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BBQ Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Being creative has its perks!  Like when you can’t decide between spicy Mexican food or a warm bbq sandwich for dinner..decisions, decisions!

Now one my think this sounds crazy, but it’s oh so not!  The slightly spicy pulled-pork mimics south of the border carnitas and instead of the flavor of a cornbread side, you’re replacing it with corn tortillas.  Finally, the marriage of enchilada sauce with a slightly tangy and spicy bbq sauce is a winner!  Hell, I know in the near future I’ll be re-concocting this sauce for some barbecue sandwiches!  It has a great flavor that I know no one will be able to pinpoint..unless they read this of course. 😉

*You can use left over pulled pork or even shredded chicken if so inclined. 

*I prefer a thinner, spicy and tangy BBQ sauce here.  Leave the Sweet Baby Rays for your ribs, as these enchiladas need a bit of a kick..NOT sweetness.  My opinion..but believe me!

*When I was planning on preparing  this meal, I knew that I had a busy weekend ahead.  So on Saturday, before we ventured out for a full day of baseball, I slowcooked the pork.  When returning home that evening, I shredded it and placed the meat and the juices in an airtight container in the refridgerator.  The next day for dinner, I simply had to assemble and bake the enchiladas (as pork was cooked) and it took less than an hour to hit the dinner table!

*If you’re not into making your own pulled pork, you can pick up a tub from your favorite restaurant.

The Starting Lineup

Simple Pulled Pork (Slowcooker)

  • 3lb Pork butt/shoulder
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 rounded tsp of chicken bullion 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Enchiladas 

  • Corn tortillas
  • Pulled Pork (cooked)
  • 1 red onion, chopped (3/4 for filling/1/4 for garnish)
  • 1 can green chiles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 3/4 cup bbq sauce (I prefer a thinner, spicy one..not too sweet here folks!)
  • 2-3 cups Mexican-blend cheese
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Garnish (Optional)

  • Red onion, chopped
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream 

Alright!  Now, again, you can pre-cook the pulled pork the day before (like I did) so that this is an easy, quickly assembled homemade dinner OR you can just as easily start the slow cooked pork on a Sunday morning and have this on the table by dinner time no problem!

So either way you choose, you’ll always start with the pulled pork..and its simple!  In your non-stick sprayed crockpot, place in the quartered onions followed by that pork butt!  Next, add all of the seasonings and the cup of bbq sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours! (*Once finished, continue on to assemble the enchiladas OR shred and store in an airtight container, remember to ladle in a bit of those juices too!

Enchilada time!!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large pan over medium heat, add in the vege oil.  Follow that with the 3/4 cup of chopped red onions, green chiles, cumin and smoked paprika.  Saute for 3-5 minutes.  Then in goes the cooked and shredded pulled pork, cook till mixed throughly together.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the can of enchilada sauce and the bbq sauce.  Make sure to taste as you can add more BBQ sauce if desired..I think I did add a bit more?? Haha. 

Warm the corn tortillas (in a tortilla warmer OR on a plate with a damp paper towel over top for a few seconds.)
One by one, spoon a good amount of the spiced pulled pork onto the middle of each tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down into your baking dish.  Repeat until full.  *One or two may slightly crack..dont you worry!  They’ll be covered by sauce and cheese and will taste the EXACT same..no one will be the wiser! 😉

Pour the BBQ enchilada sauce evenly over the filled tortillas and top with all that glorious cheese!

 

Place (uncovered) in the oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges are browned.  Remove and let sit for a few minutes as the cheese will be molten hot!!

Serve up with the garnishes of your choice and unlike the normal Mexican cerveza you’d enjoy with enchiladas..we’re actually tasting BBQ flavors here!  So we like ours with a cold good ol Texas beer and a shot of bourbon!  Enjoy!!  

YUMMMMMMMM……..

Morel and Asparagus Parmesan Penne

Hello to my ‘fancy friends’!  This grown-up, earthy, flavorful, umami recipe is SURE to satisfy your significant others tastebuds come date night!  *Well it better as morels are not cheap, nor is asparagus and darn it, this is just good eats!

We had a good friend recently return here to Texas from a trip to his home state of Montana.  Well… when he returned, I was delighted with the gift of real deal morel mushrooms (and huckleberries!!) so I hope he gets to revisit soon!  Thank you Dennis!

Now that I had aquired such a highly sought after ingredient, I could NOT let them go to waste.  Pity the thought!  So to get ALL the flavor I simply cooked the pasta IN the rehydrating liquid and boom…magic was served!  

*I should of charged $47 a plate though! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • About 8 dried morel mushrooms
  • 1pckg/lb penne pasta
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  •  1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • Pinch of dried tarragon
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest 
  • Kosher Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flake, to taste (optional)

Boil 8 cups of water (I simply did so in a microwave safe bowl), and then add in the dried morel mushrooms to the hot water.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit/rehydrate for about 25-30 minutes.  ***Do NOT discard this water

Transfer the now rehydrated mushrooms to a cutting board and quarter each, set aside.

Next, pour the morel-flavored water into a large stockpot (add more water if needed).  Bring this to a boil, salt and then add the pasta noodles.  Cook 1-2 minutes less than package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium high heat.  Toss in the shallots, cook for 3 minutes, followed by the garlic for one minute. 

Next, to the same skillet, add in the asparagus, morels and the chicken stock.  Bring to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the lid and pour in the heavy cream. Let cook down and reduce for about 3-4 minutes. 

Finally!!  Remove the skillet from heat source and add in the al dente pasta noodles, lemon juice and zest, tarragon, salt and pepper and the parmesan cheese!  Toss together and top with more parmesan (and red pepper flake) if desired!  Enjoy love birds!! 

Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken Sliders w/ a Tabasco Honey Glaze

Since the weather has cooled, it was only natural that I wanted some stick-to-your-ribs kinda meal AND I don’t mind having the warm stove or oven on.  Yay!  

So when the thought of cooking an amped-up fried chicken sandwich crossed my mind, I was sooo in my happy place.  Regarding the sauce, I like things spicy (duh) and my hubby likes things sweet (duh once again), so the simple pairing of the vinegary Tabasco with the subtly sweet honey was just the right concoction!  The hot sauce thins out the honey for a perfect drizzle!  Just to die for on fried chicken…or should I say like todays teen, “it’s everything!”

That was now settled, so I grabbed my apron, cranked up 95.9 The Ranch on the kitchen radio and started frying up some goodness!

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 cup sweet tea, I love Red Diamond brand
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • Bread & butter pickles (dill just isn’t right here)
  • Mayonnaise, I love Dukes brand
  • Slider potato rolls
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Tabasco Pepper Sauce, few to several dashes 
  • Canola or peanut oil, for frying 

Earlier in the day, add the chicken thighs to a ziplock bag and pour in the buttermilk and sweet tea.  Zip up and give a shake to evenly distribute the brine.  Store in a shallow dish (to avoid spillage) and place in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours (overnight is fine too). 

Once you’re ready to fry these up, bring about 2″ of oil up to med-high heat. (350-375 degrees) in a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven.

Next, in a shallow dish, whisk together the flour with the spices and remove the chicken from the refridgerator. *Here, as I often do, is place the chicken thighs between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound out a bit thinner.  Helps to tenderize it even more AND it looks kind of cool hanging over the bun.  Bigger is always better ;). 

Now we’re ready to fry!  Using tongs, grab one of the chicken thighs and shake off excess brine, then dredge completely with the seasoned flour.  Transfer to the hot oil and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, then turn over and fry for another 6-8 minutes (till golden brown and cooked through).  Remove to wire racked baking sheet (or paper towels) to rest while you finish the remaining thighs.  *Only fry 2-3 at a time so that the oil temperature doesn’t drop…THAT makes for greasy chicken! 

Now that the chicken is cooked, whisk together the honey and Tabasco sauce to taste.  You also can slightly toast the cut side of the sliders on a hot skillet if desired (not toaster oven).  

Assembly time!!  Spread a thin (or thick) layer of mayonnaise on each side of your soft slider rolls.  Then add the fried chicken, followed by a few bread & butter pickles and finally drizzle the honey-Tabasco right over top!  Dig in and enjoy!! 

Spicy Shrimp & Guacamole Tostadas

Crunchy and spicy..and healthy!  As usual, I was craving some tasty Mexican food, but just didnt want the heaviness that goes along with cheesy enchiladas, super burritos or chimichangas.  I also didnt have the time to braise a big hunk of meat or use my slow-cooker for a yummy shredded filling.  

Instead, I ran up to my grocer and picked up some of their very tasty, in-house made guacamole, fresh deveined shrimp and quick heat up refried beans.  Heck, if you wanted you could even buy pre-made pico de gallo and tostada shells, but I knew I could tackle those myself. 😉

*To keep with the light & healthy meal, I made a quick Mexican Fruit Salad to go along with it.  Simply cut up some cantaloupe and honey dew melon.  Dust on a bit of chili powder and kosher salt, then topped with a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and its zest!  Yummmm…promise!

The Starting Lineup

  • Corn tortillas
  • 1lb shrimp, tails off
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup refried beans (I used low-fat)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Mexican hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying 

Begin this super quick and flavorful dinner by heating up the cooking oil to fry up your tortillas.  I used my deep fryer, but if you do not have one you can fill a large heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven with a couple inches of oil.

While the oil is heating up, whisk together the spices and toss with the shrimp and extra virgin olive oil.  Cover and set aside.

Using tongs, carefully place 1-2 tortillas into the hot oil and allow to crisp up.  Generally just 2-3 minutes; you can flip over after a minute or two if needed.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Also, heat up those beans!

Now either on the stove top or hey, even your grill, we’ll cook up those shrimp!!  These go fast, again just 3-4 minutes.

Assembly time!  Quick meal right??  On each tostada shell, spread on a layer of beans followed by a layer of your guacamole.  Next top with a few of the spicy shrimp (the guac helps them to stay on) and the pico de gallo.  I like to serve with some Mexican hot sauce, lime wedges and a cerveza!  Enjoy!  

Strawberry Basil & Goat Cheese Chicken w/ Grilled Romaine Salad

I’m lightening it up and fancy’ing it up (I realize that’s not real a word..but it works!)!  No despite the glamorous sounding name to this recipe, it’s actually super easy and quick!  I honestly say that this can be made in well under 30 minutes.  

It has so much flavor, so much FRESH flavor to be exact.  You get in fruit, veggies and protein here and zero guilt or that yucky “I’m stuffed” feeling.  Which is why I pair mine with a crisp glass of vino..I mean c’mon!  I have to have a little naughtiness! 

*Balsamic Glaze:  it’s not to be confused with “balsamic vinegar”.  This is a thicker, syrup-like glaze with a slightly sweet finish.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 chicken cutlets
  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, quartered 
  • Salt & pepper 

We’ll start this light and tasty recipe by cleaning and quartering the strawberries and chopping up the garlic and basil..or be fancy and do a chiffonade 😉   Next combine the fresh basil to the strawberries and 1 tbsp each of extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic glaze, gently toss together.  Cover and set aside.

Next, heat up either your grill or a grill pan with a couple Tbsp’s of olive oil on your stovetop to medium-high heat.  Generously season the chicken cutlets with salt, pepper and the minced garlic and place on grill/pan.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes per side, till cooked through and beautiful golden brown grill marks appear.  Set aside. 

Now that the chicken is done, it’s time for our lettuce!  To each quartered piece of romaine, drizzle a bit of evoo, balsamic glaze and a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place ‘face-down’ onto the grill pan and let the grill make those fantastic char marks. 

To serve!!   On a large family style platter (or individual plates), lay down the grilled romaine and top with the chicken cutlets.  Spoon the strawberry-basil mixture all over top and sprinkle on the goat cheese crumbles!  I also like to add another drizzle of that sweet balsamic glaze over top and another pinch of kosher salt & pepper.  Enjoy!! 

Simple Cheeseburger Pizza

Pizza?  Burger?  Pizza?  Burger??  How about both!!  Yep, this is such a fun take on everyone’s top two favorites!  

So my boys were ‘arguing’ over what to have for dinner the other night.  In true Parker fashion, he wanted pizza (hey it’s better than his other favorite, PB&J!) and just like I knew Brooks would, he voted for cheeseburgers.  Momma moment!! Let’s combine the two and have a happy family all around..and again, no PB&J sandwiches.

How easy is this you ask…For one, it’s done in under 30 minutes.  Two, both kids and adults love it.  Three, you likely have the majority of the ingredients on hand already!!  Please give it a try this week!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 large pizza crust, prebaked (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2-1lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • Tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle slices, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp dill pickle juice, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Bacon, cooked & crumbled (optional)

In a small bowl combine the ketchup,  mayo,  mustard, onion powder and dill pickle juice.  Whisk together till smooth, taste and tweak to your liking.  Cover and set aside.  Also make sure to bake the pizza crust according to package directions.  *I typically undercook the crust just a couple minutes, you will be placing this back into the oven.

Next, simply brown the ground beef, season simply with salt, pepper and maybe a couple dashes of Worcestershire.  

While the ground beef is browning, you can shred the cheese and prep the toppings! (tomatoes, onions, pickles

Now for the fun part!  Take the ‘dressing’ you made earlier and spread it out all over the pizza crust, this acts as your pizza sauce!  Yummmm….Follow that with the cooked ground beef and shredded cheddar.  

Place back into the oven until warmed though and cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and top with the tomatoes,  onions, pickles and an extra drizzle of that tangy dressing!!   Dig in!  

Carne Guisada

The best way I can describe the delicious dish of Carne Guisada is that it’s like a thick, hearty Mexican beef stew.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the word guisada translates to “stewed meat”.  The variable on this slow-cooked recipe is that some stew with tomatoes, bell peppers, etc while others just use water and spices.  I have to say that every way I’ve had it across the giant state of Texas has been delightful!

This makes for awesome tacos and burritos, great over eggs and chips for breakfast or just ladled into a bowl!  I am so glad that I found out about this Mexican classic, as it’s become one of my top faves!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, chopped (seeded)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt & pepper, each
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • A pinch of chipotle powder (optional for added heat)

As always, begin by prepping all of the vegetables and having everything ready at hand.  


In a large bowl, dredge the cubed meat in the flour. Toss to coat evenly.  Next, in a Dutch oven, heat up the oil to med-high heat.  Add in the dredged, cubed meat a brown on all sides (do not cook through).  Once browned, remove from the Dutch oven and set aside.  *I do this in batches so that the meat doesn’t steam, but seared.


Now that the meat has browned and been set aside, add in the onions and bell pepper and sauté (while picking up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan) for about 4-5 minutes; add in the garlic for that last minute. 

Now you can add the seared meat back into the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, cilantro, Serrano and spices.  Give a good stir.

Finally pour in the beef broth and water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2-3+ hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced into a thick “gravy”.  *Stir occasionally.


Serve alongside warm tortillas, chips, beans, roasted potatoes, sour cream, lime wedges, etc.  Ejoy!!

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