Baked Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime Sauce

Skip the calories of fried fish for the fresh flavors and healthy ingredients of these baked fish tacos. Another simple, healthy weeknight meal brought to you by yours truly!

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If you’re in the mood to have a beer out on the patio, then fire up your grill and throw the fish on there instead of baking it in the oven.

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But if you’ve got some tidying up to do, or a dishwasher that needs emptying, or dogs that need feeding, then pop the seasoned fillets in the oven and walk away!

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Whatever you do, just don’t skip the chipotle lime sauce–it’s so good you’ll probably be licking the bowl clean!

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Baked Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 8 tacos
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Ingredients

Tacos:

  • 2 lbs. white fish fillets (tilapia, halibut, cod, grouper, snapper, mahi mahi, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • pico de gallo for serving

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons diced chiles in adobo
  • juice of 1 lime
  • splash of water
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

In a small bowl combine cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle both sides of each fillet with about a teaspoon of oil. Divide spice mixture evenly between the fillets, gently rubbing it in. Place fillets on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

In a small bowl combine sauce ingredients, adding just enough water to loosen it up into a creamy sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.

When the fish is almost done, start warming those tortillas. Heat a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Heat tortillas one at a time for about 30-60 seconds. Once the first side has some golden brown spots and smells toasty, flip it over and cook the other side.

This is where it might be nice to have some extra hands in the kitchen to start an assembly line, building the tacos as the warm tortillas come off the skillet.

Flake fish into bite size pieces and divide evenly between tortillas. Top with a drizzle of chipotle lime cream sauce and pico de gallo and enjoy!

Lemon and Dill Goat Cheese Bites (4)

 

Quick Veggie Lo Mein

Looking for a quick weeknight meal? Want a dinner filled with fresh veggies and tons of flavor? Yeah, me too. That’s all I ever want. Isn’t that all anyone ever wants? A healthy meal that’s substantially satisfying but doesn’t require oodles of time or energy. That, and a million dollars. That’s what I want.

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I try to prep all my food for the week over the weekend, but sometimes I’m too busy, or too lazy, or it just doesn’t happen. So every once in awhile I find myself scrambling on a Wednesday night trying to figure out what to make for dinner. That’s when I reach for recipes like this one.

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Just like her momma, my toddler loves anything with noodles! And she really seems to dig soy sauce and other Asian flavors too. I think they are mild enough for her palette but flavorful enough to keep her interested.

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So, if you find yourself scrambling on a Wednesday night and you not sure what to make for dinner, make this! It is toddler tested and approved. And you’ll have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes!

Quick Veggie Lo Mein

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

For the noodles and veggies:

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 cups bite size pieces of broccoli
  • 1 cup sliced red pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 12 oz. lo mein noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • optional garnish: thinly sliced green onion

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

Directions

Heat olive and sesame oils in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and hoisin sauce in a small bowl. Add noodles and sauce mixture to the pan and turn heat to low. Toss to coat everything in the sauce and cook for one minute. Garnish with sliced green onion and enjoy!

Lemon and Dill Goat Cheese Bites

{Vegan} Orange Ginger Asian Quinoa Salad

This is my favorite time of the year. Summer has arrived but it’s not quite in full swing yet so the air is warm, but not yet humid. The evenings and nights get nice and cool but you can still sleep with the windows open. If ever there was a perfect time to live in Wisconsin, it is now!

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This surge of warm weather and endless sunlight always gets me craving big bowls of fresh veggies for lunch. If you feel like you’re in a lunch rut or you’re sick of your usual salad routine, this quinoa salad is for you!

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You can make a big batch that will last all week, and like a fine wine it only get better with time. You could easily switch out the quinoa for pasta in this recipe too.

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Fresh squeezed orange juice sets this dressing apart from all others. Fresh ginger and garlic along with rice vinegar and soy sauce give it that classic Asian flavor that you’re looking for, but the orange zest is what really gives it a big burst of freshness.

