CHICKEN TACO CASSEROLE ala Slow Cooker

CHICKEN TACO CASSEROLE
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup WHOLE milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 cup sour cream
1 can original ROTEL tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained WELL
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe below)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag FRITOS
1 small tomato, chopped
1 SMALL bunch green onions, sliced thin

  • Spray slow cooker insert with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter in heavy saucepan.
  • Blend in flour and salt. Cook until bubbly.
  • Remove from heat and gradually stir or whisk in liquid.
  • Return to heat and cook, constantly stirring until smooth and thickened.
  • Whisk together the white sauce and sour cream until smooth.
  • Add in taco seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Stir in Rotel tomatoes, black beans and 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Spread mixture into slow cooker insert.
  • Top with chicken pieces in a single layer if possible.
  • Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours* until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks.
  • Mix chicken back in.
  • Top with Fritos and remaining cheese.
  • Cover a few minutes JUST until cheese melts.
  • Top with chopped tomato and green onions.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTES:

  • Time varies based on chicken breast sizes.
  • I accidentally bought re-fried black beans this time actually liked it too.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup water

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together and use with your taco meat.
  • Pour the water in the pan and cook just like you would for tacos.
  • The amount above is the same amount that is in one packet of taco seasoning mix at the store.

CAJUN HONEY BUTTER OR LEMON PEPPER SALMON & SHRIMP

CAJUN HONEY BUTTER OR LEMON PEPPER SALMON & SHRIMP
Sweet and savory pan-seared salmon topped with sautéed shrimp in cajun butter sauce. Salmon New Orleans is an unforgettable meal.

4-6 ounce salmon fillets
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, de-veined
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons honey

LEMON PEPPER & SEA SALT seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt
LEMON pepper
Sweet Hungarian Paprika

OR

CAJUN seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
heaping ½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • In a small bowl whisk together all Cajun OR Lemon Pepper seasoning ingredients and set aside.
  • Season the salmon with fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add honey and whisk to combine (mixture should be bubbly).
  • Add salmon fillets to pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes until salmon is cooked through, flaky, and browned.
  • Transfer salmon pieces to a platter and cover to keep warm.
  • Add remaining butter to the pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, stir in cajun seasoning.
  • Add shrimp to pan and saute’ until opaque, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve salmon topped with shrimp pieces.
  • Drizzle any extra pan sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
  • Serve immediately.

TEX MEX BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

The beauty of this recipe for Thanksgiving day is that it can be prepared the day before and can be baked the next morning while you watch the parade.

TEX MEX BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 small can diced green chiles, drained
10 LARGE eggs
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup Cotija cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded hash browns
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet oven medium-high heat and brown ground beef and ground pork to a small crumble.
  • Using a slotted spoon transfer meat to a large mixing bowl.
  • In the same skillet reheat the grease and add the onion and jalapeno, sauteing until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain WELL and add to the mixing bowl.
  • Toss the shredded hash browns and sprinkle with a generous sprinkle of FRESH ground sea salt.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs, cream cheese, half and half, and 1/2 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Pour over meat mixture and gently toss to coat.
  • Top with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and eggs are set.
  • Serve with Salsa.

GREEN TABASCO CHICKEN & CORN RICE

One of the things I LOVE to do is sort through my boxes of old recipes.  I do this when I’m looking to spice up our menus every now and then.  I even throw some recipes out.  I mean I look at it and ask myself what I was thinking when I saved it!!  The other thing I LOVE to do is taken previously so-so recipes when the were made alone and combine them together to make a WHOLE new recipe.  Many times the new recipe does NOT resemble either of the original recipes in ANY way except the name and main ingredients.  Part of the beauty of this recipe is the almost charred onions and the flavor they lend to the chicken AND the rice!

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RECIPES!  Inspiration hit me and turned 3 recipes (a so-so roast chicken Tabasco, a so-so slow cooked rice along with a so-so baked corn) into a super FLAVORFUL GREEN TABASCO CHICKEN & CORN RICE recipe.

GREEN TABASCO CHICKEN & CORN RICE serves 4
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders or thin sliced chicken steaks
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 can Green Giant shoepeg corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet )optional – for color)
1 Vidalia onion half sliced thin and half chopped
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet & Sour dipping sauce
1/4 cup Green Tabasco sauce
1 small can Hatch diced green chiles
1 1/4 cup white Moscato wine
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
WONDRA flour for dredging
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In a saucepan combine the wine, sweet and sour sauce, hatch chiles and green Tabasco sauce.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil. Turn to low and simmer while you prepare everything else.
  • After you put the chicken pieces in the skillet make a slurry of the cornstarch and water.
  • Whisk into the sauce and simmer until begins to thicken.
  • JUST before serving you can strain out the larger chile pieces if your prefer.

 

  • In another sauce pan combine the broth, a few drops of green Tabasco sauce 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic and rice with a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a quick boil. Immediately reduce to low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

 

  • Add avocado oil to a HOT skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onions and saute until soft and beginning to caramelize.
  • Add garlic, cooking a couple minutes more.
  • Add 1 tablespoon melted butter, stirring to combine.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken pieces with WONDRA.
  • Add chicken pieces on top of onions and sear for several minutes before flipping to sear the other side.
  • Plate chicken.
  • Stir onions into the rice and add a scoop of rice to each plate.
  • Top with sauce!
  • ENJOY!

CAJUN CREOLE CHICKEN, RICE & BEANS

Cajun seasoning adds the unique flavor to this meals and provides you with just enough spiciness and bite to make your taste buds stand up and pay attention.

CAJUN CREOLE CHICKEN THIGHS with SLOW COOKED RICE & BEANS
1 can black beans**, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 medium tomatoes, rustic chopped
1 red pepper, small chopped
1 shallot, halved and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon + 1  teaspoon (divided) SLAP YA MAMA cajun spice
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • In a 6 quart slow cooker combine the beans, rice, tomatoes, red pepper, shallot, garlic, parsley, broth and 1 1/2 teaspoons SLAP YA MAMA seasoning until well combined.
  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the 2 tablespoons SLAP YA MAMA.
  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron).
  • Brown chicken pieces on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Place in slow cooker, skin side up.
  • Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours until chicken is cooked through. Rice will be saucy!

**The original recipe calls for a traditional red bean, but I personally HATE red beans and always substitute black beans.

CHICKEN & CORN ENCHILADAS

This recipe is soooo simple because I use a Costco rotisserie chicken, but the flavor tastes like you spent all day roasting it yourself – NO ONE will ever know the difference!

CHICKEN & CORN ENCHILADAS SUIZA
3 cups shredded chicken pieces (I use Costco rotisserie)
1 large red onion, diced
2 cans Green Giant white shoe peg corn, drained
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped FRESH cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar mix
3 cups chunky salsa
1 large green enchilada sauce
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
corn tortillas (about 16)

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix together the chicken pieces, diced onion, corn kernels, sour cream, cumin and cilantro until well blended.
  • Add half of the cheese.
  • Season with additional FRESH ground salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the salsa and enchilada sauce.
  • Brush each tortilla with some of the sauce mixture and fill with 1/4-1/3 cup of chicken mixture.
  • Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.
  • Repeat until chicken mixture is gone – about 16-18 tortillas.
  • Spoon most of the remaining sauce evenly over top of enchiladas. Save just a lilttle to spoon over again when you remove the foil.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Cover in foil.
  • Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and spoon remaining sauce over top.
  • Bake 5 minutes more to brown cheese.
  • ENJOY!

CHILI SKILLET

This is a perfect fall dish and yes I’m planning ahead for the cooler temperatures up north where we will be in just a couple months. It is also a recipe that makes WONDERFUL leftovers as the flavors meld the longer it sits.

CHILI SKILLET – serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper (optional)*
1 LARGE clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato juice**
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 can Green Giant White shopped corn, drained
1/2 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced olives, optional

  • In a large skillet cook ground beef, onions, peppers (if using) and garlic over medium heat, breaking apart the meat until well crumbled and no longer pink.
  • Drain off ALL fat.
  • Add the tomato juice, water, chicken broth, red pepper flakes (if using), chili powder, oregano, rice, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer 20-25 minutes on low covered until rice is tender.
  • Fold in corn and olives (if using).
  • Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Top with green onions.
  • ENJOY.

NOTES: *I substitute 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
**I often use a small 6 ounce can of V8 juice and add 2 ounces water or chicken broth

CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE

We LOVE Mexican food, so this recipe works well into a Mexican themed week. By making Taco Salad, Chili Skillet, Tacos and this Cornbread Tamale pie all back to back I only have to make the meats and parts once and then assemble as needed.


CORNBREAD TAMALE PIE
Avocado oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained WELL
1-2 large bunches green onions, thinly sliced (save some for garnish)
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 + cup cheddar cheese (use the +portion as garnish)
1 LARGE egg yolk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • In a heavy duty cast iron skillet drizzle avocado oil over hot pan.
  • Add beef and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and completely crumbled. Drain off fat.
  • In a prep bowl add drained beef to drained tomatoes and set aside.
  • Wipe out pan.
  • Add another drizzle of avocado oil when pan is hot again.
  • Add onions and sauce until soft.
  • Add cumin and chile powder and stir to blend.
  • Add beef mixture to pan and stir to coat well. Cook a few minutes until sauce thickens.
  • Add beans and remaining cheese in last and remove from heat.

 

  • While meat is cooking prepare batter.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, milk and egg yolk until well blended.
  • Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder blending well.
  • Fold in half of the cheese.

ASSEMBLY

  • Spread meat mixture evenly in cast iron pan.
  • Gently spread the cornbread mixture over the meat mixture.
  • Put pan in oven and bake 12-14 minutes until cornbread is golden and set.
  • Cool 5 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with cheese and green onions.
  • ENJOY!

MOJO (CUBAN) CHICKEN TOSTADAS

MOJO (CUBAN) CHICKEN TOSTADAS

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 can black beans
1 romaine heart, washed and shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 large orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 small red onion
1 avocado, sliced thin and seasoned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 + 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
corn tortillas, fried crisp

  • Drain and rinse black beans well.
  • Halve the onion and slice one half of it into thin rings. Dice the other half. Keep separate.
  • Mix together the cumin, paprika and oregano. Divide in half.

 

  • In a small bowl add the onion ring slices.
  • Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, sprinkle with salt, toss together and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In another small bowl mix half the seasoning mixture with the other 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the orange juice and half the lime juice.

 

  • Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet heat avocado oil until shimmering over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken breasts and sear on both sides until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to plate and rest.

 

  • Add diced onion pieces and half the garlic to the skillet, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Add black beans, remaining garlic and one half of the spice mixture. Cook 3-5 minutes until soft and heated through.
  • Add half of lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

 

  • Shred chicken and place in a mixing bowl with half the orange juice mixture.
  • Pour the other half of the juice mixture over the shredded lettuce and top with the cilantro. Toss to coat.

 

  • Place a tortilla on a plate.
  • Top with a bit of the pickled onions followed by a handful of the lettuce mixture.
  • Add a spoonful of the beans followed by a spoonful of the shredded chicken and top with avocado slices.
  • ENJOY

PULLED PORK TACOS

Lard is made of animals fats, most commonly rendered hog fat. Crisco and Lard are both shortenings. Lard is shortening. BUT, Crisco is a shortening made from vegetable oils therefore Crisco is NOT lard.

LOL while this sounds confusing, it’s pretty simple really.  For this recipe because I am DESPERATELY trying to clean out the pantry AND the freezer I improvised this time, but did not reflect my changes in my normal recipe (BELOW) which is a recipe I made combining the best ingredients (for us) and cooking procedures (for me) from Guy Fieri’s version with Giada’s version of Pulled pork.

PULLED PORK
3-pound bone in pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
3 pounds refined lard
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons FRESH ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 chipotle in adobo, diced plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
1 cup beer, such as Modelo Especial
Corn tortillas, for serving

GARNISHES
Pico De Gallo, recipe below
Sour cream
Chopped green onions, sliced or diced
Lime wedges, for serving
Radish slices, for serving

  • Remove the pork butt from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Do not remove the bone.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, coriander, salt and oregano.
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast.
  • Bring oil to 250°.
  • Carefully add pork pieces to the hot oil. Keep pork pieces moving so they don’t stick until the are well seared on ALL sides.
  • Remove meat from lard and add onions and garlic, sautéing 2-3 minutes. DO NOT LET GARLIC BURN – IF IT DOES, START OVER!
  • Add pork pieces to roaster.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove onions and garlic, adding it to the meat. Discard oil.
  • Whisk together the beer, chipotle pepper pieces and adobo sauce.
  • Pour beer mixture over pork pieces.
  • Bake 1-1 1/2 hours. The pork should be caramel-colored with an internal temperature of 170 to 180°.
  • Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Shred the meat. Discard the bone and any gristle.
  • Add the shredded meat back to the slow cooker and toss with the onions and cooking juices.
  • Serve with Pico de Gallo, warm tortillas and garnishes.

PICO DE GALLO
4 Roma tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serve.

MEXICAN COBB SALAD with JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING

MEXICAN COBB SALAD
Bed of Lettuce
Grilled chicken breast, chilled and chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 avocado chopped
1/8 cup chopped green chiles
1/4 cup grated jack cheese
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Juice of 1 lime

JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon crushed parsley flakes
2 tablespoons Penzey’s California crushed jalapenos
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • Whisk all together and chill overnight before serving

 

CARNE GUISADA STREET TACOS

Guisada is a a TEX MEX style of beef stew that is normally cooked slowly in a brown gravy. It can be eaten as a stew, but we prefer to eat is at street tacos. This is one of the most tender meats for yummy tacos. Using the green chile verde sauce adds a ton of flavor.

CARNE GUISADA STREET TACOS serves 8-10 (my easy version)

Avocado oil
2 pound chuck roast
2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, sliced
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large tomatillo, chopped
1 can green chile verde sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/4 cup Mexican corn flour
1/2 cup water

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Generously season roast with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a 4-quart stock pot over medium temperature.
  • Add roast and sear each side well.
  • Remove roast to a plate.
  • Add poblano pepper, onion, garlic to the stock pot along with the seasonings for a couple minutes.
  • Stir in tomato and tomatillo and sauté an 3 additional minutes.
  • Nestle roast into mixture.
  • Whisk together chile verde sauce, broth and flour until smooth.
  • Pour broth mixture over beef mixture.
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 3 hours undisturbed.
  • Use 2 forks to shred beef into gravy.
  • Make a slurry of the water and corn flour.
  • Add slurry to mixture and simmer on stove top 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Serve with tortillas and your favorite toppings.
  • Enjoy!