Drunken Braised Beef Tacos Topped with Guacamole and Guatemalan Slaw on Homemade Tortillas

I made this dish for a cooking challenge ( waves to the FoodTribers at https://foodtribe.com/) The challenge was to make something that you had never made before so I choose to make homemade tortillas. I’ve watched my mother in law make tortillas and I’ve seen it done in many places, but I was always a little intermediated by it. But a challenge is to push yourself right? I choose to do a beef shoulder roast. I dry brined it over night in a mix of salt and some seasonings then braised in a beer and beef stock medley. Then it’s topped off with some crispy Guatemalan slaw, homemade guacamole and cilantro. I was very pleased at how it all turned out, but I will be honest that some sacrifices were made while making the tortillas…..why do I feel like there should be a “some tortillas were harmed during this process” warning? But it’s the end result that matters right? So lets get to it shall we

Here’s how you can challenge yourself as well:

* 2 1/2 IB beef shoulder roast; I wanted one a little bigger, but that was all that they had at the store. If you are getting a bigger cut, you will want to double the dry rub.

*cilantro

For the Dry Rub/ Brine:

*2 tsp. salt

*2 tsp. brown sugar

*1/2 tsp. dried Chipotle chili, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1/2 tsp. Cumin

*1/2 tsp. coriander

For the braising liquid:

*1 C. beef stock

*1 1/4 C. beer or ale

*1/4 C. orange juice

*1/4 C. lime juice

*2 tsp. worstershiresauce

*2 tsp. soy sauce

*2 TBS olive oil + more for browning the beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

For the Tortillas:

*1 3/4 C. Maseca

Maseca is a ground corn flour that is used to make corn tortillas. It is usually found in the International food isle at the grocery store or you can find it at pretty much any Latin market.

*1/2 tsp. salt

* 1 tsp. lard or Crisco

*1 tsp. chicken stock base; I like to use Better than Bullion brand. It has a really rich flavor

*1C. + 1 TBS hot water; or more if needed

For the Guatemalan Slaw:

See Slow Cooker Apple Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork with Guatemalan Slaw

For the Guacamole

See Cheeseburger with Guacamole, a Fried Egg and Cilantro Mayo

Mix all of the ingredients together for the dry rub.

Pat on the dry rub on all sides of the beef.

Leave uncovered in the refrigerator over night or at least a few hours before cooking.

Take out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking so the beef can come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Mix together all of the braising liquid ingredients, except for the onion and the garlic; set aside.

Heat a dutch oven to medium high heat, add a a little olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Brown the beef on all sides.

Turn the heat down to medium and add in the onions and the garlic, add more oil if the pot seems dry at the bottom.

Cook for about 1 minute, stirring often so the garlic does not burn. Take the pot off of the heat and carefully add in the braising liquid.

Cover and cook for 50 minutes for a 2 IB roast; for a 3 or more cook for aprox 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature is 135°.

While the roast is cooking, make the Guatemalan Slaw and the tortillas.

When the beef is done, take out of the pot and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into bite size pieces. Serve on the homemade tortillas and top with the Guacamole , slaw and any other taco toppings you might like.

To make the tortillas:

In a large bowl, add the Maseca, salt, Lard or Crisco and the chicken stock base. Corn tortillas can be a little bland, so that’s why my mother in law adds chicken stock base to hers… I do the same because she knows how to make these a lot more than I do.

Add in the water and begin mixing it with your hands. You can use a large spoon, but its better to mix it with your hands because you want to kneed the dough as you mix it. If the dough seems too dry, add more hot water 1 TBS at a time. The texture of the dough should not be sticky or too dry. It should have almost the texture of cookie dough. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet….I used a cast iron skillet…to medium heat.

Line a tortilla press with plastic; cut off the top of a zip top bag then cut down both side leaving the bottom connected. It will make a long rectangle. Place the “bag” over the top and bottom part of the press.

Divide the dough into balls, the size of a ping pong ball. Place the dough ball onto the bottom of the press.

Gently press the top of the press down, but not too hard.

Leave the tortilla incased in the plastic and pick it up. This is where I said lots of prayers and held my breath. After several attempts and sacrifices, this seemed to work out the best for getting the tortilla off the plastic without it tearing.

Flip the tortilla over onto your hand. The top of the tortilla should now be on the bottom, gently peel the plastic off, then peel off the tortilla off of the remaining piece of plastic. Lay the tortilla on the griddle (or skillet) by letting bottom of tortilla touch griddle, then lowering your hand slightly and moving it away from you. Do not flip it onto the pan or it will crease.