{Vegan} Orange Ginger Asian Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • optional: sesame seeds for garnish

For the dressing:

  • zest of half an orange
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/2 inch cube ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

In a small saucepan combine quinoa, water and sesame oil. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer on low for 12-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, fluff with a fork and place in fridge to cool.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl combine cooled quinoa, carrots, cabbage, edamame, red pepper and dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired and serve!

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Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

This is my faaaaaavvvoorrrrittteee summer salad.  I actually eat it all year round, but especially love it in the early summer for some reason. There is nothing better than crispy pecans and warm, creamy goat cheese paired with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette and roasted beets.

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Normally I roast my own beets, but this time as I was ordering our groceries, these Love Beets popped up as an option when I searched. And I was very intrigued. Normally I don’t go for many precooked convenience foods but when I saw that the only ingredients listed were organic beets, I thought they might be worth a try.

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And now, I may never roast another beet again. They are delicious! Perfectly roasted and very flavorful.

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I think it was $3-$4 for 4 medium sized roasted and peeled beets. You are paying for the convenience, but sometimes after a long day I like things to be a little convenient. Especially when they are so healthy and good for you.

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Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 10.5 oz. log plain goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (a food processor works well)
  • 16 oz. spring greens or your fave lettuce combo
  • 4 medium beets, roasted and peeled
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • olive or grapeseed oil for frying
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

For the dressing:

  • 2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Slice goat cheese into 8 equal pieces. I like to cut the log in half, then cut each half in half, and so on until I have 8 slices. Place goat cheese in the freezer for 5 minutes which will make it easier to work with.

Beat egg in a shallow bowl. Place pecans in a shallow bowl. Use hands to form slices of goat cheese into uniformly round pucks. Dip each puck into the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off and then dip it into the pecan mixture, covering the entire surface with pecans. Use your palms to smash the pecans into the goat cheese, forming it into a flat round patty about half an inch thick.

Heat a 1/4-1/2 an inch of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. You will know the oil is hot when you can dip the handle of a wooden spoon into it and the oil begins to bubble around the spoon handle. Working in batches depending on the size of your pan, fry goat cheese rounds for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. If you find the rounds are cooking faster than that, turn the heat down. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to soak up excess grease.

In a mason jar combine all dressing ingredients and shake vigorously until emulsified. Assemble each salad with a bed of lettuce, a handful of roasted beets, a sprinkle of diced onion. Then pour dressing over the salad and place the goat cheese round right in the center.

Directions

I made these as a meal prep recipe for the week and reheated the goat cheese rounds just before eating in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds and they were delish! Not quite as good as freshly fried, but the flavor and texture was still very tasty.

Lemon and Dill Goat Cheese Bites

One Pot Chipotle Fettuccine Alfredo

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a real thing for pasta. And sauce. And cheese. In no particular order.

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I’ve also got a thing for using the least amount of dishes possible to prepare a meal. Because there’s nothing I dislike more than loading and unloading the dishwasher.

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In this recipe the pasta cooks right along with the sauce saving you precious time and energy. No extra pot, no strainer. You can even go right from the stovetop to the dinner table, no serving dish necessary.

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The chipotle level can be adjusted to fit your family’s taste buds. My husband loves all things spicy so we like to add the entire teaspoon of chipotle powder (and sometimes we add even more)!

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Pico de gallo might seem like an odd garnish, but the fresh flavors really balance the rich, creamy, slightly spicy alfredo sauce.

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I’ve found that 6 cups of liquid for one pound of pasta seems to be the sweet spot for one pot pastas. So you can use that ratio for whatever one pot pasta combination your pretty little heart desires!

One Pot Chipotle Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • fresh pico de gallo for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add pasta, chicken stock, half and half, chipotle and parsley to the pot and stir to combine. I broke my fettuccine noodles in half so that they fit in my pot a bit more easily. Bring it a boil, then turn heat down to medium or medium low and simmer for 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until pasta is al dente, then remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Garnish with pico de gallo and enjoy!

The sauce will thicken as it sits. If it gets too thick, loosen it up with a bit of milk, half and half or chicken stock.

