Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Hello friends! Long time no see! I’ve missed this space and really hope to get back to my regular posting soon!

I just had to tell you about this fabulously simple side dish which Ron told me was the best thing I’ve made recently (don’t worry- he did preface that comment with, “you make a lot of delicious things, but…)  When he says that, I know a recipe’s good. This comes from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit, and was in a recipe spread inspired by Austin, TX (where we just spent a long weekend visiting Ron’s brother and wife, coincidentally). This recipe is so simple (my favorite kind), and just required a few ingredients. I foresee this becoming a staple in our household!

Smashed potatoes with Jalapenos

Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs fingerlings or small potatoes

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 jalapeno, sliced thinly into rounds (seeds removed, if desired)

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (thinly packed), chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil (for easy cleanup). Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning once. Potatoes should be done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. Let potatoes cool slightly, and then gently flatten them so that they still hold together, but are slightly smashed. ( I used a fork to do this.)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, and whole grain mustard. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, until emolsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes, jalapenos, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Bon Appetit, July 2014

 

 

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Braised Chicken Tacos

I’m in a taco phase right now… Anything I can stuff into a tortilla, I want to devour. Lately I’ve made a multitude of breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and then these braised chicken tacos. If I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner I would… well, I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that, other than the fact that I want to make every recipe known to man, and that includes recipes that aren’t tacos… but seriously, tacos are the best. Maybe I’ve told you this story, but when I was a kid, my brother Jeremy was not a taco fan. Whereas I would be ecstatic when I heard it was taco night, he would moan and groan and complain about tacos being boring and not filling. He said they were the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches… which I guess he also found boring. Weirdo! Luckily he has now changed his tune, otherwise I might have to disown him.

Onto the tacos… these are so simple, spicy and flavorful. They are a perfect and quick weeknight meal, which as you know are my favorite! Served alongside some rice and beans, you’ll have a complete (and filling) meal that no one should consider boring.

Braised chicken tacos

Braised Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 large bone-on, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1 cup chicken broth

1 12-15 oz can tomato sauce (mine was 15 oz)

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Kosher salt, to taste

12 corn tortillas

For topping:

Cilantro

Scallions, thinly sliced

Radishes, thinly sliced

Avocado slices

Cojita cheese (optional)

Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and jalapenos are browned and have started to soften.  Add chicken broth, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add the chicken breast to the pot, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, so that the fat has a chance to render.

3. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and chili powders and stir to combine. Flip the chicken over, and place the lid on to cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, flip chicken over and cook another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken breast, and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot, and throw away the bone and skin. Season with salt to taste.

5. Heat up the tortillas- to heat mine, I place a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add as many tortillas as can fit (my 12-inch skillet can hold 3). When the first side is starting to brown and puff up, I flip and brown the other side.

6. To serve, top the warm tortillas with the braised chicken and sauce, cilantro, radish slices, scallions, avocado, cojita cheese (if using) and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside rice and beans.

Source: heatherchristo.com

Bean and Corn Salad

Hello all! I hope that everyone has been having a great long weekend! It was a fun one for me- especially since I went to a party on Saturday to celebrate my best friend’s 30th birthday!! It was so much fun just hanging out, eating yummy Mexican food (she had it catered by a local Mexican place), and even trying my hand at busting open a pinata! That’s something I don’t think I’ve ever done- even when I was a kid. It was totally disorienting, and I’m sure that I looked like a fool as I awkwardly stumbled around swinging a bat.

I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things, and I definitely need to get back to regular posting on the blog, and sharing yummy recipes with you! This bean and corn salad was something I threw together for one of our potluck nights on vacation. I had an idea in mind of what would be going in it, as I’ve had similar salads in the past. I debated whether or not to cook the corn, or leave it raw, and you can definitely do either. The salad is very versatile, so you can work with what you have! Don’t have scallions? Use red onion! Don’t have lime juice? Use lemon! Have red or green bell peppers you want to use up? Chop them up, and throw them in there! Want it spicier? Leave in the jalapeno seeds! Whatever floats your boat 🙂

 

Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

3 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. When hot, add corn kernels to skillet, and saute, stirring frequently, until cooked, and starting to char a bit- about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rinsed and drained beans, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, and scallions. When cooled down, add corn. Mix in lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let sit for a little while to let flavors meld together!

Source: Original Recipe

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

 

A few years ago, in The New York Times dining section, there was an article all about how to cook chicken breasts in a way that would make them non-boring. Now, I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I actually favor the taste of chicken breast over chicken thighs and legs. I guess I’d have to say I prefer milder meat in general, and so the stronger flavor of dark meat can be off-putting to me sometimes. I was excited about this article, because, while I cook a lot of recipes with chicken breasts, these promised to appeal to even the non-white meat chicken lover. My plan was to try them all (which I have yet to accomplish), and this is the first one I decided to try, and have made several times since. This dish is a winner! It’s pretty simple- just make a flavorful chicken broth, gently cook your chicken in it. Blend together your garlic-chile-ginger sauce. Assemble your dinner with your chicken, veggies, herbs and sauces topping some rice, and you are good to go! The garlic-chile-ginger sauce is fantastic! I love this stuff, and find myself adding more and more to my dish… but beware, eating a lot of it can cause the garlic to radiate from your pores the next day. I may or may not know this from experience. It’s worth it though!

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 5-inch long piece ginger root, peeled

8 large garlic cloves

4 jalapeno peppers

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

Cooked rice, for serving

Sesame oil, for drizzling

1 bunch roughly chopped basil, for serving

1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, for serving

1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, for serving

1 European cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut each chicken breast in quarters, lengthwise and crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Take peeled ginger root, and thinly slice about an inch of it. Add to a large pot or dutch oven. Coarsely chop the rest and put into a blender. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot. Coarsely chop the rest of the garlic, and add to the blender. Thinly slice 2 of the jalapeno peppers, and add to the pot. Halve the remaining jalapenos, remove the seeds, coarsely chop, and add to the blender.

3. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the ginger, garlic and jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Check for doneness, and if not cooked through after sitting for 10 minutes, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat once more, and let sit for a couple minutes more. When done, transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice. Strain the broth if desired.

4. Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl, and stir together to combine, and to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the broth in which you cooked the chicken, to the blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add a little more broth. Taste. and season with salt and more lime juice to taste.

6. To serve: ladle cooked rice into a bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, a few tablespoons of broth, a drizzle of the soy sauce-sugar mixture, and a little bit of sesame oil. Top with desired amounts of herbs, cucumber slices, and scallions. Serve the garlic-chile-ginger sauce on the side, along with more sweet soy sauce and sesame oil if desired.

Source: The New York Times Dining Section, January 2010

Ultimate Nachos

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I did, although I swear this weekend went by in the blink of an eye…. and isn’t the first day back to work after a long weekend the worst?!?! I felt like I was tired and just dragging all day long. Hopefully tomorrow my brain will be working better 🙂

I made these nachos for Cinco de Mayo this year. They are one of our favorite appetizers (and I will admit that we sometimes make a meal of them). I’ve made them for Super Bowl Sunday, and Ron has requested them for his birthday. They are my most favorite nacho recipe, and while they are pretty minimal, they are fantastic. The method of making them may seem a little fussy, but this guarantees even coverage of all the toppings on every chip. I love the spiciness of the jalapenos, but if you’d like to tone it down a bit you can remove the seeds and place a jalapeno on every other nacho instead of all of them. I really love loaded nachos too (and should really make some soon- maybe this recipe or this one), but I think this particular recipe will always be my favorite.

Ultimate Nachos

Ultimate Nachos

Ultimate Nachos

Ultimate Nachos

Makes about 6 servings (or less if you are like me!)

Ingredients:

80 tortilla chips

3-4 jalapenos, thinly sliced (you can remove the seeds if you’d like these milder)

4 1/2 ounces (about 1 cup) red onion, diced

6 oz (about 2 1/4 cups) cheddar cheese, finely grated

6 oz (about 2 1/4 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, finely grated (you can substitute Oaxaca cheese if you can find it)

2 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped

Optional for serving:

Salsa

Guacamole

Sour Cream

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set one oven rack on the lowest setting, and the other on the highest.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Make 8 balls of tinfoil. Take 3 cooling racks, and spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Place one of the racks on the prepared baking sheet, and place a ball of aluminum foil in each corner (this will support the next cooling rack as you will be laying it on top of the aluminum foil balls.

3. Place 1/3 of the chips in a single layer on the cooling rack. Place a jalapeno slice on each chip. (Or every other chip to decrease spice level). Sprinkle 1/3 of the red onions over the chips,1/3 of the cheddar cheese, and 1/3 of the Monterey jack cheese. Place the second cooling rack on top of the aluminum foil balls, place the remaining balls in the corners, and repeat with the next third of the chips, jalapenos, and toppings. Lay the remaining cooling rack on top, and finish with the remaining chips and toppings.

4. Place in oven, and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle nachos evenly with oregano. Serve with desired condiments.

Source: Alton Brown

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

I really love a good burger recipe, and I love experimenting with new combinations of toppings/flavor profiles. I am a big fan of classic burgers (Five Guys makes one of my favorite burgers), but when I come across an interesting-looking burger recipe it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll try it at some point. So far on this blog I have recipes for turkey burgers with cheddar and smokey aioli, jalapeno popper sliders, chipotle turkey burgers, Good Stuff melts, and taco pockets… and I can only see more recipes for burgers appearing here in the future. It’s just one of those foods that’s endlessly adaptable, and soooo delicious! I really would love to try making some vegetarian/vegan burgers as well! (Actually- the black bean-brown rice patties could be classified as a burger- those were awesome!) When I came across this recipe on What’s Gaby Cooking, I knew I would be making it soon- it has some of my favorite things right in the title- cheddar, jalapenos and guacamole. These made a very flavorful burger, with all the spices, and the cheddar, onion and jalapeno being added to the patty itself. This helps keep the burgers from drying out, as chicken is a very lean meat. The toppings that are added (all customizable of course), just make it that much better!

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 hamburger buns

Optional Toppings

Guacamole

Sour cream

red onion slices

lettuce

tomato

Salsa

Directions:

1. Add the chicken to a large bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Combine gently with hands. Form 4 patties.

2. Heat a grill pan, or large skillet on medium heat. Spray with a nonstick cooking spray, or add a little bit of oil and swirl so it coats the pan. Add the patties, and cook about 5-7 minutes per side.

3. Serve on a bun with any desired toppings.

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

I’m always trying to incorporate more seafood into my weekly meal plans. Number 1) because seafood is one of my favorite things ever: and number 2) because it’s super-healthy for you! The expense is what deters me most of the time, that, and the fact that finding sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood options can be a little intimidating. Luckily, I have the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch app downloaded on my phone, which helps a lot! It’s always being updated, and gives good options for alternatives, if the type of seafood a recipe calls for is not sustainable. Tilapia is a sustainable seafood choice, plus it is relatively inexpensive, so it is one that I buy occasionally. Also, it is a very mild fish, which lends itself to much variation. I know that there is some controversy surrounding tilapia (the ratio of types of fatty acids, for example), but isn’t there controversy surrounding most foods? It’s so hard to navigate all of that, but I really do as best I can to chose foods that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, organic, fair trade, grass fed, etc… as far as my budget allows. 

This recipe could be used with any mild white fish.  The flavors are excellent- I pretty much love anything with the combination of ginger and garlic, and the jalapeno and cilantro make this fish even better! This is a great meal to make on a weeknight, as the prep is really simple, and the fish cooks so quickly. I served this with jasmine rice, and roasted asparagus. 

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 lb tilapia filets (Farmed tilapia is a sustainable seafood choice!)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1-inch fresh ginger (about 1 Tbsp)

1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (optional)

1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

Scallions, chopped, for garnish

Extra cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Pat fish dry, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking dish.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno (if using), cilantro, white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil to a small food processor. Process until blended.

3. Pour the sauce on the fish, rubbing it in a bit. Place in the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through.

4. Serve immediately.

Source: www.thekitchn.com