Crock Pot Mexican Chili Lime Beef

2 ½ – 3 lb. Beef chuck roast
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pablono pepper seeded and chopped
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
½ c. Chopped cilantro
2 cans lemon-lime soda (12 oz. Cans)
2 limes juiced

Add chuck roast to crock pot or slow cooker. Season roast with chili powder, salt, cumin, and oregano. Rub seasonings into meat with the back of a spoon. Top the roast with the poblano pepper, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Carefully pour the soda around the roast, not over or on the roast. You don’t want to wash the seasonings off the meat. Stop adding soda if it’s going to wash over the top.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove roast from cooker and shred using 2 forks. Top shredded meat with lime juice and some of the juices from the crock pot.  Serve with tortillas, taco shells, or over a nice tortilla salad bowl.

Enjoy!

Eggplant mozzarella ramekins

Serves 2

1 medium eggplant
6 plum tomatoes
1 tbs kosher or sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella rough chopped
a small bunch of fresh basil rough chopped
4 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
grated parmesan to garnish
1 tbs toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 ramekins or custard cups

Peel eggplant and cut into strips 1/8 thick longways

Sprinkle a little salt on eggplant and place between paper towels.

Weigh it down with something like a book. (make sure moisture doesn’t ruin book). Leave it like this for about an hour to extract the extra moisture.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half and scrape out the seeds.

Place on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle with 1 tbs olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.

Put in 225 degree f oven for two hours.

Remove eggplant from paper towels and brush both sides with olive oil.

Heat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan on stove and cook eggplant a couple minutes per side. Strips should get nice grill marks.

Line the ramekins or custard cups with the eggplant, leaving plenty of overhang to fold over topping after it’s filled. Don’t worry if it looks sloppy. When it bakes, it will all come together and look great.

Chop tomatoes and combine with chopped mozzarella and chopped basil.

Fill the lined ramekins with mixture and fold eggplant over the top to seal.

Bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes

When it comes out of the oven, place the plate over the ramekin and turn over to put eggplant on dish.

Top with sauce of choice, grated cheese and maybe a few pine nuts.

Enjoy!

Penne Pasta With Broccoli

1 c. Extra virgin olive oil

¼ – ½ tsp crushed red pepper (flakes)

5 or 6 c. Fresh broccoli florets

8 garlic cloves sliced thin

1 lb penne pasta cooked al dente

½ c. Grated parmesan reggiano

A couple tbs fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

A sprinkle of olive oil to serve

This is a dish that can be served as a first course, a side, or main dish. It’s delicious and can be made quickly.

Start the pasta which should take about 10 minutes. We want the pasta to be ready when the broccoli is done.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add red pepper flakes and allow to cook about a minute. Carefully add broccoli and fold into the hot oil. Allow to cook 4 to five minutes. It will just start to color. Add garlic and cook another minute. Garlic should be fragrant and just start to color. Remove pan from heat.

Save 1 c. Of pasta water, set aside, then drain the pasta. Fold the pasta into the cooked broccoli. If it seems a little dry, add several tbs of the saved pasta water. Stir in ½ of the cheese and gently fold together. Add in remaining cheese with parsley and give it another gentle fold. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

David’s CHICKEN AND NOODLES:

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts cooked and cut into cubes (or 2 plus cups of chopped rotisserie chicken)

2 TBS butter

1/2 C. diced carrot

1/2 C. diced celery

1/2 C. diced onion

pinch of salt and pepper

2 1/2 TBS flour

2 C. chicken broth (David used “Better than Bouillon”)

1/2 C. cream (half and half or milk will work)

Optional: 1 TBS grated parmesan cheese

Package of wide noodles or pasta cooked

Prepare noodles, rinse, and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until vegetables begin to soften. Onion will start to look clear. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and gently stir around pan to insure all are covered. After several minutes, to give the flour a chance to cook a bit, whisk in broth. Increase heat a bit and bring to a boil while whisking. The broth will start to thicken. Continue cooking a few minutes and then add cream. After it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Add chicken and optional parmesan cheese. Simmer 3 or 4 minutes. Gently fold in noodles and serve.

Oven Roasted Panko Crusted Pork Loin

4 pork loin cutlets ¾ to 1 inch thick

1 c. Panko breadcrumbs

¼ c. Pecorino romano cheese

½ tsp italian seasoning

½ tsp salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 egg

¼ c. Milk

2 tsp franks hot sauce (or your favorite)

1/2 c. Flour

Non stick cooking spray (vegetable or olive oil spray)

1 c. Tomato pasta sauce (your favorite)

1 c. Shredded mozzarella

1/4 c. Chopped basil for garnish

Optional roasted broccoli  4-6 c. Florets tossed with a tbs olive oil

Preheat oven 425                                                                                                                                                

Sheet pan with bakeable cooling rack (metal)

One at a time, place pork loin in large plastic bag, or between 2 sheets of clear food wrap, and pound to a thickness of a little less than ½ an inch. Salt and pepper both sides. Set aside.

