Roasted Tomato Salsa

When we moved to Mexico 5 years ago, it became clear very quickly that there was NO SUCH THING as jarred salsa.  in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal there.

You could buy fresh-made salsa from the deli section of the grocery store, or from the little old ladies down at the mercado, but I decided to learn to make it myself.  It took me a while to get the proportions just right, but now I have a recipe(ish) that my friends and family love!

One of the things I miss most about living in Mexico, is the abundance of fresh and DIRT CHEAP produce.  Going downtown to the mercado each week to buy fruits and veggies is one of my treasured experiences.  Sure, the smell of rotting meat wasn’t the greatest, but bags full of produce that I only paid 11 US dollars for?  So worth it.

charred_tomato_salsa

Another thing I miss (not to be compared with street tacos…not even close), is my gas range!  I was terrified to have a gas anything because I had never lived with it before.  Turns out, it’s not all that scary and is quite useful for burning veggies for my roasted tomato salsa!  But alas, I am back in Texas without a gas range or even a grill, so I have turned to the high broil setting of my oven to get those crispy veggie skins.

cumin_salt_cilanatro

Now this is the part where your very own roasted tomato salsa gets personal.  Some of you hate onions…others of you prefer mild, while others of you prefer hell fire on your tongue.  And then there’s the absolutely hate cilantro crowd, which I was a personal member of until living in Mexico.  There’s no escaping it there – in fact, you’re not allowed to leave the country until you don’t mind cilantro so much and love tequila.  Truth.

blender_salsa

Once you’ve decided on what kind of salsa person you are, all you have left to do is throw your roasted veggies and remaining ingredients into a blender.  It’s seriously so easy, you’ll feel like you’re not even trying.  It’ll still be warm when you first make it, which is my favorite way to eat it.  Hot or cold, serve up your own roasted tomato salsa every time you have company over for a major ego boost with minimal effort.

Peace & love,

Carrie

Ingredients

6 Roma tomatoes, or whichever ones are the reddest that season

1 Jalapeno (or more if you like it spicy – serranos are even spicier)

1 whole onion

Handful of cilantro

1 Tablespoon of salt (more or less to taste)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic (more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons cumin (more or less to taste)

Instructions

Roast the tomatoes, onion and pepper(s) under a broiler or over an open flame.  I broil for 25 minutes.

When veggies are charred to your liking, use a blender to combine all of the ingredients.

Fancy Ramen

fancy-ramen

fancy-ramen

I love to cook, but am often working with a tight budget.  Ramen is about as cheap as a meal comes, but who wants to eat that?  I tried a few recipes on Pinterest to “fluff” the ramen, but all of them fell flat.  So I decided to try my own recipe, which is chock-full of veggies and a current family favorite.  It’s cheap, easy and soooo delicious! My teens AND my hubby love it – we call it, Fancy Ramen.

fancy-ramen-noodles

Pictured above are the kid-friendly chop sticks my friend gave to me, but sadly, I can’t even work those.  Where’s my fork?

There are probably a thousand different ways that you could make this, but this is our favorite recipe.

fancy-ramen-shrimp

Saute a 1/2 pound of shelled and deveined shrimp in a tablespoon of butter, in a non-stick stir -fry pan, or any saute pan.  Remove from pan once cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Crack 3 eggs right into your pan, and scramble them up until cooked through, then remove from pan.  Please note that if your budget is running really tight, you can omit the shrimp, or add another meat.  Eggs are always  great way to economically add protein to this dish.

fancy-ramen-veggies

Pick a stir-fry kit from your local grocery store, in whatever flavor you like.  This is your no-fail step for success because all of the veggies and sauce for your recipe are in one bag!  Also grab a bag of shredded cabbage for this dish.

easy-ramen

Throw half of the bag of cabbage and the whole bag of veggies (set the seasoning sauce aside) into your stir-fry skillet tat has been coated with a bit of olive oil.

ramen-noodle-dinner

While your veggies cook, boil two packages of ramen noodles, in any flavor.  Trow away the seasoning packets, you won’t need them.  You can also buy plain ramen from specialty stores if you desire.

ramen-veggies

After the veggies have cooked down to your desired tenderness (we like ours a bit crunchy),  add in the other ingredients.

