Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

One of the many things I look forward to every Fall is all the different varieties of squash. I am a self proclaimed squash whore. Don’t judge me. It’s a sickness, a sickness I say! I don’t recall us ever having squash when I was a kid (though back then, I highly doubt there were many to choose from ANYWAY; probably acorn and that was about it.), it was something I got pulled into trying about a decade ago. How? The sheer prettiness of the vegetable. Acorn squash with their shades of green and orange, Butternut, but especially my two favorites, Delicatas and Sweet Dumpling Squash. Those two are just so pretty to look at that you can’t help but want to eat them. I love them best with just butter and salt (we totally won’t talk about how much butter I use), but Winter squashes are also so darn good used in recipes.

I also have a thing for stuffing. It’s one of the dishes on Thanksgiving that I pig out on. So I decided to mesh two of my favorites into one. I’d seen stuffed squash before, but I had no interest in one with feta and llama toes or one with calcified dinosaur eggs and balsamic covered hickory nuts. I wanted something a bit more traditional but with a twist. So I went back to the fruit I have already called underappreciated; the pear. They are so delicious this time of year but they get ignored in favor of apples and pumpkins!  We need to start a Facebook page for pear lovers! #pearloversunite Or…erhmmm, something like that.

So I stuffed a big meaty sweet dumpling squash with a buttery, crispy mix of sage sausage, chopped pears, dried cranberries and roasted/salted pepitas. Those, with some cubed French bread (use whatever bread makes you happy) and seasonings (including cinnamon, which added a wonderful Fall note to the filling) made this into a fantastic light meal. It makes a lot of filling, enough for two large squash (4 people), so if you don’t need that much, feel free to freeze the rest in a air tight container or just make the rest in ramekins. I did that because my husband, weirdo that he is, doesn’t care for squash. He loved the stuffing, however.

You know the drill… 🙂  This recipe is so open to variations, so play around with it to make it yours

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

  • 2 Winter squash, cut in half and seeds discarded (I used Sweet Dumpling. You do you. This would be good in a Delicata, an Acorn, you name it.)
  • 1 lb roll breakfast sausage (I used sage. If you like spicy, sub in a hot sausage)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped pears (cored, but don’t sweat it about the peel)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pepitas
  • 8 to 10 ounces cubed bread (use your favorite; I used French, but you could use Ciabatta if you want more texture, a sourdough would work well, or even the bagged cubes)
  • 1 14 oz can good quality chicken broth (you may not use it all; depends on how wet you like your stuffing)
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. After scooping the seeds out of the squash, cut a small slice off the bottom side of each half. This simply enables it to sit upright in the pan without toppling over. Lightly butter or oil all over, inside and out, of each squash half
  2. Using a large pan, break up the sausage and cook until well browned. Scoop out the sausage and set aside. Without draining the fat, add in the onions and celery and cook over low heat until softened. Add the sausage back in and stir well.
  3. Add in the pears, cranberries and pepitas along with the butter and half of the chicken broth and stir just until the butter melts.
  4. Toss in the bread; stir well.  Add in the sage, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and give it a taste for seasoning. Add more broth if you want it moister. Add a touch more sage if it needs it, more salt, what have you.
  5. Spoon the stuffing into the squash, packing it down firmly. As I mentioned in the post, if you aren’t using it all in squash, you can either freeze the extra in a tightly covered container or bake the extra in greased ramekins.
  6. Bake at 350 until a fork easily pierces the side of each squash half. If the stuffing is getting too brown for your tastes (I like it nice and crispy, myself), cover the squash with foil.
  7. When done, feel free to shove a pat of butter down in the middle of the stuffing. I won’t judge.
  8. Serve; enjoy. I love to scoop a little of the squash into every bite of stuffing; others like to mix it all together. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, it will be delicious!

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Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake



Sometimes, you just want easy. You either aren’t up to or don’t have time for pasta sauce made with organic home grown tomatoes and fresh basil. You don’t want to fuss with rolling tiny meatballs using beef that you raised yourself, slaughtered humanely (not even sure what that MEANS) and added freshly grated Parmesan to…from cheese that you made yourself.

