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March is Thriller Recipe Month

March is Thriller Recipe Month at Each week, I’ll be posting recipes that will enable you to create a fine dining experience in your home, at a reasonable cost. These are no-hassle recipes that I’ve prepared many times, and always crowd favorites.

The first Thriller Recipes provide a three-course fine dining experience for six using recipes my mother passed down to me. The meal begins with a tantalizing Spinach Salad, followed by Jambalaya, and Empanadas.

Spinach Salad with Chutney Dressing

Combine ½C red wine vinegar, 5T chutney, 1 garlic clove, 2T coarse-ground mustard, 2t sugar, and ½C vegetable oil in a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  In a large salad bowl insert 1Lb fresh spinach, trimmed of stems, washed and dried.  Add 6 sliced mushrooms, 6 slices of crisp bacon, cooked and crumbled, ½C shredded Swiss cheese, and ¼C red onion, thinly sliced.  Serve with the dressing.  Serves 6.


Cook 3C rice.  Melt 3T unsalted butter in 4Q saucepan over high heat.  Add 4oz andouille sausage and 4oz tasso (or other smoked ham); cook until meat starts to brown, ~4-5 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping pan bottom well.  Add 3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut into bit-size pieces (~2C) and continue cooking until chicken is brown, ~4-5 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping pan bottom well.  Stir in 2 bay leaves, 2T Chef Paul Magic (poultry, beef, or pork & veal), 1/2C sweet onion, chopped, 1/2C celery, chopped, 1/2C green bell pepper, chopped, and 1T minced garlic.  Cook until vegetables start to get tender, ~ 6-8 minutes.  Stir in 1/2C tomato sauce and cook 1 minute.  Stir in 1/2C sweet onion, 1/2C celery, 1/2C green bell peppers, and 1C fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped.  Stir in 1 1/2C uncooked rice and 2 1/2C chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered over low heat until rice is tender but still crunchy, ~30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Let sit 5 minutes uncovered.  Serve over 1/2 C cooked rice.  Serves 6.

Dessert Empanadas

Combine 1C flour, 1T sugar, 1t baking powder, and 1/2 t salt.  Work in 1/4 C shortening and add ice water as needed to form dough.  Divide into 12 pieces.  Roll out on a floured board into circles.  Fill with jam, moisten edges, fold over, and crimp with a fork.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown.  While hot, roll in a combination of 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 T cinnamon.  Serves 6.

Next up: Flavors of the Southwest.