Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings

Unfortunately our favorite football team lost this past week. Yep, we are a Green Bay Packers family. So when it comes to game day, I typically make things like a batch of chili, nachos, or other finger foods. This particular weekend, I was browsing through my freezer and realized I had frozen a bunch of chilies from the garden this summer. Everything from habaneros, to serrano, to jalapeno peppers. Not only that but a package of chicken wings that I knew my kids would devour. This is when I thought I would come up a spicy glazed chicken wing, and boy did they hit the spot.

Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings Recipe
Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings Recipe

As much as I like a fried chicken wing, I wanted to go a bit more simple on this recipe and bake them. I bake them from time to time and they always turn out great, at least in my opinion.

So let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of chicken chickens, split (I keep the wing tip on)
  • Large pot or dutch oven, with about 1 cup of water
  • 6 chili peppers, I used an array of habanero, jalapeno, and serrano, punctured
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • large rimmed baking sheet
  • 2 tbsp spiced seasoning (I used Slap Ya Mama)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Take the chicken wings and add them to your large pot. Add in the water, bring to medium heat, and lightly poach the chicken for about 25 minutes. The goal is to par cook.

During this time add the chilies, light brown sugar, and 2 cups of water to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and stir along the way. This will be your spicy glaze. Adjust the heat as necessary as you want the consistency of a light syrup.

Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings Recipe
Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings Recipe

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, and add them to your baking sheet.

Cook for about 1 hour or until your desired doneness. We actually like ours a bit crisp and a bit more dry. Once cooked and crisped, remove them from the oven and dump them into a mixing bowl. Add in the butter, and spoon on as much of the spicy glaze as you desire.

Sprinkle on some of the spiced seasoning, give a good toss, and plate and serve.

The result was everything we love in a crispy chicken wing with just the amount of spice. If you are looking for a good wing, and one that is baked, give these a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Indian Style Spiced and Glazed Cashews

I thought of just posting photos of food, but that would just be Instagram or Facebook, right? There is a rhyme to my reason, and that being said is to have this as part of my virtual memoir for my family. It’s part of that story where one of them is going to say ‘what was that awesome food Dad made that one day?’. That’s what this is about. This particular is only due to the fact that I went to Costco (yep) and purchased a crap load of cashews. Not only were they great sampling, hence why I bought them, but I figured I was going to create something out of them. When I brought them home, my wife started snacking on them, like her daily dose of almonds. I knew I made the right decision, so when my family left to run errands, I decided to come up with a spiced up cashew snack that I knew she would love (my kids, not so much).  Indian style spiced and glazed cashews that were addicting.

Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe
Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe

Let’s get this started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of plain cashews
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (make your own)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of water

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.

Next, on a medium heat on a large skillet, add the butter, and sugar. Toss in the water and nuts and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes. You want the water to pretty much evaporate, and the butter and sugar to caramelize those nuts.

Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe
Indian Spiced and Glazed Cashews Recipe

Excellente. Toss those suckers as well as you don’t want those cashews to burn. Adjust the heat as necessary but keep them from burning.

Once you have a great glaze on those cashews, remove them from the heat, and add them to a large bowl (or whatever holds the amount of cashews) and toss in the spice mix.

Toss well, or use a spoon to make sure the glaze and spice gets all over those nuts.

Line a baking sheet, or in my case a cast iron skillet, with parchment paper, and layer the spiced cashews.

Place into the oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until they look delicious and you cannot wait any longer.

You want to talk about great Indian spices, and an awesome nut, well sit around a small bowl of these and you have it going on. I hope you enjoy!

Baked Chicken Verde Chimichanga

Good Lord do I ever love a chimichanga. I think I may have first had one back in my high school days at a local American-Mex joint called Chi-Chi’s. You know this was the type of place where all of us gringos thought we were having real Mexican food, only to realize years later that it was totally not, but only catered to us gringos, and the place would pack it in. Regardless, that’s where my love for the chimichanga was born. It’s essentially a deep fried burrito, loaded with goodness.

Instead of deep frying, I decided I would load these large flour tortillas up with some awesome chicken verde I made, along with rice and beans, and bake them, you know… to be a bit healthier than deep frying.

The result was awesome. Still crisp as you may expect from deep frying with way less the hassle.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the salsa verde:

  • 5 whole tomatillos, husks removed
  • small handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 3 serrano chilies, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 cup (or more of water)

Ingredients for the chicken chimichanga:

  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of Mexican or Spanish rice, per chimichanga
  • 1/2 cup of cooked refried beans, per chimichanga
  • 8 oz bag of Mexican Chihuahua cheese
  • 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • hot sauce, optional
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Start by making your salsa verde. Add the tomatillos, garlic, and chilies to a roasting sheet. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until they are nicely charred. Once cooked, remove them from the oven, let cool, then remove the skin from the garlic cloves. They should pretty much just slide on out.