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Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Did anyone else’s meal prep totally fall off once the warm weather hit? I’m not exactly sure what it was… The special dinner for my birthday, a couple extra days off work for the Memorial Day holiday, a few too many trips to Ramone’s for ice cream. I can’t pin point it exactly, but when Memorial Day rolled around we had no food in our fridge and no meals prepped to get us through the coming week. We improvised and made these delicious tarts which were thankfully very satisfying and helped use up a bunch of random leftovers.

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However, by Tuesday evening the leftovers had been exhausted and our situation was getting more dire. I was still feeling that lag you experience after having too many consecutive days off in a row and needed something super simple to bring to work for lunch this week. My brain was screaming SLOW COOKER.

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I wanted a recipe that was ridiculously easy to make but also made my mouth water. My first thought was Beer Braised Pork Carnitas, but since I’ve made that about 37 times so far this year I let my mind wander a bit more.

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And it wandered all the way over to these tasty barbacoa beef tacos. A simple spice rub followed by a quick sear on the roast and it’s off to the crock pot along with some onion, garlic, chiles in adobo, limes, cilantro and beef broth. 4-5 hours later, you have shredded barbacoa fit for a king. Or a queen!

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I know it’s saying A LOT, but this barbacoa beef rivals that of Chipotle! There I said it so I can’t take it back.

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Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients

For the tacos:

  • 2 lbs. beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons diced chiles in adobo
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 3 limes
  • zest of 1 lime
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne. Rub spice mixture all over the surface of the roast. Sear all sides of the roast, cooking each side for about 2-3 minutes or until the entire outside of the roast is seared nice and dark golden brown. Add roast to the slow cooker.

Without wiping out the pan, turn heat down to the medium and add onion to the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add onion and garlic to the slow cooker. Then add beef broth, chiles in adobo and cilantro to the slow cooker. Cut limes in half widthwise and squeeze juice into the slow cooker, then add the rinds of the limes in as well. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until beef is fall apart tender.

While the roast is working it’s magic, add the sauce ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until cilantro is well minced and ingredients are combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove beef from crock pot and shred using two forks. Serve with flour tortillas, Cilantro Lime Sour Cream, fresh pico de gallo, diced onion and fresh cilantro.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (14)

Proscuitto, Parmesan and Asparagus Bundles

You asked and I answered. In a recent Instagram poll, you guys told me you wanted to see more appetizer recipes, and I am delivering another super simple appetizer recipe that is perfect for your next party, baby shower or backyard BBQ.

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These little bundles take less than 30 minutes from start to finish and if you’re kids are itching for a project, this might be the perfect way for them to help out in the kitchen!

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You could totally serve these as a main course as well. They’d pair perfectly with my Orange Fennel Salad for a super fresh dinner combo.

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If you’re looking for some other puff pastry recipes to try, check out my Fig Jam, Pear and Gorgonzola Tartlets, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart or Swiss Chard, Leek and Potato Tartlets. Puff pastry is definitely the way to go if you’re looking for a simple, yet elegant appetizer.

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Proscuitto, Parmesan and Asparagus Bundles

  • Servings: 18 bundles
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Ingredients

  • 2 sheets  puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 oz. proscuitto
  • 18 spears of asparagus, woody ends removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • a couple large pinches Kosher salt
  • large pinch fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unfold both sheets of puff pastry and cut along seams to create three large rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 equal size rectangles. This will give you 18 rectangles total from the two sheets of puff pastry.

Divide proscuitto evenly, placing it in a single layer across each rectangle. I used a little less than half a slice per rectangle. Chop asparagus spears in half widthwise and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place 2 pieces of asparagus in the center of each tart, along with about a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Wrap corners of puff pastry around the fillings and press the outside corner into the bundle a bit to make sure it’s sealed.

Place bundles about an inch apart on the lined baking sheets. Brush each bundle with egg wash and bake for 12-15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

These tarts are delicious at room temperature as well, so feel free to make a few hours ahead of time. If you are going to transport, I would recommend not covering them at all if possible as the puff pastry will lose some of it’s crisp flakiness when sealed in an airtight container.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (4)

Pan Fried Pork Dumplings

I am way too guilty of trying to capture every moment (and meal) in the perfect photo. Rarely do we take a trip to the park or go out to eat that I don’t have my phone in my hand ready to snap the latest and greatest photo of our beautiful daughter or a “gram worthy” picture of whatever drinks and appetizers we’re enjoying.

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Obviously since I’m trying to launch my food blog, the best way to gain traction is to give my followers frequent, high quality content which means Instastories of all the food truck meals, wine glass cheers with friends and whatever local things we’re doing that day. And of course, and probably most importantly, new recipe posts as often as possible.

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But since summer has arrived (with a vengeance I might add, record highs in the 90s this weekend?! WTF??) I’ve started to really evaluate the amount of time that I’m spending on social media and perfecting this lovely blog.

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I decided it was time for Midwest Foodie to get an upgrade. Work smarter, not harder right? I purchased my first tripod and tripod arm and finally started editing my photos with actual photo editing software. Well, okay, maybe it’s just a free app on my phone… But still! I know, I know…it’s about time, right? So the good news is that I’m starting to find what works and what doesn’t.

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Which means I’m spending more time setting up my shots, but less time actually taking photos because instead of hating them and taking 700, I am loving them and only take 20. And then I’m able to make them even better with some very light editing. It’s quite an elating feeling to spend only 20-30 minutes shooting my dishes when I’m used to spending 2 hours or more. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my photos are the best thing you’ll ever see, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of where I was last year at this time. And I’m pretty dang proud of that! It’s about progress, not perfection!

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What does this all mean for you? Well it means that less stress for me will hopefully translate into more high quality photos and recipe posts for you guys to gobble up! So keep replying to my Instastories, hitting that like button and giving me feedback on recipes. Midwest Foodie is going to do big things and I want you to be a part of it!!

Pan Fried Pork Dumplings

  • Servings: 30 dumplings
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced mushroom
  • 1/2 inch cube ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced + more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 30 dumpling/potsticker wrappers
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • soy sauce for serving

Directions

Add pork, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, ginger, garlic, green onion, hoisin, sesame oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix until well combined. It’s easiest to mix using your hands. Fill a small dish with water which you will use to seal the dumplings. Use a teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of one wrapper. Wet around the edge of half the dumpling wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half to and press the edges together to seal the dumpling into a half moon shape. Repeat the above steps with remaining dumplings.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Working in batches of about 6-8 (depending on the size of your pan) add two teaspoons oil to the pan. Add dumplings and cook each side for about 2-3 minutes or until each side is dark golden brown. Pour 1/3 cup of water into the pan and cover immediately. Cook, covered for a few minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove lid and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until the both sides are crisp again. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

Serve with soy sauce and garnish with sliced green onion.

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Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

If you’re looking for the accompaniment to my  Bourbon Braised Beef, here it is! These mashed sweet potatoes are rich, garlicky and oh so creamy. They will pair perfectly with fall apart tender beef and a big glass of red wine!

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Truth be told, I am not a huge sweet potato fan. I know, can you believe it?! I love literally every other kind of spud, but I’ve never been too keen on the sweet tater. Not sure why, I know it’s a lot of people’s jam. However, these mashed sweet potatoes are making me re-think my alliances with the other spuds.

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I’m not sure that I’m ready to admit it quite yet, but I might like mashed sweet potatoes more than regular mashed potatoes. There’s something about the slight sweetness mixed with the garlic and salt that really does it for me. Kinda like my Salted, Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies–the perfect marriage of salty and sweet. Life is all about balance, right?

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Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Add diced potatoes to a large pot. Fill pot with water until it covers the potatoes by about 2 inches. Turn heat to high and bring water to a boil. Add a few large pinches of salt and boil potatoes for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Return the large pot to the stove and add butter. Heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add garlic and saute, stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat. Add potatoes back into the pot along with heavy cream, sour cream and a couple large pinches of salt and a large pinch of pepper. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes as you combine them with the other ingredients. Mash until well combined and well mashed. Season to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and Bourbon Braised Beef.

