Jerk Chicken Plantain Patties

Ingredients:

 

Plantain Dough

Flour

 

2 chicken breasts

Seasoning (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, smoked paprika)

 

½ head of a small green cabbage

1 small red onion

1 small sweet onion

1 serrano pepper

1 red jalapeno pepper

 

1-2 tbsp Grace Jerk Seasoning

Low-sodium Chicken Broth

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

Squeeze lime juice

1 tbsp butter

 

½ cup black beans

1 egg for egg wash

(Yields about 20 medium sized patties)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 420
  2. Butterfly and season chicken breasts (or boneless skinless thighs)
  3. Heat cast iron (or heavy bottom) skillet on medium-medium high, sear chicken on both sides, cook mostly through
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Deglaze pan with ½ cup chicken broth

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  1. Dice onions, slice cabbage, chop peppers, chop cilantro
  2. Set 2 tbsp of red onion to the side
  3. Sautee remaining peppers and onions until softened, season lightly with s&pplantain8
  4. Remove a tbsp of cooked onions and peppers and put in a small bowl
  5. Add cabbage to peppers and onions, add reserved red onion and toss together

 

  1. In the small bowl, mash beans together with the onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juiceplantain11

 

  1. Set chicken to the side

 

  1. Bring the deglazed pan to a boil, add jerk seasoning, squeeze of lime juice, butter and brown sugar

 

  1. Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary (I added additional clove to pump up the jerk)

 

  1. Chop chicken and add to the jerk sauce, sprinkle a little corn starch and stir, sauce should thicken

plantain13

  1. Toss with cabbage mixture and set aside to cool

 

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  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment
  2. Flour surface and roll out plantain dough to about 1/8-1/4”
  3. Using a round container (I used the small soup container from Chinese take out)
  4. Place discs on parchment
  5. Assemble:
    1. Flour surface
    1. Gently elongate disc using rolling pin/tool
    1. Black bean mixture, shredded cheese, chicken and cabbage
    1. Fold shut and press to secure
    1. Gently crimp using a fork
    1. Place complete patties on second lined baking sheetplantain21plantain23plantain24plantain26plantain27
  6. Brush finished patties with egg washplantain28plantain29plantain30plantain31
  7. You can freeze on baking sheet then store in a freezer bag
    • Bake from frozen at 400 on lined baking sheet
  8. If serving right away, bake at 420 until golden brown, edges will be crispy
  9. Store in the fridge in an airtight containerplantain32plantain33plantain34plantain35plantain36

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Cauliflower Chicken Alfredo with Penne

1lb Penne Rigate

1 chicken breast (your preferred cooking method or rotisserie)

2 cup fresh spinach

1 small shallot (of ½ small red onion) finely diced

1 zucchini

1 squash

1 head of garlic

4 tbsp unsalted butter

½ head of cauliflower (cut into florets)

Buttermilk

Heavy Cream*

½ – 1C parmesan

1-2 C shredded Italian cheese

 

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Nutmeg (small dash)

 

Olive oil

Worcestershire sauce

 

 

Prepare your chicken. I chose to sous vide mine and began working on the other components.

Cut your garlic head at the top 1/3. Place in foil and cover in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about a half hour. It will become very fragrant.

Steam your cauliflower, remove.

Boil and drain your pasta, set aside.

 

I used an immersion blender in a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use your food processor or quality blender. You want this as smooth as possible.

 

Add in the butter, the buttermilk (I used both heavy cream and buttermilk because I needed to use up the cream. Feel free to use which ever you like but no lower than whole milk).

Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the spices and roasted garlic.  Blend until very smooth.

Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

In a sauce pan, add olive oil and soften your onion or shallots. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and the squash. Cook until fork tender. Remove and set aside.

 

(At this point I had to sear off my chicken for some good ol’ Maillard)

I removed the chicken, add the sauce to the pan and stirred up on the brown bits. I added the cheese at this point. I added the chicken juices to this too.

 

I added the vegetables and the sliced chicken back to the sauce. Heat through.

 

Toss with pasta.

 

Listen.

This is the truth.

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Secret Family Recipe: Chili

I apologize now. I do. Because of the length of this introduction. But listen….it’s necessary. When you taste your chili, you’ll understand why. If you scroll by my feelings will not be hurt LOL.)

