Jalapeno Cream Sauce

jc sauce 7One of my favorite restaurants here in town serves this delicious pan fried chicken breast with a jalapeno cream sauce over the top. I order it every time we go there because it’s simply delicious and I just love the sauce. Well, as I’ve talked about before, eating out is SO incredibly expensive and unfortunately, this is a $20 dish at this place so make it at home I must!

Luckily for me (and my family), my experiment turned out pretty well because although I really like that restaurant, I haven’t been back since I concocted my own sauce. And recently, I was talking to a friend about this very restaurant and she mentioned her husband loves the sauce as well. We scheduled a day for her to come over and we cooked this dish right up in my kitchen and she agreed! The sauce tastes very similar to what you get at the restaurant. And it’s so incredibly easy, yet looks like you spent way more time on it.

Jalapeno Cream Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 c. pickled jalapenos, chopped (these can be found on the pickle aisle)
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 c. half & half
  • 1 heaping tbsp. flour
  • White pepper, cayenne, salt to taste

In a skillet or saucepan, heat over medium heat. Add butter and let melt. Add in the jalapenos and sun dried tomatoes and let cook for a couple of minutes, until warmed through. While that’s cooking, in a measuring cup, add the half & half and the flour. Use a whisk to combine and stir until smooth. This is the slurry that will thicken the sauce. Add in the garlic to the pan and let sauté about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and add in the slurry. Bring heat back up to medium, and whisk. As it comes up to a bubble, it will thicken. Add in the seasonings a little at a time, tasting as you go. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.  *White pepper and cayenne are very strong flavors so start off lightly.

jc saucejc sauce 2jc sauce 3jc sauce 4jc sauce 5jc sauce 6Once the sauce has thickened and is seasoned to your liking, pour over whatever you like! I love this on a panko coated pan fried chicken. I’ve also served it with shrimp and pasta and it went very well together. The restaurant that I got the idea from, uses it as a dipping sauce for calamari as well.

jc sauce 8And surprisingly, my kids really like this sauce. I just make sure to put it on the side and they dip their chicken in it. Family friendly!

Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers

stuffed peppers 2I’m so fancy, you already know….. Or at least that’s how this recipe will make you feel! 🙂 This dish may look fancy and time consuming, but looks can be deceiving.

I made these peppers after spending most of the day at the beach, which is an hour away. After the drive, lugging around beach equipment and tending to my three beasts lovely children, I was feeling a wee bit tired when I got home. But the beauty of this recipe is that it’s easy! So even if you’ve had a busy day, this dish can be done!!!

So the hardest part about this recipe is roasting the peppers. It’s not really hard, but it’s just the longest step in the process. And the final outcome? Creamy with a nice pop of texture from the shrimp. It all blends so well together. Totally worth it! And you can easily make this recipe ahead of time if you’re having company. Just pop in the fridge until you’re ready to bake and serve. I know I’m all about doing things ahead of time.

Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers (serves 5)

  • 5 large poblano peppers, also known as pasilla peppers
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed (31-40 count)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 8 ounce block cream cheese or Neufchatel (softened)
  • 1/4 tsp. each of ground cumin and chili powder
  • Sliced green onions and chopped cilantro (for garnish)

First, roast the peppers. If you have a gas range, this makes things a lot easier! Just crank that heat up and place those peppers on the flame. As the pepper blackens, turn and continue to roast until the whole pepper is charred. Place into a gallon Ziploc bag and close. I let mine sit in there for over an hour but you can probably do it within a half hour. Just take the peppers out and with a knife, scrape off the skin. They’ll have sweated inside that bag, making it a lot easier for the skin to slide off. Once all the skin is off, slice lengthwise down the middle of the pepper and remove the seeds, leaving the stem intact. Rinse the peppers and pat dry. If you don’t have a gas range, an outdoor BBQ will work or you can put the peppers in the oven and turn the broiler on high, making sure to leave the oven door cracked while doing so.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Next, heat a pan on medium high and then add olive oil once hot. Add the shrimp, onions and jalapenos and sauté for a few minutes until the shrimp are ALMOST done, (done is when the shrimp is completely pink). Try not to cook all the way through though. While the shrimp is cooking, put the cream cheese into a bowl, along with the cumin and chili powder. Add the cooked shrimp mixture to the bowl, along with the Monterey jack. The warm mixture will help to further soften the cream cheese, making it easy to stir and combine. Then divide the shrimp/cheese mixture evenly among the peppers, stuffing them. Place all peppers into a dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

When peppers are done, garnish with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.

stuffed peppers 9stuffed peppers 8stuffed peppers 7stuffed peppers 6stuffed peppers 5stuffed peppers 4stuffed peppers 3stuffed peppersMy hubs said these peppers were “fabulous”. He’s not the type of man that usually uses that word. So I took it as a huge compliment.

Hope this recipes knocks the socks right off of you!

Panko Fried Shrimp

fried shrimpOne word to describe these fried shrimp? Yummy. Wait! Another word? Crunchy! Okay so that’s two words, but if you like yummy and crunchy shrimp, then TRY THIS. I seriously cannot wait to eat this again.

Panko Fried Shrimp

  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (21-25 count) peeled, deveined and butterflied (tails off)
  •  1 c. flour
  •  1 tbsp. cornstarch
  •  1 tsp. sugar
  •  1 1/2 c. very cold water
  •  2 c. panko crumbs
  •  1/8 tsp. white pepper
  •  1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  •  Canola oil

Peel, devein, butterfly and rinse the shrimp. If you’ve never done this before, it’s easy but takes time. Don’t know how? I’ll try my best to help you out. Slip your finger under the shell and gently pry off. Take a small knife, run it down along the length of the entire top of the shrimp, cutting about halfway into the shrimp.

My 8 year took this for me because my hands were in use, as you can see

My 8 year took this for me because my hands were in use, as you can see

Scrape out the nasty stuff. You’ll see it, sometimes it’s a pale peach color, brown or black. After you take that out, you can lay the shrimp on the cutting board and gently press it down to flatten it.

Child photographer at work

Child photographer at work

Just make sure you don’t cut all the way through or else it won’t be butterflied, it will be in two pieces and that’s what you don’t want. Rinse and dry the shrimp.

This is what the shrimp should look like when you're done

This is what the shrimp should look like when you’re done

Heat a skillet (again I used my cast iron) filled with oil on medium to medium high (about an inch up the sides). This is a shallow fry. While this is heating up, mix together your batter.

Add the flour, sugar, cornstarch and cold water to a bowl. Using a fork or whisk, stir until combined. In a shallow dish, mix together the panko, white pepper and garlic powder.

breading stationHere’s how it goes. Take a butterflied shrimp and dip it into the batter. This is a loose batter so not much will stick. Then press the shrimp into the panko, making sure to coat both sides. That’s what you will do for each shrimp. When the oil is ready you can start frying. To make sure oil is hot enough, you can drop some panko crumbs in there and if they sizzle and brown up, it’s ready. If the oil is smoking, it’s way too hot. If you’ve fried before, you’re familiar with how it works.

frying shrimp

That little blur to the left? I think that’s a puppy face in motion.

Gently lay the shrimp into the hot oil. It only take 2-3 minutes per side. Turn the shrimp over when the underside is a nice golden brown. The other side will fry up even quicker. Drain shrimp on paper towels and serve immediately.

I served this with sweet chili sauce and it was in my opinion (and my husband’s) the perfect compliment to the shrimp. I also think sweet and sour would be a great choice as well.

This shrimp was served along side some white rice and cabbage salad with peanut & sesame dressing. OMG. Yes, it was that good.

fried shrimp 2