Hey everybody! So, I’ve been hearing about it…I’ve been reading about it…the Instant Pot. At first I brushed it off, I mean I have a pressure cooker, I have a slow cooker, do I really need this device? I’m also the type of person that tends to stay away from another kitchen “gadget.” But, Instant Pot has been so popular for so long with so many great things said about it that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So, I decided to make a space in my kitchen for it and for my birthday my beautiful wife and in-laws ended up getting me on…so it’s been about a month since I got it and I just now finally busted it out! I was perusing the internet, looking at what other people were doing and settled on trying some carnitas. All I can say is WOW! It really is a great kitchen appliance. It was so nice to be able to saute, pressure cook and then keep the food warm all in one pot! I also really like how it takes a lot of the guessing work out of pressure cooking. I have a stove top pressure cooker as well and you kind of have to baby sit them while they do their thing. I was also really impressed how easy it was to clean. So, even though I only have one cook under my belt, so far I give this thing two big thumbs up. Can’t wait to do more with it! So, as far as the recipe goes, I made some very traditional pork carnitas, that I served on yellow corn tortillas, with homemade pico de gallo and a avocado crema. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Happy Valentine's Day! Nothing says I love you like Taco Bell and when I go to Taco Bell, my go-to choice is the crunch wrap supreme....they are just so freakin good. My wife came across a homemade version, so we decided to take a crack at making them and they are awesome! You can also lighten this recipe up a little bit by substituting ground chicken, using light sour cream, and switching to a whole grain wrap. Also in this post I am giving you a recipe for a taco seasoning that works well for a 1 lbs portion of ground meat. I'm not going to lie, I rarely make my own, I find it more convenient buying just a packet at a time and I don't see much of a flavor difference between homemade taco seasoning and store bought ready to go. I would assume that making your a large batch of your own taco season is more cost effective per ounce, but I haven't done the math on this yet....would be interested to see that though if somebody has it! Really simple recipe though that we tend to use as a weeknight Mexican night. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Prep time: 10m | Total time: 10min | Yield: 1 batch
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Put all the ingredients in a small container and shake to combine. Use immediately with 1 lbs of ground meet with 2/3 cup liquid or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Crunch Wrap Supreme
Prep time: 10m | Cook time: 20min | Total time: 30min | Yield: 4 servings
- 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 1 serving taco seasoning below (or store bought)
- 2/3 cup water
- 4 large tortilla wraps
- 1/2 cup nacho cheese sauce
- 4 tostada
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1 tomato, diced
- In a large saute pan heat remaining 1 Tbsp of canolo oil in a large saute pan. Add ground beef and cook until beef has browned, making sure that you crumble the beef as you cook. Drain off excess fat. Add in the prepared taco seasoning with 2/3 cup water. Simmer until sauce has thickened.
- Wrap 4 of the tortillas in a paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds until they are pliable. With the remaining tortilla use a 4" cookie cutter to create 4 small tortilla circles. If you don't have the cookie cutter, just cut out 4 circles roughly 4" in diameter.
- Working one at a time, put taco meat in the center of each tortilla. Top with nacho cheese sauce and a tostada shell. Lightly press down on the tostada shell so that the compact the meat. Spread an even amount of sour cream on top of the tostada and top with shredded cheese, lettuce and diced tomato. Place one of the small tortilla circles you cut out on top.
- Fold the edge up so that it overlaps the tortilla cirle. Continue working around the tortilla, folding up the edge as tight as possible. Repeat this process with remaining crunch wraps.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of canola oil in a large saute pan. Working in batchs, place crunch wrap seam-side down and cook until golden brown, about 2 min (Watch the temperature of your pan, the tortillas burn really quickly). Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, another 1-2 min. Repeat with remaining crunch wraps. Serve immediately
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Hey Everybody! I know it has been a very long time since I have posted. But, man, I tell you what....it just seems like by the time I get home from work, having dinner, and spending time with the family, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting in front of the computer writing a blog post. I don't think people truly appreciate the amount of time it takes to create content and manage a food blog! But, the good news is I haven't really stopped creating content for the blog, because I haven't stopped cooking at all...the managing the blog has been the achilles heel for sure. "But, Eric, there is always nap time during the weekend where you can sit and blog!" True...there is....but I love playing video games haha. I do miss you all very much and am going to make a better effort to get posts done on a weekly basis.
So, since I didn't have a horse in the super bowl race this past weekend, actually it was quite the opposite since I dislike New England and Philadelphia. I decided that I could drown my sorrows in delicious food and my wife recommended meatballs...so here we are. Delicious mozzarella stuffed meatballs made with a 50/50 blend of ground beef and Italian Sausage that were then slow cooked in a delicious homemade marinara sauce. We ended up making meatball hoagies, but you can use them however you like. Give them a try and let me know what you think below in the comment section!
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Prep time: 20m | Cook time: 15min | Total time: 35min | Yield: 16 meatballs
- 1 small onion, grated (6 oz)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp Ketchup
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 8 oz ground beef
- 8 oz Italian bulk sausage
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese, cut in 16 (1/2 inch) cubes
- Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and Italian sausage. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter, roughly 2 oz) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Use meatballs however you like! In my case, I put in the crockpot with some homemade marinara (Recipe below) and made meatball hoagies.
Prep time: 25m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 55min | Yield: 5 cups
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- Generous pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 (28 oz) cans san marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 large sprig basil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- In a large pot, combine oil and garlic and heat over moderately low heat until garlic begins to very gently sizzle. Add red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn a light golden color, about 3 minutes. Add oregano and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until paste has softened and blended with the oil, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in canned tomatoes and their juices, increase heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain. Using an immersion blender, blend tomatoes until sauce is smooth. (Alternatively, blend tomatoes in a standard blender before adding to pot)
- Add basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced slightly and tastes rich, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.
- Discard basil. Stir in butter, if using, until melted. Use sauce right away, or allow to cool to room temperature, transfer to sealed containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Cooking your meats to the perfect temperature is crucial not only from a food safety stand point, but from flavor and tenderness stand point as well. Make sure you cook your pork, like in this recipe to 135F. The best way to accurately monitor the internal temperature of your meats is by using a Thermapen MK4. They are the most durable, accurate, fast, and reliable thermometer on the market. These are a kitchen MUST HAVE! Go buy yourself a Thermapen MK4 today!