lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Shredded Beef Torta

One of the first things I ever ordered at my favorite late night college hangout (aka La Tapatia) was a torta. Pechuga de Pollo torta with NO beans. Emphasis on the "NO." I am no fan of beans and even after 20 years of living in Texas, I still cannot stomach them.  I also learned that if I omitted the Pechuga part of the order, I would get a not as delicious shredded chicken instead of a chicken breast.  I love making bolillos and having tortas at home.  I usually have chicken or pulled pork, but I was in the mood for a shredded beef torta.  And Kroger had roasts on sale for under $2 a pound.  And the shredded beef torta was born.  And it is delicious.  Messy, but delicious. 
Shredded Beef Tortas
Makes 6 tortas

1 recipe southwest shredded beef
6 Bolillos from this recipe or purchased
12 leaves of green lettuce
2 avocados, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 recipe best ever queso or queso of your choosing

Prepare the southwest shredded beef in the crockpot. Slice the bolillos lengthwise and then cross wise. Lay a lettuce leaf on the bottom of each bottom half of the bolillo. Top each with avocado and tomato slices, then add a generous helping of the shredded beef. Top the beef with a spoonful of queso. Serve.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Peanut Butter Cookies

Miss F had two weeks of theater camp and they didn't have any nut restrictions. She rejected a PB&J, but loved being able to take peanut butter granola bars and these cookies. All the fork flattening was done by Miss F and she did a great job, she loves to bake, especially cookies.  These cookies are terrific, bursting with sweet peanut butter flavor and it's easy to snack on several in one sitting.   This recipe was adapted from
Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the peanut butter, brown sugar, sugar and butter. Add the egg and mix until well combined. Add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour. Line baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Spoon heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared pans. Use a fork to flatten the cookies, creating a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homemade Tortillas

WHY HAVEN'T I MADE TORTILLAS SOONER?!?! I feel like I have wasted years of tortilla enjoyment by never attempting them at home before. After a weekend in San Antonio, I wanted to try and replicate the soft and fluffy tortillas that we enjoy so much at Mi Tierra.  I looked to Confections of a Foodie Bride for a recipe.  And I decided I needed to make tortillas with lard, no substitutions would do.  The lard at Kroger was six months out of date (gross!) but Fiesta had an ample supply of fresh lard.  And the day was saved.  And these tortillas were amazing.  I have since received a tortilla press as a birthday gift.  It is the best thing ever.

Homemade Tortillas

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons lard
¾ cup warm water

Pulse the flour, baking powder and salt in the food processor fitted with a dough blade. Add the lard and process until the mixture is crumbly. With the food processor running, stream in the water until the a ball is formed. Knead the dough for 30 seconds with the food processor. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Heat a large iron skillet over medium high heat. Roll the dough balls into thin rounds. Lay the tortillas in the heated skillet and cook for 20 seconds per side, until the bubbled areas begin to brown. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Peach Cobbler

We are a nectarine family. Peaches are okay, but I much prefer a smooth skinned nectarine to a fuzzy peach. Except for baking, where the skin doesn't matter and the fruit is baked. I am so-so on a biscuit topped cobbler, I prefer a more pie crust type recipe. But why not just bake a peach pie? My main aversion is that pie crusts can be tricky in the summer because it is so hot and humid here. So I was looking for a new cobbler recipe and this one was really intriguing. The cobbler topping is a cross between a sugar cookie and a pie crust, which is just perfection. I much prefer it to be warmed and topped with Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious. This recipe is adapted from The Kitchn.
Peach Cobbler

8 to 10 large peaches
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice the peaches. Stir the sliced peaches with ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Pour the peaches into a 9x9 glass baking dish. Stir together the flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine into a crumbly dough. Pat handfuls of dough into palm sized disks between ¼ and ½ inch thick, lay the disks over the peaches in a cobblestone pattern. Place the cobbler on a baking sheet and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the topping is golden brown at the edges. Cool and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chicken Fajita Kabobs

Isn't food more fun when served on a stick? And it certainly is quite more fun to cook, especially when you have a seven year old helper that loves skewering.  These skewers don't take a long marinade time, so your fajitas can be ready for an easy weeknight meal.  I broiled them, but they would be lovely on the grill, perfect for summer.  This whole plate full was gone in one sitting, they were quite a huge hit.  Be sure to use fresh lime juice, it really makes a difference. This recipe was inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod.
Chicken Fajita Kabobs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 red pepper, cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 green pepper, cut into ¾ inch pieces

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to a re-sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease a broiler pan with cooking spray. Thread the chicken, onion and bell pepper onto skewers and place on the broiler pan. Broil on high for 5 minutes, flip and broil for 4 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, June 13, 2016

Creamy Chicken Asparagus Pasta

I love asparagus, especially in the spring and summer when I can get a big bunch for under a dollar.  This recipe was inspired by Cooking Classy, but very little remained the same once I was through.   If you are going to the trouble of frying bacon, you might as well fry the chicken and the asparagus in the leftover bacon grease.  Go big or go home, right?  I added some fresh basil at the end for my dish, Miss F and C were quite happy without.  Heck, they would have been happy without the dried basil, oregano and thyme, but the herbs really add a lovely flavor.
Creamy Chicken Asparagus Pasta

12 ounces penne pasta
5 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sauce
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of ends, remaining diced into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¾ cup milk
¼ cup cream
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the bacon to a plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan. Stir together the basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the herb mixture all over the chicken. Add the chicken and asparagus to the pan and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Remove the chicken and asparagus to the plate with the bacon, set aside.

Add the butter to the pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add the garlic and whisk for 30 seconds more. Whisk in the milk and cream, bring to a boil, stirring constantly to keep smooth. Add the parmesan cheese, penne pasta, bacon, chicken and asparagus. Toss well to combine and serve with additional parmesan on top.
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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders

I have a love hate relationship with Costco.  I truly love Costco at the end of the day, but lately they have irritated me a bit.  I was obsessed with their dried California apricots.  Obsessed.  Then they stopped carrying them.  And I was sad.  Trader Joes has an acceptable replacement, but they aren't nearly as good.  Miss F recently experienced the same thing.  Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets were her absolute favorite.  She tried the nuggets that replaced them and we both agreed they were gross (but yay to Costco for taking back a $15 bag of chicken nuggets.)  So I have started making chicken tenders, baking them is really easy and they taste fantastic.  Win win!
Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders

¼ cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk the egg and water together in a separate shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to a third shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup

Miss F is a huge fan of the Food Network. Her favorite shows are Cake Wars and Chopped Junior.  She also really enjoys watching Pioneer Woman, most of her recipes are right up Miss F's alley.  When she saw this recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup on a recent episode, she insisted we put it on the menu for the following week.  She thought it would be much like her favorite soup, Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup, or as she calls it, "Crocky."  This soup was a huge hit!  She devoured a couple of bowls and then ate all the leftovers for lunches.  I keep chipotles in the freezer, then I can just take one or two out as needed.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup

1 pound boneless, skinless whole chicken breasts
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
One 28-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes, with juice
3 ½ cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 10-ounce can Rotel
4 ounces tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo (you may add 2 to 3 if you like)
½ lime, juiced
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese

Place the chicken in a crockpot. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, broth, beans, Rotel, tomato paste, onion, bell peppers and chipotles to the crockpot and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8 hours. Stir in the lime juice. Serve, topped with cheese.
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Orecchiette Carbonara with Peas

This may be my new favorite carbonara. It's quite genius, actually. The little orecchiette cups the sauce perfectly and sometimes even a pea sneaks in there. This also may be the richest carbonara recipe I have ever made. 6 eggs for only 12 ounces of pasta, but the result is a lovely sauce that is velvety smooth.  I needed about 1/4 cup of pasta water to thin the sauce.  I can't wait to try the same sauce with my usual thin spaghetti, but I am also excited to try orecchiette carbonara with other add ins.  This recipe is adapted from the New York Times.
Orecchiette Carbonara with Peas

12 ounces orecchiette
5 ounces bacon, cut into lardons
1 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta per package instructions, reserving the pasta water.

In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium high heat until crisp, then drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the garlic, peas and thyme; cook for 3 minutes more. Add the drained pasta to the pan and turn off the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and cheese. Pour the eggs and cheese into the pan with the pasta, stirring constantly and adding pasta water if necessary to thin the sauce. Top with fresh cracked pepper and serve.
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