Shishito Pepper and Beef Enchiladas


I have been looking for an excuse to use Shishito Peppers since I first saw them at the market last spring. I never noticed them before that, but once I saw them, I knew I needed to come up with a recipe that would incorporate these beauties. Today, while I was doing my shopping at Trader Joe’s and saw these wonderful peppers, it came to me. I would make enchiladas using them in the ground beef as my main “seasoning”. I added nothing more than salt and pepper to my meat and onion mixture. I really wanted the flavor of these peppers to stand out.


I picked up a pound of lean (90% lean) ground beef, along with the Shishito peppers and formed a plan in my head.

When preparing to make my enchiladas, I first cut the tops of the peppers off and scraped the seeds out of the inside. (You can leave the seeds in tact if you prefer, I chose to remove them. I think they will add a little kick, but not too much. I understand they are a milder pepper with not too much heat.) I did some research and found that Shishito peppers are “13 to 160 times milder than a jalapeño”. However, about one in every 10-20 peppers will be a little hotter, but still milder than any mild jalapeño. I did cut a piece off and try it raw, just so I could see what it tasted like raw. It was really good! Now that I’ve finally used these wonderful little peppers, I know I’ll be using them in many recipes to come.

I started by drizzling olive oil into my cast iron skillet (about one turn of the pan) and heating it. While the oil was heating, I removed the tops of the peppers, as well as the seeds.

Next, I added the peppers to the hot oil with a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I let them blister in the skillet, stirring periodically … this took about 5 minutes. Once they were blistered, I removed them and set them on a cutting board. I then diced the peppers to add to the ground beef.

I sautéd a small sweet yellow onion I had diced, until it became soft and translucent. Then, I added 1 tablespoon of refrigerated, jarred minced garlic (because I was being lazy and didn’t feel like mincing garlic. Feel free to mince fresh garlic if you prefer.) I let the garlic cook together with the onion for about 45 seconds before adding the ground beef, kosher salt and pepper to the skillet.


Once the beef was browned and crumbly, I added the chopped, blistered Shishito peppers and let them heat through with the meat for about 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, I heated the corn tortillas in my cast iron skillet. I also heated two 12 ounce bottles of enchilada sauce in a separate sauce pan. Wanting to make sure I’d have an easy clean-up, I sprayed my 9×13 glass dish with non-stick cooking spray before adding a cup or so of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.

I placed two tablespoons of the meat mixture on each tortilla, along with a little pepper jack cheese, that I shredded.


I then rolled my enchilada and placed them seam side down in my baking dish. Once they were all nestled together, I scraped any of the meat that was left in my skillet onto the enchiladas. Next, I poured the enchilada sauce onto the enchiladas and sprinkled the rest of the shredded cheese over the top.


I placed my enchiladas in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I served the enchiladas with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream and a few sliced black olives over the top.


These were so good! Dennis and Kylie both asked if we could have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. This is a win-win for me, I don’t need to cook tomorrow night, just reheat.


1 package Shishito peppers

1 pound lean ground beef

12 corn tortillas

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle for the peppers

2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

light sour cream

sliced black olives


  1. In cast iron skillet, heat drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Remove tops and seeds from Shishito peppers.
  3. Place peppers and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into hot cast iron skillet. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally while peppers blister. Remove peppers from skillet and set aside.
  4. Sauté onion in olive oil until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook together for 45 seconds.
  5. Add ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until meat is browned and crumbly.
  6. While meat is browning, chop peppers.
  7. Add peppers to meat mixture and cook together for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Heat corn tortillas in cast iron skillet.
  9. Place 2 tablespoons of meat mixture in center of tortilla, along with 1/2 tablespoon shredded cheese.
  10. Pour 1 cup of heated enchilada sauce into bottom of 9×13 glass dish. Place enchiladas, side by side, seam side down onto sauce until pan is filled.
  11. Scrape any extra meat over enchiladas and add the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas.
  12. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Until next time, Kris


Ground Beef Tostadas


It’s Taco Tuesday! However, tonight at our house, it was Tostada Tuesday. I didn’t need to add much seasoning to my ground beef for our tostadas. Instead, I decided to flavor my ground beef with kosher salt, pepper, a small can of diced green chiles and a can of red Chile sauce.

I started by sautéing an onion in olive oil for about five minutes and then adding three cloves of minced garlic.


