Monthly Archives: August 2013

pork enchilada tamale pie

corn tamale

Remember all that leftover pork in your fridge from those delicious carnitas?? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see my last post…) It would be sinful to let that stuff go to waste. So…thanks to another incredible recipe from pinchofyum.com, here is my latest food creation: pork enchilada tamale pie.

ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow corn meal
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 2-3 cups leftover pork
  • 1 cup red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese (I used Pepperjack)
directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
  2. Stir in the oil until the mixture makes soft crumbs. Whisk in the milk and egg. Add the cream corn and green chiles and stir until just combined.
  3. Bake in a 9-inch square pan for about 25 minutes. Remember it won’t be completely dry like corn-bread because it’s a tamale-like base. It’ll be a little gooey…mmm.
  4. Poke holes in the crust and pour the enchilada sauce on top. Drain excess moisture out of the pork and arrange on top of the crust. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. When everything is heated through, remove foil and let bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Top with chopped cilantro, and pico de gallo. (see last post for recipe)

IMG_4733 corn tamale cropped corn tamale cropped2

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crockpot pork carnitas with homemade pico de gallo

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In all my years of cooking experience (which add up to about 3…) I have never produced a more delicious hunk of meat. This pork is TO DIE FOR. But don’t die or you won’t be able to enjoy its succulent, sweet flavor.

Besides being mouth-wateringly delicious, this recipe has another thing going for it. It’s cooked in a crock-pot which, in my opinion, is the best invention after the Shop-Vac. 

I just can’t seem to describe my feelings for the crock-pot without getting emotional. That’s just how much I loooove it.

I can’t take all the credit for this recipe however. It comes from pinchofyum.com, which I highly recommend subscribing to. I just made a few adjustments and voila! Incredible pork carnitas.

ingredients for pork: (Will serve about 4 people. If you’re just cooking for 2, save the leftovers for another recipe which will be coming later this week!) 

  • 2-4 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • juice of a lime
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • ½ cup salsa
    *I used a lime-flavored salsa and it was really good

directions for pork:

  1. Chop your garlic and rub all over the pork shoulder. Place the meat in the crock-pot.
  2. Mix together the salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano and cinnamon. Rub the seasonings onto the pork. (Don’t be shy, really RUB it in!)
  3. Add the lime juice, orange juice, chicken broth and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Shred the meat in the crock-pot.
  5. Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, cheese (I used pepper-jack) and fresh pico de gallo.

avacado

pork carnita

ingredients for pico de gallo

  • 2 large red tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion
  • LOTS of cilantro
  • juice from a lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cut into tiny pieces
  • salt to taste

directions for pico de gallo

  1. Cut tomatoes into small chunks
  2. Dice the onion and jalapeno
  3. Wash and chop cilantro into smaller pieces
  4. Add everything in a bowl, mix together and refrigerate for at least an hour

picco de gallo

P.S. Make sure to keep all the leftovers! They’ll be used for another scrumptious recipe, which will be coming soon!

gourmet quesadillas with cilantro-lime dressing

So, I’m all for leftovers. But not the typical, scoop it out of the Tupperware, ignore the unappetizing square-shape it’s still in, smack it in the microwave and enjoy the soggy results. Don’t get me wrong, those days come often enough with such a busy schedule. However, I’m talking about using all those left-over ingredients from dinner the night before.

Yesterday, I made quinoa salad in pita bread with a lime-cilantro dressing. Tonight, I decided to use the same ingredients, add a few more, and create something new and delicious. IMG_4089

ingredients for gourmet quesadillas:

  • whole-wheat pita bread (or tortilla if you prefer, I just had pitas from last night’s dinner)
  • feta cheese
  • black beans
  • corn
  • avocado
  • red pepper, sliced into thin strips, a.k.a. julienned (if you speak kitchen…)
  • salt and pepper
  • oilve oil
  • cilantro-lime dressing (click for recipe)

directions:

  1. In a saucepan, saute red peppers in a bit of oil.
    *Cover with a lid and saute on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and be careful because they will burn easily!
  2. When peppers are soft, transfer to a plate. Put beans and corn in that same saucepan and warm on low heat, careful not to burn or overheat.
    *when the beans start to crack open, they’ve been cooking for too long.
  3. While beans and corn are warming, place pita (cut in half)/tortilla) on another saucepan and sprinkle feta cheese on top. Allow to melt slightly.
  4. Put bean/corn mixture on top of the feta-melted tortilla, and add the red peppers, avocado and salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle cilantro-lime dressing on top.
  6. Place the other tortilla on top, and voila!

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fresh quinoa salad with cilantro-lime dressing

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I. Love. Summer. Food. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this.

ingredients for quinoa salad:  (this will serve about 2 people)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 corn on the cob, cooked or grilled
  • handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1 small avocado, chopped in bite-sized pieces
  • feta cheese
  • cilantro for garnish
  • *you may also add chicken if you’d like

directions for the salad:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with lime-cilantro dressing and BAM. Easy and delicious summer meal.

