Spicy Chorizo Tacos

It’s officially that time of year again when summer is no longer a pipe dream. It feels just around the corner, and I’m already remembering little gems from last year, like these juicy tomatoes. Come onnnn.

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We’ve already got the wood planks set aside for a third raised bed, and I’m itching to get out and make it happen. Time to break out the summery recipes, sweep off the back porch, fill up that wine glass and enjoy.

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Tacos are good whatever the season, and despite the popularity of Taco Tuesday, I’ll eat them any day of the week. Especially with chorizo because, chorizo.

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What You Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of chorizo
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced into tiny bits
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded havarti cheese
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 8-10 taco shells

IMG_2625What You Do:

Get two separate skillets and heat each over low-medium with a 1/2 tbsp of oil.

In one, cook the chorizo until browned and fully cooked.

In the other, cook the chili pepper, onion and garlic, covered, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Combine the chorizo and onion mixture, and combine well. Add the spices and stir to combine.

Heat your taco shells in the oven according to package directions.

Stuff tacos with chorizo filling and top with freshly chopped tomatoes, cheese and salsa.

Pro Tip: Put the cheese into the warm taco shell first so it melts underneath the other toppings. YUM.

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Zesty Honey-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Admittedly, I’m still on a not-so-silent crusade to get a cat.

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A large part of my job is to poke around the Internet for cat and dog videos, memes and stories, and occasionally I come across the right cat video to make me swoon. Then I promptly text Mike to once again ask if we can get a cat, at which time he promptly says absolutely not.

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I’m wearing him down slowly, I can feel it. Madison will be a whole other story, because she has no love for cats and thinks they’re all squirrels she can torture. That would certainly make for some good videos though.

#catsmakeeverythingbetter.

I may not have a cat, but I have this cauliflower rice dish, which is going to be just enough, for now.

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What You Need:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, florets and stems chopped off
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 scallions, whole

What You Do:

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Put the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower becomes a rice-like texture.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, olive oil, minced garlic, scallions, lime juice, cilantro and pistachios, stirring well to fully combine.

Chill in the refrigerator or heat in an oven or microwave depending on your desired temperature for serving. I served mine warm with a piece of seasoned chicken.

Drizzle very lightly with the honey.

Top with the scallions for garnish, and a lime wedge on the side if desired! Delish!

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Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Wine-Soaked Onions

Mike and I installed a doggie door this summer for Madison.

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I think she has finally achieved her ultimate goal in life – to come and go as she pleases.

All I’m saying is that it was a little TOO easy to train her to use this door.

She’ll always come back in for food, though.

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What You Need:

  • One large summer squash (about 10′ long and fairly thick)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 lb. hot Italian (or your favorite) sausage, sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 3 cups tomato sauce, either your favorite jar sauce, or homemade this way

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What You Do:

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Preheat oven to 325F

Halve the squash lengthwise from stem to end and scoop out the inside seeds so you’re left with a hollow “bowl”.

Place face-down on parchment paper and bake for about 40 minutes.

While the squash is baking, take a large skillet and partially caramelize the onions by cooking them with the water on medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes or until they soften and become fragrant.

Add the green pepper, jalapeno, cherry tomatoes, garlic scape and wine, and continue to cook, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until all vegetables are soft and cooked through, the cherry tomatoes are puckered and split, and the wine has cooked off.

Remove from heat, drain and set aside in a large bowl.

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In a separate skillet, heat the coconut oil on low-medium heat, and add the sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning the sausage periodically to prevent burning and to cook through each piece.

When the sausage is done, drain on a paper towel to absorb the grease, and add to the vegetable mixture, stirring thoroughly to combine.

Remove the squash from the oven and flip over so the scooped-out side is facing up.

Scoop the sausage filling into each squash liberally.

Place back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Cover each piece with tomato sauce and serve.

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Spicy Black Bean & Corn Salad with Pecans

I feel a lot of guilt when I don’t post here for awhile.

So let’s not talk about it.

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Instead, let’s focus on summer. The weather is warm. The sun is out. My garden is in full and bountiful bloom. I’ve also made the grand transition from winter squash-based recipes to summer squash-based recipes.

Things are happening, people.

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There is no squash in this recipe. Shocker! But there is deliciousness that tastes like summer! I don’t really ask for more than that.

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What You Need:

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  • 1 can (14 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 cups corn kernals (I used bagged, frozen ones)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh feta cheese crumbles

What You Do:

Mix the beans through the salt in a large bowl, making sure to thoroughly combine so the lime juice and olive oil are well integrated.

Chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.

Scoop into bowls and top with crumbled feta. I served mine with a hot Italian sausage. Delish.

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Coconut Curry Chicken with Basil Rice

For an English/Journalism major, I have a staggering number of classics I still need to read.

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Right now, I’m fully engrossed in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a wonderfully compelling book with such rich, beautiful language it almost inspires me to try and write my own Spanish novel. Almost.

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Obviously it didn’t inspire my cooking, because this dish is clearly not Spanish, but regardless of that, if you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it. And if you have any suggestions for classics I need to read, please send them forth.

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What You Need:

  • 2 cups dry Jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or regular EVOO) divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 large chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons ground curry spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

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What You Do:

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In a medium sauce pot, bring the 3 cups water to a boil, add the 2 cups rice and the basil, cover, and turn down to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water is gone. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil on medium until warm. Add minced garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds or until just softened.

Add onion and sautee, stirring continuously, until soft and translucent.

Add the spinach and coconut milk and turn heat to low. Cover and let steam to reduce spinach. The coconut milk will steam off and absorb so keep an eye on the dish to ensure it stays moist and doesn’t burn.

While the spinach is cooking, place chicken breasts in a large skillet with remaining tablespoon of oil and slowly cook on low-medium heat, turning sides every few minutes to cook thoroughly through.

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Once chicken is done, remove from pan and place on a cutting board. Slice the breasts into 1-inch pieces and place into skillet with spinach.

Add the rice to the chicken and spinach and stir well.

Add the curry spice, salt and pepper and stir well.

I served this with a hearty slice of garlic Naan bread (which is amazing). Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

My kitchen hasn’t been calling to me lately. It’s a weird feeling, and it’s a constant struggle to open the fridge and realize I’m going to be piecing together a lunch of crackers, cheese and tomato slices.

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Finally, I jumped on this cauliflower pizza crust bandwagon to end the home-cooked meal drought.

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It was tasty! And the gluten-free part is pretty awesome. It’s not every day you can shove multiple slices of pizza into your mouth and be eating mostly vegetables. Well, and cheese, but there’s nothing wrong with cheese.

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Needless to say, this pizza didn’t last long at all. I would highly recommend doubling this recipe if you’re feeding more humans than just yourself and/or if any of you have even an inkling of an appetite.

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What You Need:

  • One head cauliflower, florets chopped off
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 400F

In a food processor, lightly “pulse” the cauliflower florets to create cauliflower “rice”. It’s best to add the florests one batch at a time to ensure they all get chopped up.

Now it’s time to cook the “rice.” In a medium saucepot, boil about 3 cups water and add the rice. Cover the pot, and let cook about 5 minutes.

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Drain thoroughly using a fine mesh strainer.

Transfer the drained cauliflower rice to a clean dish towel or several paper towels and pat well to dry.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, egg, cheese and spices and mix thoroughly, kneeding with your hands until it forms a dough.

Now it’s ready to be made into a crust!

Sprinkle cornmeal onto the surface of a pizza stone and lay the dough ball on top. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, still use cornmeal and see below for alternate baking times).

Smooth the dough ball out with your hands, flattening to make a crust about 1/4 of an inch thick.

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Bake for about 20 minutes if using a pizza stone, 30-40 if using a baking sheet.

Remove from oven and cover with your favorite toppings. I used sliced zucchini, minced garlic, jalapeno slices, tomato slices and cheddar cheese.

Then, bake for another 5 minutes for a pizza stone, or 10 minutes for a baking sheet.

Slice it up, and serve!

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Honey Lemon Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

I’m on a not-so-silent crusade to get a cat.

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We have a dog – Madison, who is wonderful and fun. Also, she is super cute. BUT. I really want to get a cat.

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I used to have mixed feelings about cats, but part of my day job entails looking at cat photos online for hours at a time, so it’s kind of hard to resist falling in love with those funny little fluff balls.

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There’s only one small problem, which is that Mike absolutely refuses. He will not budge on this one, which gives me no choice but to quietly plot the adoption of a cat while he is at work, or in the shower or something. I figure once the cat is in our home, there’s nothing he can do. I get a cat, he gets yummy meals. It’s a win-win right?

What You Need:

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  • 1 lb. Brussels Sprouts, stems cut off and sliced into quarters
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350F

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Combine the Brussels Sprouts, red and green bell peppers and shallot in a large baking dish.

Pour water over the vegetables, cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until veggies are fully cooked.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey, thyme leaves, black pepper and olive oil and whisk until well mixed.

When vegetables are done cooking, pour into a large serving dish and mix thoroughly with cooked quinoa and cranberries.

Pour the lemon-honey sauce over the entire dish and mix well.

Top with crumbled feta and you’re good to go!

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