What I Ate: Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

I took a twist on one of Mr. J’s signature dishes, huevos rancheros. It was good, but I think I might like the regular method better. I whipped out the big griddle to do the quesadilla and egg at the same time.

The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients:

2 taco-sized tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar, monetary jack, or pepper jack cheese
1 egg
salsa & guacamole

Directions:

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Bring heat to medium heat and lay one tortilla down and top with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros Then lay the other tortilla on top.
Cook for about 3 minutes.
Spray top tortilla, and carefully flip the whole quesadilla.
In a separate pan, heat to medium and fry the egg.
Top quesadilla with a sprinkle of cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
Serve with salsa, guacamole, and the egg.
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I love the yolk with the tortilla and cheese. Seriously, the yolk is like nature’s sauce. I also could eat guac or avocado for breakfast daily. Have I told you lately how much I love savory breakfasts?
The Three Bite Rule - Quesadilla Huevos Rancheros
I probably will stick to the single layer/traditional way. I think the super crisp tortilla that is almost blistered into crispness is better.

Do you ever do that? Take a regular dish you love and amp it up, only to decide it was better as-is?

What I Ate: BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

I found roasted pork at Trader Joe’s and grabbed it tossing it into the freezer. I hadn’t made a plan for it, but figured it’d come in handy.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
It is fully cooked, which saves you about 6 hours of slow cooking pork shoulder.

I heated it with a smokey BBQ sauce.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos

I served it in flour tortillas with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, black beans, corn, and BBQ ranch drizzle.
The Three Bite Rule - BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos
Seriously so good. Keep these goodies on hand, or use leftovers in a new way. I’ve made pulled pork tacos before that had a slaw topping. This time the BBQ ranch and avocado made the tacos seem summery and super flavorful.

 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

My idea for these stuffed peppers was an adapting one, get ready. You’ve been warned…

I got peppers on sale at the grocery store. I always check out the discount produce. There’s so much good stuff for a fraction of the price. I got 3 peppers (red, green, yellow) for a buck-something. Crazy. Thus, here’s the foundation of this meal.
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Then, I wanted to get out of making rice. I think it is just annoying how long it takes. It gets sticky and the pot is obnoxious afterwards. I know, first world problems. I also didn’t have any rice around anyway, so it was a moot point. I had used up the couscous making a Shrimp and Couscous Salad (with the yellow pepper from this trio of peppers) so that wasn’t an option either. I wasn’t feeling the red quinoa I had around. That pretty much rounds out the options except then I spotted orzo and thought that would be fun. #winner

I added beans because a) they’re good for you and b) the beans would make it filling and I’d add less orzo which does nothing for you. The beans get the credit for started the Mexican twist.

I skipped the ground meat because turkey kielbasa is smokey and almost like chorizo, just not spicy. I thought it would make dinner feel a bit different too. This would be a really great use for the many scant packs of ground meat I freeze. I don’t usually want that meat to become a burger anyway so Mexican often wins out for their fate.

Hmmm. That’s it. I guess that’s where dinner came from. I made wayyy too much filling for just 2 peppers (4 halves). It became a sort of weird lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

½ package of turkey kielbasa, chopped
1 onion, chopped (I used ½ of a red onion)
½ cup dried orzo
1 can red beans, rinsed
1 cup corn (I used frozen)
¼ cup tomato sauce (optional)
¼ cup salsa
2 tbs taco seasoning (or your own combo of chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes)
2 peppers, halved
⅓ cup monterey jack cheese

Directions:

In a large pan over medium heat, fry kielbasa and onion in a tablespoon of oil until the onion starts to get cooked through and more transparent. (about 5 minutes)
Boil water for orzo. Add orzo and cook until totally cooked.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Add corn, beans, tomato sauce, salsa, taco seasoning to the kielbasa and onion pan.
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Drain orzo and add to the pan with everything else.
Stir well.
sprinkle half the cheese into the the peppers.
Spoon the filling into the peppers.
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Bake for 15 minutes, then top with remaining cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.
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These were good, but not exactly life changing. I liked all the flavors and they brought a nice freshness and to the weekly meal schedule. The stuffed peppers were filling and not too heavy since there was just a tiny sprinkle of cheese. I liked the colors and textures. I don’t hate 1 pot meals either.