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ingredients for cilantro-lime dressing:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, de-stemmed and chopped up
  • 1/2 cup plain or honey Greek yogurt ( I used honey flavored by Greek Goddess…I highly recommend it)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. honey (if you used honey flavored yogurt, you can leave this out.)

directions for cilantro-lime dressing:

  1. Blend the cilantro in a food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

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This salad is even better if you nestle it inside a warm whole-wheat pita. I also sprinkled a few drops of balsamic vinegar on top because well, I have a strange obsession with balsamic vinegar. Either way, this was a delicious way to spend another summer night.

 

dear husband of two months…

wedd

Dear husband of two months,

I used to think once we got married, I would have so much to adjust to. All of a sudden, I’d have to take care of another person besides myself. And it wasn’t just any person. It was a living, breathing, eating, farting man

After two months of being married, I’m starting to realize the truth.

Yes, it’s been a big adjustment for me. Cleaning up for not only myself, but for another incredibly messy person (sorry babe but it’s the truth,) dealing with the “what to make for lunch…what to make for dinner…” question every single day, pretending like I know how the heck to do laundry (is it cold or warm for whites???) and keeping track of what and where you put everything. (I can’t even tell you how many times a day I hear, “hey babe, did you see where I put…fill in the blank…”) I didn’t realize I had such an accurate “thing locator” inside my mind until I married you.

But, I’m slowly realizing marriage is probably an even bigger adjustment for you…I mean, you have to wake up to this face every morning.

strange

And suddenly, you’re living with a walking, breathing clock. “Hey you better get up, you’ll be late.” “Babe, I told you I’d have dinner at 6, where are you?” “When was the last time you washed those pants?” “How long is your shower going to take, I need to get ready.” etc, etc.

All of a sudden you have to deal with someone doing your laundry all the time when according to you, “you don’t have to wash pants. Ever.”

And then there’s the eating thing.

I’ll admit, sometimes I eat like a rabbit. My staple foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, fruit and fruit. You poor thing, you’re probably wondering why the candy jar in our kitchen is full of almonds…

Bottom line is, marriage takes work from both of us. It takes patience and compromise. It takes a lot of adjusting and fidgeting and ironing out the nit-picky little details of our individual lives so we have room to accommodate each other and start a new life together.

Now, I know I need a lot of work. I know I hog the bed and tuck in the sheets. I know I eat all the honey bunches out of the cereal box. I know my un-explainable energy at 7 a.m. annoys you. So thanks for putting up with me.

Thanks for seeing me on my worst  days and telling me I’m beautiful.

Thanks for opening my door and working so hard to take care of me.

Thanks for dealing with my snappy comments when I’m in a bad mood.

Thanks for laughing with me and for holding me when I cry…(on those very rare occasions…)

Thanks for being a goof with me.

Thanks for going on adventures with me.

Thanks for loving me like no one ever has.

piggyback

Even though the road may sometimes be bumpy, I want you to know I’ll be here. I won’t give up.

Thanks for being my hubby. I love yer guts.

Love, your wife.

feta and tomato orzo pasta with pat’s favorite chicken

After preparing dinner for my husband in our newly-unpacked 1-bedroom apartment, I had a realization. Up until last night, I have truly taken for granted the expansive counter space in my parents kitchen. And that great little invention called the dishwasher. Oh, and don’t forget a sink that is bigger than the pan I am trying to wash…

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Cooking in our “new” kitchen is definitely a challenge. But who says I’m not up for a challenge?

Last night’s menu was feta and tomato orzo pasta with “Pat’s favorite chicken” and fresh white-nectarines, a.k.a the best fruit to ever touch my lucky taste-buds.

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ingredients for the orzo:

for the dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

for the pasta:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo
  • 2 cups grape or teardrop tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 7-oz package feta cheese, broken in small cubes
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup pine-nuts *although I omitted these because they are the one food I can’t stand.

directions: 

  1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the orzo, cooking until tender. Drain and allow to cool. (This may be done in advance, as it may take awhile for the pasta to cool.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and honey, then slowly add the olive oil while mixing. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Chop the basil and green onions into small pieces. (Or if you don’t have fresh basil because you are on a newly-wed-college-student budget like me, you can use dried basil…) Cut the tomatoes in bite-size pieces.
  4. Toss the pasta in the dressing and add the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss lightly.

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ingredients for “Pat’s favorite chicken:”

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or freshly-pressed garlic if you have it on hand…)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.
  4. While the oil is heating, coat the chicken breasts with the well-mixed seasonings.
  5. Place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until they start to brown. *if you like your chicken to have a “crunchy” outside, cook a little longer, however not too long or it will become tough.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a small pan, lined with tin-foil.
  7. Cook the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the insides appear white.

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Summer food is so delicious, I didn’t even mind the heaping mountain of dishes I had to conquer after dinner…buon appetito!