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Tex-Mex Enchiladas

22 Oct
Tex-Mex Enchiladas

Tex-Mex Enchiladas

It’s been a gloomy, rainy, and WINDY few days here on the high desert, and my taste buds wanted comfort food. And when you’re a Texas gal like me, sometimes that translates into Tex-Mex. I had some leftover shredded carne asada beef in the freezer, and of course the obligatory package of dried ancho chiles in the pantry. (What, you don’t keep those hanging around, just in case??) So of course, enchiladas are on the menu!

My Texas buddy Adam provided the inspiration for these, because Adam is connoisseur of all food Tex-Mex. No really, he is! I grabbed this recipe out of his archives, because a good enchilada sauce is timeless. Do yourself a favor and read his post about it, you might be enlightened!

Tex-Mex Enchiladas
Adapted from Joe Gracey’s Tex-Mex Enchiladas, via The Unorthodox Epicure

2 cups homemade chicken broth, or water
3 large dried ancho chiles
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped (reserve 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Ground black pepper, and salt, to taste
1 tablespoon honey, if needed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
3 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese
3 cups shredded cooked meat, heated through (can be beef, chicken, pork, whatever you have!)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Sour cream, for topping

Tear the tops off the ancho chiles and remove as many seeds as possible. Place the chiles in a sauce pan of simmering chicken broth until rehydrated and soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil until softened.  Add the garlic in the last couple minutes.

Remove the chiles when softened, reserving the liquid. Add them to a food processor or blender along with the cooked onions and garlic and blend to a purée.

In the same skillet, stir in 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons flour and cook until starting to turn golden brown. Pour the chile purée into the skillet, along with the reserved chile liquid. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper. Sometimes the ancho chiles can be bitter (haven’t figured out why yet) so add a tablespoon of honey and a bit more salt to mellow it out, if needed. Bring to a simmer and then cook on low for about 30 minutes. Add additional water if it gets too thick.

When ready to assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce on both sides, then place on a plate. Top with 2 tablespoons cheese and 2 tablespoons of meat, roll up and place seam side down in a greased baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining grated cheese along with the reserved onion. Heat in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling. Remove and top with cilantro and offer sour cream on top, if you want. Serve with pinto beans and Mexican rice.

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

12 Oct
Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

Hello my long-lost foodie friends! In my six years of food blogging I have never taken a six-week break from blogging, but life kept happening at a lightning-quick pace. My daughter has flown the coop and gone off to college, I’ve taken a couple of much-needed vacations, and I’m about to wind down my food cart business for the winter. I’ve got one last hurrah at a local pumpkin patch event this weekend which I am looking forward to.

While I’ve done plenty of cooking at home between all this, I couldn’t find the time to get it together to photograph and post for you. And speaking of last hurrahs, my newest recipe comes from the zucchini from the last farmer’s market and pretty much the last of our ripe garden tomatoes. We have a late summer produce season here in Central Oregon, so while this may come to you too late for you in your neck of the woods, feel free to save this for next year’s bounty! And of course you can always use any good-looking store-bought produce when you can find it.

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

I have made this sauce three times in the past month, that’s how absolutely delicious and easy it is! Plus it’s versatile, too. It can be completely vegetarian, and truth be told, I wouldn’t miss the meat but I add it in for the hubby. He wants me to make it again with shrimp next time, too, which would be wonderful. The first time I made this I served it over cheese raviolis, and the next two times over garlic and herb pappardelle noodles with chicken. The pappardelle is my favorite! Any kind of pasta would work, but I do love the herb-infused kind with this. You can also use any variety of tomatoes. I used a combination of yellow, purple and red heirloom from our garden.

p.s. to my WordPress friends: I’ll be catching up with you soon! I really do miss reading all your posts. xoxo

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta
(Serves two, easily doubled or tripled)

4 ounces pappardelle noodles, or other quick-cooking pasta
1 small zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion or shallots
1 pound fresh tomatoes
Splash of white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Chopped cooked chicken (optional)
Fresh-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Set a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, using a box grater, grate the zucchini onto a sided plate (I used a pie plate.) Spread out and lightly salt and let rest for a few minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low, then add the grated zucchini and onions or shallots, stirring occasionally. While the zucchini cooks, grate the tomatoes with the same grater. To grate, core the tomato, then slice a very thin slice off the bottom side. With a flat had, grate the tomato from the cut side until all that’s left is the peel. Discard peel and grate the remaining tomatoes.

