Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Mexican-style potato Skins

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child

mexican style with name

 

Basically my world has been a hot mess the last few weeks, but happy belated Mother’s day to all the moms and happy belated birthday to my husband, Matt.

Do any other moms out there feel like they are just constantly screwing up or is that just me? Sometimes I have to take a step back and just breath. I find cooking helps relax me and this last time I dove in the kitchen I made these Mexican-style potato skins. Plus side? I must be doing something right because my daughter, Emily, joined my cooking in the kitchen the moment she saw me start cooking and it made my heart smile.

I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while and had random items to cook work with. I had almost everything for tacos but no tortillas. What to do? Well potatoes of course! I was a little leery of the idea but it worked well! (Insert Happy Dance!)

Here we go!

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of sour cream

5-6 large baking potatoes

1/2 C diced white onion

1/4 C of fresh cilantro

2 diced roma tomatoes (or smaller tomatoes)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of diced garlic

Cilantro for garnish

1 small bag of frozen corn

Pre-heat oven to 400*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut each potato in half (as pictured above) and line them on the cookie sheet (doesn’t matter which way) bake for 15 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes of baking ‘flip’ the potato and continue to bake and flip every 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a pot heat oil on medium heat, add garlic and onion, cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef to pot and brown. Once browned drain meat of excess oil. Add the dry ingredients, tomatoes and corn an cook an additional 10 minutes.

Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop hollow the centers of each potato. (Save the ‘centers’ for later, they make great mashed potatoes).

Fill each hollowed potato with ground beef. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream and garnish with a little of freshly cut cilantro.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Poblano Pepper Alfredo Sauce

“I  grill, therefore I am.”
Alton Brown

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I love all things spicy. No really. I do. I saw a version of this alfredo sauce in a jar and though, “I bet I can make that”. So I ‘googled’ and tested, and tested more. I wrote everything I did as I did it while cooking. However I did leave out the helpful tip about using real oven mittens when trying to handle hot peppers. Take caution my friends. Other than that enjoy this simple sauce that takes you to new levels in a not so hard way. Impress family or friends with your culinary skills! I’ll keep your secret on how easy it was to make.

RoastedPP Alfredo with writing

Roasted Poblano Pepper Alfredo Sauce

3 poblano peppers, roasted skins peeled & 1/2 of a red bell pepper

1 clove garlic

4 c milk, heavy cream, or half and half

1 medium onion, diced

1/3 c flour

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp of sugar

1/2 c grated Parmesan (Romano or Grana Padano can substitute)

Pepper

Olive oil

Roast the peppers in the oven, grill (I used the grill) cool and remove skins and seeds.

 Once they are cool, food processor and pulse peppers and garlic, take caution not to over pulse, you want the peppers to still be a tad on the chunky side, think salsa style.

 In a medium-size pot, sauté onions in 2 tbsp olive oil, over medium heat until they soften, add in butter. When butter is completely melted, add flour, at the point you would want to stir using a whisk at a slow and constant pace and add milk.

 Whisk until sauce until there are no lumps.

Add poblano peppers and continue to whisk often and allow mixture to thicken.

 Cook your favorite pasta according to directions, and server over pasta.

(I also served ours with grilled chicken that was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper cooked with olive oil)

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Mexican Pozole.

“The best seasoning to food is the love you put in it.”

~ Unknown

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mexicanposole

For years I’ve always harassed my mom when I wanted to eat pozole. I would tell her that I didn’t know how to make it and that only she can make it right. I finally fessed up and tried to make pozole on my own. My first attempt came out okay but the last batch came out great! My mom even called me the next day to tell me that I have graduated to the next level, according to her. Ha. This recipe was hard to actually write out since my mom does not write recipes and does everything by a pinch, a spoon full of the “spoon with flowers” and so forth.  There was a lot of measuring, double checking and taste testing to get this down as close as possible to what my mom has been making for years. Other than the measurements the actual cooking process is very simple and produces something so dynamic in taste you would think it was much more difficult. Serve this on a cool autumn night and it will warm you all over.

For the Meat and Stock:

A large stock pot

4 quarts of water

2 pounds cubed pork shoulder

1 pound pork spare ribs or baby back ribs

3 cans (15 ounces each) hominy, drained

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

8 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

Salt to taste

What you need for the Pepper Sauce:

12 Ancho peppers cleaned, seeded

One large bowl

3 – 4 cups of hot water

For the Garnish:

1 Head of cabbage finely shredded

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup of radishes sliced

Limes, cut in wedges

Tostadas, deep fried corn tortillas

In a large bowl, place all 12 seeded ancho peppers and add very hot water until all the pepper are submerged. Set aside.