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I think stuffed peppers are just a bit hard to eat. The red one was thinner and ended up being better than the green one.

Soft & Crunchy Taco Together

After seeing a LOT of Taco Bell ads for Dorrito tacos I remembered a taco they used to make with a hard AND soft taco together. I think it was a crunchwrap supreme or google images tells me maybe it was a gordita? I like the crunchwrap supreme name.

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I basically glued the soft tortilla to the crunchy shell with cheese. Glued together with cheese. What a wonderful phrase!

I layed the flour tortilla down and topped it with some salsa con queso and shredded cheddar.
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I placed the crunchy shell on top
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I then put them into the oven for 5 minutes, flipping once.
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It melted the cheese and softened the tortilla.
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They didn’t stay together perfectly, but gravity helped. These were totally fun and a little bit different. There’s no reason to eat twice the calories but they are automatically better than Taco Bell’s version.

P.S. Happy birthday to my Momma!

Guest Post: Huevos Rancheros

Today Mr. J provides a guest post for you. He’s quite the cook, though he doesn’t get as many chances to make dinner. With dinners like this, he could be cooking a lot more often! 

First and foremost, I do not claim to have a Mexican cooking background nor is this an authentic recipe. This was my interpretation of Huevos Rancheros based on looking at a few recipes online and determining what we had on hand for ingredients. I was looking for a quick weeknight breakfast meal for dinner and came across several Huevos Rancheros recipes online, many of which offered different variations on preparation and ingredients.

I didn’t have all the ingredients to make a fresh salsa, so I chopped some fresh tomato and added it to some existing jar salsa to freshen it up a bit.

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I preheated the oven to around 250 degrees, and then heated some olive oil on a griddle pan. I dropped two flour tortillas on the pan for about 2-3 minutes per side, just long enough to get some browning and bubbling, and then transferred them to the oven to stay warm.

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The eggs are the key ingredient in my mind, and I noticed some recipes taking a shortcut by using scrambled eggs. I prepared them sunny side up, because the runny yolk ties everything together and is so delicious.

When the eggs were almost done, I pulled the tortillas from the oven and topped with shredded cheese,

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Then topped that with the sunny side up eggs,

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Followed by the salsa,

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Finally finishing with more shredded cheese and a dash of parsley.

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I was really pleased with how these turned out. They didn’t take more than 10-15mins to prepare and are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Today I wanted to kick off a new Friday series. I’m calling this one Tonight & Take 2. I get questions about how I have all the ingredients for everything I make or how I come up with what I make.
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The reason I have an ingredient on hand is because:
a) I live to avoid grocery shopping so leftovers are planned to a T
b) using-what-I-have is my middle name
c) cooking for 2 of us means a whole package/container/item needs creativity so we aren’t eating the same thing day in and day out.

I just don’t usually share how I plan to use the other half. I might use part of the whole for a recipe but now you’re going to see how that happens. I also might make something and space out the blog posts so you think each posted item was spaced out. Aren’t you excited?!

Here are my meal planning tips here and here. Now, back to using an ingredient to make 2 totally different dishes.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Ingredients:

½ roasted butternut squash
1 cup black beans
8 oz shredded monterey jack cheese or pepper jack
1 tbs liquid smoke (optional)
1 tbs salsa
8 wheat tortillas

Directions:

Fill each tortilla with squash, black beans, and cheese.
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Roll up and top with enchilada sauce.
Bake covered for 20 minutes at 350-degrees.
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These were flavorful and I loooved the smoke flavor with the squash. The beans make it filling and balanced. Does this have you thinking about another leftover that would be good in here? Throw it in! Go crazy!

Now, these enchiladas were take 2 on a roasted butternut squash. Round one was a fall pizza with butternut squash, gouda, and bacon.
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What I Ate: Pulled Pork Tacos

Today’s What I Ate post features my use for some leftovers. Like all What I Ate series editions, it isn’t recipe worthy but it made me really happy and was a great way to jazz up the leftovers.

Have you ever cooked a pork butt? It is hefty. I haven’t seen smaller ones than 3-ish pounds. That’s a heck of a lot of servings. The good news? It freezes well, reheats well, and has some alternative possibilities. It is pretty cheap too. It might be my favorite crockpot item. Woah.
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I used some pulled pork to make tacos and I loved every bite. I made pulled pork (like this crock pot pulled pork post from way back when) and we ate it a few times as bbq pulled pork, or on rolls. Then I served it with crunchy taco shells, black beans, and some slaw.
Pulled Pork Tacos
Hello taco!

