Tachos

This is a taco/nacho mash up.  Apparently it is also a people group in South Sudan, but this post has nothing to do with that.  This is what you get when you make all the ingredients for tacos but all you have sitting around is corn chips.  They’re tacos that you eat like nachos; therefore they are tachos.  The best thing about this “recipe” is that you can totally switch out ingredients according to your preferences.  This is what I used this time:IMG_4939.JPG

This is a great meal to serve if you have people with different allergies/preferences.  They can take what they want and leave the rest.  The most important part is your taco seasoning.  I use Old El Paso’s Original Taco Seasoning.  It has neither gluten nor dairy in it where as many seasonings have one and/or the other.  You could also make seasoning from scratch, but I am making enough things from scratch that this is one of my cheater recipes.

 

Ingredients:

1 package Old El Paso Original Taco Seasoning

1-2 pound ground beef (omit for vegetarian)

1/2 onion, chopped

2/3 c. water (you can just fill up the seasoning pouch with water and it’s the right amount)

1 package Wholly Guacamole

1 jar Tostitos Salsa (or Pace or any other- just read the label)

1 bunch green onions, chopped (I put the white parts in with the beef so they could cook down some)

2 cups cooked brown rice

1.5 cups cooked black beans

1 bunch chopped cilantro

4 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 bag chopped spinach, raw

1 bag corn chips (I use Tostitos, Santitas, HEB, etc.)

1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese (optional if you are not avoiding dairy)

 

Brown the beef and the chopped onions and white parts of green onions.  Add the seasoning and 2/3 c. water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Chop all of the veggies.

Set everything out buffet style and have people make a bowl of whatever they want in it.  Use the chips to dip the ingredients.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I did not make enough of this the other day.  I could have eaten it for a few more meals!  This is a simple curry recipe that doesn’t require many strange ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 T. canola oil

2 T. curry powder

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds chicken breast or tenderloins cut into cubes (I used leftovers from my chicken recipe and shredded it.  Recipe found here: https://oldfavoritesmadeglutenfree.com/2015/12/19/baked-chicken/)

1 can coconut milk (14 oz)

1 can diced tomatoes, NOT drained (~15 oz)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

3 T. sugar

1 tsp salt, to taste

1 tsp pepper

1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables (I used HEB snap pea stir fry mix)

Cooked rice (I used Basmati)

 

Directions:

Heat oil and curry powder over medium-high heat in a frying pan for 2 minutes.  Add onions and garlic and cook for another minute.  Add chicken and stir.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked.  Stir in coconut milk, diced tomatoes with their juice, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add frozen vegetables and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Serve over white rice.

Adapted from: http://m.allrecipes.com/recip/68532/curried-coconut-chicken

Pulled Pork

2 medium onions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 T. brown sugar, packed

1 T. chili powder

1 T. salt or more

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

4-5 pound pork loin

 

Directions:

Strew the onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot.  Add chicken broth.  Stir together the sugar and spices and then rub on the entire pork loin.  Place pork loin in the crock pot and put on high for 6-8 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

 

We used the pork loin for a variety of dishes: carnitas, pulled pork sandwiches, etc.  It freezes and defrosts really well.  In order to freeze it, I shredded it ahead of time.

Here is a pulled pork sandwich I made using Hamburger Buns and by adding Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.

 

IMG_4529
Pulled pork sandwiches

 

Original recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/30356-easy-slow-cooker-pulled-pork/

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

This is the last lonely enchilada.  I made several pans of them and remembered to take a picture right before I ate the last one!  I served these enchiladas to my family on Christmas Eve.  I did most of the prep ahead of time and just rolled them while the oven was heating up.  The beans make them creamy so you don’t really notice the absence of cheese.  However, if people want cheese but not everyone can have it, I suggest putting some shredded cheese on the table that they can add at their leisure.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef (omit if vegetarian)

1-2 cups cooked and mashed pinto or white beans or 1-2 cans of refried beans

several dashes of salt if you make your own beans

juice of 1 lime

1 can rotel

2 cans of mild Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (last time I checked it was gluten free.  Please always take personal responsibility and check the ingredients.  Sometimes manufacturers change things without much of an announcement.)

1 package of corn tortillas

 

Directions for beans: If you are making your own beans, soak them overnight, drain in the morning, and put them in a crockpot all day on low.  They are finished when they are easily squishable.  I drained the liquid into a bowl and then added just enough in to be able to mash them with my immersion blender.  Make sure to add some salt if you made your own beans.  If that sounds too complicated, just get a can or two of refried beans. 🙂

Directions: Brown the ground beef until thoroughly cooked.  Add in the lime, rotel, and one can of enchilada sauce.

Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish.  Open the second can of enchilada sauce and put a very thin layer on the bottom of the pan, but reserve most of it.  Grab a tortilla and put a spoonful of the beef and bean mixtures into the tortilla.  Roll it and place it in the pan.  Continue until the pan is full and/or all ingredients are used.  Top with remaining enchilada sauce.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serve with rice and guacamole if desired.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is one of my favorite fall recipes.  It looks beautiful and appears to be labor intensive, but it isn’t.  When it’s all said and done, it takes about an hour from beginning of prep to the time it arrives on the table.  The original recipe is from a newspaper clipping.  I have made a few changes, but it is still delicious!

 

Ingredients:

2 medium acorn squash

1 pound ground beef or deer

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tart apple, chopped (I use Granny Smith)

1 glove garlic, minced

2 T. brown rice flour

3 T. gluten free soy sauce (I use Kikkoman’s- just make sure it says gluten free on it)

salt to taste

3 T. dry red wine (I used merlot)

optional if not dairy free: 1/2 c. shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or Parmesan)

 

Directions:

Cut squash in half from stem to tip and throw away seeds.  Fill baking dish to 1/2 inch depth with hot water (I just microwave the water).  Place squash, cut side down, in a baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

While the squash is cooking, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, apple, and garlic until meat is cooked.  Sprinkle in flour and stir well. Add soy sauce and wine and stir.  Bring mixture to a boil and stir until it thickens.  Remove from heat.

Remove squash pan from oven and carefully turn each half over (leave the water in the pan) and fill each half with the meat concoction.  I press it down into the squash halves to try to make it all fit :-).  Cook the filled squash in the pan with the water still in the pan for another 15 minutes until meat begins to brown on top slightly.  If you are not dairy free, you may top with cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

To serve, remove the squash from the pan and place on a plate.  To eat, scoop out one bite at a time, no knife needed.  I usually serve this by itself- it has veggies and meat included and is way more filling than you’d think.

 

Original recipe from “Harvest Stuffed Squash” The Eagle [Bryan], 13 September 2009. Taste of Home Cooking School p. 22.

Baked Chicken

Sometimes you just want an easy meal, right?  I often cook chicken this way and use some that night or the next day and then freeze a bunch of it to be used at a later time.  It can be served just the way it is with a size of frozen vegetables and it’s a tasty meal, or it can be put in mango chicken, spaghetti, or whatever!  I usually just eyeball it as far as proportions go, but here’s an estimate of the amount I use.  A rookie mistake it to heavily coat the chicken in oil which gives you a pan of sizzling oil and chicken broth, so coat it lightly!

 

4 pounds chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts

1/4 c. olive oil

1 T. salt

1 tsp pepper

 

Mix olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Coat a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (so cleanup is easier).  Place raw chicken on the cookie sheet with a little bit of space between each piece of chicken.  I usually have to use two cookie sheets.  Using a basting brush, lightly coat the chicken with the oil mixture.  If you have extra oil, you can turn the chicken over and coat it, but that’s not necessary.  The most important thing is to make sure you get some salt and pepper on each piece of chicken.

 

Cook chicken in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Chicken is done when you cut it and it shreds like chicken (think Chick-fil-a sandwich), or when you press on the top and it feels firm to the touch.  Make sure you let the rest of the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting so it can soak all those good juices back in and remain moist!

After the chicken cools, you can freeze it.  I usually put it in the fridge overnight and then freeze it the next day.  It seems to help it freeze better to gradually change the temperature.

Mango Chicken

The idea for this recipe came from some cookbook long, long ago.  I have changed it so much and made it my own, and I don’t remember where the original source was.  I made it several times using fresh mangos when I was in Central America.  The best I can do now is frozen mangos, but they taste good too.  My husband and I really enjoyed this and we hope you do too!

Mango Chicken

1 large onion, chopped

1 bag of frozen mangos, cut into smaller pieces (you can use fresh if you can find good ones, but the frozen ones worked great!)

2 pounds chicken tenderloins, precooked (I have a method for pre-cooking chicken which I will share in another post.)

2 T melted butter (I used Smart Balance dairy free)

1 tsp salt or more, to taste

1/2 tsp ground black pepper or more, to taste

1/4 tsp paprika

pinch of nutmeg

Grated rind of one lemon (optional)

1 cup chicken broth (make sure it’s gluten free- I use Swanson’s or HEB brand usually)

juice of 1 lemon

1 can coconut milk, 14 oz.  (use full fat, not the lite ones)

 

Chicken mixture:

Place onions in a large skillet and cook to soften.

Combine “butter”, salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Rub all over chicken.

Put chicken and mango in the pan with the onions and cook until warm throughout.

 

Meanwhile, make the milk sauce:

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce the heat and stir in lemon juice and coconut milk.  Continue to simmer and stir until it thickens just a little.

Pour the milk sauce into the chicken mixture and cook for 5-10 minutes to let the liquid reduce a little.  May be served over rice.

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This is what it looked like in the pan before I served it over rice.

We hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Easy Meatloaf

Meatloaf?  How do you make meatloaf without bread crumbs?  It’s really quite easy.  Rice Chex are the answer.  One of my friends shared this trick with me and it has made breadcrumbs an easy ingredient once again!

 

Easy Meatloaf

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground meat (I used all ground beef this time, but I have used 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground sausage in the past)

1 Ener-G egg (or a real egg.  1 Ener-G egg is 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 T water.  Allow it to sit for a few minutes before using.)

1 cup Rice Chex, crushed

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning if using sausage (use 2 Tablespoons if using all ground beef)

Salt and pepper to taste (I probably used 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper but I am not sure.)

 

Directions:  Mix the Ener-G Egg Replacer with water and allow to sit.  Crush Rice Chex.  Combine all ingredients including Chex and egg replacer and mix thoroughly (I did it by hand).  Place in a bread pan and push it in the pan to get out any air pockets.  If you have too much meat, you can spread into another pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Test the inside with a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached 160 degrees.  Serve with ketchup if desired.

IMG_4635
Topped with ketchup

 

 

Chicken Piccata

I had lemon juice and capers that needed to be used up and I came across this idea.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to go over, but my husband ended up loving it!

 

Chicken Piccata

 

Flour mixture:

1/4 c. brown rice flour

1/4 c. white rice flour

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

dash salt

Chicken:

1 pound chicken tenderloins or chicken breast

2 T. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Sauce:

1 c. white wine

1/2 c. chicken broth

1/5 c. or less of lemon juice

1-2 T. butter (I usually use dairy free Smart Balance or Earth Balance)

2 T. capers, drained

1 T. dried parsley

2 tsp dried basil

Dash salt

 

 

Chicken prep:

Mix all dry ingredients and coat chicken in flour mixture.  Save any extra flour mixture for the sauce later.

 

Cook:

 

Heat oil and cook garlic for one minute.  Then remove garlic and set aside for later.

Cook chicken in heated oil for about 5 minutes on one side and  then 5 on the other side until cooked through (white should creep up around the sides and then after you flip it and cook, it should feel fairly firm when you press a fork on it without piercing it.)

Sauce:

Boil all sauce ingredients together in a pan after chicken is removed, starting with the wine.  Temper the excess flour from coating the chicken and then add it to the sauce (that means to take a little of the liquid out of the pan and put it in a bowl.  Stir the flour mixture into the liquid and then add it back to the pan.  This prevents it from clumping.)

 

Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.  I served mine with a size of yellow squash and onions cooked in olive oil with a dash of garlic and salt.

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/100690/chicken-piccata-with-angel-hair-pasta/?internalsource=search%20results&referringcontenttype=search%20results

 

Eggplant and Beef Green Curry

For me, curry is a quick meal that tastes like I went to a restaurant.  One of the great things about curry is that you can toss in almost any vegetable and it is very forgiving.  Salt and lime are essential to making it taste good.  Also, if you can’t find some sort of curry paste, I would hesitate to make this recipe.  We tried it last night without the curry paste and tried to piece together our own, but we were missing about half the ingredients and well…let’s just say, use the curry paste unless you know what you’re doing with seasonings!  With the curry paste, it’s great!

Eggplant and Beef Green Curry

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1-2 T. oil or grease from ground beef

1 eggplant, peeled and diced

3-4 medium potatoes (I used golden potatoes with skins on), diced

1 zucchini, diced

1/2 onion, diced

 

2 tsp minced garlic

2 inches fresh ginger, minced

1 jar Thai Kitchen green curry paste

1-2 cans coconut milk

2-3 limes, zested and juiced

salt to taste

Directions:

Brown the ground beef and set aside.  Add some oil or grease back into the pan.  Cook the potatoes over medium heat with lid on until they are softening a little.  Add the rest of the veggies, ginger, and garlic.  Cover and stir occasionally until they are all getting a little soft.  Add curry paste and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the cooked meat.  Add coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and salt.  Serve over rice (I make mine in a rice cooker.)