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Slow Cooker Asian Braised Beef

I love my crock pots. I literally have 9 of them (no joke). And I actually had more until our recent move forced me to reevaluate necessary kitchen equipment. They are all different sizes, shapes and colors. It might seem like overkill. Until I host a New Year’s party and I have one crock for the spinach and artichoke dip, one for the jalapeno poppers, one for the meatballs, one for the queso, one for sliders, one for pulled pork and one for corn dogs. Then I don’t look like such a crazy crock pot lady! Or maybe I look like more of a crazy crock pot lady…

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Who cares! I am one of those people who uses their crock pots year round. I use them in the winter for my Secret Family Recipe Chili and Peach Whiskey Meatballs, and in the summer for things like this braised beef. It’s perfect for those hot, sticky Wisconsin summer days when it’s SO humid the last thing you want to do is turn your oven on. And it’s an easy weeknight meal to throw in the crock pot before you leave for work so you have a hot dinner ready to go when you walk through the door after a long day of meetings or momming or school or whatever it is that you do all day.

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I like to serve my braised beef over rice and crisp, sauteed summer veggies. A few years ago my husband bought me a rice cooker for my birthday and I bet I’ve used it a hundred times since then. For all the delicious meals I whip up in the kitchen, rice has always been the bain of my culinary existence. I don’t know what it is, but I cannot cook rice to save my life. Now I mix it with some chicken broth in the rice maker and walk away.

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Sometimes you just have to accept your flaws–cooking rice well is definitely one of mine. We all have our faults and that’s what makes this world such a beautiful place. Well, that and delicious food.

Asian Braised Beef

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into large cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch cube ginger, minced
  • 4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons oil a large saute pan over medium high heat. Season beef with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Working in two batches, sear all sides of each piece of beef until dark brown. A good rule of thumb is that the meat is done searing when it can easily be removed from the surface of the pan; if it’s sticking it’s not done yet. You are not trying to cook the meat through at this point, just adding a layer of flavor. Transfer seared beef to a large crock pot. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pan and sear remaining batch of beef, then transfer to crock pot.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the same pan and turn heat to medium. Add onion and ginger along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently for 4 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for another minute, stirring frequently. Transfer onion, ginger and garlic to the crock pot. Then add beef broth, tamari, rice vinegar, ground ginger, sesame oil and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the beef is fork tender and pulls apart easily. Serve with rice and sauteed veggies. Enjoy!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (17)

Slow Cooker Bourbon Braised Beef

Sometimes the meal prep juices are flowing and the recipes just come to me. I know exactly what I’m craving and roll with it when it comes time to grocery shop (or in my case when it comes time to order my groceries online) and other times I spend a couple hours pouring over recipes on Pinterest and can’t find inspiration from anything. This weekend it was the latter.

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But in the back of my head I was still thinking about the epic meal that I had mentioned in my latest post with that summery orange fennel salad and I just kept coming back to that tender lamb on a bed of creamy polenta.

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I couldn’t get it out of my head.

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And so it became my inspiration for this dish. Tender, rich, bourbon braised beef nestled into a pillow of garlicky, creamy, sweet potato mash. The prep time is minimal and the beef does all the work in 4-5 hours in the crock while you get on with your day!

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Bourbon Braised Beef

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into large cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons oil a large saute pan over medium high heat. Season beef with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Working in two batches, sear all sides of each piece of beef until dark brown. A good rule of thumb is that the meat is done searing when it can easily be removed from the surface of the pan; if it’s sticking it’s not done yet. You are not trying to cook the meat through at this point, just adding a layer of flavor. Transfer seared beef to a large crock pot. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pan and sear remaining batch of beef, then transfer to crock pot.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the same pan and turn heat to medium. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently for 4 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for another minute, stirring frequently. Transfer onion and garlic to the crock pot. Then add beef broth, bourbon, Worcestershire, Dijon, thyme and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the beef is fork tender and pulls apart easily. Serve with my favorite garlic mashed sweet potatoes. Enjoy!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (6)

Bacon & Leek Pizza with Dill Pesto

Do you have a Woodman’s where you live? Have you tried ordering your groceries online? You literally pick out exactly what you want (including back ups in case they are out of something) and pick the date/time you want to pick them up. They text you a reminder when your groceries are ready and you text them back when you have arrived. They wheel the groceries right out to your car and even help you load it up. It literally could not be easier! It has saved us so much time it’s ridiculous! There is a $4.95 charge if your order is $50-$99.99 but get your order over $100 and it’s free! In the long run I’m convinced it’s also saved us money too, because there’s no impulse purchases as you’re navigating the aisles.

