Cookbook Review: Southern Pantry Cookbook

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This review of The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen by Jennifer Chandler includes a FREEBIE RECIPE for Weeknight Red Beans and Rice! Don’t miss out!

I didn’t intend to buy this book. I was bored and flipping through cookbooks looking at the food photography was a way to pass the time while my husband shopped.

Now, I don’t impulse buy things.  I’m a thrifty person, and I normally think long and hard before I make a cookbook purchase. I read amazon reviews. I check my local library.  My cookbook shelf is reserved for a very select few permanent figures.

I bought this book upon first glance, and I’ve had ZERO regrets.

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This book has nestled in comfortably among its peers on the shelf, but it hasn’t stayed on the shelf for very long! It’s extremely useful.

For instance, this delicious Weeknight Red Beans and Rice dish only took 20 minutes in its entirety. So easy and yummy!

For instance, this delicious Weeknight Red Beans and Rice dish only took 20 minutes in its entirety. So easy and yummy!

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I have fallen in love with the idea of using existing pantry ingredients creatively.  I was already compiling the Non-Chef FOREVER Grocery List before this book–which will be ready early next week! Yay!

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Weeknight Red Beans and Rice

(Or, like this photo, black beans and rice, because that’s what I had on hand.)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb Andouille smoked sausage, sliced thinly
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, rinced and drained
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 4 cups brown rice

Instructions

0. If you would rather use dried beans, put beans in water to the brim in a crockpot on low in the morning and allow beans to soak in water for 8 hours. While preparing dinner, rinse with water before adding .

1. Start cooking the rice per package instructions.

2. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, warm oil. Add the sausage, onion, green pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

3. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in oregano, thyme, and bay leaf (or, if you were out of oregano and thyme like I was, substituting a tsp of Italian Seasoning mix was still absolutely yummy). Salt and pepper to taste, and add beans and stock.

4. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow flavors to meld for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Discard the bay leaf, and serve beans over rice.

TIP: If you are watching your carb intake, I have read that you can substitute black soy beans, which have a lower carb and higher protein trade-off.  Also, give cauliflower rice a try! 🙂

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Cookbook Review: Breakfast for Dinner

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This week’s cookbook review is over Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More! with a recipe for Huevos Rancheros Tacos!

I love breakfast so much! It’s what I ask for on my birthday, and it’s something I look forward to on Christmas. If, for some reason, I was allowed endless ingredients for only one food category on a dessert island, it would be breakfast foods.

I am no stranger to eating breakfast for dinner. I have cracked an egg over a pizza before.  I keep pancake mix in the cabinet primarily for when I need a quick weeknight meal or a late night snack for a crowd. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to savory waffles (a secret board, of course, because it’s getting embarrassingly obsessive).

I took one look at the huavos rancheros tacos recipe, and immediately added it to the meal plan this week. (It doesn't hurt that my fridge was filled with eggs I found on sale for about 60 cents/dozen either.) These tacos were MESSY but in such a good way! If you’re not a fan of runny egg yoke, my husband, Adam, made some awesome cheddar garlic scrambled eggs to fill the rest of our tacos.

When you’re not morning people, breakfast doesn’t often happen before 10 am or so. After 6 pm is even better!

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I am LOVING this book! Lindsey Landis and Taylor Hackbarth came up with some very creative breakfast food spins.  Cornflake-crusted chicken tenders, mini pesto quiches, lemon poppy seed thumbprint cookies, dessert pancakes. I didn’t have time to make everything I wanted to this week!

I always appreciate a cookbook that has a full page picture of every recipe, too.

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I took one look at the huavos rancheros tacos recipe, and immediately added it to the meal plan this week. (It doesn’t hurt that my fridge was filled with eggs I found on sale for about 60 cents/dozen either.)

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Seriously, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, where have you been all my life? That little can of peppers is the real hero in the ranchero sauce!

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These tacos were MESSY but in such a good way! If you’re not a fan of runny egg yoke, my husband, Adam, made some awesome cheddar garlic scrambled eggs to fill the rest of our tacos. I’ve included the recipe below!

