Bangers & Mash with Guinness Onion Gravy

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! So I never tried bangers and mash until Michael and I went to an Irish pub out here in Phoenix called Irish Wolfhound Restaurant and Pub. The first time we went, Michael was actually the one who ordered it. I ordered their corned beef and cabbage. Both dishes were delicious. But I enjoyed the bangers and mash a little more. So the last few times I have been there, I ordered that same dish each time.

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to whip something up incorporating an Irish stout, good old Guinness. The flavors and the aroma Guinness brought out in the gravy were sensational. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Serving size: 3-4 people    Prep time: 10-15 minutes    Cook time: 40-45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound of sausage (I used polish sausage)
  • 3 Red potatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 1/2 Cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 Cup of Guinness
  • 1/4 Cup of low sodium beef broth
  • 4 Tbsp of flour
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

Boil potatoes for thirty to thirty five minutes. Once potatoes are soft, place them in a mixing bowl. Mash potatoes with three tablespoons of butter. Mix in salt and pepper to taste. For the potatoes, I only put in half a teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Once mashed and mixed, set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Once heated, place sausage onto heated skillet. Cook for fifteen minutes, or until sausage is fully cooked. Once sausage is fully cooked, set aside.

In the same skillet, add an additional four tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add sliced up onions. For the onions, I thinly sliced them and cut into halves. Cook until onions are soft. Add four tablespoons of flour. Mix flour until all onions are coated with flour. Pour in beef broth and mix until broth begins to thicken. Slowly stir in Guinness into skillet. Allow gravy to simmer for fifteen minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For the gravy, I used 2 teaspoons of salt and a tablespoon of pepper for a small smokey kick.

Once everything is cooked, you can start plating. I started with three scoops of mashed potatoes. Then I placed two pieces of sausage on top of the potatoes. Top it off with the Guinness onion gravy and garnish the dish with parsley.

If you ever wander in the west valley of Phoenix, in Surprise, definitely check out Irish Wolfhound Restaurant and Pub. Food is really incredible!

16811 N Litchfield Rd #104, Surprise, AZ 85374

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Curried Chicken Salad

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I love curry, and I love chicken salad. Luckily, my sister, Kareena, came up with a delicious recipe that combines both. So every year back in the day, we as a family would go to our local mall and watch fireworks on the fourth of July. And each time, we would bring some snacks and finger foods. One year, Kareena decided to make chicken salad sandwiches. Instead of the regular chicken salad, she added curry powder.

This take on chicken salad is pretty incredible. I love it on a piece of whole wheat bread or even in a wrap. Michael actually enjoys it by itself. If you’re not big on the curry flavor, you can always omit the curry powder and just use salt and pepper for some added flavor. The mixture of flavors blend very well together. You get the spiciness of the curry, the tartness of the apples, and the sweetness of the dried cranberries. I recommend using Granny Smith apples because of their tart flavor, but you can use any apple. So here you go, curried chicken salad. Now excuse me, while I enjoy some for myself.

Serving size: 4-5 people    Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of chicken (shredded)
  • 1 Cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup of celery
  • 1 Cup of apples
  • 1 Cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp pepper

Directions:

Cook chicken in boiling water for 30 minutes. I used two pieces of chicken breast. As a substitute, you can also use rotisserie chicken. Allow chicken to cool for fifteen minutes.

While chicken is cooking, dice up apples and celery into small pieces and place with dried cranberries into bowl. Once chicken is cool, shred and place into bowl with diced apples, celery, and dried cranberries. Add mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Mix together all ingredients until everything is coated. Refrigerate for about an hour and allow all the flavors to sit. Enjoy on a piece of bread or just by itself.

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Lobster Mac and Cheese

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It’s Valentine’s Day, the day of love. To us, we celebrate love on a daily basis. Even on the days where we can’t seem see things eye to eye, we still celebrate it every day.  I am lucky and proud of the fact that Michael and I love each other through our many strengths and craziness.

So this year for Valentine’s Day, we opted to stay in for dinner and cook lobster mac and cheese. I was walking around the store on Sunday thinking about what we should make. I walked by the meat and seafood department and saw that lobster tails were on sale. That was when a light bulb turned on in my head and I thought to make lobster mac and cheese. This is a relatively easy recipe adapted from my cooking idol and inspiration, Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. I paired this mac and cheese with sauteed broccoli. You can always have mac and cheese on its own, as a side dish with steak, or with a side salad too. So here you have it, lobster mac and cheese. Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Serving size: 4-6 people    Prep time: 10-15 minutes    Cook time: 50 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Macaroni
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Lobster tails
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 Cup Cheddar
  • 4 Ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook your macaroni until it is very firm. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 35o° F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.

Using a pair of scissors, cut down the middle of the bottom of the lobster tails in order to remove the shell. Take care to not cut into the meat.  In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter starts to brown, place both lobster tails in and begin to stir for one minute. Remove lobster tails and set aside.  Allow for the tails to cool, and then chop into chunks.

Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet. Put in flour and whisk to combine. This will create a roux. Let your roux cook for about a minute; make sure to whisk constantly. Pour in milk, continuously whisking, then cook sauce until thick and bubbly. Next, add your salt and pepper. Add Parmesan, cheddar, goat cheese and stir until melted. Once melted, add lobster chunks and cooked macaroni. Sprinkle in parsley.

Pour mac and cheese into buttered pan and top with extra cheddar. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a slight crust has formed and the cheese is nice and bubbly.

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Maria’s Spam Fried Rice

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You make a bunch of white rice in the rice cooker.  But what do you do with that leftover rice?  Alas, this was my dilemma one night.  I had leftover rice from the night before and not a lot in the kitchen except for Spam, eggs, and kale.  I wasn’t even a fan of kale at the time – it was there to be used as food for our guinea pig.  But, Michael was coming home from work and I needed an idea for dinner.  I had made fried rice before, but never with these ingredients.  With no other good options, I mixed the Spam, eggs, and kale with the leftover rice, and created was has undoubtedly become Michael’s favorite dish.  Since that night, this fried rice recipe has always been a hit in our home with friends and family.  It’s incredibly simple to make, and full of flavor.  Don’t let the Spam frighten you.  Spam is widely used in Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cooking.  If it’s good enough for meals in paradise, it’s good enough to use in this fried rice recipe in your home.  Without further ado, here is Maria’s Spam Fried Rice.

Serving size: 4 people    Prep time: 5 minutes    Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Spam (Cubed)
  • 4 Cups rice (day old)
  • 1 Bunch of kale
  • 1/2 Onion (diced)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Salt

Directions:

Start by prepping your vegetables. Dice your half of an onion and chop kale into smaller leaflets. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and set aside. Cut spam into cubes as well and set to the side.

In a deep frying pan or wok, heat up oil of choice. For this recipe, I used canola oil. Once oil is heated, saute onions and garlic. Then place cubed Spam into pan and saute with onions and garlic. Once Spam is browned and crisp, place rice into pan. Mix together for about 3-5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper. Once mixed together, add soy sauce. After salt, pepper, and soy sauce have been mixed into rice mixture, add eggs and thoroughly blend throughout rice mixture. Once eggs are mixed into rice, add your kale. Continue to mix fried rice for another 5-7 minutes or until kale is slightly wilted.

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Chula Seafood

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Today is another food adventure. I apologize for the lack of recipes at the moment. We are in the process of moving and all my cooking gear are still boxed up. Watch out for next week’s blog for a wide variety of recipes. So stay tuned.

This week I decided to check out Chula Seafood in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since moving to Arizona from California, I will admit that I was a bit of a skeptic when it came to the freshness of seafood. But here at Chula Seafood, they are known for their fresh seafood, never frozen. And I have to tell you, they are true to their word. You can taste the freshness in the poke bowls. The tuna is exceptional and incredibly fresh.

For my food adventure, I ordered their Hawaiian Style poke bowl and their Confit Tuna Sandwich. The bowl consisted of Yellowfin Tuna, cucumber, carrot,  radish, mango, onion, edamame, macadamia nut, soy, sesame, ginger, garlic, rice. Their Confit Tuna Sandwich consisted of Albacore,House Giardiniera, avocado, spring mix, cucumber, paprika-ginger aioli,  on Noble Bread with a side of spring mix salad. It was all so delicious. I almost didn’t want to take any home to Michael. I at least let him try the tuna sandwich.

I highly recommend going to Chula Seafood. Every bite was truly heavenly. Service is amazing. I even took some of their smoked salmon home. Stay tuned for a recipe incorporating their smoked salmon. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, go to Chula Seafood!

Chula Seafood

8015 E Roosevelt St. Scottsdale, AZ 85257

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PT Noodles

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It’s been quite chilly the last week here in Phoenix. And for me, every time it gets cold, I crave a big bowl of Pho. Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of noodles (specifically rice noodles), broth, meat, and a few herbs. Typically, it uses beef or chicken. I ordered my Pho with rare beef, tendon, tripe, meatball, and brisket. Pho is typically served with sides of bean sprouts, mint, jalapenos, and lime wedges. You then put all of those ingredients in the hot bowl along with hoisen sauce and sriracha.  The beef in pho is typically served rare; it is expected to cook a little longer while sitting in the bowl of hot broth. Michael ordered vermicelli noodles with BBQ pork and an eggroll. It almost tasted like a noodle salad with the sweet pork. Both our dishes were incredible. Going there for lunch today totally hit the spot. And we most definitely got our grub on!

PT Noodles is located at 1375 N. Litchfield Rd, Suite 101 Goodyear, AZ 85395

 

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Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

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Candied bacon? Deviled eggs? What in the world? Yes, it is an incredible combination. This twist on the classic appetizer is always a hit with our friends. So much of a hit, that one of our good friends repeatedly requested that I make it this week’s featured recipe. I understand why it’s popular. The candied bacon adds a sweet, savory crunch that completely transforms the texture of the traditional deviled egg. Plus, the bacon provides a nice color contrast to the white and yellow of the egg. This is a great recipe to try if you’re preparing appetizers for a party. So without further adieu, here’s my Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs.

Serving size: 12 deviled eggs    Prep time: 5 minutes    Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Eggs
  • 6 Strips of bacon
  • 1/4 Cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp of Spicy Brown mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • 1/2 Tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tsp of chives
  • 1/4 Cup of brown sugar
  • Paprika and sriracha (as desired for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Lay out bacon on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread brown sugar over bacon until evenly coated. Place bacon in oven and bake for 18 minutes or until crispy.

Begin boiling eggs for 10 minutes while bacon is baking. Once eggs are cooked, place in ice bath for 10 minutes. Once eggs are chilled, peel and cut in half. Remove yolks and place in mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and chives. Mix until smooth. Place teaspoon amounts of the mixture back into the hollowed out egg whites.

Cut bacon into small pieces and place on top of the eggs. Garnish with a dash of paprika, s dollop of sriracha, and additional chives if desired. Ensure eggs are chilled prior to serving.

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