Brunswick Stew

One of my favorite things growing up in South Georgia was Brunswick Stew. Despite that – until this week, I’d never made it. As I normally do when I develop a recipe that is inspired by something I’ve had before, I thought about all the things that I like about the dishes I’ve had. For Brunswick stew – I like corn, potatoes and lima beans. I like both shredded chicken and pork. And, I like a little bit of a ‘bite’ or acidity. These are some of the items I included (in addition to the meat, potatoes and onion).

This recipe started with cooking the meats. I did the chicken thighs in the instant pot. I used the same method as I mentioned, when I made Chicken Noodle Soup/Stew the other day. Both in cooking and in shredding the chicken. Again – I will never do it another way again, ever!

The pork was a whole other thing. I started by trying to cook the boston butt roast in the crock pot, but despite the fact that I cooked it on low for 8 hours – and then turned it up to high for another 2 hours, I simply could not get it up to 190 degrees, internally, which is needed to get it to shred. Ultimately, I moved it to the instant pot and finished it off there. For the most part, I shredded it the same as the chicken – using a hand held mixer.

I kind of made this dish in stages: I did the pork the day before, I did the chicken in the AM, I prepped the onions and potatoes in the afternoon (Then I went to see Downton Abbey!) and, finally, made the Brunswick stew in the evening. I mention that to say that you have the option to do all the prep work ahead of time – and then ‘throw it together’ for a pretty amazing (and relatively quick) dinner!

Once I was home from seeing Downton Abbey (If you haven’t seen it, and you’re a fan of the show, you should!!), I started putting it all together. Starting with browning the onion and garlic in my dutch oven. The rest was pretty much dumping things in and letting it all come together in the pot – so not a lot of pictures.

Despite this being the first time that I’ve made Brunswick stew – it will definitely not be my last. I’m not even sure what has kept me from making it! The flavors that I pulled together in this one are EXACTLY all the things that I love about Brunswick stew!

** Note: you can add more chicken stock if it is too thick, but remember that Brunswick Stew should be thick.

Brunswick Stew

Total cook time: 20 min prep, 90 min cook

1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic
5 cups chicken stock
1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2-3 chicken thighs, shredded
3 cups pulled pork
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Regular BBQ sauce
3/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Mustard BBQ sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
12 oz package of frozen lima beans
12 oz package of frozen whole kernel corn
6 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Avocado oil spray

  • In large dutch oven, brown onions and garlic in avocado oil
  • Add worchestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, tomatoes and chicken stock to dutch oven and bring to a boil
  • Add in the vegetables, BBQ sauces, chicken, pork, salt and pepper – reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, for best blending of flavors – you can actually eat it anytime after your vegetables are done – it just gets more depth of flavor the longer it simmers.

*** If needed to thicken, create a slurry with a small amount of cold water and cornstarch and add to pot, allowing it to thicken.

Breakfast Egg Muffins

Please don’t judge my janky muffin tin – I need new ones – one day!

My youngest, in the infinite wisdom that only a 16 year old possesses, told me one morning this week that I need to get up every morning and cook her a meal. No, the granola bar was not sufficient. No, a piece of toast would not do. She needed a meal with eggs and meat! As a mother that, also, works full time – there is no way I’m getting up Monday – Friday and making a full on breakfast – nope, nada, not going to happen.

What I will do, though, is make something that would ‘keep’ in the fridge or in the freezer that my little 16 year old princess can easily pop in the microwave on her way out the door – Breakfast Egg Muffins it is!

I decided to do eggs, sausage, cheese, onions and tomatoes – all things that my family loves.

Originally, I was going to make them in silicon muffin cups (spoiler alert – I still wish I had! More on that later), but decided to use paper cups instead (what – with my loathing of doing dishes, I felt sure that this was the right decision – see spoiler alert above, one of the few times – HA! – that I was wrong). At the end, I’ll give some ‘lessons learned’ and ‘what I’ll do next time’ commentary!

As I chose to use Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, I cooked up half the chub on the stove and set it aside to cool a bit.

I just whisked my eggs and poured into the muffin cups and I was ready to complete building the muffins! I suppose you could just whisk it all together and pour it in, but I chose to add the other ingredients into the egg muffins, one at a time (who knows why – don’t try to figure me out, I’ve lived with me for 46 years and even I don’t understand me) – just do it how you want to.

After all ingredients were added, I sprinkled on some pepper and they were ready for the oven!

45 minutes later – and I have breakfast for the next several days! I just portioned them out into sandwich baggies (after they had cooled) and threw them into the fridge for when they are needed.

Lessons Learned:

  • Paper muffin cups don’t work great with egg muffins (they stick), so either use the silicon muffin cups or well greased muffin pan – will definitely do this differently next time
  • It might be quicker to just mix everything together and add it into the muffin cups (rather than doing each ingredient individually) – but you do have more control over the amount of ingredients in each muffin – will probably still do it individually next time

Breakfast Egg Muffins

8 eggs
3/4 cups cheese (I used mozarrella)
1/2 chub of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, cooked
Cherry tomatoes (I used 3 halves per muffin)
salt / pepper

  • Cook sausage in pan and set aside to cool
  • Whisk eggs in bow (add salt to taste)
  • Add eggs to each muffin cup (filling about 1/2-3/4 way – this will depend on how much of the other stuff you add to each muffin, you just don’t want it to overflow)
  • Add ingredients into each muffin cup
  • Cook in preheated 375 degree oven for approx 45 minutes (my oven tends to take a little longer, so give them a check around 35 minutes to be sure not to overcook them)

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

It is no secret that the girls and I love pasta! We, generally, eat it at least once a week and we like to try different combinations of flavors. But, one that we always love is alfredo sauce – with shrimp or chicken or alone, we love alfredo sauce!

This time it was chicken alfredo. You, truly, can’t get much simpler than alfredo sauce. Unless you’re getting fancy, there are only 4 ingredients in it – not counting seasonings – milk or cream (we like it with heavy cream – I know it isn’t the healthiest, but it’s what we like!), butter, garlic and parmesan cheese.

I started this recipe by cooking my chicken. I tossed it, lightly, in a mixture of flour and Umami seasoning. I added it to the pan, along with some garlic, and browned it (cooking it 3/4 of the way through) in a pan with some avocado oil and removed it from the pan.

While the chicken was cooking, I chopped up some fresh broccoli for the sauce. I steamed this in a steamer basked in my pasta pot.

Back to the sauce – after removing the chicken from the pan I turned down the heat to medium-low and melted the butter. Once the butter was melted, I lowered the heat to low and added in the cream and allowed it to heat through.

Once the cream was warmed through, I started adding in the cheese, 1/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly. I find that adding the cheese a little bit at a time helps with ensuring that all of the cheese melts – and you don’t have globs of cheese in your sauce.

Once all of the cheese had been incorporated and melted, I added the chicken back into the pan and stirred.

Then I added in the broccoli from the steamer basket.

And, finally, I added in the pasta. I mixed everything together and it was ready to go.

When serving it, we add a little more parmesan (have I mentioned that we love cheese?) and we’re ready to eat!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

1 box pasta (I used penne)
2-3 chicken breasts (cut into cubes)
2 tbsp garlic
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (don’t judge!)
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
2 tbsp butter
2-3 cups broccoli
1-2 tbsp Umami seasoning
2-4 tbsp Flour
Avocado oil spray

  • In a gallon bag, toss chicken with umami seasoning and flour to lighty coat the chicken (adjust amounts depending on how much chicken you are cooking)
  • In hot pan, add avocado oil, garlic and chicken – cook until chicken is 3/4 way done. Remove from pan.
  • Add butter to pan and melt
  • Reduce heat and add cream to pan
  • Once cream is warmed through, add in cheese 1/2 cup at a time – until all cheese has been added and is melted.
  • Return chicken to pan and stir with sauce.
  • Add broccoli and pasta to sauce, mix well.
  • Top with more parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy!

Blueberry Pizza Pastry, using Biz’s Skinny Pizza Dough

The other day, the oldest child asked for pizza – as I always do when pizza is requested, I whipped up a batch of Biz’s Skinny Pizza Dough. If you haven’t tried this – stop what you’re doing right now now – go and make some and try something (pizza, pastry, anything) with this dough! You’ll be so happy you did!

