#SundaySupper Red Potato and Grilled Corn Salad

Happy Sunday! Today’s #SundaySupper theme is garden recipes. I was thrilled when I found out what this weeks theme was going to be. I love growing fresh herbs in the summer and using them in my recipes. They really brighten a dish. I made red potato and grilled corn salad with a chipotle lime vinaigrette for this week’s #SundaySupper. It’s perfect for summer picnics, barbecues, and deck parties. Not only is this salad delicious, it’s healthy. There is no mayo in this salad.

This salad is full of fresh garden ingredients:  red potatoes, radishes, grilled sweet corn, scallions, and fresh cilantro.

The vinaigrette that tops the salad is amazing. It’s made with spicy chipotles, tart limes, and sweet honey. Sweet, tart, and spicy is my favorite combination.

This salad is extremely easy to throw together. That’s what I love about. If you have a last minute party to attend, don’t worry, this salad can be made in 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Check out the other garden recipes that my fellow foodie friends are cookin’ up for this weeks #SundaySupper:

Cocktails and Wine Pairings: 

Appetizers:

Entrees:

Side Dishes:

Dessert:

XO,

Jennie

Recipe:

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and chunked into 1-inch cubes

3 ears fresh corn, husked

6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tbs. fresh lime juice

2 tbs. chipotle in adobo (I keep a bowl in my fridge already chopped and ready to use)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup light olive oil

4 tsp. honey

pinch of cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, add some salt to flavor the potatoes, about 1/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until tender when pierced with a knife or fork, about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, drain and rinse with cold water. Add potatoes to a large bowl.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat a gas or charcoal grill (feel free to use an indoor grill). Drizzle corn with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook the corn directly over the heat until the kernels are brown all over, turning often, about 8 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels off the cob. Add corn, scallions, radishes, and cilantro to the bowl with the cooked potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, chipotle in adobo, garlic, honey, and cayenne. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour vinaigrette over potato mixture. Toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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#SundaySupper Meatball Subs

Meatballs, anyone? I decided to use the leftover marinara sauce from the chicken parmesan I made last Sunday to make meatball subs for #SundaySupper this week. I’m known for my meatballs. It took me a couple of years to get the recipe just right. They have a lovely depth of flavor, and they are super moist and tender. Everything a meatball should be. They really are the perfect meatball.

My dad claims that his meatballs are better than my meatballs (um, this is so not true). This argument has been going on for years. So, I decided that we need to do something to end the ongoing argument. We’re going to have a meatball throw down- Bobby Flay style. I’m going to gather up some taste testers, and we’re going to have a full on meatball battle. We’ll see who has the best balls in Baltimore. That’ll be me. This girl right here. If you’re reading this, dad, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Sorry, but you’re going down.  I’ll keep you posted on who wins this epic battle of the balls.

Okay, I’m not going to lie, photographing the meatball sub was a challenge. They’re just not aesthetically pretty. They taste damn good, but they’re hard to photograph. You have to be quick because the cheese starts to melt, and the sub begins to open and spread apart. Like I said, quite challenging.

You know what else is challenging? Getting your mouth wrapped around the sub to take a bite. It took some squeezing and stuffing, but I managed to fit it in. I had to expand my jaws a bit.

Have plenty of napkins on hand when eating this sub because it can get pretty messy. You know it’s a good sub when it’s a messy sub. Oh, there will be a marinara mustache. Enjoy your #SundaySupper with your loved ones.

Check out what my foodie friends are cooking up for #SundaySupper:

Lane from Supper for a Steal is making her Chicken Tortellini Soup Recipe

Sasha from Rambling Notebook  is making her Crock Pot Curried Carrot Ginger Soup

Amrita from Beetles Kitchen is making her Vegetable Manchurian Recipe

Pam from The Meltaways is making her Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Carla from Chocolate Moosey is making her Sweet Chili Wings Recipe

Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake is making her Creme Brûlée French Toast (Yum, breakfast for dinner)

Lyn from Lovely Pantry is making her Butternut Squash and Aspragus Risotto

Karen from Notes from the Cookie Jar is making her Chickpea Masala Sandwiches

Anuradha from Baker Street is making her Blueberry Lime Bread

Recipe:

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I used 85/15)

1/2 lb. ground pork

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, chunked

1/2 cup onion, chunked

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 egg

1/2 tsp. italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. season salt

2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 recipe marinara sauce

2 cups shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

6 sub rolls

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling grate on top of the aluminum foil.

