Food for Thought: Cloves

Since Fall has officially started, I have researched a few of my favorite fall ingredients to add to my Food for Thought journal. The next few posts will be about these ingredients starting with cloves.

cloves image

 

Did you know that cloves were once used as painkillers for tooth aches and tummy aches? Keep reading to learn even more about this great smelling and tasty stem.

Cloves - Double Knotted Apron

Now that you know all about cloves and where they come from and why they are so aromatic, you will be ready to whip up those pumpkin pies and apple cider over the next few weeks to share with loved ones!

xo – M

Giada’s Winter Minestrone

Mmm Mmm Good! Campbell’s has the slogan right when it comes to a good soup, but they have nothing on Giada De Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone. I love watching her show and her recipes. I decided it was time to try out one of her fabulous looking, smelling and tasting soups. It’s Fall after all!

I used her entire recipe below except I added ground turkey meat instead of pancetta. Feel free to use either one you like, but that was my preference for this first go around.

Winter Minestrone Ingredients

Giada’s Winter Minestrone

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 oz thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped (or 1lb. lean ground turkey)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb Swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 oz) cans of beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 oz piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta (or if using browned turkey add when you add the pureed bean mixture below), and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard the rosemary sprigs (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem). Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Giada's Winter Minestrone - Simmering - Double Knotted Apron

Giada's Winter Minestrone - Bowl and Serve - Double Knotted Apron

This soup is so warm and lovely. Not only will it smell amazing but it tastes wonderful with all of the fresh ingredients and herbs. I can’t wait to make it again and next time I plan to use pancetta as well as add some mini shell pasta for a little extra texture and depth.
I hope you enjoy Giada’s dish as much as my husband and I did. Thanks Giada!!
xo – M

Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Football season is back in full swing and so are the finger foods, dips and game day snacks! One of my husband’s favorite football snacks is Buffalo Chicken Dip (BCD). He loves anything buffalo flavored and all things spicy. This dish makes him one happy camper.

I made a huge batch of BCD this weekend and we munched on it during the Georgia game (Go Dawgs!). The next day this huge bowl of orange colored dip starred me in the face all while taunting me. I thought about taking out a spoon and diving in but instead I thought about how we could turn this dip into lunch! Eureka, we did!

Below you will discover my easy-peezy recipe for BCD and then the additional ingredients and instructions needed to turn your dip into a pizza! Good luck and game on!

What You’ll Need:

Buffalo Chicken Dip Essentials:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or equivalent hot/wing sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz monterey jack, shredded (or your choice of cheese)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 cup ranch dressing

Pizza Essentials:

  • Prepackaged pizza crust
  • olive oil
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

To prepare the Buffalo Chicken Dip, lightly coat the chicken tenders in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prepare a non stick skillet with a light coat of olive oil as well and place on medium heat. Add the chicken tenders and cook throughly on both sides until lightly browned. Cut up the chicken with kitchen scissors or shred the meat on a cutting board and add back to the skillet. If there are any pieces that need to continue cooking, do so. Once cooked throughly, add about a 1/2 cup of the hot sauce to the skillet and let the chicken marinate for about five minutes while on a low simmer. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, jalapeño, remainder of hot sauce and ranch dressing. Mix well. You will notice it is a chunky soup consistency which is fine. Add the chicken and mix. Pour into a casserole dish or baking dish and cover the top with the cheese you shredded. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and it is bubbling.

Serve immediately with chips, celery sticks or tortilla shells. Enjoy!

Creating the Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Whenever you have had enough dip and you are ready to transform it into a pizza follow the instructions below.

Prepare your smoker grill for the pizza by prepping the coals in advance. You want the grill to be hot and ready! (For more detailed instructions on how to fire grill a pizza, click here.) In the kitchen start preparing the pizza by lightly brushing olive oil on both sides of the pizza crust. Once the grill is ready, place the crust directly on the rack for 3 minutes on each side.

While the crust is on the grill, prepare the dip by adding half of the mozzarella cheese and warming in the microwave for about 2 – 3 minutes. This will help thicken the dip into a nice base for the pizza. Stir to melt the cheese through the dip.

Once the crust has cooked for three minutes on each side, immediately bring inside and ladle on the warm BCD and then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Lightly pour ranch dressing over the top as well and garnish with fresh green onion if you like.

Smoke the pizza for 10 – 13 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and all the cheese has melted.

Slice and serve with extra ranch for dipping and as always enjoy!!

xo – M

 

 

New Series: Food for Thought

Food for Thought is a new category I am starting on my blog. A few weeks ago I bought a sketch journal for drawings and I decided to turn it into a culinary experience. This journal will serve as an outlet and learning center for all things food. I plan to research individual foods that make up some of the most important ingredients to dishes and some of the ingredients we take for granted. The first two I researched and journaled were garlic and onion. This journal and now blog category is dedicated to my passion for cooking and desire to learn more about the culinary world. I hope you enjoy the little tidbits and facts from each post.

Garlic - Double Knotted Apron

Onion - Double Knotted Apron

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Double Knotted Apron

One of my all time favorite snacks are boiled peanuts! Whether you are Southern by birth or by palette, you can be sure to enjoy these salty morsels with an ice cold Coke!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb green peanuts
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • large pot
  • water

Rinse the peanuts to rid them of any dirt or other impurities.

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Rinse and Clean - Double Knotted Apron

Pour the peanuts into a large pot and cover with 1/2 cup Kosher salt.