Okay….Technically this isn’t a family recipe. This is a recipe you lie and claim to be a secret family recipe. Then you proceed to stunt and accept all of the praise.

I don’t know about y’all but I have two versions of most of my favorite recipes. I have my weeknight version where we show Sandra Lee how to cut corners on a recipe. (Bless that lady’s heart. Have y’all seen that Kwanzaa cake??) My weeknight versions are way less labor intensive than the original versions. My weeknight chili is light-years easier than this recipe. The thing is, though it’s still delicious, you’re sacrificing the layers of flavor that tell your taste buds that this was made with love and intention.

Some people like ground beef and others like whole chunks of beef. Do what you want. I prefer ground beef so I bought a whole chuck roast and pulled out my food grinder. It was cheaper than buying a huge thing of ground chuck. We are frugal around these parts.

Notice I have not mentioned anything about authenticity. My folk are from the south and I’m from Long Island, New York. So, yes, I put beans in my damn chili.

This recipe has so many different flavor profiles. Smokey, sweet, umami! Oh, the umami! I’m sure some ingredients might give you pause but listen, Linda.  There is such depth of flavor and color. It’s a beautiful dish in both preparation and presentation.

There are many steps to this recipe but once you get a groove going you’ll see it come together quite quickly. The key is to stay organized! It may look like a lot but trust me, you will taste every single step. It is worth it.

Believe me.


Ingredients:

Chile Paste:

4 dried New Mexico chiles

4 dried ancho chiles

3 chipotle chiles (in adobo)

2 anchovies (alternatively, you can use 1/2 tsp fish sauce per filet)

4 cups low sodium chicken broth,

2 tbsp of tomato paste

1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar

4+ garlic cloves (I used like 6. It’s garlic, bro.)

2 tbsp smoked paprika

4 tsp dried coriander*

4 tsp dried cumin*

2 tsp black pepper

2-3 fresh cayenne peppers, optional

(*I have yet to commit to using whole spices. If that’s your preference, the dried conversion comes to roughly 1 1/2 tbsp of whole spices, each.)

Chili:

2 to 3 lbs beef (ground or cubed)

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 clove garlic, minced or grated (did you buy a microplane yet?)

1-2 fresh jalepeno or serrano chiles

1 can of pinto (or whatever you like, rinsed and drained)

3 bay leaves

1 (14oz) can of fire roasted diced/chopped tomatoes

1 (14oz) can of diced/chopped tomatoes

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4-1/3 chopped cilantro, optional (if you’re one of those soapy people)


Chile Paste:

(*signifies that it applies to the whole spices too, if used)

  1. Heat up a dry skillet
  2. Remove the core, seeds and stems of your dried peppers
  3. Cut or tear the chiles and toast them (and whole spices* if you’re using them) for about a minute or two in the hot skill
    • They will be warm and fragrant
    • Shake the pan or stir frequently, we don’t want to burn them.
    • Fill a bowl with hot water and add your toasted chiles
    • Allow them to steep for at least ten minutes in order to reconstitute them
    • 4a. Grind your whole spices at this point*
  4. Put the reconstituted chiles* in a blender or food processor
    • Add anchovies or fish sauce, tomato paste, cocoa powder, chipotles, garlic cloves, black pepper and brown sugar
    • Add your other spices*
    • Add 2-3 cups of chicken broth
    • Puree until smooth

