Let’s quickly shake up taco night, shall we? I love alllll tacos (see here, or here, or here, or here) but to keep things interesting, I went with chicken in the tacos and the topping was a super quick cherry salsa.
I always want the kiddos eating new things and knowing that “tacos” don’t mean one thing. Once a week(ish) taco night can be tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc. Using frozen cherries makes this fit any season and makes it so easy!
Cherry Salsa Ingredients: (for 4) 1 cup dark cherries 1/4 white onion 2 tablespoons chopped arugula 1 teaspoon lime juice 1 tablespoon salsa
Directions: Defrost the cherries.
Chop the cherries, onion and arugula. Mix in the lime juice and salsa. Serve on chicken tacos with black beans. Enjoy!
I loved this and it takes less than 5 minutes to mix up. The cherries are juicy and sweet against the seasoned taco and the crisp of the onion and arugula. The arugula can swap for cilantro but we have arugula around so it does double duty here.
We often make meatless with Gardien crumbles (don’t get me started how quick and fool-proof or crispy fish tacos but for these I chopped some chicken thighs and sautéed them with taco seasoning.
2 gobbled up more tacos than usual and 5 deconstructed his and ate maybe a bit less than usual but didn’t have much to say either way about the salsa….so a win and a tie?
The lemon aoli takes this home lunch to the next level. It is tart and perfect with the salmon. It perked up my leftover salmon and brought brightness with the salty bacon, peppery arugula, and juicy tomato. I wanted to make a fun lunch to revive some leftover salmon that I overcooked a bit. It was actually better in this salmon BLT than it was the night before!
Salmon BLT with Lemon Aoli
2 tablespoons mayo
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch salt & pepper
2 strips of bacon
3-4 oz salmon, cooked and cooled
Pan fry the bacon and remove from the grease.
Turn off the pan from the bacon and gently warm the salmon in the bacon drippings.
Mix together the mayo, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Toast the bread and slice the tomato.
Assemble the sandwich with lemon aoli on each slice of toast, then salmon forked apart into chunks, then arugula, then bacon, and the remaining bread.
This was seriously better than the salmon was the night before. Condiments can make such a difference. An extra special BLT is a great dinner too. Warming the salmon a bit in bacon drippings is definitely a good choice.
Somebody at work brought salt bagels and honey rosemary cream cheese from Bagelsaurus for a breakfast party and I couldn’t get over this signature combo. I loved the woodsy but sweet cream cheese with a salty bagel. I knew I had to have it again before I’d get to Bagelsaurus, so I made some for a sandwich! I wanted pretzel rolls but ended up with some quality sourdough. I used the rest of the honey rosemary cream cheese for breakfasts and will totally make some again.
I like BLTs to be in that order. This one got an exception, but I normally feel quite strongly about this. Lettuce in the middle is tricky to photograph so I ventured to this BTL. Do as you wish. Does it matter to you? Don’t worry- I still like you even if you don’t care the order. 🙂
Also, about half my greens are basil for a little summery kick to this.
Honey Rosemary Cream Cheese & BLTs (for 2)
1/4 cup cream cheese (I used whipped, or regular works too)
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons honey
~2-3 strips of bacon per sandwich, cut in halves
Finely chop the rosemary. Mix up the cream cheese, rosemary, and honey.
Refrigerate until serving – keeps in the refrigerator for ~1 week.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels.
Slice the tomato & chop the greens, if needed.
Generously spread the cream cheese on to the insides of the bread and build the sandwiches.
Slice & enjoy!
I really loved this combo. I almost added avocado but it wasn’t quite ready. Add a fried egg and serve on a bagel for a really magical experience! I liked the cream cheese here instead of any cheese on the BLT. How amazing would it be on a pretzel roll or salt bagel? That’ll be next for me!
The cream cheese was really easy and could easily be mixed up in advance. It would be a really fun to serve with local bagels for house guests or to bring as a hostess gift! I only made a bit but you could make a little or a ton!
The little one loves all dip-able things and loves honey mustard the most. I don’t always make it, but it is seriously the easiest dressing to make. Quite awhile ago I brought it to a dip party with soft pretzels from the freezer section and they’re so fun since nobody has them all the time. This combo is the perfect app.
This time, I whipped some up for a weeknight dinner, along with some cucumbers and chicken sausage and it was a hit…likely because it isn’t something we have often!
Whisk together the honey, mustard, juice, mayo, garlic and dijon.
Or add into a jar and shake.
Taste and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until serving, for about a week.
I like the dijon in there for more of a mustardy kick but I don’t always include it. The consistency is like dressing, and my leftover was used as salad dressing. Adding more mayo will make it thicker, more for use like a dip, and mellow out the sweet honey and the strong mustard. Those freezer soft pretzels need to be stocked in my freezer more often. They’re so fun and bake for ~4 minutes!
Doesn’t everyone need more tacos in our lives? I sure do. I’m not at all offended if you skip right over this and continue to buy taco seasoning. I see both sides. The major benefits to making your own is to use however much you want/need at a time- without the constraints of a packet and b) to get the flavor without so much sodium or preservatives.
In our house, we will make tacos for 2 so we don’t need a whole packet of seasoning. Then I’ll save the rest and use it maybe 2 more times. The 3rd use of the packet might mean not-quite-enough seasoning. I also seem to have quite the stash of dried spices, sooooo I didn’t have to buy any to make this. You decide.
Ingredients: (about 3 servings, roughly 2x a packet)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Measure the spices out.
Mix it up.
Taste it and adjust to your preferences. It stores well for 6 months in an air-tight container.
I go low-spice, which is also why I chop the even small amount of red pepper flakes. You can totally adjust as you like, or triple the recipe and be all set for the year!
I made this root beer barbecue sauce and made it very heavy on the root beer. Seriously root-beer-y. I think it jazzed up a weeknight, and definitely woke up these pork chops.
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt & pepper
2 cups root beer, and 1/2 cup reserved
In a heavy pot, saute onion in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook for about 5-minutes, until softened and translucent.
Add in garlic, ketchup, mustard, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.
Add in pepper, salt, and root beer. Stir well and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add in the last of the root beer and remove from the heat.
Allow to cool, and enjoy!
I loved this! I think it had the root beer flavor, especially the sauce that we added after the cooking. We served it with our fav raw broccoli salad with raisins. I’m not so into cream soda, but I can see that being a hit in this too with a few tweaks.
I head to the grocery store with my meal plans in mind. “Plans” might sound intense, but one of those could include a sandwich or something easy though one of my last trips still had a hole needing another meal. I saw these nifty packages in the meat department of pork cutlets with capers, sundried tomatoes, and some sort of finishing sauce. I almost grabbed it and then I cheap-ed out. The price definitely included the convenience so I decided I could replicate on my own, for wayyy cheaper.
I grabbed some thin-cut boneless pork chops and remembered a jar of sundried tomato pesto in the fridge. I skipped the capers. Couscous cooks in 5 minutes + some salad. Yay for dinner!
4-6 boneless thin cut pork chops
1 cup flour
1 tablespoons garlic powder
salt & pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto, or diced sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (optional)
Preheat a large skillet to medium heat with a few generous glugs of olive oil…about 1/4 cup.
Season the flour with garlic powder, salt, and pepper then dredge the pork into the flour and add to the pan.
Cook about 4 minutes before flipping to cook another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and finish searing all the pork.
Drain the oil and discard.
Deglaze with the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan then add in the garlic, sundried tomato pesto, salt, pepper, and a glug or two of red wine, and chopped oregano. Cook for two minutes on medium heat.
Then add the pork back into the pan. Flip each one to cover in sauce. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve over couscous, rice, beans, pasta, or however you choose. Enjoy!
I liked jazzing up some ready-made sauce to make it a bit more interesting. I don’t use sundried tomatoes all the time so it was nice to have flavors we don’t eat weekly. The sauce is a little bit oily but tasty. The pork cooks quickly and using the same pan is totally the savior for this!
While I was searing the pork, our new & nifty Nest smoke alarms were notifying us on our phones that there was smoke accumulating. I hadn’t noticed my phone but Mr. J was able to quiet it from his phone, while tub-side with the little one. Phew! The last thing we needed during the bewitching hours was Mr. J having to get T out of the tub all soapy, while dinner burned, while I got the dogs to ease their panic. I guess these things are worth it!
I love the idea of a raw sauce to top meat and fish. Mine was grilled shrimp and Mr. J had steak tips. The arugula salad had avocado, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I’ll have to keep the idea of chimichurri around the next time I have handfuls of fresh herbs leftover from something!
1 cup flat parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 olive oil
2 cups arugula
1 cup mixed greens
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
Preheat the grill.
In a blender or food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, and stream in the olive oil. Taste and add in more oil/vinegar as needed. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Grill the steak/shrimp.
Toss together the arugula, avocado, tomato, and cucumber.
Toss with some salad dressing. Add the grilled steak/shrimp and spoon some chimichurri sauce over the top.
I liked the fresh-herby flavor of the chimichurri. I found it a strong so I made sure there was some on each shrimp, but I wasn’t trying to dress the salad with it. I used some creamy caesar dressing for the salad. I thought a more fatty-peppery dressing was good to contrast the chimichurri sauce.
The cutest & tastiest taco joint just opened near my work. The owners are so lovely and the tacos are getting RAVE reviews. I’ve had shrimp tacos, chicken tamales, and a pork torta. All have been fantastic…I dream of the torta. I saw their special for a Mexican-inspired BLT and totally copied the idea. Theirs also had an egg and avocado, which would be great, but I was on a mission for a fast dinner. Thanks Chilicates!
Mexican BLTs for 2
bread or rolls
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp taco seasoning
~4 tbs refried beans
3-4 slices of bacon, halved
1 large tomato
butter lettuce or greens
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Bake the bacon on a sheet pan, with a (non-stick sprayed) wire rack on top of it. Bake 15 minutes, or until crispy.
While bacon is cooking, slice tomatoes, lettuce, and toast the bread. Then mix together mayo with taco seasoning.
Spread one slice of toast with refried beans and other side with Mexican mayo.
Assemble the BLTs.
I loved the slight tweak on this BLT. Do you bake your bacon? It makes cooking it sooo much easier, plus it cooks totally flat! The bacon grease is well contained and you don’t even have to flip it. This is definitely my preferred method. I love not needing to babysit the bacon.
I don’t know why Green Goddess may have been a thing of the 70s. I made it with some leftover herbs and it was such a hit. The secret ingredient is totally what separates good homemade dressing from the ehhh-home-made dressing. The next time you buy some herbs for something, plan to whip up some Green Goddess dressing. Diversify your veggie tray for a gathering or make dip for 2, like I did!
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup chives
3 tbs tarragon
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp anchovy paste
salt & pepper
Blend everything together.
Serve or chill then enjoy!
The anchovy paste is such a secret ingredient. Seriously. Everyone loves my mom’s Caesar dressing and that is absolutely what makes these dressings taste better but it is a flavor you just can’t quite put your finger on. I wasn’t feeling the salad so I served this as a dip alongside dinner. It was so much more fun than salad!
Happy Holidays! I’ll be back after Christmas with a perfect use for some leftovers. I can’t wait for our 2nd family Christmas and then Christmas morning at home. I’m still working on the menu for Christmas day. Enjoy!