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The biggest plus for me is the not having to deal with the anxiety and annoyance of grocery shopping. I hate dealing with the aisle blockers, slow walkers, dilly dalliers, loud talkers, yelling parents, screaming children (mostly my own) and worst of all those shoppers who act like they are literally the only people in the entire store. You know the ones, blocking the entire dairy aisle with their perpendicular cart only to leave it in the middle of the aisle and wander down 10 feet to look at the sour cream. Meanwhile a line of 8 people is waiting to get around her. I may have lost my temper a bit and after politely saying, “Excuse me” also muttered under my breath, “Not like there’s a line of 10 people behind you.” This lady got super pissed and started yelling at me. Admittedly, I was being a bit snippy and I probably deserved the words she said to me. But damn lady, get outta the freakin’ way! We all have places to go and no one wants to stand here and watch you spend 20 minutes debating sour cream brands.

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So now it’s click, click, click, pick up my groceries and I’m done. No more starting shit at the grocery store for me!

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I do have one complaint though…I hate all the plastic bags! I have tried writing “paper bags only, no plastic bags please” in the notes section of every single order, and I still get everything in plastic bags. I could probably bring my own canvas grocery bags and switch them out, but you know they are just going to throw away those plastic bags and no reuse them, so what’s the point? At least when I get them home, I can recycle them. But, come on Eau Claire, let’s get on this “plastic bag ban” bandwagon please!

Rant over. This pizza is delicious and you need to make it now. It easy, it tastes great and your family will love you for putting this delicious creation on the dinner table.

Bacon and Leek Pizza with Dill Pesto

  • Servings: 2-3
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Ingredients

  • 1 (12-14 inch) pizza crust (1/4 of my no knead pizza dough recipe)
  • 1/2 recipe of my homemade dill pesto (or 1/2 cup of your fave pesto)
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 4 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: fresh chopped dill

Directions

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. If you’re using my no knead pizza dough recipe, line a pizza pan or baking sheet with foil and and sprinkle a thin layer of corn meal to prevent the crust from sticking. Turn the dough ball out onto a floured work surface. Gently shape it into a disc, then carefully working in a clockwise motion, gently press and stretch the dough into a 12 inch circle. Don’t overwork the dough; the less you touch it the better. If you’re using a pre-baked store bought crust you can skip these steps and just place your crust on a foil lined pan.

Spread pesto in an even layer across the pizza, leaving about a half inch of crust. Then add, leeks, bacon, mozzarella and Parmesan, spreading everything in an even layer across the crust. Bake for 15 minute or until the edges are dark golden brown and the cheese starts to brown as well. Garnish with fresh dill and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (7)

Spicy Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

Do you ever feel like you overthink things? Like maybe you put way too much time and energy into something that really would be better off if you’d just let it be? Or sometimes you try to make something more complex or intricate than it needs to be? Of course not, me neither.

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Hah, yeah right. For me it’s my recipes and food photos. Sometimes I think they need to have 20 ingredients or they’ll be too boring and simple. I will make something, taste it 1000 times and even though it’s delicious, I will stress over whether it could be better. More salt, some acidity, a hint of heat? Let it go already! Sometimes I think I miss out on the good looking for the perfect. Have you heard that saying before? It’s really been resonating with me lately. Don’t miss out on the good looking for the perfect. And honestly, when I see a recipe with too many ingredients or something that seems too difficult or time consuming, I generally scroll on past. So why, you might ask, would I think that my recipes need to be complex and over the top? Because, I tend to overthink things!

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My other obsession is getting the perfect shot. I hate to even admit it but I will sometimes spend 1-2 hours staging the scene and taking 389 shots of the same dish. Even though I know I really love the first 5 and probably don’t need to spend any more time fussing. And as you can see 4-5 is usually the sweet spot for blog pictures, so any more than that is really just overkill.

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So, here’s to not overthinking things. Appreciating whole foods prepared in simple recipes that taste delicious. I think I might have stumbled across my new catchphrase…

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Also, do you remember last week when I was all, “Oh, I’ve gotta get one more soup recipe in before spring arrives!” Well, spring is still here. Along with 12 inches of snow. Although I really shouldn’t complain because one year we got this much snow during the first week of May. So this is at least a couple weeks earlier. And this is a great excuse to hunker down and snuggle in with a hearty bowl of soup while the flakes fall and binge watch Netflix.

Spicy Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. ground hot Italian (or mild) sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of your favorite beer
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 heaping cups chopped kale
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

In a large pot over medium heat, brown sausage, using a spatula crumble until cooked through. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and saute 1 minute, stirring frequently. Deglaze pot with beer, then add lentils, tomatoes, chicken stock and water. Stir to combine. Cover pot, turn heat up just to bring things to a simmer, then simmer on low for 15 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes.

At this point remove from heat, stir in cream if desired and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets

BBQ Pork Stuffed Poblanos with Spanish Quinoa

As someone who has struggled with gaining and losing the same 20-30 pounds for the last 10 years I am constantly trying to create recipes that are healthy yet satisfying in an effort to get back to my to ideal weight. I want a meal that tastes delicious and leaves me satiated but doesn’t break the calorie bank. These peppers are the best of both worlds; loaded with tender pulled pork that feels a little indulgent but stuffed inside a poblano pepper and filled with tons of protein packed quinoa.

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The BBQ sauce might throw you off a bit, but just hear me out. It’s delicious and if you haven’t tried the combo before, you’re welcome! Homemade enchilada sauce would be divine in this recipe but sometimes the canned stuff just makes life so much easier.

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I am forgetting the best part. Half the meal cooks in the crock pot while you get on with your life! For this recipe I used my easy Beer Braised Pork Carnitas which is a pork roast seared and then smothered in seasonings, slow cooked in a mixture of beer and chicken stock with a little hint of orange. I have literally made these pork carnitas at least twice a month for the last year. Mostly because they’re so easy to make and partly because every time I do my husband raves about their deliciousness!

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Actually the best part of this meal might be the Spanish quinoa. It’s made in much the same way that your typical Spanish rice would be but it’s got a lot more nutritional value. It’s all about the nutritional value!

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So let’s get to it!

BBQ Pork Stuffed Poblanos with Spanish Quinoa

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients

  • Beer Braised Pork Carnitas
  • 5 large poblano peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4.5 oz.) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (28 oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, petite diced
  • 1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • sour cream for serving

Directions

While the pork is working it’s magic, get started on that quinoa. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add dry, uncooked quinoa and toast it for about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently. You are looking to bring out the nutty flavor and get it a little golden brown. Next add 1 cup water to the pan along with the can of diced tomatoes and the can of diced chiles (no draining!). Add a pinch of salt as well, then stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the pork is fully cooked it will be super tender, like falling off the bone and just begging to be pulled apart tender. Remove it from the crock pot and transfer to a large baking sheet. It’s easiest to do this with a big tongs as the meat will be falling apart making it a bit difficult to handle. Use two forks to gently pull the pork apart. While you are doing this remove any fatty parts and discard them. Place shredded pork in a bowl, set aside. Try not to eat it all before you stuff the peppers. Discard the rest of the contents of the crock…I know this seems like a terrible waste and I’m sure there’s something awesomely delicious that you could do with that fatty broth. If you think of something, let me know!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab two 9×13 baking dishes and pour about half a cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of each pan. Time for the stuffing! Divide quinoa evenly between the peppers (about 1/3-1/2 cup per pepper) and make sure to stuff it in all the little crevasses. Next divide the pork evenly between the peppers (about a 1/2 cup or so per pepper). Mix remaining enchilada sauce with the BBQ sauce and pour this mixture over the pork stuffed peppers, dividing it evenly between them. Top each pepper with a small handful of diced onion and then a small sprinkling of shredded cheese. Cover each pan tightly with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the peppers are tender but still have a bit of a bite.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (7)