Note: This can be made ahead of time. It can also be frozen and used at a later date.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large heavy bottomed or Dutch Oven, brown your beef and season with s&p
  3. When the meat is almost cooked through, add your jalapeno or serrano chile, chopped garlic, bell pepper and onions, cook until softened.
  4. To this mixture, add your chile paste
    • Be sure to stir for a few minutes to help eliminate some of the raw tomato paste flavor and basically kick start the spices that we added!
  5. Using the remaining chicken stock and a spatula to clean out your food processor or blender. Waste not want not.
  6. Pour this into you pan or dutch oven
  7. Using your spoon or spatula stir while scraping the bottom of the pan
    • this step is called deglazing. This allows us to clean the bottom of the pan. All those brown bits are flavor and ain’t that what we here for?
  8. Add your two cans of tomato, beans and bay leaves
  9. Bring your pot to a boil, stir and then lower to a simmer
    • Do not worry if your chili seems too loose, it will reduce and thicken.
  10. Taste and gently season with salt if you need to.
    • Do not over do it, because the chili is going to reduce and the flavor will concentrate.
  11. Add bay leaves
  12. Cover and place in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours
  13. Stir Occasionally
    • Taste so that you can see how the flavors continue to develop!
  14. The chili will darken, thicken and reduce, which is indicated on the walls of my pot (as pictured)
  15. Add apple cider vinegar and stir in cilantro
    • I saw this on some random cooking show and tried it one night. Such a complex acidic flavor. Again, trust me. If you’re that afraid, try a generous splash.
  16. Taste and adjust as necessary
    • Personal note: This is where we clean it all up. At this point, I’m tasting and adjusting. I’m correcting my seasoning. I’m adding additional things that might help it along depending on what my palate is saying. I might need more sugar, more pepper, more garlic, more acid. This is where personal preference comes into play as well.
    • Greedy note: THIS IS AMAZING THE NEXT DAY OMGOMGOMGOINK

Serve this up with your favorite fix-ins. We rolled with sour cream and shredded sharp cheddar with a side of homemade cornbread. If you’re feeling yourself because you made some bomb ass chili? Next time, walk with me, try this…. Pumpkin. Cornbread. You’re welcome.

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© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Shrimp with a White Wine Butter Sauce

This is a rough recipe, as I’ve been tinkering with it but no one batch has been the same. This is the latest iteration to which I’ve added mushroom, spinach and loads of white wine. The other iterations are tacked on to the bottom. This came to life on Instagram and you can definitely check out our page @NibblesandNom.

Ingredients:

1 lb of angel hair pasta

7-9 mushrooms

Pint of cherry tomatoes

3-4 cups of fresh spinach (or 1 pack of frozen)

1 stick of butter

1 bulb of garlic, plus 4-5 cloves

1 shallot

Olive oil

Pinot Grigio (or any dry white)

2+ lbs of jumbo shrimp

Parmesan

Shredded mozzarella

Salt

Pepper

Crushed red pepper

Granulated garlic

Oregano

Parsley

Basil

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Bring water to a boil
  3. Boil one lb angel hair pasta, reserve a cup of starchy pasta water
  4. Chop the end off of a bulb of garlic (yes, the whole bulb) and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  5. Wrap in foil, place on cookie sheet.
  6. Halve a pint of cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  7. Spread tomatoes on the cherry sheet
  8. Roast for 30-45 minutes
    • The garlic will likely be done before the tomatoes
    • Remove the tomatoes when they begin to shrivel up and are very fragrant
  9. Peel and devein your shrimp
  10. Slice or finely chop your mushrooms
  11. Chop 4-5 cloves of garlic and one shallot
  12. In a pan, over medium heat melt one whole stick of butter (yum!)
  13. Sautee the shallot and garlic, then add the mushrooms and season
  14. Nestle in your shrimp in a single layer, do this in batches if you need to, season.
  15. Add in your spinach and toss until it begins to wilt
  16. Add in your white wine (I honestly used about 75% of the bottle. Sue me.)
  17. Toss to incorporate, season with salt and pepper, I added granulated garlic and crushed red peppers
  18. Add the roasted tomatoes
  19. Toss your drained pasta in with everything, add in a generous amount of parmesan, I added a handful of mozzarella too
  20. Drizzle in a couple of tbsp of olive oil
  21. If this mixture is getting to dry, add some of that reserved pasta water
  22. Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary, add in your Italian herbs (think basil, oregano, parsley).

This is an easily adaptable recipe. I’ve made it several times with different variations. Like I always say, use what you’ve got!

(Spinach, shallot, bell pepper, roasted garlic, chopped garlic, squash, sun-dried tomato)

(Fresh basil, sliced mushroom, artichoke, slow roasted tomato, roasted garlic, chopped garlic)

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza with Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I was craving pizza and I knew it was an activity that my kid would enjoy. So, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients and surprised him after his summer program. He made a pepperoni pizza. I made a pizza topped with chopped chicken, shredded Brussel sprouts, gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes and a balsamic reduction. It is SO good.

piz15piz14

I contemplated buying pizza dough but I wound up making the dough as I usually do. I amped it up by seasoning the dough with garlic and herbs. A nice béchamel serves as the perfect anchor for the cheese and toppings.

 

Pizza Dough:

 

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 packets of yeast (I use Hodgson Mill Fast Rise Yeast)
  • 1 ½ c warm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ olive oil

Pizza:

For a medium (thick) white sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian herbs

 

Toppings:

  • 2-4 shaved Brussel sprouts (I use a mandolin slicer)
  • 4-6 sliced grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 chicken thighs, sautéed and chopped
  • Generous handful (to taste) mozzarella
  • Handful (to taste) italian blend cheese
  • 1/4c to 1/2c of gorgonzola
  • Balsamic
  • Olive oil to coat the crust

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare your dough
  2. Proof your yeast with the warm water
  3. Add the seasonings and oilpiz
  4. Slowly add the flour
  5. The dough will be a little sticky but your fingers should be mostly clean to the touch
  6. Knead once or twice then add to a greased bowl and top with a greased plastic wrappiz2
  7. Allow to rise for about an hourpiz4
  8. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F
  9. Punch it down and knead once or twice
  10. You can use it all or divide, the recipe yields about 2lbs of dough (I used half for my pizza and half for my son’s)
  11. Roll out your dough and spread it in an ungreased cast iron skillet, pizza stone or cast iron griddle
  12. Use a fork to puncture the center of the dough, leave at least ½” space for your “crust”piz3
  13. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the crust starts to rise then remove

 

For pizza:

  1. Slice your chicken and cook it on high heat, season with salt and pepper
  2. Remove from heat to rest
  3. Slice your Brussel sprouts, tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoespizz
  4. In a small pot, melt your butter and add flour
  5. Add milk and whisk to remove lumps
  6. Season to your preference

 

  1. Spread the white sauce on your doughpiz5
  2. Top with some cheese
  3. Top with tomatoes and Brussel sprouts
  4. Top with chicken and sundried tomatoes
  5. Top with cheese
  6. Brush crust with olive oilpiz6piz7
  7. Put back into oven until its bubbling and the crust is brown

 

  1. In a small pot, bring a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to a boil
  2. Add a half tsp of sugar and stir
  3. Bring to a simmer until it coats the back of a spoon
  4. Remove from heat! (Overdone balsamic reduction is no good. Trust me!)
  5. Remove your pizza from the oven
  6. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction

piz8piz9piz10piz11piz20piz12piz13piz15

 

 

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Spiced Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Rice

Garlic. Cumin. Smoked paprika. Sazon. Can you really go wrong here? I think not.

 

This is my quick way of whipping up some super yummy, spiced chicken thighs. You can toss these in a salad, make tacos, make burritos or burrito bowls, etc. Great for meal prep and an easy go to when you’re running out of ideas.

 

As a side, I made some lightly scented lime and cilantro rice. It’s mostly hands off and pairs very well with the chicken. Top this with a corn salad and you’ve got a bright and flavorful dinner!

IMG_E5939

 

 

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced

Oil

Salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp of cumin

1 tbsp of chili powder

Tsp (each) garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika

½ packet of sazon

½ tsp of cayenne (optional)

1-2 chipotles in adobo, chopped (optional- more smoke and heat)

Chicken broth

 

Rice:

Rice

Water

Oil

Lime juice and zest

3-4 garilc cloves, chopped

 

  1. Heat your pan over medium- high heat
  2. Slice your chickenIMG_5928
  3. Add oil
  4. Add chicken
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Cook until browning and mostly cooked through
  7. Add spices
  8. Stir, toasting the spicesIMG_5930
  9. Add a few splashes of chicken broth to deglaze the pan
  10. StirIMG_5934
  11. Remove from heat

 

Lime and Cilantro Rice:

  1. I cook my rice like pasta so bring water to a boil and pour in however much rice you need
  2. Allow it to boil
  3. Check for doneness and drain
  4. Chop the garlic and cilantro
  5. In the now empty pot, sweat the garlic in a little bit of oil
  6. Turn off heat
  7. Add the rice back to the pot
  8. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and salt and pepperIMG_5915
  9. Stir to combine

 

Pile up that rice, top with chicken and this yummy corn salad. Look at what you did. Look at it. It’s good, isn’t it?

