Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baked Honey Lime Chicken Taquitos

A couple of nights ago, contrary to the amazing sunshine and warm weather we've been having, we had a torrential downpour accompanied by some insane winds. Granted, we didn't get all the hail or any tornadoes like some of the surrounding cities did but it was rough there for awhile. The big, heavy BBQ pit on the back deck was blown all over the place, chairs flew off the deck into the yard, and trees were blown down on the roads leading out to our house. J and I both stared out the window, watching the sky and wondering if there was a chance a tornado was headed our way. Thankfully that was not the case, but geez-Louise...that wind was a crazy beast.  

Honey Lime Chicken Taquitos


You may be asking yourself what in the world the weather update has to do with these pretty little thangs right here? Well...nothing, really. Except...wait for it...they're a whirlwind of flavor in your mouth! 

Wait, wait!! Don't close the screen, rolling your eyes in disgust. It was cheesy, I know. But some days I just can't help myself!! Forgive me?

It's no secret that I love all things tortilla. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and of course...taquitos!! I'm not fond of the fried variety or those made with corn tortillas (by me, anyway - I never get them right) but wrap up some great ingredients in a soft wheat tortilla, throw it in the oven to crisp up a bit and I am IN! But, you can't have taquitos without a good dipping sauce. It's just not right y'all. 

It's like peanut butter and je...  no, no... I won't do it to you again. You get the gist though, right? 

And these taquitos are definitely a great addition to my taquito arsenal. My arsenal of 4 recipes. How is that possible?!?! People - get me some new taquito recipes - STAT!!!

In the mean time - you definitely want to try these out. The chicken is mixed with honey, lime juice and spices to give it a sweet/sour/spicy kick and the sauce - well...it's creamy, tangy deliciousness and I wanted to lick the edges of the bowl when it was gone. I didn't. But the thought crossed my mind. You can if you want, I won't judge. 

Baked Honey Lime Chicken Taquitos

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (2-3 chicken breasts)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 10 tortillas (we use these artisan corn/whole wheat blend)
  • Cooking spray

Cilantro Lime Cream

  • 1 cup plain Green yogurt
  • ⅓ cup green taco sauce (mild)
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, lime juice, honey, chili powder, and garlic and mix to coat.
  3. Drop a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture onto the center of each tortilla, top with a sprinkle of cheese and roll them up tight.  
  4. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly browned. 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro lime cream. Combine the Greek yogurt, taco sauce, lime juice and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. 
  6. Serve the taquitos with a side of the cilantro lime cream!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sammich Saturday: Pork Tenderloin Slider with Mango Slaw

Happy first Saturday of April, y'all!! How is the weather in your area? Getting warmer, I hope. It sure is around here and I am LOVING it!! The garden is doing well, and we *think* there are a few plants starting to sprout...exciting!!! I know it will be a few months before most of the plants to produce, but I am just so looking forward to having those fresh veggies right in my yard! I'm also looking forward to grilling and having friends over for some backyard barbecues. Warm weather = fun to be had!!

These little sliders here are definitely a good warm-weather meal. The mango slaw all but screams summer!

Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Aaaaand...since it's grilling weather, you could even make the pork tenderloin on the grill instead of in the kitchen...add a nice smoky flavor to it!! But whichever way you decide to cook it, you'll be glad you did - it's a great little slider!

Pork Tenderloin Slider with Mango Slaw
Adapted from The Novice Chef

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 mango, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sriracha to taste (I used about 2 teaspoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 slider buns

Preparation
  1. Combine the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, thyme,and garlic salt in a resealable plastic bag and mix well. Add the pork tenderloin, refrigerate and marinate for at least 20 minutes, up to 24 hours. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F,  line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside. Remove pork tenderloin from bag to prepared baking sheet and discard the remaining marinade. 
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through (little to no pink in the middle, or internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.) Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 1/2" rounds. 
  4. Meanwhile, combine the cabbage, mango and cilantro in a medium bowl.
  5. In another, small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, sriracha and salt. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.
  6. To assemble the sandwiches, place a couple of rounds of pork on the bottom slider buns, top with a spoonful of the mango slaw and the top buns.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Taco Tuesday: Chile Spiced Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Yep, you read that title right...Taco Tuesday!! It's been awhile, I know...but boy do I have a good 'un for you today!! I actually had these on the menu for weeks and it just kept getting pushed back over and over and...well, you get the gist. But finally I got them made and thank goodness I did!!

Chile Spiced Shrimp Tacos 3

Who doesn't like a slightly spicy shrimp taco, topped with a creamy, refreshing avocado salsa? No one I know, that's for sure!! And I love how the spices actually, visibly stuck to the shrimp. I've made some in the past that didn't quite have the flavor stick and it was very disappointing. Not these, though. Not a hint of disappointment. Only lots of yummy flavor and deliciousness.

Chile Spiced Shrimp Tacos 2

And no, this isn't an April Fool's joke...they really are delicious. I wouldn't  joke about food, y'all! So, in honor of a long overdue Taco Tuesday post, I think you all should make these tacos tonight!! Then let me know how much you love them, too!!

Chile Spiced Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

Red Chili Paste
  • 2 dried Ancho chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Shrimp
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup red chile paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Tortillas (we use a corn/whole wheat blend)

Preparation
  1. To make the Red Chile Paste - Cut the chiles into flat pieces, remove the seeds and veins. In a skillet over medium, heat for about 3 minutes, turning half-way through, until they start to soften. 
  2. Place chiles in a blender, cover with boiling water, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, pour out the water leaving the chiles in the blender. Add remaining ingredients. Plus until smooth. Add water, a little at a time, to thin out as necessary.
  4. Place the shrimp in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and pour 1/3 cup (or more if you want) of the red chile paste over the top. Mix the shrimp so that all are coated and marinate for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  6. Serve shrimp in warmed tortillas topped with avocado salsa.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas

Boy-oh-boy did the past week just fly on by. You may recall me saying that I'd be on staycation, with a to-do list five miles long and all the confidence that I would get it all done, with days left over to just relax and do...well, nothing. It didn't turn out quite like I'd planned, but with J's help, I got to check off most of my list. At the top of that list was getting the garden planted. J has been working on it, tilling his heart out for a couple of weeks. Let me just tell y'all...the clay-dirt mixed with hundreds of rocks we have here is not tiller friendly and he worked his arse off to get it done. And now we have a 10' x 33' garden with lots of delicious little goodies planted. Among those goodies are delicious cherry tomatoes, like you see cut up in the picture below. 

Beef Enchiladas 2

I can't wait until we get to pick the first ripe veggies...the waiting is going to drive me crazy. I'm not good at waiting, for most things. But I know that the garden is going to be amazing, and well-worth all the hard work and waiting. 

Beef Enchiladas

But not all good things require lengthy wait times...like these enchiladas. Holy mother of pearl are these good. Now, I have probably mentioned in previous posts that my Mama is an amazing cook and that I refuse to eat beef enchiladas anywhere but her house, and that I was too scared to try making them myself. Well, the latter is still true. I could never make her version and have it turn out as good. It's just fact my friends. I will say, however, that these are good enough that I would make them for my Mama. And she would love them. As will you. Just like J does. They're already on the menu again in a week or so.  

Beef Enchiladas 3

30 minutes and these are on your table. Throw some homemade salsa on top and you're set!!

Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas
Slightly modified from Damn Delicious

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups Mexi-blend cheese
  • 12 (6-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato, diced

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground beef, seasonings, and green chiles  and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, using a spatula to crumble beef as it cooks. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat or liquid. 
  3. Add beans and 1 cup of cheese to the beef mixture and stir to combine.
  4. To assemble the enchiladas, lay tortilla on a flat surface and spoon 1/4 cup of the beef mixture in the center. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beef mixture. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
  5. Place into oven and bake until cheese and sauce are bubbly, about 20 minutes. 
  6. Top with cilantro, avocado and tomato and serve immediately.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's Baking: Irish Cream Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

You guys. I mean, seriously, you. guys.

I have, admittedly, been slacking severely on my participation in the What's Baking group the past few months for no real reason other than not having (or making) the time to do it. Which is sad because I've missed out on some great themes and I really do love to bake. So this month, I was determined to get back into it and what better theme than Baking with Irish Cream?? Our host for March is Coleen from The Red Head Baker, and what a great theme for St. Patrick's Day!!

These brownies are some sort of amazing.

Irish Cream Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

As soon as I came across the recipe, I knew they'd be great, but I had no idea just how great. I mean, I love me some Bailey's, but in a brownie...wow. Just wow. Mine came out a little more cake-y than the picture from the recipe, but they were soft and moist, and delicious so I can't complain. 

J had a serious workout day when I made these, came home and ate three squares of these brownies. Keep in mind he doesn't really eat sweets. Like, ever. But I guess after three hardcore workouts in a row, in one day, that he can afford that kind of sugar intake, and they must have been damn delicious for him to eat more than one (I cut them into small squares, but still!) And my co-workers, who of course received all the rest of the brownies, gobbled them right up too. 

So you, my dear friends, need to experience the joy and bliss that are in these brownies. Like, now. And it doesn't use a lot of Irish cream, so you'll have the rest of the bottle to enjoy...other ways. Coffee, chocolate martini...whatever you fancy my dears, but make these brownies first!! And keep an eye out on Coleen's blog for the round up at the beginning of April!


Irish Cream Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Ingredients

For the brownies:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the cheesecake layer: 
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. flour

Preparation
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking dish with foil, or spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter on low heat until you hear a little sizzle sound, but it's not burning.
  3. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips and sugar, and stir until melted. Then stir in the cocoa. 
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating into the batter after each addition, then stir in the Irish cream. 
  5. Finally, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. 
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Irish cream, egg, sugar, and flour for cheesecake layer and beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth.  .
  8. Evenly drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling on top of the brownies (4+ spoonfuls per "row", at least 6 "rows" for even cheesecake layer distribution).
  9. Run a knife through the batters, longways and lengthwise, creating a marbled, swirled effect.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the brownies look set and a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean or with moist crumbs, not raw batter.
  11. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowl with Mango Salsa

Happy hump day (hump daaaayy!) friends!! The sun is shining, the temperatures are getting warmer, and a week of vacation is just a few days away. I can't wait!! I guess it's more of a stay-cation, to get some much needed things (um, starting a garden for example) done around the house and just getting a little break from work. It can't get here soon enough. Oh, and I'll have lots of time in the kitchen and good lighting for photos...YAY!! Weekend meals are usually my easiest to photograph, because I have time to prep and cook before the sun sets. This salmon bowl here was very photogenic, so it actually looks as good as it tasted.

Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowl with Mango Salsa

The "crust" that formed on the salmon from the spices gave some nice texture to an otherwise softer dish. And the flavors of the salmon and the salsa went really well together. Which is usually the case with any fish and fruit salsa. The only thing I would do different for this particular version is add jalapeno to the salsa for some added kick. Mmm!

J loves these kind of bowls and only days after I made this one, suggested putting it on the menu again. Although I try to keep a good variety in our menu plan and not make repeats too close together, how can I turn down any request from him?? So, a variation of this dish is on the menu for next later this week.

Wish me luck on this upcoming gardening adventure...maybe I'll post some pictures of me in gardening gloves with dirt smeared across my face. Or not. But perhaps I'll share some of the progress of getting it tilled, planted, etc. In the mean time, get your booty in the kitchen and make this bowl!!

Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowl with Mango Salsa
As seen on Pinch of Yum

Ingredients
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 6-oz salmon fillets 
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 12-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 avocado

Preparation
  1. Combine the cumin, curry powder, chili powder, allspice, cayenne, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Generously coat the top of each salmon fillet and then sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon (starting skin side down if it has skin) and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to prevent from sticking. Flip the salmon and cook another 3-5 minutes until a brown crust starts to form from the spices. 
  3. When salmon is mostly cooked, (carefully pull off the skin if there is any - I use tongs) break up into smallish pieces and continue cooking until completely cooked through, then remove from the heat. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the mangoes, cilantro, lime juice, and avocado and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Stir together rice and beans and season with several pinches of salt, adding a tablespoon water if necessary.
  6. Divide between bowls, rice and beans topped with salmon and then salsa. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Salted Caramel Mocha Truffles

So, despite the title of this blog, I don't post a whole lot of sweets these days. Because I don't bake nearly as much as I used to. However, I still love to bake and make cute little treats for any occasion that comes around, so when one of my besties wanted me to make the desserts for her wedding, I was thrilled!! The original dessert menu consisted of 100 vanilla cake balls with a coral coating, 100 mini lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, a small cake (think top of a traditional wedding cake) and 100 of these...salted caramel mocha truffles. You guys. Seriously.

Salted Caramel Mocha Truffles

Not only were they freaking delicious, but they were a breeze to make and they are so cute! Cake balls are delicious, but they are kind of a pain in the rump and rarely come out looking good when I make them. We ended up nixing the cake balls and her mom made cannoli cups (YUM!) in their place. A much better choice, if you ask me. We did a trial run of all the minis at her bridal shower a couple of weeks before the wedding - see? 


One great thing about a trial run is figuring out better ways to decorate. The caramel drizzle, for example, I found out was a bit harder to do with a spoon. Well, harder to do and make it look pretty, anyway. So, I decided that when I made the wedding batch, I would put the caramel in a squeeze bottle and drizzle it that way. Muuuuch better, IMO! Truffles have now surpassed cake balls, for me, as cute, fun mini desserts to make. Mostly because they are much easier to coat with chocolate since they get hard, and stay hard long enough to coat, in the fridge but are plenty soft when it's time to eat them! Don't just take my word for it...you need to try for yourself!! 

Salted Caramel Mocha Truffles

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (use vanilla if you can't find coffee)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 8 oz white melting chocolate (CandiQuik)
  • 1/4 cup caramel baking bits
  • 2 tsp water
  • sea salt 

Preparation
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or other bowl if using a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy. Add the extract and salt and beat again. 
  2. Meanwhile, combine the instant coffee and milk and stir until dissolved. Pour the milk into the butter mixture alternately with the cocoa powder and flour. Mix until everything is combined.
  3. Roll the cookie dough into ~36 balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or foil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until hard.
  4. Melt the white chocolate according to the package directions. Use a spoon to dip and coat each truffle. Tap off the excess chocolate and carefully "drop" on wax paper to set. (I use a toothpick to gently push the balls off the spoon.)
  5. While the coated truffles are setting up (hardening), place the caramel bits and water in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium, stirring until melted and creamy. Let cool for a minute or two. This is when I poured the caramel from the saucepan into a squeeze bottle and drizzled over the truffles, then sprinkle sea salt over the tops. 
  6. Store in a sealed container for 2-3 days or refrigerate for longer storage. 

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