This was not one of my prettiest ones, but by the time they started looking really nice, I was so excited that I forgot to take more pictures.

Cook about 40 to 60 seconds, when the tortilla starts to pull slightly away from the skillet and turn a little brown in places, flip and cook for another 40 to 60 seconds. Place on a clean towel and wrap. Repeat until each one is cooked. I found out that letting them steam in the towel for about 5 minutes, helped them stay together while eating. If they cool off too much, you can place the wrapped towel in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Serve and Enjoy!

Air Fryer Herb Potatoes

About a month ago, I bought an air fryer.

I had been wanting one for some time, but was skeptical. After seeing a few posted recipes and hearing how much others liked theirs, I decided to go for it. I started trying it out by mainly cooking frozen foods, like french fries, mozzarella sticks, burritos….things like that. So far I’ve been very pleased. After seeing Diane’s tasty air fryer home fries (https://indianeskitchen.com/2020/09/21/air-fryer-home-fries/ )from her site https://indianeskitchen.com/ (which you really should stop by her site because she has some very good recipes and she is such a delightful person.) I thought I should try one of my go to side dishes…my Roasted Potatoes. I was very pleased at how crispy they were and took less time to cook than in the oven. Another plus to cooking in the air fryer, is that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and when you are in the middle of the summer down here in the south, that’s a huge plus.

Here’s what you need to make your own air fryer herb potatoes:

This made 3 servings

*2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces; you can use red or gold potatoes if you prefer.

*1 tsp. garlic powder; or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder; or more to taste

*1 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed; or more to taste

*1 tsp. dried Thyme; or more to taste

*salt and cracked pepper to taste

*1 1/2 TBS. olive oil

Set the air fryer to 400° and run for 5 minutes without anything in the basket to preheat.

While air fryer is preheating, place the potatoes in a large bowl; add all of the ingredients.

Toss to coat the potatoes.

Pour the potatoes in the basket of the air fryer.

Cook at 400° for 10 minutes. Shake the basket and stir the potatoes. Cook for another 6 to 8 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and tender.

Place in a serving bowl and enjoy.

Pan Seared Pork Chops

I picked up some really nice looking pork chops at the grocery store the other day. I usually bread my pork chops and either cook them in the oven or pan fry them, but these were too beautiful to cover up with all that breading, so I decided to pan sear them in a cast iron pan like I do my steaks. I have to tell you, these came out really good. They were juicy and well seasoned, even hubby approved and he’s not a huge fan of pork chops. He likes pork loin and other cuts of pork, but for some reason, not always the chops. But this time, he even went back for seconds.

Here’s what you need:

*boneless pork chops

For the Rub:

*1/2 tsp. salt

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage

*1 1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

*1/4 tsp. white pepper; you can use cracked pepper.

For the cooking of the pork chops:

*1 TBS butter

*drizzle of olive oil for the pan

*2 cloves of garlic, smashed

*1 heaping tsp. dried Rosemary

About 30 to 45 minutes before cooking, lay out the pork chops and dry with a paper towel. Mix together the rub; sprinkle the mixture on to both sides of the pork.

Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of the pan.

When the pan is searing hot, place the pork chop in a single layer.

Add the butter, garlic and Rosemary at the edge of the pan.

When the butter melts, with a spoon slowly baste the pork with the butter mixture.

Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, basting while they cook. Turn the pork over and continue basting. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Take out of the pan and let the pork rest for about 5 minutes and serve.

Easy Salsa

My very first post on my blog was my Salsa recipe for some Super Bowl noshing. Now that football season is back….. much to my hubby’s uncontainable excitement…..I thought why not post my easier version, after all, watching all those games requires some all day football snacking.

Here’s what you need:

*2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

*1 10 0z. can diced tomatoes with green chilies; if you like chilies in your salsa, just add another can of diced tomatoes.

*1 small onion, roughly chopped

*2 cloves of garlic

*1 tsp. garlic powder

* 1 TBS lime juice, or more to taste

* 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

* 1/4 tsp cumin

* 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped; or more or less to taste

In a food processor, add all ingredients except for cilantro. Pulse a few times to mix everything together.

Add cilantro

Pulse until you have desired consistency. Taste to see if you need to add any more spices.

Pour into a serving bowl, grab some chips and commence snacking.

To store, place in a container with a tight fitting lid and place in refrigerator. This can be kept for about 5 days.

Ham, Cheese and Hash Brown Breakfast Sandwich with an Over Easy Egg

My hubby doesn’t cook, but he can come up with some really great ideas for a meal, and in this case, a breakfast sandwich. I’ve made several breakfast sandwiches, but his has crispy hash browns nestled underneath some nice black forest ham, topped with cheese and an over easy egg splashed with a little hot sauce…..all between two thick slices of lightly toasted Italian bread. It was my idea on the lightly toasted, because my hubby’s idea of toasted is bread set on fire and so hard you could probably hammer a few nails with it. Ok, so I might be exaggerating a tad, but he does like his bread on the very well done side….. and you could probably hurt yourself if it was dropped from the wrong angle. He knows I love him and I have to tease him a bit. But now getting back to this hearty breakfast sandwich, here’s what you need to make your own.

*Thick sliced bread; I used sliced Italian

*butter

*1 TBS canola oil, plus more for frying the hash browns

*about 3 C. frozen hash browns

*black forest ham slices

*eggs; 1 egg per sandwich

*salt and pepper to taste

*sliced Colby cheese

Butter one side of each slices of bread (2 slices per sandwich).

Toast bread in the oven or a toaster. I find that toasting several pieces of bread is easier in an oven or toaster oven; set aside.

Preheat oven to 325°

Heat a medium cast iron pan on medium high heat. Add 1 TBS of butter and enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.

When the butter is melted and the pan is hot, add the hash browns in a layer on the bottom of the pan.

Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottom of the hash browns start to turn a golden brown. Turn them over, you may have to turn over a section at a time.

Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. You want to make sure the hash browns are crispy.

While the hash browns are cooking, heat a non stick pan to medium high heat, add 1 TBS of oil. Crack the eggs into the pan.

Season with salt and pepper. When the egg whites are starting to set, gently flip them over and cook for about 30 seconds. If you like a less runny yolk, cook longer.

Time to Build the sandwich:

Place one piece of the bread ( this will be the bottom of the sandwich) on a baking sheet buttered side up. Place the hash browns onto the bread.

Next, pile on the ham.

Add a slice of cheese (or more if you desire) on top of the ham slices.

and now looking at the cheese on the ham in the bottom left corner, I really want to slide it over.

Place into the oven and cook about 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese starts melt. Remove from the oven.

Carefully add the eggs on top of the cheese. I’m pretty sure I held my breath on this one because I was so afraid I was going to bust the yolk on at least one.

Add a few dashes of hot sauce…..

Top with remaining pieces of bread butters side down.

Place on plates and serve.

Pantry Creamy Pasta Salad

I made this from some leftover pasta shells I had from the Shells with a Tomato Vodka Sauce. The ingredients are what I had on hand, but I think bacon, fresh peas, or diced tomatoes would make some great add ins. This serves 2 or 1 if you are really hungry. You can also double it if this going to be used as a side dish.

Here’s what you need:

*2 C. Cooked shell pasta, or any other pasta you prefer; cooled..

*1/2 mayo

*1/4 c sour cream

*2Tbs grated Parmesan

*1 tsp white wine vinegar

*Cracked pepper

*2 tsp dried parsley

*1 tsp dried dill

*Salt to taste

In a bowl, add mayonnaise and sour cream.

Add rest of ingredients and carefully stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Refrigerate if you like it chilled.

Serve as a light lunch or as a side.

Enjoy!

Shells with a Tomato Vodka Sauce

Fresh tomatoes are so good during the summer aren’t they? I wanted to take advantage and use them in this sauce over some pasta shells that I had in my pantry. I did use one can of diced tomatoes as well paired with some vodka, basil, a hint of heat from some chili flakes, Parmesan and a little bit of cream to give this a slight creaminess. This turned out to be a very nice sauce that makes me think of these remaining days of summer.

Here’s what you need:

*1 small onion

*2 large garlic cloves

*4 Roma tomatoes, or any other tomato you might prefer

*salt to taste + 1/2 tsp for the sauce

*olive oil

*15 oz can diced tomatoes

*1 tsp. dried Basil or 1 TBS fresh, chopped Basil

*1/4 tsp red chili flakes, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried parsley or 1 1/2 TBS fresh chopped parsley

*1/4 C. Vodka

*1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

*1/2 C. heavy cream

*1 box of shell pasta

Preheat broiler.

Cut tomatoes in half; cut the onion into quarters. Place on a baking sheet along with the whole cloves of garlic; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Broil until the tomatoes and onion starts to brown a bit; take out the garlic cloves if they start to burn.

Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic and a can of diced tomatoes into a blender.

Yes, I did use canned tomatoes also in this sauce because I like the combination of using the fresh and the canned. The freshness and flavor of the garden tomatoes still comes thru.

Pulse the blender until everything is mixed and the vegetables are finely chopped; set aside.

Start cooking the pasta according to the direction of the package.

Heat a large sauce pan on medium high heat. Pour the tomato mixture into the pan.

Add in basil, chili flakes and vodka.

Stir ingredients together and turn down the heat to medium. Simmer while pasta is cooking, at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

and if you feel the need to save some vodka for yourself while cooking, go ahead, cooking can be a celebration after all.

Take pan off of the heat; stir in the heavy cream, Parmesan and parsley.

Drain the pasta and spoon into serving dishes; add desired amount of the tomato vodka sauce on top and serve.

Cheesy Bacon Hash Brown Waffles Topped with a Fried Egg

I’m once again pulling out the waffle maker to make these cheesy bacon hash brown waffles. These waffles are an alternative to your average breakfast waffles. These are made from hash browns, cheese and what’s not to love….bacon. How can this get even better you ask? Top it with a nice fried egg.

Here’s what you need:

This is for 2 servings (1 waffle each), but you can double this of course to make more. If you are making more servings than your waffle maker holds, place the cooked waffles in a 200° oven so they will stay warm while the others are cooking.

*2 Cups shredded hash browns; I used the frozen kind and thawed them out in the microwave.

*4 eggs, divided

*1 TBS oil

*salt and pepper to taste

*1 1/2 Cups shredded cheese; I used a Colby Monterey Jack blend

*3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat waffle maker and spray with no stick spray.

In a bowl, combine hash browns, 2 eggs, salt and pepper, shredded cheese and bacon.

Mix until blended.

In a non stick pan, cook eggs in about 1 TBS oil on medium to medium high heat until the whites are cooked, but the yolks are still runny; season to taste with salt and pepper.

While eggs are cooking, spoon hash brown mixture onto the waffle maker. Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Place on plates and top with the egg.

Then behold all of that nice egg action when you cut into it. Now stop drooling over mine and go make you some.

Anniversary Dinner and a Tasty Mystery Delight

So today is mine and hubby’s 11th anniversary. No we didn’t go out to a fancy restaurant and I didn’t cook a romantic dinner, instead we both wanted Chinese. Might sound silly to some, but when we were dating, he lived in Boston and I lived…… well down here in SC. We would fly back and forth to see each other as much as we could. On my first trip up there we had spend most of the evening with friends. When we left we were both starving. It was pretty late and there wasn’t much open but this little hole in the wall Chinese place. We ate there and silly as it may sound, it was one of the most memorable dinner “dates” we had. So from then on Chinese food has always been kind of our special thing….. well that and Digiorno pizza for a Thanksgiving dinner, but that’s a post for another time. *whistles softly*. Anyway, so tonight we had our Chinese and as you can see I had waaaay too much…. Cantonese chicken, fried rice, an egg roll, chicken fingers, teriyaki chicken on a stick and some kind of crispy, very tasty fried giant wonton thing.

Ok, not sure what this was and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a giant wonton, but that’s the only way I can describe it. I’m not a master at Chinese food,but it was free and it was good, so there ya go. I think after eating all of this, I’ll be eating salads for a few days.

Baked Spaghetti

Spaghetti with meat sauce is one of those satisfying comfort foods that you can plan for when you are having friends and family over, or you just want to grab a fork and indulge. This is that dish, but imagine some nice, gooey cheese to make it even better. For this I used my Shortcut Meat Sauce, but you can make your own, either way this is definitely a dish that will make everyone happy.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB spaghetti

*my Shortcut Meat Sauce or your own homemade

*3 C. shredded cheese, divided; I used a Colby Jack cheddar blend

Prepare the meat sauce.

While the sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti according to package directions, minus one minute. The pasta will continue to cook while in the sauce, so you do not want the pasta to get over done; drain.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Reserve 2 Cups of the sauce; set aside.

Toss the pasta in the sauce ( not the reserved sauce).

Spray a large baking dish with non stick spray. Spread half of the pasta in the baking dish.

Top with 1 1/2 C. cheese.

Spread 1/2 of the reserved sauce over the cheese.

add remaining pasta mixture on top; spread the rest of the reserved sauce over the pasta.

Top with remaining cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

*Tip* Spray the foil with non stick spray before covering to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.

Uncover and continue to bake for 10 minutes.

take out of the oven and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cut into slices and serve.