Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Cheese"

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This is a delicious cornbread recipe that will make for a great side dish. Pair with a rack of ribs like I did in my 72 Hour Sous Vide Ribs or with a hearty soup like chili. Whatever the occasion this simple and cheap cornbread recipe will be sure to impress. An easy twist on a classic Americana recipe. 


  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups of yellow cornmeal 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded and divided 

Place 12" cast iron skill in oven and pre-heat the oven to 450°F

First, slice the top off the jalapeno and seed. Then slice 6 jalapeno rings to top the cornbread with, medium dice the rest of the jalapeno. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together, then mix in with the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the jalapeno's and 1 cup of shredded cheddar, do not over mix. 

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and carefully butter the pan (on the bottom and the sides). Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet, top with jalapeno rings and the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test (toothpick should come out dry when cornbread is poked). It should be brown on the top and pulling away from the sides of the skillet. 

Polish Feast

I've been a bad blogger lately, so sorry it has been awhile since I last posted something. I've been cooking...but been kind of lazy about posting. I also had a little bout with food poisoning (not my food!) which set me back a day...it was a horrible 24 hours. Anyways, onto the Polish Feast! Lee's mom came to visit from Fort Wayne, IN not too long ago. It was also right after her birthday and she requested polish food for her meal. I've never really dabbled with polish food much, except for eating it....so I figured this would be a great opportunity to make some polish food! Enjoy :)

Homemade Galumpkis w/ Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce

Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 quarts crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Galumpkis Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Splash dry red wine
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked white rice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Coat a 3-quart saucepan with the oil and place over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar; simmer, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, a splash of wine, parsley, and 1/2 cup of the prepared sweet and sour tomato sauce, mix to incorporate and then take it off the heat. Combine the ground meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the cooked rice, and the sauteed onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and discard. Cut out the cores of the cabbages with a sharp knife and carefully pull off all the rest of the leaves, keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible, (get rid of all the small leaves and use them for coleslaw or whatever.) Blanch the cabbage leaves in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until pliable. Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets you have to wrap up the filling. Next, carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Put about 1/2 cup of the meat filling in the center of the cabbage and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling (like a burrito). Cover the bottom of the casserole pan with sauce. Then place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in the casserole pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the remaining sweet and sour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Bake for 1 hour until the meat is cooked.

Homemade Pierogies

  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 5 large red potatoes 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt, pulse to incorporate. Beat the egg and add it to the flour and salt mixture, pulse again to incorporate. Add the sour cream and the butter pieces and mix until the dough loses most of it's stickiness. Remove the dough and give it a few quick kneeds, form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight (the dough can be kept in the fridge for 2 days). 

For the filling, peel and boil 5 large potatoes until soft. Red potatoes are especially good for this. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and saute in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions and 4-8oz of grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your pierogies), adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives, or other enhancements if you desire. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1" balls.

Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2" for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.
Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.
Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. 

Nothing says Pittsburgh like polish food! Since the Pirates are playing so well and this is a polish food post...I figured I'd share this nice little blast by Andrew McCLUTCHen!

Taco Smash Burger

When making taco's last week, I thought "you know what?? I want to make a taco burger." So this, inevitably, is what I came up with. All the great taco flavors in a bun! Since I don't have a grill at my place, I decided to do these burger smash style. Where you basically make a big meatball instead of a patty, put it on a hot griddle and then literally smash it down. You can of course cook the burgers any way you would like. Enjoy!

  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 3 Hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 6 slices Colby-jack cheese
  • Happy Valley Salsa, or your favorite brand
  • Frito's
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Guacamole 
  • Taco sauce

Mix the ground beef with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, trying not to over work the beef. Separate into even, 1/3 lbs, meatballs and refrigerate until ready to cook. If you are going to grill your burgers, form them into patties and skip the smash steps of this recipe. 

Heat a griddle over medium high heat. Lightly butter each side of the hamburger buns and grill, face down, until golden brown. Put the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the griddle and coat evenly. Place the meatballs onto the hot griddle and sear for about 1 minute. Flip the balls over and smash down with a metal spatula until it's flat. You can also use a cast iron pan and work in batches. When the burger is almost done, place two slices of cheese on top of each burger, cover and melt the cheese. 

For assembly, spoon a little taco sauce  on the bottom bun (I used Taco Bell fire sauce, I always ask for extra packets). Then on the top bun, spread some guacamole and sprinkle shredded lettuce on top. Place the burger on the bun, top with a spoon full of Happy Valley Salsa and some Frito's. 

**Note: Only smash burgers when cooking this way. Do not, smash, press or over turn your burgers when grilling. I know it's tempting to keep flipping them and make big flames shoot out of your grill. But, you will be losing all those great juices in the meat if you do. You should only have to flip your burgers once!!**

Song of the Recipe

Such a fun group and definitely on the list of bands I want to see live. Just another group that makes me want to buy and rock out on an accordion! 

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