The Smoker of Meats

My husband Larry was a little jealous that he was not “my first guest chef” featured on “A Jeanne in the Kitchen”, so he decided he needed to do something about that.  Before this last snow hit us, he decided to smoke some meats on the smoker.  He wanted to be the chef du jour, so I let him do the whole thing.  All I did was make the side dishes.

Larry is making the rub for the beef brisket.

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As you can see, he is busy concentrating.  Maybe now he can fully appreciate the art of cooking.  🙂

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Larry was a busy bee in the kitchen.  He figured while the smoker is on, it’s best to smoke a bunch of things together.  So he did the beef brisket, a rack of ribs and some pork all at the same time.

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The finished products.  Larry thought the brisket was a little to crusty, and yes, it is definitely charred, but the inside came out so moist and tender and full of flavor.  Yes, he did change shirts.  He put all the meats on the smoker before going out to play golf, and let everything smoke for about 6 hours.  Once he came home, he made the change.  We had our friends Janet and Bob come over to help us enjoy this carnivorous feast.

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Once everything was cooked, it was time to enjoy the feast.  I made corn on the cob, a Southwestern sweet potato and black bean salad and a green bean caesar salad Jeanne is Back in the Kitchen and the Kitchen has Opened Again and Janet made a delicious rum cake for dessert.  It was time to let the feasting begin.  Janet and Bob also brought some port to enjoy with the rum cake.  We were all very full and very satisfied after the meal.

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We picked a good day to do this, because just a couple of days later, we had more snow, and the grill and the smoker bother were completely buried in snow.  Fortunately, here in Colorado, snow does not last very long, and in just a few short hours, the snow was gone again.  These pictures were taken yesterday.  The first one was taken in the morning, and the second one was taken around 2:00 PM.  By 4:00 PM, all the snow was completely gone and everything went from being covered in a blanket of white back to green.

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It’s a Sunny Day

WOW!!! What can I say?  I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award not once, but twice on the same day from Ihagh G. T. from Motivation & Environment and by loveurownlife@loveurownlife as well.  WOW!!!!   I am doubly honored and thank you both so much.  I believe this is my third/fourth nomination.  My blog “A Jeanne in the Kitchen” has only been around for a little more than a year, but it is really taking off.  People are really reading and liking my blog.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  None of this could be possible without all of you.

What is “The Sunshine Blogger Award”

“The Sunshine Blogger Award” is an award given to bloggers by bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.

 

Sunshine Blogger Award rules

1. Embellish your blog with the shiny logo above

2. Give a bunch of thanks to the blogger who nominated you

3. Answer the 10 questions you have been asked

4. Give the shiny honor to other bloggers

5. Ask 11 questions

 

Your Questions to Me

1. What is your real name? 

My real name is Jeanne Jones.

2.  What is your country of birth?

I was born and raised in Pasadena, CA, in the United States.  My mother was an American, from Texas, however my dad emigrated to the United States from Melbourne, Australia, shortly after WWII.  They lived in Texas for about 5 years before moving to California, and they stayed there for the rest of their lives.

3. In which country are you residing presently?

I live in the North Denver Metro area of Colorado, in the United States.

4. Which race do you belong to? (Please, I’m no racist.)

I am an American through and through, though I like to call myself a “Heinz 57”.  Basically I am a mutt.  But truth be told, I am a mixture of both dolphin and mermaid, with some dog thrown in as well.

5. Do you believe in GOD?

ABSOLUTELY!

6. What religion do you follow?

I am more of a spiritual person than a religious person.  My mother was a devout Catholic.  My father was agnostic at best, and I was baptized an Episcopalian.  I have been to many different churches, but none of their philosophies really resonated with me.    I like your answer best, and I believe it really applies to me as well.  “My favorite teacher has always been my conscience, even when I have made mistakes—probably, my conscience is guided by a guardian angel”.

7. Which person do you think has impacted humanity or mankind the most?

WOW!!!  I don’t have an answer for this.  Who knows.  It will be someone different, for many different reasons, for everyone.

8. What do you think about the rate at which awards being dished out every day on wordpress.com?

I think it is an honor to be recognized by the blogging community.  To me it says we are making an impact on others.

9. If you were to rate wordpress.com platform between 1 star to 10 star, how many stars would you give?

I have never known any other platforms, so to me, it gets a 10.

10. Would you advise people to remain on wordpress.com, or move to a self-hosted platform?

I am very happy with wordpress.com, but people have to make the decisions that are best for them.  I cannot make that decision for anyone else.

11. Based on your own belief and criteria, what type of people do you think will be admitted into the kingdom of heaven?

WOW!  Loaded question.  I am not God.  I cannot say who God would allow in to Heaven or what the criteria would be.  That is not for me to answer.

 

My Nominees Are:

Although, I have nominated only 10 bloggers, there are so, so many great bloggers all around, and many, many more whom I enjoy and follow.  This is always the hardest part of for me.  We are all here to help and support one another.  Best of luck to all!  If anyone who was not nominated, please feel free to “nominate” yourself, for you deserve this too.

My Question to You:

  1.  What do you like most about yourself?
  2. What do you like least about yourself?
  3. Who was your biggest influence on who you are today and why?
  4. What motivates you?
  5. What hobbies and/or interests do you have?
  6. Do you believe in reincarnation?
  7. Is there life other than life here on Earth?
  8. Are you the life of the party or do you prefer to keep more to yourself?
  9. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
  10. What is your spirit animal and why?
  11. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be and why?

 

Ihagh G. T. from Motivation & Environment and loveurownlife@loveurownlife, thank you both once again for this honor and these nominations.

Best of luck to you all.

 

Jeanne

“A Jeanne in the Kitchen”

ajeanneinthekitchen.com

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken with Peppers and Olives

Chicken is a favorite in our house.  We eat a lot of chicken and one of the many reasons is because of its versatility.  It lends itself to so many different styles of cooking and recipes, from around the world.  The possibilities are endless.  This recipe for chicken with peppers and olives has a very Mediterranean flair to it.  It is something you could find in any country from The Mediterranean or Middle Eastern part of the world.  It is also quick and easy to make, as well as very tasty.  Basically, you just can’t go wrong with this dish.

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Chicken with Peppers and Olives

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1 1/2-2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into strips

salt and pepper to taste – go easy on the salt because of the brine from the olives and the lemon juice

1/2 each red, yellow and orange peppers, sliced thin

1/3 cup sweet peppers

2 TBSP garlic

1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted and cut in 1/2

1 onion, sliced thin

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1-2 tsp each of fresh basil and oregano, chopped fine

olive oil

2-3 TBSP butter

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 TBSP paprika

1 tsp lemon juice

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Saute the peppers, garlic, onion, and mushrooms in the olive oil and butter until the peppers and onions are soft and translucent, then remove from the pan and set aside.

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In the same pan add the chicken and cook until it is thoroughly cooked.  Then add the wine.  Let it cook for about 1 minute and make sure to scrape all the drippings off the bottom of the skillet to give the dish extra flavor and texture.

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Add the pepper and onion mixture to the chicken, along with the olives, the herbs and seasonings.  Mix everything together well.  Let cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Right before serving, add the lemon juice to really bring all the flavors together and make the recipe come to life.

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Once the chicken and peppers are done, you can serve them over either rice, pasta or cous cous.  I chose the cous cous to make it even more Mediterranean and served it with some warmed pita bread and hummus.  Of course there was wine as well.  You can go with either a rich, buttery chardonnay or a light fruity red.  Either one would be a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

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Empanadas de Rincon Argentino

Argentina is a relatively large country, known for its food and wines almost as much as it is for soccer, or football as it is known to the rest of the world outside of the USA.  Some of the culinary wonders Argentina is famous for are its beef and chimicurri sauce Steak Chimichurri, all its fabulous wines, particularly its Malbec and its empanadas.  They make many, many different varieties of empanadas and eat them on their own or as a side dish served with something else.  My friend Priscilla, whom you have heard me make mention of many times, is from Rosario, just outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  If there is something from Argentina that she really recommends, I am most definitely going to take her advice and follow her recommendations.

There is a small Argentine restaurant in Boulder, Colorado named Rincon Argentino, which is famous for its empanadas.   Priscilla has been raving about this restaurant for years, and though I have eaten and enjoyed their empandadas many times at her house, I never had been to the restaurant itself until now.   We went with our friends Janet and Bob, whom you have also gotten to know many times through my posts.  Rincon Argentino is a small family owned restaurant, owned by Buenos Aires native, Christian Sabor, who has since made Boulder his home.  He and his wife have owned and operated Rincon Argentino since 2012.  It is a small ” fast-casual spot that specializes in empanadas — very good empanadas”.  He specializes in empanadas “because they’re simple to take out and carry around, to go hiking with”.  People in Boulder are always on the go, and they like to either enjoy their food that they can easily take with them, or eat while relaxing out on their patio with a glass of wine or beer after they return from their adventures.  Either way, Rincon Aregentino is more than happy to oblige and their empanadas speak for themselves.  Rincon also delivers and caters for you as well.

