Sometimes my kitchen is similar to the show "Chopped". The only difference is that I don't keep my food in a basket. Well, unless it is a bag of cereal and then I have a vintage picnic basket that all of the "last remaining cup of cereal that nobody wants in the bag before they move on and open a new box"is folded up and tossed in to. When this is full I remove the bags, crush them all together and make some type of magic seven layer cookie bar. You know the one with sweetened condense milk poured over the top. Thats a good day at my house.
Oh, and I don't wear a chef outfit, nor do I have a row of 3 judges watching my every move. Instead I wear my favorite apron and have four kids, one husband and three really loud cats that give me plenty of feedback. Have you ever watched the judges eat the food..a tiny bite here, a lick there and then their eyes never leave the chef. Some days this is what it feels like in my kitchen too.
I used to plan a week long menu and try to stick to it and get upset if someone ate a much needed item out of the fridge.
Yeah, those were the days. Now, I buy what I want and I will often throw things together based on what I have left in the refrigerator. Our nights are hectic with busy schedules and it is not uncommon for me to have "20 minutes on the clock" and to hear myself say "your time starts now".
I run from drawer to cupboard to sink to refrigerator to stove and then repeat.
I am sweating, my hair is frazzled and I am in the zone. A bead of sweat trying to escape my forehead before the back of my hand finds it with a towel.
Are you wondering what I had in my "basket" aka: refrigerator?
chorizo Sausage, cream cheese, rice and red pepper.
I can work with these ingredients and my mind starts to race. We have to leave in one hour to get Isabella to gymnastics.
I start preheating the oven, turn the saute pan on and throw some butter into it. Dice the onions and bell pepper. Start another pan and cook the sausage, warm the rice in the microwave to soften it a bit and find my two favorite casserole dishes. I still don't own a 9X13 pan so I use two small dishes.
My hands are moving from pan to pan, stirring and flipping; all the while working the microwave to soften the cream cheese, open the broth box and add seasonings to a medium size bowl.
I am on fire! <----Cue Alicia Keys song here.
I throw it all together, toss it in the dishes and bake for 20 minutes.
CRAP--Did I add salt goes through my mind? I don't want my dish to be under-seasoned.
Oh well, my kids and hubby can add their own. Its not like I am cooking for $10,000 dollars tonight.
I wonder if I will make the cut to the next round? wink wink
Of course I will. My family would starve if I did not cook for them each night or they would live strictly on ham sandwiches. They have done this before while I was away for a girls getaway.
My five judges were unanimous in saying this casserole was very good. The chorizo is a bit spicy so beware if you have those that don't enjoy spicy AND it needed a bit of salt.
Over all they loved it and want me to make it again. I can certainly do that because it was quick, simple and hit the spot on these cold, wintery nights.
4 chorizo sausages ( I buy mine from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon oil for sautéing
3/4 cup chicken broth
3-4 cups prepared rice (white or brown)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 brick of cream cheese, soft
1/2 cup grated fine parmesan cheese
1 cup of Jack Cheese, for the top
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Heat oil over medium high heat. I remove sausage from casings and break apart.
2. Saute sausage, onion, garlic and bell pepper until sausage is browned and onion is clear.
3. In a large bowl add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Add the ingredients from step 2.
4. Add bowl to 9X13 baking dish, top with jack cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Serve immediately.
Written by Sherron Watson