Category Archives: Dressings and Sauces

Knock off Chuys Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sauce

Chuy's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chuy’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas
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We take our TexMex or Texican food pretty seriously. When I first started going to the funky little joint, they had a Wednesday special they called “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which is a pulled chicken burrito covered in a spicy queso sauce served with rice and beans. I used to make sure that when I traveled to Austin, TX I did so around Wednesday’s because I loved it so much.

Chuy’s has expanded and also put the popular dish permanently on their menu so you can always get it. It is spicy and some have commented on some of my recipes that they were too spicy. This is a recipe you will need to alter if you are heat sensitive.

Ingredients
10 corn or flour tortillas
1 1/4 lbs cooked chicken (poached in stock)
Chicken Stock

Boom Boom Sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup beer
1/2 oz lime juice
3/4 lb roasted poblano’s
4-6 roasted tomatillos
1 1/2 ounces cilantro
4 bunches of green onion
3/4 oz serrano pepper
1 1/4 lbs American cheese

Directions
Prep: Cut and clean your tomatillos, poblano’s, onion, serano pepper.

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your onion, peppers and tomatillos on a sheet pan and blister them.
2. You can either buy a roasted chicken or take your chicken and poach it in a pot on medium heat in chicken stock. Almost covering it completely. When done, shred chicken.
3. Add all your peppers (seeds removed), tomatillos and onions into a blender with the liquids. Give it a spin until smooth.
4. Now pour that mixture into a pot and heat it up on medium low heat until simmering slowly. Remove from heat and slowly add your cheese while continuing to stir to blend it. Don’t let it seize up on you. IMG_0974
5. I took my tortilla and stuffed it with chicken and then rolled it and hit it on the stove to mark it. Then I covered in the boom boom sauce. IMG_0976
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Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice

  • Servings: 2-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice
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Last Saturday on Foodnetwork’s “The Kitchen” they did a show titled “Winter Escape” where they made food from the Caribbean. You know lots of coconut and Pineapple flavored stuff. They brought in Caribbean chef named Julius Jackson
who made some of his coconut fried shrimp with the mango dipping sauce. It just looked and sounded really good to me so I gave it try. Sunny did a marinated skewered pork with a side of coconut pineapple baked rice. So I made that too.

I was an admitted shrimp hater when I heard them described as the roaches of the sea but I came back around and now will have them on occasion. One of the best things about them is how fast and easy they are to cook. You can whip up a batch in no time.

This turned out well. My only complaint was my crust didn’t stick as well as I wanted. I didn’t have enough oil to submerge the shrimp so it’s really my fault because I had to jack with them while cooking to make sure they fried evenly. So I likely did most of the damage but the crust that did stick was delicious with that pop of sweet and chewy coconut shreds in the batter. I thought the sauce was good but a little too tangy and could have used a little more sugar and more heat. As for the rice it turned out great with this mellow coconut back not with a punch of sweet from the pineapple. Also this was the first time I baked rice outside of a casserole and it turned out nice and fluffy. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
6-10 Shrimp per person (peeled, deveined, butterflied, tail in tact)
Peanut or Vegetable Oil to cover 5 shrimp at a time.

Batter (wet)
3 eggs
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of Sriracha
pinch of Cayenne
2 tsp of Paprika
Kosher Salt

Batter (Dry)
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup + of sweetened shredded coconut
1 tbs of corn starch
1 tbs of white sugar
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne

Mango Sauce
1 mango skinned and diced
2 limes juiced
1 tbs of sugar
1/4 cup of Sriracha (less if you want)

Coconut Rice
1 cup of Jasmine Rice
2 tbs of Butter
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of canned diced pineapple
pinch of cumin
2 pinches of Paprika
Pinch of Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. The rice takes the longest so I started with it by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. In a sauce pan heat up the coconut milk, butter, water and spices until they simmer. Rinse your rice until it becomes clear. Pour the rice into your simmering liquid and then pour that mixture into a 8 x 8 baking dish. Add the pineapple and spread everything until its even. Cover tightly with foil and cook in the over for about 30 minutes. Don’t peak until 25 minutes passes.

2. For the shrimp.. heat your oil in a pot that will contain/fry about 5 shrimp a time without touching. You want your oil to heat to 350-375. Your shrimp are likely going to be cold so take that into account. I mixed my wet batter ingredients in one pie dish and the dry batter ingredients in another pie dish.