You just want….easy. Quick. Tasty. Get me in the kitchen and out. Maybe even make enough at once that I can freeze some for another time when I’m feeling extremely lazy too busy to fuss with a huge multi course meal.

So you cheat a little. You buy some good quality jarred sauce for your pasta and doctor it up. You buy meatballs from the frozen aisle at the grocery store. You add in some spices, some delicious Italian sausage, toss it all with your favorite pasta and voila… dinner for tonight and if you make the whole recipe of what I’m about to share, dinner for 2 to 3 more nights in the future, all nicely frozen. Just wrap tightly in foil, label and freeze. Then the next time you don’t feel like cooking because you instead want to veg out in front of netflix and an orgy of Criminal Minds… I mean, next time life gets busy and you are teaching little Suzy to play the Cello while also supervising little Tommy’s soon to be award winning science fair experiment, you’ll have dinner ready to thaw and toss in the oven.

You’re welcome.

You know the drill…..

Keep in mind that this makes a lot deliberately. if you want just enough for one meal with maybe leftovers for lunch, cut it in half.

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

  • 2 lbs of your favorite tube type pasta (I used Rigatoni), cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2 lb bag frozen Italian style meatballs, thawed
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links, cooked, then coarsely chopped or sliced thin
  • 2 24 ounce jars of pasta sauce (just use your favorite flavor)
  • 1 15 ounce jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/4 pounds Mozzarella cheese, grated (please don’t use the pre-grated stuff. it doesn’t melt as well)
  • Parmesan cheese for grating on top
  • If making full batch, foil pans and foil for long term freezer storage
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 13×9 dish (I personally prefer glass because it doesn’t leave any ‘off” tastes in food) with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the olive oil in a LARGE pot. Add in the chopped onion, green pepper and minced garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are limp and tender, but not browned. Dump the meatballs and Italian sausage in and stir for just a minute or two.
  3. Pour in the pasta sauce, the Alfredo sauce and the red wine. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and give it all a good stir. Let come to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Now, here’s why I had you use a LARGE pot.
  4. Dump in the cooked pasta. Use a large wooden spoon to stir it all up and get the pasta all coated with sauce.
  5. Sprinkle about 3/4 of the Mozzarella cheese into the pasta, about half of that amount at a time. Stir to combine and then after it is well mixed, add the next part.
  6. Scoop or pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the prepared 13×9 baking dish. Divide the rest between two to three greased square foil pans.
  7. Sprinkle the one you’re using now with the remainder of the grated Mozzarella cheese as well as some grated Parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven until browned and bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Wrap the foil pans tightly in a double layer of foil, label the contents and freeze. To reheat them, just set the pan in the fridge early on the morning you want to make it, then about an hour before you’re ready to eat, place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, still wrapped. Unwrap the dish, sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and continue baking until browned and bubbly.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

 

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas



Do you have those things that your family wishes you’d make more often, but for whatever reason, you just don’t make more than once in a blue moon? Yeah. Me, too. My family loves enchiladas, but for some odd reason, when I’m not actually in the process of making them, my mind tells me they are a chore to make. Mind you, they aren’t a quick 30 minute meal; not if you’re doing them correctly, but neither are they as tedious as my lazy, I’d much prefer to sit in my recliner, read and eat Cheetos mind tells me they are.

That said, don’t expect to start these at 4pm and expect to have dinner on the table by 6. Don’t ask me how I know this, please. Thank you. Seriously though, when I make enchiladas, I do two things- I make a large batch like this is and I make them over two days. Why? Because I’m lazy and this way we can eat delicious enchiladas for two days straight or I can freeze half of them. Easiest way to do this? Get your meats and veggies cooked the first day, then just cool, mix with the cheese and shove it into a bowl and chill it till the next day. Then the next day, all you have to do is make the sauce, then put all the separate components together and THEN you can have a quickly put together dinner. My lazy womans version of OAMD 😛

These are probably the best enchiladas I’ve ever made. The filling is mildly spicy, but not so much that wimps, I mean, the spice averse, in your life can’t handle them. They have a nice amount of cheese in the filling, but I was a good girl and didn’t do my usual overkill with the cheese, which is a bad habit I admit to having. Then on top, it’s smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Say “yum” with me, class. And yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but nothing earth shattering or hard to work with.