Ingredients

Ranchero Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 largejalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce + 1/2 tbsp sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Tacos:

  • 1 (15 oz) can of refried beans
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • 8 large eggs

Cheddar Garlic Scrambled Eggs:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 c cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan, add onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat until beginning to soften. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, chipotle, adobo sauce, and oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the sauce simmers, heat refried beans per package instructions, either on stovetop or in microwave.
  3. Use olive oil to grease a skillet or a griddle. Arrange a single layer of 3-4 corn tortillas and crisp over a medium heat 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the edges are browning.
  4. After sauce has simmered, blend in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Cook the eggs last.  Sunny side up can be made four at a time in a covered skillet over a medium-high heat for 4 minutes (5 for firmer yokes).  Scrambled eggs can be made all at once: crack eggs into skillet over medium-high heat, add milk, and stir constantly. Add cheese and garlic when eggs are almost firm.
  6. Spread beans on the tortillas and top with eggs and ranchero sauce. Enjoy!

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Chickpea Curry Over Brown Basmati Rice

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Something magical happens as the onion and the curry powder bloom over the heat. Flavors come to life, and the stress of the world melts away. These vegan curried chickpeas over brown basmati rice feed body, mind, and soul. It’s one of my favorite recipes, in case you can’t already tell.

I was on the fence about writing about this.  Google chickpea curry and a TON of identical recipes will come up, and mine isn’t all that different.  One of those was what inspired me to cook this for the first time several years ago, but as time passed, the recipe changed.  Now I use fewer ingredients and have upgraded to brown basmati rice (which you can now buy at Aldi grocery stores!).

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Chickpea curry is one of our favorite recipes, and it served to be a huge inspiration to writing about food in the first place.  I clearly remember the day: screaming fussy baby and we’re STARVING.  My husband volunteered to do the cooking for the evening (he was that hungry haha), so I’m calling instructions over the partition between the living room and the kitchen while doing the mom-things that needed to be done.

Me: “Are the onions in the skillet opaque yet?”

Adam: “Yes. Now what do I do?”

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I shout off the next several ingredients off the top of my head, including where to find them in the kitchen, reminding him to shake the can of coconut milk.  I ended up coaching him through the entire dinner process off the top of my head from the other room.

Now maybe that’s something that lots of people can do.  I know several of the women in my family could probably cook a favorite recipe blindfolded.  Adam, however, was apparently impressed.

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After seven years of marriage, I managed to surprise him by doing something unexpected. And that’s a pretty good feeling.

There’s something about getting encouragement from someone you love, someone who knows you better than anyone else, that’s just the little push you need to try something new 

Both Non-Baker and my site broke triple digits in views this month.  We’ve moved beyond just the friends and family who feel loving obligation to read what we write into a small community of kind readers who happened to stop by.

(In case you didn’t know, my sister, Anna, and I realized that we were both flirting with the idea of starting very different food blogs, so we started at the same time.  Check out Anna’s blog sometime!  It’s great!)

So why do I share a recipe that’s been done before on the internet?  Because sharing a recipe is also showing a little piece about who I am.

So enjoy chickpea curry.  Its texture is absolutely perfect, not to mention its flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C brown basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 C water
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1  14 oz can coconut mil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp hot chili paste (sriracha or other  brand)
  • 2 14 oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the rice per package instructions.
  2. Start the onion cooking in olive oil over a medium heat in a large deep skillet.  Stir occasionally.
  3. When onion is opaque, add curry powder.  Allow curry to cook with onion for about a minute to meld the flavors.  Add the cayenne pepper.
  4. Give the can of coconut milk a shake, as it naturally separates.  Pour into the pan.
  5. Add the honey and chili paste.  Let the sauce bubble for a minute or so. (Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Some curry powder and chili paste is more mild than others.)
  6. Drain cans of chickpeas and dump into curry sauce.  Stir to combine.
  7. Serve curry sauce over rice in bowls.  Enjoy!

Something magical happens as the onion and the curry powder bloom over the heat. Flavors come to life, and the stress of the world melts away. These vegan curried chickpeas over brown basmati rice feed body, mind, and soul. It's one of my favorite recipes, in case you can't already tell.
-Brohgan