Dinners

Recipe—Ground Pork Tacos with Corn Salsa & Cilantro Lime Crema

Okay, here we go, first recipe post of 2020! I feel like it should be something super extreme and mind blowing since you have all been waiting for so long but here we are in the middle of a pandemic and that just seems unrealistic. How are you all doing? Are you cooking at home more than ever? I know I am. I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to eat at home more and save some moolah.

These pork tacos were one of the first meals I made when we went into official “lock down” a couple of weeks ago. When all this really started I did an inventory of what we had in our box freezer and noticed we had TONS of ground pork so I wanted to do something different with that. Ground pork is just not a typical protein to cook with since it has such a different flavor compared to ground beef or ground turkey.

Not to go tooting my own horn or anything, buuuuuut these turned out so freaking good! There are so many great flavors wrapped up in the tortilla. You have the sweet corn salsa, the tangy cilantro lime crema, and then the savory pork cooked in a tomato sauce that has a nice little kick to it thanks to the jalapeño. Nothing too crazy heat wise, my ten-year-old chowed down on them. If you are looking to spice up your typical “Taco Tuesday” give these a try.

Hang in there folks! We are all in this together! Huge virtual hugs (and more recipes) coming your way! xoxox—Diva di Cucina

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORN SALSA
1 tbsp olive oil
15.25 oz canned corn
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA
1/3 c sour cream
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp water

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PORK
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
6 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
1/3 c water
salt and pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas (I loved these with white corn tortillas)
cotija cheese
cilantro, chopped

STEPS FOR CORN SALSA

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat and add the corn.
  • Cook the corn for about 5 minutes stirring every minute or so.
  • Transfer the corn to a medium sized bowl and add the remaining corn salsa ingredients.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE CILANTRO LIME CREMA

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the cilantro lime crema ingredients and set aside.

STEPS FOR THE PORK

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan the corn was cooked in and turn up to medium-high heat.
  • Add the pork to the skillet and break apart using a spatula.
  • Once the pork has started to brown, add in the jalapeño, red onion, and garlic.
  • Continue to cook until the pork is all brown and cooked through and the onion and peppers are tender.
  • Mix in the tomato paste, cumin, and water and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for another 2–3 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken up.

TACO ASSEMBLY

  • Warm up your tortillas and top each one with a scoop of the meat, a scoop of the corn salsa, a drizzle of the cream, some cotija cheese crumbles on top, and finish it off with a sprinkling of cilantro.

Enjoy!

Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Summer is coming… but the warm weather is already here! Time to fire up the grill!

I love when I can find recipes that are almost all done on the grill so I can keep the kitchen cool during hot months. I may also love recipes like this because it means I do the easy prep work and then the hubby does all the hard work out in the heat at the grill while I stay cool inside with a margarita. It’s all about team work, right? 😉

Okay, onto the dish. Each of these components is delicious on it’s own but when brought together you get some amazing tacos! You have the grilled chili lime chicken which is so tender and has so much flavor, a little zest from the lime paired up with all those delicious seasonings and a tad of heat. Then you have this delicious chunky salsa made up of a sweet caramelized pineapple with a nice smoky flavor from the grilled red pepper and jalapeño. And is if that isn’t enough, (yes, it gets better!) then you add this refreshing avocado crema. Just give me a bag of tortilla chips and I will go to town on that sauce!

Another thing I love about this recipe is how pretty it is! Look at all those amazing colors! I truly love everything about this recipe! I hope you will too.

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Note: If you want to cut down on the amount of preparation at dinner time, you can marinade the chicken for as long as 24 hours in advance and the crema can be made up to four hours in advance. Having a chunk of the leg work done in advance makes this a perfect recipe to make for dinner guests. All you have to do is grill the chicken, pineapple, and peppers, and warm up some tortillas.

CHILI LIME CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice

PINEAPPLE SALSA INGREDIENTS
20 oz can pineapple slices
1/2 red onion, sliced
red bell pepper, deseeded and quartered
jalapeno, deseeded and halved
olive oil
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

AVOCADO CREMA INGREDIENTS
1 avocado
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas
pepperjack cheese, shredded
lime, cut into wedges

STEPS

  • Place the chicken breasts in a large Pyrex dish.
  • Whisk together all the additional chili lime chicken ingredients in a small bowl and slather all over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Cover the Pyrex with plastic wrap and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, begin preparing items for the salsa. Skewer the red onions and then drizzle them, the bell pepper, and jalapeño with olive oil and set aside with the pineapple.
  • Preheat your grill to 375–425º.
  • Grill the chicken for 8–10 minutes on one side and then flip.
  • Add the pineapple and peppers to the grill and cook for 4­–5 minutes before flipping and then continue to grill them for another 4–5 minutes.
  • Continue to cook the chicken until a thermometer reads 160º when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, the pineapple until it is nicely caramelized, and the veggies until they have some nice grill marks.
  • Transfer everything from the grill to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • While all the grilled items are resting get started on the avocado cream. Add all the crema ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and well blended, set aside.
  • Chop up the pineapple, onion, and peppers and place them in a bowl.
  • Add the cilantro, lime juice, ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir.
  • Chop up the chicken and set aside.
  • Everything is finally ready! Time to assemble the tacos!
  • Heat up your tortillas and top each one with meat, cheese, pineapple salsa, and avocado crema.
  • Devour!

 

Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings.

Appetizers

Recipe—Spicy Black Bean Dip

I might as well take on the title as Queen of Appetizers. It’s just what I do. I personally just love appetizers and finger foods and no party is complete without a nice spread. When it comes to throwing a party a good dip is a must on the appetizer menu. There is no need to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to come up with something everyone will love. This recipe literally takes five minutes to make and is so easy! You spend more time measuring out the seasonings than anything else. Just toss it all in the blender and voila! You have a delicious bean dip ready to serve!

The flavors in this dip are amazing. It might look sort of blah but then you take one bite and zap, bing, bang! Flavor explosions happening right in your mouth! You have a nice kick from the jalapeños, a little zest from the lime and lots of other great flavors from all the seasonings. The first time I made this I was (no joke) licking it off the rubber spatula. This is great at room temperature, warm, or even right out of the fridge. Talk about diverse! Next time you are throwing or attending a party make this recipe. You will have lots of people asking for the recipe. No need to tell them it took less than five minutes to make. That can be our little secret.

INGREDIENTS
2 large cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
water

GARNISHES
cotija cheese, crumbled
a couple of slices of fresh jalapeño

STEPS

  • Place all of the main ingredients except the water into the blender or food processor and blend until well mixed.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of water and continue blending until nice and smooth. If necessary, continue adding water 2 tablespoons at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with some crumbled cotija cheese and slices of fresh jalapeños.
  • Enjoy with some tortilla chips now or place in fridge until ready to serve.
Sandwiches

Recipe—Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Jalapeño Popper Sammy

I swear, I take one look at this photo and I instantly start to salivate. Jalapenos, cheddar, and cream cheese coming together in the perfect combination. Add in some flavor packed shredded chicken on big warm bun and you will have a super tasty sandwich. Not only do I love this recipe because it tastes amazing but I also love it because it takes no more than 3 minutes to prepare and maybe 5 minutes to finish. Just throw together some greens for a salad or some fries in the oven and you have a meal ready to go. Perfect for us working folks who never seem to have enough time at the end of the day.

INGREDIENTS
2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 (10 oz) cans original Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 c heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c canned jalapeños, chopped
extra canned jalapeños for topping

STEPS

  • Place the chicken, onion, garlic, and Rotel in the crock-pot.
  • In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, and salt and sprinkle over all the items in the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Remove the cooked breasts from the pot and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Using two forks shred the chicken and place back into the crock-pot.
  • Cover the crock-pot and keep on low.
  • While the chicken is soaking up all those tasty flavors start the cheese sauce by heating the heavy cream over medium-high heat.
  • Allow the cream to come to a boil stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in the cream cheese until melted.
  • Add in the cheddar and chopped jalapeños and stir until smooth.
  • Assemble the sandwiches by placing a scoop of the shredded chicken onto the bottom of the bun (I use tongs to try and squeeze out the excess juice), then add a spoonful of the cheese sauce, add additional sliced jalapeños if desired, and top with the other half of the bun.
  • Chow down!

Recipe adapted from Food Fanatic.

Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Jalapeño Shrimp Over Linguine

Ever since my friend prepared me jalapeño mac n’ cheese (which was absolutely phenomenal by the way, and I hope to have that recipe very soon, *wink wink* Nicole. 😉 I have been craving jalapeños and pasta with some sort of creamy sauce. Then low and behold I stumbled upon a recipe on another blog for shrimp in jalapeño cream sauce. That blogger made her recipe and served it over rice but I knew I wanted to put my own twist on it and go with a pasta. All I have to say is AWE-SOME! Think of this as a decadent jalapeño popper but as a main course. It wasn’t over the top spicy but it just had the perfect little bite to it. And you know what else I loved about this recipe? It took barely 20 minutes from start to finish! It was exactly what I needed after my insanely busy day. Even if you are sitting there all sketpical about this recipe, open your mind and give it a try. It may sound weird but oh heavens, it is delicious!

INGREDIENTS
1 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c white wine
1 c heavy whipping cream
6 canned jalapeño slices, chopped
1 tbsp pickling juice from jar of jalapeños
1/4 c sour cream
linguine, cooked per package instructions

STEPS

  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the butter a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Melt the butter until it turns a light brown making sure not to burn it.
  • Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes until the shrimp are firm and pink.
  • Transfer the cooked shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt.
  • Place the sliced onions in the skillet and cook over medium high heat until tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil.
  • Cook down the wine for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the cream and chopped jalapeños and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until reduced by one-third.
  • Stir in the pickling juice and sour cream until well combined.
  • Season sauce with salt and pepper and add the shrimp back to the pan.
  • Allow shrimp to heat through, about 3–4 minutes.
  • Serve over cooked linguine.
Dinners

Recipe—Caribbean Baked Chicken with Mango

While there is nothing quite like being on a tropical island getaway, there are ways you can bring the tropical flavors to your very own kitchen. This easy baked chicken recipe combines some great jerk flavors with the sweetness of mango, refreshing flavor of cilantro, and a little bite of jalapeno. Spicy and sweet are classic flavors in Caribbean dishes. This recipe is flavor packed and light, a dinner perfect for the warm summer months. Get lost in your own little island getaway with this fantastic recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 jalapenos, deseeded and deveined
1 white onion
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 slice of ginger, 1/2″ thick
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 450º.
  • In a blender or food processor combine the pepper, white onion, garlic, ginger, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, allspice, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
  • Process the ingredients until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed.
  • Spread the blended pepper mixture over both sides of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in a large greased baking dish and top with any remaining pepper mixture.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken to plates and top each with some diced mango, red onion, and cilantro.
Appetizers

Recipe—Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Every couple of months I get together with a fabulous group of ladies for a book club meeting. I don’t know why we really call it a book club meeting because about 20% of the time is spent discussing the book we read and the other 80% is spent drinking fabulous wines, eating delicious foods, and catching up with some good old fashioned girl talk. Maybe wine and food club meeting would be more appropriate? Either way, we always end with an awesome variety of the most wonderful treats. Our last meeting was on a Friday night right around dinnertime so I wanted to bring something filling and yet low carb (I try and cut out carbs from the food when I know I will be consuming plenty in the wine.) These were absolutely wonderful! They were light yet completely filling. The meatballs were packed full of wonderful Mexican flavors and they really complemented the turkey nicely. The refreshing creamy cilantro lime sauce is actually from a recipe I shared a couple months back for shrimp taco cups. I LOVED that sauce and wanted to make it again. I could put that sauce on everything. So tasty!

CREAMY CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp milk
2 oz. canned diced green chilies
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c panko or breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

SAUCE STEPS

  • To make the sauce combine all sauce ingredients except the cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Add in cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

MEATBALL STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients.
  • Using your hands mix well.
  • Using a large spoon, scoop a spoonful of the meat mixture and shape into 1”–1 1/4” round meatballs.
  • Place the formed meatballs into a greased baking dish making sure they don’t touch.
  • Bake for 16–20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with the cool cilantro lime dipping sauce.
  • Enjoy!
Appetizers

Recipe—Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Any recipe that has bacon, cheese, and jalapeños is a home run in my book. Wrap that up in a flaky delicate layer of puff pastry and it is a grand slam baby! These look like they would be heavy because they are good sized but the puff pastry is actually really light. These are the perfect appetizers for any occasion. The puff pastry takes what is an average appetizer and glamorizes them. Delicate enough for girl’s night in or macho enough for a guy’s night of watching sports. Either way, everyone will love them!

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry

INGREDIENTS
9 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, deseeded, and deveined
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 c bacon, cooked and chopped
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a medium-mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese, garlic, and some salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pepper half with a heaping mound of the cheese filling and set aside.
  • Unfold the thawed puff pastry and cut each sheet into 9 squares.
  • Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the pastry squares and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet as you finish them, making sure they are about an inch apart.
  • Whisk together the egg and water and brush the egg wash over the top of each popper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the poppers are golden brown on top.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Reclaiming Your Castle.

Dinners

Recipe—Mexican Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

The 110º day in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago was a brutal reminder that the summer heat is in full swing! During the hot days I avoid using the oven whenever I can. I’d much rather send the hubby outside to operate the grill allowing me to enjoy a lazy evening. This is a quick and easy, flavor packed, and super refreshing salmon recipe, perfect for these warm summer nights. The salmon is seasoned with some of my favorite Mexican spices giving it a nice little oomph and the avocado salsa is cool and refreshing making this a perfectly balanced dish. It is light in calories and carbs, perfect for anyone looking for a great tasting and healthy meal.

FISH INGREDIENTS
2 lbs salmon filets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

AVOCADO SALSA INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
2 limes
1 tsp salt
1 avocado, peeled, deseeded, and sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, deseeded, deveined, and chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Pat the salmon dry and rub the meat side of the fish with the olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion powder, and pepper.
  • Season the meat side of the filet with seasoning mix and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • While the salmon is chilling make the avocado salsa by whisking together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, juice from 2 limes, and salt in a small bowl
  • Combine the avocado, red onion, peppers, and cilantro in a medium bowl and pour the juice mixture over the salsa and gently stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate avocado salsa until ready to serve.
  • Preheat the grill to 325º.
  • Grill the salmon for about 4–6 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
  • Transfer the salmon to a cutting board and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Place the salmon steaks on plates and top with the avocado salsa.

Recipe adapted from Laylita’s Recipes. 

Uncategorized

Father’s Day Meal Ideas (My Hubby’s Top 12 Picks)

Fathers Day Menu Ideas

Father’s day is just around the corner and there are going to be some hungry men hoping to get a day off in the kitchen or on the grille. While many people may enjoy going out, my hubby is more partial to a nice home cooked lunch or dinner with the fam. Rather trying to guess what recipes I think the men in our lives would like I went straight to the source and got a male perspective. I asked my husband to sort through my entire archive of recipes and pick out his top 12 favorite recipes that I have featured on my blog. So if you are looking for some ideas on what to cook for dad this year, here are some great ideas that work for lunch or dinner. Give any of these a try and you will make the man or men in your life extremely happy.

Hubby's Top 12 Pick's

  1. Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade
  2. Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers
  3. Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Truffles
  4. Toffee Apple Dip
  5. Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos
  6. Limoncello Chicken
  7. Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut
  8. Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Sammy
  9. Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
  10. Cheesy Mac Attack A.K.A. Macaroni N’ Cheese
  11. Loaded Baked Cauliflower
  12. Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob