Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

Happy Tuesday! Tuesday is not really that great of a day, if you are in a traditional Mon-Fri workweek. It’s not quite “hump day” and it’s still just the blah beginning of the week and Friday is not in sight yet. Well, maybe that’s just Tuesday in my world…who knows?

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Something that’s NOT blah is this Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese from Shugary Sweets! I get it…it sounds weird. Beef…enchiladas…macaroni and cheese…but really, who doesn’t love those things?? If that’s the case, then why not combine them, amirite? This Shugary Sweets blogger came up with this sheer genius idea to put Mexican into mac’n’cheese. Really, you can make anything into a fusion dish, and this is so simple and yet so amazing, so it totally works.

I made this a REALLY long time ago and don’t remember a lot of specific details, but I do remember it tasted exactly like enchiladas in the form of mac’n’cheese. So there’s that. I did use a different type of pasta because it’s what I had on hand, and I think the pictures would have come out prettier had I used the cute shells that the original blogger did, but if you want really good pictures, then I definitely recommend clicking on the link above.

This is super simple to whip together on an otherwise boring weeknight. By the way, the original blogger says it serves 6…I say it serves 6, only if you’re lucky – you’ll want to gobble this right up!

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Beef Enchilada Mac’n’Cheese

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1lb medium shells, cooked and drained
-2cu heavy cream
-2cu colby jack cheese, shredded
-1 can (10oz) red enchilada sauce
-1lb ground beef, cooked and drained
-1tsp ground cumin
-1tsp kosher salt

Directions:
-In a large pot, heat the cream, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt on medium heat. Whisking often, heat until mixture just begins to bubble.
-Reduce the heat to medium low and add in cheese, then stir until smooth. Mix in the cooked ground beef and the cooked noodles.
-Serve hot.

Pear and Pomegranate Tacos

I had to think about whether I wanted to post tacos two days in a row on here, but decided, “What the heck?” Tacos are delicious and specialty tacos are even more delicious! It also just occurred to me it is the second day in a row of fruit salsa. If you read yesterday’s post about the mango salsa, then you definitely know I love fruit salsa! It is a great combination with a faint touch of sweet, hint of zest, and just all-around yummyness.

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The original blogger of these tacos from Gimme Some Oven titled them “Christmas Tacos” because they kind of look like Christmas! She also made them as little “taco boats” too, which would make a great appetizer! I think that counts as a different recipe, therefore I could sort of make this again and it would NOT be the same dish twice.

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The flavours came together so well – with the sweet tartness of the salsa, the protein-filled chicken, the punch that feta cheese packs (oh – I couldn’t find cojita cheese, so I subbed feta instead, which was also a great choice). It just works. I would love to put this salsa on everything! The only thing stopping me is that pomegranates take some time and effort to seed! Even all the easy “hack” ways are still a bit time consuming – but so worth it!

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Pear and Pomegranate Tacos

serves 4

Ingredients:
-Tortillas (any kind you like will work)
-1 large cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced or shredded
-1/4cu crumbled cotija cheese (I used feta)
-optional garnishes: fresh lime wedges, extra chopped fresh cilantro
For the salsa
-2 fresh pears (any kind), cored and diced
-1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
-half a red onion, diced
-1/2cu chopped fresh cilantro leaves
-juice of half a lime

Directions:
-Cook and shred the chicken (I just baked it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees).
-While the chicken is cooking, prepare the salsa by mixing all the ingredients together, then season with salt and pepper.
-To assemble the tortillas, add a layer of chicken, a few spoonfuls of the salsa, and top with cheese. Add your additional garnishes, then roll up and enjoy!

Crockpot Barbecue Beer Pulled Pork Tacos with Crispy Onion Straws and Mango Salsa

The title of this recipe is a mouthful, am  I right?? Well, the entire dish was an amazing mouthful, so well worth the long name! This pulled pork taco dish comes from the amazing blogger over at How Sweet It Is. I am on-and-off obsessed with her recipes, because they are most often quite delicious, and she is a funny and quirky writer. The downside is that they are often very elaborate dishes and not usually “everyday” kind of dinners. My husband and I had an at home date night last Friday and I decided to make these and we watched Divergent (we are watching the second one tonight, and I cannot wait for the third one to hit the theatres!).