Set out 3 shallow dishes.

Add flour to first dish.

Egg, milk, hot sauce to second dish. Beat with fork to combine ingredients.

Panko, romano, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to third. Mix thoroughly.

One at a time, dredge pork loin in flour, shake off excess, dip in egg. Let excess drip off and finally dredge thru panko mix. You can press down a little on crumbs to insure they stick. Repeat with remaining pork.

Here’s the trick. Spray both sides of pork with non stick cooking spray. Place on sheet pan (with rack) and roast 10- 12 minutes. Cutlets should be starting to brown. Top each cutlet with a couple tbs of tomato sauce, then mozzarella. Add optional broccoli to edges of sheet pan and roast another 6 or 7 minutes.

Serve with chopped basil garnish.

Enjoy!

Havana Style Shrimp

2 tbs olive oil

1 medium onion diced

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbs chopped Spanish olives

½ tsp dry oregano

¼ tsp cumin

½ c. White wine (substitute water if you like)

8 oz. Can tomato sauce

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tbs favorite hot sauce

1 ½ -2 lbs shrimp,, deveined, shell and tail on.

2 tbs butter

Prepared white rice

Add olive oil and onions to a hot sauté pan and cook a few minutes over medium to medium high heat. Cook until they start to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in chopped olives, oregano, and cumin. Add wine (or water), tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Simmer (light bubbling) about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Toss in shrimp, cover, and simmer another 5 minutes. Stir in butter and serve with white rice.

Enjoy!

Seared Scallops Over Spicy Zucchini Noodles (spaghetti)

6 day boat or dry packed scallops (3 per person)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
salt and pepper ( or sprinkle of favorite Cajun seasoning)
zucchini noodles (spaghetti)
2 medium zucchini  (2 persons-this will be a large portion) *also available precut fresh or frozen
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs olive oil
½ -1 tsp chili paste with garlic (depends how hot you like)
½ tsp soy sauce (or to taste/this is a salty flavor)
spiral cut zucchini and set aside.

Heat large frying pan over medium high heat. Season top of each scallop with a sprinkle of salt & pepper, or a pinch of Cajun seasoning.

Add oil and butter to hot pan. When it starts to bubble, add scallops to pan seasoning side down. Make sure the scallops are a couple inches apart so they don’t steam. They should cook about 1 ½ minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the other side of scallop with a little more seasoning. After 1 ½ minutes, pick up scallop with tongs and check for a nice brown color around the edges. You should see a little splitting around the edges. Turn over and cook the other side about 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Do not wipe out pan.

Add sesame oil & olive oil to hot pan along with zucchini spaghetti. Add chili paste and soy sauce. Gently toss (using tongs) mixing all of the flavors together. Taste for seasoning. If you want it spicier,  add more chili paste,, or more soy,,add a little more to taste.

Cook about 4 minutes. If you cook too long, or wait too long to serve ,,noodles could get mushy.

Serve spaghetti zucchini topped with scallops. Really good!

Enjoy!

Shrimp Tostadas

12-20 Tortlillas (corn or flour) ((you can also buy already crispy))
1/3 c. Olive or vegetable oil
1 Tbs. Olive oil.
1 Tbs. Butter
1 heaping Tbs. “The Blonde Italian Garlic” (or 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic)
1/2 lb. peeled & deveined shrimp (slightly split at large end) I used 16-20/lb size 
8 oz. Guacamole (heated refried beans are a good substitute)
8 oz. pico de gallo
3/4 c. shredded lettuce
4 oz. queso fresco (or shredded Mexican cheese)
10-12 torn cilantro leaves

Heat 1/3 c. oil in a small fry pan over medium high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, not smoke, add tortillas 1 or 2 at a time and cook about a minute, turning once. Drain on paper towels and repeat process with remaining tortillas. They will be almost crispy. Cook a little longer for crispy. Set aside. 

Toss shrimp in a bowl with spicy dry rub seasoning. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs butter, and heaping Tbs of “Blonde Italian Garlic” to pan. Mix together and add shrimp. Cook about 2 minutes. Shrimp will be cooked once they go from translucent to white. Remove from pan and cut each shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces. Now we can assemble the tostadas. 

Dress each tortilla with a smear of guacamole, followed by a spoonful of pico de gallo. Top that with an even amount of shrimp. Add a pinch of shredded lettuce, a few crumbles of cheese, and top it all off with a torn piece of cilantro leaf. 

You can add or subtract any ingredient you can imagine. Try with pulled pork, shredded beef, or diced chicken. Substitute refried beans on the bottom and top with avocado slices. Use taco sauce. Anything goes!