Zucchini Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Tomato Sauce

When the zucchini and onions are softened, add a splash of wine to the pan. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and the dried Italian herbs. Simmer the sauce on low. Now add your pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Just before the noodles are ready, add the tablespoon of butter and the cooked chicken, if using, to the sauce. Stir until butter is melted and chicken is heated through. Drain the pasta and add to a serving dish. Pour the sauce over the noodles, and pass with grated Parmesan. A good thick slice of crusty buttered bread is also a must for sopping up the delicious sauce! Enjoy!

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

Grated Zucchini and Fresh Tomato Pasta

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!




Zucchini Pizza Casserole

3 Sep
Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

While Harvey was flooding Houston and other parts of the south, Oregon has been hell-bent on burning itself down. The air quality is downright nasty and unhealthy right now — and has been — for several weeks. But through that all our local farmer’s market still plugged on, albeit many vendors and shoppers short. And with the lack of shoppers came an abundance of fresh produce my way in exchange for some of my Austin Street Tacos, and equally as much free to take home at the end of the day.

One of my dear blogging friends, Jodi over at The Creative Life in Between, had a perfect recipe posted on her site a couple of weeks ago that made the perfect candidate for some of the produce. While my time is short for blogging while running my cart, I did have a reprieve today to post this fabulous recipe as the concert I was going to sling tacos at tonight was canceled due to the smoke.

I pretty much made this recipe as written, using ground burger and halved the recipe. I’ll just linky you over to her recipe, as she has a handy-dandy printable of it too! I know MANY of you have an abundance of zucchini out there, so please plan on adding this to the list of many things to make with it. It’s quite easy AND delicious!

Click here for the recipe —> Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

17 Aug
Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

After two months of no measurable rain and temps in mostly the 90s and triple digits, we had a welcome day of rain and cool temps in the 70s. The sudden change in weather gave me the opportunity to come up with a one-pot meal that was both satisfying with plenty of heat.

The weather seems to have moderated now back into temperatures normal for Central Oregon, with abundant blue skies. Just in time for the pending Apoc-Eclipse, which we are escaping from for a week to our private RV property on the coast. The forecast is for mostly sunny skies, and we’ll be uncrowded and safely ensconced away from the madness that is sure to come here. We are also in the path of totality over there, and even if we end up with a few clouds and maybe fog, it will still get dark, right?

I know I’ve gone missing in the WordPress world, but the power went out last Friday and fried our modem, and our “stellar” internet provider could not get a tech out here until Tuesday. And now I’ll be absent again for another week. So I’d best get this recipe out to you!

Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage
Adapted from Tastes of the South

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can light red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low sodium
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, chopped vegetables and garlic, and cook about 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender and sausage is browned. Add the beans, tomato, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Stir in rice and broth.

In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs and melted butter; set aside.

Add the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully slide skillet out and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Continue to bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve with a side of cornbread.


Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod with Summer Veggies

5 Aug
Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies

Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies

I do think I’ve run out of things to say about not posting new recipes recently, so why don’t I just cut to the chase. My new taco cart adventure is successful, YAY!

Here is a post from FB from one of my new (and very excited) customers, lol. I figure it’s OK to post it to the world since this Facebook page is a public page.

