Tacos Tonight!

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE and so are tacos. SPICY! AYE-E-E-E !!!!I This Taco Recipe gets you to Flavor Town. Colonel Sanders is not the only one with a secret recipe….My special spices will make you come back for more! I am sharing my secret taco recipe here at Simply Splendid Food with you. Friends have said it’s the best tacos they have E-V-E-R had! Would you agree?

Tacos are fast to prepare. A traditional Mexican dish.

Tacos and an ice cold beer in a frosty mug is a Taco Marriage.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork or veal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, about one sprig
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 pods cardamon
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder + more if needed, after mixing all ingredients
  • Pinch of salt (pink or sea salt with added iodine) and pepper to taste.
    • good salt makes a difference. Irish salt is one of the best tasting salt.
  • 1 – 2 medium cooking onion -diced
  • 3 garlic cloves -minced
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10 medium flour tortillas
This is the Black Granite Mortar and Pestle I use today: heavy duty. My first Marble M&P is very good too!

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Grind and mix your spices together (except salt and pepper) using a mortar and pestle
  • Heat onions and rosemary in oil until translucent.
  • Add your spices. Mix for 10 seconds longer. Add fresh garlic.
  • Add ground meat and blend in the onions and spices until meat is brown.
  • Add salt and pepper after meat has been browned.
  • Take a nose test and smell your mixture. If you need more chili powder add more. I added about 1/2 tsp ground chili flakes.
  • OPTIONAL: Add heat: Red pepper flakes ( a sprinkle ) or fresh Mexican green chili. You can add diced, raw jalapeño peppers in the mix in the end (with or without seeds). The seeds are the heat. No additional cooking.
  • TIP: Place tortilla/taco in toaster to warm up. Hint: Gently fold over the tortilla and insert into a toaster slot.
  • SUBSTITUTE: For a hearty wrap use burrito wraps or lettuce wrap.

Toppings

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese: shredded or diced
  • Optional: Add home made refried bean paste to the base of a tortilla [ or burrito – I use both wraps]
  • EXTRA ZIP: add diced jalapeño or banana peppers. You choose your heat!
SOFT TACO: Take Charge Of Your Life …61 Calories At A Time
HARD TACO: Toasty Crunch YUM-M_M_M !
Burrito Wrap and Lettuce Wrap Works!

SERVING TIPS

This recipe can be refrigerated 3-4 days for another meal -> a fast, healthy lunch or dinner. To serve again pop your tacos in the toaster. Heat up a portion of meat in the microwave oven. Assemble your taco as you like it. I still had about 1/3 cup of taco mix after a few more meals. I added my mix as a topping to a four cheese pizza I purchased ‘on sale’ at the grocery store. I also added sliced kumato tomatoes. Ready in 12 minutes! YUM-M-M!

Make as much spicy seasoning as you want. You know what’s in it and no preservatives! A time saver for tacos for another day!

Home Made Tacos

I found a great site today for homemade tacos. Click here . When you ‘Download” the recipe, Terrie includes a page on Tips For Success. What I learned the hard way!” This is wonderful! I have ordered my Masa Harina online and will enjoy turning another new page in my culinary journey.

SUPER BOWL Super Snacks! Super Tasty!

MEXICAN SHREDDED CHICKEN
This is a perfect snack while watching  SUPER BOWL LIVE on  Sunday.
I used the spice mix featured in my HOLIDAY GIFT Spice Jars  that Is used in this Mexican shredded chicken recipe from Always Hungry? ..by renowned Harvard endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig See the full story on Ambition Nutrition.  Dr. Ludwig returned to Toronto where his wife Chef Dawn demonstrated some of the wonderful recipes from his book .  The Mexican chicken dish was a big hit! I have already made it four times because it is so fast andvery’ easy to make! Bonus: kids love it!
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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • spice mix:
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (grind you own in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered red chili i.e. Ancho, chile de arbol or New Mexican
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper ~ or ~ to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt (use Kosher or sea salt )
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the spices together in a plastic bag. Add the olive oil and combine. Add the chicken and evenly coat. You can refrigerate this overnight.
  2.  Film the frying pan with 1/16″ oil and set over moderately high heat.  When very hot but not  smoking place the chicken in the pan in one layer without crowding.
  3.  Cover; cook turning regularly especially in the beginning, until the oil and juices from the chicken begin to make a sauce. Add water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep the mixture from burning or sticking. Cook until the chicken is cooked throughout, 15 to 20 minutes. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the pan, pulling along the grain to create thin strands. Shredding the chicken disperses more flavour.
  4.  Continue to heat the shredded chicken, stirring frequently, until the liquid and spices have been absorbed and thicken, another 3-5 minutes.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 to 30 minutes
Makes 6 servings (about 3 cups)
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage.

A VARIETY OF SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Chicken is so tender, juicy and versatile. You can serve it in a myriad of ways.
(1) A filling for tacos
(2) Casseroles, Mexican lasagna
(3) Tortilla or quesadillas (topped with guacamole or sour cream)
(4) Mexican Shredded chicken on pita bread
(5) Chicken salad with tortilla chips, avocado and red peppers
(6) Pizza

shredded-chicken-three

HAT2 FOOD TIP:  After removing the cooked chicken from my pan, I added cream (or  use water)  to the hot pan along with pink peppercorns and started swirling the pan to loosen all the tasty bits in the fry pan.  I poured the cooled mixture  into a glass mason jar.  After a day in the fridge,  I stored the sauce in the freezer.  If you use chicken thighs with the bone in then toss the bones into a pot of water  with leftover vegetables like carrot tops or the core of a cauliflower (save it all ) for a healthy, home-made chicken stock.

 

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
WHAT GIVES MEAT ITS COLOUR ?
The reddish colour of dark meat comes from the  myoglobin, a hemoprotein (an oxygen-carrying protein) The more myoglobin, the darker the meat and the richer the nutrients. Myoglobin provides muscles with the oxygen they need during exercise or movement. The flightless chicken use their ‘myoglobin’ legs to get around pumping those muscles into a red ‘myogloben’ frenzy.  I bet some of you didn’t know that.

100 g (3.5 ounce) of skinless chicken thigh = 7 g of fat.
100 g (3.5 ounce) of skinless chicken breast = 3.6 g of fat.
100 g (3.5 ounce) of chicken wings = 8 g of fat. A raw chicken wing weighs approximated 3 ounces, or 89 grams

DARK MEAT IS RICHER IN NUTRIENTS THAN WHITE MEAT: CHICKEN THIGHS contain protein, niacin, phosphorous,  Vitamin A, K, D, B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid,  selenium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc (protects immune system) and iron. Niacin helps to build and maintain healthy skin, and aids in the digestion and absorption of food. Vitamin B6 is needed for protein metabolism and amino acid synthesis. Keep in mind that  the darker the meat the more nutrition in the meat.

Game Day Spicy Meatballs

These are a healthier alternative to the typical  game day feast of nachos, chips, wings and pizza. They are so tasty and will not last long.  Delicious and nutritious snacks!

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INGREDIENTS
img_42491 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, whisked
3 tablespoons unseasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Hungarian or hot paprika
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, about 1 small sprig or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, about 5 sprigs or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar substitute
1 lemon, zest only
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) In a large bowl thoroughly mix the chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, paprika, onion powder, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2) Gently mix in the chicken (to avoid any toughness in the meatballs) and form into mini meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; it should make 28 to 30 meatballs.
3) Warm the butter and oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
4) Transfer the meatballs to the pan and do not disturb for 3 minutes to brown well.
5) Turn, cooking another 3 minutes without disturbing.
6) Keep cooking until browned and cooked on all sides, but still juicy and plump with a spring to the touch.
7) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Serve with cocktail skewers or toothpicks for game day!

img_4258Both chicken and turkey are a great alternative to beef when making meatballs and these meatballs are healthier than pizza, wings or chips for that game day snack!  These are also great for those who want to build their muscles to compete with or become  football players or just build a little bit of muscle like myself.

While turkey has a slight edge from a nutritional standpoint, the price of chicken is more stable year-round, and boneless, skinless cuts of turkey breast can be found easily at most grocery stores.  A 1-lb. serving of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains 135 calories per serving, which is 12 calories higher than the same serving of turkey. The ratio of protein to fat is also slightly lower than turkey with 25 g of protein and 3 g of fat per serving.

