Friday, May 10, 2019

Chicken Carnitas

After spending some time eating vegetarian, I am trying to cut back on the meat I eat, and to eat more sustainably. This means relying more on chicken and fish as my staple proteins, rather than beef or pork.

This means I need to get a bit more creative to keep myself satisfied, so when a friend of mine asked for a chicken carnitas recipe to help him out, I jumped at the challenge.


4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow onion
2 jalapenos
¼ c olive oil
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp oil


Put the chicken thighs in a slow cooker. Peel and crush your garlic, peel and quarter your onion, roughly chop your jalapenos. Place everything, except the last 2 tbsp of oil, in your slow cooker and toss to make sure it is all well combined.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Once cooked through and tender, remove the chicken and drain the liquid through a mesh strainer and reserve.

Chill both for a few hours or over night.

You can skim the fat off the liquid once it is cool, or stick in the freezer for an hour to make it easy to scoop off.

Once the chicken is fully cooled shred-it using either your hands or a fork or chop it into small pieces.

To reheat, pour 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat in a large pan, once the oil is shimmering, add your shredded chicken in one layer and sear without moving for 2 minutes to build up the characteristic crust. Poor in reserved one cup of cooking liquid and stir until heated through.

Serve on warm tortillas with chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, and crema or sour cream. It also works great on nachos and it keeps well in the freezer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Chickpea Curry

I was looking around for a quick vegan curry because I have discovered that cream sauces aren't agreeing with me right now (something that makes me incredibly sad every day) and I wanted a curry that was made to not have meat or dairy in it so I did not have to figure out weird substitutes. I came across a recipe for a chickpea curry that made some odd choices so I took the chance to refine it and came up with this tasty concoction.


2 tbsp oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 large white onion
½ tsp salt
2 medium tomatoes
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
1 16oz can of chickpeas
¼ C chopped cilantro


Finely dice the garlic and the onion and roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and the salt and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent before adding the tomatoes and cooking until the tomatoes start to break apart. Sprinkle in all the spices and fry them, stirring constantly, until they are super fragrant.
Reduce the heat to low and pour in the coconut milk and chickpeas, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy. Add the chopped cilantro and serve, preferably over basmati rice.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope you are having a great St. Patrick's Day! I gave up meat for lent, so it is not quite as fun for me as it usually is, but I am making do. I'm currently working on an Irish Soda Bread recipe that I should have up in time for next year.

Here are the Irish themed recipes I have put out to help you enjoy the "spirit" of the holiday!
My St. Patrick's Day shake is a great drink for parties, especially if you are enjoying better weather then I am right now.

While my Irish Redhead is not strictly speaking Irish or green, it is Irish themed and that seems to be enough reason to drink it in America!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Scrambled Egg Curry

When it is time to go grocery shopping and all you have is a few random ingredients around your house, it is a great time to throw together a curry.
I had leftover pieces from some of the things I had made last week, and somethings I had planned on making but didn't have time, and a curry is usually a tasty way to use up a few odds and ends.
Since this one is made with scrambled egg, it is very quick, no stewing or simmering. Just saute some veggies, fry some spices, throw in your eggs and serve. It is great by itself or on a bed of greens.
I also recently discovered that one of my little sisters tried curry for the first time recently. She is scared of trying to make it at home because she does not want to smell up her house too much. This one is a bit more mild, so I hope she will give it a try.


2 tbsp butter
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
6 eggs, beaten


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, onions, and salt. Saute until they are nicely softened but are still bright and colorful, about 2-5 minutes. Stir in the spices and let them fry and hydrate for a few minutes. Once they are nice and fragrant, pour on the beaten eggs and stir constantly until just cooked. Remove from the heat and serve.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Cheat's Mac'n'Cheese

The base of pretty much any homemade mac and cheese (especially stove top) is usually a cheese sauce or bechamel sauce. This is made by cooking flour in butter and using the resulting roux (pronounced rue) to thicken milk which cheese is then melted into. This is a cheat because it avoids that entirely and uses sour cream and the starch left on your pasta to get a good sauce.


2 lbs of ground spicy sausage
2 lbs of pasta (I recommend either macaroni or rotini)
1 lb of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb of sour cream*
4 C of milk


Brown the ground sausage until cooked through. You can use links, but Laura hates the casings so I just use the sausage meat. I recommend doing this in 1 lb portions, otherwise you could pull too much heat out of your pan and you will end up with boiled sausage which just is not as good. (Alternatively, you could entirely skip this if you don't want sausage in your mac'n'cheese.)

Cook your pasta according to the package instructions and drain it thoroughly, but DO NOT RINSE IT, the starch that it still clinging to those noodles is vital in making a good sauce later.

