Oven Baked Tacos Recipe
Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Oven Baked Tacos

I am a fan of the crispy taco.  The soft taco is good, too – but sometimes the crunch is just what you need.  But I needed a taco recipe that solved the dreaded crunchy taco disintegration issue – this Oven Baked Tacos Recipe does the job.

I thought the issue was just the way the taco crumbled UNTIL I found this oven baked taco recipe.  The one I found had chicken in it, which is good – but I had ground beef thawed out and no black beans…what’s a gal to do?

Well first, I had to solve the bean problem.  Instant Pot (or Cuisinart in my case) to the rescue!  I found a recipe for Slow Cooker Charro Beans that looked good – but I wanted to make some adjustments, and not have to cook them for 10 hours, so I adapted it for the Pressure Cooker an came up with these Instant Pot Pinto Beans.

Then I turned the beans and my ground beef into these AMAZING baked tacos.  I made a batch of my Cowboy Caviar to go on top (sans the beans, too many beans did not a happy home make).

SO – by baking the topping in the shells with a bit of cheese, the bottoms get a bit soft – still kinda crunchy though – and they don’t break into a million pieces.  PERFECTO!  

Give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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Budget Friendly, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Potato & Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe

I am, admittedly, a novice when it comes to Indian food.  Curry scared me as I’d had it years ago and it tasted terrible and was so stupidly hot it was inedible.  I sort of painted all curry with that same brush – and steered clear for years.  Then I tried a coconut lime chicken recipe that had a tad of curry powder in it, and I realized that not all curry is hot, and some curry tastes amazing!

So – I got braver today and tried a Coconut Chicken Curry recipe that I modified a bit and made more to our taste.  This turned out great!  I served with steamed rice, toasted naan bread, shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, and sliced red onion.  It was ah. mah. zing.

If you wanted to make this vegetarian, use water instead of broth/stock and double the potato.  It would taste great.  I had one chicken breast in the fridge already thawed so that’s what I put in here, but all potato would be pretty damn tasty as well!

If you feel the need – garnish with parsley or cilantro 🙂

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Odds & Ends, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit, Weeknight Favorites

Odds & Ends: Chicken and Veggie Tortellini Soup

I think we throw away way too many leftovers as a whole.  Society has become such a “throw it away, buy new” entity – and it’s just laziness and lack of imagination that causes it.  When your fridge has a bunch of semi “meh” veggies – make soup.  When you have leftover meat, throw it in the freezer – when you make soup – pull out the odds and ends of chicken – add it in to your soup.  You can do the same with ends and pieces of vegetable as well.

I always have chicken stock in the freezer, so if we clean out the veggie drawer, the odds and ends of chicken, and add in our stock – we have Chicken and Veggie Tortellini Soup.  This one is a bit different than my other Vegetable Tortellini Soup recipe.  This one works really well in the winter, and as a week night dinner.  Just grab a package of refrigerated or frozen tortellini and you’re set.  Use spinach, kale or escarole – or don’t add greens at the end – anything works here!

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Budget Friendly, Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Garlic Honey Mustard Chicken & Veggie Tray Bake

I am a really REALLY big fan of one dish meals – in fact a recent Christmas present was a cookbook of one-pan dinners – from slow cookers to sheet trays and dutch ovens.  Really great for weeknight meals and easy clean up when you’re not really into doing a bunch of dishes.  This chicken veggie tray bake recipe if definitely one to put in your repertoire.

I generally get 2 chicken breasts and butterfly into thinner pieces – they cook faster and it’s more of a realistic portion size.  You can do fresh green beans, cauliflower or broccoli if you want in place of the Brussels sprouts – we like Brussels sprouts though.  I also use russet potatoes, but halved baby reds work too… really this chicken veggie tray bake recipe can be whatever you have in the fridge.  If you use broccoli or cauliflower, add it in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking because they cook faster than Brussels sprouts do.

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Budget Friendly, For the Freezer, Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

This is another one of my recipes that has been posted on Food.com for years.  It has over 50 reviews and a 5-star rating.  I’m adding it here because I like to have everything in one spot – and who knows, someday I might actually get around to that Cookbook I’ve always dreamed of writing 🙂

You can use ham bone, smoked ham shanks, smoked turkey wings, or no meat at all – its a pretty forgiving recipe.  If you’ve only ever had split pea from a can, and think you hate it, I’d recommend trying this one – its REALLY tasty and filling on a cold winter day.

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sausage & potato soup with kale recipe
Day-2, For the Freezer, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Sausage & Potato Soup with Kale Recipe

This sausage & potato soup with kale recipe that started as a copycat recipe of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.  I do things a bit differently – I dont use heavy cream, or the spinach or escarole they put in their version, I use Kale.  It stands up to heat better, therefore the soup reheats and freezes like a dream.  Also – I despise cooked spinach.  Gross.

I also use evaporated milk in most soups instead of cream – because it doesn’t tend to break & curdle as easily as most regular/refrigerated milk products do.  If you have a parmesan rind laying around – add it – the flavor is amazing – but remember that its salty – so adjust your salting habits as you go.  We had this with our favorite crusty bread, that my 15yo made the other day.  So. Good.

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