Saturday, October 25, 2014

McCormick® Fire Roasted Garlic Skillet Sauce... My Chili has never tasted better!

This morning I'm headed home to Monterey for a couple of weeks!
Which is something I believe North Carolina picked up on...
Because she put on a show of Fall colors yesterday that made it hard to leave!
Looked like she was saying, Please don't go!
Nevertheless, this girl is headed west and solo no less... Which means
that I spent the last few days preparing quick and easy homemade
dinner meals for my sweetie to enjoy while he misses me!
Of course, this also meant my first stop was Walmart for some 
McCormick® Skillet Sauces! Especially since I was asked for my chili!
Usually, I season my chili with my own blend of McCormick® spices...
However, their skillet sauce now that does that for me! And, if I'm
being honest, it does it even better! McCormick® has packaged up a
blue-ribbon winning recipe for chili in this little pouch. So I'm using it!
You can use ground beef or turkey, but my guy prefers stew meat so stew
meat it is! Begin in a skillet or Dutch oven with olive oil and a little bit of
good unsalted butter over high heat. Add one whole white onion, chopped
and minced garlic. Sear stew meat and caramelize the onion to build flavor!
After meat has browned, season with just a little sea salt and pepper...
Then, add one large can of diced tomatoes. Deglaze
pan with the juice, scraping off all the delicious bits
of flavor from the bottom with a wooden spoon...
Next, add all the beans you'd like. For my chili, I love a colorful
combination of black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans!
Stir in the bean rainbow...
Then, add your McCormick® Skillet Sauce!
Layering flavors through cooking techniques and the seasonings
we use is key to developing a depth of flavor that sets your dish
apart. To develop a richer depth of flavor for my chili, I have used
cooking techniques such as browning, caramelizing and now...
Because I have cornbread yet to bake... Slow cooking! Slow cooking
also ensures that my stew meat falls apart, which is a very good thing!
Now, while it's true McCormick® Skillet Sauces will transform
just a few simple ingredients into a flavorful, satisfying dinner meal
in less than thirty minutes, this girl needed just a little bit more time!
Because what's a great pot of chili without sweet cornbread
slathered up in unsalted butter and drizzled with honey?
Yes, still great chili... You're right! By the way, at only $1.68 per pouch,
McCormick® Skillet Sauces cost less than the price you'd pay for
just one of the seasonings necessary to create a chili to remember!
Like this one!
I hope you'll try several (if not all!) of the seven different varieties
of Skillet Sauces McCormick® has developed just for us and just
in time for the busy holiday season... Where meals like this in under
thirty minutes means more time for shopping and time with family!
Bon App├ętit from 36,000 feet and thirty minutes outside San Francisco!

Disclaimer: Although I was compensated for my review of McCormick® Skillet Sauces all opinions expressed in this post are (as always) my own!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Concord Foods Chiquita™ Banana Bread Mix and Sun-Maid Raisins are Sweeter Together!

When my friend Samantha at Concord Foods asked if I might develop a
recipe for their Chiquita™ Banana Bread Mix and Sun-Maid Raisins...
Well, I could not say Yes fast enough! I mean, I already have a little bit of
experience working with Samantha and, all the products she's sent me
have been incredible! Last year around this time I was fortunate to have
been introduced to Concord Foods' Cranberry Bread mix, which by the
way, is making another appearance on our holiday dessert table this year!
When Concord Foods promised their Chiquita™ Banana Bread mix
and Sun-Maid Raisins are Sweeter Together, it kinda got me to
thinking... Thinking about the goodness of sweet, plump Sun-Maid
raisins and how incredibly well they play with rum and maple syrup...
And, since Chiquita™ bananas are already a staple at breakfast in our
house, why not bring them together in French toast? Why not indeed!
As you saw, I created lots of delicious semi-un-banana-bread-like treats,
such as Madeleine cookies and caramelized cakelettes. But more on those
later... Right now, let's create my Concord Foods Chiquita™ Banana
Bread French Toast with warm Sun-Maid rum raisin maple syrup!
First, I baked up a loaf of Concord Foods' perfect,
quick and really easy Chiquita™ Banana Bread...
Trust me, as soon as you open the package you'll know this isn't your
average banana bread mix by the sweet aroma of fresh, ripe bananas!
This Banana Bread is on its own delicious and exceptionally
moist, which of course means you can enjoy a little now...
And, save a little for my Concord Foods Chiquita™ Banana Bread French Toast!
Simply whisk together three large eggs, 3/4 cups heavy cream or
milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of
fresh ground nutmeg, a pinch of salt and two teaspoons of orange juice!
In a large skillet, melt three tablespoons
of unsalted butter over medium heat...
Place banana bread into a shallow dish
that you've filled half way with the egg mixture...
Coat both sides of the banana bread, allowing to soak a minute per side...
Transfer to skillet and...
Fry until slices are golden brown. About three minutes per side!
Be prepared to be delighted by the smell of sweet bananas and
the deep, comforting aroma of warm cinnamon and nutmeg!
Concord Foods Chiquita™ Banana Bread Mix
makes a beautiful French Toast, don't you agree?
But wait... We're not quite finished yet!
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, over medium low heat,
add one cup pure maple syrup, half a cinnamon stick,
five whole cloves, 2-3 pinches of fresh grated nutmeg...
And, when sugar has melted, add 1/3 cup Sun-Maid Raisins that
have soaked in 1/3 cup dark rum and hour or if you have the time,
over night. Allow this sweet concoction to simmer 10 minutes!
Remove cloves and cinnamon stick and drizzle rum-raisin
maple syrup over my banana bread French toast!
That's better!
I served this to my love on the deck this morning...
And, he's been thanking me ever since!
Now, about those desserts I promised to tell you about...
Often, I find that when I'm listening, the food I'm
working with will actually tell me what it wants to be!
And, this second batch of Concord Foods Chiquita™ Banana
Bread mix mix was screaming to become caramelized banana
bread cakelettes and banana bread madeleine tea cookies!
To create caramelized banana bread cakelettes, simply butter
baking pan and sprinkle with a pinch or two of light brown sugar!
Adding a little powdered sugar to my rum-raisin maple syrup made
the perfect glaze for these caramelized banana bread cakelettes!
My banana bread Madeleine tea cookies turned out equally
delicious... Rich, moist banana centers with sweet, crispy edges!
pick up some Sun-Maid Raisins too. After all, you deserve food like this!

Disclaimer: Concord Foods generously provided products and compensation for the development of these recipes. However, all opinions are (as always) my own!