West African Peanut Soup

img_20170213_195635

Friday night I felt that familiar tickle in the back of my throat. “Oh no…I’m getting sick!” Sure enough, I woke up Saturday morning with a stuffy nose and cough. Cough syrup can only do so much as far as healing goes. By Monday night, I was fed up with not being able to breathe.

I knew I needed to make some pepper soup to clear me up. I was introduced to pepper soup by my dear friend Karen; I met Karen while we were both studying at WVU. She and her family came to America from Liberia in the early 2000s and brought many of their recipes with them. She makes pepper soup with bone in chicken, smoked turkey breast and fish, and chicken feet…and it is delicious. You have to drink milk while you eat it, but it burns so good.

When I went online to find a pepper soup recipe similar to Karen’s but without the meat I wouldn’t be able to find here in the Ohio Valley and without as much heat (I’m a wuss), I came across one for West African Peanut Soup (http://www.africanbites.com/maafe-west-african-peanut-soup/). I tweaked it a little. Here’s my take on this delicious soup. I think Karen will approve 🙂 (except she will definitely make fun of me for not being able to handle the heat)

Before I go on, I would like to say that I’m blessed to know many people who have come to America from other countries (Karen, Randell, Anu, and Angela especially). You’ve brought your food, your traditions, your families, your culture, and your love. Thank you for letting me take part in celebrations both big and small.

West African Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 4-5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 maggi cube (you can use regular bouillon cubes if you can’t find this ingredient)
  • 2 large boneless chicken breast
  • carrots (I chopped up about 15 baby carrots)
  • 2 large potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of hot paprika (or just use regular paprika and cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon of adobo seasoning
  • 2 habanero peppers

Directions

Boil the chicken breast, the onion, and the maggi cube for 30 minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked and reaches 165 degrees). Set aside.

Blend the tomatoes, garlic, and parsley in a food processor or blender. Heat oil in a large pan. Add mixture and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.

Add vegetables, paprika, adobo, peanut butter, habanero peppers, and stock. I usually add the peanut butter first, let it melt into the mixture, and then add my other ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add in the chicken (cut into cubes). Cook for 5 minutes or until soup reaches desired thickness. If you want the soup to be more mild, remove the peppers. If you want the soup to be hot, break the peppers when you add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice…and toasted Yorkville Bakery bread!

*Next time I make this, I think I’ll add more root vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips). Maybe some kohlrabi.

*This would probably taste even better with bone-in chicken.

img_20170213_195530

img_20170213_195635

img_20170213_195612img_20170213_195552

Cheddar Chicken Cornbread Casserole

img_20161102_113835

I saw this recipe online and thought it looked delicious. Of course, I had to complicate it, season it differently, and just basically jazz it up the way I like.

Cheddar Chicken Cornbread Casserole

Based off of this recipe: http://breadboozebacon.com/chicken-cornbread-casserole/

I added some other seasonings and also cooked my own boneless thighs and made my own cornbread.

Ingredients

Casserole

  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 3 cups of crumbled cornbread
  • Pinch of garlic salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Boneless thighs (I used about 3-4 pounds)
  • Adobo seasoning
  • 1.5 cups of water

Cornbread

  • 2 cups of self-rising cornbread mix
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups of milk (I actually used half n half because I didn’t have any milk. Works just fine.)
  • pepper, jalapeno seasoning (salt free), smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup of honey

Directions

Brown the boneless thighs on each side in a large skillet (seasoned with Adobo).

Once they are browned, add the 1.5 cups of water. Cover and cook until the juices run clear (about 25-30 minutes). Once the chicken is cooked, move it to a cutting board to cool and rest. Once cooled, chop into pieces.

Leave the water (now chicken stock) in the pan. Add 1/2 cup of butter to melt. Add garlic salt.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven while it’s preheating.

Mix the ingredients for the cornbread together. Grease the cast iron skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Once it cools for a few minutes, transfer it to a cutting board so you can crumble it.

In one bowl, combine the chopped chicken with the red pepper flakes, sour cream, and mayo.

In another bowl, add the butter/stock mixture to the cornbread (once cooled) and mix.

Spread a layer of the cornbread mixture into the bottom of a 9X11 pan.

Evenly spread the entire bowl of chicken onto the layer of cornbread.

Top with the remaining layer of cornbread.

Bake for 15 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and bake for another 20 minutes.

I hit mine with the broiler to get it extra crispy!

img_20161102_113858img_20161102_113845img_20161102_113835

Shepherd’s Pie: The Fall Edition

I’m here to shake up your pumpkin spice experience.

Shepherd’s Pie: The Fall Edition

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds of Pumpkin Spice Sausage
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 can of corn
  • Cinnamon, Adobo, garam masala, red pepper flakes, and whatever else you feel like throwing in there. Go crazy.
  • Cornbread batter * (plus black pepper, honey, and jalapeno seasoning)
  • Rice (I used minute rice to thicken it up)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the sausage from the casing, and brown. Then add your onion, carrots, & celery. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the vegetables soften.

Add the corn, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, spices, and rice to the pan. Let thicken for about 10-15 minutes. Stir often.

While it’s cooking, prepare the cornbread. I use self-rising cornmeal mix and then add milk, an egg, oil, and whatever else I feel like putting in there. For this recipe, I added honey, jalapeno seasoning, and black pepper.