In a large stock pot start to boil the 4 quarts, add to the water the first 1/2 of chopped white onion, add the 8 minces garlic cloves (to speed this part up I just used the blender to “mince”) and add the 1 teaspoon of dry Mexican oregano. Salt water to liking. Allow water, onion, garlic, and oregano to boil roughly 5 minutes then add in meat and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer meat stirring occasionally for an hour and a half.

At this point you can check on the ancho peppers. Once they feel soft and rehydrated, blend the pepper in a blender until it becomes a paste like mixture. Using water from the stock pot, add 1/2 cup to blender. Blend again. Pour ancho pepper “sauce” into stock pot with meat. Lastly add the 3 drained cans hominy to the stock pot continue to simmer for another half an hour or until hominy is tender to bite.

Reduce heat, serve in large bowls and garnish with chopped onions, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, and fresh squeezed lime juice. If desired enjoy with tostadas on the side.

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Apple Dump Cake.

octobers

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AppleDumpCake

Oh how I can’t wait for cooler weather! I was talking with one of my co-workers and I realized I had never made a snowman. No really. Never. I mean I’ve lived in Texas (Houston area) my whole life, we don’t get much snow here y’all. This makes me sad. I’ve never been on a sled, never made a real snow angel, once I did make a “snow” (more like Ice) ball. Once. I need to find somewhere to travel this winter or perhaps next winter that snows. Just to visit ya know. Can’t handle it too much. Total southern gal here can’t help it.

On another note, I love easy yummy recipes (even more they are a family recipe)! This Apple Dump Cake was a recipe my mother in law shared with me and it is about the easiest recipe ever and taste so great. Hope you enjoy the family recipe.

What You Will Need:

2 Cans of Apple Pie Filling

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury, Traditional Yellow Cake)

Vanilla Ice Cream (I used Blue Bell, Homemade Vanilla)

2 Sticks of Butter

Cinnamon

13 X 9 Inch Glass Pan

Here are photo by photo directions.

step one

“Dump” the apples into an ungreased pan and spread.

step two

Lightly Coat the top of the apples with ground cinnamon.

There is no right or wrong amount.

step three

Cut the sticks of butter in to “squares” as pictured above.

“Dump” cake mix and spread over the top of the apples (pictured as well).

step four

Equally space each square of butter across the top of the

cake mix. Bake in a middle level rack for 45 minutes or until all

the butter has melted and the cake mix has become golden brown,

much like a crust.  Cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Typically

leave the cake a tad warm so that the ice cream melts a little and

that way you have warm and cold sensation when you eat.

Enjoy!

** This post was not sponsored by Pillsbury or Blue Bell **
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Fire Cracker Eggs.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

― Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

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Happy Fourth of July here are some random facts about me:

1.  I’ve been to more countries than I have been in states of the US.

2. I sang in choir for years and years, and to this day enjoy singing when stressed.

3. Today is my wedding anniversary. Married my best friend 4 years ago. Before I got married I had never made a meatloaf, pot roast, chicken ‘n dumplings or deviled eggs. No really. I never had.

4. I have a pit bull named Karma. She thinks she’s a lap dog. She’s so scary my two year old tries to ride her like a horse. Ha.

5. I’ve lived on 3 sides of the same main street. Sheesh I really need to explore more.

6. I love cheese. I get made fun of all the time because I like it so much.

7. The main issue about number 6 is that I am also Lactose Intolerant. Boooo.

8. I have two kids. Alex, and Emily and two step kids Ryan and Hannah. I had Alex with an epidural and Emily all natural. Go with the epidural.

9. In high school I got made fun of for not understanding the phrase “your tires are going bald”. I’ve never had to talk about tires in English before so I had no idea what they were talking about.

10. I have a nail polish addiction. I just woke up from having a nail polish dream. Yes I have an issue but it’s cheaper than getting my nails done every week or few days since that’s how often I change my polish.

PS – I hope you enjoy these eggs. It goes with number 3. You can dye the eggs for any holiday. Just use colors that fit the occasion.

fire cracker eggs

Fire Cracker (deviled) Eggs

What you will need:

Eggs, I used only 3 but you can double or triple the recipe if needed.

