Recipe: White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

I love white cheddar mashed potatoes! I suggest using smoked white cheddar with whole peppercorns if you can find it.

Click image below to print recipe.

White-Cheddar-Mashed-Potatoes

Pecan Tacos with Poblano Sour Cream

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YUM!

I mean…uh…hi. I need to share something with you. It’s kind of a recipe and kind of just a meal idea. Take it and do with it what you will.

It all started at a cute little downtown restaurant when I had a delicious salad that included spicy pecans. The entire salad was amazing, but I was left craving those pecans for weeks and weeks. I contacted the owner of said restaurant and she told me the secret was just taco seasoning! Of course, I made my own batch of these spicy pecans just to have around as snacks.

I found, though, that every time I ate them I craved cheese, sour cream, tortillas….the works! This, my friends, is how my idea for Pecan Tacos with Poblano Sour Cream came to be. I’m not vegetarian, but I tend to go through periods where I just really don’t want to eat meat. This meal provides the perfect vegetarian option for someone like me in a house full of carnivores! My love for all things dairy will forever keep me from being vegan, but you could easily take these tacos that direction if you wanted to.

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(Thanks to my awesome friend and neighbor Michelle for helping me get them photo-ready and for taste testing for me!)

What you see here is:

  • Homemade tortillas (directions not included)
  • Pecans roasted in taco seasoning (directions to follow)
  • Homemade guacamole (directions not included, because…it’s guac)
  • Homemade poblano sour cream (recipe included)
  • Shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, lime (duh)

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First, let’s talk about the pecans. Good quality pecans will make all the difference. Don’t skimp. Go for the good stuff. You can use halves, pieces, or minced nuts. Your call.

  • In a medium skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter.
  • Add 2 cups of pecans (makes enough for about 4-6 tacos).
  • Toss pecans in the melted butter until completely coated.
  • Add 1/3 cup of your favorite taco seasoning.
  • Continue to heat and stir pecans until coated in deliciousness.
  • Remove from heat and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Doesn’t hurt to spray a tiny bit of oil on there.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees, flipping, stirring, turning them after about 8-10 minutes.

So that’s simple enough. Now for the poblano sour cream! This stuff? I’m kind of proud of having the idea and thrilled with how it turned out. Aside from being kickass on tacos, it makes a fantastic chip dip.

First, you’ll roast your peppers.

  • Put 3-5 poblano peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Broil on high for 8 minutes or so. Turn them and broil the other side for another 8-10. The skin will turn black, bubbly, crispy.
  • Immediately put them in a sealed plastic bag or a tightly covered bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. This steams them and makes it easy to remove the skins.
  • When cool enough to handle safely, remove and discard the blackened skins.
  • Remove seeds.

Throw the peppers and about a tablespoon of fresh cilantro (if desired) in a food processor until puréed. Add the purée to 1 cup of sour cream and mix thoroughly. Throw some on your taco, and put a big pile on your plate, because you are going to want more!

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Build your taco as desired and enjoy!

Click here to print the pecan and sour cream recipe!

Japanese Fried Quinoa

Hi there! Long time, no post. Just wanted to hop on here long enough to share a yummy recipe that my family loves.  It’s basically Japanese fried rice–minus the rice.  In our efforts to eat a little healthier these days, I’ve been using quinoa in anything I can and this recipe is no exception.  It’s nothing groundbreaking, but definitely an easy, yummy meal that suits just about anyone.

We (especially my son and I) love the fried rice at our local Hibachi grill.  This comes so close to matching their rice that my son even swears it’s better. I’m not sure about that, but it is delicious if I do say so myself.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups frozen peas & carrots (optional)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 sliced green onions

1/4 cup soy sauce (we like lots, so you may want to reduce this to suit your taste)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 cloves minced garlic

fresh ground black pepper

1 tbsp sesame seeds

 

Cook quinoa according to package directions, but substitute the chicken broth for water.  If you’re going to be using peas and carrots, set them out at room temperature to thaw a bit.  The quinoa takes 15-20 minutes to be ready, so while that’s cooking, scramble your eggs in a medium skillet. Set them aside in a small bowl, keeping your skillet warm for the quinoa later. Mince your garlic and set aside.

Now, once your quinoa is just about ready, put your butter, green onions, and garlic in the pan to melt. Toss in your cooked quinoa (and veggies if you want them), soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper.  Toss well to make sure quinoa is thoroughly coated and cook until veggies are tender (if you added them).  Next, put in your scrambled eggs and sesame seeds. Cook a minute or two more.

Don’t forget to taste it throughout the cooking process. I like to add extra butter toward the end if it seems dry, and extra soy sauce, garlic and green onions never hurt my feelings either. Just work with it until you’re happy…and enjoy!

 

Spinachiladas

I present to you my latest creation: Spinachiladas. We just had these for the second time and again everyone pretty much licked their plates clean.  I’ve been asked to put these into heavy rotation in our family’s menu, so you know they’ve got to be pretty yummy in the tummy, right?

