Sheet Pan Nachos

Last minute company for lunch? This is simple and tasted great using Costco’s Tostados Multigrano . The only real prep was in cooking the meat. Other than that this comes together quickly. I used ground beef, but turkey would work too.

Sheet Pan Nachos

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onion leaves (green tops only)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 (16 oz.) package ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 (11 oz.) multigrain tostados
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or dairy-free cheese)

Optional Toppings

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • ⅓ cup sliced green onion (green parts only)
  • ⅓ cup sliced black olives
  • 1–2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • SalsaI prefer Pace brands

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion leaves and optional jalapeno. Sauté until leaves are bright green, fragrant, and soft. Add ground beef and brown, breaking apart into crumbles, until cooked. Once cooked, add taco seasoning, stir mixture, and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

3. Place tostados onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Top with cooked beef mixture and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is slightly melted.

4. Remove pan from oven. Top with your favorite optional toppings and serve warm.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I actually made this recipe several weeks ago, and although it tasted great, I was not all that happy with how it turned-out. Freezing the second half of the recipe turned out to really enhance it! It did not hurt to add more sauce to it the second time around! Go ahead and add the beans if you like them. My spouse does not, so I omitted them from the recipe. Rather than make a separate sauce, I opted for PACE Salsa MEDIUM. It simplified the recipe for me.

The photo below shows the second casserole, previously frozen, thawed and rebaked with generous dollops of sour cream when served! It certainly does not look great BUT the taste was awesome!

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 4 ounce can of green chiles
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce OR 1 jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 8 large Mexican flour tortillas
  • 15-ounce refried beans OPTIONAL
  • 16 ounces shredded cheese sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack.
  • diced onion, cilantro, sour cream for toppings.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then add two tablespoons of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the small chunks of chicken to the skillet and stirring often, cook until browned and no longer pink inside. 

Add in the taco seasoning, spices, diced onion, 1/2 a cup of Pace salsa and green chiles. Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat. 

Next, line up your Easy Chicken Enchiladas ingredients and grab a large 9×13 baking pan. Add a small amount of sauce at the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly.

To assemble the Easy Chicken Enchiladas, lay out a tortilla and spread a line of beans (OPTIONAL) down the middle of the tortilla along with a line of the chicken and some of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortilla and place in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and then top with more sauce and the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo Mexican Salsa

Pico de Gallo

  • 6 tomatoes with seeds removed!
  • 1-3 jalapenos (warning: hot) OPTIONAL
  • 1 medium white onion
  • ½ a medium red onion
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 limes juice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt (More can always be added but not taken away!)
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Mix all ingredients and chill until ready to use.

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Who doesn’t like fajitas, whether beef or chicken or shrimp? This is a fairly simple recipe which does NOT use tortillas. Say goodbye to some carbs!

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 packet Fajita seasoning OR make your own SEE Photo below!
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream and salsa (Garnish)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high, drizzle with Olive oil.

3. Add cooked chicken, peppers and onions. Sauté on high heat to get a nice sear on the meat and veg (about 1-2 minutes) for added flavor! Remove from pan.

4. Mix the cream cheese and seasoning packet into skillet until melted, add chicken and veg back to pan, mix well to coat evenly.

5. Add to casserole dish, top with cheese.

6. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: YIELD: 8 SERVING SIZE: 1/8 of pan

Amount Per Serving: CALORIES: 209 TOTAL FAT: 13g TRANS FAT: 0g CARBOHYDRATES: 6g NET CARBOHYDRATES: 4g FIBER: 2g PROTEIN: 17g

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Normally, when I do sausage and peppers, it is in the oven. Since I had time this week I found a slow cooker/crockpot recipe on Pinterest for this method. Come to find out, I liked it much better without having to use the oven. The texture of the sausage was so very different and the peppers were great. Served this with a little side of steamed broccoli. Perfect dish!

FYI…the sausages I prefer are Obertal Argentinian Chorizos, but that is your choice.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Italian sausages (5) My preference is Obertal Argentinian Chorizo
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce I substituted a small jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

2. Sear the Italian sausages 2-3 mins on each side until starting to brown. You aren’t trying to cook them all the way through, you’re just browning the outside a bit which always increases the flavor while slow cooking.

3. Lay the seared Italian sausages in the bottom of a slow cooker/crockpot.

4. Add the uncooked sliced onions and peppers on top of the sausages.

5. Sprinkle the garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top.

6. Spread the marinara sauce or PACE salsa over the onion and pepper mixture.

7. Cook the crock pot sausage and peppers recipe on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the peppers are soft and the Italian sausage is cook through. FYI…mine was done at 4 hours on low!

8. The crockpot Italian sausage and peppers are seriously SO delicious as is, but to take it up a notch, take the sausage and peppers out of the slow cooker and spread into a broiler-safe pan and follow the cheese steps in the optional section.

Optional – Add Cheese

1. Sprinkle 1/2 – 3/4 cups of your favorite shredded white cheese, like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, an Italian blend, or Colby Jack would all be great choices.

2. Broil the Italian sausage and peppers mix for 1-2 minutes 4″ from the heat source until the cheese is melted.

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

In January 2017, I posted a similar recipe for this popular Mexican dish made with hominy – essentially a specially dried corn. While we thoroughly enjoyed that recipe, I did find it time consuming. If you are fortunate to have a grocery store which carries Mexican products you can find this on the shelves in a can, as I was fortunate to locate.

La Costena Pozole Rojo

Sometimes one just wants to put a hot meal on the table with a minimum of preparation! Since we had a Costco leftover rotisserie chicken available, this was quick! Shred the chicken. Heat the pozole in a large saucepan over medium heat with the chicken added in.

While it is heating, slice up an avocado, set out some sour cream, slice two or three radishes, chop up a bit of cilantro, some shreds of cabbage if you have some?

When the pozole is thoroughly heated, pour into large soup bowls and garnish with the sour cream, radishes, cilantro and avocado. You can add a few tortilla strips if you have them for some added crunch.

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

Ingredients

  • 1 large can La Costena pozole rojo
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or pork or turkey
  • 2 or three radishes sliced
  • Cilantro chopped
  • Sour cream
  • 1 avocado diced
  • Tortilla strips
  • Shredded cabbage (optional)

Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

These really do not have to be labelled as KETO, they are just plain great for everyone, especially kids. I served them with a dollop of sour cream. You could also add guacamole as a garnish. My zucchini were medium size, hence I ended up with 4 halves. If you are using larger zucchini, you could get along with ONE half and a salad alongside.

*In lieu of the cumin, chili powder and salt, I used my homemade taco seasoning.

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Keto Taco Zucchini Boats

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 Zucchini depending on how many people…
  • 1-pound Ground beef
  • ½ cup Bell Peppers mixed Red & Yellow, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini by trimming off the stem end. To do this I just gently round the end of the zucchini with a knife, removing the stem. Then cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon)or melon ball scoop, to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat.

Place the zucchini boats in a greased baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef.

Add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water to the ground beef. Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has been absorbed.

Once the beef mixture is ready fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Pour salsa over boats before serving. Optional sour cream and guacamole?

Nutrition

Serving: 1boat | Calories: 242 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 482mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5400IU | Vitamin C: 38.8mg | Calcium: 2180mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Brown Sugar Carnitas

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender. The process takes three to four hours, and the result is very tender and juicy meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), diced onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and refried beans (frijoles refritos).

Pork carnitas are traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich boston butt or picnic ham cuts of pork. The 6–16 lb (3–7 kg) sections are usually cut down to a workable (6–10 lb) size and seasoned heavily before slow braising or deep frying.

The traditional way to cook carnitas is in a copper pot (or any thick-bottomed pot), which disperses the heat evenly in a process similar to confit. Lard is used to cover the dish in proportion to the amount of meat being cooked. Once the lard has melted, pork and flavorings are added (usually salt, chili, cumin, oregano or Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed garlic cloves). Traditional carnitas are then made by a process of simmering the meat in the lard until tender over a very low heat. Once appropriate tenderness is achieved, the heat is turned up and the outside of the pork begins to crisp. At this stage, the collagen in the meat has broken down sufficiently to allow it to be pulled apart by hand or fork or chopped with a cleaver. (WIKIPEDIA)

Having read that, you are probably thinking TOO MUCH WORK! Indeed, my spouse made carnitas the traditional way, complete with the copper pan we bought in Quiroga when we visited that area of Mexico. It took hours and was incredible BUT….too time consuming and messy!

