Monthly Archives: March 2015

Baked Taco Bowls

Thinking outside the box of your normal burrito and not wanting to go to a restaurant for a taco salad….I thought I should try making the crunchy taco bowl myself.  I also didn’t want to mess with a fryer.  I was feeling lazy I guess. This is an easy baked version that will still give you that deep filled, stand up crunchy bowl!

The Starting Linep

  • Flour tortillas, burrito size
  • Canola oil or spray
  • Cumin & chili powder (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place mason jars (EVERYONE has mason jars these days) upside down on a baking sheet. *you can also use an oven proof mug, small bowl or even a large crumpled ball of foil. Next, I like to put my tortillas in a warmer in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to make them more pliable. Lightly coat each side of the tortilla in a bit of canola oil.  If you have the spray, you can do that to each side instead.  Drape the tortillas over your jars. *Here is where I’ll go ahead and sprinkle on some chili powder and cumin to the outside of the tortillas.  It will stick to the oil and give the shell a nice color and flavor! Bake the tortillas for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven.  Watch closely as not to burn, a few charred edges are good and ‘rustic’ in my eyes ;). You may have to turn the baking sheet for an even color on all of them. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then pull off the jars and fill!!  They hold up great!image *If you have a while till your filling is ready, pop back in your turned OFF oven to keep warm.

Serrano Cilantro Sauce

Sauce.  Condiment.  Dressing.  Dip.  Call it what you want and use it how you like.  It’s spicy and delicious no matter what your terminology is.  

Awhile back, I was trying to think up a spicy, green-sauce style of goodness for our brisket tacos and I came up with this.  The creaminess of it goes so well drizzled over a Mexican or TexMex meal.  Now let’s fast forward to yesterday, I had a craving for a big ol taco salad and thought “Hey!  Why not use this as a salad dressing too??” Excellent choice, self.

You won’t mind making this often since it’s as easy as 1-2-3!  You add the ingredients to your blender, pulse and enjoy!  Done.  *If you’re like us and finish your jar worth in a week tops, then the simplicity in preparing this is an awesome perk! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 Serrano Peppers
  • 1 small bushel of Cilantro
  • 3/4 cup ofMayonnaise 
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Ignore the sour cream in this pic… I was going to try it (go ahead if you like) but thought it wasn’t needed.  So save it for you taco salad! 😉

As far as ‘prep work’ goes with the above ingredients, all I needed to do was rinse the veggies, chop off the stems on the serranos (leave in the seeds and ribs!) and peel the garlic cloves.  Once that’s done in mere minutes, add everything to your blender, liquids first.

I pulsed my blender a few times till my desired consistency was achieved.  Personally, I like it to resemble a ranch dressing in thickness.  If you want it thinner add a tbsp+ of water.

Seal it up, store in your fridge and begin to get things ready for your fiesta….💃

Chicken Roulade with Roasted Red Peppers & Herbed Goat Cheese 

Roulade: a dish of filled-rolled meat.  Traditionally found in European cuisine.

Yes, things are getting fancy in our part of Texas!  However, the only fancy part of this meal is its name, because it’s ridiculously easy to prepare!  You can of course roll any choice of meat/poultry with any flavor of cheese, breadcrumbs and vegetables.  In our case, we love the tang of goat cheese, the freshness of parsley and sweet subtleness of roasted red bell peppers.  They go together marvelously!  Even my three-year-old was impressed and ate all of his chicken!  Happy momma here ☺️

*I actually did not have any jarred red peppers on hand, so I just made my own out of an extra bell pepper in my fridge!  Pretty dang easy and you can’t beat the freshness!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 Chicken Breast Filets (thin cut or halve thicker breasts & pound out)
  • 1 jar Roasted Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (chopped)
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 400degrees.  Prepare an oven-proof casserole dish with 2 Tbsp of EVOO and spread around base of dish.  Cut your roasted peppers into long strips and chop & mince your parsley & garlic.. Those are some pretty colors right there!

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese with your chopped parsley and minced garlic. So far this is pretty easy right?? 👍

Next, lay your thin cut/pounded out chicken down flat into your casserole dish.  Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over each filet.  Place a few strips of your roasted red bell peppers down on the chicken filet (aim your placement for just a third of the chicken, you can scootch it over after you place on chicken) and top it with a hearty spoonful or two of your cheese mixture.  Now carefully roll up your breast like a jelly roll.  Your stuffing WILL spill out a bit.  Don’t worry, once rolled up you can push it back into the roulade.  *I like to stick 2-3 toothpicks through the top to hold in place while cooking.

Yes, I did trim some of that unsightly fat off my third chicken breast.

*When they’re all rolled and ready for the oven I like to drizzle a bit more EVOO and salt & pepper over top.  Helps flavor and brown the tops!

Now pop this in the oven, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165degrees.  Let rest for a few minutes and then serve!

*I paired the chicken roulade with my Sweet Bacon Brussels Sprouts and a wild rice quinoa blend!

Sweet Bacon Brussels Sprouts

It’s funny how as a child of my generation or older, if you heard the word Brussels sprouts, spinach, mushroom, anchovies etc you immediately cringed and wanted to run to a far off land before sitting at the dinner table.  What’s even weirder is that I NEVER did even try some of the above foods before assuming I’d just positively rather die than consume them.

Now as an adult and more open minded, I adore these foods!!!  I think it’s partly due to growing older, but also because these things are flavored better than ever before.  Your average household years ago didn’t have fresh herb gardens, local farmers markets, pink Himalayan sea salt or truffle oil in their pantry.  You had can goods.  Frozen veggies if you were lucky.  Now even I can agree with my childhood self that canned spinach is nasty, vile stuff.  Not even the same as fresh spinach leaves.  Bleh!

So if you were one of those kids too, do yourself a favor and try the below recipe.  Once you’ve eaten your entire serving you can thank me and will feel even more grown up than before...looks good huh??

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb bag of fresh Brussels sprouts, rinsed & halved
  • 4+ strips of bacon, I prefer thick cut peppered
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

First off, in a heavy bottom large skillet (love my #Lodge cast iron for this) place your bacon in and cook till crispy.

While the bacon is cooking, rinse your Brussels sprouts in a collander in the sink and cut each in half lengthwise.

After bacon has finished cooking, set aside on a paper towel lined dish.  Keep that delicious bacon grease IN the pan.  This will add the most delicious flavor to your sprouts.  With the pan on medium heat, add in your shallot and sweat it about 1minute.  Place your sprouts cut side down in the pan and cook till they start to caramelize.

After they’ve caramelized, gently toss around to continue cooking till tender, 5-10 minutes.  During that time add back in the bacon (chopped), honey, vinegar, Dijon, 1/2 of your Parmesan cheese and S&P to taste.  *feel free to mess around with your honey, apple cider vinegar & Dijon amounts.  If you like it sweeter add more honey.  If you prefer it tangier maybe more vinegar or Dijon.image

Once combined, transfer to a serving dish and top with the remaining Parmesan!

Brown Sugar & Apple Pancakes

Tomorrow being Sunday, my official lazy brunch day, is the best time to make these!  Given there is fresh fruit and an oil substitute, you can feel somewhat healthy when eating these or feeding them to your kiddos.  They’re not overly sweet but will remind you of a deep dish apple pie.  Enjoy!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 Red Apple, your choice
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour, leveled
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp BakingPowder
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 200degrees.  Cut your apple into bite size chunks and place in a Saranwrap covered bowl.  Put the apple filled bowl into the microwave for about 2 minutes until softened.  Set aside.

In large bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, add together the milk, egg, applesauce & vanilla.  Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.   Pour the softened apple chunks into the batter and carefully mix in.  You don’t want to overmix the pancake batter, some small lumps are ok.

Heat a nonstick pan or buttered griddle to medium heat.  I, personally, like to spray my pan with extra nonstick spray between pancakes.  Cook each pancake about 2-3 minutes, until tiny bubbles form on the top.  Carefully flip over to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Transfer these pancakes to an oven safe plate or baking sheet and place in the warmed oven till brunch time!

*These pancakes take on a darker color than normal due to the brown sugar.  Serve with warmed REAL Maple Syrup , extra softened apple chunks and a dollop of apple sauce!

Roasted Squash & Chicken Soup

Depending on what part of the country you live in, basically anywhere but Arizona (where it is already 90-degrees outside), you’ll find this recipe keeping you warm and full!  There are many flavors in this dish that work wonderfully together.  Pair a bowlful with a great piece of crusty bread and butter.  Dinner done!  …yes, it’s still fantastic in sunny AZ..

The Starting Lineup

1 pckg chicken breasts or tenderloins
•4 cups chicken stock/broth
•1 pckg 1/3 light cream cheese (cubed)
•1 can diced tomatoes (plain, undrained)
•1 can black beans (low sodium, rinsed)
•1 cup corn**
•1 butternut squash (roasted; keep the seeds and set aside)
•1 yellow onion (chopped)
•2 stalks celery (leaves included)
•1 carrot (chopped)
•2 cloves garlic (minced)
•1 small can chipotle chili in adobo
•3 tsp+ cumin
•Sea or Kosher salt/Pepper
•E.V. Olive oil
•nonstick spray
•Light sour cream

*you can use either a heavy bottom dutch oven on a simmer or a crockpot. I opted for crockpot so I could walk away for longer 😉

Line a large pot or crockpot with nonstick.  Add the chicken with the can of undrained tomatoes and about a cup of chicken broth.  Cover and turn on low.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise.  Squash can be a bit thick skinned and seem difficult to cut, so keep your patience and be safe with that knife!  Place on foil covered baking sheet (I sprayed nonstick on foil) and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over both pieces.  Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper and a tsp of cumin on each.  Place in oven for 40 min till soft and a bit caramelized.

Meanwhile, chop your onion, celery, carrot & garlic.  Heat a pan & a tbsp of oil to med high heat.  Add in the onion, celery & carrot with a tsp of cumin & salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 5-10minutes till tender and turn pan down to low.  Add the garlic and cook 30-60 seconds.  Remove from heat.

Around now your squash should be about done.  Remove from oven and let cool to touch.

Once cooled, cut or peel the rind off the squash leaving as much flesh intact as possible.  Cut the squash into rough bite size pieces.  Add around 1/2-2/3 of squash to a food processor, leaving remaining 1/2-1/3
of cut pieces aside.  Add the veggie mix from pan into the food processor along with one chipotle chili and about a tbsp sauce from can. *I like to add at least 2 chilis, but I like it spicy.  If you don’t like any heat, then omit all chilis 🙂 Reserve the rest of can for later.

Blend till smooth..add 1/2 cup chicken broth if needed to thin. (A blender would work also, just make sure the ingredients are not too hot…better yet, if you have an immersion blender use that in main pan!).

**Corn, extra step, I either roast my corn or pan fry it in same pan as I cooked above veggies in to give it a char.  Not necessary, but I like it for color and extra taste.

Rinse black beans.

Now add the corn, black beans, the set aside cut squash pieces and the veggie purée you made to the pot with chicken.  Add the remaining chicken broth to your taste.  Cover and let continue to cook.  If in a crockpot, allow 4-6 hours on high or 8+ on low.

About a good hour or so before you’re ready to eat, add the cubed cream cheese to pot and allow to cook down and melt.


*I like to roast the squash seeds just like you would with pumpkin seeds. Olive oil & sea salt.  Sprinkle over soup & chipotle cream.

*Chipotle Cream: Mix 1/2 cup of your sour cream with a tbsp+ of the reserved chipotle chili sauce.  I shake mine in a cooking squeeze bottle and drizzle over.  A big dollop of the chipotle cream would be just as good too! 🙂

*If you don’t have carrots, add a tsp or two of sugar added to onion, celery mix.

*In the crockpot on low (from when I originally added the chicken), I had it on for around 8 hours.

*I shred the chicken a bit with two forks in pot before serving.

Any other questions (hoping I forgot nothing!!) please ask 🙂

Guinness Corned Beef Sliders

Growing up I was quite fond of St. Paddy’s Day.  The corned beef and cabbage part, I was not.  Since being on my own, I created something along the lines of the traditional American-Irish meal.  However, mine is better.  At least to me.  It is also a crockpot meal, so you can be at work during the day and when you return home all you need to do is eat & have a green beer. 🍀🍻

The Starting Lineup

  • 3lb+ corned beef
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, quartered
  • 1 bottle of Guinness 
  • 1-2 cups water 
  • KerryGold Dubliner cheese, sliced
  • Bakery slider rolls/potato buns
  • *I like too add spicy mustard or this great, simple sauce to my finished sliders.

Tangy Horseradish Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon creamy horseradish sauce (or more to taste)

Mix all of the above ingredients together, cover and refrigerate till serving.

In a large crockpot, spray with non-stick and place in your cut veggies.  They’ll act as a rack for the brisket.

Layer your corned beef over top.  Typically, it will either have the seasoning already on it or you just cut open and sprinkle the attached packet over top the meat. (In a crockpot I like to trim off some of the fat before cooking it.  Normally fat is a great thing for flavor, but a crockpot makes meats so tender due to its long cook-time).. Add in the 2cups water and the Guinness over top.

Whelp!  That’s it for the meat!  Cover that baby up and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for about 5-6.

Dinner time!!!!  Serve how you please, but I like to halve potato rolls and place on a lined baking sheet.  Brush halved buns lightly with a bit of olive oil, butter or non-stick spray.  Place under the ovens broiler for just a couple minutes till golden.  Meanwhile, slice up that Irish KerryGold cheese!

Assemble the tender, hot corned beef over the toasted bun bottom and top with a slice of cheese or two, tangy sauce and the bun top!  Serve with a cold Guinness and repeat! 

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