 

 

Spinachiladas

12  corn tortillas

cooking oil

2  cloves garlic, minced

1/4  c  green onions, sliced

black pepper to taste

1/2  c  water

6  oz bag of baby spinach

1/2  can cream of chicken soup

3/4  c  black beans, fully cooked

1  small roma tomato, diced

1 1/2  c  Mexican blend shredded cheese

White queso for topping

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat medium skillet over medium heat.  Add water, garlic, black pepper and half of your green onions to the skillet.  After cooking for 1 minute, add in your entire bag of spinach.  Once spinach is thoroughly wilted, remove from heat and drain juices.  Place in medium mixing bowl.

To your spinach, you’ll add your cream of chicken soup.  Now, before we go any further, let’s discuss this serious matter.  I used that because I had it on hand.  If you want to make these spinachiladas completely vegetarian, you could substitute maybe….sour cream?  Plain yogurt?  Cream of onion soup?  I’m open to suggestions and would like to hear what you guys do with that.

Anyway….now you’ve added your creamy substance.  Toss in your black beans, tomatoes, remaining onions and shredded cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

 

Put a small skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil.  One by one, put each tortilla in the oil and cook just long enough to heat and soften them–approximately 10 seconds on each side.

When the tortillas are cool enough to handle, plop a spoonful of your spinach mixture into the center of one.  Spread left and right so that it looks something like this:

 

 

Fold up each side and place into a greased casserole dish with your folded side down.

 

 

Now you’ll pour your white queso on top.  While I’d like to say that it was the veggies in my fridge that inspired me to put this recipe together, it was really this:

 

 

Yep.  My husband brought it home from the grocery store.  See, we have this terrible addiction to Rico’s nacho cheese.  You know Rico’s?  You do even if you don’t think you do.  It’s the cheese found on concession stand nachos all over the good ol’ U.S. of A.  Yeah.  Sometimes late at night, we treat ourselves to a big ol’ helping of “football game nachos”.  Why late at night?  Well, because we won’t share.  Yeah, you heard me.  This is a Mommy & Daddy snack only.  No kids allowed.  They have cooties.

Ok, no cooties.  And sometimes I’ll even make the kids some.  So I lied to you just a little.  But they don’t get the late-night ones, so there.

Anyway, if you can’t find this can of goodness in your grocery store, grab your favorite queso and just go crazy.  You can’t go wrong with cheese.  Ooey, gooey cheeeeeeeese.

 

 

I sprinkled some more shredded cheese on for color.

So, bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

 

 

Give ‘em a shot and report back to me.  I’d love to hear what you think!

Crescent Veggie Stromboli

I wish I had a better name that conveyed the deliciousness that is stuffed into this thing, but I’m feeling uninspired in the name department this evening.  I’m mourning what seems to be the death of my beloved camera.  It errored out on me on the last shot of this post and all the quick fixes I’m finding online are not working.  RIP, my dear friend.  You treated me well over the past  2 years and 11 months.

Back to the matter at hand, though.  This recipe is my favorite of 2011 up to this point.  I promised myself that I’d have only one slice, but that quickly doubled and almost tripled.  Wowza.

 

 

Ingredients:

3  tbsp  olive oil

3  cloves  minced garlic

1  sprig fresh basil (Substitute dried if needed.  I just had some handy from my wimpy garden.)

1/2  tsp  dried oregano

1/4  tsp  thyme

1 1/2  c  sliced fresh mushrooms

1  6 oz bag of baby spinach

1 small tomato diced

1/2  c  sliced black olives

Small jar of spaghetti/pizza/marinara sauce of your choice

1/2  grated mozzarella cheese

1/4  c melted butter

freshly grated parmesan cheese

1  can crescent roll dough

 

Preheat to 375.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Heat for 45-60 seconds and add mushrooms.  Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the entire bag of spinach.  Toss it around until it’s nicely coated in oil and seasonings.  Leave that to wilt, checking occasionally while you prepare your dough.

When you remove the dough from the can, do not separate into triangles.  You want to patch the rectangles together Frankenstein-style.  Pinch all seams and tears (I can’t get the dough out of the can without tearing.  Ever.) together until it looks like this:

 

 

Spread a few spoonfuls of your sauce down the center and add some mozzarella (leave some cheese for later) to look like this:

 

 

By now, your mushrooms should be tender and your spinach wilted.  Remove from heat and spoon onto your saucey/cheesey strip.  On top of that, add your tomatoes and olives.

 

 

Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top of that and close it up.  Bring up the sides, pinch them together and then fold up your ends.  I cut a few pretty little slits in mine.

 

 

I brushed mine with melted butter and sprinkled on a little fresh parmesan.

 

 

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until nice and golden.

 

 

Mmmmm.  Slice diagonally and serve.  You can use your remaining sauce for dipping, but it’s just wonderful without it.

 

 

Try it out and let me know what you think!