Friday, October 9, 2015

Chipotle Beef Tacos

I do not yet have a school-age children, but I've been told by various family members and friends that the slow cooker is an indispensable tool during the start of school.  You add your ingredients early in the day and allow them to slowly become more and more delicious.  In my case, I have a squirmy 7 month old and not a lot of time on my hands.  SO slow cooker it is.

Tacos are such an amazing dinner. So versatile and easy to whip up for the whole family.  You can prep everything early in the day and have it ready to go by the time the first family member asks you "Whats for dinner?"  

Chipotle Beef Tacos

10 minutes of Prep
30 minutes of Cook time
10 minutes of Bake time
8 Servings

·       2 lbs. Chuck Beef
·       1 tsp. Salt
·      8 Corn Tortillas
·      1 7 oz Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce can
·      1/2 Large White Onion
·      1/2 Large Red Onion
·      Sour Cream
·       1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·       1 tsp. Salt
·       1/2 tsp. Pepper
·       1/2 Cup Red Wine

First brown your beef until it's cooked on both sides.  Add to slow cooker.

 Then take your red and white onions, slice thinly. Add on top of the chuck roast.
Then take this bad boy right here. 

Add that on top, with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour red wine over everything to combine. Add top and turn heat to low.

Cook for 7-8 hours.

Add to taco shells and top with sour cream.  I also added some corn, extra red onion, and tomato on top.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Caramel Sauce

Heaven must have rivers of caramel sauce, because it is amazing.  Put away your phone, lock the
doors, and spend some time by yourself.  You need to concentrate on this.  It's hot boiling sugar which can stick and burn you over and over.  I left my husband and baby watching football, and spent some quality time in the kitchen.  It was worth it. 
I love Caramel Sauce, plus it's super easy to reheat and add to other desserts or just fresh fruit. I ended up adding this to brownies and drizzling the extra sauce on top.  You can check out my brownie recipe here.

Caramel Sauce

20 minutes of Cook time
12 Servings

·       1 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/4 Cup Water
·       1 Tbsp. Butter (optional)
·       Pinch of Salt
·      3/4 Cup Light or Heavy Cream
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (optional)
·      1 tsp. Rum (optional)

Take out a trusty heavy duty pot.  I like this one.

Add the sugar and water to the pot and begin to heat it up on high heat.  DO NOT STIR IT. It'll crystallize and ruin.  Just leave it alone.  If you need to, pick up the pot with pot holders and tilt it to make sure it's evenly coated.

Watch it, when it's a dark amber, a little darker than this photo.  Pull it off onto a cool surface.  Take your cream and add it in and stir until it's evenly mixed.  

You can then add the pinch of salt and flavor it however you like.  I chose some butter and vanilla extract.  I think next time I'll go with the rum.

Then you end up with about a cup or so of Caramel Sauce.  You can use it however you like.

I made caramel brownies with it. Which were AMAZING.  You can find my brownie recipe here.  It was pretty easy to add some to the mix, bake it, and then top the brownies later with extra sauce.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chicken Corn Soup

I'm from Lancaster County.  A place where going to the farmer's market meant hitting the corn stand at the end of your street for whatever was fresh.  My husband and I were able to stop at home to grab some veggies and I made sure to get fresh corn.  We made corn on the cob and ate a ton of the leftovers but still had a decent amount left. 

I have also been roasting small chickens to make other meals with.  I know those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store are convenient, but I find it's cheaper and better tasting to roast my own.  Which is very simple.  350 degrees, slow roast for 2.5-3 hours.  Bast with plenty of broth.  Add celery, onion, and carrots to the bottom of the pan to roast with the broth. 

Chicken Corn Soup

10 minutes of Prep
30 minutes of Cook time
6 Servings

·       4 ears of Corn, boiled and cut off
·       2 Large Carrot chopped
·       2 Large stalks of Celery chopped
·      1 Large Onion chopped
·       2 Cups Chopped Cooked Chicken
·       3 Tbsp. Flour
·       2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
·       1 tsp. Salt
·       1 tsp. Garlic Power
·      1/2 tsp. Pepper
·      8 Cups Chicken Broth

Saute your onions in olive oil first under medium heat.  After they start to look translucent, add the carrots and celery. Saute until they start to soften.

Add the chicken, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook 1-2 minutes together constantly stirring. Add the broth and turn heat up to simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Ladle out a cup of broth into a bowl.  Add flour to create a slurry.  (I may get some crap about this.  I know I should've create a rue, but whatever I went with a slurry instead.) Add back to soup, whisk in and simmer together.

Right before it's finished cooking, add the corn.

Stir to mix evenly.  Serve immediately.   

Friday, September 18, 2015

Veggie Tacos

It's a wonderful time of year. Tons of vegetables are available this time of year. I got the chance to visit my home town's farmer's market Roots last week. After dragging my poor husband and daughter all I was able to bring home lots of veggie goodness. I've been looking for recipes for vegetables ever since, and have a few good ones coming up.

I just sort of threw these together and they turned out to be delicious.  I made them to be a bit more of a tostada than a taco, but you can easily allow the corn tortillas to be cold or balance them on a muffin tin to make them a specific shape. 

Veggie Tacos

10 minutes of Prep
30 minutes of Cook time
10 minutes of Bake time
8 Servings

·       1 Zucchini
·       1 Small Eggplant
·       1 Medium Tomato
·       1/3 Cup Olive Oil
·       1 tsp. Salt
·      8 Corn Tortillas
·      1/3 Cup Jack Cheese
·      1 Large Onion
·      Sour Cream
·       1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·       1 tsp. Garlic Power
·       1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up Zucchini, Eggplant, Onion, and Tomato.  Season the onions, zucchini, and eggplant separately with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic power.

Saute the onions, zucchini, and eggplant in a saute pan.  (I also added a little soy sauce to the eggplant to deepen the color and give it some extra flavor.)

Set out the corn tortillas on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes to make crunchy.

When tortillas are done, add the vegetables to each tortilla and sprinkle a little cheese on each one.  Bake for another 5 minutes.

Pull out and garnish with sour creme and tomatoes.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Banana Bread

My husband is a huge fan of eating bananas for breakfast or eating them for a snack in the afternoon. However sometimes he doesn't eat them all and I end up with 2-3 extremely brown yucky bananas that no one wants to eat.  So I needed a way to use them up. Thus Banana Bread...

The next time I'll probably add cinnamon to this too.  I feel like it needed a little something extra.  I was very excited to learn that I could grill it for breakfast the next morning.  A little butter, a hot pan, and delicious grilled banana bread that may beat every pancake or french toast dish I've ever had. Except Mexican French Toast.... but that's a different story.

Banana Bread

10 minutes of Prep
45-50 minutes of Bake time
12 Servings

·       2-3 Bananas
·       1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
·       1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/3 Cup Melted Butter
·       Pinch of Salt
·      1 tsp. Baking Soda
·       Non-Stick Pan Spray
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·      1 Egg
·      1 1/2 Cups Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a 9 by 5 pan and spray with the Non-Stick spray.
Mash bananas until they are creamy and smooth.  Add melted butter and continue to mash it together until super smooth.

Whisk in sugars, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and egg.

Begin to add flour, a half cup at a time. Whisk until each half cup is completely absorbed.

Pour into the readied pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted in and comes up clean.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna

It's still summertime and late summer at that.  Which means it's also Zucchini season.  If you decided to plant some zucchini, you may now be amazed by the amount of vegetables that your garden is producing.  Zucchini is super delicious but can become boring after eating it the same way, over and over again. So I tried out this zucchini recipe and it was a tasty option. 

Now this is much easier to slice and serve the day after.  I chose not to because it smelled too good and we had to have it for dinner, but this dish can be made ahead of time.

Pork Sliders

30 minutes Cook time
25-30 minutes Bake time
·      1 lbs. Ground Turkey
·      1 large jar of Tomato Sauce
·      1 Jumbo Zucchini or 2 medium sized ones
·      12 oz Mushrooms sliced
·      2 Cups Ricotta
 ·     1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
·      1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
·     1 tsp. salt
·      1 tsp. pepper
·     6 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Brown your ground turkey first in 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil. Add the large can of tomato sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While that is simmering, slice your zucchini into large lengthwise slices. Salt and Pepper slices.  Drizzle Olive Oil onto a skillet and saute the zucchini on both sides.

Sauce should be done at this point. Turn off heat and finish up zucchini. Then saute the mushrooms in remaining Olive Oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin building your Lasagna. Use a 9 by 9 pan.  Add a little sauce to the bottom and add slices of zucchini like noodles. With each layer add a different cheese. I did ricotta on the bottom layer, and then next layer was a layer of sauce with mozzarella.  On top of that was a layer of mushrooms with a little Parmesan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top when finished.

Bake Lasagna for 25-30 minutes. Until cheese on top is bubbly and browned.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pork Sliders

After a fabulous vacation at the beach, where my husband and I survived with our 5 month old, I am now trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  While I love fall, I'm not quite ready to let go of swimming, fireflies, and barbecuing. However the fall is coming and with that is a season I dread every year.  Football..... Whether it's the NFL that blares from our television 3 days a week, or the high school football games I shoot at work, it follows me.  I do however enjoy the food that goes along with it.  Such as wings, sliders, and other munchies. I thought I'd share this recipe that's easy to fix up when you're staring at a fridge full of leftovers from the week and don't feel like going all out.

Every week, I make lunches and dinners for my husband and myself.  I typically make a roast chicken or a pork loin.  Bake or roast them and serve them with veggies.  However every now and then I end up with extra meat that we can't seem to use up.  This is a great recipe to use up extra meat or just make an easy party food. 

Pork Sliders

30 minutes Cook time
10 minutes Bake time
·      1/2 lbs. Pork meat cooked and shredded
·      2 Vidalia Onions sliced
·      4-5 slices American Cheese
·      3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
·      6 Slider buns

Begin to caramelize your onions in a skillet with 3 Tbsp. of Olive Oil. As they are cooking assemble your other ingredients, meat, cheese, and buns.

Plan buns on cookie sheet and begin to layer sandwiches, adding meat first, then a layer of the caramelized onions.

Add the cheese on top, 4-5 slices just about covers it.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  (No need to preheat oven.)