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Add Half Cup Salt - Double Knotted Apron

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Half Cup of Salt - Double Knotted Apron

Next, cover the peanuts with water. Fill the pot 3/4 full. Stir to mix the salt in with the water.

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Cover with Water and Boil - Double Knotted Apron

Boil the peanuts for at least 1.5 hour and then open one of the larger peanuts to see if the inside meat is soft and tasty. If so, reduce to a low simmer and let the peanuts soak for 15 – 20 minutes. If the peanut was still crunchy or hard continue boiling for another 30 minutes. Be sure to check a few more in between to not over cook. You may also have to add some more water to the pot if you boil for more than an hour, just keep an eye on the water level. You can’t want to scorch the nuts.

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Boil for one and half hours - Double Knotted Apron

Once the peanuts are done, let them soak in the salt water for 10 – 15 minutes before draining. Keep some of the salt water to add to the storage container or bag with the peanuts to keep them from drying out. Keep in mind if you are boiling more than a pound you will need more salt as well as a longer boiling period.

Simply Southern Boiled Peanuts - Drain and Enjoy - Double Knotted Apron

Once drained, serve immediately with an ice cold soda and enjoy! I also love boiled peanuts cold…so if you can’t finish them in one sitting (which I don’t recommend, ha!) you can always finish the the next day or throughout the week!

**I am dedicating this post to one of my best friends, Rachel. I was so blessed to have been able to call her my friend and sister in Christ for three years before she was called home by our heavenly Father. Some of my favorite memories of her are when she, her sister (my other best friend!) and myself camped out around their kitchen table with our college books and homework strewn around our laptops munching on boiled peanuts, peanut M&Ms and ice cold Coca-Colas. We were talking and laughing about everything but our homework and enjoying time together as best friends. I think of so many good memories when I munch on boiled peanuts and know that she is smiling down and remembering those sweet times as well. Until we meet again, I will always be thinking of her and her infectious smile and laugh… and love for boiled peanuts!**

Enjoy!

xo – M

Crawfish Low Country Boil

Crawfish Low Country Boil - Double Knotted Apron

If you’re feeling a little cajun or just want something delicious for dinner, run by your local grocery or seafood market and pick up a couple pounds of crawfish. This is one of the easiest crowd-pleasing meals you can make in less than an hour.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 lbs frozen crawfish, thawed
  • 1 dozen small/medium red potatoes, halved
  • 2 sausage links, precooked and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4 ears of corn, halved
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

In a very large pot (mine is called a belly pot) fill 3/4 full with water. Add the Old Bay Seasoning, garlic, onion and lemon slices and bring to a boil. Boil for ten minutes and then add potatoes. Boil potatoes for ten minutes and then add the sausage and corn. Boil for another ten minutes. Check the tenderness of the potatoes and if they are fork tender, add the crawfish.

Crawfish Low Country Boil - 2 lbs Crawfish - Double Knotted Apron

Boil the crawfish for about five minutes or until bright red. The tails will pull off easily from the body when completely cooked. Don’t over cook or the meat will be tough.

Crawfish Low Country Boil - Old Bay Seasoning - Double Knotted Apron

Remove from heat and drain. Pour the contents out over baking sheets or newspaper (if you are feeling authentic)!

Crawfish Low Country Boil - Drain and Serve - Double Knotted Apron

Serve with some cocktail sauce, lemon and butter. Make sure you have plenty of wet naps around because it is about to get messy!

Enjoy!

xo – M

 

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas

 

I am excited to share this ridiculously easy enchilada recipe with you. These spicy little numbers come together in no time and can be served with whatever your favorite Mexican sides may be (Spanish rice, black beans, salsa, etc.). Get ready to get your spice on!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb package of chicken tenderloins
  • 1 package Old El Paso Chipotle Mexican Cooking Sauce
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 4 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1/4 medium onion, sliced

Prepare your chicken with salt and pepper to both sides. Place in a nonstick skillet coated with 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the chicken on medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the pan and sauté while the chicken cooks though. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Chicken Enchiladas - Double Knotted Apron

Once the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, remove from the pan and shred. Place the shredded chicken back into the sauce pan and reduce to low heat. Add the package of Old El Paso Chipotle Mexican Cooking Sauce and heat through for about five minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas - Chicken and Sauce - Double Knotted Apron

Coarsely chop the pickled jalapeños and add them to the pan with chicken and sauce. Mix well.

Chicken Enchiladas - Jalapenos - Double Knotted Apron

Chicken Enchiladas - Chicken and Jalapenos -Double Knotted Apron

Remove eight flour tortillas from the package and one-by-one add some of the chicken and sauce mixture to each tortilla.

Chicken Enchiladas - Load the Quesadillas with Chicken - Double Knotted Apron

Top with the shredded cheese and then roll the tortilla.

Chicken Enchiladas - Load the Quesadilla with Chicken and Cheese - Double Knotted Apron

Place in a glass 13×9 baking pan (spray the sides and bottom with non stick spray) along the bottom until it is filled.

Chicken Enchiladas - Pre Baked - Double Knotted Apron

Top with more cheese and jalapeños. Bake at 350 for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Chicken Enchiladas - Post Baked - Double Knotted Apron

Remove and serve immediately along with your favorite sides! We paired our enchiladas with black beans, salsa and sour cream.

Enjoy!!

xo – M

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron