The Multipurpose Room

This post is a melange of things today. Not only do I have an announcement, I've got some great recipes, and some blogging events to promote. It's like a party is happening at my laptop right now!

First, I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the 1st ever Texas Pete Prize Package giveaway...even though you didn't have to do much more than sign your name in blood at the bottom of the post. :)

Next, I'd like to announce the winner of the Texas Pete Southern Hospitality Prize package!

Natashya will be receiving this:

32 oz Classic Texas Pete Hot Sauce, 16 oz. Texas Pete Chili Sauce,
Texas Pete Pepper Sauce, Quaker Grits, Roasted Praline Coffee from Carolina Cupboard,
located in Hillsborough, NC and the October issue of Southern Living,
all nestled in a treasure chest of which Blackbeard himself, would be proud.

So, congratulations, Natashya! We look forward to seeing what you do with Texas Pete and his friends!

Now let's get down to the business of the food!

I made some great recipes for three awesome blogging events this week (in no particular order):

Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy is celebrating her 1st Blogiversary!
Lore at Culinarty is collecting recipes for the third Original Recipe Round-Up!
Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen is celebrating fall with Food and Football!
Whew! Now that the business has been taken care of, it's time to party! Times THREE!

First, is a homemade Steak & Cheese hot pocket. I love HOT POCKETS® brand sandwiches (because that's how it's spelled on the box) and I lived on them my senior year of college. Since I made a pact with myself to make any and everything that I want to eat, these are no exception. Brought out for special occasions (football games, after-school snacks, birthday parties) everyone will be impressed.

Steak & Cheese Hot Pockets
Serves 6-8

1 12-inch
loaf French bread
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups white onion, julienne
1-2 each red, yellow and green bell peppers, sliced
8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced

2 tsp garlic salt

12 oz low-sodium vegetable or beef stock/broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 oz cornstarch mixed with water
8 oz shredded mozzarella
or provolone cheese
1 lb thinly sliced rare beef tenderloin or roast beef
1-2 oz butter, melted

Cut loaf in half and hollow out each half. Set aside.
In a 12-inch skillet, add oil, onions, peppers, and garlic salt. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and peppers are cooked. Add beef stock and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Pour cornstarch mixture slowly into the pan, whisking in the slurry to thicken the pan's contents. Cook for 30 seconds more and then remove from heat. Using tongs, put beef into pan and coat with pepper gravy mixture. Cook over medium heat for an additional 5-6 minutes, if desired.

Use tongs or wooden spoon to stuff each side of the hollowed-out loaf, pressing to fill as much as possible. Alternate spoonfuls of beef with mozzarella cheese. Brush or spread aluminum foil with butter. Place both halves together on foil. Use remaining butter to cover outside of loaf. Wrap in foil.

Heat in 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes. At final 5 minutes, unwrap loaf to ensure crusty outside.
Cut and serve.

Next, I have Miso Pumpkin Chili (pictured alongside some all-beef hot dogs). I made this last week for my So Much Soy, So Little Time class at Best Health. There is enough for a gaggle of Fraggles to enjoy. Too bad they don't eat chili.

Miso Pumpkin Chili
Serves 6

1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp oregano, dried
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein) OR
1 lb ground lean beef or turkey
2 cups red tomato, chopped (reserve juices)
1 cup pumpkin or sweet potatoes, cubed
1 cup low sodium/fat vegetable stock/broth
8 oz mushrooms, small (crimini or white button), sliced
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, miso paste, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon. Cook until fragrant. Add TVP, tomato with juice, pumpkin, broth, mushrooms, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Last, is a Poutine Casserole. I've never eaten real poutine (cheese curds are not something that are a staple or even a thumbtack in the South. Oh...and let's not mention how I don't even know how to pronounce it) , but I think you'll like my version just the same. This consists of fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese baked into an ooey, gooey, yummy, dish.

I make the best gravy in the world, according to some circles (my friends who eat at my house for FREE) and I always make enough to freeze (for adding to stews and soups) and for the fridge (to put on everything from chicken and biscuits to savory sweet potato pancakes. It's the gravy that makes this yummy. By putting it in a casserole, it's portable and something that everyone at the party, the picnic, or the Wednesday night potluck will like!

Mustard Sage Gravy

Makes 2 cups

1/4 cup canola oil
1 onion, fine dice or minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock/broth or water
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard or 1/2 Tbsp dried mustard
2 Tbsp rubbed sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium-high heat, just until hot. Add onions and cook until just past translucent. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the oil, stirring the bottom with a high-heat spatula or wooden spoon to prevent lumps. Stir for a few minutes as the flour cooks, and browns. Adjust heat, if necessary. If the flour burns, you will have to start all over. Add chicken stock, mustard, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in all ingredients and cook for a few minutes. Scrape the pan again, to lift the bits (called FOND) that might be stuck to the bottom. Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Fried Potatoes
2 lbs russet or Yukon gold potatoes
Oil for deep frying

Using a mandoline or chef's knife, cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick rounds. Soak potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes. In a heavy-bottomed stock pot or electric skillet, fry in oil at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until potatoes are tender and begin to brown. Using a slotted spoon, separate potatoes to ensure they don't stick to sides. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To assemble casserole: In a 9X13 pan, coat with nonstick spray and alternate layers of potatoes, gravy, and shredded cheddar cheese. Heat in 350 degree F oven, until cheese has melted and is bubbly.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

Leave a reply

  1. Ok, how did Sunny NOT enter for the Pete's giveaway? *LOL*

    Oh - and when I come to NC, I'm so stopping by. Those recipes look divine!

  2. woah, look at you go! that's a lot of things in one post!

  3. I love Texas Pete...I especially love telling people that it is made in Winston-Salem, NC! My co-workers make fun of me because I keep a bottle at work to put on food when they cater stuff in, I'm sure you know how bland some of that stuff can be!

  4. Oh my really did good here. Wow! The chili and potatoes look awesome...and those hot pockets! I am going to have to make those for my husband SOON! Thanks so much for your fantastic and delicious entries!!

  5. Lys: Maybe there's a product liability issue? Or maybe she just doesn't know. But that OK...there will be more giveaways :)

    Kat: I know it is! I can only post once a day, so I have to make it good!

    Tamara: You have a bottle at work!? You are hardcore, girl. Ha!

  6. Aggie: You snuck in while I was updating lol Thanks, my friend. I'm just happy that you had the Food & Football event to inspire me!

  7. I can't believe that you eke out three recipes per post these days. You're unstoppable.

  8. My favourite would be your version of the Poutine potatoes...very French Canadian. I love spuds!!!!I can get curds here but they really come from the East:D

  9. Wow that prize pack looks awesome. It has southern hopitalitity written all over it :)

    I love all the entries you did, especially the pumpkin miso chili. I love pumpkin chili, but I've never done it with miso. Very cool. I guess miso is a thumbtack in the south?

    Your gravy recipe looks so easy and delicious. I was surprised to see only oil in there, which is cool because I always have that on hand :) When I come down next month, I'm going to gravy persuade you...

  10. Um, so someone's been doing hella cooking...for real. Um, that texas pete give away would have looked good on my counter. Hello - hot wings or buffalo shrimp - or a few other things could have been made. But I ain't mad (giving Susan the side eye) at you - lol!

  11. Heather: cooking is the only thing that never disappoints me, so I bang out as much as I can whenever I can.

    Val: It's my favorite, too! I want to eat this every day.

    Adam: You're coming down next month? SWEEEET!

    Thumbtacks are usually pains in the ass...and it's a pain in the ass to find miso if you truly need it, so...yeah lol

    D: Oh, don't worry, you're getting your sample. I promised a while ago.

  12. Nikki, you won me over with your hot pockets. My daughter pretty much lives on those as well. Between classes and work, she pretty much eats on the run. I'll try making these for her. Thanks for the great "party" post Nkki.

  13. Now that's what I call comfort food! Thanks for sharing your mothwatering dishes with Original Recipes :D

  14. Teresa: She'll really love these pockets. I've been making my own bread, but I HAD to run out and buy some to keep up with the demand for these. If you freeze the loaf then cut out the insides of the bread, it comes out cleaner.

    Lore: Thanks! I aim to please!


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