You know the drill…

Remember, this will make two pans… I usually make one 13×9 and one 8 inch square pan with it, so feel free to halve it if it’s too much.

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

  • Filling-
  • 2 cans good quality chicken broth ( do NOT discard after cooking chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno (leave the seeds if you want it spicier)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound chorizo, casing removed if in links, then crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped mild green chilies
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Spice Hunters Mexican Seasoning (you can get this straight from their site or you could sub the more readily available McCormick Southwestern Seasoning)
  • 8 ounces Queso Quesadilla cheese, shredded (a mild white melting Mexican cheese. You should be able to find it at any good grocery store)
  • Sauce-
  • 2 cups of the reserved cooking broth, strained
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half (you can use a less rich milk… but I’ll cry. Plus, the results may be watery)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Spice Hunter Mexican Seasoning (or the aforementioned McCormicks Southwestern seasoning)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • salt to taste
  • 12 6 inch (or 8 inch) corn tortillas
  • 12 8 inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese for the top of the pans. (I used Colby-Jack)
  • Green onions, salsa and a squeeze of lime for garnish
  1. Make your chicken first- combine the broth, onion halves, garlic and jalapeno in a medium pot with the chicken thighs. The broth should just about cover them if you push them down a little. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Try not to let it boil, cause that toughens meat.  let cook for about an hour, until nice and tender, but not falling apart.
  2. Let the meat cool in the broth until cool enough to handle, then take it out and cut into bite sized chunks. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. I then put the broth into a couple of jars and just put it up until the next day when I finish, but if you’re doing it all in one day, just pour 2 cups of broth into a measuring cup and set aside for now.
  3. While the chicken cools, cook your veggies and chorizo. In a large pan, cook the crumbled chorizo until it is browned. Scoop the meat out and put it into a large bowl, leaving the drippings behind.
  4. Add the chopped onion, chopped green pepper, garlic and jalapeno to the chorizo drippings. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Dump into the bowl with the chorizo. Add in the cubed chicken. let cool for about 20 minutes, then add in the green chilies and the Queso Quesadilla cheese. Stir well; add in the Mexican seasoning. Stir to combine and give it a taste to see if you think it needs more Mexican seasoning or a touch of salt. Now, you can either cover this and continue the next day or get the sauce made. If making now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. For the sauce, put the 5 tablespoons flour into a medium pot. Slowly add in the half and half, stirring the whole time to prevent lumps. After all the half and half is incorporated, pour in the strained broth and stir well. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it thickens up, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove form the heat, then stir in the  Monterey jack cheese and the 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning, stirring until the cheese is melted. taste for seasoning, adjust if needed (more Mexican seasoning, more salt) then put a lid on the pot (the condensation from the inner lid helps stop a skin from forming on a sauce) and set aside.
  6. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan (I prefer glass) and an 8 inch square pan (not necessary if making a half batch). Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and then warm them for 2 minutes in the microwave to make them more pliable.
  7. Take one corn tortilla and layer it on top of one flour tortilla. Scoop up (I just use my clean hands) a small handful of the meat/veggie mix and spread it down the middle of the layered tortillas. Roll the tortillas tightly and lay them, seam side down, in the prepared pan. Repeat until both pans are filled.
  8.  Pour the sauce over the enchiladas (you’ll obviously use more on the bigger pan, so don’t try to divide evenly) and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes. Serve hot with green onions and salsa for garnish and a squeeze of lime juice over the tops.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Do you Ever Have Days When…

Maple & Sausage Corn Bread

…You probably shouldn’t be allowed near anything? Yeah, me too. Today is certainly one of those days.

I have a three year old who has absolutely no interest in being toilet trained and since I’ve done this five times before with no problem, I can only wonder what I’m doing wrong this time. And I’m getting bored washing peed in (or worse) “big boy pants” lol.

I made some scones for all of you that SHOULD have been awesome. We’ll just call them “Omelet Scones” because they had all the ingredients for an omelet tucked into a scone. Continue reading

Entering The Strata-osphere

Yeah, I know. I really need to work on my titles. But that was the best I could come up with for today.

With that title as a hint, I bet you can’t guess what the recipe is! Can ya, can ya can ya!!? It’sssssssss

LIVER!!

Ok, so unless you’ve never read my blog before, you’re not falling for that one.

I made a strata. Gee, the title kind of ruined the anticipation of what I made didn’t it? Maybe I should start having really misleading titles and to see what I made, you have to click on a link or something.

Nah. Way too much work and we all know I try to avoid that if possible.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know about my love/hate relationship with bread pudding and the like. I absolutely LOVE it when I find or create a good one like my Pineapple Upside Down Bread Pudding or the
French Onion Bread Pudding I posted. But by the same token, I HATE them when they are dry, not creamy, boring and dull like the old time ones that were a bunch of stale white bread and a handful of raisins mixed with milk. Can we say “ick”?

Stratas are, in my mind, simply another version of bread pudding thus if it is good, I’m in love. And the one I created tonight was good. I had had a recipe picked out in a cookbook for one I wanted to try but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the recipe. Out of my 500000 cookbooks, I have no idea whatsoever what cookbook it was in. But I was determined to make a strata so I improvised. And it worked. Quite well actually. It is creamy with lots of meat and cheese and would make a perfect dish for an easy meal or to serve on a buffet or Christmas morning breakfast. It has a bit of spice but not overly so if you are one of those strange spice averse people you can still eat it. 😛

This feeds a lot of people… or two teen boys and my husband.

Cheesy Cajun Bacon And Andouille Strata

  • 5 hoagie buns, cubed (you could use Italian bread I’m sure but I had hoagie buns I needed to use thus this says hoagie buns 😛 )
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 14 to 16 ounce package smoked Andouille style sausage, sliced (I used Johnsonville brand)
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 5 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used “Janes Crazy Mixed Up Salt” cause I love that stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon salt free Cajun seasoning (only use if it’s salt free or between the seasoning salt and the meats, the end result will be over salted)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart (preferably glass) baking dish.
  2. In a  frying pan, saute your sausage and green peppers until the sausage is lightly browned and the peppers are tender.
  3.  Set the sausage aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and beat until blended.
  5. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Let sit for about ten minutes to give the bread time to soak up the liquid.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish and drizzle with the melted butter
  8. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until set in the middle (check with a butter knife or skewer. It shouldn’t come out with any loose dripping mixture on it.) and nicely browned.
  9. Let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.

 

Is It Tomorrow Yet? Also, Savory Gooey Onion, Cheese & Sausage Bread Pudding

Have you ever had one of those days you just wish hadn’t happened? Not a wish to start it over, but a wish that it just disappeared and never repeated itself.

Yeah. me too. Today was such a day.

I’m sure some of you have read me talking about (writing about?) my kids. I have six children, five boys and one girl, ranging in age from 25 on down to 3. I also have 5 grandchildren. As I’ve said before, I started having kids at age six… honest. 😀

One of my kids more frequently mentioned, if not here, on my FB page, is my son Jordan. Jordan is sixteen but is always going to be my baby. He is the sweetest boy you could ever know. But he is also Autistic, mildly intellectually challenged, has a severe case of ADHD, some OCD, and other things falling into the emotional/mental disabilities spectrum. He has the emotional and intellectual abilities of about an 8 year old. He is sweet, funny, loving & enjoys helping people. He loves to work with tools though that can end up with broken gadgets and bikes and what have you lol. He loves to “invent” things cooking but rarely does anything of it turn out to be edible. Heck, we all know what THAT’S like though huh? 😀 He loves our cats and adores his siblings. He worries about me and wants to take care of me forever.

He also can get overwhelmed when stressed out, discouraged, angry or pushed too hard. He doesn’t like rules and will rebel if he thinks that one is unfair. He wishes he could do everything but frequently tells me that he feels like he can’t do anything right, is stupid and doesn’t fit in anywhere. Those are the days that I feel my heart crack into little pieces. When he is upset and something (usually chaos or being pushed too hard) triggers him, he can also become violent and aggressive. Not in the bullying sort of way. When he is aware of himself and his surrounding, he wouldn’t hurt a flea and has been known to carry flies outside so that they wouldn’t die. But when he gets upset, he is no longer cognizant of how he is acting. he is pure adrenaline. Today was one of those bad days. He has been doing poorly in school, in part, in my opinion, because they are expecting too much academically from him. He is a sophomore who should have extreme modifications in his work but doesn’t. So when he feels like a failure, he doesn’t try and acts up to get out of working.

Today, something happened that made him lose control. From what I have been told, he sat in the wrong chair in class and rather than say the obvious “oh well, what does it matter? and let him sit there (it was a chair for petes sake!), it was turned into a control issue by the teacher and others were brought in to “help”. It ended with him being restrained (way bad move with an autistic child who doesn’t like being touched other than to be hugged), his biting and spitting on a teacher (again; think young child and temper tantrum) and him being suspended. Now, I agree with the suspension. He can’t be allowed to do that and there have to be consequences. But it didn’t end there. The school is pressing charges of assault against my 16 year old Autistic, mildly retarded, IQ of around 75 boy.

I want someone to explain to me what they think will happen to an extremely vulnerable mentally challenged boy in jail or juvenile detention. He isn’t the type to be able to fend off someone who wanted to hurt him or do other things to him. He would cry, he would beg for me to help him though I wouldn’t be there, he would fight as well as he could but ultimately he would lose. The problems he has also have led to poorer than usual muscle tone and strength. But they want him in jail. They want to take him and put him with men or boys who have REALLY committed assault, have raped, have committed armed robbery, have done drugs, abused parents or siblings and God knows what else.

I want this day to disappear. I want to hug my children and hide them in a cave so no one can ever harm them. I want him to be whole.

There is no subtle way to lead into a recipe today so I won’t try. I’ll just post it.

As Scarlett O Hara said, “After all, tomorrow IS another day”. Dear God, I hope so.

Savory, Onion, Swiss & Sausage Bread Pudding

  1. 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 9 cups thinly sliced onions (about 4 to 5 onions depending on size)
  4. 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  5. 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  6. 1/3 cup dry red or white wine (I prefer to use a Cabernet  in this)
  7. 1 loaf (about 12 ounces) French or Italian bread, cubed (I use the garlic/Parmesan loaf that many stores carry in their bakery section.)
  8. 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  9. 1 cup grated fresh (not the dry nasty kind) Parmesan cheese
  10. 1 10 ounce package Tyson Italian Sausage Crumbles (or just use regular Italian sausage that you have cooked and crumbled)
  11. 4 eggs
  12. 2 cups heavy cream or a mix of cream and half & half
  13. 1 cup whole milk (you could try this with low fat milk and even use that instead of the cream too, but this isn’t supposed to be a diet dish lol)
  14. 1 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 5 tablespoons butter with the oil in a large pan. Add in the sliced onions and the shallots. Cover and cook over low heat until the onions are tender and limp.
  • Uncover, turn heat to medium and cook the onions until golden brown and nicely caramelized. About five minutes before they look done, add in the garlic. Stir well and continue cooking.
  • When browned and cooked, pour in the wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.
  • Butter a 13×9 inch baking dish, preferably a glass one.
  • In a large bowl, combine the bread, sausage and the onions.
  • Melt the last 5 tablespoons of butter and pour it over the bread mixture.
  • Add the cheeses.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cream, milk, salt and eggs.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread and mix well. Stir this well for about 2 to 3 minutes to make sure all the bread has a chance to start soaking up the cream mixture
  • Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350 until it is golden brown and cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes. To check doneness, poke a butter knife into the middle. If it comes out wet or dripping, it’s not done. It should be the consistency of a cooked cheesecake. Firm and yet still creamy.
  • Let cool for about ten minute before you cut this.
  • This is an awesome side dish for a company dinner or a great light meal with a salad for the family. It’s also great for a weekend breakfast. It’s gooey, crispy at the edges because of all the butter used in it and cheesy and oniony and oh my, it’s SO good. One of my favorite side dishes in fact.

Rules, Schmules!

 

I’ve never been very good at following some kinds of rules. In most cases, I am a stickler for them. I always use my turn signals and never follow too closely. I don’t jaywalk. If I were a smoker, I would never think of smoking somewhere where there is a no smoking sign and I try to treat others as I would want to be treated (yes, I feel that comes under the heading of rules. If it didn’t, it does now. I just made it a rule 😛 ) and so on and so forth. But when it comes to recipes, I am simply horrible at following the rules. I can barely follow a recipe much less cooking rules. Mix soy sauce with BBQ sauce? Ewwwww! I’ve done it… it works.  Fruit with meat? I was doing it long before it was fashionable. Wear white after Labor day? Oh wait, wrong kind of rules and a stupid one to boot. Mix two totally different types of cuisine? Yep, been there done that. It’s one of my favorite ways of cooking. Tonight I wanted Quesadillas. But I was also craving the Andouille sausage I bought a few days ago. I wanted Gumbo. I wanted Tex-Mex. In other words, I was completely confused… aka my normal state of being. Pretend you didn’t read that. I am never confused. I walk through my days in utter logic and straight thinking. I also have a dinosaur named Barney who hides in my closet.

So as usual, I decided to play. Sometimes my playing ends in utter disaster like what happened here . Sometimes I get lucky although I like to delude myself into thinking it is my skill. Yeah… right. Pure luck. I tend to think that that is how most decent dishes came about. Luck or mistakes. Tonight I lucked out. I hope you like it. 🙂

Cajun Panini Quesadillas With A Spicy Lime-Cilantro Mayo

  1. 1 lb andouille sausage, cut into bite size chunks (you can also just take it out of the casing altogether but I tend to like the bite you get with the casing)
  2. 1 package pre cooked chicken strips ( the kind in the lunch meat section)
  3. 1 large green pepper, cut into strips
  4. 1 large onion, cut into half moon slices
  5. 8 10 inch flour tortillas
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  7. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  8. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  9. 1 cup cheese (just use your favorite. I used a four cheese Mexican blend)
  10. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  11. 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  12. zest of one lime
  13. juice of half a lime
  14. 1 tablespoon chili lime hot sauce (Franks makes the one I used but you could just sub your favorite hot sauce. You DO have a favorite hot sauce I hope? Please tell me that you do.)
  • Dump your andouille, green pepper and onion in a large saucepan with the oil.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the andouille is thoroughly cooked and the veggies are soft.
  • Add in the Cajun seasoning, tomatoes and chicken strips. Continue cooking over medium heat until the chicken is heated through and the tomatoes are softened.
  • While this is cooking, preheat your Panini press. If you don’t have a press, you can use a frying pan lightly greased with oil but it is going to prove more difficult to get out of the pan w/out thing flopping out of it.
  • Put one tortilla in the press. Cover with 1/4 cup cheese and a quarter of the sausage mixture. Top with the other tortilla and close press. Cook for about 4 minutes or until it is nicely browned. It’s thick so you may have to press the heck out of the panini press.
  • To make the spicy cilantro-lime mayo, mix together the mayo, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and hot sauce.
  • Serve the quesadillas  cut into fourths with some of the mayonnaise and a lime wedge on the side for drizzling over.