Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Bowl Recipes - Touchdown!

Head to the end zone for a long pass of recipes from The Culinary Quarterback. Are you ready for Superbowl Sunday? The Fried Pig Skin Lovin' Chef has some tasty football food that will leave enough green in your wallet to buy an extra keg for your tailgate party.

Just click on any recipe name below to see what I mean. There are no fumbles in this recipe list!

Next to pizza and hotdogs, Fried Chicken is a fan favorite. And I've come up with a crunchy coating that will empty the bleachers and have fans storming the kitchen! Just checkout my Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe (and substitute whole chicken pieces for skinless and boneless from my recipe, if you like.)

Fans will take a half-time break and huddle around your cast iron pot of my fragrant and spicy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya and Cajun Gumbo. Or, go straight up the middle with a tray of BBQ Pulled Pork sammies. Weave through the living room backfield with a pile of Mexican Carnitas Tacos (slow-cooked pork) and you'll be lucky to make it through without being sacked!

Mom's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

For my visitors who have never been to the Seattle Seahawks home field, take a few minutes to view my travelogue & wacky video diaries from my cooking episode for Seattle's Public Television -- plus, here are a couple recipes for Washington state's main seafood export: Salmon Olympia and budget Salmon Burgers.

If fish is on your mind then hook your bleacher bums with some of my homemade Sushi Recipes. Try tackling a Spicy Tuna or California Roll. How about setting up a sideline station of chopped veggies and fresh fish and roll your own delicious Hand Rolls? It's easier than you think, and I have simple photo-illustrated instructions a click away, here.

While everyone's watching the pre-game show send in any of my delicious sideline sides, including: Bacon Wrapped Dates, Tomato & Basil Bruschetta, Deviled Eggs, Portabella Mushroom Fries, Sweet Fried Plantains, Ceviche with Avocado and Black Beans, and Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.

East Coast revelers for the New England Patriots will eat up my riff on a Lobster Roll -- a cheaper Scallop Roll. And if their fans can't make it to Phoenix for game day, then throw another log on the fire and gather in front of the big screen with a steaming bowl of my cheap$kate Clam Chowder.

 Scallop Roll

Los Angeles locals know an LA Street Dog will not get flagged. And, everyone will huddle around sandwich plates of gooey, cheesy Patty Melts, hearty Meatball Subs, BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches, Homemade Deli Pastrami, Falafel Pitas, and steaming Sloppy Joe's.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

If you're looking for one pot meals, so you don't miss any action on the field, just check out my Pork Bourguignon, French Cassoulet, Mr. Patti's Red Beans & Rice, Baked Pasta with Cheese and Cauliflower, Chinese Fried Rice, Baked Lasagna with Ground Chicken, Shepherd's Pie, or Sausage & Sauerkraut with Beer recipes.

Baked Lasagna with Ground Chicken

 Looking for a sneak-play recipe? How about a different twist on Buffalo Wings with my African Spiced Water Buffalo Wings? This original recipe features chicken legs, but you can substitute wings. The Cheap$kate Chef's Turkey & Black Beans Chili recipe will add extra points on your scoreboard for flavor. Make it spicy, but be sure to have an ice chest full of brews for all your bench-warming guests. And don't forget to send in from The Whisk Welding Coach a most versatile of plated plays, the Pita Pizza -- a varied list of toppings you can use would fill the coaches chalkboard.

Pita Pizza

Tired of stale, soggy stadium hot dogs? I have a great and easy Corn Dog Recipe made with Vienna sausages -- but you can use regular wieners. There will be no fumbles as your hungry guests dip these crunchy coated pig skins into my tasty honey-mustard sauce. Since you have the fryer going you might as well make a batch of my Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. They're as light and airy as the Goodyear blimp.

So get your backfield in motion and click on any of my tasty treat names above to watch an instant reply of recipes from my blog. Your guest will be cheering you on -- from their cheap seats!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Swai Creole Style Fish - Deal of the Day

It must be the Golden Age of 99c only Store deals, and nothing epitomizes this so well as with my latest Deal of the Day: Swai Creole Style Fish by Oceanside Cuisine. According to the back label, this is a product of Canada - hey Canada, keep your Keystone Pipeline, instead send more Oceanside Cuisine our way!

Creole Style means a tomato based sauce with some veggies like, onion, bell pepper and garlic, similar to a Cajun Etouffee (like this one.) It's all there plus a healthy dash of Tabasco (hot) sauce. This is probably why my latest Deal of the Day ended up in the 99c only Store frozen deli case. I sometimes like my food spicy, so I'm fine with it. The sauce is not as hearty and deeply flavorful as typical Louisiana fare, but it will do.

The main ingredients is a nice thick fillet of skinless and boneless swai fish. I'm not familiar with this species (click her to read about it.) It's mild, not fishy at all, like cheap and pungent tilapia. While a thick piece of fish, it's still on the small size, as expected for such a cheap price. The texture is like butter, very pleasing. I like that it's not breaded or overseasoned.

You want to check the raw fillet while cooking - when it goes from pink to white, it's done. Fish is best not overcooked. The rice underneath steams to perfection. It's not mushy like so many other cheap frozen dinners I've reviewed.

And it has the most unusual packaging. They have two separate bowls to microwave - a bit overkill. This meal could easily be combined in one bowl. A waste of plastic, but this is a small quibble.

I like that the ingredients list is short, compared to some frozen meal fare. At only 9 ounces, this is like a first course - you won't fill up but you will be happy you tried it.

One bowl holds rice and fish, while the other is the Creole Sauce. The directions call for microwaving about 4-5 minutes. I would start with 3 minutes then check it out. If needed, continue to cook for a minute at a time unitl fish is done to your liking. Finally, you pour on the Creole Sauce over the fish and rice.

So on my cheap$kate Deal of the Day scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best (I think you know the score,) I give  Swai Creole Style Fish by Oceanside Cuisine, a perfect 9!

This is a delicious deal. It's a bit on the spicy side, but all the flavors come together perfectly, and is well worth the price of 99.99 cents. I would even go so far as to purchase it at full price from a regular market! And, I will be on the lookout for more Oceanside seafood cuisine from our Northern, Canadian neighbors.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pasta with Kale

I'm late to the kale craze. My go-to greens for a blast of nutrition are spinach and Southern-style greens. Spinach is quick to tenderize, while collard greens take an hour of slow cooking to get all the bitterness out. Kale looks like mustard greens, but cooks tender quicker.

My favorite spinach recipe is for Saag Paneer, and for collard green, it's, of course, Soul Food Greens with molasses and bacon. Both are so good - just click on the names to get my recipes.

My Pasta with Kale is a light entree, but flavorful. It's simple and quick to make. You just saute the chopped kale in a little olive oil, then add some garlic and pasta water; add the cooked pasta and top with some parmesan cheese - that's it.

Kale shrinks when cooked, but not as much as spinach does. I find the stems are tough, so I removed the largest parts of them. 

Kale can be eaten raw and stays somewhat firm when sauteed for about 5 minutes. I like the texture and taste. It seems to have a light broccoli flavor.

I don't know how much kale cost a couple years ago, but I find it at regular markets priced as cheap as lettuce and at my local Latin market it's even cheaper.

This is a light pasta meal, but filling. I think you will like my Pasta with Kale, especially since it's so nutritious.

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 1 bunch of kale - clean and remove tough stems. Chop into 2 inch segments.
  • 2/3 to 1 whole package of spaghetti - or any favorite pasta. Cooked according to directions. I used regular spaghetti, but you can use gluten free or whole wheat pasta.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic - fresh or from a jar.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - or any favorite tasting oil.
  • Water for boiling pasta - save a quarter cup of pasta water to add to finish recipe.
  • Parmesan cheese - to top finished dish.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Extra ingredients - red pepper flakes, a little white wine or lemon juice. Also a pat of butter, or drizzle on extra tablespoon of olive oil when finished.

Start the pasta water boiling. Add a tablespoon of salt. When pasta water is boiling then add it and follow package directions. I always cut off a minute of cooking time.

Clean the kale and remove the largest parts of the stems. Roughly chop the kale into about 2 inch segments. Doesn't have to be perfectly chopped. The kale will shrink a little when cooked.

Add tablespoon of oil to a medium heated pan large enough to cook the kale. Add the kale and stir while it cooks and softens. Kale will reduce in size and be tender in about 5 minutes.

When kale is soft move it to one side and add the garlic. Let it cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Don't let it burn though. Mix the garlic into the cooked kale.

Now time to bring it all together. Pasta should be done. Drain it but save some of the pasta water.

Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to kale. Mix well and add the cooked pasta. You can add the parmesan cheese now, or add it when the Pasta with Kale is served.

Also add any extra ingredients listed above: like a splash of white wine or lemon juice.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Culinary Coming Attractions for 2015

Would you like steaming bowl of Split Pea Soup on a cold and overcast winter's day?

How about a cool Korean style Cucumber Salad, or an old school party time Warm Artichoke Dip?

2015 is going to be one delicious year in my cheap$kate kitchen. I have some sumptuous eye candy for you, but you'll have to satiate your appetite with these digital bytes, until the real recipes soon show up, here.

 And I have plenty of recipe videos on the way, too. Most unusual is my Pozole video. It's an old world Mexican dish that is made with rehydrated spicy red chile pods, and slow cooked with pork and hominy. It is an intense one pot meal I know you will like - and it's not that hard to make, either.

I go extra cheap once again with my version of Chicken Parmesan. Usually expensive white meat breast is used. You can do it that way or try my version with boneless and skinless cheaper dark meat. And I break the rules again with a better way to keep the chicken moist. Check back for that one, it's a good one, and I'm sure the recipe will stir up a hornet's nest of comments.

And most outrageously, I hook up with my long lost brother from another mother, The Swamp Chef. My dad got around and now you have to suffer the consequences of his indiscretions in my wacky recipe video from Louisiana.

My Mom just turned 80 and is still cooking and I shot a video of her sweet and nutty candy Praline recipe.

All these cooking videos and blog post recipes are in various stages of completion and will be showing up in the next few months, along with a bunch of other food themed blog posts, including my latest arty nighttime exploration of the Los Angeles dining scene, Restaurant Nocturnes XIV.

So do check back for a lot of informative, creative, appetizing, entertaining, and  original food content -- coming at ya!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fettuccine Alfredo - Video Recipe

Crazy creamy and too rich for words, this chef has a new favorite pasta dish, and it's Fettuccine Alfredo. So easy and quick to make, this is instant gratification.

Fettuccini Alfredo is from a Rome, Italy restaurant called Alfredo in 1914, and the ingredients originally were just a lot of melted butter and cooked fettuccini. That recipe has to be Americanized with the addition of cream, but less butter.

I can see why flat noodle fettuccine is used - more surface for the thick savory sauce to cling to. I used to cook Spaghetti alla Carbonara, made with egg yokes mixed into crispy bacon, the most (for my video recipe, click here); but it's time to set it aside -- a new luscious pasta entree has taken its place.

I've had this recipe compared to Olive Garden's Fettuccine Alfredo. Well, you'll have to make it and let me know if it passes muster.

And boy is it cheap, just the way this Chintzy Chef likes it. A package of fettuccine, a small pint carton of half and half or cream, a pat of butter, and half a plastic shaker container of grated parmesan, can all be had for around a buck each, and you'll get several servings, too.

This is a dish best made with whole milk, half and half, or cream. You can go easy on the butter with all this high-fat content floating around, but do use a little, the flavor is worth the calorie count.

Now, I use dried grated parmesan cheese that has probably been on the grocery shelf since the last century, not the best I know, but I look at it as "extra" dry aged! It has a grainy texture when used to sprinkle over pasta, but it actually breaks down and melts into the heating cream to thicken and flavor the sauce.

Of course, if this is a special meal for date night then go all out and use fresh shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

So for a quick, cheap, indulgent, and scrumptious entree, try out The 99 Cent Chef's minimalist masterpiece, Fettuccine Alfredo -- go ahead you deserve it.

Fettuccine Alfredo  - VIDEO

Play it here, video runs 1 minutes, 53 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (about 2-4 servings)
  • 12 to 16 ounce package of fettuccini pasta - or, any pasta type is delish covered in Alfredo sauce!
  •  2 cups of half and half, or cream - if you must, it's okay to use regular or low-fat milk. If you like a lot of Alfredo Sauce, it's okay to add more cream or milk.
  • 1 pat of butter - make it a big slice! Okay to use your favorite butter substitute.
  • 3-4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese - of course, you can use fresh grated. Go ahead and use as much as you want, too.
  • Pepper to taste - optional. I don't add salt, as I find parmesan cheese is salty enough.

Start cooking pasta according to package directions - I usually shave off a minute or two for al dente (taste for the amount of chewiness). Best to get water boiling then add pasta. Carefully stir for the first minute to separate strands of fettuccini. I don't add salt to the water, as the parmesan cheese has plenty of salt for my taste.

While pasta water heats up, in a large pan add milk or cream over medium heat. Bring cream to a low simmer.

Finally, add grated parmesan and butter. Use a large fork or whisk to smooth out the Alfredo Sauce.

Low simmer for about 5 minutes. This will reduce and thicken the cream sauce (especially when the pasta is added.) You want to scrape along the edges of the pan too, as the cream may stick to the pan and get a little gummy.

The pasta should be ready about now (if it finishes early then cool to stop cooking and set aside.) Drain the pasta (I usually just lift it out of the boiling water,) and mix it into the heated Alfredo Sauce. Sprinkle with pepper if you like, and serve hot and immediately!

This recipe makes a lot of Fettuccini Alfredo, enough for 3-4 servings. Surprisingly it reheats the next day fine. The sauce thickens, but you can drizzle on a tablespoon of regular milk to bring it back, close to normal.

For this recipe, I normally use Half and Half, but in the video, I used Whipping Cream - that's what I found on sale this time. You can increase the amount of cream or milk if you like a lot of Alfredo Sauce - the same applies to parmesan cheese.

Half and Half is equal amounts of cream and regular milk - just a lighter version of whole cream. Make your own Half and Half by mixing a half pint of Whipping Cream with a half pint of regular milk (that is, one cup each for a total of 2 cups.) 
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