Taco Salad

I have to admit I had my doubts about this one. There are a lot of steps and in the end it’s still just a salad right? Well, I’m happy to report that it was worth the work. Most of all I was surprised how awesome the sour cream drizzle was when it blended with the meat mixture. Everything worked so well together and I didn’t even miss the crisp taco shell. I did however toast some Greek pita bread in the oven, cut it into wedges to serve along side.Taco Salad

Believe it or not, with all the steps noted below, I didn’t include a few items because I figured I didn’t need them. So if anyone is interested, just click on the original link to the recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and there are additional recipes for Chunky Avocado Salsa and Tortilla Bowls.

Taco Salad
Adapted from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry via Food Network Canada

This is a multi-step recipe. Spiced sour cream may be made a day in advance, but the taco beef is best if made fresh.

Ingredients

Taco Beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Spiced Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lime zest

Salad

  • 12 cups chopped romaine or mixed lettuces
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup packed shredded light sharp (old) cheddar cheese (4 oz/113 g)
  • 3-4 Green Onions, sliced

Taco SeasoningTaco Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Taco Beef
Cook beef, onions, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno in a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir often and break up large pieces of meat as it cooks. Do not drain. Sprinkle taco seasoning over beef, then add broth and ketchup. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Spiced Sour Cream
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salad
To assemble salad (either individual servings or on a large platter), layer ingredients in the following order: lettuce, hot beef mixture, corn, black beans, cheese, sour cream drizzle, avocado, cheese, sour cream drizzle, green onion.

Taco Seasoning
Makes enough seasoning for this recipe. You may wish to double the recipe and store the leftover seasoning in an air-tight container for future use.

Quesadillas

I love sandwiches. And really, aren’t quesadillas just a flat sandwich? If you ask me, they’re the best kind. Hot and gooey on the inside, crisp and salty on the outside. Especially along the edges where the cheese escapes and browns a little in the pan. I always eat that bit first.

My favourite way to make these is in a frying pan with butter, but I do try to make healthier choices when I can. So here’s an easy and healthy option for baking the quesadilla that will save you some calories but still give you the crispy and gooey combination that makes this dish so good.Quesadilla 2

I usually use leftover roasted chicken, but sometimes I use thinly sliced breaded chicken breast for the kids.

Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • Tortillas (I use whole wheat)
  • Roasted Chicken, shredded
  • Cheddar, grated (or cheese of your choice)
  • Green Onions, sliced
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole and salsa for dipping

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° degrees.

Quesadilla 1

Place one tortilla on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Top with sour cream, cooked chicken, cheddar, green onion.
Lay remaining tortilla on top.

Place a second layer of parchment paper then another baking sheet on top of the assembled quesadilla. Use a weight to help press it down. I use my dutch oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.

Naan and Whatever Is Left In My Fridge

Naan and Pulled PorkOkay, I’m having one of those nights. I’m hungry. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. It’s the end of my (grocery) week and I have no clue what I’m making for dinner. I’m sure most of you have experienced this before. It’s like doing your groceries on an empty stomach. Never a good idea. You always come back with five frozen pizzas, a massive jar of Nutella, some insanely sugary cereal and whatever else you happened to walk by.

Once again, I’m saved by one of the blogs I’m following. This time my thanks goes to Go Bake Yourself. She happened to review an Indian restaurant she recently visited. Looking at all the tempting photos of her food I stalled on the one of the Naan Bread. No joke, my brain seriously said “Mmmmm…Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.” That’s what happens on an empty stomach, people.

I thought, “Oooh! I have some on my counter!” And then, “What the heck do I put on it?” Because although I probably would eat it on the couch while watching television, my family seems to want something more substantial.

Sigh. Fine. *Rustles through freezer* How happy am I to find a freezer bag of pulled pork? Ecstatic, because my workload just dropped by ninety percent. Woo! By the way, I make my pulled pork in the exact same way, seasonings and all, as my blade roast.

The great thing about this kind of meal is that you can replace the meat with almost anything you like. Shredded chicken breast, sliced steak, hell I’d go to far as to say grilled and sliced Portobello mushrooms. Why not? Check your refrigerator, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with when you’re hungry enough 🙂

So here’s the big recipe today, I listed the ingredients the way I layered them from bottom to top. Adjust the quantities based on how many sandwiches you need to make.