During this time, add the chicken breasts to a large pot of water, bring to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 25 minutes or longer. Once cooked through, remove the chicken breasts to a plate to let cool.

Place all of the salsa ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a fine salsa. Taste and adjust any salt.

Clean out that chicken pot. Next, remove the skins from the chicken breasts and discard. Shred all of the chicken and return the shredded chicken back to the pot. Pour in the salsa verde, bring to a medium heat, stirring along the way, and cook for about 20 more minutes. TRUST ME, THIS CHICKEN BY ITSELF IS AWESOME.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a flour tortilla and warm it on a skillet or in a microwave just until it softens. Once it is softened and more pliable, then it is time for the chimichanga making.

Lay the tortilla onto a plate, spread on the refried beans, add about a cup of chicken mixture (I use a slotted spoon to remove any excess salsa) onto the tortilla, closest to you, then add on the rice. Roll over a bit tightly, fold in the sides, and continue to roll until you have it seam side down. Lightly brush on some canola oil, and then repeat with any remaining tortillas. I made five for the family, but there is still plenty of chicken to be used for any leftovers, and as in my case enchiladas.

Take a baking sheet, add the chimichangas, and cook for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven. The goal is to get them nice and crisp. After about 15 minutes, remove, top with as much Chihuahua and cheddar cheese as you would like, and if you want, a bit more chicken mixture on top, and place back into the oven until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove and serve. I topped mine with some nice habanero hot sauce for some kick.

The end result is everything I love about a chimichanga, and my entire family would agree. I don’t think anyone spoke at dinner time that evening as they devoured these things. If you are looking for a great meal, loaded with great flavor and texture, then give these baked chicken verde chimichangas a try. I’m certain you will love them!

 

Squash Lasagna

At the season’s end of our last farmer’s market, I decided to load up on a variety of squash. I’ll admit that I am not too big of a squash lover, but I did it for my wife, as she is the one that likes them. But as I stared at the delicata and butternut squash, I decided I would roast both of them. That’s when the idea came into play, probably because I was searching for ideas for dinner and something everyone would love and agree on, and that’s when I thought of lasagna. Lasagna with a twist that is. Who doesn’t love a great dish of lasagna? What no one knew is that I had a good couple of cups of that delish, roasted squash, and ever better I did not tell them until after they devoured a couple of slices. Yep, that’s where my kids are now, two slices, and eating me out of the house.

Squash Lasagna Recipe
Squash Lasagna Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 delicata squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
  • 1 small butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, rubbed onto sliced squashes
  • 9 sheets of lasagna, oven ready, or par boiled
  • 1 lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 2 mild Italian sausage links, casing removed, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/12 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch of red chili flakes
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the squashes to a baking sheet, and cook flesh side up for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Once the squash is cooked, scrape out, and mix into a bowl. You will only need about two cups, but feel free to use more or less based on your preference.

Start by cooking both of your meats. Feel free to combine these in a large skillet. Break apart the meat as it is cooking to prevent large clumps. Strain the meat mixture, removing the fat, then return the meat back on the stove on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, some cracked black pepper, the red chili flakes, and the garlic powder. Give a good stir, cooking for a minute or two, then add in your sauce. Stir, and let this reduce down a bit, cooking for about 10 minutes.

To another mixing bowl, add the egg, ricotta cheese, the squash, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and half of the parmesan cheese. Give that a good mix so that the squash is fully incorporated into the cheeses.

Now let’s get to this lasagna. Take a good ladle of your meat sauce, and add to the bottom of your lasagna dish. Add the lasagna sheets. Mine fit three to the pan.

Squash Lasagna Ingredients
Squash Lasagna Ingredients

Next, be generous and add enough of the ricotta and squash mixture to cover the pasta sheets. Lightly sprinkle on mozzarella cheese, then more meat mixture, pasta cheese, more ricotta mixture, more cheese, more sauce, then remaining pasta sheets. Cover with meat sauce, the cover with cheese. Shower with the remaining parmesan cheese.

Spray the back of some aluminum foil with some cooking spray. I’ve found this to prevent all of that wonderful cheese from sticking onto the foil when removing from the oven.

Cover the baking dish, and place into a 375 degree oven, cooking for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into squares.

The end result was everything that is wonderful about a great lasagna, but there was that bit of hidden sweetness from the blended squash that made this one even better. After the kids were finished eating (as well as my wife), I said “So how did everyone like the squash?”. They had confused looks on their face, but all replied that they had no clue it was in there, and loved every bite. What’s not to love about that? Gotta get the good stuff in there somehow, I was successful on that front. Hope you enjoy!