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!

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!

 

Spinach Cream Sauce

Tonight’s dinner turned out so delicious, I just need to share. I’ve been eating pretty light and healthy lately, so I felt the need to make something rich, comforting and starchalicious.

You’re welcome for the new word.

Side note:  I thought to grab my camera at the last minute and wasn’t prepared, so please forgive missing & poor quality photos.  Thanks.

Moving on….

Spinach Cream Sauce

What you’ll need:

Pasta (this was superb with gnocchi, but use whatever floats your boat)

Olive oil

8 cloves garlic

Sprig of fresh basil

9 oz bag of spinach

3-4 large shitake mushrooms

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup fresh parmesan, grated

1 tsp corn starch

Mince your garlic.  Set aside approximately 2 cloves-worth for later in the recipe.  Mince the basil and dice your mushrooms.

My pretty basil from my backyard:

And my diced mushrooms.  Small enough to enjoy, big enough for my husband to pick out of his plate.

Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-to-large skillet.  I don’t measure, I just pour, so I’m estimating here.  When the oil gets hot, add your garlic ( 6 cloves worth) and your basil.  Allow to cook for about 30-60 seconds and then toss in your mushrooms and bag of spinach.  Toss with spatula to make sure everything is nice and coated in oil.  Add a little splash if you didn’t start with enough.

Cook until mushrooms are tender and spinach is thoroughly wilted. Remove from heat and drain excess moisture.  I chopped mine up pretty good to make sure nobody gets any stringy spinach.  Any mom knows that one stringy bite is all it takes to turn a kid off of a food in a heartbeat!

Set that aside.

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add your cream, remaining 2 cloves of garlic and 3/4 cup of your parmesan.  Whisk continuously to prevent sticking and burning.  When cheese is melted, vigorously whisk in a teaspoon of corn starch, just a sprinkle at a time.  Continue heating & whisking until the sauce is thickened.  Dump in your spinach mixture and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes or until desired thickness is reached.

Serve over your favorite pasta and sprinkle your leftover parmesan on top.  Absolutely heavenly.

Stuffed Mushrooms

“This is the best thing anyone could ever eat!!” — Elliott, 4 yrs

So, because I’m transitioning over to the world of vegetarianism, I’m experimenting with quick, easy recipes that I can make for myself while also preparing meals for the rest of the family.  This afternoon’s experiment led to an instant favorite.  They were so good, in fact, that the kiddos ate them out from under me.  Great success!

 

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

10-12  shitake mushrooms

6-8  cloves garlic

6  green onions

1  stick butter (use a few tbsp of olive oil instead for healthier alternative)

1  bag baby spinach

3/4  c  bread crumbs

1  c  shredded mozzarella ( or freshly grated Parmesan or  both)

dried parsley leaves for pretties

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spray the bottom of a casserole dish.

Thoroughly wash your mushrooms.  If you’d prefer, you can use button mushrooms or even portabellos.  When I sent my husband to the store with a list that said “mushrooms around 2 inches around”, he brought back shitake and they were perfect.

 

 

Cut the stems off and then cut the tough tips off of the stems.  Mince up the stems and put them aside.  (If you don’t care for the stems, you can buy a few extra mushrooms and mince up the caps instead.  I did a little of both.

 

 

Then peel and chop your garlic.  Mine was starting to sprout and is a bit green, but even more fragrant and delicious than ever.

 

 

Throw it aside with your minced mushroom.

In a medium-to-large skillet over medium heat, put in your stick of butter (or olive oil) and let it start to melt.  Dump in your bag of spinach.

 

 

Toss it around until the leaves are coated and leave them to wilt while you chop your green onions.

 

 

By now, your spinach is starting to wilt nicely.  Toss in your goodies: minced mushrooms, garlic and onions.  Mix well and continue to cook until the spinach is nicely wilted.  Use the side of your spoon to cut up any long, stringy pieces of spinach once it’s tender enough.

 

 

Remove from heat and mix in bread crumbs.

 

 

Place mushroom caps in baking dish and then stuff them full of your mixture.  Of course, with the flatter nature of shitake mushrooms, they aren’t actually stuffed so much as piled.  Either way, heap in/on the goodness.

 

 

Sprinkle a little cheese onto each one.  I added a tiny sprinkle of dried parley flakes for the heck of it.

 

 

Bake at 350 for 12-15 min and enjoy!

 

 

 

I’m a Baaaad MoFo!

Hello! After months of being an absentee blogger, I’m back.  I want to thank all of you who sent emails to check on me and to remind me that I’m loved.  You all are so kind! Love you to pieces.

So, let’s get to business.  For my first post-hiatus trick, I give you……Bad MoFos*!

Bad MoFos are kind of a hybrid recipe I came up with.  I started with my favorite cookie recipe and tried to turn it into a cross between a cookie and a granola bar.  See, during my absence, Shayne and I have been dieting, working out and just generally trying to live a bit of a healthier lifestyle.  I still need my sweet splurges, but I’m trying to develop some with a healthy twist to take away some of the guilt factor.  Recently, I had a flight coming up and as I was preparing for it the night before, I was dreading all the unhealthy airport food choices and I experimented.  I came up with these lovely little bars but was very uninspired when it came to naming them.

I packed them up–some for my carry-on and some in the checked bag to have at the hotel and share with friends–and headed out.  Turns out I made a fast friend on the flight from Dallas to Vegas.  We started discussing food (imagine that, right??) and while she said she wasn’t big on sweets, I practically forced her to “try just one bite and if you don’t like it, I’ll eat the rest”.  Well, I never got it back.  She loved them because they aren’t super sweet and would serve as a great quick breakfast, too!

Then, feeling confident after seeing someone else enjoy them, I gave Shayne one (he’d been in NYC and Vegas all week, so he was in need of some of my food. ;) ).  Instantly, he fell in love with the bars and declared them “Bad MoFos”.  Clever.

I continued to share the bars with different friends during WordCamp Las Vegas and it was unanimous:  the name had to be Bad MoFos.

What’s extra cool about this recipe is the huge amount of flexibility you have with it.  Add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Reduce shortening, add peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Add walnuts or pecans or raisins or….anything.  YUM.

So there you have it.  And here you have the Bad MoFo recipe:

Bad MoFos

1  c  shortening

3/4  c  brown sugar

1/4  c  raw sugar

1 1/2  tsp  vanilla

1 1/2  c  whole wheat flour (update: I now prefer 1 c ww flour and 1/2 flax seed meal)

1/4  tsp  salt

1  tsp  baking soda

1/4  c  boiling water

1 3/4  c  quick oats

1/4  c  flax seeds

1/2  c  sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350.

Put water on to boil.

Mix shortening, brown sugar, raw sugar and vanilla well.

Add in flour and salt.  Mix.

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and mix into dough.

Mix in oats, flax seeds and sunflower seeds.

Spread into a greased 13 x 9″ pan.  The dough is thick and not super easy to spread, so I use my rice paddle.

Bake at 350 for 25-28 min.

Cool 10 minutes and then cut into bars.  I like to wrap them individually after they’ve cool so that I can just toss one into my purse and go.

Feel free to use a more family-friendly moniker with your children. Bad Motorscooters?  Yummy Cookie-nola?  Ummm…..I don’t know.

These were inspired by Grab-a-Nola from Sandi’s Breads.  Since I don’t live anywhere near Pennsylvania and quickly realized that I was going to spend a fortune on shipping while I was eating 4 of them a day, I had to do something, right??  I will say that while my recipe does rock (I can say that, right?), there’s nothing like Sandi’s Grab-a-Nola.  Try hers.  You won’t regret it.  This is not a paid advertisement.  I just really, really like her Grab-a-Nola.  And her muffins.  And her bread.  And…yeah.  I like food.

Go bake already, would ya?  Why are you still reading this??

Go!