Paella

Paella

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In case you guys don’t already know, I love me some Basque chorizo!

My fiancé is the one who is responsible for giving me this addiction.

Among the many things that can be created with some good quality Basque chorizo, this Paella has to be my favorite.

I’m gonna be completely honest and tell you all that this is a dish that is pretty new to me. Until about a year ago I hadn’t even heard the word Paella! (Sad I know!)

When my world was opened up to this delicious meal I became a very happy girl!

When I first came across this recipe and was trying to figure out how to even cook this dish I was a little intimidated. Once I got all the ingredients together though it was actually quite simple. Even better, it’s a one pot meal!

Now I don’t know about anywhere else besides Seattle, but we haven’t found any Basque chorizo here, and due to the dedication of my fiancé, we ended up having to order it from Idaho (apparently that is the only place that makes it). So if you’re having the kind of trouble I did and don’t feel like ordering sausage in the mail (I completely understand, it does seem like a bit much, but it does add to the authenticness of the dish) you can always substitute Andouille or kielbasa sausage and it will still be delicious.

Now lastly…. Before anyone loses it on me, I’m going to point this out right now. This is not an authentic Spanish Paella recipe. I repeat. Is NOT. This simply is what I like and has the ingredients that myself and my family like.

So here it is. Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients:

5 Basque Chorizo sausage links

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper

2 ½ cups Arborio rice (risotto rice)

8-10 saffron threads

1 tsp smoked paprika

6 cups chicken broth *see chef notes

1 tomato, small diced

1 lb jumbo shrimp

1 lb manila clams

Italian parsley

Lemon wedge

 

In a very large skillet or a paella pan over medium heat add Basque chorizo that has been sliced into quarter size pieces. Cook sausage for a few minutes then flip so both sides brown and some fat renders out.

Add onions, peppers, and garlic and sauté a few minutes till translucent.

Add rice, paprika, and saffron, stir till rice is coated.

Toast rice for a few minutes, continuing to stir.

Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth, bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat, cover with lid, and cook for 15 minutes. At this point rice should be slightly under cooked.

Remove lid and lay shrimp onto of rice and nuzzle clams around the shrimp, slightly covering with rice. Cover with lid, and cook 10 more minutes.

Shrimp should be done cooking (will feel firm to touch) and all clams should be open, discard and clams that have not opened.

Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Remove lid and turn heat up to medium high. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, till bottom layer of rice is slightly crispy.

Remove from heat and garnish with parsley and lemon.

Enjoy!

 

*Chefs Note: Buy shrimp still in their shells. When you remove the shells and clean the shrimp add shells to a sauce pan. Turn on medium heat and sauté for a few minutes till shells turn pink. Add a small pinch of saffron and cayenne pepper. Add the chicken stock and cook for about 10 minutes, and strain. Doing this adds a lot more flavor to your chicken broth.

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso Dip

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso Dip

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This dip is good. I mean really good.

What is better than cheese and chorizo!! Not much!

I could eat this whole dish of chorizo dip to myself!! But I am trying to watch my figure… So I guess I will be sharing.

Now this isn’t your typical queso dip. It is a lot thicker than the runny cheese sauce that you can get at many restaurants, and a lot richer. Which I think is what makes it so decadent and delicious! And I actually prefer a thicker dip to a runny one, so it’s only natural that this is a favorite of mine.

The sautéed veggies make this dip a little chunkier, and add wonderful flavor. But the star of this dip is the chorizo.

Chorizo is packed full of so much flavor that you only need to add a little to this dip to have a flavor packed appetizer.

And another super helpful thing about this dip is you can assemble it and get it all ready ahead of time, and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready for it!

Click here for the full recipe!

Andouille Sausage Pizza with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Shallots, and Arugula

Andouille Sausage Pizza with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Shallots, and Arugula.

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This pizza is to die for! I’m not even joking! It is so dang good! I’m loading up my home made pizza dough with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, goat cheese, chicken Andouille sausage, caramelized shallots, and arugula. See I wasn’t kidding. TO DIE FOR! This is the second time I’m making it in three days! It’s that good!

I love all the different flavor that are incorporated into this pizza, spicy, salty, nutty, and peppery. Every bite has something new to deliver!

I found the chicken Andouille sausage at Trader Joes. It’s not too spicy, but is packed with so many flavors! You can’t even tell the difference with it being chicken sausage. If you’re not a fan of spicy or your making pizza for little ones I find that a chicken sausage with apple is the perfect substitute.  The flavors go perfect with the goat cheese. Plus I love that you’re cutting the calories with the chicken sausage.

The first time I made this I had an onion and a shallot in my hand. After debating on caramelized onions or shallots, I went with the shallots. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did. The shallots go perfect with this pizza! Shallots are a more mild than onion (making a good sub for onions in any dish if cooking for kids) and when caramelized they have a wonderful nutty flavor that I have recently fallen I love with after making this pizza.

