Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole

Poblano Potato and Sausage  Casserole. A couple times a year my husband will bring home this 2 1/2 pound block of extra sharp cheese which happens to be made right here in New York. He forgets that there are only two of us and that he does not really like cheddar cheese, lol! It’s perfectly fine with me. The cheese comes in handy when I am cooking for a large group or need a dish to pass. Once a week, I volunteer to prepare a meal for a group of generous people that give their time to the community. Since I cannot be there in person to volunteer, I do it from my kitchen. I know that the meals are appreciated and I really enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new recipe every week. I do not prepare many casseroles, but they are a tasty, easy and convenient way to share a meal.

Poblano Sausage and Potato Casserole
Poblano Sausage and Potato Casserole
Any sandwich bread will work for this recipe, but try some french bread or bolillos for a heartier casserole.
Any sandwich bread will work for this recipe, but try some french bread or bolillos for a heartier casserole.
With just a little oil, you can brown the potatoes. Cover with lid while cooking and this will help steam and cook quicker.
With just a little oil, you can brown the potatoes. Cover with lid while cooking and this will help steam and cook quicker.

Ingredients

6 slices of sandwich bread (I used wheat), sliced into cubes
2 cups spicy italian sausage (I added turkey, diced
Olive oil
3 cups russet potato
1 sweet onion, diced

1 large poblano, sliced thin or diced
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
2 1/2 cups extra sharp cheese, shredded
5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for topping
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3  teaspoon pepper
Crushed oregano, optional

Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole. I had a small piece of red onion that I also added in just to use it up.
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread out sliced bread cubes onto baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 13 minutes or until crispy and dried out. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. Add the sausage to a pan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and heat to medium/low. Once the water evaporates, ad 1 tablespoon of olive oil and contniue cooking until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat to cool. Dice when cooled.

2. In a large skillet, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. Add the potatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook, stirring often, until potatoes are brown on most sides. Drain onto a large plate lined with paper towels. To that same skillet, ad 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the poblanos, onions and jalapeño. Cook for another 5  to 7 minutes or until the peppers/onions are soft. Remove from heat.

3. Add the toasted bread to the bottom of baking pan in an even layer. Add the sausage, potato mixture and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and a little crush oregano and smoked parpika. Bake loosely covered with foil paper for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with your favorite salsa. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole
Poblano Potato and Sausage Casserole. If cooking for a smaller crowd, I like to bake individual casseroles for that special brunch.

Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks~ Dia de Accion de Gracias

I remember as a kid that there were certain holidays that we celebrated in the states, but not in Mexico. I am not really sure the exact year that my Mexican Mom adopted the very American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving. I often think about those hours spent in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner. My most favorite job was dicing all the vegetables that made up my Mom’s stuffing recipe. My motivation for helping, the granny smith green apple that would go in towards the end. It was, and still is one of my favorite apples. To this day, every time I slice a green apple and smell that aroma, it instantly takes me back to that small kitchen on Kansas Ave. in California. The story behind the stuffing recipe is that my Mom found it in one of the major newspapers in L.A. I could only imagine how she felt trying out some different ingredients she had never used before in her cooking. I am so thankful for that recipe. It is a staple in my family and a traditionthat has been passed down to Mom’s grandchildren now. Everyone remembers Mom’s delicious stuffing recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

There is my beautiful Mom slicing the turkey. That's me next to her on the right. Those were special times.
There is my beautiful Mom slicing the turkey. That’s me next to her on the right. Those were special times.

Pavo a la Parilla ~ Grilled Turkey Breast

This Grilled/Smoked Turkey Breast(Pavo a la Parilla) was the easiest turkey recipe I have ever prepared. The hardest part of this whole recipe was trying to decide what dry spices to use to create a tasty turkey. I was inspired by the flavors of Mexican molé sauce. In some Mexican homes turkey is braised in a dark and rich flavored molé sauce low and slow until it falls off the bone. One thing for sure, is I will be preparing some sauce just so I could enjoy it with this tasty and moist turkey breast next time. If you don’t have a cupboard filled with spices like I do, the stores offer quite a variety of dry rubs to choose from. Start with a mild one. You could always experiment and add a few flavors from your spices and customize it anyway you like. I am not afraid to admit that even with all the cooking I do, my husband is still a big fan of “Stove Top Stuffing”, Lol!  So we compromised. I agreed to prepare the store bought stuffing on one condition and that was I would add fresh ingredients like carrots, celery, onion, green apple, almonds and peppers. Those are some of the staple ingredients in my Mom’s stuffing recipe.  So, as long as the weather holds out and there is not 6 inches of snow and ice outside, I will try to get a few more grilling sessions in.

Smoked Turkey Breast with Kicked Up "Stove Top" and Sweet Potatoes au Gratin
Smoked Turkey Breast with Kicked Up “Stove Top” and Sweet Potatoes au Gratin

Ingredients

3 pound boneless turkey breast

For Dry Rub
1 tablespoon chile ancho powder
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon chile de arbol or cayenne
1/4 teaspoon anise

*For a smoky turkey breast 1 to 1 1/2 cup apple or cherry wood chips

Use cooking twine to tie the breast and insure a moist turkey
Use cooking twine to tie the breast and insure a moist turkey
I like to rotate the turkey breast after the first hour.
I like to rotate the turkey breast after the first hour.
As it gets close to the second hour, I start to check the internal temperature in different areas.
As it gets close to the second hour, I start to check the internal temperature in different areas.
Off the grill and getting ready to be wrapped in foil paper.
Off the grill and getting ready to be wrapped in foil paper.

 

1. Remove mesh from turkey breast. Rinse with cold water and dry off with paper towels.

2. Rub generously with dry rub. Use cooking twine to tie and hols the turkey breast in place.  Wrap in plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours or even better overnight. Remove breast from refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking so it comes to room temperature.

3. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. If adding wood chips, I add them directly near the hot coals once the fire is at the right temperature and close the lid for 5 minutes.  If cooking on a gas grill, you would use a smoker box. Add the turkey breast and smoke/grill on indirect heat in at 225 to 250 degrees.  Cook/grill for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until internal temp. reads 165 degrees.

4. Remove from grill and wrap tightly in foil paper. Wrap in a kitchen towel and let set inside microwave for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will create a most wonderful and moist turkey breast!

Yields 8 servings

 

Tips~ Indirect cooking is when you build or light the fire on one side of the grill. You will place the meat on the side with no fire for indirect cooking. Just imagine this as an outdoor oven.

Pavo a la Parilla/ Smoked-Grilled Turkey Breast Dinner
Pavo a la Parilla/ Smoked-Grilled Turkey Breast Dinner
I only wished I would have smoked two breast....there were no leftovers...
I only wished I would have smoked two breast….there were no leftovers…