Tag Archives: stuffed

Baja Avocados

Summer is here!  Especially for my friends and family in Arizona..118 degrees this weekend?? Eek!  Given the brutally hot temps, who wants to start up their stove or oven?  I sure the heck wouldn’t!

So growing up, we always had a traditional shrimp cocktail at our holiday parties and I ate every bit…Then I got older and discovered “Mexican shrimp cocktail”. Wow!  Just wow!  The spice, the tang, the freshness!  I just can’t ever seem to go back to my childhood favorite of the traditional variety anymore.  We kind of broke-up.

Now flash forward to today…my hubby and I wanted a light dinner and being a self-described ‘Mexican food guru’ I knew just what to concoct!  Serve alongside a light rice or beans and you have a full and healthy meal!  *Heck, you can eat with crispy corn chips or just a spoon and straw for that matter!  I’m not one to judge in these instances.

So this quick, easy, ‘no cook’ meal fits the bill!  It doesn’t hurt a swimsuit body either 😉

*Pico de gallo is simply a mix of diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.  I know, I know…it’s ridiculously easy to make and 99.9% of the time I make my own, but in a pinch of time you can by premade from the produce section.  I just doctored up mine up for more flavor and heat!  I promise it won’t happen again 😉 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3+ large avocados (I.e. Haas)
  • 1 Lb large shrimp, cooked and tails off
  • 1 cup Clamato juice
  • 1 cup pico de gallo*
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • A couple dashes of Mexican hot sauce (I.e. Tapatío)
  • Pinch of pepper 

We’ll begin by halving the avocados and carefully scooping out most of the avocado flesh, cut into 1″ chunks.  *You’ll want to keep a thin line of flesh against the skin to help it hold together and not fall apart on you. Keep the skins!

 Next, in a large bowl add together the avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, Clamato juice, pico de gallo, like juice, salt, cumin, pepper and hot sauce.  Gently mix together.  *You can cover and place in fridge for 30-60 minutes to meld flavors and chill OR serve immediately.

 Now you simply take a few spoonfuls and fill the hollowed out avocado skin.  Serve alongside a scoop of lime-cilantro rice for a light, summertime meal!  Enjoy!

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Pizza Pot Pie (supreme)

What do you do when you’re craving a deep dish pizza but your husband wants a chicken pot pie?  Well you combine the two of course!!  I just so happened to have these tasty ingredients on hand as well, which made it all the better!!!

Another great thing about this meal is you can add any of your favorite ingredients or whatever is handy!  Now my husband is a meat eater, so naturally I went the “supreme” route, but you can make it to your family’s liking!  Ham n cheese, Hawaiian, Mediterranean, veggie lover or just an old fashion pepperoni and cheese!!  Plus, this dinner WILL fill everyone up!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pie dough (2 rounds)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 pckg italian sausage links, chopped
  • 1 pckg pepperoni slices
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce 
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 container mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small can black olives, sliced
  • 1 egg (egg wash) 

In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp of EVOO to medium/medium high heat.  Add in both the hamburger meat and the cut Italian sausage pieces.  Heat till cooked through, stirring occasionally.  *Now I seasoned with just a pinch each of salt, pepper and oregano.  Due to the preseasoned sausages I had, I didn’t go overboard.
 While the meats are browning you can rinse, slice, dice and mince your veggies.  It’s always way easier to have this step done by the time your meat has finished cooking.

 Now here is where YOU can decide what sort of pan you’d like to use.  This time I chose a spring form pan (think ‘cheesecake’ pan), but more often than not I’ll use my cast-iron skillet!  …and don’t forget about a regular pie dish, all of these can do the job!

So with your pan of choice, take a tbsp or two of butter and coat the entire inside of the pan.  Now with one of the pie dough rounds, gently press into the pan and up the sides (if needed you can absolutely lighty flour a surface and rolling pin to enlarge the pie round.  If you’re using a standard pie pan this will not be an issue).

   Apply a light amount of shredded cheese to the crust followed by the cut veggies, including the garlic.

 Ok..your meat is now cooked through (if you’re following my directions that is ;)). With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a large clean bowl.  *The slotted spoon is to drain the grease.  Now add the cup of pizza sauce and toss to coat.

   The meat mixture will now be poured evenly overtop the veggies, followed by the rest of the cheese and then a layer of pepperoni slices.

     Ok, time for your 2nd pie dough round!  Carefully lay overtop all of that pizza-y goodness and then the edges are your choice: crimp, fold over/under the 1st dough sides, make it decorative…do what you makes your heart happy!

Finallllyyy….brush the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water) all over the top of the dough and make a few small slits on the top.  Place the ‘pie’ pan (what have you) onto a baking sheet and then place into your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  The top will take on a lovely golden brown color!

     Once the pizza pot pie has finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into.

  

I like to serve a large slice with a side salad and call it a night! *cause you’re as stuffed as this Pizza Pot Pie Supreme! 

  

*Tip:  you can par-bake your bottom crust for about 10-12 minutes before you start layering the good stuff.  It will hold up better.

Chorizo & Chilé Potato Empanadas 

I woke up this morning craving a fat burrito…but, I did not have any tortillas on hand.  Yes, yes, I could of made those but I figured why not change it up!  So today we did just that and tried our hand (& tastebuds) out on empanadas!!  I had all of the perfect savory fillings on hand, however, if you have some fruit or chocolate, these would be excellent on the sweet side!

Do not let the name fool you, this is an EASY dough friends!  Very little proofing time, not sticky & easy to roll out.  I may just try this out for a pie crust too, without the chili powder of course 😉

The Starting Lineup

DOUGH

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed & chilled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed & roasted 
  • 1 package Mexican chorizo, cooked
  • 1 can pinto/borracho beans
  • 1/2 cup of hatch green chili pesto (or your preference)
  • Eggwash (1 egg, 1 Tbsp water)
  • EVOO   

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash and cut your potatoes into small cubes.  Transfer to a bowl and add about 4 Tbsp of the green chile pesto, a drizzle of EVOO.  Toss to coat.  Pour onto a non stick baking sheet (or lined with parchment) and set aside.

  

 

We’re now on to the empanada dough!  With your food processor, add in the flour, salt & chili powder. 

 

Next, add in 1 egg and the chilled, cubed butter.  Pulse until it forms a crumbly dough, about 1 minute. 

  

 

Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball (no extra flour needed).  Slightly flatten the dough ball and place in a Saran Wrap covered bowl.  Keep the dough in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.  Here is where you’ll finish up the fillings! 

 

By now the oven should be preheated and you can add in the dressed potatoes to roast.

Also start cooking your chorizo according to manufacturers directions, once finished transfer to a papertowel lined dish to soak up that grease. *I also will slightly heat up the beans. 


Once the beans, chorizo & potatoes are cooked through, remove from heat.  You do not want these too warm when assembling in the raw dough.  *Also, if you have any extra green chile pesto, add to the cooked potatoes.
We’ll now finish that dough!!  Drop the oven down to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.

Roll each section out to about 1/4″ thick. 

 

With an upside down bowl (or anything of your choosing) place onto the dough to create circular cutouts.  This made 8 of decent size.

   

One by one, transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and begin to fill!

Start with a small scoop of potatoes, followed by chorizo and then the beans on one half of the dough.  Carefully fold the other half of the dough over and pinch the edges shut.   

 

These can either directly go into the 400 degree oven or you can chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before hand (allows flavors to meld and dough holds up even better).

BUT before you transfer to the oven, brush the tops with a bit of egg wash.  This will help create that crunchy, golden brown crust!

Bake these for about 20-25 minutes, till a beautiful crust forms!  Allow to rest for 5 minutes…they’ll still be smoldering hot! 

 

Serve with a dallop of sour cream, a drizzle of chile pesto, spicy salsa or all of the above! 

 

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf Florentine

I’m giving away a secret…my famous Italian meatloaf recipe!  Ok, well maybe it’s only famous between my sister and I, but it’s ridiculous!!  It’s almost like a ginormous meatball or maybe a deconstructed lasagna..call it what you want, but we call it delicioso!

It’s a fun twist on your traditional American meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  There’s nothing wrong with old fashioned comfort food,  but this spin will keep your week nights a little less boring.. ☺️ You can also prepare the meat mixture the night before and then just sauté the spinach and assemble the next evening if you’re crunched for time after a busy day at work.

I hope you enjoy this family favorite recipe as much as me…and my sister. 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 15oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen spinach, slighty thawed
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO 

Side Dish

  • 1 pckg noodles (I.e. Penne, spaghetti)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

We’re going to first rinse and chop & dice our vegetables (onion, garlic, bell pepper & parsley).  You’ll also seperate the minced garlic.  2 cloves for the spinach and 3 cloves for the meat mixture. 

 

Heat the EVOO to med-low in a skillet and add in the 2 cloves minced garlic.  Cook till fragrant, about 1 minute.   

 

Next, you’ll add in the spinach.  *dont worry if it’s still a bit frozen, it will work.  You can also use fresh spinach if you have that available.  

Stir the garlic spinach mix occasionally till warm.  Transfer the cooked spinach to a dish and set aside while keeping the leftover liquid in the skillet. *I like to place my cooked spinach in a paper towel lined bowl to soak up the extra juices. 

 

While you’re finishing up cooking the spinach (aka the florentine) portion of this masterpiece, we’ll start the meat mixture.  Super simple!

In a very large bowl, combine almost everything else.  The beef, pork, veggies, garlic, bread crumbs, seasonings, the beaten eggs and the milk.  Remember to take off your jewelry because you’re about to get your hands dirty!  Get in there and thoroughly mix this up. 

  


Now, in a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick, you’re going to start the fun part! 

Take about 2/3 of the meat mixture and make a firmly packed rectangle while pressing down the middle to create an almost 1″ thick by 2″ tall “walls”.  You’re going to be filling this area with some good stuff! 

 

Spread your container of ricotta cheese in the base 1st. 


Next, you’re going to spread the garlic-spinach mix overtop that.  

Then sprinkle about 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over your spinach. 


Finally, we’ll top this off with the remaining 1/3 meat mixture.  I like to almost make ‘hamburger patties’ out of it and place over top while pinching it all together to make a seal.  It’s really easier than it seems.  Then I just press and pack it tight to keep that perfect rectangular shape.

 

Pop this in your preheated oven.  It will cook for one hour.

After about 30 minutes of you’re stuffed meatloaf cooking, start your noodles and sauce.  I like to pour my sauce right into the skillet we sautéed our spinach in.  That flavor from the remaining EVOO, garlic and spinach will only enhance the flavor of the jarred sauce.  *cook your noodles about 2 minutes less than the package directions.  Once time is up ladle straight into the marinara sauce, along with about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. 

   

While your side is coming together, that 1 hour should be up.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese over your cooked meatloaf and cook for about 10 more minutes, till cheese is bubbly and melted.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. 

   

Cut into thick slices and place over your marinara dressed noodles alongside a glass of good vino.  Enjoy!! 

 

*If you do not care for ricotta, you can substitute with all mozzarella cheese.  The thick slices of mozzarella in you’re grocers deli section would be ideal, nice and gooey!

*I chose a lean ground beef, because there’s enough fat in the ground pork to keep it juicy.

  

Raspberry Chipotle & Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

You know that appetizer at holiday parties where the host has a brick of cream cheese and pours the sweet, yet spicy raspberry chipotle sauce over top and serves with crunchy crackers??  Well, here’s the dinner version!

I was craving that flavor combination and just knew it would be great with chicken!  I was correct! 😉 An awesome thing about this meal is A. There are just a few ingredients and B. With prep time and cooking time, it was on the table in an hour!  Excellent!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, slightly flattened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup raspberry chipotle sauce
  • 1 bunch green onion, sliced
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Jalapeño, sliced (optional)
  • Butcher twine or Toothpicks

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Liberally season each side of the chicken breasts with your kosher salt & pepper and chili powder.

Butterfly your chicken breast and if they’re pretty thick, flatten just a little bit with a roller, mallet or heavy bottomed pan.  Season the inside with a bit more chili powder. *If the breast are on the thinner side, you can just make a “pocket” in the center of each breast, instead of fully butterflying them.

In a small bowl, combine your softened cream cheese with about a 1/3 cup of sliced green onions and a pinch of salt & pepper.

After your cream cheese mix is combined, spread equal amounts down the middle of each breast or into the “pocket” you made. *Here is where I was a dummy and forgot to take a picture for ya..oops!  Roll or fold the breast to almost conceal the cheese mix and either toothpick shut or tie with butcher twine.  Lay each stuffed chicken breast onto your baking sheet.


Now glaze your chicken AALLLL over with a good coating of the raspberry chipotle sauce.  If you have any extra sauce, leave at room temp (or warm) and drizzle over your finished, cooked chicken.

Place the chicken (on the baking sheet) into the oven.  This will cook for 30minutes (here’s where I finish up my sides and pick up the used dishes) 🙂

Once chicken is cooked through, but still juicy, remove from oven and cut off the twine/remove those toothpicks.  Be careful, it’s hot!!

Plate your creamy, sweet and spicy stuffed chicken with seasoned black beans and rice, yum!! *I prefer to garnish ours with an extra drizzle of sauce, the rest of my sliced green onions and a couple thinly sliced jalapeños for some added heat!

 

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