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A lot of small restaurants have you order from the board, then give you a number and deliver the food to your table.

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Once you order, your food is prepared in the open kitchen, in this special oven.  You can see it all being lovingly prepared by hand.

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You can dine inside, in this charming little dining area ….

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You can enjoy the beautiful patio on a nice, sunny day.

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We chose the patio option, where we sat with our numeros de colores and some wine and beer under the leaves of this big shady tree, watching the life in Boulder go by.

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In just a few short moments, our empanadas arrived, fresh and hot out of the oven.  Because there are so many varieties of empanadas from which to choose, we chose four different kinds and split them in half.  We also tried all their delicious sauces.  They offered a creamy avocado sauce and both los chimichurri verde y los chimichurri rojo, or the red and the green chimichurries.

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As expected, everything was scrumptious and we enjoyed every last bit.  We wanted more, but we were completely satiated and did not need anything else.  Our tummies were deliciously satisfied with what we had.

If you want something different and want a little bit of Argentina, then I highly recommend Rincon Argentino.  You can find it at 2525 Arapahoe Ave., # AO5, in “The Village at Boulder”, Boulder, CO or at http://www.rinconargentinoboulder.com

 

The only negative I have to say, and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the restaurant, but everything to do with some of the stupid, crazy people who visit.  I was outside taking all these pictures, and some stupid idiot ran into me, literally.  The parking lot is very small and cramped, and I was standing in the parking lot taking pictures, when some moron literally backed his car into me and his rear bumper was kissing my legs.  But what made it even worse, was that not only did he hit me once, but he continued to back up and continued to ram his bumper into my legs even more.  He could easily see me; how could he not.  I am not a short person, and he should have seen me in his rear view mirror.  Needless to see, once I realized what was happening, I screamed more than a few choice words at him, but the jerk did not even stop.  He just drove away.  I am very lucky I was not hurt, but I was extremely pissed about being hit, and being hit more than once.  Then the stupid jerk just drove away, knowing full well he had run into me numerous times.  Everyone who was dining on the patio saw the whole thing.  So, when you do go, be careful for the morons who occupy the parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Never Thought It Could Happen

Trigger warning!  Trigger Warning!  Trigger warning!

 

It happened!  I NEVER in my wildest dreams would have ever thought it could have happened here in my kitchen.  But it did.  I RAN OUT OF GARLIC!!!!!!  At first I didn’t think much of it because I though I had more downstairs.  But when I went downstairs to get it, panic set in.  There wasn’t any!  Fortunately, I had just barely enough to use for what I was cooking at the time, but just barely.

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We had to make an “emergency” trip to Costco to get some more.  This has never happened in my house before.  I stocked up to ensure it never happens again.  I should be OK for awhile, although I am still a bit traumatized from this whole ordeal.  I think I just need to open one of the garlic jars and take in a few large whiffs, and then I will be OK.  Phew!!!!!  That was a close one; too close for comfort.  🙂

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From Roast to Quesadillas

When I made my roast, I had a big piece of meat.  A Roasted Dinner  It was probably about 5 lbs of meat, if not more.  Well, there are only the two of us eating it, and it goes a long, long way.  We are still working our way through it.  I am doing my best at recreating it in many different ways, but it just seems like it is not going away any time fast.  I think we still have one more meal left from it, and maybe a lunch for my husband as well.  Then finally, that delicious roast just may be finished and it will be time to make another one.  I made it into delectable sandwiches the other day.  Herb Roasted Potato Wedges  Now, I am using it to make some fabulous quesadillas.  We eat quesadillas a lot.  They are an easy way to use up leftovers and they taste great too.

