Loaded Nachos

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I was really feeling that 70°F weather yesterday! And now…back to rain. I can’t wait for more consistently sunny weather. I have so many projects I want to do outside, particularly, finally finishing the back deck. However, that requires paint, so I need to wait for a stretch of at least a few dry days.

On the other hand, the munchkin is officially sitting up…which means crawling is probably not far behind…which means baby proofing. I have plans to DIY some pretty cute baby gates at the 2 sets of stairs in the house as well as the stairs on the deck so that project may need to come first. The list of projects really never gets any smaller. Each time I finish 1 thing, I add 2 more to the list.

So, let’s talk about something less stressful…like these loaded nachos! We have always made sheet pan nachos in this family, but never like this. They usually consisted of some ground chicken, taco seasoning, shredded cheese and salsa and sour cream for dipping. Pretty basic. I decided to make nachos on Superbowl Sunday and this was the result. And let me tell you, we will NOT be going back to the basic version, EVER. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these rivaled ANY restaurant nachos I’ve ever had. And that’s saying a lot…hello…massive plate of nachos at Margaritaville in Vegas.

Loaded Nachos
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning
12 ozs tortilla chips
1 15oz can refried black beans
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, diced
2 Tbsp sour cream plus 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and garlic, and cook until beef has browned, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in taco seasoning. Drain excess fat.
3. While ground beef is cooking, heat refried beans in a saucepan over medium heat until warm throughout, about 5 minutes.
4. Place tortilla chips in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Top with half of the cheeses. Next layer ground beef, black beans, corn and remaining cheese.
5. Place into oven and bake until heated through and the cheese melts, about 5-6 minutes.
6. While nachos cook, mix sour cream and water in a small bowl. You want to just thin out the sour cream so it is easy to drizzle.
7. Remove nachos from oven, top with tomato, onion, jalapeno, sour cream and cilantro.

Enjoy!

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Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

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Any stay at home mom’s have trouble keeping track of what day it is? Everyday, literally, everyday, I have to double check what day of the week it is! I guess it doesn’t help that the little man and I don’t have a set agenda, like classes or school, to keep me on track. And, my husband started a new job so his regular schedule has changed as well.

None of this really bothers me, just makes me feel a bit crazy 🙂 I might start looking into Mommy & Me type classes. Is that a thing for babies this age? 3 months…it seems a little young to be in classes? I guess I need to do some research, any mamas with advice, comment away please!

So, I’m not a huge spaghetti fan. At least, not traditional spaghetti, basic noodles with some ground beef and a jar of red sauce. But this…this is not traditional spaghetti…this is INCREDIBLE spaghetti. Slow cooked beef brisket, a rich homemade red sauce made from the juices of the slow simmering beef and noodles soaked in sauce before serving. This is the ultimate comfort food, with hands on time of only 20 minutes, put it on the stove on a Sunday for an amazing Sunday supper and have plenty of leftovers for later in the week. And, by the way, this recipe is from a food blog that I have become OBSESSED with over the last few weeks, Recipe Tin Eats. I have made a few of her recipes and they have all been so delicious.

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta
For the Ragu:
2.5 lb beef brisket cut into 4 equal pieces
1 Tbsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
28 oz crushed canned tomatoes
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes
3 cups water
3 dried bay leaves
Extra salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
1 lb dried spaghetti
Fresh grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

1. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat in heavy based pot (I used my Calphalon Stock Pot). Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes total), then remove onto a plate.
3. Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
4. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
5. Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low. Cover the pot and let it cook for 1 hour 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook for a further 30 minutes until the beef is tender enough to pull apart with forks and the liquid has reduced to be a thick sauce.
6. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. You can also add a bit of sugar (1/2 tsp at a time) if it is a bit sour for your taste.
7. Turn the stove off and remove the beef from the sauce into a large bowl. Shred it coarsely with 2 forks. Then return it to the sauce.
8. Cook pasta to package directions but cook for 2 minutes less than package directions and save 1 cup pasta water. While pasta is cooking, place 5 cups of Ragu in a very large fry pan (I used a Wok) and heat over high heat.
9. When the pasta is ready, transfer is directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs. Add 1  cup pasta water to fry pan.
10. Gently toss the pasta for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta. Add pasta to the remaining Ragu, toss to combine and serve. Top each serving with parmesan and parsley and stuff your face!

 

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Lemon Pepper Flank Steak Tacos w/ Mango Cabbage Slaw

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Both my boys are sleeping at the same time so I finally have some time to post! And by both my boys, I mean my son and my husband. Hubby has been home the last few days; you would think it would be easier for me to get things done when he is home because there is someone else to help take care of the baby. Nope. Somehow, I get way less done. When the baby finally naps we end up watching a movie or making breakfast, just doing things that I wouldn’t normally do during my free time (a.k.a. naptime) when he is at work. I promise I’m not complaining though! Having him home means he gets more time with the baby and seeing and hearing him play with Landon is the sweetest, heart melting thing ever!

I made these tacos a while back and the flavor combo of the lemon pepper steak with the sweet & spicy mango cabbage slaw was perfection! And they were pretty easy to throw together too, great for an easy weeknight meal.

Lemon Pepper Flank Steak w/ Mango Cabbage Slaw
For the steak tacos:
1 1/4 lb flank steak
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
12 tortillas
1 ounce queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
For the mango cabbage slaw:
3 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
1 cup ripe, peeled, julienne-cut mango
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 serrano chili, seeded and minced

1. Sprinkle steak with lemon rind and pepper, pressing to adhere.
2. While steak stands, combine all ingredients for mango cabbage slaw in a medium bowl, toss to coat. Set aside.
3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; grill 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place steak on cutting board, let stand 5 minutes.
4. Combine juice, oil, soy sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Drizzle steak with soy sauce mixture; sprinkle with salt.
5. Heat tortillas on grill pan coated with cooking spray 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide steak among tortillas. Top each taco with about 1/3 cup mango cabbage slaw and 1 tsp queso fresco.

Original recipe from Cooking Light

Beef, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Chili

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I’ve been working some really long days lately and yesterday, the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. The following conversation took place between my husband and I through text…
Me: I don’t want to cook!
Husband: Oh no!
Husband: What is more unhealthy? Pizza or chicken nachos?
Me: Hahaha! I think they are pretty equal
Husband: What do we do?
Me: ….

I got on my phone and started googling. First I was thinking, maybe I would feel better if I substituted sweet potato chips in the nachos? Then I thought, sweet potato chili?!?!?! I found this recipe on The Roasted Root, their version was vegetarian and contained black beans. My husband, however, is never satisfied with anything vegetarian so I substituted ground beef for the black beans and beef broth for the vegetable broth. The overall recipe was quite easy and was prepared in about 45 minutes total with only about 10 minutes of hands-on time.

Beef, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Chili
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1/2″ cubes (about 4 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 1/2 lbs cooked ground beef
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
For garnish of your choice:
sour cream
cheese
cilantro
green onion
avocado

1. In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until cooked, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently until onions begin to sweat, 5 minutes.
4. Add the sweet potato and cook another 5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic, quinoa and ground beef and continue cooking another 2 minutes, stirring everything together.
6. Pour in the remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring chili to a full boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow chili to bubble gently for 20 minutes, until quinoa and sweet potato is cooked.
7. Remove pot from heat and allow it to sit covered for 10 minutes before serving. The longer the chili sits, the thicker it will be.
8. Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and your favorite chili toppings.

Original recipe from The Roasted Root

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

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This lasagna has seriously taken over as a staple in my house. We don’t do pastas too often because we try to stay away from starchy carbs (and because we are too lazy to workout) but I decided to give this a try and substituted gluten-free lasagna rice noodles instead of regular lasagna noodles (not that it made a huge carbohydrate difference but my conscience felt better anyway). Couldn’t even taste the difference! AND…you don’t have to pre-cook rice noodles!!!! Yep, that’s a choir you hear singing Hallelujah in the background.

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
1 1/2 cups fat free ricotta cheese
6 ozs part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
12 ozs extra lean ground beef
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 (25 oz) jar low sodium marinara sauce
cooking spray
9 lasagna rice noodles (or regular lasagna noodles, prepared to package directions)
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Combine ricotta, 2 ozs (about 1/2 cup) mozzarella, 2 Tbsp parsley, butter, oregano, 1 garlic clove, and egg; set aside.
3. Place ground beef in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle with peppers and remaining 4 garlic cloves. Cook for 9 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble; drain. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in marinara sauce, and remove from heat.
4. Use a broiler-safe 11×7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. When arranging a layer of noodles in the lasagna, use 3-4 noodles, enough to cover the full span of the pan but not overlapping too much. Layer your lasagna in the following order:
1/2 cup meat sauce spread in bottom of pan
1 layer of noodles
1 cup meat sauce spread over noodles
1 layer of noodles
All of ricotta mixture
1 cup meat sauce
1 layer of noodles
remaining meat sauce spread over noodles
remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.
5. Preheat broiler to high (keep lasagna in oven)
6. Broil lasagna for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.

*Original recipe from Cooking Light

Rib-eye with Mustard Butter and Herb Fries

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I recently bought a new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, and this is the first recipe I tried. I’m hooked. The cookbook is full of amazing French recipes, explanations of French cooking techniques and beautiful pictures. If you want to try something new in the kitchen, I highly recommend it!

The recipe in the cookbook will be a bit different as David Lebovitz recommends melting butter in a cast iron skillet to cook the steak and topping with ground pepper, I made mine on an outdoor grill and did not add pepper.

Rib-eye
Serves 2
2 rib-eye steaks
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
Mustard Butter
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp dry mustard or mustard powder
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

1. Pat the steaks dry and rub them with the salt, chili powder, and cilantro. Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. (I think I did for 5 hours)
2. To make the mustard butter, in a small bowl, mash together the butter with the dry mustard and the Dijon. Form it into two mounds and chill on a plastic wrap-lined plate.
3. Heat a grill to medium heat and grill to desired temperature. For medium cooked steaks, mine were about 1″ thick and I cooked them for 8 minutes per side.
4. Remove the steaks from the grill and put on plates. Top each steak with half the mustard butter, allow it to melt a bit, and serve with a big pile of herb fries (recipe below).

Herb French Fries
Serves 2
3 russet potatoes (plan about 1 1/2 potatoes per person)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
small handful of fresh herbs (mixture of sage, rosemary & thyme)

1. Wash potatoes (peel if you’d like, I left the skin on). Cut the potatoes into 1/3 inch thick slices. Lay the slices on a cutting board and slice them into 1/3 inch wide sticks. Put them in a large bowl of very cold, lightly salted water, and let them sit for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
3. Drain potatoes, lay them on a towel and rub them dry. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and herb mixture. Mix everything together with your hands and spread potatoes out in a single layer.
4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring and flipping several times during baking. Once the fries are golden brown and crispy, remove and serve.

Hope you all enjoy! And if you do, go get the cookbook, you won’t be disappointed!