In the bowl of a food processor, add onions, green peppers, and garlic. Pulse until the mixture becomes a fine mince. If the mixture becomes watery, drain some of the juice before adding it to the meat mixture.

In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, salt, pepper, season salt, italian seasoning, parsley, egg, worcestershire sauce, dijon, veggie mixture, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Mix to combine.

Roll the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them on the cooling grate. Bake for 25 minutes to brown. When your meatballs are finished baking, add the meatballs to the pot with the marinara sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Slice the sub rolls and add 4-5 meatballs to each roll. Top with desired amount of cheese (um, tons) and bake for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Helpful kitchen tidbit:  To make it even easier, you can add the marinara sauce and browned meatballs to a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Simple #SundaySupper Chicken Parmesan

Happy Sunday! You know what Sunday means. That’s right, it means it’s time for #SundaySupper. My friend Isabel over at Family Foodie is on a mission to bring back Sunday supper around the family table. I believe in Isabel’s mission whole heartedly. It’s important to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. My family means the world to me. They keep me going through tough times and inspire me to be my best. I don’t know where I would be if it I didn’t have my family to back me up.

I made a simple chicken parmesan for Sunday supper. Today wasn’t the best day to take pictures because of the dreary, rainy weather, but I made it work. As soon as I was finished taking pictures, I turn around to my husband waiting, bowl in hand, for his share of the chicken parmesan. Chicken parmesan happens to be one of his favorite meals. He gets excited when it shows up on the menu.

I made my simple homemade marinara sauce for this meal, but you can just as easily open up your favorite jar of marinara to make it even easier. I make a ton of marinara, separate it into freezer bags, and store it in the freezer for later use. It really comes in handy, and it’s very economical. Plus, it’s tastier than its jarred counterpart.

Make sure you check out some of the other Easy #SundaySupper meals that my fellow foodie friends have cooking up in their kitchens:

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce by Renee from Magnolia Days

Caprese Pasta by Jen from Juanita’s Cocina 

Chicken Popovers by Pam from The Meltaways 

Spicy Bacon Burgers by Lane from Supper for a Steal

Caprese Grilled Cheese by Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Simple Ollive Oil Pasta by Carla from Chocolate Moosey 

Nutella Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake by Anuradna from Baker Street 

Soothing Papaya Ginger Lemon Smoothie by Sunithi from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz

Mini Peanut Butter and Chocolate Trifles by Angie from Big Bears Wife

Mediterranean Marinated Lamb Chops with Spaghetti alla Carbonara by Rashmi from The Primlani Kitchen

I love chicken parmesan because it’s a rustic and hearty meal. It’s guaranteed to satisfy your guests. Plus, you can place the pasta and the chicken in a large serving bowl, set it in the center of your table, and let your guests serve themselves. Trust me, you’ll have a swarm of people fighting over who gets served first.

Add a fresh garden salad, and you have yourself the perfect #SundaySupper meal to enjoy with your loved ones.

Happy eating!

Marinara:

1 green pepper, diced

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

2- 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 tbs. sugar

1 tsp. italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. dried basil (2 tbs. fresh basil)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan, heat 2 tbs. of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, green pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are tender, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, italian seasoning, basil, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Use an immersion blender to blend the marinara until smooth. If you like chunky marinara, skip the previous step. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

Chicken:

6 chicken breasts

2 cups bread crumbs (I used the italian-style variety)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

4 eggs

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, or lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 lb. spaghetti

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Pound out the chicken until it’s about a 1/2-inch thick. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. To a second shallow bowl, add eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper, whisk to combine.

In a large pan, add about 3-4 tbs. of olive oil. Dip your chicken in the egg mixture, then dip it directly in the bread crumb mixture. Coat the chicken really good on both sides. Do this to the remaining 5 chicken breasts. Add the breaded chicken to the hot pan. You may need two pans for 6 pieces of chicken, depending on how big a pan you have. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Top each piece of chicken with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese. Transfer the pan, or pans, to the oven. Cook for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and chicken finishes cooking.

Cook your spaghetti following the instructions of the pasta box.

