Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's Cinco de Mayo Time!

It's Cinco de Mayo Time!

This holiday is really big in Los Angeles. A wonderful celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, marking the victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Just around the corner it land this year on Monday, May 5th. The poster above is from 1901 in honor of the victory.

So what better way to celebrate than with food? I can't think of anything. Of course in Los Angeles, we can go down to Olvera Street, which is located in the oldest part of Downtown, Los Angeles. This area was established by Spanish settlers back in 1781 and today the area is a modern Mexican-style marketplace with vendors and restaurants to enjoy the culture that abounds.

And the food is to die for...!

So today, I've gathered some of my favorite Mexican dishes that would be perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Grab Some Tortilla Chips - 

Chunky Guacamole

Black Bean Salsa

Twisted Tacos 

Baked Tacos

Chicken Verde Tacos

Tex-Mex Soft Tacos

Main Dishes!

Black Bean Tostadas

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Black Bean Burritos

Beth's Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

Latin Empanadas

Cilantro Lime Flank Steak with Avocado Poblano Salsa

Let's not forget dessert!

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

I am obsessed with my slow cooker!

Here is another meal that I made using my new Breville Risotto Plus, which is a multi-tasker (steams, sauté's, slow cooker etc.) but any slow cooker will work just fine.

I had several bell peppers left over this week and I thought I better put them to good use.  Remembering my mom making Pepper Steak growing up I decided to re-create this for the slow cooker.  This technique allows you to use a tougher cut of meat that will be melt in your mouth tender once it's done!  I used a top round steak, which is perfect since it will hold it's shape in long strips and doesn't shred on you unless you cook it too long.

My version of Pepper Steak doesn't completely have an Asian flavor.  I don't recall my mom's being Asian in flavor, so I guess that why mine turned out a variation on the typical dish.  Mine included a little soy, but the big bang is the tomatoes and the seasoning sauce from Dales, or beef broth that you put in the dish.  Of course the end result is certainly about the peppers and the beef, and it's delicious!

Kitchen Note:  I don't really want soggy peppers in this dish so I put the peppers in the slow cooker about 2 hours prior to serving.  They were slightly tender, so if you want yours more on the crisp side put them in 1 hour before serving. 

**You can find Dale's (low sodium) Seasoning Sauce here.

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

Serves:  4

Cooking time:  6 hours
Total time:  6.5 hours

1 lb top round steak, cut into strips
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons Dale's Low Sodium Seasoning Sauce (or use beef stock)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 14oz can of stewed tomatoes, with the juice
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

In a skillet over high heat add steak and saute 2 minutes until browned on each side.  Add steak to the slow cooker.  Sprinkle garlic powder over the steak.  Add the diced onion.  In a small bowl add water and seasoning sauce plus the cornstarch and whisk to combine.  Add to the slow cooker.  Note:  you can use beef broth in place of the water and seasoning sauce, adding cornstarch to it.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, and the soy sauce to the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 6 hours.  2 hours prior to the end time add the bell pepper strips, recover and continue cooking.

Serve over rice, or even mashed potatoes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Skillet Meal: Wild Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna

I love quick meals!

I love one skillet dinners!

I'm so excited to share this 20 minute....YES, 20 MINUTE recipe with you today.

I found it one of my many collections of recipe magazines. This one was one pot meals by BHG (love them) and I'm so glad I tried this.  I was a little skeptical because you literally just throw everything in the pot (in stages) and poof!  Dinner is ready in 20 minutes....or less!

The real test though, was the taste.  This says it's a lasagna. Well technically it isn't layered like one, but if you count that the two sides of the ravioli, with stuffed delicious wild mushrooms inside, actually act like layered lasagna, then I guess it is.   Plus you delicately layer little dollops of ricotta cheese mixture over the top.  I love that.  It's not completely filled with cheese so you save on the calories, however you still get that ooey gooey lasagna cheesiness that we all crave.

The taste?  Let's just say this will be in the rotation around here.  And just a little tip from me...make extra if you want leftovers.  Our 4 portion serving didn't last long since I caught MGG eating our lunch leftovers later that night...just sayin'!

The other part, is that this dish uses mainly convenience items, like refrigerated pasta.  I used Rana (Giovanni Rana) Mushroom Ravioli and it was delishhh!  You can use any fresh or frozen ravioli you choose although the mushroom lends a wonderful earthy meatiness to the dish.  You will also need a really good tomato basil Marinara sauce from a jar. Use your favorite that provides you will great flavor.  So don't be worried that you didn't make your own sauce.  This is a 20 minute meal!   If you made the sauce, and the pasta from scratch...phew!  That would take hours.  Who has time for that, especially on a weeknight?  Not me!   There is nothing wrong with using fresh packaged items to make your life easier.

Try this....really, and enjoy!

Wild Mushroom Ravioli Lasagna

adapted from BHG magazine Skillet Suppers

serves 4

1 egg, lightly beaten
7 oz. skim milk ricotta cheese (from a 15oz container)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups of tomato basil marinara
3/4 cup water
1 family size package of wild mushroom-filled ravioli (I used Rana's brand 22 oz.)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

In a medium bowl combine egg, ricotta cheese, and the Parmesan cheese; set aside.

In a large skillet or braising pan, over medium heat, combine the pasta sauce and water. Bring it to a boil.   Stir in ravioli and spinach.  Return to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Spoon the ricotta mixture into large mounds on top of ravioli mixture.

Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until ricotta mixture is set and ravioli is tender but still firm.  
Serve immediately.


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