Category Archives: Main Dish

Crazy E-Z Grilled Veggies

This is good as a side dish, or turn it into your main meal by adding chicken, steak, turkey or even beans. My favorite is black beans. Plays nicely with other flavors being added. Be creative! Use this as a springboard for a variety of options!

Yield: 5 cups cooked vegetables.

  

Deviously Delish Dill Pickle Soup

Hi! My name is Debbie and I have an addiction. An addiction to dill pickles. It forces me into crazy things like driving to the next town to obtain Old Dutch brand Dill Pickle chips which are hands down, the best dill pickle chips ever. My friends and family are also quite familiar with my addiction and when they find something they know I will like they share and multiple friends shared a recipe for Dill Pickle Soup which, of course, I had to try.

It is an easy recipe which goes from cutting board to table in about 45 minutes. As much as I love dill pickles, this recipe was a bit heavy handed with the flavor. After the crew taste tested it with the same opinion I dumped the bowls back into the pot and went to work adapting the recipe.

The alterations lend nicely to additions to take it from a side dish to the main element of a meal.
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Deviously Delish Dill Pickle Soup

INGREDIENTS:

32 oz box chicken stock
1 pound chopped turnips or potatoes
1cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced (small) dill pickles
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2-3/4 cup water
1/4 cup dill pickle juice*
2 Tablespoons chicken base
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon table salt (taste taste taste!)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
1/2 teaspoon basil

Optional Garnish:
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Fresh Dill
Chiffonade basil
Shredded parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper

For a heartier meal:
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Add 1 cup diced cooked chicken after vegetables cook.

DIRECTIONS:

Directions

In a large pot, combine broth, turnips/potatoes, carrots, onions and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until tender are tender. Add pickles and continue to simmer.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a pourable paste. While whisking, slowly pour sour cream mixture into soup.
Add pickle juice, Old Bay, herbs de provence, basil, salt (if needed after tasting), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

NOTE:

All pickle juice is NOT created equal. Some are saltier than others. I recommend using GOOD pickles, like refrigerated fresh pickles. Taste your soup after you add the pickle juice and seasonings and add salt if needed.

Before Blog: Debbie’s Green Chili

“Mom, can you send me your Green Chili recipe?”

This request is what birthed the idea of keeping my recipes on line. At first, I kept it as a note attached to my e-mail account where it could be accessed at any time.

Facebook came along, and I had friends there ask for the recipe after I posted about cooking it for dinner. I posted a note there in December 2010.

I began a personal blog where I privately journaling and later began publishing publicly for my creative writing side.  A year later after I posted the Facebook note, I made the decision to start a new cooking blog where I could share the many recipes family and friends were asking for and “Cooking: The Mad Scientist Way” was born.

I’m not sure why I have never moved Green Chili to the blog until now, but now it’s here ready for all to find, and cook. It took an article in the newspaper for me to determine it was not here.

Sadly, I do not have a photo of the deliciousness, but the next time I make a batch, I will photograph and add a picture.

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Debbie’s Green Chili

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dried baby navy beans + 4 Cups of water
    or 2- 3 cups cooked baby navy beans
    or 2 cans baby navy beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 – Tablespoon minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ lb Fresh pork sausage
  • 2 – 4 oz cans diced green chilies
  • 1 – 7 oz can “Herdez” Salsa Verde (Mexican Picante)
  • 1 – Box Chicken stock or 2-cans chicken broth
    (I like stock better – more intense flavor)
  • 1 – Tablespoon cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
    Sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)

SERVE WITH:

  • Flour Tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • Sliced Jalapenos for the spice loving crowd

DIRECTIONS FOR DRIED BEANS:

Put dried beans, onion, garlic & water in crock pot. Cook on low 4-6 hours, or until beans cooked. Draw off majority of cooking water (water below beans in pot).

Cook sausage in microwave in 3 minute cycles, chopping sausage in between cycles until sausage completely cooked. Drain in colander & rinse under hot water. Add to beans in crock pot.

Add remaining ingredients & cook on low for at least another hour. Taste test after chili heated up for additional salt and pepper and jalapenos.

DIRECTIONS FOR CANNED OR COOKED BEANS:

Cook sausage in microwave in 3 minute cycles, chopping sausage in between cycles until sausage completely cooked. Drain in colander & rinse under hot water.

Place all ingredients into crock pot. Add additional chicken broth if needed and cook on low for 2-4 hours.

SERVE:

Sprinkle cheese over chili
Spread sour cream on flour tortillas, roll up and serve with chili.
Keep a jar of jalapeno’s on the side for those who like their chili a little spicier.

Altered Cabbage-Noodle and Bacon

Cabbage with Noodles and Bacon

  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 pound of bacon*
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1-2 tsp dried dill
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. (or cook ground pork with Maggi and liquid smoke until one side is well browned/crispy & chop while cooking to keep pieces small) Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels, then break into bite-sized pieces. Drain all but 2-3 Tbsp bacon fat. .

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add noodles and cook 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, add the onions in the skillet with bacon fat. If you use ground pork, you may need to add 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil. Sauté until the onions are *caramelized. Add the cabbage to the skillet. Season with salt and generous fresh ground black pepper. You may need to add a couple more Tbsp. of bacon fat or olive oil to prevent sticking. Cover to steam/sauté the cabbage, stirring frequently until tender and lightly *caramelized. Stir in the egg noodles, bacon (pork), mayo and oyster sauce. Add dill and parsley and taste test for salt and pepper season. Serve immediately.

*DEFINITELY caramelize the onion and the cabbage. This adds a nutty warm flavor that you will miss if you don’t cook to this stage.

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Mad Mac ‘n Cheese

I love hearty, creamy delicious macaroni and cheese. I’ve followed many a recipe and watch many shows featuring mac ‘n cheese, but something always seemed to be missing. That something was the flavor of CHEESE. Taking what I learned, I set out to create what I craved. The following is what I accomplished. It tastes like, well cheese!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups milk (heat in microwave to a simmer-don’t boil)
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (the sharper the better)
  • 6 oz. Velveeta cheese cubed
  • 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 –3/4 cup diced onion
  • Water if needed to thin cheese sauce
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and  cook for five minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, while the macaroni is cooking, in a heavy 3 qt. sauce pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent.  Add flour and whisk until flour is “toasted”. You may have to add some extra olive oil if the roux is too thick. Slowly pour in hot milk and whisk constantly to avoid lumps. This should be the consistency of gravy.  Add dry mustard and cheeses a handful at a time,  alternating the cheddar and Velveeta. Stir until melted and smooth. If the mixture is too thick (like paste instead of gravy) add water until it is the right consistency. (Again, like gravy). Season to your taste, and definitely taste!

In a large bowl, (I used a 4 qt. glass bowl) add the macaroni and pour the cheese sauce over and stir. Add 1/2-3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs.

Pour into a greased baking dish (8-9 inch square or 3 quart round) and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and top with 1/2 cup of Panko.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. It will be bubbly and the Panko will be lightly browned.

Allow the Mac ‘n Cheese to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Delirious Shrimp and Sausage Pasta

This morning a post from a cooking blogger friend showed up on my Facebook feed. Andrea at Recipes For Divine Living posted her Shrimp and Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sherry Tomato Sauce. I really wanted to make this, but one of the ingredients is a seasoning with a high amount of MSG. Hubby is extremely sensitive to MSG, so it was a no go. I reviewed the base ingredient and went shopping and then I came home and started creating. What came about is a Deliriously Delicious pasta I had a hard time stepping away from once I finished my plate.

Delirious (Delicious) Shrimp and Sausage Pasta

  • 3 slices turkey bacon chopped
  • 1/2 package turkey smoked sausage sliced (I used Oscar Meyer)
  • 12 oz. raw peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp (60-80 ct per lb)
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons AP flour
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato pesto
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • dissolve 1 Tablespoon chicken base into 1/2 cup hot whole milk
  • 1 package whole grain angel hair pasta cooked

Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium/medium high. Add celery and bacon.  Fry/sautee until celery is softening and bacon is near crisp. Add sausage and mushrooms. Continue to sautee until sausage and mushrooms begin to brown.

In a sauce pan on medium low heat (while other ingredients sautee) mix tomato sauce, pesto, garlic, coriander, cumin and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low and continue to simmer while other ingredients cook.

When the meat and vegetables have browned, add butter and stir in flour to coat then add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp just turns pink. Reduce heat to medium low and add the sauce mixture and stir. Pour in milk mixture and stir until heated through and sauce is creamy.

Place cooked pasta in a large serving bowl and pour sauce over and toss to coat the pasta. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.

Deb’s Delirious Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

For those who like some spice, put a jar of Sambal Oelek (chili paste) out and spice lovers can season to their taste.

Almost Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

The last time I made these I failed to track my ingredients. I promised to provide a recipe but minus the requisite ingredients, I unintentionally reneged on that promise. Tonight I decided to cook Chicken Pot Pie for dinner since I already used the oven to make bread. It gave me the opportunity to grab a sticky note and write things down as I went so you can recreate these wonderful little pies.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (Save some time and buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.)
  • 1 Can of Cream of Mushroom, Celery or Chicken soup plus 1/2 can of water
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (I used corn, peas and green beans)
  • 1 Tablespoon chicken base
  • 1 Tablespoon Wondra flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Montreal Chicken seasoning
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 Nine inch pie dough circles room temperature (Pilsbury from the grocery store cold case or make your own)
  • 1 egg whipped to egg wash the tops
  • 3 six inch foil pie tins

Instructions:                                                 Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

In a sauce pan stir together the soup, water, chicken base, flour and seasonings. Add frozen vegetables and heat on medium low. You want the mixture to thicken to very thick gravy consistency.

If you use the store bought pie dough circles, here’s what I did to make dividing and rolling out super easy. Remove dough from packaging and place one rolled up dough circle in the microwave for 5-10 seconds on high. You want the dough to be barely warm. Now smoosh it together into a ball. Divide each pie dough ball into two balls – one bigger, one smaller and roll both out. Line the tins with the larger circles. Add 1/3 of the chicken and 1/3 of the vegetable mixture to each. Top them with the smaller circle, crimp edges with a fork and cut slits in the top.  Brush the tops of each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle a little kosher salt.  Place pies on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Tops will be golden brown.IMG_0335-wm

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. You know the proven fact about the internal temperature of a chicken pot pie right?

A Delicious Afterthought

A couple of days ago I purchased a package of chicken legs with the idea I was going to crock pot them for dinner. I forgot Friday was the next day (Catholic here, no meat Fridays during Lent), Saturday came and I forgot to put the legs in the pot. Hubby, My Captain, offered to grill them then decided to order pizza.

Today was the day and My Captain reminded me early enough to get them in the pot for dinner. Dropped them in, covered them in BBQ sauce, a little kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, plop the lid on and walk away. Right? Well, no. Lid on. Walk away. Then Mad Scientist wheels start turning.

I thought, it would sure be nice to have this be more than just the chicken, so I grabbed a can of black beans, dumped them into a colander, rinsed well, then poured a generous amount of BBQ sauce over the beans – IN THE COLANDER – sprinkled some chopped dried onions over then tossed to cover the beans. Then I put those beans in the crock pot and, walked away. Really. I walked away this time. Went to the gym and left it alone.

The end result was so darn good! Those beans were like baked beans slaved over and cooked in the oven in a fancy schmancy bean pot.

Give this a try the next time you are cooking chicken in the crock pot. I used my homemade BBQ sauce but any good quality store bought sauce will do the trick. (Sweet Baby Ray’s original is my personal favorite)

You want the recipe? OK. Not much to it, but here goes.

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Chicken with “Baked” Beans

Ingredients:

  • Chicken legs, thighs, breasts, wings, whatever you have (you decide how many you need or want)
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Canned Black Beans (you decide how many cans you need based on how much chicken and size of crock pot)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried Onions
  • Water

Directions:

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper then place chicken in crock pot / slow cooker arranging around the outside of the pot leaving the center open. Pour BBQ sauce over chicken to cover well. Rinse beans in colander then pour BBQ sauce over and toss/mix well. Sprinkle dried onions over then place beans in the center of crock pot / slow cooker. Add 1/4-1/2 inch of water to crock pot / slow cooker. This is important if you are cooking on high so you don’t dry everything out and then it would be yuck! Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, 2-4 hours on high.

Loco Mexican Confetti Soup

I’m predictable in my predictability. When my dinner plans are unknown or defeated I make soup.

Tonight was suppose to be Green Chili but I failed to check the pantry and a key ingredient was missing; White beans! Determined to have chili or soup of some sort, I got busy. As always, I rely on what’s in my pantry and available in the produce drawer of my fridge. I had part of three different kinds of bell pepper and the last of a celery bunch.

As I put things together I decided it would be soup with Mexican seasoning and flavor and I hit a home run! The Mad Scientist blended and stirred, added bits and pieces, a pinch and a smidgen. As I was sampling throughout the process the flavors reminded me of Mexican Posole and I knew it would have to have be served with limes and fresh cilantro. It’s shocking but ~~>I was right! <~~.

Do as I say, not as I do and gather/shop for your ingredients ahead of time. You are gonna LOOOOVE this!

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Loco Mexican Confetti Soup - Mad Science

Loco Mexican Confetti Soup 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mild or breakfast sausage
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can Hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 2 – 4 ounce cans diced green chilies
  • 1 – 7 ounce can Herdez Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 Cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 Cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4  cup chopped onion
  • 1 Box Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1T Salt
  • 2 T Cumin
  • 1 T Garlic Powder
  • 1 T Chicken base
  • 2 T dry Cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh
  • Black Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large pot, brown loose sausage. Brown = good flavor! The cooking process will soften the meat up. Do not drain! Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Even better, throw it all in a crock pot/slow cooker for 3-6 hours and let it get REAL happy! If you use the slow cooker, wait to add the peppers and celery until the last hour of cooking. They will remain bright and vibrant colored so your soup will look beautiful!

Serve with a plate of warm rolled corn tortillas (spray both sides of soft corn tortillas with No-stick spray. I used canola. place in a gallon zip top bag and microwave for 30 seconds or until warm and soft enough to roll the tortillas for serving)

lime wedges

chopped fresh cilantro.

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