Category: low carb

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Thank you Jesus… I can feel fall in the air!  My favorite time of year… when we can stop sweating and turn to cook’n.  Tailgate pot lucks… comfort foods… and goodies like chowders, soups and stews.  

We work months ahead for the magazine (just covered an event Saturday for next September issue!), and when I was thinking about October in April and May, while eating my first tomato sandwiches, I was trying to put my head into sweater season.  Ahhhh…. state fair time!  

I do love state fair time… and all that comes with it. I especially enjoy all the days I get to judge the daily cooking contests with the NC Department of Agriculture.  For years, more than I can remember now, I get all giddy when my packet of stuff arrives with my judging dates, tickets, parking pass and all.  Each year, I block off fair days on my calendar for the next and do my best not to let anything interfere with those culinary adventurous days.  This year, I will be judging vegetables, apples, pork and beef days.  It’s really fun to see what entries arrive… and honestly, some are rather scary!  I want to coach some of the entrants… to fine tune their dish just a bit to what we, as judges, usually all come to a consensus on would make their dish a big winner!  My biggest advice (and usually a comment from all around the table)… “where’s the SALT!?”  For years, folks got scared of salt… and went from one extreme to another. 

My best advice… make your dish and get a variety of honest folks to taste it.  Make sure they tell you the good, bad and ugly of it and fine tune it from there. There is great prize money on the contests… so if not this year, do start looking at the NC State Fair site (or your own state) mid-summer for the daily categories. Read all the specifics of the one(s) you want to enter (one little omission can disqualify your awesome recipe) and get to cook’n and tweaking!  And maybe next year, you will take home a ribbon and money.  To see all my suggestions… take a look here at this piece I wrote for Carolina Country Magazine a couple of years ago. 

Till then, get out your pot and cook up some of this stoup!  You can have the delicious aromas and tastes of the fair right now in your own kitchen.  When you do, hop over to my facebook community and tell us all about it.   

State Fair Stoup

You know you’ve arrived at the NC State Fair when you’re greeted on the midway with the smell of sausages, peppers and onions. This stoup is my version of these fair favorites, but in a bowl to enjoy on chilly days at home … along with toasted hoagies and cheese butter.

Course: Fun Food!, Soup, Stew, Stoup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 each red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large onions,
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 14 ounce pkg. kielbasa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 16 ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar sliced sweet ‘n’ hot pickled peppers (We used Mt. Olive)
  • 1 6 pack hoagie rolls, toasted and sliced in wedges

Cheese Butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each mustard and mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and crockpot to low.

  2. Cut peppers, onions and celery into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper; spread out on large baking pan. Roast 30-40 minutes until lightly charred, tossing after 15 minutes.

  3. As peppers roast, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning, garlic and sugar to drippings and bring to a slow simmer.

  5. Put vegetables into crockpot. Add sausages, broth mixture, applesauce and pepperoncini. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 2–3 hours in crock pot. Garnish with pickled peppers.

  6. For the cheese butter, whip ingredients together until creamy. Serve on toasted hoagie buns.

Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Bye Bye Gluten & Carbs

Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Gluten & Carb FREE

Cheesy gluten and carb free bagels… with a kick of cayenne and a dusting of crispy everything bagel dust!

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Grilled Southwestern Romaine Salad with NC Shrimp

Grilled Southwestern Romaine with North Carolina Shrimp

Let your grill do the work on this one… dressed up or down as you’d like, grilled southwestern romaine with NC Shrimp is as quick a side as you can fix … but watch it closely, it is ready in a flash!

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Winter Citrus Salad… with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette ~ Sunshine!

Published in Carolina Country Magazine… January 2018.

Winter Citrus Salad with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette

 

As I sit here on this really cold day, watching stories from temps in the midwest United States colder than Antarctica with records being broken, this salad came to mind. I created it for January 2018 issue of Carolina Country magazine… when citrus fruits are plentiful. Sure to break through the winter doldrums, this vibrant salad, both in taste and color, will break the monotony of heavy winter comfort foods, and offer a reminder of warm spring and summer days ahead. 

 

A few helpful hints:

Getting the arils (seeds) out of a pomegranate are not as challenging as one might think.  Don’t let that keep you from enjoying these tasty fruits. They are most plentiful and in season from November into the early part of the year.  Here are a couple of ways to get those crunchy little nuggets out in just a minute or two.

 

Seeding a Pomegranate in Water

Peeling and Seeding a Pomegranate

Pomegranates have all sorts of nutritional benefits.  Just do a quick google search to find a site you trust to “read all about it.”

When buying… look for smooth-skinned fruits that feel “heavy.” That means more juicy arils tucked inside!  They will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, and can even be frozen.

Ways to use pomegranate…

  • for a snack “as is”
  • on top of salads
  • scattered on yogurt
  • in grains and grain salads
  • in salsa and guacamole
  • over oatmeal
  • scattered over hummus
  • in cocktails and in champagne
  • over ice cream
  • in sauces spooned over grilled or sauteed meats
  • as a garnish for pureed vegetable soups
  • in relishes
  • tossed over vegetables like green beans or asparagus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are blood oranges?
The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, almost blood-colored flesh. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Chrysanthemin is the main compound found in red oranges.
Source:  Wikipedia 

The skin of blood oranges may be darker orange and “blood” toned like the flesh. It tends to be thicker also.  The flavor of a blood orange is different than your usual orange… some say it has raspberry undertones.  I don’t find that to be the case (I don’t care for raspberries but love blood oranges).  Due to growing conditions necessary for them, you will not find them year round.  Their season is from December to early spring.

When buying, look for those that feel “heavy.” Stay away from those that feel spongy.  They can be stored a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.  Use to spiff up winter salads or enjoy as is. Blood oranges have some great medicinal qualities too.  Just google to read from trusted sources.

Add these salad ingredients to your next grocery shopping list!  And add some sunshine to your table this week…

 

Winter Citrus Salad With Blood Orange & Red Wine Vinaigrette
Vibrant citrus fruits are plentiful in the dead of winter, and this is a great salad to brighten the dreariest of days. Don’t worry about exact measurements for salad ingredients. Use as much or as little as suits your fancy.
Course: Brunch, Dressings, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blood orange, red wine vinaigrette, winter citrus salad
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 naval oranges
  • 2 clementines or tangerines
  • 2 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 grapefruit
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • freshly ground pepper (I like to use pink peppercorns for color)
  • fresh mint, optional
Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or EVOO if preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1 tablespoons blood orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried spearmint
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Peel the citrus fruits and cut into thin slices, removing any seeds. Place onto platter along with avocado.
  2. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts, pepper and sprigs of mint.
  3. To make vinaigrette:
    Put all ingredients in jar with lid and shake to blend. Best if made at least one hour ahead.

Drop by my facebook community too!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Throw together this no-cook chicken salad in no time for a tasty meal on a hot summer’s day.

Well here we are, in the dog days of summer!  In my neck of the woods, it’s been the monsoon days of summer. Rain! RaiN! RAIN!  But hopefully, we have a little break in sight for that and can now “look forward” to good old hot.humid.days.of.August!  And who wants to turn on anything that will add to that heat?  Ummmm, nobody.  This recipe for Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes was first published last summer in Carolina Country Magazine and a frequent go-to for me.  We all love to grab a cooked rotisserie chicken now and then… we can do so many things with one… not to mention throwing the skin and bones into the crock pot overnight after pick’n for the BEST flavorful chicken broth. You DO do that don’t you?  Oh there’s so much flavor in those bones and skin (if you don’t eat it) and all you have to do is cover with a quart or two of water, turn on low, and head to bed.  By morning time, you’ll be waking up to the aroma of tasty broth to use for soups, cooking veggies like greens and butterbeans or just to sip. You can throw in some herbs on the front end, or simply cool and freeze and season on the back end depending on how you’ll be using it.  I freeze in pint-size containers and it’s great to be able to grab and cook a little pot of butterbeans or collards with this deliciousness!

So here’s to the versitile Rotisserie Chicken!!  Pick one up today and make this chicken salad twist… ooooh la LA, you’ll be glad you did.

While here, please subscribe to my “Table Scraps” newsletter (green box over there to the right)… an e-zine with great stuff for in, out and about the home!   Take a look at my contributors…

P.S.  Don’t forget to come follow along in my facebook world too…
classy with a bit of sass!!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Who wants to cook on hot summer days?  No need with this flavorful Italian chicken salad.... just pick up a rotisserie chicken, throw in a few ingredients and toss with the simple Dijon dressing, and that's it!  Except for a juicy ripe summer tomato you're going to stuff with this good stuff.  

Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned & shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garniish
  • 1 4 ounce carton feta cheese with basil and tomato, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 8 large tomatoes, cored and drained upside down
DIJON HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Stir dressing into chicken to coat. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes) and mix well.

  2. Chill several hours or overnight. Stuff tomatoes and garnish with reserved feta cheese crumbles and parsley. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t cut out too much of the delicious tomato — just enough to mound the chicken salad!
  • If you have fresh herbs... oregano, rosemary, basil, etc., use them instead of dried for more robust flavor!

#BlackboardBlurbs… a little teachable moment!
So what are capers?