Tag Archives: jalapeno

Spicy Cantaloupe Margarita

Hey guys! I’d say it has heated up a bit and we’re ready to venture into the cocktails that cool us down poolside!  So yeah, it’s Cocktails with Carly time!

I thought this up while (sweating) in the backyard and dreaming of an ice cold agua fresca from one of those delicious Mexican markets.  You know, where you get a couple pounds of carne asada to grill up later and a couple pound burrito for the now.  So remembering that I had a perfectly ripe cantaloupe on my counter I knew I could make this happen!

Now the only main difference to my homemade agua fresca is that well…. I made it into a margarita! 😉  That’s what happens when you find the tequila next to the blender…..

The Starting Lineup

Cantaloupe Puree

  • 1 cantaloupe, rind removed and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of salt

Garnish

  • Silver tequila
  • Jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • Limes, quartered
  • Unsweetened coconut

CanteloupeJalapeno1

Time for some easy, yet impressive cocktail hosting friends!  Simply add the ingredients of the cantaloupe puree (cantaloupe, water, sugar, honey, lime and salt) to your blender and blend till smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Now next is not completely necessary, but I like to do this for a ‘smoother’ drink…

Place a fine mesh sieve overtop a large bowl and pour in about 1/3 of the cantaloupe puree.  Using a rubber spatula, press the juices through the strainer leaving a bit of the pulp (scoop out into the trash).  Repeat with the remaining; pour the bowlful back into the blender or a pretty pitcher.  This should make a blender/pitcher full of juice.

Let’s serve them up, it was quick to make right??  Take your drinking glass and coat the rim with fresh lime juice and roll into the shredded coconut.  Fill with ice, 1-2 shots of silver tequila and top with the pureed cantaloupe.  Stir in a few of the fresh jalapeno slices (muddle in there if you’d like) and a lime wedge garnish!  Bottoms up!

CanteloupeJalapeno

 

Jalapeño Creamed Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Like most, when the outside air turns warm (hello 💐 Spring!!) and our grill is always going, I love me some corn!  Not many vegetables go so well with grilled meats and BBQ!  However, to avoid the debacle that is shucking corn and/or soaking it, taking up room on our grill (we were also making racks of ribs, friends) and messy corn-on-the-cob eating faces..I decided for a different route!

Besides corn, cream and spice are my other two favorite food groups, so let us combine them shall we??  You may think, “oh, I’ve had creamed corn growing up.  I don’t like it.  Way too sweet.  Too gloopy.  No cans for me.”  Well, just try it my way, please!!  The corn here keeps its slight sweetness, but it also keeps its shape and crunch!  The cream doesn’t taste artificial and a slight heat from the jalapeño really brings life to this dish!  Jalapeños bring life to me, but that’s another blog post in the making….anyway, just try it would ya!

*ok, the tomatoes are optional, but they’re adorable, easy and healthy!  If you prefer just the jalapeño creamed corn, I don’t blame you one bit.  I “sampled” this far too often before I stuffed the roasted tomatoes for our meal.  

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 on the vine tomatoes 
  • 16oz frozen corn 
  • 1-2 jalapeños, minced (we like a bit of heat, so I used two and left seeds in!)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt & pepper 
  • Milk, to thin at the end (about 1/2 cup)


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place a rack about 6″ under your broiler.  Also prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse and pat dry your tomatoes.  Using a serrated knife, carefully cut off the tops of each tomato and set aside.  Now using a spoon, also carefully run along the inside and scoop out the seeds/juice.  *It may seem tough at first, you can use your knife to get things going, but it all scoops out together beautifully.  Sprinkle the insides of each tomato with a pinch of salt and ground pepper and set the cored tomatoes aside along with their “lids”.

Now, heat a medium sized skillet with 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  *I used my favorite, fabulous green chili infused oil from our local oil & vinegar market, 1890.  Sooooo good!  Pour the bag of corn straight into the hot skillet along with the minced jalapeño(s).  Toss around a bit till you really start to smell that roasting flavor, about 4-5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds.

Drop the temperature down to medium-low.  To the now heated through corn and peppers, add in the cubed cream cheese, butter, cayenne and salt & pepper.  Stir to combine and help melt.  

After it sits for a bit, prior to stuffing the tomatoes, I stir in a bit of milk to thin to your desired consistency.  It will come back and hold together, I promise.


*While the creamed corn is coming together, place the cored tomatoes onto your baking sheet and pop in the oven for a few minutes, allowing to soften and heat up.

Once combined, (and thoroughly sampled) remove the sheet of warmed tomatoes from the oven and scoop spoonfuls of the spicy, creamy corn straight in!  I like it overflowing!!  Top each filled tomato with its “lid” and place the baking sheet back into the oven and switch over to broil.  Now you can use low or high setting, but just watch closely!!  This just takes mere minutes, especially if on high!

Remove from oven and serve with ..oh I dunno…maybe a rack of ribs, roasted potatoes and cheddar biscuits!  We kind of liked that 😉 Enjoy!!

Roasted Poblano Mac n’ Crema

This is the bomb!! (Do people still say that anymore?….ehh, I don’t even care). This pasta salad is my mexican spin on the classic backyard bbq staple and it’s a lot better!  It’s light, but still creamy and has just a bit of heat without overpowering.  Plus, let’s not forget that roasted flavor from the poblano peppers and cumin!  

However, the best part about this dish is that it’s equally delicious served either warm or cold!  Truth!  We’ll often eat the side dish warm on the first night I prepare it and serve the leftovers cold (if there are any) the next day!

*This can be made with gluten-free noodles if desired.

*I prefer to keep the seeds in my jalapeno or serrano pepper, as this makes a large batch, but to each their own.

*I prefer to use the traditional macaroni noodle here, but any short noodle can work in a pinch..as you can see from my rotini below.  Oops! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz elbow noodles (any short noodle can work)
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (or a serrano for more heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup+ Mexican crema 
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flake
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper (pinch of each) 

   

 
We’ll start by roasting our poblano peppers for this yummy side dish!  You can do this 1 of two ways…either A. Cook the poblanos directly over a gas flame till charred on all sides or B. Place on a baking sheet under your broiler (turning as needed) to blacken.  Onced they’re charred you can place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for about 10 minutes…*When ready, remove the blackened skin, seeds and stems.  Dice the poblanos up! 

   While the poblano peppers are steaming, go ahead and bring a large stock pot filled with salted water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles to package directions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add in 2 Tbsps of oil and sauté the chopped onions for 3-4 minutes.  Next add in the roasted poblanos, minced jalapeño (or serrano) followed by the garlic, cumin, chili flake, oregano, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low (or remove pot completely from stove top) and stir in the noodles and Crema. 

     Serve as a side at your next shin-dig and reap in the compliments!  Again, this can be served warm OR cold.  It’s that dang good!

    Frito Pie Poppers

    As we all know, Frito Pie and Jalapeño Poppers are a Texas delicacy (if you didn’t, now you do).  They may not be what you call fancy, but you know what?? They’re damn good and get eaten in a hurry!  You will never have leftovers!

    So considering today is Texas Independence Day, I thought that this would be a delightful tribute to this great state!  Boy was I right!!!  Now the recipe below makes 12…assuming you eat one a piece, well…you may need to quadruple it because my hubby and I ate them all.  No problem.

    The Starting Lineup

    • 6 large jalapeños 
    • 1 can chili (no beans & you will have extra)
    • Cheddar cheese, cut into long strips
    • 1 cup corn chips, slighty crushed
    • 1/4 cup white onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup green onion, diced (not pictured…I forgot ok?)
    • Sour cream

    Optional

    • Bacon,for topping….isn’t that always an option though??  

    Alrighty..preheat your oven to 475 degrees and place your jalapeños on a foil lined baking sheet.  Allow to roast for about 10-15 minutes (*you’ll start to see blackened spots and the “skin” bubbling..rotate ever so often)

     Meanwhile, heat the chili in a sauce pan along with the chopped white onion. 

     Peppers are now ready and cooled a bit!  Slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith (*I use a fork for this, MUCH easier than a spoon…also, if sensitive please wear gloves.  If you’re like me, just go for it!). Turn oven down to 375 degrees. 

     Place the seeded and halved roasted jalapeños back onto the same foil lined baking sheet and place a strip of cheddar cheese into each one. 

     Next spoon on a couple tablespoons of the chili and top with the crumbled corn chips. 

     Place into the 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes (*until the cheese has melted and corn chips become a little roasty….<– that’s a word, right??) 

     Once hot and bubbling remove from the oven and serve witha dollop of sour cream and the diced green onions.   Be careful…they’re quite addicting!!! xoxo

    Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich with a Bourbon Bacon Jam

    Ok, I made this treat of a dinner tonight just for myself.  Yes, I made an entire 2 lb+ meatloaf and a jar of bacon jam for MY dinner.  Do you want to know why??  Because quite frankly it’s delicious and it only gets better after the next day or two, especially that Bourbon Bacon Jam!!  Which is why it’s a great “leftovers” type of meal!

    Let’s say you made the traditional meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner one night and you’re not wanting the same darn thing the next..Well, simply add the Bacon Jam and garnishes to a meatloaf sandwich and you’ve taken repurposing to an entire new level!
    *This jam is good off a plain spoon, but spread it on a warm slice of toast or English muffin topped off with a fried egg.  Now THATS a rave worthy breakfast!

    The Starting Lineup

    Bourbon Bacon Jam

    • 1 pckg (12-16oz) bacon, chopped
    • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 chipotle in adobo, diced, plus 1 tbsp sauce
    • 1/4 dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 apple cider vinegar
    • 4oz Bourbon (2 shots, optional)
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp Cumin
    • Pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper

    Meatloaf

    • 2lbs ground (I do 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 ground pork)
    • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 small white onion, diced
    • 1 chipotle in adobo, diced
    • 1/2-1 whole jalapeño, seeded & finely diced
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup milk….*soak the above Panko^^ in the milk
    • 1 packet low-sodium meatloaf seasoning packet (or seasoning blend of choice)
    • Hefty pinch or two of kosher salt & pepper for the top of the meatloaf

    Garnish

    • Hearty/crusty white bread slices
    • Mayonaisse
    • Thick sliced ripe tomatoes, seasoned with kosher salt & pepper
    • Havarti cheese slices (or another great melty cheese)  

    As I stated earlier, this can all be made ahead of time or at seperate times if using as a “leftover” meatloaf meal…but let’s pretend that you’re doing what I did…let us start from the beginning!

    Bourbon Bacon Jam time my friends!  Start by chopping, dicing and mincing the bacon, sweet onion & garlic.  In a large sauce pan (*if not nonstick, add a tbsp of EVOO), cook your chopped bacon until slightly crisp.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside. 

       

    In that same pan with the reserved bacon grease, add in the chopped onions and cook down for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the minced garlic to the onions and continue to cook for another few minutes.

    Now to the onion-garlic mix, add in all of the remaining ingredients (diced chipotle pepper & sauce, dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, smoked paprika, cumin, salt & pepper and the cooked bacon) and stir to combine.  Bring to a low boil and then down to a simmer.  Let stand uncovered and do its thing while stirring occasionally.  *I like to leave it on the stove top on low for a good 2-3 hours and carefully drain the liquid from the pot about once an hour.  It’ll really thicken up!  Once done you can either transfer to a food processor to thin or leave as is.  I, myself, prefer it chunky for texture and leave it as is.  Keep in a mason jar or Tupperware container in your refridgerator, it’ll be gone FAST! 


     
     So while that Bourbon Bacon Jam is rendering away, we’ll begin the meatloaf.  Now this is a basic meatloaf recipe, and if you have a personal favorite then please feel free to use it!

    *Ok, ok..I can hear you now.  “Carly, why does there have to be chipotles/jalapeño in the meatloaf??”  1.Because  2. Why not?  3. My 2 & 4 year old boys eat it and have no idea, it’s NOT really spicy 4. You need to finish off that can of Chipotles anyway and 5.  Your combining it with a SWEET bacon jam. You NEED the contrasting flavors.  It’s the little things that make food great!

    Now back to the task at hand.  Meatloaf.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get whatever pan you use to cook your meatloaf in out and greased if not non-stick.

    In a large bowl, combine ALL of the meatloaf ingredients together and gently mix with your hands.  Transfer the mix to your baking pan and again, gently, pack into meatloaf shape.  Crack some more black pepper and salt over top and place into the preheated oven for about 1 hour, uncovered.  

       Remember, while the meatloaf is baking your Bourbon Bacon Jam is still rendering away and smelling devine!  I dare you to tell me your haven’t inhaled a few spoonfuls already….

    Now that the meatloaf has finished cooking, it’s assembly time!  Have 1-2 saute pans heating on the stove top.  

    In one pan, lay thick slices of meatloaf down and slightly cook each side, as to create a bit of a ‘crust’. 

     Lightly coat each slice of bread (on both sides) with a thin spread of mayonaisse.  Then add a good helping of the warm Bourbon Bacon Jam to one slice. 

    Transfer the mayo’ed slice to your second hot pan, top with the Caramelized meatloaf slices, tomatoes seasoned with a pinch of kosher salt & pepper, cheese slices and top it off with the second slice of bacon jam coated bread.  Cook each side for about 2 minutes, till cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown in color. 

       
    Cut on the bias and serve warm, enjoy!  

    Glazed-Bacon Wrapped Hawaiian Pork

    A few months back our family went to a local restaurant here in Texas and my husband had this fun appetizer with ‘sweet-heat’ ingredients.  After I helped myself to a sample bite of his meal, I knew I had to recreate and tweak it into dinner form…and I have to say, it’s not too shabby!

    You have sweet and savory flavors from the honey glaze, bacon and pork tenderloin and a wonderful FRESHNESS from the pineapple..lets also not forget the heat of the jalapeno and pepper jack cheese.  Now you can absolutely use a plain jack cheese and seed the jalapeno, but when you roast hot peppers the heat actually subsides a bit..so pick your heat level, but I could even do hotter! (Duh)

    These flavors together remind me of the Hawaiin rice, veggie and meat bowls I used to get when living along the coast of San Diego.  So naturally I paired the main dish with a heaping of rice and drizzled the juices overtop.  It’s quite the pairing!

    The Starting Lineup

    • 1 pckg bacon
    • 1 pork tenderloin 
    • Pineapple, fresh preferred
    • Jalapeño, sliced in half lengthwise (I prefer to keep the seeds in)
    • Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese

    Glaze

    • 4 Tbsp Honey
    • 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp Chili sauce
    • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt & pepper  

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil and a rack overtop.

    In a small bowl whisk the honey, balsamic vinegar, chili sauce, garlic, EVOO and a pinch of salt & pepper together.  Set aside. *Taste the glaze to tweak any ingredient to your taste. 

      Now lay the bacon stips, touching, on top of the wire racked baking sheet. 

     Next, butterfly the pork tenderloin and stuff with the pineapple, jalapeños and cheese.  *To make it fit a bit better, I’ll get pepper jack string cheese or cut a block into strips and stuff into the jalapeño before putting into the pork.  Shredded cheese could be used as well.  Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

    Transfer the stuffed pork onto the layed out bacon strips.  Coat a good amount  (about 1/2) of the prepared glaze allllll over the pork.  Wrap up the entire stuffed tenderloin with the bacon.  *If needed, you can use toothpicks to secure, just remember to remove before eating! 

     After the pork has been fully wrapped in delicious bacon, coat the entire thing with the rest of the glaze. 

     Place into your oven, uncovered for 45-60 minutes (meat temperature at least 145degrees and bacon done.  *About halfway through check on the bacon.  Depending you may need to lightly tent the wrapped tenderloin with foil.  Though we like ours more on the crisp side.  To each their own! 

     Remove the cooked tenderloin from the oven, lightly tent with foil, and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Carve into 1-2″ slices and serve over rice.  Spoon any drippings over the pork and rice.  Enjoy!! 

     


    Chili Blanco

    I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like, seriously.  With beans, without beans (‘Bowl of Red’), smoked chipotle, turkey, molé style…I could go on and on and on..and I will.

    Contrary to its pale appearance, the recipe below for Chili Blanco (blanco means white 😉) is hardly pale in flavor.  The roasted peppers add depth with a touch of heat, the Monterey Jack cheese and white beans add creaminess and the cumin, oregano, cayenne and garlic round out that south-of-the-border flavor.  This one here is a winner when you’re looking to branch out on your chili culinary adventure!

    The Starting Lineup

    • 1lb white beans (Great White Northern), soaked overnight & rinsed OR 3 cans, drained & rinsed
    • 3 cups cooked shredded & chopped chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken if needed)
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 (4oz) cans of chopped green chilis
    • 1 roasted poblano, skinned, seeded & chopped
    • 1 roasted jalapeño, skinned, seeded & chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
    • Pinch of cayenne
    • 48oz chicken broth
    • 1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
    • EVOO 

    Garnish Ideas

    • Avocado slices
    • Cilantro
    • Sour cream
    • Lime wedges
    • Jack cheese, shredded  

    Assuming your chicken is cooked, beans are soaked and rinsed (if using dried) and your poblano & Jalapeno have been roasted, etc…let’s begin!! Whew!… 

     In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add in about 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, toss in the onions and cook till translucent (about 10 minutes). 

     To the sweated down onions, add in the green chilis, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano & cayenne. Stir together for 1 minute. 
       Next add in the beans, chicken broth and the shredded & chopped chicken and bring to a low boil. 
     Once the bubbles start rolling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir about every hour or so for 2-3 hours (1 hour if using canned beans…but the longer the better either way really).
    Finally, about 30 minutes before you plan to eat, mix in that cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Re-cover and allow to melt in! 
     Serve this complex flavored chili with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices and a lime wedge…oh and don’t forget more cheese and a fresh tortilla for dunking!! Enjoy! xo 
     

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