Nachos for National Nacho Day

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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!!

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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

Directions

  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.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Slow-Roasted Spiced Pork Tacos

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Chicken Fajitas

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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.

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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!

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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Chicken, Mango and Black Bean Burritos

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Ingredients

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

Directions

  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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

Salsa Verde Chicken

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As I was grocery shopping the other day, I noticed Trader Joe’s had a new salad I hadn’t seen before … southwest chopped salad. It is a salad kit, like others they offer.  In it you will find green cabbage, romaine, cotija cheese, roasted pepitas, tortilla strips, green onion, cilantro and spicy avocado dressing.  This salad gave me the inspiration for the chicken I prepared for dinner tonight.

I decided I’d marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in salt, pepper, minced garlic and a jar of salsa verde (green salsa). This was so easy. I placed my breasts in a glass dish, sprinkled them with kosher salt, pepper, three cloves of minced garlic and poured a jar of salsa verde over the top. I let it marinate for about an hour and a half.

I baked my chicken in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35 minutes. Once 35 minutes were up, I added light shredded Mexican cheese. I buy this already shredded in a bag at Trader Joe’s. I almost always choose to use lower fat cheese when I can.

I placed the chicken back in the oven for 5 minutes so the cheese could melt. I served my chicken over the chopped salad. Both Dennis and Kylie really enjoyed this chicken. If you wanted to put this chicken into a slow cooker for the day, you could definitely do that. Just add the cheese at the end to melt.

Ingredients

boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 jar green salsa verde

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

shredded Mexican cheese blend (as much or as little as you’d like)

Directions

Place chicken in a glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and pour salsa over the chicken. Let marinate 1-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake chicken for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, add cheese and cook for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Flank Steak and Corn Tacos

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Since last night was Tuesday, I made tacos for dinner. I chose flank steak as the protein for my tacos.

I started by marinating my steak. I sprinkled kosher salt, pepper and Chile lime seasoning over both sides of the steak. After that, I squeezed the juice of two limes (making sure to set aside the zest of one of those limes) onto the meat. I then added minced garlic, minced shishito peppers and the lime zest.

I set the meat in the refrigerator for 2 hours to marinate.

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The shishito peppers are something I’ve seen at Trader Joe’s and wanted to try. I picked up the bag to read the description of the shishito peppers. This is what I learned ….

I liked that they are described as a milder pepper with a citrusy flavor. I thought this would go well with the lime. These peppers are really good, and pretty cute!

I removed the meat from the refrigerator about a half hour before grilling it, so I could bring it to room temperature. I grilled the steak on my indoor grill pan for about 8 to 10 minutes per side.

I also bought corn on the cob to grill and use with my tacos. I bought a package of corn on the cob from Trader Joe’s and microwaved it for the requested four minutes. Once that was done, I added my corn to the grill pan so I could char it some for my tacos.

While the meat was cooking, I prepared my taco toppings. I shredded pepper jack cheese, cut two avocados, chopped some cilantro, and quartered mini heirloom tomatoes.

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I warmed my tortillas over the open flame on my gas burner. Before layering the shell with my ingredients, I spread a bit of light sour cream onto the shell. I wanted my sour cream to be the base of my taco, vs. serving it as a dollop on top. Once the sour cream was spread on my corn tortillas, I placed a few heirloom tomatoes, the avocado, the cheese and then the meat. I topped the taco with the corn.

Luckily there were leftovers! Dennis happily packed those up and took them to work for lunch today.

This marinade would work fabulously with chicken as well and I think it would be wonderful for fish tacos, too!

Ingredients

  • 1 flank steak
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 shishito peppers
  • zest of 1 lime and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus enough to brush on corn

Directions

Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt, pepper and Chile lime seasoning. Place in a glass dish. Squeeze the lime juice over the steak and add the garlic, peppers and lime zest. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to marinate.

Brush corn with olive oil, set aside. Heat olive oil in grill pan and once pan is hot, place steak on to cook. Cook for 8-10 minutes per side, less if you like your meat a little on the rare side. (My family likes it cooked medium, so I cooked it for 8-10 minutes.) Cook corn on the other end of the grill pan at the same time, just long enough to char it a bit.

Once meat is done, set aside to rest for 10 minutes.While the meat is resting, cut the corn kernels off the ears. Cut the meat into cubes for the tacos. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris