Chile-Braised Pork Tacos

Chile-braised Pork Tacos

I’ve been traveling quite a bit the first part of this year and have definitely missed my lazy Sunday afternoons of cooking. Luckily for me, things at work have settled down and I now have more time (and energy) to dedicate to cooking and updating this blog!

Lately, the Spring weather has actually been quite nice in an otherwise rainy Northwest climate. As a result, our “teaser” days of 70 degree sunshine have definitely made me reminisce and look forward to days of grilling, sunglasses and playing a little volleyball outside. So, in between the bouts of rain, I wanted to make a recipe that would make anyone eating it look forward to Summer: Chile-braised Pork Tacos.

Step 1: Chop Chiles and Steep in Hot Water

Chiles - Chile-braised Pork Tacos

Steeping Chiles - Chile-braised Pork Tacos

Step 2: Put Chiles, 1/4 Cup Reserved Liquid,
Lime Juice and Sugar in a Food Processor

Chile Marinade - Chile-braised Pork Tacos

Step 3: Put Chile Mixture Onto Pork;
Chill in Refrigerator Overnight

Chile Marinade - Chile-braised Pork Tacos

Step 4: Simmer Onions, Garlic and Spices;
Add Pork and Put in Oven for 2.5 Hours

Chile-braised Pork Tacos

Step 5: Take Out Pork; Shred Pork;
Put Onto Tacos or Rice; Add Toppings

Chile-braised Pork Tacos

At first glance, these tacos might seem like they require a lot of steps and time; however, the looks are definitely deceiving. This recipe is actually quite easy and quick, especially when spread out over two days (which I’d highly recommend).

I decided to pair a jalapeno-mango salsa with this recipe which provided a nice spritz of sweet flavors among the spicy and salty flavors of the pork. However, in hindsight, I wish I would have left the pork in the oven for longer to accumulate even more flavor (this is saying a lot consider that I’m not the most patient cook!), but, all in all, I really can’t complain because this is a great recipe and one that will definitely be repeated this Summer!

Cheers!

Chile-braised Pork Tacos

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Fontina, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken
Thank goodness for tomatoes. Whether in raw, in a sauce or in sun dried form, tomatoes just always seem to put me in a great mood. Now, out of those three options, the last one is the best in my opinion. My favorite recipe to use sun dried tomatoes in is Pasta With Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce. I was very tempted to make this recipe again; however, I decided to skip on the calorie-laden sauce of that recipe and go with something a bit more healthy.

I choose to make Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Fontina, Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomatoes. At first glance, this recipe didn’t seem that much healthier than my pasta option due to the copious amounts of cheese needed; therefore, I decided to use significantly less cheese and substituted out artichokes and put in some spinach instead.

Step 1: Chop Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes,
Fontina, Spinach and Basil

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Step 2: Mix Ingredients Together in a Bowl

photo (5)

Step 3: Pound Chicken Breast to Make Thin;
Place Filling on Top; Roll and Bake

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Step 4: Pair with Vegetables or Starches; Eat!

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken
To be perfectly honest, I was a bit skeptical of this recipe. I was worried that I was going to need a sauce to go with it or that the chicken might end up a bit dry. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor from the sun dried tomatoes, basil and garlic really came through nicely for a mix of bold flavors. I’ll definitely be adding this into the usual rotation from time to time!

Cheers!

Fontina, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

Chicken and Waffles

Authentic Southern cooking is one of my favorite types of food. Sometimes in another life, I totally believe that I was meant to live in the South just for the sake of cornbread, Carolina barbecue, Sweet Tea and peach cobbler.

Now although I can’t eat this food 24/7, I do enjoy indulging in traditional Southern food from time to time. Besides barbecue, one of other my favorite Southern meals that comes to mind is Chicken and Waffles. I actually already featured this recipe on this blog about a year ago; however, the pictures from that post definitely didn’t do it justice. Since I made it again this past weekend, I figured I’d put up some new pictures to share!

Although I didn’t make blackberry butter (or some other fruity combination with butter) this time, this recipe still tasted delicious. Usually I’m all about the sauces. In my opinion, these can “make it or break it” as it relates to recipes. But, in this case, it was all about the seasonings. We added a bit more than the recipe called for and I’m incredibly happy with the end result of tender and especially flavorful chicken by itself.

Besides the food, I appreciate the traditional Southern mantra and phrase of “Food is Love”. No matter what type of food is your favorite, I think all of you reading can agree with that one!

Cheers!


Peach, Nectarine & Blackberry Croustade, Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken and More…!

Normally, I can be very precise about my recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely experiment. But, usually (and especially with the first time trying a recipe), I measure everything specially out to a “T” and then some.

However, yesterday, I decided to go rogue (for me, at least) which consisted of not measuring exact amounts (gasp!) as well as taking just one look at a recipe and trying to replicate it (Although in hindsight, I should have done just a wee bit of research).

First, I knew I wanted to make a dessert involving fruits. Initially, my quest for a fruit filled dessert resulted in only one fruit in mind; however, all of the fruit at the grocery store started to beckon at me to be taken. So, one fruit quickly turned into two different fruits… and, at that point, I figured I’d just add one more! So, the end result? A jubilee of peaches, nectarines and blackberries in the form of a fruit-filled Croustade.

Peach, Nectarine and Blackberry Croustade

1. Make the dough from this Croustade recipe.

2. Cut fruit and combine with sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg in a bowl.

3. Flatten dough into a circle. Arrange fruit onto the top. Fold crust over so that it touches the edges of the fruit.

4. Brush edges with whipping cream and sprinkle sugar on top.

5. Bake at 400 degrees until crust browns and filling starts to bubble (eyeball between half hour to one hour).

6. Serve with ice cream!

Secondly, I saw a recipe for Chicken Thighs Wrapped in Prosciutto and Rosemary from the blog Stacey’s Snacks Online on Pinterest (by the way, side note – this is an amazing blog with plenty of very tasty recipes!). I took one look and knew instantly that I wanted to make it. But, my exuberance exceeded my judgement and I didn’t even check how to make it (As mentioned previously, I’m not sure that I’d quite recommend this tactic; however, I’m lucky that this recipe turned out well despite the odds!).

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken With Rosemary

1. Marinate chicken breasts in sauteed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

2. Place sprigs of rosemary onto the top of each chicken breast. Wrap in prosciutto over the rosemary.

3. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. During the last three minutes of baking, drizzle balsalmic vinegar onto the chicken. Check to make sure that chicken is done.

4. Eat!

The original recipe from Sarah’s Snacks Online calls for chicken thighs and to grill the chicken. Although this chicken tasted delicious baked and the rosemary added a nice touch, I’d like to try Sarah’s method or perhaps try sauteing for a minute or two on each side in a pan before baking to make sure the prosciutto morphs into its most delicious crispified (yes, this is a made-up word) state.

Both these recipes are fairly simple and broad enough that they can be modified to add many ingredients (croustade) or be prepared in varying ways (baked versus grilled chicken).

In conclusion, I’m glad that I tried something new, picked versatile recipes and fulfilled my stomach (and others) at the same time!


And… one last thing!

I am very appreciative that Posh Little Designs and Leslie the Foodie nominated my blog for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you to both – I am honored. I follow both of these blogs and love seeing the content that they produce! If you haven’t checked out their blogs already, I highly recommend that you do 🙂

Cheers!

Chicken and Prosciutto Salad With Arugula and Manchego


I have a huge crush… on arugula. All of a sudden, I’ve developed a penchant for the peppery-garlic-earthy flavor of this salad green whether it’s on pizza, on it’s own or combined into a sauce. In my opinion, it makes eating a healthy salad just that much easier because I love the flavor (as opposed to eating a bland iceberg lettuce that needs calorie-laden dressings to make it bearable). As a result, I’ve been on the hunt for more and more recipes that utilize arugula to add to the usual rotation for dinner.

I was instantly drawn to this recipe after seeing it in one of the latest issues of Cooking Light. This recipe calls for Asiago cheese; however, I substituted Manchego instead. What I particularly liked about this salad is the fact that it uses arugula (obviously) and combines that with a mix of salty, sweet and tangy/citrus flavors through the prosciutto, tomatoes and lemon flavored dressing. Super simple, healthy, filling and a balanced meal!

Cheers and have a great Sunday evening!

Steak and Avocado Fajitas

I don’t have steak all that often. As a result, I find myself encountering an intense craving for it every now and then. To my delight, I stumbled upon this recipe for Beef and Avocado Fajitas this past weekend (But for this post, I’d rather refer to it as steak!). I wouldn’t have thought to highlight avocado and steak as the two main ingredients for fajitas; however, I was intrigued and figured I needed to take advantage of an opportunity to eat flank steak!

Step 1: Chop Onions, Carmelize Onions
and Slice Avocados
Step 2: Mix Spices Together and Rub
Them Onto Flank Steak

Step 3: Cook Flank Steak in Pan,
Let Cool and Then Slice
Step 4: Assemble Ingredients Together
Into Warmed Tortilla and Eat!

At first glance, you would think this recipe would need more heat, perhaps in the form of salsas or peppers. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of heat from the spices. Aside from spicy flavors, the avocado and carmelized onions provided a nice splash of cooler flavors. All in all, I really liked this recipe and will look forward to making it again in the summertime!

Cheers!

Meatloaf

So, I’m  not going to lie, the whole thought of meatloaf is not that appetizing to me. I’m not sure why not – the ingredients that comprise it are pretty much the same ingredients for meatballs. So, in essence, meatloaf is just like an expanded version (a much expanded version) of meatballs. But, I think perhaps it is the thought of the meat looking like a “loaf” that makes me feel oddly about it.

Regardless, my boyfriend suggested making meatloaf the other night. I was a bit skeptical; however, we at least chose a recipe from a very, very legitimate source (Bobby Flay’s cookbook titled Bobby Flay’s Throwdown!). I must say, I was pretty pleased with the results. Although I didn’t include the recipe from his cookbook, I would highly encourage you to buy this book. It has great recipes and I’ve enjoyed choosing a recipe from there every now and then!

Cheers!