I’m hosting a dinner later this month for two of my favorite friends and their significant others. I have agonized over what to serve since I knew that March was my month to host. I thought about doing corned beef, but it’s really not my favorite food and if I’m going to cook for other people, I really want to like what I’m cooking. I thought about fodue, but I ALWAYS mess up cheese sauce (unless it is velveeta, then I’m good). I thought about a three-course Italian meal, but I didn’t want to spend all my visiting time prepping the next course. So, I went simple. Taco Bar. I mean, who doesn’t love tacos? I’ll be serving my Chicken Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa. I’ll also be serving pork Barbacoa tacos and I’ll whip up this Carne Asada recipe. All of these can be prepared before and just warmed before serving, except the Asada. It needs to be grilled right before serving – of course allowing the meat time to rest before slicing. But cooking this meat is the easy part. All the real work is in the marinade, and it is done the day before.
To prepare the marinade, juice 2 limes, smash 3 cloves of garlic and add cilantro, onion, salt pepper, beer, cumin and chile flake. Mix together in a zip top bag, add your meat and refrigerate overnight. Pull it out a half hour before you are ready to cook. If it’s warm enough (or you’re brave enough), fire up your outdoor grill. If not, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat until it is smoking hot. Cook the meat for 5-7 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Don’t mess with it too much. You want it to develop some nice browning.
Let this rest for 5 minutes. Then, slice thinly and across the grain. Serve on grilled corn tortillas with cheese, cilantro and salsa or whatever else you like to top your tacos with.
1/2 cup beer
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pinch chile flake
2 pounds flank steak
Juice limes into a gallon sized zip top bag. Add beer, smashed garlic, cilantro, onion, salt, pepper, cumin and chile flake. Add flank steak to bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove meat from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Heat grill or cast iron on high until very hot. Cook meat for 5-7 minutes per side, until desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain.
I have been inexcusably absent the last couple of weeks. But, I’m back today – and, it’s Taco Tuesday! I reference taco seasoning in a lot of my recipes. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, I grab a packet at the store – especially if I don’t have any mixed up and the brand with a box top coupon is on sale. Really though, I prefer to mix up my own. It’s simple and stores well and you can use it to liven up just about any southwestern dish. What I like best is that it allows me to control the amount of salt and eliminate the sugar (yes, commercial mixes typically have sugar in them, who knew?). It couldn’t be easier to mix this up. Just measure out your dried spices, toss them in a container and stir to combine. Then use as little or as much as you want to season up a pan full of meat for tacos. I like to add my seasoning as the meat is cooking. Serve with a tortilla shell (these are crispy corn tortilla bowls), some lettuce and cheese and whatever else your family likes on tacos..
1 Tablespoon chile powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Place all spices in a container and stir to combing. Store, tightly sealed, for up to 6 months.
Halloween and fall Box Tops submissions kept me way busier than I planned last week. Postings this week will be much more consistent. Thanks for your patience.
Remember when we roasted that Acorn Squash and I promised to share how I use the leftovers? Well, it took longer than a week. In fact, it’s been almost 2 weeks since I shared that recipe. Better late than never.
Take your leftover squash, remove the skins and put it in the blender with some cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, salt and water. Puree until smooth and creamy.
Now, I’m sure you could eat this puree just like this, but why do that when you can make it even more delicious. If you’ve got some leftover roasted meat (pork, beef or chicken will all work just fine), shred it up and put it in a skillet with hot oil. Fry until the edges are crispy and golden (this is beef, in case you’re wondering).
Then, layer some meat, sauce and cheese (or cheese stuffed green chile) on a steamed corn tortilla and enjoy a fantastic fall taco.
1 roasted acorn squash
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
Remove skin from acorn squash and discard.
Place squash, cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, salt and water in blender. Puree until smooth.
Use as a side dish, a sauce, a thickener in soups or as a topping for tacos.
My daughter has a new obsession with Taco Tuesday. I assume this comes from a combination of watching the Lego movie more times than I can count and the influence of her step-siblings at dad’s. Ground beef tacos get boring to me after about one meal, so, this summer, I’ve put together some taco recipes that combine different ingredients and flavors while staying true to the spirit of a taco. This chicken taco recipe is simple and delicious – both high priorities when considering a meal in our house. This recipe combines tender chicken, your favorite salsa, sweet summer corn and flavorful black beans into a taco that even my picky middle child will sit down and eat.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 4 breasts or a combination)
1 cup of your favorite salsa (I use 505 Southwestern All Natural Salsa in medium)
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ear of sweet corn, husk and silks removed (you can use 1/2-1 cup frozen kernels or one 15 ounce can corn drained)
1/4 cup salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Place chicken, salsa and taco seasoning in a crockpot set on low. Cook for 5-6 hours. Use forks to shred meat. Keep warm until ready to use. (The longer you hold the chicken in the crock pot, the more the sauce will dry out. If you are planning to keep it for a while, check periodically and add water if needed).
For the salsa, place a grill pan over high heat (a cast iron pan or griddle will also work, or you could just do this on your grill). Place the corn on the hot grill pan and cook, turning occasionally, until some kernels develop a toasted brown color. Remove corn from pan and allow to cool (If you are using canned or frozen corn, you can toast them a little in a hot skillet or you can skip this step all together) While the corn is cooling, combine beans, salsa and cumin in a sauce pan. Slice corn kernels off the cob and add to the saucepan with the beans. Stir and heat until warm.
This is my personal favorite step – assemble and garnish. My husband and the boys prefer flour tortillas and my daughter and I prefer crisp corn tortilla shells. Cheese, lettuce (or shredded cabbage), tomatoes, onions, guacamole and sour cream would all be fabulous. I like to set the garnishes up in a line and let everyone (or at least the three of us old enough to fix our own plates) make their own taco creations. This one is mine.