1 Tsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (it’s what I used)

 Pickled Jalapeños

2 1/2 Tsp. Greek Yogurt OR Mayo

Cayenne powder and black pepper

What to do:

Let’s not over complicate this y’all.

Make hard boiled eggs. Cool for about 15 minutes. Crack ’em, peel ’em. Slice each egg in half (as pictured). Scoop out “yolks” into a bowl. Wash off the “whites” to remove any yolk stuck to them. Place each egg white into bowls with water and food coloring, the more food coloring and the longer you let them sit the better and darker the colors will look. (Mine sat for 30-40 minutes.)  It’s a matter of preference when it comes to how light or dark to color the eggs. Don’t worry it doesn’t make the eggs taste funny.

While the whites are dying, we can make the filling. Cut up a jalapeño into small tiny cubes. You can add more than one if you want more spice. Add jalapeños into the bowl with the yolks. Now add the mayo and hot sauce and mash with a fork until smooth.  You can add more hot sauce but take caution to reduce mayo accordingly so your filling isn’t too thin.

Once the whites are to desired color let them “drain” on a paper towel for a few moments  remove any access water.

Once dry scoop filling into each hole in each white. Sprinkle lightly with Cayenne powder and black pepper. Serve.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Tuna Bites

“I have encouraged my kids to eat well from day one. I add flavor – herbs and  spices – to everything because I don’t want them getting used to starchy, bland  food. I also want them to experiment – they don’t have to love everything, but  they do have to try it.”

Alison  Sweeney

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Spicy tuna with titile

I love cucumber. It’s crunchy and sweet and all things yummy. I really love it. Then born was this spicy tuna bite, mostly because I refuse to let a cucumber go bad in my house. The recipe is easy fast and a little messy to eat but I’m okay with that. I did offer some to my kids they tried it and ran to the trash can. My guess is that Alex (3) and Emily (2) don’t like tuna just yet but that’s okay they at least tried it which is a huge thing for me. The tuna can be substituted for chicken or crab meat even.

What You Will Need:

2 Small to Medium sized bowls

One can of Tuna of choice (I used all white tuna in water)

One Whole Cucumber

1 Tbsp. Cayenne based Hot Sauce plus more for topping (I used Frank’s)

1 1/2 Mayo (or for a light version Greek yogurt)

1 Medium Sized Avocado

Fresh Cracked Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Salt

What To Do:

Peel and clean cucumber. Slice it into 1/2 thick slices.

Slice open avocado and remove pit, don’t worry about being to clean we are going to place all the avocado into one of the bowls and mash it with a fork till a smooth texture is achieved. Add the 1/4 Teaspoon of salt and mash some more to ensure the salt is equally distributed.

Now open and drain can of tuna from excess liquid. Using the other bowl mix tuna, mayo and hot sauce. Add freshly cracked pepper to taste.

For bites, Place cucumber ring on a dish, top with avocado, then top with tuna, and then again with a cucumber slice. Drizzle additional hot sauce over the top.

(NOTE: if you do not want additional hot sauce on top add 1/4 tsp. salt to tuna as well.)

Enjoy!

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Candied Carrots

“Sometimes, it’s just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is exhausting to keep saying no. It’s exhausting to plead with our kids to eat just one more bite of vegetables.”

Michelle Obama

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candied-carrots-title corrected color

Some days it really is a struggle to get my kids to eat anything, more so something good for them. However, even with their great dislike of many foods, they love carrots.  No really. I think they may be part bunny! Ha. Either way there are a few ways my kids will eat carrots and candied is defiantly one of them. Hopefully you can get your little ones to try these.  We all enjoy these at my house they are just sweet enough.

PS they are also pretty simple to make which when cooking with toddlers around is always a plus.

dianas original

Candied Carrots

What You Need:

3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 Tsps. Nutmeg

1/2 Dark Brown Sugar (Packed)

3 Tbsp. of Butter

1/2 Tbsp. of Parsley (fresh preferred but dried will work)

What To Do:

In a pot either steam or boil carrots until tender. (It’s up to y’all which way you prefer)

Once carrots are tender remove from heat, drain if needed, and set aside.

In a pan warm up butter and syrup on Med-High, add nutmeg, parsley. Slowly add in brown sugar, make sure to whisk often to avoid burning the sugar. The liquid will look bubbly, just continue to stir until reaches enough thickness that it will not run off a spoon when held up.

Add carrots, taking caution not to add any additional water from the carrots.

Continue to cook on Med-High until carrots are coated with sauce.

Once coated add fresh pepper and salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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