Beef Tamale Casserole

IMG_9154IMG_9145Beef Tamale Casserole
adapted from Jo Cooks

Ingredients

For Cornbread

  • 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 14.75 oz cream style corn (1 can)
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles (or chopped Hatch chiles)

For Beef

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (I use half ancho, half NM)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Casserole

  • 1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese shredded (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or blend)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Optional Toppings: sour cream, avocado, fresh sliced or pickled jalapenos, salsa, hot sauce

Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the Jiffy mix, egg, and milk to a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in the creamed corn and the green chiles.  Pour the cornbread mixture into a large ovenproof skillet or a 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cornbread is done.

Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook until the onion has softened, another 3 to 5 minutes. Add half of the enchilada sauce to the meat mixture and stir. Set aside.

When the cornbread is done, poke holes all over the top with a fork. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the cornbread and spread. Top with the ground beef and the shredded cheese. Bake the casserole for another 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and has started to lightly brown on top.

Let cool for about 5 minutes, then top cilantro and other toppings, as desired.

NOTES

This is the third recipe for “tamale casserole” I have tried and by far our favorite. I don’t know if it’s that it uses ground beef (as opposed to chicken), that the enchilada sauce is 50/50 in the beef and the cornbread instead of 100% poured into the cornbread, or that I cooked it in a cast iron skillet instead of a pan. But the minute we dove into this one, I knew I had finally found the keeper. Awesome dish.

 

Garlic Sriracha Pork Stir Fry

IMG_9046 (1)Garlic Sriracha Pork Stir Fry
adapted from Judy Kim at Delish

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 lb. green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Method

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, brown ground pork, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a plate, set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, pour in the oil to warm, then add garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add bell pepper and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, and oyster sauce. Add mixture to the skillet along with green beans and pork. Sauté until green beans are bright green and meat is warmed through.

Serve immediately over white or brown rice.

NOTES

This might be one of the simplest stir fries I have ever made, but absolutely one of the best. For my money, you can’t go wrong with ground pork but all the better when the vegetables balance it out perfectly and the simple sauce covers all the right bases: sweet, savory, spicy. Definitely a go-to weeknight meal.

Sheet Pan Salmon and Asparagus

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IMG_8779.JPGSheet Pan Salmon and Asparagus
with thanks to Natasha’s Kitchen

Ingredients

For the Salmon and Asparagus:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 lb salmon filet
  • 2 lbs asparagus, woody ends snapped or trimmed off
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large lemon, sliced into rings for garnish

For the Butter:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 450˚F with oven rack in top third of oven. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and trim paper so edges fit the pan.

In a small bowl, mash together all flavored butter ingredients until well combined.

Place salmon filet skin-side-down in the center of the baking sheet. Arrange asparagus around salmon, then drizzle asparagus with olive oil and roll to lightly coat. Sprinkle asparagus and salmon with salt and pepper.

Spoon and spread 3/4 of butter mixture over salmon. Dot asparagus with remaining herb butter. Scatter with slices of lemon and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (a thinner fillet will take a shorter time, check it as it goes), then turn the oven to broil on high and broil for 2 minutes to give the salmon color on top.

NOTES

This was as awesome as it looks. Easy, decadent, delicious, amazing springtime meal in 20 minutes flat. And it left with me enough for lunch the next day to serve the salmon with bagels and the asparagus with fried egg on top. Dreamy.

Creamy Garlic Basil Chicken and Asparagus

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Creamy Garlic Basil Chicken and Asparagus
slightly adapted from Diethood

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil

For the sauce:

  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated or finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Method

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon dried basil. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Flip the chicken and cook for about 8 more minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Combine evaporated milk, flour, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined.

Add the prepared sauce to the hot skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in prepared asparagus, place the chicken back in the pan, and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and chicken is heated through.

Remove from heat. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice, pasta, or potatoes.

NOTES

HOLY MOLY THIS WAS GOOD. Almost unexpectedly so. This is immediately going on the menu again for next week. And every spring/asparagus season forever and ever amen.

Carne Guisada

IMG_3010Carne Guisada
with thanks to My Cocina, My Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin or chuck steak OR pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 serrano pepper, slightly toasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth

Method

Dredge the cubed meat in flour, coating well.

In a heavy, deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the meat and brown thoroughly, stirring often.

While the meat is browning, in a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds and then add them to the molcajete (mortar and pestle). Use the same pan to toast the serrano pepper.

In a molcajete which already has the cumin, add the garlic, and black peppercorns. Grind into a paste. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir (this is to make sure you remove all the paste from the molcajete) and set aside.

Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, comino and peppercorn paste and liquid from molcajete to the pot. Add the onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano, oregano,  paprika, chili powder, and salt and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the mixture has cooked down to a thick sauce.

NOTES

THIS DISH. This dish is a distinct food memory of my younger years. Steve’s sister used to make this from time to time when we were young and dating and we were living with his family. We loved it so so much and WHY OH WHY did I wait so long to make this myself??

This was even better than I imagined it would be. Savory, spicy, and near-addictively good. I made it the first time with chuck steak, the second time with pork shoulder. Both outstanding. Served with rice, tortillas, and avocado for dinner and with rice and a fried egg for lunch the next day. Incredible, all the way around.

Pad Kee Mao Gai

IMG_8241

IMG_8247

Pad Kee Mao Gai
(Drunken Noodles with Chicken)

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped Thai bird’s eye chiles
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into strips or small chunks
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup black soy sauce
1/4 cup Golden Mountain sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
32 ounces fresh wide rice noodles

Method

Heat oil in wok over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add garlic, onion and Thai chiles. Stir fry until golden, no more than a minute.

Add chicken, fish sauce, black soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce and palm sugar (note: it will seem very saucy; don’t worry, the noodles will soak it all up later). Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add red and yellow bell peppers. Continue stir frying for 2 to 3 more minutes until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.

Turn off heat, add basil and stir until just wilted. Add the rice noodles and toss thoroughly to coat. Serve immediately.

NOTES

This recipe. This was one of the top recipes of all time when I was over on Blogger as Alosha’s Kitchen. When I posted it nearly seven years ago, I had this to say:

Oh man, it was awesome. No pretense here, no beating around the bush. This kicked ass. One bite and I was jumping for joy. I just couldn’t believe it: my pad kee mao tasted like pad kee mao!

And as far as I remember, it did. But I also remember I wasn’t very good at working with the rice noodles. So after making this all of once, I never went back to it again. I actually transformed the recipe into a stir fry over rice and let this recipe lie.

Until last night. The bag of fresh rice noodles went in the microwave… and then I spent maybe a mere 15 minutes pulling them apart one by one. Huh. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought. Or maybe my cooking skills have just gotten so much better in the last 7 years, everything feels easier than it used to. I’m going with the latter.

Either way, this recipe is not going back into obscurity. It was SO. Damn. Good. Not only does it taste like restaurant Pad Kee Mao, it tastes like Thai Nakorn‘s Pad Kee Mao. And for me and Steve, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Actually, success with this recipe means that I now have three out of our five favorite Thai Nakorn dishes – Pad Kee Mao Gai, Tom Kha Gai, and Panang Curry with Beef – down pat. Now if I could just nail down Beef Basil and Satay, we’d be all set. (Already working on it!)

Sausage, Tomato, and Pea Pasta

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Sausage, Tomato, and Pea Pasta
very slightly adapted from Good Fast Eats from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 12 oz small shaped pasta, like rotini or small shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (bulk or links, casings removed) (I used my homemade version)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (15-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Grated parmesan for serving (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes for serving (optional)

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and sausage; saute, breaking up the pork into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains and the onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Season with a couple grinds of salt and pepper, the crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Add in the tomatoes with their liquid, and chicken broth. Turn heat down to medium and gently simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the pasta is done cooking. Add the peas along with the half and half; mix and warm through.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sausage mixture until thoroughly combined. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately, with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes, if desired.

NOTES

Another winner from my dear friend Amy. Really, it was a no brainer, since I never met a sausage pasta I didn’t like. This was awesome – and, as with all the recipes from her book – quick and easy as well.