I’m a huge fan of goat cheese. I love to put it on everything, from topping a burger, putting it in enchiladas, putting it in hash browns, to topping a pizza. It’s wonderful. If you haven’t tried it I urge you to buy a small amount of it and try it! I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Top this divine pizza with some peppery arugula and you’re in heaven!

I always make homemade pizza dough, its super easy and taste way better than store bought version. If you’re in a hurry by all means buy your dough, but you know me, I always prefer to make whatever I can homemade. When I make a pizza dough I always double the recipe and put one in the freezer, so I always have a good pizza dough on hand.

See full recipe here….

Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers and Zucchini

Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers and Zucchini

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I am so excited for dinner tonight! I’m stuffing peppers and zucchini with sausage, ricotta cheese, and quinoa! This meal is packed with flavor, and even better, vitamins and protein and is gluten free! It really doesn’t get much better than this.

I love quinoa! Most people think that quinoa is a grain, but it really is an edible seed. Many call quinoa a super food thanks to it being a complete protein, a good source of fiber, and is high in phosphorus, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Plus it is gluten free making it stomach friendly to all. A lot of people are beginning to substitute quinoa for rice to reduce carbs, and by all mean if you like rice feel free to replace it in this recipe.

Another point I want to bring up about this recipe is I used chicken sausage to help lower the calories, something that I like to do a lot in many of my sausage recipes. I used Trader Joes Caelian Chicken Sausage, and it was delicious! It has sun dried tomatoes and cheese already in the sausage! And it cost just as much as the pork sausage. Definitely fits with the flavor profile of this dish!

Now I’m going to be honest… I don’t really like peppers. But my fiancé loves them. He’s not a fan of zucchini, but they are my favorite! So I developed this with us in mind due to our pickiness, but it adds variety and even more flavor to anyone’s dinner table. And feel free to do all peppers or all zucchini, it’s really which ever you prefer.

The stuffing is so versatile and you really are able to switch and substitute whatever ingredients you like.

See full recipe here…

Sausage and Potato Soup

Sausage Soup with Potatoes, white bean, and Kale

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On cold, dark, rainy days like today (they come often here in Seattle) I like to make a big pot of warm soup to comfort me and my family and warm us to the bone. This sausage soup is super delicious and I love how the potato and beans helps to make it a full meal, and the hint of kale adds good vitamins and flavor to the soup.

And hey, any one pot meal that can be made it a snap is a keeper for me!

The Italian sausage adds nice flavor, and can be substituted for chicken or turkey sausage to help keep the calories down. Paired with the smoky, crispy bacon makes this soup to die for. And I love the richness that the cannellini beans add! It’s just so yummy!!

I like to cube a few slices of bread and toast them in butter and herbs to garnish on top of the soup for a little crunch or slice up and toast a beget with olive oil and dip it so it can soak up the yummy broth.

To anyone who thinks a bowl of soup won’t fill you up enough or isn’t hardy enough for a whole meal I dare you to make this soup!! You will become a believer!

See full recipe here

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How to make Sausage Gravy

How to Cook Sausage Gravy

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The Ultimate Breakfast Sauce

Mmmmm biscuits and gravy. Need I say more? My mouth is watering already.

Making your own homemade sausage gravy and piling it on light and fluffy buttermilk biscuits is what I look forward to on the weekend. Not only is it super delicious to eat, making your own sausage gravy is super easy. You really only need a handful of ingredients and it takes no time at all to prepare. Plus you don’t have to worry about all those preservatives that you find in the package gravy mixes. And putting it on super easy to make buttermilk biscuits makes this one of the most flavorful breakfasts you can serve your family.

To make your own biscuits is super easy, and I use my food processor, making it even easier! You literally put all the stuff in the bowl and pulse it up. So easy! If you don’t have a food processor that is just fine. Just use a pastry cutter when cutting up the butter.

For anyone who has never made their own biscuits, do not be afraid. Also don’t think that it takes a long time to make. When I use my food processor it takes me not even 10 minutes to whip these out!

The trick to a super flaky biscuit is to have the butter and buttermilk as cold as possible, and to handle it as little as possible. Having little pebbles of cold butter when you bake the biscuits is what makes them so light and fluffy!  So try not to warm the dough up with your hands.

See full recipe here

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Mexican Chorizo Nachos

 

Chorizo Nachos

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Oh yeah! Its game day! On my list of things to do today: watch football all day with my fiancé, be obsessed with our fantasy football (being in two leagues will do that to you!), and cooking up some yummy game day food!

Today’s menu includes chorizo nachos. Spicy, cheesy, and delicious.

One obsession that I have had to deal with through the years is nachos. Doesn’t matter where I am, what time of the day it is, what kind of event I’m at, I want nachos! It truly has become an addiction for me!

Beef nachos, chicken nachos, vegetarian nachos, pulled pork nachos…. I love them all! But… the nacho that tops all nachos is the Mexican chorizo nacho. Hmmm hmmmm hmmmm.