Stir everything in to the still warm pasta. If you move quickly, and have everything ready to go, it should all melt in and form a smooth, creamy sauce. If it has cooled down, put the pot over a low heat while you stir. If the sauce is a little too liquid, just keep stirring, the sauce will thicken as the starch expands.

*If you use a 16 oz/1 lb container, that is a 2 cup container, you can use that to measure the milk so it makes fewer dishes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Chili con Carne for Red Dead Redemption 2

So Red Dead Redemption 2 came out recently, and it looks amazing. I am one of the unhappy few that does not own a device that it is available so I hope that, this time, Rockstar feels like bringing the game over to PC. Sorry, PC gamer problems, you all are here for the food.

I was inspired by the games Southern setting to make this amazing Chili con Carne. My wife says it is the best chili she has ever had, but she is obligated to compliment my food. It is a really great chili and would serve equally well as an entrée or topping for chili dogs, eggs, or chili cheese fries.

I also need to add an obligatory apology to my friend Jay. He hates cinnamon in chili. I think it gives it a quick dash of sweet heat, he sees it as an abomination. Oh well, I will make him eat it anyway!

¼ lb. of bacon, diced*
3 lb. of ground beef
1 large white onion, diced
1 tbsp salt
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
2 red fresno chilies, seeded and minced
1 serrano chile, sliced
40.5oz can of kidney beans, drained
28oz can of crushed tomatoes
½ tsp ground red pepper
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp of cinnamon (sorry again, Jay)
1 tsp cocoa powder

Heat a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat and brown the bacon until all the fat is rendered out and the bacon bits are crispy. Remove, drain, and set aside for later. Next, brown the ground beef in the bacon grease in 1 pound portions, removing each portion after it is well browned. You are going to be simmering the beef later so it does not matter if it is not cooked all the way at this point.

Once you have evacuated all of your beef, add the onions and salt and sweat the onions over medium to medium low heat until they are translucent and soft. Next, stir in all the chiles and sweat down until soft.

Dump in all the spices and cocoa powder and fry them until they are looking toasted and are stinking up your house something good.

Finally, pour in the can of tomatoes and the can of drained beans, and add your reserved meat back in. Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes or until a nice thick gravy is covering your chili.

Optionally, serve with plenty of cheese, sour cream, and corn chips.

A really fun party idea is to keep your chili warm in a slow cooker and let your guests serve themselves in individual corn chip bags and load up on toppings. Some people call this a "walking taco" I just think its amazing.
*Pro tip: it is way easier to chop bacon up into a fine dice if you stick it in the freezer for an hour to get hard, not enough to freeze through, but enough to be stiff. That makes it way easier to dice up.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

For Rebecca

One of my sisters is undertaking the "No Meat November" challenge and I am here to support her. She asked me to put together some great recipes that are either vegetarian or pescaterian. Here are some of my favorites:


Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts:
A great dish that I love to throw together. It features quinoa, which is a high protein grain that works
great in cold salads.

Mushroom Risotto:
This was really intimidating to make, but it is actually really simple. A lot of recipes have really confusing descriptions and instructions and I tried to make sure mine were very clear and user friendly. I served this with some seared tofu to make a good full meal.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
This dip is really good, but I slightly over complicated the recipe. It is pretty easy to make this recipe in a skillet as I described or can just be stirred together cold.

Guacamole is actually one of my favorite things to make in the winter because I love to make it with pomegranate and you can only really get a good price on those around this time of year.

Not Beef Stroganoff:
This one takes advantage of the fact that mushrooms are really meaty. It is pretty simple to take a traditional and replace the meat with mushrooms. While this is a great recipe, I do need to take a new picture for it.

Here is a link to the rest of my vegetarian recipes, which, given how much I like meat, I have a surprising amount of.


Shrimp Bisque:
Dear God this stuff is good. As the weather gets cold, this is a perfect thing to warm you up with a little spice and a little alcohol.

Another fantastic soup for this time of year. This one is made that traditional way, only white ingredients, but it is easy to make it Maryland style, just add Old Bay!

I have nothing else to say about this one, just make it. It's amazing.

While I provided a traditional set of ingredients for this one, it really is fridge velcro. You can put pretty much anything into it that you want.

This is a easy and simple application of my new favorite way to make salmon. This recipe includes detailed instructions on how to make this amazing dish. 

Ok, the title is a bit of a mouthful, but this is really good stuff. If you have not made crispy skin salmon before, I would recommend taking a look at the previous recipe to get a really good idea of how to do it.

Pretty much the best mussels I have ever had. It is spicy, but amazing. It is not strictly speaking pescatarian, since it includes sausage, but it is easy to leave that out and still have a great dish.