Monday, July 27, 2015

Chorizo Breakfast Hash

I don't eat breakfast enough. Especially not during the week. A lemon fig bar is about as fancy as I get during the work week. But on the weekends, I try to make breakfast that J and I can actually sit down and eat. Together. You know, like a family? And what brings a family together for breakfast better than chorizo??

Chorizo Hash 001

Chorizo breakfast hash with an over-easy egg. That's what.

I don't put breakfast on the menu all that often, because I'm never quite sure what our weekend mornings are going to look like. But this one, I knew I had to make, even if I had to wake up super early on a weekday morning to make it. Which, thankfully I didn't have to.

I actually made this on Saturday morning before we headed out of town for J's family reunion. I let him sleep in and I got up to make breakfast. I'm such a nice wife, aren't I??

Chorizo Hash 003

I would say that this is one of the best breakfasts we have had in a loooong time. J loves him some crustless quiche, but I think this is his favorite for right now. He actually told me this morning that he wished he had some.

Of course,  chorizo isn't the healthiest option out there, so it's not something we'll have every weekend or anything, but it's definitely a nice treat. And I remember when I was eating the hash, thinking that it had a rather creamy texture to it, which seemed odd since there is not cheese or creamy components, but it was really good!

There was just the right amount of spice to it from the jalapeno and the over-easy egg on top was yuu-um!

Chorizo Hash 002

Chorizo, diced red potatoes, red bell peppers, and jalapeno. Topped with an over-easy egg. How can you go wrong with that??? 

Chorizo Breakfast Hash
As seen on Smells Like Home

Ingredients
  • 10 oz fresh chorizo (uncooked, ground - not the hard, cooked chorizo)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs

Preparation
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cooking, breaking up with a spatula, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Chorizo is quite greasy, and can look very "runny" in the skillet when it first heats up, but it will thicken up some.  Once browned remove to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. Pour the rest of the chorizo grease out, but no need to clean the skillet. 
  2. Instead, return into it to the stove and add a tablespoon of oil and the tablespoon of butter. Reduce the heat to medium, add the potatoes, oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. 
  3. Add the peppers and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and the peppers are softened. Add the chorizo back into the skillet, stir to combine, and keep warm while eggs finish cooking. 
  4. Meanwhile, in another skillet, spray with cooking spray or heat some olive oil and add your eggs (in batches if necessary.)  We liked ours over-easy (with the runny middle), but you cook yours to your liking. 
  5. Spoon the hash onto your plates and top with eggs, season with fresh cracked pepper and salt. You can make this 2 or 4 servings, depending on appetites.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Turkey-Mex Stuffed Poblanos

I've recently discovered that I really like poblano peppers.  Not so much the hell-fire, burning my eyeball out when I go to remove my contacts feeling that happens if I foolishly cut and de-seed them without gloves on, but the peppers themselves are awesome. And they are a great vessel for stuffing.

Turkey-Mex Stuffed Poblanos

I told J the night that we had these that I actually prefer them to bell peppers, for stuffing. I like the thinner pepper. And the flavor, of course. You may remember these shrimp stuffed poblanos I posted a few months back, that J and I both love, which made me start thinking of other fillings I could make to stuff into poblanos. And thus the Turkey-Mex stuffing was born. This creation was a culmination of other dishes I've made, some recently and some farther back in time, that just made sense.

Sure, I could've used brown rice as the grain, but that's so...typical, right? So, quinoa won out that spot. And then the black beans and corn, which are a staple for Southwestern-y type dishes it seems. Yes, I put corn in the food again. This is a big breakthrough, y'all. As in,  prior to the Southwestern chicken egg rolls, it has never happened in my kitchen. Ever. So, to have it happen twice in a matter of a couple of weeks is kind of a big deal around here. 

Turkey-Mex Stuffed Poblanos 2

They turned out great. Perfectly seasoned, and set off nicely by the taco sauce topping. I'll definitely be making these again, and thinking up other varieties of filling that I can stuff these peppers with. 

Sorry bell peppers, you've been outdone. 

Turkey-Mex Stuffed Poblanos
A Sweet Beginnings Original

Ingredients
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup taco sauce (plus more for serving)
  • 2 oz shredded cheese (I used Mexi-blend)

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. spray with cooking spray, and set aside. 
  2. Cut poblano peppers in half and removed ribs and seeds. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cut-side down, brush with olive oil or cooking spray, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes, to soften. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool while finishing the filling.
  3. Place the quinoa and water or broth in a small sauce pan, and cook according to the package instructions. Mine said to bring to a boil, the cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the turkey and seasonings, and cook, until turkey is mostly browned, stirring  to mix in seasonings and break up the turkey. When almost browned, add the corn, black beans, green onions, cilantro, cooked quinoa, and taco sauce. Stir to mix well. 
  5. When cool enough to easily handle, turn each of the poblano pepper halves over so the cut side is facing up. Fill each poblano pepper half full to the top with filling, then sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is nicely melted. 
  6. Serve with taco sauce on top, if you like. 



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paprika-Turmeric Salmon with Lemon-Turmeric Sauce

"What kind of sauce is that? It's very...yellow."

That was one of the first things J asked me before we ate this dinner. And I'll admit, it's a pretty brightly colored sauce, even though it started off looking just a little off-white. I guess as the turmeric heats up, it takes on a very bright yellow tone, which I think looks quite striking against the seared salmon. And the flavor is so amazing!!

Salmon with Lemon Turmeric Sauce

The seasoning for the salmon and the sauce are both so simple, but produce such a great flavor. Sprinkle a little paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper on the salmon and cook it up. How much easier could that be? And so pretty, too. I found the salmon recipe first, and then knew I had to find a sauce to go with it. I Googled 'sauce to go with paprika turmeric salmon', and of course it brought up a bunch or recipes for salmon, but not so many sauces. But alas, I did find one...for a lemon and turmeric sauce. Um...yes, please. 

Seasoned Salmon

J and I like a good, crisp sear on our salmon, as you can probably see here. It just gives it such a nice texture. 

Salmon before sauce

And then....you smother it in lemony, delicious sauce. Maybe drizzle a little on that okra there, too. Why not?? Share the sauce love!

Paprika-Turmeric Salmon


Paprika-Turmeric Salmon with Lemon-Turmeric Sauce
Salmon as seen on Messy Witchen
Sauce as seen on NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

For the fish
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric 
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets, skin on
  • cooking spray or 1 Tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and white pepper, to taste

Preparation
  1. Combine paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over the top of the salmon fillets. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray or add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the salmon fillets, skin-side down and cook for about 3 minutes. Gently turn the fillets over and cook (sear) for an additional 3 minutes. During this time, use a pair of tongs to gently remove the seared salmon skin, and discard. Turn the salmon one more time and cook for 1-2 more minutes until cooked through and both sides are nicely seared. 
  3. While the salmon is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes (or until the salmon is done cooking.) The sauce will thicken slightly, but will still be fairly thin. 
  4. Serve the salmon with a generous helping of the sauce. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are such a versatile meal. I mean...essentially you can put anything you want in them. Sort of like a taco, but not quite. The lettuce leaves are a virtually tasteless, non-carby vessel by which to shovel in delicious ingredients of your choice. Who wouldn't love them?!?! Especially when they're stuffed full of Thai-flavored chicken and rice noodles?!?!

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It's no secret that I love Thai flavors...they're all over the blog. Tons of recipes. Movies like Broke Down Palace have ensured I will never actually visit Thailand, but I can always experience the flavors in the safety of my own home. Instead of a Thai prison. Yeah, yeah it's just a movie, but people...crazy stuff like that happens for real. And I'm not about to have some crazy plant drugs in my bag and get sent to prison for the rest of my life in foreign country. Nope, nope, nope. 

But my taste buds can visit there, as often as my little heart (and mouth) desires. These lettuce wraps were so easy to make, and I love the addition of the rice noodles. The sauce is amazing and the lettuce leaves and chopped peanuts have just the right amount of "crunch" to balance out the softer noodles and chicken.

These are great for a weekend lunch, or a weeknight dinner!

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps
As seen on Pinch of Yum

Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (or 1/2 Tbsp of ground ginger)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • ½ cup lightly salted peanuts, chopped
  • 6 oz rice noodles
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 12 leaves of lettuce 
  • cilantro, green onions, and peanuts for topping, if desired

Preparation
  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, water, chili paste, honey, ginger, lime juice, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk so they are well combined. 
  2. Place the chicken and peanuts in another bowl, then pour 3/4 of the sauce mixture in and stir to combine and evenly distribute. Allow to sit and marinate for about 15 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in a large bowl of water, until softened (they will still be a little firm, so don't worry about them being "edible soft"). Drain and rinse in cold water. (You can either break the noodles in half before soaking them, or cut them into smaller pieces after they are softened.)
  4. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the meat and peanut mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Add the noodles and cook for another 5 minutes or until noodles are soft, but not mushy.
  5. Remove from heat, scoop mixture into lettuce leaves, top with cilantro, green onions, peanuts, and the reserved sauce.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Taco Tuesday: Salsa Verde Beef & Bean Taquitos with Chipotle Avocado Cream Sauce

Yesterday I had a bad case of the Mondays. Like, all sorts of random things were happening and sending my stress levels through the roof. And my upper body muscles were so insanely sore from riding on a tube behind a boat at the lake on Saturday that simply breathing almost brought me to tears. It's amazing the muscles that you use for such an activity and how debilitating the soreness can be! Needless to say, when I got home from work yesterday, the only thing I wanted to do was die on the couch and whine. But even that hurt. So, I got up to cook dinner, and distract myself from the soreness and the dramas from the day. I looked at the recipe I had planned to use and decided...nope. That doesn't sound good to me at all. So, I decided to make my own concoction instead, which I don't do all that often.

Salsa Verde Beef & Bean Taquitos

The recipe sort of developed as I was cooking. Like, the beef was cooking and then I get this thought - I could add salsa verde to it!! Granted, I know that salsa verde and chipotle might not sound like a likely combination, but believe me...the taquitos and sauce are a match made in Heaven. The taquitos and the sauce each have a spicy component as well as a tangy and creamy component to help balance the heat. I wish we would have had a few more leftover for lunch today, that's for sure!

Beef & Bean Taquitos

I used pinto beans this time around, where I usually use black beans, and it was a nice change of pace. Of course you could use black beans if you prefer and I'm sure it would be just as delicious. You could even try it with ground turkey or chicken if you're so inclined. However, I think you should definitely try the beef version first. It's pretty dern good. 

Beef & Bean Taquitos with Chipotle Avocado Cream Sauce

Thankfully today has been a quieter day and I can actually move my arms without wanting to cry. Maybe the taquitos made it all better. Yeah. Let's go with that theory. And you, go to the store or your pantry and get the ingredients so you can make them too! They solve all your problems. Well, at least the dinner problem. 

Salsa Verde Beef & Bean Taquitos with Chipotle Avocado Cream Sauce
A Sweet Beginnings Original

Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (chuck, sirloin, etc.)
  • 1 lg jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup salsa verde (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large avocado, peel and pit removed
  • 3 chipotle chiles + 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 10-12 tortillas (I use a corn and whole wheat blend)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexi-blend cheese


Preparation
  1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, jalapeno and onion. Cooking, stirring, and breaking up until the meat is almost all browned. Then add the garlic and seasonings. Mix well, then add the beans, salsa verde, and cilantro. Lower heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Preheat oven to 425 and line a large baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray. 
  2. Meanwhile, combine the Greek yogurt, avocado, chipotles and adobo sauce, cilantro and lime juice in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste and add salt & pepper to taste. If you don't love spicy, maybe only add 1 chipotle pepper at a time, taste and add more as you like. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  3. When the oven is ready, take your tortillas, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of cheese on the lower half, then spoon a 1/4 cup or so of filling on top. Roll the tortilla from the bottom up, then place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling and/or tortillas are gone. 
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tortillas are slightly browned and crisp. Remove from oven and serve with the chipotle sauce. 


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sammich Saturday: Firecracker Burger

When I first moved to Austin in 2006, bestie and I used to go out with our friends to the lake and hang out on their boats a good bit. It was good times. But I probably haven't been out on a boat at the lake since 2007. Sad, right? Well, today J and I will be going and doing just that!! He has one of those big ol' tubes so that should be...interesting, to say the least. But I'm definitely excited and looking forward to it. Then afterwards we'll probably go back and grill some good food to replenish all the calories we burned being dragged around the lake and holding on for dear life.

Of course burgers are a grilling classic, but how fun is it to grill up a burger and then top it with some kicked up, spicy toppings? Super fun!

Firecracker Burger

J and I love spicy food, that's no secret so adding grilled or sauteed peppers and a spicy ranch sauce to a burger is pretty much perfect for us. Spicy sauce, spicy peppers, creamy cheese, and a cool slice of tomato. Yep, that's a perfectly delicious burger right there!!! And the sauce is good to dip sweet potato fries in, too!

Firecracker Burger2

Maybe being dragged behind a boat on an inflated tube isn't your cup o' tea, but you can live a little adventurously with these spicy, firecracker burgers!! 

Firecracker Burger

Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 slices Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 3 burger buns
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 jalapenos, sliced
  • Red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 1/4 cup (or more) ranch dressing
  • Tomato slices (3 large or 6 small)

Preparation
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 3 evenly-sized patties and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat a skillet or grill pan (or your outside grill) over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. 
  3. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, or until your desired level of doneness is reached, topping with a slice of cheese for the last minute of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the jalapeno and bell pepper slices. cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened and slightly browned. (Alternately, you can grill these babies outside for an extra awesome flavor.)
  5. In a small bowl, combine the chipotle adobo sauce and ranch dressing. Stir to mix well, taste and adjust if needed (add more chipotle or more ranch).
  6. To assemble the burgers, toast your burger buns if you like them that way, slather on a generous helping of the chipotle ranch (I put some on top and bottom buns), the top with a burger patty, a spoonful of the sauteed peppers, tomato slice, and top bun. Serve with your favorite side (we had chipotle sweet potato fries) and enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls with Creamy Cilantro Lime Avocado Ranch Sauce

How'd you like that longer-than-necessary title?? But hey, I have to let you know all the goodness that is to come in this post, don't I?? Or perhaps I should have left the dipping sauce as a surprise at the end? Oh well, what's done is done, my friends.

Have you ever had the Southwestern Egg Rolls at Chili's? Well, I'll be honest...I have not. Because I'm not particularly a fan of corn in my food. I know, I know... But J loves them and when he was helping me menu plan a couple of weeks back, egg rolls were something he requested. Particularly of the Chili-esque variety. And then, of course, I had to add meat into the mix, because the hubs doesn't do vegetarian for dinner. He needs the protein, and a few black beans aren't going to cut it. So, chicken seemed like a good choice.

Southwestern Chicken Eggrolls

And then there has to be something to dip them in, riiiiight? I heard that Chili's serves theirs with some sort of avocado ranch dip, so I decided to kick it up a notch with cilantro, lime, and Greek yogurt. Ermahgerd, y'all. That is one delicious sauce. 

Have you ever noticed that not many things that we eat are without some sort of sauce or dip? Well, maybe you haven't noticed, but I have. I wonder if that's normal? I know people who eat their sammiches and burger dry. As in, no condiments on them. And this baffles me. So I wonder if we are perceived as over-users of condiments, sauces, and dips? There's something useless to ponder!

Southwest Chicken Eggrolls

I'll tell you that when I started rolling up these egg rolls, they weren't very pretty. But, by the time I got to the last one, I'd gotten the hang of how to roll them better and they came out looking pretty decent. You know, how an egg roll is supposed to look instead of like a hot mess. I have this challenge rolling burritos as well. Practice makes perfect (or at least decent) so I just have to keep on keepin' on, y'all!

I opted to use ground chicken breast in these egg rolls, but you could always you chopped or shredded chicken breast if that's your preference. I was going for quick and easy, and ground chicken fit the bill for that task. I had originally planned to keep some of the mixture separate, sans corn, but in the end decided that would be a bigger hassle than was necessary. So, I sucked it up and ate them with corn. And I survived! Haha. But really, I didn't even notice the corn and the overall flavors were so good. Chicken, corn, black beans, spinach, and cheese, all seasoned up with the Southwestern flavors we all know and love. And these babies are baked, not fried, so you get a healthier, but still crispy, version of these egg rolls. I'd say that's a win!

Chicken Southwest Eggrolls

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls with Creamy Cilantro Lime Avocado Ranch Sauce
Adapted from Nutritious Eats

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • ¼ tsp cayenne red pepper
  • 1 pkg (21) egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten (for sealing egg rolls (can substitute water))

For the Cilantro Lime Avocado Ranch Sauce
  • 1 1/2 avocados
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp ranch dressing
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray, and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the ground chicken, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt & pepper. Cook until chicken is almost all browned, then add the frozen corn and the spinach. Cook, stirring to mix well, until the chicken is cooked through and the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit. 
  3. While the chicken mixture is cooling, combine the beans, cheese, green chilies, green onions, cilantro and seasonings in a large bowl. Stir to combine. When the chicken mixture has cooled some, stir that into the bowl and mix well. 
  4. To assemble the egg rolls, spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of the egg roll wrapper, then fold 1 corner over the filling, followed by the two side corners, and then roll it up to the last remaining corner. Use a pastry brush or your finger to wipe the beaten egg or water along the last corner to seal. (I also moistened the side corners as well, as I folded them over, for extra sealing power.) Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers. 
  5. Once all egg rolls are assembled and on the baking sheet, give them a little spray with your cooking spray, or a light brush of olive oil this will help them brown. 
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned (on the bottom), then gently turn over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. This will ensure a nice, crisp shell instead of a gooey, doughy one.
  7. While the egg rolls are baking, place all the ingredients from the sauce into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed. 
  8. Serve the egg rolls with the sauce, and enjoy!
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