Next, I added the lean ground beef, salt and pepper and cooked the meat until it was browned and crumbly. Once the meat was cooked thoroughly, I added a can of green chiles, mixed everything together and poured the can of red Chile sauce onto the meat and stirred again.

I let the meat mixture simmer for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken. While the meat was simmering, I heated a can of refried beans. I always choose non-fat refried beans, but feel free to use what you like.


While the beans heated and the sauce thickened, I pulled the toppings for our tostadas together. This dinner was quick and easy to make! It’s the perfect dinner to make after a busy day at the office or a busy day out running errands. Everything came together in about a half an hour.


1 pound lean ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 4-ounce can of diced green chiles

1 10-ounce can of red Chile sauce

15-1/2 ounce can non-fat refried beans

1 large tomato

1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

sour cream (I use low-fat or non-fat)

cheddar cheese (I use reduced fat)

small can of sliced black olives


  1. Heat oil in large skillet.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until onion starts to become translucent. Add garlic and stir together.
  3. Add beef, salt and pepper to skillet and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until meat has browned.
  4. Add green chiles and stir. Pour red Chile sauce into pan and mix together, cooking about 10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Shred lettuce, grate cheese, and chop tomato and cilantro.
  6. Spread tostada shell with beans and top with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomato, cilantro, sour cream and black olives.


Until next time, Kris






Nachos for National Nacho Day


Instead of having Mexican food tomorrow (Taco Tuesday), I decided we’d have Mexican Monday. Well …. actually, Kylie decided – in a way. She said “Mom, can we have nachos tonight for dinner?” I said “I was going to make grilled cheese, but you can have nachos instead if you want.” She said that would be great, it’s National Nacho Day and she wanted to celebrate by having nachos for dinner. Until this afternoon, I had no idea there was a National Nacho Day! Nachos are not something I’d normally make for dinner, but it’s Monday night football and our favorite team, the Green Bay Packers are playing.

Kylie suggested a rotisserie chicken for our nachos. She wanted to shred the meat for her nachos. I chose to cut the chicken in cubes for the other pan of nachos. We have a lot of nachos left over, so, if any of my friends out there are nearby, are hungry, and want to watch the Packers, come on by ,,, I have food. Needless to say, Kylie and Dennis will be eating nachos all week long.

(Note: I used only the breast meat off my rotisserie chicken. I saved the thighs and drumsticks for another time.)

I wanted to make my nachos in a cast iron skillet, that I could place in the oven for a bit until the cheese melted. I thought it would be great to cook in the cast iron skillet, as well as serve the nachos out of the cast iron skillet. Kylie had another idea for the pan she was making. She wanted to use a sheet pan, lined with foil. (Actually, she wanted to use a skillet of mine that I didn’t want in the oven, so suggested the sheet pan, lined with foil.) When I was in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, I noticed my Mom had a smaller size cast iron skillet. I think this is something I need to definitely invest in. Sometimes, you want a little less and not such a big serving. I’ll have to ask her where she found them. I bought the ones I have at Home Goods. I’ve seen really small cast iron skillets that you could use for a molten cake. Those would be perfect to have if you wanted to serve nachos to several people. It would be super cute to serve each person their own individual cast iron skillets filled with yummy nachos. Food for thought.

It was a lot of fun to work side by side in the kitchen with my daughter. She didn’t want “any seasonings or anything fancy in my nachos” – her words. She knew I just couldn’t put together something for dinner without a little seasoning of some sort. Apparently, she knows me well. Better than anyone, I’d have to say.

We heated non-fat, refried beans on the stove to add to our nacho platters. We started building our nachos with the tortilla chips. For the nachos I was preparing, I sprinkled a bit of chili powder over the chips. On top of that, we placed spoonfuls of the refried beans. Once the beans were strategically placed over the tortilla chips, we added a can of green chiles and half a can of sliced black olives. On top of that, the chicken went on. Over the chicken, we placed the shredded Mexican cheese blend. I decided to use lite cheese, instead of full fat. (I do this more often than not. You can choose to use lite shredded cheese or full-fat. It just depends on what you enjoy.)

Once the cheese was on, we layered the pan again starting with the chips. Kylie said “This is a little like making a lasagne.”

I placed the skillet (and Kylie’s sheet pan) into a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes and our nachos came out perfectly.

Once they were done, I sprinkled fresh cut tomatoes and diced avocado, as well as a drizzle of salsa and a dollop of sour cream. I did put out a few jarred jalapeños for those that wanted a little heat.

