Sunday, June 30, 2013


Homemade tacos is a "go-to" recipe in my house. They are easy to whip together for a quick, weeknight meal. For several years, I purchased the taco seasoning packets from the store. The packets are okay but contain a lot of sodium. I stumbled across a recipe by Rachel Ray where she makes her own homemade seasoning using equals parts chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. I started out by experimenting with her version until I came up with my own seasoning.

Homemade Tacos
from Tasteful Cuisine

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves smashed and chopped
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup of water
Toppings: Chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream

In a 12 inch skillet, brown the hamburger and onion. Once the hamburger is cooked through, drain and return to heat. Create a "hot spot" for the garlic and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rest of the seasonings and allow them heat until they too are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the water and allow to simmer for at least ten minutes.* Once the water is evaporated, taste the meat and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Spoon taco meat onto tortillas and top with lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa. 

*The longer the the meat is simmered, the more flavorful and tender the meat becomes. Simmer for at least ten minutes but preferably for thirty minutes.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Smashed, Rosemary Potatoes

Nothing compliments dinner like a good, hearty potato. I love potatoes anyway they come: baked, fried, mashed and smashed! I'm not sure where this recipe originated. My mother made a similar recipe growing up and I have now devised my own version. I recently watched an episode of, America's Test Kitchen and they made a similar version of smashed potatoes and it inspired me to try these potatoes again. Start by boiling the potatoes until they are tender (but not falling apart) and then drain and cool. It is very important that they potatoes cool completely as it will make the smashing process much easier. Once the potatoes are cool, smash them with a potato masher, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, black pepper and herbs. Bake them until they are golden brown and you have yourself an excellent side dish with any meal. Let's get started:

Smashed, Rosemary Potatoes

6 small, yellow potatoes (red would also work great)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I sprig plus 1 tablespoon Rosemary
I tablespoon Fresh Chives
Coarse Kosher or Sea Salt
Coarse Ground Black Pepper

First, scrub potatoes under water until clean. In a saucepan, place clean potatoes and fill with water, just covering the potatoes. Add one sprig of rosemary and a dash of salt to the pan. Bring to a boil and boil the potatoes over medium high heat about 30-35 minutes or until tender. Test one potato by inserting a paring knife. If the knife inserts and comes out easily the potatoes are ready. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a tea towel to dry and cool completely. Once the potatoes are cool, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare your potatoes by brushing with olive oil and placing on a greased (with olive oil) cookie sheet. Brush your potato masher with olive oil (to prevent sticking) and smash each potato. Drizzle each potato with olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle each potato with freshly chopped chives. I served these alongside some baked chicken and a fresh garden salad. They compliment almost any meal and would be a great side dish for your summer barbeques.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Egg Salad Sandwich for One

Nothing beats a good hearty sandwich. Summertime is here and I love packing easy, cold lunches for work. Egg salad can be prepared ahead of time and ready to go for your lunch bag or picnic lunch. My husband won't eat egg salad so I usually just make enough for myself. Of course, the recipe can be doubled, tripled, and so on.

Egg Salad Sandwich
From Tasteful Cuisine

2 hard boiled eggs
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 Teaspoon Dijon mustard (or any flavor of mustard you like)
Freshly ground black pepper
Celery seed
2 slices of hearty, wheat bread

Place two fresh eggs in a small saucepan, fill with water and cover. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off and remove the saucepan from heat. Leave covered for 15 minutes to finish cooking. Drain the water and transfer eggs to ice water to "shock" the eggs. Cool Completely. Once the eggs are cooled, crack and peel the eggs. Dice the eggs into a small dish. Mix Eggs, mayonnaise, mustard and a generous pinch each of black pepper and celery seed. Chill the salad for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving. Serve on bread with lettuce and any other toppings of your choice.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Homemade Fresh Salsa

I recently made a trip to our local farmer's market. One vendor had some beautiful, ripe, red tomatoes that I couldn't resist. Homegrown tomatoes are excellent for fresh salsa (or just plain eating!). I decided to make a small batch of this simple salsa that was the perfect amount for my husband and I (with a little bit leftover).


Two Large Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
2-3 Tablespoons Chopped Green Onions
2 Cloves of Garlic, Smashed
3 slices of Jarred Jalapeno
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Salt to Taste

Rough chop the tomatoes into large chunks. Put in food processor along with the cilantro, green onions, garlic, jalapeno, sugar and pinch of salt. I used mild, jarred jalapeno and only used three slices for a mild salsa. If you like a hot version, add more jalapenos or use a fresh jalapeno for an added kick! Pulse until ingredients are chopped finely but not pureed, about 10-12 pulses. Serve with tortilla chips. I made tacos for dinner and this salsa was an excellent topping!