Friday, June 28, 2013

Mexican Slow Cooker Beef

Mexican Slow Cooker Beef
This Mexican style shredded beef is spicy and so deliciously tender!  It goes great in any type of Mexican dish you may want to serve up.....from tacos, to burritos, quesadillas and anything else you can imagine!  I got the inspiration for this dish at that site.  I made a few additions in the form of, you guessed it, more heat and spice. 
This recipe is now my go-to dish for potlucks, football parties and get-togethers when I want something that will be easy to make ahead of time and it won't keep you in the kitchen while your guests are having fun without you. 

1 (4 pound) chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups diced green chile pepper
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped- I also use the seeds to give it some extra kick
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
5 ounces (approx) hot pepper sauce- I use Cholula of course!
1 teaspoon garlic powder


Place the roast in a slow cooker and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the roast, rubbing the oil over the entire roast. In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the roast, rubbing the spices into the meat slightly.


Add the onions, green chilies and jalapeño pepper on too of the roast and around the sides. Add enough water to cover 1/3 of the roast.

Douse everything with the hot sauce, taking care to get some into the liquid as well as on top of the roast.

Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is totally tender and falls apart. Shred the meat and then add it back into the juices in the crockpot to simmer and keep warm until serving. I like to let the meat sit in the juices after shredding it, just keeping the crockpot on warm.

If using the meat for burritos, shred the meat and add it to a frying pan with 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Simmer until the sauce has thickened.
 If you don't want to go this extra step, I have also just scooped the meat out of the liquid and drained it a little against the side of the pot before adding it to my tacos, nachos, or burritos. It's just as tasty!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summertime Corn Slaw and Grilled Chicken

Tired of the same old side dishes at your BBQ?  Try this cool and fresh summertime corn slaw!  It's become a staple at my family gatherings and it always gets rave reviews.    This recipe was originally something my grandmother and mother made with Thanksgiving dinner.  

The tangy dressing and crispness of the vegetables taste so great with the traditional cornbread Southern dressing that is a must-have for me every holiday season.  But the slaw is so simple and fresh that it simply screams to be paired with BBQ or grilled meat of any type!  I get several requests to bring this to gatherings with friends and family alike.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  

Oh, and since you asked......I have included my easy, basic, go-to marinade for chicken (and pork chops too)!  The marinade has only 2 ingredients!  Don't worry about this marinade being spicy hot because of the Cholula.  When the chicken hits the grill, the marinade transforms into wonderfully juicy grilled flavors that makes the meat sing!  

Summertime Corn Slaw

2 cans white kernel corn, drained
2 cans yellow corn, drained 
1 green bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
5 green onions, sliced 
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
7 tbsp Miracle Whip Light
1/2 tsp white sugar
4 tbsp white vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper 
Kosher salt

In a large bowl, combine the drained corn and the chopped bell pepper, green onions (white parts and green parts) and chopped tomatoes.  
Next mix in the Miracle Whip, vinegar and sugar.  I like to use the Miracle Whip light
version because it has a nice tang that goes so well with this side dish.  
Stir well to combine all dressing ingredients and to evenly distribute the dressing throughout the vegetables and corn.  Grind in a few grinds of fresh ground pepper and some salt to taste and stir.  

This slaw really tastes best when made at least a few hours ahead of time so that it can sit in the sauce and the flavors can meld together with the fresh and delicious vegetables.
Stir the slaw occasionally while it sits in the fridge in order to help the dressing ingredients blend together.

Marinade for Juicy Grilled Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts (or boneless chicken thighs)
1 (16 oz) bottle, approximately, of Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing
1/2 bottle (12 oz bottle) of Cholula

Place chicken is a dish or in a ziplock bag. Pour salad dressing over the chicken and then pour in the Cholula. Mix it around to combine the Cholula and the Italian dressing and marinate in the fridge for at least one hour....or up to 8 hours for more flavor. How simple is that?!
When you're ready to grill, place the chicken on a plate, discard the marinade and sprinkle each piece with salt and fresh black pepper. Grill on a preheated grill over medium high heat for about 6-7 minutes per side. I only grill my boneless chicken for about 12-15 minutes tops, depending on the thickness of the breast.

Note: this recipe feeds more people, but you could just make it using fewer chicken breasts for fewer people. Eyeball the Cholula and dressing mixture - using about 1 cup dressing to 1 tablespoon Cholula and making sure the chicken is covered with the marinade.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What's for breakfast today!

What's for breakfast? I concocted my own Mexican breakfast skillet with fried potatoes, shredded cheese, taco meat leftover from last night's dinner, green onions, and topped it off with an egg cooked over-medium. 
Of course, you can see that I had already added Cholula sauce when I took the picture. Oh, and I had to add some sour cream too.... Cause that's how I roll! Lol No boring muffins or cereal for me for breakfast! :)
Just wanted to share this! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spicy Spanish Chicken in Moorish Spiced Sauce

Spanish Chicken in Sauce with Couscous

This is a must-try, deliciously unique and easy Spanish chicken in sauce with Moorish spices: coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg! You will love the spiciness of the cayenne mixed with the subtle after effect of the warm spices layered together in the sauce.  What a delicious flavor profile!    I was so anxious to dig into this after smelling the sauce cooking for almost an hour that the picture of the final result does not do this recipe justice.  Try it and decide for will love it!

I was inspired to create this based on a Spanish tapas recipe for Albondigas in spicy tomato sauce, which I love!  I was thinking that the sauce would be so great with chicken and couscous and I have to say that this dish is a winner! 

The Moors had a strong influence on Spanish cuisine, bringing the spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, and saffron with them to Spain.  This Spanish chicken sauce is spiced with coriander, cumin, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.  The result is a deliciously unique dish with the subtle favors of the warm spices underlying the initial heat of the cayenne pepper. 

 I know you will agree that this is a keeper!  The only thing I would change is to use bone-in chicken thighs next time, which would mean a longer simmering time but would add even more exquisite flavor to this dish. 

Chicken preparation:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
Ground cumin, garlic powder, salt and fresh ground black pepper

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with the cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Heat oil on medium high heat and place chicken in pan to sear.  Sear the chicken on both side, about 2 minutes per side or just until lightly browned (not cooked through).  Set chicken aside on a plate while you prepare the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth
3-4 tsp tomato sauce (plain)
1/2 can (15oz) sweet green peas
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
In the same pan used to sear the chicken, use the remaining olive oil to sauté the onions.  Add a bit more olive oil if necessary and cook the onion until translucent and soft.  Then add the garlic and a few grinds of black pepper and cook for another minute.  Make sure you don't burn the garlic as it will become bitter if cooked too long.

Add the wine and increase the heat to high.  Let the wine boil for about 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as it cooks (to get the lovely crusty bits mixed into the sauce).  Add the can of tomatoes, the tomato sauce and the chicken broth. 

Stir in the cayenne, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon until well blended.  Bring back to a boil and stir in a few grinds of fresh salt.  Place the chicken in the pan with the sauce, spooning sauce over the chicken to cover as much as possible. 

Spanish Chicken in Moorish Spiced Sauce

Cover and simmer on low to medium low for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  If using bone-in chicken thighs, simmering time will be longer- 35-40 minutes.  Remove the lid and then add the peas the the sauce.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, increasing the heat a bit in order to thicken up the sauce. 
Serve with a side of couscous.  I used plain couscous cooked with chicken broth instead of water, but a store bought mix would be just fine.  I like to ladle a good bit of the sauce over the couscous and the chicken after I plate it up!  This dish would also be excellent with a side of fried, sliced potatoes.