Chili Verde

My hubby says this is good enough to serve to Texans…I guess that means it’s close to the “real deal.” Definitely more labor intensive than what I usually cook, but it’s worth it. And it makes enough for two dinners so I think it’s worth it. This is an Everyday Paleo recipe…the original versionis available on her site.!

What you need:

  • 3 lb pork shoulder roast cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 lbs tomatillos
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil (or your fat of  choice)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP lime juice (or the juice from a lime if you have a fresh one)
  • 1 jalapeno (leave out if your kids don’t like heat)
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (not regular paprika, the smoked kind)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

What to do:

Heat coconut oil in large dutch oven or soup pot and brown the pork in batches. I always hate this step, but suck it up and do it. Remove the pork to a large bowl.

After you  brown the pork, add the onion to the pan and cook until soft. When the onions are almost done, add in the garlic for the last 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the cumin, paprika and black pepper and stir well…this will get a little pasty. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan well. Then add in the pork, plus any drippings that accumulated in the bowl. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer.

While the meat simmers, peel and wash the tomatillos. Dry them well and char them in a large skillet over medium heat. Alternatively, you can put them on a large baking sheet and char them under your oven broiler, just be sure you turn them often to char them all over. This is the labor intensive part b/c you do need to babysit them.

Place the charred tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro (the entire bunch, stems & leaves) and lime juice in a food process.  Blend until smooth. Add to the simmering pork and continue to simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours until the pork is tender.

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

I don’t usually like chocolate cake, but this is chocolate cake with a twist…a delicious twist.

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 Dutch cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

What to do:

Heat oven to 375. Grease & flour 13x9x2 cake pan

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, water and cocoa – stirring constantly until well blended and remove from heat. To chocolate mixture, add the flour mixture, eggs, buttermilk & vanilla and beat at medium speed with a  hand mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes)

Pour batter into cake pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (yes, preheat to 375 and then turn it down to 350 when you put the cake in).

When the cake comes out, I use a flat spatula to *gently* push the puffed up part of the cake down so it’s relatively flat. Allow the cake to cool COMPLETELY before you pour the frosting on top.

Frosting:

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (16 oz box)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 TBSP cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBSP half and half (or cream)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt butter, milk & cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar & vanilla. Pour over cooled cake and top with chopped pecans.

 

Rice Pilaf

A basic pilaf recipe

What you need:

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP celery (1 stalk)
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 1.5 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • dash red pepper
  • pinch of ground white pepper (you can use black pepper, white pepper just looks nicer)

What to do:

Combine all ingredients an a baking dish. Cover and bake in preheated 350 oven for an hour or until all liquid is removed.

Mom’s Banana Bread

My mom’s recipe, so of course it’s amazing.

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 crushed, *very* ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup flour – sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

What to do:

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a bowl, use hand mixer to beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Incorporate the eggs (don’t over mix). Now mix by hand to add in the flour and bananas, alternating in 1/3’s. Mix until smooth. Add buttermilk, mix well. Pour into a greased/floured loaf pan and bake at 325 for 60-70 minutes.

Yogurt-Spiced Chicken Thighs

If your kids are like mine (anti-flavor), this is not a recipe to make for them…let them eat a PB&J or something. But this IS worth making. It’s even guest-worthy!

What you need:

  • 1/2  tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I prefer Franks Original Hot Sauce)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 heavy cream (or half and half in a pinch)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

What to do:

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a gallon sized  Ziploc bag and mix well. Add chicken and marinate in the fridge 8-24 hours. Give to husband to grill.

Southern Green Beans

What you need:

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 medium  onion, finely diced or 3/4 cup frozen diced onions
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 10 oz can chicken broth (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

What to do:

In large pan, cook bacon over medium heat until it’s rendered most of it’s fat and begun to brown. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the green beans and the chicken stock (enough water to cover), bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook uncovered until beans are tender (about 15 minutes) and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Cincinnati Chili

There are two kinds of people in this world – Gold Star Chili people and Skyline Chili people. Actually, I guess there three  – Gold Star people, Skyline people and people who have know idea what Cincinnati chili is. This combination of flavors is hard to describe and it’s nothing like “regular chili” – it’s sweeter and the texture is smooth. Just give this one a try.

What you need:

  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 4 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar

Toppings: sever with spaghetti noodles, shredded cheddar cheese and dice onions.

What to do:

In large pot, place water and ground beef. Use your hand to vigorously stir, making sure to break up the meat and mix until it’s a smooth and uniform mixture (granted this part is a bit gross…I use a food-safe disposable glove). The mixture will be very thick, but don’t add any extra water.

Finely chop the onion and and add it plus all other ingredients to the meat/water mixture. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to a hard simmer. Mix well every 15 minutes. Cook for 1 hour 40 minutes, remove cover and cook the last 20 minutes with no lid – you have 2 hours of total cooking time.

Serve over spaghetti noodles and top with shredded mild cheddar and dice onions. Trust me, this recipe is worth the effort!

Cilantro Lime Rice

This is another great recipe from Culinary Hill. It is spot on for Chipotle’s white rice…this is my standard rice for any tex-mex-ish type dish. Amazing.

What you need

  •  2 cups of uncooked white rice
  • water to cook the rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt

What to do:

Cook the rice with the salt and bay leaf on the stove or your rice cooker – yes, add that bay leaf to the rice while it cooks. Once the rice is cooked, remove the bay leaf and mix in the lime juice, lemon juice and salt. That’s it.

For the citrus juice, fresh is probably better…but being a working mom with a husband and two kids and two dogs and a house and on and on, I have neither the time nor desire to maintain a stash of fresh citrus and procure the juice from them when I need a few tablespoons. It’s just one more thing to do and clean up in dinner prep during a busy week. The literal and proverbial juice just isn’t worth the squeeze, considering my 2 and 4 year old diners do not have that sensitive a palate and my husband wants whatever is easiest for me (read: results in dinner on the table with the least amount of grumbling from me). Maybe if I was cooking for James Beard or the President, I’d splurge on the fresh stuff but making it with lemon and lime juice concentrate turns out really good, so why bother. YMMV.

Garlic Cream Sauce

What you need:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP fresh coarse chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

What to do:

In blender, process cream and roasted garlic until smooth. Then, in large saucepan, combine the garlic cream, pepper and  parsley. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt & Parmesan cheese, stir until thickened. Serve over linguine.

Carnitas

I love carnitas. And I love Chipotle carnitas. This recipe is a pretty darn good replica of what they produce. Original recipe is from Culinary Hill- they have a LOT of Chipotle recipes and I intend to try them all. If you love Chipotle, go to their site and give them your email address so you can get their free Chipotle recipe book.

This my version adapted from their site since they don’t specify some quantities and if I don’t document what I did when I made it, I’ll never remember. This easily makes three dinners, 4-5 if we use it as taco filler instead of just meat on the plate. It freezes well too. I usually crisp it up in a pan when we have left overs….soooooo good. I use 5 lb pork shoulder because I prefer to make it once and then freeze leftovers and because I order my meat from Amazon Fresh and this is the only quantity in which they offer pork shoulder. If using a smaller portion of pork, just adjust everything down a bit. You really can’t mess this up.

What you need:

  • 5lb pork shoulder
  • 2-3 sprigs Thyme, preferably fresh
  • 3 tsp whole Juniper Berries (I had to order from Amazon – no local stores carry them. I know what you’re thinking, but get the juniper berries. Just do it.)
  • 3 bay leaves
    1 TBSP salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (fresh ground not required, but I think it’s worth it for this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup water

What to do:
Mix the salt and pepper together and rub all over the pork. Add the water to your slow cooker, then put in the pork, bay leaves, juniper berries and thyme. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high for 6 until the pork shreds easily.

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