Spray a square baking pan with cooking spray. I used a deepdish 9X13. Spread your sausage mixture evenly into the pan, and then spread/pour the cornbread mixture overtop.

*If you use a thick cornbread batter, spread over the top of the casserole. If your batter is smooth and creamy and more of a liquid, pour it evenly and slowly into the casserole. It will sort of bake into the other ingredients. Both are good!

Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Enjoy! This is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far!

Pierogies Paprikash

IMG_20160901_124842

I started out making a pierogie dish in the crockpot. It was supposed to have cheddar kolbossy, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pierogies, and chicken stock. That’s it.

WELL. My dad didn’t want kolbossy today because we had it Tuesday. He wanted boneless thighs (he loves chicken and would eat it every meal).

I improvised, and it turned out VERY similar to chicken paprikash. You have to try this dish. It has everything I love.

Pierogies Paprikash

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes of pierogies
  • 1.5 cups of minute rice
  • one 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 chunk of brick cheese – cut into cubes (you can use whatever cheese you want. Go crazy)
  • 1 container of unsalted chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 large boneless thighs
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • crushed red pepper
  • Adobo (mild kind; no pepper) (use enough to cover the chicken)
  • Paprika

Directions

Turn your crockpot setting to high. Add the garlic, paprika, cream cheese, cheddar/brick cheeses, chicken stock, and 2 boxes of pierogies. Cover and leave it alone. This part of the recipe needs to cook by itself, with occasional stirring, for at least 3 hours.

When you’re getting close to the 3 hour mark, chop and sautee the onions in butter. When they’re soft, add them to the crockpot.

After you’ve removed the onions, melt the rest of the butter in the same skillet (should be a little less than 1 stick). When it’s hot, cook your boneless thighs over medium heat. I season with the Adobo, paprika, and crushed red pepper. I kept mine covered and flipped them a few times. It took about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool enough so that you can handle it.

Empty the crockpot hodgepodge into a LARGE skillet. Large enough to hold all that plus the chicken (ideally the same one you cooked the chicken in). Add the rice. Leave the skillet on medium heat, and do not cover. This part isn’t necessary. You can leave it in the crockpot; I just thought mine needed to thicken up. It’s probably easier just to add the chicken into the crockpot and let it cook for another hour.

Chop your chicken, and add it to the skillet (make sure all the delicious juices from the chicken cooking are also in there). Let everything cook, stirring frequently, and thicken for another ten minutes.

We ate an entire skillet of this with no leftovers. It was that good. I’m not sure how we each put down 2 bowls, but it happened.

 

Quiche with Sriracha Sausage, Ricotta, & Bacon

IMG_20160830_110031

Quiche with Sriracha Sausage, Ricotta, & Bacon

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of half n half
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pound of sriracha sausage (cut out of casing)
  • 6 tablespoons of ricotta
  • 6 strips of crispy bacon
  • store bought pie crust

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Thaw the pie crust (while cooking the sausage and bacon).

Brown and cook sausage completely through. Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain both, then crumble the bacon.

Slightly beat the 3 eggs, and whisk in the half and half.

Layer the sausage and the bacon in the pie pan. Pour in the egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Evenly place dollops of ricotta on top of the egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Let rest for another 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Chili

I don’t care what you say. There’s never a time when you should or should not eat pumpkin. It’s a year round food that I adore. This recipe is easy and crazy good.

Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 box of unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 pounds of kolbossy
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic (I love garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon of green curry paste
  • cinnamon, chili spice, smoked paprika, pepper, garam masala, and adobo (whatever you think; just don’t make it too salty) (I add quite a bit of cinnamon because I love it)

Directions

Chop the onions, and sautee with the garlic until soft.

Chop the kolbossy into bite sized pieces and add to the onions and garlic.

Dump in everything else.

Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve over prepared rice; make cornbread to go with it, if you feel like it.

Rakott Krumpli

IMG_20160827_200008

I attended the Hungarian Picnic this past weekend, and I wanted to make something Hungarian that I could bring. I chose this dish because who doesn’t like sausage and potatoes?

Rakott Krumpli (layered potato casserole)

Based off of this recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/layered-potato-casserole-rakott-krumpli

I added more or less of some ingredients, added paprika, and adjusted the measurements 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 pounds of sausage (I used our delicious, homemade Hungarian Smoked Sausage) *
  • 8 boiled eggs (omit if you don’t like them; I don’t think they make or break this dish)
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 stick of butter (melted)
  • Salt & pepper + paprika
  • Sour cream (enough to cover 2 layers; get the big tub)

Directions

Fill a pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 40 minutes. Drain, and let the potatoes cool enough so that you are able to handle them.

Cut the sausage into bite sized pieces, and fry until cooked through.

Preheat the oven to 390 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 pan with some of the melted butter.

Thickly slice the potatoes, and evenly layer them in the pan. Cover this layer with sausage, then cover the sausage with an even layer of the eggs (slice the eggs as well). Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Cover liberally with sour cream.

Layer with the remaining potatoes, season again, and liberally cover with sour cream.

Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, and pour the rest of the butter over the bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes; if the top isn’t crispy enough, bake it at a higher heat for another 10 minutes.

*This would be so good with the cheddar kolbossy too!