The slaw was red cabbage mixed with some shredded carrots, cider vinegar, veggie oil, and a dash of sugar.  It was perfect, easy, and cheap. I loved that it felt reinvented and wasn’t exactly how we had eaten it before.

Any inspired leftover revamps to share?? 

What I Ate: Nacho Burger

I feel like a genius. I created an amazing burger out of nowhere. I made burgers out of ground pork, taco seasoning,  and some salsa con queso.

The Three Bite Rule - Nacho Burger

Ingredients:
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tbs taco seasoning
2 tbs salsa con queso

Directions:
Mix the ground pork (or beef/chicken/turkey) with taco seasoning and salsa con queso.
The Three Bite Rule - Nacho Burger
Form into patties and grill
The Three Bite Rule - Nacho Burger
Top with sliced pepper jack cheese and some more salsa con queso!
The Three Bite Rule - Nacho Burger

This had some great spice and perfect cheesiness. I think the cheese sauce was a perfect way to keep the meat juicy. I served it with a vinegar based bean salad. We loved this one!

Flautas with Ground Pork and Spinach

I’m expanding my non-authentic Mexican food repertoire. I made flautas. I first googled to find out what the difference was between flauta and a taquito. Again, from non-authentic sources, it seems like flautas are flour tortillas and taquitos are corn tortillas.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flautas

I prepped some of it in the morning before work, which always makes me feel like a rockstar. The pup was very into these. When I say he’s under my feet in the kitchen, I mean it. See? He’s just to sweet to totally kick out of the kitchen. It makes me feel loved since I come in second to Mr. J in his eyes (unless I’m cooking).
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta

Ingredients:

½ pound ground turkey/pork/chicken/beef (I used pork)
3 tbs taco seasoning
12 small flour tortillas
2 cups baby spinach
6 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
oil for frying

Directions:

Cook the ground meat with taco seasoning until cooked through and mix with spinach after removing the meat from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
Heat about ¾ of an inch of oil to fry the flautas when they’re assembled.
Lay tortillas out and top with 2 tbs each shredded cheese, and the ground meat and spinach mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
roll up the filled tortillas into skinny cigars and secure with a toothpick
gently drop into the oil for a few minutes, rotating them to crisp evenly.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta
When they’re evenly golden, remove and let hang on paper towels. Don’t forget to pull out those toothpicks!

They stayed together nicely and I served them with a little chipotle ranch dressing (also known as: ranch with a touch of BBQ sauce for smokiness, a dash of hot sauce, and taco seasoning). They were really good. I loved how different they felt from burritos or enchiladas.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Flauta

Frying anything stresses me out. I only did a few at a time and kept the others warm in the oven at 200 degrees.

These are a great use for leftovers :ahem:spinach:ahem. I would have thrown in any other veggie I had around. Think: corn! onions! zucchini! mushrooms! They also didn’t require a ton of ground meat. I end up with weird amounts of leftover ground pork or chicken and almost always use it for a Mexican meal.

Serve these with my favorite Mexican bean salad for a quick & easy fiesta! They also are great reheated in the toaster oven for lunch the next day at work!
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Grilled Pineapple Salsa

I was thinking I wanted to make salsa once my work event was over I was thinking not just any salsa. Something crazy! I haven’t made salsa before but I winged it and it came out good. I wish it was spicier but I wasn’t sure that would appeal to the crowd.

I also can’t say I actually knew how spicy it was going to be anyway.
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Ingredients:

5 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (seeds and
1 onion
2 garlic clove minced
1 lime, juiced & zested
½ pineapple, grilled
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp hot sauce
¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Blend 4 tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
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Add the jalapeno, then the last tomato, lime juice, lime zest, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and salt.
Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes per side until lightly charred.
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Chop the pineapple and add to the salsa.
Let it sit at least 2 hours before serving.
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Salsa was totally easy. I was worried after I blended the tomatoes. It seemed too pink but it was a good amount of liquid to add the chunks to. I like it super chunky so I left the pineapple really big chunks.
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Any salsa tips for me next time? It was good, but maybe the next one can be great!