As I sit here writing this blog out to you all, I am in a food coma from lunch, and I had lunch a few hours ago!! I’m still in a state of bliss from those nachos!

Mexican chorizo differs from European or Spanish chorizo in that it is not precooked. Spanish chorizo is a smoked and cured pork sausage, while Mexican chorizo is raw seasoned pork. Mexican chorizo is usually seasoned with indigenous chilies of Mexico, while Spanish chorizo is spiced with red peppers and smoked paprika. You can find it in the meats section of your grocery store. The flavor of the chorizo will vary by brand.

Using Mexican chorizo is a way to add spicy flavor to nachos if you or your guests are not lovers of the overbearing heat that can from spicy peppers or traditional hot sauces.

In my opinion nachos are not complete without guacamole and salsa. I have to admit that I used store bought salsa. Ashamedly, yes I did. I forgot the ingredients for homemade Pico de Gallo when I was at the store, and the game was about to start so I had no time to go back! So jarred salsa is what I turned to. So do not follow my example, and make your own Pico de Gallo. Trust me, it will make a world of difference.

Read more about chorizo nachos here…

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How to Cook Kielbasa

How to Cook Kielbasa

Creamy Pasta with Kielbasa

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Alfredo and pasta is one of my favorite dinners to make. This dish can be thrown together in no time, making it an easy meal to prepare on those chaotic weekdays. I like to take it to a new level by adding slices of smoked kielbasa and lots of good healthy vegetables. Not to brag or anything, but my homemade cheese alfredo sauce is easy to make and nothing compares to the taste. Making this pasta dish delicious and a must have recipe in every cook’s book.

The secret to this super delicious meal is to make your own sauce. Alfredo sauce is super simple to make and it will take your dish from ehh to omg yum! Plus most children like it over marinara sauce, since the tomato sauce is usually too acidic for them.

Adding the kielbasa adds a new level of flavor to this classic dish and will help some variety to your dinner.

Kielbasa is a smoked sausage that comes fully cooked. Kielbasa originates from Central and Eastern Europe, and the most common kielbasa used in North America is the Polish kielbasa. Kielbasa is most commonly made with pork, but can also be found in beef, chicken, turkey, and surprisingly soy based for vegetarians. Kielbasa is spiced with garlic, marjoram, paprika, and sugar, amongst other spices. It gets most of its flavor from being smoked.

I love to wilt in a package of spinach to sneak some extra vitamins into my family’s diet. The garlic, onions, and all the herbs will add a depth of flavor that those store bought sauces just don’t have. Any way to avoid any extra additives or preservers in my food is a must, so making your own sauces is a simple way to do just that.

See full recipe here

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How to Cook Sausage Cheese Balls

How to Cook Sausage Cheese Balls

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Sausage Cheese Balls

 

As the holiday season slowly is coming upon us I like to think ahead and brainstorm what kind of dishes to bring to family gatherings. I usually volunteer myself to bring a side dish or appetizer, and if you’re in the same boat as me I’ve got you covered.

Sausage cheese balls are a simple appetizer to make, and they are even easier to eat! Just pop a toothpick in each one and you will see these cheesy balls disappear before your eyes. There are a lot of simple cheese ball recipes out there, but I’ve never been the type of person to go for a basic recipe.

Another thing I like about these sausage cheese balls is that once you roll them up they freeze very easy and you can pull them out whenever you need to bring an appetizer to a party or you’ve got hungry kids in need of a quick snack.

So here is my updated cheese ball for a somewhat sophisticated pallet. Well…. Maybe just for someone who likes a lot of flavor like me!

Read more here!

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How to Cook Bratwurst

How to cook Bratwurst

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Cooked in Beer

The German sausage, the Bratwurst. Hmmm my mouth is already salivating. Pile it high with caramelized onions, red peppers, jalapenos and sauerkraut and I’m falling in love.

Bratwurst are a German sausage that date back centuries. There are many different recipes for bratwurst depending on the different regions of Germany. Bratwurst were first brought to the US by German immigrants and are most prevalent in Wisconsin, with the highest population of German decedents.  Wisconsin is also where our method of cooking bratwurst in this article was first born.

Most bratwurst are pork, but they can also contain beef or veil. Usually seasoned up with spices like nutmeg, mace, onion, and ginger, but each style will taste different.

But how do you cook this lovely piece of meat? Well there are a few different ways to cook your wurst up, depending on flavor and texture you prefer. But for now, I will just go into one of many ways to cook your bratwurst. No matter what method you choose you want your sausage internal temperature to be 170 degree.

Today’s method of cooking will be poaching it in a big steaming pot of beer. Yep, that’s right! Beer!

You will want to do this in a large pot. I would suggest adding some flavor enhancers like peppers and onions to the pot and sautéing them in butter or olive oil before you add your beer. Adding sweet bell pepper brings a wonderful floral flavor but for some heat add jalapeno, serrano, or habanero peppers, depending on what heat level you like. Adding a few different peppers also adds different levels of fruity heat to the beer broth.

See more here…

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