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© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Charred Corn Salad

Summer is the perfect time for light and fresh salads. This corn salad uses fresh vegetables, fresh herbs and bright citrus. It comes together in no time and it can be made ahead! (Pro tip: try this on a taco!)

IMG_5917

Ingredients

3 ears of corn, remove corn from cob

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1 small red onion

1 habenero

1 jalapeno

About ¼ c chopped cilantro

Zest and juice of a lime

Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

  1. Heat a pan on high heat
  2. Remove the corn from the cob, if you don’t know how check this out.IMG_5896
  3. With no oil, add the corn and stir oftenIMG_5901
  4. Remove from heat when the corn begins to charIMG_5904
  5. Rinse your beans
  6. Chop your onion, peppers and cilantroIMG_5905
  7. Combine in a large bowlIMG_5908
  8. *Wash your hands after handling the habanero*
  9. Zest your lime
  10. In the bowl, juice your lime
  11. Add seasoningsIMG_5916
  12. Toss together
  13. Serve warm, cold or room temperatureIMG_5922IMG_5924

I served this over spiced chicken thighs and cilantro and lime rice!

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© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Cajun Sausage and Shrimp

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Ingredients:

 

2 lbs shrimp

½-1lb smoked sausage or andouille

1-2 green peppers

4-5 ribs of celery

1 large onion

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 28oz can of diced tomatoes

 

1 bundle of fresh thyme

2-3 bay leaves

Generous pinch of crushed red pepper

1-2 tsp of cayenne

Kosher salt

Pepper

(all of these to your preference)

Scallions to garnish

 

 

 

To begin, devein and shell your shrimp. Put your shrimp shells in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 

  1. Chop your vegcajun
  2. Brown your sausage in some oil.
  3. Add your holy trinity and cook until softened.cajun2cajun3cajun5
  4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.cajun6
  5. Add your tomatoes.cajun7
  6. Strain 4-6 cups of the shrimp stock and add to the pot.cajun8cajun9
  7. Add your bay leaves and thyme bundle.cajun10
  8. Add salt and pepper and taste.
  9. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add your shrimp. Cover and simmer for about 6-7 minutes.
  11. Taste and adjust your seasoning.
  12. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.cajun11cajun12cajun13cajun14cajun15cajun17

 

Adapted from Anne Burrell’s Jambalaya.

Mason’s Dragon Noodles

Tonight my kiddo said he wanted spicy, saucy noodles so Mason’s Dragon Noodles became a thing and I will absolutely be duplicating this in the future.

A super easy recipe. Bold flavors make it difficult to mess this up. It’s also easily adjustable to suit your tastes. My family likes food spicy (hello “dragon” noodles), so feel free to tinker with the spice level.

I was gifted a wok for Christmas. Mommy’s first wok. Seasoning it was an adventure but it was successful! So, this was my first time breaking it in.

If you don’t have a wok, use a cast iron skillet because they hold heat really well and they get super hot. If you don’t have either of those, use a pan large enough to hold what you’re working with. High heat is important, so be mindful of that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast, or a few boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • ¼-1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2-3 scallions, whites and greens (reserve some greens)
  • Handful of chopped cilantro, (reserve some)
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½-1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb angel hair or spaghetti (you can use your preferred Asian noodles but we usually have these in the house and they work just fine)
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/3-1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp Huy Fong sriracha (the REAL kind with the green cap and rooster)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • ~1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce

 

  1. Boil and drain your noodles.
  2. Prep your vegdragon3
  3. In a bowl, mix up the garlic, ginger, habanero, sugar, and liquid ingredients and whisk together.dragon4
  4. With your wok or pan on high heat, add some oil and cook your chicken breast. Remove and set to the side.
  5. Working quickly, cook your veggies. You want them to keep some texture so don’t cook them to death. Remove and set to the side.dragon6
  6. Still on high heat, add the liquid to the pan. dragon5Bring to a boil and add your chicken and simmer for a bit then add your veggies. Shortly after, add your drained noodles.
  7. Using tongs, toss your noodles, cilantro and other ingredients. You want to incorporate them all together as well as you can. This can be annoying but toss in different directions to incorporate. Turn off your heat, your noodles will sop up any extra liquid.dragon7
  8. Top with reserved cilantro and scallion.

dragon8dragon10dragon12dragon13dragon14dragon15dragon16dragon18
This can be served hot, warm or cold.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved