Brunswick Stew — Quick and Smokey-Bones Style

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The first cool, cloudy day of autumn stirs an irresistible urge for Brunswick Stew–not just any Brunswick Stew, but Smokey Bones’ Brunswick Stew.

The economic crash of the last decade (has it been that long?) took down our local Smokey Bones, though, so I’ve had to do my best to create an easy imitation. Perusing the web for same gave me some good ideas, but eventually I settled on my own, unique creation.

This (my impromptu recipe) is a quicker and easier version than those I found online, but pleases my picky palette perfectly! I’ve incorporated some ready-made items with brand names I found in my local Publix. I’d venture to guess it would be pretty tasty with your local brands too.

Impromptu Cuisine’s Brunswick Stew

Ingredients:

1/2 Publix Mojo Rotisserie Chicken

1 package microwave pulled pork (Jack Daniels flavor)

3/4 lb ground beef

2 large Vidalia Onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 box Progresso Chicken Broth (4 cups)

1/4 cup Magic BBQ Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Chorro’s Hot Sauce (less if you’re wussy)

1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup

1 Tablespoon French’s Yellow Mustard

3-4 Tablespoons Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce

1-2 teaspoons Iodized Sea Salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 — 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 — 28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 — 14.5 oz cans or one cylindrical package frozen sweet creamed corn

1-2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar (maybe more if your corn isn’t sweet)

"A very pleasant bouquet."

Get ready for “A very pleasant bouquet.”

Method:

I begin by browning the ground beef and sautéing onions while  pulling the chicken from the bones. I unashamedly admit to opening a beer and helping myself to a few tastes (tastes, that’s all!) of that amazing Mojo chicken skin and the end of the wing during this process. You can’t really put that in a stew; someone’s  got to eat it, right? Like the good Cherokee in my great-great grandmother, we honor the good spirit in all things by doing our best not to waste it! Too much, though, and it goes to my ‘waist’ instead.

Then I start opening cans. I feel a bit like a 60’s mom during this part, but it’s for a good cause, I tell myself. We’ll get to the point where everything is fresh and organic–maybe even home-grown–someday. Like after retirement.

By now the ground beef and onions should be ready to drain. Yes, get that grease outta there. There’s enough fat in the pre-packaged pulled pork to keep your body well-insulated for winter.

Now this is where the fun begins! Turn up the music and dance a bit while you just plunk every ingredient into a nice large stew-pot, stir it up and bring it to where it just starts to try to jump out of the pot. Then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and get on with whatever else you want to do with your evening! You have anywhere from an hour to two, depending on your schedule. Just stop by and stir every 15 or 20 minutes so it doesn’t get a dark, stinky crust on the bottom. This will ruin it all! Save the stew! Stir it up!

(Note to the attention-impaired: Start this stew in the morning in a crock pot. This helps save your stew!)

About a half an hour before dinner time, taste it and adjust seasonings if you feel you must. Then get started on the modified corn bread recipe I’ll be posting soon. Don’t forget your quick, fresh, organic salad prep on the side; you don’t want to skip your greens!

Yum.

Yum.

Recommended pairings: What else? Your favorite beer or near-beer.
Ginger ale for the totally abstinent.

Let me know what you thought of this one. My family LOVES it!

Warm and toasty,
Your impromptucuisine host,
Joan

P.S. For some mental, emotional and social nourishment, stop by my other blog at joantwarren.com

 

Wow, She Likes Sautéed Kale

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Our picky eater finally tries sautéed kale!

Mimi's Magic Sautéed Kale

Mimi’s Magic Sautéed Kale

It starts as a typical picky eater night at the table. She surveys her plate, eats her bread, nibbles her carrot, drinks some water and asks for more bread.

“Sure, after you eat some of what’s on your plate.”

“But I don’t like it.”

A roasted chicken drumstick (chicken nuggets are sometimes acceptable, but this chicken on a stick, not so trusted), sautéed kale, carrots and bits of baked potato lay in their separate compartments on her pink plastic plate. Not exactly dinner heaven for this gal.

Now, technically, there’s no excuse for feeding a four year-old. I mean, holding her fork, spearing each bite, bringing it to her mouth. I used to cringe when I saw parents do this for a child so obviously capable of feeding themselves.  Understand, though, DAYS passed without the child eating anything green.  So, when she asks, “Will you please feed me, Mimi?,” I cave.

Her mother working evening shift, I seize the opportunity to work my magic. The magic never works as well when Mommy’s here. I suspect she doesn’t want her mother knowing she will eat green things. All Picky Eater usually needs to say is “I’m full, Mommy,” and Mommy clears the table. She even gives her a snack later–instead of sticking to her veggie-guns.

Okay, so it's fruit. You get the idea.

Okay, so it’s fruit. You get the idea.

Mimi, well, is a magic veggie-gun slinger, with master skills.

“Okay,” I say, “I want to sit close to you, anyway!”

Scooting our chairs close together, I slide in and enjoy the hug she offers. She loves being close. I sweetly (yet firmly) declare she will be trying at least a taste from each compartment. She has a choice which one first. To my surprise, she chooses kale!

Wielding my good magic wand (which, mysteriously, looks just like her pink Minnie Mouse fork), I spear a little piece of the superfood and bring it to her mouth. It opens! Ahhh, Mimi magic is on tonight.

To my delight, she likes it! She asks for more! She eats all the kale on her plate, and asks for more. She even accepts a bite of kale on top of a piece of chicken–six, maybe seven times–to get the chicken down.

I am beside myself with joy. Yeah, I know, I probably care too much about getting vegetables into this little princess. In my celebration, I decide: This one is definitely a blog recipe.

I dub thee, appropriately:

Mimi’s Magical Sautéed Kale

1 large bunch fresh chopped kale, spines removed

2 T olive oil

1 T Parmesan bread dip seasoning*

1/2 lemon

salt, to taste

Directions:

In large skillet, heat oil. Add bread dip seasoning and stir, infusing the oil with this marvelous flavor.

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

*(I LOVE this stuff. If anyone tries to tell me there’s something unhealthy about this stuff, I swear I will put my fingers in my ears, sing aloud and, if they persist, shout, “I can’t hear you!,” repeatedly, until they go away.)

Add kale and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 – 10 minutes, until wilted and soft.

Squeeze lemon juice over kale, stir and cook another minute.

Serves up to four.

Enjoy!

For another sort of fare, visit me at:

http://joantwarren.com

Photo credits:

Kale and Parmesan bread dip seasoning: me.

Veggie-gun slinger and Magic wand: depositphotos.com

 

Disclaimer:

The magic described herein is child-like, fun magic, in no way intended to be associated with evil, witchery, sorcery or green glowy scary stuff! 😉

Pumpkin Cupcake-Muffins Out-Riddle Grumpy Old Troll

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As a baby, she devoured every food we offered, but as soon as she got a taste of sweet and salty, it was all over. Now she governs passage through those lips like Dora’s Grumpy Old Troll.

“If you want to cross my bridge, you have to solve my riddle.

In her case, though, there are three. Three riddles (challenges, that is) to solve, and I get over the bridge.

We’ll never know if it tastes good to her until we get past the troll.

One day I discovered she likes pumpkin muffins (I lied a little and called them cupcakes). Three mini “cupcakes” later, she asked for more. My OT brain started churning.

“Hmmm. . . pumpkin is a pretty healthy ingredient, and there are plenty of spices in there she likes, too. The color is forgiving, too. I bet I could hide a few veggies in there without her noticing.”

Food chaining is a practice I use regularly in my work as a pediatric occupational therapist. Now I also use my skills to help nourish my granddaughter. She’s a picky eater with mild hypo-sensitivity and a higher need for oral input than average. Mostly, though, she’s just a sweet and salty nut.

Every picky eater has their own, unique set of riddles. Here are her three riddles (challenges):

First, how does this mystery food sound?  Cupcake, not muffin. Yummy, not good for you.

Second, how does it smell? Cinnamon passes. Sweet passes.

Third, how does it look? Cake texture passes, with pumpkin color.

Equipped with a great idea, I came up with this:

Start with the already-accepted Quick Pumpkin Bread Mix

This pic nabbed from Walmart website below

This pic nabbed from Walmart website

(nutrition facts here: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pillsbury-Pumpkin-Quick-Bread-Muffin-Mix-14-Oz/10308265)

Instead of putting the eggs, milk and oil in a bowl, though, put them in a blender with:

1/2 can pumpkin (not the large can, silly)

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, or 1/4 cup spinach purée, if you’re into making purée for your Deceptively Delicious recipes)

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (or half of that, if purée)

1/2 cup added sugar (yes, I know, but I have to start somewhere and gradually decrease to healthy). At least I use organic, raw sugar.

1/2 to 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just threw some in there, sorry).

Blend. Now you will see it is green. Green does not satisfy the Troll’s requirements. I added red food coloring. I know, not so great, but we can work on color chaining too. Gradually.

Now, turn this into the bowl with the cake mix to blend with a spoon until the flour mixture is wet.

Spray your mini muffin tins or use liners. I usually use liners, they come with princesses or Dora, whatever pleases your Grumpy Old Troll. It makes them more believable as cupcakes.

Bake as directed, but shorten the time (about half) for mini muffins. Check with a toothpick–they will be heavier than regular muffins, but the toothpick will still come out pretty clean when they’re ready.

Now, the pièce de résistance, pour some confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and place it RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER! She loves that stuff, loves white powdered donut holes, so I took a muffin (Pumpkin Muffin, I accidentally said. Drat! Almost foiled it all! I changed it quick, “Pumpkin Muffin-CUPCAKE! Take the Pumpkin Muffin-Cupcake, and dip it in the white powder, look! It looks just like a donut!”

The result:

"You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!"

“You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!”

Yes.

Related Links:

My Pinterest page (FUNctional Kids), where I post finds for Problem and Picky Eaters:

http://www.pinterest.com/functionalkids/

WordPress weekly writing challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/writing-challenges/

 

For a different sort of fare, visit my other blog at http://joantwarren.com