Pulled Pork on Naan Bread

Ingredients

  • Naan Bread
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Pulled Pork or Shredded Chicken or Sliced Steak, etc…you get where I’m going with this 😉
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Cheddar (or your preferred cheese), grated
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Wedge of Lime, optional

Directions

Pile everything on one side of the bread, squeeze a bit of lime juice on top, fold over and enjoy.

Guacamole

Avocados have turned into a sort-of comfort food for me. They don’t warm me up on a cold night like a hearty chill or stew, but they comfort me all the same. Their creamy texture and buttery taste just begs me to take a bite. Add some lime juice, green onions, garlic and cilantro and I’m in heaven.Guacamole 1

The simplicity of this combination is another reason it’s high on my list of favourites. On pulled pork tacos, shrimp lettuce wraps, or just with some multi-grain tortilla chips, guacamole is one of my go to sides any day of the week.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • ½ a lime, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated with a microplane
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped, whites and light green portion only
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut each avocado in half, remove pit. Scoop out the meat of each avocado into a medium bowl. Add lime juice, garlic, green onion and cilantro. Mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Season the guacamole with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.

 

Eggs en Cocotte (Baked Eggs in a Ramekin)

I love eggs. I can enjoy them pretty much any way they’re prepared. Although I draw my line going all “Rocky” with the raw energy drink.

Quiche, strata, scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, deviled, omelet…I could go on but I can tell I’m already losing you! BUT WAIT! I’ve got an easy recipe I know you’ll be adding to your weekend menu in no time.

Apartment Therapy/The Kitchn is to blame for my latest egg-related obsession.

Eggs en Cocotte

The creamy golden yolk is heaven on a buttered toast soldier. I’ve been trying to convert my kids from the same old, but this is one argument I haven’t won yet. They just look at me like I’m nuts and dig back into their own plates of fluffy scrambled eggs.

One day they’ll understand and they’ll be begging me to make this and I’ll say NO! You should have tried it when I asked you the first thousand times. Heh. Just joking. Of coarse I’ll make it for them, might as well. I’ll be eating them too. Enjoy!

Eggs en Cocotte (Baked Eggs in a Ramekin)
From The Kitchn

This dish is sometimes called baked eggs or shirred eggs, but all the recipes are generally the same. You butter a few small ramekins and sprinkle the bottom with a little cheese. Then break one or two eggs (how ever many fit) into each ramekin without breaking the yolk. Top the eggs with a spoonful of cream, some salt and pepper, and another sprinkling of cheese. Set the egg-filled ramekins in a bain marie and bake in a 350° oven until the whites are set but the yolks are still loose.

We like to eat our eggs en cocotte with plenty of buttered toast that’s been cut into strips. These are perfect for dipping into the yolk and scooping up the egg whites. If we’re serving these at a brunch, we make a big plate of toast to pass around!

Now and again, we like to mix things up a bit and add a few more ingredients to the eggs. A bit of crumbled bacon on the bottom completes the breakfast trifecta. We also like chopped tomatoes, caramelized onions, cooked mushrooms, or any other favorite vegetable. For the cheese, gruyere is traditional, but don’t let that stop you! It’s very very hard to go wrong when it comes to baked eggs!

Avocado and Citrus Salad

Like most people these days, I’ve been trying to prepare healthier meals for my family. But with a five-year-old and a twenty month old it can be hard to find things that are healthy, yummy and visually appealing, because let’s be honest, kids seem to decide whether or not they want to eat something way before the food hits their tongue.

Avocado Citrus 1I found the inspiration for this recipe on Martha Steward Everyday Food and decided to give it a try. It’s bright and fresh and a nice side when you’re pairing it with a heavier main like beef. Truth be told my husband and I have become strangely addicted to this salad and we’ve been eating it at least once a week. I know you’re thinking, a salad of grapefruit and orange? Why? But there something about the tart and sweet mixed together with the creamy avocado that’s beyond amazing. Try it and you’ll see. I made some substitutions from the original to suit my kids tastes.

Avocado and Citrus Salad

  • 2 Grapefruits (segmented, peel and pith removed) Juice reserved for dressing
  • 2 Navel Oranges (segmented, peel and pith removed) Juice reserved for dressing
  • 2 Avocados cubed
  • 5 Radishes sliced thin (When they’re large enough to handle I like to use a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Toss together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What can I say, I like my recipes tasty and simple! We’re all busy and tired after a long day. It’s nice to have a quick, healthy and easy recipe to turn to once in a while.

Tip: Sometimes when I feel like I need a bit more of a bite I add a splash of balsamic vinegar!