Three-Layer “ChiQuiAvo” (Chicken, Quinoa, & Avocado) Fajitas

Three-Layer “ChiQuiAvo” Fajitas

Ingredients
Chicken Breast
Onion
Bell Pepper
Jalapeno
Salsa (recommend Medium)
Black Beans
Quinoa
Avocado
Tomato
Lime
Soft Tortilla Shells (recommend whole wheat)
Herbs/Seasonings (Cilantro, Oregano, Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt)
Hot Sauce (recommend Frank’s or Texas Pete’s)

Directions
There are three main layers/parts to this, each customizable to your tastebuds (and mood):

  1. Chicken, Onions & Peppers – Cook full chicken breasts with chopped onions and peppers, herbs/seasonings, and some salsa (for other flavorful liquid) in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. When ready, drain excess moisture (leaving some) from crock pot, shred chicken, and add additional herbs/seasonings to taste. Let sit in crock pot on warm.
  2. Quinoa & Black Beans – Cook separately, then combine (or leave separately). Corn can be added too if desired.
  3. Avocado, Tomato, Onion, & Lime – Chunk, chop, squeeze, and mix. Ideally, this should sit covered in fridge for 30 min before use.

Assemble/layer the above across a soft tortilla shell, garnish with fresh cilantro (optional), squeeze some lime, dash some hot sauce, and devour multiple. Chase with a good nap 🙂

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Crema de Calabacín (Zucchini Soup)

Crema de Calabacín (Zucchini Soup)
By: Kevin & Kayla
Difficulty: Easy
Prep/Cook Time: 30-40 Min

It’s an authentic Spanish soup with fresh, summery flavor.

Ingredients
Zucchini
Potatoes (baking / all-purpose)
Onion (vidalia/sweet)
Corn (canned or cooked/grilled and cut off a cob)
Cream (light / reduced fat)
Butter (SmartBalance)
Black Pepper
Salt

Directions

  1. Melt butter in the bottom of a large pan and saute the zucchini and chopped/diced onion (med to med-high heat). Add salt & pepper as necessary.
  2. Peel, chop/cube, and boil the potatoes. Drain when done, saving some of the hot water.
  3. When the zucchini/onion is done, add most of it to a food processor with some of the cream (we had to do this in two batches due to the size of our food processor). Puree the mixture, slowly adding the cream to reach a soupy consistency. Add olive oil too if desired.
  4. Add the zucchini/onion puree, potatoes, and corn to a pan on low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and if necessary, stir in some of the extra potato water to reach a desired consistency.
  5. Simmer and stir on low heat for at least 10 minutes or until the smell is too good to wait any longer (we tasted it several times).

Additional Notes

  • Less is more. We kept the seasoning to a minimum – the true flavor of the pureed zucchini and onion is perfect as is.
  • We saved some of the sauteed onion to add directly to the soup during the last step to add a bit more texture.
  • We tried a few bites with shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top and it was very good.
  • We paired ours with a salad of green leaf lettuce and fresh vegetables, washed down with some wine although some sangria blanca would probably be best!

World’s Greatest Potato Salad

World’s Greatest Potato Salad
By:
Kevin & Kayla
Difficulty:
Easy
Est Time:
30-40 Min

Ingredients
Red-Skin Potatoes
Scallions (Green Onions)
Cheddar Cheese
Egg (Hard Boiled)
Mayonnaise
Rice Vinegar
Spicy Mustard
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (any hot sauce will do)
Garlic Powder
Mustard Seed
Sugar
Cumin
Paprika
Salt
Black Pepper

Directions
Boil the potatoes until a fork can go through them with relative ease. If you want to save time, microwave them. Boil the eggs until they are done. Make sure you put the eggs in the cold water before it boils so they don’t crack. They should take about 12-14 minutes once the water starts boiling. Chop the scallions and throw them in a big bowl. Add the spices and liquids. When the potatoes are done, let them cool in the fridge/freezer for 5-10 minutes before adding them to the bowl (make sure you keep the skins on). Add the mayo, cheddar cheese, and crumble the hard boiled egg. Chop and chunk the potatoes to the desired consistency/size. Mix well (but not too well that it becomes mush) and chill until it is fully cool (although some like it warm/hot – nothing wrong with that).

Salmon, Avocado, and Cucumber Makizushi (Sushi Roll)

Finally did it. I’ve had this on my list of annual things to do since 2008: learn how to make sushi. Toughest part was finding a bamboo mat! For our sushi roll, we looked at MakeMySushi.com (classic roll recipe) and used our own desired filling (salmon, avocado, and cucumber). Rather than rewrite all the instructions, I’ll provide some of our own hints:

  • Drink sake. It’s really really good. We had ours chilled.
  • Let the sticky rice cool before rubbing it on the nori.
  • Using the bamboo mat, roll it really tight while making sure the filling doesn’t fly out the ends.
  • Wipe (with paper towel) and wet (with hot water) your knife after every cut (or every few cuts).
  • Be creative with the filling. We started with a simple combo but after two rolls, realized we were pros and graduated to a philly spiced roll (added cream cheese and chili powder).
  • Make some extra and take it to work. That was a really good lunch on Monday…

That’s about it. It was pretty damn easy looking back, so give it a go!

Blueberry Banana Applesauce Muffins with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Streusel

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 18-24 min

Ingredients – Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 mashed banana
2 Tbsp applesauce

Ingredients – Streusel (Crumb Topping)
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. Combine and mix dry ingredients. Add liquid ingredients (but not the fruit). Add the applesauce and mashed banana. Fold in the blueberries.
3. Separately, mix the ingredients for the streusel with a fork.
4. Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
5. Bake muffins for 18 to 24 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. Don’t overcook, realizing the muffins will continue to cook a bit once removed from the oven.

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Chorizo Sausage Over Penne

Problem: Needed a good home-cooked meal for Sunday, something fun to prep, slow to cook, and with a smell to fill an apartment all afternoon while football is on.

Solution: Fresh tomato sauce with chorizo sausage over penne, with ricotta cheese on the side.

Details: Sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, cooking the sausage over medium heat to brown the sides. Add some fresh basil leaves and chopped fresh tomato, with some spices and black pepper. Add a can of chunky crushed tomatoes for more volume and substance. Let simmer for a few hours.

Plate: Mix some of the sauce with the penne, pour some more sauce over the top, garnish with fresh basil leaves, and have the ricotta on the side. Grated cheese and fresh ground black pepper on top.

Beverage: 2% milk or glass of red wine. Both incredibly satisfying and pair well with the dish.

BBQ Boston Butt (Pork Shoulder) with Peppers and Onions

BBQ Boston Butt (Pork Shoulder) with Peppers and Onions
Difficulty:
VERY Easy
Prep Time:
15 Minutes
Cook Time:
8 Hours

Description

First of all, read up on Boston Butt. It’s essentially a specially-named cut from the upper part of the front shoulder, and it’s the perfect cut for slow cooking. Best bet is to talk to the butcher. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for the best Boston butt he’s got. Virtually no prep here, flavorful as hell.

Ingredients

Pork Shoulder (4-6 lbs)
2 Green Bell Peppers
1-2 Medium Onions
Barbecue Sauce (2 bottles) – I used Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chipotle…
Other Flavors (Bourbon, Hot Sauce, Black Pepper, Mustard, etc.)

Directions

1. Slice the onions and peppers. Put half of them at the bottom of the crock pot, then put the pork on top of them, then put the other half of the peppers and onions on top/around the pork.

2. Throw a full bottle of barbecue sauce all over the pork. I used Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chipotle, but you can use whatever flavor you like best! I added other flavors too such as a little bourbon (or beer is good), fresh ground black pepper, mustard seed, worchestire sauce, and hot sauce. Cover and cook on low in the crock pot for 6-8 hours or until very tender.

3. Drain all the juice from the crock pot (I used a colander to do this) and remove the peppers and onions to whatever extent possible. Shred the pork in the crock pot by pressing a fork against it. I like mine pretty chunky but you can completely shred it if you want.

4. Douse the shredded pork with another half bottle of barbecue sauce and continue to cook on low in the crock pot for at least another hour.

5. Serve on potato rolls with the peppers and onions (and chesse too!) on top, with your favorite hot sauce. Eat as much as possible!