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This dish is AMAZING. Seriously, it’s amazing. But it is also a heck of a lot of work, so be prepared for that. I did realize that going in. The pork itself is pretty simple because it just cooks away all day in the crockpot. The mango salsa is a bit time-consuming to chop and throw together but pretty basic. Can I also say that I just love fruit salsas? A close friend of mine haaaaates them (you know who you are ;)) but I just love them. They are definitely not sweet (as most of you know, I hate overly sweet things), and the onion, cilantro, etc. that is also in them usually counteracts any sweetness. I will say that one mango is perhaps not enough, because the mango did not get to shine enough, but I ended up adding extra onion too, since I had some leftover.

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But let’s talk about the onions. Oh, the onions. They are WORK, my friends. I stood over the stove for what felt like forever frying up these babies. I used a stock pot, but an entire onion thinly sliced takes awhile to fry. I also want to mention that adding the salt as soon as each batch is done frying is essential. I taste-tested one (ok, ok, a lot) pre-salt and taste-tested some post-salt, and the post-salt definitely won me over. I didn’t use much, just a quick grind, but it really packs a punch on the hot, fresh from the frying oil coated onions. That being said, they are definitely essential for these tacos. Yes, store-bought is WAY easier, but you will not be sorry for frying up these babies. Keep in mind to only make what you will use for that serving, as they don’t really re-heat super well.

BBQ Beer Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa and Crispy Onion Straws

serves a lot (we still have leftovers from 3 days ago)

Ingredients:
-1 (3-4lbs) pork shoulder roast (mine was boneless)
-1tbsp onion powder
-1tbsp smoked paprika
-1tsp garlic powder
-1/2tsp salt
-1/2tsp pepper
-12oz beer (I used rootbeer which made it a bit sweeter, but still good)
-32oz barbecue sauce + additional for drizzling
-small flour or corn tortillas
-4-6oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
-1 batch of crispy onion straws (see below)
For the mango salsa
-1 mango, peeled and chopped
-1/4 red onion, finely diced
-1/2 jalapeño, finely diced (I omitted, because my husband doesn’t like that much heat)
-1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
-the juice of 1 lime
-1/4tsp salt
-1/4tsp pepper

Directions:
-Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the pork on every side (about 2-3 minutes per side) until golden brown before adding to the crockpot.
-Add pork to crockpot with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8+ hours, tossing once or twice if desired.
-After 8 hours, shred pork with forks and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss pork to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Remove bone (if bone-in) before serving.
-Combine all of the mango salsa ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix. **It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days**
**You can make the onion straws and mango salsa a few hours in advance, if desired**
-To assemble your tacos, layer pork, mango salsa, cheddar cheese, and onion straws on the tortilla, fold up, and enjoy!

The crispy onion straws come from the genius blogger, My Life as a Mrs.

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Crispy Onion Straws

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1 large red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
-1.5cu lowfat buttermilk (I made my own using a mix of regular milk and lemon juice)
-2cu flour
-1.5tbsp garlic powder
-1.5tbsp salt
-1tsp black pepper
-1tsp cayenne (optional – I couldn’t even taste it)
-canola oil for frying
-additional salt

Directions:
-Preheat oil in a deep pot to 350°.
-Add onions and buttermilk to a large bowl and toss until combined. In a second bowl, mix together flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
-In small batches, take the buttermilk coated onions and dredge in the seasoned flour (shaking to remove excess flour), and fry for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes on each side (or until golden and crispy). Place on a paper towel line platter and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. Repeat until all onions are golden and crispy.

Panko Crusted Sriracha Cod

I hope everyone had a fun Labour Day weekend last weekend! I enjoyed my 3 days off…spent a lot of time catching up on blogging (hence this week full of blogs), watching CSI Miami, spending time with friends, and going to a neighbourhood and family barbecue hosted by my brother’s family! Oh, and cuddling with my dog. Lots of cuddles. 😉

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I may not have cooked a lot lately, but I have a lot of back-recipes just waiting to be posted. For the past week or so, I’ve been cooking on the cheap, so trying to use up things we already have at home – wild Alaskan salmon burgers from Costco, for one. They’re really good, and inexpensive, if you haven’t tried them!

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In any case, this panko crusted sriracha cod from Foodie with Family may not be for everyone, but my husband and I loved it! I went easy on the sriracha, since my husband doesn’t like things quite as spicy as I do, hehe. If you do like to be a little adventurous, like fish, and spicy food, then I would definitely recommend this dish for you.

This is also another pretty quick dish to throw together! And as you can see, I did indeed add plenty of extra sriracha to my own plate!

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Panko Crusted Sriracha Cod

serves 4

Ingredients:
-4 cod filets, boneless and skinless
-salt and pepper, to taste
-3tbsp mayonnaise
-2tsp sriracha
-1cu panko bread crumbs
-1tbsp butter
-non-stick cooking spray
For Garnish
-additional sriracha
-thinly sliced green onions
-toasted sesame seeds

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375°F, then line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray or spray oil. Next, pour the panko crumbs into a pie plate or round cake pan.
-Lay the cod filets on the prepared pan and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and sriracha together until well combined. Brush the mixture over the top of each filet, then turn mayo-side down into the panko crumbs and pressy lightly to help the panko adhere to the mayo. Set the filets back onto the pan, crumb side up.
-When all of the pieces have been coated, heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat until it is melted and frothy. Place each filet gently crumb side down and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Carefully return each piece of cod to the prepared pan, crunchy crumb crust side up. Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet, or until opaque throughout and easily flaked with a fork. The internal temperature of cod should reach 145°F to be done. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes before plating or transferring to a serving dish.
-Garnish with additional sriracha, thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with desired accompaniment.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I have been totally MIA lately, because I have been focusing on a new endeavor! I started my own business with Jamberry Nails! They are amazing vinyl nail wraps that are heat-activated and come in 300+ colours and styles. There are plain ones, wild ones, sparkly ones, striped ones, French manicured ones, and so forth. Feel free to click on the link above to browse online! My business name is also a play on my food blog – Never The Same Jams. The name is courtesy of my makeup guru friend Alysha.
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Speaking of food, I made this yummmmmmmy pesto chicken pizza from Six Sisters Stuff a few weeks ago, and I am excited to share it with you! It was so, so, so good! I used jarred pesto, which was actually a pesto made with quinoa from TJ’s. It was a great way to pump up normal pesto, and also made the pizza that much more filling.

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I actually omitted several ingredients from this pizza – like the mushrooms and tomatoes. I also put the bell pepper on my half of the pizza only (not that I ate half of it in one sitting – but I could have, it was so good!).
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I also didn’t make my own crust, and I used my go-to whole wheat dough from TJ’s also. Whenever I’m at TJ’s, I usually buy 2-3 extra bags of dough and freeze them, so that way they are ready to go whenever I want homemade pizza, since the nearest TJ’s is about 15-20 minutes out of the way to get to.
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Speaking of which, TJ’s is the *only* place I can find dough in the Seattle area! When I lived in upstate New York, pizza dough was super commonplace in every single grocery store, so it was quite a shock when I moved back here. Oh well, what can ya do…Washingtonians don’t like pizza the way New Yorkers (even from upstate) do!
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Pesto Chicken Pizza

serves about 4

Ingredients:
-1/2cu prepared pesto (I actually used a bit more, since the quinoa pesto was thicker and less liquidy)
-2cu shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced (I cooked mine at 400F for about 30mins, then shredded it)
-1 small onion, thinly sliced
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-1/2cu sliced fresh mushrooms (I omitted)
-1 tomato, diced (I omitted)
-Pizza dough

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Roll out the dough and spread the pesto over the surface of the pizza. Sprinkle the cheese over the pesto and then add on all of the other toppings.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is done.

Sloppy Joe Tacos

I have weird tastes. I am fully aware of this. So much so, that I had no shame while making (and devouring) these sloppy joe tacos by Gimme Some Oven.  I love sloppy joes and I love tacos and I love fusion! This happened because I was going through my Pinterest recipes one day, deciding what to make for dinner (I’ve been really bad at meal-planning ahead lately), and realized I had basically all of the ingredients at home already. I decided to forego the red bell pepper, because they were really expensive at the grocery store and my husband doesn’t like them anyway.
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This recipe is really good!!  You can basically make anything into a taco (or pizza, as I have done many times before, as well!) and the outcome is almost always fabulous. For my friends that don’t like sloppy joes (yes, I mean you, Alysha!), I highly recommend that you give it a shot and throw it into a taco! It has some normal fixings you’d find in tacos (ground beef, onion, etc.) plus the addition of the sauce that makes it a “sloppy joe” and topped with shredded cheese. Seriously – how does that sound bad? 😉 😉
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Sloppy Joe Tacos

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1tbsp olive oil
-1lb lean ground beef
-1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
-1 small red bell pepper, cored and diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2cu tomato sauce
-2tbsp packed brown sugar
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1tsp chili powder
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
-hard crunchy taco shells
-optional toppings: shredded Mexican cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, etc.

Directions:
-Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the beef and stirring occasionally. Drain off as much excess fat as you can and discard it.
-Return the skillet to the heat, and add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic to it. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
-Meanwhile, While the veggies are cooking, whisk together in a bowl, the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire, and chili powder until combined. Once the veggies are done, add the tomato sauce mixture to the ground beef and stir until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (you may need to cover the pan to avoid red sauce splattering the stove). Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
-Place the sloppy joe filling inside the taco shells and top with your desired accompaniments.

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas and/or happy holidays. Also – the new year is soon upon us! I have been thinking a bit about resolutions, life plans/goals/changes, etc., as I am sure many of you have as well. In the past several weeks, I have fallen back from cooking quite a bit…mostly because we have gotten so busy, that it seems we are rarely home for dinner, but rather flitting from one meeting or social engagement to another. I definitely do miss it and would like to get back into it more – and yesterday I discovered that I had recently stocked up on a bunch of meat from a grocery store sale, so it’s not like we’re light on food. 😉

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Speaking of cooking, this chicken tikka masala pizza by The Stay at Home Chef is TO DIE FOR. Seriously. Even if you don’t like Indian food (or if you don’t know if you like it), I would definitely recommend this dish. I am slowly immersing my husband into Indian cuisine, and he just loved this pizza (at least, that’s what he told me!). Personally, I am a so-so Indian food fan. Mostly, I got into it many years ago, because it was the main go-to cuisine of my dear friend Spencer. He is unable to eat it anymore, but I still enjoy it every now and again! Rich sauces, curries, tender chicken…mmmmm.
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I mixed up some of the spices in the sauce and chicken marinade, but it turned out just heavenly in the end. I also used whole wheat pizza dough. It was so good and so flavourful. It even tasted amazing, eaten cold the next day!
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Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
For the chicken
-1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
-1/2cu plain greek yogurt
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1tsp cumin
-1/2tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2tsp cinnamon
-1/2tsp salt
-1/2tsp ginger
For the sauce
-1tbsp butter
-1/2tsp cumin
-1tsp paprika
-1/2tsp garam masala
-4oz canned tomato sauce
-1/4tsp salt
-1/2cu heavy whipping cream
For the pizza
-1 package of pizza dough
-2cu shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/2 onion, diced
-1/4cu fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:
-In a small bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Stir to coat the chicken evenly.
-Heat a heavy skillet to medium or medium-high heat. Add in the chicken breast and cook until chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes (actual cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken), then set aside.
-Make the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add in the cumin, paprika, and garam masala and let it toast for 1-2 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce and salt and bring it to a simmer, then remove from heat, and add in the heavy whipping cream.
-Spread the sauce over the prepared pizza crust and top with mozzarella cheese. Then add the cooked chicken and diced onion. Cook in a hot oven (check your pizza dough instructions for the actual temp, as some vary) on a pizza stone until cheese is bubbly and browning, then garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.