Cajun Chicken and Andouille Fettuccini Alfredo

What do you get when you give a sixteen-year-old girl who loves pasta free reign in your kitchen? You get spicy, flavorful, creamy, luxuriant pasta bliss!

I love cooking with my daughter, and this recipe is great for a young cook. The directions are simple and easy to follow, and cooking the pasta in the liquid uses the starch from the noodles to naturally thicken the sauce. It’s a one pot meal. Brilliant and delicious!

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Thai Beef Sandwich

I’m on a sandwich kick lately so today isn’t about what’s for dinner, it’s all about lunch, specifically Father’s Day lunch because this is a dad sized sandwich.

This recipe is a twist on my husband’s favorite Thai Beef Salad recipe I posted last July. And with all yummy sandwiches, one of the most important ingredients is the bread. I used my favorite Ciabatta bread because I knew it would be the perfect texture and thickness to hold up to the mound of tender roast beef, the layer of spicy, creamy mayonnaise, and the crunchy acidic dressed vegetables.

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Oriental Pork and Habanero Dumplings

Here’s a spicy little appetizer to serve your Valentine this week, and they have everything you want in a dumpling.  The tender, chewy wontons filled with tender pork, spicy habanero pepper, fresh ginger, green onion, and just a touch of sesame oil burst with flavor.

You think a box of chocolates is addictive?  Wait until you try these.

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Penne with Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms

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I love making this pasta dish when we have company over because you can prepare the sauce ahead of time and allow the flavors to blend and deepen until you’re ready to warm it back up in time for dinner. I’m also a believer in the rule that you should always cook with the wine you plan to serve with the meal. The peppery, currant, berry flavor of Syrah wine adds a deep richness to the sauce and wonderfully compliments the earthy mushrooms, spicy Italian sausage and bright licorice essence of the fennel.

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Honey-Roasted Pork Loin with Pistachio and Olive Orzo Pasta

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The flavor and texture of a pork loin after it’s been basted with honey and roasted with onions and pears infuses the meat with a tender, smoky sweetness. Served with orzo pasta prepared using briny green and kalamata olives and nutty chopped pistachios, and you have a hearty dinner with a myriad of delicious tastes and textures.

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Garlic and White Habanero Marinated Skirt Steak over Dirty Rice

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This week’s recipe features the small yet mighty white habanero which was a new pepper in my garden this summer. I really enjoyed the garlicky undertones however it was very mild which is why the ratio of garlic to pepper in the ingredients list below is so dramatic.

I first used the marinade as a spicy salad dressing, mixing in some olive oil, minced shallots, honey, salt, and pepper, then, decided to try it as a marinade to tenderize a tough cut of meat like a skirt steak. It was an excellent choice. The meat picked up just enough heat from the marinade to taste, but it was very subtle, and the acid in the vinegar helped to break down the meat’s tissue, allowing the steak to absorb a lot of the liquid, hence making the meat very tender and juicy.

When I considered what to pair with the steak, I wanted something that could stand up to the heat, so I made a dirty rice with more of the white habanero to continue the heat trend. Again it was subtle and tasted delicious with the accompanying tender onions, sweet bell peppers, and crispy bacon.

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Spicy Caribbean Chili

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Today’s recipe is a continuation from last week’s post because I still had some of that deliciously spicy chocolate habanero sauce left over. It was too spicy to eat as a salsa (yes even for me) so I decided to experiment with a version of a Caribbean chili using the slow cooker.

I’ve participated in a few chili competitions in the past and have always found the four, and five-alarm chili’s to be so spicy, they obliterate your tongue and you don’t taste any of the other ingredients.

What was surprisingly wonderful about adding the Caribbean hot sauce to the mix in this chili was you still tasted the pork, ground beef, and tomato base, but you also picked up a great smoky, tangy heat at the end. My mouth was burning when I finished my bowl, but it wasn’t an overpowering heat, it was just right.

The next chili competition I enter will be using this recipe!

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Baked Penne with Meatballs

Baked Penne with Meatballs

This recipe is one of my super-easy, super-quick, fall-backs, ‘always try to have the ingredients on hand’ recipes for last minute changes or unexpected dinner guests.  Penne is a great type of pasta for soaking up spicy red sauces, and it bakes well when paired with Italian-style meatballs, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella cheeses.

An alternative lower fat option would be to replace the Italian style meatballs with turkey.  Both taste great and add a nice heartiness to the dish.

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Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Salad

Last Sunday was one of those hot, humid, sticky days in St. Louis, where the last thing I wanted to do is stand over a hot stove. I thought a hearty ‘warm’ dinner salad would be the perfect solution, plus I had a taste for a spicy cold noodles with fresh greens and garlicky-ginger pork tenderloin. The pork only took a few minutes under the broiler to cook so the kitchen was nice and cool when we sat down for dinner. The only heat was from the fiery jalapeno and the red pepper flakes!

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