Indian Style Red Onions

As you probably know, I am a fan of all sorts of ethnic cuisines, probably more so than the standard American foods (granted my last meal will be fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet corn), and that is saying a lot as I do love great American food.  I could, and probably get away with it, eat some different ethnic food on a daily basis whether that be Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, or Filipino. You name it, I’m in. Lately, however, I am really craving Indian food. Maybe it is that simple, yet complex, notion of lentils cooked down in a curry gravy only to be swiped through with delicious warm naan bread, or maybe it is something like chicken tikka masala served alongside some rice, and well these Indian style red onions. It’s the simple things that get me.

It was years ago when I fell in love with Indian food, or Pakistani food for that matter. These platters would arrive and there would always, or most likely, be a small mound of simple red onions on the platter and I often scooted those to the side. That is until recently. I dabbled in them and low and behold those onions were definitely not there for garnish, they were there to boost the dish and cut through some of the richness of the dish. Not only that but they exploded in flavor, and that really intrigued me. Intrigued me so much I think about serving them along side most meals.

Indian Red Onions Condiment
Indian Red Onions Condiment

After dissecting the ingredients, I thought I would offer them up to my family during a recent hummus, grilled chicken, and pita party at the dinner table. I think they liked them. I know my wife did, all of the kids tried them, and I was eating them like chips alongside the rest of the meal.

These Indian style red onions are much like those trendy pickled red onions you are starting to see on like every burger nowadays (something I made back in 2009), but a bit more simple to make (believe it or not) and to me, loaded with more flavor. Addicting if you will.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala (find at your local Indian store)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

That’s it. Your only challenge, and a minor one at that is to get the chaat masala. You can Google it and make your own, but it is a lot easier to buy the store bought. Chaat masala is essentially a blend of Indian spices including cumin, coriander, ginger, dried mango powder, hing, and some chili powder, among other spices. The flavor profile is incredible to say the least.

Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients
Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients

Soak the onions in cold water for about 20 minutes, then strain the water.

Add the onions, lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and cayenne pepper to a bowl. Stir well. Cover and let them marinade for about 1 hour until you are ready to serve.

Soaking the onions takes that ‘bite’ out of the onions which is great in my opinion and you are not walking around after eating them with onion breath. Serve the onions alongside your meal and dabble in there, grabbing a few and include them after some bites. Talk about snap, crackle, and pop! These Indian style onions are sure to please and go really, really well alongside grilled meats, or heck even a bowl of great hummus, pita, and olives. Feel free to cover and refrigerate any leftovers for about a week. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Easy Loaded Baked Beans

Summer is almost over, and many of us in Wisconsin are starting to feel that gloom upon us. In all honesty my wife love summer, but love fall even more. We welcome fall with open arms but again sad to see summer weather retire. There are things I will miss during the summer months, in particular food, and one of those things is baked beans. Yes, I know… I can make baked beans all year round, and I do but for whatever reason baked beans just remind me of grilling outdoors, sitting around a smoker or eating smoked meat that has been cooked for 12 or more hours, or hanging out with family and friends. They almost are up there with sweet corn on the cob and garden tomatoes for me. The problem with baked beans in my family is that not really one of my kids, or my wife enjoy baked beans as much as I do.

So with a recent get together, I decided it was my time to make some easy loaded baked beans that not only I could enjoy but I knew that other party goers would enjoy as well. I was right about that as the majority of those beans were consumed during the party.

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Easy Loaded Baked Beans

These look like normal baked beans, but every spoonful results in simple, yet complex flavors that may have you question ‘What are in these things?’. Easy, and loaded, these are great to make before (or after) summer ends.

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz can of your favorite canned baked beans (Maple Cured for me)
  • 16 oz can original baked beans
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, grease reserved
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno (seeds optional), roasted in bacon grease, diced
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Jufran Banana Ketchup (Filipino Ketchup)
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Let’s start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in your bacon slices and your whole jalapeno pepper. Cook slowly to release the fat and to crisp up your bacon while at the same time cooking and charring your jalapeno pepper. You will want to blister the skin on the chili pepper throughout the time you cook your bacon.

During this time, prepare your remaining ingredients as the rest will go by rather quickly.

Once the bacon is cooked, remove and place on a paper lined plate, along with the jalapeno. Keep the skillet on medium heat, and add in the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes or so until they soften.

Easy Baked Beans Ingredients
Easy Baked Beans Ingredients

While the onion is cooking, chop up your bacon, and your jalapeno. Once the onion is softened, add in the cans of beans, jalapeno, and bacon, and give that a good stir. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, then squirt on the mustard, worchestershire sauce, and Filipino ketchup.

If you have never had or tried Filipino ketchup, go find it. I love this stuff. To me it is not as sweet as regular ketchup and actually provides some little kick to it.

Give another good stir, reduce the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes until everything jives, and gets a bit sticky. Taste and season with any salt or black pepper to your liking.

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Easy Loaded Baked Beans

Serve into a bowl, and provide to your family and friends.

The result is a great bowl of beans, and one that has some mysterious flavors. Sure you can get that flavor of bacon, and see the onions and jalapenos, but they might have your friends and family guessing on those wonderful mustard and ketchup flavors. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and hope you enjoy the beans!

Easy Loaded Baked Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 32 oz can of your favorite canned baked beans (Maple Cured for me)
  • 16 oz can original baked beans
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, grease reserved
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno (seeds optional), roasted in bacon grease, diced
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Jufran Banana Ketchup (Filipino Ketchup)
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Let’s start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in your bacon slices and your whole jalapeno pepper. Cook slowly to release the fat and to crisp up your bacon while at the same time cooking and charring your jalapeno pepper. You will want to blister the skin on the chili pepper throughout the time you cook your bacon.
  2. During this time, prepare your remaining ingredients as the rest will go by rather quickly.
  3. Once the bacon is cooked, remove and place on a paper lined plate, along with the jalapeno. Keep the skillet on medium heat, and add in the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes or so until they soften.
  4. While the onion is cooking, chop up your bacon, and your jalapeno. Once the onion is softened, add in the cans of beans, jalapeno, and bacon, and give that a good stir. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, then squirt on the mustard, worchestershire sauce, and Filipino ketchup.
  5. If you have never had or tried Filipino ketchup, go find it. I love this stuff. To me it is not as sweet as regular ketchup and actually provides some little kick to it.
  6. Give another good stir, reduce the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes until everything jives, and gets a bit sticky. Taste and season with any salt or black pepper to your liking.

 

Chicken Poblano

One of my colleagues recently told me about something he was watching someone next to him eat at one of his go to Mexican restaurants. As you may be aware, my go to at any Mexican restaurant is tacos or a torta, hands down. But what he was describing was intriguing to say the least. Chicken smothered in cheese and loaded with thinly sliced onions and poblano peppers. What was I supposed to do when I could not shake that thought off my mind? You got it, I went to this place (Casa de Alberto), ordered this dish and was so blown away that I had to recreate it, and I nailed it. This dish is not only way too easy to make, but my wife actually sent me a text as she has been eating the leftovers, that it is one of her new favorites. It’s not only about the cheese, or simplicity, but the combination of all of the ingredients.

Chicken Poblano Recipe
Chicken Poblano Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken tenders (or chicken breasts, pounded)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 5 medium sized poblano peppers, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups Chihuahua cheese
  • 2 whole yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Mexican rice, cooked
  • 1 can refried beans, cooked
  • corn tortillas, warmed, optional
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Heating a large skillet on medium to high heat. Add in one tablespoon of the canola oil and swirl that around. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side.

To another skillet, add the remaining canola oil on medium heat. Add in the onions and poblano peppers and cook just until slightly tender. You still want a bit of a crunch to them. Remove from the heat and top them to the top of the chicken.

Add the cheese, covering the chicken and peppers and place into the oven.

Chicken Poblano Ingredients
Chicken Poblano Ingredients

Cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

Remove the skillet from the oven (make sure you have your oven mitt), and get ready to plate.

Using a spatula or large spoon, dig out some chicken, peppers and onions, and serve with the cooked refried beans, rice, and tortillas.

This dish is a stunner. That cheese alone will rock your world, but all together, this is one fantastic dish. Hope you enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Skin Nachos

The Super Bowl has passed, and to be honest I do not think that any one of us in my family actually cared. Sure, the boys said ‘I want the Patriots to go down!’ a few times that day, but the only thing I really cared about was what we were going to snack on. I am done asking, for the most part, what everyone would like to eat, and just lay things out. My menu was simple. Slow baked ribs that would be later fried and glazed, and loaded potato skins that would also be fried.

One of my top recipes is the loaded potato skins, and as I have made so many awesome variations of potato skins, there is one thing I have never done and that is to actually fry the skins. It’s a total game changer. Why? Well because you get a whole shell of that awesome crispy and crunchy texture, not just on the edges, but the entire shell. It’s almost chip like in texture, but with a bit, and just a bit of that creaminess from the potato.

Loaded Potato Skin Nachos
Loaded Potato Skin Nachos

As with any nacho, you load this as you darn well please, but for me, there was one ingredient that made this shine and that was crispy, Nueske’s smoked duck breast lardons.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of russet potatos, cleaned
  • 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Nueske’s smoked duck breast, cubed (or substitute bacon), and fried until slightly crisp
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz can of black olives, drained
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • sour cream, optional
  • avocado, sliced, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 cups of canola oil, 350 degrees

Again, you can build your nachos however you want. Add beans and tomatoes if you desire. Load these suckers up!

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Add the whole potatoes to a baking sheet. Use a fork and poke a few holes into each potato to allow steam to release while baking. Bake the potatoes for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and let them completely cool.

Once the potatoes have cooled, sliced them in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon and gently scoop out all of the potato into a bowl. I use all of the potato, add a bit of butter, salt, and milk and whip them up to mashed potatoes for another meal.

Once you have all of your skins ready, heat up a pot with the canola oil. Get the oil to 350 degrees on medium-high heat, and once you have your temperature, drop in about 7-8, or whatever can easily fit into the pot without crowding, and cook the skins for about 5-10 minutes or until you begin to see the interior of the skins get golden and nicely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potato skins and place them on a paper towel lined plate to release any excess oil. Immediately season by showering the skins with salt. Taters need salt.

Ingredients for making Loaded Potato Skin Nachos
Ingredients for making Loaded Potato Skin Nachos

Repeat with the potato skins.

Add the skins to a oven safe baking pan, and begin adding cheese into each skin.

When all of the skins have finished cooking and the excess oil is removed and they are nicely salted, layer the potato skins onto the baking pan and continue to add cheese into each shell.

Keep the oil on the stove, and take the cubed Nueske’s smoked duck breast and add them to the oil. Get them lightly crisp, then the same process with the slotted spoon and place onto the paper lined plate.

Take those Nueske duck lardons and place a couple into each shell. If you are using bacon, cook until slightly crisp, then crumble and add that into each shell. Add the shallots into each shell, then place back into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove the potato skins from the oven (do not devour), then decorate them with green onions, avocado, cilantro, serrano chilies, olives, hot sauce, and sour cream (or whatever you desire).

Loaded Potato Skin Nachos Recipe
Loaded Potato Skin Nachos Recipe

Plate and serve. You want to talk about an ultimate game day snack, this is the one! As much as we all love nachos, this loaded potato skin nacho recipe is really, really hard to beat. It’s everything you love about a nacho but in a crispy potato skin boat! Hope you enjoy!