Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie


     Looks yummy, no?  Okay, it looks pretty gross but hear me out - for those of you who haven't joined the green smoothie movement, you have got to give it a try.  I promise you don't taste the spinach...  I was first exposed to green smoothies when I was at a friend's house for dinner a couple of years ago and his mom made a "green drink".  Apple juice, strawberries, spinach, and ice.  I'm adventurous so I gave it a try and loved it.  At the time I didn't realize it was the new craze.  I didn't start making them until after I got married and started shopping at the farmer's market which inspires me to eat more wholesome foods and that 1 lb. container of spinach is just too hard to resist anyway.  With only 2 of us, I have to do something with all of that spinach!  I just had my first baby so I'm trying to run off the last 8 lbs. of baby weight and these smoothies help me start my day off with the energy I need to do that! This is the smoothie I threw together today and I think it is the best one yet!  What a healthy way to satisfy that chocolate craving!  I used unsweetened cocoa powder - it's full of fiber and no sugar! These are estimates of how much of everything I used since I just threw it in the blender until it looked and tasted right... which I encourage you to do as well! 

INGREDIENTS
Handful of spinach
1/2 - 3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 to 1 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana
1 tsp flax seed - or more if you want
dash of honey
large handful of ice

DIRECTIONS
1.  Put spinach in first - this ensures it doesn't get spit up from blending and stick to the sides.  Put everything else on top except ice.  Blend.  Add ice and blend again on the ice crush setting.  Enjoy!!  


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Corn Chowder


     Corn Chowder.  When I decided to make this, I remembered I like chowders but must have forgotten how much.  This is out of this world satisfying and delicious.  It's weight watchers approved but I think my husband and I missed the point because it was supposed to make 6 servings and by the time we left the dinner table there was only enough left for one more bowl!  It also has no meat - I've been cooking more and more meatless meals because it's budget friendly and helps with our weight loss goals.  But anyway, my husband gave this a ten, which is a rare honor.  Whip this one up the next time you're in the mood for soup!  

INGEDIENTS
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

2. Add corn and potatoes, return to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Place cornstarch in a small bowl, slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Stir into the soup and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Makes 6 Servings (1 Cup Per Serving)

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 200 calories; 2 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbs; 10 g protein; 4 g fiber; 208 mg sodium


Friday, October 21, 2011

Potato Lasagna


     This dish is awesome.  So yummy and pretty painless to put together if you buy the frozen broccoli, pre-diced ham and already shredded cheese.  Try this one soon! 


INGREDIENTS
1 jar Alfredo Sauce
1 c. milk
3 large potatoes, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. diced ham
1 (10 oz.) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed 
2 c. shredded Swiss cheese or colby jack ( I used colby)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Lightly  grease a large baking dish.  
3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the Alfredo sauce and milk.  Spread 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  
4.  In a separate medium bowl, combine the ham, broccoli and 1 1/2 c. of the cheese.  Mix well and spread 1/2 of this mixture over the potatoes in the baking dish.  Then top with another layer of potatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste again.  Next, top with the rest of the ham mixture, and finally top with the remaining swiss cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Pour the remaining Alfredo sauce over all. 
5.  Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake at 350 for additional 25 min. or until potatoes are tender.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lobster and Honey Roasted Potatoes


     I'm back!!  I took a leave of absence as I became a new mom to a beautiful little girl, but, she's 6 weeks old now and it's time for me to juggle in these blog posts again!  On August 14 my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary.  Do you know what that means?  It means my one year cooking challenge ended!  Successfully, if i might add.  I know there aren't 365 posts on here but I did do it.  :)  And it was a blast.  I loved this past year of cooking.  And, surprisingly my life is a lot easier in the kitchen because of this challenge.  I've created habits of planning a menu each week, which means I have a shopping list and rarely have to go back to the store because I've forgotten something.  It's nice to always have what I need on hand and it's been so fun to eat something different every day and to learn so much in the kitchen!  I've had so much fun that I'm continuing.  Not necessarily as a challenge, because I'm not going to stress about it at all and there are quite a few recipes from this past year that I would like to make again, but I do plan on continuing to make new recipes, probably as much as 6 days out of the week.  
     So, here's a meal that I made recently... lobster was on sale at Sprouts so I splurged a bit and bought some.  I had no idea how to prepare lobster, especially how to get to the meat under the hard shell, so I used this tutorial on ehow.  I highly recommend it, it's short and sweet and very informative.  And who knew kitchen shears can cut through lobster shells?  I was skeptical but it worked just like the video said it would.  Here's the recipe I used from allrecipes.com 

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 whole lobster tails
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • salt to taste
  • ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon - cut into wedges, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet. With a sharp knifeI or kitchen shears, carefully cut top side of lobster shells lengthwise. Pull apart shells slightly, and season meat with equal amounts butter, paprika, salt, and white pepper.
  3. Broil lobster tails until lightly browned and lobster meat is opaque, about 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges to serve.  ( I ended up having to broil it for about 8 1/2 minutes) 

     Lobster is always yummy but I need a bit more practice, it wasn't quite restaurant quality and I'd like it to be closer.  I also made Honey Roasted Potatoes which had the perfect amount of sweetness and was quite the hit with my husband.  


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 11x7 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place potatoes in a single layer in prepared dish, and top with onion. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, honey, mustard, salt and pepper; drizzle over potatoes and onion.
  3. Bake in the preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through the cooking time.

Enjoy!
      


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Potato and Bean Enchilada Casserole


     This is a great meatless dish that is quick to prepare.  The original recipe is for enchiladas but I have a confession - I HATE working with corn tortillas.  They always crack and it takes forever to roll individual enchiladas.  So, I layer them instead, it takes about 1/50th the amount of time  (Don't quote me on that quick time calculation).  Anyway, this is a fun casserole and I used queso fresco for the first time.  I approve of the cheese because I don't have to shred it, I can just crumble it in my fingers drop it in.  Also, this is proof that I'm no expert and am still a learner myself - no one has ever taught me how to chop cilantro.  Somehow I got it in my head that you have to pull all the leaves off individually because the stems aren't meant to be eaten (I've never noticed any stems in my cilantro that I've eaten in restaurants or at friends houses... ).  In case you were wondering, this takes a ridiculously long time to pick all the leaves off and get them onto a cutting board rather than sticking to your fingers.  With these enchiladas the impending task of pulling cilantro leaves led me to google how to chop cilantro.  Well, you just chop it.  That's all.  Stems and all.  (But make sure you wash it first!  Cilantro is one of the dirtier herbs and it needs a good swishing around in a bowl of water and maybe a 2nd bowl of water)  So, laugh it up, I've been doing things the hard way this past year of cooking! 

INGREDIENTS
1 pound potatoes, diced
3 tsp. Delicioso Adobo Seasoning (recipe below, or buy some already made)
1 Tbl. ketchup 
2 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, divided
18 corn tortillas 
1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 oz.) package queso fresco 

ADOBO SEASONING
1 Tbl. lemon-pepper seasoning
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl. onion powder
1 Tbl. dried oregano
1 Tbl. parsley flakes
1 Tbl. achiote powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbl. salt 

Combine the spices in a small glass jar and seal with an airtight lid.  Shake to blend and store in a cool, dry place.  Makes about 1/3 cup. 

DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, toss diced potatoes together with adobo seasoning (you can use this seasoning for lots of different mexican dishes that you make in the future, it's pretty versatile and adds great flavor) and ketchup.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  [NOTE: I don't really know how much 1 lb. of potatoes is so I just estimated how much I would need and mine fit in a single layer of a 9x13 pan with a bit of room to spare)

2.  When potatoes are cooked through, remove from oven and in a bowl, mix potatoes with pinto beans, 1/2 of the cheese, 1/2 of the cilantro and about 1/2 c. enchilada sauce. 

3.  Pour some of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, enough to cover the bottom.  Arrange half of the tortillas on top of sauce, overlapping as it fills up.  Spread potato mixture evenly on top of tortillas.  For the top layer, tear remaining tortillas into fourths and arrange on top of potato mixture.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top, spreading to cover evenly.  Crumble remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with remaining cilantro. 

This comes together really fast with minimal clean up.  It's tasty and a nice change from the typical green chile chicken enchiladas.  Enjoy! 

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry


     I love curry.  I especially love curry that allows me to smell it all day as it sits in the slow cooker!  I got this out of a slow cooker recipe book that I'm borrowing from a neighbor.  My husband loved it and licked his bowl clean.  Twice.  

INGREDIENTS
1 Tbl olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 c. chicken broth
2-3 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Louisiana hot sauce)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen peas

DIRECTIONS
1.  Heat oil in medium skillet.  Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides  (Just brown the outsides, don't cook all the way through since it will cook in the slow cooker).  Place potatoes and onion in slow cooker.  Place chicken breasts on top.  Combine coconut milk, broth, curry powder (I always end up adding lots more curry powder than a recipe calls for to get a legitimate flavor.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp. so you can add to taste if you'd like, I used closer to 3 tsp), hot sauce, salt, and pepper in medium bowl.  Add to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours. 

2.  About 30 minutes before serving, add peas to slow cooker and stir.  Cover and let cook for 30 minutes.  Serve over hot cooked couscous or rice.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Southwestern Salad


     Here's a salad I threw together one night.  Just cook up some chicken - seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a bit of cumin, then put it on top of some greens with strips of red bell pepper, corn, avocado, and black beans.  Top with cilantro ranch dressing and you have yourself a yummy dinner salad!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Authentic Paella


     I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for 3 months during my Junior year of college.  Paella is considered the national dish of Spain and I ate it time and time again.  It was always a treat though because it is delicious!  I tried multiple times to get my Spanish madre to let me help in the kitchen because I wanted to learn how to make all of those Spanish dishes that were served to me each night.  Unfortunately culture wouldn't have it, I was a guest, and I just could not help in the kitchen.  So, I have done my best to recreate the paella that I ate there and I do believe I have come rather close.  I couldn't find any recipes online that reflected the paella I was accustomed to eating, so I came up with my own recipe.  I really don't measure, I just keep adding ingredients until it looks good.  For your sake, I'll try to estimate how much to use though, but keep in mind those quantities are flexible.  Just believe me when I say this dish is forgiving so don't stress.  

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c. uncooked white rice
3 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. frozen peas
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbl olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 lb. small, deveined and cooked shrimp
15-20 cooked mussels
4 lemons
Paella Seasoning OR the following: 
black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. paprika
pinch of saffron

DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  
2.  Combine rice and broth in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to boil over high heat and then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is done.  
3.  In a paella pan (or a wok if you don't have one... a paella pan is large and shallow, which is key.  So, you could also use a large frying pan and then transfer to a shallow baking dish as well) heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chopped chicken breast, minced garlic, and onion.  Cook until chicken is cooked through. 
4.  Add the shrimp, peas, and red pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  
5.  Slice the lemons. 
6.  Stir in rice.  Add remaining seasonings,  I just use a paella spice mixture that I brought back from Spain but the italicized spices above are the ingredients of that paella spice.  I estimated the amount to use to achieve the desired taste so be sure to taste test and make sure it's to your liking.  The SAFFRON is key though.  Paella isn't paella without saffron!  After adding spices (I usually add, taste, add, taste, add, taste and add some more!  The rice shouldn't be ultra flavorful but it also shouldn't taste too plain)  squeeze the juice of 2-3 slices of lemon over the rice mixture and stir.     
7.  Spread evenly into a shallow baking dish (or paella pan if you happen to have one), arrange remaining slices of lemon around the edges and bake in oven for 7-10 minutes.  
8.  Meanwhile, make sure your mussels are heated.  I used the pre-cooked and debearded mussels from a bag.  If you are doing this, then you just need to steam them in a pan in about 1/2 inch of water until they are heated through and open.  Discard any mussels that do not open.  
9.  Remove the paella dish from the oven and arrange cooked mussels throughout.  
10.  The paella is meant to be flavored with lemon to taste after serving on individual plates.  

Serve paella with a baguette or loaf of french bread and DO NOT slice the bread!  Whenever I make this I am sure to let everyone know they have to pass the bread around and just tear pieces off at will.  It's the authentic way of doing things!  In Spain, I never had my bread sliced, everyone eats bread daily and everyone tears pieces off all throughout the meal.  I hope you can make sense of the recipe, it's really trial and error every time I make it so just keep a tasting spoon handy.  This is really great and healthy so do try it and enjoy the cultural experience! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

    
     I had a craving for Apple Streusel Muffins the other day but when I went to make them I discovered I was short on about half of the ingredients.  I refused to let that deter me and instead made up my own recipe based on what I had.  The result was a pan full of the most moist, flavorful, delicious muffins I've ever made! Be careful, these are addicting!

INGREDIENTS (16 muffins)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup honey nut cream cheese (you can also use regular)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup chopped, peeled tart apples
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup chopped pecans

TOPPING
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
3 tablespoons uncooked oatmeal

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream, cream cheese, apple sauce, and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples and pecans. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  2. For topping, combine sugar, flour,oatmeal, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonful over each muffin (or more if you want! Pretty sure I did). Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

3 Cheese Margherita Pizza


     Wow.  This is AMAZING.  These are the words that sang like music to my ears from my husband's mouth after his first bite.  I was a little worried about putting a pizza in front of him that not only didn't have meat but only had one vegetable (or fruit, as it were) topping.  But, have no fear, this pizza does not disappoint!  I don't even like tomatoes very much and I loved this pizza.  Don't wait, go make this.  Now.  And use this crust recipe... it's called Ricardo's Pizza Crust and it's off of allrecipes.com.  I discovered it the first time I made dough from scratch and it ended what I thought would be years of searching, trying to find the perfect pizza crust.  I have no desire to try another crust recipe ever again.  This is THE ONE.  

INGREDIENTS (crust) 
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine water, olive oil, sugar, salt in pan of bread machine Add flour, then sprinkle garlic on flour. Lastly add yeast.
  2. Turn machine on dough cycle. As the dough mixes, sprinkle on oregano and basil until it suits you for color and taste. Let mix for about 15 to 30 minutes. Let the dough rest from 5 to 30 minutes. The longer it rests, the thicker and more tasty the crust. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Spray a large pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough on pan and add your choice of pizza toppings.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.  

INGREDIENTS (Pizza) 

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pizza crust (I just roll mine out to fit my pizza stone)
  • 2 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • dried basil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir together olive oil, garlic, and salt; toss with tomatoes, and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Brush pizza crust with some of the tomato marinade. Sprinkle the pizza evenly with Mozzarella cheese. Arrange tomatoes overtop, then sprinkle with basil, Parmesan, and feta cheese.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 12 minutes.

     Now, I made this pizza half with pizza sauce and half with just the marinade as the original recipe called for.  I was skeptical of not having sauce on the pizza because of a bad experience in the past.  However, my husband and I both agree that the pizza was better WITHOUT the sauce.  So, stick with the olive oil marinade, it's great!  And feel free to use 5 fresh basil leaves, shredded, in place of dried basil.  I didn't have any and it was expensive so I opted for dried.  This is the first pizza I've ever had that I LOVED without dipping it in Ranch dressing.  That is proof enough in my book that this pizza is phenomenal.  Enjoy!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Costa Vida Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos



     When I went to school in Utah I was blessed to discover Costa Vida  (it's not hard to do - everyone knows about it).  Costa Vida and their cousins - Cafe Rio - are popular out west.  There is one location here in Texas but it is 3 1/2 hours away.  Well anyway, they are famous for their salads and burritos... especially their sweet pork salads and burritos.  You may recall that I have already done a simple version of their salad back in December.  Well, last night it was time to try my hand at their sweet pork burritos... let me tell you, I am thrilled with how it turned out!  I wish I had taken a picture of the inside of the burrito so you could see the deliciousness going on inside but alas, you will just have to make your own to see what I am talking about!  I went to quite a few different blogs to find copycat recipes and then combined them and put my own twist on it.  The result was total restaurant quality and COMPLETE Costa Vida craving satisfaction. 
     To achieve legitimate results follow the recipe for the pork, rice, and beans.  It's really quite simple and totally worth it.  The rice recipe was adapted from the blog Marin's Creations, she's a gem for aiding in the quest for Costa Vida perfection from your own kitchen. 


INGREDIENTS -  Sweet Pork
3-5 lb. pork roast (mine was 3.3 lbs)
2 (12 oz.)  cans coke
1/2 c.granulated sugar
1 jalapeno - seeded and chopped
2 carrots - shredded or finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. brown sugar

DIRECTIONS - Sweet Pork
1.  Place thawed pork roast in slow cooker. 
2.  Add remaining ingredients, EXCEPT for the brown sugar.  Stir sauce ingredients to combine.  (I did this after I poured it over the pork, you could combine all the ingredients in a separate bowl and stir, then add to crockpot but I didn't think it was necessary).
3.  Cover and cook on high 6 hours.
4.  After 6 hours, remove pork and shred.  (2 forks work just fine to pull it all apart)
5.  Return to pot, add 1/2 c. brown sugar and stir to combine sauce, shredded pork, and sugar.
6.  Reduce heat to low and cook 2-3 more hours.

INGREDIENTS - Cilantro Lime Rice
1 1/2 c. uncooked white rice
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
1 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 Tbl. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tsp. granulated white sugar
4 Tbl. fresh chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS- Cilantro Lime Rice
1.  In a saucepan or rice cooker add rice, broth, water, butter, 1 1/2 tsp. lim juice, and garlic. 
2.  Cook according to package directions.
3.  When rice is moist and cooked, add 1 1/2 Tbl. lime juice, sugar, and cilantro.  Mix well.

INGREDIENTS - Black Beans
2 (14.5 oz) cans black beans
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
salt to taste

DIRECTIONS- Black Beans
1.  Empty undrained beans into a saucepant.  Add garlic, cumin, and salt.
2.  Mix well and cook on low until heated through and bubbling.

INGREDIENTS- Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch Mix
1 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. salsa verde
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
juice of one lime

DIRECTIONS - Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1.  Mix all ingredients together.  That's it!  Use a blender or mix by hand.

Okay, NOW you are ready to assemble your burritos.  Each prepared ingredient is important to achieve restaurant quality flavor so I hope you didn't skip them - plain rice and beans just wouldn't be the same! 

BURRITO TIME!  - YOU NEED:
4 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 (20 oz.) can red enchilada sauce
Lots of burrito sized tortillas
Toppings:  Pico de gallo (tomatoes, onion, cilantro, salt), sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro ranch dressing

DIRECTIONS TO ASSEMBLE:
1.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 
2.  In the middle of a tortilla, place a scoop of rice, a scoop of beans, a large scoop of pork (use a slotted spoon so some of the juice drains out), drizzle cilantro ranch dressing down the middle, and top with cheese.  Roll tortilla burrito style and place in baking dish.
3.  Repeat for all of the burritos.
4.  For a 9x13 baking dish, fill with burritos (they should be pretty fat, I fit 6 in my dish), and empty half of the enchilada sauce on top of burritos (The other half will be used in your 2nd batch of burritos).  SPRINKLE (we're not talking about a casserole here, just sprinkle some on top, there's already some in the middle!) with shredded cheese and then place in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
5.  Serve burritoes and top with desired toppings (see above, under Burrito Time)! 

Alright, I used this recipe to feed 6 adults and still had 5 burritos left over (I think I made a total of 15 burritos).  So, plan accordingly.  I just refilled the baking dish and made another batch of burritos after the first.  You could always scale it down, but a pork roast is going to make a lot regardless so be sure to freeze the leftovers if you don't need to make that many burritos in one sitting.  Either way, this is totally worth the effort.  Go make your smothered sweet pork burritos and you can thank me later!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taco Soup

 
  My family came to visit this past weekend for my mom's birthday.  I decided Taco Soup was the perfect crockpot solution for Sunday dinner.  Fast preparation, cooks while at church, eat when we get home.  I looked up a bunch of different taco soup recipes to get a general idea of what to do and then I made up my own.  It turned out great, approved by all.  So, next time you're cooking for a crowd, try this out.


INGREDIENTS (Serves 8)
1 1/2 c. dried pinto beans
1 1/2 c. red kidney beans
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey 
3/4 c. onion, diced
1 (10 oz) can Mild Rotel
1 (10 oz. ) can Original Rotel
1 (14.5) oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5) oz. can corn, undrained
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1 packet Ranch dressing seasoning mix
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon
corn tortillas
fiesta blend cheese


DIRECTIONS
1.  Soak beans overnight in cold water.  In the morning, drain and rinse beans and add to crockpot. 
2.  Add both cans of Rotel, diced tomatoes, corn, and broth.  Turn slow cooker on to low. 
3.  Meanwhile, in a frying pan cook the beef, turkey, and onion together.  Drain grease.  Add the Ranch packet and taco seasoning to the meat and stir.  Add the meat mixture to the crockpot. 
4.  Stir in cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. 
5.  Cook on low for 6 hours then on high for 2.  
6.  When beans are soft and cooked through, serve the soup and top with fiesta blend cheese and tortilla strips.  To make the tortilla strips, cut corn tortillas into strips, lay in a single layer on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, stirring/flipping half-way through.  

NOTE:  After I had served 6 bowls I discovered the soupy broth was just about gone.  That's when I added the water and chicken bouillon, along with sprinkling the same spices as earlier.  The reason I don't tell you to add the extra water in the beginning is because I don't know how big your crockpot is but it wouldn't have fit in mine.  Without the extra cup of water I had filled mine to the top.  So, if your pot is big enough, by all means add the water in the beginning! 

     Serve this tasty soup up with some cornbread (don't forget the butter and honey!) and enjoy the mild spice and great taco flavor!