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Mexican Rice

Mr.Picky makes these huge loaded burritos when he is on his own for dinner, which is not very often.  He often requests I buy boxes of Mexican Rice mix, to quickly add to these burritos.  I know those are just loaded with salt and who knows what else.

So I finally came up with a simply solution that doesn’t take him anymore time than a box.  The rice turned out great but was not as salty as he is used to but salt can always be added.  It was not too spicy for the kids and will be our quick rice side dish with mexican food from now on.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice:

  • 1 cup white rice (medium or long)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow or red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • Taco seasoning recipe

Rinse rinse under the tap, until the water is almost clear.  Drain and add 1 1/2 cup water.

Add in the remaining ingredients bringing it all to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for about 16-20 minutes.

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Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnita Street TacosMy life changed when I tasted this recipe.  It is amazing, I mean amazing.  Mr.Picky suggested I go set up a stand on the corner for extra money, he said “they are so good you could make some good money”.  We ate them twice the first month I made them, and will forever hold a place in my recipe box.  This recipe comes from My Kitchen Escapades: Pork Carnitas, and I thank her for sharing.

There are no changing needed for the recipe.  Although sometimes I skip the step of crisping the meat.  You can easily make the meat the day before or earlier in the day and heat it up easily.

We serve this the carnitas as a street taco in our home.  But would be great filling for enchiladas or on nachos.  Did I mention you should try this recipe?

Pork Carnitas:

  • 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tb fresh lime juice, I do 2 small limes
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves

Adjust your oven rack to lower/middle and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Pork CarnitasCombine all ingredients including spent halves from oranges in a dutch oven.  Bring to a simmer over medium/high heat.

Cover pot and transfer to oven.  Cook about 2 hours at 300 degrees.

Remove pot from oven.  Using a slotted spoon remove meat to a bowl and discard any remaining solids.  Reserve the liquid in the dutch oven.

Over med/high heat reduce the cooking liquid until about a cup remains.

Once reduced add meat into liquid by shredding or slightly breaking apart the chunks.

You can stop at this point and toss meat to coat in gravy and serve.  In the original recipe you can place the meat onto a sheet pan and crisp in the oven.  We did not care for it this way and like to eat it just tossed in the gravy.

Pork Carnitas Street Tacos

*When we serve this as street tacos we use half corn/half wheat tortillas, meat, diced raw onion, chopped cilantro, and a wedge of lime.  Mr.Picky eats this without cheese which is a huge step and will eat leftovers any day.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet and Sour chickenChinese food is my favorite.  I will never get Mr.Picky to like it but when he is gone we can eat it all we want.  My daughter requests this as often as I am willing to make it.  I have never cared for anything sweet and sour related but this recipe won me over.  Everyone I know that I have made if for has fallen in love, and have passed this recipe out many times.

If you have not tried this recipe do not wait any longer.  Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe | Six Sisters’ Stuff is one of the most family friendly recipes I have found.  The first time I made it about a year ago, I ended up making it twice in one week.

I changed the recipe only slightly by adding vegetables.  I also will double the sauce recipe sometimes so we have more sauce to pour over our rice.

Beware it is simple but time-consuming, so give yourself some time.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken:

  • 2-3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 can of chunky pineapple, drained

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 4 Tbs ketchup
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (cider or white vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven 325 degrees.

In a greased 9 X 13″ pan place cut up peppers, onion, and pineapple if desired and set aside.  Mind you that you can add or leave out any of these vegetables.

Rinse chicken in water, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a gallon bag combine chicken and cornstarch.  Shake the bag until evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet with oil.

Dip 1/4 of chicken into egg at a time, then fry chicken until just brown but not cooked.  Be sure to not crowd the chicken in the skillet or they will not brown.

Sweet and Sour ChickenTransfer chicken pieces to the baking pan as they brown.  Just place on top of the vegetables in a single layer.  Continue browning chicken until all chicken is in the baking pan.

Whisk together the sauce and evenly pour onto chicken.

Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

 

7 Layer Salad

7 Layer Salad

This recipe is very familiar to me, we ate it growing up for dinner in the summer time.  Mr. Picky loves this salad, he often requests it.  It is probably the easiest way to get him to eat his vegetables and go back for seconds and thirds.  Okay so the vegetables are covered with mayonnaise, cheese, and bacon but who am I to judge.

The best part of this salad is that it tastes best if made 4-24 hours ahead of time.  Which makes it perfect for summer or to take along to a potluck.  Make it the night before a busy day and come home to dinner done.  I have seen the ingredients vary from recipe to recipe but this is how I make it.

7 Layer Salad:

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce(not the same if you substitute, you really need this to make the salad have it’s crunch)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion (either red or green onions 3-4 stocks), chopped
  • Frozen Peas (16 oz.), thawed and rinsed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded), I only had a blend on hand this day
  • 5-6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs powdered parmesan cheese (what I call “fake” parmesan out of a can)

Wash, chop, and dry your lettuce.  You want to have nice bite size pieces of lettuce.

Whisk together mayo, sugar, pepper and powdered parmesan cheese.  Set aside, this will be your dressing layer.

In a large glass bowl you are going to layer your salad in the following order.  A clear glass trifle bowl works great so you can see all the layers.  I don’t have one  but will be on the look out the perfect one to add to my collection of bowls.

Helping hands making 7 layer salad.

Helping hands making 7 layer salad.

Layering: Lettuce, green pepper, onions, peas, mayo dressing, shredded cheese, and then bacon.

Cover and refrigerate for  4 to 24 hours.  The salad really needs to chill for at least 4 hours or it will not taste the same.  When serving be sure to scoop all the way down through your layers.

Even though we are a small family of four this salad lasts in our fridge for a few days just dishing it out as we want.

Individual 7 Layer SaladsAfter making this the other night for dinner Mr.Picky decided he wanted bowls of it packed for his dinners for the week.  So away I went making generous Tupperware filled with 7 Layer Salad.  No complaints from me, he is eating vegetables and I only had to make one thing for three dinners.

Guacamole

Guacamole

I love to dip and eat tortilla chips, salty and savory is what I crave.  Not super fond of a guacamole with no chunky goodness.  This is how I make my guacamole.

Guacamole:

  • 4 ripe avocados (reserve one pit from avocado)
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
  • Cilantro, small handful rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2-1 (depending on heat) jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup onion (red or sweet), chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.Guacamole

Mix with a spoon until desired texture is reached.  Refrigerate with the pit of one avocado in the bowl, this will keep your guacamole from browning.

Serve with chips, veggies, or as a topping.

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