We dished up our nachos and sat down to enjoy the Packer game. We are watching it now, as I’m typing this blog post. I have a feeling that the Detroit Lion fans are a bit happier than the Green Bay Packers fans at this point in the game. Who knows, there’s still a half a game to go. Come on Green Bay! Go Pack Go!!


Time for dinner!

Cast iron skillet nachos on the left, Kylie’s sheet pan nachos on the right. Kylie did an amazing job on her nachos, they were perfect!

Ingredients (All ingredients are as much or as little as you’d like.)

  • tortilla chips
  • chili powder, a couple pinches
  • chicken (shredded or diced)
  • non-fat, refried beans
  • lite shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can mild green chiles
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • sour cream, for topping
  • chopped tomatoes, for topping
  • chopped avocado, for topping
  • salsa, for topping


  1. Heat refried beans.
  2. Layer nachos in a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.
  3. Top chips with a sprinkling of chili powder (each layer).
  4. Layer beans, chiles, black olives and chicken over chips.
  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese.
  6. Repeat layers once more.


Until next time, Kris




Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork Tacos


Saturday night I hosted our dinner club and made Ina Garten’s Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork. Everyone that was at our house that night thought this pork would be fabulous served in tacos. Since I had so much meat left over, that’s exactly what I decided to do tonight.

My good friend, Karin, who’s in our dinner club, sent an email after the dinner club saying she thought this meat would be “another round of joy on a plate” if served as tacos with a “dash” of plain yogurt, a little green salsa, onion, and lettuce. Karin is a wonderful cook, so I knew her suggestion would be spot on. Don’t you just love how she said the pulled pork (not pulled at the dinner party, but pulled for the tacos) would be another round of joy on a plate? I love how she said that. It’s nice to think of food that way … joy on a plate. Especially if you really love something. I think I’ll need to start referring to the foods I love best as “joy on a plate”. And there is no better joy, to me, than sharing a meal with my dear friends and family.

I, too, thought that green salsa would be best with the pork. I particularly love the green tomatillo salsa you can purchase in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s. It’s sold near the hummus and dips. Greek yogurt by Fage is what I purchased as the yogurt to go on the tacos. I used a quarter of a white onion that I chopped and shredded cabbage instead of the lettuce … I love the crunch of the cabbage. Sliced avocado, shredded pepper jack cheese, and chopped cilantro also made an appearance on our tacos this evening.


Ina Garten has come up with such an amazing recipe for this meat. It is fabulous. Definitely check out her recipe for Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork if you haven’t already seen it.

I reheated the pork in a tablespoon of olive oil, which took next to no time at all.


For taco shells, I used street taco flour tortillas … they were the perfect size. A dollop, or “dash” as Karin called it, of yogurt was placed right on the flour tortilla and the meat directly on top of that. From there, I built my taco with the cabbage, avocado slices, shredded cheese, cilantro, onion and green salsa.


Dennis is looking forward to having tacos tomorrow for lunch, he’s already packed it up in his lunch bag.


  • Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork (Ina Garten’s recipe)
  • street taco size flour tortillas
  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped white onion
  • Greek plain yogurt
  • shredded green cabbage


Shred pork once you’ve cooked it. (If you are using leftover pork, reheat in a tablespoon of olive oil on the stove top).

Top your tortillas with yogurt, meat, cabbage, avocado, cheese, cilantro, onion and salsa.


Until next time, Kris


Chicken Fajitas


Today is Tuesday, which to some people means “Taco Tuesday”. I wanted Mexican tonight, but not tacos … fajitas. I figured I could wait until Friday and make a “Fajita Friday” dinner, or yesterday we could have had “Mexican Monday”, but went with my idea for fajitas on a Tuesday.

I roasted a few chicken breasts with a seasoning mix I made with kosher salt, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and dried orange peel.

This seasoning would be good on chicken even if you weren’t having fajitas. I think it would also be good on flank steak … it was really yummy. I first drizzled my chicken breasts with olive oil before sprinkling on the seasoning mix. Once the chicken was done, I shredded it for the fajitas.


While the chicken was roasting, I cut a yellow, green, and red pepper into strips, as well as an onion. I sautéd them in olive oil, salt and pepper.

I love the bright and vibrant colors in the pepper, onion mix. It looked so fresh to me!

My daughter, Kylie, loved this dinner so much, she has asked me to add it to the cookbook I’m writing for her. I’ll gladly do that!



  • 3-4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon for chicken and 2 for peppers and onions)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into strips
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon for vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon pepper for vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese (your choice – I used white cheddar)
  • salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together seasonings (kosher salt, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and dried orange peel) in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on chicken and sprinkle seasonings over chicken breasts.
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Cut peppers and onions into strips.
  6. Place vegetables in sauté pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook until vegetables soften.
  7. Shred cooked chicken.
  8. Warm tortillas.
  9. Build fajitas with chicken, vegetables and top with sour cream, shredded cheese and salsa.


Until next time, Kris




Chicken, Mango and Black Bean Burritos


Last night, my lovely nieces, Madeline and Olivia were at our house for a sleepover. Maddie and Olivia are also our Goddaughters. Their older sister, Alexis, was at work so was unable to join us for the evening. It was so much fun listening to Kylie, Maddie and Olivia chat and laugh. The sound of laughter coming from teenage girls is always music to my ears. These three girls had such a great time! They watched a movie and once they finished that they were bored. I suggested they play a game and Olivia suggested “Head’s Up”. Oh my goodness, they were laughing so hard, I loved listening to them. We missed Alexis … next time, she’ll have to join in on the sleepover.

While they were enjoying their time together, I was in the kitchen starting dinner. The girls were in the family room, so I felt I had company while cooking last night, which I always enjoy.

I decided I’d make chicken burritos with mango, and black beans. First I started by sprinkling kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Chile lime seasoning over both sides of the poultry. I then squeezed the juice of two limes over the chicken. Next, I baked the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.

In a large skillet, I heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sautéd 4 mangoes together with two red peppers that I had cut into 1/2 inch pieces … I sprinkled salt and pepper over the mangoes and red peppers.


I chopped red onion and cilantro for the burritos as well as cutting up a few avocados.


I heated flour tortillas in foil in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they were nice and warm.

Once the chicken was done, I cut it into chunks. The chicken turned out perfectly moist and perfectly flavored.


I then built my burrito. I started by placing the black beans on the tortilla, topping those with the mango and red pepper. Next, I added the chicken, onion, aged white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. I folded my burrito and topped it with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro and a bit more avocado.




thin sliced chicken breasts

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning

juice of two limes

shredded, aged white cheddar cheese

4 mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 avocados

1/2 red onion, minced

1 can black beans, heated

dollop of light sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over chicken.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Heat tortillas
  6. Build burrito with black beans, mango and red pepper, chicken, cheese, onion, cilantro and avocado.
  7. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris







Turkey Tacos with Pasilla Pepper Cream Sauce


Tonight’s dinner started with a pasilla pepper. I knew I’d be making ground turkey tacos this week and wanted to make a sauce to spread over the corn tortilla before stacking my taco with the meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, cheese, cilantro and avocado.

I started by chopping up half of a pasilla pepper and adding it to my mini food processor.


To the food processor, I also added two garlic cloves that I’d chopped. I then added 1/4 cup of light sour cream and 1/8 cup of light mayonnaise, kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. I also added the zest and juice of one lime.

I set this aside in the refrigerator while I prepared my ground turkey for the tacos.

I browned a pound of ground turkey, along with a white onion that I grated over the meat and two minced garlic cloves. For my seasonings, I added kosher salt, pepper, oregano and Chile lime seasoning.


I heated corn tortillas over the open flame on my gas stove. Once they were done, I spread some pasilla cream sauce over each one and topped them with the ground turkey, minced red onion, diced tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado.


This sauce had the perfect kick to it. It wasn’t too spicy, just full of flavor. You can definitely make this spicier by increasing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes you use. I think this sauce would be an excellent marinade for chicken and would also be wonderful spooned over fish.

Ingredients for Sauce

  • 1/2 a large pasilla pepper, diced
  • 2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/8 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions for Sauce

Place pepper and garlic into mini food processor. Grind until peppers and garlic are very small. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Whir until all is mixed together and creamy. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients for Taco Meat

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 white onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

Directions for Taco Meat

Place ground turkey in large skillet. Grate onion over meat and add minced garlic. Add salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning and oregano and cook until meat is browned and crumbly.

Heat corn tortillas over open flame (or in oven if you have an electric stove). Top with cream sauce, meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris