Breakfast Tacos Con Huevos

Spanglish is my second language.

tacos

No matter what your native tongue might be, these breakfast tacos are sure to perk you up. Plus they’re packed with protein, so you can go-go-go until lunch. I like using whatever I have around for toppings. It’s kinda like a savory breakfast sundae. Kinda. Sorta.

ingredients

Breakfast Tacos
Makes 2 tacos

2 or 3 eggs
Splash of milk
½ tablespoon olive oil or butter
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons black beans
2 or 4 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon shredded cheese
½ an avocado, sliced
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons salsa

  • Whisk the eggs with the milk. Warm oil or butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in eggs, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and scramble. For light, fluffy eggs, cook over medium heat until firm and puffed up but just shy of done. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan as you go.
  • Meanwhile, heat the black beans and tortillas in the microwave.
  • Build your tacos. On each tortilla layer half the eggs, beans, cheese, and avocado. Top with green onion and/or cilantro. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream.

tacos 2

 

 

 

 

Frittata: The Cure for Leftovers

baked

Have you ever made a frittata? I have ordered frittata off many a brunch menu, but I’d never personally prepared the fluffy baked egg dish. This was my first attempt, but it won’t be my last. The best part is turning leftovers into something that feels fancy. Saturday night we had a fajita feast with all the fixings. When the guac was gone, I had the opportunity to turn leftover peppers, onions, and steak into breakfast fare. Confession: I am terrible with leftovers. Just terrible. I rarely enjoy eating the same thing twice much less three times. I’m over it, says my persnickety palate. But it feels good to use the leftovers. It feels a lot better than throwing them in the trash. And turns out the leftovers taste much better with eggs and cheese.

Sunday Morning Frittata
Serves 4

Leftover bell peppers & onions
Leftover thinly sliced fajita steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 eggs (I used 6 because that’s how many I had. In the future I would use 8 or 10 for a taller, fluffier frittata. You could go up to 12 depending on how many people you need to feed. The more eggs you use, the longer your frittata will need to bake.)
¼ cup milk
1 green onion, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the peppers, onions, steak, and garlic in a cast iron skillet on medium heat until warmed through. Add a little salt & pepper.

vegin

  • Sprinkle with half the cheese.

cheesein

  • Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour into skillet, covering ingredients completely. Toss in green onion.

eggsin

  • Cook on stove top a couple minutes until the eggs begin to set around the edge of the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan, crank up the oven to broil, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is golden, top is crispy, and eggs are puffed.

closeup

  • Let rest 5 minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve as is or with a simple green salad.

slice

Beef Stew & Shepherd’s Pie

bowl o stew

St. Paddy’s Day may be a few days behind us, but there’s still a windy chill in the air. While today is the first day of spring, you can still say an official farewell to winter with some hearty beef stew and/or shepherd’s pie. If you know any men wearing flannel shirts and sporting thick beards, I advise you to invite them over. They will love you and eat up all the hearty food on your table.

Beef Stew
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds beef stew meat
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can or bottle of beer
4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon paprika
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 new potatoes, quartered
4 carrots, unpeeled & sliced into chunks
¼ cup minced parsley
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in Dutch oven over meduim-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove meat from the pot and set aside.
  • Place chopped onion in pot and stir until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, paprika, sugar, salt, and pepper. Return beef to pot, cover and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
  • Add potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve in deep bowls. Sprinkle with minced parsley.
pot o stew
Now, that was good. But shepherd’s pie is even better.
Shepherd’s Pie
Leftover beef stew
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons butter (or more or less to taste)
½ cup milk or half-and-half (to taste and consistency preference)
Salt & pepper to taste
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Peel and cut the potatoes into same-sized pieces, and add them to the water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a large colander; return them to the pot they cooked in, and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape.
  • Turn off the stove and add butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Mash to desired consistency and taste for seasoning.
  • Place leftover stew in a pan.
  • Lather a thick layer of mashed potatoes on top. Smooth with a spatula. Like so:

spread 2

  • Cover potatoes with grated cheese.
with cheese

  • Bake until the cheese is warm and brown.

hot cheese

shep close

Symphony Brownies

brownies2

Next week Kenny Loggins is playing three nights of shows at the Nashville Symphony. My sweetie and I will be soaking up the sounds of “I’m Alright” and “Danny’s Song” from the balcony. In honor of this special occasion, I give you the Symphony Brownie—a recipe from my friend Julie who is the queen of desserts. The basic brownie recipe is just right on its own, but the addition of Symphony candy bars really takes it over the top (say, past the back row of the balcony). Make these brownies before a road trip, after a baby is born, or when you need to say, “Thanks!” or “I’m sorry.”

Symphony Brownies
11 tablespoons butter
1¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
24 oounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
3 extra large (4.25 oz) Symphony bars with almonds & toffee
symphony 
  • Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.
  • In heavy sauce pan, combine butter, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.

melt my butter

  • Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of the chocolate chips until melted. Cool a bit, then add vanilla. I used the really good vanilla I got in Mexico.

mexican vanilla

  • In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then gradually add the chocolate mix, stirring with a wooden spoon until entirely mixed.
  • In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining chocolate chips.  

chocchips

  • Finally, stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix well.
mix
  • Spread half the brownie batter into the pan. Place the Symphony Bars side-by-side across the batter, and spread the other half of the batter on top.

layer

batter
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until cooked through. Do not over bake!

Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my favorites. There seems to be extra time to go to the movies and return stuff that didn’t fit and read the new cookbook you bought yourself for Christmas.

PioneerWomanHolidayCover

Ree begins her book of holiday meals with New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John. This is a tradition I’ve never participated in before. But after my first encounter, I see many a black-eyed pea in my future January 1sts (as well as other chilly days ahead). Hoppin’ John over rice is a filling, simple, flavorful meal. Add another dimension by serving it alongside kale, with cornbread, or over grits instead of rice like my friend Caroline does.

pot of beans

Hoppin’ John
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 thick slice country ham, diced (about 1 cup)
White rice, for serving

  1. Soak black-eyed peas in cool water for 6 hours or more. Rinse and drain.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in rinsed beans, then add the chicken stock, salt & pepper, and cayenne pepper. It’s a lot of beans to season, but go easy on the salt since the country ham you’re about to add is very salty. Start with a teaspoon and see how you feel.
  3. Toss in the diced country ham (bone and all) and bring to a boil.
    country ham
  4. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir periodically, and check the liquid level after about 45 minutes. I like a thick stew consistency so some liquid remains to spoon over the rice. If the mixture is too soupy, remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes or so. If it’s too thick, add more stock.
  5. Taste for seasonings. Remove bone. Serve over rice.

Happy New Year, friends!

 

Fancy Beans & Greens

beans greens cook

Do you like beans and greens? Before you say bah-humbug, whip up a pot. Humble beans and lowly greens create the loveliest dish that can be enjoyed on its own, with a spicy sausage, or as a hearty side dish to accompany nearly any meat main. Last week I went a step further and put a fried egg on top. Some might say that adding a fried egg is a fleeting food fad, but I say it makes beans & greens swanky. The runny yolk adds a rich, creamy, golden layer of flavor.

Beans & Greens
Serves 2 to 3

Olive oil
1 bunch organic kale, destemmed and chopped
Salt & pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
Red chili flakes (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken stock
1 can white beans (great northern, cannellini), rinsed & drained

  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add kale, turning often until wilted. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, chili flakes, and garlic.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding some chicken stock. Pour in white beans. Add more chicken stock as desired. Simmer until warmed through.
  • Enjoy as is, with chicken sausage, or get fancy.

Get Fancy
Eggs
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese
Toast

  • While beans & greens simmer, fry some eggs to over easy or over medium—whatever you prefer as long as the yolk is still runny. Sprinkle with salt & pepper as they cook.
    over medium
  • Serve on top of a pile of beans & greens with a side of toast. Or, if you happen to have thick, crusty bread, lying around, pile everything on top. Sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh grated Parmesan.

with egg

runny yolk

perfect bite

Chili Time!

withfritos

If there’s even the slightest chill in the air, it’s time to make a pot of chili. I have whipped this recipe up twice since the temperature dipped below 75 degrees. Chili is a very personal dish with more variations than I care to talk about. But aside from bean and spice preferences, I find chili to be a personally sentimental dish as well. It kicks off fall, my favorite season. It tends to draw a crowd of people I love. It’s casual comfort food that makes newcomers feel at home. And it’s the first thing I ever cooked for my sweetie.

Make chili for your next fall get-together. It’s all in one pot, so there’s little clean up. Setting up a pick-your-own toppings buffet couldn’t be easier. And it gives you an excuse to eat Fritos (like you needed one).

spread

Chili Girl’s Chili
Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground beef
2 bell peppers (red and/or green), chopped
2 jalapeños, minced
4 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt & pepper
1 can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (aka Rotel)
1 can chopped green chilies
2 cans beans (black, kidney, and/or pinto), rinsed & drained
Garnishes of your choice

  • Warm olive oil in Dutch oven and sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and brown. Drain any excess fat from pot.
  • Add bell peppers and jalapeños.
  • Stir Worcestershire, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, cumin, paprika, chili flakes, salt, and pepper into the meat mixture. Cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste, mixing in well. Cook another minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Serve with chopped green onions, avocado slices, cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos, and cornbread.

bowlofchili