Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 1: Chicken Black Bean Tacos with Spicy Chipotle Sauce

You may be wondering about the title of this post.  What the heck do I mean by Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper?!  Good question.  Once upon a time, I was given a can of Chipotle Peppers from my former boss when their family PCSed.  For those of you who don’t live next door to a military base…that basically means they got orders and moved.  Far away from me.  Boo.  BUT this post is not about my self pity, haha!!!  This post is about Chipotle Peppers.

So, I got this can of Chipotle Peppers.  I had only used them sparingly before, when they were called for in a recipe.  I had never experimented with them before.  Quickly I learned that, although the cans are small…they last a long time cause those bad boys be POTENT!  The realization hit me that….this one little can of peppers could be the inspiration for like 5 meals, because you really only need one per meal to get the spicy smoky delcioiusness laced throughout the whole meal!  So, I officially have 3 meals created from one can of peppers, and at least one more I will soon create with the last pepper or two that I can share with you!  How’s that sound?!  Good?!  Good!!  Let’s get down business!

Sidenote…I can’t take credit for a lot of these ideas.  I took a facebook “survey…”, more of me just asking my friends “What’s your favorite recipe with chipotle peppers?!”  Shout out to Laura Yoder for this beauty!!!  🙂

 

So, here’s what you need!!

  • 1 Package tortillas of choice (Because of the healthy nature of my blog, I went with brown rice tortillas.  I discovered corn tortillas seem to have sugar or corn syrup in them…and you all know flour ones are just…not awesome in the health department. ;))
  • 3 Large Chicken Breasts
  • Taco-y blend of seasonings: You can use my favorite home made taco seasoning recipe, or just do what I did…use what was in the pantry.  I went with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin)
  • 1 C Plain Greek Yogurt (ish)
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
  • Handful fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 lb Black Beans
  • 1 C Corn, fresh or frozen
  • Toppings of choice, ie lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, extra cilantro, etc…

 

And here’s how you do it!!!

 

Chipotle Tacos 11Boil your black beans according to package instructions.  If you want to use a can of black beans you can.  I just love how cheap dry beans are.  And that they don’t have that mystery sludge in the bottom, haha!!

Chipotle Tacos 1Assemble your seasonings, really whatever you want for the chicken!!!  You could even use left over chicken if you want!  🙂

Chipotle Tacos 2As you can see, what I did was just cover the breasts in seasoning!  Throw in your oven and cook until done and juices run clear.  It’s going to depend on how big your chicken is, but usually 30-40 minutes should do it!

Chipotle Tacos 7While that cooks, melt some butter in a cast iron skillet…

Chipotle Tacos 8Toss in your corn…

Chipotle Tacos 9And “fry” just a couple minutes, until it is starting to get browned.

Chipotle Tacos 3Now throw your Greek yogurt, Chipotle Pepper, cilantro, and some of the juice from the lime.  Add some salt and pepper, whiz, then taste and adjust.  You may want to start with half a pepper if you don’t want it to be really spicy.  🙂

Chipotle Tacos 4Whiz it until a nice creamy texture and everything is evenly combined.

Chipotle Tacos 5See?  It’s kinda pretty.  Mr. Rodgers likes this picture better…

Chipotle Tacos 6Artsy fartsy pants.  🙂

Chipotle Tacos 10Is your chicken done yet?  Take it out and shred it with two forks…careful not to burn your little fingers!!

Chipotle Tacos 12You are ready to assemble!  I like doing things buffet style so everyone can customize their dinner!!  Oh, the tortillas are best warmed up a little bit!!

Chipotle Tacos 13Yummy!!  What do you think?!

SO there you go….Chipotle Pepper Post Number 1, down!!!

Alright.  I have to go now.  I am severely distracted by the fact that I am writing this post in the midst of an Audio Adrenaline Rehearsal.  Kinda fun, I have loved this band since childhood and they are at my church right now.  So, I am going to go now!  Thanks for reading guys!!

 

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Bell Pepper Nachos

I love to cook fun, creative, fancy things for dinner.  However, when it comes to lunch I am usually like “meh…let’s make a salad or eat leftovers.”  My inspiration is usually more for evening dinners.  That was always the one meal that was a big deal at my house growing up.  Everybody had their own thing going on during the day, some of us were in school or had jobs, others were sleeping in and wouldn’t even come upstairs till after noon…so ma would just make us a sammich or warm up some of last nights left overs.  However, dinner was different.  Mamma would slave away in the kitchen, sometimes for hours, and as soon as dad got home from working hard all day, she’d wrap it up, dad would stick his pinkies in his mouth and whistle so loud you could hear it no matter where you were and we would all come running to the dinner table.  Everything else stopped when it was dinner time, and we would all be together and enjoy a HUGE tasty meal.  That attitude has kind of carried on through me!!!  However, every now and then I find myself being bothered

Needless to say, when I do create a lunch that is fantastic…something more fun and creative than a roast beef sammich on Ezekiel bread or a grilled Chicken salad…I get SO excited!  That is what this recipe was!!  Pure excitement!!  Something fun for lunch, or snacks, or even a healthier party alternative!!!  YAAAAAY!!!  You could even make it for dinner too!  I just adored not only the flavors, but the colors!  I love making things with a taco-y flavor that are decently healthy, because my husband is in love with tacos but doesn’t get them often any more  because of our new lifestyle goals.  This made him happy, as you will see in the pictures below!  🙂  The only reason I do not feel like I can claim that these are perfectly healthy is because I used refried beans to hold all the ingredients together.  Apparently they have lard in them, haha.  Funny thing is…we don’t really mind animal fat…but just the fact that they are called reFRIED beans tells me something.  If you want to be better you can skip them, your ingredients may just fall out of your bell pepper “chips” easier.  🙂  Read on!!

Inspired by tasteofhome.com.

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • A Bell Pepper of each color (Red, Yellow, Orange, Green)
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1-2 C Cheddar, Shredded
  • 1 Recipe Taco Seasoning
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Can Refried Beans (If anyone has a good home made recipe, please share!!)
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Toppings (Optional…we didn’t use any but I can imagine salsa, guacamole, and sour cream would be tasty!)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Mix together your taco seasoning mix.  Alternately, you can use a packet.  It is a little easier, but less healthy I do believe.  And you can’t adjust it to your own tastes.  I like it that when you make your own you can make it as spicy or mild as you want, and I always add extra cumin.  🙂
  3. Brown your beef and drain excess fat.  Return to burner and season with taco seasoning.  I would start with 2-3 Tbsp, and adjust to your tastes after that.  Add a small amount of water, stir, and let simmer.  (Do not add as much water as you would for a packet, unless you plan to add flour or something to thicken it.)  Set aside until the rest of your prep is done.  You can keep it on low on the burner if you want.  🙂
  4. Cut your bell pepper into 1-2 inch chunks.  I will show you how I did this in my pictures, mine turned out kind of like scoops!  I cut my peppers into halves, then 1/4, then cut each 1/4 in half short ways, then trimmed off the ribs and seeds. It will make more sense with the pictures. 😉
  5. Chop your jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro.
  6. Place your bell pepper “chips” out on a foil lined cookie sheet.
  7. Spread a layer of refried beans in the bottom of each bell pepper piece.
  8. Place a small spoonful of taco meat on top of refried beans and gently press it into the beans.
  9. Top with tomatoes, jalapeno, and cheddar.
  10. Place under broiler until cheese has melted, and everything is heated through.
  11. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  12. Serve, and enjoy!!  Super fun, super tasty…feels like you are eating naughty junk food…but really, you aren’t doing too bad! 😉

Let me know what you think.  What would you put on bell pepper chips?!

 

Peectures!!

Bell Pepper NachosFirst, mix up your taco seasoning!  Feel free to adjust the heat, this recipe is a little more spicy than the packet so if you like it more mild, either omit the red pepper flakes or cut out part of the chili powder.  You can always add heat later!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 6

Put your beef in a pan and get it browning!!  Drain the excess fat…

Bell Pepper Nachos 8

 

Season with taco seasoning to your own tastes, start with a couple Tablespoons, then taste and adjust 🙂  Add a small amount of water and let it cook down.  Don’t add tons of water because it won’t thicken quite like a taco seasoning packet, unless you add flour of course.  Set aside until you are ready to use!

Bell Pepper Nachos 1

 

Now start your veggie prep!  Isn’t that a pretty picture?!

Bell Pepper Nachos 2You don’t have to cut your bell pepper “chips” exactly how I did…but this is one way to do it if you feel lost! First, cut it in half…

Bell Pepper Nachos 3Then into fourths…

Bell Pepper Nachos 4Then cut each fourth into half short ways…aka across the width.

Bell Pepper Nachos 5Now remove the ribs and seeds and look!  You have scoops!!  Yaaaaaay scoops!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 9Now for the layer of refried beans!! Lookin tasty already!

Bell Pepper Nachos 11

 

Add a small spoonful of beef to each, and smoosh it down into the beans a bit.  Top with tomatoes, jalapenos, and cheddar!

Bell Pepper Nachos 10

 

Bell Pepper Nachos 12

 

Now slide it into your oven and broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through!!  Now you have bell pepper nachos, yaaaaaay!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 13

 

Sooooo tasty!  Make sure to sprinkle with cilantro….I forgot until we had already eaten 3/4 of them and I was so upset!

Bell Pepper Nachos 14

 

Now go serve them nachos to a cutie like this!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 15

 

Hahhahaaaa…..I just love that man!!  He loves nachos!!!  He gives this recipe two thumbs up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannon Beach Tacos

Why Cannon Beach tacos?  Well…I call them tacos, because they have all the satisfying tastes of tacos with most of the same components.  Why Cannon Beach?  Because the website where I first found inspiration for this recipe calledtheirs Haystacks.  Cannon Beach is in Oregon, not far from my 19 year home in Washington…and it is home to Haystack Rock.  When I put this fantastic entree together, I felt like I was molding miniature Haystack Rocks on my plate.

Haystack Rock.  Probably one of my favorite places on earth.  Beautiful, unmatched scenery…the rocks rising from the ocean like nothing you’ve ever seen.  And when the tide goes out you can crawl over the smaller rocks to the base of the Haystack and explore the countless tide pools full of anemones that will squirt at you when you poke them, shy little hermit crabs that will come out and say hello if you hold still long enough…little shrimp that you can barely see and whole walls of starfish of all shapes and colors!  Ooooh!  I know!  I’ll stop trying to describe it and just show you!!  Do you mind a little detour?  🙂  One of my favorite things about Haystack Rock is that you may have seen it before, you just don’t know it.  I am in New York and have found multiple pictures of it in artwork all the way over here…even on my boss’s fridge, and in Home Depot!!

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There it is.  Haystack Rock.  Isn’t it just…majestic?  When I am there…it’s almost spiritual how beautiful it is.  Props to my brother Gabe for taking such awesome pictures 🙂

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The smaller rocks surrounding Haystack…

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These are the guys that will squirt you in the face if you’re not careful!  But it’s probably my fault for poking them and watching them close up like a flower at dusk…

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This was me, talking to Jesus.  It is my favorite place to meet with Him.  Splashing through the receding waves at the base of the Rock, enjoying peace in my soul.  Didn’t realize that the brother was taking pictures of me 🙂

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Me and mommy, holding some starfish that a man had taken from the wall…which you are not supposed to do!  You can hurt the poor creatures.  But since he already taken them we grabbed a picture with them.66257_101573556576608_3075738_n

The starfish wall!!65749_101572666576697_7397544_n

It takes my breath away!! 🙂

So, now on to the food version of Haystack Rock.  Food food food.

This is my Mr. Rodgers’ new favorite meal.  BY FAR.  It made quite a bit of food, so we ate leftovers for lunch and dinner a couple of days.  He legitimately got upset when he went to the fridge to grab some leftovers and they were gone.  He whined for me to make more, even though I hadn’t planned ahead to have the ingredients.  Poor fella.  He is in love with tacos.  Extremely.  And this filled his taco craving without having to ingest the tortilla and any other ingredients that are questionable when it comes to health.  It makes me so happy that I can serve him his favorite meal without feeling like I am compromising his health 🙂

Adapted from http://wholeandfree.blogspot.com.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 3 Cups All Natural Salsa (Check your label, organic is best…with no sugar!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Avocadoes (Or prepared Guacamole)
  • 2 Mangoes, Chopped
  • Fresh Cilantro, Chopped (For garnish)
  • 1 C Quinoa (Uncooked)
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 Lime

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa.  Follow the directions for your brand, or…bring 2 Cups of water to a boil.  Squeeze the juice of HALF of the lime into the water, and stir in the quinoa.  Turn the heat to Medium-low and let simmer about 12 minutes, until the liquid is dissolved.  Take off heat and let sit.  Stir in chopped cilantro.
  2. In a large saute pan, place the ground turkey and chopped onion and let it start browning.
  3. Add garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper and stir in.  Brown the turkey all the way.
  4. Add the salsa, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 2o minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, chop your mango and extra cilantro.
  6. Chop your avocados and place in a bowl.  Squeeze the last half of the lime on top, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want.  I used a little Mrs. Dash, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and a dash of hot sauce.  Mash it lightly with a fork so it starts to get creamy but is still chunky.
  7. Now, time to assemble!!  I was wishing I had one of those handy little food forms they use on Iron Chef America to help me build my haystacks…but I don’t.  SOOOO I started with a 1/2 C measuring cup, packed the cilantro lime quinoa into it, and turned it upside down on the plate so it stayed in a nice form.  I then repeated the same thing with the meat mixture, but didn’t pack it as full.  Then smeared on some guac, dropped on some mango, and sprinkled with fresh cilantro.  They look beautiful.  And taste even better.  Please don’t skip any of the ingredients…because its so worth it.  The mango is a perfect pop of color and flavor in the mix.  Ahhhh!  Let me show you my pictures!

Start your quinoa cooking with half a lime squeezed into the water.  Stir in a bunch of chopped cilantro when it is finished.  Set aside.

Mexican Haystacks 1Throw your chopped onion and ground turkey into a large pan and get it cooking.  Add Cumin, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper.

Mexican Haystacks 0.5

When it is browned, stir in salsa.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Mexican Haystacks 2

Yum.  Meanwhile, chop your extra cilantro and mango.

Mexican Haystacks 5

See?  It just needs to be in cubes.  SOOOO TASTY.  Now start your guacamole.  I start by cubing my avocados so I will have a but of chunkiness in my guacamole.  Use a knife to cut it into cubes while still in the skin, then simply use a spoon to go around the avocado between the skin and flesh and let it drop into a bowl.

Mexican Haystacks 3

Now mash gently with salt, pepper, 1/2 lime juice, and any other seasonings you want.  I used a dash of hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash, and a bit of chili powder.

Mexican Haystacks 4

Yum!  Now construct!!  First, your cilantro lime quinoa, you can use a measuring cup to form it.

Mexican Haystacks 6

Now add your meat, guacamole, mango, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Mexican Haystacks 11

YES!!!  SO TASTY!!!

Mexican Haystacks 10

Mexican Haystacks 8

Here it is with my simple roasted asparagus.

Mexican Haystacks 9

Here’s to you, Haystack Rock!!!  Thank you Jesus for Cannon Beach Tacos 😀Mexican Haystacks 7

Quick Note…a Tasty Taco Seasoning Recipe

I am just giving all my faithful followers a quick little post, because I have to run out the door and get groceries before our youth group summer kick off barbecue! That is…if I can stand up. This warm blanket, cuddley puppy, and the fact that I ran 5 miles this morning are not helping. Ha!!

So, if you have read my posts for long, you will know that I despise the fact that there is so much hidden crap in so many innocent looking foods. One of which is the taco seasoning packets. I haven’t done the research to figure out what is actually in there…partly just because I don’t wanna know…but I’m sure it’s not good.

However. Pretty easy fix. Turns out you can get a close flavor more customized to your likes…and from stuff you should have right in your cabinets!!! I thought I would share with you the recipe that I have been using the past month or so. Good old allrecipes.com to the rescue!!

So, without further ado…here ya go! Click here to see my discovery!! Much better than the packets, and you can play with it to make it what you like. I haven’t gone as far as to make my own garlic powder and spices yet…but I believe this is a step in the right direction 🙂 Enjoy!

Taco Seasoning

Fish Tacos with Peach Salsa

So recently I got an alert on my iPhone informing me that it is time for the new ios upgrade.  Well I went to start the upgrade, it wouldn’t let me because appaaaaaarently there isn’t enough room left on the darn thing!  There is a point to my story, I promise!   I figured since I have like 600 pictures on my phone…that might be the first place to start to clear some space!  As I was going through the pictures, I found some great photos in the ol’ archives…wonderful meals that I had made a long time ago, but never blogged about!!  And I even remember where to find some of the recipes so now I can share them with you yaaay!!  Oldies but goodies I like to say!!!  Here is one that is definitely a treat, especially if  you are as freakishly passionate about TACOS as this family of Rodgers’ is!  Before the diet…we had them almost once a week, all different kinds!  Chicken, fish, beef, pork…mmmm!!!  Maybe I can share some of the recipes when we have “cheat” nights, so I can take pictures!  Cause food blogs without pictures are kinda dumb, right?  ANYWHO!  I get sidetracked!!  This one, I DO have a picture of. 🙂  I know it’s not a perfect picture, but it works, right?!  🙂  It’s good enough to make me want another one…right NOW!

Photo (8)

This one is from the wonderful myrecipes.com… 🙂

So, here’s what you need:

Tacos:

  • 1 lb tilapia, cut into strips
  • 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if you are using salt that is smaller grains, start by using 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if that’s gonna be too spicy, switch to chile powder or paprika)
  • Tortillas (of course for corn tortillas are what you’re supposed to use for fish tacos, but we prefer flour :))

Salsa:

  • 2 C diced peach (they say to peel it…I did that but definitely don’t think that was necessary)
  • 1/2 C diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (same deal…if its not kosher, halve it)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Combine all of the salsa ingredients and let sit while you prepare the rest of the tacos.  Feel free to taste and adjust!!
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. For the tacos: Combine the panko with the remaining salt and cayenne in a shallow bowl.
  4. Put your fish slices in the bowl and toss till they are lightly coated.  Because the aim of this recipe is to be somewhat “light,” you aren’t gonna get tons of panko, just enough for a nice crunch.  If you want more covering, whip up an egg in another shallow bowl and dip your fish in that first, then the panko coating.
  5. Grease a baking dish, and place the coated fish in a single layer in it.
  6. Bake in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes, turning once.
  7. Warm your tortillas…place them on a plate under a damp paper towel and microwave 30 seconds-1 minute.
  8. Serve fish and salsa in tortillas, with whatever extra toppings you desire!  Lettuce, cheese, tomatoes (ew), whatever… Have fun!  Super great dish!  I LOVE making me some fresh salsa!!!!