Loaded Waffle Tots

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out the waffle maker and tried something new. I had some leftover frozen tater tots and thought I’d try loaded waffle tots….I don’t know why, but I love the sound of waffle tots….makes me happy.

These turned out so crunchy and satisfying with the crispy bacon and melted cheese on the warm tater tots pressed into a delicious waffle, then topped with the cool tang of sour cream and chives. The only thing that I will do a little differently next time, is when making these in a Belgium waffle maker, there needs to be more tater tots on top to fill in the gaps. Other than that these were a hit.

Here’s what you need:

*frozen tater tots; I did not thaw mine

*1/4 cup of shredded cheese per waffle; I used a cheddar Colby jack blend

*2 slices of bacon per waffle, cooked crisp and crumbled

*sour cream, to taste

*dried or fresh chives, to taste

Heat waffle maker and spray with non stick spray. Line the tots on the waffle iron.

If you have a Belgium waffle maker like I used, I recommend placing more of the tots to fill in the gaps. I did not do this the first time. They came out really good, but not as solid as I wanted.

Close the lid and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Carefully remove with a spatula and place on plates.

Sprinkle on the cheese, then add the bacon.

Top with sour cream and chives.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with Guatemalan Slaw

Nope, it’s not Tuesday but who says you have to eat tacos only on a Tuesday. These slow cooker pork tacos are good for any day of the week. All you have to do is throw together some ingredients, marinate the pork then do a nice rub down with some spices and let the slow cooker do all the rest of the work. Look at that tender, tasty pork topped with some crunchy Guatemalan slaw (my version anyway) and cilantro and tucked away in warm tortillas. You know you want one too so go….go and make you a few right now…. ok you can make more than a few, no one will know, I won’t tell.

Here’s what you need:

*aprox 3 LB pork loin; pork shoulder works great too, but this was all my grocery store had at the time.

*1 pkg of flour tortillas

*chopped cilantro for garnish

Marinade:

*1/2 cup orange juice

*1/4 cup lime juice

*1/2 large onion, chopped

*4 garlic cloves

*2 TBS soy sauce

*2 tsp. white wince vinegar

*1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce

*2 tsp. brown sugar

*1/4 cup olive oil

*1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped stems and all

Rub:

*2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. cumin

*1/4 tsp chipotle powder; or more or less to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1/2 tsp. salt

Braising Liquid:

1/2 cup orange juice

2/3 cup sprite, 7 up or Sierra Mist

1/2 large onion, chopped

For the Slaw:

*1 bag of shredded cabbage

*1 TBS Mayonnaise or more to taste

*cilantro, chopped to taste

*olive oil, to taste

*salt to taste

*lime juice, to taste

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients to the marinade

Blend until well combined.

Place the pork in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over the pork; squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible and seal.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night. Turn the bag over at least once during the marinating time.

30 to 45 minutes prior to cooking, pull out the pork from the bag, with paper towels wipe the excess marinade off. You still want to leave some on if possible.

Mix all of the ingredients together for the rub.

Place the pork in to a shallow dish and rub the spice mixture on all sides of the pork.

Let sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together the braising liquid; set aside.

Place the pork in to the slow cooker. If it has a fat cap, that will go right side up. Pour the braising liquid over the top and around the pork.

As you can see, I did not cover the pork over half of the way up with the orange juice mixture. I wanted just enough to give it flavor and tenderize it, but I also wanted the flavor of the pork to shine through instead of the braising mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

While the pork is cooking, mix up the Guatemalan Slaw. See recipe on the link to Slow Cooker Apple Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork with Guatemalan Slaw. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a large cutting board. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

With 2 forks shred the pork.

Place in a bowl or shallow dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Place a tortilla in the pan and heat until it starts to have a few dark spots, about 15 to 20 seconds; flip it over and warm the other side. Repeat with each remaining tortilla.

Place the shredded pork on a tortilla and add any desired condiments such as cheese, sour cream or guacamole. Top with the Guatemalan slaw and cilantro. Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Cheesy Beef Skillet Pasta

This dish is total comfort food. I made this after a really long, stressful day at work and it is definitely a winner. The beefy tomato sauce and pasta make this a really hearty meal, while cream cheese gives it a nice creamy flavor. Then there is the cheese…. I mean, you can never have too much cheese. I had some nice Gruyere and aged cheddar that I grated and threw in some Monterrey jack, it really made this cheese loving girl happy. What’s even better is that it’s all cooked in one pan….yes even the pasta. Can I talk about the pasta for a minute? I found this Conchiglie pasta at one of my Fresh Market stores.

I had never even heard if this one before, but I thought it would hold up great in a beefy tomato sauce. They look like a cross between shells and elbow pasta.

What’s even better, is that all of that beefy sauce and cheese fill up the center of the pasta, then when you bite into it….it is heaven. This dish is definitely for a cheat day, but it’s worth it.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*olive oil

*14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

*28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

*2 tsp. dried Basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried marjoram, or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp salt, or more to taste

*2/3 cup of chicken stock

*2 1/2 cups Conchiglie pasta or elbow pasta, uncooked

*4 oz. cream cheese

*2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

*1/2 cup shredded aged Cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Heat a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan starts getting hot, add the onions and the garlic.

Sauté until the onions just start to get tender, about 2 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to turn brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the ground beef to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high heat if you had to lower it.

Break up the beef while stirring the onions and garlic to combine. Cook until the beef is brown, about 5 to 8 minutes stirring frequently; drain if needed.

Add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine the tomatoes with the onion beef mixture. Next, stir in all of the spices and herbs.

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes; taste and add any more herbs or spices.

Dump in the pasta and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is al dente.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes.

Add the cream cheese to the beef and pasta mixture.

Gently stir until the cream cheese starts to melt, then add in the shredded cheeses.

Stir carefully to melt and combine the cheese with the beef pasta mixture. Do not over mix or the pasta will start to break apart.

When the cheese is melted and heated thru, serve with some nice crusty bread.

Chicken with Herbs, Prosciutto and Fontina Cheese

I made a version of this dish several years ago when I discovered my love of prosciutto and fontina cheese. Since then I’ve tweaked it a bit….well ok a lot. My original version I stuffed the cheese inside the chicken, which was good, but most of the cheese ran out. This time I melted the cheese on top of the prosciutto. I really liked it better this way, not to mention it’s way easier. This chicken packs a lot of flavor. It’s seared with herbs, wrapped in prosciutto and topped with fontina cheese then cooked in a white wine lemon sauce. This dish is great when you want to serve a little something special or you just want something a little different than your everyday chicken dinner.

Here’s what you need:

This Makes 3 Servings

*3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage +1/2 tsp

*1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. dried Thyme

*2 TBS butter divided

*2 TBS olive oil

*Thin sliced prosciutto; 1 or 2 slices per chicken

*Fontina cheese, sliced

*1/2 cup white wine or you can use chicken stock

*1/3 cup chicken stock

*the juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Preheat oven to 400°

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Mix together 1 1/2 tsp sage, oregano and thyme. Season the chicken on both sides with the herb mixture.

and yes, that is one extreme close up of the chicken. I don’t know if I was really hungry or just really getting into the beauty of that chicken.

Take one slice of the prosciutto and wrap it around the chicken.

It’s ok if the prosciutto does not completely cover the back, it will stay once seared.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat and add 1 TBS of butter and the olive oil. When the oil and butter mixture is very hot, add the chicken. I start with the side where the prosciutto may not fully cover the chicken into the pan first.

Cook for about 3 minutes and then turn them over. If the oil and butter mixture seems to get too hot, turn the heat down to medium. Turn the chicken over and cook another 3 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

To the pan add the remaining butter, white wine, chicken stock, lemon and 1/2 tsp. sage. If the heat was at medium, turn it back up to medium high heat until the sauce starts to lightly bubble. Stir with a spoon or whisk making sure to scrape up all of those delicious bits stuck to the skillet that the chicken left behind.

Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the skillet and place into the oven. Cook about 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165.

Top the chicken with the fontina cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted.

Take out of the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Crescent Dogs with Bacon

We had some leftover hot dogs from when I made the air fryer pizza dogs so you probably know me by now that I can’t let anything go to waste, so once again I’m turning to the air fryer. This time I made Crescent dogs….. with bacon. These make a fun lunch or dinner instead of the same old hot dogs. I know I need to practice on my dough wrapping skills for sure, but these are super easy and they do not take long to make. Another plus is the bacon….need I say more? You can also cut the hot dogs in half to make mini crescent dogs for appetizers.

Here’s what you need:

*hot dogs

*1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls; to wrap the whole hot dog I used 2 triangular crescent roll dough pieced together so if you are making more than 4 dogs, you will need 2 tubes (each tube contains 8 small triangles).

*1 slice of bacon per crescent dogs, cooked until semi crisp

Preheat the air fryer at 370°

While air fryer is preheating, unwrap the crescent dough and separate each triangle. Take 2 triangles and pinch them together at the seem to make one larger rectangle. Take one slice of bacon and break into pieces and place the pieces onto the dough.

Next, take one hot dog and lay it horizontally across the top of the dough.

Roll the dough around the the hot dog.

I like leaving the ends of the hot dogs out, but you can form the dough to enclose them if you prefer.

I was afraid that the dough would bake into the holes of the basket of the air fryer, so I placed a piece of parchment paper inside.

My air fryer came with these niffty round ones with holes, but you can cut a sheet of regular size parchment to fit the inside of the basket.

Place the crescent dogs in the basket leaving a space in between each one so they will cook on the sides and so they will not stick together.

I had to do 3 at a time.

Cook for 4 minutes, then turn them over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the dough is cooked all the way through and the hotdogs are cooked as well.

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Carefully remove the crescent dogs and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.