Serve the parmesan chicken on top of the cooked spaghetti and top with marinara and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Sunday Supper Chicken Pot Pie

I know today isn’t Sunday, but after cooking, cleaning, and cycling yesterday, I was too tired to post my #SundaySupper recipe. So, I’m posting it today. I made chicken pot pie. I believe chicken pot pie can be categorized as comfort food. It’s the type of dish that makes you feel warm inside. The buttery crust melts in your mouth, and the creamy filling is full of tender, moist chicken and wholesome veggies. If that’s not comfort, I don’t know what is. There are a lot of steps to this pie, but they’re not hard. It took me about 30 minutes to put the entire pie together. It was totally worth it. I did cheat a little. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I used a store bought rotisserie chicken for the pie. It was delicious. Life gets busy sometimes, so why not make it easy on yourself. It was either go for a bike ride or cook a chicken. I totally chose the bike ride. Besides, I’d rather spend more time at the table with loved ones than in the kitchen by myself talking to a chicken.

It was such a lovely day in Baltimore for a bike ride yesterday. The weather was beautiful. It was sunny and 83 degrees. I’m new to cycling. So far, I love it. The open road and the fresh air- pure bliss. I have to tell you, I’m a wee bit intimidated by busy roads. I fear getting run over by a car. I know vehicles and cyclists are supposed to share the road. I totally get that concept, but I don’t think Joe Schmo in big blue has a clear understanding of that rule. I’ve been staying on smaller, less busy side streets. Maybe one day I’ll become a brave cyclist.

Not only did I have to worry about crazy drivers yesterday, but I had a run in with a swarm of bees. Anyone who knows me knows I have a huge fear of bees. No, I’m not allergic, just deathly afraid of them. As I was riding my bike (I was on the sidewalk since I fear the road), I came up to a row of cypress trees. What I didn’t know was there was a swarm of bees occupying the space by the trees. I found out a little too late. I rode directly through the bees. I had nowhere to go. There were trees to my left and the curb leading to oncoming traffic to my right. I have never rode so fast in my life. Let me just tell you, the bees were not happy that I interrupted them. I had a few bees follow me. I almost fell off the curb into oncoming traffic. It was not a pretty sight. I’m sure the people in the cars thought I was crazy. My arms were flailing all around to shoo the bees, the bike was wobbling, and I was screaming. Did I mention that I hate bees!

Sorry for that long interruption. Back to the chicken pot pie.

There’s nothing like gathering the family around the table to enjoy a home-cooked meal. Isabel from Family Foodie created #SundaySupper to get the family back together to do just that. We’re often too busy to set aside time for family, but Isabel has reminded us that nothing is more important than family.

This pie is full of hearty chunks of veggies and tender chicken. I made a béchamel sauce to pour over the chicken and veggie mixture. Don’t let the word béchamel intimidate you. It’s so easy to make. If you’ve ever made mac and cheese, you have more than likely made a béchamel. It’s just a cream sauce that’s made with milk and thickened with a roux. Super simple- I promise.

Mmm, look at the flecks of fresh thyme. My pot pie didn’t last long. It’s gone! My husband ate the last piece for lunch today.

Enjoy!

Recipe:

adapted from ad hoc at home

Crust:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbs. vegetable shortening

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1/4-1/2 cup ice water

I prefer using a food processor to make my dough, but you’re welcome to mix it by hand. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of your food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening, and pulse until just combined. The dough should come together slightly when pinched with your fingers. It will look like wet sand. Add the water through the opening at the top of your mixer while simultaneously pulsing the mixture. Add the water just until the mixture forms a ball. Once that happens, your done. Empty the dough out of the food processor onto a floured surface. Kneed the dough until it just comes together. Shape the dough into a 1-inch thick disk, and then wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Filling:

1 cup red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 1/4 cups carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup vidalia onions, chopped

1 1/4 cups celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs

20 peppercorns

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)

Put the potatoes in a small sauce pan with water to cover and add 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, and 10 peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until just tender, 8-10 minutes. In a different sauce pan, add the carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, thyme sprig, and remaining 10 peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the veggies, and discard bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns. Add cooked veggies, frozen peas, frozen corn, and shredded chicken to a large bowl. Toss to combine and set aside.

Bechamel:

3 tbs. unsalted butter

3 tbs. all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk

2 thyme sprigs

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine milk, 2 thyme sprigs, and smashed garlic. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. This helps infuse the milk with the flavors of the thyme and garlic. Strain the milk. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly (I used a flat whisk. It’s great for getting into the corners of the sauce pan). Whisk in the warm milk and lower the heat to keep the béchamel at a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, about 30 minutes. Once the sauce has reduced, add the salt, pepper, cayenne, parmesan cheese, and chopped thyme. Take off the heat and pour over the vegetable and chicken mixture. Toss to combine.

