Classics, Comfort food, Meat, Mexican, Savory, Soups

Instapot Beef Chili

It is that time of the year when the weather is cold and raw and the only thing that will soothe the soul, is warm bowl of soup (or stew or stoup). Beef chili can take a while to make, but not if you have an Instapot. I was shocked at how quickly (about 40 minutes) the chili came together and it tasted like it had been cooked for hours!! This is the recipe, that really convinced me that the Instapot was a great investment (although, I got mine from my in-laws, so kudos to them!). Everyone, has a preference for chili, but this is how I make mine.

Ingredients:
2 medium onions, chopped

2 medium green pepper, chopped

2 medium jalapenos (or more if you like it spicy) sliced into rings

1.5 pounds of ground beef

1, 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup of chicken stock

1 can of kidney beans

4 tsp of minced garlic

2 Tbsp of cumin

3 tsp of chili powder

1 tsp of cayenne powder

2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of ground black pepper

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

2 tsp of olive oil

Method:

Turn the Instapot ON to the saute setting.

Add olive oil and ground meat to the pot. Saute till brown. Drain off any excess fat (this will depend on the fat content of the ground beef. I used 90/10 and there was very little fat to drain).

Add the onions, peppers, and jalapenos to the pot and saute till the veggies soften.

Add all the spices and continue to saute for an additional 7-10 minutes.

Turn off the sautee setting and add in the stock, beans, and the crushed tomato.

Cook the chili using the “Pressure Cook” setting on “High” for 30 mintues.

Your chili is ready

Serve with your choice of fixings. We like to keep it simple and eat the chili with corn chips.

Fish & Seafood, Lent, Mexican, Savory

Chili lime Shrimp

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I have said this before and I will say it again, I love shrimp tacos! The only problem is that my husband is a hard-shell-beef-taco purist and, in my opinion, tacos are a social food.  It is rather sad to have all the elaborate fixings just for one!  Nevertheless, in grad-school, when I would have to cook for one, I would make simple small-batch shrimp tacos, but it never really “feels” the same.  So, I rarely get to eat shrimp tacos, unless we go out for Mexican food.  Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and I love “occasion” cooking.  Obviously, we had tacos–my husband made beef ones and I made myself some shrimp tacos, only because we had cooked shrimp for “cocktail” sauce in the freezer.  I wanted to make a warm dressing to sautee the already cooked shrimp in, hence this recipe.  This is a super quick preparation and packs a punch for pre-cooked shrimp.  They were delicious, and my only complaint was that I wish I had soft-shells!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of chopped scallions, only the white and light green parts.  Save the green tops for garnish

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of chipotle chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp of salt

1 and 1/2 Tbsp of fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp of water

16-18 medium-sized pre-cooked shrimp.

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.

Add all the scallions and spices.  Bloom the spices with the scallions in the oil for 2-3 minutes.

 

Add the shrimp, lime juice, and water and cook for an additional 3 minutes till the liquid reduces to create a “dry” sauce.

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Remove from heat, you don’t want the already cooked shrimp to cook any longer, they will become really rubbery.  If you were starting with raw shrimp (which I would have preferred) cook till the shrimps are pink in color.

 

Garnish with chopped green scallions and get ready to stuff those tacos !!

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Dinner, Mexican, Poultry, Savory

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

00000img_00000_burst20200417172959541_coverThis is a fun, nutrient-dense dinner that I wish I had thought to make before.  It looks like you are eating pub-food, but in reality, it is a hearty dinner.  Like any “stuffed” recipe, this can be tailored to your taste or dietary restrictions.  I made it with chicken because you always need to come up with creative ways of cooking chicken breast; you can most certainly make it with ground beef or add no animal protein at all.   This particular version has Mexican flavors.  Personally, I think the spiciness to chilies pair really well with the sweetness of the potatoes.  It is also an easy recipe as it uses ingredients that probably already have in your pantry/fridge.  Here is what you will need:

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Ingredients:

2, medium-sized sweet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned

4, thin chicken breast slices or 1 big chicken breast.

1 bunch of scallions, about 8 stalks– chopped.  Use half for cooking and half for garnish

3 Tbsp of black beans from a 15oz can

3 Tbsp of sweet corn from a 15oz can

1 medium-sized jalapeno, dice half of the pepper for cooking and slice the remaining half for garnish

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1/4 cup of store-bought salsa (spice level of your choice, I used “hot”)

1/4 cup water

1Tbsp of olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Cheese and avocado slices for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F

Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes and cut them in half, lengthwise.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

During the last 9 minutes of baking, add in the chicken breasts.  The goal is to get them par-cooked so as to shred the meat.  You might have to adjust the cook-time depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breast.

Let the chicken and the sweet potatoes cool for about 5 minutes or until you are comfortable handling them.  Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes, leaving a little bit left on the skin.

Using a fork, shred the chicken.  You will end up with approximately, 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded chicken.

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Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add scallions, jalapenos, and all the spices.  Stir everything around in the pan to incorporate and then add the chicken and the sweet potato.  Continue stirring till everything is completely covered in the spice mixture.

Add the corn, beans, salsa, and water, and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

During these five minutes, stick the potato skins back in the 400F oven to crisp up slightly.  If you want the skin to be more crisp, consider increasing the baking temperature and roasting for a little bit longer.

Fill the potato skins with the chicken mixture, I still had some of the mixture leftover.

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After filling the skin, top with as much cheese as you like and serve piping hot with a garnish of scallions, sliced jalapenos, and sliced avocadoes.

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Mexican, Poultry, Savory, Soups, Stew

Chicken Chili

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Last Christmas my in-laws gave us an Instant Pot and it has been a game-changer! To be able to make a “slow-cooked” meal in 1 hour was mind-blowing and the best part is that it actually tastes like it has been cooking all day!!  So far, I have made chicken stew and beef chili with my Instant Pot and they both came out great.  I promise to share those recipes sometime in the future.  Today, I will show you how I made Chicken Chili.  I used to make this on a regular basis when I was in school but stopped making it since my husband prefers beef chili.  You can find the older version of the recipe here.  This time around, I use ground chicken (which is often on sale) instead of pulled chicken,  and store-bought Salsa Verde as a shortcut.  It is a hearty, yet light meal that is perfect for Spring.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

2 medium onions, chopped

2 poblano peppers, chopped

1 tbsp of minced garlic

2 tsp of chili powder

2 tsp of cumin

1/2 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of chicken stock

1/3 cup of jarred Salsa Verde

1 can of cannellini beans

Salt and Pepper to taste ( this depends on how much salt your stock and salsa have)

Ingredients:

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Set you Instant Pot to the saute setting and heat oil in the pot.  While the oil heats up, chop the onions and peppers.

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Once the oil is heated add chicken, peppers, onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder to the pot.  stir frequently to break up the chicken into small granules.

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Saute till peppers and onions are soft and fragrant, and the chicken is pale brown.  Make sure you scrap the bottom of the pot frequently to lift up the crispy brown bits–that is all flavor.

 

Finally, add the beans, broth, and salsa and stir for 1-2 minutes to incorporate all the ingredients.  I used chicken bullion so I had to wait for about 3-5 minutes for all the ingredients to marry together.  You can do this after you “cancel” the saute setting.  Once everything is mixed, taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

 

Set you Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” on “high” and cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, let the steam escape naturally or if you are impatient like I am, you can use a towel to spin the steam release valve–do this carefully !! Steam burns are the worst!

At this point, the chili is ready.  You can adjust for salt and pepper again.  I added a little more chili powder (because we like it spicy) and left the lid off on the “keep warm” setting.  It allows for some of the liquid to evaporate, making for a thicker chili.

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Serve piping hot with the usual fixings.  We had it with chips and pickled jalapenos!

Mexican, Savory

Shrimp Tacos

 

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I like soft seafood tacos.  I don’t get to eat them often, but recently I was really craving it. So here is a quick take on it.  Most of them are store bought ingredients.  I just spent time cooking the shrimp.  Then it is just a matter of assembling and eating !!!

For the Shrimp:

1lb of peeled and deveined shrimp.  Toss with zest and juice of 1 lime ,1tsp of salt, 2tsp of cumin, garlic powder and chilli powder.

Saute shrimp with some chopped scallions, till shrimp is pink.

To assemble tacos, I like the mini-flat bottom flour tortilla shells.  You can use whatever shell you like.  I put some store bought raw coleslaw, then a layer of salsa.  Next came the shrimp, 2-3 per taco.  I topped it with some guacamole and you are ready to eat !  You can add cheese, sour cream radishes or whatever you like.

Enjoy !

