If you ever have a craving for some giant meatballs stuffed with herbs and cheese, look no further than these chimichurri meatballs. They have so many flavors packed inside and the warm stringy mozzarella cheese makes them even tastier. I wish my boys were here to try them; meatballs never lasted long when they were around. But my audience of one (Joe) loved them. The chimichurri is made with parsley, cilantro and chives along with garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes salt and olive oil. It makes any meatball so moist and flavorful. We found these giant meatballs so filling that 2 were enough for a plate of spaghetti and sauce and also meatball hoagies. This one’s a keeper, plan on putting some up in the freezer. They make an easy meal over the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven.
Joe and I recently visited a Vietnamese restaurant here in Albuquerque and tried a Bahn Mi sandwich. It was good but it didn’t have the explosion of flavors that I’ve always heard a great Banh Mi should have. I did a bit of research and came up with a recipe that I think captures the flavor that I was expecting. Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich made with a crusty roll or a baguette, loaded with a marinated protein such as pork, chicken or beef, seasoned pickled vegetables and a tangy spicy dressing. One bite, and I knew this sandwich had exceeded my expectations by far. There are so many layers from the tangy salty flavors to the sweet and spicy tones. There are 3 preps that you need to do a few hours ahead to marinate the meat, brine the veggies and mix the sandwich spread. When it’s time to put it all together, you only need to stir fry the meat and lightly toast the baguette before building it. I hope this version of the Banh Mi Pork sandwich appeals to you as much as it did me!
Posted at 10:23 am by NativeNM, on January 20, 2023
It’s been a crazy busy time the last couple of month’s. Over the past few weeks we’ve had family in town to celebrate birthdays and the holidays. It’s the time of year when I can’t wait to be in my warm kitchen with the music cranked loud while baking pastries and pies to my hearts content! Joe’s family came in December to celebrate their Mom’s 90th birthday which happens to be on Christmas Day. Joe and Josh also celebrated birthdays just a few days later. Josh and Cameron didn’t make it here for Christmas as they are always busy with work over the holidays, but they took time off in January to come home and spend a few days. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen my boys and that’s just too long! They both have limited kitchens and need an easily prepped meal after a long day at work so this recipe is for them. This is an easy go to meal that you can make in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. It’s made with fresh ingredients that tastes incredible. It’s also interchangeable in that you can add more veggies to the sauce or change the protein. A side of leafy greens or roasted veggies makes this a complete meal.
Posted at 9:28 am by NativeNM, on November 15, 2022
I’m going back to an old favorite that I used to make when my boys were young. They always loved these chicken breasts that were stuffed with creamy cheese. Back then I made them to order, stuffing with whatever they wanted, sometimes a dollop of whipped cream cheese and avocado or cooked bacon bits with roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Anything goes if it will fit inside a chicken breast. These days one chicken breast is enough for Joe and I to share. We both enjoy them stuffed with green chile and Oaxaca cheese. Oaxaca cheese melts so creamy and tastes so good. To finish it off I spooned egg wash over the stuffed chicken breast and then dredged it in panko crumbs for a crisp coating. Once pan fried on both sides place in a preheated oven to finish baking until the chicken is cooked throughout and the cheese is bubbling. Serve alongside your favorite side dish and you have a complete meal that is simply delicious!
Here’s my debut smoked chicken in the pellet smoker. I’ve roasted chicken in the oven or charcoal grill but never like this. The chicken cooks so evenly and gives the skin a crisp texture that tastes so good. I made a spice rub mixed with red chile, spices and lime olive oil to make a paste that I rubbed all over this bird. I also loosened the outer skin around the breast, legs and thighs, then rubbed the paste between the meat and skin. I learned this trick from Chef Paul Prudhomme. Adding the spice rub under the skin absorbs into the meat as it cooks, adding flavor. We made some fajitas with chicken, roasted veggies, salsa and guacamole. I could tell you how much we enjoyed this meal, however I think the pictures will describe the deliciousness better than my words. At least I hope so!
Have you ever had the Kung Pao Chicken at Panda Express? I’ve been searching for the perfect copycat recipe for years and finally found “the one”. It comes from Jamie at Drive Me Hungry. Seriously this recipe is as close as you’re going to get to the Kung Pao Chicken at Panda Express. I would even go so far as to say it’s better. I couldn’t wait to hunt down all the ingredients and get started. Joe has never ordered Kung Pao when we go to Panda because it has zucchini in it. But he ate every bite and said that the sauce even made zucchini taste good. I think I may add some different vegetables next time to get added veggies into our diet. There are a lot of ingredients in the sauce with some that were new to me such as Chinese black vinegar and Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp. Every time I try a new Asian dish I learn something new. This version of Kung Pao is a very aromatic dish as well as pleasing to the eye. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
If you’ve ever had a Frito pie, most likely it’s been served in a bag or a bowl of Fritos corn chips smothered in red chile, seasoned ground beef and beans, topped with grated cheese and onion. It’s one of our tastiest guilty pleasures and when the Fritos go on sale it’s time to make Frito pies. I often wondered how it would taste with green chile and decided to give it a try. I went to the freezer for a jar of green chile sauce and found that I had used the last jar and there was none to be found. Not to worry, I always have a backup in the pantry. A jar of 505 Flame Roasted Green Chile is my go to sauce when I don’t have homemade. I used to find in it Kansas and apparently it’s marketed in many Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco’s around the country so even if you don’t live in NM you may be able to find it in your area. The key to making a green chile Frito pie is to be generous with the green chile and add enough broth to make the texture saucy but not soupy. Pinto beans are traditionally added, however Joe isn’t going to change his ways even for tradition so I only added beans to my pie. We garnished them with lettuce, tomato, onion and grated cheese. I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner. Green Chile Frito Pie is here to stay, we love it and I hope you will too!
Posted at 10:39 am by NativeNM, on October 14, 2021
When I woke up this morning it was 34 degrees! There’s a cold spell rolling through NM with snowfall in the northern mountains. But even though it was near freezing this morning, the sun is out and it feels warmer with every passing hour. With the cooler weather upon us I had a craving for a bowl of soothing pasta. I made a grocery run and picked up fresh ingredients to make tomato sauce with spinach and basil. That combined with Italian sausage and cooked tortellini made a pasta dish that was made for comfort. We had a leafy green salad with toasted bread, olive oil and dipping spices on the side. Simple yet tasty!
On our recent vacation to Wyoming we experienced some wonderful food, both familiar and some that was new to our palate. Josh took us to Calico’s Restaurant and Bar one evening. He had been hearing good things about their menu and wanted to give it a try. I was in the mood for a light meal and ordered their Watermelon Arugula salad. It was a big plate of marinated watermelon chunks with a sprinkling of arugula and goat cheese. The flavors in the honey lime marinade/dressing came through with just the right amount of sweetness. I was so impressed with this salad that I couldn’t wait to recreate it when we got home. I wasn’t sure if I could find watermelon since Fall is upon us. But sure enough when I went shopping they had some good sized watermelons that were on sale. While I was putting this together I kept thinking that this salad seemed familiar and not just from tasting it at Calico’s. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had seen a similar recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Karen at Back Road Journal. Karen’s recipe is a Spicy Stacked Watermelon Salad with Feta and Arugula which is a spicy version that looks absolutely delicious! If you haven’t tried a watermelon salad, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Posted at 10:03 am by NativeNM, on August 20, 2021
I’ve only smoked meats a few times and while the outcome has always excelled my expectations, the method of using charcoal was difficult. Using charcoal to smoke is tiresome and difficult to regulate the temperature that you need to maintain over so many hours. After many month’s of debate with myself, I decided to get a pellet smoker. I did a lot of research and weighed the pros and cons before deciding on a Z-Grill. I’ve used it 3 times now and the meat has come out excellent, the cleanup has been fairly easy and has made the overall experience of smoking meats much more enjoyable. Recently my sister Kat gave me a bag of Gourmet Pistachio flavored pellets made here in New Mexico. I couldn’t wait to give it a try and thought smoked carnitas sounded so good using a pork butt roast with a red chile rub. I couldn’t have been more happy with the results. After 11 hours in the smoker, it reached the desired internal temperature of 203 degrees. I left it wrapped and set in a cooler to steam and rest for 2 additional hours. The moment I unwrapped the aluminum foil, the aroma of smoked pork permeated the kitchen. It smelled so good and we couldn’t wait to pick off a little piece to try. It was moist and tender and pulled apart so easily. The bark with all the spices is my favorite part. We set aside enough to make tacos and vacuum sealed the rest in half pound packages for the freezer. You can make so many meals with smoked carnitas. Try making tacos, taquitos, wraps, nachos, quesadillas, or a burrito bowl with rice and beans. Maybe I can convince anyone who is considering smoking meats that a pellet smoker is the way to go. It’s like a whole new level of cooking. I find it a fun experience from the first couple of hours when the aroma starts to infuse the air until the moment you take that first bite.