Chaca Made the Luau a Real Hit (How to Cook a Wild Hog)

When my Dad and my Son captured the wild hog, and set it up to live on our land, Mama got excited about the possibilities.  She immediately declared Spring Break’s end to be a time for family and pulled pork. We called everyone up, and luckily, our Spring Breaks ended on the weekend Mama chose for the Luau.

We enjoyed Chaca and made her useful, while we also fattened her up for our first luau.  My son built her a round pen and set it out in the garden, and she began rooting the plot as well as fertilizing it, for our spring/summer veggies.  At first, she would charge at anyone who came near her pin…well, except for the young male cardinals, whom she seemed to enjoy.  She would allow them to weave through her pen and land on her rooted earth, without even so much as batting an eye.  And after time, she would allow us to feed and replenish her water, without charging, but instead, she would simply step outside her little dog house and observe.

My son took care of her with a single shot through the head, and then cleaned her alongside my father and put her on ice to bleed out.  They added ice as needed over the following week, after her demise, and let some of the gamey blood drain.

Friday night, they pulled Chaca’s carcass out of the cooler and we laid her on some thick gage plastic, over our utility sink and counter, and I picked the last of the wild hairs from her fat, washed her up one last time and gave her one last one over, before Dad put her in a salt and ice brine overnight.

Early Saturday morning, he fired up the pit, stuffed Chaca’s chest cavity with a large assortment of onions, garlic, and peppers, and set her to char.  Once both sides were nicely charred, he wrapped her in foil and let her slow cook for 6 hours or so.  Once she cooled, and we all were ready to dive in, I unwrapped her and the family went hog wild!  It was like they were in hog heaven, lickin’ their chops and snortin’ like little happy piglets.

succulent grilled wild hog

succulent grilled wild hog

I admittedly get my biggest thrills from feeding people (and chickens…and rabbits…and well, whatever else looks hungry!).  Mom and I decided on several salad side dishes, to keep with the luau theme and springtime celebration.  She gathered cabbages and carrots from our garden to make a lovely fresh cole slaw.  She also made our personal new favorite, Sweet and Tangy Green Bean Salad.  I added my all-time biggest hit and secret recipe, German Potato Salad, as well as a fresh cucumber/tomato/onion/pasta salad.  Complete with Hawaiian Rolls, grilled mango and grilled pineapple, our spread was a hit with both the young and the not so young in the family.

We are blessed to be able to get together more often than just the holidays, and we know it.  We love watching our children play together, and as they’ve grown, we’ve enjoyed more time in conversation, while just watching them from a distance.  No one comes crying to us anymore.  They can make their own plates, they rarely spill a drink…it’s rather nice, this fleeting stage of life.  So we try to enjoy each other as often as possible, because nothing beats family; especially one that prays together.

Yes, we stepped away from the pork, long enough for each one to say a prayer of Thanksgiving, in March, for we have so much to be thankful for everyday.  I am so glad that God comes to our gatherings.  They are richer for it, and we, richer still.

Until Next time, This is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

Vaya con Dios

Savory Butternut Squash Casserole

Fun with Butternut Squash

Fun with Butternut Squash

 

I am constantly experimenting in the kitchen.  Moving to the farm only enhanced such experiments, and I want to share new recipes that I create here, with you all.  This summer, we baked, pureed, and froze a lot of butternut squash.  Aside from yummy spice cakes and other baked sweets, butternut squash is also a great accompaniment to savory dishes, from stir-fry to casserole.  Below is a casserole I created where butternut squash is the harmonious star of the dish.  It is delicious and quite easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 chub Jimmy Dean Sage Breakfast Sausage

2 roasted gypsy peppers, diced

3-4 cups butternut squash puree

6-8 slices of bakery-style jalapeño cheese bread

1/2 red onion, diced

Salt/pepper (about 1/2 Tbsp ea.)

1/4-1/2 c. savory bread crumbs

 

I started by cutting the bread slices into cubes and toasting them on low heat while browning a chub of Jimmy Dean’s sage sausage in a skillet on the stove. ( It’s my favorite breakfast pan sausage, so as time goes on and I share more of my recipes, you will note that I enjoy cooking with JD’s sage sausage.)  The bread serves as a binder in the dish, and adds a nice surprise burst of warm heat.

After the sausage is broken up pretty well and almost completely browned, I added the diced roasted gypsy peppers.  You could roast a red, yellow or orange bell pepper, if you cannot get your hands on a delicious gypsy pepper.

In a separate bowl, you can fold the toasted jalepeno croutons (what they have become, through toasting) into your butternut squash puree.  Add the diced red onions, salt and pepper and continue to fold until everything is evenly coated with the puree.  You can use a white or yellow onion, if you do not have red onions on hand, but I prefer the flavor of the red onion in dishes like this.  The red onion counterbalances the sweetness of the butternut squash, taming it into a nice savory bite.

After the sausage/gypsy pepper mix is thoroughly browned, drain any excess grease with a strainer, and then add the strained meat mix into the puree mix and stir until nice and mixed.  Pour mix into a greased rectangular casserole dish, cover evenly with thin layer of bread crumbs, spray with coconut oil spray (or olive oil spray), and bake at 375F for 45-55 minutes.

If you notice the top is browning too fast, place a sheet of foil over the dish to protect the top.

Let dish cool for 5-10 minutes, cut and serve.  Great with a side of purple hull peas.

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy this delicious dish with the ones you love, very soon!

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!!

Vaya con dios

Succulent Pulled Wild Pork

So in my last blog, I mentioned the need to seek inspiration for the hog that recently blessed our freezer. Today, on the winds, came the idea to make pulled pork out of it. I cleaned the trimmings really well, and dried them and set them, full, uncut or trimmed, in a casserole dish. I then added the following:

1/2 bottle of Kraft’s BBQ sauce
1/3 bottle of Ketchup
1/5 bottle of Honey Mustard (all I had)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small can crushed pineapple
2 sliced onions
10 drops of Habanero Tobasco sauce
A few dashes of Thyme
A heaping Tbsp of spices

I covered the dish with foil, after tossing all the ingredients together real good and giving the hog bits a few last stabs. And let it cook for 3 hours at 350F.

It pulled away from the fat so nicely, and after it cooled a bit I pulled it all apart and added the soft onions and sauce, mashed it all together real good and served it on dressed slices of bread.

It was as good as any pulled pork I’ve had and in some cases MUCH, MUCH better.

I hope you enjoy the recipes I share.

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, SIGNING OFF!

Vaya con Dios!

PS We are making a chicken costume…results will be posted after March 1st!

Soufflé or Quiche? A Recipe from the Crazy Chicken Lady

Call me crazy, but I don’t care what the difference is between quiches and soufflés. All I know is that I can take a handful of any assortment of veggies and sauté them with either bacon, ham or breakfast sausage and be well on my way to Yummytown.

Here is a simple enough dish that I tweak from time to time, depending on what meats, veggies and cheeses I have on hand. No matter what, it’s a big hit with the family. And yeah, sometimes I call it quiche, sometimes I call it a soufflé, but no matter what, we all call it delicious, so enjoy!

Stacie’s Quick and Easy Cheesy Quiche

tonight's offerings...Souffluiche ;)

tonight’s offerings…Souffluiche 😉

1 chub of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage (or 1 pack of bacon, or both, or diced ham…oh the options are endless!)

1 dozen or more eggs (you will soon realize I do not measure, so everything is loosely based)

1 medium red, yellow, or white onion, diced

1 bunch (or more) fresh spinach, mustard greens, and/or kale

(additional veggies to include, if on hand and so desired are: diced mushrooms, diced bell peppers {red, green, and/or yellow}, jalapeños if you are daring, chili peppers, minced garlic, etc.)

1/3-1/2 c. half & half

1 or more c. sharp cheddar (or mild cheddar, or mozerella, and/or cream cheese, etc. OH CHEESE, GLORIOUS CHEEEEESE)

salt & pepper to taste (dill is fab with bacon and/or ham)

Ok, start browning your meat while you get your greens cleaned. While your cleaned greens dry in a strainer, chop that onion (and mushrooms, peppers, etc.) and add to your browning meat. Shake your greens good and dry and cover the meat and veggies with them. Cover them and let the greens wilt and the meat finish browning. After about ten minutes, give them a good toss, re-cover and let them cook on the stove top a bit longer.

At this time, pre-heat your oven to 325F.

In the meantime, grate your cheese and set to the side.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs until thoroughly mixed. Add your half and half, salt, pepper (and any herbs you desire, or have on hand) and mix again, very well. Toss in the cheese. You’re almost there, baby!!

Depending on the amount of eggs, meats and veggies you add will obviously weigh on what dish you decide to use. Sometimes I can get by with a nice pie dish, but on other occasions, like tonight, I use an oblong, baking dish.

Be sure to coat your dish really well with a cooking spray or oil. I have been using coconut oil spray, as of late and it works just fine.

Take your meat/veggie mixture and evenly spread it across the bottom of your baking dish. Then, simply pour your egg/cheese mixture all over the top, give it a lil’ shimmy-shimmy-shake, and then pop that bad baby in the oven.

Give it anywhere from 25-40 minutes, depending on size. Just keep an eye on it, from time to time…I know you won’t let it burn.

When you go to slice and serve this souffluiche, be sure to offer complimentary condiments, such as sour cream or salsa. Some of my boys like to add ketchup to finish it off, and my oldest son and I prefer a dash of Cholula!

Enjoy!

And until Next Time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

Vaya con Dios

Quick and Easy Tomato Soup

1 can tomato paste

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup bread crumbs *garlic/herb seasoned is delish!
(onion powder, dill weed, cracked pepper, salt to your personal liking)

 

 

 

My oldest and I are struggling to breath, and whether it be severe allergies or a rotten cold, there is one thing my boy always requests when he is under the weather.  It’s not chicken noodle, or beef and barley, or even potato soup.  My son wants tomato soup and he will eat nothing else.

Sometimes I actually have a can of Campbell’s tomato soup on hand in the pantry, but yesterday wasn’t one of those days.  I generally have good luck when experimenting in the kitchen and last night was no exception.  I had to figure out a way to get my boy some tomato soup and fast. 

I always have chicken broth on stock, as well as tomato paste and half and half.  I knew I could whip him up a passable tomato soup with those three pantry items, and add to that.

So here’s what I did.  I scooped the tomato paste into a sauce pan and slowly incorporated about 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of half and half, with a whisk.  As the soup came together, I added 1/4 cup or less of garlic-herb bread crumbs to give it a little flavor and thickness.  I also seasoned the soup lightly with onion powder, dill weed, salt and cracked pepper.

I let this come to a low boil and then cut the heat to low and stirred it for another 3-4 minutes and then, voila, homemade tomato soup on the dime.  I toasted him an everything-bagel and spread a little whipped chive cream cheese on it as a side.

He was a happy boy and you can be too, in only a matter of minutes with this quick, delicious recipe.

Feel free to share

 

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

Vaya con Dios