuff. Its as thick as Mississippi mud (not the cake, the actual mud.) I finally found chocolate bark at a Kroger grocery store in my mom's hometown in Mississippi. We do not have Kroger here so when I go home to visit, I load up. I'm pretty sure my stocking will be hung by the chimney with care, with packages of bark flying all through the air.
The husband and I had a relaxing night at home last night and sat around the fire pit discussing all of our future Holiday traveling plans. Dinner was very easy, steaks on the grill and crunchy walnut salad with homemade Asian Vinaigrette. The dinner and the company were perfection!
This salad dressing, along with the toasted walnuts and Ramen noodles, rocks! My mom makes a dressing like this for our Holiday get-togethers and I tend to forget about it over the year. I won't forget about this baby again!
For the dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce Salt and pepper to taste
For the crunch:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2-1 cup walnuts
1 package oriental Ramen noodles (I must mention these things only cost 22 cents)
In a medium size skillet, melt half the butter and toast the Ramen noodles. Once they turn a darker brown (don't burn them) add the seasoning packet. Once golden in color, rest them on a paper towel. Add the rest of the butter and toast the walnuts for a few minutes or until dark gold in color.
For the salad:
Red bell pepper
Add the lettuce and the veggies, then the walnuts and Ramen noodles. Last but not least, give the dressing a big shake and then pour it on. Give it a good toss and dig in!
Its hard to say whether or not I'm happy about my new obsession. I stumbled on a recipe at Bakerella's site for red velvet cake balls. I'm not a big sweet eater, nor do I consider myself a good baker...heck, I don't like to measure and rumor has it, measuring is key in baking. However, when I saw how dang cute these cake poppers were, it was love at first ball.
The whole process isn't a hard one, but its definitely time consuming. Last night I made 90 of them and it took me about half a day. Ok, let me stop for just a second. I feel it is important to lay it all out on the line. I used a boxed cake mix. There I said it. I'm not sure if baking etiquette allows that, but I don't regret it. I figure baking a cake from a box is a lot like drinking wine from a box. You might do it, you probably enjoy it, you don't however, talk about it.
Ok, back to the balls. I made the cake just like the box said. Then, I let it completely cool which took about an hour. Then, I crumbled the cake up into a large bowl.
Then comes the icing. Yes, it was store bought. So what :) I forked a tub of cream cheese icing into the bowl and mashed it up, treating it like meat for a meatloaf. I even got my hands messy. Afterward, I plastic wrapped the top, and popped it in the fridge for another hour or two. After it chilled, I used my hands and rolled quarter size balls. 1 cake made 45 balls. DOH...I forgot to take a picture of the rolled up balls!
I melted chocolate bark, which is quite hard to find, and using a spoon, I rolled the cake balls into the chocolate.
I was so incredibly excited to meet Patrick, a new customer of mine. He placed an order on Tuesday for Pepper Steak, White Rice, Garlic Brew Bread and Chocolate Oreo Truffles. This order was UBER special because Patrick was going to propose to his girlfriend the next night, over his homemade meal by yours truly!
When I started Meals by Misty, I knew one of my dishes that would rock everyone's world was my pepper steak. I've mentioned before my love for spicy food and it's pretty obvious how fond of meat I am, so this entree is perfect for me. Oh, I find it important to mention that this is a one pot wonder. Only one dirty dish! Wooohoo!!
I have tried using several different cuts of beef, but have found that my favorite is top sirloin. I season the steak with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and then brown it in about a tablespoon of oil. While the meat is browning, cut up your veggies. (If you are a wine drinker, now is a good time to get your pour on)
Remove the meat from the Dutch oven and toss in the red onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper. Add garlic (3 gloves) and 2-3 cups of beef broth. Now, to make pepper steak taste the way I like it, I go a little crazy at this point. I add a splash of Dale's steak sauce, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a big splash of soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, and a can of tomatoes.
Put the lid on a let it simmer away on med-low heat. To thicken the mixture, combine 2ish tablespoons of cornstarch and 2-3 tablespoons of the broth in a seperate dish. When the lumps dissolve, drop the thickening agent into the pot and give it a good stir. The color will deepen and the sauce really thickens up. Add your meat in the pot and if you like it hot, add a few drips of hot sauce.
A few clients have requested noodles to go with their pepper steak, but I'm a rice kinda girl. I like it best over fluffy rice with plenty of garlic brew bread for dipping.
I received an email from Patrick today saying last night was perfect so I'm assuming she said yes!
I always loved watching my mom cook when I was a little girl. It became clear by an early age that I had a love for being in the kitchen. Before my 18th Birthday I had more kitchen gadgets than anyone else I knew. Now I cook in my own kitchen for my husband and for my friends and family. Joey, my husband, jokes about how we need to rent a storage room for all of my kitchen toys. In 2008 I started cooking for others. Now, I have made a small business out of what I love doing most, preparing healthy, homemade meals for other busy locals in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. My motto is simple..."Stick that in your oven!!" Now that I'm a mom to an amazingly precious boy, I don't cook as many gourmet meals as I once did, nor do I offer my catering as often as I'd like. I'm slowly beginning to cook for the public again and couldn't be more excited!