Amino Acid Profiles
Another important consideration is the amino acid profiles or each meat. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and different amino acids have different effects on muscle gain. Specifically, the branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs — isoleucine, leucine and valine — are linked to optimal muscular growth and repair. Again, turkey is slightly superior to chicken in its content of BCAAs. One serving of turkey contains 1,420 mg of isoleucine, 2,176 mg of leucine and 1,451 mg of valine. A serving of chicken contains 1,230 mg of isoleucine, 2,073 mg of leucine and 1,297 mg of valine.

Veal Paprikash ~ A Taste of Hungary!

A CLASSIC HUNGARIAN dish that combines tender chunks of veal in a rich,  complex and aromatic paprika-cream sauce

Hungarian Paprika

Hungarian Paprika

A PERFECT WINTER DISH! It multiplies well for entertaining and is always a winner! Hungarian Veal paprikas is a stew. Do not mix it up with Hungarian goulash ( gulyás ). Which is a soup.  You will sometimes see Porkolt written, which is the proper Hungarian word for paprikas.
VEAL PAPRIKASH is another great dish you will want to add to your comfort food list. This recipe comes from my glamorous and clever neighbour, whose birthplace is Hungary.  This ‘RECIPE’  hails from a ‘no recipe’ blend…. like many talented chefs! The ingredients are exactly the way that mother made it – back home in Hungary!  Larger quantities are easy to make, when hosting a dinner party. Always a big hit with friends and family. The flavour satisfies many gourmands. My Hungarian neighbor is quite adamant about all the ingredients and the method.  A traditional recipe at home in Hungary. A very popular ‘Heart Healthy’ dish!
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RECIPE
papprika--image2INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons or more olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 1/2 pounds veal shoulder cut into about one inch or bite sized pieces
2 large tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 large or 2 small red peppers, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to tast

OPTIONAL: A splash of wine.  ( WIne tenderizes the meat. )

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a heavy cast iron pot place onions and olive oil. Add more olive oil if necessary so that the onions are covered. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the veal and cook for another 5 minutes. IMG_1567
3. Add the other ingredients; tomatoes, paprika, caraway seeds, garlic, and red pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for one hour checking occasionally to make sure it is not boiling. If it is too watery, simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.IMG_1576
Aromatic “Health Smart” Sauce that is incredibly smooth.

OPTIONAL cooking method : Use an enamelled cast iron pot ( with lid on ) in the oven for large quantities. Mix all the ingredients ln top of the stove. Then place in the oven. Set oven temperature to 350F  Check after 1/2 hour. Cook for another 1/2 hour. Ready to plate.  Hint: All ovens are different. Adjust accordingly.

Comfort Food #1

Simply Splendid Comfort Food

FREEZER_freidnly33Serves 8-10. Leftovers are stored in the fridge or freezer or given to friends. A tasty  to take home!
didyouknow2PAPRIKA comes loaded with vitamin A and carotenoids along with vitamin E, iron and lutein. Vitamin A aids in night vision. Carotenoids gives paprika its deep red color plus preventing harmful light rays from damaging the eye tissues. Paprika pairs well with humus (chick peas), carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin soup. Caraway, also known as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin is common in European cooking  for breads, cakes and added to pork roast (Germany, Austria and Hungary)  and in Moroccan dishes.  The  flavor is nutty and bittersweet.

HAT2 FOOD TIP: Use paprika as a salt substitute .  You can add paprika  to  “HOT” roasted potatoes and vegetables, right out of the oven.  FUN STORY:  I got this idea from a seaside shanty.  Hot, curly fries with salt and paprika came out of the kitchen! The  “chef” added it for you.  (without me asking for paprika)   Actually, they were amazing! (If you let the fries cool, even a little bit and add the paprika later ~ it was not the same taste).  Oven veggies: add the paprika the last 5 minutes of baking, before you take them out of the oven to heighten the flavour.  Do the same with roast chicken, scallops and more. CARAWAY seed comes from the parsley family. Grind it up and add it to your  family  coleslaw or potato salad and falafel (add very little ~ to taste).  Caraway spice is a storehouse of minerals attacking free radicals in you body.