One of my favorite Mexican TV cooks is Pati Jinich, who has a program on PBS and on YouTube (Pati’s Mexican Table). The following recipe is her version and done on the stovetop in a Dutch oven. It was PERFECT and a lot less onerous.

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Brown Sugar Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or oil (I used oil)
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, fat on, cut into 3” chunks
  • 4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute.

Heat the lard in a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper. Once the lard has melted, add the meat, brown on all sides, stirring and flipping as it does, for about 10 to 12 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, pour 1 ½ cups of the milk and add the garlic, onion and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Pour over the meat and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, drop in the bay leaves, and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, flipping the chunks of meat a couple times in between.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup milk with the sugar. Pour over the carnitas, stir, and let them continue to cook, uncovered, for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place in a bowl. Shred with a couple forks, add a couple tablespoons of the seasoned fat remaining in the casserole and toss.

This is normally eaten in  tacos with toppings like sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo salsa, etc. As you can see we skipped the tacos/tortillas and simply plated it with some rice and green beans.

Mexican Chicken Mole (mollay)

If you have ever eaten in a Mexican restaurant, then this dish was certainly on the menu! This particular mole sauce is made with chicken as the base and is loaded with different kinds of chilies, nuts, seeds, spices, dried fruit, and chocolate. The taste is best described as somewhat spicy, and bittersweet with earthy undertones. In fact, there are at least seven different types of mole depending on what state you are visiting. Personally, I prefer Oaxacan moles. Starting from scratch can take hours to perfect these sauces. The simplest way to enjoy mole is using a packaged sauce under the Dona Maria brand.  A small box is enough to try the first time, by following the directions below. Once your sauce is ready, pour it over your  boiled chicken.

Chicken Mole

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken pieces (boiled)
  • 1 box Mole sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 to 8 pieces bay leaves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Place chicken and onion in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring it to a boil.

After the water comes to a boil and the release the scum, remove the scum with a ladle.

Add bay leaves and salt. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

To prepare the Mole sauce, open the can carefully as the mole will stain your clothes. Use a sharp knife to cut a ‘X’ into the mole so that you can get the mole out easily. Sometimes, the mole can be rather hard.

Cut up the mole into smaller pieces.

Add water or chicken stock (from pot where the chicken is cooking) to the mole in the ratio of 4 parts of liquid to 1 part of mole. If you intend to store the mole in the refrigerator for a few days, then you should just use water.

Use a potato masher to mash the mole so that it dissolves in the liquid.

Once the mole has dissolved completely, add the peanut butter and mix well. The addition of peanut butter is Rosa’s twist in the recipe. The peanut butter makes the sauce nuttier and thicker. Place the sauce on the stove and cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens. You have to constantly stir the sauce while cooking to prevent burning.

Serve the sauce over the chicken with Spanish rice.

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Salsa Verde (Mexican)

Where have I been? Since mid January we have had the fortune of having many guests with us here in Yucatan. Between touring, etc. there has been little time to add to the blog. As a matter of fact we just got back from 5 days in Mexico City… talk about great food!

For many years now I have been following Pati Jinich on PBS. She is originally from Mexico but now lives in Washington, D.C. Her TV program is called Pati’s Mexican Table. Her cookbook, available on Amazon, is incredible if you are interested in Mexican cooking.

Recently we were invited to a Canadian friend’s home her in Yucatan where we enjoyed some great chicken enchiladas. She was unable to find the real sauce but managed to prepare an adequate salsa verde to serve with her recipe. This led me to Pati’s cookbook to see how she prepared her sauce. FYI…this sauce is served on almost everything in Mexico in one version or another. Enchilada recipes are widely available, but take the time to serve it with Pati’s version  of the salsa –

Pati Jinich’s Salsa Verde

Ingredients

  • 1-pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed (little green tomatoes)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and top part of stems
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos change from bright green to pale green and are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and one of the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt and purée until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour the salsa into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

The sauce will keep a week in your refrigerator.