As I shelled, deveined and butterflied my shrimp, I placed them into my wet batter mixture as if it were a sort of marinade. If you haven’t deveined shrimp I will try to describe it but you could also probably find a video on youtube. I grip the tail and remove the shell keeping the last part of the shell in tact near the tail’s end. Carefully with a sharp and small knife make strokes right in the middle of the curled side of the shrimp. You will see the vein and simply grab it and pull it out and should remove in one piece. Small stroke your knife until the large part of the shrimp lays flat on that big end. The reason for this is it not only looks cool but it gives you more surface area so you have more crust.

3. Once your oil is hot, take five shrimp at a time and remove them from the wet batter and put them into the dry batter until fully coated. Carefully lay them into the oil and cook for about 3-5 minutes when the crust is nicely browned. Remove them and place them on a wire wrack to drain. Work in batches until done.
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4. For the sauce I put everything in a blender and blended until smooth.

Fluff your rice and plate everything up. Enjoy.
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Ultimate Ham Panini

Ultimate Ham Panini

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ultimate Ham Panini
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If you use pintrest and typed in sandwich in the search engine you likely have seen those baked Hawaiian roll ham sandwiches / sliders with that sweet mustard poppy glaze. They take those sweet King Hawaiian Rolls, cut them in half, pile on ham and swiss cheese, add the tops and then slather the top with a mixture of butter, brown sugar and mustard, onion powder and poppy seeds then bake until the cheese melts.

Those sandwiches or sliders look really good and would be great for a casual party or as some people state “funeral sandwiches”. You get the idea, small hand food that should satisfy most palates.

Given that it’s just the two of us and I actually wanted a more “toothy” bread, I decided to switch up a bit. I did this by creating a similar “sauce” and then added my ham into it until fully coated. Also I wanted to add some tomatoes and avocado. I used swiss and cheddar and added a little crisp bacon for texture.

Ingredients
Sliced Sourdough Bread
Deli ham
Swiss cheese
Cheddar cheese
Dukes Mayo
Sliced and dried tomatoes
Sliced avocado
Crispy Bacon
Butter

Sauce
2 tbs of butter
1 tbs of brown sugar
1 tbs of dijon mustard
2 tsp of grainy mustard
splash of Worcestershire
2 tsp of onion powder

Directions

1. Prep.. microwave your bacon until crispy, slice your tomato, avocado, cheese and bread.

2. In a saucepan on medium low heat add your sauce ingredients and let it melt and meld. Then add the ham to that pot and move the ham around until it become fully coated and hot. IMG_0766

3. I assembled my sandwich by putting a little Dukes May on both sides. Then add swiss to one side and cheddar to the other. Add your ham, tomato, avocado and bacon and then heat them up. Don’t forget to lightly butter both sides of the outside of the bread to get a nice brown crunchy exterior. I have a panini maker if you don’t you can use a cast iron skillet and brown on both sides.
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Spicy Cashew Chicken

Spicy Cashew Chicken

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Spicy Cashew Chicken
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I spotted this recipe on another blog I happened to stumble upon called “Dinner, then Dessert”. She is calling it a copycat from The Cheesecake Factory but I haven’t been to a CF in decades so can’t comment on how close this was to that dish.

As with any recipe I see I look over the ingredients and will adjust the measurements up and down and also add new stuff. Like in this recipe I didn’t go as heavy on the hoisin sauce nor the sugar. I also bumped up on the heat side by adding more Sriracha. I also added a little fish sauce to give an extra umami punch.

Overall I liked this pretty well. As Jill put it “it’s full flavored” or “has a lot going on”. I used the full cup of hosin in my sauce but below I put the measurements I would use next time. It’s salty with a deep soy punch and while spicy it was also sweet despite me using less sugar that her recipe called for. My sauce was pretty thick and when it melds with the rice flour coating it turns from crunchy to soft which wasn’t a bad thing at all. I liked it. Also we enjoy a high ratio to cashew and chicken.

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts diced into bite sized pieces
1 bunch of diced green onions (separate the whites and greens)
3/4 cups of Cashews
Cilantro to garnish
Sesame Seeds for garnish
Green onions for garnish
Vegetable oil for cooking chicken
Brown Rice or your favorite rice or noodles

Spicy Sauce:
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
3 minced garlic cloves
Chopped green onion “white and light green pieces)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 Sherry Wine
1/4 Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Soy Sauce
1/4 Sriracha
1 tbs of Fish Sauce
2 tbs of sugar
1/2 tsp of Crushed Red Chili Flakes


Dry Seasoning

3/4 cups of Rice Flour
1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1 tsp of Black Pepper
2 tsp Paprika
Pinch of Baking Powder

