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Tex-Mex Cheese Ball

This cute post The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball – Family Fresh Meals caught my eye and I pinned it on Pinterest.  Unfortunately I didn’t get around to making it until December and no longer was a pumpkin cheese ball necessary.  I am more than glad I made this Tex-Mex Cheese Ball.  It was a huge hit for my birthday and all my company enjoyed it.

I made the cheese ball the day before to save some time the next day at the party.  I even crushed my Doritos and kept them in a sealed bag to just roll and go the next day.  As I was making it we had a few extra friends visiting us and helping me with the cooking.  One of the little girls told me it was going to be “the hit of the party” it was so good.

Making half the recipe next time would probably work.  Even with my large crowd we ended up with a bunch of leftovers.  Although we ate it for snack the next few days.  We also used the leftovers to spread inside some chicken quesadillas which turned out great.

Tex-Mex Cheese Ball:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican blend)
  • 3 Tbs onions, minced
  • 3 Tbs salsa, your favorite kind
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup nacho cheese chips, crushed

In a stand mixer combine all ingredients but the chips.  Mix until creamy and combined.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and scoop the mixture into a mound in the center.

Wrap up the ball tightly and chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve roll in the crushed chips.

We served ours with tortilla chips and wheat crackers.  Celery and carrots would also be very good.


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Spanish Rice

I don’t remember even eating Spanish Rice as a child.  Mr.Picky loves spanish and mexican rice out of a box but I refuse to make the sodium filled rice.  I have come up with a recipe similar to the Mexican rice but had no recipe for the Spanish rice until now.

After doing some research and came up with this recipe after combining what sounded good to me.  It turned out great.  In fact is was the base layer to a skillet/casserole recipe I was making.  Be sure to check back for that recipe.

This Spanish rice is not spicy due to the little ones.  Extra heat could be added with come cayenne pepper to the mix or maybe add a diced jalapeño.  It was flavorful without too much salt and the perfect heat for the kids.

Spanish RiceSpanish Rice:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp or 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium/ high heat.

Saute onion, pepper, and rice.  Stirring constantly so the rice does not burn, cook until most of the rice has toasted and the vegetables soften.

Spanish Rice

Add the rice mixture to a medium pot along with the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture up to a boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest it will go.

Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork when done.


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Citrus Marinated Flank Steak

Rarely do I ever feel the need to prepare red meat or want to eat it.  Something inside of me was craving flank steak.  My grandparents had prepared us some wonderful marinated flank steak the last time we were visiting.  Mr.Picky was a fan of this great flank steak, even though he is often not a fan of this cut of meat.

Looking for my recipe I was given, I was having no luck.  I searched everywhere for my disc full of recipes and could not find it.  Somewhere in our move I lost it, well not lost but put it somewhere special.  I remember just before we moved I came across it in an odd spot and put it somewhere for safe keeping.  I don’t often misplace things and searched every logical place.  One day I will find it.

Until I find it I found this recipe for Citrus Marinated Flank Steak.  The flavors seemed similar to what we ate and I figured it would do until I can get my hands on the right recipe.  This recipe turned out great, not quite as much flavor as I was expecting even after I  marinated it longer.  Mr.Picky approved and said I could prepare it again.

Marinated Flank SteakMarinated Flank Steak:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic,crushed
  • 1 Tbs chipotle chili powder (I used regular so the kids could eat it)
  • 3 Tbs cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lb. Flank steak

Score steak on both sides.

Place all ingredients besides the stead in a jar or blender, blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Place steak in a plastic bag and pour in marinade.  Allow to marinade at room temperature for 2 hours.  Or overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grill until high heat is reached and the coals are red hot.  Grill about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Move away from direct heat and cook another 10 minutes longer.  Meat should reach about 145 degrees.  This process took us a bit longer because we were cooking in the snow.

Remove meat to a cutting board, cover in foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  Slice meat against the grain in thin strips to serve.

Marinated Flank Steak
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Green Chile Pork Mexi Bowls

A few years back I had started making a green chile pulled pork in the slow cooker to stuff into burritos.  While trying to eat healthier I was taking away the tortilla and making a Mexi bowl.  Mr.Picky thought mine looked good and tried one.  This is now one of his favorite meals.  The kids love it also anytime you get to choose your toppings it is interesting.

The toppings and options are limitless.  Mr.Picky enjoys these packed in his lunch.  If feeding a crowd I would double the meat and it is always fun to do a buffet style.  Or save the leftovers and make a big taco salad the next night.

Mexi-Bowls with green chile pulled pork

These are ideas for toppings that we have used in the past and the recipe for the green chile pork is to follow:

  • Mexican Rice (use the link for my version or used a box variety of your choice)
  • cooked or canned pinto/black beans (drained)
  • cilantro (chopped)
  • shredded cheese (we use mexican blend)
  • lime
  • avocado
  • corn
  • olives
  • tomato
  • onions or green onions
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • salsa
  • sour cream

 

Green Chile Pulled Pork:Green Chile Pulled Pork

  • 2-4 pound pork tip or loin roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (7 oz.) can green mild chiles
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic,minced

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and give it a stir.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, and high for about 3 hours.

Stir once or twice during cooking time.  During the last hour of cooking remove meat and shred with two forks.

Place meat back into cooking liquid and allow to absorb some of the juices for at least another 30 minutes on keep warm.

Mexi Bowls with green chile pulled pork

Mexi Bowls:

Usually we place rice on the bottom of the bowl, followed by beans and meat, then load them how you like.

Taco Seasoning

This is the recipe I use instead of those packets of taco seasoning.  It is much healthier and tastier, not to mention you probably already have all these spices in the cupboard.

Simple use the following seasoning for 1 pound of ground beef and 1/2 cup water, allow to simmer for about 15 minutes to make some great tacos.  Or just substitute this recipe where any packet is required.

Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced onion

Pan Roasted Corn and Potato Soup

The kids and I had caught a cold and were in need of soup for dinner.  I asked my daughter what kind she felt like and potato was the answer.  With eight ears of corn in my fridge I figured I better incorporate some of them.  This was I came up with and it turned out lovely.  Nothing better than sweet corn and a touch of heat to the dish.  Enjoy!

Pan Roasted Corn and Potato Soup

Pan Roasted Corn and Potato Soup:

  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs green chiles or 1/2 a jalapeno, minced
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

In a dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil and corn.  Cook 10-15 minutes until kernels are turning golden.

Add seasoning, onions and chiles, cook 3-4 minutes more.Pan Roasted Corn and Potato Soup

Peel and dice potatoes and add them and the stock.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

I used an immersion blender at this point to make my soup semi-smooth.  Your choice how smooth or chunky you go.

Add the can of evaporated milk and heat through.  Taste and add any additional salt or a dash of hot sauce.

We served our soup with a little cheese, green onion and chopped bacon I had in the fridge.  Tasted just as good the next day without toppings.

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