Austin Street Tacos Happy Customer

Austin Street Tacos Happy Customer

And yes, I cook for the fam quite frequently, but simply forget to snap a photo or even think to write a post about it. This recipe, however, I remembered. This took less than a half hour max to prep and cook on the grill. The ONLY downfall with it is I FORGOT THE RED ONIONS! I had full intentions of slicing some red onion real thin to add to this, but then my seester from Texas called all excited about a new job she just landed, and I was basing my recipe off one I had just brought up on my phone, and well, you know…

Either way, this was such a fantastic summer meal to enjoy on our deck. I hope you enjoy it too.

This recipe adapts handily to any number of mouths you are feeding, adjust accordingly. The one below is for two and just base the amount of vegetables on how hungry you are (or how big your foil sheets are). If you can, use the bounty from your vegetable garden or head to the farmer’s market for the veggies!

Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies
Adapted from Serious Eats

2 6-ounce Pacific cod filets, or other mild white fish
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Zucchini, cut into thin rounds
Yellow summer squash, cut into thin rounds
Thin-sliced red onion
Sliced tomato
Crushed red pepper flakes
Olive oil, for drizzling
Dry white wine, for splashing
Thin lemon slices
Sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (or regular)

Preheat the grill (or oven) to 450 degrees. Lay out sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil for each person. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place a piece of fish on each one. Arrange the vegetables around the fish, top with lemon slices, then sprinkle with red chile flakes and perhaps a bit more pepper if you like. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over all, and splash a bit of wine over it too. Top each packet with a fresh lemon thyme sprig.

Wrap the foil around everything, leaving some head space for steaming, and seal completely. Set packets on the preheated grill (or in oven) and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.

Remove and CAREFULLY open (it will be steamy hot) to check fish. If done, serve immediately or re-cover and cook a tad more. I chose to also serve some mashed potatoes, but pasta or rice would be great too.

Download and Print PDF

Download and Print PDF



Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

9 Jul

Howdy Y’all! I’ve been quite busy with my food cart these past couple of weeks, and have enjoyed some great successes, including catering a wedding party, and a back-to-back First Friday Art Walk and Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. I have had so much fun meeting all the people who visit me and order my tacos, but it certainly doesn’t leave me a lot of time for blogging and cooking for my own family.

Here is a photo my husband took during First Friday of me slinging tacos to the hungry folks. There were hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard who enjoyed square-dancing to music by a great folk band. The kiddos were having a blast!

First Friday Art Walk

First Friday Art Walk

Since we are in the throes of summer-time heat, I thought I’d reblog a recipe of mine from a couple of years ago. It sure sounds perfect for tonight’s meal! Enjoy!

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Grilling season is my favorite time of the year! OK, maybe tied with soup season. But when it’s hot out, I love grilling every night. The kitchen doesn’t get hot, and it’s always easy clean up!

I marinated some chicken today in Greek seasonings, sliced up some veggies, skewered the heck out of them, then slapped them on the grill. A couple of turns later, well, it’s dinner time on the deck!

I wanted to serve this with rice, but hubby said he wanted potatoes. So I compromised and cooked pasta with herbs instead, HA! I hope you enjoy this simple summer dinner.

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

3/4 pound boneless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Sliced or whole veggies of choice, in uniform size
1/2 large lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano
Ground black pepper, to taste

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Cut the chicken into uniform chunks, about a half-inch in width/height. Prep all your veggies and keep cool, if needed. In a small glass bowl, add the lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, minced oregano, and ground black pepper. Whisk until smooth and completely blended. Pour 3/4 of the marinade over the chicken in a quart zip-top/lock baggie and add the chicken and squish around until covered. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three.

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the remaining marinade and whisk until smooth again and refrigerate. This will be used for your veggies. After the chicken is done marinating (about 45 minutes before you want to eat), skewer the chicken and veggies, in any combination you want and place on a large baking tray. I used sliced squash, zucchini, red onion, and cherry and grape tomatoes, but really you can use any vegetables that you want. Brush the remaining marinade over the veggies on all sides.

Grilling the Kabobs

Grilling the Kabobs

Place skewers on the grill, and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, flipping once halfway through the cooking time. Depending on the shape of your chicken, you might have to do quarter-turn flips. Remove from grill and place on tray and cover with foil for a few minutes. We served this with pasta, but you could also do rice or potatoes. Just time your cooking of that side accordingly with this, OR just eat lots of chicken and veggies! Enjoy!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Mediterranean Pork Chops Sheet Pan Dinner

25 Jun
Mediterranean Pork Chops Sheet Pan Dinner

Mediterranean Pork Chops Sheet Pan Dinner

Hallooo my friends, I have an easy sheet pan dinner recipe for you today as well as another update on my food cart, Austin Street Tacos.

First things first, let’s get to the recipe. Sheet pan dinners are great as you just have one pan to clean up after. The slight downside to this one is you have to remove the pan a couple of times, at least I have to with my bottom broiler. I mistimed my broiling time a tad too, so the potatoes are a bit “crisp” however I got no complaints from the hubby on that, he loves crispy potatoes! I used baby red and Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus as my green veggie, but you could use any other potatoes or veggies you want. Potatoes should be even sized about 1 inch or so, and most veggies will cook along with the pork. Adjust timing as necessary.

Here’s how you do this:

Mediterranean Pork Chops Sheet Pan Dinner

3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice from one large lemon
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano (2 teaspoons dried)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 to 4 thick pork chops, any kind
1 pound baby potatoes (cut any large ones in half)
1/2 pound asparagus
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt. Place pork chops in zip-top bag, then pour all but a couple tablespoons of marinade over chops. Reserve the rest. Seal the bag and squish around to coat. Refrigerate for one to four hours.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine the potatoes and vegetables in the reserved marinade. Add the potatoes to a lightly oil-sprayed sheet pan. You can line the pan with foil but I’m working on developing a lovely patina on mine. I think I did the trick with that part this time around. 🙂

Place potatoes in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan and add the pork chops and vegetables then return to oven. Cook for another 25 minutes, or until pork registers 140 degrees in the thickest part of a chop. Bump the oven to broil. Since I have a bottom broiler, I have to remove the pan so at this point I decided to grate some Parmesan cheese over everything, but that’s optional. Broil for a few minutes, remove from oven and serve!


Now for an update on my cart. With summer and tourists now in Bend, business is doing great at my little cart, yay! I also added a Saturday Farmer’s Market to my venue, which is doing outstanding. The first Saturday I sold out about 45 minutes before the market ended. This past Saturday, I cooked a bunch more meats and had enough, whew!

Northwest Crossing Farmer's Market

Northwest Crossing Farmer’s Market

Here I am at the very tail end of the market, serving my last customer. Pay no mind to my messy salsa bar at that point!

And looky, I got Instagrammed! I prep my salsa/condiment bar fresh each morning, and customers certainly love that it seems. Thank you bendfoodie, whoever you are!

Fresh Salsa Bar

Fresh Salsa Bar!

Oh, and here’s the handy-dandy printable for my recipe:


Pacific Cod with Chorizo and Tomatoes

11 Jun
Pacific Cod with Chorizo and Tomatoes

Pacific Cod with Chorizo and Tomatoes

With my parents visiting from Texas to celebrate various milestones in my family (including an 18th birthday and high school graduation), we’d been eating out a lot or ordering some pretty heavy take-out food. I decided it was time to cook a bit lighter fare last night before we send them back to the Lone Star State tomorrow (but not after a big feast of Texas Brisket tonight!).

Here are my parents enjoying their meal

This is an elegant and definitely guest-worthy meal that comes together quickly. The small amount of spicy chorizo and the bright taste of lemon thyme pairs perfectly with the sweet red peppers and fresh tomatoes. Do serve this with copious amounts of crusty bread for sopping up the tasty sauce. I chose to serve the fish and tomato sauce over pan-seared polenta slices with a side of steamed asparagus.

Pacific Cod with Chorizo and Tomatoes
Adapted from Roasted Cod with Linguica,
by Steven Lee Meyers on Food52

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 ounces Mexican chorizo
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded and blended with 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Leaves from 3 sprigs lemon thyme, plus more for garnish
1.5 to 2 pounds Pacific cod, or other firm white fish
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium and brown the chorizo, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, then deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Add the pureed red pepper, chopped tomatoes, and lemon thyme. (If you don’t have lemon thyme, you can use regular thyme and squeeze in a small amount of fresh lemon juice.) Simmer the sauce until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes. You want it a bit soupy to hold the fish.

While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly sprinkle the cod with salt, then nestle the pieces into the tomato sauce. Carefully place the hot skillet into the oven and roast until fish is done, about 7 to 10 minutes. The fish should flake easily with a fork.

Remove from oven and serve fish over polenta cakes, spooning the sauce over and around it.  Garnish with lemon thyme sprigs.


p.s. I’m starting to get the hang of running my food cart and the day-to-day tasks needed. We won’t talk about the day I forgot to bring the cheese or the other day I forgot the salsas, OK? But really, I’m having a blast with it and have also been contacted to be a vendor at a dog rescue fundraising event in August. I’ve also started applying to have the cart at various summer festivals and other events. Some are already booked for this year, but I’m getting a good list for next year in the process!



Carnitas Cubano and Logo Reveal!

13 May
Carnitas Cubano

Carnitas Cubano

With an over-glut of carnitas on hand from recipe testing, I settled on whipping up some Cubano sammies, carnitas-style! No recipe really needed for this. Slather both sides of of two slices of bread with butter (I used Seattle Sourdough) and skillet grill one side of each. Spread mustard on grilled side, then layer carnitas or any other cooked pork, sliced ham, dill pickle slices, and Swiss cheese. Add the other grilled side face down on top, then press and grill until browned, using either a panini-style press or another heavy skillet on top. Oh my, decadent and finger-licking good!


Here is the logo for my new taco food cart!

Austin Street Tacos Logo

Austin Street Tacos Logo

I’m still deciding on colors and what-not, but my temporary white sign really pops on the cart. One more inspection and permit to go, then I’m in business!

Shrimp in Pepita Tomatillo Sauce

7 May
Shrimp in Pepita Tomatillo Sauce

Shrimp in Pepita Tomatillo Sauce

We have a nice stash of jumbo (16-20 count) shrimp in the freezer, and this tasty/tangy shrimp dish caught my eye in my blog readerboard a couple of weeks ago. It is right up my alley using Mexican-inspired ingredients, and is served over something other than a tortilla, ha!

I adapted this from Josette’s Shrimp in Green Mole over at thebrookcook, and the vibrant green sauce did not disappoint. I halved the shrimp amount since there were only two of us eating it, but kept the sauce amount the same since she said she would have enjoyed more sauce. I substituted pepitas, which are pre-roasted baby pumpkin seeds and ground cumin for seeds, so that eliminated a couple of steps. I’m all about easy. I also omitted the romaine lettuce in the sauce, which admittedly was a mistake but the sauce came out delish all the same! Here’s how I did it:

Shrimp in Pepita Tomatillo Sauce
Adapted from Shrimp in Green Mole at thebrookcook

1/2 cup hulled pepitas
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1/2 serrano or jalapeño, stemmed
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup tightly pack chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 pound jumbo tail-on shrimp, shelled and deveined
Pepitas and cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving

Place the pepitas, tomatillos, chile pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, stirring and scraping down sides as necessary.

Heat the oil in a skillet (cast-iron if available) over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillo mixture, which will spatter so be prepared with a screen or lid! Cook, stirring often, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium low, simmering softly and stirring often until sauce is thick and creamy, about another 10 minutes. Season to taste, with salt if necessary.

Season shrimp with kosher salt and pepper, then add to the simmering sauce. Cook on each side for 3 or 4 minutes until the shrimp are just cooked through. Serve over rice garnished with pepitas and cilantro.




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