Wet Batter
1 1/4 cups Rice Flour
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 1/4 cups cold Water

Instructions
As with many of the Asian dishes Prep Work is very important because the cooking to serving time is often short. You are going to deal with two main processes 1.cooking chicken 2. making the sauce Start with the sauce by cutting your green onions and separating the white/light green from the all green parts. Chop your cilantro for the sauce but set aside some for the garnish. Mince your garlic

1. Sauce – Add everything to a pot on “low” heat. I mixed it all in a measuring cup and then poured it into the pot with the onions, cilantro and garlic. Again low heat as we are just warming it up at this point. IMG_0727

2. Chicken – Preheat (medium heat) a cast iron skillet with enough oil to coat the bottom. Make your dry seasoning and your rice flour wet batter and have them in two separate bowls. Cut your chicken into bite sized pieces. IMG_0725IMG_0726

When your oil is hot coat the chicken first in the dry seasoned rice flour. Then drop it in your wet batter. Shake off the access and carefully lay it in the cast iron skillet. It should sizzle. Be careful of keeping the coating light so it doesn’t splatter hot oil on you. Cook on each size for about 3 minutes until they are lightly browned. Leave room so that the chicken isn’t touching other pieces. When finished remove that batch to a wire tray to drain any access oil. IMG_0729

3. Chicken is done and the sauce is lightly simmering. Kick the heat up to medium low and get a nice boil or simmer to start tightening up the sauce. Make your rice. When ready to serve, pour your chicken in a large bowl and add your green onions, cashews and start coating the cooked chicken with the sauce a bit at a time until its coated well. I served mine over microwave rice and garnished with cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds.
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Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce

Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pesto Tortellini with Chicken Pea Cream Sauce
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I wasn’t sure what to call this dish but when I spotted the Trader Joe’s pesto tortellini I knew Jill would love it A creamy Parmesan sauce was a perfect complement. Adding the chicken made it a more substantial mean but certainly not necessary. Also when I make a creamy sauce for my pasta I love adding peas because they add a pop of sweetness and freshness.

Given I used packaged tortellini this is one of those restaurant quality meals that you can whip up in a flash. I used two chicken breasts but looking back I would just go with one because we couldn’t eat it all. For the sauce, I will try to remember how much I used of each ingredient but the more important thing for you to do is consider your tastes. Do you like a lot or light amounts of sauces? Do you like it thick or more loose. More cheesy or even use another cheese like Gruyere, swiss, maybe even blue cheese. hmmmm?

Ingredients for 2:
1 Package of Trader Joe’s Pesto Tortellini
1 tbs of flour
1 tbs of butter
1 cup of milk or cream
Parmesan Cheese
Peas
Chicken breast

Directions:
1. Let’s make some chicken. Season both sides with Kosher salt and Pepper. Put a little bit of oil in a medium heated cast iron skillet and cook it until done and make sure you get some nice browning. Remove your chicken and set it aside. IMG_0703

2. Turn the heat down medium low and splash in a little chicken stock or water (pasta water if you decided to cook your tortellini first, to deglaze the pan. Now add your butter and flour to get a rue going. Given the chicken bits are in your rue it will look darker but stir until you get a nice paste. Slowly pour in the milk stirring continuously. I let it thicken up a little bit and then added about a cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Again once you get your rue, you can make more or less sauce by adding only the milk/cream amount you like. If it gets too thick, add some stock, pasta water or even milk. Add your peas and your cut chicken breasts. Stir
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3. Cook your Tortellini until al dente. I chose to pour my sauce mixture over the top versus incorporating them into the sauce with everything else. The reason is that I have had some ravioli or tortellini bust open on me during the stir. I just stirred it while in my bowl.
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Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce

Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce and Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mushroom Ravioli with Gouda Cream Sauce and Chicken
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Every once in a while you just hit it out of the park. Tonight was one of those nights. We have a Trader Joe’s that opened up near us. In North Texas there are weird grocery rules/laws that some idiot set up to try and keep a monopoly on our grocery stores. There is a beautiful loop hole where “specialty” stores are allowed to exist so we have some great stores like Central Market, Trader Joes, City Market and Whole Foods that allow us access to ingredients and food we can’t find in our typical grocery stores. Still pining for HEB up here.

All that to say, I picked up a few things from “my” Trader Joe’s and one of them was mushroom stuffed ravioli. Jill’s treads are getting pretty slick as she has a lot of stuff going on and working long hours and weekends. Tonight was the big deadline so I thought I would make something a bit decadent. I remember eating a ravioli I liked that had this Gouda cream sauce and thought I would try to make something similar.