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Quesadillas are one of those versatile dishes that you can use whatever you like as the filling.  There is no right or wrong way to make them.  Sometimes I make them as a side dish to a meal and other times I make them the meal.  I almost always put in a lot of vegetables.  Sometimes I add meat and sometimes I don’t.  The only really key ingredients that are a must for making quesadillas is tortillas, of any size, either corn or flour, and QUESO or cheese, any kind of cheese you like.  You cannot have a quesadilla without cheese.  🙂  I used jalapeno jack this time.  I am not much of a cheese eater in general, but when I do eat cheese, I prefer to eat the white and lighter cheeses.  My husband loves cheese of all kinds.

I used mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, garlic, red peppers and jalapeno to mix with my meat for the filling.  I also added some cumin and oregano.

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I generously spread whatever cheese I am using on the tortilla.  While the tortilla is browning, it is also melting the cheese.  I do this twice, to make the top and the bottom of the quesadilla.

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While the second half is cooking, add your filling on top of the cheese and add the other cheesy tortilla over the filling.

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Since I am a saucy kind of girl, I always add salsa and either avocado slices or guacamole to mine as well.  My husband does not like avocados, but likes our cream.  Make them how you like them and top them with whatever you like.  Make yourself a margarita, or grab a cold beer and Desfruitas!

 

 

 

Spinach and Potato Stuffed Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Since I love stuff in my stuff, I cook a lot of meats that are also stuffed with, you guessed it, more stuff.  Does this make me stuffy?  Oh wait, I digress.  I have to admit I followed this new recipe almost 100%, which is saying quite a bit for me, and though I liked it, it was not my favorite way to prepare a spinach stuffed chicken.  I read and re-read the recipe many times, but it made no mention of cooking the spinach before stuffing it into the chicken.  Looking at the picture, I should have known it was cooked, but reading the recipe there was no mention of it.  So I tried it their way, but next time, I am going rogue once more, and doing it my own way again, as I do most of the time anyway.  Although I love raw spinach as a salad, when stuffing it into meats, I prefer it cooked.  But I tried something new.  Sometimes new recipes work, and sometimes they don’t.  Just because something isn’t quite right the first time though, does not mean I give up on it.  No, no, no.  Au contraire mes amis.  It just means I try and try again until it does come out right.  So I will definitely make this recipe again, but there will be some changes made and the dish will be a smash hit.  This was good, but I can make it oh so much better.

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Spinach and Potato Stuffed Chicken with Tomato

I am going to give you the recipe that includes my alterations, so when you make it, it will come out really tasty and delicious, rather than just ho hum.

 

1 potato, peeled cooked and roughly mashed

4-5 oz fresh spinach, chiffonade or cut into strips

1 shallots, peeled and minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 TBSP garlic

4 large chicken breasts

4 slices of either mozzarella or provolone cheese, optional

cooked lentils

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

1 stick of butter

 

Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.

Spray a cooking pan with cooking spray.

 

Cook the lentils according to the package directions and set aside.

Cook the spinach with the shallot, garlic and salt & pepper in olive oil.

Boil the potato until it is soft.  Drain the water and mash the potato roughly with a potato masher.  It’s OK if it is still a bit chunky.  You want that texture.

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Once the potatoes are roughly mashed, mix in with the cooked spinach mixture and the egg.  Mix everything together thoroughly.  This picture shows the raw spinach.  You can do it either way, but I much prefer the cooked spinach version.  Your choice though.

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Slice the chicken breast down the middle and add the stuffing mixture.  Fold one side over the other and hold in place with toothpicks.

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Add salt, pepper and olive oil to the chicken breast and gently rub in.  Then top each with a little bit of butter on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, remove the foil and add the cheese if you are using it and continue to cook for about another 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and/or the chicken is lightly golden in color.

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While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.

Tomato Sauce

4-5 tomatoes, diced in a medium dice

1 TBSP garlic

1 shallot, minced

salt & pepper to taste

2/3 cups chicken stock

fresh parsley

mushrooms

olive oil

 

Cook the tomatoes, garlic, shallots and salt and pepper together until the shallots are translucent, then add the chicken stock.

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Mix everything together and add the mushrooms, whole, but with most of the stems removed.  Cook for about 10 minutes.

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Once everything is cooked, it is time to layer your plate.  Start with the cooked lentils, then add the chicken and top with the sauce.  Place the mushrooms around the plate.  Serve it with your favorite wine, either white or red, but if choosing a red, I would recommend a lighter red so it won’t overpower the light, simple sauce.  Personally, I would choose a white to compliment the chicken more than the light sauce, but again, go with what you like.

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