As I had some skinny pizza dough leftover, I decided to make a blueberry open faced pastry with a bit of it. Blueberries, cream cheese and the most delicious dough you can imagine – sounds like a good time to me!

The recipe starts out by rolling out (into something loosely resembling a circle) the dough and then pinching the sides up to create a barrier to hold in the blueberry and cream cheese deliciousness that is to come!

In a bowl, I combined frozen blueberries, a bit of Truvia, a small amount (just from a wedge) of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of corn starch and mixed until all of the berries were coated.

I added 1 tbsp of whipped cream cheese to the dough and sprinkled on a light dusting of Truvia (keep in mind that the pizza dough is not sweetened, as this is what I had left over from pizza – so, you’ll want to sweeten it up a bit – I even added a tiny bit of Truvia as I was kneeding the dough and rolling it out!).

I then layered on the blueberries and sprayed a little bit of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray on the edges of the pastry. Into a preheated (to 400 degrees) oven it went for 25 minutes!

The result – a delicious, relatively healthy, similar to a danish blueberry pastry! It was a win in my book! A little tart and not too sweet, perfection!

A couple of notes:

  • Make sure your dough isn’t too thick (if it is, adjust baking time) – but is thick enough to support the cream cheese and blueberries.
  • Make sure you put your pastry on a pan that had a lip around it, in case the blueberries ‘run’ as they cook (you don’t want blueberry juice in the bottom of your oven!).
  • I wish that I would have had some powdered sugar to make a glaze to add after baking, that would have made it even better!
  • Don’t take your first bite in a white shirt – blueberries stain! 🙂
Look at that deliciously beautiful dough!!!

Blueberry Pizza Pastry, with Biz’s Skinny Pizza Dough

Total Prep / Bake Time: 40 minutes

Biz’s Skinny Pizza Dough (use a portion of dough equivalent to the size of an orange – about 1/4 of the total recipe – sorry, I didn’t weigh it)
1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries
1 Tbsp Whipped Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp (total) Truvia
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
Lemon Juice (equivalent to juice of a small wedge)
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray (or egg wash) to help edges brown

  • Roll out pastry on parchment paper
  • Combine blueberries, 3/4 tbsp Truvia, lemon juice and cornstarch in bowl, until blueberries are coated
  • Add cream cheese to pastry and sprinkle on remaining Truvia
  • Add blueberries on top of the cream cheese
  • Spray the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray on the edges of the pastry
  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes

Honeycrisp Apple Crumble

I love apples and honeycrisp apples are among my favorites. I found myself with 3 apples that hadn’t been eaten (and likely wouldn’t see many more days), so I decided to make a small apple crumble.

I happened to have everything on hand. I stuck with typical apple crisp/crumble/pie flavors: apples, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Ignore the nutmeg, I ended up not using it.

I started by peeling and slicing my apples – turns out that 3 apples was the perfect size for the small (maybe 5×5) baking dish I had, it must have been meant to be!

After slicing the apples, I added them to a bowl where mixed up the filling ingredients.

I buttered my super cute, small baking dish – then added my apples to it. Again, a perfect fit!

Then I made the topping. This would have worked so much better with a pastry cutter, but I don’t have one – so I just combined it all with my hands. Room temperature butter helps!

Finally, I added the topping to the dish and baked it in a 400 degree oven, for 45 minutes (my oven takes a little longer, and runs a little cooler – so, feel free to adjust that based on your oven!).

I promise you, not much smells as good as apples baking – my house smelled just like fall, while this was in the oven. It turned out great – I do wish that I had some vanilla ice cream to have with it, but it is delicious on it’s own!

Apple Crumble

3 Honeycrisp apples
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp corn starch

Crumble Topping
3 tbsp oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter

  • Peel and slice apples
  • Mix apples with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, juice of one lemon and corn starch.
  • Butter a small baking dish and pour filling into dish
  • Make crumble topping by combining the oats, brown sugar, flour and butter together
  • Sprinkle crumble on top of apples
  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes