Pork Tinga Soft Tacos with Avocado Salad

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Wow!  This is right up there with one of my favorite recipes ever… I love all types of food but food with lots of layers of spices and intense flavors get me every time.  The chipotle peppers and adobo sauce in this dish add a wonderful smokiness.  Don’t be discouraged that this recipe takes 2 hours to make — believe me it is well worth the time and effort.  Enjoy!

In case you’re wondering… Tinga is a Mexican dish using pork, beef or even chicken slow cooked in chipotle sauce.

Pork Tinga Soft Tacos with Avocado Salad
Serves 6-8
 
2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed & cut into 1 1-2 cubes
4 cups water plus more for potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt (divided)
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 pound red potatoes cut into ½-inch dice
1 tablespoon blended oil
1 (9 oz) tube pork chorizo
1 yellow onion, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28-ounce canned Italian tomatoes, chopped and drained
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2-3 teaspoons adobo sauce
½-1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt to taste
Flour tortillas
Monterey jack cheese, grated
Avocado salad (recipe below)
Fresh lime wedges
 
In a large saucepan, add the 4 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, marjoram, thyme, bay leaves and the pork.  Simmer for 1 hour.
 
Meanwhile, in another pot add the potatoes and enough water to cover plus 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and cook until slightly tender (about 7-8 minutes).  Strain the potatoes, and set aside.
 
Once the pork has finished cooking use a slotted spoon to remove the pork, cool slightly then tear into smaller pieces. Skim the fat from the top of the pork broth and strain reserving 2 cups of the liquid.
 
In a large saucepan heat the oil.  Add the chorizo and cook over medium heat, breaking the meat up, for 10 minutes.  On a paper towel, drain the chorizo.
 
In the same pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes then add the pork to the pan. Cook for another 8-10 minutes the add the garlic and cook 1 minute.  Next, add the tomatoes and chorizo, cook for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and 1 ½ cups of the reserved pork broth, simmer for 10 minutes (add more reserved broth if needed).  Add the sugar, stir and check for seasoning.
 
 
Avocado Salad
 
3 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped (1/2-3/4 inch), reserve 1 seed
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Juice from ½ fresh lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt to taste
 
In a small, add all of the ingredients and stir together.  Check for seasoning then add the reserved seed to help prevent turning brown. 
 
When storing, place into a dish cover with plastic wrap directly on top of the salad then cover, this will help prevent browning on top.

 

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Bacon and Chive Waffles with Vanilla Butter

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Bacon and Chive Waffles with Vanilla Butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I decided to make these savory waffles topped with vanilla butter and warm maple syrup. The recipe is below, however if you want to make these really easy and fast then simply grab your waffle/pancake mix from your pantry and follow these steps:

‘Quick’ Bacon & Chive Waffles with Vanilla Butter

Recipe

Makes 3-4 waffles

Ingredients

2 cups dry packaged waffle/pancake mix (I use the one that only requires water)
5 slices center cut bacon
2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Vanilla butter (recipe below)
Maple syrup

Directions

Preheat waffle iron.  Cook bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels, chop the bacon then set aside. Prepare waffle mix as directed then add the bacon and chives.

Lightly coat hot waffle iron with cooking spray then pour the batter in the center. Cook until golden brown.

Top with vanilla butter and warm maple syrup.

Vanilla Butter

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Mix together until well combined.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon and Chive Waffles with Vanilla Butter

Recipe

Makes 6-8 waffles

Ingredients

5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter (cooled)
6 slices center cut bacon
2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Vanilla butter (recipe below)
Maple syrup

Directions

Preheat waffle iron.  Cook bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels, chop the bacon then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the buttermilk, milk, vanilla and butter.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients, leaving the batter slightly lumpy.  Add the bacon and chives and mix well.

Lightly coat hot waffle iron with cooking spray then pour the batter in the center. Cook until golden brown.

Top with vanilla butter and warm maple syrup.

Vanilla Butter

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Mix together until well combined.


 


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Twice-Baked Potatoes

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These twice-baked potatoes make a perfect side dish.  They are not only delicious but easy to prepare and to make your life a little easier they can be whipped up the day before and stored in the refrigerator.

Twice-Baked Potatoes
Serves 6
 
3 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
3 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped fine
Salt and pepper
Garnish with fresh chives or chopped scallions

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
 
 
Wash the potatoes with cold water, pat dry and place in a medium bowl.  Toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper.  Wrap each potato in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and let cool enough to handle.  Slice each potato lengthwise and scoop out the middle and place in a separate bowl.
 
Add the melted butter, low-fat milk, heavy cream, cheddar cheese and turkey bacon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste then scoop or pipe into the potato skins.
 
Place bake into the oven and bake until golden brown.
 
Garnish with fresh chives or chopped scallions.

 

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Quick and Easy Pizza

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Pizza at home served as an appetizer or lunch on the patio is easy and delicious!

You can make the sauce in advance and keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a week or two. For the pizza crust I either buy pizza dough or Naan bread (garlic or plain) that can be frozen works perfect. I usually have fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms and cheese on hand so it’s quick and easy to pull out some Naan bread from my freezer, stored pizza sauce and add my toppings of choice and bake!

Pizza Sauce

Recipe

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot then add the onions and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Continue cooking for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.  Check for seasoning.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or blend in a food processor or blender.

Toppings
Be as creative or simple as you like…

Caramelized onions
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Cherry or Roma tomatoes, sliced
Italian sausage, pre-cooked and sliced
Pepperoni slices
Mushrooms, sliced
Roasted garlic
Red onions, sliced
Bell peppers, diced
Jalapenos, sliced

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until toppings are golden and cheese is melted.


 

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Ultimate Mac & Cheese

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Ultimate Mac & Cheese
My son Brian would eat this Mac & Cheese every day if I made it, he simply can’t get enough.  I use Cavatappi pasta for this dish and highly recommend it.  It’s a creamy and savory dish that can even be an elegant entree or side dish for a dinner party!

Recipe

Ingredients
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 quart whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
½ cup Havarti cheese, grated
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices fresh white bread
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons melted butter


Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot fill ¾ full of water and bring to a boil, add the salt and Cavatappi and cook as directed.

Next, heat the milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat.  In a separate pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter on low heat and add the flour slowly using a whisk and cook for 1-2 minutes. While whisking, add the hot milk mixture and cook until thick and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the Gruyere, Havarti , Cheddar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the cooked pasta and stir until combined. Pour into a large baking dish or individual baking dishes.

In a food processor using a blade attachment chop the bread for 10-15 seconds then place in a bowl.  Add the Parmesan cheese and toss.  Next add the melted butter and combine with the fresh bread crumb mixture then sprinkle on top of the pasta.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly brown on the top.


 

 

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Zucchini Dolcelatte Soup

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My husband and I love homemade soups and this recipe is a favorite with our family.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Dolcelatte Soup
 
Serves 4-6
 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 fresh zucchinis, peeled and sliced (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
4 ounces (divided) Dolcelatte cheese, rind removed and crumbled *
1 cup heavy cream plus some for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
 
For garnish: Dolcelatte cheese, springs of fresh oregano and drizzle of heavy cream
 
In a large soup pot heat the oil and butter, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini and oregano and continue cooking another 10 minutes.  
 

 


Next, add the stock and bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add 3 ounces of the Dolcelatte cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender blend until smooth or you can use a blender or food processor, in batches to blend until smooth.  Return back to the pot and add the cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Check for consistency and add more stock if needed.
 
Garnish with the remaining Dolcelatte cheese, springs of fresh oregano and drizzle of heavy cream.
 
*If your market does not carry Dolcelatte cheese you can use any Italian sweet gorgonzola cheese such as Dolcina.

Posted in Recipes, Soups | 1 Comment

Huevos Rancheros

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Looking to change up your everyday breakfast or want to serve your guests something different for brunch?  This recipe is easy and great served with roasted potatoes. I make this every Easter for brunch!

Huevos Rancheros

Recipe

Ingredients

6 corn tortillas, fried
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained on paper towels
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
4 ounces Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
6 eggs, poached
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Tomato salsa (Recipe below)
1 avocado, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Fry tortillas and set aside.  In a sauté pan on medium heat cook the bacon (but not crisp) then add the garlic and shallot, cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add ¾ of the black beans to the pan and heat on low.  In a food processor add the remainder of the black beans and the chipotle pepper and blend then add to the bean mixture.

Fill a pan halfway with water and bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar then poach the eggs 1-2 at a time. Drain on paper towels.

To serve: Place fried tortilla on a plate and top with the black bean mixture, top with the Queso Fresco, tomato salsa, egg and avocado slices.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on egg.

Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

2 roma tomatoes, diced
½ small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients.


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Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

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Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces Greek blueberry yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons low fat milk
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest, minced
8-10 ounces fresh blueberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.  In a separate bowl mix together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, butter, honey and milk.  Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix until well combined.  Add the lemon zest, mix then fold in the blueberries.

Bake for 15-16 minutes.


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Beef Taquitos

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Beef Taquitos

  • 2 ½-3 pound beef roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • ½ cup picante sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable or canola oil

Sprinkle the roast all over with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roast to the skillet and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker, add the onion and beef broth. Cover and cook on medium to low for 5-6 hours until tender.

Remove the roast and shred with a fork. Place the meat into a large bowl and add the cheese, picante sauce, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix well.

Place 1 ½-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of each tortilla lengthwise and roll up.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the taquitos until golden brown, drain on paper towels.

Serve with fresh salsa and my homemade guacamole.

 

 

 

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Double Chicken Noodle Soup

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Note: Making the noodles is really easy — so give it a try.

Double Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 8

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 small carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
3 celery stalks, sliced diagonally
4 links of chicken-apple sausage, sliced in half then sliced ¼ pieces
10 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Fresh pasta (recipe below)
1 pre-roasted chicken breast, shredded
Garnish with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

In a large pot heat the olive oil then add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and sausage and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Next, add the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Bring back to a low boil then add the fresh pasta to cook.  Add the chicken and salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Pasta

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk


In mixing bowl add the flour, salt, egg and milk.  Mix with your hands or use a large mixer with the paddle attachment until you have a slightly sticky ball of dough.
On a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick.  Note: The noodles with thicken while cooking so roll out thin.


Using a pizza cutter or knife cut the noodles into thin strips then into 1 ½-inch pieces. Let the noodles dry out on the counter for 45 minutes then turn over and separate and let dry for another 20-30 minutes before adding them to the soup.


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