Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef


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Taco Stuffed Baked Potato

I love tacos! I love baked potatoes! Ever find that one day when you don’t have enough leftover taco meat to feed everyone but you have the potatoes? That was me today! So, Don brought up the loaded baked potatoes that we had at the BBQ Fest last fall in Paducah. They were HUGE! I bet they weighed about 3-5 pounds each by the time they were loaded with everything.

So, I made my fresh salsa (cilantro, onions and tomatoes) rounded up the shredded Colby-Jack cheese, sour cream, White Cheddar Mexican cheese dip (served warm of course), the taco meat and the prepared potatoes.

I liked to take a spoon and carefully round out the potato from the skin then fluff it out a bit with a fork before adding all my ingredients; I don’t know why, I am just strange that way. I sprinkled on a layer of Colby-Jack followed by the taco meat, then fresh salsa and drizzled the warm white cheddar over the potato topping it off with a dollop of sour cream.

Who needs a taco shell! We didn’t use as much meat because we were using it as a topping for the potato; so it went farther. The potato gave us more to eat and with a large baked potato; it was not easy to finish this off!

Add whatever ingredients you add to your taco and enjoy!

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Grilled Angel Food Cake

As summer approaches fast, we all desire a summer treat that includes something sweet and fruity. Here is that perfect solution!

This is so easy to make. You can make it on the grill or in the kitchen on a non-stick frying pan.

Slice your Angel Food cake into 1/4 inch slices. LIGHTLY spray or LIGHTLY brush each side of cake with olive oil. You should barely see the oil when it’s applied to the cake. If using a non-stick pan in the kitchen; fry on medium-low heat until golden brown, turn over and cook on other side. If grilling; grill on lowest temperature you can achieve on your grill until golden grill marks appear and turn over for other side.

Top with your favorite fruit and glaze if desired or just eat warm.

The heat caramelizes the sugar in the cake into this amazing crunchy layer that adds that something special to the dessert.


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Steak Carnitas

I love Mexican food, but I do not love the spice! So, Don and I find ways to enjoy the flavors without the faults. This is a great recipe that is so very easy to make. The marinade; we actually found at our local Menard’s store in Indianapolis of all places! The marinade puts this sweet, delectable bark on the steak when it’s grilled.

I found that pairing the marinade with the Chimichurri sauce was the only way to go on this one. There was no need to finish the carnitas with cilantro or onion before serving; but you are welcome to if you desire.

Steak Carnitas

Ingredients:

Flat Iron Steak; butterflied

1 Bottle of 7-Up Marinade

6-8 Tbsp. Private Selection Chimichurri Finishing Sauce

First off; you want to butterfly the Flat Iron steak and spread the Chimichurri sauce onto one side. Put the top layer back onto the steak and put into a ziplock bag.

Next, pour a bottle of the 7-Up marinade onto the steak and after letting the air out of the bag; close the bag tightly. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours; 24 hours is best.

Heat your grill to 350 degrees. open the steak and grill both sides until medium well. The marinade will caramelize and give the meat this wonderful bark that isn’t tough; but is just a tad crispy and sweet. It pairs so well with the chimichurri!

 


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Review: “Eating Well” Frozen Dinners

Review: Eating Well frozen dinners

Today I picked up a frozen dinner from the company Eating Well. It looked tasty. It sounded amazing; French Inspired Chicken! I love French food and I didn’t have time to go through the process of actually cooking it myself so I tossed it in the cart and went home.

As it was cooking in the microwave; the aroma was making my mouth water! It took just under 7 minutes to cook and even though there looked like it wasn’t a lot of food, there was plenty.

The roasted chicken was done to perfection. The haricots verts were perfectly tender-crisp. The many flavors were amazing and each one enhanced the other from the sweet and savory chardonnay sauce to the earthiness of the mushrooms; it all worked together so well.

It wasn’t until I was done eating and I was reading the outer container that I realized what I was eating was actually good for me! Gluten-free, no antibiotics, no preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors.

The only problem I had with this product is that there was not more potatoes. There were plenty; I just love potatoes and the chardonnay sauce went so well with the potatoes; with everything actually.

I give this product 2 spatulas up! I will definitely be getting this one again!

Photo from Eating Well.com


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BBQ Pork Fries

BBQ Pork Fries

Don and I love french fries but we tire of the same old plain fries or cheese fries or chili cheese fries. Then we thought of what else we really enjoy eating. BBQ!

So, we put our BBQ pork (made with Wolf’s Hickory BBQ sauce), fries, cheese and bacon together and came up with an amazing dish.

Shred up some smoked pork and mix it with your favorite BBQ sauce (our favorite is from a restaurant in Evansville, Indiana called Wolf’s).

Crisp up some fries; I mean really crisp up the fries! Lay those over the BBQ pork. Now, add the shredded cheese…lots of cheese (we used Colby-Jack). Next, sprinkle on the bacon pieces. Pop it back in the oven until the cheese melts. Drizzle with more BBQ sauce before serving and prepare to have your taste buds dance in delight!

The smokiness from the meat and the sauce pairs so well with the potatoes and cheese.

It’s a meal in itself! We won’t go back to chili cheese fries again!

1 bag frozen French fries

3/4 pound shredded smoked pork

BBQ sauce

8-10 oz. finely shredded cheese

bacon pieces

Preheat oven to package directions for fries.

Make fries according to package directions; making sure they are VERY crispy.  Set aside when done.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ sauce to pork and heat through.  Spread on foil lined baking sheet. Cover pork with crispy fries. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and then bacon pieces. Return to oven until cheese melts. Drizzle with BBQ sauce after plating and serve.


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The Great Mayo Retreat

The Great Mayo Retreat

I have never been a fan of Miracle Whip. I have always been true to mayo…always. Now, the brand of mayo was always Hellmann’s. Oh sure from time to time I went with a cheaper brand to save some pennies here and there but I always went back to Hellmann’s because it was the best. The best texture, the best color, the best flavor.  It was the best.

Shortly after we moved here to Kentucky, I needed some mayo for a recipe and something new caught my eye; Duke’s Mayonnaise. I had never heard of it before, never seen it before but something about it was calling out to me. Even though I had that container of Hellmann’s in my hand and I would have saved 12 cents with the Hellmann’s; Duke’s was calling out to me to try it. I don’t know if it was the retro looking label that reminded me of the good old days with my grandma in the kitchen or just the simplicity of it all. I don’t know if it was the idea that it was a family recipe since the early 1900’s. But whatever it was; I put back the Hellmann’s and tossed caution to the wind with Duke’s.

The best decision I have ever made with mayo. In culinary school, we made our own mayo and it tasted amazing. The flavor is like nothing you can explain; fresh, delicious; your taste buds work overtime with the flavors. You don’t get that with store bought (or you shouldn’t); not even with Hellmann’s. But, you get that with Duke’s! Duke’s Mayonnaise tastes like you took the time (and it takes lots of time and patience) to make your own mayo. The flavors burst with homemade goodness! The texture, the color; everything about it screams out “I AM HOME MADE MAYO!”

So, if you can find this at your local supermarket, if you know someone that can find it at their local market and will send you some; beg them to send you some because you are missing out on the one mayo that will enhance your recipes, your sandwiches, your burgers, your sauces; whatever you use mayo for. Hellmann’s is gone from my pantry. I have retreated from their side of the isle, I am in Duke’s neighborhood now and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

 

(Photo from Duke’s Mayonnaise)

 


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Roasted Winter Veggies

Roasted Winter Veggies   (Serves: 2-4)

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter; softened to room temperature

8 oz. butternut squash; cut into 1/2 cubes

8 oz. rainbow carrots; cut into 1/2 pieces

4 oz. parsnip; cut lengthwise and then into 1/2 slices

1 small red onion; sliced thin

1 lemon

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 oz. cilantro; minced very small

1/4 oz. parsley; minced very small

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line baking sheet with foil. Toss veggies with olive oil, 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer and roast until lightly browned and tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While veggies are roasting, make butter. Mince garlic and while garlic is still on cutting board; sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt. Using a large knife at a 45 degree angle; scrape over garlic and salt, pressing down. Repeat this process to make a paste from the garlic. Transfer the garlic paste to the softened butter. Add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, half of the cilantro and half the parsley. Mash with fork until fluffy and combined together well. Set aside.
  3. Once your veggies are roasted, remove from oven and squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon over veggies, add 1/8 tsp. Kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat well.
  4. Serve veggies with a dollop of butter and extra herbs. This pairs well with steak. The butter tastes great with the steak as well.

NOTE: You can keep the compound butter in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; if stored in an airtight container or freeze for up to 1 month.