 

taco 2

Mexican, Quick Dinner, Savory

Leftover Makeover

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Everyone struggles with leftovers.  They either don’t reheat well or it is just another boring repetitive meal.  I had taco meat leftover, not enough for a meal and certainly not worth buying 12 more taco shells.  I also had leftover rice (we had it with stir-fry) and it was not making a curry or turning it into fried rice—too many ingredients to buy to rescue rice!  Instead, I bought two green peppers and used it to make Stuffed Peppers!!!  I usually make Stuffed Peppers from scratch, but this time, I just mixed the rice with the beef and filled in the de-seeded, halved pepper shells.  The trick is to roast the shells with olive oil, salt and pepper  before–this softens the peppers and makes it easier to eat.  Roasted peppers smell delicious too!!! Fill the soft, roasted shells with leftover rice and beef mixture,  top with cheese and breadcrumbs, broil, and dinner is ready !!!

 

Dinner, Mexican, Poultry, Savory

Chicken Tacos with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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This is the first time I cooked with tomatillos.  I was always intrigued by this green looking, tomato-like, husked vegetable.   This is a simple dinner, but takes a little bit of time and you certainly would prefer to make it on a cooler day when you can utilize the oven.

Ingredients:

3 small tomatillos, quatered

1 green frying pepper, sliced

1 fresno chili, de-seeded and sliced

1 small onion, quatered

2-3 cloves of garlic

5 chicken tenders

1Tbsp of taco seasoning (our a homemade blend of chili powder, cumin and oregano)

olive oil

salt and pepper

Hard or soft taco shells and all other taco fixings your family enjoys

Method:

Take the first five ingredients, spread then in a single layer on a foil-lined sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 mins at 375F.  You want the vegetables to get slightly charred, but not burnt.

Allow the vegetables to cool and then blend in a food processor to your desired consistency.  You now have your salsa.

While the vegetables are roasting, season chicken with olive oil, salt and taco seasoning.

Saute chicken, till cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly and then shred the chicken.

Take a 1/4 cup of the salsa and mix with the shredded chicken, you now have youe taco filling.

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Heat up your taco shells, pulls out the lettuce and cheese (and all your other favorite taco toppings) and build away !

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Mexican, Quick Dinner, Savory

Super Speedy Stuffed Peppers

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This is a great recipe for when you are trying to clean out your fridge.  With just a few ingredients you can put dinner on the table in a snap!

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground meat/poultry ( I had beef)

1 can of corn

2 medium-sized bell peppers ( I actually had 1 whole one and a half )

1/2 yellow onion, diced.

Taco sauce of your choice

Garlic powder, Chilli powder, oregano, salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

oil for cooking

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet and saute onions and beef with browned

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Add the seasonings and corn and cook till the raw smell of the seasonings go away.

Add the taco sauce, about 1/4 -1/2 cup, stir in and take off heat.  The sauce acts as a binder, so add as much as you want.  The amount will vary based on the amount of fat that comes out of your filling of choice.  For example, lean ground turkey might need more sauce than a 80-20 ground beef mixture.  if you do not have taco sauce, you can use salsa.

Allow the filling to cool

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the cheese and breadcrumbs together and set aside.

Cut the peppers and remove the ribs and seeds to create a cavity that you can fill.  I like to cut it length-wise.

Fill the peppers with the meat and corn mixture and top with the cheese and bread crumbs

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Place peppers in a baking dish and drizzle a little bit of oil on the top.

 

Bake for 20 mins till golden brown

Serve hot, with a knife and fork.  It will get messy !IMG_1953

Appetizers, Gluten-free, Mexican, Savory

A fresh snack – Tomato Avocado Salsa

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I am obsessed with avocados! Sometimes I get sushi just for the avocados.  Just because it’s winter does not mean I am not going to eat something summery.  It is a really healthy snack and it goes great as a topping for tacos–look at my previous post for pulled pork tacos.

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You will need:

1 avocados, chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 jalapeno, minced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 (or 2) limes

1tsp of cumin

1tsp of garlic powder

salt to taste

Mix, everything !!!

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I like to eat it by the spoonful, but for a more civilized take on it, you could include some chips to the party

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Classics, Meat, Mexican

Pulled Pork Tacos

 

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Ingredients:

1 pork loin

1 cup water

2 medium oranges, washed and halved

4 cloves garlic, peeled

½ medium onion, peeled

1 large stick Mexican cinnamon stick or 2 small regular cinnamon sticks

4 bay leaves

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon dried whole Mexican oregano, crushed between palms

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup evaporated milk

½ cup beer (nothing too hoppy or it will make the pork bitter)

hard taco shells

For Garnish:

 

salsa

shredded cabbage/lettuce

DIRECTIONS

Add all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hrs will pork is fork tender

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Shred pork with two forks and saute in a pan to create some crispy bits.

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Add to your taco bar and build your way to deliciousness !!!!!!