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The cooked noodles.

shrimp-egg-ramen

The scrambled eggs and cooked shrimp.  Also add in sliced green onions, and toss with the sauce packet.

ramen-with-veggies

Serve and enjoy!  This dish really couldn’t be easier, and if you have a veggie-lovin’ family like I do, then your Fancy Ramen is sure to be a hit!  And don’t be afraid to try your own variation – different meats, no meat, a different variety of veggies, or even your own home made sauce. There really are so many possibilities if your feeling adventurous!

fancy-ramen-dinner-with-shrimp

 

Peace & Love,

Carrie

Fancy Ramen

Ingredients

  • 1 T Butter
  • 8 oz. Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 package of Stir-fry vegetables with sauce
  • 1/2 package of shredded cabbage
  • 2 packages ramen, any flavor (discard flavor packets)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a stir-fry skillet, over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the shrimp until pink, 3-4 minutes; remove from pan.
  3. Crack the 3 eggs right into the pan and scramble until fully cooked; remove from pan.
  4. In a separate pot, bring enough water to cover the noodles to a boil; add in the ramen and cook till tender, draining the water when finished.
  5. Add the olive oil to the pan and let it heat up.
  6. Add the veggies and cabbage to the heated olive oil and let them cook down to desired softness, stirring occasionally.Remove from heat.
  7. Add the noodles, cooked shrimp, cooked egg, sauce packet from kit and the sliced green onions to the veggies and toss until well blended,
  8. Serve & enjoy!
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fancy-ramen

Balsamic Brown Sugar Rosemary Pork Chops – Guest Post

balsamic-pork-chops

My sweet friend, Andrea over at Tabler Party of Two allowed me to guest post on her blog yesterday!  I shared with her followers my recipe for Balsamic Brown Sugar Rosemary Pork Chops.  I promise, they are much more fun to eat than say. 😉  Get the recipe here, and then be sure to dig around Andrea‘s site to get inspiration for recipes, entertaining, style and so much more!  Peace & Love. ~Carrie

balsamic-pork-chops

 

 

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

 

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

 

I know you all have been chomping at the bit to find out what my next recipe was going to be, and I promise these Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs are worth the wait!  I’ve been so busy with our house remodel the last couple of weeks (more on that later), that I’ve been slacking on cooking at all.  I was pretty happy to get back into the kitchen this week, and even happier with how this throw-together dish turned out!  My family said it was blog-worthy, so here ya’ go.

I often buy chicken thighs because of the price, and because of the fact that I love dark meat.  Period.  It’s moist and delicious and it’s skin crisps up real, real nice.  If this isn’t for you, or you prefer the leaner part of the chicken, then feel free to try this with chicken breasts.  I’m guessing that the cook time will be about half an hour longer, so keep that in mind when getting started.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Then place your chicken in a 9×13 baking dish.  Mix together the following in a small bowl:

  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (I accidentally wrote “homey” the first time.  I wanted to leave it because it made me laugh. :))
  •  1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce

Sprinkle 1 package of dry onion soup mix over the chicken.

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

 

Pour the orange juice mixture evenly into the baking pan.  Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked all the way through and the skin is crispy.

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

 

I served this with an Asian salad and some green beans.  Super easy, super delicious!  Hope your family enjoys it too.

 

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

Peace & Love

Carrie

Sweet Onion Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken thighs
  • 1 Package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 Cup orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken in a 9x13 baker.
  3. Mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, minced garlic and hoisin sauce.
  4. Sprinkle the dry soup mix over the chicken.
  5. Pour the orange juice mixture evenly into the baker.
  6. Bake for 1 hour.
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Leftover Fried Rice

Leftover Fried Rice

Last week I made some delicious Dr. Pepper Pork Chops that I found on Pinterest.  This week, I made fried rice using the leftovers.  Really you could use any kind of meat you want (hence, the title Leftover Fried Rice), but I will tell you the sweetness of the Dr. Pepper Pork Chop was quite delightful in this recipe.

Before you begin, make sure that you have already cooked 2 cups of white rice (4 cups after being cooked).  You can even keep it in the refrigerator for a few days before you are ready to use it.

Start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat.  When the butter is melted, add in 1 small onion that has been diced.

Leftover Fried Rice

Cook the onions until they are translucent (about 5 minutes) and then add in a tablespoon of garlic.  Cook for another minute or so, and then add in a 16 oz. bag of frozen vegetables.  You can use any combination that you like, or even throw in some fresh if you prefer. Cover and let the vegetables heat through, stirring occasionally.

Leftover Fried Rice

Once heated through, remove the onion, garlic and vegetable mixture from the skillet to a plate or a bowl; set aside.

Crack 2 eggs into the skillet and scramble until cooked through.  Add in 2 cups of the meat of your choice.  Don’t get hung up on exact measurements here, you can use as little or as much meat as you want, or even none at all.  The name of the game is just using up what you already have.  Cover the egg and meat mixture and let it heat all the way through.

Leftover Fried Rice

 Now, add the rice, vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup of soy sauce  and a 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil to the skillet with the meat and eggs.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Cover the skillet, and let the rice cook for a few minutes on one side.  Flip the rice over and let the other side cook for a few minutes.  It should be a caramel color, but don’t let it get crunchy or burnt.

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 Serve by itself or with some eggrolls.  Add extra soy sauce as your taste buds desire.

Leftover Fried Rice

Peace and Love,

Carrie

Leftover Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion - diced
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 16 oz. bag frozen veggies
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of meat - diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Prior to starting this recipe, make sure your rice is fully cooked. You can even keep it in the refrigerator for a few days until you're ready for it.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add diced onions to the skillet and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes), and add in the garlic.
  4. After a couple of minutes, add the frozen vegetables to the pan and cover. Stir often until heated through.
  5. Remove the onion, garlic and vegetable mixture from the pan, to a bowl or plate and set aside.
  6. Crack the 2 eggs into the pan and scramble until cooked through.
  7. Add the 2 cups of meat to the skillet with the egg and cover, letting the meat heat through.
  8. Once the meat is hot, add the rice, vegetable mixture, soy sauce and sesame oil to the skillet, stirring until well mixed.
  9. Let the rice cook for a few minutes on one side, and then turn it over. Do not let the rice get burned - it should be a nice caramel color.
  10. Serve the fried rice with additional soy sauce to taste.
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Easy Carbonara

Easy Carbonara

 

It’s time for another “easy and I already have the ingredients” meal!  You’ll find that very few of my recipes are time consuming, but I love good food.  Therefore, I like to think that I offer up meals to my family (and to you) that beat the average throw-together meal.  Tonight, how about making some easy carbonara?

bacon

 Let’s start by cooking up some bacon.  Mmmmm…can you smell it? (Yes, I know carbonara calls for pancetta, but I didn’t have that on hand.  Besides, who doesn’t love bacon?) While that’s cooking, go ahead and begin to boil a large pot of water for the noodles (1lb. of spaghetti, to be exact).

While that’s cooking up, and you’re waiting for water to boil, go ahead and whisk together in a medium bowl, 2 large, room temperature eggs, 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.  *NOTE: I keep heavy whipping cream in the house for cooking and for ice cream.  If you don’t, but have half-and-half or whole milk, that will work.  You can also use an Italian blend shredded cheese, which is what I did because I was out of parmesan.

Once the bacon gets crispy, drain it on a paper towel.

Add the noodles to the boiling water, and add 1/2 cup of chopped onion to the bacon grease.  Let it get translucent, and then add 2minced garlic cloves.  Crumble the bacon and throw it back into the pan.

Easy Carbonara

Drain the noodles and set aside.

easy carbonara

Add the egg mixture to the pan with the onions and garlic and bacon; stir.  Remove from heat.

Easy Carbonara

Add noodles to the skillet with the sauce and toss until coated.

Easy Carbonara

Garnish with a sprinkle of grated cheese and parsley.

Easy Carbonara

Peace & Love!

Carrie

 

Easy Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or an Italian blend works fine)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (or half-and-half)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 5 pieces of bacon (I prefer thick sliced)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley garnish

Instructions

  1. Begin by cooking your bacon in a skillet; remove from pan once crispy.
  2. Place eggs, 1/2 cup of cheese and whipping cream into a bowl and whisk.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add spaghetti; cook to desired tenderness.
  4. As the spaghetti cooks, saute the onions in the bacon grease until translucent; add in garlic for another minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and set aside.
  6. Stir the egg mixture into the pan with the onions and garlic, and crumble in the bacon.
  7. Place the noodles in the skillet and toss with the mixture until they are coated. This will NOT be saucy.
  8. Garnish with additional parmesan or Italian cheese and parsley.
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