To Assemble:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9- or 10- inch pie plate.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut the dough in half. Place one of the halves back in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it out to a 13- to 14- inch round, about 1/8 inch thick: roll outward from center, rotating the dough frequently and adding a little flour to the work surface or the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to your greased pie plate, gently easing the dough into the corners and up the sides. Cut off any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears. Roll the second half of the dough out the same way.

Scatter the vegetable and chicken mixture into the pie shell. Cover the filling with the second pie crust and press the edges of the dough together to seal. Trim away the excess dough that overhangs the rim. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the crust with a beaten egg. Cut 4 slits into the top of the crust with a paring knife to allow steam to escape.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. When the pie is finished cooking, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the pie into wedges and serve. Enjoy!

Creamy Dill Dip

It’s quite a dreary day in Baltimore. It’s cloudy, cold, and gray outside. The weather has been so erratic this season. I mean, it was just 80 degrees and sunny this past Thursday. I was so excited that I cleaned off my deck in preparation for sittin’ and sippin’ on some cold beverages while reading. Apparently, I’m going to have to wait a little longer.

Since I’m stuck inside today, I decided to utilize the time to create some deliciousness. I should be working on a research paper, but, as usual, I’m procrastinating. I’m a huge procrastinator. I do some of my best writing under pressure. Who can write a boring old research paper when you’ve got food on the brain? Certainly not me. So, I decided to whip up one of my favorite dips- dill dip. I love the stuff. It’s creamy and dilly (is that even a word).

This dip pairs well with fresh cut up veggies and chunks of rye or pumpernickel bread. I didn’t have any bread, but I had tons of veggies just waiting to be eaten in my fridge. If you’re having a party or taking this to a party, you can hollow out the inside of a round loaf of your favorite bread and serve the dill dip in the bread. The best part is eating the bread bowl after the dill dip is gone. Yum!

This dip is a huge crowd pleaser. I’ve taken it to several parties, and it’s always the first to go. The dip is creamy and light. I use light sour cream to cut back on the calories. Don’t worry, you can’t even tell the difference. They’ll never know they’re eating something healthy. I add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice to freshen it up and give a lovely crisp flavor. The lemon juice cuts through the richness of the sour cream, creating a very refreshing dip.

I usually make this dip and cut up some fresh veggies to eat throughout the week. I have one of those tupperware veggie and dip keepers with the lid, so I keep in that and store it in the fridge. Having this dip around helps assuage my temptation for cookies, cake, and pie- oh my! I’m less tempted to shove fistfuls of cookies in my mouth if I have something healthy to snack on. Enjoy!

Love and healthy snacking,

Jennie

Recipe:

1- 16oz. container of light sour cream

1/4 cup mayo

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tbs. dry dill (1/2 cup fresh)

1 1/2 tsp. Bon Appetit seasoning salt (McCormick makes it)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients. Whisk until combined. Serve with fresh veggies or chunks of your favorite bread.

Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce

Have you ever heard of the “No recipe recipe?” It’s a recipe, yet it’s not a recipe. What? I didn’t really understand its concept until I was in the kitchen the other night experimenting with a pasta sauce. Now, I completely understand the idea behind the no recipe recipe. It allows the cook the ability to impart their own creativity and flavors into a dish. It’s actually quite brilliant. It gives the base for a recipe, but allows room for flexibility. It’s good for the timid cook because they have essentials to work with but can go outside the boundaries if they’re feeling frisky.

I made a no recipe recipe vodka sauce that can be paired with pasta, chicken parmesan, lasagna, or whatever else you like. It’s a very flexible sauce, which means you can add a little of this or a little of that. Make it your own and get creative with it. That’s what a no recipe recipe is.

I paired my vodka sauce with spaghetti. Simple, yet delicious. This recipe is great for the busy cook. The sauce is finished in the time it takes the pasta to cook. No lie! I was completely impressed the other night when I made this dish. It was one of those nights when I had a million things to do and I had no idea how I was going to fit in making dinner. But, I did it. And, it only took 20 minutes. Victory feels good!

Add a little wine to the mix and life is good. It also helped me forgot about the many chores I had weighing on my thoughts.

The vodka sauce is extremely flavorful. It may only take about 15 minutes to cook, but it doesn’t lack in flavor. It’s creamy, cheesy, and slightly spicy. The vodka gets cooked down, but it leaves a nice bite in the background of the sauce. Enjoy!

Recipe:

1/2 cup onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on your spice level)

1 cup vodka

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

3 tbs. parmesan

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 tsp. italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. dried basil (3 tbs. of fresh basil if you have it on hand)

1 tbs. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1lb pasta

Cook your pasta following the instructions on the pasta box. Don’t forget to season the pasta water with salt. It’s the only time to impart flavor into your pasta. It definitely makes a difference.

In a large saucepan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add vodka and reduce to about half, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, italian seasoning, dried basil (if using fresh basil, don’t put it in until the sauce is almost finished), and sugar. Cook for about 3 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, feel free to use a food processor or blender. Of course, you’re welcome to leave the sauce chunky if that’s the way you like it. Add parmesan and ricotta cheese. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add one cup of pasta water to the sauce and stir. Add your cooked pasta to the sauce and serve. Remember, this is a no recipe recipe. You can add or subtract wherever you like. Add a little more heat by adding a bit more red pepper flakes. If you love cheese, add more ricotta or parmesan. It’s your sauce, so by all means, add what you love. Enjoy!

Ain’t No Thing But A Chicken Wing

I made wings! While I was making the wings, I thought of an old high school friend who would crack me up with his saying, “Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing!” The phrase would send me in to fits of laughter every time. It wasn’t just the phrase itself that was so hilarious, but the way he would say it. Now, every time I make or eat wings, I think of him. So, naturally, I had to name this post after the very memorable and funny phrase.

These wings are baked, not fried. Don’t worry, they’re just as delicious and crispy as their fried counterparts. I made a sweet heat chipotle barbecue sauce for these wings. It’s spicy, sweet, smokey, and delicious. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. And, it’s super easy to make and way better than the bottled stuff you buy at the store.

See that mason jar in the background? It’s homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing. It’s the perfect match for wings. They belong together.

Mmm, crispy baked wings. I baked them at 400 degrees on a baking sheet with a rack. The rack prevents the wings from sitting in their grease. They come out crispy, juicy, and succulent.

Don’t forget the celery. It helps to cool things down a little. I love to dip it in the blue cheese dressing.

Love and spicy treats,

TMB

Wings:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (it makes for easy clean up) and place a rack on the baking sheet. Line the rack with your wings. Salt and pepper the wings. I drizzled the wings with a small amount of olive oil to help with the crisping process. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the juices run clear. If you like your wings extra crispy (like me), you can place them under the broiler for a few minutes after they’re done baking.

Sweet heat chipotle bbq sauce:

1 tbs. canola oil

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. red chili flakes

2 cups ketchup

3/4 cups balsamic vinegar

3 tbs chipotle in adobo

1 1/2 tbs.worchestire sauce

1 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbs. brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add canola oil, chopped onions, chopped garlic, and red chili flakes. Cook until onion and garlic are tender, about 3 minutes. Turn down the heat and add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2o minutes, stirring occasionally. After the sauce has simmered, use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce a bit. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a food processor or blender to smooth out the sauce. Feel free to leave the sauce chunky if that’s the way you prefer it. Place the hot wings in a bowl and top them with some of the bbq sauce. Stir to coat the wings. Enjoy with celery and homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing.

Handy Kitchen Note:  Place 2 cans of chipotle peppers in adobo in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the peppers are broken down and sauce is thick. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. This way, all you have to do is take the container out of the fridge and scoop out what you need. No more chopping every time you need chipotle peppers. It has saved me a lot of time and mess.

Game Day Taco Bar

The big game is coming up soon, so I thought to myself, “What dish screams Super Bowl?” It would have to be easy, yet packed with flavor, it would need to be semi-portable, and it would have to be hearty and filling (something men will eat). After thinking about it, I came up with pork tacos with an array of toppings. Honestly, who doesn’t love a tender pork taco stuffed inside a fresh flour tortilla, topped with homemade guacamole, salsa rojo, and salsa verde? I’ve never known anyone to turn down a taco. Have you?

This recipe is extremely easy to make. And, I have to admit, it’s what attracted me to this dish, along with it’s bold flavors, of course. The pork is cooked in a slow-cooker. I believe the slow-cooker is God’s gift to the busy home cook; it allows you to forget about the food and accomplish other tasks while your food cooks. While my pork is cooking, I can get a head start on straightening up the house before guests arrive and prepare the toppings for the taco.

Guacamole, salsa rojo, and salsa verde give these tacos a major flavor boost.

Start by adding a boston butt pork roast to a slow-cooker on top a bed of chopped onions. Don’t forget to salt and pepper the pork.

The pork then gets topped with a spicy chipotle sauce that gives the pork a lovely smokey flavor.

After cooking the pork for 8 hours, take it out of the slow-cooker and let it rest for about an hour. When the pork is done resting, use a fork to shred the pork. The pork is so tender that it will take very little effort to shred.

While your pork is cooking, start putting together your taco toppings. I started with the salsa verde, since it needs to cool slightly before blending in the food processor. Salsa verde is a green salsa made with tomatillos, garlic, red onion, and jalapeño that is cooked before blending with cilantro, lime juice, and honey.

Next up is the salsa rojo, which is just a tomato based salsa. It’s nice and spicy, as opposed to the salsa verde, which has underlying sweet notes.

Let’s not forget about the guacamole, which happens to be my favorite taco topping and dip. It’s creamy, slightly spicy, and the lemon adds a real crisp, fresh flavor.

Love and sweet treats,

The Messy Baker

Pork:

1 boston butt pork roast, about 3-4 pounds

1 onion, chopped and placed in the bottom of the slow-cooker

1 cup water or chicken stock

4 garlic cloves

3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped

3 tbs olive oil

2 tbs honey

1 tbs cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Chop an onion and add it to the bottom of your slow-cooker, then add either the water or the stock, which ever you choose to use is fine. Place the pork roast on top of the onions. Salt and pepper your roast. To make the chipotle sauce, add the garlic, 1/2 of a medium onion, chipotles and 2 tbs. of the adobo sauce to a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. Add the honey, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil and pulse until combined. Pour the sauce over the pork roast. Turn the slow-cooker on low and cook for 8 hours. When the pork is done, remove it from the slow-cooker and let rest for about an hour. Discard of the onions at the bottom of the slow-cooker; they’re there solely to provide flavor.  When the pork is finished resting, shred. I used two forks to do this. The pork is so tender that it basically falls apart on its own. While the pork is cooking, take that time to start making the taco toppings.

Salsa Verde:

adapted from Bobby Flay

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeno, coarsely diced

8 tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion,  jalapeño, and tomatillos and cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, add the lime juice, honey, and cilantro, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Salsa Rojo:

2 cans of diced tomatoes with chiles, drained

1/2 medium onion, chopped (red or white will work)

1 jalapeño, chopped (two if you like it really hot)

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 lemon, juiced

Few dashes of tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Drain two cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles. Make sure you get a majority of the juice out of the cans so you don’t end up with a soupy salsa. Roughly chop 1/2 an onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro. Add them to a food processor and pulse until medium fine in texture. Add the drained tomatoes, juiced lemon,  tabasco, sugar, salt and pepper and pulse until desired chunkiness. Taste. Depending on how spicy you like your salsa, add more tabasco. Refrigerate.

Guacamole:

8 avocados

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 red onion, minced

1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (depending on how hot you want your guacamole)

1 lemon, juiced

Few dashes of tabasco sauce

1 tomato, seeded and diced

Use a knife to cut around the seed of your avocados and pull the halves apart. Take a spoon and scoop out the inside of the avocados and place them in a large bowl. Start with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and add it to your avocados. You may need more salt, but make sure you taste it first before adding more and over salting the dish. Avocados tend to need a healthy helping of salt. Add the lemon juice and tabasco. Smash the avocado mixture until it becomes creamy but still remains slightly chunky. I use a pastry cutter, but a fork will work just fine. Add the minced garlic, onion, and jalapeño to the avocado mixture and stir. Make sure you taste the mixture to see if it needs more salt, pepper or tabasco. Top with diced tomatoes. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat it.

For the tacos:

flour tortillas, plenty of them

lettuce, chopped

tomatoes, chopped

sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

Tabasco sauce

To assemble, add as much shredded pork as you like to your flour tortilla and top with what ever you like. That’s the great thing about a taco bar, you can go down the line and add what ever toppings you like to your tacos. Enjoy!