This was amazing. I mean really really delicious if you like rich sauces. I added chicken to get some protein in there but it holds up without it too. Toothy al dente pasta stuffed with earthy mushroom filling and then topped with a salty and rich creamy sauce. My one regret was my plating. I should have used my rectangle plates and lightly sauced it and topped it with the Ravioli and then the chicken and mushroom mixture and then topped with the sauce.
The taste wasn’t compromised but it would have looked worthy of how it tasted.

Ingredients:

Trader Joe’s Mushroom Ravioli
Two bunches of green onion (only whites and light green)
Baby Portabella sliced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 chicken breast cut into pieces
Olive oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs of butter
1 cup of Gouda Cheese
Black Pepper and Kosher Salt
2 tsp of Thyme

Directions:
1. Get your water boiling.

2. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat coated with olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper your cubed chicken and cook it and get some color on it. Remove and set aside.

3. Now take your sliced mushrooms, onions, butter and add them to the pan. As their water is released scrape your pan to dislodge all those tasty chicken bits. When soft add the garlic and turn your heat down to low. Cook for about a minute. Slowly add a cup or so of cold cream that will help lower the temp. Take your Gouda and break it up into small pieces and constantly stir until it is all melted. Add thyme, taste and season accordingly. I added the chicken back to the sauce at this point. IMG_0642

4. As your sauce is just outside of a simmer and is continuing to meld. Cook your Ravioli according to the package. Don’t overcook it. You want it firm and toothy. To plate drizzle some sauce on a plate and then place your ravioli and top with sauce mixture.
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Fried Shrimp Po-Boy Sandwich

Fried Shrimp Po-Boy Sandwich

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fried Shrimp Po-Boy Sandwich
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We hit up this fish joint occasionally for Po Boys and Fish Ceviche. It’s a total joint with picnic tables and waxed checkered table cloths on the indoor tables. You make your own Red Sauce at bar with all the usual suspects, fresh horseradish, ketchup, lemons, Worcestershire, Tabasco and Tampico.

Jill always gets the shrimp Po Boy and has me make her sauces nice and spicy. Topped with ribbons of thin cut Iceberg lettuce and pillow soft rolls. We sit and linger sipping beer and finishing our fries and saltines slathered with our spicy red sauce.

Jill was having a long and tiring week so I surprised her with my own version of a Shrimp Po Boy. I made a sauce that consisted of Dukes Mayo, Sriracha, Horseradish and Ketchup. I replicated the ribbons of Iceberg lettuce and made a southern style batter for the shrimp that was spiced up with some Slap Ya Mama seasoning. As a side I baked some fries and used my Fry Salt.

Ingredients:
Fresh uncooked, shelled and de-veined Shrimp
Fresh Rolls
Thin cut ribbons of cold Iceberg lettuce
Frozen Fries
My fry Salt

Shrimp Marinade
1/2 cup of milk
2 beaten eggs
2 tbs of Yellow mustard
Slap Ya Mama seasoning

Sauce
1/4 cup of Dukes Mayo
1 tbs of Ketchup
1-2 tbs of Sriracha
Horseradish to taste

Shrimp Breading
1 cup of Corn Meal
1/2 cup of AP Flour
2 tbs of Slap Ya Mama Seasoning
1 tbs of Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbs of black pepper
Pinch of salt.

Directions:
1. The thing that will take the longest is your fries so put them on a sheet tray and season them with my Fry Salt and bake according to the package.

2. In a cast iron skillet or deeper cast iron pot, heat oil on Medium to Med-High until it hits 375 degrees. Shrimp cooks super fast so basically you are cooking the coating more than the shrimp. If you want a darker and crunchier crust on your shrimp, bump up the heat a bit and cook in smaller batches where the shrimp doesn’t touch each other while cooking.

3. Take your shrimp and let them soak in your shrimp marinade to flavor and tenderize them. Before ready to fry, take the shrimp from the wet mixture and bump off extra wetness (oil and wet are not friends). Coat your shrimp in the breading mixture. I added them all slowly until they were all coated to the point they were dry to the touch.

4. Working in small batches, carefully load your shrimp into the hot oil. Be careful and consider using a tool to put the shrimp in the oil. These babies cook in about 3-4 minutes. I move them around during the frying process. Remove them and place them on a paper towel and then transfer to a wire wrack until you are finished cooking everything. IMG_0625

5. Mix up your sauce and cut your lettuce. Slather both sides with the sauce, add the shrimp and lettuce. Add your fries and you are ready to go.
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