Tag Archives: arizona

Southwest Flank Steak Chili & Grits

My days growing up in hot & spicy Arizona has met our southern grit life here in the south with this one!  All of the flavors of a traditional chili soaked up into yummy, bacon and cheese loaded grits.  The juxtaposition of textures and flavors is on point with this recipe!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-3/4 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4oz can green chilis, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup American-cheddar blend cheese, shredded (pepper jack or cheddar works too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Prepared grits (I loaded ours up with green onion, bacon crumbles and cheese)

 

To your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the tomatoes, pinto beans, green chiles and jalapeno.  Roughly tear 2 of the corn tortillas up and add to the liquid mixture.

Butterfly the flank steak horizontally, without cutting all the way through (opening like a book).  Lightly pound the steak until about 1/4 inch thick.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.  Press the cheese over the steak in an even layer, followed by the cilantro and arrange the last 2 of the corn tortillas over top, overlapping if needed.  Starting with the long side, roll up into log-form/pinwheel and tie with kitchen twine; tuck ends in and tie lengthwise as well.  Transfer your steak pinwheel to the slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cover and set to low for 7 hours.  *Add corn in 30 minutes prior to eating.

Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice into pretty pinwheel medallions and serve over loaded, bacon’y, cheesy grits with a ladle of the slow cooker juices and vegetables over top!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

ChileGrits

Southwest Goulash

Growing up in Arizona I know what southwest flavors are…if you’ve ever been to the beautiful city of Sedona then you really know!  Also growing up, we ate lots of goulash, like LOTS.  It’s a yummy and inexpensive meal that feeds a family, right?  So I decided to combine the two and give that extra bit of flavor from home into my new home of the equally beautiful Texas.  It really didn’t disappoint..even the leftovers are gone!  Score!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 cup (8oz) macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup corn, from frozen
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can diced Mexican-style tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra Virginia olive oil

Garnish (optional)

  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeño slices    

Start this one pot meal by adding a tbsp of olive oil to a large pan or dutch oven on medium heat.  Add in the ground beef and stir occasionaly to brown and cook through. 

Meanwhile, chop up the veggies, rinse the beans, etc. 🙂

 

Now that the meat it cooked, skim off excess grease and then add in the onions, jalapeńo, garlic, cumin and the taco seasoning packet.  Sauté and stir often for 3-4 minutes (or until onions are slightly soft).


Next add in the corn, beans, canned and chopped tomatoes  (salt & pepper to taste) and give a toss.

 

Directly after, add in the uncooked pasta noodles and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15-20 minutes, till noodles are slightly tender. 

 

While the noodles are cooking in your one-pot wonder, you can get the garnish’s ready!  Again, we like cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, etc.. 


Now that it’s done (quick right??), spoon a good helping into a bowl and add on your favorite toppings!  Enjoy!! 

  

  

Spring Break ’16

I’m baacckkkk….as it may of seemed that I took a bit of a hiatus, I was actually having so much fun visiting family and friends in Arizona and California.  We may of even saw Mr. Mickey Mouse himself!

We started the LONG journey from north central Texas (why o’ why didn’t we fly?? next time for sure!) to Arizona with our two boys in tow.  If you’ve never driven through Texas, or even halfway through, I compare it to flying to the moon.  Yes, it IS that large.  Finally, after battling the I-10 El Paso traffic and smell, the boring flat trip through New Mexico, we arrived to our destination of the perfectly manicured northwest valley of Arizona! 

We fortunately left a day earlier than planned so we got to spend a day with family (Tuesday..outside of our vehicle, yay!) hanging out and enjoying good food and cocktails.  ..because that very next morning we were back at it and off to California!

Luckily comparing that drive to Los Angeles vs the prior one from Granbury, TX to north Peoria, AZ felt like a quick trip to the grocery store.  After a great ‘girls-night’ evening with family we woke up (now Thursday) and jetted off to Disneyland!!  Myself along with my two boys (4 and almost 3 years old) mother in law, sister in law, niece and her son (3 years old) had the best time!!!  The look on their faces seeing the ‘real’ Mickey & Minnie, Goofy..Spider-Man, Darth Vader, all the rides, just priceless oh my!  We won’t speak of Brooks and my ride on the Matterhorn however, we’ll save that for a near death experience blog ;). 

             The very next morning (Friday..are you keeping up here?? Cause I was exhausted!), we headed back to Phoenix for a mexican fiesta at my mother in laws home where we always stay.  More friends and family came over and we stayed up late!  *Two-Stepping, guitar playing and lots of laughter may have ensued. 

 I believe it’s now Saturday morning, my mind is a bit foggy..I’m not sure if it’s from the car rides across states, constant activities or the free flowing wine, but I’m awake and ready for round 52!!  It’s my best friends wedding at the beautiful Carefree Resort & Conference Center..and boy was it ever!!  

Thankfully the boys were off for a fun day of the zoo, park and lunch with their aunt, uncle and grandpa (seriously, they’re having the best week of their tiny lives!), while I attempted to pull myself together, wipe the bags from my eyes and get wedding ready!! 

   All in all, we had the best time at Mr & Mrs Softley’s shindig!  A beautiful environment with beautiful friends I’ve had since I was 14!  No need to ask how old I am, but let’s just say we’ve all been friends for a while ;). 

       Our last day…Sunday.  Like everyday before, it was a busy day of getting laundry and packing done, collecting all of the boys’ new toys from their too nice family members, a Target shopping trip and a farewell till next year dinner.  Teary goodbyes, please-stay-here’s & hugs.  Monday morning we were out…till next year AZ!  I’m back to cookin’!!!

We’re home!!

 
*who ever was curious to Shane’s where-a-bouts half of the time, it involved guitar playing, an acoustic show at the Irish Wolfhound Pub and LOTS of tattooing!  His back kind of hurts ;). He also got a secret surprise when we returned home last night!  In cahoots with his two best friends who run a motorcycle shop, they tricked out his bike with new white wall tires, fxrp suspension, etc while we were away..one HAPPY boy!! 

      

She’s a beaut!

 

Chilaquiles con Huevos with Roasted Verde Sauce

Wow!  I’m almost bilingual with this recipe!  It may definitely be ‘Spanglish’, BUT it IS authentic and delicious!!  

Roasting the vegetables gives the verde sauce such a great depth of flavor and frying the corn tortillas makes for such a better chip!  Please don’t use store bought chips here…scratch frying really holds up to that spicy green sauce and never turns into a soupy mess.  

Now you can eat this sans the egg and it’s just as good, but for breakfast in my house, my boys must have the huevos!  This is also fantastic with a side of potatoes and beans…oh, maybe a cerveza too!!!  Assuming, it’s your day off of course 😉

The Starting Lineup

Verde Sauce

  • 1lb tomatillos (about 12), husked, rinsed & halved
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 white onion, rough chopped (reserve a couple thin slices)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth, depending how thick/thin you like it
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander 

Tortilla Chips

  • 10-12 corn tortillas, cut into triangles
  • Canola or Vegetable oil (about 1/2+ cups)

Garnish

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • White onion, thinly sliced 

Huevos

  • 1-2 eggs per person, fried -over hard or runny yolk      

To begin this easier than sounding recipe, preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  *Typically takes about 15 minutes.

While the oven is warming, rinse all of the peppers, cilantro and husked tomatillos (they can be kind of sticky).  

On a foil lined baking sheet, lay the 3 peppers, the sliced and husked tomatillos, the garlic (still in skin) and the roughly chopped onion (I still leave skin on here too).  Drizzle a bit of EVOO overtop and sprinkle on the the salt & pepper. 

 Place this on the oven’s top rack (now turn to broil with oven door slightly opened), and let the vegetables char for about 5-7 minutes.  You may need to turn them occasionally during this time.  Once they’ve finished and have that lovely ‘burnt’ look to them, remove the baking sheet and turn off the oven. 

 While those are just slightly cooling, heat up the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Once the oil is ready, start frying up the cut up corn tortillas in 2-3 batches.  *Try to lay them in the hot oil almost one by one (but quickly) so that they don’t stick together.  This will only take a couple of minutes.  Once finished, transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle the hot chips lightly with salt. 

   Meanwhile, in a seperate pan, cook your huevos (aka eggs ;)) to your taste. 

Also, finish up that verde sauce!  In a blender combine 1/2 cup of cilantro (stems & all), the chicken broth, the roasted tomatillos, peppers (stems cut off), onion (outter ‘skin’ removed) and push the roasted garlic out of its ‘skin’ as well.  Top this off with a tsp each of the coriander and cumin.  Place the lid onto the blender along with a hand towel (hot liquids and blenders..keep safe!) and blend till smooth! 

     Remove the oil from the tortilla chip pan and carefully wipe clean..Over low heat, add in most (or all) of the verde sauce and bring to a simmer.  Toss in the freshly fried tortilla chips and cook for just 3-5 minutes as you don’t want them “mushy”,… bleh… 

 Spoon the warm tortilla-verde-sauce mixture into individual serving bowls.  Top each with the crumbled queso fresco cheese, a drizzle of the Mexican crema, thinly sliced white onion and fresh cilantro…oh and don’t forget the huevos!!!  Enjoy! 

 

The Sonoran Hot Dog

Arizona.  Besides the heat, my memories of the desert often pertain to the delish Sonoran delicacies that you can only get there.  I’ve yet to find the Mexican food of home in my years long search (sob), which is why you can frequently find me recreating them in my own kitchen.

A hot dog staple in Arizona is The Sonoran Dog (Sonora, Mexico)…it’s as popular in AZ as the Chicago Dog is…well..everywhere else.  It’s even listed on the Food Networks top ten hotdogs to try!

It’s crazy easy to recreate and you can cook them on the stove top, your broiler or even make a fiesta out of it and grill them up!  Just don’t forget the cerveza!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package of bun-length hotdogs
  • 6-8 strips bacon (one strip per hotdog)
  • 1 package Bolillo rolls (bakery)
  • 1 can pinto beans (borracho style if possible)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Mustard  

First off, let’s wrap each one of those hotdogs with a strip of bacon.  If needed, you can use a toothpick to secure the bacon while cooking. 

 Heat a skillet up to almost medium and place in the bacon wrapped dogs.  Cook on all sides till crisp.  When finished, transfer to a paper towl lined plate to absorb any extra grease. 

  

That bottom dog was a real jerk…was not helping me out whatsoever!

While the bacon dogs are frying away, you have time to prep your veggies!  Slices and dice the tomatoes, onion and jalapeño.  *you could even use a premade jalapeño flavored sauce here instead. 

Also, bring your borracho (pinto) beans to a simmer on the stove.

Now that every thing is about complete (super simple recipe right?), take a sharp serrated knife and make a slit through the middle of each roll.  Do NOT cut all the way through.  You’re making more of a ‘pocket’ with the rolls.   *I like to take just a bit of the bread out of each roll(slit) so that you can really fill with a bunch of goodies! 
 

Assembly time is the best time!!  First, ladle a good amount of beans into each pocket of the Bolillo rolls. 

I forgot to grab a pic of the beans earlier, so youll have to make do with my friends plate 😉

Next, place the bacon-wrapped hot dog on top of the beans.  Then garnish with a good amount of tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and a drizzle each of the mayo & mustard.  Make sure to grab a few napkins because these things are dangerously messy and delicious! 

 

*I dislike mayo, but it’s good on here.  My friend hates tomatoes, but likes it on here…so just make it as directed…you’ll love it! 😉

Carne Asada Fries

When missing the west coast and after a lake bound, fun weekend, we want to devour some good ol Carne Asada Fries!  Mmmmm…..but duh!  Why not just make them ourselves??  These are so tasty and fresh that you do not even have to be tipsy to enjoy them! 😉🍻

The Starting Lineup

  • Marinated Flank Steak 
  • French Fries, frozen
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream

*Carne

  • 1 cup Goya Mojo Criollo marinade
  • 1 cup Goya Naranja Agria marinade
  • 1 Tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp cumin

*Pico de Gallo

  • 2 large ripe Tomatoes
  • 1/2 red/or white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt

*Guacamole 

  • 2-3 Avocados, ripe
  • 1/2 red/white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced UNseeded
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt & pepper

Well, here is where my ‘Starting Lineup’ picture takes a hit.  There are a few from scratch starter pics that could have taken place, and did,…or you can buy some of these things premade.  

I was also trying to not have an 8-page recipe due to just pictures, so I have condensed it.  I take ZERO accountability for any product that’s been bought and made at your local grocer.  Fresh IS best.  However, it is absolutely acceptable..👌😉

Let us start with the carne.. I either A. go to our local carneceria and purchase ‘a bag’ of premarinted flank steak OR B. go to our local grocer and buy their version.  Both pretty damn good.    

In a large freezer bag (plus dish for spillage) add in your pre-marinated flank steak and the 4 other instructed ingredients.  Keep in fridge for at least 2 hours.  Flip the carne as needed. 

 Meanwhile, preheat your oven to your French Fries instructions.  Also, prepare your pico and guac (if you haven’t already).  You can absolutely deep-fry the French fries, but I think that when baked, they add a good crunch.

 Your carne can be cooked in ANY way you prefer.  When my husband is home, I like him to grill it for me.  Sooo freakin’ tasty!! …and he feels included too 😉

 

this is just 1/3 of the meat..I always make too much

Cook the steak to your desired doneness and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Cut the Carne Asada across the grain and then chop!  Take out your daily  frustration right here! 

  

 My favorite, assembly time, has come!!!  Layer the Carne Asada on top of your crispy fries.  Next, a heavy handful of freshly grated cheddar to melt over the warm meat and fries.  Top it off with a hefty spoonful of fresh pico, guac and the sour cream.  Oh my gosh, please enjoy!!!  We did! 

 


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